Your morning news briefing, Friday 20 December

20 December 2019, 06:54

The Prime Minister looked happy, while the Labour leader less so
The Prime Minister looked happy, while the Labour leader less so. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Good morning, here's all the UK and world news you're waking up to on Friday, with just five days until Christmas.

Morning, EJ here bringing you all the news and weather you need as you wake up, and maybe make your way into work!

'Get Brexit Done'

Well, it was Boris Johnson's key pledge during the election campaign, and some have suggested the clear, concise slogan, was the main reason he returned as PM and secured an 80 seat majority in the Commons.

Later today, that promise comes a step closer to becoming reality as he attempts to push his, amended, Brexit deal through Parliament.

It's likely, with the PM's majorty, the Bill will pass through the Commons and the UK will be one step closer to exiting the EU.

Read the full story here.

The Queen made her second trip to Parliament for the State Opening, this was Her Majesty's second trip in two months, it was a 'slimmed-down' occasion though, with the Monarch opting to forego wearing a crown, and arriving in her car and not a carriage.

An angry-looking Jeremy Corbyn walked through the House of Commons next to Boris Johnson as they arrived to listen to the Queen’s speech today.

Mr Johnson was seen smiling from ear-to-ear - but stony-faced Mr Corbyn bore a frown and did not speak to the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have clashed in the Commons in the aftermath of the second Queen's Speech in as many months.

Mr Johnson, fresh off his general election victory, insisted he feels a "colossal sense of obligation" to voters as he tries to deliver a "new golden age" for Britain.

The Prime Minister claimed his new Government has unveiled "the most radical Queen's Speech for a generation" in pursuit of delivering Brexit, extra cash for the NHS and justice reforms.

But Jeremy Corbyn hit back at the promises, claiming Mr Johnson won the election through "gimmicks and false promises."

The outgoing Labour leader claimed the Conservatives were promising a "very pale imitation" of his party's priorities, adding he feared those who backed Mr Johnson will be "sorely disappointed".

Major Flooding Incident

Rail lines have been closed and roads have been left impassable after some areas of Southern England saw a week's worth of rainfall in just a few hours.

Parts of Southern England have been hit by flooding and severe disruption after heavy rainfall overnight, with forecasters issuing a yellow weather warning.

The Met Office has warned some communities may be cut off by flooded roads, and more travel disruption is possible, with warnings remaining in place until midday Friday.

Sussex police warned on Friday morning of "alot of standing water on the roads" and advised drivers to "be careful, slow down and give extra time to get to locations."

Due to standing water officers from the force closed the M23 in some areas.

The village of Cardinham in Cornwall saw 52mm of rainfall over 36 hours while Bastreet Downs got 53.4mm.

Devon and Cornwall Police said downpours had caused localised flooding on Thursday, with a number of roads left impassable. The A30 bypass at Hayle was temporarily closed after officers declared a "major incident" on Thursday.

Social media footage showed several feet of brown water rising against shop doors and windows in the town, which saw 50 homes evacuated due to bad weather.


NHS workers could be forced to have flu jabs as data shows 40% of healthcare workers are not vaccinated.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is "essential" NHS staff get the flu jab after statistics today revealed cases are eight times higher than last year.

The Times newspaper reports the Department of Health is understood to be “actively considering” making vaccination a requirement of NHS employment as that flu season starts.

Data from Public Health England shows that four in 10 front line healthcare workers are not vaccinated despite the UK experiencing one of its worst flu outbreaks in years.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that it was unacceptable for the vaccination uptake of NHS staff to be so low.

"It is wrong for any front line NHS staff not to be vaccinated against flu without a good medical reason," Mr Hancock said.

See all the statistics here.

Headline: Rain clearing with some sunshine.

Today: Rain across eastern England, Northern Ireland and western Scotland will slowly clear followed by some bright or sunny spells for most. Southern and western Britain will see some sunshine and heavy showers, perhaps with a rumble of thunder.

Tonight: Showers across central and southern Britain, and far north of Scotland. Northern Ireland and much of northern and eastern England are likely to stay dry with some fog patches later.


The use of Taser stun guns by police forces in England and Wales reached a record high last year.

Government figures show the weapons were fired on 2,500 occasions between April 2018 and March 2019.

That number is up by more than a third on the previous 12 months, and double the 2016 total.

And Finally... (Twice, cos there's a space story...)

The remains of a Shakespeare Elizabethan theatre and a building used as a Monty Python set are some of the unusual sites to get protected status this year.

500 places have been added to the National Heritage List for England in 2019.

Two 19th century shipwrecks and recently discovered 16th century wall paintings have also been upgraded.


A test flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft is due to head to the International Space Station today.

As well as cargo for the ISS, it'll be carrying a test dummy named Rosie, fitted with sensors to measure G-forces.

The reusable capsule is being developed in collaboration with NASA.

That's it, you're up to date, I'll be back on Monday so stay dry until then and have a great weekend. EJ