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Chris Tarrant fined and banned for drink-driving

TV presenter admits he ‘made a mistake’ after driving home from pub while over the limit

Chris Tarrant has been fined £6,000 and banned from the roads for a year after admitting drink-driving after a lunchtime pub visit.

The television presenter, 71, got behind the wheel of his Mercedes on 16 December after drinking in the Bladebone Inn in Bucklebury, a mile and a half from his home in Berkshire.

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Press release: Secretary of State Karen Bradley announces new phase of talks

Since my appointment as Secretary of State I have had a number of discussions on the way forward to restore the Northern Ireland Executive and other political institutions under the Belfast Agreement.   What has quickly become clear to me is that time is short and one last opportunity to reach agreement remains.

Without agreement we will be facing a set of political consequences that will represent a significant setback to the progress made since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998, almost twenty years ago.   Over the past eight months the political parties, particularly the DUP and Sinn Fein, have made progress in closing the gaps existing between them on a range of difficult issues that have prevented the formation of an Executive.   The gaps are narrow, but there are still significant differences to overcome.   I also want to emphasise the role played by the SDLP, Alliance and the UUP who have made an active and positive contribution to making political progress.   Based on my conversations so far, I believe it is possible to reach agreement.

All of the parties have expressed their commitment to the restoration of the Executive.   They have indicated to me directly their willingness to engage in a constructive manner to try to reach agreement.   A short, intense set of political talks to restore the Executive will therefore commence next Wednesday [24 January 2018].

These will involve the five main parties, the UK Government and the Irish Government in accordance with the well-established three-stranded approach.

Initially, these talks will focus on gaining clarity of understanding on the progress that was made over the last seven months on a range of issues, including formation of the Executive and what are known as legacy issues.   Progress must be swift.   It is clear that Northern Ireland needs strong devolved government and political leadership. The people of Northern Ireland cannot continue to have their public services suffer by the lack of an Executive and without Ministers making the key policy and budget decisions.

Without an Executive, Northern Ireland’s voice on critical issues will not be heard as strongly.  

I will be updating Parliament in Westminster no later than 7 February on progress.

Without rapid progress, the UK Government will face significant decisions.

These include setting a budget for 2018/19, the future of MLA pay, the prospect of a further election (which I continue to keep under review) and ultimately other arrangements to ensure that Northern Ireland is able to benefit from the good government that its people both need and deserve.

My clear focus now, however, must be to see devolution restored, an Executive established and the progress that Northern Ireland has made over the past two decades continue.   And that is what I intend to do in the coming weeks.

News story: OPG updates legal guidance on giving gifts

OPG’s gifting practice note explains the legal framework around giving gifts and has been updated to reflect recent judgements by the Court of Protection.

It also explains the approach OPG takes if deputies or attorneys go beyond their authority to give gifts on behalf of the person they act for.

OPG has separate general guidance on giving gifts for non-professional deputies and attorneys.

Being an attorney or a deputy can be a demanding role – like a part-time job for some – and there are practice notes covering a range of subjects to help attorneys and deputies be as effective as they can.

Plymouth defender Ryan Edwards diagnosed with testicular cancer
Plymouth defender Ryan Edwards has been diagnosed with testicular cancer, the League One club have announced.
Why I helped bring the Dutch case over Britons’ EU rights | Jolyon Maugham
This could transform the Brexit fate of UK citizens abroad, and also the negotiations as a whole

Spare a thought for the million-odd UK citizens living in Europe.

The Conservative manifesto of 2015 promised to scrap the rules barring those who had lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting. Still, long-term British expats were denied the chance to vote in the EU referendum the following year.

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‘What a life. What a legend’: tributes paid to cult TV star Peter Wyngarde

Fans honour the stylish star with tweets and memories

Writers, celebrities and cult TV enthusiasts are among those paying tribute to the actor Peter Wyngarde, who has died aged 90.

