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The battle of the Murdoch brothers: How James’ shock resignation hands victory to Lachlan

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the battle of the murdoch brothers how james shock resignation hands victory to lachlan

James Murdoch’s resignation from the family firm represents a victory for his older brother in the epic power struggle between the two siblings and their Succession-style battle to succeed their father.

His decision to ditch News Corp – citing ‘disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s news outlets’ – sent shockwaves through the media world.

But the 47-year-old’s relationship with father Rupert had long been cold before yesterday’s shock announcement, according to Jamie Roberts, who made the BBC documentary The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty.

The London-based director and producer today claimed James ‘seems to have been distancing himself from the family business for about three years now’.

The move has paved the way for his older brother Lachlan, 48, to take over the multi-billion dollar family empire when Rupert, 89, dies.

James's (right) resignation has paved the way for his older brother Lachlan (left), 48, to take over the family empire when Rupert (centre), 89, dies

James's (right) resignation has paved the way for his older brother Lachlan (left), 48, to take over the family empire when Rupert (centre), 89, dies

James’s (right) resignation has paved the way for his older brother Lachlan (left), 48, to take over the family empire when Rupert (centre), 89, dies

Rupert is pictured with his second wife Anna and his sons James and Lachlan when they were younger

Rupert is pictured with his second wife Anna and his sons James and Lachlan when they were younger

Rupert is pictured with his second wife Anna and his sons James and Lachlan when they were younger

The London-based director and producer Mr Roberts (pictured) added James 'seems to have been distancing himself from the family business for about three years now'

The London-based director and producer Mr Roberts (pictured) added James 'seems to have been distancing himself from the family business for about three years now'

The London-based director and producer Mr Roberts (pictured) added James ‘seems to have been distancing himself from the family business for about three years now’

Mr Roberts told the Today programme: ‘From what I know I think the relationship has been cold for some time and he’s publicly spoken out against some of his father’s core businesses and that – from what we have learnt – is a big no no.

‘Liz Murdoch did that around the time of the phone hacking scandal and she was criticised by her father for doing that.

‘And so him doing this is a very kind of front footed statement from James about who he is now and the fact he is his own man.’

James had been on the board of directors for News Corp since 2013 and was the CEO of 21st Century Fox until last year.

James, 47, quit the News Corp board yesterday, citing 'disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company's news outlets'

James, 47, quit the News Corp board yesterday, citing 'disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company's news outlets'

James, 47, quit the News Corp board yesterday, citing ‘disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s news outlets’

In a statement last night, he said: ‘My resignation is due to disagreements over certain editorial content published by the Company’s news outlets and certain other strategic decisions.’

Mr Roberts said Lachlan was already the preferred candidate to take over Rupert’s empire when he dies, citing sources he spoke to in his three-part series.

He said James’s statement was ‘just publicly underlining it’ and added the youngest son has been investing in left-leaning media outlets that mirror his father’s.

The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty presented a world where Rupert would play his children off against each other to see who was most capable of taking over his firm.

Even when they were children Rupert was grooming them to take over the business one day and keep them in competition with each other.

In one account, the media mogul had them eating breakfast at their home on Fifth Avenue, New York, while he lectured them on how the morning’s newspapers were laid out, including how many ad pages there were and which articles were selected and placed where.

Elisabeth was seen as the ‘natural favourite’, Lachlan was described as ‘charming’, while James was ‘the brains’ of the family.

Their lives were also mimicked in the HBO series Succession, which follows the Roys who argue over the inheritance of ageing father Logan’s entertainment empire.

Lachlan and James have looked the favourites to continue the dynasty since eldest daughter Elisabeth started funding her own ventures in the 2000s.

But James appeared to fall out of favour in the early 2010s when he was executive chairman of News International – the owners of the News of the World.

On his watch – between 2007 and 2012 – reporters from the newspaper hacked the phones of celebrities, politicians and murder victims.

Amid a huge public outcry, he was forced to shut the newspaper in 2011 and he also resigned as chairman of BSkyB, now Sky UK Limited.

Both James and his father appeared in front of the Leveson Inquiry, which Rupert described as ‘the most humble day of my life’.

Both James (pictured) and his father appeared in front of the Leveson Inquiry, which Rupert described as 'the most humble day of my life'

Both James (pictured) and his father appeared in front of the Leveson Inquiry, which Rupert described as 'the most humble day of my life'

Both James (pictured) and his father appeared in front of the Leveson Inquiry, which Rupert described as ‘the most humble day of my life’

Soon after, in 2014, Lachlan returned to the family fold after running a number of other businesses.

He was made non-executive co-chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox by his father, which seemed to set him up as taking over the empire.

The 48-year-old became Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox in 2015 and was named as the Chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation in March 2019.

Lachlan also became the CEO of Fox News in a reshuffle which put James out of the day-to-day running of the family business in 2018.

James was also handed more responsibility, despite his failings in London, and was made CEO of 21st Century Fox in 2015 and a year later became chair of Sky.

But these were short-lived, as he had to leave Sky in 2018 when Comcast took majority control and left 21st Century Fox when Walt Disney Company took over last year.

While being squeezed out of power in recent years, James has not been afraid to criticise the family firm.

He is known as the more liberal Murdoch brother, while Lachlan’s views seem to be more aligned with those of his conservative father.

James wanted the company to be a globalised news and entertainment brand, whereas Lachlan was pushing for a nationalist and profitable political machine.

The younger brother and his wife Kathryn slammed the family business for promoting climate change ‘denials’ during the Australian bushfire crisis in January.

The pair released a statement saying they were ‘disappointed’ by the coverage of the fires by Fox News and other News Corp outlets.

‘Kathryn and James’s views on climate are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known.

‘They are particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary,’ their statement read.

