{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"news","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/hayley-matthews-young-woman-who-abused-me-is-too-precious-to-lose-1-4771743","id":"1.4771743","articleHeadline": "Hayley Matthews: Young woman who abused me is too precious to lose","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532325600000 ,"articleLead": "

I had a really scary incident happen to me during the week and I’m still not quite sure whether a legal high was to blame or if alcohol was involved, but I was genuinely really disturbed and quite upset after seeing such a young female act in such a violent and aggressive manner.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771741.1532091193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hayley Matthews was confronted by a young woman she had never met who screamed, shouted and swore at her for no reason. Picture: Getty/iStockphoto"} ,"articleBody": "

It was last Sunday night when, in the middle of baking banana bread, I realised the bananas were a bit too black so nipped to the local Morrisons for fresh ones and some extra sugar.

As I was walking to the cashline, a young girl, probably no older than 18, was standing at the cashline facing me. As I walked over, she started screaming at the top of her voice “if anyone f****** looks at me, I’ll knock them right f****** out!” whilst making a head-butting notion.

There was no one behind me and, being two metres away from her, I assumed it was aimed at me. She walked behind me with her friend and went off into the store. It was all very strange and confusing, I wondered if she was possibly in a bad state so just ignored her and guardedly continued to the cashline then into the store.

READ MORE: Hayley Matthews: Pre-natal depression hit hard after praying for baby

Unfortunately, we met in the butter aisle, where she spotted me and walked towards me leaning in to me in a very hostile way pretending to look at something on the shelf.

I had to swerve round her with my basket, and again she started shouting and swearing at the top of her voice. Not just shouting but screaming. I ignored her. Being six months pregnant, I did not want to get in a fight, especially not in the butter aisle of all places.

Had I not been pregnant, then I wouldn’t have hesitated to retaliate but after feeling like she was going to jump me, I went to find the security. The staff were amazing and the manager, Greig, came over to me very quickly.

Unbeknownst to me, the girl saw me talking to the him and flew over screaming and swearing.

She asked if I had a daughter who wanted to f****** tell her something, so I think she’d mistaken me for someone else and, despite realising, wasn’t backing down.

She was going apoplectic. I’m surprised her head didn’t pop but why was she so aggressive just because I was looking in her general direction on my way to the cashline? How dare I! She continued her performance and was soon asked to leave.

READ MORE: Hayley Matthews: Facing up to the horrors of growing old is so easy

Everyone could see how incredibly aggressive and potentially violent she was. It was utterly terrifying to see such a young girl behave in such a scary way. The manager walked out with me, making sure I was ok as we all feared she’d be outside wanting a square go. Again, I can handle myself but with a baby to protect, I was taking no risks.

My reason for writing about this is I think it’s so important to highlight the issues we have in society with violence and lack of respect for each other as humans.

It’s completely unacceptable to threaten someone unprovoked. I often wonder if drugs and alcohol are at the root of the problem. Is this the norm that we’ve started to accept nowadays from youngsters?

Surely she should be enjoying the start of her adulthood, not looking out for a fight. I don’t know her situation and have never seen her before, but I genuinely hope she gets some help with her anger – or drugs and alcohol if that’s the problem – because she’s too precious to lose.

This generation depends on her generation to make things better in the future, not worse.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hayley Matthews"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4771741.1532091193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771741.1532091193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hayley Matthews was confronted by a young woman she had never met who screamed, shouted and swore at her for no reason. Picture: Getty/iStockphoto","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hayley Matthews was confronted by a young woman she had never met who screamed, shouted and swore at her for no reason. Picture: Getty/iStockphoto","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4771741.1532091193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/ex-catalan-minister-clara-ponsati-has-arrest-warrant-withdrawn-1-4772591","id":"1.4772591","articleHeadline": "Ex-Catalan minister Clara Ponsati has arrest warrant withdrawn","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532341374000 ,"articleLead": "

A former Catalan politician who has been fighting extradition to Spain has had her international arrest warrant formally withdrawn.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772589.1532341370!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Catalan minister Clara Ponsati. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

Professor Clara Ponsati, a St Andrews University academic, was arrested in March after handing herself in to police in Scotland.

It came after she was made the subject of a European Arrest Warrant, with the authorities in Madrid seeking her on charges of violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds over her role in Catalonia’s controversial independence referendum in 2017.

READ MORE: Ex-Catalan minister Carla Ponsati battles extradition in Edinburgh

A full extradition hearing lasting four weeks was set to get under way in Edinburgh at the end of this month.

However, on Thursday, a Spanish Supreme Court judge dropped the extradition request for the 61-year-old, an ex-Catalan education minister.

It came after a German court ruled last week that former regional president Carles Puigdemont could not be sent back to Spain for rebellion, only for embezzlement connected to the alleged misuse of public funds for a referendum on secession.

The warrant was formally discharged during a short hearing on Monday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Nigel Ross told her: “As you know the arrest warrant from Spain has been withdrawn and therefore it just remains for me formally to discharge you from the European Arrest Warrant.

“You are free to go.”

Speaking outside the court, Prof Ponsati said: “I am just determined to keep fighting for the freedom of all political prisoners, for civil rights in Catalonia and Spain and for the Republic of Catalonia.”

In a statement, her solicitor Aamer Anwar added: “Today the arrest warrant for Clara was officially withdrawn.

“This is a humiliating defeat for the Spanish state which since October 1 has unleashed a wave of repression, attacking the Catalan people, suspending their government, jailing or trying to jail independence leaders.

“The Spanish state systematically used law as a weapon of war to try and eliminate their Catalan opponents, but they have persecuted not just politicians but also teachers, comedians, poets and rappers.

“The decapitation and liquidation of the Catalan Government was the sole purpose of the European Arrest Warrant as Spain twisted and broke the law but in court after court across Europe Spain’s reputation has been damaged and ultimately the warrants were withdrawn for the fear of failure.”

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772589.1532341370!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772589.1532341370!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Catalan minister Clara Ponsati. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Catalan minister Clara Ponsati. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772589.1532341370!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5760379772001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/three-men-arrested-after-evil-acid-attack-on-boy-3-in-worcester-1-4772736","id":"1.4772736","articleHeadline": "Three men arrested after ‘evil’ acid attack on boy, 3, in Worcester","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532353275000 ,"articleLead": "

Three men have been arrested in connection with a suspected acid attack on a three-year-old boy in Worcester.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772734.1532353270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police have released this photo of three men they would like to speak to after a three-year-old boy was seriously injured in a suspected acid attack in a Worcester shop yesterday afternoon (Saturday 21 July). Picture: Worcester Police"} ,"articleBody": "

The suspects, aged 22, 25 and 26, were detained in London on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm, West Mercia Police said.

A 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton arrested on Sunday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm remains in custody, the force said.

The toddler was in a pushchair with his family in a shop when a corrosive substance was “thrown or sprayed” over him on Saturday afternoon, according to West Mercia Police.

He was treated in hospital for burns to his face and one arm before being released on Sunday afternoon.

Police said the long-term implications of his injuries are “uncertain”.

Worcester City Council leader Marc Bayliss described the attack as “absolutely pure evil”.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said the attack was “horrific”, and that the “shock will be universal”.

Police are continuing to appeal for information over the incident at Home Bargains in Tallow Hill.

Detective Inspector Tony Garner said: “We’d like to thank everyone who shared our appeal over the weekend and contacted us with information; all of this is helping us to build up a better picture of this incident.

“We’re continuing to urge anyone else with information to contact us.”

Anyone with information that could help police with their enquiries was asked to call 101 quoting incident 442s of 21 July 2018.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772734.1532353270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772734.1532353270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Police have released this photo of three men they would like to speak to after a three-year-old boy was seriously injured in a suspected acid attack in a Worcester shop yesterday afternoon (Saturday 21 July). Picture: Worcester Police","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police have released this photo of three men they would like to speak to after a three-year-old boy was seriously injured in a suspected acid attack in a Worcester shop yesterday afternoon (Saturday 21 July). Picture: Worcester Police","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772734.1532353270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772735.1532353271!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772735.1532353271!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Police have released this photo of three men they would like to speak to after a three-year-old boy was seriously injured in a suspected acid attack in a Worcester shop yesterday afternoon (Saturday 21 July). Picture: Worcester Police","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police have released this photo of three men they would like to speak to after a three-year-old boy was seriously injured in a suspected acid attack in a Worcester shop yesterday afternoon (Saturday 21 July). Picture: Worcester Police","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772735.1532353271!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/ian-murray-snp-dreaming-of-hard-brexit-as-tories-weaken-the-union-1-4772627","id":"1.4772627","articleHeadline": "Ian Murray: SNP dreaming of hard Brexit as Tories ‘weaken’ the union","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532351714000 ,"articleLead": "

The SNP thrives on grievance. Rather than govern in the public interest, Nicola Sturgeon will always seize the opportunity to blame Westminster for Scotland’s ills.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772626.1532345598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May has played right into the hands of the SNP, says Ian Murray (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

The problem is that the Tories repeatedly hand them that opportunity.

The Nationalists are dreaming of a hard Brexit: they couldn’t care less about the impact on jobs in England or Wales; they just want another excuse to drum up support for Scottish independence.

And with the Chequers plan delivering just that – a hard Brexit – the Prime Minister has played right into Nicola Sturgeon’s hands.

READ MORE: SNP warns no-deal Brexit leaves Scottish economy facing devastation

Today, the Tory government has called a debate in the Commons on “strengthening the Union”. At the moment, it is the Tories who are weakening the Union.

By careering towards the cliff-edge of a hard Brexit, the UK Government is creating divisions that risk tearing apart the fabric of the United Kingdom. That’s why the Tories are now as big a threat to the Union as the SNP.

There is no such thing as a good Brexit. But if the Tories truly cared about the Union, they would back a soft Brexit that keeps us in the Single Market and a customs union – protecting jobs, preventing a hard border with Ireland, and depriving the SNP of its grievance campaign.

READ MORE: SNP Growth Commission strengthens case for union, claims pro-UK think tank

There’s a reason that senior SNP figures aren’t backing a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal: they know it could damage their quest to break-up Britain.

Those of us who care about the poorest in society must continue to fight against both the Tories’ hard Brexit and the SNP’s hard independence.

The SNP’s Growth Commission report has exposed the alarming scale of austerity in an independent Scotland.

Today’s analysis from These Islands shows that the blueprint would have slashed public spending by up to £66 billion over the last decade.

With Jacob Rees-Mogg claiming it could take 50 years for Brexit to be an economic success, and independence requiring 25 years of austerity just to catch up with other countries, we deserve better than two governments prepared to sacrifice a generation of Scots.

Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ian Murray"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772626.1532345598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772626.1532345598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Theresa May has played right into the hands of the SNP, says Ian Murray (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Theresa May has played right into the hands of the SNP, says Ian Murray (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772626.1532345598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772729.1532351710!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772729.1532351710!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor / J P License","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772729.1532351710!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/travel/insight-visitor-numbers-drive-highlands-into-tourist-trap-1-4772255","id":"1.4772255","articleHeadline": "Insight: Visitor numbers drive Highlands into tourist trap","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532351587000 ,"articleLead": "

There is a sun-struck giddiness on board the MV Hebridean Isles as it scythes its way through the cerulean waters that separate Kennacraig and Port Ellen. In the bowels of the boat, locals and workers are tucking into full Scottish breakfasts, but the tourists are out on deck, craning their necks for the first sight of the rocky islets that arch their backs like sea monsters off the Islay coast.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772251.1532351564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Whiteford in John o'Groats"} ,"articleBody": "

They chatter in Swedish, German, French and English, turning the air into a Babel-like babble of holiday excitement. Jon and Karen Elliott, from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, are dreaming of the vast white beaches where their two Labradoodles, now indolent at their feet, will soon be running free. Steve and Jane Crowther, from York, who visited last year, are remembering the seals and the birds of prey and the stag that stood so close to them on neighbouring Jura that they thought it must be tame. “It’s like being a million miles away from anywhere,” says Steve.