From wartime internment alongside JG Ballard to Klytus. With No.2, Baron Gruner, Professor Norman Taylor, Peter Quint and Gloucester bus station in between. What a life. What a legend. Jason King is dead. Long live Jason King! #peterwyngarde pic.twitter.com/GX6AENMRZY

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Man with HIV can train as airline pilot after ban is reversed

Man says he is ‘overwhelmed, shocked, elated and humbled’ by Civil Aviation Authority’s rule-change

The Civil Aviation Authority has cleared a man with HIV to start training as a professional airline pilot after reversing its previous ban.

The man, known as Andrew, came forward last year to disclose that the CAA had refused to allow him to start training as a pilot for EasyJet because he was HIV positive.

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News story: No new inquest into the death of Stuart Lubbock

After careful consideration, the Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP has decided not to provide his authority for an application to be made to the High Court for a new inquest into the death of Stuart Lubbock. Mr Lubbock was found dead at the home of Michael Barrymore on 31 March 2001.

Mr Lubbock’s father submitted an application under the Coroners Act 1988 to request a new inquest into the death of his son on the grounds of new evidence.

An application for a fresh inquest may be made only with the authority of the Attorney General. The Attorney can provide his authority only if he is satisfied there is sufficient admissible evidence that there is a reasonable prospect of the Court being persuaded to order a new inquest.

The Attorney concluded that none of the grounds of challenge set out in the application had a reasonable prospect of success. As there is no fresh evidence that will likely lead to a different outcome being recorded on the inquisition he would not be able to provide his authority for the applications to be made to the High Court.

The Attorney General said:

I offer my deepest sympathy to the family of Stuart Lubbock for their loss, but, as disappointing as it will be for the family, it would not be right to pass this matter to the High Court when the tests for a new inquest are not met.

The original inquest was held by Coroner’s Court in Epping between 9 and 13 September 2002 and concluded with an open verdict.

News story: National Infrastructure Commission welcomes Sir John Armitt as new Chair

Sir John Armitt has today (18 January 2018) been appointed the permanent Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), where he will provide strategic advice to ensure the UK has the long-term infrastructure it needs to thrive.

Having served as a Commissioner since the NIC was established in 2015 and last year being appointed Deputy Chair, Sir John Armitt is a familiar face to the Commission.

With a background in engineering, Sir John Armitt’s expertise in infrastructure and major project delivery is extensive.

He has a proven track record of working at the forefront of UK infrastructure in positions that included the Chief Executive of Network Rail, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, where he played a key role in coordinating the 2012 London Olympics.

He was awarded a CBE in 1996 for his contribution to the rail industry and a knighthood in 2012 for his work in engineering and construction.

Announcing the appointment, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:

Boosting productivity is essential to sustaining real wage growth. And investing in infrastructure is one of the keys to raising our productivity performance.

The National Infrastructure Commission’s expertise is vital for ensuring the UK’s infrastructure is fit for the future. Sir John Armitt brings years of experience of UK infrastructure. With him at the helm, I am confident we will develop a strategic and ambitious infrastructure plan that supports economic growth for decades to come.

Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said:

I’m delighted to have been appointed as the Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission as we prepare for the publication of our first National Infrastructure Assessment later this year.

Making the right choices about planning and investing in infrastructure is critical to the UK’s prosperity and quality of life. I want the Commission to remain focused on tackling the long-term issues of congestion, capacity and carbon – and to continue to hold the government to account where decisive action is needed – so we can secure the improvements that companies, communities and families need.

I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners and listening to our stakeholders as we set out the way forward for the UK’s infrastructure.

Replacing Lord Adonis who resigned from the position at the end of last year, Sir John Armitt takes charge of the NIC’s exciting programme of work, with the first ever National Infrastructure Assessment due out this summer. The assessment will take a long-term view of Britain’s infrastructure needs and make recommendations to the government on how best to meet them.

Further information

First set up in 2015 and established permanently in January 2017, the NIC is an executive agency which helps plan, prioritise and ensure efficient investment in Britain’s infrastructure. It provides government with strategic thinking to address the UK’s long term infrastructure needs.

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