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Mayor of Middlesbrough launches fresh attack on Ministers over Covid rules

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mayor of middlesbrough launches fresh attack on ministers over covid rules

The Mayor of Middlesbrough launched a fresh attack on the Government yesterday, accusing it of lying over ‘extensive’ discussions with council leaders about draconian new Covid restrictions.

Following TV interviews on Friday night in which Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock said there had been talks with council leaders in advance of the move, Andy Preston insisted he had only been given ‘minutes’ notice before local lockdown rules were announced on Thursday.

The new restrictions – which ban households from mixing and socialising in any indoors setting – came into force at 00.01am yesterday.

Mayor of Middlesbrough Andy Preston, pictured, has criticised the government over their failure to talk to him ahead of strict new lockdown rules imposed on his town from midnight last night

Mayor of Middlesbrough Andy Preston, pictured, has criticised the government over their failure to talk to him ahead of strict new lockdown rules imposed on his town from midnight last night

Mayor of Middlesbrough Andy Preston, pictured, has criticised the government over their failure to talk to him ahead of strict new lockdown rules imposed on his town from midnight last night

Residents in Middlesbrough are now banned from mixing with other household bubbles in a bid to slow down the spread of Covid-19 in the area

Residents in Middlesbrough are now banned from mixing with other household bubbles in a bid to slow down the spread of Covid-19 in the area

Residents in Middlesbrough are now banned from mixing with other household bubbles in a bid to slow down the spread of Covid-19 in the area 

The same rules were also applied to neighbouring Hartlepool as well as Merseyside and Warrington. Last night Mr Preston said: ‘We are flabbergasted, frustrated and furious at the Government’s response.

‘There are rumours knocking around from government that there have been extensive discussions with us and I can guarantee you it is completely untrue, it’s not even partially untrue, it just did not happen at all.

‘We have not spoken with anyone from the Government on this at any point ever.

‘If anyone is saying there were discussions with Government Ministers or senior civil servants and myself as the ultimate figurehead and decision-maker of Middlesbrough Council that’s not true – so somebody is trying to mislead people there.’

He added: ‘We were shown a copy of a press release and we were given minutes’ notice to approve it before Matt Hancock announced the restrictions in the Commons.

‘We were given less than ten minutes to approve a complex press release that contained factual inaccuracies about Middlesbrough’s infection rate.

‘It implied our infection rate was above 170 when our infection rate has hovered somewhere between 80 and 115 cases per 100,000 people.’

Mr Preston initially pledged on Thursday to defy the lockdown, but on Friday he urged ¿everyone in Middlesbrough to abide by the restrictions¿

Mr Preston initially pledged on Thursday to defy the lockdown, but on Friday he urged ¿everyone in Middlesbrough to abide by the restrictions¿

Mr Preston initially pledged on Thursday to defy the lockdown, but on Friday he urged ‘everyone in Middlesbrough to abide by the restrictions’

Mr Preston initially pledged on Thursday to defy the lockdown, but on Friday he urged ‘everyone in Middlesbrough to abide by the restrictions’.

In separate developments yesterday, pubs and restaurants in Bolton were allowed to open for the first time since September 8. And Tower Hamlets became the first London borough to ask residents to stop mixing. Mayor John Biggs urged households to avoid meeting up ‘unless absolutely necessary’.

Last night the Department of Health disputed Mr Preston’s comments regarding inaccurate figures for his town’s infection rate.

A spokesman also said: ‘It is wrong to claim councils were only given short notice as in fact discussions and engagement had been taking place for several days.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Black Norfolk parish councillor quits, claiming she was ‘vilified’

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black norfolk parish councillor quits claiming she was vilified

A black parish councillor has dramatically quit after claiming her colleagues ‘vilified, intimidated and publicly chastised’ her because of her race.

Judeline Nicholas, 61, resigned yesterday following an extraordinary meeting where she hit out at councillors ‘in positions of white privilege’ for targeting her. 

The Zoom call of Mundesley Parish Council, Norfolk, blew up into a row when members refuted her allegations and tried to cut her off.   

Chairman David Harding denied he had said ‘gone native’ but then said he had recently read Thomas Hardy’s Return Of The Native and it was a ‘perfectly legitimate phrase’. 

The spat emerged when Ms Nicolas, who runs a business consultancy in the seaside village, raised grievances about the ‘impact of casual and institutional racism’.