Lachlan became the CEO of Fox News in a reshuffle which put James out of the day-to-day running of the family business in 2018

Lachlan became the CEO of Fox News in a reshuffle which put James out of the day-to-day running of the family business in 2018

Lachlan became the CEO of Fox News in a reshuffle which put James out of the day-to-day running of the family business in 2018

James (right) was also handed more responsibility, despite his failings in London, and was made CEO of 21st Century Fox in 2015 and a year later became chair of Sky

James (right) was also handed more responsibility, despite his failings in London, and was made CEO of 21st Century Fox in 2015 and a year later became chair of Sky

James (right) was also handed more responsibility, despite his failings in London, and was made CEO of 21st Century Fox in 2015 and a year later became chair of Sky

The ‘denials’ were in reference to allegations arsonists and not climate change were to blame for the destructive wildfires.

His comments were perceived as ‘unprecedented’ and sparked speculation of a feud within the family since he rarely speaks publicly about his role in the business.

And in a revealing interview with the New Yorker last year, James admitted he went ‘periods of time’ without talking to his father.

Meanwhile Lachlan, who is seen to share similar views to his father, has recently remained loyal and not hit out at the family business.

Their relationship has run hot and cold over the years, but it was believed to have been cemented from 2014 when he returned to New York to work for News Corp.

James’s announcement yesterday appears to have quashed any expectation he will take over his father’s empire, especially due to the attack on the family’s media outlets in his statement.

The two successors to the Murdoch throne:

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, 89, currently married to Jerry Hall, has six children by three different women, with their ages ranging from 62 (his eldest daughter Prudence Murdoch by first wife, Patricia Booker) down to 17 (Chloe, Murdoch’s youngest child with ex-wife Wendi Deng). 

However, the obvious successors to his media throne – or at the least the ones who have made the biggest play for it so far – are his middle-born children, Lachlan, 48, and James, 47, with many predicting that Lachlan is the ‘golden child’ who eventually head up the entire global business.  

Will one of the middle three succeed Rupert? The new BBC documentary explores how 'natural favourite' Elisabeth, 'charming' Lachlan and 'the brains' of the family James all vied for their position in their father's dynasty. Pictured from left: James,  Lachlan, their mother Ann, Elisabeth, and Rupert Murdooch

Will one of the middle three succeed Rupert? The new BBC documentary explores how 'natural favourite' Elisabeth, 'charming' Lachlan and 'the brains' of the family James all vied for their position in their father's dynasty. Pictured from left: James,  Lachlan, their mother Ann, Elisabeth, and Rupert Murdooch

Will one of the middle three succeed Rupert? The new BBC documentary explores how ‘natural favourite’ Elisabeth, ‘charming’ Lachlan and ‘the brains’ of the family James all vied for their position in their father’s dynasty. Pictured from left: James,  Lachlan, their mother Ann, Elisabeth, and Rupert Murdooch

LACHLAN MURDOCH

Hey Dad! Dubbed by many as the 'golden child', Lachlan Murdoch looks increasingly likely to inherit Murdoch's empire. The father-of-three holds major positions in the Murdoch conglomerate including  being co-chairman of News Corp and CEO of the Fox Corporation

Hey Dad! Dubbed by many as the 'golden child', Lachlan Murdoch looks increasingly likely to inherit Murdoch's empire. The father-of-three holds major positions in the Murdoch conglomerate including  being co-chairman of News Corp and CEO of the Fox Corporation

Hey Dad! Dubbed by many as the ‘golden child’, Lachlan Murdoch looks increasingly likely to inherit Murdoch’s empire. The father-of-three holds major positions in the Murdoch conglomerate including  being co-chairman of News Corp and CEO of the Fox Corporation

The middle child, 48, in the three siblings, Lachlan has been dubbed ‘charming’  and was even called ‘the Prince’. In his twenties, he was appointed Deputy CEO of News Limited, one of Australia’s largest media conglomerates. 

Lachlan became the CEO of Fox News in a reshuffle which put James on the outs of the day-to-day running of the family business in 2018.  

The relationship between Lachlan and his father has run hot and cold over the years, but that changed in 2014 when Murdoch’s older son returned to New York to work for News Corp. Now, he is the Chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation.

JAMES  MURDOCH

A different path: despite being hugely loyal to his father, Rupert's youngest son is now largely out of the picture, running investment company Lupa Systems with his wife Kathryn

A different path: despite being hugely loyal to his father, Rupert's youngest son is now largely out of the picture, running investment company Lupa Systems with his wife Kathryn

A different path: despite being hugely loyal to his father, Rupert’s youngest son is now largely out of the picture, running investment company Lupa Systems with his wife Kathryn 

Youngest son James, 47, started his media career running rap label Rawkus Records, a dominant label in the underground hip-hop scene established by pals Brian Brater and Jarret Myer, with his father’s financial backing.

However, he was soon back in the fold and the youngest of the three siblings has arguably been the most loyal, staying by his father’s side for decades after joining News Corp shortly after he dropped out of Harvard.

Since his brother became CEO of Fox News in 2018 in a major reshuffle, James has worked at the helm of the investment fund Lupa Systems but retains a seat on the board of News Corp. Leaving Fox wasn’t an entirely bad move though, he became $2 billion richer thanks to his shares in the company.

In recent years, the father-of-three, married to climate activist wife Kathryn, has been increasingly vocal against Fox News and other News Corporation outlets including of coverage by the organisation on the Australian forest fires in 2019.

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He was even last year reportedly looking to set up a $1billion new project including a liberal news outlet, in stark contrast to his father’s Fox News.

In March it was further suggested he pumped money into start-ups looking to combat fake news.

His firm Lupa Systems was said to have teamed up with Betaworks to create a ‘more sustainable news ecosystem’.

Rupert designed his companies to benefit his family, making certain he and his children always had control.

The tycoon was able to show that plan in action last year, when the sale of Fox’s film and television assets to Disney saw his six children pocket about $2billion.

But Rupert has remained coy over who will take over his business interests when he retires, refusing to name an heir despite making no secret of his preferred child.

It is not his oldest child Prudence or the next in line Elisabeth, who has found incredible success outside the family business in emerging media markets.

It is not James, the son who had stood by his side for decades and weathered the fallout from the hacking scandal and the 2016 sexual assault scandal at Fox News, which saw Roger Ailes ousted.

But it is Lachlan, Murdoch’s older son, who is the ‘golden child’ according to multiple sources.

