13/03/2018 BBC News at One


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13/03/2018

The latest national and international news stories from the BBC News team, followed by weather.


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Boris Johnson says there's strong

international support for the UK

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following its ulimatum to Moscow

over the nerve gas

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poisoning in Salisbury.

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I've been very encouraged, so far,

by the strength of the support

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that we are getting.

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I think in particular

from President Macron of France,

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I spoke to Sigmar Gabriel,

my German counterpart,

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and from Washington.

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Russia has until midnight to explain

how a military-grade substance has

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left a former Russian spy

and his daughter critically ill

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in hospital.

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Russia has strongly rejected

claims of involvement,

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saying it won't respond

to the midnight deadline

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unless its experts are allowed

to examine poison

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recovered from the scene.

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Also this lunchtime...

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Do you have good news

today, Chancellor?

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Is that a spring in your step?

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The Chancellor Philip Hammond has

delivered his spring statement and,

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with it, an upbeat assessment of the

state of the UK economy. He said

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growth had risen and employment was

up. In last few minutes, Donald

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Trump has sacked his Secretary of

State, Rex Tillerson.

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Victims of the black cab rapist

John Worboys begin a High Court

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challenge against the decision

to release him from prison.

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And another medal for Team GB -

Menna Fitzpatrick skis into silver

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at the Winter Paralympics.

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And coming up in the

sport on BBC News...

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Jump racing's annual showpiece,

the Cheltenham Festival,

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gets under way this afternoon

with Buveur D'Air attempting

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to defend his title in the feature,

the Champion Hurdle.

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Good afternoon and welcome

to the News at One.

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The Foreign Secretary,

Boris Johnson, has said he's

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encouraged by the strength

of support from Britain's allies

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following the poisoning of a former

spy in Salisbury last week.

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Theresa May has said it's "highly

likely" that Russia was behind

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the attack on Sergei Skripal

and his daughter and has given

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the Kremlin until midnight

to explain its role.

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Moscow has denied any

involvement and has summoned

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the British ambassador.

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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei

Lavrov dismissed as "rubbish"

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claims that his country

was behind the poisoning.

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Our first report this lunchtime

is by Richard Galpin.

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The historic city of Salisbury,

population around 50,000. And the

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location of the first chemical

weapons attack in this country. In

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which not a standard nerve agent was

used, but one called Novichok, which

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is exceptionally potent and

persistent.

This is the most deadly

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chemical agent we have ever come

across, that has the potential to

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kill many millions of people. It is

a new chemical weapon, very

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sophisticated, very toxic and very

persistent.

And it was developed

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here in Russia. This, believed to be

one of the laboratories in Moscow

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where scientists started working in

1970s and 80s to different forms of

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the nerve agent, which are

particularly difficult to detect.

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And that is why, back in Salisbury,

the decontamination process has

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spread far and wide. All locations

on vehicles which may have come into

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contact with Novichok needing to be

thoroughly cleaned. Nine days after

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the attack on the Russian double

agent Sergei Skripal and his

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daughter, nothing has been formally

announced about how, where and

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exactly where they ingested the

nerve agent. There are plenty of

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theories, including that it may have

been in this car, which belongs to

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Mr Skripal and had been in the city

centre. It is amongst the many

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vehicles to have been taken away for

examination and decontamination. For

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the people of Salisbury, this is an

extraordinary and very worrying

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time. Hundreds belatedly told to

wash their clothes, because they had

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been in some of the contaminated

areas. And now they, like the rest

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of the country, wait to see what the

government will do after it

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announced it was highly likely that

Russia was behind the attack.

If

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they can spot which one it was,

which spy it was or whoever did it,

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yeah, got to take Russia to task.

I

would like to see what is now going

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to happen, what Theresa May is going

to go on and do, really.

I don't

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think that any particular aspect of

our interests are served by picking

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a fight.

