Around the UK
Northern Ireland post-brexit deal, fruit and veg shortage, Northern Lights sightings and more – 5 stories from around the UK today
9 months ago
Here are 5 stories you need to know from around the UK today, Monday 27 February 2023.
The PM strikes a post-Brexit Northern Ireland deal with the EU
Rishi Sunak has signed a breakthrough deal with the European Union over post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland and will now seek to win the backing of unionists and Tory Eurosceptics.
The Prime Minister and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen finalised the long-awaited agreement to ease the trading issues created by the Northern Ireland Protocol during a summit at Windsor on Monday, sources from both sides told the PA news agency.
“An agreement has been reached. The deal is done,” a senior Downing Street source said.
The European Commission president will go on to have tea with the King at Windsor Castle despite criticisms that the meeting would drag Charles into the politically contentious deal.
A study has shown that lockdown worsened survival rates for most aggressive forms of cancer
Lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic affected survival rates for the most aggressive cancers, a study has shown.
Patients diagnosed with gastric or oesophageal cancers were 13% less likely to receive curative treatment during the post-lockdown period according to the research from the University of Dundee.
Post-lockdown patients, on average, survived three months less than the pre-lockdown cohort which the scientists said is “very significant”.
Researchers claim it is one of the first studies to examine the survival impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on cancer patients.
First woman Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd dies aged 93
Baroness Betty Boothroyd, the first woman to be elected Speaker of the House of Commons, has died at 93.
The current Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle paid tribute to Lady Boothroyd as “one of a kind”.
She became the first woman to be elected Commons Speaker in the more than 700-year history of the role in April 1992, staying on until October 2000.
She then entered the Lords as a crossbench peer in January 2001.
Lady Boothroyd was unafraid to make her feelings known to her successors in the job, with Sir Lindsay admitting in a 2020 interview she “gets me put in my place” with regular phone calls telling him whether he is getting things right or wrong, and encouraging him to “tell him (the Prime Minister) straight”.
Food minister calls for meeting with supermarket bosses over fruit and veg shortage
Food minister Mark Spencer has summoned supermarket chiefs to explain “what they are doing to get shelves stocked again” amid shortages of fresh fruit and vegetables.
The meeting comes as consumers continue to face, at best, buying restrictions on certain fresh produce items such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers or even bare shelves as retailers grapple with supply problems.
Mr Spencer said: “The current situation – caused by recent poor weather in North Africa – shows how dependent we can be on certain trade routes for some types of food.
“I know families expect the fresh produce they need to be on the shelves when they go in for their weekly shop. That is why I am calling in supermarket chiefs to find out what they are doing to get shelves stocked again and to outline how we can avoid a repeat of this.
You could catch a glimpse of the northern lights this evening
The northern lights could be visible in the UK for a second evening in a row, 24 hours after perfect conditions saw them light up the night sky as far south as Cambridgeshire.
The natural phenomenon was spotted across the UK on Sunday evening, including in the Outer Hebrides, North Wales, Cambridgeshire and Shropshire.
The Met Office said the lights may also be visible on Monday evening, although cloudy skies may limit those who get a second chance to witness it.
The head of space weather at the Met Office, Mark Gibbs, said: “The aurora will continue tonight but with cloudy skies across much of the UK, it may be too optimistic to expect clear sightings two nights in a row.
“Last night’s sighting saw the coincidence of perfect conditions, making the aurora visible on the north horizon in the south of England.
“If you have a clear sky tonight, head outside around midnight and have a look, but it is most likely to be visible from the west coast of Scotland.”