How the Irish backstop emerged as May’s Brexit nemesis

Ireland was streets ahead of the UK when it came to planning for Britains exit The possibility of the UK leaving the European Union blared like an air-raid siren in Government Buildings, the quadrangle of Portland stone and Wicklow granite in central Dublin that houses the taoiseachs office. Officials summoned politicians, diplomats, business leaders, farming groups, academics and others to the complex off Upper Merrion Street. The guests climbed a beechwood staircase with a stained glass window, My Four Green Fields, representing Irelands four provinces. At the improvised summit all agreed that Britains exit from the EU would present an unprecedented threat to Irish interests. They agreed to meet monthly to brainstorm discussions which led to a task force, a …

Trainspotting 2 actor Bradley Welsh was shot dead on his doorstep

Author Irvine Welsh leads tributes to friend murdered in Edinburgh The author Irvine Welsh has led tributes to the said on Twitter that his heart is broken, adding: Goodbye my amazing and beautiful friend. Thanks for making me a better person and helping me to see the world in a kinder and wiser way. A forensics team searches for clues near floral tributes left for Bradley Welsh at the scene of the shooting in Edinburgh. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Bradley Welsh, who was born in Moredun, a district of Edinburgh, starred alongside Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle in T2 Trainspotting, playing the role of gangland figure Mr Doyle. Detectives said they believed Welsh had been shot …

Pro-EU parties to use European elections as ‘soft referendum’

Lib Dems, Greens and TIG will not form pacts as they look for surge in support for remain Pro-EU parties, including the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Independent Group, will not form pacts or alliances at the forthcoming EU elections, hoping to use the poll as a soft referendum to show a surge in support for remain. If no Brexit deal is passed by parliament, the UK will be required to hold the poll on 23 May. The Lib Dems, the mainstream party hoping to capitalise most on anti-Brexit discontent, has almost finalised its manifesto and plans a huge operation of ground campaigning targeting remain voters. We want to use the momentum from the locals, which very few other …

London prepares for launch of ultra-low emissions zone

Almost 1,000 people a year in London are hospitalised with asthma caused by pollution London is preparing to enforce world-leading vehicle pollution restrictions from Monday as the capital attempts to clean up the toxic air blamed for thousands of premature deaths. The ultra-low emission zone, or Ulez, will launch at one minute past midnight, imposing a 12.50-a-day charge to drive into central London in all but the cleanest cars and vans. The move is expected to reduce road transport emissions by around 45%. The mayor, Sadiq Khan, unveiled research showing that almost 1,000 people a year in the city were hospitalised with asthma caused by pollution. The charge will be levied inside Londons congestion charge zone around the clock, and …