How Robert Mueller spent the Friday after filing his report

After filing his most hotly anticipated Russia investigation report into the 2016 election Robert Mueller ended up taking the time to enjoy dinner with his wife at his favorite D.C. restaurant.

While the rest of the politicos in Washington were busy wondering what Mueller’s report contained and theorizing over possible outcomes as a result, the Special counsel was spotted at Salt & Pepper in the capital’s Palisades neighborhood. 

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began debating possible next steps once the content of Mueller’s report was known, the report’s author was tucking into some tasty $24 scallops with his wife as they sat in one of the restaurant’s booths.  

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was seen arriving at his office on Thursday just a day before he completed his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was seen arriving at his office on Thursday just a day before he completed his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was seen arriving at his office on Thursday just a day before he completed his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

Special counsel Robert Mueller handed over the highly anticipated final report on his Russia investigation Friday afternoon and was later seen dining out with his wife, Ann, by his side

Special counsel Robert Mueller handed over the highly anticipated final report on his Russia investigation Friday afternoon and was later seen dining out with his wife, Ann, by his side

Special counsel Robert Mueller handed over the highly anticipated final report on his Russia investigation Friday afternoon and was later seen dining out with his wife, Ann, by his side

Mueller seemed relaxed as he dined with his wife and ate scallops for dinner Friday night at the Salt & Pepper Restaurant in Washington, DC's Palisades neighborhood

Mueller seemed relaxed as he dined with his wife and ate scallops for dinner Friday night at the Salt & Pepper Restaurant in Washington, DC's Palisades neighborhood

Mueller seemed relaxed as he dined with his wife and ate scallops for dinner Friday night at the Salt & Pepper Restaurant in Washington, DC’s Palisades neighborhood

The scallops cost $24 and are served in a creamy risotto coupled with arugula and pesto

The scallops cost $24 and are served in a creamy risotto coupled with arugula and pesto

The scallops cost $24 and are served in a creamy risotto coupled with arugula and pesto

‘Over the course of the investigation, locals often spotted Mueller on weekends dining with his wife Ann and others at the American style restaurant,’ Politico reported. 

‘He likes the scallops. Ann typically orders the salmon on a Caesar salad, according to a source familiar with their visits.’

After he had left, an NBC News reporter got to sit down at his empty and excited tweeted about the experience. 

‘I swear I’m not making this up: Eating dinner at the table Robert Mueller just left, per waiter at a local spot he is known to frequent,’ Julia Ainsley tweeted.   

NBC reporter Julia Ainsley got particularly excited when she sat at the very table that Mueller had been dining. He did not leave any breadcrumbs...

NBC reporter Julia Ainsley got particularly excited when she sat at the very table that Mueller had been dining. He did not leave any breadcrumbs...

NBC reporter Julia Ainsley got particularly excited when she sat at the very table that Mueller had been dining. He did not leave any breadcrumbs… 

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, ended up heading back down to his Florida residence of Mar-a-Lago to host a Republican dinner party with top GOP figures such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina present.  

There have been calls for Mueller’s report to be released to Congress and made public. 

Attorney General William Barr may well release a summary of Mueller’s final report some time over the weekend.  

Mueller’s report has already brought charges against more than 30 individuals including several former members of Trump’s campaign or administration. 

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, ended up heading back down to his Florida residence of Mar-a-Lago to host a Republican dinner party with top GOP figures present

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, ended up heading back down to his Florida residence of Mar-a-Lago to host a Republican dinner party with top GOP figures present

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, ended up heading back down to his Florida residence of Mar-a-Lago to host a Republican dinner party with top GOP figures present

Cabinet coup to oust ‘haywire’ May as PM summons Brexiteer plotters to Chequers 

Boris Johnson and a host of hardline Brexiteers will hold crunch talks with Theresa May today as cabinet ministers orchestrate a coup to topple the beleaguered Prime Minister.

The former foreign secretary is set to join Jacob Rees-Mogg and ex-Ministers Dominic Raab, David Davis, Iain Duncan Smith and Damian Green at her Buckinghamshire retreat this afternoon.

They will confront the Prime Minister as rival groups of current ministers battle to replace her as Brexit collapses into bitter Tory infighting. 

As ministers complain that the Prime Minister’s judgement had reportedly gone ‘haywire’ in recent weeks her de-facto deputy David Lidington was named as a possible caretaker if she is forced out.

But Brexiteers who could not stomach the little-known Remainer being in charge at a crucial time for Brexit are plotting to get 2016 Leave mastermind and Environment Secretary Michael Gove installed instead.

Rumours have circulated for days that many MPs might support her Brexit deal if it is put to the vote a third time, were she to agree to step down.

Mr Lidington, a former Europe Minister, is reportedly backed by at least six ministers, said to include Remainers Philip Hammond, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke.

But he told reporters in his Aylesbury constituency today: ‘I don’t think that I’ve any wish to take over from the PM (who) I think is doing a fantastic job.

‘I tell you this: one thing that working closely with the Prime Minister does is cure you completely of any lingering shred of ambition to want to do that task.

‘I have absolute admiration for the way she is going about it.’

Alarmed Brexiteers are aligning behind Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a former leadership candidate and mastermind of the Leave campaign in 2016, as a caretaker leader

Alarmed Brexiteers are aligning behind Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a former leadership candidate and mastermind of the Leave campaign in 2016, as a caretaker leader

Alarmed Brexiteers are aligning behind Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a former leadership candidate and mastermind of the Leave campaign in 2016, as a caretaker leader

David Lidington, the Cabinet Office Minister and Mrs May's de-facto deputy, said today: 'I don't think that I've any wish to take over from the PM'

David Lidington, the Cabinet Office Minister and Mrs May's de-facto deputy, said today: 'I don't think that I've any wish to take over from the PM'

David Lidington, the Cabinet Office Minister and Mrs May’s de-facto deputy, said today: ‘I don’t think that I’ve any wish to take over from the PM’

But Chancellor Mr Hammond said today that those plotting to topple Mrs May were ‘self indulgent’.

Asked on Sky’s Ridge on Sunday if he was backing Mr Lidington, he said: ‘That is not the case at all. 

‘Changing the prime minister won’t help us. Changing the party in Government won’t help us.’ 

He refused to be drawn on whether his colleagues had approached him asking him to make an intervention.

However, he acknowledged that ‘people are very frustrated and people are desperate to find a way forward in the just over two weeks that we’ve got to resolved this issue’.

Last night Mrs May’s former policy adviser MP George Freeman said it was ‘all over for the PM’, tweeting: ‘She’s done her best. But across the country you can see the anger.

‘Everyone feels betrayed. Government’s gridlocked. Trust in democracy collapsing. This can’t go on. We need a new PM who can reach out (and) build some sort of coalition for a Plan B.’

Theresa May leaving church this morning. She is spending the weekend at Chequers planning her next move as her ministers also plot theirs - which includes replacing her

Theresa May leaving church this morning. She is spending the weekend at Chequers planning her next move as her ministers also plot theirs - which includes replacing her

Theresa May leaving church this morning. She is spending the weekend at Chequers planning her next move as her ministers also plot theirs – which includes replacing her

Mrs May is reeling from a torrid week in which her efforts to get a three-month Brexit delay weer dashed by the EU, which would only give her a shorter period in which to get a deal past MPs

Mrs May is reeling from a torrid week in which her efforts to get a three-month Brexit delay weer dashed by the EU, which would only give her a shorter period in which to get a deal past MPs

Mrs May is reeling from a torrid week in which her efforts to get a three-month Brexit delay weer dashed by the EU, which would only give her a shorter period in which to get a deal past MPs

Philip Hammond said today that those plotting to replace Mrs May were 'self indulgent' but admitted 'people are very frustrated and people are desperate to find a way forward'

Philip Hammond said today that those plotting to replace Mrs May were 'self indulgent' but admitted 'people are very frustrated and people are desperate to find a way forward'

Philip Hammond said today that those plotting to replace Mrs May were ‘self indulgent’ but admitted ‘people are very frustrated and people are desperate to find a way forward’

Former May advisor George Freeman went public on Sunday night to suggest it was time for her to go.

Former May advisor George Freeman went public on Sunday night to suggest it was time for her to go.

Former May advisor George Freeman went public on Sunday night to suggest it was time for her to go.

Mrs May is spending the weekend at her country retreat, Chequers, following her humiliation in Brussels on Thursday, where EU leaders refused to give her the Brexit delay she wanted.

The paper reported that officials concerned about the Prime Minister’s health have drawn up ‘protocols’ on what to do if she collapses at the Dispatch Box following a gruelling schedule in recent weeks and months. 

But while she regrouped in the Home Counties 11 Cabinet ministers said that they wanted her to go, with a plan to confront her when Cabinet meets week, according to the Sunday Times.  

Iain Duncan Smith arriving at Broadcsting House this morning ahead of the Andrew Marr Show

Iain Duncan Smith arriving at Broadcsting House this morning ahead of the Andrew Marr Show

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay this morning ahead of the Andrew Marr Show

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay this morning ahead of the Andrew Marr Show

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith attacked ‘a cabal that never wanted to leave the European Union, turning out to decide what should happen over our future’ as he appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show today, along with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay (right)

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith hit out at the Cabinet plotting, saying that a leadership change now would make the UK ‘a laughing stock in the world’.

He blasted Remainer minister for briefing newspapers while enjoying the privileges of government, telling the BBc’s Marr Show: ‘I think that’s appalling, I think they should be censured and some of them should be sacked.

‘And the idea of a cabal, a cabal that never wanted to leave the European Union, turning out to decide what should happen over our future would be unacceptable to my colleagues.’

Describing the last week as ‘as close to a national humiliation as I think I’ve seen’, he added: If the answer is a caretaker, whether it is David Lidington or anyone else… what the hell was the question?’

Pro-EU former education secretary Nicky Morgan – who has worked on Brexit compromise plans with hardline Brexiteers in recent weeks, told the Sunday Telegraph that Cabinet ministers should tell Mrs May ‘it’s time to go’.

She said: ‘Unfortunately, I think that what started off as qualities that people admired are the ones that now mean she’s not the flexible leader to find a way through this.

‘I understand that it is difficult to say to someone that it’s time to go. But there are enough people around the Cabinet table who can step up … and she’s got to listen.’

Other Tory backbenchers also lined up to call time on Mrs May’s leadership. 

Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, told the same paper that potential leadership contenders in the Government should make their move, saying: ‘If they will not act now, when are they ever going to be seen to step forward and how could they possibly persuade the country that they’re the great statesmen to take us forward?’

And Anne-Marie Trevelyan wrote in the same paper: ‘We now need a leader who believes in our country and wants to take her on the next stage of her journey.’

