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UK weather: Red warning in place for third day as train operators urge people not to travel during Storm Babet | UK News

Storm Babet is continuing to batter the UK – with another red “danger to life” warning in place for parts of eastern Scotland and four severe flood warnings across England and Wales.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland have had warnings in place since Babet first hit on Wednesday, but eastern Scotland has suffered the worst of the storm which has left three people dead.

Train operators around the UK have advised customers not to travel due to widespread disruption following the storm.

Meanwhile, thousands remain without power as the adverse conditions continue.

A rare red weather warning is in place for parts of eastern Scotland for a third day on Saturday, with the country’s First Minister Humza Yousaf to warn: “We have not seen the last of this.”

Mr Yousaf has also posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, to urge people to heed the red weather warning and evacuate if instructed.

It comes as an amber warning for rain, meaning “extensive flooding to homes and businesses is possible”, is in place for parts of northeast Scotland covering Aberdeen and Cromarty.

The red warning is in place until 6pm.

Read more: Full list of warnings – follow live storm updates

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has issued three severe “risk to life” flood warnings around the River Derwent in Derbyshire.

They are the highest level of warning and are in place at Derby City Water Treatment Works, Little Chester, Eastgate and Cattle Market, as well as Racecourse Park at Chaddesden.

There were 282 flood warnings, meaning flooding is expected, and 220 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible, across England as of 12 noon on Saturday.

The fourth severe flood warning has been issued for the River Severn at the village of Llandrinio, nearly Welshpool, in northern wales.

It also covers isolated properties in the Severn-Vyrnwy confluence area including Hendre Lane, Haughton and Haimwood.

Wales had eight further flood warnings in place as well as 14 flood alerts as of 12 noon on Saturday.

In the northeast of England a yellow weather warning for wind, meaning there was a small chance of fast-flowing or deep floodwater, was in place until midday.

The warnings in place for Saturday
The warnings in place for Saturday

Train operators urge people not to travel

It comes as London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Avanti West Coast and Northern Rail have all warned against travelling as lines are widely flooded.

LNER has said there is “an extremely limited service” in place due to flooding between Doncaster and Wakefield.

The service has also been impacted by speed restrictions in Scotland and trains and crews being out of position after extensive disruption on Friday.

There are no LNER services north of Edinburgh on Saturday and rail replacement services are not available because of road closures.

The train operator said remaining services may be subject to short-notice cancellations.

A man uses his homemade boat to rescue elderly residents from their home in the village of Debenham, Suffolk
A man uses his homemade boat to rescue elderly residents from their home in the village of Debenham, Suffolk

Members of the emergency services help local residents to safety in Brechin, Scotland, as Storm Babet batters the country. Flood warnings are in place in Scotland, as well as parts of northern England and the Midlands. Thousands were left without power and facing flooding from "unprecedented" amounts of rain in east Scotland, while Babet is set to spread into northern and eastern England on Friday. Picture date: Friday October 20, 2023.
A woman is helped to safety in Brechin, Scotland

Northern Rail said all lines between Cheadle Hulme and Wilmslow are blocked due to damage to the overhead electric wires.

Services are also not able to run from Sheffield to Nottingham or Lincoln due to flooding.

Trains are also unable to travel between Leeds and Doncaster, Harrogate and Bradford.

The line between Newcastle and Morpeth is also closed due to viaduct damage, Northern Rail added.

Avanti West Coast has said its services are also severely disrupted and it has asked customers to not travel between Crewe and North Wales and that people should only travel between Preston and Glasgow or Edinburgh if absolutely necessary.

Thousands still without power

The Energy Networks Association said around 100,000 customers had been affected by power cuts due to Storm Babet but as of Saturday morning 96% had been reconnected, leaving 4,000 still without power.

Around 55,000 people were left without power on Friday as a result of the storm.

Some 45,000 people were reconnected to the grid as of the evening, the Energy Networks Association said.

A man with a dog sits on dinghy as emergency services assist in the evacuation of people from their homes in Brechin
A man with a dog sits on dinghy as emergency services assist in the evacuation of people from their homes in Brechin

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River turns into raging torrent as Storm Babet hits.

Babet leaves three people dead

A man in his 60s died after getting caught in fast-flowing flood water in the town of Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire on Friday.

Police Scotland previously said a falling tree hit a van near Forfar in Angus on Thursday evening, killing the 56-year-old driver.

A 57-year-old woman also died on Thursday after being swept into a river in Angus.

