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Bank holiday travel: Roads to be busy with delays at Dover as half term rush starts | UK News

Roads are expected to be busy and ferry passengers have been warned of queues at Dover as people head away for the bank holiday weekend.

Drivers across the UK are expected to make 19.2 million leisure car trips between Friday and Monday, according to estimates from the RAC, with the hottest day of the year so far forecast on Sunday.

Journeys on some stretches of the M25 could take up to three times longer than normal, transport data company Inrix has warned.

Long delays are also expected on the M5 in Somerset and the M6 in Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

Ferry passengers through Dover are being advised to allow two hours to complete border controls and check-in.

DFDS ferry company tweeted: “Please be prepared with refreshments & use facilities before arriving at the port.”

The Port of Dover said delays at French border control were due to “IT issues” with “high volumes of tourist and freight traffic on Port approaches”.

A traveller in the queue at Dover told Sky News they believed the “sticking point was French frontier control”.

“Once we got past that, inside Dover moved really well,” they added.

The RAC said it was expecting the busiest weekend of traffic since before the pandemic.

“Getting away early in the morning or delaying trips until the evening are the best way to avoid the inevitable delays,” spokesman Rod Dennis said.

While holidaymakers face the prospect of long queues, those staying at home for the long weekend should enjoy some of the hottest weather of the year.

Southeast Wales and around the Bristol Channel will get the best of the weather, with temperatures up to 24C on Saturday and Sunday.

Other parts of the UK could see temperatures reaching the high teens and low 20s.

The dry and bright weather is likely to continue for most with little rain expected throughout next week during half term.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s killer will not get jail term extended, solicitor general says | UK News

Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s killer will not get an extension to his jail term, the solicitor general has said.

Several requests were made to increase the 42-year sentence of Thomas Cashman, 34, after he was put behind bars for shooting Olivia dead at her home in Liverpool last August.

He had been chasing drug dealer Joseph Nee, who tried to enter the girl’s home in an effort to escape.

Undated handout photo issued by Merseyside Police of Thomas Cashman, 34, who has been found guilty of murdering nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel and injuring her mother, Cheryl Korbel, 46, at their family home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on August 22 last year. Issue date: Thursday March 30, 2023.
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Thomas Cashman

Cashman started shooting and hit Olivia’s mother, Cheryl Korbel, in the wrist as she tried to stop Nee coming in, with the same bullet hitting Olivia.

Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson KC said: “Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s senseless murder at the hands of Thomas Cashman shocked and sickened the nation.

“Because of the strong feelings this case evokes, it was little surprise that I received several requests under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, to consider the sentence of life imprisonment with a minimum term of 42 years that was handed down to him.

“My duty as a law officer in considering whether sentences may be unduly lenient is to act independently of government, even when it is not easy or popular.

“Having received detailed legal advice and considered the issues raised very carefully, I have concluded Cashman’s case cannot properly be referred to the Court of Appeal.

“Such a referral can only be made if the rigorous legal test is met, irrespective of the seriousness of the crime or the emotions the offending may evoke. The threshold for referral is a high one, and that was not met in this case.

“The test is only met if the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range reasonably available in the circumstances of the offending.

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Olivia’s ‘last words were: ‘Mum, I’m scared”

“My thoughts remain with Olivia’s family and friends who have shown such immeasurable strength during this devastating time.”

Cashman, a drug dealer from Liverpool, has launched an appeal of his own, with his lawyers arguing his sentence is too harsh.

Mark Brown: Builder jailed for minimum term of 49 years for murders of Leah Ware and Alexandra Morgan | UK News

A builder has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 49 years for the murders of two women escorts in Sussex in 2021.

Mark Brown, 41, was found guilty last year of murdering Leah Ware and Alexandra Morgan.

He was sentenced by judge Justice Nicholas Hilliard on Friday in his absence – after refusing to attend Hove Crown Court.

Brown killed Ms Ware, 33, and Ms Morgan, 34, at a remote farm near St Leonards in East Sussex in May and November 2021, after meeting them through a sex work website.

He put Ms Morgan head first into a homemade incinerator before dumping her remains.

The body of Ms Ware has never been found, but prosecutors believe Brown used a similar method to dispose of her and also killed her Pomeranian dog, Lady.

Undated file family handout photo issued by Kent Police of Alexandra Morgan and  Leah Ware
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Alexandra Morgan and Leah Ware were killed in 2021

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, of Sussex Police, said the force would speak to Brown to try to persuade him to reveal what happened with Ms Ware’s remains.

Brown met Ms Ware in 2018 when he hired her as an escort and they developed an “on again, off again” relationship, the court heard.

He killed her on or around 7 May last year after she had pressed him to leave his partner of 14 years.

