Browsing: UK News

‘Britain’s top civil servant ‘cracked up’ and lay on a floor at 10 Downing Street talking incoherently in the final days of Ted Heath’s Conservative Government.

According to a new book about No10, Sir William Armstrong, Heath’s Permanent Secretary of the Civil Service Department and his most senior mandarin, was taken to hospital after telling colleagues the world was coming to an end.

Last night, Whitehall insiders revealed Armstrong had, in fact, been naked while lying on the floor at No10, and that after hospital treatment he was sent by the then Lord Rothschild – a fellow senior civil servant – to recover at Lord Rothschild’s villa in Barbados for a month.’

Read more: Flashback – Revealed: The day Britain’s top civil servant rolled naked on the floor ranting about the end of the world

‘A group of five pro-Palestinian activists in the UK face possible prison sentences after being arrested during protests outside an Israeli-owned weapons manufacturing company.

Charged with a breach of the Trade Union and Labor Relations, the protesters face at least six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000, the media reported Sunday.

They were arrested in July following a protest in the West Midlands town of Shenstone that forced the UAV Engines Ltd plant, a subsidiary of Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems, to shut down all operations for two days.

The demonstration saw activists put small coffins outside the factory and lay down next to them to raise awareness about the Israeli regime’s record of killing Palestinian children over the years-long occupation of the country.

Palestine Action, the organization that helped organize the demonstration, said all of the accused would plead not guilty in the case.’

Read more: UK to jail pro-Palestinian protesters

‘Hate crimes committed on social media will be treated as seriously as similar street-based offences, according to new guidelines issued by the Crown Prosecution Service as they launch a crackdown on hate speech online.

Recognising the “corrosive effect” of hate crime on British society, Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, announced the CPS will now revise prosecutions of such crimes “with the same robust and proactive approach used with offline offending”.

The changes could lead to a dramatic increase in those being prosecuted for posting prejudice attacks on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Jenny Wiltshire, the head of general crime at Hickman and Rose solicitors, told The Independent the change in policy from the CPS reflects “the fact that the internet has become a breeding ground for misogynist, racist and homophobic views”.

She continued: “The decision to treat offences committed online no differently from offline offences will undoubtedly lead to an increase in prosecutions. It will also remind the trolling brigade that there are real consequences for hitting the button”.’

Read more: Crackdown on ‘corrosive’ online hate crimes launched by Crown Prosecution Service

‘Prince Charles’s popularity has plunged in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, a poll reveals today.

Only a third of Britons believe the Prince of Wales has been beneficial for the Royal Family – down from nearly two-thirds four years ago.

And just 14 per cent want to see his wife Camilla as queen when be becomes king – a third say she should have no title at all.

The new study, carried out by YouGov, shows one in four now believes the heir to the throne has had a negative impact on the royals, a big jump since 2013.

The damning public verdict came as royal sources quashed speculation that the Queen planned to step aside from public duties to allow Charles to become regent.’

Read more: Charles’s popularity plummets amid the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death: Just a third of Britons think he’s doing a good job while only 14% want Camilla to be Queen, according to shocking new poll

‘Pork products sold by a leading British supermarket may have infected thousands of people with a form of hepatitis that can cause liver cirrhosis, according to health officials.

Public Health England (PHE) researchers attempting to pinpoint a link between 60 people with hepatitis E (HEV) found that they had all eaten own-brand sausages and ready-to-eat sliced ham from an unnamed retailer known as Supermarket X, The Times reported. The research was carried out between 2014 and 2016.

The study found that between 150,000 and 200,000 people in the UK are infected with HEV each year.

“Only Supermarket X, especially own brand, was significantly associated with HEV G3-2,” the report said, according to The Times. The report follows a 2011 PHE study, which also found that Supermarket X’s pork products contained the virus.’

Read more: UK supermarket ‘sold sausages and ham infected with Hepatitis’

‘Broadband providers are attempting to avoid paying £52 million in compensation to customers for poor service, Citizens Advice has said.

