Two men die after crane collapses in Crewe

Scene

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The fire service’s major incident unit was at the scene

Two men have died and another man has been airlifted to hospital after a crane collapsed.

A parent and child were also taken to hospital as a precaution after a house was damaged by the crane, in Crewe.

The airlifted man, believed to be the crane driver, has serious injuries that are not thought to be life-threatening.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue’s major incident unit attended and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been informed of the accident.

At 22:50 BST, Cheshire Police confirmed the fatalities, following the collapse of the crane at a new housing estate on Dunwoody Way at 16:30.

The force confirmed the two people at the house were uninjured.

Live updates on this and other stories for Staffordshire and Cheshire here

Media captionScene of crane collapse in Crewe

Ch Supt Matt Welsted, of Cheshire Police, said: “This is a truly tragic incident, and our deepest condolences go out to the families affected at this extremely difficult time.”

He said the force was working closely with the HSE, the local council and Building Control on the investigation into how the collapse happened.

Following the collapse, close to the Bombardier manufacturing site, police closed Dunwoody Way at the junction of West Street.

Bodies being recovered

“I would like to reassure members of the public that nobody else is at risk,” Ch Supt Welsted continued.

“A residential property has been damaged as a result of the incident, the occupants were not injured and were checked over by medical professionals. They have since been relocated while the investigation continues.

“The bodies of those who have sadly lost their lives will shortly be recovered from the scene.”

He urged anyone with footage taken from the scene to “please respect the families involved” and if any could be of use to the investigation make it available to investigators.

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Tommy Pepper

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Emergency services were at the scene, including the fire service’s major incident unit

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Tommy Pepper

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The Health and Safety Executive has been informed

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Kyle Simpson

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Emergency services were called at 16:30 BST

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Tommy Pepper

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40356335

Theresa May to present Brexit plans to EU leaders

Theresa MayImage copyright
AFP/Getty

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is to address EU leaders on her plans for the issue of expats’ rights after Brexit.

Mrs May will head to Brussels for her first European summit since she lost her Commons majority in the general election.

It comes the day after measures to enable Brexit dominated the Queen’s Speech and with the Conservatives still trying to secure the Commons support needed to pass their programme.

Brexit negotiations began on Monday.

The UK is due to leave the EU by the end of March 2019.

Both sides say they want to come to an arrangement to secure the status of about 3.2 million EU nationals living in the UK, and 900,000 Britons overseas, but nothing has been decided so far.

UK opposition parties have urged the government to make a unilateral guarantee to the EU migrants – but ministers have insisted a reciprocal deal is needed to ensure British expats are protected.

Downing Street did not reveal details of Mrs May’s proposals, but the PM has previously called for the issue to be settled as quickly as possible.

Full details of her plans are expected to be published on Monday.

Media captionNot got long? Here’s the Queen’s Speech in 90 seconds

Mrs May will not be present when the leaders of the remaining 27 EU states hold a brief discussion about Brexit after her presentation. They are expected to consider the relocation of the two EU agencies governing medicine and banking which are currently based in London.

Of the 27 bills in the Queen’s Speech, eight related to Brexit and its impact on immigration, trade and sectors such as fisheries and farming.

At the centre was the so-called Repeal Bill, which will copy over all EU laws into UK law, with Parliament then deciding which bits to retain.

With MPs voting on the speech next week, the Conservatives are hoping an arrangement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party will be in place to support their minority government.

But despite both sides saying they were confident of a deal being agreed, sources suggested to the BBC the DUP were “getting to the limits” of what they were requesting in return for supporting the Tories – with the chances of a plausible long-term deal, rather than a short-term bargain to get the Queen’s Speech through, diminishing.

Media captionJeremy Corbyn, speaking after the Queen’s speech, said austerity must come to an end

BBC political correspondent Ben Wright said that if the Queen’s Speech was approved it was likely to mark the start of a “gruelling often nail biting period of parliamentary attrition” dominated by Brexit legislation.

Scotland question

As well as clearing the Commons, the legislation will also have to navigate the House of Lords, where the Tories also do not have a majority.

Amid questions that peers could seek to break with convention and block legislation because the Conservatives failed to win an overall majority, Labour’s Lords leader Baroness Smith said the unelected chamber would respect the primacy of the Commons.

However, she stressed this did not mean the government, suggesting any amendments backed by MPs could be supported by peers.

