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Met Police Crack Down on E-scooters As Thousands Seized Before Christmas

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More than 3,600 e-scooters were seized by police in London this year as shops were warned against “exploiting” customers to increase Christmas sales.

The Metropolitan Police Service has stated that it will continue to respond to large-scale criminal activity in order to keep road users and the general public safe.

According to Department for Transport records, 291 Londoners were injured in crashes in the previous year, and fatally 3 had died.  On London’s roads and pavements, privately owned e-scooters, of which a million have been sold in the UK, are prohibited.

If riders continue to use their e-scooters on public roads, they risk receiving fines, points on their licence, and adding to the 3,637 e-scooters seized.

Businesses selling them in London have received letters from Scotland Yard and Transport for London reminding them of current legislation and how they may be placing their consumers at risk of enforcement action.

Commander Kyle Gordon, in charge of Roads Policing, said: “It is really unhelpful that retailers, fully aware of the risks they are creating for the public, continue to profit from selling machines illegal for use on public roads without sufficient explanation and guidance. This is leaving many with expensive seizures, fines and points on their licence. I am calling on retailers not to exploit their customers in the run-up to Christmas simply to make a profit.”

On the road, only e-scooters rented through an approved trial plan are legal.

London is one of 40 cities taking part in the event.

The 3,585 rentals in the city must not exceed 12.5 mph, weigh 55 kg, and have always-on lights.

Users must be at least 18 years old and have a provisional driver’s licence.

Will Norman, the mayor’s walking and cycling commissioner, added: “E-scooters have been on our streets for a while now with a woeful lack of regulation, and we know they’re not going away. That’s why we are running a rental e-scooter trial in London with much safer, legal rental e-scooters, to take learning from and to see what part e-scooters can play in London transport as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic. However, private e-scooters can be extremely dangerous and anyone deliberately misusing them will feel the full force of enforcement action.”

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Final shortlist for Tory leadership revealed after Sajid Javid drops out of race

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Sajid Javid has dropped out the leadership race to become the new leader of the Conservative party.

The former health secretary’s resignation, which came within hours of Rishi Sunak last Tuesday, led to a domino effect of departures.

Ultimately, their resignations led to the eventual demise of Boris Johnson as prime minister.

The final shortlist for the Tory party’s leadership has been confirmed this evening. Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat and Nadhim Zahawi remain in the fight to become Mr Johnson’s replacement.

Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, announced the final list mere minutes after Mr Javid confirmed he would no longer be in the running. The 52-year-old said the Tory party ‘must now look outwards, not inwards’ in order to win the next election.

‘Serving in government is a true privilege,’ Mr Javid said in a statement this afternoon.

It has been just seven days since I took the difficult decision to resign from the most important job I have ever had, as Health Secretary during a pandemic.

‘Since then, I have set out the values and policies I think are right for the future of our great country. I believe the party must now look outwards, not inwards, if we are to win again.

‘There is an abundance of both ideas and talent in our party. One of the candidates will be given the honour of becoming prime minister.

‘I look forward to seeing the debate unfold and to see colleagues working together as a united Conservative Party once the leadership election is concluded.’

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Who could replace Boris Johnson as the next Tory leader and prime minister?

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Not long ago Chancellor Rishi Sunak was seen as the front runner to replace Boris Johnson, but his popularity has waned and now the field of potential successors is far more open. So who could throw their hat in the ring?

Tory MPs are preparing to cast votes that will decide Boris Johnson’s future, after more than 54 of them submitted letters saying they had no confidence in his leadership.

If the majority of his party choose to support him, under current party rules he will be protected against further challenge for a year. If he loses the vote, however, a leadership contest will be triggered – less than three years since he was first elected.

