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Man charged with murder of Elle Edwards on Christmas Eve | UK News

A man has been charged with the murder of 26-year-old Elle Edwards, who was shot dead at a pub on Christmas Eve.

Connor Chapman has also been charged with two counts of attempted murder, and three counts of unlawful and malicious wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The 22-year-old has also been charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life, and handling stolen goods, namely a Mercedes A Class.

He has been remanded in custody to appear at Wirral Adult Remand Court on Friday.

Meanwhile, Merseyside Police said a 23-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender has been released on bail pending further enquiries.

Ms Edwards was shot at the Lighthouse pub in Wallasey Village, Wirral, shortly before midnight on 24 December.

The beautician, who had been out celebrating with friends, was later pronounced dead in hospital.

The shooting also left four men injured.

Forensics at the  Lighthouse Inn where Elle Edwards was killed on Christmas Eve
Tributes left outside the pub where Ms Edwards was shot

In a family tribute, her father, Tim Edwards, said “everyone that met Elle knew how special she was”.

Her sister, Lucy Edwards, described her as her “best friend, sidekick, and partner in crime”.

Police are still appealing for witnesses, and have set up a public portal at where people can submit information and any CCTV, dashcam, or mobile phone footage.

Thousands of university staff to strike for 18 days between February and March | UK News

Full list of UK universities affected by upcoming UCU strike

Aberdeen, The University of

Abertay University

Aberystwyth University

Anglia Ruskin University

Arts University Bournemouth

Aston University

Bangor University

Bath Spa University

Bath, University of

Bedfordshire, University of

Birkbeck, University of London

Birmingham City University

Birmingham, The University of

Bishop Grosseteste University

Bolton, The University of

Bournemouth University

Bradford, University of

Brighton, University of

Bristol, University of

Brunel University

Buckinghamshire New University

Cambridge, University of

Canterbury Christ Church University

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Cardiff University

Central Lancashire, University of

Chester, University of

Chichester, University of

City, University of London

Courtauld Institute of Art

Coventry University

Cranfield University

Cumbria, University of

De Montfort University

Derby, University of

Dundee, The University of

Durham University

East Anglia, University of

East London, University of

Edge Hill University

Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh, University of

Essex, University of

Exeter, University of

Falmouth University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow, University of

Gloucestershire, University of

Goldsmiths, University of London

Greenwich, University of

Harper Adams University

Heriot-Watt University

Hertfordshire, University of

Huddersfield, The University of

Hull, The University of

Imperial College London

Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Keele University

Kent, The University of

King’s College London

Kingston University

Lancaster, University of

Leeds Arts University

Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Trinity University

Leeds, The University of

Leicester, University of

Lincoln, University of

Liverpool Hope University

Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA)

Liverpool John Moores University

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Liverpool, University of

London Metropolitan University

London School of Economics

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

London South Bank University

Loughborough University

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester, The University of

Middlesex University

Newcastle University

Newman University

Northampton, The University of

Northumbria University

Norwich University of the Arts

Nottingham Trent University

Nottingham, The University of

Open University

Oxford Brookes University

Oxford, University of

Plymouth Marjon University

Plymouth, University of

Portsmouth, University of

Queen Margaret University

Queen Mary, University of London

Queen’s University Belfast

Reading, University of

Robert Gordon University

Roehampton University

Rose Bruford College

Royal Academy of Music

Royal Agricultural University

Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Royal College of Art

Royal College of Music

Royal Holloway, University of London

Royal Northern College of Music

Royal Veterinary College, University of London

Ruskin College

Salford, The University of

SAMS at University of the Highlands and Islands

Senate House, University of London

Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield, The University of

SOAS, University of London

Solent University

South Wales, University of

Southampton, University of

St Andrews, University of

St George’s, University of London

St Mary’s University College, Belfast

St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Staffordshire University

Stirling, The University of

Stranmillis University College

Strathclyde, University of

Suffolk, University of

Sunderland, University of

Surrey, University of

Sussex, University of

Swansea University

Teesside, University of

Trinity Laban

UCA University for the Creative Arts

Ulster University

University College Birmingham

University College London

University of the Arts London

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Warwick, University of

West London, University of

West of England, University of the

West of Scotland, University of the

Westminster, University of

Winchester, The University of

Wolverhampton, University of

Worcester, University of

Wrexham Glyndwr University

Writtle University College

York, University of

York St John University

Liberty Steel blames ‘unviable’ market as restructuring threatens hundreds of jobs | Business News

