Corbyn’s white paper panic at PMQs gives May a Brexit breather

The PM discombobulated the Labour leader with her announcement but was on shakier ground about her Trump date

Some blinked. Some gasped. Cognitive dissonance takes on many forms. Conservative Chris Philp is best known in the Commons for never letting any bum go unkissed and certainly not as a man to put a point of principle before his career, yet here he was sounding every bit the voice of remain dissent as he urged the prime minister to publish a Brexit white paper. Then the prime minister spoke and all became clear. Philp was just a convenient stooge to allow Theresa May to casually declare that the government would be publishing a white paper after all.

You could forgive Jeremy Corbyn for being momentarily wrongfooted. Prime minister’s questions are usually no more than a playground for personality disorders and not the forum in which serious policy announcements are made. But once he’d recovered from the shock, he should have been punching the air.

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The PM discombobulated the Labour leader with her announcement but was on shakier ground about her Trump date

Some blinked. Some gasped. Cognitive dissonance takes on many forms. Conservative Chris Philp is best known in the Commons for never letting any bum go unkissed and certainly not as a man to put a point of principle before his career, yet here he was sounding every bit the voice of remain dissent as he urged the prime minister to publish a Brexit white paper. Then the prime minister spoke and all became clear. Philp was just a convenient stooge to allow Theresa May to casually declare that the government would be publishing a white paper after all.

You could forgive Jeremy Corbyn for being momentarily wrongfooted. Prime minister’s questions are usually no more than a playground for personality disorders and not the forum in which serious policy announcements are made. But once he’d recovered from the shock, he should have been punching the air.

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Theresa May’s Brexit wishlist – Politics Weekly podcast

Anushka Asthana is joined in Westminster by Hugo Dixon, Heather Stewart and Jonathan Isaby to discuss Theresa May’s list of negotiating positions ahead of Brexit talks with the EU. We hear from Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and from two MPs on the Brexit committee: Labour’s Seema Malhotra and John Whittingdale of the Conservatives

Theresa May has set out what she calls a ‘plan for a global Britain’ in her most significant speech on Brexit yet. She announced that Britain would not seek to stay a member of the EU’s single market or of the customs union but acknowledged that a transition deal may be required. Despite this, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer tells us that this does not necessarily mean Britain is headed for a ‘hard Brexit’ but he is critical of threats to turn Britain into a ‘bargain basement’ tax haven.

Also this week: we hear from two members of the new Commons select committee on Brexit: Conservative MP John Whittingdale (a Brexit supporter) and Seema Malhotra, a Labour MP who supported Remain.

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Anushka Asthana is joined in Westminster by Hugo Dixon, Heather Stewart and Jonathan Isaby to discuss Theresa May’s list of negotiating positions ahead of Brexit talks with the EU. We hear from Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and from two MPs on the Brexit committee: Labour’s Seema Malhotra and John Whittingdale of the Conservatives

Theresa May has set out what she calls a ‘plan for a global Britain’ in her most significant speech on Brexit yet. She announced that Britain would not seek to stay a member of the EU’s single market or of the customs union but acknowledged that a transition deal may be required. Despite this, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer tells us that this does not necessarily mean Britain is headed for a ‘hard Brexit’ but he is critical of threats to turn Britain into a ‘bargain basement’ tax haven.

Also this week: we hear from two members of the new Commons select committee on Brexit: Conservative MP John Whittingdale (a Brexit supporter) and Seema Malhotra, a Labour MP who supported Remain.

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Labour NEC asked to inquire into Newham mayoral ‘trigger ballot’

Nearly 50 party members in the east London borough want their national governing body to inquire into their claims that the process for reselecting Sir Robin Wales was flawed

Labour Party members in Newham have sent a 13-page letter to Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) asking it to establish a “full inquiry” into the “affirmative nomination” process that saw the borough’s directly-elected mayor Sir Robin Wales declared the narrow winner of a “trigger ballot” to decide whether he should automatically go forward as their party’s mayoral candidate next year. It claims that “many failures of process/propriety and procedural irregularities” took place on the way to the outcome and urges the party’s governing body to halt the confirmation of Sir Robin until such an inquiry is complete.

Signed by 47 members of the east London borough’s two constituency Labour parties (CLPs), including ten Newham councillors, the letter sets out at length its case that “a number of [individual] ballots should be declared void or held in abeyance” and that the conduct of the process, which ran from 25 October to 4 December 2016, “made a material difference to the result”, tipping it in favour of Sir Robin by 20 votes to 17.

