#Labour will scrap Sats and let teachers teach, vows Jeremy Corbyn

Party leader says he will relieve pressure so schools can deliver rich and varied curriculum

Labour has announced plans to scrap compulsory national tests for primary school children in England, with a promise to relieve pressure on overstretched schools and free up teachers to deliver a “rich and varied curriculum”.

Jeremy Corbyn has announced plans to scrap compulsory national tests for primary school children in England, with a promise to relieve pressure on overstretched schools and free up teachers to deliver a “rich and varied curriculum”.

In a speech warmly received by NEU members, who voted on Monday in favour of a ballot to boycott Sats tests next year, the Labour leader said: “We need to prepare children for life, not just for exams.”

He denounced the high-stakes testing culture, complaining that children in England’s schools are among the most tested in the world, and pledged a Labour government would abolish sats for seven- and 11-year-olds, as well as controversial plans for baseline assessments for reception classes.

Corbyn told the 1,500-strong audience that Labour understood teachers were overworked and overstressed. “Teachers get into the profession because they want to inspire children, not pass them along an assembly line,” he said.

“We will raise standards by freeing up teachers to teach. Labour trusts teachers. You are professionals. You know your job. You know your students.”

Speaking weeks before the latest cohort of 10- and 11-year-olds take Sats, Corbyn highlighted the pressure the tests put on young children  “Sats and the regime of extreme pressure testing are giving young children nightmares and leaving them in floods of tears,” he said.

The government tests have not only been unpopular with teachers; parents have also been concerned about the damaging impact of high-stakes testing on young children and many have staged their own Sats boycott by keeping their children off school.

Welcoming Labour’s announcement, more Than a Score – a coalition of parents and teachers opposed to overtesting – said: “It doesn’t have to be this way. There are more supportive ways to assess children and fairer ways to measure schools, without the need to turn children into data points.”

Labour would consult parents and teachers and come up with a more flexible and practical system of assessment, which is tailored to individual pupils, Corbyn said.

“Our assessment will be based on clear principles. First, to understand the learning needs of each child, because every child is unique. And second, to encourage a broad curriculum aimed at a rounded education,” he said.

“When children have a rich and varied curriculum, when they’re encouraged to be creative, to develop their imagination, then there’s evidence that they do better at the core elements of literacy and numeracy too.”

The announcement was welcomed by the NEU. Its joint general secretary Mary Bousted said: “The NEU has long advocated an assessment system that has the trust of teachers and school communities – one that will support children’s learning and raise standards of attainment in our schools.

“We look forward to the return of a broad and balanced primary curriculum and to the rekindling of the spirit of creativity in our schools. We welcome Labour’s commitment to work with the profession in order to develop these groundbreaking policies further.”

Sats were introduced in 1990 to hold schools to account and help drive up standards. Six- and seven-year-olds sit the standardised national tests in English and maths at the end of key stage 1 and again at the end of key stage 2, in their final year of primary school.

In 2018, the government announced KS1 Sats would be replaced with a new baseline assessment in reception (ages four to five), beginning in 2020, with KS1 Sats becoming optional from 2023.

Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, also welcomed Labour’s approach. “In reality, Sats do not tell teachers or parents anything they didn’t already know about their child or school, but have the negative unintended consequences of distracting from teaching and learning and narrowing the focus of the curriculum,” he said.

Julie McCulloch, the director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Sats are a flawed way of measuring the performance of primary schools and a new approach is long overdue.

“These tests cannot possibly reflect the breadth and richness of the curriculum and learning which takes place in primary schools, and can lead to an overemphasis on English and maths to the detriment of other subjects.

“And while they are intended as a measure of school performance, rather than pupil performance, the reality is that it is very difficult to hold a week of tests without a proportion of children experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety.”

School Minister Nick Gibb condemned Labour’s plan to abolish school testing. He said: “These tests have been part of school life since the 90s. They have been pivotal in raising standards in our primary schools. That’s why Labour governments led by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown supported them.

“Abolishing these tests would be a terrible, retrograde step. It would enormously damage our education system, and undo decades of improvement in children’s reading and maths. Under Labour, the government would simply give up on ensuring all our children can read and write by the age of 11.”

Trump news – President ‘doesn’t regret’ tweeting about Ilhan Omar, as first 2020 Republican challenger emerges

President Donald Trump, has pledged his support to the people of France after the iconic Dame Notre, cathedral suffered a devastating fire last night. On Twitter, the president noted it was “horrible” to watch the scenes from Paris, and suggested “flying water tankers could be used to put it out.” It was confirmed this morning that the fire had been entirely extinguished.

Closer to home, Trump is also facing his first Republican challenger for the, 2020 presidential election in the form of Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, although is it deemed unlikely that anyone will seize the party’s nomination from the incumbent.

It was also announced late yesterday that the Mueller report into Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election, and any links to the Trump campaign, would be released in a redacted form to the public this Thursday.

Former first lady Michelle Obama compared living in the US under President Trump to living with a “divorced dad.” “We come from a broken family, we are a little unsettled,” Ms Obama said. “Sometimes you spend the weekend with divorced dad. That feels like fun but then you get sick. That is what America is going through. We are living with divorced dad.

Then-CIA deputy director Gina Haspel used photos of dead ducks after the Salisbury attack in March 2018 to persuade Trump to expel 60 Russian diplomats. 

First daughter Ivanka Trump made an appearance aboard an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft to honor March 2019 crash victims.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who announced his candidacy as a Republican challenger to the president, said he could not — in good conscience — support Mr Trump. “I could not support Donald Trump for president,” Mr Weld said. “I’m not saying I would ever endorse a Democrat in this race, but I could not support the president.”

A chicken resembling Donald Trump appeared during a protest outside the Internal Revenue Service building on Monday where progressives are demanding the president release his tax returns.

Here is audio of the president condemning Ms Omar once again: 

Republicans celebrated Cher for posting a tweet that echoes similar sentiments of their own towards refugees and migrants in response to President Trump threatening to send migrants to sanctuary cities. “I Understand Helping struggling Immigrants,but MY CITY (Los Angeles) ISNT TAKING CARE OF ITS OWN,” the singer wrote on a post Sunday. “If My State Can’t Take Care of Its Own(Many Are VETS)How Can it Take Care Of More.”

The president said he will award Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom after the professional golfer won his fifth Masters title.

Trump news - live: President 'doesn't regret' tweeting about Ilhan Omar, as first 2020 Republican challenger emerges
Donald Trump to honour Tiger Woods after ‘incredible comeback’ to win Masters

The 43-year-old broke an 11-year drought to win his 15th major championship on Sunday and is now set to be rewarded by the president

Mr Trump continues to layer on his attacks on Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar despite the death threats aimed at the congresswoman. Speaking to a local news station in Minnesota, the president said Ms Omar, a black Muslim Somali refugee, “got a way about her that’s very, very bad for our country.”

“She’s been very disrespectful to this country,” he added. She’s been very disrespectful, frankly, to Israel. She is somebody that doesn’t really understand life, real life. What it’s all about.”

The president took to Twitter today to slam the special counsel investigation that looked into the Trump campaign and possible collusion with Russia. He referred to it as the “greatest scam in political history.”

Speaking at an event in Minnesota last night, President Trump noted that the Notre Dame fire may have been caused by renovations, asking: “What’s that all about?” Describing the incident in Paris, the president said: “It’s a terrible scene. They think it was caused by – at this moment they don’t know – but they think it was caused by renovation. And I hope that’s the reason. Renovation, you know, what’s that all about? But it’s a terrible sight to behold.”

Nancy Pelosi has warned that there can be no US trade deal with the UK after Brexit, if the Good Friday Agreement is undermined.

Speaking to an audience at LSE in London, the speaker of the house said that the Northern Ireland peace treaty could not be “bargained away in another agreement.” This warning stands in contrast to the line adopted by President Trump, who has in the past expressed enthusiasm for a post-Brexit trade deal.

Bernie Sanders’ tax returns reveal that the senator is a millionaire, and part of America’s ‘1 per cent’. 

