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Home Secretary Suella Braverman questions whether international migration rules are ‘fit for purpose’ | Politics News

The home secretary has questioned whether international migration rules and conventions designed more than a century ago are “fit for purpose” ahead of a major speech in the United States.

Suella Braverman suggested a shake-up of international rules could be needed to tackle the migrant crisis.

She warned a failure to address the problem will undermine the “democratic legitimacy” of political institutions.

Ms Braverman has previously stated her personal view that the UK should leave the European Convention on Human Rights signed in 1950, which she has blamed for hampering efforts to introduce tough policies, such the Home Office bid to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Critics of her approach also questioned its compliance with the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention.

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‘Will you electronically tag migrants?’

Ahead of her trip, the home secretary said: “Illegal migration and the unprecedented mass movement of people across the globe is placing unsustainable pressures on America, the UK, and Europe.

“We must come together and ask whether the international conventions and legal frameworks designed 50-plus years ago are fit for purpose in an age of jet travel and smartphones.

“I’m going to Washington to discuss this crisis with our American counterparts.

“If we fail to meet these challenges, then our political institutions risk losing their democratic legitimacy.”

Ms Braverman will travel to Washington on Monday and deliver a keynote speech on Tuesday setting out her assessment of the global migration challenges.

She will present a blueprint for how other countries can combat the crisis and claim the UK has led the way in bringing forward innovative approaches to tackle the problem.

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Almost 24,000 people have been detected crossing the English Channel so far this year, despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats” – though the figure is down from 2022.

The Rwanda scheme has been bogged down in legal battles, while an attempt to house people waiting for claims to be assessed on a barge in Dorset is paused after Legionella was discovered on board.

Ms Braverman is expected to also use her trip to seek closer co-operation with US authorities on tackling illegal migration and people traffickers.

Murder investigation under way in Blackpool after woman found with ‘multiple injuries’ | UK News

A murder investigation is under way in Blackpool after a woman was found with “multiple injuries”.

Police were called to Redcar Road shortly before 11pm on Thursday to a report of an unexpected death.

The victim was identified today as Alison Dodds.

Officers are now treating her death as suspicious and have stepped up patrols in the area.

Detective Chief Inspector Jane Webb, of Lancashire Police, said: “First and foremost, my thoughts are with Alison’s family and loved ones at this difficult time.

“This is a tragic case, but our investigation team are determined to find out the full circumstances surrounding her death.

“We appreciate that this incident will have caused concern in the community and so I would like to reassure people that we have stepped up patrols in the area, and you can expect to see a visible police presence for some time.”

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Anybody who witnessed anything or captured footage of anything suspicious on Redcar Road has been asked to contact police with information.

Man jailed after girl, 6, savaged by his pack of out-of-control dogs in Manchester | UK News

A man whose pack of dogs savaged a six-year-old girl has been jailed.

Bernard Valentine, of Ackers Lane, Carrington, was sentenced to 49 months behind bars after the the attack, which involved his pocket bulldogs.

On Sunday 26 March this year, the young girl walked to her friend’s house on Ackers Lane.

As she walked past a property where Valentine was staying in his camper van outside, she was set upon by a pack of six dogs that were being kept in the back garden and in the defendant’s camper van.

The girl’s older sister tried to wrestle the dogs off, but they only ran away when her mother picked her up.

She suffered serious injuries to her face, scalp, hand, abdomen, arms, legs, back and shoulder, and has since had surgery.

Valentine was arrested two days later when his van was traced to Fallowfield in south Manchester and the dogs were subsequently seized.

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He was also arrested in connection with a second attack on the same road, when a man walking his dalmatian was injured after being set upon by the dogs.

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Valentine was also banned from owning dogs for life and has a 10-year restraining order after pleading guilty to eight charges of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control and possession of Class B drugs.

Rishi Sunak considering banning cigarettes for next generation – reports | Politics News

Rishi Sunak is considering a recommendation that would effectively ban cigarettes for the next generation.

