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Police extend Operation Stack as traffic levels grow

Kent Police have extended Operation Stack to cover five junctions of the M20 as heavy freight traffic and disruption at Calais continue to cause delays.

Credit: Kent Police

The motorway closure will now run between junctions 8 and 13, affecting the coastbound traffic.

Tourist and local traffic is being diverted onto the A20 from Junction 8 at Hollingbourne to allow backed-up freight traffic to park on the coastbound carriageway of the M20. Channel Tunnel-bound traffic can then rejoin the M20 at junction 11.

Police had earlier said that the problems were being exacerbated by freight drivers trying to bypass the queues on the M20 by joining the domestic traffic.

Lord Sewel is first to take peer's walk of shame

Lord Sewel brought in the new rules and is the first to exit under them. Credit: PA

Lord Sewel is the first peer to quit the House of Lords since the introduction of new rules allowing members to resign, retire or be expelled for wrongdoing.

Since the passage of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014, some 30 peers have retired because they no longer wished to play a role in the House - but Lord Sewel is the first to be forced out by a scandal.

Previously, peers could be temporarily suspended if they went bankrupt or were found guilty of treason.

Tony Benn secured a change of the law in 1963 to allow him to renounce his title so he could serve as an MP.

A handful of peers stood down to retain their non-dom tax status when a 2010 law required members of the Lords to be UK taxpayers.

But in the past it took a special Act of Parliament to actually remove a Lord.

The last time this happened was in 1917, when the Titles Deprivation Act was passed to allow British peerages to be removed from the Dukes of Albany and Cumberland, both German princes who fought in the Kaiser's Army in the First World War.

Under the 2014 Act, any peer sentenced to 12 months in prison is automatically removed from the House.


Labour accuses Chancellor of 'complacency' over UK growth

Labour's Shadow Chancellor has accused George Osborne of being 'complacent' over the latest GDP figures and said Britain needed a "more balanced recovery".

Chris Leslie said the Chancellor needed to do more to support exporters in the face of "mounting instability from Europe, China and the world economy".

Today’s figures show we need a more balanced recovery, with construction output weak for the past nine months. The OBR has revised down productivity next year and for three years after that. Manufacturing is down by 0.3 per cent and the Government is on course to miss its exports target by hundreds of billions of pounds. The Chancellor is complacent at a time when he should take action to support exporters and strengthen Britain’s infrastructure. Pulling the plug on major rail electrification and hitting households next April with a work penalty in the tax credit system are the wrong choices for the long term.

– Chris Leslie

Two patients in Manchester test negative for Mers virus

Manchester Royal Infirmary. Credit: PA

Two patients who sparked a suspected Mers outbreak at a Manchester A&E unit have tested negative for the virus.

Dr Rosemary McCann, North West Deputy Director of Health Protection for Public Health England, said: "PHE can confirm that two individuals were tested for MERS-CoV in Manchester. These cases were separate and unrelated. The results of both tests were negative."

There have been 316 tests for MERS since 2013, with all being negative.

14 migrant bodies found as Irish Navy rescues hundreds

The Irish Navy were able to rescue 210 migrants, including 35 children, from the wooden barge. Credit: Irish Naval Service

Fourteen bodies have been discovered on an overcrowded wooden migrant barge in the Mediterranean.

The Irish Navy rescued 210 surviving refugees, including 35 children, off the Libyan coast.

It is thought the doomed barge left Tripoli in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The LE Niamh naval ship, which has so far rescued more than 1,200 migrants as part of the international humanitarian mission, was sent to the scene.

An Irish Defence Forces spokesman said: "During searches of the barge the crew of the LE Niamh recovered 14 bodies from below the deck of the barge."


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'No suspicious circumstances' surround 7-year-old's death

There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of 7-year-old Barnsley boy Conley Thompson, police have said following a post-mortem.

Police said they would now focus on how Thompson accessed the construction site where he slipped into a pipe and died.

The results of the post mortem suggest that Conley had, by some means, entered a vertical pipe on a nearby construction site and was unable to get out.

Conley's weight caused him to fall further into the pipe and pushed his clothing up around his body restricting his breathing.

There is no suggestion of any third party involvement.

Our job is to now piece together Conley's movements on Sunday evening and establish how he accessed the construction site.

Forming part of that investigation we will continue to work with the Health and Safety Executive and our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Conley at this extremely difficult time.

– Detective Chief Inspector Dave Stopford, the Senior Investigating officer

Osborne: GDP figures show Britain is 'motoring ahead'

George Osborne has welcomed the latest GDP figures, saying that Britain needs to keep to the "road we've set out on".

Responding to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics which showed the country's GDP rose by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2015, the Chancellor tweeted:

"GDP growth 0.7%. Shows Britain motoring ahead with economy producing as much per head as ever before. We must stay on road we've set out on."

Services sector drives rise in GDP after poor start to 2015

A return to form for the dominant services sector, which has led the economy out of recession, helped the UK improve on a disappointing start to the year when GDP increased by just 0.4%.

Service industries have driven the rise in UK growth Credit: PA Wire

Today's initial estimate by the ONS showed that the services sector, representing more than three-quarters of economic output, contributed 0.5% out of the 0.7% growth figure.

Tax breaks for the beleaguered North Sea oil and gas industry helped the production sector to its strongest performance for four and a half years while the mining and quarrying sub-sector within which oil and gas output is classified saw its best quarter for nearly 26 years.

However, Britain's factories - which have been hit by the strength of the pound weighing on exports - struggled. Manufacturing shrank by 0.3%, the worst performance since the start of 2013.

The construction industry was also flat, continuing its sluggish run since the end of last year.

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