Liberty Steel UK has placed 440 jobs under threat through a series of actions to secure its future amid “unviable” market conditions.

The company said high energy costs had combined with other uncompetitive factors such as cheap imports and it was vital its operations were “refocused”.

Liberty, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, said its Newport and West Bromwich plants would be made idle under the changes.

They would also include operations at Rotherham being shifted towards premium products.

Liberty, which has been battling financing headwinds since the collapse of its biggest lender Greensill Capital in 2021, said the next phase of its restructuring programme would see workers affected offered an alternative to redundancy.

The proposed scheme aims to retain, redeploy and reskill affected employees and guarantees salary and outplacement opportunities.

Liberty said they could be redeployed within the business, on previous employment terms, when market conditions allowed.

‘Unviable market’

Its statement said: “Despite the injection of £200m of shareholder capital over the last two years, the production of some commodity grade products at Rotherham and downstream mills has become unviable in the short term due to high energy costs and imports from countries without the same environmental standards.

“Primary production through Rotherham’s lower carbon electric arc furnaces (EAFs) will be temporarily reduced while uncompetitive operating conditions prevail.”

The company said the measures would forge a “viable way forward” for the business and help safeguard jobs among its wider workforce of 1,900 permanent employees, rising up to 5,000 when contractors are included.

It made the announcement despite the promise of extra financial help for energy intensive industries, including steel, through a new discount scheme for businesses.

Sanjeev Gupta, boss of Liberty Steel, speaks to Sky News 1/4/21
Sanjeev Gupta

Jeffrey Kabel, chief transformation officer for Liberty Steel Group, said: “Refocusing our operations will set the right platform for Liberty Steel UK’s high-quality manufacturing businesses to adapt quickly to challenging market realities.”

He added: “Liberty’s shareholder Sanjeev Gupta has supported the business through a very difficult period and remains committed to the workforce here in the UK and ensuring our lower carbon operations help deliver a sustainable, decarbonised UK steel industry.”

‘Change in plans is devastating’

Alun Davies, national officer of steelworkers union Community, responded: “Since the collapse of Greensill Capital, the trade unions have supported the company because we believed that delivering the company’s business plans, which were audited and backed by the unions’ independent experts, was the best route to safeguard jobs and the future of all the businesses.

“However, the plans we reviewed were based on substantial investment and ramping up production, including at Liberty Steel Newport, and did not include the ‘idling’ of any sites.

“These are challenging times for all steelmakers but the company’s decision to change their plans, on which we based our support, and announce a strategy seemingly based on capacity cuts and redundancies is devastating.”

The government pledged continued support for the sector in its response, but Gareth Stace, head of industry body UK Steel, said: “High energy prices have played an important role in the decisions announced today, with long-standing uncompetitive electricity prices having constrained UK investment and steel production for some time.

“This highlights again the need for government to fully address the UK’s structurally high industrial energy prices, looking beyond the important announcements made regarding the energy bills discount scheme earlier this week.

“It is crucial we also now see the development of a long-term decarbonisation plan for the sector, ultimately ensuring that the UK can be seen as an attractive place to invest in steel production.”

Downing Street said reports of potential job losses at the firm were “concerning” but that ministers would continue to offer “extensive support” to the sector.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Obviously it will be concerning for workers at Liberty Steel. We are committed to ensuring a sustainable future for the UK steel sector. We want to work closely with the industry to achieve this.”