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Residents in tears as severe floods hit Brechin

The council in Angus said it was in uncharted territory dealing with “extreme and really challenging conditions” on Friday – with people rescued from 60 homes in and around Brechin.

The village of Edzell was completely cut off with no emergency access except via helicopter, the council said.

Meanwhile, a major search was under way following reports of a man trapped in a vehicle in floodwater in Aberdeenshire.

Police Scotland said the alarm was raised at 3am on Friday near the village of Marykirk.

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Plane skids off runway at Leeds Bradford Airport

It comes as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) warned a second major river could breach in the country on Saturday.

Aberdeenshire Council has said the latest SEPA modelling indicates a considerable risk of flooding on the River Don at Inverurie, Kemnay and Kintore between 10am and 2pm.

Hundreds of homes in Scotland have already been flooded after the River South Esk breached its banks

Leeds Bradford Airport has said it is “working hard to reopen” at 2pm today and has urged people not to travel to the terminal before that point. The airport closed on Friday after high winds forced a passenger plane to skid off a runway.

Tui customers who were due to travel from Leeds Bradford on Saturday are being directed to Manchester Airport, the airline has said.

<a href=''>Coming up on Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge: Why we should fight the urge to look away</a>

<a href=''>Coming up on Politics Hub With Sophy Ridge: Why we should fight the urge to look away</a>

Sunak to urge world leaders to ‘move faster’ to arm Ukraine as he leads minute’s silence on war anniversary | Politics News

Rishi Sunak is to urge fellow world leaders to “move faster” to arm Ukraine’s troops as he leads a minute’s silence on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

The prime minister is expected to use a G7 meeting on Friday to call on allies to supply longer-range weapons to Ukraine as there is an urgent need for Kyiv to gain a “decisive advantage” on the battlefield.

Mr Sunak will lead the UK in a minute’s silence at 11am to mark the anniversary in front of the Downing Street door.

He will be joined by the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and representatives from each of the 11 nations that are part of the British-led Ukrainian troop training programme, Operation Interflex.

UN demands Russia withdraw troops – Ukraine war latest

“For Ukraine to win this war – and to accelerate that day – they must gain a decisive advantage on the battlefield. That is what it will take to shift Putin’s mindset,” Mr Sunak is expected to tell G7 leaders in a virtual meeting.

“This must be our priority now. Instead of an incremental approach, we need to move faster on artillery, armour, and air defence.

“The coming weeks will be difficult for Ukraine, but they will also be difficult for Russia. They are overreaching once again. So now is the time to support Ukraine’s plan to re-arm, regroup, and push forward.”

Mr Sunak will also reiterate his offer of UK support to countries able to provide jets to Ukraine as he and his wife, Akshata Murty, hang a blue and yellow wreath on the door of Number 10.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on Western countries to send fighter jets to Ukraine and while the UK has announced training for Ukrainian pilots on NATO-standard jets it has not sent any planes.

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Johnson: ‘Send jets to Ukraine’

Former PM Boris Johnson has joined those calls and told Sky News on Thursday the UK needs to “break the ice” by becoming the first country to supply Ukraine with the aircraft.

But so far, neither Mr Sunak or his defence secretary Ben Wallace have not made a steadfast commitment to do so.

Sky News exclusively reported on Thursday the Treasury has signalled there is no new money for defence, despite recognising the urgent need to rearm in the wake of the war.

As things stand, the British army would run out of ammunition within a few days if called upon to fight and would take up to 10 years to field a modern warfighting division of some 25,000 to 30,000 troops.

Read more:
PM has ‘no interest in defence’ as UK ammo stockpiles proved ‘inadequate’ by war
Ukraine war: The race to rearm could decide who wins the conflict
British prisoner of war in Ukraine reveals Russian torture methods

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A look back on a year of war in Ukraine

On the eve of the anniversary, Mr Sunak said: “As we mark one year since a full-scale war broke out on our continent, I urge everyone to reflect on the courage and bravery of our Ukrainian friends who, every hour since, have fought heroically for their country.

“I am proud that the UK has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine through this horrific conflict.

“As I stand with brave Ukrainian soldiers outside Downing Street today, my thoughts will be with all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom and return peace to Europe.”

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who met Mr Zelenskyy in Kyiv recently, said the UK’s support “is as firm and unstinting today as it was on that dark day one year ago”.

He said his party stands “in lockstep with the government” in continuing support to Ukraine “regardless of what other political disagreements we may have”.

