19/03/2018 London News


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19/03/2018

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Newsnight's about to begin over

on BBC Two in a few moments.

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Good evening and welcome

to BBC London News,

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with me, Louisa Preston.

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The families of the men

murdered by serial killer

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Stephen Port have learnt

of "multiple failures"

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and "missed opportunities"

by the Met.

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Port drugged and raped four young

men and dumped their bodies

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in a graveyard near his

home in Barking.

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He was given a life

sentence for their murders.

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The families of the victims say

they are frustrated about how slow

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the report into the police

investigation has been.

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Frankie McCamley has the details.

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The graveyard in Barking

where Stephen Port dumped three

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of his four victims' bodies.

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He invited them to his home

using dating apps before killing

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them with a lethal dose of

the date rape drug GHB.

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Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari,

Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor -

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all young adults with their futures

ahead of them, all murdered

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by Stephen Port within

the space of 15 months.

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Police were asked multiple times

whether they thought the deaths had

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been connected but officers missed

all signs that there was in fact

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a serial killer at work.

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Today the victims' families say

they've been told a report

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into the Met's initial response

to the four murders will be damning.

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Well, in general terms we've been

told the that report is highly

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likely to be critical

of the Metropolitan Police

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and a good number of officers

employed by the Met.

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There were 17 officers been

interviewed and as I understand,

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a fair number of them remain under

the microscope for some

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quite damning failings.

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The force has refused to comment

but the Independent Office

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for Police Conduct launched

the inquiry after families

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raised their concerns.

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If they'd done what they were

supposed to, lives would have

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definitely been saved and obviously

certain people wouldn't

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have been raped and gone

through what they've gone through,

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so to us, they need

to be held accountable.

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It's as simple as that.

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Anthony Walgate's mother accused

the force of ignoring the deaths

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simply because the men were gay.

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It was homophobic.

I really do think that.

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And they just refused

to investigate anything.

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Didn't matter what you said to them.

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All we got all the time

it was "nothing to investigate".

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The former chef was eventually

given a whole life sentence

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in 2016 despite a catalogue

of errors by police.

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But questions still remain.

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Why did it take so long

for police to take notice,

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and what can be done to stop

it happening again?

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Frankie joins us now.

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You spoke to the lawyer working

with the victims families today.

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How are they feeling?

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As you saw from my report, the

families have spoken to the BBC on a

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number of occasions, saying how

frustrated they are continuously

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with the police. Since their meeting

with the independent office for

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police conduct, from what I have

been told, that is still very much

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the case, especially as they are not

as far down the line as they thought

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they would be. This is an extremely

complex enquiries, not only looking

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at a dozen police officers, but

also, unfortunately, looking at the

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deaths of four young men. The family

solicitor does say that they all do

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understand this and appreciate how

complex this is and really their

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focus now is to find out exactly

what happened in that police

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investigation and they know they

need to be patient for that.

Is

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there any indication of when they

will find out more?

The enquiry

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findings will be handed to the

Metropolitan Police by May. That

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doesn't mean the media will find

out, the families will find out

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then, and that might be further down

the line when the details are made

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public. What we know is 17

Metropolitan Police officers are

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being investigated, seven of whom

could be sacked if found guilty of

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gross misconduct. Speaking to the

Metropolitan Police, they say it is

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not suitable for them to comment at

the moment.

Thank you for that

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update.

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Some homeless people who have been

squatting in a Central London

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building during the cold weather say

they don't know where they will

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sleep tonight, after leaving ahead

of a court deadline.

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More than 150 people were staying

in the Great Portland Street site

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and left voluntarily.

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But many were worried

about where they would end up,

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as Helen Drew reports.

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Midday today - the deadline

for around 150 homeless people

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to leave this building.

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They waited for the bailiffs,

who didn't show up.

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But they left anyway.

Nearly all without a plan.

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Brandon, where are

you going to go now?

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Well, this is the thing,

we don't know.

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We haven't got a clue at the moment.

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We could be heading back

to the streets, to doorways,

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to corners, with rubbish.

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We could be eating out of bins.

We don't know.

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We don't know what's

going to happen tonight.

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They've had somewhere to sleep

since the beginning of the month,

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when activists took over

this four-storey building

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on Great Portland Street

because of the cold weather.

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The primary object of this

building was to try and beat

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the Beast from the East,

to try to raise awareness

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of empty buildings,

to try to save people's lives.

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I've been speaking to volunteers

here, who've told me stories

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of the amazing generosity

they've experienced from strangers.

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They tell me supermarket shops

delivered straight to the door here.

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And one lady told me that

when she gave a man a pair of socks,

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he cried and said it was the first

time he'd had a pair

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of socks for years.

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But there are local residents

who say they've seen people

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urinating outside and are

worried about aggressive and

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drunken behaviour.

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Last week, the building's landlord

went to court saying these people

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had no right to be here,

and the judge backed

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their eviction order.