Big retailers report Christmas progress as Tesco claims win over premium grocers | Business News

Tesco says it is the only one of the major chains to have grown its market share versus pre-pandemic levels over Christmas, claiming it took business from rivals with the exception of the discounters.

The UK’s biggest retailer said like-for-like sales rose 4.3% in its third quarter to 26 November and were up 7.2% in the six weeks to 7 January.

Grocery rival M&S said its like for like food sales were up by 6.3% on the same basis over the 13 weeks to 31 December.

M&S said its clothing & home offering – long a drag on the group’s performance – enjoyed its highest market share for seven years with sales up by 8.6%.

Both Tesco and M&S, however, maintained their annual profit guidance.

One big name to reveal Christmas trouble was online fashion retailer asos.

It reported a 3% fall in revenue during the four months to the end of December, driven by an 8% plunge in UK sales over the four weeks to Christmas.

It blamed weak consumer sentiment and earlier cut-off dates for Christmas deliveries due to delivery problems caused by the Royal Mail strikes.

FILE PHOTO: A model walks on an in-house catwalk at the ASOS headquarters in London April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo
Asos said sales plunged ahead of Christmas versus a strong comparison with the previous year

Halfords, the motoring and cycling chain, cut the range of its annual profit outlook to between £50m and £60m, from £65m to £75m.

It blamed soft demand for tyres and bikes. The company also warned that a failure to recruit enough skilled technicians at its auto-centres business would have an impact on the final quarter of its financial year.

The firms are the latest to report on their progress after a tough festive season for family budgets – squeezed by the energy-led cost of living crisis.

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Food inflation reaches record levels

The overall picture for retailers’ performance ahead of Thursday’s trading updates has been one of resilience, however, suggesting that shoppers were prepared to relax the purse strings for Christmas amid record food inflation.

Read more
Three million ran out of credit on their energy prepayment meter last year
NatWest provides debt extension for struggling customers

It has led retail groups to express caution over consumer demand for the months ahead, while financial analysts have also questioned the extent to which company profitability has risen in line with sales.

While inflation has generally driven a surge in sales values in the company updates to date, retailers have given little away on their margins and growth in the volume of sales – the amount of goods sold.

That said, Sainsbury’s and JD Sports both adjusted upwards the guidance on their annual profit expectations on Wednesday.

Next and B&M did the same last week.

Another trend to have emerged over Christmas included a dive in online sales – possibly wholly explained by the impact of strikes at Royal Mail – with more visits to physical stores replacing some of that retail space.

Shares in both Tesco and asos opened 1.5% down while M&S stock fell by 2.6%.

Halfords suffered through a 12.8% plunge.

Commenting on Tesco’s sales figures Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “For all the progress, there is an elephant in the room.

“A large proportion of success is coming down to discounting. Things like Aldi Price Match and price freezes are very successful tactics, but can spell bad news for margins.”

“Supermarkets had only recently rediscovered their footing before the pandemic, following years of margin degradation from an all-out price war.

“Soaring inflation and the pressure on customer spending power means history is repeating itself. The tug of war between pricing and volumes is clearly producing a good result, which is why profit expectations have been reiterated, but it’s still hardly an ideal state of affairs for the big names in industry.”

Long COVID symptoms ‘resolve in a year’ for most with mild illness, study finds | UK News

Long COVID sufferers who had a mild bout of the virus should expect their symptoms to resolve within a year, researchers have suggested.

People with ongoing effects after illness have been concerned that lingering symptoms will not disappear.

But academics suggest that “mild disease does not lead to serious or chronic long-term morbidity”.

The team of Israeli researchers compared data on people who had not been infected with COVID-19 with people who suffered a mild form of the virus, meaning they suffered symptoms but did not require hospital care.

They also examined information on lingering symptoms after infection in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Almost two million people’s information was looked at in the research, all of whom had taken a COVID-19 test between March 2020 and October 2021.

