News Daily: Top judge on Brexit and maternity ward closures

By Justin Parkinson
BBC News


Hello. Here's your morning briefing:

Image source, Reuters

Top judge calls for post-Brexit clarity

The UK's most senior judge has called for clarity about how UK law will develop after Brexit. Lord Neuberger, who will step down as Supreme Court president next month, said Parliament must be explicit in telling judges what to do about future decisions made by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), adding that his colleagues should not be blamed if politicians are unclear.

Currently, UK legislation is subject to rulings made by the ECJ. Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted it should have no jurisdiction over the UK following Brexit. But opponents argue there's an apparent contradiction in that position, saying any UK company or organisation doing business in the EU will still be subject to the ECJ's jurisdiction.

Concern raised over maternity ward closures

Labour has raised concerns about maternity care. The party found that 42 out of 96 NHS trusts in England who responded to its Freedom of Information request had made the decision to close maternity wards temporarily last year, diverting expectant mothers to wards elsewhere. The most common reasons given were staff and bed shortages. But the government said blaming a lack of staff was "misleading", adding that short-term closures were "well-rehearsed safety measures, which we expect trusts to use to safely manage peaks in admissions".

UK South Asian women 'hiding cancer'

The BBC has learned that some UK women from South Asian backgrounds are hiding the fact they have cancer because of a perceived stigma about the disease. The Victoria Derbyshire programme spoke to one woman who had kept her chemotherapy secret for fear of her family's reaction and heard that another had refused the treatment because she felt "God had given [cancer] to her". Experts said others were seeking help too late, causing preventable deaths.

Analysis: How barbed wire changed America

By Tim Harford, BBC World Service

After Europeans arrived and pushed west, the cowboys roamed free, herding cattle over the boundless plains. But settlers needed fences, not least to keep those free-roaming cattle from trampling their crops. And there wasn't a lot of wood - certainly none to spare for fencing in mile after mile of what was often called "The American Desert".

What the papers say

The Times reports that Tesco's decision to stop selling 5p single-use plastic bags and instead offer customers 10p reusable bags "could boost" the company's profits and see it using more, not less, plastic. Meanwhile, the i claims the UK's weekly bill for being a member of the EU is £156m - or £8.1bn a year. During the Brexit referendum campaign, Vote Leave claimed the figure was £350m. And the Guardian says some US government employees have been told to stop using the term "climate change".

Daily digest

Model kidnap case Chloe Ayling "was to be sold in Middle East"

Diversity memo Google fires worker who wrote about "biological differences"

South Africa decision MPs to vote in secret on future of President Zuma

'We're Fleeing Trump' The couple leaving the US for Canada

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Today's lookahead

Morning Pupils across Scotland receive their exam results.

Today The Great British Beer Festival, which is marking its 40th anniversary, opens at London's Olympia. It lasts until Saturday.

On this day

1974 US President Richard Nixon, facing an imminent impeachment trial, announces he is resigning.

From elsewhere