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Keir Starmer warned: The challenge of ‘Everest proportions’ facing Labour leader

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Jeremy Corbyn led Labour to a crushing defeat in December’s election and its worst result since the 1930s, handing Mr Johnson and the Tories a huge 80-seat majority in the House of Commons, providing the ruling party with massive power on any parliamentary votes and motions. But crucially, Labour saw thousands of voters turn against the party in the general election, losing traditional heartlands and constituencies in the north of England that it had held and relied on for decades. Immediately after becoming leader on April 4, former Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir vowed to reunite a party dogged by vicious infighting, a baffling Brexit position and antisemitism allegations that had swept through the party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

No major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 percent, which Starmer would need to accomplish to win in 2024

John Macdonald

He also reshuffled his top team but last week sacked education spokeswoman Rebecca Long-Bailey – a strong ally of Mr Corbyn – after she shared an article online which included a reference to what he called an “antisemitic conspiracy theory”.

Political experts have warned just three months into his new job, the magnitude of the task ahead of Sir Keir is already evident. He would have to create British political history to topple the Prime Minister and the Tories.

John Macdonald, Head of Government Affairs at the Adam Smith Institute think tank, told Express.co.uk “Sir Keir has benefited not only in not being Corbyn, but in demonstrating a degree of competency at the opposition dispatch box not seen in a Labour leader for a long time.

“However, no major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 percent, which Starmer would need to accomplish to win in 2024.

“He must neutralise the toxicity at the heart of Labour, create a popular narrative, and build a cohesive electoral coalition.

“To do what no opposition party has done before is no ordinary mountain to climb.

“Sir Keir is facing a challenge of Everest proportions. Time will tell if he, or another Labour leader, is the one to make it to the top.”

Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman, Bow Group think tank, warned Sir Keir is already at risk of falling into a traditional Labour “trap” in failing to define the requirements of the working classes and metropolitan liberals.

He told this website: “Keir Starmer is in danger of falling into the trap most recent Labour leaders have, which is to ignore the wishes of the working classes in favour of woke metropolitan liberals, whose views are often diametrically opposed.

“Labour needs to understand that the concerns of the British working classes are not the concerns of metropolitan liberals.

“By majority the British working class is patriotic and socially conservative.

“They voted for Brexit, want to see immigration fall significantly and are not signed up to the “woke” agenda.”

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Alex De Ruyter, professor at Birmingham City University who also serves as Director of its Centre for Brexit Studies, warned Labour is faced with a “series of structural challenges that make winning the next election unlikely”.

He explained: “The challenge for Starmer is threefold: firstly, he needs to convince “enough” of its traditional (often older) working-class supporters to vote in order to win back a sufficient number of traditional seats (think Sedgefield in the North East).

“Secondly, he needs to get much better at convincing younger voters and ethnic minorities (both of whom support the Labour Party in large numbers) to register and vote.

“Thirdly, his shadow cabinet needs sufficient credibility to convince people who were “put-off” by Corbyn (whether due to image, behaviour or policy) to vote Labour.”

The latest warnings come two weeks after Labour was told it has a “mountain to climb to get back into power in the next five years” in a damning report that laid bare the crumbling leadership of Mr Corbyn and huge challenge facing Sir Keir.

A major report looking at the disastrous general election defeat, put together by Labour Together and prepared by a a 15-strong panel of commissioners, warned the party will “not win” unless urgent and immediate changes to its culture and foundations are made.

Labour Together said: “Labour has a mountain to climb to get back into power in the next five years.

“This report lays out in stark detail the scale of that task. Unless as a party and a movement we face up to that we will not win.

“Labour faces a substantial challenge to win the next election, with a historic swing of over 10 percent needed to gain a majority of one seat.

“No major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 per-cent, which is what Labour would need to do to win in 2024.”

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World News

North Korea shock: Chilling discovery made in Kim’s secret underground tunnel revealed

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Last month, North Korea appeared to come within inches of engaging in a full-blown war with South Korea. The soaring tensions came after hundreds of thousands of balloons ventured into the North from the South. Each carried propaganda against the North’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, and were thought to have been launched by non-governmental activists.

Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, reacted furiously to the news, branding those responsible as “human scum”, calling the South “the enemy”.

A telecommunications line which had been in daily use between Pyongyang and Seoul was soon destroyed.

And, shortly after, the North blew up a joint liaison office with the South in the border city of Kaesong.

Tensions were made all the more intense after reports suggested some of the leaflets sent on balloons contained indecent photoshopped images of Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju.

Alexander Matsegora, the Russian Ambassador to North Korea told Russian media outlet TASS: “The leaflets bore a special kind of dirty, insulting propaganda, aimed at the leader’s spouse.”

He said they were Photoshopped “in such a low-grade way” that they became the “last straw” for the Hermit Kingdom.

Yet, no more than two days later, Kim announced he would be scaling back military action against the South after having taken the “prevailing situation” into consideration.

North Korea has remained an enigma to the outside world for decades.

Only a handful of Westerners have been granted access to the secretive dictatorship – one unlikely figure to have made a friendship with Kim is Dennis Rodman, the former Chicago Bulls basketball star.

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Others, such as Bruce Bennett, a senior researcher at the RAND Corporation, has spent decades studying North Korea, and has made “more than 100 trips to the Korean Peninsula and interviewed an array of North Korean defectors”.

In a 2018 report for Vox, Yochi Dreazen spoke to Mr Bennett about his experiences with the North.

Mr Bennett recounted the chilling time he discovered a secret, underground tunnel that went into North Korea itself.

On his behalf, Mr Dreazen explained: “He also jokes that he’s ‘kinda, sorta’ made it into North Korea itself, including once walking through a newly discovered tunnel that North Korean troops had dug beneath the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea.

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“He remembers that the walls were covered with graffiti praising Kim.”

Many experts claim the majority of the North’s population has been brainwashed into regarding the Kim family as deities.

This places the country in a unique position should it ever enter war.

Despite the North’s lacking in firepower when compared to the likes of the US, Mr Dreazen explained that Kim has a “different kind of weapon: 25million people”.

The North’s man power includes 1.2million active-duty troops and several million reservists.

Retired South Korean, General In-Bum Chun, explained to Mr Dreazen how dangerous the North’s troops were given their living in a dictatorship.

He said the troops have been “indoctrinated since childhood with the belief that Kim and his family are literal gods whose government must be protected at all costs.”

He continued: “You’re talking about people who have basically been brainwashed their entire lives.

“It would be like what you saw on Okinawa during World War II, where Japanese civilians and soldiers were all willing to fight to the death.

“This would be a hard and bloody war.”

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World News

IS convert jailed for St Paul’s Cathedral bomb plot

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Safiyya Shaikh, a 37-year-old mother and drug addict from Hayes in west London, extensively researched how to cause maximum carnage at the visitor attraction and place of worship, saying she wanted “a lot to die” before being killed herself so she could reach paradise.

Shaikh’s murderous plans came to fruition when she sought help from a bomb-making expert believed to be a willing co-conspirator – only to find it was an undercover officer.

She admitted preparation of terrorist acts and dissemination of terrorist publications on the internet.

Shaikh’s defence team said she had “doubts” over the plot. But moments before the judge was due to sentence her on Thursday, prosecutors disclosed details of a phone call to a friend from prison in which Shaikh said: “I didn’t get cold feet, yeah – I was ready to go through with it.”

Sentencing Shaikh to life with a minimum term of 14 years at the Old Bailey yesterday, Mr Justice Sweeney said: “I had already reached the sure conclusion in the original evidence that your claim of doubt to the police and others was a lie.

“Your intention had been – and remained throughout – strong.”

Shaikh, who sat in the dock wearing a black hijab with her head bowed, showed little emotion as the sentence was read out.

She smiled and raised her index finger – widely recognised as an Islamic State salute – to members of the press as she was led from court.

Commander Richard Smith, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “She loved watching graphic videos of terrorist killings and her mission… was to inspire others to fight, even after she hoped to have died in a suicide attack.

She was so serious about her propaganda work, she wanted to ensure it would continue even after she had died.

Shaikh was clearly dangerous. She was spreading vile directives for mass murder across the world and also planning her own horrific terrorist attack on UK soil.”