The prime minister could introduce some of the world’s toughest anti-smoking measures by steadily increasing the legal age for consuming tobacco, according to The Guardian, citing Whitehall sources.

The paper said it also understood Mr Sunak’s leadership pledge to fine people £10 for missing a GP or hospital appointment could be under consideration once more.

Downing Street did not deny Mr Sunak was considering adopting a more stringent approach to smoking.

Last year a major review led by Dr Javed Khan backed England following New Zealand’s plan to impose a gradually rising smoking age to prevent tobacco being sold to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

Dr Khan recommended “increasing the age of sale from 18, by one year, every year until no one can buy a tobacco product in this country”.

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Could single-use vapes be banned by 2024?

If implemented by 2026, it would mean anyone aged 15 and under now would never be able to buy a cigarette.

However, health minister Neil O’Brien appeared to reject adopting that approach in April, when he said the government’s policy for achieving a smoke-free nation by its 2030 target would focus on “helping people to quit” rather than applying bans.

But it is now understood Mr Sunak is looking at different policy advice on how to reach England’s smoke-free target.

In his government-commissioned report published in June 2022, Dr Khan said without urgent action England would miss the 2030 target by at least seven years, with the poorest areas not meeting it until 2044.

He put the annual cost to society of smoking at about £17bn – £2.4bn to the NHS alone.

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‘Smoking is a deadly habit’ – government

A government spokesperson said: “Smoking is a deadly habit – it kills tens of thousands of people each year and places a huge burden on the NHS and the economy.

“We want to encourage more people to quit and meet our ambition to be smoke free by 2030, which is why we have already taken steps to reduce smoking rates.

“This includes providing one million smokers in England with free vape kits via our world first ‘swap to stop’ scheme, launching a voucher scheme to incentivise pregnant women to quit and consulting on mandatory cigarette pack inserts.”

The legal age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products in England and Wales is 18, having been raised from 16 in 2007 by the previous Labour government.

Met firearms officers ‘understandably anxious’ after force marksman charged with Chris Kaba murder | UK News

Firearms officers are “understandably anxious” after a force marksman was charged with the murder of Chris Kaba, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said.

Mr Kaba, 24, died in Streatham Hill, southeast London, in September last year after he was shot through an Audi car windscreen.

The officer accused of his murder, named only as NX121 after an anonymity order was granted by a district judge, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and the Old Bailey on Thursday.

Sir Mark Rowley said he has met with 70 firearms officers who operate all across London after the murder charge.

He said he understands “why many of them are reflecting on the potential price of such weighty responsibilities”.

The Met Commissioner also said officers were anxious “as they consider how others may assess their split-second decisions years after the event, with the luxury of as much time as they want to do this”.

Chris Kaba died in September last year

In a statement, Sir Mark said: “This week a Met firearms officer was charged with murder following the fatal shooting of Chris Kaba.

“I cannot talk about that case specifically as proceedings are very much active and I am mindful of the impact this is having on all those directly affected.

“On Thursday I met with 70 firearms officers to reflect on the events of this week.

“Like me, they understand the importance of transparency and accountability, and recognise the awful effect on everybody involved on the very rare occasions when lethal force is used by the police.

“That impact is exacerbated by the very slow speed that investigations, trials, inquests and hearings run at, meaning the lives of everyone affected are on hold for many years.”

Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley
Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley

Sir Mark continued: “They were understandably anxious as they consider how others may assess their split-second decisions years after the event, with the luxury of as much time as they want to do this, and the effect this can have on them and their families.

“As I continue my work today, our firearms officers are on patrol deployed on proactive crime and counter-terrorism operations as they are every day.

“They are not only prepared to confront the armed and dangerous to protect London’s communities but they do so recognising the uniquely intense and lengthy personal accountability they will face for their split-second operational decisions.

“Indeed, I understand why many of them are reflecting on the potential price of such weighty responsibilities.

“Bravery comes in many forms.

