Andrew Fisher: Jeremy Corbyn’s senior aide to quit

The Labour Party's last manifestoImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Andrew Fisher is the author of the party’s last manifesto

One of Jeremy Corbyn’s senior aides, who wrote Labour’s last manifesto, has announced his intention to resign.

Andrew Fisher, head of policy, will leave his post by the end of the year “to spend more time with his young family”.

The Sunday Times claims Mr Fisher warned that Mr Corbyn would not win the next general election.

A Labour source said: “We don’t comment on staffing matters.”

It comes after Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson called for unity on Saturday following a move to oust him at the start of the party’s annual conference.

In a statement seen by the BBC’s political correspondent Iain Watson, Mr Fisher said he is “choosing to prioritise” his wife and young son.

He plans to leave by the end of the year but says he will stay on should there be an autumn general election.

Mr Fisher said he feels “immensely proud about what we have collectively achieved”.

But he added: “The long hours, stresses and strains that inevitably come from working in this high pressure environment mean I haven’t managed to balance my commitments to my wife and young son.

“So after four years, I’m now choosing to prioritise them. I will stay on for any autumn general election, but will be leaving by the end of the year.”

Mr Fisher is said to have revealed his intention to quit last Saturday, according to a memo seen by the Sunday Times.

The newspaper reports that he criticised Mr Corbyn’s team for their “blizzard of lies”.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jeremy Corbyn intervened on a motion to abolish Labour’s deputy leader

Mr Fisher’s decision to quit emerged just hours after Mr Corbyn quashed a motion at his party conference on Saturday to oust his deputy, Mr Watson, by abolishing his position.

An initial attempt had been made at the Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) on Friday.

Mr Corbyn later suggested the role should be reviewed instead, and his suggestion was backed by the ruling NEC.

He has since told the Sunday Mirror he would like to see the party have two deputy leaders “which reflects diversity within our society”.

Mr Corbyn told the newspaper one deputy leader would be a woman.

He added: “Tom is the elected deputy leader of the party and so has an important role to play.

“I work with him and he’s done very well on media reform, online gambling and exposing the way sugar has a deleterious affect on our lives.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49785014

Photos show planes ‘seconds from crash’ at Sibson

The planes coming in to landImage copyright Airprox Board
Image caption The planes were within 50ft (15m) of each other at the airfield near Peterborough

Two passenger planes were photographed “five seconds” away from a crash that was only prevented by a control tower team, an inquiry has found.

The near miss between two Cessna 208s in April was avoided by the “narrowest margin”, the Airprox Board said.

One of the planes had just dropped off parachutists at Sibson Aerodrome, near Peterborough, while the other was being flown by a student with an instructor.

The control tower told the higher plane to loop the area again before landing.

The Airprox Board, which investigates near misses, found the parachutists’ plane was coming in to land about 50ft (15m) above the other plane.

Image copyright Mike Bardill/Geograph
Image caption Sibson Aerodrome control tower staff were commended by the Airprox Board

The instructor heard the noise, saw the shade from the plane above him and took control of the aircraft from the student.

A control tower staff member told the higher plane to fly around again before attempting to land.

“Both pilots were unaware of the position of the other C208 and, if not told to go around, it was estimated that a collision would have occurred after about five seconds,” the staff member said.

The Airprox Board “commended” the intervention, which it said had “prevented a mid-air collision”.

The report said the use of one of the Cessnas for parachutist drops had the potential to put pressure on pilots for a “quick turnaround” and called for “sufficient flexibility within the parachute dropping schedule”.

Investigators said that as both planes operated from the same airfield, flight plans could have been discussed beforehand.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-49715399

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke tells of ‘hard time’ after ex-partner’s death

Thom YorkeImage copyright PA Media

Radiohead singer Thom Yorke has told of the “hard time” his family went through after the death of his ex-partner.

Rachel Owen died aged 48 in 2016 from cancer, and Yorke told Desert Island Discs his ambition is to “make sure that we have come out of it alright”.

The couple were partners for 23 years and had two children, Noah and Agnes, before they split up in 2015.

Yorke also said he is a “hypocrite” for flying around the world on tour while campaigning against climate change.

The musician told the BBC Radio 4 programme: “The thing I’ve always struggled somewhat with, is if I’m campaigning on climate change, I’m someone who has to fly for my work so….

“I totally agree I’m a hypocrite but… what do you want to do about it?”

He added: “You can do stuff but the real stuff has to happen in Parliament and the UN, and has to happen now, we’re out of time.”