And the empire looks to be his for the taking – but it is not clear if he is interested in the job.

The family company and its future were the focus of a New York Times piece last year that provided an in depth look at the mogul’s two sons while completely ignoring the lives and accomplishments of his four daughters.

By some accounts, Rupert’s heirs were still battling behind the scenes for control of the empire, with the two top contenders still James and Lachlan until the former called it a day yesterday.

The brothers have had a tumultuous relationship over the years which had become more frayed than ever of recent after Lachlan was promoted over his younger brother by their father, despite James’s previous loyalty to the family firm.

Others claim most of the children have soured on the notion of taking over from their father.

The media mogul is a father of six, who range in age from 61 to 16. The oldest is Prudence, who is Murdoch’s only child with his first wife, Australian model Patricia Booker.

She has held various positions in her father’s companies but now lives in Australia where she is largely focused on raising her three children.

Prue, as she is called by her family, has made it clear she is not interested in taking the reins and did not even attend college after graduating from Dalton in New York.

That does not mean she would oppose seeing her second husband, Alasdair MacLeod, move up the ranks at News Corp – despite her protests about him working with her father, or her offspring – who are Murdoch’s three oldest grandchildren – landing nice roles at the company.

But as Vanity Fair reported back in 2008, Prue is in many ways the one link the family has to reality.

‘She gets away with saying what the others won’t, even things that the others won’t think, and she takes the various family members much less seriously than they do themselves,’ reported the magazine.

‘This involves, not least of all, seeing her three oldest half-siblings – Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James – as, each in his or her way, master-race prototypes.’

It is those three who had long seemed poised to battle it out for their father’s media empire – Elisabeth, 50, Lachlan and James.

All three work in media, with Elisabeth currently experiencing success with Vertical Networks, a startup that provides app-based series that are produced to be viewed in cellular devices.

The relationship between Lachlan and his father has run hot and cold over the years, but that changed in 2014 when Murdoch’s older son returned to New York to work for News Corp. Now, he is the Chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation.

James, the youngest of the three, had been the most loyal, staying by his father’s side and joining News Corp shortly after he dropped out of Harvard.

That devotion was tested however when Murdoch elected to promote Lachlan over James after he return to work in the US following an extended stint in Australia.

The brothers already strained relationship only got worse when Lachlan informed James of this decision over lunch.

James even briefly quit the company, but then decided to return before then exiting for good.

Murdoch’s youngest children are Grace, 18, and Chloe, 16, the New York-based daughters born to Murdoch’s third wife Wendi Deng.

Chloe is currently attending an Ivy League college while her sister attends private school in Manhattan.

The ambitions of the two teenagers are unknown, but their fiercely intelligent mother has no doubt seen to it the two get no less than their older half-siblings.

The documentary claims the media mogul has often described Elisabeth as being most similar to him. But it is Lachlan who is favourite to take over the family empire

The documentary claims the media mogul has often described Elisabeth as being most similar to him. But it is Lachlan who is favourite to take over the family empire

The documentary claims the media mogul has often described Elisabeth as being most similar to him. But it is Lachlan who is favourite to take over the family empire

James is a longtime environmental advocate. His wife Kathryn works at the Clinton Climate Initiative and the pair are known contributors to the Clinton Foundation.

The couple last month endorsed presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by donating $615,000 each to his campaign after previously donating to former candidate Pete Buttigieg.

Rupert and Lachlan said in a statement on James leaving News Corp: ‘We’re grateful to James for his many years of service to the company.’

The short statement added: ‘We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.’

News Corp is one of the two major media conglomerates owned by the Murdochs, the other being Fox Corporation, which was established after The Walt Disney Company acquired the majority of 21st Century Fox last year.

The two sister companies were formed following the split of the original News Corporation, founded in 1980, in 2013.

James previously served as the CEO of 21st Century Fox but stepped down following the sale. Since then, he has worked at the helm of the investment fund Lupa Systems.

News Corp also publishes major papers in Australia and the UK and owns the HarperCollins book publisher.

How similar is HBO’s Succession to the lives of the Murdoch family?

It doesn’t take a sleuth to work out there are some clear parallels between the character of entrepreneurial Scot Logan Roy (Brian Cox) in Succession and Rupert Murdoch. 

For a start, both the fictional and real-life media moguls have a penchant for getting spliced, and then divorced. 

While Logan has had three wives, Murdoch has been married four times, including to his latest wife Jerry Hall, whom he wed four years ago. 

Rupert, is that you? Logan Roy (Brian Cox) plays a Scottish media mogul whose four children are warring over his empire in hit HBO series Succession

Rupert, is that you? Logan Roy (Brian Cox) plays a Scottish media mogul whose four children are warring over his empire in hit HBO series Succession

Rupert, is that you? Logan Roy (Brian Cox) plays a Scottish media mogul whose four children are warring over his empire in hit HBO series Succession

Murdoch has six children: Prudence, 62, Elisabeth, 51, Lachlan, 48, and James, 47, plus Grace and Chloe, daughters from his marriage to Wendi Deng, who are 19 and 17 respectively.

Meanwhile, Roy has a brood of four kids – Connor, Kendall, Shiv and Roman.  

Perhaps the biggest potential steal when it comes to Succession’s plot is that Roy is preparing to hand over his huge media company to just one offspring, a son.

Currently Lachlan Murdoch is co-chairman of News Corp and CEO of the Fox Corporation while his younger brother James and older sister Elisabeth now both operate their own private ventures away from the family firm. 

Succession’s creator Jesse Armstrong has been opaque about the show’s purported inspiration though, telling Variety magazine: ‘There are loads of succession stories to draw on. 

‘We wanted to draw on all the good, rich stories there are about succession and about media and high politics.’

While Succession creator Jesse Armstrong has said there is no explicit inspiration for the hit show's plot, he did namecheck the Murdochs last year in a New York Times interview

While Succession creator Jesse Armstrong has said there is no explicit inspiration for the hit show's plot, he did namecheck the Murdochs last year in a New York Times interview

Armstrong said: 'The amazing thing about this stuff is that it’s everywhere. Sumner Redstone’s family. The Mercers. The Murdochs. Conrad Black'.