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Westminster Council tells us they're

aware of the situation and have been

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offering support to those

with a genuine housing need.

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They say they offer

over 400 bed spaces every night

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through local partners.

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And the Mayor of London

says his team have spoken

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to Westminster Council

and made sure help is at hand.

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But most of the people we met

didn't have a bed for tonight

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and volunteers feel frustrated.

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They will have food

in their bellies, they would have

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had a hot cup of coffee.

That's the best we can do.

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We'll keep in touch

with them as best as we can.

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It is absolutely terrible.

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People are going to go out

on the streets to die, basically.

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With all the buildings

spare in this country,

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I don't understand what's going on,

to be honest.

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I think it's disgusting.

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After we spoke to Andrew,

he headed out to Bexley

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for a meeting with

a charity about a place to stay,

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but they have nothing just yet

so tonight he's come back

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to Central London.

He may well rejoin the group.

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It's unconfirmed, but many told us

they had found another

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building just down the road.

But they wouldn't say where.

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In May, Londoners will be

heading to the polls

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for the local council elections.

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Today a campaign to crack down

on voter fraud was launched.

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One of the measures being trialled

in some parts of the capital

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will require people

to show ID to vote.

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But as Marc Ashdown reports,

some are questioning whether it

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will make a difference.

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Your vote belongs to you...

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"Your voice, your vote" -

that's the message behind this

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new campaign to tackle voter fraud.

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Three areas in London

will be running a pilot

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at the local elections

and voters will have to present

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photo ID in order

to cast their ballot.

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But it's prompted a group of 40

charities, campaign groups

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and academics to write

to the Government

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outlining their concerns.

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The letter effectively says

this is like using a sledgehammer

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to crack a nut and notes according

to official figures there were 44

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allegations of voter impersonation

in 2016 compared to 3.5 million

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potential voters in the UK

who don't have access to photo ID.

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There's concern, then,

that that 7.5% of the electorate

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might be put off

even trying to vote.

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I think this is an unfounded concern

and I think actually it rather risks

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scaremongering amongst people.

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People have said it, though -

the Electoral Reform Society,

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Age UK - lots of organisations

saying there's a lot

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of people out there who don't

have access to photo ID.

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The key point is this -

the authorities who've taken part

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in the pilots are making sure

that everybody can have an

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alternative method.

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If you're listening to this

programme and you're concerned

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you might not have voter ID,

you don't need to worry.

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Speak to your council

if they're part of this pilot,

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and they'll help make sure

you have an alternative method.

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In Tower Hamlets

they're focusing on postal ballots

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after the 2014 fraud scandal.

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Now, there'll be more

checks and home visits

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where multiple people

are registered to vote.

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The real challenge, though,

may be getting people engaged.

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Will you vote in

the local elections?

Yeah.

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Do you know when they are?

I don't know anything.

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I'm not interested in

votings and politics.

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Nah, probably not.

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No? Why's that?

I don't know how to vote.

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There's lots of fraud

going on still.

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Would it put you off

if you had to show ID?

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No, it wouldn't.

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You'd still vote?

Yes.

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This is really a solution looking

for a problem and people should

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focus on getting the turnout up

and not creating new barriers

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to people when they get

to the polling station.

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Turnout in local elections can be

as low as 40% or lower.

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We should be focusing on people

exercising their democratic right.

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Ministers say this is keeping

democracy safe and are urging anyone

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with concerns to report them

to the police.

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That's it for now from me, so I'll

say goodnight and hand you over

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to Chris Fawkes for the weather.

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Are we in for warmer weather?

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Are we in for warmer weather? It

couldn't get much colder,

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temperatures have been moving in the

right direction. Over the weekend,

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temperatures of 1 degrees, so today

was the warmest day since the mini

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beast arrived on our shores, 4

degrees, warm is the wrong word. We

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had those bitter easterly winds, but

a beautiful end to the day with

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barely a cloud in the sky over the

City of London School is to there

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will be cloud in the sky tomorrow.

Looking at this area of cloud across

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the north-east of England, just

moving southwards, knocking on our

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doorstep towards the end of the

night. We will lose clear skies we

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have. A frost is forming, a risk of

icy stretches for a time, but it

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will cloud over at the end of the

night and the cloud will be thick

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enough for one or two showers. They

will be there or thereabouts in the

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morning, a few showers, a

bittersweet or snow, but nothing

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significant. The cloud will clear

southwards quickly on Tuesday

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morning, leaving us with sparkling

sunshine to look forward to.

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Temperatures, four today, doubling

that and a bit more, nine in the

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centre of London. The wind still

quite brisk, so feeling on the cool

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side, but better news as we head

into the next few days, look at the

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trend in temperatures. For Wednesday

and Thursday, cloud, but

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temperatures will build, a few

brighter spells. Milder through the

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weekend, and into next week,

temperatures as high as 15. That's

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