Shaikh, born Michelle Ramsden, converted to Islam in 2007 when she was impressed by the kindness of a local Muslim family but her view of Islam became increasingly extremist, and she stopped attending mosques.

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Plymouth emergency: Armed police rush to incident as residents ordered to stay indoors

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It has not yet been confirmed what the nature of the incident is. 

Devon and Cornwall Police Force Incident Manager, have confirmed there is an operation taking place on Ham Drive. 

The local police force is expected to provide more details in due course.

Local residents have claimed they have been asked to remain in their homes. 

In pictures from Plymouth Live, police dogs have also arrived at the scene. 

A journalist for the paper, Erin Black has also reported seeing firefighters and paramedics descended on the scene near the Cherry Tree pub.  

More to follow…

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World News

Trump election plot exposed: President to ‘manufacture’ global chaos in bid to beat Biden

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Speaking to Express.co.uk, Professor of the University of New Haven Matthew Schmidt warned Donald Trump is expected to create an “October surprise” to change the US electoral landscape ahead of the November election against Democrat Joe Biden. The US foreign policy expert warned the US President could “manufacture an international crisis” by pushing North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un or Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Whilst he admitted “Biden’s in a much stronger position right now,” Professor Schmidt continued “barring some, as we say in the States, some sort of October surprise that changes the system.

“And then, and that’s something I firmly believe that Trump will try to create if he needs to.”

He added: “When we say October surprise we mean some sort of event that happens in the world that, you know, that changes the preceding electoral landscape.

“Usually this is some sort of international crisis.

“Then you know, the public then doesn’t want to change presidents in the middle of, you might see something like that.

“But for President Trump, I could see him trying to manufacture something like that.

“Trying to push North Korea or push Putin in some way to create an incident where then he can stand up and say ‘you need a strong president and I’m that guy’.”

The warning comes as the US point man for North Korea is due to visit South Korea next week as it pushes for a resumption of talks with the North ahead of the US election and despite few signs of any progress.

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who led working-level negotiations with the North Koreans, will be among several State Department officials holding talks with South Korean counterparts on Tuesday, a government official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity as the trip has not been announced.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should meet again before the U.S. election in November, and on Thursday, South Korea’s foreign minister said Seoul is pushing for a resumption of U.S.-North Korea talks.

Biegun has said there is time for both sides to re-engage and “make substantial progress”, but the coronavirus pandemic would make an in-person summit difficult before the November election.

Last month, North Korea abruptly raised tension with South Korea and blew up an inter-Korean liaison office, just on its side of the border, before just as suddenly announcing it would suspend plans for unspecified military actions against the South.

North Korea has repeatedly said it will not return to talks until the United States drops its “hostile policies”, including strict sanctions, and vowed not to provide Trump with another photo opportunity before the election without significant concessions.

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“It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the North Koreans would be compelled to come back to the table unless the U.S. ‘offer’ was drastically different than it’s been in the past,” said Jenny Town, of 38 North, a think-tank focusing on North Korea.

“And even then, how credible would that be that it would survive a potential change in administration in the U.S.? Trump and Kim met for the first time in 2018 in Singapore, raising hopes of an agreement to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons programme.”

But their second summit, in early 2019 in Vietnam, fell apart.

Trump and Kim met again at the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas in June 2019 and agreed to restart negotiations but working-level talks between the two sides in Sweden in October were broken off.

Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, told reporters in New York on Thursday that the president might seek another summit with Kim as an “October Surprise” ahead of the election.

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Politics

EU digs its heels in: Brussels blames Britain for no progress – ‘Not our fault!’

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UK and EU officials ended talks a day early on Thursday with the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier insisting serious areas of divergence still remain. The Brexit trade deal talks marked the first to face discussions between the pair since the coronavirus pandemic began. In the fallout of the ending of negotiations this week, the Brexit representative of the EU Parliament and German MEP, David McAllister claimed the lack of progression was solely down to the UK’s negotiating position.

Speaking to Web.De, the MEP said: “I think the Tories’ European policy is very unfortunate.

“Brexit is and remains a historical mistake for me, but we have to accept the reality.

“In the upcoming rounds of negotiations, the British government should make it clear whether it is politically willing to reach an agreement by the end of October.

