UK government borrowing rises in June

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Government borrowing increased last month after the state was forced to pay higher interest on its debt.

Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, rose to £6.9bn in June, up £2bn from a year earlier.

The government’s debt costs jumped by more than a third in June from a year earlier after rising inflation pushed up interest on index-linked bonds.

For the financial year to date, borrowing is up £1.9bn to £22.8bn, the Office for National Statistics said.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) – the fiscal watchdog – has forecast that borrowing will be £58.3bn during the current financial year. In the financial year to March 2017, borrowing was £46.2bn according to the latest estimates from the ONS.

Budget choices

Scott Bowman, UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “June’s figures suggest that the public sector finances have started to deteriorate a little. This could limit the scope for an easing in austerity and mean that fiscal policy will still provide a significant drag on GDP growth over the next few years. “

Last week, the OBR published its first Fiscal Risks report, which identified possible dangers to the public finances.

It pointed out that the UK was “much more sensitive” to higher inflation and interest rates, given that the country’s debt is higher than before the 2008 financial crisis.

The ONS data showed that total government debt, excluding public sector banks, stood at £1.75 trillion at the end of June, which is equivalent to 87.4% of gross domestic product (GDP).

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, the accountancy firm, said: “Looking beyond the current financial year, we would expect the decline in the budget deficit to resume if current tax and spending plans are maintained.

“This should give the chancellor some room for manoeuvre in his Autumn Budget to ease up on austerity in priority areas like health, social care, policing and housing investment.

“But he will wish to do this in a measured way given the uncertainties around the economic environment as the Brexit process continues and the high initial level of the public debt to GDP ratio.”

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UK air traffic controllers warn of over-crowded skies

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Crowded skies over the UK – air traffic controllers warn they are reaching capacity

Air traffic controllers are warning that UK skies are running out of room amid a record number of flights.

Friday is likely to be the busiest day of the year, with air traffic controllers expecting to handle more than 8,800 flights – a record number.

They have called for a drastic modernisation in the way aircraft are guided across UK airspace.

It comes as the government launches a discussion to shape the UK’s aviation industry for the next 30 years.

Air traffic controllers expect to manage a record 770,000 flights in UK airspace over the summer – 40,000 more than last year.

But the ability of the the UK’s National Air Traffic Control Service (Nats) to deal with this surge is being stretched to the limit, it is claimed.

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Nats director Jamie Hutchison said: “In the last few weeks we have already safely managed record-breaking daily traffic levels, but the ageing design of UK airspace means we will soon reach the limits of what can be managed without delays rising significantly.”

The Department for Transport estimates that, if airspace management remains unchanged, there will be 3,100 days’ worth of flight delays by 2030 – that is 50 times the amount seen in 2015 – along with 8,000 flight cancellations a year.

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The government’s consultation paper sets out a long-term plan for UK aviation

The government wants the public to submit ideas on a wide range of subjects, from airport bag check-ins in town centres to noise reduction targets.

The six themes it will consult on over the coming months are:

  • Customer service
  • Safety and security
  • Global connectivity
  • Competitive markets
  • Supporting growth while tackling environmental impacts
  • Innovation, technology and skills

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Our new aviation strategy will look beyond the new runway at Heathrow and sets out a comprehensive long-term plan for UK aviation.

“It will support jobs and economic growth across the whole of the UK.

“Our vision puts the passenger at the heart of what we do, but also recognises the need to address the impacts of aviation on communities and the environment.”

Martin Rolfe, chief executive of Nats, said the consultation process could take between two and three years, “so millions and millions of people will have a say in aircraft flying over their house”.

He told the BBC’s Today programme: “Local communities are very obviously concerned about what more traffic might look like, but actually modernising [airspace] means we can keep aircraft higher for longer.

“We can have them descend more steeply than they currently do because modern aircraft are more capable than the types of aircraft that were in service when this airspace was originally designed.”

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The consultation paper will look at everything from the future of drone technology to baggage handling

Meanwhile, airport capacity is expanding way beyond Heathrow’s new runway.

Friday also marks the start of a £1bn investment programme to double the size of Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2.

The number of planes taking off and landing at Stansted has gone up every month for almost four years.

Cardiff Airport has seen an 11% rise in traffic, and Luton is recording growth of 7% this year alone.