Armstrong said: 'The amazing thing about this stuff is that it’s everywhere. Sumner Redstone’s family. The Mercers. The Murdochs. Conrad Black'.

While Succession creator Jesse Armstrong has said there is no explicit inspiration for the hit show’s plot, he did namecheck them, telling the New York Times last year: ‘The amazing thing about this stuff is that it’s everywhere. Sumner Redstone’s family. The Mercers. The Murdochs. Conrad Black’.

Rupert and current wife, former Texan model Jerry Hall. His marriage to Hall in 2016 was the fourth time the media titan has said 'I do'. The character of Logan Roy in Succession has been married three times

Rupert and current wife, former Texan model Jerry Hall. His marriage to Hall in 2016 was the fourth time the media titan has said 'I do'. The character of Logan Roy in Succession has been married three times

Rupert and current wife, former Texan model Jerry Hall. His marriage to Hall in 2016 was the fourth time the media titan has said ‘I do’. The character of Logan Roy in Succession has been married three times

Armstrong did later namecheck the Murdochs though in a New York Times interview, saying: ‘The amazing thing about this stuff is that it’s everywhere. Sumner Redstone’s family. The Mercers. The Murdochs. Conrad Black. 

‘Sometimes people have said, ‘It’s really about these people, isn’t it? It’s based on them’. And: No. We read widely and we do take elements of stuff.

‘Hopefully, if you’re writing in the right area, you end up hitting reality.’ 

SUCCESSION: HOW THE FIRST SEASON PLAYED OUT 

The first season of the HBO series opens with Roy, preparing to retire from his media empire Waystar Roco, with his son Kendall expected to be named successor. 

However, the clan is left reeling when Logan announces he’s going to stay on because he doesn’t feel Kendall is ready for the responsibility due to his past battles with drugs, even though he’s now sober.

Hours after the shock announcement, Logan suffers a brain aneurysm and is rushed to hospital and while he’s in a coma, Kendall takes over. Logan recovers and when he takes the reins again, he starts promoting anyone but Kendall to important positions.

His son Roman becomes head of studio, and Tom – the fiancé of his daughter Siobhan – is made head of parks.

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Trump mocked for claiming ‘1917’ Spanish Flu pandemic ended World War Two

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trump mocked for claiming 1917 spanish flu pandemic ended world war two

The U.S. President has been mocked for claiming the ‘1917’ Spanish Flu pandemic ended World War Two, which did not begin until 1939. 

Donald Trump once again referenced the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic in comparison to the coronavirus crisis during a White House press briefing on Monday. 

He accidentally connected it to World War II, 1939-1945. 

President Trump said the 'great pandemic' of 1917 'probably ended the second World War, all the soldiers were sick'

President Trump said the 'great pandemic' of 1917 'probably ended the second World War, all the soldiers were sick'

President Trump said the ‘great pandemic’ of 1917 ‘probably ended the second World War, all the soldiers were sick’

‘The closest thing is in 1917 they say, right? The great pandemic, certainly as a terrible thing,’ Trump said. 

Then he said it ‘probably ended the Second World War, all the soldiers were sick.’ 

The Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, lasted from February 1918 to April 1920.

It infected an estimated 500 million people – about a third of the world’s population at the time – in four successive waves. 

The death toll is typically estimated to have been somewhere between 17 million and 50 million. 

New York City celebrating VJ Day at the end of World war Two in Japan 1945. Trump connected the flu pandemic of 1918 to the end of the war

New York City celebrating VJ Day at the end of World war Two in Japan 1945. Trump connected the flu pandemic of 1918 to the end of the war

New York City celebrating VJ Day at the end of World war Two in Japan 1945. Trump connected the flu pandemic of 1918 to the end of the war

A White House official clarified to USA Today that Trump was referring to World War I. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the deployment of troops during WWI could have helped contribute to the spread of the Spanish Flu.

World War I ended after Germany surrendered on November 11, 1918. On June 28, 1919, Germany and the Allied Nations,including Britain, France, Italy and Russia, signed the Treaty of Versailles, formally ending the war.

Some took to Twitter to point out the President’s blunder. Actress and activist Sophia Bush tweeted:  ‘The Second World War ended in … 1945.

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‘So to recap things we’ve learned since 2016 … 45 hasn’t read the Constitution, hasn’t read the Bible (but likes to hold one upside down), and clearly never took a US History class. Or … math? Cool cool, very cool.’ 

Rep. Eric Swalwell wrote: ‘The Second World War ended in 1945. It’s cruel for @DonaldJTrumpJr and family to let @realDonaldTrump stand out there like this.’ 

Star Trek actor George Takei warned against ‘distorting history’. He wrote: ‘The president thinks the Spanish Flu probably ended World War Two (!) because “all the soldiers were sick.” 

‘The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki fell 75 years ago yesterday, bringing a long and devastating war to a shattering, violent end. Remember history. Don’t distort it.’ 

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Heatwave Britain could bake in 100F temperatures today as Met Office issues flood warnings

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heatwave britain could bake in 100f temperatures today as met office issues flood warnings

Britain’s heatwave could see temperatures rise up to 100F today as the Met Office warns of flood warnings after thunderstorms battered parts of the nation with 50,000 lightning strikes and hail the size of golf balls landed in Wales. 

While some parts of the country awoke to the sound of thunder during the night, others suffered with more intense heat. 

Historically these sweltering evenings were so rare that only eight were recorded between 1961 to 1995, but the country has now seen 16 tropical nights this summer, with more to come, the Telegraph reports. 

Today Britain will set its second longest run of consecutive 90F (32C) days on record – matching the total of five set in 1995. 

While temperatures in London are expected to reach 91F, the Met Office is not ruling out the possibilty of the mercury hitting 100F. 

Temperatures in the Capital have already already hit 75F before 9am this morning, which is higher than the average maximum for this time of year.

Today’s forecast comes after tremendous thunder and hail storms hit part of the country yesterday – with further warnings in place for the North West, Birmingham and Scotland. 