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Nearly 50 party members in the east London borough want their national governing body to inquire into their claims that the process for reselecting Sir Robin Wales was flawed

Labour Party members in Newham have sent a 13-page letter to Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) asking it to establish a “full inquiry” into the “affirmative nomination” process that saw the borough’s directly-elected mayor Sir Robin Wales declared the narrow winner of a “trigger ballot” to decide whether he should automatically go forward as their party’s mayoral candidate next year. It claims that “many failures of process/propriety and procedural irregularities” took place on the way to the outcome and urges the party’s governing body to halt the confirmation of Sir Robin until such an inquiry is complete.

Signed by 47 members of the east London borough’s two constituency Labour parties (CLPs), including ten Newham councillors, the letter sets out at length its case that “a number of [individual] ballots should be declared void or held in abeyance” and that the conduct of the process, which ran from 25 October to 4 December 2016, “made a material difference to the result”, tipping it in favour of Sir Robin by 20 votes to 17.

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May’s Brexit white paper U-turn wrongfoots Corbyn, and Labour

Concession by PM may boost shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer but underlines pitfalls for his divided party

As every parent knows, leadership sometimes means knowing when to give in. Theresa May opened Wednesday’s prime minister’s questions with an unexpected concession – yet she still emerged victorious from her weekly bout with Jeremy Corbyn.

Rebel backbenchers in the prime minister’s own party, led by troublemaker-in-chief Anna Soubry, had united around the demand for the government to publish a formal white paper, setting out its priorities for the forthcoming negotiations.

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Concession by PM may boost shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer but underlines pitfalls for his divided party

As every parent knows, leadership sometimes means knowing when to give in. Theresa May opened Wednesday’s prime minister’s questions with an unexpected concession – yet she still emerged victorious from her weekly bout with Jeremy Corbyn.

Rebel backbenchers in the prime minister’s own party, led by troublemaker-in-chief Anna Soubry, had united around the demand for the government to publish a formal white paper, setting out its priorities for the forthcoming negotiations.

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Brexit won’t kill the civil service – but if you use public services, be afraid

Despite cuts and fears over Brexit workloads, Whitehall is performing well, but services like social care, prisons, hospitals and the police all face challenges

Finding out how well the civil service is performing is an extremely difficult question, as the Institute for Government thinktank admits in its fourth annual assessment. But it’s a question that urgently needs answering for everyone involved in all the other public services for which government departments are responsible.

From education to social care, from prisons to the police, all public services face a huge challenge. Politically, the debate may be dominated by Brexit in Westminster, Whitehall and the devolved assemblies, but the civil service also runs the country – and that’s getting harder.

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Despite cuts and fears over Brexit workloads, Whitehall is performing well, but services like social care, prisons, hospitals and the police all face challenges

Finding out how well the civil service is performing is an extremely difficult question, as the Institute for Government thinktank admits in its fourth annual assessment. But it’s a question that urgently needs answering for everyone involved in all the other public services for which government departments are responsible.

From education to social care, from prisons to the police, all public services face a huge challenge. Politically, the debate may be dominated by Brexit in Westminster, Whitehall and the devolved assemblies, but the civil service also runs the country – and that’s getting harder.

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May’s meeting with Trump: a collision of contrasting world views

The PM’s visit could be seen as a diplomatic coup, but her vision of a free-trading Britain could crash into ‘America First’

Theresa May travels to the US on Thursday to try to forge a personal and political relationship with the least predictable and, in European terms, most unpopular US president in modern times.

For all the British diplomatic pleasure that their prime minister is once again the first foreign leader through the door of a newly elected president, as John Major managed in the case of Bill Clinton in 1993, there will be wariness in Downing Street. For the first time since the second world war, the US appears to have a president who displays indifference to supporting his allies or shoring up an alliance framework.

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The PM’s visit could be seen as a diplomatic coup, but her vision of a free-trading Britain could crash into ‘America First’

Theresa May travels to the US on Thursday to try to forge a personal and political relationship with the least predictable and, in European terms, most unpopular US president in modern times.

For all the British diplomatic pleasure that their prime minister is once again the first foreign leader through the door of a newly elected president, as John Major managed in the case of Bill Clinton in 1993, there will be wariness in Downing Street. For the first time since the second world war, the US appears to have a president who displays indifference to supporting his allies or shoring up an alliance framework.

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Final Brexit deal must not be Whitehall ‘stitch-up’, says Lib Dem leader

Tim Farron says he will join with MPs from other parties and use Lib Dems’ strength in Lords to maximise scrutiny of article 50 bill

The UK’s final Brexit deal must not be decided by “a stitch-up between Whitehall and Brussels”, the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has said, promising his party will seek to hold Theresa May’s government to account over the process.