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Nats is rolling out a new £600m computer system to make traffic control more efficient

The problem of volume has been complicated by shifts in travel patterns.

Destinations including Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia have lost out to Spain, Italy and the US, which means major changes in the flows of traffic into UK airspace.

Nats itself is rolling out a new £600m computer system known as iTec that could result in more flights and fewer delays.

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Blair Logan admits murdering brother in fire attack

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Blair Logan poured petrol onto his brother’s bed before setting it alight

A man has admitted murdering his brother by dousing him with petrol and setting him alight on New Year’s Day.

Cameron Logan, 23, died in the blaze in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, and his girlfriend Rebecca Williams, 25, was seriously injured.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Blair Logan, 27, admitted murdering his brother and attempting to murder Ms Williams at the family home.

He confessed 12 days after the attack but claimed he did not mean to kill.

The court heard that the two brothers had a “hostile” relationship and Logan told police they had not spoken since the death of their grandmother in 2013.

On the night of the fire, Cameron and Rebecca had arranged to stay the night at the family home after a party and his mother Catherine set up an inflatable mattress for them in the living room.

Logan remained in his bedroom, emerging only to wish his parents a happy new year.

The young couple returned from the party at about 04:00 and went to sleep.

At about 07:15, Mrs Logan was woken by the family dog whining and went downstairs, where she saw a figure in dark clothing standing inside the living room.

Cameron Logan and Rebecca Williams also saw the man, holding something that was on fire, and screamed.

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Cameron Logan died and Rebecca Williams was seriously injured in the fire on New Year’s Day

Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, told the court: “Catherine Logan then heard Cameron roar in surprise, shock and fear, before the accused made a jerking motion with his arm as if throwing something.

“The accused then ran from the living room and went out the front door.

“Catherine Logan slammed the door behind him, shouting something like ‘get the hell out of my house’, still not knowing who it was.

“When she turned back towards the living room she saw ‘orange and crackling’ and the room turning black. She also heard Cameron and Rebecca screaming.”

She tried in vain to open the door to the room before running to ask neighbours for help.

Rebecca Williams managed to roll onto the floor and crawl into the kitchen. Unable to open the back door, she put her head in the fridge to protect herself from the fire before passing out.

‘Planned to maim’

Mr Logan senior tried to get into the living room but was beaten back by the intensity of the smoke and flames.

The prosecutor said the accused admitted pouring petrol “with the intention of maiming or crippling” his brother.

But after his arrest, Logan told police: “I didn’t want to kill him.”

In a police interview he said he took the petrol from a church garage a month and a half before the fire and stored it in his bedroom.

Searches of his computer found he had researched burn injuries.

The attack was said to be in retaliation for a “last straw” incident at the house a week earlier, when his brother had punched him.

He said he did not realise Ms Williams was in the bed and had not intended to harm her, or his parents.

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Cameron Logan with the family dog Gomez which also died in the fire

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Defence lawyer Shelagh McCall QC said Logan showed “wicked recklessness” but did not intend to kill his brother.

He was said to have “felt physically sick at the whole thing”.

Logan has been subject to two psychiatric reports which concluded there was not sufficient evidence for a plea of diminished responsibility.

Ms McCall said there were “unusual traits” in Logan’s personality and that he had a lack of understanding of the impact of his actions on other people.

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Rebecca Williams was in court to hear the guilty plea

Both parents were in the court room in Glasgow, along with Ms Williams, as the guilty plea was made in front of judge Lady Scott.

Ms Williams, a radio journalist, was rescued from the fire and treated in hospital for burns and the effects of breathing in smoke, and has undergone surgery on four occasions. She has had a tracheostomy to help her regain the power of speech.

Logan’s parents were treated for smoke inhalation but were not badly injured.

Logan was arrested two weeks after the fire following a major Police Scotland investigation.

The family dog, Gomez, was also killed in the fire.

Logan also admitted endangering the lives of his parents.

Lady Scott asked for a social worker report and set a sentencing date for 11 August at the High Court in Livingston.

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Grenfell Tower fire: New council leader heckled by public

Media captionElizabeth Campbell said she was “deeply sorry” for the “grief and trauma”

The newly elected leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council has been booed and heckled amid continuing anger over the Grenfell Tower fire.