The whole of the UK remains under a thunderstorm warning until Thursday, while a month’s worth of rain could fall in the space of three hours today. 

Other images from Llannefydd, Wales captured forks of lightning striking across purple skies as the night drew in on Monday

Other images from Llannefydd, Wales captured forks of lightning striking across purple skies as the night drew in on Monday

Other images from Llannefydd, Wales captured forks of lightning striking across purple skies as the night drew in on Monday

As the sun rose over Blyth East Pier Lighthouse in Northumberland, the Met Office refused to rule out temperatures reaching up to 100F

As the sun rose over Blyth East Pier Lighthouse in Northumberland, the Met Office refused to rule out temperatures reaching up to 100F

As the sun rose over Blyth East Pier Lighthouse in Northumberland, the Met Office refused to rule out temperatures reaching up to 100F 

Flash floods struck Aberystwyth, Wales following an influx of rain at around 3pm on Monday, leaving roads underwater and parts of the market town’s drainage system overflowing.

Images from North Wales show hailstones, some reported to be the size of golf balls, setting off car alarms as they fall in Capel Curig. 

Areas of Gwynedd also saw flooding before dramatic thunderstorms and torrential downpours struck much of the west coast of Britain overnight – while the nation experienced a ‘tropical night’ with temperatures largely remaining above 68F (20C). 

Despite the warmer temperatures, two inches of rain battered parts of northwest Wales per hour as ‘severe’ thunderstorms gathered pace near the Snowdonia National Park on Monday evening. 

How Britain’s ten-day heatwave is unfolding 

  1. Wednesday – 83.1F/28.4C (Santon Downham, Suffolk)
  2. Thursday – 86.2F/30.1C (Wisley, Surrey)
  3. Friday – 97.5F/36.4C (Kew, West London)
  4. Saturday – 94.1F/34.5C (Herstmonceux, East Sussex)
  5. Sunday – 93.2F/34C (Herstmonceux, East Sussex)
  6. Monday – 95F/35C (Heathrow, London) 
  7. Today – 97F/36C (forecast)
  8. Wednesday – 97F/36C (forecast)
  9. Thursday – 91F/33C (forecast)
  10. Friday – 82F/28C (forecast)
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Storms also struck in Cumbria, with those in Whitehaven and Workington capturing striking images of lightning illuminating the sky before midnight.

And in Wirral, Britons described lightning so frequent ‘it looks like fireworks coming through the blinds.’ 

The storm travelled up the west coast to Liverpool and Lancaster early on Tuesday, with locals reporting fast strikes of lightning without any thunder or rain.

Following Monday’s rainfall, the Environment Agency has issued four warnings for expected flooding in the north-west – two at Lancaster and two at Ulverston.

Five flood alerts – warning of possible flooding – are in place for Birmingham and surrounding districts.

Flood alerts have been issued for 19 locations in Scotland, with one also current for the Vyrnwy catchment area in Wales.

Some heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected for the north of England tonight, in what will be a warm night for most parts of the nation.

London is expected to record a top temperature of 33 degrees this afternoon (Tuesday). Birmingham’s forecast maximum is 30 degrees.

Wednesday is expected to be very hot again in the south. 

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Hail stones reported to be the size of golf balls set off car alarms as they fell over Capel Curing in North Wales yesterday

Hail stones reported to be the size of golf balls set off car alarms as they fell over Capel Curing in North Wales yesterday

Hail stones reported to be the size of golf balls set off car alarms as they fell over Capel Curing in North Wales yesterday 

A hailstorm bucketed down over Capel Curing in North Wales on Monday afternoon as Wales' heatwave started came to an end

A hailstorm bucketed down over Capel Curing in North Wales on Monday afternoon as Wales' heatwave started came to an end

A hailstorm bucketed down over Capel Curing in North Wales on Monday afternoon as Wales’ heatwave started came to an end

Dramatic thunderstorms struck Wrexham, north Wales overnight on Monday (pictured) as Britons experienced a 'tropical night' with 68F temperatures

Dramatic thunderstorms struck Wrexham, north Wales overnight on Monday (pictured) as Britons experienced a 'tropical night' with 68F temperatures

Dramatic thunderstorms struck Wrexham, north Wales overnight on Monday (pictured) as Britons experienced a ‘tropical night’ with 68F temperatures 

Thunder strikes near Morecambe, Lancashire as thunderstorms and torrential downpours batter Britain overnight on Monday

Thunder strikes near Morecambe, Lancashire as thunderstorms and torrential downpours batter Britain overnight on Monday

Thunder strikes near Morecambe, Lancashire as thunderstorms and torrential downpours batter Britain overnight on Monday

Thunderstorms have brought flash flooding and power cuts to parts of Wales. Mid and West Wales Fire Service said it had attended eight flooding incidents in Aberystwyth on Monday

Thunderstorms have brought flash flooding and power cuts to parts of Wales. Mid and West Wales Fire Service said it had attended eight flooding incidents in Aberystwyth on Monday

Thunderstorms have brought flash flooding and power cuts to parts of Wales. Mid and West Wales Fire Service said it had attended eight flooding incidents in Aberystwyth on Monday

Aberystwyth in Wales endured an influx of rain at around 3pm on Monday, leaving the town in several centimetres of water within 20 minutes, overflowing part of the town's drainage system

Aberystwyth in Wales endured an influx of rain at around 3pm on Monday, leaving the town in several centimetres of water within 20 minutes, overflowing part of the town's drainage system

Aberystwyth in Wales endured an influx of rain at around 3pm on Monday, leaving the town in several centimetres of water within 20 minutes, overflowing part of the town’s drainage system

Visitors to Bournemouth beach in Dorset enjoy the very hot weather on the afternoon of August 10 as the heatwave continues

Visitors to Bournemouth beach in Dorset enjoy the very hot weather on the afternoon of August 10 as the heatwave continues

Visitors to Bournemouth beach in Dorset enjoy the very hot weather on the afternoon of August 10 as the heatwave continues

People sunbathing in the late afternoon on the parched grass on Wimbledon Common on August 10 amid the heatwave

People sunbathing in the late afternoon on the parched grass on Wimbledon Common on August 10 amid the heatwave

People sunbathing in the late afternoon on the parched grass on Wimbledon Common on August 10 amid the heatwave

Meteorologists have issued a broad yellow weather warning covering much the UK from yesterday to Thursday for severe thunderstorms, which they said ‘could be significant and disruptive’ until 3am on Tuesday.  