If there is no response

from Russia in the coming hours

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about what happened in this city,

then the Government has promised to

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announce tomorrow what action it

will take. Richard Galpin, BBC News.

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So if the Salisbury attack

is officially declared to have been

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ordered by the Russian state,

what can the Government do?

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Paul Adams reports.

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Theresa May and Vladimir Putin are

now locked in a diplomatic

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stand-off. What chance of a

breakthrough in the coming hours? At

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the Foreign Office, there is

certainly a feeling that support for

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Britain's position is growing.

I

have been very encouraged so far by

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the strength of the support that we

are getting. I think in particular

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from President Macron of France, I

talked to Sigmar Gabriel, my German

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counterpart, and from Washington,

where Rex Tillerson last night made

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it absolutely clear that he sees

this as part of a pattern of

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disruptive behaviour, increasingly

disruptive behaviour, malign

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behaviour.

The outgoing American

Secretary of State said the US have

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full confidence in Britain's

assessment that Russia was probably

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responsible for the nerve agent.

Are

you worried about Russia after the

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attack in the UK?

Yes.

In Europe,

frustrations over Brexit have, for

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the moment, been set aside.

I

believe that the European Council

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should come in clear terms, express

its full solidarity with the British

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people and the British Government

and address this issue.

In Moscow,

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little sign of a resolution. The

British ambassador was summoned,

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with Russia demanding information

about the investigation and seeing

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it is being thwarted. TRANSLATION:

We have already said it is

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We have already said it is rubbish,

we have nothing to do with it.

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Sergey Lavrov said Russia would

co-operate, but this would take

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time. What will Britain do if Russia

doesn't respond by tonight? There

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are plenty of options. Russian

diplomats could be expelled,

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sanctions could be applied against

Russian individuals or businesses.

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Russian broadcasters like TRT could

be blocked, and British officials

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could boycott the World Cup. Today,

a meeting of the organisation which

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monitors Uncle Ben's. The

organisation has condemned the

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action in Salisbury, but it is not

clear what action it is planning to

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take. Britain's representative says

that those that used chemical

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weapons cannot be immune from

consequences of their actions.

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In the last half-hour, Donald Trump

has announced he is removing the

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secretary state Rex Tillerson from

office. He will be replaced by CIA

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director Mike Pompeo. Is this linked

to Rex Tillerson pointing the finger

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so squarely at Russia?

You can see

why people might conclude that. He

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has just enthusiastically endorsed

the British position at a time when,

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conspicuously, his boss Donald Trump

said nothing about it and people

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have been wondering whether that is

to do with Donald Trump's alleged

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closeness to Vladimir Putin. I think

that is a wrong assumption. The

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timing, as always, with Donald

Trump, is eccentric. Rex Tillerson,

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in the middle of a trip to Africa,

he's going to have to cut that

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short. As usual, we get to hear

about it in a tweet on in the early

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hours of the Washington morning.

Mike Pompeo, as the outgoing CIA

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boss, will have seen all the

intelligence himself. He will know

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what Rex Tillerson knows, I would be

surprised if we do not hear comments

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from him at some point,

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from him at some point, on similar

lines to those of Rex Tillerson,

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even if Donald Trump remains silent.

Mike Pompeo is quite pro-British. I

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don't think we should see any

connection there. It is clearly a

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reflection of something that is in

the wings for a long time. We have

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known since September or October

that Donald Trump wanted to get rid

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of Rex Tillerson. Remember, there

was the famous quote attributed

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was the famous quote attributed to

Rex Tillerson, alleged to have

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called Donald Trump and exclusive

moron. That was denied, sort of, the

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time. It was sort of expected, but

the timing is a little blunt, as

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always. -- expletive moron.

We can

speak to Sarah Rainsford. We have

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had a complete denial by the Russian

Foreign Minister of any involvement

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in this incident in Salisbury. What

else can we expect before the

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midnight deadline?

