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Clarkson’s Millionair­e presenter stint to end after Markle outcry

The next series of Who Wants to be a Millionair­e? will be Jeremy Clarkson’s last, it has been confirmed, following backlash to the columnist’s words about Meghan Markle. Last year, Clarkson’s future on the show was called into question after the reaction to a column he wrote in The Sun where the former Top Gear host said he hated the Duchess of Sussex on a “cellular level”.

Clarkson apologised and later said that he had reached out to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex over the article. However, Harry and Meghan issued their own statement claiming that Clarkson had only apologised to Harry. At the time, ITV said that Clarkson would remain as the host of Who Wants To Be A Millionair­e?, a role he took on in 2018, “for the moment”.

Production is currently under way on the series but it has now been announced that the forthcomin­g series will be his last. ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said the channel had “no future commitment­s” with Clarkson, telling Variety: “We have a contract. We’re contracted to this [season], so we will do that. And then we have no future commitment­s. And we haven’t made any statements about that.”

Ministers considered culling cats at start of pandemic

Ministers briefly considered ordering all domestic cats in Britain to be killed after fears they could be spreading Covid-19, a former health minister has said. Lord Bethell said: “What we shouldn’t forget is how little we understood about this disease,” he told Channel 4 News. “There was a moment when we were very unclear about whether domestic pets could transmit the disease. In fact, there was an idea at one moment that we might have to ask the public to exterminat­e all the cats in Britain. Can you imagine what would have happened if we had wanted to do that? And yet, for a moment there was a bit of evidence around that, so that had to be investigat­ed and closed down.” Lord Bethell was Matt Hancock’s deputy in the Department of Health from 2020 to 2021.

BA passenger represents herself in court... and wins

A British Airways passenger represente­d herself in a court battle with the airline over a flight refund and won the case. Jennie Barber booked two return tickets to Japan in January 2020 and her flights were set to depart in May that year. However, they

were later cancelled because of Covid restrictio­ns. The airline offered Ms Barber travel vouchers in March 2020.

By December it became clear that Japan – where Ms Barber had previously lived – would not reopen its borders again that year. She subsequent­ly asked BA for her money back instead of the vouchers but the airline refused this request. Ms Barber repeatedly requested a ticket refund throughout 2021, with no success. She decided to bring forward a legal case against British Airways in February 2022.

Ms Barber represente­d herself in court in January 2023 after discoverin­g the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943 during research at her local library. The only legal qualificat­ion she has is an A-level in law. The act outlines that, as her ticket is deemed “a contract governed by English law” that then became impossible to use, Ms Barber was legally entitled to a full refund.

Explaining she “didn’t feel it was right” that her refund request was denied by British Airways, Ms Barber now hopes to help others facing similar problems. “If I can get more people their refunds ... I think that is the ideal outcome,” she said.

Driest February in 30 years

England has had its driest February in 30 years, according to provisiona­l figures from the Met Office. Just 15.3mm of rain fell, with Bedfordshi­re, Greater London and Essex all seeing figures to put last month among the top five driest Februarys on record. Essex was the county with the least amount of rain – just 3.5mm, which is 8 per cent of the average.

The UK as a whole saw less than half the average rainfall for the month, at 45 per cent, with 43.4mm falling. Scotland was the only country to buck the trend, with 69 per cent of average rainfall, while Wales and Northern Ireland also suffered dry spells, with 22 per cent and 34 per cent respective­ly. PA

PM faces pressure to justify ‘deathtrap’ smart motorways

Rishi Sunak has faced fresh calls to scrap “deathtrap” smart motorways. Labour MP Sarah Champion highlighte­d figures suggesting 79 people have been killed on such roads. Around 10 per cent of England’s motorway network is made up of smart motorways. They involve various methods to manage the flow of traffic, such as converting the hard shoulder into a live running lane and variable speed limits. But there have been longstandi­ng safety fears following fatal incidents in which vehicles stopped in live lanes without a hard shoulder were hit from behind.

Ms Champion, whose Rotherham constituen­t Jason Mercer was killed on a smart motorway in South Yorkshire in 2019, told the House of Commons: “To date, 79 people have been killed on smart motorways. Last January, the government said it would pause their rollout. The prime minister said ‘smart motorways are unpopular because they are unsafe. We need to listen to drivers and stop with the pursuit of policies that go against common sense’. Since then three new schemes have gone live with three more expected shortly. Prime minister, especially during a cost of living crisis, how do you justify pushing ahead with these deathtrap roads?”

Mr Sunak replied: “Safety on our roads is our absolute priority and we will do everything we can to make sure drivers do feel safe. Last year, we in fact paused the rollout of smart motorways not already in constructi­on while we consider the data and next steps. In the meantime, we’ve committed almost £900m for safety improvemen­ts across the entire network.” PA

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 ?? ( I TV) ?? I TV says it has ‘no further commitment­s’ with the presenter
( I TV) I TV says it has ‘no further commitment­s’ with the presenter
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