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Posted by: Sam Wheeler


Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon resigns but categorically denies the allegations of inappropriate sexual comments to Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom. Reports in the Sun and Daily Mail said that Mrs Leadsom complained to Number 10 about her cabinet colleague. The claims come a day after Fallon’s resignation from the MoD where he said that his conduct had “fallen short” of expected standards. The allegations date back from between 2010 and 2012 when both were members of the Treasury Select Committee and Fallon was also deputy Conservative Party Chairman. The two newspapers claim Sir Michael was forced to quit as defence secretary after Mrs Leadsom complained to Prime Minister Theresa May about the alleged incident. Although Fallon denies the claims he confirmed on Tuesday that he was once rebuked by a journalist, Julia Hartley-Brewer for putting his hand on her knee during a dinner in 2002, which he apologised for at the time. Hartley-Brewer said that if he had gone because of the incident, it would be the most absurd reason for anyone to have lost their job. Sir Fallon went on to state how the culture in Westminster has changed over the years and what might have been acceptable then is clearly not acceptable now. The BBC’s deputy John Pienaar said that manner of Sir Michael’s departure and the role played by others was causing ‘bad blood’ in the party to bubble up, and that the Conservatives and other parties were struggling to keep pace with the daily stream of allegations against MPs. (Source – BBC)

Rise in interest rates will produce both winners and losers. The winners will include 45 million savers who will see higher returns from savings accounts. A number of providers have already announced that they will be increasing savings rates in line with the rise; and those who plan on buying an annuity to finance their retirement will also benefit. Four million households with variable rate mortgages meant that their monthly payments are set to rise immediately. Across the UK, 9.2 million households have a mortgage, around half of this figure is on standard variable rate or tracker rate, and these people will be most affected. The majority of new mortgage loans are on fixed rates (94%) for two to five years. Half of all outstanding loans are on fixed rate equating to around 4.5 million households, and these borrowers will see no immediate rise. (Source – BBC)

UN warns the world is on course for 3C of global warming. Hundreds of millions of urban dwellers around the world face their cities being inundated with rising sea waters. Data from the Climate Central group of Scientists, analysed by Guardian Journalists showed that this rise in temperature would cause an irreversible sea level rise of perhaps two metres. Cities such as Shanghai, Rio, Miami and the entire bottom third of Florida would be affected. The momentum of change is currently too slow according to the UN Environment Programme. A 3C rise would lead to longer droughts, fiercer hurricanes, and a lock in sea level rises would melt ice caps and glaciers. In Miami a 2C rise would see it become almost entirely below sea level - the sense of urgency is evident. The impacts will also be felt in the UK, with some Lincolnshire agricultural land likely to be lost at sea. Alison Baptiste director of strategy and investment at the UK Environment Agency added ‘We can’t stop it but we can reduce the risk.’ She also went on to say if these predictions are correct then we’re going to have to make some difficult decisions. (Source – The Guardian)

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