I don't think we

can expect anything different to

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that. This was Sergey Lavrov,

responding to questions I put to him

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in Moscow today. I was asking him if

he could exclude any Russian

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involvement in the poisoning of

Sergei Skripal. He said he could,

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Russia had nothing to do with it and

the suggestion that Russia is behind

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it is nonsense. He said I should

make sure I report that. He said

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what many people here are claiming,

that there is this kind of hysteria

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in the UK, and that is what Russia

is claiming is behind all of this,

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claiming that the finger is being

pointed towards Russia without any

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evidence. Of course, the UK has

pointed very clearly to the

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substance known as Novichok. Russian

state media is reporting that the

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USSR did to do something called

Novichok, but that the stockpiles in

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Russia were destroyed some time ago.

Sergey Lavrov has made another

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claim, he says according to the

Convention on chemical weapons, if

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Russia is being accused of a

chemical attack, then it should be

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given a sample of the substance used

to conduct its own analysis. I think

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what this means is that Russia is

essentially laying the groundwork in

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order to deny everything, to say

that this was a close investigation

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in the United Kingdom and that

Russia is innocent, but that Russia

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has not been allowed to defend

itself properly and that it is being

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accused unfairly. I think that is

probably where we are heading,

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deadline or no deadline.

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The Chancellor Philip Hammond has

delivered his Spring Statement

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on the UK's economic performance.

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In a break with recent tradition,

this was not a "mini Budget"

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with no major policy or tax

and spending announcements.

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Our political correspondent

Alex Forsyth reports.

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There was no red box, no stopping

for a photocall.

Is that a spring in

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your step?

But the Chancellor did

have a smile as he headed to the

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Commons, not for a budget but for an

update on the state of the economy.

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Statement, the Chancellor of the

Exchequer.

He told MPs growth

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forecasts were slightly up and

borrowing down, but urged against

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reckless spending.

Mr Speaker, I do

not agree with those that argue that

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every available penny must be used

to reduce the deficit. Nor do I

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agree with the fiscal fantasists

opposite, who argue that every

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available penny should be spent

immediately. We shall continue to

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deliver a balanced approach,

balancing debt reduction against the

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need for investment in Britain's

future, support to hard-working

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families through lower taxes and our

commitment to our public services.

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But in an optimistic statement, he

hinted at money to come, saying

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there was light at the end of the

tunnel.

If, in the autumn, public

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finances continue to reflect

improvements that today's report

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hints at, then in accordance with

our balanced approach, and using a

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flexible as you provided by the

fiscal rules, I would have capacity

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to enable further increases in

public spending and investment in

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the years ahead.

But Labour wanted

more.

Hasn't he listens to the

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doctors, the nurses, teachers, the

police officers, the carers and even

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his own councillors? They are

telling him they can't wait for the

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next budget. They are telling him to

act now. For eight years they have

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been ignored by this government. And

today they have been ignored again.

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The Chancellor scrap the spring

budget in favour of just one year,

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so we were told not to expect any

major tax and spending measures

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today. But for some, and improving

economic picture marks a moment to

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end austerity, a chance to loosen

the purse strings. The Government

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says now is not the time to splash

the cash.

I think what the

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Chancellor wanted to do is continue

a balanced approach. That means

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taking a responsible approach to the

public finances, making sure we have

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the targeted investment that we have

increased in schools on the NHS, but

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also keeping taxes as low as

possible.

So the streets around

0:14:150:14:19

Parliament may be free from the

ceremony of a budget, but the

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political ordnance over the economy

aren't going anywhere.

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Norman Smith is in Westminster. This

was a very different statement to

0:14:310:14:35

what we are used to at this time of

year?