Data on almost 300,000 people who had a confirmed mild case of COVID was compared with the same number of people who had not contracted the disease.

The research team also examined information on a range of long COVID symptoms including loss of taste and smell, breathing problems, concentration and memory issues, also known as brain fog.

They discovered that symptoms of long COVID “remained for several months” but almost always resolved within a year.

“Lingering” breathing problems were also found to be more common among people who had not received a COVID vaccination compared with those who had.

Read more:
Holocaust survivor criticises Andrew Bridgen’s vaccine remarks
COVID samples to help to develop swab test for respiratory viruses
China reopens borders after three years of COVID isolation

“Although the long COVID phenomenon has been feared and discussed since the beginning of the pandemic, we observed that most health outcomes arising after a mild disease course remained for several months and returned to normal within the first year,” the academics wrote in The BMJ.

“This nationwide dataset of patients with mild COVID-19 suggests that mild disease does not lead to serious or chronic long-term morbidity and adds a small continuous burden on healthcare providers.

“Importantly, the risk for lingering dyspnoea was reduced in vaccinated patients with breakthrough infection compared with unvaccinated people, while risks of all other outcomes were comparable.”

The researchers said the largest number of long-term symptoms for at least six months was found among people aged 41 to 60 compared with other age groups.

The different types of coronavirus strains were not found to have an effect on the duration of long COVID.

An estimated 2.1 million people in the UK were experiencing self-reported long COVID at the start of December last year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Long COVID is defined as symptoms continuing for more than four weeks after infection.

Alireza Akbari: Iran branded ‘barbaric regime’ over planned execution of man accused of being UK spy | World News

The foreign secretary has condemned the planned execution of a British-Iranian dual national by Iran, calling it “a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime”.

James Cleverly has appealed for the release of Alireza Akbari, a former senior defence official in Iran accused of working for British intelligence.

The Iranian judiciary claimed Mr Akbari, who was deputy defence minister under former president Mohammad Khatami until 2001, was a “key spy” for the British government, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

It said Iranian intelligence unmasked the alleged spy by feeding him false information and described him as “one of the most important infiltrators of the country’s sensitive and strategic centres”.

Mr Cleverly tweeted: “Iran must halt the execution of British-Iranian national Alireza Akbari and immediately release him.

“This is a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has total disregard for human life.”

Mr Akbari claims he was tortured and given mind-altering drugs and forced to confess to crimes he did not commit.

His wife Maryam has said she has been asked to attend a “final visit” at the prison where he is being held, suggesting his execution may be imminent, according to BBC Persia.

Commons Foreign Affairs Committee chair Alicia Kearns also condemned the planned execution, accusing the regime in Tehran of reacting because it felt “cornered” as a result of international sanctions and anti-government protests.

“It is another horrifying example of the Iranian regime, because they feel they are cornered, because there is such significant pressure from sanctions, weaponising British nationals and industrialising hostage-taking,” she told the BBC Radio 4 PM programme.

Following the recent executions of anti-government protesters, Ms Kearns said Western countries should respond with fresh sanctions against the regime.

“Every time the Iranian government assassinates an individual involved in the protests, there should be sanctions applied by Western government the next day to make the point that we stand by those protesting for the basic rights of Iranians, otherwise we are showing no meaningful support to them,” she said.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of Mr Akbari and have repeatedly raised his case with the Iranian authorities.”

“Our priority is securing his immediate release and we have reiterated our request for urgent consular access.”

Rishi Sunak reveals he is registered with NHS GP – but went private ‘in the past’ | Politics News

Rishi Sunak has revealed he is registered with an NHS GP but has used private healthcare “in the past”.

The prime minister has repeatedly refused over the past week to answer whether he uses the NHS or pays for private healthcare.

But during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday he chose to disclose he is, in fact, registered with an NHS GP.

