RAF’s centenary to be marked by flypast over Palace

RAF personnel and aircraftImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dozens of military aircraft took part in final rehearsals at RAF Cranwell

Up to 100 aircraft will take part in a flypast over Buckingham Palace later to mark 100 years of the Royal Air Force.

The Queen will be among members of the royal family attending a day of events to celebrate the RAF’s centenary.

Westminster Abbey will host a special service and more than a thousand servicemen and women will take part in a parade on The Mall.

Aircraft representing the RAF across the decades will then be involved in the flypast over London at 13:00 BST.

It will feature the new F-35 Lightning – Britain’s cutting-edge stealth fighter jet – which will fly at a public event for the first time.

Nine helicopters will lead the armada, while the Red Arrows will bring up the rear.

The aircraft will assemble in holding patterns off the coast of East Anglia before merging near Ipswich and flying down the A12 corridor to London.

Image copyright Crown Copyright
Image caption The RAF’s new F-35 stealth jet will fly over the capital

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Media captionWing Commander Paul Warnes describes it was like to fly in the Battle of Britain

The Queen, who did not attend Prince Louis’ christening on Monday, will be joined by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the morning service at Westminster Abbey.

She will present a new Queen’s Colour to the RAF in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace and make a brief speech before appearing on the balcony for the flypast.

Air-Vice Marshal Gerry Mayhew, the senior responsible officer for the flypast, said the day is the “centrepiece” of the events marking the RAF’s 100th year.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Historic aircraft will also be represented by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which is also based in Lincolnshire at RAF Coningsby

He said: “It is a great opportunity to look back and really celebrate our past, but to look forward is a really important thing for us as we look to the next 100 years.”

It was on April 1 1918 that the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service merged to create the RAF – the world’s first independent air force.


Prisoners to get phones in cells in bid to curb violence

A prisonImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption The government is announcing a £30m package to improve safety, security and decency in jails

Thousands of prisoners will be able to make calls from their cells, as part of government plans to reduce violence and crime in prisons in England and Wales.

The move is part of a £30m package of measures to be announced later today by Justice Secretary David Gauke.

The scheme, already in place at 20 prisons, is to be extended to a further 20 over the next two years.

Most prisoners currently queue for public phones which can be a trigger for violence, the government said.

It can also fuel the demand for illicit mobile phones, the Ministry of Justice added.

Mr Gauke will make a speech announcing government plans to invest £7m to install in-cell phones, which will be subject to strict security measures.

All calls, which will continue to be paid for by prisoners, will be recorded and they must be to phone numbers on an approved list.

The proposal is based on Lord Farmer’s report last year that found good family relationships are “indispensable” to the government’s prison reform plans.

Improving prisoners’ ability to maintain ties with relatives after they are jailed is seen as a key factor in reducing the reoffending rates.

HMP Altcourse in Liverpool, one of the prisons which already installs phones in cells, was praised earlier this year by the chief inspector of prisons for “bucking the trend” of rising violence.

The government announcement was welcomed by John McLaughlin, director of the privately-run Oakwood in Wolverhampton, which also permits calls from some of its cells.

He said: “Anything that enhances the contact between a prisoner and his family or loved ones is vital.

“I’ve worked in prisons where telephony is available on the landings, there’s a queuing system, people can’t get the contact with their loved ones at the appropriate time of day.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Justice Secretary David Gauke will announce the plans in a speech later

As part of the £30m package aimed at improving safety, security and decency in jails, ministers will also unveil a new intelligence system for assessing the risks posed by offenders behind bars.

Every prisoner will be given a “risk rating” according to their chances of taking part in violence, escapes, disturbances and gang activity.

The new digital tool – which compiles data from law enforcement databases and prison incident reports – is being extended across the prison service after a pilot in 16 jails.

It has already identified 12 prolific criminals for transfer to more secure prisons.

About 6,500 prisoners are estimated by authorities to have links to organised crime in England and Wales.