As many as one million people marched through London yesterday to demand a second Brexit referendum

As many as one million people marched through London yesterday to demand a second Brexit referendum

As many as one million people marched through London yesterday to demand a second Brexit referendum

Among those taking part in the march, which brought the political centre of the capital to a standstill, was actor Bill Nighy

Among those taking part in the march, which brought the political centre of the capital to a standstill, was actor Bill Nighy

Among those taking part in the march, which brought the political centre of the capital to a standstill, was actor Bill Nighy

Conservative peer Lord Gadhia, a former member of David Cameron’s inner circle, said the upcoming days in Parliament may be ‘very dramatic’ and could see the end of Mrs May’s time as premier.

It came as an estimated one million people joined a march on Parliament yesterday demanding a final say for the public over Brexit.

The Commons is expected to be given the third chance to vote on her Withdrawal Agreement this week after EU leaders gave her as little as three weeks to create order from the Brexit chaos.

But on Friday night Mrs May wrote to parliamentarians warning if there is insufficient support for her Withdrawal Agreement in the coming days that she could seek an extension to Britain’s EU membership beyond the European Parliament elections. 

At the EU Council in Brussels leaders offered to extend Article 50 until May 22 if MPs vote for a deal in Parliament next week.

But without a deal the Prime Minister she was given a fortnight ‘flextension’ to decide her next move.

MPs are expected to make moves to take control of Brexit this week, which could lead to a second referendum or a longer extension to Article 50 keeping us in the EU for as long as two years.

Cabinet coup: Theresa May is told she must go as ministers plot to install Michael Gove in No 10 to save Brexit 

Theresa May could be ousted from No 10 within days after her Cabinet plotted to replace her with Michael Gove as a caretaker Prime Minister. 

A senior Downing Street source told The Mail on Sunday last night that even Mrs May’s Chief Whip, Julian Smith, had advised her to set out her departure plans, with Environment Secretary Mr Gove emerging as the ‘consensus choice’ to succeed her. 

Mr Gove is being championed by Cabinet Brexiteers who are furious about what they see as an attempted ‘coup’ by Remain-backing David Lidington, Mrs May’s de facto deputy.

Last night Henry Newman, one of Michael Gove’s most loyal supporters and a former aide, said the Prime Minister’s ‘ill-judged’ speech blaming MPs for the Brexit crisis ‘united Labour and Tory critics against her’

Last night Henry Newman, one of Michael Gove’s most loyal supporters and a former aide, said the Prime Minister’s ‘ill-judged’ speech blaming MPs for the Brexit crisis ‘united Labour and Tory critics against her’

Last night Henry Newman, one of Michael Gove’s most loyal supporters and a former aide, said the Prime Minister’s ‘ill-judged’ speech blaming MPs for the Brexit crisis ‘united Labour and Tory critics against her’

 At least six ministers are supportive of installing Lidington, the de facto deputy prime minister, as a caretaker in No 10 to deliver Brexit and then make way for a full leadership contest in the autumn.

Lidington’s supporters include cabinet remainers Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, also believes Lidington should take over if May refuses this week to seek a new consensus deal on Brexit.

A senior Government source said yesterday that there was now ‘complete unanimity’ in the Cabinet that Mrs May should step down as soon as possible.

In a number of astonishing, fast-moving developments, coming just days before a series of historic Commons votes:

  • No 10 warned Tory rebels that, if they didn’t back Mrs May’s deal, the Commons could revoke Article 50, effectively cancelling Brexit;
  • Mrs May mounted a last-ditch effort to save the deal by pleading with Jacob Rees-Mogg to drop his opposition – as his European Research Group made plans to select their preferred leadership candidate;
  • A tearful Tory whip accused Mrs May of ‘betraying Brexit’ and ‘destroying our party’;
  • Boris Johnson demanded to the Prime Minister’s face that she rule out leading the party into an Election, while her aides wargamed what would happen if Mrs May went to the country if the Commons rejected her Brexit deal again;
  • No 10 scheduled the crunch votes for Wednesday and Thursday, with MPs voting on Mrs May’s deal and alternative options such as membership of a customs union;
  • Chancellor Philip Hammond refused demands by Cabinet colleagues to ‘wield the knife’ and tell the Prime Minister that she had to resign;
  • Tory MP Nigel Evans said that, if Mrs May agreed to resign, then the party’s Brexiteers would support her deal;
  • Central London was brought to a standstill as anti-Brexit protesters staged a major march calling for another EU referendum.

The Cabinet’s move against Mrs May comes after a disastrous week in which she blamed MPs for the delay to Brexit in a live televised address, which left Mr Smith incandescent with rage. She was then humiliated by EU leaders at a summit which agreed that, if her deal is defeated again, then Parliament will have just two more weeks to find an alternative, or risk a no-deal Brexit on April 12.

A senior Government source said yesterday that there was now ‘complete unanimity’ in the Cabinet that Prime Minister Theresa May should step down as soon as possible

A senior Government source said yesterday that there was now ‘complete unanimity’ in the Cabinet that Prime Minister Theresa May should step down as soon as possible

A senior Government source said yesterday that there was now ‘complete unanimity’ in the Cabinet that Prime Minister Theresa May should step down as soon as possible

A senior Government source said Mr Smith had ‘conveyed the message [that Mrs May’s Cabinet colleagues believe she should stand down] to the PM’.

A Downing Street spokesman said that they did not comment on private conversations.

The collapse in the Prime Minister’s authority has triggered rival Cabinet plots by Remainers and Brexiteers to seize power.

Pro-Remain Cabinet Ministers, led by Mr Hammond and Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, have been backing Cabinet Office Minister Mr Lidington to take over as temporary Prime Minister.

But when pro-Brexit Cabinet Ministers, led by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss, found out that Mr Lidington was holding talks with Labour MPs about votes on ‘soft’ Brexit measures they moved quickly to stifle the plot by backing Mr Gove instead.

Under the plan, Mr Gove would see through Brexit as PM, before a full leadership contest in the summer.

One senior Cabinet Minister told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The public will never forgive us if in a time of historical crisis our answer is David Lidington. This is where it is going to get very scary, whatever you think about it’.

Last night Henry Newman, one of Michael Gove’s most loyal supporters and a former aide, said the Prime Minister’s ‘ill-judged’ speech blaming MPs for the Brexit crisis ‘united Labour and Tory critics against her’. He added: ‘ I think she will have to offer to step down to get her deal through.’

A series of so-called ‘indicative votes’ will be held next week to test which alternatives to Mrs May’s deal are likely to pass the Commons, including a Norway-style customs union or even cancelling Brexit.

One senior Minister warned rebel Tory MPs that, if they continued to vote down Mrs May’s deal, then they would be on ‘a conveyor belt to Norway – possibly with Jeremy Corbyn leading the way’.

The Minister added: ‘If we do not deliver Brexit we are so unbelievably f****d, not just as a party or a Government, but in a national way. Now is the time to be bold, a customs union is a cop-out – it’s the easiest solution for Parliament but the worst solution for the country.

‘It has to be Mrs May’s deal, or no deal. We cannot be allowed to drift into the worst position, but that is what David Lidington is manoeuvring us to – and there is no upside to it’.

Another Minister said that it was ‘a matter of arithmetic’ that Mrs May should set out her departure date: ‘Just look at the numbers of people saying they would back the deal if she sets out a timetable for her departure and add them up. Say no more.’

A series of senior Conservative figures warned Mrs May last week that she has lost the confidence of her party.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservatives’ 1922 Committee, visited the Prime Minister on Monday, where he told her that the number of colleagues calling for her to go was growing.

Mr Johnson also repeatedly challenged Mrs May to rule out leading the party into a General Election this year – which she has refused to do.

It is understood that all but one member of the Tory whips office think that her ‘time is up’. One, Paul Maynard, was in tears recently when he told the Prime Minister: ‘I’ve heard enough. When I was told that we would have to come over and talk to you I began to cry. I said I don’t want to go over and talk to that woman any more. She’s betrayed Brexit, destroying our party. I want her gone.’

Mrs May replied: ‘I’m sorry you feel that way.’

Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi warned yesterday of a ‘political meltdown’ if Mrs May’s deal is rejected again. 

‘It’s a f****** coup’: Cabinet war over plot to replace Theresa May with her No 2 leaves Michael Gove favourite to be caretaker Prime Minister

By Glen Owen and Harry Cole for The Mail on Sunday 

After a torturous 14 hours at the EU Council, the Prime Minister returned to the British residency in Brussels in the early hours of Friday morning and demanded a large whisky.

But back in Westminster, her closest Cabinet colleagues were preparing to hand Theresa May a revolver to go with it.

Senior Cabinet Ministers and allies are privately urging Mrs May to set a departure date to help get her beleaguered Brexit deal over the line as ‘a matter of arithmetic’.

On Friday evening, David Lidington, the pro-EU Cabinet Office boss and de facto deputy PM, was said to be in the ‘advanced stages’ of a plot to force Mrs May (pictured) from office

On Friday evening, David Lidington, the pro-EU Cabinet Office boss and de facto deputy PM, was said to be in the ‘advanced stages’ of a plot to force Mrs May (pictured) from office

Michael Gove (pictured) has emerged as a ‘consensus’ candidate who could bring the crucial backing of both Remainers and Brexiteers, and act as a caretaker Prime Minister should a plot to force Mrs May from office go ahead

Michael Gove (pictured) has emerged as a ‘consensus’ candidate who could bring the crucial backing of both Remainers and Brexiteers, and act as a caretaker Prime Minister should a plot to force Mrs May from office go ahead

On Friday evening, David Lidington, the pro-EU Cabinet Office boss and de facto deputy PM, was said to be in the ‘advanced stages’ of a plot to force Mrs May (pictured) from office

Cabinet sources have told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Lidington was initially ‘reluctant’ to step into the role of ‘caretaker’ but was told it would be a ‘four-month job' with a strict mandate

Cabinet sources have told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Lidington was initially ‘reluctant’ to step into the role of ‘caretaker’ but was told it would be a ‘four-month job' with a strict mandate

Cabinet sources have told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Lidington was initially ‘reluctant’ to step into the role of ‘caretaker’ but was told it would be a ‘four-month job’ with a strict mandate 

But others have simply decided her time is up and have spent the last three days plotting how to oust her.

A senior Downing Street source told this newspaper: ‘Discussions about the Prime Minister’s future are ongoing.’

On Friday evening, David Lidington, the pro-EU Cabinet Office boss and de facto deputy PM, was said to be in the ‘advanced stages’ of a plot to force Mrs May from office and herald a long Brexit extension as an interim leader who could build a cross-party Brexit deal.

But as news of the plan leaked, it sparked a furious Cabinet backlash that saw Michael Gove emerge as a ‘consensus’ candidate who could bring the crucial backing of both Remainers and Brexiteers.

Cabinet sources have told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Lidington was initially ‘reluctant’ to step into the role of ‘caretaker’ but was told it would be a ‘four-month job with a three-pronged mandate: to negotiate a long extension, to oversee testing of what Parliament wants and to ensure a fair Tory leadership contest.’

A source said: ‘David is 60. It would be his last job in politics and what a way to go out. The key players are on board. It’s just a matter of when.’

