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No hot summer weather in UK until mid-August, Met Office predicts | UK News

The UK won’t see any hot summer weather until mid-August, according to the Met Office.

While Europe swelters in an unrelenting heatwave, forecasters have predicted that any hot summer weather is not expected for several more weeks.

Showers are being forecast in the week but the heavy winds that have been seen across the country during the weekend are expected to fade on Monday.

Heavy rain is expected on Tuesday across central and northern parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland with temperatures not rising above the low 20Cs.

Meteorologist Simon Partridge said: “The general gist is it will become a little more settled through the week but we are not going to see weather as wet and windy as over the weekend, but at the same time there will not be any particular dry or settled or warm weather either, so things are carrying on for July as they have for the past couple of weeks.

“As we go through Monday, it will be another day of sunshine and showers.

“The good news is that winds will be lighter than over the weekend as that low pressure moves a bit further away and also the showers will be fewer and farther between but still the risk of a thundery shower across eastern parts through the afternoon.

“In terms of temperatures through the week, they are bizarrely similar, they are around average for the time of year, many places in high teens and the further south and east you are, you are looking at low 20s with 22C or 23C.

Children cool themselves in a fountain of the central Syntagma square
Meanwhile, Europe is enduring a punishing heatwave. Children are seen cooling themselves in Athens, Greece

Read more: See the forecast for your area

“The day with the most significant weather is Tuesday, we have an area of low pressure that moves across the UK which will bring some quite heavy rain at times, particularly across central and northern parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with north and south of that a reasonably dry day.”

Looking ahead, the Met Office forecaster said that the pattern of changeable weather was expected to continue, adding: “It’s fairly disappointing for the middle of July, nothing particularly warm or sunny.

“At the moment, the main signal on our long-range models is there is a signal for things turning drier and warmer but not until mid-August.

Read more:
Why is Europe being hit by such high temperatures?
What are the chances of UK heatwave this summer?

“The weather pattern is blocked and not changing which is part of the reason why things got so warm in southern Europe, because that high pressure is just sitting there, keeping that warmth growing, but unfortunately it is keeping us in this more changeable airstream, so nothing too wonderful for the next couple of weeks.”

Air traffic control strikes could put up to a third of summer flights in Europe at risk | UK News

Hundreds of thousands of flights across Europe this summer are in jeopardy after air traffic controllers vowed to take strike action.

Up to 12,600 flights every day – around a third of the journeys made across the continent during the peak summer holiday period – could be delayed or cancelled as a result of the industrial action.

Workers at Eurocontrol, which manages European airspace, have said they will walk out in a dispute over pay, working hours and staffing issues, according to The Times.

An industry source told the newspaper: “In a full-blown strike, 20 to 30% of flights would be at least delayed.”

The source added: “They are big numbers”.

The first round of strikes is expected to be announced as soon as Monday unless last-minute crisis talks can reach an agreement.

Passengers face long queues at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands File pic: AP
Passengers face long queues at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. File pic: AP

But officials at the European air traffic management body are said to have described the walkouts as “inevitable”, with no contingency plan believed to be in place.

It is more bad news for holidaymakers who were warned earlier this week to brace themselves for a “challenging” summer of travel involving delays and longer flight times, in particular to and from London, Barcelona, Brussels, Athens, Marseille and Budapest.

Eurocontrol is expecting around 33,000 flights for the next eight weeks – with the number set to rise to 34,000 on Fridays in July and August.

Impact ‘massive and extremely disruptive’

The impact of the strikes is predicted to be “massive and extremely disruptive”, a senior airline source claimed.

In a letter to managers, the transport workers union Union Syndicale Bruxelles (USB), called for more controllers to be hired immediately.

Eurocontrol – which handles tens of thousands of messages from pilots and staff every day – is believed to be operating with a 25% shortfall, equating to 40 workers.

The Times reports the letter says: “As difficult as industrial action is on everyone, we see no other path forward than to inform you of our decision to progress [with strikes].”

The union said its demands are “lawful, strong and fair” and “in the interest of the agency, the network manager, our stakeholders (operational and member states), the flying public at large and ourselves as loyal employees of the agency”.

Read more:
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Wizz Air and Ryanair passenger numbers soar

Summer of strike action looms

Eurocontrol director-general, Raul Medina, earlier said the war in Ukraine meant there was less airspace available for travel.

“To be successful over the summer, we need everyone to play their part,” he said.

“Airports need to be well-staffed, it is vital (air traffic services) provide enough capacity and airlines stick to their schedules.”

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A summer of disruption looms

A Eurocontrol spokesperson told Sky News that a trade union “announced a period of six months during which industrial action could take place” in its network manager operations centre.

“No specific dates for industrial action have been announced; this was a pre-warning,” they said.

The company is “actively engaging with all social partners” and is “committed to finding solutions through social dialogue”, the spokesperson added.

“Eurocontrol is making every effort to keep negotiations open and to find a constructive way forward.”

The threat of action comes as budget airline Ryanair this week announced more than 900 journeys were cancelled in June as a result of air traffic control strikes across France – with around 160,000 people affected by the grounded flights.

