News in brief
Vince Cable has pledged to offer an “exit from Brexit” as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, signalling he will continue to push his party’s demand for a second referendum on EU membership. The 74-year-old former business secretary was named party leader as the only candidate on the ballot paper. Cable had initially been reticent to endorse calls for a second referendum on the EU but said he was now convinced of the need to give the British people a say on the final deal, which would include the option to remain.
Brenda Hale has been appointed as the first female president of the UK’s supreme court. Lady Hale, a longstanding champion of diversity in the judiciary, has previously said the court should be ashamed if it did not improve its record on the issue. Leader comment, page 22 »
The number of council and housing association tower blocks that have similar cladding to that implicated in the Grenfell Tower fire is about half what was originally estimated, the government has said. The communities secretary, Sajid Javid, said that while local authorities and housing associations initially estimated that about 530 blocks over 18 metres high have such cladding, this was now put at no more than 240. All council blocks with aluminium composite material cladding and the majority of the social housing blocks with it have had samples tested.
Drones will have to be registered and users forced to take a safety awareness test under new regulations. Dozens of near-misses with aircraft around airports have stoked fears over the safety of drone use. Owners of drones weighing more than 250g – heavier than many available on the high street – will have to register their details and demonstrate that they understand safety and privacy laws that affect their use. The move follows research that showed strikes by drones of more than 400g could critically damage helicopter windscreens, while a bigger drone of about 2kg could critically harm airliner windscreens at higher speeds.