Calling Labour “the most ineffective official opposition in living memory”, Farron said the Lib Dems would seek to unite with MPs from other parties in the wake of Tuesday’s supreme court ruling forcing a parliamentary vote on Brexit so as to maximise scrutiny.

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Tim Farron says he will join with MPs from other parties and use Lib Dems’ strength in Lords to maximise scrutiny of article 50 bill

The UK’s final Brexit deal must not be decided by “a stitch-up between Whitehall and Brussels”, the Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has said, promising his party will seek to hold Theresa May’s government to account over the process.

Calling Labour “the most ineffective official opposition in living memory”, Farron said the Lib Dems would seek to unite with MPs from other parties in the wake of Tuesday’s supreme court ruling forcing a parliamentary vote on Brexit so as to maximise scrutiny.

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Jeremy Corbyn criticised for Northern Ireland ‘dead’ police officer gaffe

Police and politicians round on Labour leader who offered condolences to family of officer he mistakenly said had died

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for offering condolences to the family of a Northern Irish police officer “who lost his life over the weekend” when he is in fact alive.

The prime minister, Theresa May, opened weekly questions in the House of Commons by sending “thoughts” to a police officer shot in Belfast and praising the work of the Police Service in Northern Ireland (PSNI).

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Police and politicians round on Labour leader who offered condolences to family of officer he mistakenly said had died

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for offering condolences to the family of a Northern Irish police officer “who lost his life over the weekend” when he is in fact alive.

The prime minister, Theresa May, opened weekly questions in the House of Commons by sending “thoughts” to a police officer shot in Belfast and praising the work of the Police Service in Northern Ireland (PSNI).

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Pursuing trade pacts outside EU ‘could mean worse Brexit deal for UK’

Attempts to secure free-trade agreements before UK actually leaves EU could rapidly sour Brexit negotiations, officials warn

Britain’s apparent determination to pursue trade talks with countries outside the EU could significantly undermine its efforts to negotiate a favourable Brexit deal and may well be illegal, diplomats and officials have warned.

Theresa May meets Donald Trump on Friday to discuss a post-Brexit transatlantic trade deal the president has said he would like drawn up “quickly”, while Australia has said talks this week should “begin to lay the foundations” of a similar pact with the UK.

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Attempts to secure free-trade agreements before UK actually leaves EU could rapidly sour Brexit negotiations, officials warn

Britain’s apparent determination to pursue trade talks with countries outside the EU could significantly undermine its efforts to negotiate a favourable Brexit deal and may well be illegal, diplomats and officials have warned.

Theresa May meets Donald Trump on Friday to discuss a post-Brexit transatlantic trade deal the president has said he would like drawn up “quickly”, while Australia has said talks this week should “begin to lay the foundations” of a similar pact with the UK.

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Trainspotting author sees ‘bleak dystopia’ in real life too

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – The author of “Trainspotting”, a grim comedy about young Scottish drug addicts that proved a huge hit in the 1990s and still enjoys cult status, sees “bleak dystopia” in the age of Donald Trump and Britain’s Brexit vote.

EDINBURGH (Reuters) – The author of “Trainspotting”, a grim comedy about young Scottish drug addicts that proved a huge hit in the 1990s and still enjoys cult status, sees “bleak dystopia” in the age of Donald Trump and Britain’s Brexit vote.


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Jeremy Hunt’s hospital food revolution has failed, campaigners say

Department of Health study shows almost half of hospitals in England have not implemented key improvements

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of failing to deliver his promised revolution in hospital food after the health secretary’s own department found that many hospitals have still not improved patient catering.

A Department of Health study shows that almost half of hospitals in England have failed to implement key improvements almost two and a half years after Hunt’s crackdown.

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Department of Health study shows almost half of hospitals in England have not implemented key improvements

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of failing to deliver his promised revolution in hospital food after the health secretary’s own department found that many hospitals have still not improved patient catering.

A Department of Health study shows that almost half of hospitals in England have failed to implement key improvements almost two and a half years after Hunt’s crackdown.

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Redefining a ‘special relationship’: Trump and May to talk trade

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Trade will dominate the first talks between the new leaders of the United States and Britain this week, with both hoping commitments to a future deal will redefine their ‘special relationship’ in a new world order.

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Trade will dominate the first talks between the new leaders of the United States and Britain this week, with both hoping commitments to a future deal will redefine their ‘special relationship’ in a new world order.


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Brexit ‘turf wars’ between ministries hindering progress, says report

Staff cuts and squabbles between departments are wasting time and energy as government attempts to implement Brexit plan, IfG says

Theresa May’s government is facing inter-departmental squabbles, concerns over staffing levels and “big challenges” drawing up legislation as it attempts to implement a Brexit strategy, analysis by Whitehall’s leading thinktank has found.