Under Ofcom plans, households will automatically receive refunds for late installations, slow repairs and engineer no-shows.

But three of Britain’s biggest internet providers – BT, Virgin Media and Sky – are seeking to water down the proposals so customers get less money.

Citizens Advice last night accused the firms of trying to ‘short-change’ broadband users by seeking to replace the regulator’s plan for mandatory payments with a voluntary system.

Ofcom suggested in March that customers should receive £10 for each day they suffer a complete loss of connection, with £30 for cancelled engineer appointments, and £6 a day for delayed installations.’

Read more: Big broadband firms ‘try to deny customers £52million in refunds for poor service including slow repairs and engineer no-shows’

‘Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected an appeal by survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to publish a report into the role of Saudi Arabia in funding Islamic extremism in Britain.

In July, the government announced that the Home Office report, which was commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron, will not be published because of “national security reasons” and the “vast amount of personal information” it contains.

The announcement that the report, completed six months ago, would be permanently shelved has sparked widespread condemnation amid claims the government is trying to cover up substantial evidence of Saudi Arabia funding terrorist organizations in the UK.

Joining the chorus of opposition, a group of 9/11 survivors signed a public letter to May, urging her to publish the report.

“The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government’s report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its center of culpability,” the letter, signed by 15 survivors, read.

“The longer Saudi Arabia’s complicity is hidden from sunlight, the longer terrorism will continue.”

The British government has rejected their request, however.’

Read more: ‘Shameful’ Theresa May rejects 9/11 survivors’ appeal to release Saudi Arabia terrorism report

‘The Government should consider abolishing all anti-terror laws as they are “unnecessary” in the fight against extremists, the barrister tasked with reviewing Britain’s terrorism legislation has said.

Speaking exclusively to The Independent before this week’s attacks in Spain in which 14 people were killed in vehicle rammings in Barcelona and the nearby coastal town of Cambrils, Max Hill QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, argued potential jihadis can be stopped with existing “general” laws that are not always being used effectively to take threats off the streets.

His comments come after several terrorists launching attacks in the UK and Europe were revealed to be former petty criminals who had links to criminal gangs before being radicalised – a pattern which appears to apply to the Spanish attackers too.’

Read more: Terror laws should be scrapped, says Government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation

‘Heavily-armed Special Forces soldiers driving specially adapted and armoured civilian vehicles will patrol Britain’s streets in a bid to thwart an Islamic State atrocity over the Bank Holiday Weekend.

Security sources disclosed last night that elite troops will mingle with revellers and tourists at sites considered most at risk of a terrorist attack. But the male and female personnel will remain incognito unless called upon to intercept any jihadis.

A security source told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘They will be casually dressed with their weapons hidden beneath their clothes. They won’t be in traditional military vehicles either.

‘Recently, a company of Special Forces Support Group troops completed a live firing exercise using Civilian Armoured Vehicles and they will be called upon.

‘These are regular cars but with special adaptations such as armour-plated doors and reinforced bullet-proof windows to assist them in an urban close quarter battle scenario,’ the source added.’

Read more: Armed forces will patrol streets in armoured vehicles to protect Britons from ISIS attacks over Bank Holiday weekend

‘Temporary NHS managers brought in by failing health services are being paid record rates of up to £400,000 a year.

Ministers have repeatedly ordered clampdowns on “excessive and indefensible” management pay and promised extra scrutiny of deals which pay more than the £142,500 salary of the Prime Minister.

But a Telegraph investigation of 32 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) failing so badly that they have been taken over by NHS England shows that in fact rates have reached a record high.

Nurse leaders last night said executive pay was “spiralling out of control” amid warnings that “sky-high” remuneration packages were not being matched by improvements to frontline services.’

Read more: Managers on more than £400,000 a year at failing NHS authorities