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Storm Caroline disrupts travel and closes schools

Rail and ferry services are cancelled and dozens of schools are closed as the storm approaches.

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Rail and ferry travel has been disrupted and dozens of schools have been shut in Scotland due to Storm Caroline’s strong winds.

The Met Office has amber “be prepared” and yellow “be aware” warnings in place for Thursday’s storm for Scotland.

Yellow warnings have been issued for snow, ice and wind on Friday and Saturday for large parts of the UK.

Scotland’s transport minister, Humza Yousaf, said the country faced “challenging conditions”.

Warnings were issued earlier this week of winds reaching 90mph over parts of Scotland during the storm.

Mountaineering Scotland has reported gusts reaching 116mph on the summit of Cairn Gorm mountain in the Cairngorms. Winds gusting to 91mph have also been recorded at Dounreay in Caithness.

High winds in Orkney have seen wave heights of up 45ft (14m) being recorded at the European Marine Energy Centre’s Billia Croo wave test site.

The Met Office has updated its yellow warning for snow and ice on Thursday to include southern Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Image copyright Karen Munro Image caption Waves crashing against Thurso’s breakwater Image copyright Karen Munro Image caption Scrabster Harbour in Caithness where winds have been gusting to 91mph Image copyright Karen Munro Image caption The ferry, Hamnavoe, leaving Scrabster in Caithness for Orkney on Thursday morning Image copyright Scotrail Image caption A railway track at Patterton was blocked by a trampoline

All schools on Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra in the Western Isles have been closed to pupils as a precaution.

Electricity company SSE Networks said it had restored power to more than 3,900 properties, mainly in the Western Isles and north Highlands. About 780 households across Scotland are without power, the company added.

In the Highland Council area, more than 50 schools, which include nurseries, primary and secondary schools, have been closed because of the weather.

All schools in Orkney were closed from 11:30. In Shetland all schools were closed from lunchtime and will remain shut on Friday.

Image caption Sandbags in Macduff on the Aberdeenshire coast following warnings of high tides, strong winds and large waves Image caption Work to clear up debris from a wind-damaged tree in Inverness Image copyright Weather Watching Wendy/@BBCWthrWatchers Image caption A wet and windy scene on Shetland where all schools closed from lunchtime

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has 10 flood alerts and 11 flood warnings in place for areas including Ayrshire, Lochaber, Caithness and Sutherland.

Moray Council has warned that high winds and spring tides would lead to large waves at low-lying areas of coastline.

The council said Garmouth and Kingston were expected to be cut off for a short period on Thursday afternoon. It has also warned of blizzard conditions that are expected to follow in the wake of the storm.

ScotRail Alliance said that because of the Met Office forecast for winds gusting to up to 90mph in some areas, it had suspended the following services:

Speed restrictions will also be in place for services between Perth and Aberdeen and Perth and Inverness as winds of up to 60 mph are expected in areas those routes pass through.

ScotRail Alliance said this would mean trains would be slower and services would be disrupted.

Rail services between Glasgow Central and Neilston were disrupted for almost two hours after a trampoline blew onto the track at Patterton in East Renfrewshire.

Due to the severe weather the bus company Stagecoach said it has had to suspended its services in the north of Scotland.

‘Challenging conditions’

Ferry operators Caledonian MacBrayne and Serco Northlink have warned of cancellations and disruption to routes on Scotland’s west and north coasts.

Ferry sailings to and from Shetland were cancelled on Thursday night.

Serco Northlink is also advising customers that both of Friday’s passenger sailings from Lerwick and Aberdeen are under review with a high probability of cancellations.

The crew of the ferry Hamnavoe that left Scrabster in Caithness earlier on Thursday, had to seek shelter in Scapa Flow in Orkney having been unable to berth in Stromness.

Image copyright Ron Macdonald Image caption A seal in wind-blown sand at Newburgh beach in Aberdeenshire

Due to concerns about large waves during the storm, all personnel have been taken off the North Sea platform Ninian Southern off Shetland and production shut down.

CairnGorm Mountain snowsports centre near Aviemore said it would be closed on Thursday because of the expected high winds.

Image copyright Winkers/@BBCWthrWatchers Image caption Blustery conditions at Invergordon in an image taken by BBC Weather Watcher Winkers

The Scottish government held a resilience meeting on Wednesday to discuss the impact of the storm.

Mr Yousaf said: “We are facing some challenging weather conditions in the next few days as a result of Storm Caroline and we will be working closely with our partners to try to mitigate the worst of these and get information out to the public so that they can plan their journeys.

