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MoD ‘aware of investigation’ after SAS soldiers reportedly arrested over class A drugs | UK News

The Ministry of Defence says it’s “aware of an ongoing investigation” following reports two SAS soldiers were arrested over alleged involvement in a drugs ring.

The wife of one of the men was also detained during a raid on a farm by military and civilian police on 30 November, according to the Mail.

It said “quantities of a suspicious substance were found and removed for analysis” and that the trio were questioned and later bailed on suspicion of class A drug offences.

The raid reportedly took place in the Herefordshire countryside.

A MoD spokesperson told Sky News: “We are aware of an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The SAS – regarded by many as the world’s best elite unit – is based at the Stirling Lines garrison in the village of Credenhill.

However, it’s currently facing damaging allegations that its troops carried out unlawful killings in Afghanistan.

A public inquiry is taking place, but is being held partly in secret.

The claims surfaced in a BBC and Times investigation that claimed innocent civilians were killed during night raids to capture Taliban fighters.

Read more from Sky News:
US driver flees UK after crash leaves nurse unable to walk
Prince Harry ordered to pay Mail on Sunday nearly £50,000

Evidence submitted to the inquiry said as many as 80 people were killed in suspicious circumstances between 2010 and 2013.

The documents outlined the high kill rate of the squadrons, with one soldier shooting 35 people dead in a single six-month tour.

Government under pressure over ‘ghost children’ missing from class | Politics News

The government “remains committed” to legislate to establish a register of pupils who are not in school, the education secretary said.

It comes after criticism that the King’s Speech on Tuesday, which set out the legislative agenda for the year, did not include anything about the plan to reduce the number of so-called “ghost children”.

As Sky News has reported, since the pandemic there has been a rise in the number youngsters who have stopped going to school.

Often this is pupils who have been excluded from the classroom and then fall out of the system – making them vulnerable to being targeted by gangs.

Making an intervention as Education Secretary Gillian Keegan opened a debate in the House of Commons, Lib Dem MP Munira Wilson said: “What was crystal clear from the King’s Speech yesterday is despite her [Ms Keegan’s] grandiose statements here, education is not a priority for this government.”

Ms Wilson asked why there was no announcement “about bringing forward legislation for a children-not-in-school register” – something ministers promised they would still do after scrapping the Schools Bill last year.

The education secretary said that remains the government’s position – though she did not say when the plans would be brought before parliament, only saying it would happen at a “suitable opportunity”.

“We do remain committed to legislating to take forward the children-not-in-school measures and we will progress these at a future suitable legislative opportunity,” Ms Keegan said.

“We are continuing to work with local authorities to improve the non-statutory registers. And we have also launched a consultation on revised elective home education guidance.

“So there is work going on, the consultation is open until January 18, 2024. So there is a lot of work going on and we do intend to bring forward that legislation.”

Read more:
Thousands are missing school
The ‘ghost children’ crisis explained
Absence in schools is now at crisis point

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Excluded teen stabbed in Croydon

The law requires all children of school age to receive suitable full-time education, but last year 141,000 children spent more time out of class than in – up by 137% since the pandemic.

Local councils blame funding problems for not being able to keep track of missing pupils well enough.

Last May the government launched a piece of legislation known as the Schools Bill, which promised to raise standards through a series of measures including the creation of local authority-administered register for children not in school.

However, come December it was scrapped, with ministers insisting they were committed to its objectives despite not taking the legislation further.

Speaking in the Commons, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson paid tribute to Sky News “for being relentless in pursuing this issue”.

She said persistent absenteeism means we are now on track for two million children to be regularly missing school by 2025.

She said: “That’s one in four of our children. There is no greater failing by this government than standing by as more and more children are missing from school for days on end, term after term, a lost generation of children missing from England’s schools.”

Ms Phillipson earlier told Sky News that if she becomes education secretary after the next election, she will “take action to make sure our children are supported, that every day in school matters”.

She said that would mean: “More mental health support, with mental health hubs in every community, improved access to mental health support within our secondary schools, and alongside that for our younger children, universal free breakfast clubs to support children with a softer start to the school day, and also wider help for families during what’s a really difficult time with the cost of living crisis.”

Meanwhile, Andy Cook, chief executive of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a centre-right think tank, warned the crisis could have far-reaching consequences for society.

He told Sky News: “You go into any prison and you talk to the people there, 90% of them say they missed a lot of school on a regular basis. So we need to take this seriously.”

Kate beats William at spin class on visit to Welsh leisure centre – all while wearing high-heeled boots | UK News

The Princess of Wales beat her husband at an endurance spin class during a visit to an Aberavon leisure centre – while donning her high-heeled boots.

The royal couple joined gym goers at the endurance cycling session in south Wales, and were challenged to see who could cycle the furthest in 45 seconds while riding a virtual race in the Italian mountains.

As they entered the room, the prince apologised to the class saying: “Sorry for ruining your spin class.”

He then pointed out to Kate that she was still wearing her high-heeled boots.

“Not sure I am dressed for this,” she responded.

Once under way, and clearly teasing her husband, Kate said: “Can I make it harder?”

At the conclusion, William said, while breathing heavily: “Talk to you in a minute.”

The Princess of Wales looks at her winners trophy after beating the Prince of Wales in a timed distance spin class during a visit to Aberavon Leisure and Fitness Centre in Port Talbot, to meet local communities and hear about how sport and exercise can support mental health and wellbeing. Picture date: Tuesday February 28, 2023.
The princess was given a trophy for her victory over William

The event was part of a series of visits in south Wales to mark St David’s Day.

Away from their race, the pair toured the centre’s sports hall and swimming pool, and met children from the local Tywyn Primary School, who were taking part in various indoor sports.

Seven-year-old Rafael Vazquez, from Swansea, presented the couple with a set of Welsh leotards for their children.

His mother Jo Vazquez said: “It was wonderful to meet them. They are so genuine people and have a real interest in the community, children and sport.

“They said how interested they were in keeping leisure centres open, especially swimming, as it is such a key skill for life.”

William and Kate also visited a therapy garden in Pontyclun, where the princess planted a Sweet William – prompting a laugh from her husband.

The Princess of Wales pats a dog during a visit to Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre near the town of Pontyclun, Mid Glamorgan, to hear about the work they do to support those struggling with the effects of drug and alcohol addiction. Picture date: Tuesday February 28, 2023.
The prince and princess met a great dane on their visit to a therapy garden in Pontyclun

They also met a therapy dog, seven-year-old Great Dane, Ragnar, with William commenting on the dog’s “big ears”, while Kate said: “He must be very popular.”

Kate was presented with a bunch of daffodils by two-year-old Cora Phillips, with her mother Michelle Phillips, from Llanharan, saying: “Oh my goodness, I did not expect that in a million years.”

Turning to her daughter, she said: “We just met a princess. We’re never going to forget that.”