“When officers have the levels of uncertainty and worry I saw in my colleagues today, simply going in and doing their jobs not knowing what incidents are ahead of them is courageous.”

In the moments before the shooting, Mr Kaba had driven into Kirkstall Gardens and collided with a marked police car.

The officer fired one shot and hit Mr Kaba in the head.

Recorder of London Mark Lucraft KC told the marksman that a plea and trial preparation hearing will be listed for 1 December, with a possible trial date of 9 September next year.

NX121 was released on bail on the conditions that he lives at a named address, surrenders his passport and does not apply for international travel documents.

Russell Brand ‘ripped holes in woman’s tights’ and ‘refused to call her taxi until she performed a sex act’ | Ents & Arts News

A woman has told Sky News that Russell Brand made her feel “vulnerable and intimidated” – and alleges he refused to call her a taxi until she performed a sex act.

It comes as new allegations continue to emerge about the comedian’s behaviour, as another organisation cut ties with him.

Sarah, whose name has been changed, claims she met Russell Brand on an aeroplane where he “seemed friendly and charming”.

He invited her for breakfast and a walk after the flight and she agreed to travel in his limousine.

“He changed,” she says, “like he wasn’t friendly and charming in the limo. He was aggressive and I felt very vulnerable and intimidated.”

She describes Brand “jumping” on her.

Cast member Russell Brand arrives at the premiere of "Rock of Ages" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 8, 2012. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 15.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni  (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Russell Brand in 2012. File pic

“The limo driver was turning around a few times because I was saying no, but he ripped a hole – more than one hole – in the tights that I was wearing,” she says.

Sarah says they drove straight to Brand’s house where they had consensual sex.

“I mean, it was consensual. I didn’t say no,” she said, “but I feel like there’s a fine line between being forced and being coerced, you know, like being in a situation where the only way out is just to get it over and done with and leave.”

She claims Brand then refused to call her a taxi until she performed oral sex on him.

“I wanted to leave and I said, ‘I need to get a taxi’. And he said, ‘I’m not going to get you a taxi until you do this’, which was a sex act.”

She describes feeling “really trapped” and wanting to “scale that house.”

Sky News has reached out to Russell Brand’s representatives for comment.

Read more:
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‘No, no, no’

The BBC, meanwhile, has said it is looking into new allegations by another woman who claimed he exposed himself to her.

The woman, whom the BBC is naming ‘Olivia’, said she was working in the same building as Brand 15 years ago in Los Angeles when the incident happened.

She claims she answered the door to Brand and his team, and when she went into the bathroom she noticed he was behind her.

Speaking to the BBC, she claims Brand said he was going to have sex with her, to which she replied “no, you’re not”.

Olivia then alleges Brand showed her his genitals to which she responded with “no, no, no”.

She says she returned to her desk afterwards and texted a BBC employee in the office about what had happened.

The employee told her that he knew because Brand was talking about it in the studio, on Radio 2.

Russell Brand in 2008
Russell Brand in 2008

In the broadcast, which aired on 21 June 2008, Brand is heard speaking to his co-presenter Matt Morgan about it.

Morgan said: “[It’s been] 25 minutes since he showed his w**** to a lady,” and referred to “the receptionist”.

Brand is apparently heard laughing in the background.

According to the BBC report, Olivia never made a complaint, but management was informed in 2019 and no formal action was taken.

The BBC said it was sorry to hear the allegations and would investigate them as part of a review into Brand’s time at the BBC.

In a statement reported on BBC News, Matt Morgan said: “I was not aware until now of the nature of this encounter.

“I’ve expressed my regrets now looking back at the impact of the show and this is a further example.

“The recent coverage has been very distressing to read and I reiterate my absolute condemnation of any form of the mistreatment of women.”

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Dispatches programme makers speak

‘Open secret’

Comedian Nish Kumar has also spoken out, on his Pod Save The UK podcast, describing the presence of alleged sexual predators as an “open secret” on the comedy scene.

Brand, 48, has previously been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse by four other women between 2006 and 2013.