Another potential obstacle could emerge if the approval of the Scottish Parliament is needed for the Repeal Bill.

Speaking in the Commons after the Queen’s Speech, Mrs May said there was a “possibility” the bill, which is needed to stop EU law applying in the UK, could require Holyrood’s consent.

“That is a matter which is currently being considered both here and in Scotland,” she said.

At the two-day summit whose agenda is formally dominated by immigration, security and the economy, Mrs May will also brief her counterparts on the UK’s commitment to a new £75 million plan designed to stem the flow of illegal migrants from Africa to Europe.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40362594

London fire: Kensington council chief quits

Protestors outside Kensington Town HallImage copyright
Getty Images

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Protesters gathered outside Kensington Town Hall last week to demand support

The chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council has resigned amid criticism over the borough’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Nicholas Holgate said Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid had asked for him to go, but Mr Javid has not commented.

Mr Holgate said last week’s fire in North Kensington, in which at least 79 people died, was “heart-breaking” but his presence would be a “distraction”.

Residents had condemned the initial relief effort as “absolute chaos”.

In a statement issued by the council on Wednesday, Mr Holgate, who has been in post since 2014, said it was the “highest priority” of the council to help families affected by the fire.

He said the communities and local government secretary had on Tuesday “required the leader of the council to seek my resignation”.

‘Grief stricken’

Mr Holgate said: “Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed.

“There is a huge amount still to do for the victims of the fire, requiring the full attention of this council and many others. If I stayed in post, my presence would be a distraction.”

He added: “Whilst the public inquiry and other investigations will get to the truth of the causes of this tragedy and the management of its aftermath, I strongly believe that councillors and officers have always endeavoured to have the interests of our residents at heart and will continue to do so.”

Nicholas Paget-Brown, the leader of the council, said it was with “regret” that he had accepted Mr Holgate’s resignation.

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AFP

He said: “The council has been grief stricken by the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire and has sought to provide the greatest level of support we can to victims.

“That is a huge challenge and Nicholas has led from the front in seeking to do this.”

The Department for Communities and Local Government would not comment on the resignation.

Since the fire on 14 June, some Grenfell Tower families have been staying in hotels and BBs, and there were concerns that more permanent housing would be offered in other parts of the country.

And residents have said that Kensington and Chelsea council provided little support or information.

Government staff and other London boroughs were drafted in to help with relief efforts in the wake of the fire, with humanitarian assistance being provided by the west London borough of Ealing.

Media captionTheresa May on Grenfell fire: “As prime minister I’ve taken responsibility”

The council’s £8.6m refurbishment of the tower has also faced questions, with suggestions that new cladding fitted during the refurbishment could have made the blaze worse.

The refurbishment will be one issue looked at by a full public inquiry into the fire, ordered by Theresa May last week.

The PM, who is among those to have faced criticism after she failed to meet survivors in the immediate aftermath, has apologised for “State” failures after the blaze. She is expected to make a statement about the fire in the House of Commons on Thursday.

She told MPs on Wednesday: “People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without even basic information about what had happened, what they should do and where they could seek help.”

And the government announced that 68 social housing flats in Kensington Row, about 1.5 miles away from Grenfell Tower, would be made available to survivors.

The funeral of 23-year-old Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali, who was among the first victims of the fire to be named, also took place on Wednesday.

His family, who arrived from war-torn Syria, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attended the ceremony, called a Janazat, at an east London mosque.

Meanwhile, a number of inquests have been opened and adjourned, with the coroner finding:

  • Retired lorry driver Anthony Disson, 65, died from inhalation of fire fumes
  • Farah Hamdan, a 31-year-old nursery nurse, died from smoke inhalation
  • Her husband, Omar Belkadi, 32, who worked as a courier, died from inhalation from fire fumes
  • Abufars Ibrahim, a 39-year-old shopkeeper, had been visiting his mother in the tower. The coroner said he had been found at the foot of the building and died from multiple injuries
  • Khadija Khalloufi, a 52-year-old married woman, also died from inhalation of fire fumes

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40362317

UK weather: Fifth day above 30C predicted, matching 1995

Media captionDr Angie Bone of Public Health England offers some tips and dispels some myths on staying cool

In the week the sunshine never ends, the UK is close to matching a sizzling June run not seen in two decades.

If Wednesday’s temperature tops 30C – and forecasters confidently predict it will – that will be five days in a row.