Judeline Nicholas, 61, resigned yesterday following an extraordinary meeting where she hit out at councillors 'in positions of white privilege' for targeting her

Judeline Nicholas, 61, resigned yesterday following an extraordinary meeting where she hit out at councillors 'in positions of white privilege' for targeting her

Judeline Nicholas, 61, resigned yesterday following an extraordinary meeting where she hit out at councillors ‘in positions of white privilege’ for targeting her

The Zoom call of Mundesley Parish Council, Norfolk, blew up into a row when members refuted her allegations and tried to cut her off

The Zoom call of Mundesley Parish Council, Norfolk, blew up into a row when members refuted her allegations and tried to cut her off

The Zoom call of Mundesley Parish Council, Norfolk, blew up into a row when members refuted her allegations and tried to cut her off

In a statement to the virtual Monday meeting, she said: ‘On previous occasions I’ve been vilified, intimidated and publicly chastised for alleged actions that my fellow councillors have done themselves and who should have also been held to account by the chair.

‘Nothing was done even though at least one councillor raised an objection. The chair has informed me that I am not liked by any of my fellow councillors because they don’t like my tone.

‘Let me put that in context. I, a woman of colour, am not liked by my fellow councillors, who are all white, because of my tone.

‘This gives testament that my colleagues in their positions of white privilege not used to being questioned on issues of transparency, good practice and fairness by a fairly successful professional woman of colour, who holds a position of equity to them as a councillor.’

She alleged that her opinions had been ‘ignored on a number of decisions made by the council’ including some relevant to her field of work and blamed this on ‘conscious and not so conscious bias of my fellow councillors’.       

Wendy Fredericks

Wendy Fredericks

David Harding

David Harding

District councillor Wendy Fredericks (left) and parish council chairman David Harding (right) both refuted claims made by Ms Nicholas

Ms Nicolas said she had approached a North Norfolk district councillor to ‘help mediate the situation’ at parish council level but she said they were biased in favour of the parish council.

Wendy Fredericks, who represents Mundesley on the district council, then interrupted to say she had been ‘insulted’ by her comments, claiming they were in reference to her.

Ms Fredericks said: ‘You’ve insulted me, and you’ve insulted everybody else on this council calling us racist. I did not ever claim I was biased towards Mundesley parish council or yourself in an email, I will not have that.’

The chairman Mr Harding said he had been forced to ‘beg’ other councillors not to resign as Ms Nicholas ‘constantly tried to pick fault’ with their actions.

Ms Nicholas had also levelled charges against Mr Harding for using the phrase ‘gone native’ which she said was a ‘colonial insult to people of colour’. 

Ms Nicholas quit on Tuesday morning, issuing a statment saying 'I see now that my position is untenable and I therefore offer my resignation

Ms Nicholas quit on Tuesday morning, issuing a statment saying 'I see now that my position is untenable and I therefore offer my resignation

Ms Nicholas quit on Tuesday morning, issuing a statment saying ‘I see now that my position is untenable and I therefore offer my resignation

On the allegations of racist phrases, he said ‘You said the chair made a reference to ‘gone native’.

‘I have not used that phrase and secondly if you choose to think that people do not like you because of your colour, you are ignoring all the other reasons why they may not be happy with your behaviour at the meetings.’

He said he had been reading the Thomas Hardy novel called Return of the Native and it was ‘a perfectly legitimate phrase’.

Mr Harding told the meeting ‘I will now hand over to the clerk, who you may have noticed is mixed race.’

Clerk Doreen Joy told members that the usual procedure was for claims made against councillors to be reported to a monitoring officer, saying Ms Nicholas’s comments were ‘not appropriate for the meeting’.

When Ms Nicholas asked to finish what she was saying, Mr Harding told her: ‘You have had quite long enough to address this meeting, and we’ve had enough of it quite frankly.’

Ms Nicholas quit on Tuesday morning, issuing a statment saying ‘I see now that my position is untenable and I therefore offer my resignation.

‘My apologies to the people of Mundesley who deserve the best and are being denied it.’

The clerk confirmed the resignation had been accepted by the council.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Dublin says trade deal between UK and EU ‘likely’ in next two weeks

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dublin says trade deal between uk and eu likely in next two weeks

Dublin has raised hopes of the UK and the EU agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal within the next two weeks as Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister said he believed an accord is now ‘likely’. 

Simon Coveney has suggested a deal between the two sides is now in sight but he warned it will not be easy to get it over the line.  