It surely was. This is

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normally a big bananas date. If you

look at previous chancellors like

0:14:390:14:45

Gordon Brown and George Osborne,

they used this as a mini budget. Not

0:14:450:14:48

so Philip Hammond. He deliberately

wanted this to be a much more

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low-key event. I think that is the

story of today. It is all about

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expectation management. Mr Hammond

has deliberately chosen to lower

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expectations today, but has raised

expectations for his budget in the

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autumn. So, today there were no big

announcements, no big spending

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commitments, probably not even the

symbols of a big occasion, there was

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no big red box or big red book. But

it seems to me that he has made a

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rod for his own back when it comes

to the autumn budget, in part by the

0:15:210:15:25

very glowing review of the economy,

pointing to the fact that growth had

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been revised upwards, that job

growth was expected to continue,

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year in, year out, inflation was

likely to return to normal and the

0:15:360:15:40

deficit and debt were now in a much

better place. That will, inevitably,

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create pressure from MPs, for Mr

Hammond to splash the cash in the

0:15:450:15:49

autumn. More than that, Mr Hammond

said that he would look at a new

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path for public spending in the

autumn, and if the economy was still

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performing as it is now he would

look at increased investment and

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spending. So, he has lowered

expectations today, but, boy, has he

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raced in for the autumn budget. --

raised them for the autumn budget.

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As part of his Spring Statement

the Chancellor revealed the economy

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was performing better than expected.

0:16:160:16:18

Our Economics Correspondent

Andy Verity is here.

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You have to remember how gloomy it

was last November, there was a

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slight upward revision in a common

growth, 1.5% for the year 2018, as

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opposed to 1.4% before, which has a

knock-on effect. The faster the

0:16:400:16:45

economy is growing, though more

money comes in in taxes and the less

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you spend in benefits and that tends

to improve public finances. There

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was also a note that borrowing for

2017-18 £45.2 billion, £5 billion

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better, £5 billion less common than

previously thought. Compared to what

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people were saying before the

statement, it is a bit

0:17:060:17:09

disappointing. A lot of people were

predicting Philip Hammond would have

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had room to come up with money for

the NHS or education or police. They

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are now predicting, the official

forecasters, a positive sign, that

0:17:190:17:24

wages will start to grow by more

than inflation in the second quarter

0:17:240:17:28

of the year, springtime surprise, if

you like. Inflation is faster than

0:17:280:17:33

wages at the moment, 3% compared to

2.5%, the hope is that will change.

0:17:330:17:38

The bleak thing is still

productivity. A couple of positive

0:17:380:17:42

numbers on improvements recently and

there have been speculation the

0:17:420:17:46

forecast might improve that, --

might include that, but not

0:17:460:17:51

dismissing it as a blip and they

still think productivity is pretty

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poor.

Thank you. There was also a

consultation on whether there should

0:17:530:18:01

be taxes on single use plastics.

0:18:010:18:06

It will consider whether charges

should be added to bottles,

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cans and even possibly chewing gum.

0:18:080:18:09

Here's our environment

analyst, Roger Harrabin.

0:18:090:18:12

Our lives hang together with

plaster, the drinks we drink, the

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foods we eat, the straws we suck,

the cotton buds, even the chewing

0:18:150:18:19

gum. But David Attenborough's Blue

Planet showed too many items ended

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up in the stomachs of creatures and

the Government thinks putting a

0:18:270:18:31

charge on single use plastics might

help.

We will follow up on the vital

0:18:310:18:35

issue of plastic lettering and the

threat to our oceans with a call for

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evidence to support us in delivering

on our vowed to tackle this complex

0:18:400:18:45

issue -- littering.

The scheme we

visited in Norway might be one

0:18:450:18:49

option. You pay a deposit on bottles

and cans and a machine checks them

0:18:490:18:54

and gives a coupon for your money

back. Homeless people collect

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littered bottles because they have a

value. A levy has been demanded on

0:18:590:19:07

coffee by MPs, a proposed 25p

surcharge on disposable cups. The

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Government favours coffee shops

offering discounts for customers who

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bring their own cups.