But the tourists have also come in search of the uisge beatha. Bunnahabhain, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Laphroaig: names as sweet and rough on the tongue as the peat-soaked whiskies themselves. “This is a holy pilgrimage for us,” says Howard Dixon, who lives in Australia, but has spent the last month house-sitting on the Black Isle. “We were going to head to Skye, but when we heard how busy it gets, we thought: ‘Where better to go pay homage than the place that produces our favourite single malt?’”

Dixon is right about the crowds. Though his wife, Kate, received no response from the four B&Bs she emailed, and is now paying £140 a night for a three-star hotel in Bridgend, Islay is not yet as over-run as Skye, whose bridge has proved both a blessing and a curse.

Yet Islay too is in a state of flux; as the number of visitors grows year on year, and the island becomes more commercialised, its local residents are torn between their desire for, and their fear of, progress. As they watch the regular excretion of motorhomes and lorries on to the piers, they wonder if it will be possible to strike a balance between attracting more visitors and preserving all that makes Islay special; or if the essence of their community will be destroyed.

For now, Islay continues to be an idyll; a place where history and landscape come together in a scattering of standing stones, chambered tombs and Iron Age brochs. On the day I visit, the sun behind the 8th-century Kildalton Cross casts an eldritch shadow across the graveyard while, in a nearby field, sheep catch the light like pearls on a green crushed velvet dress.

But, as its whisky and tourism industries grow, the dynamic is changing; the island’s 239 square miles now contain eight distilleries, with at least three more set to open in the next few years. The distilleries are mostly foreign-owned and becoming increasingly corporate and gimmicky in an attempt to attract more visitors.

Near the whitewashed Laphroaig Distillery lies a field dotted with small flags which mark out one-foot-square plots of land “owned” by anyone who has ever bought a bottle. Along the road, at its similarly dazzling rival, Ardbeg, parties of Japanese tourists stop to take selfies beside a giant copper still gleaming in the yard.

In contrast, the biggest distillery, Diageo-owned Caol Ila, at Port Askaig, which produces 6.5 million litres a year, looks slightly down-at-heel; but it is about to benefit from a £150 million investment aimed at upgrading the visitor centres at the company’s key sites.

With the distilleries comes congestion as huge vehicles trundle across the island’s narrow, patchy roads. Local businessman, Donald Gillies, owner of GTi Transport, a courier and grounds maintenance company, takes me on the “misery” tour, stopping to show me crater-like potholes at Claggan Bay, and the uneven spot where, just days earlier, a 24-tonne lorry toppled over, spilling its load into a field. We get out to take photographs; the smell of malted barley still hangs in the air.

The distilleries provide jobs, but as Gillies and others point out, Islay’s unemployment level is less than 1 per cent; meanwhile buildings and land are being swallowed up. “This is what is riling us,” says Gillies. “Islay is contributing millions to the economy, but there is no investment in infrastructure. The roads are so bad I am constantly having to shell out in terms of springs, suspension and vehicle maintenance.”

In the summer, Islay’s 3,200-strong population swells to around 9,000, and up to 20,000 during the Feis Ile whisky festival in May. Swish yachts berth at Port Ellen and motorhomes park on and off the designated sites. During last year’s festival, Mary Knowles, 89, a former biology teacher, was scandalised when she looked out of her window to see a man who had parked on nearby grassland relieving himself right in her eyeline. “I told him: ‘If you haven’t got the facilities, it’s time you moved on,’” she says, outraged.

The tourists bring money and vibrancy, but also noise and waste. They take up spaces on the overcrowded ferry, making it difficult for locals to travel to and from the mainland, and they put a strain on services. Some visitors buy second homes which stand empty much of the year, while young people struggle to find homes. For all these reasons, holiday-makers are both welcomed and resented.

As a chef at a local restaurant, who also owns three self-catering cottages, you might expect Robert McKim to be all for a flourishing tourist trade, yet he is ambivalent. “We are booming, yes, but the numbers are just too huge,” he says. “We can’t cope. There isn’t enough accommodation. Last summer, people turning up to find nothing available ended up spending a night in the police cells.”

This story may be apocryphal, but the fears about Islay’s future are genuine. Dietmar Finger is a German car designer and artist who has been visiting the island for two decades. Last year, he gave up his job with Volkswagen to open up a B&B in Carnduncan near Loch Gorm. When he isn’t catering for his four guests, he paints and runs art classes.

“I am worried more distilleries will be overkill and the island will be left with a whisky monoculture,” he says. Finger wants Islay to encourage “quality tourism”: a mix of hikers, wildlife lovers, malt drinkers and artists, rather than focusing so heavily on marketing the whisky “brand”.

“I sell my art during the Feis Ile and tourists there tell me Islay is already losing some of its magic,” he says. “I worry we will go the same way as some Spanish islands where the hotels have got bigger and bigger and now they are forced to import water from the mainland.”

The rise in distilleries is a problem specific to Islay, but over-tourism is a concern across rural Scotland. Skye suffers from a shortage of accommodation, while the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing – once quiet spaces in which to stand and contemplate man’s place in the universe – are now clogged up with people. Ditto Orkney, which can see two or three cruise ships a day dock at Kirkwall and Stromness; each ship brings a fresh army of visitors who troop through historically important sites such as Skara Brae, Maeshowe and the Italian Chapel and move on.

These tourists are a product of successful and aggressive marketing. VisitScotland has long been selling the north of the country as one of the world’s great wildernesses, its dark, foreboding glens and swathes of emptiness among its chief selling points. “However much you want to promote Scotland as a new, dynamic growing nation, the old image from the mid-19th century is still very powerful,” says Richard Butler, emeritus professor of tourism at Strathclyde University. Scotland’s reputation as a holiday destination was already secure; but then along came TV series such as Outlander, with their shots of castles and cairns. Add to that the country’s relative stability (lack of terrorism), the rise of the staycation and a deflated pound and it’s no surprise visitor numbers exploded.

Once you have successfully marketed a brand, however, it’s difficult to unmarket it, even if the infrastructure is insufficient for the numbers you attract. “It’s the usual thing: there’s a good side and a bad side,” says Butler, who is editing a book on the tensions experienced in tourist magnets around the world. “From the point of view of employment and income and keeping places viable, it is wonderful. But Scotland has the image of being a beautiful country with beautiful scenery and historic buildings, and you don’t expect, as a tourist, to have to negotiate a single-track road packed with cars.

“Over-tourism is a problem relative to expectation as far as visitors are concerned and it’s a problem of quality of life as far as communities are concerned.”

A classic example of how clever branding can have unforeseen consequences is the North Coast 500 (NC500). The 516-mile route that runs in a loop from Inverness to Applecross to Durness to John o’Groats and back to Inverness has existed for decades, its twists and turns appreciated at a leisurely pace by those who love to explore lonely, brooding spaces. But in 2015, the North Highland Initiative (NHI) decided to market it as Scotland’s answer to Route 66; a real-life board game, where players travel from square to square, collecting photographs and “passport” stamps. People literally go there, do that and buy the T-shirt (and the baseball caps and the bumper stickers) though not necessarily in that order.

At Balnakeil Craft Village near the north-westerly tip of Scotland, former anthropologist Anita Wilson, who runs Cast-Off Crafts, observes the NC500 bucket-listers with a sceptical eye. “A lot of people walk in and immediately announce that they are ‘doing’ the route: it’s like a badge of honour,” she says. “Sometimes they apologise for doing it the wrong way, and I say: ‘Well, there isn’t a wrong way. It’s two-way traffic. I’ve been driving on it since the 1980s.’ Farmers were probably driving cattle down it in the 1700s.

“You look at these folk with their matching T-shirts and you wonder: ‘Do you not have an identity other than this?’ It’s this weird kind of sheep mentality. I bet if you sent up a drone to take an aerial view of the 500, it would look like a Scaletrix track with all the cars just whizzing round, one after the other.”

According to one study, the NC500 marketing initiative brought an extra 29,000 people and £9m to the Highland’s economy in its first year, while increasing traffic by 10 per cent.

Balnakeil does seem busy. Cars snake their way through the conglomeration of bunker-like units, past Cocoa Mountain, The Wee Gallery and The Whale Tale, trying to find somewhere to park. Created to house workers for a planned Cold War radar station, then rented out to artists when the station became obsolete, it appears to be thriving. But Wilson says the fortunes of Balnakeil have always ebbed and flowed and the recent marketing drive has made little difference to her takings. Joining the NC500 Club brings members special offers on certain hotels and shops, but businesses like hers are too small to absorb the 10 per cent discount so miss out on the extra custom. She does, however, feel the negative impacts: the extra time she has to add on to her journey to pick her grandson up from school in Thurso, and the way all the bread and milk in the local shop is sold out by 4pm. Meanwhile, some regular customers have stopped coming to Durness because they feel it is too crowded.

“I am happy to share this beautiful place; it would be mean not to,” says Wilson. “But you hope people respect it in the way you do; that they don’t just pass through like someone on a train, leaving chaos and detritus behind.”

As I drive the 68-mile stretch of the NC500 from Ullapool to Durness, mist drapes itself low over the mountains. The road weaves its way through a sparse landscape of alien shapes; a mossy Monument Valley. Long stretches of nothingness are relieved by fleeting glimpses of splendour: a jagged promontory here, a glistening loch there. The last 15 miles is mostly single track with passing spaces; you travel on through gothic hills negotiating your way past motorhomes and convoys of motorbikes until – suddenly, unexpectedly – the Kyle of Durness, an expanse of salmon-pink sands fringed with ochre seaweed, is spread out before you like a pashmina.

The walls of landscape photographer Kevin Arrowsmith’s gallery in Durness are covered with spectacular shots of Assynt, Cape Wrath and other beauty spots. Arrowsmith moved to the village more than ten years ago when his wife became the local midwife. He still loves living there, but says the marketing of the NC500 makes it difficult to get around.

“We are getting increased numbers of visitors in huge vehicles they may never have driven before,” he says. “Not all of them are bad drivers, but they are on holiday so, understandably, they drive slowly to look at the scenery. Some of them don’t understand how single-track roads work so they don’t move into passing places to allow the cars behind to pass or they suddenly swing across the road into a passing place on the opposite side. I have been in two or three near-collisions. Also, the roads are crumbling and Highland Council doesn’t have the budget to do anything about it.”

If anyone ought to welcome the NC500, it’s Fiona Mackay. She and her husband Rob own a B&B/hotel with seven rooms, a bunk house, some self-catering properties and the local Spar shop. But even she is dubious about its impact.

She says the success of the marketing initiative, which encourages people to secure rooms in advance, means she is currently taking bookings for September 2019. But people who have booked so far in advance are more likely to back out. Last week, she had two cancellations. And customers no longer walk in off the street.

More than the cancellations, however, Mackay is concerned about the rise in the number of motorhomes and wild campers in the Balnakeil dunes, which are an SSSI site. “Every Sunday morning Rob and I go down to the beach [Sango Sands], and recently we found three toilet rolls lined up on the shoreline. I see people pulling stones off beautiful old dykes to make fires. They have a whale of a time at night, then leave the dregs behind. That cannot go on.”

Mackay believes the community should become more pro-active in developing local plans, but she would also like to see Scotland take a similar approach to New Zealand when it comes to motorhomes. There, vans which are not self-sufficient have to park on designated sites where there are full recycling and waste disposal facilities.