“Turf wars” between key departments led by Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox have been a distraction, wasting time and energy, the Institute for Government (IfG) report said.

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Staff cuts and squabbles between departments are wasting time and energy as government attempts to implement Brexit plan, IfG says

Theresa May’s government is facing inter-departmental squabbles, concerns over staffing levels and “big challenges” drawing up legislation as it attempts to implement a Brexit strategy, analysis by Whitehall’s leading thinktank has found.

“Turf wars” between key departments led by Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox have been a distraction, wasting time and energy, the Institute for Government (IfG) report said.

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‘Global gag rule’ on abortion puts $9bn in health aid at risk, activists say

Donald Trump’s executive order prompts fears for groups fighting Aids and Zika and working against child and maternal deaths

Billions of dollars in US aid to groups combating diseases worldwide could be at risk from Donald’s Trump’s “unprecedented and far-reaching” reversal of abortion-related policy, campaigners warned on Tuesday.

Trump signed an executive order on Monday reinstating the “global gag rule”, which bans funding for groups that offer abortions or abortion advocacy, even if they use their own funds to do so.

Related: This photo sums up Trump’s assault on women’s rights | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

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Donald Trump’s executive order prompts fears for groups fighting Aids and Zika and working against child and maternal deaths

Billions of dollars in US aid to groups combating diseases worldwide could be at risk from Donald’s Trump’s “unprecedented and far-reaching” reversal of abortion-related policy, campaigners warned on Tuesday.

Trump signed an executive order on Monday reinstating the “global gag rule”, which bans funding for groups that offer abortions or abortion advocacy, even if they use their own funds to do so.

Related: This photo sums up Trump’s assault on women’s rights | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

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The UK’s deadly air pollution can be cured: here’s how

Tens of thousands of people die every year from breathing polluted air. The cost of doing nothing far outweighs the price of solving the problem

Pollution levels in the UK are soaring. Last year, a committee of MPs in the UK described the state of the air that we breathe as a public health emergency.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has a budget of £875m to try to tackle air pollution – small, compared to the capital’s annual £3.6bn bill arising from its impact.

Related: Travel and pollution warnings as UK’s cold, foggy weather continues

Related: The Guardian view on air pollution: the next generation carries the burden of our inaction | Editorial

Related: How air pollution affects your health – infographic

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Tens of thousands of people die every year from breathing polluted air. The cost of doing nothing far outweighs the price of solving the problem

Pollution levels in the UK are soaring. Last year, a committee of MPs in the UK described the state of the air that we breathe as a public health emergency.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has a budget of £875m to try to tackle air pollution – small, compared to the capital’s annual £3.6bn bill arising from its impact.

Related: Travel and pollution warnings as UK’s cold, foggy weather continues

Related: The Guardian view on air pollution: the next generation carries the burden of our inaction | Editorial

Related: How air pollution affects your health – infographic

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NGOs: How will the ‘global gag rule’ affect your work?

Donald Trump has reinstated policy which cuts US aid funding to NGOs associated with abortion services. How will you be affected?

In one of his first acts as president – and two days after millions of people marched for women’s rights – Donald Trump has reinstated the “global gag rule”.

The policy will cut US aid funding to international NGOs which offer family planning programmes associated with abortion. Also known as the Mexico City Policy, it was first introduced by Ronald Reagan in 1984 and has since become a political ping pong – reinstated by Republican presidents and rescinded by Democrats.

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Donald Trump has reinstated policy which cuts US aid funding to NGOs associated with abortion services. How will you be affected?

In one of his first acts as president – and two days after millions of people marched for women’s rights – Donald Trump has reinstated the “global gag rule”.

The policy will cut US aid funding to international NGOs which offer family planning programmes associated with abortion. Also known as the Mexico City Policy, it was first introduced by Ronald Reagan in 1984 and has since become a political ping pong – reinstated by Republican presidents and rescinded by Democrats.

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Doctors save Canadian woman’s life by removing her lungs for six days

Melissa Benoit’s terminal lung infection called for risky and unprecedented procedure while she waited for double transplant at Toronto hospital

In what is believed to be the first procedure of its kind in the world, doctors in Canada have saved a young mother’s life by resorting to a radical solution – they removed her lungs for six days while she waited for a transplant.

In April, Melissa Benoit arrived at a Toronto hospital with a severe lung infection. Doctors soon realised that Benoit, who had been born with cystic fibrosis, had just hours to live, leading them to consider the unprecedented approach.