‘Really proud’

Speaking about his relationship with his children, Yorke, 50, said: “I can’t hope to be their mum but we’re alright.

“I’m just really proud of them both. It stuns me most days. I can’t believe they’re anything to do with me. They’re just such great people.”

He said: “When the kids’ mum died, it was a very difficult period and we went through a lot.

“It was very hard. She suffered a great deal and my ambition is to make sure that we have come out of it alright, and I hope that’s what’s happening.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yorke says he could be difficult in Radiohead’s early days

Yorke told the show: “I’m lucky now because I have a new partner who has come and brought a light into all of it, which has taken a great deal of strength.

“And really if all that’s OK… If I’m able to make some music that expresses all that and is still important to people, that’s more than I can ask for.”

Yorke also spoke of how he found it difficult to cope with Radiohead’s success initially.

“I got angry,” he said. “I’m an extremely angry person.

“I put my hands on the steering wheel and I white-knuckled, and I didn’t care who I hurt or what I said.

“Years later I sat down with the guys and apologised.”

Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 at 11:15 BST and is also available on BBC sounds

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-49782490

Labour pledges to stop NHS prescription charges

Pharmacist handing over a prescriptionImage copyright Getty Images

Labour is to announce a pledge to abolish prescription charges in England at its party conference next week.

Prescriptions are already free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In England the NHS charges £9 per item, and earned just over £575m from fees in 2017/18 – which the government has said is a valuable source of income.

More than 80% of prescriptions are already issued free of charge, as those on low incomes or with some long-term conditions are not required to pay.

People on benefits including Income Support, pregnant women, children and the over-60s are among those who do not pay.

There is also a list of “medical exemptions”, including those who need to take insulin for type 1 and type 2 diabetes and people with an underactive thyroid.

But people with many other conditions – including overactive thyroid, asthma, chronic kidney disease and rheumatoid arthritis – are not on the list, which was drawn up in 1968.

Pre-payment certificates for those who do not qualify for free medication, costing £104 per year.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, who will announce the policy at the Labour party conference in Brighton, said: “We know that the cost of prescriptions puts people off taking the medicine they need.

“Not only do people suffer illnesses and the effects of illnesses more than they need to but, in the long term, it costs the NHS more money because those people who don’t take their medicines present with even more serious conditions later on.”

‘Unfair and outdated’

Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, which has campaigned for people with the condition to get free prescriptions, welcomed Labour’s announcement.

She said: “This could make a huge difference to help people with asthma stay well and reduce pressure on hard-pressed NHS services.

“We are urging the leaders of the main political parties to pledge to stop unfair and outdated prescription charges for people with asthma, and shall continue to press them until this change has been implemented.”

Asthma UK and the Labour Party both highlighted the case of Holly Warboys, who died aged 19 after an asthma attack.

Her mum Cathy said: “Holly was on a low income and struggled to pay for her asthma prescription charges.

“She died suddenly from an asthma attack with just one puff left in her inhaler because she couldn’t afford to buy another one.”

“All of the political parties should pledge to scrap unfair asthma prescription costs and stand up for people like Holly.”

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “We have always been supportive of any safe and sensible measures to reduce medication costs for patients and ensure access to necessary medication is equitable, so it’s encouraging to have a renewed debate around a review of prescription charges.

“We fully appreciate the amount that prescription medications cost the NHS every year, and we would always encourage patients to buy over-the-counter or other widely available treatments where they can to help reduce this.

“But even though many of our most vulnerable patients are already exempt from standard prescription charges, the fact that fees exist in England means there is real risk that some people might not obtain and take the medication they need.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49770581

Give Thomas Cook ‘real financial support’, ministers urged

Thomas Cook shopImage copyright AFP
Image caption Thomas Cook has hundreds of High Street stores

Ministers should be ready to give Thomas Cook “real financial support”, a union representing staff at the struggling travel company has said.

The firm could fall into administration in days unless it finds £200m in extra funds needed to secure its future.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) union has called on Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom to save Thomas Cook “no matter what”.

Government sources suggest ministers are reluctant to bail out the company.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes told Mrs Leadsom it was up to the government to save thousands of jobs and to allow Thomas Cook to “flourish”.

He said in a letter: “It is incumbent upon the government to act if required and save this iconic cornerstone of the British High Street and the thousands of jobs that go with it.

“Thomas Cook can be a highly successful business and must be given every opportunity to flourish. I urge you to stand ready to assist Thomas Cook with real financial support.”

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said “all viable options” for saving the travel giant should be explored.