It is

certainly sensible for the

0:19:160:19:19

Government to look at ways of heart

attacks plastic but it should not

0:19:190:19:23

delay urgent action that we need

Ashley Crow at ways to tax plastic.

0:19:230:19:33

We know recycling will never be

enough to deal with the plastic

0:19:330:19:35

crisis -- looking at ways to tax

plastic.

Chewing gum is after all a

0:19:350:19:43

type of plastic and is included.

This used chewing gum is being

0:19:430:19:50

turned into useful objects like the

souls of shoes. This idea might

0:19:500:19:55

benefit from a £20 million

innovation fund her plastics

0:19:550:19:58

announced by the Chancellor.

Whatever the result of the

0:19:580:20:03

Chancellor's consultation, the

public mood on throwaway society is

0:20:030:20:06

shifting, take this cup, it's usable

life is about... Three seconds. That

0:20:060:20:16

will surely change. Roger Harrabin,

BBC News.

0:20:160:20:21

Our top story this lunchtime...

0:20:210:20:24

Boris Johnson says there's strong

international support for the UK

0:20:240:20:27

following its ulimatum to Moscow

over the nerve gas

0:20:270:20:29

poisoning in Salisbury.

0:20:290:20:33

Coming up in sport...

0:20:330:20:35

Can Manchester United join

Liverpool and neighbours City

0:20:350:20:40

in the quarterfinals

of the Champions League?

0:20:400:20:44

Jose Mourinho's side face Sevilla

at Old Trafford tonight after it

0:20:440:20:47

finished goalless in the first leg.

0:20:470:20:55

Victims of the serial sex offender

John Worboys say the Parole Board

0:21:030:21:06

have failed to take account

of critical evidence

0:21:060:21:09

when reaching a decision

to release him from prison.

0:21:090:21:14

The High Court has begun hearing

a challenge against the decision

0:21:140:21:16

to allow the former taxi driver

to be released.

0:21:160:21:18

Tom Burridge reports.

0:21:180:21:24

A violent sexual predator

who tricked and drugged young women

0:21:240:21:27

and then raped or assaulted them

in the back of his taxi.

0:21:270:21:33

John Worboys was convicted

in relation to offences

0:21:330:21:35

on just 12 of his victims.

0:21:350:21:38

He was jailed indefinitely in 2009.

0:21:380:21:40

But earlier this year,

the Parole Board announced

0:21:400:21:42

he was to be released.

0:21:420:21:47

Today, here at the High

Court, two victims are

0:21:470:21:49

challenging the decision.

0:21:490:21:55

Usually, the Parole Board is pretty

cautious about letting

0:21:550:21:57

people out and in this

0:21:570:22:01

case it just seems very bizarre

to everybody that they made

0:22:010:22:04

this decision in such

an extraordinary case.

0:22:040:22:06

It was so extreme, so wrong,

it just seems that the reasoning

0:22:060:22:09

is wrong in this case.

0:22:090:22:11

This morning, we learnt

about the reasons behind

0:22:110:22:13

the Parole Board's decision.

0:22:130:22:16

It believed Worboys had learnt to be

open and honest and that he took

0:22:160:22:20

full responsibility for his crimes.

0:22:200:22:22

But the barrister representing

the victim said the Parole Board

0:22:220:22:25

ignored crucial evidence.

0:22:250:22:31

Phillippa Kaufmann QC said Worboys

has only ever admitted the offences

0:22:310:22:35

for which he was convicted,

when the police believe he assaulted

0:22:350:22:38

and raped more than 100 women over

a much longer period of time.

0:22:380:22:43

In court, we heard graphic

evidence of a sexual nature

0:22:430:22:46

to back that claim up.

0:22:460:22:47

The reasons behind decisions

taken by parole boards

0:22:470:22:49

are normally not published.

0:22:490:22:51

This case will have a bearing

on that principle and some

0:22:510:22:53

are urging caution.

0:22:530:22:57

Many of our members who give

evidence to parole boards

0:22:570:22:58

say they would welcome

some greater transparency.