Protesters shouted “resign” and “shame on you” as Elizabeth Campbell was made council leader at a public meeting.

The councillor said she was “deeply sorry” for the “grief and trauma” caused by the blaze in west London.

About 70 of the 255 people who survived the blaze attended the meeting after condemnation of the council’s response.

At least 80 people are dead or missing after the tower block fire on 14 June.

The council has been accused of being slow to react on the ground and not doing enough to re-house Grenfell Tower residents.

Many people in the public gallery at Kensington Town Hall were calling for the Conservative group that runs the council to resign and for new elections.

It was the first cabinet meeting since the fire, after the council abandoned an earlier meeting – which had been planned as a closed one – when members of the press were allowed in after a High Court judgement.

Addressing survivors in the chamber, Cllr Campbell said: “I am truly sorry that we did not do more to help you when you needed it the most.”

Grenfell Tower fire: Who were the victims?

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There was heckling from the public gallery

Former Grenfell Tower residents sat in the public gallery, while at least 150 community members and volunteers were in an overspill room.

One survivor, from the 16th floor of Grenfell Tower, who gave his name as Hamid, said he had “had enough”.

“I need a place to go and start my life,” he said. “I’m not asking for something big.

“We need to move on. We want to go to work – kids got to go to school.”

‘Forgotten about’

Another survivor told the chamber he had been living in a hotel room since the fire, with just one double bed between him, his wife and three children.

He said that the residents’ main problem was a lack of action.

“I was forgotten about,” he added.

“You know who has done something for us? The residents of north Kensington. Our community. Our neighbours.”

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A group of demonstrators gathered outside Kensington Town Hall

As the meeting progressed, attention turned to a petition calling for the council’s entire elected leadership to resign.

It was signed by more than 1,500 people, passing the threshold for a debate by councillors.

Labour’s newly elected MP for Kensington, Emma Dent Coad, said: “I agree entirely with the petition’s demands.”

Cllr Campbell, who was heckled again as she responded to the petition, said: “We will not continue business as usual and we will rebuild trust, as I said, brick by brick.”

Earlier, she said 68 new homes for Grenfell Tower survivors would be identified and bought within the next two weeks, and an additional 31 homes would be acquired in the next few weeks.

New homes promised

The councillor also promised that 400 new social houses would be built over the next five years.

She took over as de facto leader after Nicholas Paget-Brown resigned on 30 June.

She later admitted on the Today programme that she had never been in a tower block, but added that she had visited many council houses.

A group of demonstrators stood outside Kensington Town Hall during the meeting holding Justice for Grenfell placards.

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BBC pay: Male stars earn more than female talent

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Claudia Winkleman and Alex Jones are the BBC’s highest paid female stars

The BBC has revealed two-thirds of its stars earning more than £150,000 are male, with Chris Evans the top-paid on between £2.2m and £2.25m.

Claudia Winkleman was the highest-paid female celebrity, earning between £450,000 and £500,000 last year, its annual report for 2016/2017 says.

The One Show’s Alex Jones was second, earning between £400,000 and £450,000.

BBC director general Tony Hall said there was “more to do” on the gender pay gap.

The top seven earners, in the list of the BBC’s 96 best-paid stars, were all male.

It is the first time the pay of stars earning more than £150,000 has been made public.

The BBC has been compelled to reveal the information under the terms of its new Royal Charter.

Media captionWhy the gender pay gap could mean problems for the BBC

Speaking on LBC Radio, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We’ve seen the way the BBC is paying women less for doing the same job… I want women to be paid equally.”

When asked if Evans was worth considerably more than her, she said: “What’s important is that the BBC looks at the question of paying men and women the same for doing the same job.”

The total bill for the 96 personalities was £28.7m but the figures in the report reveal large disparities between what men and women are paid.

“On gender and diversity, the BBC is more diverse than the broadcasting industry and the civil service,” Lord Hall said.

“We’ve made progress, but we recognise there is more to do and we are pushing further and faster than any other broadcaster.”

Media caption“We do have further to go” on the gender pay gap says BBC Director of Radio and Education

When asked if female stars working at the BBC would now be asking for pay rises, Lord Hall said: “We will be working carefully on our relationship with our talent.”

He also pledged to close the gender pay gap by 2020.