He has denied all the claims – saying that his relationships have always been consensual.

The accusations were first reported by the Sunday Times, The Times, and Channel 4’s Dispatches earlier this month.

The Metropolitan Police subsequently said it had received a sexual assault allegation against Brand dating back to 2003.

As a result, a number of organisations have now cut ties with the presenter.

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C4 boss: Brand allegations ‘disgusting’

The latest to end its association with Brand is the Treasures Foundation, which said it had been “extremely saddened” by the allegations.

In a statement, the charity said it was “founded on Christian principles” and is “totally committed to advocating for the voices of women”.

It continues: “As a result of the recent media investigation into Russell Brand, we have made the decision to no longer receive any support from Mr Brand, and the Stay Free Foundation.

“Moving forward our focus remains on the women under our care.”

Comedian Nish Kumar says presence of sexual predators in industry is ‘open secret’ following Russell Brand allegations | Ents & Arts News

Nish Kumar says young women have been advised to steer clear of dressing rooms used by ‘predators’ still working on the comedy scene.

The comedian also said the knowledge of Russell Brand‘s alleged abuse against young women was “a well-known open secret on the comedy circuit” and he thinks it’s likely “there’s more allegations to come”.

Cast member Russell Brand arrives at the premiere of "Rock of Ages" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California June 8, 2012. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 15.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni  (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Russell Brand

Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse and sexual misconduct by a number of women – claims he vehemently denies.

Speaking on his Pod Save The UK podcast, Kumar said: “This stuff is still happening, there are still people working in comedy who are the subject of open secrets.

“There are still people who work in comedy that we can’t name because again, of the threat of lawsuits. And there are still people working in comedy who people will say, ‘Oh, we don’t send young women into their dressing room’.”

The 38-year-old added: “Now at that stage for me, you should be sacked from that job. If you can’t have someone be around young women, they have no place in any kind of workplace.

“The tolerance of it is something that we are going to have to actually have a reckoning with.”

Kumar, who previously hosted The Mash Report and Late Night Mash – said he first heard about Brand’s alleged wrongdoings in mid-2017, and that “from that point onwards it was well known”.

He said it went on to be discussed by multiple comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018.

However, he said the “very specific and serious allegation” against Brand that he had first been made aware of was not one that was discussed in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme which aired at the weekend.

For that reason, Kumar said he thinks “it is possible that there’s more allegations to come”.

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Pointing to Brand’s diminishing TV work in the UK after 2019, Kumar said: “That’s simply because increasingly people were just not willing to work with him. Everyone was afraid to talk about it because of the threat of lawsuits, you know?

“And so, the only power people had was to withdraw participation from shows involving Russell Brand.”

Abuse of power is an industry wide problem

He said as a comedian working in the industry, he too felt a sense of “guilt” and “complicity”.

Kumar said: “Watching it as a cisgendered, heterosexual male comedian, you feel a certain sense of guilt and a certain sense of complicity because you’ve been working with production companies and producers who are providing an infrastructure that allows predators to thrive.”

He said the “indulgence” of top talent was “an issue that cuts across all of the industries,” and which needed to be addressed.

Kumar concluded: “The only people to come out of this with anything approaching any credibility are the victims who have been brave enough to step forward and the journalists who have worked extremely hard to produce rigorous pieces of journalism so that they could get around the threats of a very powerful man’s lawyers.”

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Brand, 48, was initially accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse by four women with the alleged offences taking place between 2006 and 2013.

The comedian and presenter denies the claims, and says all his relationships have been consensual.

Following the report by the Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches, two further women have come forward with allegations against Brand.

The Metropolitan Police says it has received an allegation of sexual assault against him dating back to 2003.

The BBC also says it is looking into allegations by a woman who claims Brand exposed himself to her and then laughed about it afterwards on his Radio 2 show.

In the wake of the claims, numerous companies have cut ties with Brand including his management company, a women’s charity and several of his YouTube sponsors.

Sky News has approached Russell Brand for comment.

