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Met Police to issue twenty fines over Downing Street lockdown parties

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Twenty fines are set to be issued over the numerous parties held at Number 10 during the 2020 lockdowns, the Metropolitan Police have announced today.

The force said investigators will begin to refer the notices to the ACRO Criminal Records Office, which would be responsible for issuing the fines.

Further fines could still be issued as officers continue to analyse the evidence gathered.

The Met Police said in a statement: “The investigation into allegations of breaches of Covid-19 regulations in Whitehall and Downing Street has now progressed to the point where the first referrals for fixed penalty notices (FPN) will be made to ACRO Criminal Records Office.

“We will today initially begin to refer twenty fixed penalty notices to be issued for breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

“The ACRO Criminal Records Office will then be responsible for issuing the FPNs to the individual following the referrals from the MPS.

“We are making every effort to progress this investigation at speed and have completed a number of assessments.

“However, due to the significant amount of investigative material that remains to be assessed, further referrals may be made to ACRO if the evidential threshold is made.”

This comes in the wake of Sue Gray’s highly-publicised investigation into the various allegations of parties and gatherings in Number 10 during the lockdowns.

In her report, which was partly released to the public back in January, Gray noted that there was a ‘serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government, but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time’.

The report acknowledged that every citizen has been impacted by the pandemic, reading: “Everyone has made personal sacrifices, some the most profound, having been unable to see loved ones in their last moments or care for vulnerable family and friends.”

Stand-out points from the report include:

  • There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.
  • The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.
  • The use of the garden at No 10 Downing Street should be primarily for the Prime Minister and the private residents of No 10 and No 11 Downing Street.
  • The leadership structures are fragmented and complicated and this has sometimes led to the blurring of lines of accountability.
  • Some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so.

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Manchester ruled out of hosting Eurovision 2023

BREAKING: The decision now lays between two northern cities

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Manchester has been ruled out of hosting the Eurovision song contest for 2023 as the shortlist for cities is cut from seven to two.

The BBC has announced today that Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield have been axed from the shortlist of wannabe hosts for the competition.

This leaves Liverpool and Glasgow as the last standing contenders.

The BBC said the two remaining cities, which both have riverside arena venues, had ‘the strongest overall offer’.

A final decision will be made ‘within weeks’, the broadcaster added.

If Liverpool is selected as the host, the competition would be staged at the 11,000-capacity dockside M&S Bank Arena, which is next to a conference centre and near the city centre’s hotels and rail links.

In Glasgow, alternatively, the 14,300-capacity OVO Hydro venue would play home to Eurovision.

Liverpool and Glasgow will be scored on a set of criteria, the BBC said, including:

  • “Having a suitable venue and sufficient space to deliver the requirements of the Song Contest.
  • “The commitment that can be made by a city or region to hosting the event, including the financial contribution.
  • “The strength of the cultural offer which includes off screen local and regional activity as well as showcasing Ukrainian culture and music.
  • “And alignment with the BBC’s strategic priorities as a public service broadcaster, such as providing value to all audiences and supporting the creative economy in the UK.”

It was announced last month that the UK would host the annual song contest for the first time in twenty-four years after organisers decided it could not go ahead in Ukraine – who won this year’s competition – due to the ongoing conflict with Russia.

The UK came in second place thanks to Sam Ryder’s smash-hit ‘Spaceman’, prompting the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to open talks with the BBC.

A statement from BBC director general Tim Davie read: “It is a matter of great regret that our colleagues and friends in Ukraine are not able to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.

“Being asked to host the largest and most complex music competition in the world is a great privilege. The BBC is committed to making the event a true reflection of Ukrainian culture alongside showcasing the diversity of British music and creativity.”

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Kwasi Kwarteng reportedly said ‘who cares if Sterling crashes?’ after Brexit

This comes as Labour overtakes the Conservatives in a new opinion poll for the first time in 20 years

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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said ‘who cares if Sterling crashes?’ in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, a new report is claiming today.

The then-Tory backbencher, who publicly backed the Leave campaign, was heard making the comment outside of private members club Groucho Club in Soho, London, the Evening Standard claims. 

In her Londoner’s Diary column for the Evening Standard, journalist Joy Lo Dico said she found Kwarteng with ‘his white shirt hanging out of his trousers’ and talking ‘feverishly’ into his phone after the Brexit result in 2016.

Dico says she then overheard the Brexiteer saying: “Who cares if Sterling crashes? It will come back up again.”

This revelation comes as Labour overtakes the Conservatives in the latest YouGov poll as the pound hits an all-time low.

With the fallout of the tax-slashing budget still unfolding, Labour has opened up a seventeen-point lead over the Tories – the party’s biggest poll lead in over twenty years. 

According to YouGov, Conservative support has dropped by four points to 28% in the wake of the budget, while Labour’s has surged by five points to 45%.

The Lib Dems remain unchanged on 8%.

Sir Keir Starmer is set to deliver his keynote speech at Labour’s conference in Liverpool today, with him expected to promise to get the UK ‘out of this endless cycle of crisis’.

Starmer is expected to say: “What we’ve seen from the government in the past few days has no precedent. They’ve lost control of the British economy – and for what? For tax cuts for the richest one per cent in our society.”

The party has also pledged to bring the nation’s railways back into state ownership if it wins the next general election, as well as hire ‘thousands’ of NHS doctors and nurses. 

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Tragedy as 6-year-old boy killed in front of mum on her birthday

The youngster was killed after being hit by a van in 2014

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A mum has spoken of her heartache after her son was killed in front of her on her birthday.

Bobby Colleran was just six-years-old when he died after being hit by a van in West Derby, Liverpool, in October 2014. His mum, Joanne, witnessed the full tragedy.

And just last week ahead of the eight-year anniversary of Bobby’s death, Joanne watched as a teenage boy was knocked off his electric bike by a car in a chillingly similar incident.

According to the Liverpool Echo, last week’s incident in West Derby left the teenager with a serious head injury.

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For Joanne, witnessing the incident brought the heartache of losing Bobby back, with her telling the paper: “It’s bizarre because we were just there as it had happened, but your whole inside turns over.

“You think whoever it is, their parents, their family, I hope they’re ok. You kind of go through all of your emotions again and then it just puts stuff in your mind.

“I used to love September and October, the run up to autumn, it was one of my favourite times of year – and now the minute the chill comes in the air it’s horrible. I just relive everything, everyday – what we were doing when he was here.”

Speaking on the upcoming anniversary of Bobby’s death, Joanne added: “It is a difficult day. What makes it harder is it’s my birthday on the day he died.

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“People say grief gets easier and it doesn’t. It’s like every milestone, everything that happens you’re like where is he? He was the middle one of the kids.”

In the wake of Bobby’s death, Joanne established the Bobby Colleran Trust which campaigns for better road safety on roads across the city.

And back in March 2021, the charity announced the launch of its ‘Take Care for Bobby’ campaign to support the mental health of children and young people in the Liverpool City Region.

The trust is set to open its very own centre next to Blackmoor Park Infant School in the coming months, where it will run counselling sessions for children and young people.

You can read more about the new centre and donate here.

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