Trade union Equity said in a statement: “The apparent pay gaps in gender and for those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background are troubling.”

Woman’s Hour’s Jane Garvey tweeted: “I’m looking forward to presenting @BBCWomansHour today. We’ll be discussing #GenderPayGap . As we’ve done since 1946. Going well, isn’t it?”

Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis retweeted Garvey’s message.

Other high profile omissions including the Today programme’s Sarah Montague, BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin and Woman’s Hour’s Jenni Murray.

Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys, acknowledged that his £600,000 salary was hard to justify: “On paper, absolutely nothing that justifies that huge amount of money, if you compare me with lots of other people who do visibly.

“If a doctor saves a child’s life, if a nurse comforts a dying person, a fireman rushes into Grenfell Tower, then of course you could argue that compared with that sort of thing I’m not worth tuppence ha’penny. However, we operate in a market place.”

There is also a gap between the pay for white stars and those from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.

George Alagiah, Jason Mohammad and Trevor Nelson are the highest paid BAME presenters, each receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

The highest-paid female star with a BAME background is BBC news presenter Mishal Husain, who earned between £200,000 and £250,000.

The annual report does not include stars who receive their pay through BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm.

The figures quoted only refer to the amount of licence fee money each person receives and do not include their earnings from other broadcasters or commercial activities. They also exclude stars paid through independent production companies.

That means some big name stars – such as David Attenborough, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt LeBlanc – do not appear on the list.

The list also does not distinguish between people who are paid for doing multiple jobs within the BBC and those who are just paid for one. Talent pay is considerably higher in the commercial sector.

As he left the BBC after his Radio 2 breakfast show on Wednesday, Chris Evans said it was right “on balance” that star salaries were being disclosed.

“We are the ultimate public company I think, and therefore it’s probably right and proper people know what we get paid,” he told reporters.

During a briefing on the annual report on Wednesday morning, Lord Hall said: “Chris Evans is presenting the most popular show on the most popular radio network in Europe.

“The BBC does not exist in a market on its own where it can set the market rates.

“If we are to give the public what they want, then we have to pay for those great presenters and stars.”

Aside from Strictly, Winkleman’s other BBC roles include presenting The Great British Sewing Bee and her Radio 2 Sunday night show. Her agent said she would be making no comment.

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Casualty stars Derek Thompson and Amanda Mealing are the BBC’s best-paid actors

Casualty star Derek Thompson was the BBC’s highest paid actor, receiving between £350,000 and £400,000 over the last financial year.

Amanda Mealing, who also stars in Casualty as well as Holby City, was the highest paid actress, receiving between £250,000 and £300,000.

Clare Balding earned between £150,000 and £200,000 for her work on sports shows including Wimbledon Today and the Rio Olympics.

The overall spend on talent was £193.5m – down on the £200m spent in 2015/2016.

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State pension age rise brought forward

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Six million men and women will have to wait a year longer than they expected to get their state pension, the government has announced.

The rise in the pension age to 68 will now be phased in between 2037 and 2039, rather than from 2044 as was originally proposed.

Those affected are currently between the ages of 39 and 47.

The announcement was made in the Commons by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke.

He said the government had decided to accept the recommendations of the Cridland report, which proposed the change.

Media captionThe change was announced by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke

“As life expectancy continues to rise and the number of people in receipt of state pension increases, we need to ensure that we have a fair and sustainable system that is reflective of modern life and protected for future generations,” he told MPs.

Anyone younger than 39 will have to wait for future announcements to learn what their precise pension age will be.

‘Cocktail of ill health’

The change will affect those born between 6 April 1970 and 5 April 1978.

The government said the new rules would save the taxpayer £74bn by 2045/46. While it had been due to spend 6.5% of GDP on the state pension by 2039/40, this change will reduce that figure to 6.1% of GDP.

Labour said the move was “astonishing”, given recent reports suggesting increases in life expectancy were beginning to stall, and long-standing health inequalities between different income groups and regions in retirement.

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State pension calculator – check your age and entitlement

Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams told MPs that many men and women were beginning to suffer ill health in the early 60s, well before they were entitled to their state pension.

“Most pensioners will now spend their retirement battling a toxic cocktail of ill-health,” she said.