In the six months between killing Ms Ware and Ms Morgan, Brown messaged a friend calling himself a “psychopath with a conscience”.

He wrote: “I’m going to be very careful how I word this – it happened again, not very long ago when disposing of something.

“It’s a very unpleasant thing to do – an old oil drum, five litres of diesel, and hey presto, there’s not very much left.

“It gets hot, very hot, it glows almost white.

“The things I have done weigh heavily on my heart, on my head and soul. A psychopath with a conscience – it’s a joke really.”

Brown hired Ms Morgan for sex about a dozen times before offering her a job as an escort worth £100,000 in October last year.

When she visited Little Bridge Farm – the site he rented – the following month, he killed her and burned her body, before dumping her remains in a skip at the building site where he worked in Sevenoaks, Kent.

He then claimed Ms Morgan died in an accident at the farm after hitting her head when she slipped in his workshop.

Brown, of St Leonards-on-Sea, said he burned her body “in a panic”.

Sir Keir Starmer pledges to abolish House of Lords in first term as prime minister | Politics News

Sir Keir Starmer has pledged to abolish the House of Lords in his first term if he were to be elected as prime minister.

Speaking to Sky News, the Labour leader confirmed his party “do want to abolish the House of Lords“, adding that he does not think anybody could “defend” the institution.

Sir Keir’s comments come as he and former PM Gordon Brown prepare to unveil the report of the party’s commission on the UK’s future – which Mr Brown led – at a joint press conference in Leeds later today.

Yesterday, Mr Brown said his party will make abolishing the House of Lords a key part of reforms to the parliamentary system and disclosed that it is a proposal included in the report he headed up for Labour.

Starmer unveils Brown’s ‘blueprint’ for Labour government – Politics latest

Branding the current House of Lords set-up “indefensible”, he said Labour will create a new democratic second chamber called the Assembly of Nations and Regions.

Probed on this, Sir Keir told Kay Burley: “It’s one of the recommendations, as you know, in today’s report.

“What we’re going to do after today is now consult on those recommendations, test them, and in particular, look at how can they be implemented.”

Asked if it is his hope that the House of Lords will be abolished within his first term as PM, Sir Keir replied: “Yes, I do.

“Because what I ask when I ask Gordon Brown to set up the commission to do this, I said what I want is recommendations that are capable of being implemented in the first term.”

He added: “We’re going to get one shot at fixing our economy and fixing our politics and I want to make sure we get it exactly right.”

But Tory peer Lord Norton has urged caution over proposed reform to parliament’s second chamber after suggestions it should replaced with elected representatives.

“One has to be wary of some Big Bang reform, grand reform, which often takes the form of displacement activity – the nation’s got problems, people must come up with constitutional reform because it’s a fairly simple, straightforward proposal, rather than actually getting down to the real issues,” he told Times Radio.

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‘Government has run out of road’

The report on the UK’s future, commissioned two years ago, also recommending handing new economic, taxation and law-making powers to mayors and devolved governments and proposes sweeping constitutional reform in an attempt to “clean up politics”.

It includes banning almost all second jobs for MPs and moving 50,000 civil servants – 10% of the workforce – out of London.

Sir Keir also wants to develop 300 “economic clusters” around the country – from precision medicine in Glasgow to creative media in Bristol and Bath – with the aim of doubling growth in the UK.

The decentralisation of power and money away from Westminster will be pitched as a continuation of Tony Blair’s reforms and Labour’s answer to the Tories’ levelling up agenda – as Sir Keir looks to pitch himself as a prime minister-in-waiting with a serious plan for Britain.

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The Labour leader will also frame this report as a response to both the Brexit and Scottish independence referendums.

“I argued for remain. But I couldn’t disagree with the basic case that many leave voters made to me. They wanted democratic control over their lives,” Sir Keir will say, arguing these frustrations of “a Westminster system that seems remote” was also a drive for the 2014 independence referendum.

“People know Britain needs change. But they are never going to get it from the Tories.

“I am determined that, with Labour, people will get the change they deserve.”

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown
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Former prime minister Gordon Brown led the production of the report

Elsewhere in his morning broadcast media round, Sir Keir said he does not want to abolish private schools, but argued their existing tax breaks cannot be “justified”.

He also said he does not believe returning to the single market would boost the UK’s economic growth – but added that he believes there is a case for a “better Brexit”.

Meanwhile, probed on whether former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could be readmitted to the party, Sir Keir told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “I don’t see the circumstances in which he will stand at the next election as a Labour MP.”

Mr Corbyn had the whip removed over his response to the scathing Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into antisemitism in the party.

A government source said: “This report highlights what we already know about Labour – that while the government is focusing on the major issues people care about, Keir Starmer is playing politics with topics only relevant in Westminster.”