The veteran socialist politician, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election, released 10 years of his tax returns yesterday,

They confirmed that Mr Sanders’ income crossed the $1m (£764,000) threshold in 2016 and 2017, although he reported less earnings in his most recent return.

Releasing tax returns has become an expected, but not official move for presidential candidates. Most notably, Donald Trump has never revealed his own.

President Trump is facing his first challenger from within his own Republican party, for the nomination for the 2020 presidential election. 

Bill Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts has announced he will challenge the incumbent for the party’s nomination ahead of next year’s election.

In a statement, Weld said, “Ours is a nation built on courage, resilience, and independence. In these times of great political strife, when both major parties are entrenched in their ‘win at all cost’ battles, the voices of the American people are being ignored and our nation is suffering. “It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag. It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln — equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight.”

President Trump has been tweeting about the fire which devastated much of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris overnight. As the fire was raging, Trump took to Twitter to say it was “horrible” to watch what was happening, and suggested water tankers should be used to put it out.

Later in the evening, Trump simply wrote, “God bless the people of France!”

It it not yet known what caused the fire to start, but it was fully extinguished by 9am UK time on Tuesday. The iconic cathedral, which is some 800 years old, is visited by 12 million people every year. 

You can follow our live blog, on developments as France deals with the aftermath of the fire this morning.

TAYFUN SALCI/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES Police began moving campaigners from Waterloo Bridge in the early hours of Tuesday

Extinction Rebellion protest: 100 arrests as London roads blocked

More than 100 climate change activists have been arrested after blocking roads in central London.

Extinction Rebellion campaigners were ordered by the Met to confine their protest to Marble Arch after causing widespread disruption on Monday.

But activists camped overnight to hold other blockades at Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square and Oxford Circus.

Among a total of 113 arrests, five people were detained on suspicion of criminal damage at Shell’s HQ.

The majority of others arrested were detained on suspicion of public order offences.

Waterloo Bridge
Potted plants and graffiti remained at Waterloo Bridge overnight
Marble Arch
An order has restricted protesters to gathering in the area around Marble Arch

Transport for London warned bus users that routes would remain on diversion or terminate early.

Extinction Rebellion, which is calling on the government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025, wants to “shut down London” until 29 April in a series of protests.

It called for “reinforcements” to help maintain the roadblock at Waterloo Bridge on Tuesday.

Boat in Oxford Circus
Oxford Street was void of traffic after activists parked a pink boat in the middle of Oxford Circus

On Monday, a pink boat was parked in the centre of Oxford Circus where some activists locked their arms together with makeshift devices, while oil company Shell’s headquarters on Belvedere Road were vandalised.

Organisers claim protests have been held in more than 80 cities across 33 countries.

The second day of action will include speeches at Parliament Square about how to tackle climate change.

Man arrested on Waterloo Bridge
Police officers said they would make arrests under the Public Order Act if people did not move on when asked to do so
A drain on the EU-protected Slieve Beagh which marks the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Brexit: Environmental rules in Northern Ireland ‘at risk

Environmentalists fear Northern Ireland could be left behind when it comes to protecting important species and habitats after Brexit.

Much of the current protection is based on EU law, backed up by the threat of fines from a European court.

But after Brexit, that oversight will be lost.

And with no Northern Ireland Assembly to legislate on replacing it, experts claim governance gaps could open up.

Environmental groups fear Northern Ireland could be left behind when it comes to protecting important animals and habitats after Brexit.
Slieve Beagh’s upland blanket bog is part of the reason it is protected

EU directives are given legal effect by domestic legislation, which will continue to apply.

Civil servants have taken an option to extend some English laws to Northern Ireland and say existing protections will not be undermined.

But environmentalists’ concerns remain, especially when it comes to cross-border EU protected sites and issues like water and air quality.

Nature Matters NI is an umbrella for groups like the National Trust, RSPB and Ulster Wildlife which have come together to campaign for a green Brexit.

Spokesperson Emily Hunter said there was already “weak” environmental governance in Northern Ireland.

Emily Hunter of Nature Matters NI is campaigning for a Green Brexit
Emily Hunter of Nature Matters NI is campaigning for a Green Brexit

“We’re the only part of the UK that doesn’t have an independent environmental protection agency but we don’t have a government to put anything in place to replace what we’re losing from the EU,” she said.

“So we’re in a position where we could easily fall behind the rest of the UK.”

Slieve Beagh is a huge area of upland blanket bog straddling counties Monaghan, Tyrone and Fermanagh.

An important EU protected habitat in its own right, it is also a stronghold for the hen harrier, a scarce bird of prey.

The upland is a stronghold for the hen harrier
The upland is a stronghold for the hen harrier

At present, it is covered by an EU-funded conservation project.

Ecologist Rory Sheehan helps manage it. He said there was great commitment to the area and its wildlife and, with EU directives transposed into domestic legislation on both sides of the border, he is confident protection that will not be diluted.

But he is concerned about funding and whether colleagues in Northern Ireland will continue to be able to draw down EU Peace money in future.

The signs are positive, but the details are still to be worked out.

Dr Viviane Gravey of Queen's University is an expert in environmental policy
Dr Viviane Gravey of Queen’s University is an expert in environmental policy

Dr Viviane Gravey lectures in European politics in Queen’s University and specialises in agriculture and environmental policy.

She cites cross-border dumping of waste as an example of how UK and Irish membership of the EU worked.

It helped in the repatriation of large quantities of domestic rubbish from illegal landfills in Northern Ireland back to the Republic of Ireland, where it came from.

“There was a mechanism there to deal with that and ensure that Ireland would pay most of the cost of repatriating that waste,” she said.

Illegal waste being removed from NI farm
Illegal waste is removed from land in Northern Ireland

“Sometimes shared rules mean that you don’t have any problems arising, but it also means that you have common ways of dealing with a problem and there’s a procedure in place, and that what’s we risk losing.”

Dr Gravey said the absence of an assembly was a stumbling block to the establishment of effective environmental governance post Brexit.

There are lots of “interesting discussions” going on in the rest of the UK about what will replace EU oversight, but in Northern Ireland, those talks are not happening.

She said that in a region where there had traditionally been less importance attached to environmental protection by politicians, there is no guarantee that a future environment minister would adopt robust policies.

Academics claim some of the changes could present conflict of interest when it comes to planning on protected sites
Academics claim some of the changes could present a conflict of interest when it comes to planning on protected sites

Academics have also raised concerns about the amount of power that Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) will have to interpret conservation laws after Brexit.

A paper by Dr Ciara Brennan from Newcastle University and Dr Mary Dobbs from Queen’s University points out that where big infrastructure projects affect protected sites, Daera will be responsible for advising on whether there is an “overriding public interest” in proceeding.

That would replace the role currently undertaken by the European Commission.

The academics suggest planning officials in infrastructure would be asking approval from colleagues in Daera, a situation which, they claim, could lead to “conflicts of interest” where “the government is seeking approval from itself”.

St Columba's College said the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) had taken the decision

School amalgamation plans in County Down dropped

A Portaferry school has said that a plan to merge it with three other schools in Downpatrick has ended.

In a statement, St Columba’s College said the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) had taken the decision.

Plans to amalgamate St Columba’s with three post-primaries in Downpatrick were announced by the CCMS in 2018.

Parents at the Portaferry school had expressed concern over transport issues for pupils if the merger went ahead.

Under the original plan, St Columba’s would have amalgamated with De La Salle High School, St Mary’s High School and St Patrick’s Grammar, all in Downpatrick.

The new school would have had about 1,600 pupils.

Parents in the area had expressed mixed opinions about the proposal.

Many of those in Portaferry had expressed concern about how about 170 pupils there would cross Strangford Lough every morning if the merger went ahead as planned.

The Strangford Ferry is already very busy during the morning rush hour
Some Portaferry parents said there was not the capacity on the existing ferry service to take all of the pupils across Strangford Lough

They said there was not the capacity on the existing ferry service to take all of the pupils to any new school on time.