Rainfall totals were expected to be as high as six inches in ‘three or four hours’, with some areas seeing as much as two and a half inches in one hour alone.  

Further thunderstorms are expected for the rest of this week until at least Thursday, with the Met Office admitting there is ‘significant uncertainty in location and timing’ as it covered the whole country in a four-day warning.  

Despite the downpours, Britain’s ten-day heatwave shows no signs of relenting and will continue until at least Friday, with the country enduring an extraordinary period of scorching weather. 

Maximums of up to 99F (37C) are now expected every day until Thursday, before temperatures are expected to dip on Friday to 82F (27C). 

A high of 91F (33C) was recorded at East Malling in Kent at 1pm on Monday, and Tuesday will likely see heat of 93F (34C).  

The evenings will provide little relief, as tropical nights, when temperatures stay above 68F (20C), are forecast to continue this week as this year seems to be on track for a record number.  

There has now been an unbroken chain of at least 10 tropical nights per summer in the years from 2011 to 2020, after the events became statistically significant after 1995. 

The streak has caused sleepless nights for many Brits, with many taking to Twitter to share their desperation. 

Britain has already seen temperatures rise above the official heatwave level of over 82F (28C) since last Wednesday – with a level three heat health alert issued.  

It follows the deaths of at least three people in waters around Britain since the weekend, including:

  • On Monday the body of man in his 60s was pulled from the sea near Clacton Pier in Essex at 10.30am, with the air ambulance landing on the beach. Police were treating his death as unexplained but not suspicious.
  • A mother in her 30s drowned at Waxham at about 5.30pm on August 9 after jumping into the sea to rescue her son and his friend who had got into difficulty in a sea kayak after being caught out by the strong current.
  • Later that evening a three-hour search from 6.45pm for a missing child in the water in the west of Scotland in the River Leven, near Balloch Bridge, ended with police finding the body of talented 12-year-old dancer Ava Gray.

Meanwhile a coastguard rescue team have been searching in Blackpool for a 17-year-old girl who is feared to have gone missing after going into the water at the Lancashire resort in the early hours.  

Meteorologists now expect Britain to have the second longest run of consecutive 90F (32C) days on record. While the period is unlikely to get close to the 15 days in 1976, it is expected to beat the second-placed five days in 1995.

The record for the longest spell of 95F (35C) is three days – set in 1976 and 1990 – which this week could match. And the UK has only had heat of 98F (36.7C) on four days in history, one of which was recorded only 11 days ago.

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Desperate Brits shared their sleepless nights on Twitter after another sweltering evening across the country, with the heatwave set to continue today

Desperate Brits shared their sleepless nights on Twitter after another sweltering evening across the country, with the heatwave set to continue today

Desperate Brits shared their sleepless nights on Twitter after another sweltering evening across the country, with the heatwave set to continue today

Pictured: Thunderstorms in Britain overnight on Monday

Pictured: Thunderstorms in Britain overnight on Monday

Pictured: Rainfall in Britain overnight on Monday

Pictured: Rainfall in Britain overnight on Monday

Dramatic thunderstorms (left) and heavy rainfall (right) largely struck the west coast of Britain overnight on Monday

Further thunderstorms are expected for the rest of this week until at least Thursday, with the Met Office admitting there is 'significant uncertainty in location and timing' as it covered the whole country in a four-day warning (pictured: Aberystwyth)

Further thunderstorms are expected for the rest of this week until at least Thursday, with the Met Office admitting there is 'significant uncertainty in location and timing' as it covered the whole country in a four-day warning (pictured: Aberystwyth)

Further thunderstorms are expected for the rest of this week until at least Thursday, with the Met Office admitting there is ‘significant uncertainty in location and timing’ as it covered the whole country in a four-day warning (pictured: Aberystwyth)

 

Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond told how the thunderstorms over the next few days 'could pop up pretty much anywhere, due to the combination of exceptionally high temperatures and unstable air' (pictured: Aberystwyth)

Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond told how the thunderstorms over the next few days 'could pop up pretty much anywhere, due to the combination of exceptionally high temperatures and unstable air' (pictured: Aberystwyth)

Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond told how the thunderstorms over the next few days ‘could pop up pretty much anywhere, due to the combination of exceptionally high temperatures and unstable air’ (pictured: Aberystwyth)

The UK is experiencing an extraordinary period of scorching weather, with the mercury now having been above the official heatwave level of over 82F (28C) since last Wednesday - and a level three heat health alert in place (pictured: Aberystwyth)

The UK is experiencing an extraordinary period of scorching weather, with the mercury now having been above the official heatwave level of over 82F (28C) since last Wednesday - and a level three heat health alert in place (pictured: Aberystwyth)

The UK is experiencing an extraordinary period of scorching weather, with the mercury now having been above the official heatwave level of over 82F (28C) since last Wednesday – and a level three heat health alert in place (pictured: Aberystwyth)

Holidaymakers and beachgoers bask in the sunshine on the beach at the Dorset seaside resort of Lyme Regis, August 10

Holidaymakers and beachgoers bask in the sunshine on the beach at the Dorset seaside resort of Lyme Regis, August 10

Holidaymakers and beachgoers bask in the sunshine on the beach at the Dorset seaside resort of Lyme Regis, August 10

Beachgoers enjoy a day out in Bournemouth, Dorset, on Monday as many Britons choose staycations over holidays abroad

Beachgoers enjoy a day out in Bournemouth, Dorset, on Monday as many Britons choose staycations over holidays abroad

Beachgoers enjoy a day out in Bournemouth, Dorset, on Monday as many Britons choose staycations over holidays abroad 

Thermometers got up to at least 93F (34C) in parts of South East England on both days of the weekend just gone, following the joint ninth hottest day in UK history last Friday when 97.5F (36.4C) was recorded in West London.     

