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In a hostel in northern France, the atmosphere was tense.

A father and his family were waiting for a call, a sign sea conditions were right and it is finally time to go.

After fleeing from Kurdistan, they’ve paid around €8000 (£6,850) to cross the Channel on a dinghy provided by smugglers who value money over life.

“We don’t have any other option except this dinghy. The surveillance for the trucks [crossing the Channel] is very strong and that is why we have to take this journey. We will either die or succeed,” Mohammed said ahead of the journey.

The family now await to hear their fate in the UK
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The family now await to hear their fate in the UK

To tell their story safely, all the family’s names have been changed.

The UK wasn’t their destination of choice; for years Germany was their home but then, after a failed asylum bid and threatened with deportation last month, they ran.

If they stayed, Mohammed says they would have been sent back home where he fears he could be killed.

But after years of making friends and plans, overnight his family’s lives changed.

His teenage daughter Sara says when she was told they were leaving at first she didn’t believe it.

“I was like, no, this is going to be a bad joke,” she explains, “Then the day we left, I looked at my friends… they didn’t know that I was leaving and we will never see each other again.”

Despite promises by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to “stop the boats”, a record numbers of migrants have crossed the Channel so far this year.

Last week the family was among them, cramming into a rickety vessel with around 60 others.

“It was a difficult and dangerous journey that no one was expecting to survive. We were all thinking that our lives would end in a matter of seconds,” Mohammed says.

The boat left a French beach near Dunkirk at 10pm.

After around an hour into the journey they ran out of fuel and then drifted for hours.

The conditions meant children were screaming and crying.

Many onboard were being sick and everyone was soaked with freezing water.

When the French coastguard arrived, 25 people asked to be rescued but the other 36 refused, determined to keep pushing ahead.

Desperate to reach UK waters, they paddled with their hands and then used the dregs of the fuel to give them one last boost until they were picked up by the UK coastguard.

Read more:
Children among migrants rescued in Channel
More than 500 migrants cross Channel in one day

Migrants boat in The Channel
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A migrant boat seen crossing the Channel earlier this year

After hours of being “scared to die”, Sara said the relief was overwhelming.

They’re now waiting to hear their fate in temporary accommodation in the UK after applying for asylum.

Like many other asylum seekers I’ve spoken to, fresh threats of deportation or being sent to Rwanda weren’t a deterrent.

“What will stop people coming on that route?” I ask Mohammed.

“You can’t stop it. This is smuggling and it will continue,” he replies.

The family hopes they can stay but it isn’t guaranteed. While the UK wasn’t their first choice, they say it’s their last hope.

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Five people arrested after police discover ‘human remains of young baby’ in Wigan

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Five people arrested after police discover 'human remains of young baby' in Wigan

Five people have been arrested after police discovered what they believe to be human remains of a young baby.

Officers said those detained, aged between 20-70, were held on suspicion of concealing a death and unlawful burial.

They have all been bailed pending further enquiries.

The investigation, prompted by welfare concerns, is focused on an address in Marsh Green, Wigan, and a location on Valley Road in Pemberton.

Chief Superintendent Clare Jenkins from Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan district said: “This is a truly heartbreaking discovery, and I do not underestimate the impact that this news will have on the local community.”

An address in Marsh Green, Wigan
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An address in Marsh Green, Wigan

Addressing the local community, she said: “I would like to reassure you that we have several teams of officers and specialist resources working diligently to find answers.

“You will likely notice an increased presence of our officers throughout the next week, if you have any concerns or want to share any confidential information, please do not hesitate to speak to them.”

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She added: “In the coming days we will know more about the circumstances surrounding this incident, but we are confident that this is isolated, and there is no threat to the wider public.”

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Liz Truss was ‘ecstatic’ with mini-budget plan and claims Number 10 infested with fleas in new memoir

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Liz Truss was 'ecstatic' with mini-budget plan and claims Number 10 infested with fleas in new memoir

Liz Truss has revealed she considered abolishing the UK’s economic watchdog and replacing leaders at the Treasury and Bank of England, accusing the bodies of being “pro-China” and “pro-Remain”.

The country’s shortest serving prime minister said she discussed scrapping the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) with her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng but concluded it would have “amounted to a declaration of war on the economic establishment”.

In an extract from her memoir published by the Daily Mail, Ms Truss says the OBR, Treasury, and Bank of England “were more interested in balancing the books than growing the economy” and saw immigration “as a way of fixing the public finances”.

Defending her September 2022 mini-budget – which led to a surge in borrowing costs and saw the pound slump to a 37-year low against the dollar – the former prime minister said she would “accept that the communications around the mini-budget were not as good as they could have been”.

However, she said the afternoon after which Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng outlined the growth plan was “probably my happiest moment as prime minister” adding “I was ecstatic”.

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Truss’ time as PM

Mr Kwarteng was sacked three weeks later amid rising mortgage costs, before most measures in the statement were axed in an attempt to stabilise financial markets.

Kwasi Kwarteng
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Kwasi Kwarteng was also sacked following the mini-budget. Pic: PA

The serialisation also includes behind-the-scenes details of domestic life as a senior government figure.

More on Liz Truss

While foreign secretary, Ms Truss says she was forced to share the grace-and-favour Chevening mansion in Kent with her predecessor Dominic Raab and would find “protein shakes labelled ‘Raab’ in the fridge”.

Anecdotes, complaints and lamentations – but a lack of self-awareness


Rob Powell Political reporter

Rob Powell

Political correspondent

@robpowellnews

Given Liz Truss is the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history and given she oversaw an economic meltdown and was forced to fire her own Chancellor and repeal most of her policy offering, the extracts of her memoirs are strikingly bereft of any self-criticism or self-awareness.

As the political blogger Sam Freeman has pointed, bits of the book feel like a ‘what I did on my holidays school essay’.

There’s amusing and eminently readable anecdotes about trying to get Ocado shops delivered to Downing Street, taking her children into the government nuclear bunker, and finding Dominic Raab’s protein shakes in the fridge at the foreign secretary’s country residence.

There’s also some complaining.

The former Prime Minister laments having to book her own hair and make up and says a lack of medical support meant her private secretary had to get her cough medicine in the middle of the night.

She says living in Downing Street was “intensely claustrophobic” and she was “effectively a prisoner”.

It’s an open question whether that stirs much sympathy with those who saw their mortgage rates soar during her chaotic 50 days in office.

Then there’s the now familiar defence of her economic strategy, which once again seems to consist of blaming everyone bar herself.

In four pages of text, I spotted just two flashes of introspection.

She acknowledges that the “communications around the mini-budget were not as good as they could have been”. But then neuters that mea culpa by adding: “But I have to ask: what would we have been waiting for?”

She also says the late Queen had told her to “pace yourself”, before adding “maybe I should have listened”.

Read more:
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The investigation into Angela Rayner hinges on one thing

The Norfolk MP is also critical of the levels of personal support offered to UK prime ministers saying “despite now being one of the most photographed people in the country, I had to organise my own hair and make-up appointments”.

She described the prime ministerial flat above the Number 10 offices as infested with fleas that some claimed came from her predecessor Boris Johnson’s dog Dilyn.

Ms Truss also revealed she and her husband had ordered new furniture for the residence “but were evicted before it could be delivered”.

The death of the Queen is also described in the extracts, with Ms Truss saying the fact it happened on her second full day as prime minister left her in a “state of shock” and thinking “Why me? Why now?”.

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