In a statement on Monday night, St Columba’s said it had now been told it would not be amalgamated with the other three schools.

The school included a statement from CCMS in its announcement, which said the decision had been made after extensive consultation.

“CCMS and the trustees have concluded that unique challenges face pupils from Portaferry in terms of requiring additional ferry places to transport pupils to Downpatrick,” it said.

“As a result, CCMS and the trustees are withdrawing St Columba’s College, Portaferry, from the proposed amalgamation.”

The school’s governors welcomed the decision and said a letter regarding the situation would be issued to all parents on Tuesday.

The statement did not specify whether the decision to withdraw St Columba’s from the amalgamation would have any effect on plans to merge the other three schools.

Cash machine thefts: ATM ripped from wall in Bushmills

Thieves have used a digger to rip a cash machine from the wall of a shop in Bushmills, County Antrim.

The incident happened in Market Square early on Tuesday morning.

After the raid, the digger was set on fire. The fire service was called to deal with the blaze.

It is the latest in a string of cash machine thefts across Northern Ireland since the start of 2019.

Thieves have struck nine times, stealing 10 individual cash machines.

There have also been thefts in Kingscourt and Castleblayney in the Republic of Ireland.

In February, the PSNI established a special task force to deal with the thefts.

Police believe that at least two gangs are involved.

County Fermanagh road closure ‘will devastate businesses’

Plans to close a busy arterial road in County Fermanagh for four months will have a devastating impact on summer trade, local businesses have warned.

The Department for Infrastructure said the £350,000 scheme to replace Majors Bridge on the A34 Lisnagole Road is necessary after weaknesses were detected during a routine inspection.

The road is the main route between Lisnaskea and Maguiresbridge.

One lane of the road will be closed from 29 April.

That will be followed by a full road closure between 6 May and 31 August.

Traders in the nearby Lisnaskea Business Complex said they had not been consulted and have only been given three weeks’ notice to prepare.

Seamus Smith, of Quay Garden Structures, said 60-70% of his business relies on passing trade. He fears the roadworks could force him to close.

“There’s been no negotiations whatsoever on this and I think this is totally wrong,” he told BBC News NI.

Fermanagh road
The road is the main route between Lisnaskea and Maguiresbridge

“They should have been talking to the people for the last six months.

“It’s not just me, there are multiple other businesses here depending on summer trade.”

He said businesses like his need to be accommodated and he is calling on the Department for Infrastructure to postpone the work until October.

“The bridge has stood there for the last 200 years. I don’t see why three to four months postponement to allow us to survive can’t be worked on, rather than closing us down completely,” he said.

“We’ve no government, we’ve no nothing, nobody to talk to, no MLAs to talk to, it’s a serious, serious situation in this country.

“We’re all standing together on this, because we’re all worried. There are multiple businesses in here depending on summer trade and we’re all in the same boat.”

The Department for Infrastructure is to hold a public consultation at Lisnaskea Business Complex at 12:30 BST on Tuesday.

Seamus Smith
Seamus Smith said 60-70% of his business relies on passing trade and fears the roadworks could force him to close

In a statement it said: “During a routine bridge inspection in July 2017, excessive deflection of the arch barrel was observed when under loading by HGV vehicles.

“Following further monitoring and assessment, the road was closed to one-way traffic for a short period while temporary strengthening works were undertaken.

“This interim measure allowed the road to be reopened to two-way traffic while the design and procurement of a replacement bridge was progressed.

“The exiting masonry arch is due for replacement and this scheme, which will upgrade the bridge to current design requirements, will include the widening of the carriageway and provision of a new cycle path and footway.

“Due to the nature of the works and to ensure the safety of the road users and workers, it will be necessary to close Lisnagole Road while the new bridge is under construction.”

The department said that diversions via Nutfield Road will be signposted from Lisnaskea and the A4 Belfast Road.

“Access will be maintained for local residential and business traffic,” it said.

Trudeau takes ‘sharp turn’ away from ‘refugees welcome’

Canada has made a name for itself around the world as a safe haven for refugees. But recent changes to its laws may make the country seem far less friendly, refugee advocates and legal critics warn.

The Liberal government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, says it intends to change the law to make it harder for refugees to go “asylum shopping”.

But legal experts and refugee advocates warn these changes could flout domestic and international law, and ruin Canada’s reputation as a defender of refugees.

“I think that the Liberal government has really taken a sharp turn,” says law professor and refugee lawyer Warda Shazadi Meighen.

“Canada was really an outlier in the last five years as a country upholding refugee rights in the face of populism… and this will really chip away at that.”

What will the new law do?

The law was introduced as part of the government’s omnibus budget bill last week.

It would make ineligible those asylum seekers at the border who have already made a claim in another country that has an immigration information-sharing agreement with Canada.

These countries include the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

They would also not be entitled to an oral appeal by an independent tribunal or a court. They would still be subject to a pre-removal risk assessment to determine if they will likely be executed or tortured if they are deported to their home country.

Border Security Minister Bill Blair says the law is intended to curb “asylum shopping”.

Hundreds of migrants are illegally crossing the US border into Canada each day

‘Refugees welcome’?

Since Justin Trudeau’s election in 2014, the country has earned an international reputation for being welcoming to refugees at a time when many other countries were cracking down on their borders.

After US President Donald Trump announced a ban on entry to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries, Mr Trudeau tweeted that “Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith”.

This perception that Canada will open its arms to all refugees, coupled with increasingly restrictive immigration policies in the US, has led to an influx of claims made at the Canada-US border.

More than 40,000 asylum seekers have crossed into Canada at the US border since Trump was elected.

Cities along the border have struggled with providing services to the thousands who are waiting for their claims to be heard – in Montreal, the Olympic stadium was converted into temporary housing.

The issue has inspired protests and clashes with local leaders, and Ms Meighen believes the government has pushed for changes to refugee policy to help curry favour ahead of the autumn election.

“It’s a lot about optics really,” she says.

So what next?

Several refugee lawyers and advocates have decried the new laws, which were introduced quietly in a budget bill and will almost certainly come into force.

Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian civil-liberties association and the Canadian Council for Refugees wrote a joint letter to the prime minister urging the government to rescind the new law.

Refugee lawyer and law professor Jamie Liew says Canada should not be allowing the US – which does not accept refugee claims based on domestic violence or gender identity, unlike Canada – to make decisions that affect domestic refugee claims.

“We shouldn’t be relying on the decision of other country – Canada shouldn’t be delegating that,” she says.

Ms Meighan says there will almost certainly be legal challenges, based on Canada’s 1985 Supreme Court ruling that asylum seekers on Canadian soil were entitled to a full oral hearing before deportation.

If the new law denies refugee claimants an oral hearing, she believes it will likely be overturned. But what will be forever changed is Canada’s reputation on the international stage, she says.

“I’m not sure if at the end of the road there will be much change, but it does change Canada’s posturing,” she says.

Pulitzers: Capital Gazette wins for coverage of newsroom massacre

A US local newspaper has won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of a mass shooting in its own newsroom.

But there was no celebration as the Capital Gazette in Maryland learned on Monday it had won the most prestigious prize in American journalism.

Staff quietly hugged in memory of five colleagues slain when a gunman burst into their office in June 2018.

Pulitzers also went to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for investigations of President Trump.

The Capital Gazette in Annapolis won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in American history.

The Pulitzer board awarded the citation with a $100,000 grant to further the newspaper’s journalism.

Employees John McNamara, Wendi Winters, Rebecca Smith, Gerald Fischman and Rob Hiaasen died in last summer’s attack.

But the staff still managed to publish a newspaper on schedule the next day.

A man with a longstanding grudge against the Capital Gazette is charged with the attack. He pleaded not guilty last year.

Coverage of mass shootings netted Pulitzers for two other local newspapers.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette received a breaking news award for its “immersive, compassionate” reporting of last October’s attack at a Pennsylvania synagogue that left 11 people dead.

And the South Florida Sun Sentinel won a Pulitzer for its reporting on the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead.