Answering a question on how long he has waited for an NHS dentist appointment, Mr Sunak told MPs: “I am registered with an NHS GP, I have used independent healthcare in the past and I’m also grateful to the Friarage Hospital for the fantastic care they’ve given my family over the years.

“The truth is I am proud to come from an NHS family and that’s why I’m passionately committed to protecting it with more funding, more doctors and nurses, and a clear plan to cut the waiting lists.”

Mr Sunak’s spokesman refused to say when the PM registered with an NHS GP but said he does not currently have private healthcare cover.

The Friarage Hospital is an NHS hospital in Northallerton, close to Mr Sunak’s home in North Yorkshire.

Mr Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer battled over the NHS during PMQs on a day when ambulance workers are striking.

Sir Keir used Mr Sunak’s revelation to bring up waiting times, telling MPs: “The prime minister saying he’s now registered with an NHS doctor, so he’ll soon enjoy the experience of waiting on hold every morning at 8am to get a GP appointment.

“But I can tell him that those that are waiting now don’t want another round of empty promises or boasting about what he’s done. They just want to know when they’ll be able to see a doctor.”

Sparky session with an important admission from the PM

A significant development came out of this PMQs session in its first couple of minutes – from the prime minister when he admitted he had used private healthcare in the past, but was registered with an NHS GP.

This is a question he declined to answer over the weekend, claiming his own and his family’s healthcare was irrelevant.

With Labour MPs now regularly making coded, or not so coded, jibes at the prime minister’s expensive education, his wife’s tax affairs and his use of paid-for healthcare, Sunak seems to have swiftly decided not to let this one run and run.

For someone who gets noticeably uncomfortable when asked personal questions, he obviously saw it as a dangerous narrative for Labour to push.

The pollster John Curtice has pointed out that this issue matters to voters, with two-thirds of them telling YouGov during the leadership contest last year that they considered Mr Sunak “out of touch” – his most negative trait in the survey.

Other than that, both men were, in the first session of the year, on punchy form.

Starmer had a zinger on minimum service levels in the NHS, saying: “There’s not a minimum level of service any day because they have broken the NHS”.

Sunak attacked Labour for not having an alternative plan to resolve strikes and tried to paint Starmer as “inconsistent” and flip-flopping. These will be the core messages, as the NHS and strikes dominate the news agenda.

Keir Starmer PMQs
Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs

Read more:
NHS strikes to go ahead after talks break down
Who is striking and when?

The prime minister said he was “proud to come from an NHS family” and he is “passionately committed to protecting it” with more funding, more doctors and nurses planned.

But Sir Keir hit out at the PM for failing to negotiate with nurses before Christmas, saying if he had they would not be striking again next week and the same for ambulance workers.

Mr Sunak accused Sir Keir of failing to support the government’s bill to introduce minimum safety levels during strikes by key workers and said he is “on the side of his union paymasters, not patients”.

“They’ve gone from clapping the nurses to sacking the nurses,” Sir Keir replied.

He also accused the government of trying to “legislate your way out of 13 years of failure” with the anti-strike bill.

Harry says ‘dangerous lie’ told about his book – and claims Taliban remarks were taken out of context | UK News

Prince Harry has said the “most dangerous lie” about his explosive memoir Spare is that he boasted about killing 25 Taliban while serving as a soldier in Afghanistan.

The controversial book, which was released on Tuesday, sparked an uproar after it was revealed the Duke of Sussex had engaged in “the taking of human lives”.

“So, my number is 25. It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me,” he wrote.

The prince said he did not think of them as “people”, but instead as “chess pieces” that had been taken off the board.

In an interview with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, the 38-year-old said it had been “hurtful and challenging” to watch the reactions after his book was prematurely leaked.

“Without a doubt, the most dangerous lie that they have told, is that I somehow boasted about the number of people that I killed in Afghanistan,” he said.

He noted the context in which the reference appeared in the memoir, before saying: “I should say, if I heard anyone boasting about that kind of thing, I would be angry. But it’s a lie.

