News Round-Up

Oct 5: HS2 backlash from ex-PMs; Worst water firms revealed; Driver fined for taping leaf to reg plate

Here are the headlines on Thursday, October 5

Time 6:50 am, October 5, 2023

Rishi Sunak faces backlash from former PMs over decision to axe HS2 northern leg

Rishi Sunak has faced criticism from his predecessors in Number 10 for losing a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ by cancelling the northern leg of HS2.

The prime minister defied senior Tories and business leaders to scrap HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester saying ‘the facts have changed’ and the cost of the high-speed rail scheme had ‘more than doubled’.

But former Tory prime minister David Cameron said the decision would fuel the view that Britain cannot act for the long-term and is ‘heading in the wrong direction’. Boris Johnson wrote ‘I agree’ in response to Cameron’s scathing post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Voters go to the polls in Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election.

The seat was vacated after former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier was ousted in a recall petition.

Ferrier was kicked out of the SNP for breaching Covid regulations by travelling between London and Glasgow after testing positive for the virus.

West Midlands mayor ‘close’ to resigning after talks with PM about HS2

West Midlands mayor Andy Street said he came ‘close’ to resigning from his role after ‘very robust’ conversations with the prime minister about HS2 in the last 36 hours.

Addressing journalists at Millennium Point in Birmingham, which overlooks the construction site where the HS2 Curzon Street station will stand, Street said he was ‘confronted’ with ‘out of the blue’ plans from the government to curtail the line to Manchester two weeks ago.

The mayor, who has been a Conservative Party member for 42 years, was adamant he did not threaten to resign from his role or the party if the line was not continued to Manchester, saying it was simply a question he had been asked by national news journalists. When asked why he had decided to stay in his role, Street said: ‘The prime minister made it very clear to me today that he wanted to work with me on finding the solutions here.’

Russia may attack civilian ships with sea mines and blame Ukraine, UK says

Russia may use sea mines to target non-military ships and blame Ukraine for any attacks, the UK government has said.

Declassified intelligence warned last month that the Russian military had attempted a missile strike against a cargo ship in the Black Sea. The UK believes Russia could continue targeting civilian shipping, including by laying explosive devices in the approach to Ukrainian ports.

However, Vladimir Putin’s army wants to openly avoid sinking ships in order to blame Ukraine for attacks, the Government said.

Sixth person arrested in connection with fire at Crooked House pub

A sixth person has been arrested in connection with the Crooked House fire.

Staffordshire Police said on Wednesday that a 23-year-old man from Leicestershire was arrested on Tuesday. He was detained on suspicion of conspiracy to commit arson with intent or being reckless as to whether life was endangered and has been released on conditional bail, the force said.

It follows four men and one woman previously being arrested in connection with the blaze that destroyed the 18th century pub in Himley, near Dudley, on August 5. The men, aged 33, 44, 51 and 66, and the woman, aged 34, have all been released on conditional bail.

Southern Water and Thames Water ‘standout poor performers’ driving complaints

Southern Water and Thames Water were the ‘standout poor performers’ driving customer complaints over the past year, a watchdog has reported.

The Consumer Council for Water (CCW) said the more than 20 million people served by Thames Water and Southern Water were being ‘let down’ by the two firms’ ‘failure to understand and deal with the causes of high levels of complaints from their customers’.

CCW said the industry’s overall performance was skewed by the number of complaints made by households to Thames Water and Southern Water. Southern Water was the most complained-about company, with the rate of complaints per 10,000 connections almost twice as high as Thames Water, while it was rated worse than average for how these were handled.

Wednesday Car Dealer headlines you might have missed

Just Stop Oil protesters disrupt West End performance of Les Miserables

Just Stop Oil protesters disrupted a performance of Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre in London’s West End on Wednesday night.

The protesters entered the stage during a performance of Do You Hear The People Sing?

Just Stop Oil said that four protesters then locked themselves to the stage using flexible bicycle locks at around 8.50pm, and that the performance was stopped and the theatre was evacuated by 9.10pm. The Metropolitan Police said that five people were arrested at the theatre.

Motorway services ranked the worst in Britain for second year in a row

A motorway services in West Yorkshire has been ranked the worst in Britain for the second year in a row.

Welcome Break-owned Hartshead Moor East, on the M62 near Huddersfield, is the least popular motorway services out of 120 analysed, according to a survey of more than 30,000 visitors by watchdog Transport Focus, with an overall satisfaction rating of just 84 per cent.

Transport Focus said in its report: ‘The MSA (motorway service area) has invested in new toilet facilities but, unfortunately, the works were still under way during the survey period and for some of the time had portable toilets in place. Despite the building works, the site’s overall satisfaction score has improved by four percentage points, which suggests that there is every reason to expect an improved position in next year’s survey.’

Motorist fined for taping a leaf to obscure their number plate

A driver has been fined after using double-sided tape to stick a leaf to their car’s number plate to obscure it.

Autumn means there are usually leaves on the road, which can blow onto vehicles. However, one driver took things a step too far by sticking the leaf to the end of their number plate, obscuring one of the digits. The driver had done this on both the front and rear plates.

The motorist in a Toyota Corolla was stopped on the A3 at Guildford Tuesday afternoon (October 3). The force said that a fixed penalty notice had been given for the leaves, while they had also been reported for speeding.


A cloudy and rainy day is in store for most of the UK today, with a band of heavy rain spreading slowly eastwards, reports BBC Weather. The south and south-east will avoid this, however, and remain dry. Above average temperatures for many areas; it’ll be warmest in the south with highs of 19 degrees.

Rain will push eastwards into Wales and central England. Cloudy skies for many areas, although the far north will be very wet.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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