Mr Coveney said formal negotiations had now entered a ‘very serious zone’ and he is ‘under no illusion of the challenges’ as they try to reach an agreement.

But he insisted the next 10 to 14 days is the ‘realistic’ timeline ‘to complete this’.

The intervention came as talks remain ongoing as Brussels and Britain try to resolve a handful of crunch disputes which are still blocking a deal. 

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has said a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU is now 'likely'

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has said a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU is now 'likely'

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has said a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU is now ‘likely’

Mr Coveney's comments represent a boost to Boris Johnson after formal talks resumed last week following a tense standoff

Mr Coveney's comments represent a boost to Boris Johnson after formal talks resumed last week following a tense standoff

Mr Coveney’s comments represent a boost to Boris Johnson after formal talks resumed last week following a tense standoff

The two sides remain deadlocked on the issue of post-Brexit fishing rights as well as on state aid and the governance of the deal. 

Talks have been taking place in London this week between EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart Lord Frost but they will switch to Brussels from tomorrow.  

Optimism continues to grow that an agreement will be reached after talks resumed last week following a tense standoff.

Mr Coveney added to the optimism last night as he said: ‘We’re likely to get a deal but it won’t be easy.’ 

Mr Coveney made the comments during a Irish Farmers’ Journal webinar as he also warned the EU continues to prepare for a potential no trade deal split at the end of the transition period in December.  

‘There’s no such thing as a no deal Brexit any more, what we’re now fighting is a no trade deal Brexit which from an agricultural perspective would be hugely disruptive on many, many levels,’ he said.

‘We’ve got to be ready for January 1, there’s going to be no more extensions of time, no more transition periods. Time is up at the end of the year.’

The Cork South-Central TD said there will be new trading arrangements on January 1 whether or not a trade deal is reached as he warned there is ‘a lot at stake over the next 10 to 14 days’. 

Michel Barnier, pictured leaving a London hotel this morning, and UK counterpart Lord Frost have been locked in talks this week before negotiations shift to Brussels from tomorrow

Michel Barnier, pictured leaving a London hotel this morning, and UK counterpart Lord Frost have been locked in talks this week before negotiations shift to Brussels from tomorrow

Michel Barnier, pictured leaving a London hotel this morning, and UK counterpart Lord Frost have been locked in talks this week before negotiations shift to Brussels from tomorrow

‘If there’s no trade deal it’ll be on the basis of WTO [World Trade Organisation] standards,’ he said.

‘If there is a trade deal that will avoid tariffs and quotas but we will still unfortunately have a lot of disruption to trade.’

He warned it will take ‘some getting used to’ for many businesses and they need to prepare for January 1.

‘This is a new reality, we wish it wasn’t happening but it is,’ he said. ‘Businesses have 65 days to get their act together.’

Mr Coveney added: ‘Can we get a deal? Yes we can. This is doable but difficult.’    

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Bamburgh Castle Clock Tower, Northumberland is now a holiday rental 

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bamburgh castle clock tower northumberland is now a holiday rental

This is one sure-fire way to feel like royalty.

Holidaymakers can now rent a newly opened and restored apartment within the medieval Clock Tower of  Bamburgh Castle, which has played host to a succession of monarchs and has blockbuster views of the stunning Northumberland coast to Holy Island from its lofty position 150ft up on a volcanic plinth.

The three-bed self-catered accommodation is set across the three storeys of the tower, with guests able to enjoy amazing sea views amid beautifully rustic decor – as well as peer down to one of England’s most treasured cricket pitches and gaze across to the Cheviot Hills.

A three-bedroom apartment, circled, within stunning Bamburgh Castle on the rugged Northumberland coastline has become available as a holiday rental

A three-bedroom apartment, circled, within stunning Bamburgh Castle on the rugged Northumberland coastline has become available as a holiday rental

A three-bedroom apartment, circled, within stunning Bamburgh Castle on the rugged Northumberland coastline has become available as a holiday rental  

The incredible apartment is inside the three-storey medieval Clock Tower, which joins onto a vast corner turret. It's pictured to the right of this image

The incredible apartment is inside the three-storey medieval Clock Tower, which joins onto a vast corner turret. It's pictured to the right of this image

The incredible apartment is inside the three-storey medieval Clock Tower, which joins onto a vast corner turret. It’s pictured to the right of this image

The views from the Clock Tower apartment are blockbuster, as this image highlights

The views from the Clock Tower apartment are blockbuster, as this image highlights

The views from the Clock Tower apartment are blockbuster, as this image highlights

Guests can gaze down at one of the most treasured cricket pitches in England

Guests can gaze down at one of the most treasured cricket pitches in England

Guests can gaze down at one of the most treasured cricket pitches in England

The Clock Tower dates back to the 13th century when it was built into the 1,400-year-old castle’s walls.