Mr Gauke’s announcement comes a day before the publication of the annual report by the chief inspector of prisons.


Immediate stop to NHS mesh operations

Vaginal mesh
Image caption The mesh implants are used to ease incontinence and to support organs

NHS England is putting an immediate curb on mesh operations after safety concerns.

It has accepted the advice of a new review looking at harm reported by women who received the treatment for stress urinary incontinence.

The review’s chair, Baroness Julia Cumberlege, said she was “appalled at the seriousness and scale of the tragic stories” that her team had heard.

Many women say the implants caused them agony by cutting into tissue.

Some say they have been left with life-changing injuries.

Claire Cooper, who had the implants, mistakenly had a hysterectomy after doctors were unable to diagnose what was causing her pain. She was left feeling suicidal and unable to have sex.

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Media captionClaire Cooper was left feeling suicidal

It is estimated that more than 100,000 UK women have had a mesh fitted. The net-like fabric can be attached into the wall of the vagina to act as a scaffold to support organs, such as the bladder, to keep them in the right place to help manage incontinence or another condition called prolapse.

Most patients suffer no ill effects, NHS England says.

Not a total ban

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said mesh would remain a treatment of last resort for some: “Carefully selected patients will continue to have access in discussion with their consultant.”

Baroness Cumberlege said the independent review found no evidence on the benefits for treating urinary incontinence that would outweigh “the severity of human suffering caused by mesh complications”.

“My team and I are in no doubt that this pause is necessary. We must stop exposing women to the risk of life-changing and life-threatening injuries. We must have measures in place to mitigate the risk, and those are sadly lacking at the moment.

“At this stage in our review we are not recommending a ban, but a halt to procedures.”

The pause can be lifted if certain checks and measures are met by March 2019, says the review team.

This includes keeping a register of every procedure and any complications.

To date, it’s still unclear how many women have been adversely affected by mesh. The government is carrying out an audit to try to find out.

The health watchdog NICE has already recommended that vaginal mesh operations for treating organ prolapse should largely be stopped in England.

The use of vaginal mesh to treat urinary incontinence was not mentioned in the draft NICE guidelines, however.

A number of Scottish health boards have already stopped using mesh implants altogether, and in Wales the procedures are seen as a ‘last resort’.

The safety review chaired by Baroness Cumberlege is also looking at concerns about a hormone pregnancy test called Primodos and an epilepsy drug called sodium valproate, which have both been linked to birth defects.

Mesh used for bowel patients (rectopexy) has not been included in the temporary suspension.


Brexit Secretary David Davis resigns

David DavisImage copyright Reuters
Image caption David Davis was appointed Brexit Secretary in 2016

Brexit Secretary David Davis, who has been leading UK negotiations to leave the EU, has resigned from government.

He told the BBC that he was no longer the best person to deliver the PM’s Brexit plan – agreed by the cabinet on Friday – as he did not “believe” in it.

He said the “career-ending” decision was a personal one but he felt the UK was “giving away too much and too easily” to the EU in the negotiations.

Mrs May said she did not agree but thanked him for his work.

The resignation is a blow to Mrs May as she seeks to win over Eurosceptic MPs to her proposed Brexit vision.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 after a referendum was held in 2016, but the two sides have yet to agree how trade will work between the UK and the EU afterwards.

There have been differences within the Conservative Party over how far the UK should prioritise the economy by compromising on issues such as leaving the remit of the European Court of Justice and ending free movement of people.

Mrs May’s Conservative Party only has a majority in Parliament with the support in key votes of the 10 MPs from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, so any split raises questions about whether her plan could survive a Commons vote – and has also led to renewed questions about whether she will face a challenge to her position.

Image copyright Crown Copyright
Image caption Mr Davis said he told the PM at Chequers that he was the “odd man out” in objecting to the plans

In his resignation letter, Mr Davis told Mrs May that “the current trend of policy and tactics” was making it “look less and less likely” that the UK would leave the customs union and single market.