NHI chairman David Whiteford is a powerful advocate for the NC500. The NHI was set up at the behest of Prince Charles in an attempt to reinvigorate parts of the Highlands’ fragile economy and Whiteford says the success of the route has allowed several closed hotels, such as The Portland Arms in Lybster, to reopen.

“It’s worth remembering that many of these places were busier in times gone by,” he says. “That whole Dornoch, Embo, Brora beach strip and the likes of Sands at Gairloch, where I was taken as a child, were once the beach holiday of choice. People started to move abroad to have their holidays and now they are coming back for all sorts of reasons. All we are really doing is reawakening public awareness of the amazing opportunities this beautiful part of Scotland affords.”

Whiteford says the NHI is acutely aware of the need to balance the drive to increase tourism with a concern for the environment. To that end, the organisation has set up a strategy group involving “stakeholders” such as Highland Council, Police Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. It is also organising beach clean-ups with Keep Scotland Beautiful, trialling funnel bins and asking camper van and motorhome companies to show clients where the waste disposal points are and encourage them to buy their food locally.

But NHI exists primarily to promote the route; investment in infrastructure can only come from the Scottish Government or Highland Council. In the autumn, the Scottish Government launched a £6m tourism infrastructure fund and last week Highland Council announced another £1.5m to be spent on road repairs. But, when you think it’s costing £3bn to upgrade the A9, these sums seem like a drop in the ocean.

They are certainly not enough to offset a belief among residents that the country’s local and central governments are taking out more from the Highlands and islands than they are putting back in.

When asked about official responsibility for protection of the environment in these areas a Scottish Government spokesperson says: “The new Islands Act includes the principle of ‘island-proofing’, which is a duty for public authorities, including Argyll and Bute Council in relation to Islay, to consider the particular needs and circumstances of island communities in what they do.”

But therein lies a problem. In Islay, the sense of powerlessness is compounded by the fact that the island lacks its own council. Instead, it is part of Argyll and Bute, which stretches from Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula to Tobermory on Mull. “We get what we are told we are getting by Kilmory [council HQ at Lochgilphead] and Kilmory will always put Helensburgh, Campbeltown, Lochgilphead and Dunoon first,” says Gillies.

Though their local authorities must be aware of the problem caused by human waste, Highlands and islands communities have had to campaign to prevent the closure of public toilets; both communities also claim any road repairs that have been carried out in 2018 have been quick fixes done on the cheap.

So I ask Professor Butler: if rural areas are being used as cash cows – contributing large sums to the country’s economy – are they not entitled to expect money to be ploughed into creating sufficient infrastructure?

“The short answer is, yes they are,” he replies. “The problem is, that if you are a government, of whatever colour, Islay is very small-scale. You look at problems in urban centres such as Glasgow and Dundee and you are talking about tens or hundreds of thousands of people versus a few thousand in Islay. Small populations have always been put way down the scale. And in all fairness, if you are a government looking at this, Islay is going to produce its whisky, whatever you do or you don’t do.”

In terms of controlling numbers, Butler says the main options are restricting flights or ferries (which would also penalise locals) or introducing tolls or taxes. “I don’t see any Scottish government wanting to send out a message that tourists aren’t wanted – it’s a big industry, it provides employment. Countries like Switzerland and the Maldives have cut down numbers by limiting accommodation and raising prices. But do you want to price people out of seeing Skye because they can’t afford £250 a night?”

It’s the paradox of wildernesses from Yosemite National Park to Everest: that the very quality that makes them alluring to tourists – their ruggedness and their isolation – is diminished as soon as those tourists arrive. If no-one takes control, how will our wide open spaces be preserved?

This is something that troubles 
Anita Wilson. Before she moved to Balnakeil, she lived in the Lake District, an area she believes has been 
“decimated and ruined”. “I believe you can see the track up Helvellyn from space now,” she says. “It’s the most beautiful mountain in the most beautiful area and it has this massive scar up the middle of it.”

Recently, Wilson read a piece in a local newspaper suggesting Durness and the surrounding areas ought to be offering tourists “more”. She looks askance. “What more could you possibly want to offer tourists other than pristine beaches, awesome scenery, views that go on forever, clean air, a relaxed way of life?” she says.

“You don’t have to put a fairground at the end of every pier, do you? If you want that, go to Land’s End. The extreme out-there-ness of here: that’s enough of more.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Dani Garavelli"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772251.1532351564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772251.1532351564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Whiteford in John o'Groats","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Whiteford in John o'Groats","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772251.1532351564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772252.1532351569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772252.1532351569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The MV Hebridean Isles","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The MV Hebridean Isles","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772252.1532351569!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772253.1532351577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772253.1532351577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Anita Wilson with her dog, Shuggy, outside Cast Off Crafts in Balnakeil Craft village, near Durness. Picture: Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Anita Wilson with her dog, Shuggy, outside Cast Off Crafts in Balnakeil Craft village, near Durness. Picture: Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772253.1532351577!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772254.1532351583!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772254.1532351583!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Quiraing, on the Isle of Skye","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Quiraing, on the Isle of Skye","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772254.1532351583!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5757005513001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/snp-say-commons-debate-revenge-for-votes-during-england-match-1-4772719","id":"1.4772719","articleHeadline": "SNP say Commons debate ‘revenge’ for votes during England match","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532351095000 ,"articleLead": "

SNP MPs have accused the UK Government of scheduling a debate on the future of the union as revenge for the party forcing votes during a crucial England World Cup game.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772718.1532351092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tommy Sheppard said the Tories have fractured the Union."} ,"articleBody": "

A ‘general business’ debate has been scheduled for 3.30pm this afternoon is on the subject of ‘strengthening the union’ and has been scheduled by the leader of the House of Commons.

The SNP were accused of a ‘stunt’ after ensuring that votes had to be held during the first half of England’s crunch second round game against Colombia earlier this month.

READ MORE: SNP ‘mean’ for stopping staff watching World Cup

MPs from the party say that they will use the debate to highlight concerns over the so-called ‘power grab’ that will see the UK Government take powers in devolved areas back from Brussels following Brexit.

SNP MP Pete Wishart tweeted: “Absolutely incredible. With the Commons breaking for its long summer holiday with the nation facing national crisis, and maybe even state of emergency conditions with their crazy no deal Brexit, what do they chose to debate? The Union ... They are totally obsessed.”

READ MORE: Theresa May told Brexit is ‘unworkable’

He added: “There is a suggestion that they’ve timetabled this debate in revenge for votes called during a football match. If that’s the case you must seriously wonder what is wrong with these people? We are facing an unprecedented UK crisis.”

His colleague Tommy Sheppard told the National: “The Government’s debate is an ideal opportunity for the Tory party to set out which of their policies they believe have strengthened the Union.

“Has it been the Brexit power grab which has attacked the very foundations of devolution? The grubby £1 billion deal to the DUP and the continued Brexit rhetoric which jeopardises the Good Friday Agreement? Or, the £2.6bn real terms cut to Scotland’s budget between 2010-11 to 2019-20?

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772718.1532351092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772718.1532351092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tommy Sheppard said the Tories have fractured the Union.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tommy Sheppard said the Tories have fractured the Union.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772718.1532351092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/end-ban-on-girl-pupils-wearing-skirts-says-education-union-1-4772705","id":"1.4772705","articleHeadline": "‘End ban on girl pupils wearing skirts,’ says education union","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532349945000 ,"articleLead": "

A union has called for a ban on female pupils wearing skirts to be scrapped - claiming it is sexual discrimination.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772704.1532349942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stock shot of a school girl in uniform. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The National Education Union said that skirt bans seem like a new form of ‘discrimination’ against women.

It says female pupils should be allowed to wear clothes that are ‘acceptable in wider society’.

READ MORE: School bans boys from wearing shorts in ‘gender neutral’ policy

Their comments were made on the back of several British secondary schools banning skirts in their dress code.

This includes three of the five state schools on the isle of Jersey - Haute Vallée, Grainville and Hautlieu - who all insist that girls now wear trousers.

One concerned mother said that she feared that female pupils were being treated as though they were gender neutral and the ‘female brand’ was being eroded.

She added: “I worry if this is continued to be accepted, then what’s coming next? Short hair for everyone?

“It is taking away a choice from the girls to wear a skirt and treating all girls as gender neutral. I think in this time and age it is not acceptable that this is happening to our girls.

“Those three out of the five States schools who have banned them need to review this and allow our children to make a choice as to whether they want to wear a skirt, trousers or shorts.

“If someone wants to be treated as gender neutral, then this is absolutely fine, but don’t treat all girls as gender neutral by removing the choice for them.”

Brendan Carolan, the president of the National Education Union in Jersey, said that it was ‘ironic’ that girls were now being banned from wearing skirts.

He said: “The NEU would be against such bans, arguing that what is considered fully acceptable clothing in wider society should not be seen as inappropriate by schools, “It seems ironic that after having fought for the right to wear trousers perhaps 50 to 60 years ago women would suddenly be losing the right to wear skirts. It’s as if we are replacing one form of discrimination with another.”

Andy Woolley, the NEU’s south-west regional secretary, added that a ‘blanket ban’ was not the right way to deal with any problems skirt-wearing students might cause.

He added: “I know that some schools in the UK have said that they have imposed bans because of upskirting [taking photos up girls’ skirts].

“But if any students are being disruptive or provocative, then that needs to be dealt with individually, not with a blanket ban. That is like banning jewellery to stop people being mugged.

“As long as the students are smart and dressed appropriately, that is fine. Schools have rules about skirt length and they are right to.’ A States spokeswoman said that dress code and uniform was a ‘matter for individual schools’.

She added: “Students at JCG can choose to wear either skirts or trousers. It is up to students as individuals to choose.

“At Grainville School, however, all students wear trousers and skirts are not part of the uniform. Grainville School say they offer an active curriculum and trousers are more comfortable and practical.”

The headmasters of Hautlieu and Haute Vallée were approached for comment but did not respond.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tom Bevan and Ian Heath"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772704.1532349942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772704.1532349942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stock shot of a school girl in uniform. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stock shot of a school girl in uniform. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772704.1532349942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/uk-s-offshore-wind-output-to-double-as-government-backs-industry-1-4772625","id":"1.4772625","articleHeadline": "UK’s offshore wind output to double as Government backs industry","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532343680000 ,"articleLead": "

The amount of offshore wind around the UK is set to double in the next decade after the Government confirmed support for the industry.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772623.1532343676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Burbo Bank offshore windfarm: Peter Byrne/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

A new auction for companies to bid for subsidies for offshore wind farms will take place in May next year, with auctions every two years, providing up to £557 million in support, the Business and Energy Department said.

For the first time, onshore wind farms on remote islands such as Shetland and Orkney will also be able to compete in the auctions, ministers announced.

READ MORE: Scotland’s heatwave returns for a warm but stormy week

The move could deliver up to an additional two gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind per year in the 2020s, to bring total capacity up to 30GW by 2030 from current levels of 7GW in operation, and 7GW in construction or with contracts.

That will be enough to meet more than a third of the UK’s power needs, boosting jobs and cutting costs for consumers, industry bosses said.

READ MORE: Scotland’s wind turbines boost power to grid by 44%

The auction system has seen the price for electricity from offshore wind more than halve in just a few years to as low as £57.50 per megawatt hour of power.

Industry body RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “Boosting our ambitions for offshore wind is win-win for consumers, as the industry’s success at cutting costs mean that offshore wind is now one of the cheapest options for new power in the UK.

“Today’s announcement confirming the budget and timing of new auctions, sets us on the path to deliver the tens of billions of pounds of investment that will be needed to meet our ambition of at least 30 gigawatts by 2030.

