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SW Tories sign letter on Manchester Covid restrictions

Andrew Segal

BBC South West

MPs from across the greater South West, including Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire, were among 20 Tories who over the weekend wrote to urge Greater Manchester's mayor to "engage" with the government's coronavirus restrictions, which prompted anger from some of their own colleagues.

Ministers said Greater Manchester needs to be in the top tier of restrictions, but local leaders said they wanted better financial support before they agree to being moved up to the top tier of rules.

Local elected mayor Andy Burnham said he wanted the government to re-introduce the 80% furlough scheme used previously in the pandemic to support the low paid affected by tier three closures.

Four Conservative MPs for the region said the from the 20 MPs letter was unhelpful.

Meanwhile, further delays to the decision on Greater Manchester's Covid restrictions would "put people's lives at risk", the communities secretary has said.

Robert Jenrick said he hoped he could reach an agreement with the region's MPs, and Mr Burnham, on Monday.

Talks are due to continue later after a weekend of discussions.

The South West MPs who signed the letter included -

From Cornwall:

  • Steve Double
  • Scott Mann
  • Cherilyn Mackrory
  • Sheryll Murray

From Devon:

  • Selaine Saxby
  • Anne Marie Morris

From Somerset: Marcus Fysh

From Wiltshire: Danny Kruger

View more on twitter

Schoolgirl cycles 20 miles to help friend's fundraiser

Shana Rose

Sabrina with mum, dad and brother Luca, and Annie (front, RHS) and her mum
Jess Jackson
The two families celebrated after Annie completed her bike ride

A Swindon schoolgirl has cycled 20 miles around the town to raise money for her friend, who was diagnosed with a rare disorder.

Eight-year-old Annie Lampard has raised more than £2,000 after deciding to help her five-year-old friend Sabrina Grasso.

Sabrina was diagnosed with an inherited, metabolic disorder earlier this year, called ALG1-CDG.

Sabrina's mum, Louise Grasso, said it took doctors four-and-a-half years to deliver the diagnosis and that Sabrina deals with epilepsy, microcephaly and hypotonia.

Annie managed to cycle around Swindon, with her dad by her side, in just under four hours last month.

Annie at the finish line
Jess Jackson

Annie's mum, Joanna Lampard, said: "It just feels like that wow emoji! Annie is so shocked - we had a target of £100 and last time I checked it I think it was at £1070. It's just amazing."

The amount is still increasing and currently stands at £2,150.

Joanna added: "We want to help as much as we can to raise awareness - this whole thing has already become bigger than any of us expected, which is great. We've had so many wonderful messages."

The money raised will go to the Just4Children's Sabrina's World fundraiser.

It will help the Lampard family pay for therapy and equipment that is not provided by the NHS, including a wet room and a rocking chair for Sabrina.

The government is to propose a law change after Ellie Gould was murdered by her boyfriend.
The government is to propose a law change after teenager Ellie was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

Severe congestion: Wiltshire northbound

BBC News Travel

Wiltshire northbound severe congestion, from Odstock Road to A354 Coombe Road.

Wiltshire - Queues on Odstock Road northbound in Odstock from the Odstock Road junction to the A354 Coombe Road junction. Travel time is around 10 minutes.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Tracy Higginbottom said she had never experienced such aggression in more than 20 years
Tracy Higginbottom said she had never experienced such aggression in more than 20 years of service.

What is Novichok?

Germany says there's 'unequivocal proof' that it was used to poison Alexei Navalny
Germany says there is "unequivocal proof" that the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel said he was a victim of attempted murder and the world would look to Russia for answers.  Mr Navalny was flown to Berlin after falling ill on a flight in Siberia last month, and remains in a coma.  

Relations between the UK and Russia hit an all time low in 2018 after the British government accused Russia of using Novichok to poison a former Russian intelligence agent in the town of Salisbury.

But what exactly is it, and how does it work?

Professor Mark Bishop is an expert on chemical weapons from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. 

(Photo:  Alexei Navalny takes part in a rally in Moscow in February. Credit: Reuters)