The last June that we sweltered for so long was 1995, when the heat affected us so much Robson and Jerome stayed at number one for the entire month.

And if Wednesday reaches 33.9C, it will be the warmest day in any June since 1976 – the classic long hot summer.

BBC Weather says it is “very likely” that these temperatures will be reached this week.

The Met Office has issued an amber Level 3 heat warning until Thursday.

It has advised people to stay out of the sun and to show awareness for people who may be vulnerable people, such as the elderly.

Weather Watchers’ picture gallery

Tuesday is the fourth consecutive day where the temperatures have exceeded 30C somewhere in the UK.

Monday was the UK’s hottest day of the year so far, with 32.5C being reached at Hampton Water Works in Greater London.

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PA

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It’s not just humans who need to keep cool – animals do too

Of course, not all of the UK has seen particularly high temperatures – Edinburgh hovered around 18C on Tuesday, while Belfast was about 19C.

However, by early afternoon on Tuesday it was 27C in Bristol, 30C in Chivenor and 30C in Hampton Water Works.

And excessive heat should be seen in its proper context. While these temperatures are high for the temperate climate of the UK, they are lower than many parts of the world usually experience.

For countries like Portugal where fires are currently raging and people have died, heat can be particularly deadly, while heat waves in India can also prove fatal.

And even in the UK, the heat can be problematic for older people, leading to bodies like the NHS, the charity Age UK, and the Royal Voluntary Service all issuing advice for the elderly when the temperatures rise.

These include:

  • Drinking six to eight glasses of water or fruit juices a day
  • Dressing appropriately, such as in a hat and loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes
  • Staying out of the sun during hottest parts of the day

Also the RSPCA regularly issues warnings about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars.

And for those (human) Britons simply trying to get a good night’s rest, there’s the #TooHotToSleep hashtag on Twitter.

But the British obsession with its recent temperatures has given rise to the rolling of eyes in other parts of the world, especially places like Australia.

The news.com.au website has written a story about Brits not coping with our temperatures “as high as, hmm, 32C”.

Suffice to say, some of the reaction to this story on Facebook has not been sympathetic.

“You sure wouldn’t want to be in Australia in the middle of summer. Walk outside and you’ll look like a shrimp on the Barbie,” writes Julie Rae, while Mark Whiting scoffs that Britons “need to get out more”.

He also mentions how the town of Birdsville “nudges the 50C mark”.

However, a few people commenting on that same story have offered a more understanding point of view.

Lawton Rose points out that “the UK is just not built for this sort of weather”, while Australian Daniel Richardson also posted that hot weather feels like “a different kind of heat when you live in an old city designed to mostly just handle cold”.

Perhaps those Aussies with scathing views of Brits sweltering in the heat are grumpy because it’s their winter right now. Just take a look at Bondi Beach.

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Getty Images

Meanwhile, in much of the UK…

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Getty Images

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40340360

DUP warn Conservatives: Don’t take us for granted

Arlene Foster and Nigel DoddsImage copyright
Reuters

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DUP leader Arlene Foster visited Downing Street a week ago

Democratic Unionist Party sources have urged the Conservatives to give a “greater focus” to their negotiations.

A senior DUP source said the party could not be “taken for granted” – adding that if the PM could not reach a deal, “what does that mean for bigger negotiations she is involved in?”

No deal has been reached after 10 days of talks between the parties.

But sources told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg they believed a deal would still be done.

The Conservatives are hoping the DUP will sustain their minority government.

The warning from a senior DUP source to BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport comes the day before the government’s Queen’s Speech is presented to Parliament.

Although they have not reached a final deal, DUP leader Arlene Foster has said it is “right and proper” that her MPs support the Conservative government’s first Queen’s Speech.

‘Going well’

Earlier cabinet minister Chris Grayling predicted a “sensible” deal would be reached.

The transport secretary said the talks were “going well”, adding that the DUP, which has 10 MPs, did not want another election or Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.

Theresa May is seeking to negotiate a so-called “confidence and supply” arrangement whereby the DUP will throw their weight behind the government in key Commons votes, such as on the Queen’s Speech and Budgets.

It is a week since DUP leader Arlene Foster visited Downing Street for talks with Theresa May, with reports that a final agreement is being held up by discussions over extra funding for Northern Ireland.