It links the castle’s curtain wall to a huge 13th-century turret. Slightly confusingly, the Clock Tower itself doesn’t have a clock – but has historically always carried that name.

The clock used to be on the castle Keep, but was moved to the corner turret in the 19th century to enable more villagers to have sight of the time. 

The tower has been transformed into a holiday let by the castle’s owner, Francis Watson Armstrong, and is listed on holiday cottage website Crabtree & Crabtree. 

The Clock Tower has been transformed into a holiday let by the castle's owner, Francis Watson Armstrong

The Clock Tower has been transformed into a holiday let by the castle's owner, Francis Watson Armstrong

The Clock Tower has been transformed into a holiday let by the castle’s owner, Francis Watson Armstrong

According to its listing, the rental has a 'lofty open-plan living area' with mullioned windows

According to its listing, the rental has a 'lofty open-plan living area' with mullioned windows

According to its listing, the rental has a ‘lofty open-plan living area’ with mullioned windows

The living area in the apartment has a 'rustic dining table' that is linked to a contemporary kitchen

The living area in the apartment has a 'rustic dining table' that is linked to a contemporary kitchen

The living area in the apartment has a ‘rustic dining table’ that is linked to a contemporary kitchen

The Clock Tower dates back to the 13th century, when it was built into the 1,400-year-old castle's walls

The Clock Tower dates back to the 13th century, when it was built into the 1,400-year-old castle's walls

The Clock Tower dates back to the 13th century, when it was built into the 1,400-year-old castle’s walls 

The rental has a ‘lofty open-plan living area, where mullioned windows and a line of internal windows look out in multiple directions across the coastline and castle green’.

It has ‘inviting velvet sofas and armchairs’ as well as a ‘rustic dining table’ that is linked to the contemporary kitchen.

At the top of the tower, up the ancient stone staircase, is the ‘sumptuous’ master bedroom, which is ‘resplendent in deep Farrow & Ball crimson and feels suitably regal with its king-size bed adorned with tapestry-inspired Morris & Co fabrics’, says the listing. 

The 'sumptuous' master bedroom, which the listing says is 'resplendent in deep Farrow & Ball crimson and feels suitably regal'

The 'sumptuous' master bedroom, which the listing says is 'resplendent in deep Farrow & Ball crimson and feels suitably regal'

The ‘sumptuous’ master bedroom, which the listing says is ‘resplendent in deep Farrow & Ball crimson and feels suitably regal’

This 'opulent' double room can be found on the apartment's ground floor and is 'daubed in striking teal'

This 'opulent' double room can be found on the apartment's ground floor and is 'daubed in striking teal'

This ‘opulent’ double room can be found on the apartment’s ground floor and is ‘daubed in striking teal’

Charming: One of the bedrooms has a tiny dressing room, hidden away

Charming: One of the bedrooms has a tiny dressing room, hidden away

Charming: One of the bedrooms has a tiny dressing room, hidden away

The eye-catching single room in the apartment. The listing says: 'The blend of ancient and new is a design thread that runs throughout this eclectic property'

The eye-catching single room in the apartment. The listing says: 'The blend of ancient and new is a design thread that runs throughout this eclectic property'

The eye-catching single room in the apartment. The listing says: ‘The blend of ancient and new is a design thread that runs throughout this eclectic property’ 

Seven-night stays in the apartment start from £1,325 and it sleeps up to five people

Seven-night stays in the apartment start from £1,325 and it sleeps up to five people

Seven-night stays in the apartment start from £1,325 and it sleeps up to five people

It also features an en-suite shower room and powder room tucked away in a turret.

Another opulent double bedroom and a charming single room, ‘daubed in striking teal and orange respectively and each complemented by rich Morris & Co fabrics’, are located one floor down.

The listing states: ‘The blend of ancient and new is a design thread that runs throughout this eclectic property, juxtaposing rich heritage fabrics with Aztec-inspired textiles, slick bathrooms with exposed stone walls and antique furniture with modern Pooky lamps.’

The Clock Tower boasts two entrances – one on the lower ground floor and another on the ground floor – and a small, sheltered private courtyard for ‘al-fresco lunches and sundowners’.