“Disruption is very likely but we will make every effort to recover the network as quickly as possible when incidents do occur.”

He said strong winds were likely to result in restrictions and closures on road bridges on Thursday morning.

Gritter tracker

Mr Yousaf added: “Moving forward, snow and ice will become more of a feature of the storm and our gritters and patrols will be out across the network.

“There is plenty of salt available and new vehicles are being trialled to improve our response. Our gritter tracker is back online so that people can see where our gritters have been out in their area.”

It has emerged that, as the storm approached Scotland, bad weather caused a gangway connected to a North Sea oil platform to separate from an accommodation vessel.

The gangway between the Safe Boreas and the Mariner platform east of Shetland automatically disconnected due to worsening weather conditions.

Statoil said no-one was injured, but it did leave 36 workers, who were on the neighbouring Noble Lloyd Noble rig unable to get back to the accommodation vessel. They made the short journey on Thursday morning by helicopter.

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Theresa May’s allies urge her to delay holding Cabinet reshuffle to May after ending year on unexpected high

THERESA May’s allies are urging her to delay a government reshuffle to May after her surprise end to the year on a high. The Prime Minister has been widely expected to freshen up her ageing Cabinet…

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THERESA May’s allies are urging her to delay a government reshuffle to May after her surprise end to the year on a high.

The Prime Minister has been widely expected to freshen up her ageing Cabinet with four or five new faces at the start of the New Year.

 Theresa May’s allies are urging her to delay a Cabine reshuffle to MayPA Theresa May’s allies are urging her to delay a Cabine reshuffle to May

She has also privately caved to backbench pressure to promote more younger Tory MP rising stars onto the frontbench for the first time.

But the unexpected upturn in the troubled PM’s fortunes by securing Phase Two of Brexit talks has lead to a rethink among some in No10.

Mrs May’s aides are split over whether to now carry out the reshuffle after the council elections in May instead, when a wipeout in the cities is feared.

Holding on another five months would also help keep  ministers in line over the crucial internal deliberations until March over what exactly to ask the EU for in a Brexit trade deal.

 Education Secretary Justine Greening, Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, pictured, are also said to be vulnerablePA Education Secretary Justine Greening, Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, pictured, are also said to be vulnerable

One close ally of Mrs May told The Sun: “A reshuffle is not a card any PM can play too often, so you should only do one when you really have to.

“They have a habit of creating more problems than they solve, so there is a growing feeling not to rock the boat now Theresa is looking  more solid.

“We will also get an undoubted kicking at the locals in May, so we’ll need something to regain the initiative after them.”

Next year’s local elections on Thursday May 3 are largely being held only in the bigger towns and cities, including all 32 London boroughs.

 The PM will decide on when to hold the second reshuffle of her reign as PM over the Christmas breakPA The PM will decide on when to hold the second reshuffle of her reign as PM over the Christmas break

The Tories suffered heavy losses in the urban areas at the June general election and senior party figures fear a repeat drubbing, leaving the poll’s aftermath a moment of certain danger for Mrs May.

The PM will decide on when to hold the second reshuffle of her reign as PM over the Christmas break.

First Secretary Damian Green ongoing sexual harassment probe is also a key factor in her thinking, The Sun has been told.

Mrs May wants her de facto deputy’s precarious situation to be resolved first so she knows whether he needs to be replaced.

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Former Coronation Street star Bruno Langley had sex with girl, 16, and asked her to read him erotic novel 50 Shades

CORRIE pervert Bruno Langley preyed on a 16-year-old girl before they had sex at her home. Langley, then 29, continued to pester the teen after she dumped him. She said of the star, who groped two …

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CORRIE pervert Bruno Langley preyed on a 16-year-old girl before they had sex at her home.

Langley, then 29, continued to pester the teen after she dumped him.

 Ex-Coronation Street star Bruno Langley had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girlRex Features Ex-Coronation Street star Bruno Langley had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl

She said of the star, who groped two clubbers: “He was creepy.”

Bruno Langley asked the 16-year-old girl to read him passages from 50 Shades of Grey on their first date.

She told how the actor, axed from Coronation Street for groping two women, joked about how young she looked on their first date.

Now 21, she recalled: “When he was buying the cinema tickets, the cashier said, ‘Two adults?’ And he laughed and said, ‘Well, not really’.”

 The girl, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she dumped the actor for being 'creepy'Tony Spencer The girl, who wishes to remain anonymous, says she dumped the actor for being ‘creepy’

As he walked her home, the sleazy soap star spied the erotic novel 50 Shades in her handbag.