It received the public service award for “exposing failings by school and law enforcement officials before and after the deadly shooting rampage”.

The New York Times won a prize for explanatory reporting of Mr Trump’s finances and tax avoidance and another for editorial writing.

The Wall Street Journal won the national reporting prize for uncovering the president’s secret payoffs to two alleged former mistresses during his campaign.

The Washington Post also won two Pulitzers for photojournalism in Yemen and for criticism, covering book reviews and essays.

Reuters news agency received an award for its investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya men in a village in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Extinction Rebellion have blocked Waterloo Bridge

Extinction Rebellion: Climate protesters block roads

Thousands of people joined protests across central London as climate change activists blocked roads and vandalised Shell’s headquarters.

Extinction Rebellion campaigners parked a pink boat at Oxford Circus and blocked Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus and roads around Parliament Square.

Protester Yen Chit Chong said: “This is our last best shot at survival.”

Five people have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after a glass door at Shell’s HQ was smashed.

The three men and two women were taken to a police station in central London after the incident at the offices near Waterloo.

Later, police ordered the protesters to restrict their actions to the Marble Arch area to prevent further disruption.

Protests at Oxford Circus
Protesters have parked a boat at Oxford Circus to represent the threat posed by rising sea levels

Officers remain at the scene and have advised people travelling into London to allow extra journey time.

Organisers claim protests are being held in over 80 cities across 33 countries.

Protester Olivia Evershed, 23, said: “I hope that it’s really going to bring awareness about the emergency crisis that we are in, and encourage the government to act.

“We’ve got 12 years to act before there is irreversible damage to the environment and we start to see catastrophic changes. If we don’t do anything to change this, our children will die.”

Climate Change Action
A truck was used to block off a road in Marble Arch, with members locking themselves under the vehicle

Extinction Rebellion said protests would continue throughout the week “escalating the creative disruption across the capital day by day”.

The group said it planned to “bring London to a standstill for up to two weeks”, and wanted the government to take urgent action to tackle climate change.

In Parliament Square, protesters unfurled banners, held up placards and waved flags as speakers took to the stage.

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Who are Extinction Rebellion?

Since its launch last year, members have shut bridges, poured buckets of fake blood outside Downing Street, blockaded the BBC and stripped semi-naked in Parliament.

It has three core demands: for the government to “tell the truth about climate change”, reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025, and create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress.

Controversially, the group is trying to get as many people arrested as possible.

One of the group’s founders, Roger Hallam, believes that mass participation and civil disobedience maximise the chances of social change.

But critics say they cause unnecessary disruption and waste police time when forces are already overstretched.

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The Shell headquarters in Belvedere Road
Protesters caused more than £6,000 damage at the Shell headquarters in Belvedere Road
Police officers talk to a climate change activist outside Shell's London HQ
Oil company Shell had its London headquarters targeted

By intentionally causing more than £6,000 damage at the Shell headquarters activists aim to get the case into crown court to put their case to a jury, the campaign said.

A Shell spokesman said: “We respect the right of everyone to express their point of view. We only ask that they do so with their safety and the safety of others in mind.”

Protester Chay Harwood told the BBC: “We live in a very sick society at the moment. There’s a lot of social issues and social ills that need curing.

“But at the moment the biggest threat we face is the threat of climate change.”

Demonstrators during a Extinction Rebellion protest at Marble Arch
Demonstrators have blocked roads leading to Marble Arch
Demonstrators during a Extinction Rebellion protest in Parliament Square
Protesters have gathered to hear speeches in Parliament Square

The Met said it had “appropriate policing plans” in place for the demonstrations and officers from across the force would be used “to support the public order operation”.

In November, activists blockaded the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy by chaining themselves together on the pavement leading to 85 arrests.

The unusual sight of a pink yacht stands in the centre of Oxford Circus, surrounded by protesters holding aloft a sea of coloured flags.

The focus here is on the future of the planet – and there is a sense of urgency.

Some are wearing red to symbolise “the blood of dying species”, one group wants to “save the bees”, while a man dressed as a centaur holds a placard which says “climate change is not a myth …unlike centaurs”.

Two young women tell me they are not willing to have children due to their fears for the world they will be bringing them into.

Another man, who plans to protest through the night, says the protests will be peaceful but he is willing to be arrested.

“The more the authorities will get fed up with us the more it brings us to their attention,” he said.

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Organisers have encouraged people to set up camp in Hyde Park overnight into Monday – an offence under Royal Parks legislation.

A spokeswoman for The Royal Parks said Extinction Rebellion had not asked for permission to begin the protest in the park and that camping was not allowed.

Climate change protestors
Waterloo Bridge has been closed off to traffic
Bill Weld: Trump to face 2020 Republican challenge

Bill Weld: Trump to face 2020 Republican challenge

US President Donald Trump is facing a longshot challenge from within his own party ahead of next year’s White House election.

Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld has become the first Republican to challenge Mr Trump in 2020.

Mr Weld, 73, has released a campaign video contrasting his style with the current president’s.

But he faces an uphill battle to take over a Republican party that has been refashioned in Mr Trump’s image.

Mr Weld was governor of Massachusetts from 1991-97 after serving in the justice department under President Ronald Reagan.

He was running mate on the Libertarian ticket during the 2016 presidential election.

“I really think if we have six more years of the same stuff we’ve had out of the White House the last two years that would be a political tragedy,” he said on CNN.

“So I would be ashamed of myself if I didn’t raise my hand and run.”

Mr Weld’s campaign video touts his cross-party credentials as a Republican who was elected in the Democratic stronghold of Massachusetts.

The three-minute production contrasts his record with clips of provocative statements by Mr Trump.

The video finishes with the slogan: “A Better America Starts Here.”

But underscoring the long odds for him, party leaders promptly rejected his campaign.

“Any effort to challenge the president’s nomination is bound to go absolutely nowhere,” the Republican National Committee said in statement.

According to the most recent Gallup poll, 89% of Republican voters approve of the president.

Mr Trump’s campaign said on Sunday it had raised more than $30m in the first quarter of this year, far outpacing the political war chests of individual Democratic candidates.

Ex-Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who was bested by Mr Trump during the 2016 election, has recently been calling for a Republican to oust the president next year.

Former Ohio Governor John Kasich and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan have also been mentioned in recent months as potential party challengers to Mr Trump.

Next year Republican and Democratic voters will hold elections known as primaries to pick their respective party’s standard bearer for the November 2020 presidential election.

Sitting presidents do not usually face internal challengers, and only a few have ever been denied renomination by their party.

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Who will take on Trump in 2020?

Facewall promo

Pete Buttigieg has joined the race to stop Donald Trump from being re-elected. But who else has a shot at becoming the next president?

"It was just a horrible shock" -Alicia Powell was evicted after complaining about a leak

No-fault evictions to be banned in England

Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants at short notice without good reason under new plans.

The government says it wants to protect renters from “unethical” landlords and give them more long-term security.

Section 21 notices allow landlords to evict renters without a reason after their fixed-term tenancy period ends.

The National Landlords Association said members were forced to use Section 21 because they had “no confidence” in the courts to settle possession claims.

But an organisation representing tenants said the plans were “a vital first step to ending profiteering from housing”.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced similar plans for Wales, while in Scotland new rules requiring landlords to give a reason for ending tenancies were introduced in 2017.

There are no plans in Northern Ireland to end no-fault evictions where a fixed-term tenancy has come to an end.

‘Peace of mind’

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said that evidence showed so-called Section 21 evictions were one of the biggest causes of family homelessness.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the changes would offer more “stability” to the growing number of families renting and mean people would not be afraid to make a complaint “because they may be concerned through a no-fault eviction that they may be thrown out”.

A survey of 2,001 private renters by Citizens Advice suggests that tenants who made a formal complaint had a 46% chance of being evicted within the next six months.

Mr Brokenshire also said the plans would offer “speedy redress” to landlords seeking to regain possession of their property for legitimate reasons, such as to sell it or to move into it themselves.

At the moment, landlords can give tenants as little as eight weeks’ notice after a fixed-term contract ends.

