The Telegraph 2024-02-08 18:00:35

Live Politics latest news: Labour cuts green investment plan by 80pc but would raise windfall tax

Labour has slashed its original £28bn green borrowing plan by four fifths and unveiled a new tax raid on oil and gas giants to bankroll the Net Zero drive.

Sir Keir Starmer announced that his flagship clean energy policy has been downgraded to just £4.7bn a year in the biggest about-turn of his leadership.

Speaking to reporters in Parliament he blamed the Tories for “maxing out the credit card” and insisted that the original pledge was no longer affordable.

Under the new slimmed down blueprint public funding for a major home insulation drive has been reduced from a planned £6bn a year to just £1.2bn.

Meanwhile the budget for Great British Energy, a publicly owned energy company that Labour plans to set up, will be handed £1.7bn a year of taxpayers’ cash.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said it will be financed by hiking tax on energy producers’ profits from 75pc to 78pc, raising £2.2bn a year.

You can follow the latest updates below, and join the conversation in the comments section here.

Carer has leg amputated after doctors took too long to assess case during lockdown

A 25-year-old carer had her leg amputated after doctors took too long to treat her during lockdown…

Live UK weather latest: Labour-run Wales council shuts schools despite no snow

A Labour-run Welsh council has shut dozens of schools despite no snow falling.

Thousands of pupils in Flintshire, North Wales, were told to stay at home as 72 primary schools, 11 secondary schools and two special schools remained shut owing to an amber warning for snow, with up to 10 inches forecast in some areas.

But parents have criticised the council for the mass closure after no flakes fell. 

The Met Office has issued alerts across all four home nations, with amber warnings for snow in place from 8am until 3pm in north Wales and northwest Shropshire, and from noon until 6pm in the south Pennines and Peak District.There are five yellow warnings in total, with potential travel disruption and possible power cuts expected across the UK owing to snow, ice and rain.

A yellow warning for snow covers most of the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and a yellow warning for rain is in place for the south of England.

Follow the latest updates below.

Edward Enninful’s time at British Vogue has shown us fashion is more than clothing

As Edward Enninful bids farewell to his role as British Vogue’s editor-in-chief, his legacy will be characterised by his courageous and visionary leadership. 

He’s shown us fashion is more than clothing; it’s a powerful tool for social change, embracing diversity to create a more inclusive and inspiring world.

I first met Edward when he was an aspiring stylist and I was a young model navigating the vibrant streets of London. We quickly formed an unbreakable bond. 

His creative force and extraordinary vision were apparent even then. Edward listens, learns and draws inspiration from every corner of life, fuelling his mission to revolutionise fashion – a passion that ignites his soul.

His path isn’t driven by a desire for status or titles, but instead by a rebellious, fearless and collaborative spirit – a pattern that defines him. 

His meteoric rise began at the age of 18, when he became the youngest editor at a major international fashion magazine, i-D. 

He worked on the groundbreaking “Black Issue” at Vogue Italia and reinvented W Magazine in the US before ascending to the role of editor-in-chief of British Vogue.

In this role, he has transformed the fashion industry’s thinking and modus operandi, which was long overdue. From his first British Vogue cover to his last, he made the unseen visible.

His iconic covers celebrate diversity, spotlighting all ages, backgrounds and abilities. 

Edward’s transformative soft power extends beyond the pages, as he built a multicultural “creative dream team” for British Vogue with new voices from up-and-coming photographers, stylists, writers, street-savvy millennials, visionary designers, and cultural icons.

What sets Edward apart is the trust he’s earned from me and many others. His creative vision and commitment to our interests are qualities rare in our industry. I didn’t hesitate to say yes when he asked to feature me with my newborn on the cover of British Vogue.

There is nobody else I would have done that for, and there hasn’t been anybody since.

Similarly, Edward’s honest persuasion brought together 40 of the world’s most influential women for a breathtaking farewell cover shoot.

I deeply respect Edward’s decision to step away.

When he shared his plan with me, I understood it because I understand Edward. He is genuinely invested in our industry’s future, keenly aware that we must pave the way for creative talent, and is continually propelled toward greatness.

So, what is the next great thing for Edward? I’m not sure. Whenever I ask, he replies with an infectious grin, “You’ll just have to wait and see.”

See the full feature in the March issue of British Vogue, available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday Feb 13.