0:22:580:23:06

But they are concerned at the impact

this might have and the possibility

0:23:090:23:12

of running into a trial by media

situation where one case is given

0:23:120:23:15

more prominence than another.

0:23:150:23:16

So, was the Parole Board right

to say this convicted rapist

0:23:160:23:19

was fit for release?

0:23:190:23:21

A decision by three

High Court judges will have

0:23:210:23:23

wider ramifications.

0:23:230:23:25

Tom Burridge, BBC News,

at the High Court.

0:23:250:23:30

The teenager accused of planting

a bomb on a London tube train has

0:23:300:23:33

told jurors he lied to officials

about being kidnapped

0:23:330:23:36

by Islamic State because he wanted

to study in Britain and become

0:23:360:23:39

the new David Attenborough.

0:23:390:23:40

Ahmed Hassan denies all charges.

0:23:400:23:45

He said he thought the device would

burn rather than explode, he denies

0:23:450:23:49

all charges.

0:23:490:23:50

Our home affairs correspondent,

June Kelly is at the Old Bailey.

0:23:500:23:54

Tell us what else was heard in

court. He has been in the witness

0:23:540:23:58

box all morning and he told the jury

he did plant the device on the train

0:23:580:24:03

but he said he did not want to kill

anybody, he said the idea of killing

0:24:030:24:07

another human being never crossed my

mind. He once said he thought the

0:24:070:24:11

device would burn, not explode, and

he said the reason why he planted

0:24:110:24:16

the device was he was bought over

the summer holidays and he liked the

0:24:160:24:19

idea of being a fugitive and he

thought he could be a fugitive being

0:24:190:24:24

chased across Europe by Interpol.

Just before lunch, he came under

0:24:240:24:29

cross-examination and we have heard

already that his father was killed

0:24:290:24:33

in a bombing in Iraq and she put it

to Hassan, you blamed the coalition

0:24:330:24:39

forces for your father's death? He

said, no. You believe the fight

0:24:390:24:44

against Britain should be brought

into this country. He replied, no.

0:24:440:24:50

Earlier the court heard he said he

did not have any connection with IS

0:24:500:24:55

in Iraq. Previously the jury had

been told he told immigration

0:24:550:24:59

officials when he came into the UK

that he had trained with IS and been

0:24:590:25:03

taught how to cool by them. This

morning he said he had lied about

0:25:030:25:06

that because he wanted to strengthen

his immigration case -- taught how

0:25:060:25:11

to kill. He said he was in fear of

IS. We heard he was a good student,

0:25:110:25:19

academically very strong, and he

said he came to Britain because he

0:25:190:25:23

wanted to further his education and

he was a big fan of David

0:25:230:25:26

Attenborough and his ambition was to

be a wildlife photographer and go to

0:25:260:25:32

university. The cross-examination

will continue this afternoon.

June

0:25:320:25:37

Kelly, thank you.

0:25:370:25:41

The British team have

won their fourth medal

0:25:410:25:43

of the Winter Paralympics.

0:25:430:25:44

Menna Fitzpatrick and guide

Jen Kehoe claimed a silver

0:25:440:25:46

in the women's visually-impaired

super combined event,

0:25:460:25:48

to help Paralympics GB close

in on UK Sport's target of seven

0:25:480:25:51

medals at the Games.

0:25:510:25:52

Kate Grey is in Pyeongchang for us.

0:25:520:26:00

That is right. You may notice I am

wrapped up warm with my hat on at

0:26:000:26:05

the moment but earlier today was

about 20 degrees by the coast by the

0:26:050:26:09

wheelchair curling is taking place.

20 of snow in the mountains for

0:26:090:26:16

another exciting day. The mountains

have been a happy hunting ground for

0:26:160:26:19

the Alpine skiers so far, what

fortunes with the super combined

0:26:190:26:24

hold today? After the speed

discipline this morning, Menna

0:26:240:26:29

Fitzpatrick and guide Jen Kehoe were

comfortably in silver medal

0:26:290:26:31

position. The technical slalom...