Under the government’s new plans, landlords would have to provide a “concrete, evidenced reason already specified in law” in order to bring tenancies to an end.

Mrs May said the major shake-up will protect responsible tenants from “unethical behaviour” and give them the “long-term certainty and the peace of mind they deserve”.

The prime minister also said the government was acting to prevent “unfair evictions”.

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Michael Downes

‘Loaded towards the tenant’

Michael Downes, 65, who rents out a maisonette in Coleshill, Warwickshire, said that, after his experience with a problem tenant, he feels the system is stacked against landlords.

He used Section 21 to evict someone who had not paid rent for four months. He said the other method open to landlords – a Section 8 eviction – meant the renter could halt the process by paying his arrears, only to stop paying again later.

Even using the quicker eviction method that is due to be banned, the tenant lived rent-free for six months, costing Mr Downes £5,000.

If the renter had fought the case in court, it could have taken a year to move him on, Mr Downes said.

“Everything seems to be loaded towards the tenant,” he said. “People like me are going to think, is it worth bothering any more?”

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‘No confidence’

The National Landlords Association (NLA) said its members should be able to use a Section 8 possession notice to evict someone who has broken the terms of their tenancy – for example by not paying rent.

This sometimes involves landlords spending money taking action in court if the tenants refuse to leave.

But NLA chief executive Richard Lambert said many landlords were forced to use Section 21 as they have “no confidence” in the courts to deal with Section 8 applications “quickly and surely”.

He said the proposed changes would create a new system of indefinite tenancies by the “back door”, and the focus should be on improving the Section 8 and court process instead.

Hand signing a contract
The National Landlords Association says the changes would make contracts “meaningless”

A Ministry of Housing spokesman said court processes would “also be expedited so landlords are able to swiftly and smoothly regain their property” where such a move is justified.

Amina Gichinga, from London Renters Union – which has been campaigning for the end of no-fault evictions – said: “This campaign success is a vital first step to ending profiteering from housing and towards a housing model based on homes for people, not profit.

“Section 21 is a pernicious piece of legislation that renters across the country will be glad to see the back of.

“The law allows landlords to evict their tenants at a moment’s notice, leaving misery and homelessness in its wake. This fear of eviction discourages renters from complaining about disrepair and poor conditions.”

Alicia Powell, 24, said “it was a horrible shock” when she received an eviction notice after complaining about a leak in her north London flat.

She and her boyfriend had to find £3,000 in moving costs with two months’ notice and “it completely rocks your world, everything is uprooted”, she told BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

‘An outstanding victory’

Shelter, a charity which helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness, said the proposals would “transform lives”.

Chief executive Polly Neate said: “Government plans to abolish no-fault evictions represent an outstanding victory for England’s 11 million private renters.”

Labour’s shadow housing secretary John Healey said that any promise of help for renters is “good news” but added that “this latest pledge won’t work if landlords can still force tenants out by hiking the rent”.

The Labour party previously said it would scrap so-called Section 21 evictions, among a host of other reforms to the rental sector.

“Tenants need new rights and protections across the board to end costly rent increases and sub-standard homes as well as to stop unfair evictions,” Mr Healy added.

Are Section 21 notices rising?

The majority of Section 21 notices do not appear in official statistics – that’s because most tenants will leave their property soon after they receive their eviction letter and do not mount a legal challenge.

However, where Section 21 notices do end up in the courts, some statistics are available. They show that the use of Section 21 has risen sharply since 2011. Last year 10,128 repossessions were carried out by county court bailiffs in England.

A repossession occurs when bailiffs are given permission to remove tenants from a property in order to return it to a landlord.

Section 21 repossessions in England

Data includes social as well as private landlordsSource: Ministry of Justice

So whilst the official numbers do not tell the whole story, they do show there is a rising trend over the long-term – even if the numbers have dropped a bit over the last couple of years.

The right to food is currently enshrined in international human rights law

Right to food ‘should be enshrined in Scots Law’

The human right to food should be put into Scots Law to protect people from rising insecurity, a report to the Scottish government suggests.

The Scottish Human Rights Commission believes the move “would help tackle health inequalities”.

Its report was compiled for the Scottish government’s consultation on making Scotland a “good food nation”.

The government said it was committed to protecting internationally-recognised human rights.

The right to food is currently enshrined in international legislation.

Food insecurity

The commission said this right – which involves food being accessible, adequate and available for everyone – is not being realised across Scotland.

Food insecurity is “unacceptably high”, the report said, with more than 480,500 food parcels being handed out by food banks between April 2017 and September 2018.

It continues: “Health inequalities are persistent with many people, including children, unable to afford or access a healthy and nutritious diet.”

Food tins

Before making its submission, the commission spoke to people experiencing food poverty in Scotland, including a mother who lives with her one-year-old son in a rural area.

She said: “My universal credit was delayed and I had 85p left in my bank account.

“I had run out of nappies and wipes and was worried I would have no money for milk or food for my son if it did not come through.

“I had a food parcel delivered recently and I think I’ll need another this week.

“To reach a low-cost supermarket is a three-mile walk, making it a six-mile round trip on foot with my baby in a buggy.

“To get the bus would cost me £5, which would take a significant chunk out of my weekly food budget.”

‘Practical leadership’

Commission chairwoman Judith Robertson said: “International law is clear that governments have obligations to take action to ensure people’s right to food is realised.

“The Scottish Human Rights Commission is calling on the government to take action to incorporate the right to food into Scotland’s laws as part of its work to make Scotland a good food nation.

“We want to see the Scottish government showing human rights leadership in a practical way.”

The consultation document states that the option of exploring a right to food which is directly enforceable under Scots law “has not been ruled out”. But it suggests any proposals sit within wider human rights responsibilities.

The Scottish government said a national taskforce was being established to take forward the group’s recommendations.

A spokesman added: “We have also increased our Fair Food Fund to £3.5m this year to continue supporting organisations that help to tackle the causes of food insecurity.”

Shamima Begum: IS bride ‘given legal aid’ for citizenship fight

Legal aid has been granted for Shamima Begum – who joined the Islamic State group aged 15 – to fight the decision to revoke her UK citizenship.

The 19-year-old, who left east London in 2015, was stripped of her citizenship in February, after she was found in a Syrian refugee camp.

Her family has previously said it planned to challenge the decision.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Legal Aid Agency’s decision to assist Ms Begum made him “very uncomfortable”.

He added, however, that the UK was “a country that believes that people with limited means should have access to the resources of the state if they want to challenge the decisions the state has made about them”.

Legal aid is financial assistance provided by the taxpayer to those unable to afford legal representation themselves, whether they are accused of a crime or a victim who seeks the help of a lawyer through the court process.

It is means-tested and availability has been cut back significantly in recent years in England and Wales.

Civil servants at the Legal Aid Agency, which is part of the Ministry of Justice, are responsible for making decisions about who receives legal aid.

The legal aid that has been granted covers a case before the semi-secret Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which adjudicates on cases where the home secretary has stripped someone of their nationality on grounds of national security.

Cases before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) are among the most complicated legal challenges that the government can face.

This is because they typically involve a complex combination of MI5 intelligence reports, which cannot be disclosed to the complainant, and long-standing law on achieving a fair hearing.

It is not yet clear when the case will be heard but the Siac process can take years to complete – and granting of legal aid in these circumstances is not unusual.

Over the last decade or so there have been many other people stripped of nationality on the basis they are linked to terrorism who have been legally-aided during the SIAC process.

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Ms Begum left the UK in February 2015 alongside fellow Bethnal Green Academy pupils 15-year-old Amira Abase and 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana.

Ms Begum was found in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019 and said she wanted to return home.

Soon afterwards, she gave birth to a boy called Jarrah. He died of pneumonia in March at less than three weeks of age. She had two other children who also died.

In the wake of the boy’s death, Home Secretary Sajid Javid was criticised over the decision to strip Ms Begum of her British citizenship.

Three weeks prior to the death, Ms Begum’s sister, Renu Begum, had written to Mr Javid asking him to help her bring the baby to the UK.