Media captionScaled back Queen’s Speech will look a little different

Should Mrs May lose any votes on the Queen’s Speech, which are expected to take place next week, it would amount to a vote of no confidence in the government and put its future in doubt.

But Mr Grayling told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that he did not expect this to happen.

“The talks are going on but one thing I am absolutely certain of is that the DUP do not want to see another election and Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street,” he said. “We are having good, constructive discussions and I am confident we will reach a sensible agreement.”

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major has urged Theresa May to reconsider her approach, saying a deal with the DUP could threaten the Northern Ireland peace process and “carry baggage” for his party. He has said the Conservatives should be able to govern anyway with the DUP’s tacit support.

Asked about the repercussions if there was no agreement, Mr Grayling replied: “I am not pessimistic about this. I think we will have a sensible arrangement.

“We have got some days until we have a vote on the Queen’s Speech. It is not on Queen’s Speech day. The vote happens many days later as we have an extended debate first and I am sure we will have a sensible arrangement between the parties when that time comes.”

The DUP had made it clear, he added, that they did not want “an unstable government undermining our union” and wanted to see us “go ahead with the Brexit negotiations with a sensible government in place”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40339330

London fire: Grenfell patients face ‘months’ of recovery

Grenfell TowerImage copyright
PA

Some patients being treated after the Grenfell Tower fire have weeks and possibly months of recovery ahead of them, a doctor treating them has said.

Fourteen people are in hospital – eight receiving critical care and some in induced comas – NHS England has said.

King’s College Hospital Clinical Director Duncan Bew said hundreds of patients had been expected but did not arrive, adding: “It was very sad.”

The west London tower fire left 79 people dead, or missing presumed dead.

More than £330,000 of a £5m emergency fund has been distributed to the affected families, according to the official Grenfell response team – made up of council and government staff, charity workers, and police and fire service representatives.

It said 314 people have now received financial assistance, while 40 households have been given a £5,000 government payment.

Some 138 hotel placements have been made for people living in Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk, it added, while 112 additional residents from the wider area now in hotels.

In a statement, the response team said it was not aware of any victims living in a park, that nobody was being forced into accommodation and and people were being homed “as local as possible”.

Speaking a week after the devastating fire, Mr Bew, from the major trauma centre at King’s College Hospital, said the hospital had received 12 patients from the blaze.

The hospital is still treating seven people, five of whom remain in critical care.

Staff had expected to see “hundreds” of patients with a range of injuries, including burns, smoke inhalation and “people falling from a height, from jumping from windows,” he said.

But then they realised many patients were not making it to hospital and were still trapped inside the tower.

“We were ready to receive many more casualties,” he said.

“We knew there were many more people in the building. As time went on and we realised that we weren’t going to receive those casualties, it was very sad.”

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Getty Images

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A candlelight vigil was held in Westminster on Monday

He said some of his patients had clung to banisters to feel their way down 20 flights of stairs after fearing they were about to die.

Others had tried to save other families on their way towards the tower’s exit.

Almost all were suffering the effects of smoke inhalation, with very few having burns.

“We had patients who had saved their own families but had also tried to save other families as well.”

He added: “They had to make a very difficult decision. People went into the stairwells and went into toxic smoke.

‘Reticent victims’

“I think people who escaped felt that they were going to die and that the only way to stay alive was to go through the smoke.”

He added that it was “remarkable” that none of our first responders was killed.

Elsewhere, officials have said some victims are “reticent” to come forward and help the investigation into the fire due to concerns over their immigration status.

Victoria Vasey, director of North Kensington Law Centre, told BBC Radio 4′s The World at One it is “imperative” people feel safe to come forward.

The Home Office told the programme it will “not use this tragic incident as a reason to carry out immigration checks on those involved”.

“We will not charge people who need to replace documentation that has been lost in the fire,” it added.

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Lee Disson and NicolaGreenArt

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Anthony Disson and Ya-Haddy Sisi Saye are among five people to be formally identified by the police

Five of the victims have so far been named.

Anthony Disson, 65, Ya-Haddy Sisi Saye, 24, also known as Khadija Saye, and Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and Khadija Khalloufi, 52 – were identified on Monday.

Mohammad Alhajali, 23, was the first victim to be formally identified.

So far 126 hotel places have been found for residents of Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk.

The GRT – which includes local and regional government from across London, central government, the British Red Cross, Met Police and London Fire Brigade – said those due to have been rehoused would be living in Kensington and Chelsea or a neighbouring borough.