“This is good news for domestic supply chain which can look forward to a pipeline of new offshore wind projects that will support tens of thousands of jobs across the UK.”

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “The UK renewables sector is thriving, with more offshore wind capacity here than anywhere else in the world and 50% of electricity coming from low-carbon sources last year in what was our greenest year ever.

“For the last decade the Offshore wind industry has been a great British success story: increasing productivity, raising earnings and improving lives in communities across the UK; and today the sector gets the certainty it needs to build on this success through the next 10 years.”

The support for offshore wind was also welcomed by Greenpeace, but the environmental group called on the Government to support other cheap forms of renewables including onshore wind and solar power.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772623.1532343676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772623.1532343676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Burbo Bank offshore windfarm: Peter Byrne/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Burbo Bank offshore windfarm: Peter Byrne/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772623.1532343676!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5644482138001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/snp-growth-commission-strengthens-case-for-union-claims-pro-uk-think-tank-1-4772485","id":"1.4772485","articleHeadline": "SNP Growth Commission strengthens case for union, claims pro-UK think tank","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532342039000 ,"articleLead": "

The SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission report actually strengthens the economic case for Scotland remaining in the UK, according to a new study.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4748859.1532333987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andrew Wilson and Nicola Sturgeon with the Growth Commission. Photograph: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission report actually strengthens the economic case for Scotland remaining in the UK, according to a new study.

The analysis by pro-UK think tank These Islands found that the SNP report illustrates many of the downsides of independence while “highlighting (albeit reluctantly) the economic benefits of our inevitably flawed but enduring 300 year-old union”.

It also said that the “growth potential” claims made in the SNP report are unrealistic and based on misleading analysis, and that claims that the economic model proposed is “anti-austerity” do not stand up to scrutiny.

The SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission report, published in May, claimed that living standards in Scotland could “equal the best small countries in the world” within a generation of independence.

READ MORE: Does the Growth Commission boost the case for independence?

These Islands chairman Kevin Hague said: “The Growth Commission’s report contains highly misleading analysis, fails to address the key economic questions and – we presume unintentionally – actually strengthens the economic case for Scotland remaining in the UK.”

The study found that claims that the economic model proposed in the SNP report is “anti-austerity” do not stand up to scrutiny

The paper notes that had Scotland been independent and following the Growth Commission’s recommendations, public spending would have been £58 billion - £66 billion less than actually occurred over the last decade, and in 2016-17 Scottish spending would have been £8.4 billion (11.8%) lower.

It also found that applying the Growth Commission’s recommendations to Scotland’s future (under the assumption that it becomes independent in 2020-21) would be likely to lead to austerity far greater than anything Scotland has recently experienced, or is forecast to experience within the UK.

On the issue of currency the study found that the SNP report’s currency recommendation is “symptomatic of the weakness of the economic case for independence” and the commission “fails to show how Scotland could get to the fiscal surplus that would almost certainly be required to create an independent currency”.

READ MORE: SNP Growth Commission ‘hasn’t affected Scots’

The study said that the Commission helped show how being in the UK allows Scotland to enjoy the advantages of a shared currency and large domestic market, to avoid the fiscal constraints that would inevitably apply were Scotland a stand-alone economy, and to benefit from levels of public spending that would otherwise be unsustainable.

An SNP spokesman said: “If the Growth Commission’s approach had been followed over the last decade, the £2.6 billion of cuts to the Scottish Government’s budget by Westminster would have been completely reversed, with the prospect of additional public spending beyond that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4748859.1532333987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4748859.1532333987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andrew Wilson and Nicola Sturgeon with the Growth Commission. Photograph: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andrew Wilson and Nicola Sturgeon with the Growth Commission. Photograph: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4748859.1532333987!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5789587885001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk-government-drops-opposition-to-death-penalty-for-captured-isis-brits-1-4772571","id":"1.4772571","articleHeadline": "UK Government drops opposition to death penalty for captured ISIS Brits","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532339312000 ,"articleLead": "

Two captured Britons accused of being members of the Islamic State cell nicknamed The Beatles could be sent to the US for trial after the UK dropped its usual demand for a guarantee that the death penalty would not be imposed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772570.1532339309!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sajid Javid dropped his 'death penalty assurance'."} ,"articleBody": "

Home Secretary Sajid Javid told US Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the UK would not demand a “death penalty assurance” in this particular case.

He also indicated that he believed there was more chance of a successful trial in the US than in UK courts.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, are said to have been members of the brutal four-man Beatles cell of IS executioners in Syria and Iraq, responsible for killing a series of high-profile Western captives.

The pair, who are understood to have been stripped of their British citizenship, were captured in January, sparking a row over whether they should be returned to the UK for trial or face justice in another jurisdiction.

In the leaked letter, obtained by the Daily Telegraph, Mr Javid said the UK “does not currently intend to request, nor actively encourage”, the transfer of Kotey and Elsheikh to Britain.

READ MORE: Soldier who died fighting ISIS named

Promising support for the US, Mr Javid said Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command had been “engaged extensively” on the case with the FBI, with the investigation running for more than four years “during which time they have engaged with 14 other countries and compiled over 600 witness statements”.

Signalling that the UK was prepared to drop assurances relating to the death penalty, Mr Javid said: “All assistance and material will be provided on the condition that it may only be used for the purpose sought in that request, namely a federal criminal investigation or prosecution.

“Furthermore, I am of the view that there are strong reasons for not requiring a death penalty assurance in this specific case, so no such assurances will be sought.”

But he added: “As you are aware, it is the long-held position of the UK to seek death penalty assurances, and our decision in this case does not reflect a change in our policy on assistance in US death penalty cases generally, nor the UK Government’s stance on the global abolition of the death penalty.”

Mr Javid also said US courts were better placed to handle “foreign fighter” cases because of the risk of legal challenge in the UK.

The Home Secretary said he understood US “frustration” on the subject and added that the UK was introducing “new legislation to improve the range of offences on the statute book” to deal with the “scourge” of foreign fighters.

READ MORE: UK should act on Syria chemical use

“Ensuring foreign fighters face justice raises a real challenge for all our jurisdictions; however, in this instance, we believe that a successful federal prosecution in the US is more likely to be possible because of differences in your statute book and the restrictions on challenges to the route by which defendants appear in US courts,” he said.

“The US currently has additional charges for terrorism offences which are not available under UK criminal law, and those offences carry long sentences.”

The Telegraph reported that other documents say that British officials have also assessed that the pair may be sent to Guantanamo without trial and that such an outcome will not be formally opposed.

Along with Mohammed Emwazi - the killer nicknamed Jihadi John - and Aine Davis, Kotey and Elsheikh are thought to have been part of a group named after the ‘60s band because of their English accents.

Emwazi, who was killed in a US air strike in 2015, appeared in a number of videos in which captives, including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, were killed.

Davis was convicted of being a member of a terrorist organisation and jailed for seven-and-a-half years at a court in Silivri, Turkey, in May 2017.

Mr Foley’s mother, Diane, said she was opposed to the death penalty.

“I am very against that. I think that would just make them martyrs in their twisted ideology,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“I would like them held accountable by being sent to prison for the rest of their lives.”

The Home Office refused to comment on the leaked document.

But a spokesman said: “”We continue to engage with the US Government on this issue, as we do on a range of national security issues and in the context of our joint determination to tackle international terrorism and combat violent extremism.

“The UK Government’s position on Guantanamo Bay is that the detention facility should close.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772570.1532339309!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772570.1532339309!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sajid Javid dropped his 'death penalty assurance'.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sajid Javid dropped his 'death penalty assurance'.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772570.1532339309!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/world/one-dead-after-mass-shooting-in-toronto-1-4772478","id":"1.4772478","articleHeadline": "One dead after mass shooting in Toronto","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532331677000 ,"articleLead": "

A man firing a handgun into restaurants and cafes as he walked along a Toronto street shot 14 people, killing one of them, before dying after an exchange of gunfire with police late last night.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772477.1532331674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police at the scene of the shooting. Picture: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP"} ,"articleBody": "

Police Chief Mark Saunders said the shooting in the city’s Greektown neighborhood was not random and he did not rule out terrorism as a motive.

“Other than the shooter we have a young lady that is deceased,” the police chief said.

Saunders also said a 9-year-old was in critical condition.

A video from one witness shows a man dressed in black clothes and a black hat walking quickly and firing three shots from the sidewalk into at least one shop or restaurant. Toronto’s Greektown is a lively residential area with crowded Greek restaurants and cafes.

READ MORE: 17 dead in mass shooting at US high school

The condition of the other victims was not known yet, police spokesman Mark Pugash said.

Witnesses heard many shots and described the suspect walking past restaurants and cafes and patios on both sides of the street and firing into them.

John Tulloch said he and his brother had just gotten out of their car when he heard about 20 to 30 gunshots.

“We just ran. We saw people starting to run so we just ran,” he said.

An army of police, paramedics and other first responders soon descended on the scene, while area residents, some in their pajamas, emerged from their homes to see what was happening.

Toronto Councillor Paula Fletcher told CP24 she heard that the gunman was emotionally disturbed.

“It’s not gang related. It looks like someone who is very disturbed,” Fletcher said.

Councillor Mary Fragedakis also said she heard the gunman was disturbed.

Fletcher said for this to happen in an area where families gather for dinner is a tragedy.

Mass shootings are rare in Canada’s largest city.

“We were so use to living in a city where these things didn’t happen,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said. “But there are things that happen nowadays and Toronto police deployed dozens of additional officers to deal with a recent spike in gun violence in the city. Tory said the city has a gun problem.

“Guns are too readily available to too many people,” Tory said.

Police urged people to come forward with video or witness testimony.

The mass shooting comes a few months after a driver of a van plowed into pedestrians on a Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 14. Authorities have not disclosed a motive. But they have said the arrested driver, Alek Minassian, posted a message on social media referencing a misogynistic online community before the attack.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772477.1532331674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772477.1532331674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Police at the scene of the shooting. Picture: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Police at the scene of the shooting. Picture: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772477.1532331674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/communities-could-lose-out-on-broadband-and-mobile-coverage-1-4772402","id":"1.4772402","articleHeadline": "Communities could lose out on broadband and mobile coverage","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532322282000 ,"articleLead": "

Further progress is needed on broadband and mobile coverage in Scotland as some communities are at risk of being left behind, according to Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772401.1532289964!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There is political disagreement over the roll-out of broadband. Picture: contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The committee has called on the UK and Scottish governments to work together following “intense political disagreement” over the roll-out of broadband north of the Border.

On mobile coverage the committee found Scotland continues to lag behind the rest of the UK, with only 30 per cent of the country covered by 4G services from all operators.

MPs warned that remote and rural areas “must not be forgotten” in plans to deliver universal access to mobile coverage.

The committee has made a series of recommendations on digital connectivity following its inquiry into the issue.

It found that while access to superfast broadband has improved in Scotland over the past few years, it still 
lags behind coverage in England.

MPs also found a significant difference between mobile coverage in rural and urban areas, with the former tending to have poorer coverage and slower speeds.

Its recommendations include a call for the UK and Scottish governments to “find ways to effectively work together to provide coverage to the whole of Scotland”.

Ministers have been at odds over delivery of broadband, with the UK government earlier this year questioning Scottish Government claims it has met a key target to provide 95 per cent coverage in Scotland of state-of-the-art fibre broadband.

The report also welcomes the actions of both governments to provide broadband coverage to the so-called final 5 per cent, although it questioned whether the proposals go far enough to meet consumers’ needs and the delivery costs.

Committee chairman Pete Wishart said: “Digital connectivity is an essential part of modern life and an indispensable tool for stimulating economic growth.