The Mail on Sunday has learnt that Cabinet big beasts including Amber Rudd and Jeremy Hunt have urged Mr Lidington to ‘knock on the door and call time’ on Mrs May’s premiership.

The Mail on Sunday has learnt that Cabinet big beasts including Amber Rudd (pictured) and Jeremy Hunt have urged Mr Lidington to ‘knock on the door and call time’ on Mrs May’s premiership

The Mail on Sunday has learnt that Cabinet big beasts including Amber Rudd (pictured) and Jeremy Hunt have urged Mr Lidington to ‘knock on the door and call time’ on Mrs May’s premiership

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs arrives in Downing Street for the weekly Cabinet meeting last week

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs arrives in Downing Street for the weekly Cabinet meeting last week

The Mail on Sunday has learnt that Cabinet big beasts including Amber Rudd (pictured) and Jeremy Hunt have urged Mr Lidington to ‘knock on the door and call time’ on Mrs May’s premiership

In the febrile atmosphere in Westminster, there were even claims Michael Gove had initially supported Mr Lidington acting as caretaker, with one source claiming the plot was ‘far less factional than Brexit lines’.

However, as word of Mr Lidington’s manoeuvrings ripped through Westminster on Friday evening, Brexiteer Ministers were quick to brand the Cabinet politicking a ‘Remainer coup’, with former Vote Leave boss Mr Gove touted by Ministers and MPs for the job instead.

One senior Cabinet Minister told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The British public will never forgive us if, in a time of historical crisis, our answer is David Lidington.

‘This is where it is going to get very scary, whatever you think about it.

‘If we do not deliver Brexit, we are so unbelievably f*****, not just as a party or a government, but in a national way. Now is the time to be bold. A customs union is a cop out – it’s the easiest solution for Parliament but the worst solution for the country.

‘It has to be her deal, or no deal. We cannot be allowed to drift into the worst position and that is what David Lidington is manoeuvring us to – there is no upside to it.’

And another Cabinet Minister branded the plot ‘a f****** coup.’

…And if he gets into No 10, will old foe Boris ever get him out?  

Bookies last night slashed Michael Gove’s odds of being the next Prime Minister.

The Environment Secretary is now 5/1 joint favourite with his rival Boris Johnson to take the Tory crown.

Should Mr Gove secure the keys to No 10, it would be a remarkable turnaround after he stabbed Mr Johnson in the back during in the 2016 Tory leadership battle, when he withdrew his support for his fellow Brexit campaigner at the last minute so he could stand himself.

Bitter rivals: Michael Gove and Boris Johnson pull pints of beer at the Old Chapel pub in Darwen in Lancashire, as part of the Vote Leave EU referendum campaign

Bitter rivals: Michael Gove and Boris Johnson pull pints of beer at the Old Chapel pub in Darwen in Lancashire, as part of the Vote Leave EU referendum campaign

Bitter rivals: Michael Gove and Boris Johnson pull pints of beer at the Old Chapel pub in Darwen in Lancashire, as part of the Vote Leave EU referendum campaign

Having initially been sacked by the victorious Theresa May, Mr Gove was subsequently brought back into the Cabinet fold and has spent the last year being studiously loyal to the Prime Minister in public, as he sought to repair his reputation among the Tory grassroots. Although Mr Gove was touted as a ‘consensus caretaker’ last night, Mr Johnson will be wary of letting his nemesis become Tory leader without a fight.

Last night, a Ladbrokes spokesman said: ‘Money for Michael Gove in the past few days has left the firm with no choice but to cut his odds of becoming the next PM. Mr Gove continues to attract punters’ cash.’

 

Outside of the Cabinet, one Minister furiously rejected Mr Lidington stepping in, saying: ‘You might as well put the permanent secretaries in charge.’

They added: ‘This is a pipe dream for the bland brigade, who must be deluded if they think replacing uncertainty with more uncertainty is going to fix anything.’

The backlash also broke on to the airwaves and social media, as Tory MPs began openly discussing Mrs May standing down.

After it emerged Mr Lidington had discussed soft-Brexit plans with Labour MPs, Tory Brexiteer Michael Fabricant compared his pro-EU stance to that of Britain’s appeasing of Hitler in the 1930s.

The outspoken backbencher hit out: ‘With the PM acting like Chamberlain, we now have David Lidington freelancing and acting like Lord Halifax hoping to come to an accommodation with Labour. Enough is enough!’ Asked if the PM would still be in post by next month, fellow Tory Marcus Fysh told BBC2’s Newsnight: ‘I don’t know.’

‘We are starting to get to the stage where it really would have been good to have better negotiations going on,’ he added. And fellow Leaver James Duddridge, tweeted ‘#Resign’.

Tory peer Lord Gadhia said: ‘She may not survive to the end of the week.’ He added: ‘It is quite possible that she herself may decide ‘actually, look, I am an obstacle to a resolution of this process’. So we may have a very dramatic week.’

Leadership speculation is gripping all corners of the parliamentary Conservative party, with other Ministers privately accepting that a General Election under a new leader would be needed to achieve a fresh mandate from the public ahead of Round Two of EU negotiations over a trade deal.

And Brexiteer hardliners in the European Research Group are determined not to repeat their disastrous implosion during the 2016 leadership battle which allowed Mrs May, who had campaigned to Remain, to come through the divided Brexiteers.

Senior MPs in the ERG plan to hold their own leadership contest to unite around one candidate. They point out a Brexiteer only needs to come second, with 105 MPs behind them, to proceed to the final round – a vote of the overwhelmingly Eurosceptic party membership.

Last night a source close to Mr Lidington said the claims from his Cabinet colleagues were ‘nonsense’, adding: ‘David has not discussed anything of the sort. His focus is on getting the PM’s deal agreed’.

Eight people arrested after a man ‘in his 30s’ is stabbed to death in Wells

Eight people have been arrested after a man was stabbed to death during a ‘disturbance’ on a leafy suburban street, police have said.

Avon and Somerset Police have launched a murder investigation following the death of the man, aged in his 30s.

The force received a report of a disturbance at a property on Merlin Drive in Wells, Somerset, involving a number of people at 4.25pm on Saturday.

Avon and Somerset Police received a report of a disturbance at a property on Merlin Drive in Wells, Somerset, (pictured today) involving a number of people at 4.25pm on Saturday

Avon and Somerset Police received a report of a disturbance at a property on Merlin Drive in Wells, Somerset, (pictured today) involving a number of people at 4.25pm on Saturday

Avon and Somerset Police received a report of a disturbance at a property on Merlin Drive in Wells, Somerset, (pictured today) involving a number of people at 4.25pm on Saturday

Officers attended the scene and found two men with knife wounds on nearby Wookey Hole Road.

One of the men died of his injuries at the scene and his next of kin have been informed.

The injuries sustained by the other man, also in his 30s, are not life threatening or life changing but he remains in hospital for medical treatment.

A force spokesman said: ‘Armed officers were deployed to the scene and assisted their patrol colleagues with carrying out a number of arrests.

‘The police helicopter was also used in the operation.

‘In total, six men and two women, all from the Somerset area, were detained in connection with the incident and currently remain in police custody.’

A post-mortem examination of the man who died and formal identification will be arranged ‘in due course’, he said.

Specially trained officers will be providing support to the man’s family.

Officers attended the scene and found two men with knife wounds on nearby Wookey Hole Road. One of the men died of his injuries . The scene is pictured today

Officers attended the scene and found two men with knife wounds on nearby Wookey Hole Road. One of the men died of his injuries . The scene is pictured today

Officers attended the scene and found two men with knife wounds on nearby Wookey Hole Road. One of the men died of his injuries . The scene is pictured today 

Detective Inspector Alistair Hammett, senior investigating officer, said a full investigation was being carried out into the ‘very tragic incident’.

‘I appreciate this incident will shock local residents and we are increasing patrols in the area to provide reassurance,’ he said.

‘At this stage, we believe this to be an isolated incident involving people known to each other.

‘A large cordon is in place around the Merlin Drive area and there will be a continuing police presence at the scene for some time while we carry out our enquiries.’ 

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 101 giving the log 760 of March 25, or anonymously through Crimestoppers.

‘The whole boat was swaying’: British passengers tell of horror on board luxury cruise ship

Nine hundred passengers and crew remain trapped on board a stricken cruise liner which is limping towards shore today amid ongoing fears it may run aground.

As the rescue operation off the Norwegian coast gets into its second day, as many as 200 UK citizens may be among the 436 passengers still stuck on the Viking Sky, along with 458 crew, after the ship lost power yesterday lunchtime in huge swells.

Falling ceiling tiles hit passengers on the head as the struggling cruise ship rolled almost 45 degrees onto its side, tipping to send tables and chairs skimming across the decks.

Since receiving the mayday call coastguard helicopters have rescued 479 of the mainly elderly passengers already, winching them aboard aircraft one-by-one with five helicopters working in rotation carrying 15 passengers per sortie. The evacuation has now ended.

Twenty people have already been taken to hospital, three with serious injuries, and a 90-year-old man and his 70-year-old spouse were severely injured, according to Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

One frightening video shows water coursing through living quarters, after a door burst open when the ship was hit by a powerful wave, but the vessel is not believed to be sinking or taking on water.

Roof panels are seen falling and striking passengers heads in the video from on board the ship

Roof panels are seen falling and striking passengers heads in the video from on board the ship

Roof panels are seen falling and striking passengers heads in the video from on board the ship

A picture from inside the listing cruise ship shows it tipping over to one side

A picture from inside the listing cruise ship shows it tipping over to one side

A picture from inside the listing cruise ship shows it tipping over to one side

The huge cruise liner rolled dramatically as its engines spluttered in 30ft waves off the coast

The huge cruise liner rolled dramatically as its engines spluttered in 30ft waves off the coast

The huge cruise liner rolled dramatically as its engines spluttered in 30ft waves off the coast

This morning a spokeswoman for Viking Sky said: ‘All passengers were moved to muster stations, which are designated safe places on the vessel. They were kept warm and comfortable during this period of time.’

The Viking Sky, initially carrying 900 passengers including 200 Brits, plus its 458-strong crew, was taking holidaymakers on a 12-day luxury cruise along the Norwegian coast.

The crew sent a distress signal at 2pm local time on Saturday, as the ship developed engine trouble in bad weather, finding itself in rough seas in the Hustadvika area on the western coast of Norway facing waves of six to eight meters (19-26 feet). 

After a decision to evacuate, five coast guard helicopter crews worked tirelessly yesterday, winching people one at a time from the deck of the stricken vessel and flying them fifteen at a time back to the shore.

Police in Moere og Romsdal said the ship’s crew had managed to anchor in Hustadvika Bay, amid fears the vessel would run aground.

This morning, with three of its four engines working once again, the vessel is heading slowly towards the city of Molde, on Norway’s west coast, at around seven knots. It is not known exactly how many passengers remain on board.

