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Furious backlash against Parliament’s suspension
A day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson opted to suspend Parliament for 23 working days before Brexit, a legal challenge is in train, along with protests across the country and a petition of more than a million signatures and counting. However, the government is adamant there will still be “plenty of time” for MPs to debate Brexit before and after the shutdown. Cabinet minister Michael Gove tells the BBC the move is “certainly not” about obstructing attempts to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
That won’t wash so far as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is concerned. He’s called it a “smash and grab” on democracy, echoing Commons Speaker John Bercow’s description of it as a “constitutional outrage”. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson are also critics, along with some Conservative backbenchers including ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond. However, the prime minister has the backing of Arlene Foster, whose Northern Irish Democratic Unionists have been propping up the Tory government, and US President Donald Trump.
- Could angry MPs overrule the prime minister, or force an election? BBC Westminster explores their options
- Wondering whether the Queen could have declined the PM’s suspension request? We answer readers’ questions
- Still confused about what’s going on? Our quick guide spells things out
High Street shops sold knives to children
Despite concerns over the growing incidence of knife crime, trading standards officers say it is still “too easy” for children to get hold of blades. Tesco, Asda, Poundland and Home Bargains sold knives to under-18s at least 15 times each during “mystery shopper” exercises between April 2018 and March 2019, according to the National Trading Standards organisation. Tesco and Asda say they have acted to improve safety, while Poundland points out it stopped selling knives altogether last year.
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Climate change: People ‘must consume less’
Drive less… buy fewer clothes… cut down on “luxury” foods like red meat. That’s what Britons must do if the UK is to meet its pledges on tackling climate change, according to the government’s departing chief environment scientist. Prof Sir Ian Boyd tells the BBC technology can help achieve the goal of wiping out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But he adds: “We need to change our behaviours and change our lifestyles.” Read the full interview.
The hidden links between slavery and Wall Street
By Zoe Thomas, BBC business reporter, New York
This month marks 400 years since enslaved Africans were first brought to what is now the United States of America. Stacey Toussaint, the boss of Inside Out Tours, which runs the NYC Slavery and Underground Railroad tour, says people are often surprised by how important slavery was to New York City.
“They don’t realize that enslaved people built the wall after which Wall Street is named,” she says. By some estimates, New York received 40% of US cotton revenue through money its financial firms, shipping businesses and insurance companies earned. But scholars differ on just how direct a line can be drawn between slavery and modern economic practices in the US.
Read the full article
What the papers say
Unsurprisingly, Boris Johnson’s move to shut down Parliament is all over the front pages. The prime minister is pictured with fists clenched on the front of the Times, Sun and Daily Mail, with the latter saying it’s “gloves off” as he tries to “thwart” anti-Brexit MPs. Puns abound, with the Sun trying: “Hey big suspender.” The Metro and Daily Mirror play with Parliamentary language to suggest the PM has gone “prorogue”. Others simply repeat the Commons speaker’s description of the situation as an “outrage”. Read the full review for more.
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09:30 The most popular baby names in England and Wales during 2018 will be revealed by the Office for National Statistics.
Today Voters go to the polls in a by-election for the Scottish Parliament seat of Shetland.
On this day
1950 A 4,000-strong British infantry force arrives in Korea from Hong Kong to support the American-led United Nations presence.
Boris Johnson is suspending Parliament. What’s next for Brexit? (Atlantic)
Britain’s costliest consumer banking scandal may have sting in its tail (Reuters)
‘We have to talk about this loudly’ – Meg Mathews on the menopause (Guardian)
Sex, spies and Nazi waxworks – the fascinating history of Marylebone (Telegraph)