Nicola Bulley: Police vow to bring missing mum home as they urge search teams to scour river bank for clothes | UK News

Police searching for missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley have vowed to “bring her home” as they called on members of the public to keep a look out for sightings of her clothes.

Officers believe the 45-year-old “sadly” fell into the River Wyre while she was walking her dog last Friday morning.

Search teams from Lancashire Constabulary are continuing to trawl the waterway near St Michael’s.

They are being helped by specialists and divers from HM Coastguard, mountain rescue, and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service – with sniffer dogs, drones, and police helicopters also being used.

Read more:
A timeline of Ms Bulley’s movements in the hour before she vanished
Nicola’s partner ‘staying as strong as he can’
Missing woman’s friends hope for ‘lightbulb moment’

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‘We believe Nicola sadly fell into river’

Meanwhile, they have urged the public to look out along the river for the items of clothing that Ms Bulley was last seen wearing.

This includes an ankle-length black quilted gilet jacket, a black Engelbert Strauss waist-length coat, tight-fitting black jeans, long green walking socks, ankle-length green Next wellies, a necklace and a pale blue Fitbit.

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Retracing Nicola Bulley’s journey

Detectives are also analysing CCTV and dashcam videos, and members of the public with footage which could be useful have been urged to come forward.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Superintendent Sally Riley said there may have been an “issue with the dog that led her to the water’s edge, she puts her phone down to go and deal with the dog momentarily, and Nicola may have fallen in”.

Police have speculated that Nicola Bulley had an issue with her dog, Willow.
Police have speculated that Nicola Bulley had an issue with her dog, Willow.

However, Ms Bulley’s partner Paul Ansell, 44, said he would “never lose hope” of finding her.

“We’re never, ever going to lose hope, of course we’re not, but it is as though she has vanished into thin air. It’s just insane,” he said.

The 44-year-old said his “whole focus is my two girls” and that he was “hoping to goodness” that people would come forward with new information.

Cabinet minsters urge colleagues to ‘hold their nerve’ and rally behind Truss – or risk election defeat | Politics News

Four cabinet ministers have urged their colleagues to rally behind Liz Truss or risk election defeat amid infighting in the Tory party.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Nadhim Zahawi, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt and Environment Secretary Ranil Jayawardena have all written articles calling on the party to unite around the new prime minister or risk ending up in opposition.

Cabinet ministers are planning to ambush the prime minister in a meeting on Tuesday to demand she rules out raising benefits in line with wages rather than inflation, according to the Sunday Times.

Poll shows Tories would lose all London seats – latest updates

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, a long-time ally of Ms Truss, is reported to have put her chances of survival at “only 40-60” on Monday, though he denied the remarks.

It has also been rumoured former transport secretary Grant Shapps, who backed Ms Truss’s rival Rishi Sunak for the Tory leadership, is offering to volunteer as a caretaker prime minister.

One report featured particularly harsh words for Michael Gove, with the former Cabinet minister branded “sadistic” after he helped force the chancellor’s humiliating U-turn on tax at the party’s annual conference.

Meanwhile, polling by Opinium for the Observer put Ms Truss’s personal approval rating at minus 47 and Mr Kwarteng’s at minus 51.

Ms Braverman used her piece in The Sun on Sunday to warn against “splits and fallout” in the Tory Party.

“Those working with Labour to undermine our prime minister are putting the Conservatives’ chance of victory at the next election in real danger,” she wrote.

“So the choice for my colleagues and for us is as party is simple: Back Liz or get Keir Starmer, hand-in-hand with Nicola Sturgeon.”

Click to subscribe to Beth Rigby Interviews… wherever you get your podcasts

She previously said she was “disappointed” by the mid-conference U-turn on cutting income tax for the highest earners and accused rebels such as Mr Gove of staging a “coup”.

But she has also expressed views which risked setting her at odds with government policy in recent days, saying she has “reservations” about relaxing immigration controls as part of any trade deal with India and suggesting the UK should leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

Read more:
Truss turns off floating voters who backed Tories at last general election – focus group
PM rules out energy-saving campaign amid power blackout warning

In an article for the Mail on Sunday Mr Zahawi admitted the government did not get the “whole package right” when it came to his plan for growth, acknowledging the climbdown on the 45% rate for earnings over £150,000.

However, he drew a line under the debacle, writing: “Another big decision, done.”

“That is the mark of the prime minister’s leadership,” he said.

“She listened and decided to focus on what matters most: the bulk of our plan to get Britain moving.”

