Heathrow plans for third runway set to be approved by ministers

After years of arguments and delays the plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport are set to be approved by ministers. 

This will be confirmed by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, the Government is committed to the expansion and will present their proposals to the House of Commons for MPs to vote on later this month.

Mr Grayling will also present the fact that the other options such as expanding Gatwick or building a new airport entirely in Thames Estuary, will not be able to meet the demand for extra flights.

Supporters of the expansion say that it will safeguard domestic flights between Heathrow and regional airports such as Newcastle. As at the moment, the lack of capacity at the airport means airlines are having to choose between keeping domestic flights or introducing new international services.

However, campaigners are arguing that a new runway will breech the UK’s legal air pollution limits and increase noise pollution with an extra 700 planes a day, the decision failed to be seen as unlawful last year.


Slough Borough Council, though supporting the expansion, have criticised the plans as they mean that a school, a local trading estate and places like Wraysubry River will be demolished, alongside homes in Sipson, Longford and Harmondsworth.




MI5 to share sensitive information about up to 20,000 UK suspects

MI5 may share information of up to 20,000 UK suspects, after 5 terror attacks in the UK last year, as part of Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s new terror strategy. 

The information of 20,000 suspects, believed to pose the biggest threat to the UK, will be handed to teachers, social workers and council staff.

Following the London bridge attack in June last year in which eight died and 48 were injured. Britain’s terror level still remains severe, meaning that both police and secret services expect that there could be a terror attack at any point.


Home Secretary Sajid Javid  has created a new strategy called Contest, in response to the amount of terrorism in London, meaning there will be ‘no safe space’.

Following a review of the terror policy, convicted terrorists including Anjem Choudary are set to be released on to the streets, therefore there have been a few measures that will be put into action including:

  • MI5 sharing information about suspects on their radar more widely with neighbourhood police, teachers, Whitehall departments and local authorities to make it easier to disrupt threats.
  • Longer prison sentences being introduced for those convicted of terrorist offences, including a maximum 15 years for watching jihadist propaganda such as beheading videos.
  • More security in crowded places, such as sporting and concert venues, in a response to the attack at Manchester Arena.
  • Police and the security services will be handed new powers to nip terror plots in the bud by arresting and jailing suspects before they have finalised their murderous plans.
  • Measures to improve detection of the ‘inside threat’ of jihadists getting jobs at Britain’s airports.
  • Technology firms, such as Google and Facebook, to do more to tackle extremist content posted online.
  • Recruiting up to 2,000 new spies for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to help keep far more potential terrorists under surveillance.

Once again Mr Javid said that the point of this is, “ensuring that there are no safe spaces for terrorists. No safe spaces internationally, in the UK or online.”






School bans pencil cases to stop bullying

A Primary school in Blyth, Northumberland has banned pencil cases in an attempt to stop the stigma against poor families.

The Head teacher of St Wilfrid’s, Pauline Johnstone, has said herself that the reason for the ban is “so there’s no comparison on the tables and children are learning”.

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Having worked with charity Children North East, the school started providing stationery  for students as well as cutting down on the amount of dress-up and fundraising days.

Ms Johnstone has said there have been a few complaints but there was enough time left for the rule to be fully enforced.

Children North East led the Poverty Proofing the School Day project, to encourage teachers to look out for students being unwittingly excluded.

The charity has also claimed that dress-up, fundraising days and talks like ‘what I did on the weekend’ highlight those from a low-income background. And that schools also found a more discreet way of administering free school uniforms to families who are reluctant to ask for them.

Students also expressed their views, student 15 year old Harris Auchterlonie has said: “There was a real big issue with some people, it really got to them. There was a really big social expectation to have the best things and it was affecting school life for a lot of people, there was groups created around who had the best things but I think that has been taken away. That’s not an issue anymore.”

However a lot of people do not agree with the ban and have expressed some of their views via Twitter.

On the other hand, some people believe that it will be a learning curve for kids.


While others again think that by doing this we are just ignoring the issue.

Who was on board Windrush?

Empire Windrush anchored at Tilbury Docks, carrying hundreds of passengers from the Caribbean (there were also Polish soldiers, people from Britain and members of the RAF) in search of a new life, to Essex, on 21st June 1948.

Many came to the UK after hearing about the greater job opportunities, after the UK’s post-war labour shortage.

1,027 passengers, including two stowaways, were released a day after arriving in Essex.

Overall, (according to ship’s passenger lists) 802 of the passengers lived somewhere in the Caribbean, 539 of which were from Jamaica. 139 were from Bermuda and 119 from England. There were also people from Mexico, Scotland, Gibraltar, Burma and Wales.

windrush statstics

Among the Caribbean passengers there was a hatter, two hairdressers, two actresses, two piano repairers, two missionaries, a retired judge, a potter, a barrister, three boxers, five artists and six painters.

269 passengers, from the Caribbean, gave London as their planned destination. Surprisingly, 109 passengers gave no address and no indication that they even had made any plans.

Many of the passengers paid £28 for the trip (which would be £1,000 today) so that they could then respond to job adverts upon arriving in Britain.