‘Devastation’

Meanwhile, the BBC has learned that four separate government ministers were warned that fire regulations were not keeping people safe.

In leaked letters seen by BBC One’s Panorama, experts warn that those living in tower blocks like Grenfell Tower were “at risk”.

The Department for Communities and Local Government, which received the letters, said work to improve regulation and safety had already been under way.

It comes as police have warned the final number of victims from the fire in the 24-storey block could still change.

Commander Stuart Cundy said his priority was to identify the people who died in the building and to remove them as quickly as possible.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40343897

London fire: Sadiq Khan says tragedy caused by years of neglect

Media captionSadiq Khan: ‘Kensington community is frustrated and angry’

The Grenfell Tower fire was a “preventable accident” caused by “years of neglect” by the local council and successive governments, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said.

After attending a service for victims, Mr Khan said the fire was a national disaster requiring a national response.

Kensington and Chelsea Council’s leader said officials had been working “around the clock” since the fire on Wednesday.

The government says all those who lost their homes are to receive £5,500.

Each household will receive at least £500 in cash and £5,000 paid into an account as part of a £5m emergency fund first announced on Friday.

At least 58 people are believed to have died after the fire ripped through the 24-storey block in North Kensington in the early hours of Wednesday.

Police are expected to announce an increase in that number on Monday.

The BBC understands about 70 may have died. Eighteen people remain in hospital, nine in critical care.

Widespread criticism

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said: “I must consider the fact that there may be others in the building who, for whatever reason, have not been reported to us.

“There is also a real possibility that there may be people in the building that no one knows are missing.”

Police have released images from inside the building to show the scale of the challenge they face.

Cdr Cundy said: “The conditions due to the fire damage verge on indescribable, which is why this will be such a lengthy operation taking weeks to complete.”

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Metropolitan Police

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Police have released new images of properties where everyone has been accounted for

Kensington and Chelsea Council has faced widespread criticism for its handling of the disaster, with residents complaining that officials had provided little support or information.

A group who met Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street have criticised the borough’s tenant management organisation for being “invisible in the aftermath of the tragedy”.

“We explained to the prime minister the anger of all residents towards the management of the estate over a long period of time, paving the way to this tragedy,” they said.

Mr Khan echoed their point, saying: “People are angry, not simply at the poor response in the days afterwards from the council and the government, but at the years of neglect from the council.

“There’s a feeling that the council and government don’t understand their concerns and don’t care.”

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Metropolitan Police

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A police photo shows a burned-out corridor in Grenfell Tower

He added: “People in this community are sick to death of platitudes from politicians.”

Kensington and Chelsea Council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown said he understood residents’ anger and that the authority itself wanted to know why the fire had started and spread so quickly.

He added that the disaster was too big for one authority to handle alone and it was inaccurate to suggest his council was not present on the ground or working with other authorities.

Media captionCouncil leader Nicholas Paget-Brown says the council has a “very well organised” operation in place.

The government has sent in a team of civil servants to bolster the relief effort. They were spotted in high-visibility jackets in the area on Sunday afternoon.

  • Boy, 6, donates pocket money
  • Father’s day cards among fire tributes
  • Stars gather for charity single

Details of how the government’s £5m emergency fund have been outlined, including:

  • Funding will be made available for people staying in temporary accommodation
  • A discretionary fund is available to help meet funeral costs
  • There will also be funding for legal representation for residents involved in the public inquiry
  • An extra £1.5m will pay for mental health support for the emergency services

Mrs May said: “My government will continue to do absolutely everything possible to help all of those affected through the difficult days, weeks, months and years ahead.”

A newly-established “Grenfell Fire Response Team” has been set up to lead the relief effort, which will include a 24-hour operation at the Westway Sports Centre.

The new team is made up of local and central government, the Red Cross, the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade.

Media captionGrenfell Tower community applauded firefighters as they drove past

Eleanor Kelly, chief executive of Southwark Council, said speeding up the rehousing process would be the main priority.

The Red Cross has been asked to increase its role and and its staff will be part of teams allocated to every household affected by the fire, as well as meeting bereaved relatives as they arrive at airports.

The charity’s helpline – 0800 4589472 – is now the central point of contact for all people affected.

Mrs Kelly added in a statement: “There is nothing we can say that will blunt the feeling of loss and anger.