He said he was “unpersuaded” that the government’s negotiating approach “will not just lead to further demands for concessions” from Brussels.

Mr Davis, who was appointed Brexit Secretary in 2016, said: “The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.”

In her reply, Mrs May said: “I do not agree with your characterisation of the policy we agreed at cabinet on Friday.”

She said she was “sorry” he was leaving but would “like to thank you warmly for everything you have done… to shape our departure from the EU”.

‘Odd man out’

Mr Davis told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he had objected to Theresa May’s plan at the Chequers meeting, telling cabinet colleagues at the outset that he was “the odd man out”.

He said it was “not tenable” for him to stay in post and try and persuade Tory MPs to back the policy when he did not think it was “workable”.

“The best person to do this is someone who really believes in it, not me.”

He said he feared the EU would seek to further water down the UK’s plans and his resignation would make it easier for the UK to resist attempts to extract further concessions.

But Mr Davis insisted he continued to back Theresa May, saying that if he “wanted to bring her down”, the time would have been after she failed to win last year’s general election outright.

A leadership contest now would be “the wrong thing to do”, adding: “I won’t throw my hat into the ring.”

Eurosceptic MP Steve Baker has also resigned. He played a leading role in the Brexit campaign in the run up to the 2016 referendum. He was promoted to the Department for Exiting the EU as a parliamentary under-secretary in June last year.

Conservative MP Peter Bone hailed Mr Davis’s resignation as a “principled and brave decision”, adding: “The PM’s proposals for a Brexit in name only are not acceptable.”

Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said: “This is absolute chaos and Theresa May has no authority left.”

‘No choice but resignation’

Image copyright Crown Copyright
Image caption Mr Davis said he told the PM at Chequers that he was the “odd man out” in objecting to the plans

By BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg

After many months of rumours that he would pull the plug, David Davis has actually quit as Brexit Secretary.

His unhappiness in government has been no secret for some time, but after the prime minister’s Chequers agreement with cabinet ministers to pursue closer ties with the EU than he desired, he found his position untenable.

After a visit to Downing Street on Sunday he concluded that he had no choice but to walk.

The move, while not completely surprising, throws doubt on to how secure the government’s Brexit strategy is.

Read Laura’s full blog here

Mrs May is due to address MPs on Monday afternoon and is expected to tell MPs that the strategy agreed by the cabinet at Chequers on Friday is the “right Brexit” for Britain.

Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said it would be “very difficult” for Mrs May’s plans to win the backing of MPs without Mr Davis.

He told BBC 5 Live: “These proposals will have to come to the House of Commons in legislation and the question is ‘will they command support from Conservative MPs?’

“And I think without David Davis there, without his imprimatur, it will be very difficult for them to get the support of Conservative MPs and therefore the prime minister would be well advised to reconsider them.”

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said she understands Mr Davis was “furious” after a meeting at No 10 earlier on Sunday and “concluded he could not stay in post”.

The resignation came as people awaited the verdicts of senior figures from the Brexit side of the 2016 referendum. There has yet been no on the record comment from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnon, while Environment Secretary Michael Gove told the BBC on Sunday he was urging Tory MPs to support Mrs May.

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Media caption‘Be generous or we’ll walk away’ – Gove’s warning to EU

One of the leading pro-Remain Conservative MPs Anna Soubry, did not refer directly to Mr Davis’s resignation, but tweeted it was “not the time for egos, grandstanding and blind ideology”.

The director-general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, said the resignation was “a blow”, adding that business had welcomed the agreement of ministers on Friday.

Meanwhile, some Remain-supporting politicians said the resignation was evidence of the need for a second referendum.

Lord Adonis, a prominent backer of a second vote, tweeted: “People’s Vote to put Brexit out of its misery a big step closer after DD’s resignation. Now the Brexiteers holding Mrs May hostage are falling out, there isn’t a majority for any withdrawal treaty in Parliament.”