Maddy Cusack: Sheffield United ‘devastated’ by death of long-serving 27-year-old player | UK News

Sheffield United have said they are devastated following the death of 27-year-old midfielder Maddy Cusack.

The respected player, named vice-captain last month, had just started her sixth season with the Blades in the Women’s Championship and was the longest-serving member of the current squad.

Cusack joined the team back in January 2019 and last season became the first woman to reach 100 appearances for the club.

Maddy Cusack
The midfielder signed a new contract extension with the club in July. Pic:AP

The former England youth international signed a new contract extension with the Blades in July.

A statement on the club’s official website said: “Sheffield United Football Club is devastated to report the sad news of the passing of Maddy Cusack.

“Maddy, a women’s team player since 2019 and marketing executive for the football club, passed away on Wednesday.

“A respected player, Maddy, 27, last season reached the milestone of 100 appearances for Sheffield United Women.

“Additionally, she was a valued colleague in the offices at Bramall Lane, moving over from the Sheffield United Community Foundation to the club in 2021 to help market all areas of the Blades.”

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United’s chief executive officer Stephen Bettis said: “This is heart-breaking news for everyone at Bramall Lane.

“Maddy had a unique position of being part of a number of teams at Sheffield United and was popular with everyone that she came into contact with.

“Her personality and professionalism made her a credit to her family – she will be sadly missed.

“While taking in the news and moving forward, the club will offer as much support as possible to Maddy’s family, friends and colleagues.”

The club said talks over “suitable tributes and celebrating Maddy’s life” will continue privately, adding: “The club and Maddy’s family would appreciate a period of privacy and will not comment further at this sad time.”

Akshata Murty gives update on Larry the Cat in rare interview about life at Downing Street | Politics News

Larry the cat, or Nova the dog? A hidden power struggle has been raging behind the scenes at Number 10 – and one has come out on top.

That is according to Rishi Sunak’s wife, who has given an insight into life at Downing Street in a rare interview.

Speaking to the Sky Kids FYI show, Akshata Murty said while she felt “honoured” to live in the famous residence, Nova, the family’s pet Labrador, is having “mixed emotions”.

Speaking from Number 10, Ms Murty said: “Nova has mixed emotions about (living here) because she sometimes doesn’t get on with Larry the Cat.

“And they’ve had some heated exchanges and Larry’s come out on top.

“So she might have some mixed opinions on living here.

“But, you know, our family is so grateful to be here.”

Larry (also known as Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office), has resided in Number 10 for 12 years, remaining the one constant within an ever-changing government.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pets his dog Nova, next to his wife Akshata Murty, as they meet volunteers from the Royal British Legion outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, October 31, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls.
Nova the dog is having ‘mixed emotions’ living in Downing Street with Larry the Cat

He has served as a trusted companion to five prime ministers: David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and now Mr Sunak, who came into office a year ago – bringing Nova along with him.

Ms Murty, the daughter of an Indian billionaire, said “not much has changed” since then.

FYI: Weekly News Show is from Sky Kids and the full interview can be seen on Sky News across the weekend

Asked what it’s like to be the wife of a prime minister, she said: “You know, I’ve had a busy life before. I’ve a busy life now.

“I think what’s been incredible is the range of opportunities that I’ve been exposed to… meeting really interesting people.”

Larry the cat sits on the red carpet at the entrance of 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Picture date: Monday July 10, 2023.
Larry the cat is the famous feline resident of Number 10

Ms Murty has created an initiative – “Lessons at 10” – which invites children from across the UK to the prime minister’s residence to learn about the building’s history and the role of government.

She said: “Through the Lessons at 10 programme, meeting lots of young people every Friday, I really enjoy that and so for me, I look at it (being the prime minister’s wife) as a very special time in my life to help support my husband in the job he’s doing while opening up the doors to young people. “

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Ms Murty, a computer scientist and engineer who was the first woman to work for India’s largest carmaker, has also worked for her father’s tech empire Infosys, which she has a stake in, and has founded multiple businesses.