“And hopefully now that the book is out, people will be able to see the context, and it is – it’s really troubling and very disturbing that they can get away with it.

“Because they had the context. It wasn’t like ‘here’s just one line’ – they had the whole section, they ripped it away and just said ‘here it is, he’s boasting on this’.

“When as you say, you’ve read it and hopefully everyone else will be able to have the chance to read it, and that’s dangerous.

“My words are not dangerous, but the spin of my words are very dangerous.”

Pic: CBS via AP
Pic: CBS via AP

Admiral Lord West, former head of the Royal Navy, said the duke had been “very stupid” for giving details of his Taliban kills.

The retired admiral told the Sunday Mirror that the Invictus Games – which were created by Harry and are scheduled to be held in Dusseldorf, Germany, this year – will have “serious security issues” because of their direct connection to Harry.

Read more:
Cheeky book shop display of Harry’s book
All the celebrities Prince Harry mentions in Spare
Midnight queues: Why people are buying Spare

Key revelations in Prince Harry’s book

  • The duke admits to using cocaine – saying “it wasn’t very fun”
  • He claims to have killed 25 people in Afghanistan during his two tours of duty
  • He says he asked his father not to marry Camilla – and his brother made the same request
  • He describes how King Charles told him Meghan should not go to Balmoral after the Queen’s death
  • He recalled the moment he found out his mother, Princess Diana, had been in a car accident
  • He says he lost his virginity to an older woman in a field behind a busy pub
  • He accuses Prince William of knocking him over during an argument about the Duchess of Sussex

Lord West added that the global multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women will be a prime target for those seeking revenge.

Meanwhile, a senior Taliban leader Anas Haqqani tweeted that the militants Harry had killed in Afghanistan were “not chess pieces, they were humans”.

Harry told Colbert he had been driven to discuss his kills in the hopes of reducing veteran suicides.

“I made a choice to share it because having spent nearly two decades working with veterans all around the world, I think the most important thing is to be honest and to give space to others to be able to share their experiences without any shame,” he said.

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Harry book ‘half price already’

“And my whole goal, my attempt with sharing that detail, is to reduce the number of suicides.

Palace attempted to ‘undermine’ book

Harry claimed Buckingham Palace attempted to undermine the stories he has told in the book, with the help of the British press.

Without mentioning any names, Colbert asked if there had been attempts by the Palace to undermine the book, to which he replied: “Of course, and mainly by the British press.”

Asked again if it was the Palace who had assisted the undermining of his book, Harry said: “Of course.”

Fan of The Crown

Elsewhere in the interview, Harry admitted to watching The Crown – the hit Netflix historical drama series about Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the Royal Family.

“You’ve got to have watched some of The Crown, right?” Colbert asks.

“Yes, actually, I have watched The Crown,” Harry said. “The older stuff and the more recent stuff.”

On whether he fact-checks the Netflix show, the prince laughed before quipping: “Yes, I do actually. Which, by the way, another reason it is so important that history has it right.”

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Queen was ‘incredibly humorous’

The prince said he remembers his late grandmother the Queen for her “sharp wit” and sense of humour.

“Her sharp wit, her sense of humour, her ability to respond to anybody with a completely straight face. But totally joking,” he told Colbert.

“She was incredibly humorous.”

He continued: “I’m genuinely happy for her because she finished life. She had an amazing life, she had an amazing career and she was buried with her husband.

“And bearing in mind the global suffering that everybody’s experienced over the last three years, there was less suffering for both of my grandparents. I’m really, really grateful for that.”

Harry’s interview with Colbert marks the end of the press run for his autobiography, which has become the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever, recording figures of 400,000 copies so far across hardback, eBook and audio formats on its first day of publication.

The prince has used the 550-plus pages of Spare to make headline-dominating claims including accusing William of physically attacking him and teasing him about his panic attacks, saying King Charles put his own interests above Harry’s and, in a US broadcast interview, branding Camilla as the “villain” and “dangerous”.