The Liberal Democrats called on people to sign a petition for a vote on the proposed deal, adding: “The resignation of David Davis is yet more evidence of the chaos of this Tory Brexit. You deserve the final say”.

Nigel Farage congratulated Mr Davis for quitting and called for Mrs May to be replaced as prime minister, accusing her of being “duplicitous” and claiming her response “shows she is controlled by the civil service”.


Mothercare to close 60 outlets

Mothercare storeImage copyright PA

Struggling mother and baby products retailer Mothercare says it will shut 60 stores by June 2019, instead of the 50 previously earmarked for closure.

The extra closures mainly come from its Childrens World division, which will go into administration.

The closures will put 900 jobs at risk, up from the 800 previously stated.

Mothercare also confirmed that it would be raising another £32.5m from its existing shareholders by issuing new shares.

Although Childrens World is being wound up, 13 of its 22 stores, mainly in out-of-town locations, will transfer to other Mothercare group companies and stay open.

The company has not yet given details about which stores will stay open.

Mothercare’s chief executive, Mark Newton-Jones, told the BBC’s Today programme that its UK business had suffered from a lack of investment and “hadn’t had a lick of paint” in recent years.

However, its rescue plan would now allow it to modernise as a retailer.

He said: “We will really be able to speed up the transformation, and by God we need to speed up the transformation, because the retail landscape is pretty brutal at the moment.”

Mr Newton-Jones added that Mothercare had “grown prolifically” outside the UK, with two-thirds of the retailer’s turnover now coming from overseas.

The restructuring of Mothercare comes after creditors backed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which allows companies to shut loss-making shops and reduce rents.

However, the plans for Childrens World were not approved by the necessary 75% majority, prompting the decision to close the division down.

Mothercare said it would have 77 UK stores by June 2019 and 73 stores by the end of the 2021-22 financial year.

Retailers on UK High Streets have been hit by weak sales, online competition and rising costs, affecting 22,000 jobs this year.

High-profile failures include Maplin and Toys R Us, while other High Street chains announcing store closures include Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, Carphone Warehouse, New Look and Carpetright.


Carseview patients ‘pinned to the floor’ and ‘bullied’

Image caption Carseview Centre is already the focus of an independent inquiry

Patients at a mental health unit have told the BBC they were pinned to the floor in agony and bullied on wards where illegal drugs were rife.

Former patients at the Carseview Centre in Dundee claimed staff had used face-down restraint violently and repeatedly over the past five years.

They said the practice was used for prolonged periods and patients were also mocked and shouted at by staff.

NHS Tayside said it would investigate the claims in full and “will act”.

The allegations have led to calls for the unit to be closed down.

Systemic failures

Carseview is the biggest mental health unit in Tayside, with about 80 beds over five wards. Hundreds of patients a year are treated there.

The unit is already the subject of an independent inquiry into mental health services, after families of suicide victims campaigned for change.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry published last week into the death of Dale Thomson said there were “serious systemic failures in the care” he received at Carseview.

The latest allegations against Carseview centre feature in a BBC Scotland documentary, Breaking Point, which will be broadcast on Monday.

The BBC has spoken to 24 people who have been in the Carseview in the past five years.

Sixteen of them said they saw that illegal drugs were available at the unit.

Eleven patients said they had been unreasonably restrained face-down.

A further seven said they had seen this happening to other patients.

Guidelines say face-down restraint, which can restrict a patient’s breathing, should last no longer than 10 minutes and should only be used as an absolute last resort.

There have been calls for it to be banned because of the risk it can physically harm patients, as well as re-traumatise people who have been victims of violence and abuse.

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‘It was like he was taking his frustration out on me’

Adele Douglas
Image caption Adele said the way she was held down caused bruising and swelling to her knee

Former youth worker Adele Douglas, from Forfar, was admitted to Carseview last year, after experiencing depression and anorexia.

She was on 24-hour suicide watch, and, after a serious attempt to take her own life, staff pinned her to the ground.