These are the candidates that could stand to replace him:

  • Rishi Sunak – Up until the last few months, the chancellor was seen by many Conservative MPs as the frontrunner in the race to succeed Mr Johnson. A poll in January found that almost half of Tory members thought Rishi Sunak would make a better leader and could win more seats at the next election than Mr Johnson. But after introducing a number of policies – such as increasing National Insurance contributions – that went down badly with Tory MPs, his popularity has slumped.
  • Liz Truss – Ms Truss, like Mr Sunak, is widely seen to have been laying the groundwork for a future tilt at the top job with her social media output. She has been an MP since 2010 and began rising up the ministerial ladder soon after entering parliament. She is currently the longest continuously serving member of the cabinet, having held positions under David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson
  • Jeremy Hunt – The current chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee was Boris Johnson’s rival in the head-to-head run-off in the last Conservative leadership election in 2019. While Mr Hunt appears to have grown to enjoy his role as a party grandee and chair of a select committee, he has repeatedly refused to rule out another run at the leadership. His backers believe his strength as a candidate would come from not being tainted by being part of Mr Johnson’s cabinet.
  • Sajid Javid – Sajid Javid has held almost every senior cabinet position – he is currently health secretary, but has served as chancellor, home secretary, housing secretary, business secretary and culture secretary. He returned to Boris Johnson’s cabinet last summer having dramatically resigned as chancellor at the start of 2020 when he refused to allow Number 10 to choose his team of advisers. During his time on the backbenches he made efforts to portray himself as a Thatcherite and was critical of some COVID measures, but his support for the Remain campaign in the Brexit referendum, and recent backing of Plan B measures, may put off some Conservative MPs.
  • Priti Patel – She was a major backer of Boris Johnson’s leadership bid in 2019 and was rewarded by being appointed home secretary. But since taking on that role her star appears to have faded, with her handling of the small boat crossings in the channel being a source of significant criticism. Her popularity among the right wing of the parliamentary party means her candidacy should not be written off, but questions over her handling of the Channel migrant crisis have likely dented her chances. However, a report published in November 2020 by the prime minister’s then adviser on ministerial standards, Sir Alex Allan, had found the home secretary had breached the ministerial code with behaviour that amounted to bullying.
  • Dominic Raab – Dominic Raab stood in as acting prime minister when Boris Johnson was struck down with COVID in the spring of 2020. His current position as both justice secretary and deputy prime minister should, on paper at least, put him in a strong position to put his hat in the ring. But his attempt to win the top job did not succeed in 2019, and many cast doubt on the idea it would he would be able to secure sufficient support from Conservative MPs this time around.
  • Michael Gove – Currently serving as the secretary of state for the new levelling up department, Michael Gove would be one of the most experienced candidates should he choose to run. He has been at the heart of Boris Johnson’s government throughout his premiership, first running the cabinet office, and then taking on responsibility for what the prime minister described as the central plank of his agenda. But his decision to pull the rug from under Boris Johnson’s leadership bid in 2016, having initially been his campaign chairman, has lived long in the memory of Conservative MPs.

Would you like to see Boris stand down? Who do you think should replace him?

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Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra auction off trophy for $900,000 to help Ukrainian army during Russian war

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Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra have auctioned off the trophy they won at the Song Contest for $900,000 (£700,000) to help the Ukrainian army during the war with Russia.

Oleh Psiuk, Ihor Didenchu, Vlad Kurochka, Vitalii Duzhyk, Tymofii Muzychuk and Oleksandr Slobodianyk auctioned off the glass microphone they won with their performance of Stefania in Turin earlier this month.

They raised a further $370,000 (£293,000) by raffling off the pink bucket hat frontman Oleh wore during the performance.

The winning bid for the trophy was attributed to Whitebit, a cryptocurrency exchange, and came in the form of 500 Ethereum.

Addressing the huge amount of money raised, the band wrote on Facebook: ‘You guys are amazing!

‘We appreciate each and everyone of you who donated to this auction and a special thanks to the team Whitebit who purchased the trophy for $900,000 and are now the rightful owners of our trophy.’

(Picture: AP)

The money will go to a charitable fund which raises money for Ukrainian forces against the Russian army.

Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula, who hosted the auction, said there were 31,088 entries into the hat raffle, and that the winner was in the Czech Republic.

According to those present at Eurovision, at the end of their performance Kalush asked the audience to help Ukraine and Mariupol amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

The band had been granted special permission to leave Ukraine, where men aged 18 to 60 could be called up to fight and are not allowed to leave the country during the conflict.

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