On Monday, the Daily Mail first reported that legal aid had been granted in response to an application made on 19 March.

Mr Javid said the granting of legal aid was a decision for legal aid organisations and it was “not for ministers to comment”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn argued Ms Begum had the right to apply for legal aid.

“She is a British citizen,” he said. “She’s therefore entitled to apply for legal aid if she has a legal problem just like anybody else is.”

He added: “The whole point of legal aid is that if you’re facing a prosecution then you’re entitled to be represented and that’s a fundamental rule of law, a fundamental point in any democratic society.”

‘Not a political decision’

Dal Babu, a former chief superintendent in the Metropolitan Police and a friend of the family, said Ms Begum should have legal aid to make sure the correct process is followed.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think legal aid is a principle of the British legal justice system.”

Under the 1981 British Nationality Act, a person can be deprived of their citizenship if the home secretary is satisfied it would be “conducive to the public good” and they would not become stateless as a result.

It was thought Ms Begum had Bangladeshi citizenship through her mother – although Bangladesh’s ministry of foreign affairs said she had been “erroneously identified” as a Bangladeshi national.

Human rights group Liberty said granting legal aid in this case was “not just appropriate but absolutely necessary to ensure that the government’s decisions are properly scrutinised”.

As it stands, the UK is likely to take part in European elections

Brexit: Jeremy Hunt says ‘absolute priority’ to avoid European polls

It is an “absolute priority” for the government to leave the EU by 23 May to avoid having to take part in European elections, Jeremy Hunt has said.

The foreign secretary said the public would find it “hugely disappointing” to be asked to send MEPs to Brussels.

Asked if it could be a disaster for the Tories, he told the BBC “in terms of polling it certainly looks that way”.

Some local Tory activists have signalled they will not campaign and regard the polls as a “distraction”.

Downing Street said that in order to avoid the need for elections, legislation implementing the Brexit withdrawal deal would have to be passed by Parliament by 22 May.

Last week, the EU agreed a new Brexit deadline of 31 October.

Talks between the government and Labour are set to continue over the Easter parliamentary recess in the hope of finding an agreement that will be acceptable to MPs.

A series of working groups in key areas, such as environmental standards, security and workers’ rights, have been set up to try and find common ground.

Speaking on a visit to Japan, Mr Hunt said the talks with Labour had been “more constructive than people thought” but “we don’t know if they are going to work”.

If they did not lead anywhere, he suggested the government may “need to find a way to rebuild the DUP-Conservative coalition”, which has come under real strain from Brexit.

‘Brexit mire’

The Democratic Unionists are supposed to support the government in key parliamentary votes to give it a majority in the House of Commons.

But they have refused to support the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement over concerns with the controversial Irish backstop, which aims to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Jeremy Hunt meets Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe
The foreign secretary said Japan would remain a close economic partner whatever happened with Brexit

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that continuing Brexit “paralysis” would be “highly damaging” to the UK’s global standing and international trading partners “are worried that we will become submerged in the mire of Brexit indecision”.

While Japan and other major foreign investors were keen for the UK to “make up its mind” about Brexit, he suggested they would continue to keep faith with the UK even if it left without a deal.

“(Japan) has signed a deal with the EU and, in a no-deal situation, we hope that would roll over and apply for us, although no-deal, I think, is looking much less likely,” he said.

“I think they are very keen to protect their trading relationship with the UK, but I think they are also wanting to talk to us about other things.”

However, in February, the government released a statement saying it would not be able to replicate the EU’s free trade deal with Japan after Brexit.

And Japan has not agreed to continuing existing trade terms in the event of no deal.

Leadership talk

Mr Hunt downplayed talk of an imminent Conservative leadership contest, saying it would be a “sidetrack” from Brexit.

The foreign secretary, along with his predecessor Boris Johnson, are among a long list of potential candidates touted to succeed Mrs May when she stands down.

Asked whether the next leader could be someone, like himself, who campaigned to remain in the EU, Mr Hunt replied: “There is one very big difference between me and Boris, which is that I am foreign secretary and I have a very big job to do to try and get this deal over the line and that has to be my focus.

“I think that what matters is we have a cabinet that believes in Brexit.”

On the first day of his trip to Japan, Mr Hunt met the country’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and other political leaders.

He also took some time out of his political schedule to talk to pupils in a school in Tokyo. Mr Hunt is a fluent Japanese speaker, having taught English as a foreign language in Japan in his 20s.

What happens next?

Flowchart on next steps after extension

Tiger Woods’ celebrates Masters’ win with his children – but not ex-wife Elin

TIGER WOODS’ sensational win at this year’s Master’s saw the legendary golfer break down in a flood of emotion as his children rushed to his side, but where was their mother, Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordegren?

Both of Woods’ kids, 10-year-old Charlie and 11-year-old daughter Sam, were from his previous marriage with the former model from Sweden. Having his kids there to see him win a major for the first time in their lifetime clearly was extra special to the 43-year-old as he broke into tears on seeing them. Woods and Ms Nordegren divorced in August 2010, with court papers saying their relationship was “irretrievably broken”, which is likely to be the heartbreaking reason the model was absent on Sunday.

In a book published in 2017, called Unprecedented: The Masters and Me, Woods reflected on the behaviour that cost him his marriage.

Woods said: “Elin and I were so much in love when we married in 2004.

“But I betrayed her.

“My dishonesty and selfishness caused her intense pain.

Tiger Woods and ex wife Elin Nordegren’s children celebrate their father’s Masters success (
Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods divorced in 2010 

“Elin and I tried to repair the damage I had done, but we couldn’t.

“My regret will last a lifetime.”

Ms Nordegren reportedly received over $100 million (£76million) in the divorce settlement.

Woods spent the next several years plagued by injuries and recovering from surgeries until he was arrested in 2017 when police found him passed out behind the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz while it was stopped with its engine running in Florida.

Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods walking on the fairway 

A mugshot showed him with bleary eyes and dishevelled hair, and tests showed he had Vicodin, Dilaudid, Xanax, Ambien and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system.

But, the legendary golfer’s comeback has enthralled the world with congratulations coming from the great and the good.

Barack Obama tweeted: “Congratulations, Tiger!

“To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.”

Brexit live: Theresa May is facing defeat in the EU elections

Brexit: Mrs, May’s election CRISIS – Tories face OBLITERATION in EU vote as anger grows

THERESA May is facing a bruising EU Election with the Tories suffering a battering in the vote, according to the latest polls.

YouGov’s poll on April 10 to 11 – the first since Brexit was exteneded up until October 31 – shows Labour a clear leader with 24 percent of the public’s backing. The Conservatives are in second place at 16 percent, said the poll of 1,843 people. That is a steep drop from the 2017 general election.

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which was officially launched on Friday, is third with 15 percent backing, and UKIP is on 14 percent.

Another new party, Change UK, which includes Chuka Umunna among its number, are on seven percent. The Liberal Democrats are on eight percent, the same as the Greens, while the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru are both on six percent.

Talks between the Government and Labour are set to continue over the Easter parliamentary recess in the hope of finding a Brexit agreement that will be acceptable to MPs.

The EU has insisted the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, rejected three times by MPs, cannot be renegotiated – but there is scope to strengthen the political declaration, a document setting out the parameters of the UK’s future relations with the EU, ahead of the new Brexit deadline.

10.15am update: May’s leadership rivals try to DODGE Brexit demanding she SORTS crisis before quitting if she can’t get her Brexit deal through Parliament.

Supporters of Cabinet contenders for the Number 10 hot seat made clear in private they do not want a leadership challenge before the first stage of Brexit is resolved, even if cross-party talks with Labour fail to yield positive results, sources told The Times.

They fear a summer leadership challenge before Theresa May can get her Brexit deal thorough Parliament would provide Brexiteer rivals Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab with vital momentum, both of whom have pledged to re-open talks with Brussels.

The Prime Minister has come under huge pressure following her decision to accept a deadline of October 31 from Brussels to extend the Article 50 process and to begin talks with Jeremy Corbyn as she desperately looks for ways to build support for her Brexit deal.