As the most prolonged period of hot August weather for 17 years continues, the forecast comes as: 

  • Authorities struggled to keep people away from Britain’s overcrowded beaches amid social distancing issues; 
  • South East Water urged customers to put away their hose pipes, garden sprinklers and garden water toys; 
  • In Southend, a child had suspected hypothermia after being spotted clinging to a dingy 300 yards out to sea;
  • HM Coastguard dealt with the highest number of call-outs in one day for more than four years at the weekend.

The heat is still on but the Met Office – which issued a broad yellow weather warning covering much the UK from Monday to Thursday – says where there are thunderstorms ‘they could be significant and disruptive’.

Sunday was ‘another hot day’ in southern England, where temperatures reached 93.2F (34C) at Herstmonceux, East Sussex, and 92.8F (33.8C) at both London Heathrow Airport and Gosport in Hampshire, the Met Office said.

Three deaths on Britain’s coasts within 24 hours 

Ava Gray, 12, was praised as a 'dancing angel' following her death in Balloch, Scotland

Ava Gray, 12, was praised as a 'dancing angel' following her death in Balloch, Scotland

Ava Gray, 12, was praised as a ‘dancing angel’ following her death in Balloch, Scotland

AUGUST 10 

10.30am: Body of man in his 60s is pulled from the water in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. Police are treating the death as unexplained but not suspicious

AUGUST 9 

6.45pm: Body of Ava Gray, 12, is found following a three-hour search in the water in the River Leven, near Balloch Bridge in Scotland

5.30pm: Mother in her 30s drowned at Waxham in Norfolk after jumping into the sea to rescue her son and his friend who had got into difficulty in a sea kayak 

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Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond told how the thunderstorms over the next few days ‘could pop up pretty much anywhere, due to the combination of exceptionally high temperatures and unstable air’.

She added: ‘Torrential rain could lead to flash flooding, with the additional hazards of lightning and large hail.’

She continued: ‘There is a pretty broad warning in place today, but there is another for central UK – the Midlands up to the North West of England to about Cumbria, and into Wales – which we are watching really closely.

‘We are looking at the potential for some thunderstorms there from about 4pm to the early hours. It’s a worst-case scenario – a caution, really, for what could happen – but we are looking at a potential for 150mm (6in) rain in three or four hours.

‘Normally for August you’re looking at around 70mm (2.8in) for the month, so it’s potentially a lot of rain. To get that much it will take some areas seeing frequent thunderstorms, and not just passing through.’ 

Caroline Douglass, flood duty manager with the Environment Agency, said heavy thunderstorms this week ‘could lead to surface water and river flooding in some communities’ from Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning. 

She said: ‘Isolated flooding is also possible more widely across England today through until Thursday due to further heavy thunderstorms.’

The Environment Agency warned that flooding could happen suddenly by day or night, and there may also be travel disruption in some areas this week. 

On Sunday, a mother drowned in front of her son and his friend after leaping into the sea to save them when they got into difficulty in a kayak at Waxham in Norfolk.

The woman, who was in her 30s and has been named locally as Danni, was pulled from the water after being caught out by the strong current. Horrified onlookers tried in vain to resuscitate her before paramedics took over, but she was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

The tragedy happened at about 5.30pm on Sunday, while the beach was packed with sun-lovers on one of the hottest days of the year. The beach and nearby Sea Palling are notorious for having dangerous riptides which can sweep away unsuspecting swimmers.

 

Two people enjoy going on a zip wire on Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Monday as the hot weather continues

Two people enjoy going on a zip wire on Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Monday as the hot weather continues

Two people enjoy going on a zip wire on Bournemouth beach in Dorset on Monday as the hot weather continues

Witnesses have suggested that the woman jumped into the water to help her son and his friend after they got into difficulty.

Meanwhile a 12-year-old girl who died after getting into difficulty in a river in Scotland has been praised as a ‘dancing angel’ and an ‘amazing’ child.

The body of Ava Gray was pulled from the River Leven in the West Dunbartonshire village of Balloch following a three-hour search.

Police Scotland officers were called to the scene at the foot of Loch Lomond at about 6.45pm on Sunday, but the search ended with Ava’s body being recovered from the water at 9.45pm. 

Dance teacher Holly Douglas paid tribute to Ava on Facebook, saying: ‘My dancing angel, I am heartbroken. 

‘Words can’t describe the way I feel, Ava. We all love you so, so much. You will never be forgotten at Full Out. 

‘You will always be part of our team and our family. The world is a cruel place, thinking of all the family right now. Ava, I love you so, so much.’ 

Meanwhile a search was conducted on Monday in Blackpool for a 17-year-old girl who is feared to have gone missing after going into the sea in the early hours of yesterday. 

A coastguard rescue team was called out to the beach and she was not found despite extensive searches of the area. Some blood was found on the North Pier but police have yet to determine if it’s related to the teenager’s disappearance. 

Officers are now appealing for witnesses who may have seen the girl around 4.20am on Sunday or later. The girl is described as having long, dark hair and was wearing dark jeans, a dark grey top and possibly dark trainers. 

Separately, on Saturday, a woman died after a crash between a jet ski and a boat on the Menai Strait in North Wales.

As Britain continued to swelter over the weekend, authorities across the country struggled to keep people away from overcrowded beaches.

Road closures were put in place in Dorset in a last-ditch attempt to divert visitors from Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, with a family who had travelled more than six hours from Birmingham among those turned away. 

Top ten UK temperatures recorded in UK history 

  1. 101.7F/38.7C – July 25, 2019
  2. 101.3F/38.5C – August 10, 2003
  3. 100F/37.8C – July 31, 2020
  4. 98.8F/37.1C – August 3, 1990
  5. 98.1F/36.7C – July 1, 2015
  6. 98.1F/36.7C – August 9, 1911
  7. 97.9F/36.6C – August 2, 1990
  8. 97.7F/36.5C – July 19, 2006
  9. 97.5F/36.4C – August 7, 2020
  10. 97.5F/36.4C – August 6, 2003
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Thanet District Council said Ramsgate Main Sands beach in Kent was ‘extremely busy’ on Sunday, with high tide likely to make social distancing difficult. 