“The EU and the Member States are preparing in parallel for a UK exit from the single market and customs union without an agreement.

“Not doing that would be negligent.

“The responsibility is now clearly on the UK side.

“So far, it was not because of the European Union that there wasn’t any progress.”

Crucially, there are still four areas of divergence between the two sides: fisheries, the level playing field, judicial cooperation in criminal matters and governance.

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There have also been disagreements over access to the single market for UK financial services and data-sharing.

Chiefly, the level playing field has been stated as one of the EU’s main demands.

Brussels wants the UK to adhere to certain rules and regulations in order to maintain fair competition between the two sides.

This issue also trickles down into the concept of state aid which is an advantage granted by public authorities through state resources on a selective basis to any organisation.

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On judicial cooperation, the UK has insisted the European Court of Justice cannot have any role in the British judicial system.

Although Mr Barnier has hinted there could be room to compromise on fisheries, UK officials have demanded Britain be free of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The CFP has long been labelled as unfair for British fisherman as it allows EU boats equal access to the bloc’s economic zone.

Due to the UK’s large coastal area in comparison to other states, some have stated European fisherman benefit more from the policy.

The EU wants a single agreement on the governance on the future relationship of the treaty while the UK has insisted there must be multiple agreements.

On the matter, Mr Johnson told the LBC today: “I’m not remotely disrespectful of Michel or the EU system, which I know well and understand deeply.

“I just don’t think that it’s right for us to proceed on the basis of the European Court of Justice continuing to arbitrate in the UK or us continuing to have to obey EU laws even when we are out of the EU, or us having to hand over our amazing fish stock.

“So, we are not going to do those things. We made it very clear.

“We now need to make sure we get a good deal.

“I’ve had some very good conversations with friends and colleagues around the EU.

“I’m a bit more optimistic than Michel is there.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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World News

Iran-US: Tehran taunts Donald Trump for latest defeat as UN arms embargo set to end

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The US had hoped to extend the embargo past the deadline of October 18 but both Russia and China rejected the motion in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The other permanent members of the UNSC – the UK and France – also failed to support the extension of the embargo despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dire warnings. The arms embargo has stopped the Islamic Republic from importing or exporting any kind of weapon.

Due to this, the nuclear programme has been severely inhibited, thus leading to President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani claiming the US had suffered another political defeat.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Pompeo had warned the Islamic Republic could become a de facto arms dealer to enemy nations such as North Korea or groups in Syria and Afghanistan.

Mr Pompeo said ahead of the decision: “Iran is already violating the arms embargo, even before its expiration date.

“Imagine if Iranian activity were sanctioned, authorized by this group, if the restrictions are lifted.

Iran will be free to become a rogue weapons dealer, supplying arms to fuel conflicts from Venezuela, to Syria, to the far reaches of Afghanistan.”

UN officials had also presented information claiming missiles used on Saudi Arabian oil facilities last September had been made in Iran.

With the West insisting the Islamic Republic is trying to destabilise the region, several nations called for the 2015 nuclear deal to be resurrected.

While supporting the 2015 deal, representatives from the UK, France and Germany also hit out at the American approach of threatening a snapback clause from the deal.

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Under this clause, if Iran is deemed to have violated the agreements, full penalties could be used without needing a vote from the UNSC.

However, China, who used its UNSC veto alongside Russia, claimed the sanctions should end while also claiming a snapback clause is no longer legitimate.

Ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun said: “China opposes the U.S. push for extending the arms embargo on Iran.

“Having quit the JCPOA, the US is no longer a participant and has no right to trigger a snapback at the UN”

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The 2015 Joint Plan of Action Agreement was signed to limit Iran’s efforts to develop its nuclear programme.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow international inspectors into its facilities.

Mr Trump withdrew from the accords in 2018 claiming he would negotiate a better deal.

Iran has since ended its compliance with the agreement and has claimed it has exceeded previous levels.

The Islamic Republic further stated it would not comply with the agreement following the assassination of Revolutionary Guard general, Qassem Soleimani in January.

While the UN embargo is scheduled to end in October, the US still has crippling economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Under the sanctions, Iran cannot buy US dollars, certain mineral, trade in gold while the oil and shipping industries have also been restricted.