How Harry’s ‘second dad’ could glue the Royal family back together

He has been billed as “the one man who could fix Harry and William’s feud”. Once dubbed a “second dad” to the teenagers in the wake of Princess Diana’s death, he guided them through adolescence and beyond. Fierce but fair, he not only protected and nurtured them, he gained and maintained their trust.

It is no mean feat to broker peace between warring Princes but if anyone can, it is Mark “Marko” Dyer. And now, as Harry flies home after visiting his father in the wake of his first cancer treatment, all eyes are on this respected backroom figure to once again do his bit for King and country.

His Majesty was, of course, tired. William, currently running the show, did not meet with him. He pointedly stayed (was obliged to stay?) in a hotel rather than any of the royal residences. All the same, Harry’s cameo appearance did seem performatively brief – can he really not bear Britain any more?

Still, hope springs eternal, which is why there is so much pressure on Dyer to engineer some sort of conciliation between the estranged siblings for the next time Harry touches down to visit “Pa”.

Dyer, 56, a former Welsh Guards Officer, who was previously an equerry to the King in the 1990s, and has himself battled cancer in recent years, enjoys the unique distinction of having been a mentor, a listening ear and a trusted confidante to both brothers as they grew into men, now aged 41 and 39 respectively.

A striking figure with a shock of red hair, Dyer was charged with the task of providing no-nonsense pastoral care and to that end would visit William at boarding school in Eton and helped foster Harry’s romantic relationships by shielding the impetuous young prince from prying photographers.

The pair later travelled together to Australia, Argentina and Lesotho during Harry’s gap year, leading the royal biographer Penny Junor to describe Dyer as one of the “few people who can talk some sense into him”.

In her book Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son, written to commemorate his 30th birthday in 2014, she wrote: “Mark Dyer had been invaluable; he had done a superb job in supporting and guiding both Princes through their adolescence and showing them something of the world.”

Dyer had left royal service by then but his legacy and his loyalty continued even as he forged a career in hospitality. Personable and astute, in 2009 he successfully established and ran a chain of pubs, before selling them just eight years later for more than £10 million. Prince Harry was an usher at his wedding in 2010, a compliment returned when he wed Meghan at Windsor Castle in 2018.

His son Jasper, who served as a page boy, is Prince Harry’s godson. Dyer became godfather to the couple’s son, Archie, born in 2019. Their closeness is not in dispute.

Yet interestingly, in the wake of the couple’s departure, as shocked courtiers, dismayed friends and heavy-hearted family quietly aligned themselves with Team Sussex or Team Wales (formerly Team Cambridge), Dyer’s strong links with Harry, the prodigal prince, have not rendered him persona non grata.

Those in the know say there’s no sign that he has been ostracised by William as has happened to others, most notably the ITV journalist and newsreader Tom Bradby.

A friend of both princes for two decades, Bradby was unceremoniously dropped by the heir to the throne after he gave a sympathetic hearing to Harry and Meghan, starting with the infamous An African Journey documentary in 2019, which laid the groundwork for their departure from Britain a few months later.

No such fate appears to have befallen Dyer. While he may not speak to William directly, it is understood he is something of a conduit through which Harry stays in touch with family members and friends in the UK.

“As a former equerry, Dyer understands the way royal life works and that is important,” says one unnamed insider. “Before, Kate would have acted as peacemaker but she’s now incapacitated, and having been on the receiving end of one too many Sussex salvos she is understandably less inclined to broker a rapprochement.”

It is Dyer’s straight-bat reputation that puts him in a pivotal position post-Megxit – a term that increasingly thin-skinned Harry regards as slur, rather than a jolly portmanteau.

If only he had consulted Marko about this and so much else; like the optics of a filial visit that appeared so perfunctory it was over before it had begun. But he clearly did not.

In his incendiary 2023 memoir Spare, Harry wrote fondly of his role model: “Of all Pa’s people there was consensus that Marko was the best. The roughest, the toughest, the most dashing.”

He went on to recount the time when his father dispatched Dyer to grill him at boarding school to “find out the truth” about whether he had been taking drugs. Charles instinctively knew he was not the right person to tackle such a sensitive issue. His worldly equerry took it in his stride.

Then, when his younger son fessed up to smoking cannabis, his father arranged for the shamefaced prince to spend a day at a residential centre for drug users in south London – accompanied by, who else? Marko.

Small wonder they stayed chums. Fast forward to 2022 and Dyer was diagnosed with stomach cancer. After enduring a gruelling 14-hour operation he remained in hospital for six weeks before being discharged.

