Connect with us



It is “possible” that putting India on the red list earlier might have prevented the widely anticipated delay to easing England’s coronavirus lockdown that is set to be announced later, a minister has said.

Boris Johnson is preparing to announce a delay of four weeks to step four of the country’s roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions because of the spread of the Delta variant first identified in India.

Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world

The variant now makes up more than 90% of cases in England and is estimated by Public Health England (PHE) to be 64% more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) variant indoors.

The government has been criticised for putting India on the travel red list on 23 April – two weeks after neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Asked if quicker action could have prevented the current situation, health minister Edward Argar told Sky News that such a suggestion was a “hypothetical” and “we don’t know is the short answer”.

“I don’t think that would have necessarily stopped the variant coming,” he insisted.

More on Covid-19

But pressed again, Mr Argar acknowledged: “It’s a hypothetical. It’s possible, but there’s no way of knowing that.”

The minister defended the government’s approach, saying ministers took “swift and decisive action”.

“We have some of the toughest border regimes in the world when it comes to tackling coronavirus and I think we acted swiftly and decisively when that was put on the list of variants of concern,” he said.

Continue Reading


Woman arrested on suspicion of murder over death of newborn baby girl found in Northampton in 1982




Woman arrested on suspicion of murder over death of newborn baby girl found in Northampton in 1982

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder over the death of a newborn baby girl found in Northampton in 1982, police have said.

The 57-year-old suspect was arrested on Tuesday morning. She has now been bailed pending further inquiries.

A major police investigation began after the body of the newborn was found in the town in May 1982.

However, nobody was prosecuted and the inquiry closed in 1993.

New evidence surfaced in 2023 following a cold case review by Northamptonshire Police – which led to this week’s arrest.

More from Sky News:
Wayne Lineker addresses ‘disturbing’ incident
Man jailed for removing condom without consent

Detective Chief Inspector Johnny Campbell, from the major crime team of the East Midlands special operations unit, said: “This has been an extremely complex investigation into events that happened more than four decades ago and a great deal of work has gone in to getting us to this point.

“Dozens of officers from both Northamptonshire Police and our colleagues in the region, have been involved in the operation over the past 48 hours or more and I would like to thank all of them for their work.”

The inquiry remains live and Northamptonshire Police will not be making any further comment at this time, he added.

Continue Reading


Rishi Sunak says voting for Reform would hand Labour ‘blank cheque’ as he responds to poll crossover




Rishi Sunak says voting for Reform would hand Labour 'blank cheque' as he responds to poll crossover

Rishi Sunak has responded to a poll showing Nigel Farage’s Reform party ahead of the Conservatives – saying a vote for the party would “give a blank cheque to Labour”.

Speaking to journalists at the G7 summit in Italy, the prime minister said: “We are only halfway through this election, so I’m still fighting very hard for every vote.

“And what that poll shows is – the only poll that matters is the one on 4 July – but if that poll was replicated on 4 July, it would be handing Labour a blank cheque to tax everyone, tax their home their pension their car, their family, and I’ll be fighting very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Election latest: Reform overtakes Tories for first time

Mr Sunak batted away the suggestion from Mr Farage that his party now represents the opposition to Labour – after a poll by YouGov put Reform on 19% and the Conservatives on just 18%.

The prime minister said: “Actually, when I’ve been out and about talking to people, they do understand that a vote for anyone who is not a Conservative candidate is just a vote to put Keir Starmer in Number 10.

“So if you want action on lower taxes, lower migration, protected pensions or a sensible approach to net zero you’re only going to get that by voting Conservative.

“And when people are thinking about the substance of what they want to see from a future government, if you’re someone who wants to see control over borders, you’re going to get that from us.”

General Election poll tracker

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

He went on: “You’re not going to get that from Labour – they’re going to cancel the Rwanda scheme, they’re not going to put in place a legal migration cap… a sensible approach to net zero.

“I’ve already announced that; Labour would reverse those reforms and put everyone’s bills up with net zero costs.

“And if you want your pension protected, we’re the only ones offering the triple lock plus, so actually, you know, when people sit down especially now this week when everyone can see very clearly the difference in approach from the two parties… will crystallise people’s minds on polling day.”

Ed Conway analyses manifestos:
Labour relying heavily on economic growth
Deep question marks buried in Conservative plan

Asked if the Tory party faced an “existential” threat, Mr Sunak said the publication of the two manifestos showed “there’s a massive difference on tax” between the Conservatives and Labour.