Related: Firefighter feels like a ‘normal guy’ year after unprecedented full face transplant

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Melissa Benoit’s terminal lung infection called for risky and unprecedented procedure while she waited for double transplant at Toronto hospital

In what is believed to be the first procedure of its kind in the world, doctors in Canada have saved a young mother’s life by resorting to a radical solution – they removed her lungs for six days while she waited for a transplant.

In April, Melissa Benoit arrived at a Toronto hospital with a severe lung infection. Doctors soon realised that Benoit, who had been born with cystic fibrosis, had just hours to live, leading them to consider the unprecedented approach.

Related: Firefighter feels like a ‘normal guy’ year after unprecedented full face transplant

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Witness’ shock at finding author’s body in cesspit

A man hired by police to drain a cesspit at the home of a missing children’s author has told a court he saw a human arm in the sewage after he removed debris floating on top of the sanitation tank.A man hired by police to drain a cesspit at the home of a missing children’s author has told a court he saw a human arm in the sewage after he removed debris floating on top of the sanitation tank.

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Mentally ill patients face ‘double whammy’ of poor hospital care

Most people with mental health issues do not receive good treatment at A&E, leading to repeated visits, report finds

More than half of people with mental health problems receive a “double whammy” of poor care in general hospitals which increases patients’ risk of dying, according to a major new NHS inquiry.

Only 46% of patients with serious mental health conditions were well looked after when they attended hospital with a physical ailment such as heart trouble, a group of independent experts found.

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Most people with mental health issues do not receive good treatment at A&E, leading to repeated visits, report finds

More than half of people with mental health problems receive a “double whammy” of poor care in general hospitals which increases patients’ risk of dying, according to a major new NHS inquiry.

Only 46% of patients with serious mental health conditions were well looked after when they attended hospital with a physical ailment such as heart trouble, a group of independent experts found.

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Paramedics spend 500,000 hours outside busy A&Es, say auditors

Ambulance trusts breaching call response targets and struggling to recruit and retain staff, National Audit Office finds

Paramedics last year spent 500,000 hours outside hospitals with a patient in the back of their ambulance because A&E staff were too busy to accept them, an official inquiry has revealed.

That was the equivalent of 41,000 12-hour ambulance shifts being taken up with waiting instead of crews being able to attend to other emergencies, according to a report by the National Audit Office.

Related: Fifty-two NHS hospitals sent patients elsewhere in busiest week yet

Related: NHS will need £88bn extra by 2067, says OBR forecast

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Ambulance trusts breaching call response targets and struggling to recruit and retain staff, National Audit Office finds

Paramedics last year spent 500,000 hours outside hospitals with a patient in the back of their ambulance because A&E staff were too busy to accept them, an official inquiry has revealed.

That was the equivalent of 41,000 12-hour ambulance shifts being taken up with waiting instead of crews being able to attend to other emergencies, according to a report by the National Audit Office.

Related: Fifty-two NHS hospitals sent patients elsewhere in busiest week yet

Related: NHS will need £88bn extra by 2067, says OBR forecast

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Jeremy Hunt’s hospital food revolution has failed, campaigners say

Department of Health study shows almost half of hospitals in England have not implemented key improvements

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of failing to deliver his promised revolution in hospital food after the health secretary’s own department found that many hospitals have still not improved patient catering.

A Department of Health study shows that almost half of hospitals in England have failed to implement key improvements almost two and a half years after Hunt’s crackdown.

Continue reading…

Department of Health study shows almost half of hospitals in England have not implemented key improvements

Jeremy Hunt has been accused of failing to deliver his promised revolution in hospital food after the health secretary’s own department found that many hospitals have still not improved patient catering.

A Department of Health study shows that almost half of hospitals in England have failed to implement key improvements almost two and a half years after Hunt’s crackdown.

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Europe’s oncologists back biosimilar versions of cancer drugs

(Reuters) – Europe’s leading association of oncologists has thrown its weight behind cheaper copycat versions of biotech cancer drugs that have lost patent protection, saying they are effective and affordable.

(Reuters) – Europe’s leading association of oncologists has thrown its weight behind cheaper copycat versions of biotech cancer drugs that have lost patent protection, saying they are effective and affordable.


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In pictures

Images of the historic day when millions of people across the UK voted in a referendum on whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU.Images of the historic day when millions of people across the UK voted in a referendum on whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU.

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‘Indyref 2’ being pushed online

As the EU referendum count turned decisively towards Leave, the online conversation in Scotland immediately turned to the possibility of another vote on independence.As the EU referendum count turned decisively towards Leave, the online conversation in Scotland immediately turned to the possibility of another vote on independence.

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