Mrs May has vowed to quit once this first stage of negotiations is complete, but one source backing a Cabinet rival told The Times their candidate would be “perfectly happy” for her to remain in office until December when, under the Tory leadership rules, she can next face a confidence vote.

The source said: “We want a contest after the first stage of Brexit has been sorted so we can talk about other things. Most leading contenders do not want an early challenge, even if that means waiting and supporting the Prime Minister until December.”

Brexit: Theresa May has been urged to remain as Prime Minister until later this year

10.00am update: Eight out of ten finance leaders expect environment to be worse after Brexit

UK businesses are expecting the long-term environment to decline as a result of the UK exiting the EU.

Deloitte warned that worries over the long-term impact of Brexit are mounting, with more than half of finance bosses in the UK expecting to halt recruitment and spending.

The accountancy firm’s latest survey interviewed 89 chief financial officers (CFOs), including 48 representing FTSE 100 companies and smaller firms on the FTSE 250.

Only found 13 percent of those surveyed were optimistc about the future of ther company.

More than half – 53% – also expect to reduce hiring staff because of Brexit.

A timeline explaining what could happen next in Brexit.

9.30am update: UK house prices are rising as buyers “bored” waiting for Brexit re-ignite the market

House prices rised 1.1 percent – or £3,447 – in the month to April 6, meaning the average price is now £305,449. But despite the spring bounce in April the figure is still 0.1% lower than a year ago.

Rightmove said the uncertain political backdrop continues to hold back the market, with new seller asking prices, the number of properties coming to market and the number of sales agreed all below this time last year.

Rightmove director Miles Shipside said: “The rise in new seller asking prices reflects growing activity as the market builds momentum, egged on by the arrival of Easter.“

Some sectors of the market and some parts of the country have strong buyer demand and a lack of suitable supply.

“However, on average, properties are still coming to the market at slightly lower prices than a year ago.

“It’s one of the most price-sensitive markets that we’ve seen for years, with buyers understandably looking for value or for homes with extra quality and appeal that suit their needs.”

Brexit live: UK house prices will rise as buys and sellers are “bored by brexit” (Image: GETTY)

9.25am: Nigel Evans warns May’will plead for another Brexit EXTENSION’

The Brexiteer MP warned the Prime Minister will return to Brussels “cap in hand” in October to demand the European Union agree to yet another Brexit extension.

Theresa May last week sparked the fury across the country after she agreed to a new Brexit extension until October 31 despite pledging not to sign up the country to stay inside the European Union past June 30.

Tory MP Nigel Evans reacted furiously to the news, predicting the Prime Minister will ask for a further delay to Brexit before the new deadline is due to expire in the Autumn.

Speaking to LBC, Mr Evans said: “We’re still in the European Union and the can has been kicked down the road towards Halloween.

“I can see us on October 30, Theresa May going back to Brussels, cap in hand yet again, asking ‘can we stay until March 2020?’ The whole thing is absolutely preposterous.

“She went to Brussels, basically cap in hand but her hands tied behind her back at the same time. Brussels saw all of this, they saw the weakness of Theresa May.”

Brexit: Mrs May has extended Article 50 to October – to the fury of Brexiteer Tory MPs.

9.05am update: Rees-Mogg launches attack on ‘foolish’ Lammy after he compares Brexiteers to NAZIS

Jacob Rees-Mogg has lashed out at David Lammy after the Labour MP compared the Brexit-backing European Research Group to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party.

compared the Brexit-backing European Research Group to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party.

The prominent Brexiteer and chair of ERG said he felt sorry for the Labour MP following his controversial comments which made him “look foolish”.

In a blistering attack, Mr Rees-Mogg said Mr Lammy’s comments were “unbalanced” and would “damage his reputation”.

He tweeted: “I feel sorry for Mr Lammy, comparing a Parliamentary ginger group with an organisation and creed that killed six million Jewish people makes him look foolish and his comments unbalanced.

“It damages his reputation.”

Brexit: Mr Rees-Mogg said he felt “sorry” for David Lammy following his shock comments

8.53am update: Cross-party brexit talks are “more constructive” than people think

Jeremy hunt has said talks between Mrs May’s Government and the Labour Party to agree to a plan are more constructive than people think,

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio: “Talks we are having with Labour are detailed and I think more constructive than people have thought.

“They are more detailed and more constructive than people had been expecting on both sides. But we don’t know if they are going to work.”

Meetings between ministers and their opposite numbers from Labour are due to continue this week, Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said on Sunday – but it has not been confirmed if the talks will resume today. 

8.30am update: Hammond mocked Tory peers for engaging in “suicide pact”

Philip Hammond mocked prominent Tory peers for engaging in a “suicide pact” during failed bids to beat Theresa May to the Tory leadership.

Brexit: Mr Hunt said that cross-party talks had been “constructive”

The Daily Telegraph reported Mr Hammond used a speech in the US on Friday to say Environment Secretary Michael Gove and former foreign secretary Boris Johnson had formed an “unintended suicide pact” in the 2016 leadership contest.

The Chancellor said that Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom had effectively “knifed herself” during the race to become Prime Minister, according to the newspaper.

Mrs May is facing calls to quit and trigger a new leadership contest, with ex-cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith saying she should stand down as early as next month.

Mr Johnson hit back at David Lammy after the Labour MP defended comparing some Tory peers to the Nazis.

The remarks came as Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, Mrs May’s defacto deputy, said talks with Labour on trying to end the deadlock would continue over the Easter parliamentary recess. But discussions are not expected to resume on Monday, according to Labour sources.

Referring to the leadership battle, the newspaper reported Mr Hammond as saying: “If you remember last time this happened in 2016, Gove and Johnson knifed each other in an unintended suicide pact.

Brexit: Mrs, May's election CRISIS - Tories face OBLITERATION in EU vote as anger grows
Brexit: Hammond mocked Tory peers for engaging in a “suicide pact” over failed leadership bids

“Which left just Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May. And then Andrea Leadsom knifed herself in a private suicide pact and Theresa May inherited the prime ministership without anybody casting a single vote.”

8.20am update: Hunt to tell Japan business leaders UK is focused on avoiding no deal

Jeremy Hunt is using a visit to Japan to tell business leaders that the UK is focused on avoiding a no-deal Brexit.

Following withdrawal from the EU being delayed until October 31, Mr Hunt will stress on Monday that Britain is seeking “tariff-free frictionless trade” with the bloc.

As well as meeting Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe, Mr Hunt is also visiting a Tokyo high school to help teach English.

The Foreign Secretary will “update them on EU exit developments, and reassure them that UK Government is focused on avoiding a no-deal Brexit and on agreeing a deal which that will ensure tariff-free frictionless trade between the EU and the UK”.

Mr Hunt, who has previously worked in Japan, intends to promote English as the “language of opportunity” on the trip.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Hunt said: “I’m privileged to be able to visit Japan as Foreign Secretary and see how that shared culture is inspiring the next generation. The UK has always been an outward-looking global power. That cannot change after Brexit. I look forward to our relationship with Japan getting even closer in the years after we leave the EU.”

Talk of Theresa May's chances of staying in Number 10 is front page news again on Monday, but with opposing views. The Scotsman claims the Tories are considering options for a new confidence vote, after a poll suggested they would lose 59 MPs in the event of a general election.