But as a well-connected individual, the book is also packed with celebrity cameos, from the Spice Girls to Courtney Cox.

Uranium detected in package at Heathrow Airport – counter-terror police investigate | UK News

A small amount of uranium has been detected in a package that arrived in the UK at Heathrow Airport following a routine screening.

The Metropolitan Police said its counter-terrorism command unit was contacted by Border Force colleagues at the airport after the contaminated material was discovered on 29 December.

Commander Richard Smith said the amount of contaminated material “was extremely small” and has been assessed by experts as posing no threat to the public.

He added: “Although our investigation remains ongoing, from our inquiries so far, it does not appear to be linked to any direct threat.

“As the public would expect, however, we will continue to follow up on all available lines of enquiry to ensure this is definitely the case.

“However, it does highlight the excellent capability we and our partners have in place to monitor our ports and borders in order to keep the public safe from any potential threats to their safety and security that might be coming into the UK.”

The material has been identified as being contaminated with uranium, the force said, and no arrests have been made.

It added that officers are working with partner agencies to investigate and ensure there is no risk to the public.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not comment on live investigations.”

Uranium is a metal that exists naturally in the earth, but is harmful to humans because it is an essential nuclear element.

Westminster Accounts: Chair of ethics watchdog says MPs should exercise more ‘due diligence’ over donations | Politics News

The chair of parliament’s ethics watchdog has said MPs should be forced to exercise more “due diligence” over donations, in response to Sky News’ Westminster Accounts project.

Sky News and Tortoise Media have launched a new database of MPs’ second jobs and donations – the first time they have all been collated in one place.

MPs have been accused of failing to provide “sufficient” transparency after our investigation struggled to uncover basic details about who is behind major donations.

Among the top donors to individual politicians are companies where little detail was provided in the MPs’ declarations about who they are, who is in charge and where they are based.

Search for your MP using the Westminster Accounts tool

Speaking to Sky’s deputy political editor Sam Coates, Lord Pickles said MPs should have to know and declare a named individual as the originator of a donation, even if the funds come from a company.

“It wouldn’t take very much to just to sort this out,” said Lord Pickles, who is the chair of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

More on Westminster Accounts

The Westminster Accounts

“There is a degree of due diligence that members of Parliament are not required currently to do under the rules, but basically should be, which is pretty straightforward, which is ‘why is this organisation giving me money and do they expect anything in return’?”

Lord Pickles said it “wouldn’t be unreasonable to put together some guidelines for MPs to be able to answer some just very basic questions”.

“It doesn’t mean to say they have to do a line-by-line scrutiny of the company or employ expensive accountants to do so, but to be able to answer just one or two questions like who has given this money and who is the controlling thought behind that company and why they’re doing it.

“And just to simply say this money is to be used for this, there are no restrictions. Or this is to conduct research in a particular area. This isn’t actually going to put an enormous burden on members of parliament, and I think it will remove an awful lot of worry.”

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MPs lacking ‘sufficient’ transparency

Sky’s Westminster Accounts investigation has discovered that nobody had heard of a company donating hundreds of thousands to Labour MPs on a visit to its registered address, while the office of another company that donates to 24 Tory MPs was shut and apparently out of action.

Read More:
Westminster Accounts: 14 MPs given over £250,000 each in campaign donations since the last election
Rishi Sunak says ‘transparency really important’ as focus turns to MPs’ second jobs

When asked for comment, some of the MPs concerned were reluctant to discuss the details until after the stories were published.

Lord Pickles said there “isn’t enough transparency” and it “wouldn’t take a big effort” to improve this.

Praising the Westminster Accounts project he said: “I’ve loved what you’ve been doing.

“I’ve played around with the toolkit that you’ve provided. I would have thought from even the casual observer that you’ve not demonstrated or attempted to suggest there’s something sleazy about this.

“All you’ve suggested is that there should be a degree of transparency as to why the money is needed.”