This week in Brexit news

David Paul gives us a quick look at some of the big Brexit news this week:

Today’s national news: March 1st

Rory Hill brings us today’s national stories from across the UK.


Landmark ruling as woman who killed husband with a hammer granted retrial

sally challen

Sarah Challen will face a new murder trial (Credit: Family Handout)

Sarah Challen, the woman who killed her husband with a hammer at their home in Surrey in 2010, will face a new murder trial a panel of judges has ruled.

The 65-year old has never denied killing husband, Richard Challen, 61, but denied murder claiming diminished responsibility.

She was convicted of murdering her car-dealer husband by striking him repeatedly over the head with a hammer. She hit him over twenty times before wrapping his body in a curtain.

Over the two-day hearing, the court heard from a psychiatrist that, at the time of the killing, Challen was suffering from two mental disorders.

Her lawyers argue that she would have faced the lesser charge of manslaughter had the coercive or controlling behaviour offence, as part of the Serious Crime Act 2015, been in place at the time of the trial in June 2011.

Lady Justice Hallett said:

“The Court of Appeal heard that, in the opinion of a consultant forensic psychiatrist, the appellant was suffering from two mental disorders at the time of the killing.

“This evidence not available at the time of the trial and the court quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial.”

Coercive control is a term of domestic abuse that aims to control a victim’s behaviour and restrict their liberty and freedom.

Justice for Women, who campaign on behalf of female victims of domestic abuse, worked with Challen for a retrial.

Her son, David, 31, has also been outspoken in his support for his mother and said:

“…a lot of good can come from this for my mother and for anyone else suffering from mental domestic abuse in reference to coercive control”

The court said the new murder charge must be put to Challen within the next two months.

She has already served eight years of her 22 year sentence.

Lord Ahmed charged with attempted rape of young girl

Lord Ahmed official portrait (Credit: Creative Commons)

A member of the House of Lords has been charged with attempted rape of a young girl. 

Lord Nazir Ahmed, a 61-year-old former Labour Peer, has been named by prosecutors along with two other men in relation to allegations dating to the 1970s’.

The charges include attempted rape of a girl and indecent assault involving a 13-year-old boy.

Ahmed would have been aged 14-17 at the time when the alleged crimes took place.

Ahmed and the two other men are due to appear in Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 19 March.

Originally from Pakistan, Ahmed moved to Rotherham along with his family in 1969. He joined the Labour party aged 18 and went on to be elected a councillor before being made a Lord by Tony Blair.

Ahmed was suspended by the Labour party in 2013 under accusations of antisemitism after he claimed a Jewish conspiracy was responsible for a prison sentence he received after being found guilty of dangerous driving resulting in the death of a man in 2007.


Today’s National News

Here’s a look at the news from across the UK with Ross Hempseed. 

For more information on Emiliano Sala look to our sports section for updated information.

Children’s Mental Health Week rounds off fourth consecutive year

(Credit: Let The People Speak)

Children’s Mental Health Week comes to an end in the UK this weekend after the ‘Place2Be’ campaign received an overwhelming amount of support on social media.

Overseeing school talks and spreading awareness has been the main focus for mental health organisations this week after figures were released late last year showing that one in eight people under the age of 19 suffered from mental health issues.

The ‘mental health of young people and children survey’ conducted by the NHS was launched in November 2018 and provided evidence to suggest that one in five children were victims of cyberbullying, statistics many organisations have highlighted to underscore the importance of awareness campaigns like Children’s Mental Health Week this year.

Place2be‘ has focused this week around their ‘Health: Inside and Out’ campaign which attempts to spread awareness around the physical wellbeing of children and how it can affect their mental state.

However, much attention has now been drawn towards the social media aspect of the campaign after reports surfaced of children attempting to commit suicide as a result of online bullying in the past few months.

According to government surveys, at least 40% of parents are concerned about their child’s wellbeing in relation to online bullying.

Many public figures have been spreading awareness on Twitter using ‘#ChildrensMentalHealthWeek’, sparking high levels of online debate regarding recent issues.

Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour party used the hashtag to push for better access to arts and sports in schools:

Mick Coyle, presenter for Radio City Live in Liverpool, highlighted a public art project that saw 200 pairs of childrens’ shoes laid out, representing the annual suicide rate for young people:

Government proposals have now been put forth as a part of Children’s Mental Health Week and MP’s are now expected to introduce sanctions on social media websites in order to tackle the ongoing cyberbullying crisis.


One in ten Scottish households avoids TV licence fee

This week’s revelation by The Times that 10% of Scottish households avoid paying their TV licence raises the question of whether the BBC is effectively providing for a Scottish audience.

While the BBC Annual Report claims that “it’s been a great year for Scottish content”, audiences in Scotland expressed that the extent to which the BBC provides for their part of the UK is lower than the rest of the UK.