Some 230 people were registered at a reception centre after being airlifted off the vessel, with 16 taken to hospital, three with series injuries, Norwegian authorities said early this morning.

Water coursed through living waters after a door on deck burst open frighteningly

Water coursed through living waters after a door on deck burst open frighteningly

Water coursed through living waters after a door on deck burst open frighteningly

Passengers waiting to be evacuated from the Viking Sky wearing red life jackets

Passengers waiting to be evacuated from the Viking Sky wearing red life jackets

Passengers waiting to be evacuated from the Viking Sky wearing red life jackets

The ship battled heavy winds and high waves in Hustadvika, an area of the Norwegian coastline known to be dangerous

The ship battled heavy winds and high waves in Hustadvika, an area of the Norwegian coastline known to be dangerous

The ship battled heavy winds and high waves in Hustadvika, an area of the Norwegian coastline known to be dangerous

The cruise ship Viking Sky pictured here drifting towards land having sent out a mayday

The cruise ship Viking Sky pictured here drifting towards land having sent out a mayday

The cruise ship Viking Sky pictured here drifting towards land having sent out a mayday

The Hagland Captain experienced trouble with its engine after trying to help rescue passengers from the Viking Sky, and is now drifting towards the shore

The Hagland Captain experienced trouble with its engine after trying to help rescue passengers from the Viking Sky, and is now drifting towards the shore

The Hagland Captain experienced trouble with its engine after trying to help rescue passengers from the Viking Sky, and is now drifting towards the shore

As of Sunday morning three of the Viking Sky ship’s four engines were working and tug boats were trying to pull the ship to shore, a spokesman for the Joint Rescue Centre for Southern Norway told CNN.

Rescuers are still evacuating passengers and crew, but there is no latest official estimate for how many passengers remain on the ship, nor how long it will take to evacuate those who still there.

Helicopters airlifted passengers and crew members one by one Saturday, and the process could continue through Sunday. 

By Saturday night, about 115 passengers had been rescued and at least eight people had minor injuries, said spokeswoman Borghild Eldoen of Joint Rescue Centre for Southern Norway.

By Sunday morning those numbers had swelled to 230 people registered at a reception centre after being airlifted off the vessel, and 16 hospitalised.

Derek and Esther Browne, from Hampshire, said the ‘whole boat was swaying, it was very rough’ before they were airlifted to safety.

Mr Browne told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Stephen Nolan: ‘We had a few people on stretchers, several with cuts, two with broken limbs, but fortunately we were alright. We were airlifted onto the helicopter which was quite a frightening experience.’

He added: ‘I’d never been in a helicopter before, there were a lot of high winds, hovering overhead and the winchman came down and we were then collected up and so I shut my eyes as we arrived into the helicopter and there were 15 of us for about a 20-minute ride.’

A smashed door pictured on the Viking Sky by a Twitter user, as helicopters arrive to help evacuate passengers

A smashed door pictured on the Viking Sky by a Twitter user, as helicopters arrive to help evacuate passengers

A smashed door pictured on the Viking Sky by a Twitter user, as helicopters arrive to help evacuate passengers

Footage on social media from the ship’s front deck shows passengers trying to steady themselves in chairs as furniture swings across the deck space and ceiling panels fall from above.

Some are seen to strike passengers heads in the footage posted on Twitter.

Five helicopters were sent to rescue passengers from the ship, winching them out one-by-one before flying them to the mainland.

One woman messaged a family member to say she had been stretchered off the boat after injuring her knee.

The passenger said: ‘A wave smashed a door open right behind us and we were submerged under water.

‘We thought that was it and my knee has been damaged.’ 

Holidaymakers on board the Viking Sky wear bright orange life jackets as they wait to be evacuated from the ship

Holidaymakers on board the Viking Sky wear bright orange life jackets as they wait to be evacuated from the ship

Holidaymakers on board the Viking Sky wear bright orange life jackets as they wait to be evacuated from the ship

Passengers pictured in the ship waiting to be evacuated to the coastline

Passengers pictured in the ship waiting to be evacuated to the coastline

Passengers pictured in the ship waiting to be evacuated to the coastline

 

 

 

Viking Sky’s evacuation has been a slow and dangerous process, as passengers needed to be hoisted one-by-one from the cruise ship to the five available helicopters, it has been reported.

‘I was afraid. I’ve never experienced anything so scary,’ Janet Jacob, among the first group of passengers evacuated to the nearby town of Molde, told NRK.

She said her helicopter ride to safety came amid strong winds ‘like a tornado,’ prompting her to pray ‘for the safety of all aboard’.

American passenger John Curry told NRK that he was having lunch as the cruise ship started to shake. 

‘It was just chaos. The helicopter ride from the ship to shore I would rather not think about. It wasn’t nice,’ Curry told the broadcaster. 

A spokesman for Viking Cruises, which owns the ship, said yesterday the evacuation was still ongoing.

‘Viking has dispatched an operational task force, including the company’s owner, to Molde.

‘We are working closely with the relevant authorities and all operational procedures were followed in line with international regulations.’

They also said a small number of non-life threatening injuries had been reported.

Once back on the mainland, guests are being moved to a sports hall before they are sent to hotels.

Once back on the mainland passengers are taken to a sports hall before they are sent to nearby hotels. Viking has said it will pay for their flights home

Once back on the mainland passengers are taken to a sports hall before they are sent to nearby hotels. Viking has said it will pay for their flights home

Once back on the mainland passengers are taken to a sports hall before they are sent to nearby hotels. Viking has said it will pay for their flights home

Rescued passengers from the Viking Sky flown into Hustadvika, Norway, by a helicopter

Rescued passengers from the Viking Sky flown into Hustadvika, Norway, by a helicopter

Rescued passengers from the Viking Sky flown into Hustadvika, Norway, by a helicopter

After the rescue the passengers were aided by a Norwegian rescue team

After the rescue the passengers were aided by a Norwegian rescue team

After the rescue the passengers were aided by a Norwegian rescue team

The Hagland Captain, a tow boat attempting to help with the rescue, also suffered engine problems and two of five helicopters at the Viking Sky were briefly diverted to rescue its nine crew members.

The evacuation continued through the night and into Sunday.  

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: ‘We are in touch with Norwegian authorities and stand ready to help any British people who require our assistance’.

The ship left from the western Norwegian city of Bergen on March 14, and was due to arrive in Tilbury, Essex, on Tuesday.

The Hagland Captain, ship which sailed to rescue the Viking Sky, has suffered a failed engine and now also needs to be rescued, it has been reported

The Hagland Captain, ship which sailed to rescue the Viking Sky, has suffered a failed engine and now also needs to be rescued, it has been reported

The Hagland Captain, ship which sailed to rescue the Viking Sky, has suffered a failed engine and now also needs to be rescued, it has been reported

Passengers were hoisted up from Viking Sky one by one from the deck of the vessel and airlifted to a village near Molde

Passengers were hoisted up from Viking Sky one by one from the deck of the vessel and airlifted to a village near Molde

Passengers were hoisted up from Viking Sky one by one from the deck of the vessel and airlifted to a village near Molde

Rough seas forced two rescue ships to turn back yesterday as even tugboats are not sure they will be able to reach the stricken cruise liner. 

The stretch of water, named Hustadvika, is known as one of the most dangerous sections of the Norwegian coast with many shipwrecks in the region. 

The ship, built in 2017, belongs to Viking Ocean Cruises founded by Norwegian billionaire Torstein Hagen. 

According to the company website, its passenger capacity is 930.

Several boats and four helicopters took part in the rescue and facilities to receive passengers have been set up on land.

But only 10 to 15 people can be taken per flight on emergency helicopters sent to airlift passengers to safety.  

In an update yesterday a spokeswoman for the Norwegian coastguard said: ‘The majority of passengers are British of American. So far we have evacuated 115 people, and there are 900 passengers so it will take a while. The ship is steady and in one place.’ 

Wind was blowing at a speed of 38 knots when the large cruise liner started to run into trouble

Wind was blowing at a speed of 38 knots when the large cruise liner started to run into trouble

Wind was blowing at a speed of 38 knots when the large cruise liner started to run into trouble

The ship sailed into the worst possible area of a 'bomb cyclone' with hurricane force winds

The ship sailed into the worst possible area of a 'bomb cyclone' with hurricane force winds

The ship sailed into the worst possible area of a ‘bomb cyclone’ with hurricane force winds

Wind was blowing at a speed of 38 knots, police told Norwegian newspaper VG.

All search and rescue teams in the region are mobilising, including 60 volunteers from the Norwegian Red Cross, a spokesman said.

Viking’s operational headquarters, located in Basel, Switzerland, did not respond when contacted by telephone.

Philip Hammond says a second referendum should be among Brexit ‘propositions’ considered by MPs

Philip Hammond has said a second EU referendum is a ‘perfectly coherent proposition’ as he urged MPs to decide on a ‘compromise’ Brexit deal if they cannot back Theresa May.

The Chancellor said that ‘one way or another’ Parliament would this week be able to show what it wanted from Brexit, rather than constantly showing what it does not want.

Mr Hammond told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday that Mrs May’s Brexit deal – already defeated twice by MPs – was his ‘preferred way forward’ but admitted: ‘I’m realistic that we may not be able to get a majority’.

‘One way or another Parliament is going to have the opportunity this week to decide what it is in favour of, and I hope that it will take that opportunity – if it can’t get behind the Prime Minister’s deal – to say clearly and unambiguously what it can get behind,’ he added.

But he warned that any alternative deal must be ‘a variant that is deliverable, not some unicorn’.

Philip Hammond said Mrs May's Brexit deal was his 'preferred way forward' but admitted: 'I'm realistic that we may not be able to get a majority'

Philip Hammond said Mrs May's Brexit deal was his 'preferred way forward' but admitted: 'I'm realistic that we may not be able to get a majority'

Philip Hammond said Mrs May’s Brexit deal was his ‘preferred way forward’ but admitted: ‘I’m realistic that we may not be able to get a majority’

Theresa May leaving church today. She is spending the weekend at Chequers working out her next move as ministers plot her downfall

The Chancellor said Parliament would be given the chance to hold indicative votes on alternatives to Mrs May’s Brexit deal this week. 

Tomorrow Parliament debates an amendable Government motion on the Brexit deal, which gives MPs a chance to put their favoured outcomes to a vote. 

And the day after an estimated one million people marched through London demanding a second referendum, Mr Hammond added: ‘I’m not sure that there’s a majority in Parliament for a second referendum but it’s a perfectly coherent proposition.

‘Many people will be strongly opposed to it, but it’s a coherent proposition and it deserves to be considered along with the other proposals.’

Mr Hammond also hit out at suggestions he was backing Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington as a caretaker Prime Minister to replace Mrs May.

‘Changing Prime Minister wouldn’t help us, changing the party in Government wouldn’t help us,’ he told Sky.