The most popular destination for the passengers was London, those who did not have accommodation upon arriving to London stayed in a former air raid shelter at Clapham South underground station. But later moved into rented flats and houses in Brixton and Clapham areas.

















Windrush generation entitled to free citizenship

Following the recent Windrush scandal, those who arrived in the UK before 1973, are now entitled to free citizenship.

This includes members of the Windrush generation with no current documentation,  leave to remain and those who want to advance their status as well as the children of the Windrush generation.

The offer will be available to people from all Commonwealth countries not just Caribbean nations.

Alongside the offer, the Home Secretary confirmed that they have set up a compensation scheme to help those who have suffered or lost damage due to the scandal.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said: “The contribution of the Windrush generation and their right to be in the UK is in no doubt and I deeply regret the situation that has arisen.”

There will also be a new customer contact centre set up, so that those struggling to understand the different types of immigration routes can speak to an expert and get advice.

Alongside the customer contact centre, they will not need to pay any fees for the citizenship application. And they will not have to pass the usual Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test.

A new team has been set up to help people confirm their status and they will tell those who arrived in the country between 1973 and 1988, within the two weeks of the necessary evidence being collected, the decision they come to.

So far the team has successfully resolved 9 cases and made 84 appointments to give the individuals,who have contacted the team through the freephone helpline, their documents.

Furthermore, the Home Office will help those who arrived before 1973, have spent their life in the UK and are now struggling to visit or to move back. They will allow them to come back by facilitating their return on the most suitable route and waive any fees.





Windrush Scandal

During the 1930s Empire Windrush, originally known as MV Monte Rosa, was a passenger liner and cruise ship launched in Germany.

Now the Windrush generation, have been declared immigrants. Even those who have been living in London for 50 years are being denied NHS treatment, have lost their jobs and are being threatened with deportation due to their lack of documentation.

However, according to a leaked email sent by a government whip, immigration reforms introduced by Theresa May, while she was home secretary, have “absolutely nothing” to do with the discrimination being faced by the Windrush generation.

Many blame the “hostile immigration” policy, that was put in place when Theresa May was in charge of the Home Office. As it made it harder for them to work, rent places to live and open bank accounts, without the right documentation.

Also a letter written by a Home Officer was leaked, dating back to 2016, revealing that Ministers were aware that the Windrush generation were being threatened with deportation years ago.


The letter, as shown above, is a break down of what Ministers knew before the scandal broke out.

Speaking to Nez Williams from Vox Radio Lambeth, she expressed her opinions on the scandal and her personal connection to the Windrush.









Commonwealth Summit

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will take place on the 19 and 20th April.

A meeting, that takes place every other year, during which the heads of governments from all Commonwealth nations (former British Colonies or dependencies of those colonies).

The meeting is held in a different member state every two years.

The Common wealth leaders will meet at Windsor Castle for the Leaders’ Retreat (where leaders discuss and set the course for future Commonwealth co-operation), alongside attending working sessions to share global challenges and they will also attend a dinner hosted by The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The summit has four themes:

  • A fairer future
  • A more sustainable future
  • A more prosperous future
  • A more secure future

The main focus of the summit is to build on the strengths of the Commonwealth, by being responsive to global challenges. Ensuring that we will have a prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future for everyone.


Ireland to expel Russian diplomat

While Ireland is not among the 14 EU states that decided to expel 32 Russian diplomats, the Government has announced that they will be expelling one Russian diplomat.

Yesterday both the EU and US announced that they would expel 80 Russian diplomats from both jurisdictions, 12 Russian officials will  be deported from the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Conevey has said that: “the individual in question is required to leave the jurisdiction.”

Conevey claims that the decision was made following an assessment carried out by security services and relevant government departments. Which was carried out following the poisoning of former Russian agent, from Salisbury, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia.

Simon Conevey has made it clear that “the use of chemical weapons, including the use of any toxic chemicals, by anyone, anywhere, is particularly shocking and abhorrent.”

The British government has placed the blame heavily on Russia and their leader leader Vladimir Putin for the incident.

Dozens of countries including France, Italy, Germany and the US have expelled Russian diplomats in accord with the UK.

At a European Council meeting held last week, EU leaders agreed that the UK government’s assessment proves that it was highly likely that Russia was involved in that attack, and Micheal Conevey claims that there is ‘no plausible alternative explanation’.


Police granted more money to continue Madeleine McCann search

Madeleine McCann went missing in May 2007, now almost 11 years later police have been granted more money to continue their ongoing investigation into her disappearance.

Parents Kate and Gerry McCann, appealed for the search to continue for their daughter who was just 3 when she vanished from their holiday apartment in  Praia da Luz, Portugal.

Government funding of £154,000 has been granted from October 2017 until the end of March this year for the search.

The Met’s application for a Special Grant funding for Operation Grange will be granted, following former Prime Minster David Cameron’s request to “bring their expertise” to the request made by the McCann family.

In 2013 four people were made identified suspects, but after being interviewed by Portuguese Officers and the Met Police, no further action was taken.

Following the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, in May 2017 Police said 40,000 documents had been reviewed and more than 600 individuals investigated.

Madeleine’s parents have vowed never to give up trying to find their daughter.