French air traffic controllers took part in a series of strikes last month – marking their 60th day of action this year – with a 34-hour walk-out, which ended on 30 June.

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TUC criticises the government’s new Strikes Bill

Strikes are continuing in other industries, too.

In the UK, schools in England are facing further disruption as teachers stage their second strike this week on Friday.

Junior doctors in England will strike for five consecutive days this month – from 7am on 13 July until 7am on 18 July – in what will be the longest NHS walkout in history.

Disruption to rail journeys is also set to intensify as an overtime ban was extended, as ASLEF general secretary Mick Wheelan vowed to take action for 20 years until an agreement was reached.

The union boss told Sky News: “It is still our intention to find the resolution… we’re going to keep taking action until someone listens to us.”

Heathrow strikes on almost every weekend over summer | Business News

Security staff at Heathrow Airport have announced an escalation of strike action, with walkouts to take place nearly every weekend from mid-June to the end of August.

Members of Unite are embroiled in a long-running dispute over pay which led to industrial action last month and Easter.

From 24 June, 31 days of strikes will take place by more than 2,000 security staff. Officers from Heathrow terminal 3 are joining the industrial action for the first time in the coming dates.

The workers will be on strike on:

• June 24, 25, 28, 29 and 30

• July 14-16, 21-24, and 28-31

• August 4-7, 11-14, 18-20 and 24-27

Heathrow said similar strikes in recent weeks, by campus security and staff in terminal five, have not been disruptive.

“Unite has already tried and failed to disrupt the airport with unnecessary strikes on some of our busiest days and we continue to build our plans to protect journeys during any future action,” a spokesperson for the airport said.

Passengers can rest assured that we will do everything we can to minimise strike disruption so they can enjoy their hard-earned summer holidays.”

During the periods of industrial action – by roughly 1,400 security staff – passengers were only able to bring two carry-on items through security.

The union said the dispute could escalate further in the coming weeks.

It said Heathrow security officers are paid less than others at major airports in London and the south east. The officers, Unite said, were the highest paid before the COVID-19 pandemic but are now paid between £5,000 and £6,000 less a year than counterparts at Stansted and Gatwick airports.

Heathrow says this is untrue and that Unite is not using like for like comparisons with airports that require anti-social work hours and to be on shift seven days a week.

The airport also says it was one of the only organisations during the pandemic not to make any frontline redundancies and a very small number of contracts were “aligned with current market rates”.

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Onay Kasab from Unite the Union says that changes to strike action in the NHS

But Unite’s general secretary says Heathrow has “its priorities all wrong”.

“This is an incredibly wealthy company, which this summer is anticipating bumper profits and an executive pay bonanza,” Sharon Graham said.

“It’s also expected to pay out huge dividends to shareholders, yet its workers can barely make ends meet and are paid far less than workers at other airports.”

Rishi Sunak told of Dominic Raab’s ‘unacceptable behaviour’ over summer before appointing him to cabinet, source says | Politics News

Rishi Sunak was told about Dominic Raab’s “unacceptable behaviour” over the summer before he became prime minister and appointed the deputy PM to his cabinet role, a source has alleged to Sky News.

The source told Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby that Mr Sunak was made aware of Mr Raab’s conduct but the PM was never “directly told” about specific issues.

Downing Street has said Number 10 officials never advised the PM against appointing Mr Raab.

Asked whether Mr Sunak was made aware of Mr Raab’s “unacceptable behaviour” last summer before he started appointing his top team, the PM’s press secretary said: “The PM was not aware of any formal complaints at the time of appointing Dominic Raab.”

Sunak attacked for how he handled two Tory controversies – politics latest

The press secretary added that she “can’t comment on any private investigations that may or may not have happened” involving Mr Sunak.

Pressed further, she said: “I don’t know what your definition of informal complaints is. The PET (propriety and ethics team) processes are very clear.

“The appointments and usual processes were followed and we were not aware of any formal complaints.”

Mr Sunak has been urged to suspend the deputy prime minister while an investigation into bullying allegations is carried out.

The three permanent secretaries who led officials working under Mr Raab are thought to have given evidence to an inquiry into the deputy PM which is being led by senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC.

A total of eight formal complaints are believed to have been made.

Mr Raab has previously insisted he has “behaved professionally at all times” amid the allegations of bullying and intimidating behaviour.

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‘I’ve behaved professionally at all times’

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir Starmer branded Mr Sunak “weak” for keeping Mr Raab in his role.

The deputy PM was sat next to Mr Sunak in the Commons.

Read more: What has led to the deputy prime minister being investigated?

Sir Keir asked the PM if he was “completely unaware of serious allegations of bullying” against the deputy PM before he appointed him.

Mr Sunak replied: “The honourable gentleman ask these questions about what was known and I followed due process, I appointed an independent adviser as soon as I was made aware of new information.”

Probing further, the Labour leader continued: “According to recent reports, some of the complainants were physically sick. One says they were left suicidal.

“How would he feel if one of his friends or relatives was being forced to work for a bully, simply because the man at the top was too weak to do anything about it?”