“We want to cut your taxes at every stage of your life in work, setting up a business, buying your first home, when you’re retired, you’re a pensioner or if you have a family – cutting taxes for everybody,” he said.

“The Labour Party consistently can’t tell you which taxes they’re going to put up, but they are going to put them up and as we saw yesterday, they’re going to raise the tax burden to the highest level in this country’s history. And that’s the choice for everyone at the election.”

Continue Reading


General election: Possible future Tory leader Penny Mordaunt indulges in some political ‘flirting ‘ with a swaggering Nigel Farage




General election: Possible future Tory leader Penny Mordaunt indulges in some political 'flirting ' with a swaggering Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage couldn’t have hoped for better news as he strode on to the stage to debate on TV against Penny Mordaunt, Angela Rayner and rivals from the smaller opposition parties.

The dramatic news his Reform UK party has overtaken the Conservatives in the latest YouGov poll, on 19% to the Tories’ 18%, meant he had his trademark letter box grin on his face for virtually the whole debate.

He began by declaring in his opening remarks: “We are now the opposition to Labour.”

Election latest as Reform UK overtakes Tories in poll

And he ended by boasting: “I have the courage to take on the mob. Please join the revolt.”

Throughout the debate, Mr Farage had a jaunty swagger about him.

He laughed and scoffed at the anti-Brexit SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, who was standing next to him, and appeared to relish being in a minority of one against the other smaller parties on Brexit and immigration.

The other story of this debate was round two of the bruising battle between Penny Mordaunt and Angela Rayner over Labour’s tax plans, while Ms Mordaunt conspicuously left Mr Farage alone and even engaged in some political flirting with him.

Why could that possibly have been?

The Commons leader was relentless in her tax onslaught on Labour, from start to finish.

But Labour’s deputy leader stood her ground and resolutely stuck to the Starmer-Reeves script, even when Ms Mordaunt issued a direct challenge on whether Labour would raise capital gains tax.

It was not in the Labour manifesto, Ms Rayner insisted, repeating Sir Keir’s mantra from earlier in the day.

That wasn’t a no, then, Ms Mordaunt replied.

👉 Tap here to follow Politics at Jack at Sam’s wherever you get your podcasts 👈

Once again, as in last week’s first TV clash between the pair, in her tax attack on Labour she was like a stuck record – but it may stick.

But while Ms Mordaunt tore into Ms Rayner relentlessly, she uttered not a word of criticism of Mr Farage.

It looked like an indication the Tories are terrified of him and the party leadership may eventually buckle and do a deal with him before 4 July.

When it was her turn to ask an opponent a question, after Ms Mordaunt had challenged her on capital gains tax, Labour’s deputy leader tackled her: “Would you welcome Nigel Farage into the Conservative Party?”

It was a firecracker of a question and one the Tory cabinet minister answered so deftly and equivocally that she appeared to be engaging in cosying up to the Reform UK leader – politically speaking, of course – rather than giving him the cold shoulder.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

‘Starmer didn’t answer my question’

She told the audience that like Mr Farage she was a Brexiteer and she believed that if you couldn’t reform European institutions you should be prepared to leave them. Oh!

That, of course, was a reference to quitting the European Convention of Human Rights, which Tory right-wingers are demanding, and a clear courting of support from Tory MPs in a future leadership bid.

Shameless, her Tory critics will complain.

But then she declared: “Nigel is a Labour enabler.”

Read more:
Starmer is party’s all-powerful ringmaster

Labour launches manifesto to ‘rebuild Britain’

Yes, that’s the official Tory line, but it wasn’t exactly a savage put-down. Note, too, that she called him “Nigel” and not Mr Farage.

Never has a rebuff been delivered with such good grace. She’s on leadership manoeuvres, make no mistake.

Just like last week, when she said Rishi Sunak was “completely wrong” to leave the D-Day ceremony in Normandy early.

In a peroration towards the end, Mr Farage dismissed Labour and the Conservatives as “mushy SDP parties in the middle”, condemned the House of Lords as “an abomination” and a “complete disgrace”, because it’s full of party donors and backed electoral reform.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

It was his night, thanks to the opinion poll.

The battle for Number 10 may be a fight between the Conservatives and Labour.

But the Tories’ war with Reform UK is a fight to the death over the future of the centre-right in British politics.

And, if Mr Farage is correct, it’s a battle to become the official opposition to a Labour government after the election on 4 July.

Continue Reading