Mr Hammond denied helping a campaign to replace Mrs May (pictured above today with husband Philip), saying: 'Changing Prime Minister wouldn't help us, changing the party in Government wouldn't help us'

Mr Hammond denied helping a campaign to replace Mrs May (pictured above today with husband Philip), saying: 'Changing Prime Minister wouldn't help us, changing the party in Government wouldn't help us'

Mr Hammond denied helping a campaign to replace Mrs May (pictured above today with husband Philip), saying: ‘Changing Prime Minister wouldn’t help us, changing the party in Government wouldn’t help us’

‘We’ve got to address the question of what type of Brexit is acceptable to Parliament, what type of way forward Parliament can agree on so that we can avoid what would be an economic catastrophe of a no-deal exit and also what would be a very big challenge to confidence in our political system if we didn’t exit at all.’ 

Former Tory leader and ex-Work and Pensions Secretary urged fellow Brexiteers to keep their options open on whether to support the Prime Minister’s deal if it comes back to the Commons this week.

He said: ‘I’m going to keep, and I recommend my colleagues do, keep their options open on this because we don’t know what’s happening this week, we’ve no idea what the alternatives are and whether people vote for this or not depends hugely on whether we are able to leave with no-deal or not or whether there is a change to this.’

He attacked MPs including former Cabinet colleague Oliver Letwin, who is behind a cross-party attempt to find out what Mps will back through a series of votes, criticising ‘this idea that Parliament … full of people that sometimes couldn’t even run a whelk stall, can actually run the government for 15 minutes or a day or something like that.’ 

Former Tory leader and ex-Work and Pensions Secretary said he was ‘keeping his options open’ about how me might vote next week, saying efforts by MPs to take control of the Government must be defeated

Former Tory leader and ex-Work and Pensions Secretary said he was ‘keeping his options open’ about how me might vote next week, saying efforts by MPs to take control of the Government must be defeated

Former Tory leader and ex-Work and Pensions Secretary said he was ‘keeping his options open’ about how me might vote next week, saying efforts by MPs to take control of the Government must be defeated

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay warned that the risk of a general election would increase if MPs took control of parliamentary proceedings

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay warned that the risk of a general election would increase if MPs took control of parliamentary proceedings

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay warned that the risk of a general election would increase if MPs took control of parliamentary proceedings

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has warned that the risk of a general election would increase if MPs took control of parliamentary proceedings and brought about a ‘constitutional collision’.

He told the Marr Show: ‘If an amendment goes through where Parliament takes control of the order paper then that leaves open the door to Parliament then legislating to take no-deal off the table.

‘And that is something that Brexiteers like me would see as a massive risk to Brexit because if Brexiteers and Parliament votes against the deal and also votes to take no-deal off the table then the only option is to then have European parliamentary elections.’

Mr Barclay said if the Commons takes control of the order paper and votes for a different outcome, it would ‘potentially collide with fundamental commitments the Government has given in their manifesto’, though he said the vote itself would ‘not be binding’.

Explaining the scenario, he said: ‘What Parliament has done is vote for a number of contradictory things so we would need to untangle that but ultimately, at its logical conclusion, the risk of a general election increases because you potentially have a situation where Parliament is instructing the executive to do something that is counter to what it was elected to do.’

 

 

Hilary Benn, the Labour chairman of the Brexit committee and a supporter o a second referendum, told Ridge: ‘Whoever is the leader of the Conservative Party, if Parliament decides that it is prepared to support a way forward, and if Parliament decides that it then wants to put that to the British people in a confirmatory referendum, then the nation needs leadership that is prepared to compromise.

‘That’s the crucial point and the reason Theresa May is in such difficulty this morning is she has steadfastly refused to shift an inch.’

‘And it’s no good saying ‘my door is open, come and talk to me’ if her mind is closed and I’m afraid that’s what the last two-and-three-quarter years has demonstrated, plus there’s been an unwillingness to tell the British people the truth about the real choices we face.’  

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett MP said: ‘Philip Hammond’s interview was extraordinary.

‘The Chancellor signaled that the deal they’ve worked on for nearly three years is dead and junked the idea of no deal which Theresa May has held onto from the beginning.

‘This is a Government in which the country can have no confidence as the Chancellor confirmed we are on the edge of a catastrophe.’ 

Inside British Airways’ £2.8k A380 FIRST CLASS suite then flying back in ECONOMY

The Queen has her throne. Trump has his Oval Office chair. I have seat 2A in first class on a British Airways A380.

Yes, it feels that epic. And so it should. This is, after all, BA’s top offering. The biggest and poshest suite in its fleet.

Before sitting down in it on a flight from London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 to Johannesburg, I had thought the golden age of flying was over. But as I sip my welcome glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne I wonder if it’s actually still with us.

Ted flies from London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 first class with British Airways to Johannesburg. Pictured is an official picture of a suite identical to the one he puts to the test

Ted flies from London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 first class with British Airways to Johannesburg. Pictured is an official picture of a suite identical to the one he puts to the test

Ted flies from London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 first class with British Airways to Johannesburg. Pictured is an official picture of a suite identical to the one he puts to the test

Ted enjoys a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne in first class before take-off

Ted enjoys a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne in first class before take-off

Ted enjoys a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle Champagne in first class before take-off

It certainly seems so if you’re able to splash out thousands on a first-class ticket with BA on the A380.

It’s a flying experience like no other.

And taking to the skies in this magnificent monster jet with the British flag carrier in economy on the return leg isn’t bad, either.

But before getting on to that allow me to divulge the first class experience, which is more or less glorious from start to finish – though there are some minor shocks along the way.

THE CHECK-IN AND LOUNGE

The experience begins at a dedicated check-in area in T5 that BA calls ‘The First Wing’.

Here a series of check-in desks lie hidden from the proletariat behind a gold-coloured scalloped steel and glass enclosure.

There’s a huge amount of floor space, a small lounge area with flowers, armchairs and leather banquettes and lightly flavoured glasses of water and cold towels on offer.

Is this a check-in area or a spa?

I’m travelling with my partner and 19-month-old daughter and we’re guided to one of the desks by a perky BA host where our luggage is checked in by another member of staff whose bonhomie levels are equally high.

Then it’s onwards through an exclusive security lane, where the bonhomie levels drop.

First class passengers check in at T5 in The First Wing, which even has its own dedicated security lanes (pictured)

First class passengers check in at T5 in The First Wing, which even has its own dedicated security lanes (pictured)

First class passengers check in at T5 in The First Wing, which even has its own dedicated security lanes (pictured)

One of the bonuses first class passengers get is access to the extremely swanky T5 Concorde Room (pictured). It's like the inside of a five-star hotel

One of the bonuses first class passengers get is access to the extremely swanky T5 Concorde Room (pictured). It's like the inside of a five-star hotel

One of the bonuses first class passengers get is access to the extremely swanky T5 Concorde Room (pictured). It’s like the inside of a five-star hotel

Ted's Concorde Room sea bass

Ted's Concorde Room sea bass

Ted’s Concorde Room sea bass

No special treatment from the security staff, just staccato instructions.

I don’t mind. I find gruff security staff reassuring.

Next, it’s time to waft on through to BA’s swanky Concorde Room, past the riff-raff in the business lounge to a lounge that’s exclusive to first class ticket holders.

To be frank, it’s more like a five-star hotel lobby, bar and restaurant than an airport lounge.

There are chandeliers, waiting staff buzzing around, eager to dispense Champagne (we adults waste no time accepting a flute each) and private dining booths.

We ensconce ourselves in one of these and avail ourselves of the free treats on offer from the a la carte menu.

I opt for seared sea bass on a bed of Provençale vegetables and a glass of white Burgundy (Pernand-Vergelesses Combottes, Domaine Jean Fery, 2015).

So far, so first-class-ish.

THE FIRST CLASS CABIN

Next, the big moment. Setting foot on an A380 for the first time. Right at the very front.

The first thrill is that rows one to four – i.e the mere 14 passengers in the first class cabin on the bottom deck at the front – get their very own jet bridge.

I walk down it all on my own as two BA crew members beam at me from the doorway of the aircraft.

BA's first class seats are the biggest in the fleet, with 30 per cent more personal space and 60 per cent more personal stowage than the first suites on 747s and Dreamliners

BA's first class seats are the biggest in the fleet, with 30 per cent more personal space and 60 per cent more personal stowage than the first suites on 747s and Dreamliners

BA’s first class seats are the biggest in the fleet, with 30 per cent more personal space and 60 per cent more personal stowage than the first suites on 747s and Dreamliners

First class passengers sitting in the middle of the cabin can easily chat as the seats are angled towards each other. A privacy screen can be raised at the touch of a button

First class passengers sitting in the middle of the cabin can easily chat as the seats are angled towards each other. A privacy screen can be raised at the touch of a button

First class passengers sitting in the middle of the cabin can easily chat as the seats are angled towards each other. A privacy screen can be raised at the touch of a button

I’m giddy with excitement.

Upon entering I actually turn right, not left, as is the tradition for swanky cabins, because the jet bridge connects at the nose.

The seats are arranged in a reverse Herringbone layout, with five window/aisle seats on each side and four in the middle.

The ambience is one of hushed English elegance. I feel underdressed in my casual-wear.

Plenty of room for manoeuvre: This picture Ted takes on his mobile phone shows just how big the First suites are

Plenty of room for manoeuvre: This picture Ted takes on his mobile phone shows just how big the First suites are

Plenty of room for manoeuvre: This picture Ted takes on his mobile phone shows just how big the First suites are

In First, the toilets are decorated with a fresh flower

In First, the toilets are decorated with a fresh flower

In First, the toilets are decorated with a fresh flower

I’m offered the aforementioned Laurent-Perrier fizz within seconds.

It’s a fine tipple. And so it should be – you’ll be lucky to find a bottle retailing for less than £100.

BA also offers a Gusbourne Limited Release Twenty Fifteen glass of bubbles – made in Kent, the ‘garden of England’ – which retails for £40 a bottle.

So far, so reassuringly expensive.

But there are some shocks in store on the retail-price front.

At the front of the menu booklet is a message that says ‘our sommeliers have created a signature experience to be savoured’.

But turning over to the white and red section of my First Class menu, I find a Marco Zunino Malbec Reserve 2017 from Mendoza. The 2016 vintage is worth £10. 

That’s a shockingly low value for a cabin experience costing thousands and surely not terribly ‘signature’, despite the fact that this wine has received critical acclaim

Indeed, a wine merchant friend of mine, who’s been in the business for 20-odd years, tells me later: ‘That’s nothing very special for first class.’

(BA works with a master of wine on its list so I’d be keen to know what the thinking is here.)

After the seat belt signs come off I opt for a glass of Ritual Pinot Noir 2015 from the Casablanca Valley in Chile, which is delicious. And, in pleasing fine-dining-style, I’m shown the bottle and poured a sample so I can check whether it’s corked.

But again, the value is low – you can pick up a bottle for just £13.75.

The rest of the list is pricier (though my wine merchant friend comments that the list in general ‘isn’t that interesting’).