“Throughout the course of our inquiry, witnesses highlighted the value of reliable, fast broadband and mobile coverage and many members of the public and community groups got in touch to raise the problems they had getting online.

“Scotland’s challenging geography and remote communities make it one of the most difficult places to deliver broadband and mobile coverage in Europe, and while good progress has been made there is still more to do.

“Our report makes recommendations about the way forward and emphasises the importance of both governments working together to make this happen.”

The Scottish Government said figures show that mobile and superfast broadband coverage has dramatically improved in Scotland over recent years.

Welcoming the report, it said it recognises there is more to do and called for more investment by the UK government.

A UK government spokesman said: “We have already invested more than double the funding per head in Scotland than the rest of the UK for superfast broadband, and our Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review being published today sets out our ambitions for digital connectivity, including a nationwide full fibre network by 2033, and how that will be delivered.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772401.1532289964!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772401.1532289964!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "There is political disagreement over the roll-out of broadband. Picture: contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There is political disagreement over the roll-out of broadband. Picture: contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772401.1532289964!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scotland-must-bid-to-host-2030-world-cup-former-fm-mcleish-1-4772426","id":"1.4772426","articleHeadline": "Scotland must bid to host 2030 World Cup – former FM McLeish","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532322192000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland should lead a bid to host the 2030 World Cup Finals, former First Minister Henry McLeish has said.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772425.1532293458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Henry McLeish has called on the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the SFA to show 'ambition'. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The move would be part of a wider British bid for the tournament, which will have expanded to include 48 participating nations.

The former Scottish Labour leader has called on Nicola Sturgeon and the SFA to show “ambition” and give the game north of the Border a much- needed boost.

Hampden is due to host games as part of the Euro 2020 Championships, with Glasgow among 13 host cities from across Europe.

“People talk about ambition a lot, but they rarely indulge in it,” Mr McLeish told a Sunday newspaper.

“We might fail if we try this, but we need to forget that and give it a try because ambition will make a country and for football this can be our time if we chose to strive.

“It can’t be a matter of making noises from the sidelines. If we are the country we think we are, we should be boldly pursuing the goal.

“There is no reason why Scotland shouldn’t lead a British bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to rise to the challenge, show serious intent, and make this happen along with the SFA. We have been in an abysmal place since we last qualified for the World Cup in 1998.”

The SFA said it would not rule out a joint bid with the other nations of the UK, but no talks have taken place.

Scotland was previously part of a joint bid with Ireland to host the 2008 European Championships, but lost out to another joint bid from Switzerland and Austria.

Mr McLeish urged the SNP to set aside any concerns that the prospect of a joint UK bid could raise over the party’s longer term political goal of an independent Scotland.

“If we are still part of the UK then it is not a problem, and if we are an independent country then it is still not a problem,” he said.

“The US, Canada, and Mexico will host the World Cup in 2026, so there are plenty of examples of different countries coming together to host.”

The Scottish Government said a bid for the World Cup was “a matter for the football authorities”, but added: “We would consider any proposal seriously should one come forward.”

The SFA said the focus was on Scotland’s involvement in Euro 2020 – which will be hosted across 12 countries – but added: “We are always open-minded to the prospect of hosting major tournaments.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772425.1532293458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772425.1532293458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Henry McLeish has called on the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the SFA to show 'ambition'. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Henry McLeish has called on the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the SFA to show 'ambition'. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772425.1532293458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/food-safety-controls-under-threat-from-no-deal-brexit-1-4772416","id":"1.4772416","articleHeadline": "Food safety controls under threat from no-deal Brexit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532292979000 ,"articleLead": "

The UK government could be forced temporarily to abandon food safety controls in the event of a no-deal Brexit to prevent huge delays at UK borders, one of its advisers has told academics.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772415.1532292976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Safety fears include livestock being treated with antibiotics. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The authors of a new report say they have been informed by a government adviser of the plans being developed should delays emerge. EU countries might respond by blocking exports from the UK due to it adopting a “cavalier” approach to safety standards, the report adds.

The warnings come after the new Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab refused to deny claims that the UK government is planning to stockpile food in case the UK is forced to leave the EU without securing a deal with Brussels. He also failed to rule out the possibility that a no-deal Brexit could result in the M26 in Kent becoming a “lorry park”, with stringent checks on vehicles leaving the country.

Mr Raab added that while he was confident the UK and EU would strike a compromise deal, “I think it’s only the responsible thing to do to be prepared if those negotiations, and the energy and ambition and pragmatism we’re showing, are not reciprocated,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Asked if the government was planning to stockpile food in case no deal was done, Mr Raab initially said “No”, but then added: “That kind of selective snippet that makes it into the media I think is unhelpful. We are making sure both in the allocation of money – £3bn extra allocated last Budget – and through operational things like hiring extra border staff that we are ready for any and every eventuality. We will gradually set out more of the detail through technical notices.”

• READ MORE: David Mundell: There’s no alternative to the Brexit White Paper

Asked whether the M26 in Kent could become “a lorry park” in a similar scenario, he replied: “Of course if we have no deal we will want to make sure we are prepared at the border, with the knock-on effects that would have, if on the EU side they take the worst-case scenario approach. I’m confident we won’t get there, but even if we did we will have the planning in place, the operational matters in place, from the infrastructure to the planning laws to deal with that.”

The warnings on food safety are contained in the Food Research Collaboration briefing, Feeding Britain: Food Security After Brexit, compiled by academics at City University in London. In the section entitled “Preparing for a no-deal food Brexit”, the report says it believes the UK will need to maintain “open and unhindered borders” with the EU for food.

“We have learnt from a senior government adviser that plans are being prepared to ‘suspend food controls’ if there are any delays to imports of perishable foods at our borders,” the authors write, claiming a government adviser even informed them that the plans were being devised “to avoid parliamentary scrutiny”.

Senior figures in the food industry told the authors that the suspension of controls would be “folly”, primarily because it would threaten exports from the UK to the EU.

The report says: “If the UK were to suspend food safety controls, others might block exports from a country taking such a cavalier approach to public health.

• READ MORE: Brexit: What happens if Britain leaves the EU with no deal?

“It would go completely against all the protestations of commitment to high consumer and health standards.Yet this appears to be what Defra envisages.”

The report adds: “If border checks rose to four minutes, there would be 20-mile or so (possibly 29-mile) lorry tailbacks within a day, hence the fall-back of suspending food controls to allow all traffic to be waved through.”

The City University professor Tim Lang, a co-author of the report, said: “One could argue that this is sensible emergency planning but it is also risky. Consumers would rightly wonder who was guaranteeing the safety and quality of the imported food they were buying. Criminals would be alerted to opportunities for food fraud.

“And the move would send negative signals to the EU at a delicate time in Brexit negotiations. It could make the UK’s third country status more problematic for exports.”

The main concerns over food safety standards include hormonally treated pork or beef, genetically modified cereals, pulses, fruit and vegetables, “chlorine-washed” chicken (and turkeys, as well as other meats and fish, fruits and vegetables) and a surge in livestock treated with antibiotics.

According to the report, the UK food system is closely entwined with those of its EU neighbours. The UK does not feed itself, it points out, rather its food security is heavily dependent on imports from other EU member states. To alter this could take years, possibly decades.

A new post-Brexit trade deal with the US has led many to worry that food such as “chlorine-washed” chicken and milk from cows injected with beef hormones will flood the UK market.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772415.1532292976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772415.1532292976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Safety fears include livestock being treated with antibiotics. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Safety fears include livestock being treated with antibiotics. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772415.1532292976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/snp-warns-no-deal-brexit-leaves-scottish-economy-facing-devastation-1-4772422","id":"1.4772422","articleHeadline": "SNP warns no-deal Brexit leaves Scottish economy facing devastation","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532322047000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s economy faces “devastation” over the escalating prospect of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on trade or future relations, the SNP has warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772421.1532293090!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday. He said the government is preparing for 'any and every eventuality'. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Such a scenario would plunge the UK into a state of “national emergency”, one senior UK government minister said yesterday, and lead to problems with medicines and food supplies.

The warnings came after the new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab admitted the government is preparing for “any and every eventuality” if a deal cannot be reached with Brussels when the UK leaves the EU next March. Senior Tory figures admitted the party is being “torn apart” by Brexiteer MPs who want a “no deal” scenario to ensure all ties with the EU are cut.

Brexiteers insisted yesterday that the failure to strike a deal with the EU could present an economic “boom” for British industry, freeing the country from tariffs that are imposed as part of the EU customs union.

Mr Raab said Britain could withhold its £39 billion divorce bill if it did not get a trade deal and branded Brussels “irresponsible” over claims that UK citizens living in the EU could face an uncertain future after Brexit.

“We ought to be trying to reassure citizens on the continent and also here,” he said. “There is obviously an attempt to try and ramp up the pressure.”

The respected Fraser of Allander think tank has warned that Scottish growth would shrink by 5 per cent below expected levels if the UK was forced to revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules outside the Brussels block.

Wages would also fall £2,000 annually, with the number of people in work 80,000 below that expected if Scotland stays in the EU.

Former Scottish Rural Affairs secretary Richard Lochhead warned that no deal would be a disaster for Scotland.

“Tory Brexiteers are leading the charge to a Brexit that will inevitably leave us poorer and betray the interests of ordinary people,” he said.

“Falling back on WTO rules in a no deal Brexit would be the worst of all possible worlds - cutting Scottish GDP growth by 9 per cent and devastating Scottish trade, with our world-class quality meats, Scotch whisky and salmon industries potentially facing rafts of unnecessary tariffs.”

Boris Johnson and David Davis resigned as Foreign Secretary and Brexit Secretary over Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent Chequers agreement amid concerns that it gave away too much to the EU.

Mrs May was forced to amend the agreement to meet the concern of Brexiteers in the House of Commons. There are growing fears this deal could be rejected by EU negotiators or a compromise agreement would not get through parliament, leaving the UK in “no deal limbo”.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major yesterday warned that the campaign being waged by Brexiteer MPs to keep the pressure on Mrs May over the terms of departure form the EU could have “catastrophic” consequences.

He warned: “If every compromise reached by the Cabinet is blocked by this minority of irreconcilable, hard-line, utterly committed anti-Europeans, anti-Europe on all occasions – then we will not actually get to negotiations, we will fall out without a deal, and it will be catastrophic – damaging for Europe – but catastrophic for us, and not only catastrophic for us – it is the people who have least who will end up being hurt most.”

The strife within the Tory party over the issue was set out by leading remainer Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney General.

“We have introduced an ideological issue into our party with Brexit, which is tearing us apart,” he said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772421.1532293090!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772421.1532293090!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday. He said the government is preparing for 'any and every eventuality'. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday. He said the government is preparing for 'any and every eventuality'. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772421.1532293090!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/wheelchair-access-row-over-100-rail-stations-1-4772404","id":"1.4772404","articleHeadline": "Wheelchair access row over 100 rail stations","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532322022000 ,"articleLead": "

More than 100 Scottish railway stations are not fully accessible for disabled Scots, according to official figures.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772403.1532290873!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scottish Government's new cabinet secretary for connectivity Michael Matheson is now facing a big challenge. ''Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish Government’s new cabinet secretary for connectivity Michael Matheson is now facing calls to produce a “major upgrade programme” to ensure that wheelchair users are not missing out.

Figures released by the Scottish Government indicate that 104 stations are not fully accessible, with as many as 30 having platforms which are completely inaccessible to disabled people.

The figures were uncovered by Labour through Parliamentary answers and the party says it underlines the “daily struggle” faced by disabled people travelling on Scotland’s railways.