She added that “the government must consider stepping in and taking an equity stake to avoid this crisis”.

BBC business editor Simon Jack reported on Saturday that government sources had questioned the financial wisdom of stepping in to save the company.

He said the government did not see its options as being between spending £200m to help Thomas Cook with its cash shortfall or £600m to repatriate its British customers abroad.

Currently there are 600,000 Thomas Cook customers on holiday, of which 150,000 to 160,000 are British.

Wedding worries

Image copyright Chloe Hardy
Image caption Chloe and her fiance Jack are due to fly to Zante for their wedding

Chloe Hardy from Leicestershire is due to get married in Zante in October and booked the wedding package with Thomas Cook back in June 2018.

Chloe and her fiance will also have 33 family members flying out, with their trips costing more than £33,000 in total.

With the big day looming, Chloe is frustrated by Thomas Cook’s handling of their booking.

“I have emailed the wedding concierge and co-ordinator, neither has got back to me. We are unsure if we will be able to fly. Although, it’s Atol-protected I have booked three weeks’ leave from work and there’s no guarantee that I will be able to get time off if I had to rebook.”

“We’ve had constant questions from our family that we are unable to answer,” she added. “This is causing great concern, worry and stress to all of us involved.”

It comes after a noticeable shift in tone from Thomas Cook in its replies to concerned customers on social media.

Clients had earlier been told to ignore media speculation on Friday, but are now being reminded they have Atol protection – a sort of industry-backed insurance – “in the event that Thomas Cook goes into administration”.

Thomas Cook, one of the world’s largest travel companies, was founded in 1841 to operate temperance day trips, and now has annual sales of £9bn.

It employs 22,000 staff, 9,000 of those in the UK and serves 19 million customers a year in 16 different countries.

Mounting difficulties

Thomas Cook’s financial difficulties have mounted over the past year, culminating with the agreement in August of a rescue deal led by its biggest shareholder Fosun.

In July, Thomas Cook produced a business plan saying that it needed £900m in refinancing, up from a previous estimate of £150m. The £900m would come from Fosun, the group of creditors and some other investors.

The group of lenders then commissioned an independent investigation. Its financial advisers said Thomas Cook would require an additional £200m on top of the £900m already required, which would bring the total refinancing needed up to £1.1bn.

Thomas Cook succeeded in finding a backer to provide the additional £200m, but the BBC understands it has since pulled out and the group of creditors will not come back to the table unless that additional funding is found.

A final vote on that deal was due to take place this week, but it has been delayed until next Friday in the face of the latest demand for extra standby funding.

Thomas Cook has blamed a series of problems for its profit warnings, including political unrest in holiday destinations such as Turkey, last summer’s prolonged heatwave and customers delaying booking holidays because of Brexit.

What are your rights?

If you are on a package holiday you are covered by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence scheme (Atol).

The scheme will pay for your accommodation abroad, although you may have to move to a different hotel or apartment.

Atol will also pay to have you brought home if the airline is no longer operating.

If you have holiday booked in the future you will also be refunded by the scheme.

If you have booked a flight-only deal you will need to apply to your travel insurance company or credit card and debit card provider to seek a refund.

When Monarch Airlines collapsed in 2017, the government organised to bring home all the stranded passengers, whether they were covered by Atol or not.

Here is more information on Atol protection and Your questions answered


Are you a Thomas Cook customer or member of staff? If you’ve been affected by the issues raised here, you can get in touch by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49783911

Jersey Bulls get eighth straight victory with 5-1 win over Eversley & California

Karl Hinds has scored 12 goals in eight games this season for Jersey Bulls

Jersey Bulls maintained their winning start to life with a 5-1 victory at home to Eversley & California.

Two goals from top-scorer Karl Hinds, as well as singles from Daryl Wilson, Luke Campbell and Sol Solomon saw the home side take victory.

Gary Freeman’s side had to battle back after George Marsh had given the visitors an unexpected lead.

The win keeps the Bulls seven points clear at the top of the Combined Counties League Division One.

Jersey Bulls’ winning start to the season
3 August: Beat Ash United 3-0 (h)
14 August: Beat Deportivo Galicia 6-0 (a)
17 August: Beat Godalming Town 5-0 (a)
25 August: Beat Fleet Spurs 4-0 (h)
26 August: Beat Westside 1-0 (a)
7 September: Beat Bagshot 7-1 (h)
14 September: Beat Kensington and Ealing Borough 5-1 (a)
21 September: Beat Eversley & California 5-1 (h)