‘I wrote a crime novel and went to prison’

Having never been inside a prison before, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. It was a lot like the buildings you see in films and on TV; a maze of tall brick walls, barbed wire, and thick metal bars. It was also noticeably cold, in more ways than one, and the guard behind the reception desk did not look happy to see me. My fingerprints were scanned, my details were put into “the system” and my belongings were locked away. No phone. No liquids. No sharp objects. Image copyright Alison Feeney My footsteps echoed on the stone floor, and prisoners stared at me as we passed. Eyes full of suspicion and intrigue followed me down the hall, and a …

The riddle of Winchester Cathedral’s skeletons

Dr Heidi Dawson-Hobbis said the project focuses on three main areas of research: DNA extracted from a small sample cut from the bones from each individual Radiocarbon dating which indicates when each individual lived and died Historical records She said: “We will be trying to tie these three stands of evidence together to add another piece to this puzzle.” ‘Royal blood’ Twelve names are inscribed on the caskets – nine kings, one queen and two bishops but many others are thought to have been buried at Winchester Cathedral, or the Old Minster, which was demolished in 1093 after the new cathedral had been built. Radiocarbon dating has confirmed that the bones date from the same periods as the names on …

How can wine be worth 4,500?

So for those of us who would struggle to justify spending quadruple figures on anything, let alone a single bottle of wine, how does this one – a Chateau le Pin Pomerol 2001- actually taste? “It’s really, really good,” enthuses Fattorini. “I haven’t had the 2001, which is quite hard to get hold of. But it’s the epitome of their house style. “It’s glossy, rich and voluptuous with lots of cherries and leaves your mouth coated with a glycerine feel. It’s exceptional.” Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A vineyard in Bordeaux – the one owned by Le Pin occupies just one acre He adds of the Le Pin 2001 wine: “It’s also very exotic. It’s a really good vintage …

Any Brexit deal ‘must include fresh vote’

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMichael Gove resists calls to set a deadline for the talks A cross-party Brexit deal will not get through Parliament unless it is subject to a fresh public vote, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer says. Talks between Labour and ministers over leaving the EU have been going on for a month with little sign of progress. Sir Keir told the Guardian that without a new referendum up to 150 Labour MPs would vote against any agreement made. Environment Secretary Michael Gove suggested Labour needed more time to come to terms with the idea of a deal. “For some in the Labour Party it will be a significant step to accept supporting …

PM’s negotiator to seek Brexit changes

This declaration was published alongside Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement and sets out the parameters for the future relationship between the UK and the EU, but is not legally binding. Kuenssberg: Policy and politics Cross-party deal must include new referendum – Sir Keir Starmer What’s in the political declaration? In Brussels, Mr Robbins will explore how quickly changes could be made to the political declaration if the government and Labour can come to an agreement. But as the cabinet and shadow cabinet take stock of the progress so far in the cross-party talks, pressure is mounting on both sides for negotiations to be abandoned. Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, and 13 former cabinet ministers have written …

Tommy Robinson faces new contempt case

The allegations concern a Facebook broadcast by Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, which was watched by thousands of people. He was jailed on the day by the trial judge at Leeds Crown Court – but that was quashed by the Court of Appeal after it ruled that his case had been unfairly handled. Mr Robinson, who is standing for election as an MEP in the European elections later this month, was released after serving two months of his sentence. The case was referred back to the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who announced in March that there were “strong grounds” to bring new proceedings against him. After more than six months of complex legal delays, Lady Justice Sharp …

Brexit bill to be introduced in early June

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionBarclay: There needs to be an “end point” to Brexit talks A bill implementing the Brexit deal will be introduced in the first week of June, the government has confirmed. Downing Street said this was “imperative” if the UK was to leave the EU before MPs’ summer recess. The government also said talks with Labour would continue on Wednesday in an attempt to agree a way through the Brexit impasse. Attempts to find a cross-party compromise began after the PM’s Brexit deal was rejected three times by MPs. A Labour spokesman said Jeremy Corbyn had raised concerns “about the prime minister’s ability to deliver on any compromise agreement”. Image copyright Reuters and …

Labour ‘to end youth rate minimum wage’

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionJeremy Corbyn: “We will abolish the youth rate of the minimum wage” Labour will extend its plans for a higher £10-an-hour minimum wage to include workers under the age of 18, party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said. Currently, under-18s are entitled to a minimum wage of £4.35 per hour, compared with £8.21 for over-25s. But under a Labour government this “youth rate” for the minimum wage would be ended in 2020, Mr Corbyn said. One business group said there was value in having the minimum wage set by an independent group, as it is now. Mr Corbyn had already pledged to raise the National Living Wage – a legally binding hourly rate …