“The government talks about making Britain fairer but their pensions policy, whether it is the injustice that 1950s-born women are facing, or today’s proposals, is anything but fair.”

Media captionShadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams says the pension change is “anything but fair”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the government risked creating “second-class citizens”.

“In large parts of the country, the state pension age will be higher than healthy life expectancy,” she said.

“And low-paid workers at risk of insecurity in their working lives will now face greater insecurity in old age too.

“Rather than hiking the pension age, the government must do more for older workers who want to keep working and paying taxes.”

Age UK was also critical of the change.

“In bringing forward a rise in the state pension age by seven years, the government is picking the pockets of everyone in their late forties and younger, despite there being no objective case in Age UK’s view to support it at this point in time,” said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK.

“Indeed, it is astonishing that this is being announced the day after new authoritative research suggested that the long term improvement in life expectancy is stalling.”

Pensions Commission

The government has also committed to regular reviews of the state pension age in the years ahead.

That raises the prospect of further rises. Indeed a report by the government’s actuary department in March suggested that workers now under the age of 30 may have to wait until 70 before they qualify for a state pension.

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Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the government would need to do more to encourage saving, particularly amongst younger people.

“For anyone yet to reach age 47, there is still time to adjust their retirement plans by looking to contribute more,” he said.

“We feel it is important the government meets them halfway; we need a national savings strategy to help people save and invest for their future. A good starting point would be for the government to look at a savings commission.”

The SNP said it remained opposed to raising the pension age beyond 66 and reiterated its call for an independent pensions commission to be set up to look at “demographic differences across the UK”.

In response, Mr Gauke said the Scottish government would have the power to provide extra financial help for those approaching retirement if they so chose.

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Sarah Payne brothers: ‘Thoughts of saving her eat us up’

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Sarah Payne was killed in 2000 by paedophile Roy Whiting

The brothers of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne have spoken for the first time of their guilt in not being able to save her.

The eight-year-old was abducted and murdered by paedophile Roy Whiting in 2000.

Speaking to Channel 5, Luke and Lee Payne said she ran ahead of them before being snatched by Whiting.

Lee said: “I did for a few years beat myself up …. that if I ran faster … I might have caught up with her”.

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Lee Payne saw Whiting smiling and waving as he drove their sister away

Luke and Lee said Sarah ran from them and sister Charlotte to a road on the edge of a field while on a day out in Kingston Gorse, West Sussex.

She was not seen alive again and the brothers remember Whiting smiling at them as he drove her away.

Luke, who was then 12 at the time, said the thought he could have saved her “eats you up inside”.

He said he is haunted by what happened: “I don’t get a lot of sleep. I dread the night, because it’s just you and your thoughts.”

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Paedophile Roy Whiting was jailed for life

His late father, Michael, bought a sawn-off shotgun and talked to him about what he would do if Whiting was found not guilty.

Luke added that when he sees Sarah’s friends now: “I always wonder where she would be… what she would be doing… whatever she would have been doing, she would have shined.”

Lee, who was then 13, remembers seeing Whiting drive past the field in his van looking “dodgy” – smiling and waving at him seconds after the abduction.

Lee said he was “literally 30 seconds behind her” but initially thought she was hiding.

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Luke Payne says he is haunted by the memory of losing his sister

He said he would never get over the loss.

The family lived in Hersham, Surrey, and mother Sara Payne described seeing Whiting in court for the first time and realising he “wasn’t a monster” but a “sad, lonely person”.

Whiting was jailed for life in 2001 and will serve a minimum of 40 years.

The family spoke to Channel 5 for the documentary Sarah Payne: A Mother’s Story.

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Lee, Charlotte and Luke were just 13, six and 12 when their sister was abducted

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Prince William hails Poland’s ‘fortitude and bravery’

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Catherine wore a dress by Polish designer Gosia Baczynska

The Duke of Cambridge has hailed Poland’s “courage, fortitude and bravery” in surviving centuries of assaults during a visit to Warsaw.

Speaking at a garden party to mark the Queen’s birthday, he noted the country’s “incredible bravery” during the Nazi occupation.

He also relayed a message from the Queen, highlighting 1000 years of ties between the UK and Poland.

Prince William and his family are on a five-day tour of Poland and Germany.

Addressing guests in Polish, he said: “Good evening. We hope you have a nice party.”