The party is now calling on the SNP government to ensure more stations are upgraded to ensure everyone can travel on railways throughout the Scottish network.

Labour’s connectivity spokesman Colin Smyth, said: “Our public transport system must exist to serve everyone, but clearly that is not the case currently.

“Too many of our railway stations are not accessible, with many not even having disabled access to a single platform. This is simply not good enough.

“New SNP transport minister Michael Matheson must resolve to bring forward a major upgrade programme to ensure our disabled friends, neighbours and family members can use our railways fully.

“Labour will continue to champion disability rights and fight for a publicly owned railway.”

A spokesman for national transport body Transport Scotland spokesman said a rolling programme of improvements to accessibility at stations across Scotland is being delivered.

“At stations where facilities have not yet been upgraded, ScotRail provides alternative travel provision for disabled passengers who request it,” he said.

“In addition Transport Scotland works in partnership with the Department for Transport to identify which Scottish stations should be given priority for improving access for disabled people. Part of this strategy is the £41 million Access for all fund and the £6 million Access for all small schemes fund which provides ScotRail and other partners with further investment to make smaller access improvements at a range of stations across Scotland.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772403.1532290873!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772403.1532290873!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Scottish Government's new cabinet secretary for connectivity Michael Matheson is now facing a big challenge. ''Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scottish Government's new cabinet secretary for connectivity Michael Matheson is now facing a big challenge. ''Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772403.1532290873!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/anger-as-four-million-virgin-customers-lose-channels-in-uktv-row-1-4772407","id":"1.4772407","articleHeadline": "Anger as four million Virgin customers lose channels in UKTV row","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532322021000 ,"articleLead": "

Virgin Media customers have been left incensed after UKTV channels including Dave and Gold were wiped from “around four million” boxes due to a business dispute.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772406.1532291623!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "fans of shows including Red Dwarf, Taskmaster, Judge Romesh and Harrow unable to watch some of their favourite programmes as a result of the dispute. Picture: FailedImitator/Flickr"} ,"articleBody": "

Some viewers said they were cancelling their subscriptions, while others threatened to abandon the digital cable TV provider if the channels were not restored.

Talks between the firms failed to solve an impasse over fees and ten channels, including five which are free-to-air, disappeared from subscribers’ televisions at midnight on Saturday.

Viewers were also left unable to access UKTV on-demand services via their Virgin Media sets.

One Twitter user said: “@virginmedia @UKTV Will be cancelling TV, broadband & all phones as soon as we can get through to someone at Virgin! Think they might be busy with a lot of angry customers.”

Another said: “@virginmedia So this looks like the end, 15 years a customer and you’ve messed up big time. Sky shop Wednesday unless you fix it #SaveDave.”

Free-to-air channels Dave, Drama, Home, Really and Yesterday, along with paid-for channels Gold, Alibi, Eden, Good Food and W, were replaced yesterday morning.

It leaves fans of shows including Red Dwarf, Taskmaster, Judge Romesh and Harrow unable to watch some of their favourite programmes as a result of the dispute.

Virgin Media has accused the broadcaster of seeking “inflated sums” to provide its paid channels.

David Bouchier, the cable TV firm’s chief digital entertainment officer, said they were ready to restore UKTV’s free channels “immediately” with its permission.

UKTV chief executive Darren Childs said it could not accept the “drastic” cut in price that Virgin was seeking to show the paid channels on its pay-to-view service.

According to UKTV, “around four million households” were no longer able to access the channels after the midnight deadline passed.

The ten channels are still available on other television platforms including Sky, BT and Talk Talk, as well as Freeview and Freesat. Viewers can also watch them online via UKTV 
Play.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772406.1532291623!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772406.1532291623!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "fans of shows including Red Dwarf, Taskmaster, Judge Romesh and Harrow unable to watch some of their favourite programmes as a result of the dispute. Picture: FailedImitator/Flickr","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "fans of shows including Red Dwarf, Taskmaster, Judge Romesh and Harrow unable to watch some of their favourite programmes as a result of the dispute. Picture: FailedImitator/Flickr","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772406.1532291623!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/labour-failing-to-win-trust-of-jewish-community-key-corbyn-ally-admits-1-4772411","id":"1.4772411","articleHeadline": "Labour failing to win trust of Jewish community, key Corbyn ally admits","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532322000000 ,"articleLead": "

Labour’s efforts to stamp out anti-Semitism in the party have failed to win over the Jewish community, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s key allies has admitted.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772410.1532292009!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally in Dorset yesterday, held to celebrate the memory of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Picture: SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Rebecca Long-Bailey said Labour was starting from a “very, very dark place” on the issue, which has caused intense anger among some of the party’s backbenchers.

Last week Dame Margaret Hodge, who lost family members in the Holocaust, confronted Mr Corbyn in Parliament over the party’s failure to take up a strong stance against anti-Semitism.

The row erupted after the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) decided not to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition.

Ms Long-Bailey insisted the party wanted to “expand” on the examples given in the definition but admitted that the proposals had caused controversy.

“We wanted to develop a code that was legally robust and detailed so that we could enforce it quickly in our disciplinary processes,” she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“But we haven’t won the faith of the Jewish community, and indeed my own parliamentary colleagues have expressed concern.

“The intention was never to omit parts of the IHRA definition. The IHRA and examples is a two-sided piece of A4.

“It’s not very detailed but it’s very clear and straight to the point – and what we wanted to do was to build on that.

“We recognise the concerns and that’s why this week it was right for the NEC to look at the code again and look at consulting with the Jewish community to make sure we get it right because we have to restore faith in the Jewish community. We’re starting from a very, very dark place due to the actions of a minority in our party and the failure of us to deal with it quickly.”

She also partly defended Dame Margaret, who is facing an internal party investigation after accusing Mr Corbyn of being an “anti-Semite and a racist”.

Ms Long-Bailey said her colleague had a right to “express her opinion” to the leader of the party.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell also said Dame Margaret had a “good heart” and that it was right for Labour members to be able to “express anger” when they felt it necessary.

“My view is let’s just resolve this very, very quickly – almost drop the complaint and move on or, if someone wants their complaint investigated, let’s get that done quickly,” he 
said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772410.1532292009!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772410.1532292009!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally in Dorset yesterday, held to celebrate the memory of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally in Dorset yesterday, held to celebrate the memory of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772410.1532292009!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/leader-comment-turbulent-times-may-demand-change-1-4772396","id":"1.4772396","articleHeadline": "Leader comment: Turbulent times may demand change","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532322000000 ,"articleLead": "

The aftermath of the Brexit referendum calls into question whether the voting system is fit for purpose.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772395.1532288413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There are serious challenges ahead for Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

It did not require great powers of foresight to predict that the 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union would cause division.

Here, in Scotland, we know from the experience of the 2014 independence vote that inviting people to make a binary choice encourages tribalism and creates an atmosphere where nuance is starved of oxygen.

And so it is hardly surprising that, two years after the Leave campaign won its narrow victory, our politics its angry and polarised.

A YouGov poll published yesterday makes clear just how divided the nation has become.

Almost two-fifths of UK voters say they would back a new party of the right that was committed to Brexit, while a third say they’re ready to support a new anti-Brexit centrist party.

There are serious challenges ahead, then, for both Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mrs May is already under intense pressure from within the Conservative Party to commit the UK to what The Scotsman believes is an utterly reckless Brexit-at-any-cost position. We hope that she will put country before party and resist any temptation to give ground.

Equally, we hope – though, sadly, do not expect – that Mr Corbyn will find it in himself to make the case that Brexit, in any form, carries huge risks for working people.

It is frequently said that any new party would struggle, thanks to Westminster’s first-past-the-post citing system, to make any real impact in a general election.

Perhaps, then, it is time for us to talk about whether the current voting system is fit for purpose.

Holyrood elections are decided through a combination of FPTP and proportional representation which encourages and often necessitates a pragmatic approach from politicians.

Right now, the only choices for Prime Minister are the leader of a Tory Party being dragged to the right by her membership or the leader of a Labour Party dragging his comrades further to the left. We’re not convinced that the majority of voters are best served by either option.

A change to the voting system would be a major step, not to be 
taken lightly, but it is an issue worthy of discussion in these turbulent times.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772395.1532288413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772395.1532288413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "There are serious challenges ahead for Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There are serious challenges ahead for Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772395.1532288413!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/lesley-riddoch-brexit-puts-our-fruit-farmers-in-a-jam-1-4772400","id":"1.4772400","articleHeadline": "Lesley Riddoch: Brexit puts our fruit farmers in a jam","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532322000000 ,"articleLead": "

Sharp fall in number of east European berry pickers since EU vote threatens bumper crop, writes Lesley Riddoch

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772399.1532289565!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Soft fruit workers plant strawberries at a Tayside farm ' but now some of the harvest has had to be left to rot. Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Why are the problems facing Scotland’s soft fruit industry causing national unease? Last week MPs toured strawberry and raspberry farms in Perthshire and members of Common Weal and local Yes groups pondered online whether summer holidays should be ditched to save this year’s crop. Would such selfless gestures save the day? It’s uncertain.

The problems facing Scotland’s soft fruit growers are big, urgent and complex – they are also deeply symbolic. As an unwilling Scotland is forced to contemplate the food shortages that will accompany a hard Brexit, here we are watching perfectly good food being left to rot. That’s depressing at the best of times – symbolic of Scotland’s helplessness as we face an unwanted and damaging Brexit in less than nine months.

And deeply ironic too. Right now, hot weather has produced a bumper and slightly early soft fruit harvest, but Brexit has produced a collapse in the number of east European pickers willing to come to Scotland. A study carried out for the Scottish Government estimated 9,000 seasonal agricultural workers were employed here in 2017 – most on fruit farms. This was 20 per cent fewer than the industry needed, but there was worse to come. The survey found that 60 per cent of these workers were uncertain about returning to Scotland this year.

Since then opinion among east Europeans has hardened. Rumours of a hostile environment in England have created uncertainty about conditions in Scotland too and this has combined with a tangible fall in the value of sterling against the currencies of neighbouring countries, which are easier to reach. Meanwhile improving east European economies can offer better-paid professional employment to their graduates than the manual labour that used to take them here. Apparently, many Polish fruit farms now employ Indian migrants to harvest crops. Times are changing.

The result in Scotland has been pretty tragic. About 20 tonnes of strawbs and rasps were left to rot last week alone in Perthshire – Scotland’s soft fruit heartland. It’s an emotional issue – for politicians, would-be consumers and stressed-out growers.

After all, Scots still generally have to be forced to eat vegetables. But no one needs encouragement to scoff strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and brambles by the punnet. Soft fruit and honey must be the only sweet things in Scotland that are also healthy foods. So the idea of abandoning truckloads of ripe berries is disturbing.

So folk are asking why Scots aren’t capable of picking our own berries, as past generations used to do around Tayside and Angus, where travellers and Dundonians worked in the berry fields of Blairgowrie to create extra income, outdoor-oriented summertime communities and rich musical and storytelling traditions.

Can we revive those traditions in time? Probably not.

First, there’s the scale and urgency of the task. William Houstoun of Angus Growers estimates 4,000 berry pickers are needed right now but there are only 1,400 
unemployed and able-bodied folk in the area.

Second, there’s a stack of deterrents in the benefits system. Growers report that unemployed Scots consider full-time picking jobs until they figure out that working more than 16 hours a week means losing benefits and winding up worse off. Universal credit adds to the problem. According to Citizens Advice Scotland, universal credit claimants must be available to look for work unless they are working more than 35 hours a week at the national minimum wage, in which case their universal credit claim will probably be closed. A neat wee Catch-22. And of course, anyone restarting a universal credit claim must endure a month at least without any cash to live on.