The PM replied: “When I was made aware of formal complaints I instructed a leading independent KC to conduct an investigation because I take action when these things happen.”

Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby said the latest source allegation regarding what Mr Sunak knew about Mr Raab’s behaviour “will be worrying for those in Number 10”.

She said recent scandals – including the one involving former Tory chairman Nadhim Zahawi’s taxes – have cut through with the public and by focusing on these, “Sir Keir Starmer is hoping to keep up the appearance that Rishi Sunak’s government is mired in sleaze”.

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Tory party’s ‘addiction to sleaze’ has done ‘damage to the country’

Yesterday, Jacob Rees-Mogg warned that people are getting “a bit snowflaky” about bullying allegations levelled at government ministers.

The former cabinet minister told Sky News individuals should be “careful” when talking about accusations involving those including Mr Raab.

“It’s a very difficult line to judge. It’s not a straightforward issue in most cases. It’s how did somebody react, what did somebody say, is it reasonable to demand from senior and well-paid professionals a level of good service?” he said.

“And then you have to judge whether that line has been overstepped. But I do worry we are getting a bit snowflaky about this.”

Read more: From Zahawi and Raab to seatbelt gaffe – the U-turns and scandals of Sunak’s first months as PM

Mr Rees-Mogg added that it is “completely sensible” for Mr Raab to remain in his position while the investigation into his conduct continues.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan told Sky News she disagreed with Mr Rees-Mogg’s comments.

Speaking to Kay Burley this morning, she said: “Well, I mean, I don’t agree with that. Bullying is very serious.”

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‘I worry that we are getting too snowflaky’

His remarks were also condemned by a civil service union chief.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, said: “Even by Rees-Mogg’s standards this is outrageous.

“A former leader of the House, trivialising bullying that we know has ruined lives and careers.”

Sky News understands Mr Raab has spoken to Mr Tolley once about the allegations but will need to again as they proceed to go through things department by department.

The cut off date for new allegations is understood to have not yet been decided.

The Liberal Democrats have called on the PM to suspend Mr Raab while the investigation into his conduct takes place.

The party’s chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said: “The reported scale of the allegations against Dominic Raab raises real questions for Rishi Sunak. Why hasn’t the prime minister suspended Raab yet, for the duration of this inquiry?”

Rail strikes and traffic warnings deal double blow to summer getaways and weekend plans | UK News

Summer getaways and weekend plans could be severely disrupted today during a fresh round of rail strikes – with an “amber traffic warning” also in force on the roads.

The Aslef union says train drivers at seven rail companies are staging a 24-hour walkout in a dispute over pay, and there are fears millions of passengers could be disrupted.

Elsewhere, the AA is warning motorists there could be severe congestion on major routes between 11am and 3pm today – with the South of England set to be particularly vulnerable.

A number of factors are to blame – including the rail strikes, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and the start of the Football League season in England.

Drivers are being told to prepare for stop-start traffic as the weekend gets underway, and the AA’s head of road policy Jack Cousens says the congestion will be a frustration for many.

He added: “As well as taking food and water, some form of entertainment for younger passengers might just hold off a sigh and mutterings of ‘I’m bored!’ for a while.”

Roads into the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone weren’t affected by the traffic yesterday, but National Highways says this weekend is “likely to be extremely busy”.

The UK and France have now put plans in place to prevent border chaos and “maximise passenger flows”, and weekly meetings will aim to avoid additional disruption on both sides of the Channel.

Some 140,000 passengers are expected to pass through the Port of Dover between Thursday and Sunday this week, as well as 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles.

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‘We need to remove power of militant unions’

‘More uncertainty and disruption’

The Rail Delivery Group has accused the Aslef union of timing its industrial action to coincide with major sporting events.

Today’s strike is affecting Arriva Rail London, Greater Anglia, Great Western, Hull Trains, LNER, Southeastern and West Midlands Trains.

Rail Delivery Group chairman Steve Montgomery said: “We’re really disappointed that the Aslef leadership has decided to impose yet more uncertainty and disruption for passengers and businesses in a week which has already seen a strike by the RMT.”

Passengers on affected routes are urged to plan ahead and check before they travel – and if trains are cancelled, travellers can change their ticket, get a refund, or use their ticket until Tuesday.

Further strikes are planned next month in the deadlocked row over pay, jobs and conditions – with Aslef’s general secretary Mick Whelan insisting industrial action is “always the last resort”.

He added: “We don’t want to inconvenience passengers, our friends and families use public transport too, and we don’t want to lose money by going on strike – but we’ve been forced into this position by the companies, who say they have been driven to this by the Tory government.”

Mr Whelan claimed that many Aslef members have not had a pay rise in three years – and with inflation “running at north of 10%”, these drivers have seen their pay fall in real terms.

“It’s not unreasonable to ask your employer to make sure you’re not worse off for three years in a row,” he said. “Especially as the train companies are doing very nicely, thank you, out of Britain’s railways, with handsome profits, dividends for shareholders, and big salaries for managers, and train drivers don’t want to work longer for less.”