In Southend, Essex, a child was taken to hospital with suspected hypothermia after being spotted clinging to a dingy 300 yards out to sea.

On Saturday, HM Coastguard dealt with 340 incidents across the whole of the UK – the highest number of call-outs in a single day for more than four years. 

The Coastguard co-ordinated search and rescue responses to a wide range of incidents, including people being cut off by the tide and children swept out to sea on inflatables. 

In total, the service rescued 146 people and assisted a further 371. There were a further 335 incidents on Sunday. 

South East Water urged its customers to put away their hose pipes, garden sprinklers and garden water toys as it said that a spike in demand had left some people with low pressure or no water.

It said it has been pumping an additional 150 million litres of water around its network, the equivalent of 27 million additional toilet flushes, to keep up with demand over the summer.

They put the increase in water use down to more people being at home and taking up DIY and gardening projects during the rise in staycations. 

The Met Office said the heatwave is the most prolonged period of hot August weather for 17 years. 

Coastguard warning over lifejackets after kayak rescue off Devon coast

Coastguards have warned people to wear life jackets if going out on the sea, after kayakers needed rescuing off the Devon coast.

RNLI lifeboats in Ilfracombe were deployed on Sunday after a number of kayakers got into trouble near Combe Martin. Three kayakers had been taken aboard other local boats, and one of them was not wearing a lifejacket or wetsuit.

He had also lost his kayak, which had blown away in the breeze. Another two kayakers had been escorted back to the beach by a separate boat.

RNLI volunteer coxswain Andrew Bengey said: ‘If you are going out on to the water on any leisure craft we would advise that you speak to local people to understand the conditions in the area and also check the tide timetables and weather forecasts before heading out.

‘We would always urge people to wear buoyancy aids or lifejackets when venturing out on the water and carry a means of calling for help.’ 

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Home Secretary asked to consider `virtual trial´

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home secretary asked to consider virtual trial

Harry Dunn’s family have urged the Home Secretary to consider a “virtual trial” for Anne Sacoolas so she can be tried without leaving the US.

The 42-year-old was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a crash in August last year which resulted in the 19-year-old’s death.

Mrs Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity following the collision outside RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire and was able to return to her home country, sparking an international controversy.

In a letter to Priti Patel on Monday, the Dunn family’s constituency MP Andrea Leadsom described a virtual trial as a “way to achieve closure… without undermining the US decision not to accept the extradition request”.

Mrs Leadsom also wrote to the Solicitor General, the Foreign Secretary, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Lord Chancellor to put forward the idea of a virtual trial or a trial in Sacoolas’s absence.

The 42-year-old was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a crash in August last year which resulted in the 19-year-old’s (pictured) death

The 42-year-old was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a crash in August last year which resulted in the 19-year-old’s (pictured) death

The 42-year-old was charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a crash in August last year which resulted in the 19-year-old’s (pictured) death 

The family’s spokesman Radd Seiger said the family “would not object” if a decision was taken to conduct a remote trial.

In the letter, Mrs Leadsom said: “You may be aware that the anniversary of Harry’s death falls on August 27 and this is obviously an extremely difficult time for the family.

“They are very anxious to obtain closure on these terrible events before that date and seek urgent comments on the possibility of the trial of Anne Sacoolas virtually or in her absence.

“She could remain on US soil, have a virtual trial with a UK court, and should there be a custodial sentence, she could serve it in the US under the existing prisoner transfer agreement.

“Now the ‘loophole’ that allowed Anne Sacoolas to claim diplomatic immunity has been closed by our Foreign Secretary’s excellent efforts, it must be clear to all that the claim of immunity was the wrong thing to do and that a virtual trial is a way to achieve closure for Harry’s family without undermining the US decision not to accept the extradition request.”

The family of Harry Dunn, (left to right) Tim Dunn (Harry's father), Charlotte Charles (Harry's mother), Tracey Dunn and Bruce Charles

The family of Harry Dunn, (left to right) Tim Dunn (Harry's father), Charlotte Charles (Harry's mother), Tracey Dunn and Bruce Charles

The family of Harry Dunn, (left to right) Tim Dunn (Harry’s father), Charlotte Charles (Harry’s mother), Tracey Dunn and Bruce Charles

Mr Dunn’s family said their “final goodbye” to their son last month as they scattered his ashes in his favourite place – Portland Bill, near Weymouth in Dorset.

Reacting to the letters, Mr Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles told PA: “How justice is administered is not a matter for me as a victim of this very serious crime.

“However, I’m very grateful to Andrea Leadsom for working hard on our behalf to ensure that justice is done for Harry.

“I can see that she has written to the authorities suggesting that Anne Sacoolas is tried remotely from the US and we’re grateful for her looking at ways in which justice can be achieved.”

Mrs Charles continued: “For me and my family, it is all about doing the right thing and ensuring justice is done.

“I did not make it to hospital in time to comfort Harry. He died just before I got there.

“I did make a promise to him that we would get him justice and that is just what we will do.

“I have every confidence that the authorities will make sure it happens.”

An extradition request submitted by the Home Office for Sacoolas was rejected by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in January.

The US State Department later described the decision as “final”, despite the loophole which allowed Sacoolas to claim diplomatic immunity being closed by both countries last month.

Giving his thoughts on the possibility of a remote trial, Mr Seiger told PA: “Anne Sacoolas must face the British justice system like any of us would have to and that is what will happen.

“It is obviously up to the authorities how that takes place. The suggestion of a remote trial is a novel one and as far as I am aware would be totally unprecedented in our legal system.

“Anne Sacoolas must go through the English legal system. That has always been our case.

“How she does that is a matter for the authorities who have always been clear that they remain intent on ensuring she comes back to face justice.

“But I can say that were a remote trial to be considered by the authorities and a decision taken to do it that way, particularly in the middle of this pandemic, the family would not object.

“Let’s wait and see if this is a viable way forward.”

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office confirmed a letter had been received but declined to comment further.

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