Adele said she shouted about being in pain and one member of staff reacted badly.

She said: “At this point I was going absolutely mad, then he’d lifted his hand and slapped me really hard on my thigh.

“When he slapped me he said, ‘That’s enough of that’.

“The guy was really rough with me. It was like he was taking his frustration out on me.”

Adele, who is asthmatic, said she was struggling to breathe and that her knee was badly bruised by the way she was restrained.

She said a nurse later told her she had been held down for 45 minutes to an hour.

She said some of the staff were very professional but that she was pinned down in this way three times during her time in Carseview.

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Illegal drugs on the ward “all the time”

Marnie Stirling
Image caption Marnie Stirling said she saw patients selling drugs to other patients

Adele was one of the 16 patients who told the BBC that drugs were available inside the unit.

Marnie Stirling, who had two stays in Carseview, with anxiety and depression, also said she saw illegal drugs on the ward “all the time”.

“It was rife,” she said.

“Everyone was offered them. Cannabis was the easiest one to get.”

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‘The restraints felt like punishments’

Marks on David Fong's face
Image caption David Fong says this photo, taken in 2013, was a result of being restrained in Carseview

David Fong spent a month in the unit after experiencing psychosis in 2013.

He claimed staff used restraint violently and repeatedly during his time there.

David said: “The restraints in Carseview definitely did feel like punishments. I think it was also the nurses wanted to maintain their authority above the patients.”

“It does cause trauma,” he added. “Things you’ll never forget.”

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‘Not an acceptable approach’

Joy Duxbury
Image caption Joy Duxbury said restraint should be used as a last resort to prevent patients getting more agitated or violent

The programme showed the testimony gathered by the BBC to two independent experts.

These individuals have never worked at Carseview and are not witnesses to conditions there but they described the allegations made by the patients as abusive.

Joy Duxbury is an expert on how the rules on restraint should be carried out in practice in the wards.

She said patients should not end up with burn marks like David’s if restraint was carried out properly.

“Rubbing of a face in to a carpet is certainly not an acceptable approach and would never be taught as part of prevention and management of violence and aggression,” she said.

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‘Once you get a culture like that, it’s very difficult to move it’

Professor Peter Tyrer
Image caption Professor Peter Tyrer chaired the group which wrote the guidelines on how to handle mental health patients

Professor Peter Tyrer, who co-wrote the guidelines on how to handle mental health patients, said he was concerned the culture at Carseview had become so toxic it should be closed.

“I know that there are various changes going on there but I think once you get a culture like that which has been there for a long time, it’s very difficult to move it,” he said.

“What really concerns me is that if this unit persisted, it would represent a continuing scandal in mental health care.”

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‘We will listen and we will act’

NHS Tayside said it was very concerned by the nature of the allegations.

It did not respond to the call for Carseview to be closed down.

It said it could not discuss “individual cases due to patient confidentiality” and would not be interviewed.

The health board said it would like to include the allegations in an ongoing independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.

Chairman John Brown said: “We take any concerns raised with us very seriously and we want to be able to investigate people’s experiences in detail and take any appropriate action.

“That is why I would encourage patients to come forward and share their own stories with us. We will listen and we will act.”

Breaking Point will be broadcast on BBC One Scotland at 20:30 on Monday 9 July, and afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.


Novichok: Murder inquiry after Dawn Sturgess dies

Dawn Sturgess
Image caption Dawn Sturgess collapsed at a flat in Amesbury on 30 June

Police have launched a murder inquiry after a woman exposed to nerve agent Novichok in Wiltshire died.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died in hospital on Sunday evening after falling ill on 30 June.

Charlie Rowley, 45, who was also exposed to the nerve agent in Amesbury, remains critically ill in hospital.

Theresa May said she was “appalled and shocked” by the death, which comes after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

A post-mortem examination of Ms Sturgess, from Durrington, is due to take place and her family has been informed, police said.