I also try a fine white, a Meursault ‘Les Clous’ 2015, Domaine Bouchard Pere & Fils, from Burgundy. It costs between £35 and £70 a bottle according to wine searcher.

I cease my quaffing at the Meursault stage as an anti-hangover measure, missing out on the Chateau Faugeres 2010, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru red (£39) and from the white list, the Sancerre ‘Les Cotes’ 2017, Domaine Roblin, Loire (£18), and the ‘Charming’ Gruner Veltliner 2015, Laurenz V, Kamptal, from Austria (£20-£25).

After the wine list on the menu comes the a la carte ‘dinner’ section – which is a triumph.

Before putting in my order I’m told that I can eat whenever I like.

The amuse bouche of Cumbrian air-dried ham, Cumberland salami, Berkswell cheese, olives and sun-dried tomato

The amuse bouche of Cumbrian air-dried ham, Cumberland salami, Berkswell cheese, olives and sun-dried tomato

Ted's first course is smoked sea trout mousse with Brixham crab and apple puree (pictured)

Ted's first course is smoked sea trout mousse with Brixham crab and apple puree (pictured)

Pictured left is Ted’s amuse bouche of Cumbrian air-dried ham, Cumberland salami, Berkswell cheese, olives and sun-dried tomato. On the right is Ted’s first course – smoked sea trout mousse with Brixham crab and apple puree

As it’s a night flight I decide to eat as soon as possible, plumping for smoked sea trout mousse with Brixham crab and apple puree; roasted Guinea fowl with broccoli and cauliflower couscous, fig and pomegranate molasses. And for dessert – chocolate chilli fondant with chocolate sauce and pistachio and almond mousse ball.

Before it’s all brought out an antipasti amuse bouche of Cumbrian air-dried ham, Cumberland salami, Berkswell cheese, olives and sun-dried tomato arrives.

Every dish is very well executed – fresh, tasty and beautifully presented. And served on proper bone china Wedgewood crockery.

Ted opts for roasted Guinea fowl with broccoli and cauliflower couscous, fig and pomegranate molasses for his main course

Ted opts for roasted Guinea fowl with broccoli and cauliflower couscous, fig and pomegranate molasses for his main course

Ted goes for chocolate chilli fondant with chocolate sauce and pistachio and almond mousse ball for dessert

Ted goes for chocolate chilli fondant with chocolate sauce and pistachio and almond mousse ball for dessert

Ted opts for roasted Guinea fowl with broccoli and cauliflower couscous, fig and pomegranate molasses for his main course (left). He goes for chocolate chilli fondant with chocolate sauce and pistachio and almond mousse ball for dessert (right)

The British Airways A380 First menu that Ted is presented with on his flight to Johannesburg

The British Airways A380 First menu that Ted is presented with on his flight to Johannesburg

The British Airways A380 First menu that Ted is presented with on his flight to Johannesburg

The wine list on Ted's trip, which contains some gems - though one or two of the choices have a low value

The wine list on Ted's trip, which contains some gems - though one or two of the choices have a low value

The wine list on Ted’s trip, which contains some gems – though one or two of the choices have a low value

Feeling thoroughly sated, I decide it’s time to prod some buttons, turn some dials, peruse the amenity kit and marvel at the sheer vastness of my suite.

(And take some selfies, of course.)

It’s a big piece of real estate – bigger than the First suites on the 747 and Dreamliner. The seats are the same size – 22.5in width, 6.5-7.5ft length – but on the A380 you get 30 per cent more personal space and 60 per cent more personal stowage.

I calculate that it’s easily big enough for six adults to hang out in. 

It’s also very private – when I look to my right I can only see my neighbour’s TV screen and legs.

To my immediate left is a nifty cubby hole – BA calls it an ‘entertainment compartment’ – with a lid that’s very handy for storing mid-flight bits and pieces such as water bottles, books and headphones.

It’s also where the controls for the excellent 23-inch TV screen – which folds out from the wall – can be found.

The compartment is also home to a PC power socket, USB port and RCA port.

In front of this is a side table that houses the ‘writing desk’/dining table – and to the left not one but two windows, with blinds that can be operated remotely.

Swish.

Privacy in the suite is excellent. There isn't a door, but when Ted looks to his right he can only see his neighbour's legs

Privacy in the suite is excellent. There isn't a door, but when Ted looks to his right he can only see his neighbour's legs

Privacy in the suite is excellent. There isn’t a door, but when Ted looks to his right he can only see his neighbour’s legs

A view of Ted's seat taken from the footrest at one end, which forms part of the bed in lie-flat mode

A view of Ted's seat taken from the footrest at one end, which forms part of the bed in lie-flat mode

A view of Ted’s seat taken from the footrest at one end, which forms part of the bed in lie-flat mode

WHERE DO BA’S A380S FLY TO? 

The A380 has several routes at British Airways – Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Singapore and Vancouver. 

Visit the British Airways website for more information. 

At the far end is a smaller seat that I sit on it to peer out of the windows as they’re too far away from the main seat to see out of.

As I said. Big.

On the outside wall is a little personal wardrobe that I store my jacket and shoes in.

The main seat itself is simply terrific – supremely comfortable and luxuriously massive.

Niftily, it’s controlled by a single jog wheel that illuminates green when it’s in a safe position for take-off and landing and blue when it’s not.

Hold it down and the seat will recline all the way into a 7ft 6in bed.

The amenity kit is by Liberty London and contains moisturiser, shave gel, lip balm and deodorant by Refinery; a razor; a toothbrush; a comb; ear plugs; Colgate toothpaste; flight socks and an eye mask. Pyjamas, slippers and noise-cancelling headphones by Meridian are also handed out to First fliers

The amenity kit is by Liberty London and contains moisturiser, shave gel, lip balm and deodorant by Refinery; a razor; a toothbrush; a comb; ear plugs; Colgate toothpaste; flight socks and an eye mask. Pyjamas, slippers and noise-cancelling headphones by Meridian are also handed out to First fliers

The amenity kit is by Liberty London and contains moisturiser, shave gel, lip balm and deodorant by Refinery; a razor; a toothbrush; a comb; ear plugs; Colgate toothpaste; flight socks and an eye mask. Pyjamas, slippers and noise-cancelling headphones by Meridian are also handed out to First fliers

The main seat is controlled by a single jog wheel that illuminates green when it’s in a safe position for take-off and landing and blue when it’s not

The main seat is controlled by a single jog wheel that illuminates green when it’s in a safe position for take-off and landing and blue when it’s not

Each suite comes with a nifty cubby hole – BA calls it an ‘entertainment compartment’ - with a lid that’s very handy for storing mid-flight bits and pieces such as water bottles, books and headphones

Each suite comes with a nifty cubby hole – BA calls it an ‘entertainment compartment’ - with a lid that’s very handy for storing mid-flight bits and pieces such as water bottles, books and headphones

The main seat is controlled by a single jog wheel that illuminates green when it’s in a safe position for take-off and landing and blue when it’s not (left). Each suite comes with a nifty cubby hole – BA calls it an ‘entertainment compartment’ – with a lid that’s very handy for storing mid-flight bits and pieces such as water bottles, books and headphones (right)

All the crockery in First is bone china, naturally

All the crockery in First is bone china, naturally

All the crockery in First is bone china, naturally

The control panel it sits on also contains controls for reading lights, an ambient light in a dinky fluted lampshade, headrest and lumbar support adjustment and the window blinds.

The amenity kit, meanwhile, is by Liberty London and contains moisturiser, shave gel, lip balm and deodorant by Refinery; a razor; a toothbrush; a comb; ear plugs; Colgate toothpaste; flight socks and an eye mask.

Later it will be emptied and given to my daughter to store her little wooden eggs she plays with.

I’m also given a pair of cotton pyjamas and slippers.

And so to the final part of the tour – the headphones.

On long flights their quality is extremely important if you don’t have your own and here there’s a misstep from BA.

The noise-cancelling pair by Meridian I’m given has a bent jack. When I point this out there is much apologising and a new pair swiftly delivered.

But the new pair doesn’t work properly – the sound only comes out of one ear.

Now, the confident American version of me would have simply summoned yet another pair but I go into ‘don’t want to cause a fuss’ British mode and just pretend everything is fine.

I always take my own Sennheiser earphones on flights and whip them out to enjoy a movie.

As my lids begin to droop a stewardess materialises and offers to turn the seat into a bed.

This is one of the joys of executive travel and the BA First linen situation is top drawer.

I snuggle up on a thick mattress (well, thick for air travel), and under a comfy duvet, and drift off, able to easily stretch right out, though I have to wiggle down a bit because the head rest is at an uncomfortable angle. But that’s because the stewardess has set it up like this and I can’t muster the energy to un-ensconce myself to mention it.

Ted's full English in First is delicious. It comprises scrambled eggs, Suffolk sweet-cured back bacon, portobello mushroom, Cumberland pork sausage and hash browns. Plus a croissant and a tasty coffee

Ted's full English in First is delicious. It comprises scrambled eggs, Suffolk sweet-cured back bacon, portobello mushroom, Cumberland pork sausage and hash browns. Plus a croissant and a tasty coffee

Ted’s full English in First is delicious. It comprises scrambled eggs, Suffolk sweet-cured back bacon, portobello mushroom, Cumberland pork sausage and hash browns. Plus a croissant and a tasty coffee

In the morning I opt for a full English breakfast of scrambled eggs, Suffolk sweet-cured back bacon, portobello mushroom, Cumberland pork sausage and hash browns.

Again, it’s a tasty, gourmet affair.

As we pull up to the gate in Johannesburg 11 hours after leaving London I feel about as fresh as I ever have done after a long flight.

Ted's A380 pictured as he disembarks in Johannesburg. He would later take a connecting flight to Cape Town

Ted's A380 pictured as he disembarks in Johannesburg. He would later take a connecting flight to Cape Town

Ted’s A380 pictured as he disembarks in Johannesburg. He would later take a connecting flight to Cape Town 

Ted in the A380 flight deck in Johannesburg. He asks the captain what the hardest thing about flying A380s is. The reply? 'Parking it'

Ted in the A380 flight deck in Johannesburg. He asks the captain what the hardest thing about flying A380s is. The reply? 'Parking it'

Ted in the A380 flight deck in Johannesburg. He asks the captain what the hardest thing about flying A380s is. The reply? ‘Parking it’

The suite – designed by BA’s internal design management team in collaboration with design Consultancy Forpeople – has been splendid, the service exemplary and the food and drink impressive.

As a nice bonus, we’re allowed on to the flight deck to meet the pilots. 

I ask the captain what the hardest thing about flying the A380 is. He says: ‘Parking it.’

IN THE ECONOMY CABIN

On the way back, it’s an entirely different story.

I’m in economy with the baby, having swapped my posh ticket with my partner.

What’s more, I’m stuck in a middle (bassinet) seat in a full row, so I’m going to need all the help I can get from the stewardesses, as jumping up and down to fetch things and make requests is going to be extra hard, especially once the bassinet is set up.