The duke and duchess are being accompanied on the trip by their children, Prince George, three, and Princess Charlotte, two.

Media captionPrince George required some gentle encouragement to leave the plane

In Germany later this week, Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a private meeting with the royal couple in Berlin before they visit the city’s famous landmark, the Brandenburg Gate,

The duke and duchess will also visit Berlin’s Holocaust museum and memorial.

A boat race is planned in the Germany city of Heidelberg, which is twinned with Cambridge.

William and Catherine will cox opposing rowing teams in the race with crews from Cambridge and Heidelberg.


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The royals will travel to Germany on the second leg of their trip

By Peter Hunt, BBC royal correspondent

For Prince George and Princess Charlotte such trips are a novelty but, as the future of the British monarchy, they’ll one day become a way of life.

For their parents, the visit to Poland and Germany will inevitably be viewed in the context of Brexit.

It won’t have any impact on the negotiations.

It will, the Foreign Office hopes, remind people of the strength of the ties that will endure after the UK has left the EU.

It’s this mission the royals have pursued in recent months in various European cities.

Read more from Peter

The royal couple and their children were greeted at Warsaw Chopin Airport by the UK’s ambassador to Poland, Jonathan Knott, and his wife, alongside Poland’s ambassador to Britain, Arkady Rzegocki.

They were welcomed in Warsaw at a meeting with President Andrzej Duda.

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Catherine and Poland’s first lady received flowers while meeting children

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The duke and President Andrzej Duda lit a candle to honour the fallen

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Theresa May tells Conservatives to end ‘backbiting’

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The prime minister told MPs to come back after a break, ‘ready for serious business’

Theresa May has told Tory MPs and ministers to end the “backbiting” over disagreements within the party.

The prime minister warned her MPs that the alternative to her in Number 10 would be Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn.

It came at a summer reception for backbench Tory MPs on the House of Commons terrace on Monday

Ministers are gathered at Downing Street for a cabinet meeting with the PM due to remind them to keep their discussions private.

The attempt to instil discipline follows a sustained outbreak of cabinet leaks and leadership gossip.

At the drinks reception, Mrs May told the party “no backbiting, no carping”.

The choice, she said, is “me or Jeremy Corbyn… and nobody wants that”.

Go away over the summer for a “proper break”, she told MPs, and “come back ready for serious business”.

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Ministers, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, visited Downing Street for cabinet

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Trade Secretary Liam Fox, seen arriving with Environment Secretary Michael Gove, has said he “deplores” leaks from cabinet

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Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid arrive at cabinet

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said media reports of splits and negative briefings did not reflect her experience in cabinet.

She said Theresa May was “absolutely right” to tell ministers that “what is said in the cabinet should stay in the cabinet”.

The PM’s plea to her party for unity comes after she lost her Commons majority when her snap general election gamble backfired.

Hostile briefings in the press over the weekend appeared to show a growing rift in the cabinet.

On Sunday, Chancellor Philip Hammond suggested colleagues opposed to his approach to Brexit had been briefing against him.

It followed press reports of his cabinet remarks on public sector pay.

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Jodie Whittaker: Doctor Who’s 13th Time Lord to be a woman

Media captionSee how Jodie Whittaker was revealed as the next Time Lord

Jodie Whittaker has been announced as Doctor Who’s 13th Time Lord – the first woman to be given the role.

The new Doctor’s identity was revealed in a trailer broadcast at the end of the Wimbledon men’s singles final.

The Broadchurch star succeeds Peter Capaldi, who took over the role in 2013 and leaves in the forthcoming Christmas special.

Whittaker, 35, said it was “overwhelming, as a feminist” to become the next Doctor.

She will make her debut on the sci-fi show when the Doctor regenerates in the Christmas special.

All the Doctors so far, from Hartnell to Whittaker

The Huddersfield-born star, who was a late favourite to become the Doctor, will find a familiar face for her on set – Doctor Who’s new showrunner is Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.

Whittaker said: “I’m beyond excited to begin this epic journey – with Chris and with every Whovian on this planet.

“It’s more than an honour to play the Doctor. It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

The actress also shares another Broadchurch link with Doctor Who – co-star David Tennant was the 10th Doctor.