Illustrating the pursuit to limit the country’s economic capability the US has also seized four oil tanks sailing towards Venezuela this week.

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World on brink: The terrifying picture that shows how close US and China are to conflict

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The US Navy shared the pictured via its official website yesterday, saying it showed the USS Gabrielle Giffords conducting routine operations” near the Chinese vessel Hai Yang Di Zhi 4 Hao. In another photo released by the navy, a ship which apparently belongs to the Vietnamese coastguard can be seen along with the Giffords and the Hai Yang 4.

Last month, the Chinese ship sailed into waters in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what was widely perceived to be an attempt to deter Hanoi from exploring for oil with international partners off the country’s southeastern coast.

The ship left on June 20, but vessel tracking software seen by US-funded website Radio Free Asia indicated on Tuesday the Hai Yang 4 was roughly 205 nautical miles (330 km) from Vietnam’s coast on Tuesday.

The move is highly significant because the Chinese ship in question is the sister ship of the Hai Yang Di Zhi 8 Hao, which Beijing likewise ordered into waters within Malaysia’s EEZ, accompanied by six China Coast Guard vessels, in April.

The ship performed a survey close to a Malaysian-contracted drillship called the West Capella, which was exploring for oil there.

The West Capella suspended operations on May 12, earlier than scheduled, and the Hai Yang 8 left shortly afterwards.

On that occasion Admiral John Aquilino, commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, said: “The Chinese Communist Party must end its pattern of bullying Southeast Asians out of offshore oil, gas, and fisheries.

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“Millions of people in the region depend on those resources for their livelihood.”

China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also lay claim to parts of it, through which about £2.4 trillion of trade passes each year.

The US Defense Department yesterday voiced concern about China holding military exercises in the disputed waters close to the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by both Vietnam and China.

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A statement warned: “Conducting military exercises over disputed territory in the South China Sea is counterproductive to efforts at easing tensions and maintaining stability.

“The military exercises are the latest in a long string of PRC actions to assert unlawful maritime claims and disadvantage its Southeast Asian neighbours in the South China Sea.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, asked about the Pentagon’s comments during a daily briefing in Beijing, said the military exercises are within the scope of China’s sovereignty and said that certain “non-regional countries” conducting military exercises in the South China Sea are affecting the region’s stability.

Zhao did not name any countries, but the United States has conducted multiple freedom of navigation operations by sending its warships through the area to assert the freedom of access to international waterways.

Speaking during an online news conference in April, Gregory Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative in Washington, told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines: “What is pretty obvious is China’s not going to stop.

“If a global pandemic doesn’t cause China to calm things down in the South China Sea, there’s not much that will.

“The number one thing that we should think to look into is international economic sanctions.

“We have never had a discussion about sanctioning the actors behind the Chinese maritime militia.

“China admits it has a maritime militia, and it’s a clear violation of international law.

“They are operating on the same policy framework which is go out, assert rights, harass neighbours, do whatever you want.”

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Politics

Sturgeon left red faced as Scottish rail ranks bottom in UK – operator paid 65,000 claims

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The Office of Road and Rail says Network Rail Scotland’s divisional score, which is funded by the Scottish Government, was 43.3 percent, compared to 74.6 percent for it’s best English counterpart. The publicly-funded body is in charge of the country’s rail infrastructure, including tracks and signals.

The score takes into account a range of issues from punctuality and customer satisfaction to safety and financial management.

The other UK regions were Southern England, which scored 74.6 percent. Wales and Western England scored 62.9 percent, Eastern England got 56.5 percent while North West and Central got a 56.1 percent mark.

The government rail watchdog also showed the body was 4 per cent short of their target in terms of service punctuality.

88.5 percent of services arrived at their destination within five minutes of schedule, lower than the officially set target of 92.5 percent which Network Rail forecast would not be met till March 2022.

 

There was also 1.24 minutes of delay per 100km of train travel in 2019-20 – 0.18 minutes worse than official targets.

The ORR report added: “Network Rail Scotland did not deliver the targets set by the Scottish Ministers or those agreed with its customers.