I’m fearful, but they come through in grand style – constantly checking we’re both okay and heaving down my bags for the extraction of toys and milk and the like without batting an eyelid.

And when my poor daughter is sick as we make the final descent, the zesty crew spring into action, wiping us both down and offering words of reassurance.

But what of the actual economy class product?

It's economy for Ted for the return journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town. This is an official BA picture of the A380 economy cabin. Ted however, sits in the middle row

It's economy for Ted for the return journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town. This is an official BA picture of the A380 economy cabin. Ted however, sits in the middle row

It’s economy for Ted for the return journey from Johannesburg to Cape Town. This is an official BA picture of the A380 economy cabin. Ted however, sits in the middle row

It's all smiles for Ted in economy before take-off

It's all smiles for Ted in economy before take-off

It’s all smiles for Ted in economy before take-off

Well, it’s the best I’ve ever experienced. Just.

For starters, and this really shocks me, the freebie in-ear headphones aren’t dreadful, as is normally the case in economy cabins.

In fact, I enjoy two movies without feeling the need to fetch my faithful Sennheisers, which have been left packed away in my rucksack in an overhead bin.

The entertainment screen, meanwhile, is very good. Clear, easy to use and perfectly big enough.

The food also gets a thumbs up. For dinner it’s tomato and cheese pasta, with a little salad and a roll. Which is just fine.

But it’s a double thumbs up for the Montenero Italian merlot I opt for. It’s genuinely very good indeed – well-structured and with a pleasant finish. In fact it’s so tasty I half wonder if it has accidentally gone astray from the business class cabin.

For direct comparison with my first class breakfast I go for a full English a couple of hours before touchdown.

The economy bassinet seat affords Ted fairly decent leg room

The economy bassinet seat affords Ted fairly decent leg room

One of the biggest shocks is that the free economy headphones are not dreadful

One of the biggest shocks is that the free economy headphones are not dreadful

The economy bassinet seat affords Ted fairly decent leg room (left). One of the biggest shocks is that the free economy headphones are not dreadful (right)

For dinner it’s tomato and cheese pasta, with a little salad and a roll. Which is just fine, writes Ted

For dinner it’s tomato and cheese pasta, with a little salad and a roll. Which is just fine, writes Ted

For dinner it’s tomato and cheese pasta, with a little salad and a roll. Which is just fine, writes Ted

The entertainment screen is very good. Clear, easy to use and perfectly big enough

The entertainment screen is very good. Clear, easy to use and perfectly big enough

The Montenero Italian merlot Ted has in economy is stonking

The Montenero Italian merlot Ted has in economy is stonking

The entertainment screen in economy is very good. Clear, easy to use and perfectly big enough (left). The Montenero Italian merlot Ted has is stonking (right). No, really…

The A380 economy full English looks processed and artificial - but tastes just fine. BA assures Ted later that the sausages served in economy are meat, not a substitute, and are sourced from Wexford in Ireland, and that the egg is not powdered but pasteurised liquid egg - ‘standard in airline catering worldwide’

The A380 economy full English looks processed and artificial - but tastes just fine. BA assures Ted later that the sausages served in economy are meat, not a substitute, and are sourced from Wexford in Ireland, and that the egg is not powdered but pasteurised liquid egg - ‘standard in airline catering worldwide’

The A380 economy full English looks processed and artificial – but tastes just fine. BA assures Ted later that the sausages served in economy are meat, not a substitute, and are sourced from Wexford in Ireland, and that the egg is not powdered but pasteurised liquid egg – ‘standard in airline catering worldwide’

Ted is jammed in to economy by his daughter's bassinet (pictured). Luckily, the first-rate cabin crew are on hand to assist

Ted is jammed in to economy by his daughter's bassinet (pictured). Luckily, the first-rate cabin crew are on hand to assist

Ted is jammed in to economy by his daughter’s bassinet (pictured). Luckily, the first-rate cabin crew are on hand to assist

THE BA FIRST CLASS UPGRADE  

From March 31 BA’s First experience is being upgraded.

The upgrade includes:

  • Exclusively designed crockery, cutlery and glassware from British designers, William Edwards, Studio William and Dartington.
  • Foam and microfibre mattress topper and 400 thread count bedding.
  • Exclusively designed male and female Temperley London loungewear, amenity bag and slippers.
  • A range of luxury Elemis skin care products.
  • High performance Meridian headphones.
  • The roll-out of new First products will start March 31 and will be complete by mid-April.

 

It’s nowhere near the same quality – the sausage looks very processed and the scrambled egg similarly artificial in texture.

Later BA will assure me that the sausages served in economy are meat, not a substitute, and are sourced from Wexford in Ireland, and that the egg is not powdered but pasteurised liquid egg – ‘standard in airline catering worldwide’ – and ‘cooked in-house on a daily basis’.

I conclude that all in all, it’s a decent enough offering for cattle class.

Comfort levels are pretty good, too.

In fact, this is the best economy seat I’ve ever experienced, partly due to the fact that it has little wings on the headrest that go some way to stop the head lolling during slumber.

It’s also a comfortable size – 18 inches wide compared to the 17.3 inches you get in BA’s Dreamliner economy.

CONCLUSION

BA has gone to huge lengths to offer something truly special to its First customers and I am most definitely impressed, despite the wine list and headphone issues.

But those are easy fixes.  

With First the only big problem that BA has is with the ‘wow factor’. Other airlines trump BA in this regard. Emirates offers first class customers shower suites on its A380s, for instance.

As for economy, I think the airline has a real winner with its A380s. And the difference between the two classes is suitably vast to keep those paying top whack happy.

Not flown on the A380 before? Rectify the matter asap – because it’s an amazing machine. 

The take-off, for instance, is something else – there’s very little vibration or noise and leaving the ground is surreal. You feel almost detached from the experience.

With First the only big problem that BA has is with the ‘wow factor’. Other airlines trump BA in this regard. Emirates offers first class customers shower suites on its A380s, for instance

With First the only big problem that BA has is with the ‘wow factor’. Other airlines trump BA in this regard. Emirates offers first class customers shower suites on its A380s, for instance

With First the only big problem that BA has is with the ‘wow factor’. Other airlines trump BA in this regard. Emirates offers first class customers shower suites on its A380s, for instance

What’s more, you can sit on the upper deck in economy (where my seat is). Here everything is especially muffled.

Even boarding the thing is extra exciting because the jet bridges attach to both decks, adding to the epicness of it all.

A golden age of flying? Arguably yes – but what’s certain is that BA has a monster hit on its hands. 

TRAVEL FACTS 

British Airways flies First Class from Heathrow to Johannesburg from £2,798 return including taxes/fees/carrier charges and from £658 economy. To book please visit ba.com/Johannesburg or call 0844 493 0763.

For more on South Africa and all it has to offer visit www.southafrica.net

Ted ultimately flew to Cape Town. Try the incredible One&Only Cape Town hotel for accommodation that’s as eye-catching as the local landscape (full review to come).  

And for more on some brilliant local experts – including great white shark, wine and graffiti specialists – you can meet up with while you’re there, check out southafrica.net/meetyoursouthafrica

 

Medics gave a newborn a traumatic spinal procedure meant for another baby

A hospital blunder meant that a newborn baby was given an invasive spinal jab meant for another child, part of a series of NHS gaffes shown by new data. 

The mix-up came about because the child had the same surname and a similar first name to another child at the hospital. 

In nine months, from April last year until this January 423 similar errors were accounted for. In June alone there were 63 confirmed cases. 

The mix-up came about because the children had the same surname and a similar first name

The mix-up came about because the children had the same surname and a similar first name

The mix-up came about because the children had the same surname and a similar first name

One man, who was supposed to have a simple bladder check, ended up being circumcised. 

As well as someone’s tonsils being removed – when they weren’t supposed to be – another person had laser surgery on the wrong eye, having come forward when someone else’s name was called. 

There were six cases of the wrong eye being injected. Another huge gaffe saw someone have the wrong toe amputated. 

In three cases, a woman’s ovaries were removed when the plan was to preserve them. Thirty four people had the wrong teeth or tooth removed. 

A series of guide wires were also retained post-op but, shockingly, in one case so was part of a drill bit, a knee replacement pin in another two cases as well as surgical swabs on ten occasions and a surgical needle twice. 

A person had laser surgery on the wrong eye, having come forward when someone else's name was called

A person had laser surgery on the wrong eye, having come forward when someone else's name was called

A person had laser surgery on the wrong eye, having come forward when someone else’s name was called

The prosthesis section of the report was also damning, with 22 people being given the wrong hip replacement and one woman given the wrong breast implant. 

The blunders are called ‘never events’, otherwise known as ‘wholly preventable’ events that should never happen if guidelines are followed. 

The so-called never events can stem from medical negligence, hospital negligence or GP negligence.

The 423 from the recent figures is a rise from 356 errors over 12 months in 2016-17 — the last full year for which figures are available.   

‘Tory squeezes and failures to recruit,’ is what Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth blamed the blunders on. 

But NHS safety chief Dr Aidan Fowler said: ‘It’s vital that when they happen, hospitals learn.

‘The NHS is one of the safest health systems in the world.’ 

 

Glimmer of hope to catch the Northern Lights tonight, say the Met Office

Clear skies mean parts of the UK are still in with a chance of seeing the Northern Lights tonight after the spectacular display failed to appear last night. 

Aurora could be visible in parts of northern Scotland when there is cloud break, with the best locations in rural areas away from towns and cities.

Dry and clear conditions in northern areas are ideal for spotting the Aurora Borealis, which is caused by charged particles being thrown around by solar winds.

The Met Office said today that it is difficult to forecast but they are still expecting Aurora at some point in the north of Scotland when the skies darken and clouds separate.  

Aurora Borealis over loch Glascarnoch, by Garve, in the Highlands of Scotland (file picture)

Aurora Borealis over loch Glascarnoch, by Garve, in the Highlands of Scotland (file picture)

Aurora Borealis over loch Glascarnoch, by Garve, in the Highlands of Scotland (file picture)

The Met Office said the phenomenon, known as the Aurora Borealis (pictured over St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay in 2014), may be visible in northern Scotland tonight

The Met Office said the phenomenon, known as the Aurora Borealis (pictured over St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay in 2014), may be visible in northern Scotland tonight

 The Met Office said the phenomenon, known as the Aurora Borealis (pictured over St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay in 2014), may be visible in northern Scotland tonight

Gales across Scotland are easing today but a smattering of rain across parts of the country may hamper the chances for some tonight. 

Those committed to getting a glimpse of the extraordinary weather phenomenon will have to endure heavy rain around Wick, north of Inverness around 6pm today. 

Showers across Scotland today will eventually stop, giving way to clear skies – hopefully creating a platform for Aurora to shine. 

 

The rest of the UK, whilst having slim chances to see the lights, will experience clear skies at night, except a band of cloud blanketing the midlands and parts of the north.