The penultimate hurdle on the tricky

0:26:310:26:36

course and the communication in the

headsets was integral. And

0:26:360:26:39

effective. They momentarily wearing

gold medal position. The turn of the

0:26:390:26:48

Slovakia team. They are unbeaten at

these Games. Would they falter this

0:26:480:26:53

time? A minor mistake but their

experience prevails. Menna

0:26:530:26:58

Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe had to

settle for silver.

No word spokesman

0:26:580:27:03

there has not sunk in yet. We're

just glad. -- no words! So grateful

0:27:030:27:10

it all went right today.

The Alpine

skiers have been making waves in the

0:27:100:27:15

mountains, the competition is

heating up on the coast, as the

0:27:150:27:19

wheelchair curlers move into the

business end of the round robin

0:27:190:27:22

matches. It may be 20 degrees

outside, but a cool head was

0:27:220:27:27

required on the ice as the Brits

faced another strong Slovakian team.

0:27:270:27:31

Early mistakes by the skip allowed

the opposition a comfortable lead

0:27:310:27:35

and the Brits were left with too

much to do. They will need to bounce

0:27:350:27:39

back quickly as their relentless

schedule continues. We have just

0:27:390:27:45

found out that Great Britain have

lost their second Match of the Day

0:27:450:27:49

against the neutral Paralympic

athletes from Russia meaning they

0:27:490:27:52

move down to fifth in the round

robin standings. They will have four

0:27:520:27:56

more matches to redeem themselves

before they go into the play-offs.

0:27:560:28:03

Thank you very much.

0:28:030:28:05

The Cheltenham Festival -

one of the most eagerly anticipated

0:28:050:28:07

events in the horse racing calendar

- gets under way today.

0:28:070:28:10

Heavy rain and the recent snow mean

jump racing's annual showpiece

0:28:100:28:13

is taking place on the wettest

ground for 36 years.

0:28:130:28:15

Andy Swiss sent this report.

0:28:150:28:18

It is the time when all hooves head

to Cheltenham, but rarely has jump

0:28:180:28:22

racing's biggest week had a more

testing build up.

0:28:220:28:25

This was the course

just ten days ago.

0:28:250:28:30

Fences engulfed by drifting snow -

more than 200 tonnes had to be

0:28:300:28:33

shovelled from the course,

and after further heavy rain,

0:28:330:28:36

this festival is starting

on the wettest ground for 36 years.

0:28:360:28:42

It rained a lot since Friday

last week, best part

0:28:420:28:45

of an inch and a half,

45 millimetres of rainfall,

0:28:450:28:48

which has turned the conditions

heavy-soft in places.

0:28:480:28:51

The first time the festival has

started on those ground

0:28:510:28:54

conditions since 1982.

0:28:540:28:56

Well, as you can see,

this is one of the soggiest starts

0:28:560:29:04

to the festival that

Cheltenham has ever seen.

0:29:060:29:09

The horses and riders

will have to conquer these

0:29:090:29:11

gruelling conditions

if they are to beat their rivals.

0:29:110:29:13

As ever, the highlight is on Friday,

the Gold Cup, won last

0:29:130:29:16

year by Sizing John.

0:29:160:29:17

Sizing John will win the Gold Cup.

0:29:170:29:18

By the end of the week, around

£350 million will have been gambled,

0:29:180:29:23

that annual battle between punters

and bookies is already under way.

0:29:230:29:31

We always say that Cheltenham can

make or break the bookies' year.

0:29:320:29:38

Last year happened to be a very good

year for us because a lot

0:29:380:29:43

of the odds-on shots got shinned

so that was a welcome.

0:29:430:29:46

The year before, it was a nightmare,

probably the worst in history.