By Lizo Mzimba, BBC entertainment correspondent

It was always unlikely that the Doctor would continue to be white and male, especially as the BBC has committed itself to greater diversity on its programmes.

Casting the first female Doctor is something many viewers have been calling for. And strong female-led stories have been successful on the big and small screen in recent years, in films ranging from The Hunger Games and Star Wars to Wonder Woman, and in TV series like Game of Thrones.

The BBC will be hoping today’s announcement will not just excite viewers, but will also demonstrate that the time travel show has firmly moved into the 21st century.

Whittaker said it felt “incredible” to take on the role, saying: “It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be.”

And she told fans not to be “scared” by her gender.

“Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change,” she said, adding: “The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”

Whittaker said she had used the codename “Clooney” when discussing the part with her husband and agent – as actor George is “an iconic guy”.

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Peter Capaldi will bow out in this year’s Christmas special, featuring David Bradley as the First Doctor

Chibnall said the 13th Doctor was always going to be a woman.

He said: “I always knew I wanted the 13th Doctor to be a woman and we’re thrilled to have secured our number one choice.

“Her audition for the Doctor simply blew us all away. Jodie is an in-demand, funny, inspiring, super-smart force of nature and will bring loads of wit, strength and warmth to the role. The 13th Doctor is on her way.”

Chibnall is taking over from Steven Moffat, who leaves the series at the same time as Capaldi.

Capaldi, who had said he wanted to see a woman replace him, said: “Anyone who has seen Jodie Whittaker’s work will know that she is a wonderful actress of great individuality and charm.

“She has above all the huge heart to play this most special part. She’s going to be a fantastic Doctor.”

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Former companions Billie Piper and Karen Gillan had called for a female Time Lord, while Doctor Who and Sherlock writer Mark Gatiss said it was the perfect time for a woman to take the lead role.

After the announcement, Piper tweeted the word: “YES” with a red rose emoji, while fellow former companion Freema Agyeman tweeted: “Change isn’t a dirty word!!!!”

‘It’s about time’

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Dedicated Whovians were quick to react to the news of Jodie Whittaker taking over the Tardis.

On social media, some said it would encourage them to watch the show for the first time – but others said the casting meant they would be switching off, and that the Doctor should be played by a man.

Carla Joanna tweeted to say that she would be tuning in and that the trailer “made me choke up a little”. Another tweeter, Ayad, said: “I don’t even watch Doctor Who but a woman doctor is so cool.”

But Samantha Melton said: “I am a woman and a feminist but I don’t want a female Doctor. To me it’s trying too hard to tick the boxes.”

Doctor Who writer Jenny Colgan, who has written for the series’ books and audio dramas, said: “I am of course incredibly excited the new Doctor is a woman; Steven Moffat has been paving the way for this for ages and it is absolutely about time.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like for Jodie: she must be so scared and excited all at once, but I couldn’t be happier, and 100% can’t wait to write for her.”

Will Howells, who writes for the Doctor Who magazine and has been a fan for 25 years, said: “In 2017, there shouldn’t be anything major about a TV series changing from a male lead to a female one. We’ll also maybe see a solo male companion as a regular feature for the first time.

“I don’t think it’s a risky choice at all – but if a show that can go anywhere and do anything can’t take risks, what can?”

Science fiction and fantasy author Paul Cornell said: “It’s always been time for a woman Doctor and it’s great we got there.

“Well done to Steven Moffat for laying the groundwork. She’s going to be amazing. And that first episode of hers is going to get a lot of new people watching.”

Actress Olivia Colman, who starred in a Doctor Who episode and was one of the possible candidates for the role, said it was a “classy decision”.

“The creatives made the right decision that the part should be a woman and it’s about time,” she told BBC News. She added that those unhappy about Whittaker being the new Time Lord should “leave her alone and let her do her job brilliantly”.

Whittaker starred as Beth Latimer in the three series of the ITV crime drama Broadchurch, as the mother of a murdered boy.

As well as TV work, Whittaker has appeared on the big screen, in One Day, Attack the Block and St Trinian’s. She made her film debut in 2006′s Venus, opposite Peter O’Toole.

Traditionally, each Doctor has their own distinctive look, raising questions about the cloak Whittaker wears in the trailer. However, she has said it is not part of her official Doctor Who outfit, and that she does not yet know what she will wear.

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