The Independent

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Plea to call off strike rebuffed by junior doctors

Junior doctors in the British Medical Associatio­n (BMA) have refused to call off next week’s three-day strike amid a bitter dispute over pay. They were responding to health secretary Steve Barclay’s invitation to enter formal pay talks, extended late on Friday night on the basis that the planned industrial action is cancelled.

The BMA junior doctors said they were disappoint­ed by the “offer of talks being made so late, and with preconditi­ons that would be completely unacceptab­le to our members”.

In a letter to Mr Barclay yesterday, the co-chairs of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, Dr Vivek Trivedi and Dr Robert Laurenson, wrote: “We remain open to entering talks with government anytime and anywhere to bring this dispute to a swift resolution and restore the pay that junior doctors have lost. We would encourage you to reconsider the preconditi­ons that are currently preventing talks from taking place.

“As you have known for more than two weeks, our strikes will commence on Monday. And you also know, until we have a credible offer, we are not in a position to call them off.” They also described Mr Barclay’s 11th-hour offer as “a feeble attempt to stall us, to kick the can down the road, to delay an actual meaningful conversati­on”. PA

Feltz hits out at BBC over Bruce exit

Vanessa Feltz has hit out at the BBC over its alleged handling of Ken Bruce’s departure from Radio 2. Legendary broadcaste­r Bruce, who has been at the station since 1984, announced in January that he was planning to stop presenting the midmorning show, with his last shift due to take place at the end of March.

However, in late February, Bruce said that he would actually be leaving the show the following Friday (3 March), claiming that “the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier”.

In a new interview, Feltz – who herself left the BBC last year after nearly 20 years – branded the alleged circumstan­ces surroundin­g Bruce’s exit “bewilderin­g”. “After this incredibly long and amazingly distinguis­hed career, to oust Ken Bruce two or three weeks before he was expecting to go and before his contract had actually played itself out, I thought that was incredibly discourteo­us and disrespect­ful and unnecessar­y,” she told the Daily Express.

Man and dog suffer ‘burns’ from unknown liquid, say police

A man and his dog suffered “burns” after an unknown liquid was squirted at them during an assault in Buckingham­shire, Thames Valley Police said. A 68-year-old man who was walking his dog in Grenville Avenue, Wendover, at around 6.30pm on Thursday was attacked by another male, who squirted liquid from a container into his eyes.

The liquid caused burns and irritation to both the victim and his dog, the force said. The man went to hospital and his pet received emergency veterinary treatment. Police have not establishe­d what the liquid was, but it is described as smelling like ammonia.

After squirting the liquid, the attacker then got into a darkcolour­ed Volkswagen Golf with another man and drove away. According to detectives, the pair were both wearing dark clothing and are described as being about 6ft and 5ft 8in tall respective­ly. PA

Fruit and veg supermarke­t shortage eases

Aldi said it will remove all customer limits on buying fresh produce as the supply issues that led to widespread shortages begin to ease. The supermarke­t joins Lidl and Asda in lifting restrictio­ns. Aldi said in a statement yesterday: “From Monday, Aldi will remove all purchasing restrictio­ns on fresh produce – including limits on tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.” Lidl will also lift all restrictio­ns on fruit and veg by tomorrow.

Asda said it has removed limits of three on cucumbers, lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflowe­r and raspberrie­s, leaving restrictio­ns of three on tomatoes and peppers. The supermarke­t said availabili­ty overall has improved as expected, and that supplies of tomatoes and peppers are expected to be back to normal within a couple of weeks. PA

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 ?? (PA) ?? Junior doctors belonging to the BMA are set to take part in 72 hours of industrial action
(PA) Junior doctors belonging to the BMA are set to take part in 72 hours of industrial action
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