Scotland’s papers: May faces revolt and Tiger roars again

The PM’s future is also the topic of choice in the i newspaper, which also claims MPs are seeking a change of party rules – to allow a fresh leadership challenge, less than a year after Mrs May saw off the last one.
The Times Scotland
But the Times Scotland suggests her leadership rivals would prefer Mrs May to stick around until the first part of the Brexit deal is complete. A supporter of one candidate is quoted saying their leadership campaign would be damaged if the election was held against a backdrop of Brexit uncertainty.
The Daily Telegraph
Over in the Daily Telegraph, we read that Chancellor Philip Hammond mocked Brexiteer leadership rivals in a speech. He told an audience at the British Embassy in Washington that Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Andrea Leadsom all lost the 2016 leadership bids because of “suicide pacts”.
Scottish Daily Express
More Brexit at the Scottish Daily Express, which reports senior Tory Ian Duncan Smith’s comments that “Theresa May must be gone within weeks”. The paper claims there is a “grassroots revolt” within the party.
The Herald
The Herald’s front page exclusive says that Scottish government ministers are not doing enough to tackle the growing mental health crisis in schools, according to campaigners. Leading charities have told the paper the government is too focused on the treatment of pupils once they had developed issues such as anxiety and depression and it wants a greater focus on teaching pupils the skills they need to cope with stress.
Scottish Daily Mail
The Scottish Daily Mail boasts an exclusive about so-called “Jihadi bride” Shamima Begum. The paper claims the teenager, who ran away from London to join the Islamic State group in Syria has been granted legal aid to challenge the UK’s decision to revoke her citizenship.
The National
The front page of The National carries an interview from the BBC’s Good Mornings Scotland programme with veteran politician Dennis Canavan. The former MP and MSP tells the paper he believes Scotland will become independent within his lifetime. The former leader of the Yes campaign says a new independence referendum should take place before 2021.
Daily Record
A stark warning from a sex abuse victim makes the front page of the Daily Record. She waives her anonymity to tell other women she believes the man who beat and raped her “will kill when he is released”. Stefan Scott was jailed for 12 years for 23 charges of rape, assault and abusive behaviour.
The Scottish Sun
The Sun runs with the story of killer Phillip Wade, who tortured and murdered Glasgow accountant Lynda Spence, landing a “cushy job” counselling fellow inmates at Kilmarnock Prison through the Samaritans charity. Friends of Ms Spence have have criticised his “agony uncle” role saying if he wants to help people, he should tell her family where her body is.
Press and Journal
“Dangerous Merseyside crime lords” are bringing blackmail and extortion tactics to the north east, according to the Press and Journal. The paper says the criminals are targeting vulnerable teenagers and that police admit there is a long-standing issue with gangs flooding Grampian with drugs.
The Courier
The Courier’s Fife edition highlights problems with Universal Credit. It says frontline organisations are concerned with a rise in crime, addiction and poverty as a result of the policy.
Daily Star of Scotland
And the Daily Star of Scotland notes the 02:00 BST launch of the latest Game of Thrones series, predicting “millions” of Britons will be “throne a sickie” on Monday.
Joan Collins described the fire at her flat as "terrifying"

Joan Collins flees ‘terrifying’ fire in Belgravia flat

Actress Joan Collins has praised the NHS and fire crews after a “terrifying” blaze at her flat in central London.

The London Fire Brigade said they were called to a seven-storey building on Eaton Place, Belgravia, at about 16:30 BST on Saturday.

About 10 firefighters tackled the blaze which was brought under control by about 17:35.

The actress needed treatment for smoke inhalation and praised her “hero” husband.

Posting on Instagram she said: The remains of the day…see my recent #tweet Thank you @londonfirebrigade #shafetsbury !! ❤️❤️

In a tweet, also posted on Sunday, Collins thanked the NHS and ambulance service, as well as the Metropolitan Police for blocking off the street and the fire brigade for putting out the fire.

She also thanked her husband Percy Gibson, who “doused the flames consuming the entire wall with handheld extinguisher.”

A spokeswoman for the fire brigade said: “Part of a flat on the first floor of the seven-storey building was damaged by the fire.

“Two people left the property before the brigade arrived.”

Joan Collins and Percy Gibson
Joan Collins has been married to Percy Gibson since 2002

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said two people were treated by the London Ambulance Service but did not require hospital treatment, adding that the fire was deemed non-suspicious.

Joan Collins

Joan Collins and John Forsythe
Joan Collins, pictured with her Dynasty co-star John Forsythe
  • Born in London in 1933.
  • Made her stage debut at the age of nine.
  • She appeared in a string of TV movies and shows including Space 1999, Starsky and Hutch and Tales of the Unexpected.
  • Renowned for her ageless glamour and dozens of roles including the Alexis Carrington in US soap Dynasty, which brought her international fame in the 1980s.
  • She was made an OBE in the 1997 honours list in recognition of her work in the arts and for charity.
  • She was made a dame in 2015, for her continued charity work, including with the NSPCC and breast cancer research.
Joan Collins in 1978
Joan Collins was born in London in 1933
Mr Lidington said the talks would continue over the Easter break

Brexit: Cross-party talks ‘testing ideas’ says Lidington

The government and Labour are “testing out” each other’s ideas as they try to resolve the Brexit deadlock, cabinet minister David Lidington has said.

He told the BBC they had a “fair bit in common” over future customs objectives but further compromise was needed.

While there was no deadline, he said the sides would “take stock” in 10 days and the process could not drag out.

But former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said the process was a “recipe for disaster” for his party.

He called for Prime Minister Theresa May to make way for a new Conservative leader next month – but Mr Lidington insisted changing PM would “not change the arithmetic in Parliament”.

Talks between the government and Labour are set to continue over the Easter parliamentary recess in the hope of finding a Brexit agreement that will be acceptable to MPs.

A series of working groups in key areas, such as environmental standards, security and workers’ rights, have been set up to try and find common ground.

The EU has insisted the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, rejected three times by MPs, cannot be renegotiated – but there is scope to strengthen the political declaration, a document setting out the parameters of the UK’s future relations with the EU, ahead of the new Brexit deadline of 31 October.

Mr Lidington, who is regarded as Mrs May’s de facto deputy, said he had not set a deadline for the talks to produce a result but the public wanted Parliament to resolve their differences quickly.

“I don’t think the question can be allowed to drag out for much longer,” he said.

Asked whether the government could drop its opposition to a customs union with the EU, as demanded by Labour, Mr Lidington said both sides had well-known “public positions”.

Customs ‘mechanism’

He suggested the two sides were considering whether there was a “mechanism” to deliver the benefits of a customs union, such as tariff and quota-free trade with the EU, while also enabling the UK to have an independent trade policy and input into EU agreements affecting the UK.

“What we have found in terms of objectives… there is fair bit that both parties would have in common,” he said. “If we are going to find an agreement there needs to be movement on both sides.

“I don’t want to compromise what is at the moment a space where we are testing with the opposition, and they are testing with us, particular ways in which we could move forward.”

But Mr Duncan Smith warned against his party embracing Labour’s Brexit policy, telling Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that he had “real concerns with some of my colleagues going out lauding Jeremy Corbyn”.

“We need to be very clear in the course of this that we don’t end up letting Jeremy Corbyn dictate to us that we stay in a customs union, or we have some kind of second referendum, or stay aligned with the European single market – all of that given to us by Jeremy Corbyn is a recipe for disaster.”

He said there was real grassroots anger at the prospect of the Conservatives having to fight European elections at the end of May and the prime minister should leave Downing Street this summer irrespective of whether the withdrawal agreement had not been approved or not.

“She said she would go as and when the agreement was ratified, which was looking at around about May, June. I think those dates still stand,” he said.

But Labour’s shadow transport Secretary Andy McDonald said the talks would “count for nothing” if the Conservatives changed leader and a hard Brexiteer took over from Mrs May.

Referendum warning

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has been warned Labour will “haemorrhage” votes in the EU election unless the party explicitly backs a further referendum.

MEP Richard Corbett, leader of the party in the EU Parliament, told the Observer Labour risked losing out to parties committed to a public vote.

“If Labour does not re-confirm its support for a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal in its manifesto, then it will haemorrhage votes to parties who do have a clear message,” he said.

“If on the other hand we do offer clarity and a confirmatory ballot we could do very well.”

Labour’s current policy is to keep all options on the table – including pressing for a further EU referendum.

Labour MP David Lammy told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that the current “rows would continue” unless the public had the final say on the issue.

Several members of the shadow cabinet and many backbenchers, particularly in Leave-supporting areas, are opposed to the idea.

What happens next?

Flowchart on next steps after extension