He insisted “now is the time” for the Tories to rally behind Ms Truss, warning the alternative – a Labour government “propped up” by the SNP – is “beyond concerning”.

“We cannot allow the keys of the Kingdom to be allowed to fall into their hands,” he said.

“That is why my fellow Conservatives need to hold our nerve.”

Mr Zahawi said the Tories should support their leader and not be “working against her” and cautioned “division will only result in drift, delay and defeat”.

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Voters have their say on Truss and Starmer

Ms Mordaunt also warned against a divide within party ranks, writing in The Sunday Telegraph, she said Ms Truss had “acknowledged mistakes were made” with the mini-budget and “acted” accordingly.

“Anyone can wave to the cameras. Anyone can be all things to all people. That’s the easy bit,” Ms Mordaunt said.

“You measure leaders when they are in the ring dazzled by the media lights taking punch after punch and taking the hard decisions required.

“All my colleagues have a part to play in delivering for the British people. We need all talents helping our nation now. Division will only play into the hands of those who would take our country in the wrong direction.”

Mr Jayawardena issued a similar message in The Sunday Express, saying colleagues must “get behind” Ms Truss and “deliver, deliver, deliver”.

“A failure to do so will result in a coalition of chaos – a Labour government, propped up by the SNP and the Lib Dems,” he said.

“We need to back Liz Truss – or get Keir Starmer in Nicola Sturgeon’s pocket.”

Online Safety Bill campaigners join forces to urge next prime minister to prioritise new legislation | UK News

A group of campaigners, survivors and families affected by abuse on social media have written to the Tory leadership candidates to urge the next prime minister to prioritise the Online Safety Bill.

Danielle Armitage is one of those who have signed the open letter addressed to the candidates.

She was only 14-years-old when she was groomed while playing an online interactive game for children.

The man claimed to be 16 years old, however he was in fact in his late 40s at the time.

Ms Armitage, who has waived her anonymity to warn others about what happened to her, told Sky News that initially “he arranged to meet me after school”.

“I got into his car and discovered that he was a lot older than what he said. I just froze from that point,” she said.

He drove Ms Armitage to a forest, and that’s when the first sexual assault took place.

More on Online Safety Bill

The situation then “escalated”, and subsequent assaults became more violent.

Ms Armitage said: “He said if I spoke out or told anybody, he’d threaten my family. I felt like I had to see him again.”

She added: “By coming together and speaking out, we want the next prime minister to know what happened to us was avoidable.

“It’s in their hands to protect our children, and to make sure there are safety measures in place for children using the internet.”

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March 2022: What is the Online Safety Bill?

Campaigners are calling on Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to resist calls to water down the planned internet safety laws and commit to delivering them without delay.

The proposed legislation had been scheduled to make its way through parliament before the summer recess but, due to competing demands in the chamber, has now been delayed until a new prime minister is in place.

It aims to regulate social platforms, to ensure they protect their users from harmful content, with fines and other potential penalties for those who fail to do so.

There are concerns in some quarters that the bill will damage free speech and enable censorship, while others believe it does not go far enough to curb the spread of harmful material online.

In their letter, the campaigners said it is “upsetting” to see some opponents of the bill “rejoicing at this delay and calling for the legislation to be scrapped altogether”.

The coalition is made up of 15 grooming and sexual abuse survivors, and parents of children who died by suicide after seeing harmful content online.

“We have long campaigned for laws to better protect children online and were frustrated and disappointed to see the Online Safety Bill delayed rather than pass through parliament last month,” the letter reads.

“With every month the legislation is delayed, the NSPCC say we will see more than 3,500 online child sexual abuse crimes against children. These offences have increased tenfold in just a decade. And bullying, pro-anorexia posts, harmful self-harm and suicide content continue to fill children’s streams.

“This level of harm against children would not be accepted in any other industry, which is why the next prime minister must make the Online Safety Bill a national priority and pave the way for urgent regulation to begin.”

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Concerns have been raised by experts on all sides of the debate around the bill after changes in government and ministers with different priorities overseeing the legislation.

In their letter, the campaigners insisted Ms Truss or Mr Sunak must move forward with the bill.

“Should you become the next prime minister, we urge you to keep the promise made to children and families and deliver a robust Online Safety Bill in full and without delay,” they said.

“Any watering down of the bill would be unacceptable and break the commitment made to children and families in the Conservative Party manifesto to deliver the strongest possible protections for children online.”