0:29:460:29:48

So it is swings and roundabouts

and we just hope that we can get

0:29:480:29:52

some of the favourites beaten.

0:29:520:29:53

For the fans, the first big race

here is already over,

0:29:530:29:56

the customary charge

through the turnstiles,

0:29:560:29:59

but whatever your vantage point,

Cheltenham's challenges will once

0:29:590:30:01

again soon be plain to see.

0:30:010:30:03

Andy Swiss, BBC News, Cheltenham.

0:30:030:30:06

What is it like elsewhere?

0:30:060:30:07

What is it like elsewhere?

0:30:070:30:08

What is it like elsewhere?

0:30:080:30:09

Sunshine overhead enchantment today

and many

0:30:090:30:11

and many of us getting to the

sunshine. In a week when no two days

0:30:110:30:16

are the same, we can probably call

today the sunny day in most places,

0:30:160:30:20

certainly for this weather watcher

in Dorset, beautiful blue skies. We

0:30:200:30:25

are between weather systems. One

clearing away to the east, that

0:30:250:30:30

bought yesterday's rain, this next

one gathering strength in the

0:30:300:30:34

Atlantic, and in between, they slice

of sunshine. Still a fair amount of

0:30:340:30:38

cloud in northern and eastern

Scotland, still capable of producing

0:30:380:30:42

the odd shower, but more of us

getting sunny skies this afternoon.

0:30:420:30:47

That will feel like spring.

Relatively light winds. This evening

0:30:470:30:53

and tonight, we keep the clear skies

in Central and eastern areas,

0:30:530:30:57

turning quite chilly, there could be

a touch of frost, dipping below

0:30:570:31:01

freezing, mist patches as well. Out

West, a change taking place,

0:31:010:31:08

thickening cloud, outbreaks of rain

and strengthening winds as well and

0:31:080:31:11

that is because this area of low

pressure is going to start to slide

0:31:110:31:15

in from the West tomorrow, frontal

systems bringing rain and ahead of

0:31:150:31:20

that, strong winds touching gale

force in parts of the West, but

0:31:200:31:24

coming from a mild placed, really

mild air wafting across. Split

0:31:240:31:32

fortunes on Wednesday. Central and

eastern areas, dry weather after a

0:31:320:31:37

sunny start, staying pretty bright

in the afternoon, out West, very

0:31:370:31:43

different story, and a lot of rain

in the south-west of England, this

0:31:430:31:46

is the wet day of the week. The rain

coming in across parts of Wales and

0:31:460:31:52

Northern Ireland and there is the

potential for travel disruption,

0:31:520:31:55

perhaps localised flooding. Some

rain in south-west Scotland and

0:31:550:31:58

generally across all of the western

areas, strong winds touching gale

0:31:580:32:03

force in

0:32:030:32:08

exposed onto the hazy sunshine the

eastern Scotland and eastern England

0:32:150:32:18

lifting temperatures to 12 degrees

in Edinburgh, 14 in London. The wet

0:32:180:32:20

weather in the West will make some

progress further north and east on

0:32:200:32:23

Thursday. Very slow progress. To the

south, heavy showers. To the north,

0:32:230:32:25

noticed the temperatures dipping.

The frontal system progress in North

0:32:250:32:30

and east, it starts to move

backwards heading into the weekend,

0:32:300:32:33

bumping into this area of high

pressure and we will get into a

0:32:330:32:38

strong cold easterly wind and there

is the potential for some snow. Big

0:32:380:32:43

changes ahead.

0:32:430:32:48

A reminder of our main

story this lunchtime.

0:32:480:32:52

As Boris Johnson says there are

0:32:520:32:53

As Boris Johnson says there are

strong international support for the

0:32:530:32:56

UK, Donald Trump says he will call

the Prime Minister to discuss the

0:32:560:33:01

Government's ultimate to the Moscow

over the nerve gas poisoning

0:33:010:33:07