Last year his niece, the classical soprano Alicia Lowes, told reporters that her uncle had “turned the corner and is cancer-free”.

Against this background, Dyer can provide a valuable – if immensely hard-won – insight into the emotional turmoil that the spectre of cancer brings.

A friend, a father, a survivor and a confidant, he alone can give Harry the perspective – the wake up call – that he will need in the weeks and months to come as his father’s cancer treatment continues.

“With Harry over in California away from his old life and family, getting wound up over lawsuits and the press and the list of grievances against his family, there’s a real worry he has forgotten it wasn’t all bad back in Britain,” another royal insider reveals.

“If he can spend time with long-term friends while he’s over here  – not necessarily having constant deep and meaningful conversations  – but being normal and clearing his head a bit, it would work wonders for the mood.

“And in all of this I think it’s important to remember he’s a man who has already lost his mum and is facing up to his dad’s serious illness. He’s burnt a lot of bridges, but he’ll still need someone like Mark who can talk to him frankly.”

Is brotherly reconciliation, much less forgiveness, even possible? After all, William is famously stubborn and short tempered. Harry is prickly and defensive.

His memoir was spiked with petty insults and self-pity as he sought to distance himself from his destiny as a “spare” to William, the heir.

It is abundantly clear they no longer share the same vision. But they do share a father who loves them and needs them both by his side. The current health woes besetting the House of Windsor may not affect the fortunes of the Firm but it does affect the future of a family.

If ever Marko’s meritorious mediation skills were needed, it is at this moment. We know it’s a big ask, but bringing his boys together would give the greatest of comfort to our ailing king in his hour of need.

Sadiq Khan rules out meeting woman who lost limbs in Tube accident

Sadiq Khan has ruled out meeting with a commuter who lost her right arm and leg after being run over by two Tube trains on her way home from work.

Sarah de Lagarde, who is suing Transport for London (TfL) for not taking responsibility for the accident, claimed the Mayor of London’s office turned down her requests for a meeting with Mr Khan, despite an intervention from Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader.

However, when pressed by The Telegraph on whether Mr Khan was willing to meet Ms de Lagarde, his office continued to rule out the meeting until the claim was resolved.

A spokesman said: “The Mayor’s thoughts remain with Sarah and her loved ones. He has asked to be kept updated and is very keen to meet with Sarah once the claim is resolved.”

She has launched a legal battle against TfL, which, she says, has not accepted responsibility for what happened. Mr Khan is chairman of the TfL board.

The 46-year-old mother slipped on a wet, uneven platform at High Barnet station in north London in September 2022, and fell down the gap between the train and the platform “into the darkness”.

She broke her nose and two front teeth in the fall, but nobody heard her desperate cries for help.

After being hit by two separate trains, Mrs de Lagarde was rushed to hospital and had to have an arm and a leg amputated.

She now uses two prosthetic limbs, including a bionic arm.

‘No staff on the platform’

Recalling her accident, she said outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London on Wednesday: “There were no staff on that platform, and no one was watching CCTV. No one had responded to my screams for help.

“Twenty-two tonnes of steel crushed my limbs, and, if that wasn’t bad enough, I remained on the tracks undetected until the second train came into the station, crushing me for a second time.

“A few weeks before I was hit by the two Tube trains, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with my husband, which was a lifelong dream of mine.

“I felt on top of the world, and overnight all that changed. I am now severely disabled for life.”

After giving her statement to the media, Mrs de Lagarde walked up the steps of the court to formally lodge her legal case.

She said TfL’s conclusion that her accident was “unique” was wrong, and believes the organisation’s leadership needs an “urgent wake-up call”.

She added: “TfL initially concluded that I fell because I was drunk and wearing high heels, neither of which were true.

“Is TfL above the law? TfL simply say that this was a series of unfortunate and unique events that resulted in the injured person sustaining life-changing injuries.  

“TfL deny any moral or legal responsibility for my accident.

“My local MP, Keir Starmer, asked Sadiq Khan to meet me to discuss the wider safety issues that my case raises and whether any lessons can be learned.

“Sadiq Khan’s office turned my requests down. They felt a meeting was inappropriate.

“There needs to be an independent and comprehensive review of TfL safety procedures so that meaningful lessons can be learned.”

Mrs de Lagarde said she has since been contacted by “hundreds of people” who have either been injured or have experienced a near-miss on the underground network.