She and Mr Sunak married in 2009 after they met at Stanford University and have two young daughters.

While she has largely remained out of sight of the cameras since her husband’s rise to power, her wealth has come under scrutiny.

She was embroiled in a row about her non-dom tax status when Mr Sunak was chancellor – something Labour has sought to weaponise.

James Corden on leaving his talk show, flying with Tom Cruise and whether he’ll do more Gavin & Stacey | Ents & Arts News

British star James Corden has told how he felt “compelled” to come back to the UK after eight years hosting his hit US chat show – but says it was “very difficult” to walk away.

In his first interview since returning home, the actor and presenter also spoke about the phone call he received from Tom Cruise to calm his nerves ahead of a Top Gun stunt, and gave his thoughts on whether Gavin & Stacey should come back to TV screens after a “perfect” cliffhanger.

Corden was speaking at a Royal Television Society event, looking back at how he went from being a relatively unknown British star in the US, to a world-famous presenter who has now interviewed everyone from Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber to Michelle Obama and Prince Harry.

He said he would always be “immensely proud” of presenting The Late Late Show.

Corden said: “What a thing to have done. It is a source of overwhelming feeling and just thinking, I genuinely don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such memories, to deserve such things, and it’s really hard to walk away from, it’s a very difficult thing to leave, but I felt compelled to come home.”

In the weeks since he has been back, Corden said people have questioned why he would choose to be here rather than LA.

“Sometimes you want to shake people and go, I wish you could see it from a distance,” he said.

He added: “I wish you could see this island from a distance. It’s unbelievable. It’s amazing, the architecture and the people and the creativity and the things that we make, the size of the country versus its output is extraordinary.

“And I just felt compelled to come home and, you know, to just try and see if there might be one more thing that I can do, safe in the knowledge that there might not be.”

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Corden told the audience that despite being “terrified” when he started on The Late Late Show, his aim was always to create a series that embraced the internet – something he did with segments such as Carpool Karaoke and Spill Your Guts, which often went viral.

Over the years, the show featured the likes of Kim Kardashian, Adele, One Direction, Stevie Wonder and Sir Elton John.

Asked by session host Boyd Hilton, the entertainment director of Heat magazine, about his time flying with Cruise, who is famous for doing his own stunts, ahead of the release of the Top Gun sequel, Corden said: “A few days before I had a genuine… I just ended up going like, look, he’s an actor, he’s not a pilot.

“Respectfully. It’s just the two of us in an aeroplane, if something happens… then we die. And worse than that, worse than my own death, is my children growing up and people going, you know who they are? Their dad killed Tom Cruise.

“And then Tom calls and goes, you know, ‘James. Your life is more valuable than mine.’

“He actually did make some salient points. What he said to me was, ‘I would never do this if I wasn’t flying every day. I am flying every single day… You don’t have to worry, you have to just trust me. And I wouldn’t do this going in cold.’

“And then you’re like, I guess we’re going to do it.”

Finally, Corden was also asked the question everyone wants an answer to: will we ever see more of Gavin & Stacey?

Nessa proposes to Smithy on Gavin and Stacey
Nessa proposed to Smithy in the 2019 Christmas special of Gavin and Stacey

The 2019 Christmas special left viewers on a cliffhanger as Nessa, played by Ruth Jones, proposed to Corden’s Smithy – just before the credits rolled.

“I genuinely don’t know if we’ll ever do another one,” Corden said. “I think Ruth and I would love to make something together again… I really don’t know with Gavin & Stacey. I think we feel so proud of that last special…

“I think, in a way, those characters, they live on, they carry on, they’re still out there somewhere living and breathing.

“Their lives carry on and we just sort of get together and open this portal and find out.

“Some people say to me, ‘I want to know what happens’. And I go, so do I!

“I don’t know… Maybe there’s something really perfect about it ending there.

“Can we truly fulfil people’s ambitions for it? I know it’s such an annoying answer, I’m aware of that, but I don’t know.”