The investigation is being led by detectives from the Counter-Terrorism Policing Network and about 100 detectives are working on the case alongside Wiltshire Police.

Officers are still trying to work out how Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley were exposed to the nerve agent although tests have confirmed they touched a contaminated item with their hands.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter-Terrorism policing, said: “This is shocking and tragic news. Dawn leaves behind her family, including three children, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time.

“The 45-year-old man who fell ill with Dawn remains critically ill in hospital and our thoughts are with him and his family as well.”

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The couple touched a contaminated item with their hands but police have not identified the source

Mr Basu said the death “has only served to strengthen our resolve to identify and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for what I can only describe as an outrageous, reckless and barbaric act”.

He said: “Detectives will continue with their painstaking and meticulous work to gather all the available evidence so that we can understand how two citizens came to be exposed with such a deadly substance that tragically cost Dawn her life.”

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Media captionFootage shows Ms Sturgess in Salisbury days before her collapse

Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital where Ms Sturgess died, said it was “desperately sad” and she expressed condolences to the 44-year-old’s family.

She said: “The staff here at Salisbury District Hospital worked tirelessly to save Dawn. Our staff are talented, dedicated and professional and I know today they will be hurting too.

“They did everything they could.”

Mr Rowley is also being treated at the hospital.

A police officer who was tested for Novichok poisoning was given the all clear.


Mrs May sent her “thoughts and condolences” and said officials are “working urgently to establish the facts”.

She said: “The government is committed to providing full support to the local community as it deals with this tragedy.”

British diplomat Julian King, the European Commissioner responsible for the EU’s security union, said: “Those behind this are murderers.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This desperately sad news only strengthens our resolve to find out exactly what has happened.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “shocked”, adding: “A full and thorough police investigation must now establish the facts, provide support to the local community and bring those responsible to justice.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The couple collapsed at a flat on Muggleton Road in Amesbury on 30 June

Public Health England said the risk to the general public “remains low”.

Professor Paul Cosford said: “As a precaution we still advise the public not to pick up any strange items such as needles, syringes or unusual containers.”

He also said people in five locations between 22:00 BST on 29 June and 18:30 on 30 June continue to follow advice, namely: “Wash your clothes in a washing machine and to keep your items double-bagged and securely fastened, if they are dry-clean only.”

Those locations are Muggleton Road, Boots pharmacy and the Baptist church in Amebsury, and John Baker House and Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury.

‘Unwilling victim’

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire police and crime commissioner, said he was “horrified and appalled”.

He said: “Ms Sturgess was an innocent member of the public who should have been able to go about her daily life without becoming an unwilling victim in such an unprecedented, international, incident.”


By BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner

The working hypothesis is that the pair became contaminated after touching a poison container left over from the March attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

The death of Dawn Sturgess, a British citizen on British soil, now changes the investigation to a murder inquiry, with all the diplomatic and security ramifications that carries.

Britain has been blaming Moscow for the original attack in March, saying there is no plausible alternative to the Kremlin having ordered the assassination attempt.

Russia has denied any involvement, suggesting instead this was the action of a weak British government looking to undermine the success of the current World Cup being hosted by Russia.

The next few days are likely to see further accusations and counter-accusations.

The poisoning of the Skripals, both of whom spent weeks in hospital before being discharged, was blamed by the UK government on Russia.

Russian authorities denied any involvement.

After the hospitalisation of Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley, Mr Javid accused the Russian state of using Britain as a “dumping ground for poison”.

The Russian Embassy hit back, accusing the government of trying to “muddy the waters” and “frighten its own citizens”.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yulia Skripal and her father Sergei were exposed to Novichok in Salisbury in March

In a statement, the Met Police said the possibility the poisoning of the Skripals and Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley are linked is a “clear line of inquiry”.

A spokesman said the investigators are “not in a position to say whether the nerve agent was from the same batch that the Skirpals were exposed to”.

He also said: “There is no evidence that (Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley) visited any of the sites that were decontaminated following the attempted murders of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March.”