“Last week’s Victoria bus crash is the latest example of such an incident,” she added. Why is this still happening?”

Her solicitor, Thomas Jervis, a partner at law firm Leigh Day, said: “I am at a loss to understand why there is such a closed approach to doing better in terms of safety.

“These are not just statistics, they are human beings. We are talking about people’s lives. Sarah and all users of London’s transport network deserve so much better.”

An investigation into Mrs de Lagarde’s accident was carried out by TfL and the Office of Rail and Road Accident Investigation Branch was notified, but concluded no further investigation was necessary.

Nick Dent, the director of customer operations at London Underground, said: “TfL is responding to a legal claim which has been brought by solicitors on behalf of Sarah de Lagarde and I am not in a position to comment publicly further.

“However, our thoughts continue to be with Sarah and her family following the devastating incident at High Barnet station and we have offered her direct support.

“Safety is our top priority and we continue to take every possible measure to learn from any incident and put in place appropriate improvements.”

Mount Everest climbers to use poo bags in clean up initiative

Alongside their ice axes, fleeces and food, intrepid climbers attempting Mount Everest will soon have to find room in their rucksacks for another item – poo bags.

In an attempt to clean up the world’s highest peak, authorities in Nepal have decreed that climbers must do their business in a bag and then take it back down the mountain with them.

The bags are to be bought at Everest base camp and will be “checked upon their return”, officials say, as they try to tackle the unsightly and unhygienic problem of climbers relieving themselves in the open, sullying the environment.

The new initiative is being introduced in the lead up to the main climbing season on Everest, which lasts from March until May.

Each year, around 600 people attempt to climb the 29,029 ft mountain, spending weeks in the area as they acclimatise.

While there are extensive toilet facilities at Everest base camp, the problem begins when climbers start heading for the summit.

Some dig holes for their waste but others simply leave it on rocks, snow and ice. The extreme temperatures on the mountain mean excrement does not fully degrade.

‘Our mountains have begun to stink’

Mingma Sherpa, the chairman of Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, which covers much of the Everest region, told the BBC: “We are getting complaints that human stools are visible on rocks and some climbers are falling sick. This is not acceptable and erodes our image.

“Our mountains have begun to stink.”

Between camp one, at the base of Everest, and camp four, towards the summit, there are estimated to be around three tons of human excrement, according to Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee.

Chhiring Sherpa, the chief executive of the organisation said: “Half of that is believed to be in South Col, also known as camp four. 

“Waste remains a major issue, especially in higher up camps where you can’t reach.”

In recent years there have been a number of clean-up campaigns on Everest, but as soon as rubbish is removed, more climbers arrive.

Last year, Nepal issued a record 478 climbing permits for the mountain, bringing more than 1,500 climbers, guides and support staff to the area.

Jonathan Reilly, director of the British Expedition Company, which organises treks to Everest base camp, said: “The waste on Everest is ridiculous.

“The question I have is, will climbers bring the poo bags back down the mountain or will they just discard them up there, a bit like dog walkers throwing away plastic bags of dog poo? That would be worse than the current situation because the bags will make it impossible for the waste to biodegrade. 

I suspect there will be some climbers who use the bags and then dump them rather than bring them down the mountain.”

‘El Crap’

The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee is buying around 8,000 poo bags from the US and they will be distributed to the climbers, sherpas and support staff who start congregating in the region this season. 

Each person will receive two bags each on the basis that they can be used several times. The bags contain chemicals that solidify the human waste and render it largely odourless.

The plastic containers are often known as WAG bags, with the acronym standing for Waste Alleviation and Gelling.

One commercially available option is marketed as the Toilet-to-Go: Anywhere, Anytime.

Another, aimed at climbers, is called El Crap – a play on El Cap, the nickname for El Capitan, the sheer-sided granite monolith in Yosemite National Park that featured in the film Free Solo.

The plan’s success will be determined by whether climbers are checked for used poo bags upon return after their attempt on the summit.

Mr Mingma admitted that enforcement of clean-up initiatives had been lax in the past but said this time would be different. “We will run a contact office and make sure our new measures, including making climbers bring back their excrement, are implemented.”

Climbers in other parts of the world already use poo bags, from the US to Antarctica. In a popular climbing area of British Columbia, they are provided for free. Information boards tell climbers “Take it, use it, pack it, bin it.”

If the poo bag project goes well on Everest, it could be extended to other mountains in the Himalaya, Nepalese officials said.