As a bonus, Clock Tower guests enjoy complimentary admission to the castle’s staterooms during opening hours and have the opportunity to enjoy the castle grounds once visitors have left.

The steps where guests gain access to the tower. It boasts two entrances - one on the lower ground floor and another on the ground floor

The steps where guests gain access to the tower. It boasts two entrances - one on the lower ground floor and another on the ground floor

The steps where guests gain access to the tower. It boasts two entrances – one on the lower ground floor and another on the ground floor

The holiday rental has a small, sheltered private courtyard for 'al-fresco lunches and sundowners'

The holiday rental has a small, sheltered private courtyard for 'al-fresco lunches and sundowners'

The holiday rental has a small, sheltered private courtyard for ‘al-fresco lunches and sundowners’

Emma Crabtree, founder of the holiday rental company Crabtree & Crabtree, said: 'The village of Bamburgh has always been a favourite with our guests. Currently, [our] holiday bookings for 2021 are up 118 per cent'

Emma Crabtree, founder of the holiday rental company Crabtree & Crabtree, said: 'The village of Bamburgh has always been a favourite with our guests. Currently, [our] holiday bookings for 2021 are up 118 per cent'

Emma Crabtree, founder of the holiday rental company Crabtree & Crabtree, said: ‘The village of Bamburgh has always been a favourite with our guests. Currently, [our] holiday bookings for 2021 are up 118 per cent’ 

Legendary figures who have stayed at Bamburgh Castle include Anglo-Saxon kings as well as Henry III, Edward I and Henry VI

Legendary figures who have stayed at Bamburgh Castle include Anglo-Saxon kings as well as Henry III, Edward I and Henry VI

Legendary figures who have stayed at Bamburgh Castle include Anglo-Saxon kings as well as Henry III, Edward I and Henry VI 

The castle’s Victorian Neville Tower – another three-bedroom holiday apartment – is also available through Crabtree & Crabtree.

Founder Emma Crabtree said: ‘We are beyond excited to be adding this outstanding apartment exclusively to the Crabtree & Crabtree collection.

‘The village of Bamburgh has always been a favourite with our guests. Currently, Crabtree & Crabtree Bamburgh holiday bookings for 2021 are up 118 per cent, so we are encouraging those that are interested to snap it up quickly.

‘We are fully expecting the Clock Tower to be in demand as much as its sister property, Neville Tower, which is currently booked up until January 2022.’

Seven-night stays in the apartment start from £1,325 and it sleeps up to five people.

Legendary figures who have stayed at Bamburgh Castle include Anglo-Saxon kings as well as Henry III, Edward I and Henry VI. 

THE TURBULENT HISTORY OF BAMBURGH CASTLE  

Bamburgh Castle's mighty keep, which remains at the heart of the castle today, was built in the 11th century

Bamburgh Castle's mighty keep, which remains at the heart of the castle today, was built in the 11th century

Bamburgh Castle’s mighty keep, which remains at the heart of the castle today, was built in the 11th century 

The Anglo-Saxons were the first to hail the village of Bamburgh as a place of importance thanks to its location next to a natural harbour and the North Sea.

In 547AD, a wooden stockade was built as the original Bamburgh Castle, but by 993AD it had fallen into disrepair following a number of invasions of Northumbria – most notably by the Vikings.

By 1095, William the Conqueror’s forces had arrived in Bamburgh to wrest power from the Northumbrian kings. The castle’s mighty keep, which remains at the heart of the castle today, was then built.

The castle then became a home for royalty, hosting King John, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III and Henry III. It was also home to Henry VI during the War of the Roses in 1464 and became the first castle in England to be damaged by gunfire.

By 1610, the castle was gifted to Claudius Forster – the castle’s last royal keeper – by James I but he was unable to afford its upkeep.

In 1701, the castle was passed to the last heir of the Forster family, Dorothy, who married the Bishop of Durham, Lord Crewe.

After her death, he set up a charity to restore the castle and to support the people of Bamburgh. Under the guidance of castle trustee Dr John Sharpe, it became a surgery and dispensary for the poor and a free school for underprivileged children.

But by 1894, the castle fell into financial difficulties once again and it was eventually bought by Victorian industrialist William Armstrong – who set about restoring it.

However, he died before the work was completed and it eventually became the home of his family. They opened up the castle to visitors in the 1950s –  and it is still owned by the Armstrong family today. 

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