Wales will be cloudy whilst the east coast and south west of England will have a clear night. 

Tomorrow will see clouds across parts of the west with patchy light rain. It will be dry and fine elsewhere with sunny spells.

Feeling rather warm in the sunshine, with light winds, the Met Office say. 

Most of the showers will fade away overnight, although some will continue across Northern Ireland, northwest England and Wales. 

There will be a patchy frost where skies clear. 

The Met Office tweeted to tell people which parts of the countries are in with a chance of seeing the lights on Saturday evening

The Met Office tweeted to tell people which parts of the countries are in with a chance of seeing the lights on Saturday evening

The Met Office tweeted to tell people which parts of the countries are in with a chance of seeing the lights on Saturday evening 

The Met Office said yesterday there was a ‘moderate’ chance of seeing the sky light up in fabulous colours but according to Service Aurora, the green belt failed to dip far below the south coast of Iceland. 

The Northern Lights are created by disturbances in Earth’s magnetosphere caused by a flow of particles from the Sun, and are usually concentrated around the Earth’s magnetic poles.

The southward shift of the lights is caused by an ejection of plasma, known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun, which followed a solar flare on Wednesday.

Bonnie Diamond, meteorologist at the Met Office, said: ‘A Coronal Mass Ejection has happened and the effects of that are expected to arrive later tomorrow evening.

‘This type of active geomagnetic storm means that there is the possibility of the aurora borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights.

‘Whether or not you will see the Northern Lights depends on where you are and what the weather is like. Scotland is where you’re most likely to see it.

‘Further north, you’re pretty likely to see something.’

The Met Office’s Space account tweeted: ‘CME forecast to arrive late 23rd March following C5 flare from sunspot AR2736. Active-minor geomagnetic storm periods possible with low risk of moderate storms.

‘As a result, aurora may be visible in Scotland where cloud breaks. Latest forecast available’

NOAA, an American agency that monitors the atmosphere, said the Northern Lights could be visible as far south as Michigan and Wisconsin in the United States.

The Northern Lights over Derwent Water, near Keswick, in the Lake District, in March 2015

The Northern Lights over Derwent Water, near Keswick, in the Lake District, in March 2015

The Northern Lights over Derwent Water, near Keswick, in the Lake District, in March 2015

Donald Trump ‘cheats at golf’ says sports writer

A former golf partner of Donald Trump has accused the U.S. President of brazen cheating on the course. 

Sports writer Rick Reilly, who played a round with Trump before the billionaire entered politics, said the future President had lied about his score, claimed second attempts at a shot for no good reason and taken credit for other players’ shots. 

Writing for the Sunday Times magazine, he said caddies had given Trump the nickname ‘Pele’ because he would kick the ball so often to move it to a better position. 

Trump, who has faced scrutiny for the amount of time he spends golfing, has previously denied cheating.  

Donald Trump, pictured on one of his Scottish golf courses last July, has been accused of cheating at the game by a sports writer who once played a round with him

Donald Trump, pictured on one of his Scottish golf courses last July, has been accused of cheating at the game by a sports writer who once played a round with him

Donald Trump, pictured on one of his Scottish golf courses last July, has been accused of cheating at the game by a sports writer who once played a round with him 

Reilly played a round with the future President at a Trump course in New York while writing a 2003 book about golf. 

Describing his opponent’s style of play, he said: ‘To say Donald Trump cheats is like saying Michael Phelps swims. 

‘Trump doesn’t just cheat at golf. He cheats like a three-card monte dealer. He throws it, boots it and moves it. 

‘Whether you’re his pharmacist or Tiger Woods, if you’re playing golf with him, he’s going to cheat.’ 

According to the sports writer Trump would take second chances on a shot, claiming he had been distracted or a bird had flown over, and hit other players’ balls that were closer to the hole.  

In addition he would wrongly record his score and had claimed a ‘gimme’ – an easy putt which the opponent accepts will be made – when he needed to chip the ball in from off the green.  

Rick Reilly alleges that Trump, pictured on Friday, had lied about his score, claimed second attempts at a shot for no good reason and taken credit for other players' shots

Rick Reilly alleges that Trump, pictured on Friday, had lied about his score, claimed second attempts at a shot for no good reason and taken credit for other players' shots

Rick Reilly alleges that Trump, pictured on Friday, had lied about his score, claimed second attempts at a shot for no good reason and taken credit for other players’ shots

Reilly said Trump even cheated while playing 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, allegedly ignoring the fact he had hit the ball into a water hazard.  

Trump has come under scrutiny for the amount of time he spends playing golf, after he criticised his predecessor Barack Obama for the same thing.  

In October 2014, he tweeted: ‘Can you believe that with all of the problems and difficulties facing the U.S., President Obama spent the day playing golf. Worse than Carter.’

And on the campaign trail he promised voters: ‘I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.’

But after his first year in office White House schedules and press reports revealed he had spent time at a golf resort on 91 out of 365 days.    

Before becoming President, Trump had criticised Barack Obama - pictured playing with David Cameron in 2016 - for the amount of golf he played while in office

Before becoming President, Trump had criticised Barack Obama - pictured playing with David Cameron in 2016 - for the amount of golf he played while in office

Before becoming President, Trump had criticised Barack Obama – pictured playing with David Cameron in 2016 – for the amount of golf he played while in office 

Last month he played golf in Florida with two of the game’s greatest, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. 

Both Nicklaus and Woods are among Trump’s regular golf partners. 

Reilly’s claims echo those of female golfer Suzann Pettersen who said Trump ‘plays his caddy well’ as his ball would always end up on the fairway. 

She was quoted as saying that Trump ‘cheats like hell’ but later called the claim ‘fake news’, echoing Trump. 

In 2016 then-candidate Trump denied claims from boxer Oscar De La Hoya that he had cheated on the golf course. 

Trump said De La Hoya had ‘played terribly’ when they met in Los Angeles, saying: ‘I’m a much better golfer than him.’  

Police launch a murder investigation after a man is stabbed to death in north London 

Police have launched a murder investigation after a man was stabbed to death in north-west London – with another six people knifed overnight in the capital.

Scotland Yard said officers were called to reports of an injured man at an address in Marsh Road, Pinner, at around 6am on Sunday.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene and police said enquiries were under way to identify the man and his next of kin.

It comes amid another night of bloodshed in the capital with six more people stabbed.

Scotland Yard said officers were called to reports of an injured man at an address in Marsh Road (pictured), Pinner, at around 6am on Sunday

Scotland Yard said officers were called to reports of an injured man at an address in Marsh Road (pictured), Pinner, at around 6am on Sunday

Scotland Yard said officers were called to reports of an injured man at an address in Marsh Road (pictured), Pinner, at around 6am on Sunday 

It comes amid another night of bloodshed in the capital with six more people stabbed

It comes amid another night of bloodshed in the capital with six more people stabbed

It comes amid another night of bloodshed in the capital with six more people stabbed

Police were called at 10.30pm on Sunday after two teenagers were stabbed and a third suffered a head injury in Harrow Road, Westminster.

A man in his 40s was left fighting for his life after being knifed in in Dalston Lane, in north-east London at about 3.15am.

Meanwhile a 13-year-old boy was stabbed in St Matthew’s Road, Brixton shortly before midnight. He was rushed to hospital with non-critical injuries.

On the same night, shortly before 8.30pm, a man in his 20s was taken to hospital with non-life threatening stab wounds after he was knifed in Barkingside High Street.

No arrests have been made over the Pinner stabbing and detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command have been informed. 

On the same night, shortly before 8.30pm, a man in his 20s was taken to hospital with non-life threatening stab wounds after he was knifed in Barkingside High Street (scene pictured)

On the same night, shortly before 8.30pm, a man in his 20s was taken to hospital with non-life threatening stab wounds after he was knifed in Barkingside High Street (scene pictured)

On the same night, shortly before 8.30pm, a man in his 20s was taken to hospital with non-life threatening stab wounds after he was knifed in Barkingside High Street (scene pictured)

Police were called at 10.30pm on Sunday after two teenagers were stabbed and a third suffered a head injury in Harrow Road, Westminster (scene pictured)

Police were called at 10.30pm on Sunday after two teenagers were stabbed and a third suffered a head injury in Harrow Road, Westminster (scene pictured)

Police were called at 10.30pm on Sunday after two teenagers were stabbed and a third suffered a head injury in Harrow Road, Westminster (scene pictured)

A murder investigation has been launched and police are asking anyone with information to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

A large section of Marsh Road has been cordoned off, with a number of police officers in attendance.

One resident described Pinner as ‘lovely’, but said she was not shocked by the news as such incidents are ‘happening in all areas’.

Mary MacNamara, who has lived in the area for four years, said: ‘We all see what’s going on generally and it (such crime) seems to be happening in all areas. 

On Friday night, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death outside a block of flats (scene pictured)

On Friday night, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death outside a block of flats (scene pictured)

On Friday night, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death outside a block of flats (scene pictured)

Police arrived just after 10.30pm to reports of a fight and found a teenage boy dying in the street. Paramedics battled in vain and the teen was pronounced dead at the scene in Isleworth, west London (pictured)

Police arrived just after 10.30pm to reports of a fight and found a teenage boy dying in the street. Paramedics battled in vain and the teen was pronounced dead at the scene in Isleworth, west London (pictured)

Police arrived just after 10.30pm to reports of a fight and found a teenage boy dying in the street. Paramedics battled in vain and the teen was pronounced dead at the scene in Isleworth, west London (pictured)

She said: ‘It’s happening every day. Nobody does anything about it. The Government are doing nothing about it. All they do is fight about Brexit.’ 

There have been 29 deaths classed as ‘homicides’ in London so far this year. 

On Friday night, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death outside a block of flats.

Police arrived just after 10.30pm to reports of a fight and found a teenage boy dying in the street.

Paramedics battled in vain and the teen was pronounced dead at the scene in Isleworth, west London.

Jodie Chesney was stabbed to death during a violence-filled weekend earlier this month

Jodie Chesney was stabbed to death during a violence-filled weekend earlier this month

Youef Makki was knifed to death in Greater Manchester on March 2, they day after Jodie Chesney was killed

Youef Makki was knifed to death in Greater Manchester on March 2, they day after Jodie Chesney was killed

Jodie Chesney (left) and Yousef Makki (right), both 17, were stabbed to death during a violence-filled weekend earlier this month

Another murder investigation has been launched and no arrests have yet been made.

Earlier this month, Nathaniel Armstrong, the cousin of Good Morning Britain weatherman Alex Beresford, was knifed to death in Fulham.

He was murdered outside a property on the same street that Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando was shot dead outside her home 20 years ago. 

Jodie Chesney, in Harold Hill, east London, and Yousef Makki, in Greater Manchester, both 17, were stabbed to death during one violence-filled weekend earlier this month.

It comes as Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a £100million funding package to tackle Britain’s knife crime crisis.