Cliff edge ‘newlyweds’ spark warning

Fresh warnings about the dangers of the south coast’s crumbling chalk cliffs have been made after a couple were seen apparently posing for a wedding shot at Birling Gap. The National Trust and coastguards have repeatedly warned that the chalk can collapse without warning. Signage using words and symbols is in place to warn people, the charity said. It comes days after a man was seen holding a child inches from the edge at Seven Sisters, near Eastbourne. Sue Lockhart, from Eastbourne, said she took the picture from the car park at Birling Gap, after she saw what she believed to be a newly married couple “right on the edge of the cliffs, with another guy lying down looking over …

Fresh attempt to restore NI devolution

Will the council election results affect the Stormont stand-off? Last week’s vote has not completely changed Northern Ireland’s overall political landscape – the electorate is still sharply divided along traditional unionist and nationalist lines – but it has given the two biggest parties something to think about as they enter the latest talks. Not only did Alliance’s seat count rise, the party also achieved an almost 5% jump in its share of first preference votes, topping the poll in several areas and breaking new ground outside its greater Belfast support base. Alliance, a sister party of the Liberal Democrats in Great Britain, tries to appeal to communities across the political spectrum in Northern Ireland, but even after last Thursday’s success, …

New inquest into girl’s ‘pollution’ death

“The past six years of not knowing why my beautiful, bright and bubbly daughter died has been difficult for me and my family, but I hope the new inquest will answer whether air pollution took her away from us,” she said. “If it is proved that pollution killed Ella then the government will be forced to sit up and take notice that this hidden but deadly killer is cutting short our children’s lives.” Image caption Rosamund Kissi-Debrah says air pollution is cutting children’s lives short Ruling with two other judges that the 2014 conclusions should be quashed, Judge Mark Lucraft QC said: “In our judgment, the discovery of new evidence makes it necessary in the interests of justice that a …

Davidson: Tories face Brexit ‘wake-up call’

The Conservatives lost more than 1,300 seats in the council election and Labour 81 as the Liberal Democrats, Greens and independents surged across England. Tories call for unity after election drubbing Tories lose more than 1,300 councillors May: ‘Voters want Brexit to be resolved’ The two major UK parties have been locked in talks aimed at finding a way forward on Brexit for the past month, but it is not clear how much progress has been made. Speaking at the Scottish Conservative conference in Aberdeen, Ms Davidson said the solution lay in finding a compromise that respects the result of the EU referendum. She told delegates: “The solution doesn’t lie in the trenches of one extreme or another – of …

‘I woke up to find I’d been raped’

Image copyright Elinor Bell Image caption Mrs Bell took this photo shortly before her memory went blank An examination at a sexual assault referral centre revealed she had been raped. She said she wants to warn others of the dangers of being spiked. “Knowing he is still out there somewhere and more than likely in that area is one of the most worrying things,” she added. The Cheese and Grain said it was “shocked and saddened” to hear of the attack. “The venue assisted the police as best it could with the investigation in providing details of the victim’s arrival and departure from the venue,” a spokeswoman said. “CCTV showed her leaving the building on her own. She had been …

Calls for progress in Brexit deal talks

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionJeremy Corbyn: “Government changes needed in cross-party talks” The government says “progress needs to be made urgently” on Brexit talks with Labour – but that arranging time with the opposition has been “difficult”. Senior figures from both sides have been trying to break the deadlock by agreeing a Brexit deal MPs can support. No 10 said talks had “been difficult in some areas”, including “timetabling”. But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the government “really needs to move on” and change its Brexit agreement to solve the impasse. He said: “We cannot go on hearing this tired old mantra that the Brexit agreement has to be adhered to.” Senior members of the influential …

Ministers in a froth amid Huawei row

Those cross-party talks? Not much seems to be moving there either. And, if you were looking forward to – or horrified by – the prospect of a Tory grassroots and backbench move against Theresa May, the 1922 Committee has concluded they won’t change the rules to permit another formal attempt to oust the prime minister – at least not now. For once, however, some ministers are in a froth tonight. Not about Brexit, but about another big strategic decision the government has to make, and make very soon. There have been fears inside government about allowing the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei to get involved in the construction of the UK’s 5G telecoms network for some time. As my colleague Gordon …

Will indyref2 happen before May 2021?

Work is to begin on legislation to make this happen – but Ms Sturgeon said she would hold off on moving to actually trigger such a vote until she can get the UK government to back it via a “section 30 order” Meanwhile, all of this remains contingent on what happens with Brexit. Since the exit deadline was extended until October, that remains an open question, with no resolution in sight. What is a Section 30 order? Image copyright PA Image caption Mike Russell will get the job of setting out plans for legislation In May, Scottish Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell will set out plans for legislation to underpin a new referendum. This would be generic legislation for a …