“However It has demonstrated that it understands what it needs to do to achieve its performance targets and, working closely with its customers, has plans in place to deliver these improvements.”

The pressure piles on as Network Rail Scotland is under pressure to deliver £347 million of efficiency savings over five years.

The ORR also scored Network Rail down after it failed to achieve targets for customer satisfaction, train performance, reduction in works complaints and other management.

The figures also claim worker safety requires improvement with the body failing to reduce the number of minor injuries, especially slips, trips and falls among workers.

It comes after the regulator issued two national improvement notices concerning track worker safety in 2019-20.

But the report said the rail body was “responding positively” to these.

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Network Rail was previously investigated by the transport regulator as it emerged that it was responsible for 66 percent of delays.

It meant Scotland’s train operator Scotrail had to pay out 65,000 successful claims from passengers in nine months.

But the regulator said Network Rail Scotland’s strongest performing areas were in safety, investment and asset management.

The report added: “While the reliability of Network Rail Scotland’s infrastructure is improving, it is important that it focuses on other areas where the proportion of delay remains high.

 

“Network Rail Scotland knows it must do this and has recently put in place plans and dedicated resources to help reduce delays associated with its operational management of the network. 

“Network Rail Scotland is specifically focused on reducing the level of ‘unexplained’ delay by investigating the worst performing routes to better understand the factors impeding performance.” 

It comes after pressure begins to mount to extend the iconic Borders Rail Route so Edinburgh will once again be connected with Carlisle via the Borders following the announcement of Boris Johnson’s £5bn infrastructure pledge.

John Larkinson, Chief Executive of the ORR, said: “We are also encouraged by the level of commitment that Network Rail has shown in delivering the Scottish Ministers’ requirements on enhancement projects such as the redevelopment of Scotland’s third busiest station, Glasgow Queen Street station and in areas that support delivery of the Scottish Ministers’ strategic objectives – for example working with the industry on plans for freight growth.

“Train service performance for passengers was below target, although it did improve during the year – and delays caused by Network Rail reduced.”

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Gary Lineker row: How BBC colleague tore into MOTD host over Brexit stance

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The Brexit process is entering its final stages. Britain is just five months away from the date where it will officially relieve itself of all ties to the EU. While a trade deal has not yet been reached, agreements with other countries outside the bloc are ongoing.

Earlier this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak agreed to develop closer financial links between the UK and Switzerland.

In a positive move, Mr Sunak signed a joint commitment with his Swiss counterpart, Ueli Maurer, to work on a new international financial services agreement.

A deal on economic partnership to secure business continuity between Japan and the UK is reportedly set to conclude by the end of the month.

Many Remain figures were critical of Brexit early on and attempted to prevent the process from going through.

Others were less politically involved but opposed the vote all the same.

Gary Lineker became known for his fierce opposition to Brexit.

The former England captain hosts the BBC’s flagship sports programme, Match of the Day.

Several times a day, or in reaction to a new development, Lineker tweeted about Brexit.

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Equally as many times was the former footballer called out on his incessant tweeting.

On one occasion, in 2018, Lineker’s fellow BBC colleague, Jonathan Agnew, criticised him for plastering his political views over social media.

Agnew, who heads up the BBC’s cricket coverage, condemned Lineker for what he saw as breaching the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

The guidelines require BBC presenters to be impartial.

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He wrote on Twitter: “Gary. You are the face of BBC Sport.

“Please observe BBC editorial guidelines and keep your political views, whatever they are and whatever the subject, to yourself.

“I’d be sacked if I followed your example. Thanks.”

It appeared to be in response to a string of tweets written by Lineker after the Conservatives held a no-confidence vote in Theresa May.

In one tweet, Lineker wrote: “Extraordinary to watch us take our country back and rip it to shreds in the process.”

He proceeded to retweet David Cameron’s call for the Conservative Party to back the Prime Minister, which Lineker shared with crying face emojis.

Lineker eventually replied to Agnew.

He wrote: “Jonathan, I’m the face of my own Twitter account.

“I’ll continue to tweet what I like and if folk disagree with me then so be it.

“Thank you so much for your concern, which, I imagine, wouldn’t be a concern at all if you agreed with me.”

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