“But I hope the new team and this package of support will start to get those affected by this tragedy the urgent assistance from the authorities they need.”

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Metropolitan Police

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This police picture shows an entrance to the tower

Earlier, writing in the Observer, Mr Khan had suggested that high-rise tower blocks dating from the 1960s and 1970s could be torn down in the wake of the fire, which he said may well be the “defining outcome of this tragedy”.

Chancellor Philip Hammond told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that a criminal investigation would examine whether building regulations had been breached when the block was refurbished.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told ITV’s Peston on Sunday that the council had seemed to “lack the resources to deal with a crisis of this magnitude”, despite being the country’s “wealthiest borough”.

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Reuters

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A Father’s Day card is left among bouquets of flowers in North Kensington

Meanwhile, Labour MP David Lammy, whose friend Khadija Saye is among the dead, has called for all documents relating to the refurbishment and management of Grenfell Tower to be protected.

Questions continue to be asked about why the fire spread so quickly, amid suggestions new cladding fitted during a recent overhaul could have been to blame.

The prime minister has come in for a barrage of criticism over her response to the disaster.

She was jeered on a visit to the North Kensington estate on Friday, and protesters marching on Friday and Saturday called for her resignation.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40320459

Brexit negotiations begin: David Davis targets ‘historic’ deal

Michel Barnier and David DavisImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (left) and UK Brexit Secretary David Davis confirmed the start of talks

Brexit Secretary David Davis will call for “a deal like no other in history” as he heads into talks with the EU.

Subjects for the negotiations, which officially start in Brussels later, include the status of expats, the UK’s “divorce bill” and the Northern Ireland border.

Mr Davis said there was a “long road ahead” but predicted a “deep and special partnership”.

The UK is set to leave the EU by the end of March 2019.

Day one of the negotiations will start at about 11:00 BST at European Commission buildings in Brussels.

Mr Davis and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, a former French foreign minister and EU commissioner, will give a joint press conference at the end of the day.

The UK minister, who will be accompanied by a team of British officials, is expected to say: “Today marks the start of negotiations that will shape the future of the European Union and the United Kingdom, and the lives of our citizens.

“We want both sides to emerge strong and prosperous, capable of projecting our shared European values, leading in the world, and demonstrating our resolve to protect the security of our citizens.

“I want to reiterate at the outset of these talks that the UK will remain a committed partner and ally of our friends across the continent.

“And while there is a long road ahead, our destination is clear – a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU. A deal like no other in history.”

Strong warning

The BBC has been told by European Union sources that the talks will follow the EU’s preferred pattern of exit negotiations first, with the future relations between the two sides – including the free trade deal the UK is seeking – at a later date.

Five major UK business bodies have come together to call for continued access to the European single market until a final Brexit deal is made with the EU.

In a letter to Business Secretary Greg Clark, they urged the government to “put the economy first”.

The letter is from the British Chambers of Commerce, Confederation of British Industry, EEF, Federation of Small Businesses and Institute of Directors.

On the eve of talks, Chancellor Philip Hammond issued a strong warning about the implications of the UK leaving the EU without a deal in place.

Mr Hammond told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that having no deal would be “a very, very bad outcome for Britain” but added that one that aimed to “suck the lifeblood out of our economy over a period of time” would be even worse.

He called for a transition deal to be in place to avoid businesses being affected by a “cliff edge” scenario as the UK leaves.

Mr Hammond has said the UK should “prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40321271

Finsbury Park Mosque: ‘Several hurt’ as van hits pedestrians

Police near Finsbury Park MosqueImage copyright
Reuters

Several people have been injured after a van struck a crowd of pedestrians near a north London mosque in what police have called a “major incident”.

One person was arrested following the collision near Finsbury Park Mosque in Seven Sisters Road.

Officers were called at 00.20 BST and remain at the scene, the Metropolitan Police said.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said a van “intentionally” ran over worshippers.

Many of the victims are believed to have just left evening prayers after breaking the Ramadan fast.

Follow live updates here

Prime Minister Theresa May described it as a “terrible incident”, adding: “All my thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene.”

London Ambulance Service said it had sent “a number of resources” to the scene.

Video posted online of the aftermath showed a scene of chaos as people tried to help the injured.

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PA

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PA

One man could been seen giving CPR to a victim in the street while another man’s head injury was treated with a makeshift dressing.

An eyewitness told how he jumped out the way of the van as it struck.