She said: “He then asked me to read it to him, which was so embarrassing and cringeworthy.”

She said Langley, who played Todd Grimshaw in the ITV soap, marched over to her at a party in July 2012 — just weeks after she left school.

The bar worker, who we are not naming, recalled: “He said, ‘Why isn’t my number in your phone?’ He was pretty famous, so I was taken aback he came over.

“And he seemed nice, even though he was a bit cocky. I think he fancied himself more than I did.”

 The actor, who has been axed from Coronation Street, has pleaded guilty to indecent assaults on two women while in a nightclubPA:Press Association The actor, who has been axed from Coronation Street, has pleaded guilty to indecent assaults on two women while in a nightclub

They messaged and talked while she was on holiday, then began to see each other twice a week when she returned.

She said they had sex in her bedroom but she ended the relationship after six weeks as he was getting too clingy.

She recalled: “He was just a bit creepy. I went to a festival and he was texting me, asking to see me when I returned.

“But I said ‘no’ because I was so tired. I ended up falling asleep on the sofa and he turned up at my door. I thought that was completely desperate and quite strange.”

 The bar worker, now aged 21, began texting Bruno Langley after meeting him a party weeks after finishing schoolTony Spencer The bar worker, now aged 21, began texting Bruno Langley after meeting him a party weeks after finishing school

She ordered him to leave then ignored all his messages but Langley got back in touch with her in January 2013.

By then she was seeing someone else, yet she said he continued to pester her at work, until just weeks before his arrest in September for sexual assault.

She said: “I found out from a friend about the charges and I wasn’t surprised.”

Langley, 34, of Altrincham, Gtr Manchester, pleaded guilty last month to indecent assaults on two women at a nightclub.

Bruno Langley leaves court after sentencing for sexual assault  Bruno Langley, 34, blamed his sex attacks on women on the stress of playing a gay character on Coronation StreetRex Features Bruno Langley, 34, blamed his sex attacks on women on the stress of playing a gay character on Coronation Street

Magistrates heard he grabbed the crotch of one victim in front of her husband and also intimately touched another.

He was spared prison, instead receiving a 12-month community order while being ordered to sign the sex offenders register.

The dad of one issued a grovelling apology for the nightclub assaults and promised to get help for alcohol addiction.

He said: “It must have been awful for those women, and I’m ashamed of myself. I’m truly sorry.”

 Bruno Langley was spared prison for indecently assaulting two women, but received a 12-month community orderNews Group Newspapers Ltd Bruno Langley was spared prison for indecently assaulting two women, but received a 12-month community order

But his former teen lover said last night: “I don’t think his apology will wash with anyone. He didn’t have a drinking problem when he was preying on me.”

She went on: “I was so young and naive. But I am now old enough to know the age gap was inappropriate.

“Hopefully this has been a wake up-call to him. The whole thing left me feeling really dirty.”

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Diane Abbott claims Labour would make it easier for immigrants to come to Britain after Brexit

LABOUR would make it easier for immigrants to come to Britain after Brexit, Diane Abbott has pledged. The shadow home secretary vowed to slash red tape that can make it hard for new arrivals to get…

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LABOUR would make it easier for immigrants to come to Britain after Brexit, Diane Abbott has pledged.

The shadow home secretary vowed to slash red tape that can make it hard for new arrivals to get into the country.

 The shadow home secretary vowed to make immigration to Britain easier under a Labour governmentGetty Images – Getty The shadow home secretary vowed to make immigration to Britain easier under a Labour government

Her remarks risk infuriating Leave voters, many of who backed the UK’s EU exit to limit record levels of immigration.

Ms Abbott also said the number of newcomers to the UK from Europe may not fall at all under a Labour government.

Quizzed on whether the overall number should drop, she told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “Both business and public services like health and education are saying we do indeed need these European migrants that are coming here.

“We have to listen to them.”

 

 Tory Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: 'Today confirmed Labour’s approach to Brexit is a shambles'EPA Tory Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis said: ‘Today confirmed Labour’s approach to Brexit is a shambles’

Close Jeremy Corbyn ally Ms Abbott added: “Most people agree that we have to get rid of some of the bureaucracy around migration.

“That’s what we were referencing when we talked about easy movement – less bureaucracy.

“It’s good for migrants but it’s also good for business.”

Despite a fall since the EU referendum decision, net immigration to Britain is still running at 230,000 a year.

The most recent latest figure from the 12 months to the end of June is still more than double the Government’s annual target of less than 100,000.

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