BBC Scotland at Pacific Quay in Glasgow. (Photo credit: Stevie Spiers)

The difference, however, is not significant. UK wide, 56% of adults think the BBC is effective at reflecting people like them, and 53% of adults in Scotland say the same.

Furthermore, 55% of UK adults say the BBC is effective at reflecting the part of the UK they live in.


Last year saw a variety of Scottish productions from the BBC, including the murder mystery Shetland and documentary series Island Medics, as well as the announcement that comedy classic Still Game is returning this year.

Despite this, the BBC’s spending in Scotland during 2017/18 had a sharp decrease from the year before.

While in 2016/17, £233 million was spent in Scotland, 2017/18 experienced a decrease of £10.4 million.

An analysis done by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) in 2016 found that out of the £320 million raised from the licence fee in Scotland, just over half of that money was spent on investing across platforms and channels in Scotland.


Looking over to Northern Ireland and Wales, 75% and 95% of licence revenue were spent in the countries respectively.

According to the BBC Report, the spending on Scotland will increase this year, which is to be expected with the launch of the new BBC Scotland channel next month.

Last year, half of the Scottish adults viewed dedicated Scottish news services on BBC Television each week. The new channel will bring Scotland news from a Scottish perspective and reflect on Scottish life through contemporary programmes.

A spokesperson from TV Licensing says that they do not speculate on future evasion rates as they use a number of factors to calculate them.

“TV Licensing’s estimated evasion rate has remained broadly the same over the last three financial years. Our figures show the rate was between 6%-7% for 2016-17, and 6.5%-7.5% for 2017-18. Changes of less than one per cent are not significant.”



No-deal could be detrimental to Scottish businesses

As Britain prepares to leave the EU, figures published by the Confederation of British Industry claim the fall-out of Brexit could cost Scotland £14 billion. 

While politicians across the country try to negotiate ways to leave the EU with a solid trade deal, recent analytics predicting the effect of Brexit on Scotland’s businesses paint a bleak picture.

On January 15, the Prime Minister suffered a historic defeat after 232 politicians voted against her current deal. After escaping a no-confidence vote on January 16, May has vowed to continue with “what the British people voted for” and finalise negotiations.

However, on January 23, First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon criticised Theresa May of being more concerned with “winning support of the DUP”, than trying to compromise with fellow cabinet members on a better deal.

“The future effects of Brexit on Scottish business and trade are largely unknown, mainly because the terms of the deal itself are still fluid. What we do know, however, is that Brexit will be bad for the economy, with businesses fleeing to other countries and trade becoming far more regulated.

“In recent polling among Scottish businesses, only 8% felt fully ready for Brexit, and 18% reported that they did not feel ready for it at all. These figures are deeply concerning with only two months remaining to a no-deal Brexit,” SNP MSP, Colin Beattie told EN4 News.

Despite the prime minister’s reassurance that Scotland’s welfare is being acknowledged, researchers are already predicting increased food and beverage prices, higher tariffs and business owners leaving the UK to avoid ‘outside’ EU regulations and taxes.

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Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News

In their annual year-on report, CBI anticipated an 8.1% decrease in Real Gross Value, amounting to £14 billion in Scotland, by 2032. This echoes earlier figures released by the Scottish Government which estimated Brexit would cost £8 billion by 2030.

The damning figures came after May previously assured the public in November 2018, that Brexit would be “good for Scotland” and would provide a “free-trade area with no tariffs” while on a tour to visit farmers in Renfrewshire.

Similarly, a Scottish Licensed Trade Association survey found that out of 500 outlets, 17% believed they were already experiencing issues related to Brexit, with a further 40% anticipating the loss of staff from European countries.

With conflicting reports on trade deals, there appears to be growing concern from businesses such as the Scottish Whisky Association, who stated on their website that leaving the EU could have a “fundamental impact on our industry.”

The owner of Greek restaurant Ola Kala in Edinburgh also shares similar concerns on the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

“We’re going to be affected obviously because most of our products are imported from Greece, so if there’s going to be borders, taxes or delays we’re definitely going to be affected, but I don’t think I’m the only one.

“The bad thing is, if there’s a Brexit with no rules it will be pretty serious. If there’s an organised Brexit, like we all hope, then I think things will be smooth, but if there’s going to be a crash Brexit, then things will definitely be difficult.”






Today’s national news

Final talks on teacher’s pay offer.

Council leaders are set to meet today to decide whether or not to make an improved pay offer which still falls short of what the teaching unions want.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union are campaigning for a 10% pay rise and are threatening a strike ballot.

If the EIS vote against the improved pay offer then strike action will be planned.

The revised offer was decided upon two weeks ago, but council leaders still need to meet to decide if they are going to offer it to the teachers union.