Mr Houstoun says: “Many of our east European pickers came for three or four months over a period of four years to finance particular projects like going to university or building a house.” Sadly, our benefits system militates against Scots having such peripatetic and seasonal employment patterns.

A third problem is the skilled and specialist nature of the job. Picking and packing soft fruit without bruising them is a delicate task – made more so by the current spell of hot weather, which means picking starts at 4:30am to stop berries going mushy by the time they reach supermarket shelves. Supermarket deals provide a steady demand but mean low prices and high standards.

Legislation to stop modern slavery and human trafficking can leave farmers worried about taking teams of workers to other farms lest they appear to be acting as gangmasters.

Wage levels are a bone of contention. Berry pickers are paid on a piecework basis – if they don’t pick enough to earn Scottish Agricultural Wages Board rates the farmer has to make up the difference – so unskilled workers generally leave after a few days. Good pickers earn more than £10 an hour when the conditions are right. But growers insist this represents a fourfold increase in pay since the mid-1990s despite berry prices remaining static.

Finally, school leavers want summer jobs to boost their CVs. They want Duke of Edinburgh awards or internships to help them stand out in the university application process. There’s a perception that manual work, including berry-picking, doesn’t demonstrate ambition or professional intent. And it’s illegal to employ youngsters below the age of 16.

So what does the future hold?

The next problem starts in autumn when crops ripen. East European berry pickers used to stay on for the apple and vegetable harvests but that may not happen this year. Ploughing in vegetables would be more maddening for farmers because harvesting costs are relatively low compared with the big cost of harvesting berries.

So some very tough decisions must soon be taken. The biggest worry for fruit farmers is a no-deal Brexit, which could mean no direct flights to Britain after March 2019, no incoming pickers and therefore no point planting soft fruit in Scotland. Imported Spanish strawberries could become the norm and Scotland’s traditional berry fields could switch to crops which can be mechanically harvested.

This sour prospect might perhaps be averted if the UK government yields to industry demands and replaces the scrapped Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, extending it to cover all European citizens. The other options are more difficult.

Britain could quit the path to Brexit or Scotland could quit a Brexiting UK.

If there is an easier solution, I’m sure Scotland’s soft fruit farmers are waiting to hear it.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772399.1532289565!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772399.1532289565!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Soft fruit workers plant strawberries at a Tayside farm ' but now some of the harvest has had to be left to rot. Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Soft fruit workers plant strawberries at a Tayside farm ' but now some of the harvest has had to be left to rot. Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772399.1532289565!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/brian-monteith-a-new-party-offers-no-guarantees-of-reversing-brexit-vote-1-4772394","id":"1.4772394","articleHeadline": "Brian Monteith: A new party offers no guarantees of reversing Brexit vote","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532322000000 ,"articleLead": "

Voters are already becoming exasperated with politicians refusing to accept the referendum result, writes Brian Monteith

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772393.1532287603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson was identified in a poll yesterday as the only Tory offering the possibility of defeating Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Tomorrow the House of Commons breaks up for the summer recess, and it cannot come soon enough for Theresa May and her beleaguered government.

A week ago the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom, toyed with the idea of pressing for the recess to start early – anything to avoid prolonging the febrile atmosphere that now occupies the House as members plot against their leaders; Tory rebels from all sides scheming against May’s worst-of- all-worlds Chequers agreement – or Labour moderates who have lost patience with Jeremy Corbyn’s ambivalence towards anti-Semitism and contorted positions on Brexit. Only the prospect of a likely government defeat over such callous government manipulation to silence unhappy MPs brought the withdrawal of the proposal.

Now some MPs look set to continue their rebellious talk over the summer holidays, ranging from discussions about establishing more cross-party attacks on the minority Conservative Government to going as far as launching a centrist party – both initiatives being part of the continued attempts by Remain supporters to reject the EU referendum result and reverse the Brexit decision.

Both developments would, I believe, be doomed to failure.

There can be no doubting the government’s majority is on a knife edge. An amendment rejecting the customs union drafted by the European Reform Group led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and accepted by the government only won by six votes after 12 Tories rebelled but five Labour MPs broke ranks and went the other way. Another two government/ERG amendments won by only three votes. Lib Dems Vince Cable and Tim Farron were absent on those, which would have narrowed the victory to only one. One Tory Europhile amendment backing the use of EU medicine regulations triumphed against the government whip simply because the Labour Brexiteers that had helped the government previously did not believe it important enough an issue to rebel over.

When MPs return in September Ian Paisley Jnr, a pro-Brexit DUP member, will be suspended for 30 sitting days, putting the government’s majority at even greater risk.

So it makes sense for Remainers to coordinate across parties – but it is a high-risk strategy, not just for them personally but for democracy too.

There is evidence that politicians failing to accept the referendum result by subverting Brexit entirely or seeking to deliver a deal that is Brexit in name only is increasingly exasperating the public.

Yesterday a Sunday Times YouGov poll showed 38 per cent support for a new pro-Brexit party and a further 24 per cent willing to support a “far-right anti-immigration, anti-Islam” party – with one in three in favour of an anti-Brexit party. The polling also showed support for May’s Chequers plan was only 11 per cent, while Boris Johnson was identified as the only Tory offering the possibility of defeating Corbyn, both men tying on 38 per cent. When asked who would negotiate the best Brexit deal, Johnson came first with 48 per cent with Corbyn trailing badly on 20 per cent – even Nigel Farage (27 per cent) and Donald Trump (24 per cent) polled higher.

The problem for Remain campaigners is that, while defeating the government to dilute its already soft Brexit Chequers plan is possible, it could deliver a stalemate that provokes a leadership challenge against May. If Johnson can get to the run-off where party members have the deciding votes, then he could expect to replace May and become a Leave-supporting Prime Minister.

Other scenarios are being considered, with Tory Remainer Anna Soubry suggesting a “national unity” government that would even include the SNP, which by definition wants disunity to break up the UK, and Cable attending a private dinner to discuss the formation of a centre-left anti-Brexit party that would appeal to Labour moderates and Tory Europhiles. Soubry, who represents Broxtowe, a constituency that voted Leave, has previously advanced the idea of a new party and is believed to have joined the SDP in the 1980s before coming back to the Conservatives after a career in broadcasting.

Other than finance, the main problem for a new party is that any MPs who leave the Labour or Conservative parties would be under immense pressure to follow the example of Douglas Carswell, who called a by-election when he left the Tories to join Ukip. Carswell set a democratic precedent, which was then followed by Mark Reckless, who also left the Tories for Ukip. Both won their by-elections. For any MPs to change parties between elections without seeking the approval of the electorate looks cowardly and arrogant, putting any new party immediately on the defensive. Such a group will be accused of being anti-democratic in seeking to reverse the EU referendum and scared of putting its trust in voters.

Many of the sitting MPs, especially those with low majorities, would be open to defeat, for the sitting MP’s vote would probably split with his or her former party. Soubry, for instance, has a majority of 863 over Labour and could be expected to struggle in a three-way tie, with Labour hoping to win. In Labour seats with low majorities, the Conservatives might be the beneficiaries. The idea that a centrist candidate would simply hoover up votes from both parties does not necessarily follow when Brexit is dominant, and would be influenced by an MP’s record and local circumstances.

The most likely outcome in this ever-changing kaleidoscope of scenarios is continued guerrilla warfare by Remain-supporting Conservatives, with the ever-present threat of Eurosceptic Tories standing behind May, threatening to bring her down if she concedes further ground in Parliament or to the EU in the Brexit negotiations.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit, is now openly ridiculing the Chequers plan so he can demand more concessions from May. His plan is clear, to ensure the only rational conclusion is that the EU’s deal is so bad that the alternative is leaving on World Trade Organisation terms (which we use for trading with all 150-plus other countries) – or remain EU members.

Meanwhile in the last week the EU signed off a free trade deal with Japan that requires no freedom of movement of labour, no membership of the single market or customs union and no annual membership fee for access to trade.

The answer is clear: May needs to drop her Chequers plan as having failed to gain the support of the EU or UK Parliament and prepare for leaving without a deal where control of our destiny will be in our own hands and an eventual EU deal can be flushed out.

• Brian Monteith is director of Global Britain

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772393.1532287603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772393.1532287603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boris Johnson was identified in a poll yesterday as the only Tory offering the possibility of defeating Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boris Johnson was identified in a poll yesterday as the only Tory offering the possibility of defeating Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772393.1532287603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/andrew-blick-history-shows-how-may-could-form-grand-coalition-1-4771843","id":"1.4771843","articleHeadline": "Andrew Blick: History shows how May could form grand coalition","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532286672000 ,"articleLead": "

Conservative MP Anna Soubry recently floated a idea that to some might seem radical: establish some kind of all-party “national unity government” to avoid a no-deal Brexit. But what are the prospects for such a project, what form might it take, and what would be the political implications?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4771842.1532286669!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ramsay MacDonald, seen with Margaret Bondfield, the first female Cabinet Minister, was Prime Minister when his Labour government collapsed and he formed a national coalition under his leadership (Picture: Central Press/Getty)"} ,"articleBody": "

To help answer these questions, it is useful to consider some historical precedents. On occasions over the last century or so, at moments of national crisis, politicians of the main parties at Westminster have come together to form governments intended specifically to address the threat.

There are three particular examples that stand out. In World War I, a coalition formed first under Herbert Henry Asquith in 1915 and then David Lloyd George in 1916. Then, in 1931, faced with a sterling crisis, the Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald collapsed and was replaced by a national government under his leadership. And in 1940, Winston Churchill came to power during World War II as head of a newly formed coalition.

Based on these examples and other aspects of the constitution, a number of observations about the current prospects are possible. First, the most important principle for the formation and maintenance of any government is that it possesses the confidence of the House of Commons (though that need not entail winning every single vote). The House of Commons can, if determined enough, bring about the establishment of a coalition government. And so long as such a government possesses that confidence, it can continue to function.

Alternatively – and perhaps more likely – rather than the House of Commons taking a direct initiative, a deal between senior politicians could command that confidence. A national unity government against a no-deal Brexit, then, is plausible in as far as a majority of MPs appear to be opposed to exit without a deal coming about. Indeed, such an administration, if it were backed by all of the “anti-no-deal” MPs, could well enjoy an absolute majority in the House of Commons, unlike the current Conservative government, which is in a Commons minority and reliant on support from the Democratic Unionist Party.

READ MORE: Joyce McMillan: New political alliance vital to stop Brexit disaster

The formation of a national unity coalition may also involve an existing prime minister ending one government and forming a new one (as, for instance, MacDonald did in 1931). Alternatively, it may entail a change of prime minister (as when Churchill first came to the premiership in 1940). In other words, this coalition, if it came about, could be led by Theresa May or by someone else. That person might come from the party providing the most MPs (like Churchill in 1940) but need not do so (Lloyd George from 1916; MacDonald from 1931). They could be a party leader (Asquith in 1916); but might not (Churchill in 1940). Much would depend on the circumstances of the time and the personalities involved: who was willing to serve under whom, whether a suitable leader other than the premier was judged to have emerged; whether the existing prime minister was regarded as tainted and if so was willing to step down quietly, and so on.

Then there is the more problematic aspect: party. The reason a national unity government is being discussed at all is that, though a majority of MPs appear to be opposed to a no-deal Brexit, they are spread across different parties. However strongly they feel about avoiding what they see as a disastrous outcome, they are influenced by other factors as well. The prospects for the formation of any coalition inevitably turn on relations within and between different parties.

Under the adversarial political system of the UK, and given a parliamentary voting system that can often lead to single-party governments, there is a greater resistance to this kind of collaboration than in many other European systems. In the period since 1945, there has been only one full coalition, that of 2010-2015, and it did not include the Labour party so doesn’t qualify as a national unity government.