He said: “He just came into all of us. There was a lot of people. We got told to move straight away.

“I was shocked, shocked, shocked. There were bodies around me.

“Thank God I just moved to the side. I just jumped. Everyone is hurt. Everyone is actually hurt.”

Another who lives in a flat on Seven Sisters Road told the BBC she saw people “shouting and screaming”.

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PA

“Everyone was shouting ‘a van’s hit people’.

“There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park Mosque that seems to have hit people who were coming out of the mosque after prayers finished.”

She said the road was “backed up” with police cars, ambulance and fire engines.

Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn said on Twitter: “I’m totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park tonight.

“I’ve been in touch with the mosques, police and Islington council regarding the incident. My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event.”

‘Horrible to watch’

London Ambulance Service deputy director of operations Kevin Bate said: “We have sent a number of ambulance crews, advance paramedics and specialist responses teams to the scene.

“An advance trauma team from London’s Air Ambulance has also been dispatched by car.

“We are working closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene.

“Our priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure those in the most need are treated first and taken to hospital.”

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Reuters

Witness Cynthia Vanzella said on Twitter: “Horrible to watch police officers doing cardiac massage at people on the floor, desperately trying to save them. I just hope they did.”

The MCB said its “prayers are with the victims.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40322960

‘Hairy rebel’ pleased to be Sir Billy Connolly

Media captionBilly Connolly said he would not believe until people in Glasgow called him Sir Billy

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly said he was “pleased and a little embarrassed” to get a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The 74-year-old Glaswegian said he did not know much about what it would mean.

The star told BBC Scotland: “It won’t really dawn on me until Glasgow people start calling me ‘Sir Billy’ or whatever they come up with.”

He said it felt strange to be welcomed into the establishment as he still thought of himself as a “hairy rebel”.

Tennis coach Judy Murray, pop star Emeli Sande and Harry Potter author JK Rowling are among other well-known faces in Scotland to have received awards.

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Martin Shields

Image caption

Jack Vettriano’s portrait is on a wall end in Dixon Street

Sir Billy worked in Glasgow’s shipyards and played banjo in folk bands before branching out into comedy in the early 1970s.

His appearances on the Michael Parkinson show made him one of the UK’s top stand-up comedians.

But he is also an accomplished actor, winning praise for his role opposite Dame Judi Dench in Mrs Brown in 1997, as well as The Man Who Sued God and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

In recent years he has done numerous travel programmes.

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Martin Shields

Image caption

John Byrne’s portrait is showcased in Osborne Street in Glasgow city centre

In 2013 he disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and prostate cancer on the same day.

However, he has since been given the all-clear from the cancer but admits that the Parkinson’s is “a pain in the arse”.

Last week, a BBC Scotland documentary celebrating his 75th year unveiled three huge murals on the walls of buildings in his home city.

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Martin Shields

Image caption

Rachel Maclean’s digital print is on display in Gallowgate

On his knighthood, he said: “I have an ordinary background and it was never on the horizon when I was growing up that I might get this.”

He said his sister Flo, who died last year, would have loved him getting the honour and he wished his parents had been around to see it.

“I’m not big on pride but whatever the equivalent of pride is that is a bit decent, I’ve got that,” he said.

“I’m a little embarrassed but deep within me I’m very pleased.”

Image caption

Connolly starred in the 1997 film Mrs Brown, for which Judi Dench won an Oscar

The comedian and actor, who was made a CBE in 2003, said he was not sure if “Sir Billy” was impressive enough.

“I feel as if I should be called Lancelot or something,” he said.

“Sir Lancelot would be nice. Sir Billy does not have the same ring.

“I don’t know if you get invited to the Round Table. I don’t know anything about it.”

Mixed reaction

He said the knighthood would not change him.

“It may change the way other people think of me,” he said.

“But it won’t change me at all. I’m too late to change.”

Sir Billy said he felt comfortable accepting the honour, despite there being a mixed reaction in the past when he had been involved with the Royal family.

He said: “It always feels strange to be welcomed into the establishment. It is not a place I relish.

“Over the years, any time I’ve been associated with Royalty or anything like that it’s been kind of jagged edged comments about it.

“But the way I saw it was if I was invited by those people to do things, the least I can do is respond nicely. It’s the way I was brought up.

“It’s an honour and I’ll accept it honourably.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40300350