The proposed wage rise will be funded by the Scottish Government.

Read more about this story here.


Special Needs Drivers striking in solidarity. Credit to GMB


Nurse convicted of dragging elderly patient by ankles

A nurse has been ordered to carry out unpaid work after being convicted of dragging an 88-year-old patient down a hospital corridor by her ankles.

Steven Campbell, 50, pleaded not guilty to assault but was found guilty after his trial by sheriff Mary McCrory.

His crime was reported by relatives visiting another patient in the Glasgow’s Gartnavel Hospital after they saw him pulling patient Jessie Colquhoun along the corridor and into her room.

Campbell’s victim had dementia, a heart condition and arthritis.


Aberdeen’s Deputy Provost resigns in wake of sexual assault charge 

Deputy Provost Alan Donnelly has quit his role after being charged with sexual assault.

The incident allegedly took place in Trinity Hall in Holburn Street last November.

Donnelly was suspended from the Conservative party earlier this month and reported to police.

Police Scotland said a 64-year-old man had been charged and a report would be sent to the procurator fiscal.


Changes to food labels proposed after the death of 15-year-old girl

More descriptive food labelling has been proposed following the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

Natasha collapsed on a British Airways flight after she had an allergic reaction to sesame seeds on a Pret a Manger baguette in 2016.

All packaged food such as sandwiches and salads could be required to list the full ingredients.

Under current laws, the company was not required to publish allergen information on the product which caused Natasha to go into cardiac arrest.


Scotrail passenger satisfaction falls to 45%

Consumer satisfaction for Scotrail has hit a six-year low as it drops to 45% according to consumer group Which?, with one in four passengers complaining trips are ‘regularly stressful’.

Only 45% of those asked said they were happy with the Scottish train operator’s services, which is down 6% from last year.

Scotrail was voted 23rd out of 30 British train services, although the survey only provides a small glimpse of public opinion, with only 143 respondents.


Image may contain: night, sky and outdoor

Scotrail’s ironic slogan. Credit: Scotrail


Human bone found in Primark socks

Police are investigating a human bone which has been found in a pair of Primark socks in Essex.

Essex police say the socks were bought in a Colchester store and the bone does not appear to be a result of recent trauma.

Police said the socks were bought on December 10 and was reported to police on January 2.

Police said without further testing, they could not determine the age or origin of the bone.


Research Inquiry highlights food insecurities among Children


Photo by: Epsos de

A report coordinated by the Food Foundation this week has disclosed some of the biggest concerns and issues in regards to tackling the dietary and nutritional problems some young people currently face on a daily basis in the UK.

The workshops which were carried out by charity, Fixers, consisted of interviews with over 300 children ages 11-16 years old from all parts of the country, which aimed to discuss their food insecurities in all daily aspects of their lives. It is the first time that the subjects of a report has been solely young people, which has therefore been able to offer a unique insight into understanding just how complex the issue of living and eating healthy actually is for those among the future generations.

The children highlighted some key challenges regarding school dinners, such as a lack of time at breaks due to long queues and then having little or no time to eat which results in some going without any food at all to sustain them for the afternoon. This may cause alarm considering recent studies have proven the connection between improved academic performance in students when eating healthy.

62% of those interviewed felt that the responsibility to provide nutritious meals lay with their parents. However, for some of the children the burden belongs to them as some are full-time carers, as well as the hectic schedules of parents often prevent them to prepare fresh meals and as a consequence, the children must cook for themselves in order to eat at an appropriate time causing additional pressure.

Advertisements like these are to be targeted by the government

The report also revealed how the constant advertising of fast food chains such as McDonalds, KFC and Dominoes made them want to eat that as opposed to healthier and cheaper options. This is an issue the Scottish Government are trying to address as part of their 10 year strategy which calls for the banning of such TV ads until after the watershed, however, these measures can only be introduced by Westminster, with the consultation of this ongoing. What is also to be addressed is the fact fast food chains advertise on everyday items such as bus tickets which means children are constantly targeted which was also a raised concern.

Other food related adverts had detrimental effects too such as Marks and Spencer which aim to entice the viewer. Parents were said to become “depressed” as these were foods that were difficult to afford on a budget.

Dr. Anna Gryka-McPhail of the Royal College of Physicans’ and Surgeons’ and who is also the Policy Officer for Obesity Action Scotland said,

“Whatever actions we’re suggesting to improve problems in public health and problems with food insecurities especially within children in Scotland, it seems to be quite big and I think the best place to start is to speak to the young people themselves if we are to find solutions that will work. So we very much welcome this report.”

With this report highlighting changes that are needed in the home, education and popular media, this may lead to a new perception of how policy is developed in going forward. The findings of this report are to be discussed at Scottish Parliament next week.





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