When they have come into being, national unity coalitions have sometimes been associated with serious party political splits, such as that which occurred in 1916 when Lloyd George supplanted his Liberal colleague Asquith as prime minister, or in 1931 when MacDonald opted to form a National government, breaking with Labour.

READ MORE: Leader comment: ‘Sensible Party’ must take control of Brexit

The coalescence of the “anti-no-deal” MPs behind a national unity government, either at the request of May or as part of her replacement with a different prime minister, would seem to involve some kind of fissure in at least one of the Conservative and Labour parties. While much would depend on the precise circumstances that triggered such an event, is seems likely that a sizeable proportion of Conservative MPs would oppose the initiative. It’s also unlikely that the present Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, would be the figure around whom pro-European Conservative (or indeed Labour) MPs could rally.

A government intended to achieve unity for the UK would therefore involve disunity for both the main parties (though smaller parties such as the Liberal Democrats might potentially be able to join with less difficulty, though their recent experience of coalitions might be discouraging). The historical portents are again worth considering here. The Liberal Party was severely divided by the coalitions of World War I, after which it ceased to be one of the two main political parties. Labour was seriously damaged by the split of 1931 created by the formation of the MacDonald National government. Indeed, it took participation in the Churchill coalition from 1940 for it to return to office.

The lesson for today would seem to be that national unity governments are difficult to create. And when they do come together, the party political consequences can be divisive, extensive, and lasting. However, if an issue becomes pressing enough, even these considerations can be put to one side.

• Dr Andrew Blick is a lecturer in politics and contemporary history at King’s College London. This article was originally published on The Conversation website

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Some pop fans have taken offence after the words of classic Abba songs were changed for the latest Mamma Mia! film to make them more politically correct.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772326.1532268128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lily James, Cher and Amanda Seyfried attending the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Mamma Mia 2: every ABBA song featured in the new movie

Two 1970s songs by the Swedish quartet that feature in the new musical comedy have been rewritten, seemingly to make them less offensive and avoid hinting at inappropriate relationships between men and young girls.

The words to The Name of the Game and When I Kissed the Teacher have been altered for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which opened in cinemas on Friday.

In The Name of the Game, from 1977, the words have been changed from “I’m a bashful child, beginning to grow” to “I’m a curious child, beginning to grow”.

But the biggest rewrite comes in the 1976 song When I Kissed the Teacher, about a female student who has a crush on her male teacher.

The original version contains the lines “One of these days, gonna tell him I dream of him every night, One of these days, gonna show him I care. Gonna teach him a lesson alright.”

The teacher’s gender has been changed for the new film, and the track altered.

The new lines are: “What a mad day, now I see everything in a different light.

“What a mad day, I was up in the air. And she taught me a lesson alright.”

It is sung in the new movie by Lily James, who plays lead character Donna Sheridan, with Celia Imrie as the teacher. Abba star Björn Ulvaeus, who co-wrote the songs and worked on the musicals with bandmate Benny Andersson, said the teacher was made female so she could sing a response without needing a “horrible” key change.

“She had to be a woman. Simple as that,” he said. “And why wouldn’t the vice-chancellor be a woman?”

Abba biographer Carl Magnus Palm said: “I don’t think it’s important for the songs to stay in tune with the current climate. But if they need to tweak the lyrics to make them work better in Mamma Mia! then so be it.”

Former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read added: “Rock ’n’ roll was founded on young love and you can’t rewrite history. But you can see why people have started looking at songs and asked, ‘Should we still be playing that?’ ”

But some fans took to social media to voice their annoyance at the changes.

One said: “Seriously, trying to make a classic song PC.” Nick Freeman tweeted: “Can’t wait to see new Mamma Mia film. But if you’re a PC-loving liberalist, be warned if you sit near me in the cinema. I’ll be singing the original lyrics. Badly.”

Others praised the decision.

“I was glad,” wrote one. “The original lyrics would not fly today, especially where if it were a man. He’d be jailed in a heartbeat.”

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again comes a decade after the original hit, starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried and Pierce Brosnan. Mamma Mia! took more than £453 million worldwide and was the highest grossing film of all time 
at the UK box office – 
knocking Titanic off the top spot.

Streep has starred in more than 50 films, won three Oscars and is widely considered to be the best actress of her generation, but Mamma Mia! remains her biggest box office hit.

The sequel reunites the original stars and also sees Cher, James and Andy Garcia join the cast.

READ MORE - Film reviews: Hotel Artemis | Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again | A Prayer Before Dawn | Madame | Spitfire

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DIANE KING"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772326.1532268128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772326.1532268128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lily James, Cher and Amanda Seyfried attending the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lily James, Cher and Amanda Seyfried attending the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772326.1532268128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/suspected-acid-attack-on-three-year-old-boy-was-pure-evil-1-4772388","id":"1.4772388","articleHeadline": "Suspected acid attack on three-year-old boy was ‘pure evil’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532284813000 ,"articleLead": "

A suspected acid attack that left a three-year-old boy seriously injured in hospital has been described as “absolutely pure evil”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772387.1532284809!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A release by West Mercia Police showing three men, who police are looking for in connection to a suspect acid attack to a three-year-old boy in Home Bargains on Shrub Hill Retail Park, Tallow Hill, Worcester, Saturday 21 July. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Police believe the youngster was deliberately targeted in the attack in a shop in Worcester and have released images of three men they want to speak to.

The boy was taken to hospital and is being treated for serious burns to his arm and face.

Worcester City Council leader Marc Bayliss said the attack was “absolutely pure evil”.

He added: “Worcester is not that sort of place. We are a quintessential small English city.

“I have never heard of an acid attack in Worcester so this is absolutely not something we have any experience of.”

He urged anyone with information to come forward, and added: “Think if this was a member of your family, an innocent child, a three-year-old probably scarred or damaged for life by this.

“We need to bring the perpetrators to justice, and quickly.”

The incident occurred at around 2.15pm on Saturday in the Home Bargains store on the Shrub Hill Retail Park in Tallow Hill.

A local shop worker, who did not want to be named, said he saw a number of emergency services at the store on Saturday and two police officers were stationed outside on Sunday.

“There were a couple of fire engines and a couple of police as well.

“Customers were still going in and then they completely shut up at about 3pm.”

Worcester MP Robin Walker described the attack as “horrific”, and added: “The shock will be universal, anyone conducting such an attack on a small child is just appalling.

“At this stage the key thing is for the police to act quickly and see if they can track down the perpetrator and understand what’s behind it because it is an unthinkable thing to happen.”

A 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm and remains in police custody.

West Mercia Police said the three men in the photos may have “vital information”, and urged anyone who recognises them to come forward “as a matter of urgency”.

Chief Superintendent Mark Travis said: “At this time we are treating this as a deliberate attack on a three-year-old boy.

“The incident will rightly shock the local community and I would like to reassure local people that we are carrying out a thorough investigation to identify those responsible.

“At this time, the motive for the attack is unclear.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4772387.1532284809!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4772387.1532284809!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A release by West Mercia Police showing three men, who police are looking for in connection to a suspect acid attack to a three-year-old boy in Home Bargains on Shrub Hill Retail Park, Tallow Hill, Worcester, Saturday 21 July. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A release by West Mercia Police showing three men, who police are looking for in connection to a suspect acid attack to a three-year-old boy in Home Bargains on Shrub Hill Retail Park, Tallow Hill, Worcester, Saturday 21 July. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4772387.1532284809!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/brexit-secretary-hits-out-at-irresponsible-eu-ahead-of-fresh-talks-1-4772294","id":"1.4772294","articleHeadline": "Brexit Secretary hits out at ‘irresponsible’ EU ahead of fresh talks","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1532257605000 ,"articleLead": "

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has accused the EU of “irresponsibly” ramping up pressure in withdrawal negotiations.

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The comments came as Mr Raab indicated he was still trying to persuade all members of the Cabinet that Theresa May’s Chequers compromise agreement was “the best plan to get the best deal”.

As Mr Raab, who has said a deal with the EU can be reached by October, readied to return to Brussels for more Brexit talks on Thursday he signalled that Britain could withhold its £39 billion divorce bill if it did not get a trade deal in return.

And Tory former prime minister Sir John Major became the latest prominent Conservative to leave the door open to a new referendum, insisting that such a vote would be “morally justified”.

Mr Raab was scathing about comments from Brussels stating that a no deal scenario would mean there would be no specific arrangements in place for UK citizens living on the continent, or for EU migrants in Britain after withdrawal.

Mr Raab told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: “Well, I think that’s a rather irresponsible thing to be coming from the other side.

“We ought to be trying to reassure citizens on the continent and also here.

“There is obviously an attempt to try and ramp up the pressure.”

The Brexit Secretary said there had to be “conditionality” under the Article 50 withdrawal mechanism between settling Britain’s exit payment and creating a new relationship with the EU.

He told the Sunday Telegraph: “Article 50 requires, as we negotiate the withdrawal agreement, that there’s a future framework for our new relationship going forward, so the two are linked.

“You can’t have one side fulfilling its side of the bargain and the other side not, or going slow, or failing to commit on its side.

“So, I think we do need to make sure that there’s some conditionality between the two.”

The comments appeared at odds with Chancellor Philip Hammond, who said of the divorce payment last December: “I find it inconceivable that we as a nation would be walking away from an obligation that we recognised as an obligation.

“That is not a credible scenario. That is not the kind of country we are. Frankly, it would not make us a credible partner for future international agreements.”

Mr Raab also defended the controversial Chequers Cabinet compromise on withdrawal aims, insisting he wanted to persuade voters and Cabinet colleagues that it is the way forward.

The Brexit Secretary said: “I want to make sure we can persuade everyone - grassroots, voters, parliamentary party and ministers, including in the Cabinet - that we’ve got the best deal and the best plan to get the best deal.”

The Brexit Secretary said critics were mistaken to think Mrs May would not walk away without a deal if she had to.

“They’re wrong. No bluffing.”

On a second referendum, Sir John told The Andrew Marr Show: “I mean, frankly, a second vote has democratic downsides. It has difficulties.

“But is it morally justified? I think it is.

“A referendum isn’t an easy option, but it’s not one at this stage that I would rule out.”

Sir John said he feared the hardline stance of a group of arch-Brexiteer Tory MPs could now see the UK “crash out” of the EU without a deal.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis has urged the Prime Minister to “reset” her negotiating strategy.

Mr Davis, who quit as Brexit secretary in protest at the Chequers agreement, said the PM needed to “start again” on withdrawal plans.

“We’re going to have to do a reset and come back and look at it all again,” he told the Sunday Express.

“I think when we get to the autumn, if we are in the situation where we don’t have any degree of agreement, we’re going to have to start again.”

Preparations for no deal need to accelerate from the current position of “consult and cajole” to “command and control”, he told the paper.

“By the end of the summer it should be plain we are making proper preparations for this,” he said.

On Sunday sugar maker Tate & Lyle, which backed Brexit, said the Prime Minister’s white paper was confusing.

The comments came as a new poll suggested only 16% of voters think Mrs May is handling negotiations well, while 34% believe former foreign secretary Boris Johnson would do a better job.

Conservative former minister Dominic Grieve said no deal would be “absolutely catastrophic” for the UK, adding on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We will be in a state of emergency - basic services we take for granted might not be available.”

Mr Grieve said he did not believe Mrs May is at risk, but added: “The only group that could possibly bring the Prime Minister down is if the group of my hard Brexit colleagues so lose the plot that they decide that is an effective way for them to proceed.”

READ MORE - David Mundell: There’s no alternative to the Brexit White Paper

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