Alan Shearer still owed £230,000 by ex-financial adviser

Ex-England footballer Alan Shearer is still owed more than £230,000 by a former financial adviser he sued, a court has heard.

The former striker agreed a confidential settlement with Kevin Neal three years ago after alleging he was given “negligent” advice.

But his lawyers told a virtual High Court hearing he had not been paid.

The judge, Master Richard Davison, made an order allowing Shearer to take money from an account belonging to Mr Neal.

Barrister Robert Avis, who represented the ex-Southampton, Blackburn and Newcastle forward, said Mr Neal had not resisted the making of such an order.

Last month, Mr Neal was questioned about his finances at another hearing at London’s High Court.

He described himself as a self-employed business development consultant and said that under the terms of an order made following the curtailment of a 2017 trial, he owed £200,000.

However, he added he could not pay it.

But at the hearing, a barrister representing Shearer suggested it was “more a question of will not pay” than could not pay.

Shearer, 50, from Newcastle and now a football pundit for the BBC, was not at the latest hearing – one of a number held since 2017.

The settlement three years ago was announced shortly before the retired player had been due to give evidence at the High Court.

Lawyers had indicated the case centred on a pension worth around £4m.

Shearer had complained about investment advice he was given and said he had lost millions of pounds. He labelled Mr Neal “careless” and “dishonest”.

Mr Neal had disputed the allegations and told a judge Shearer’s claims were “driven by pure greed and ego”.

Suspected illegal immigrants arrested on boat off East Anglia coast

Sixty-nine suspected illegal immigrants and three crew members have been arrested after a fishing boat was intercepted off the coast of East Anglia, says the National Crime Agency.

It has launched a people smuggling investigation after Border Force officials intercepted the vessel off Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

The agency said the 30m (98ft) boat had sailed from near Ostend, Belgium.

British officials accompanied the boat into Harwich harbour on Wednesday.

The three crew members, a Latvian national and two Ukrainian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration.

The 69 passengers, thought to be Albanian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Immigration Act and will be dealt with by immigration enforcement officers, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

“This was clearly a significant incident and a significant attempt to breach the UK’s border controls,” said Craig Naylor of the NCA.

“Working with our partners we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle people smuggling networks, and prevent them from exploiting migrants for profit,” he said.

A search of the boat is ongoing.

Plymouth baby Sawyer Feasey died wedged beside mum on sofa

A baby who was less than a month old died after he became wedged between cushions on a sofa where his mother had fallen asleep, an inquest heard.

Sawyer Feasey was found unresponsive when his mother Jessica woke up in the early hours, in March, at their home in Plymouth, Devon.

Despite her attempts to resuscitate Sawyer he died at the scene, Plymouth Coroners Court heard.

There were no suspicious circumstances around his death, the court was told.

Mrs Feasey’s health visitor spoke of how she “presented as a caring mother” and cared for her children alone.

Devon and Cornwall Police also said there was no evidence of smoking, alcohol or drug use in the house.

The post-mortem report said Sawyer was a “well cared for baby” and there were no suspicious findings.

A pathologist’s report said it was not possible to give a medical cause of death, but that there was an increased risk associated with infants co-sleeping with adults on sofas.

These factors “could have contributed to his death”, the report stated.

A statement from Mrs Feasey indicated how she had gone to bed upstairs but “ended up downstairs” with Sawyer after he woke for a feed.

Her next memory is waking on the sofa at about 05:15 and not knowing where he was.

“He wasn’t there. ‘Where the hell is my baby?’ I sat up and I saw he was down the side of me,” she said.

“When I saw him down the side I knew he was gone”.

She put him on the floor and attempted CPR but “nothing I did was working. I just knew he was gone.”

A statement from a paramedic said Mrs Feasey “picked up Sawyer to cuddle him” before they transferred his body to Derriford Hospital.

Senior Coroner Ian Arrow said it was not possible to give a cause of death, returning an open conclusion and adding his “heartfelt condolences” to Mrs Feasey.

Boy, 10, dies after head injury at Birmingham school

A 10-year-old boy has died after sustaining a head injury at school.

Yasir Hussain was injured at Leigh Primary School in Birmingham on 12 November and died on Tuesday.

The school said it called for an ambulance and followed medical advice. West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was stood down by the school over an hour later.

The circumstances around his death are not known and West Midlands Police said it was working with the school.

Leigh Primary school in Washwood Heath described Yasir as “hard-working and determined to succeed” with a “real thirst for learning”.

“We all desperately miss him already,” it said in a statement.

First aid was administered after the “tragic accident” last week and the emergency services were called, the school said.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was contacted just before 13:00 GMT to reports of a medical emergency at the school and from the information provided, the call was correctly categorised as a C3 – which requires ambulances to attend within two hours 90% of the time.

“At 14:24 we received a second call in which we were told the patient’s condition had improved and we were stood down,” an ambulance spokesperson said.

“However, the call assessor gave strong advice about what to do if the boys condition was to change, including immediately calling 999 should that happen.”

Pupils were informed of Yasir’s death by teachers on Wednesday.

In a statement, West Midlands Police said it was continuing to work with the school to investigate what happened.

The school said the thoughts of staff and pupils were with Yasir’s family and friends, and asked that their and the school’s privacy was respected at this “terribly difficult time”.

PMs climate vision: 10 steps forward, 10 steps back?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s long-awaited climate plan includes hastening the end of petrol and diesel cars, new nuclear, hydrogen, and carbon capture. But as our Environment Analyst Roger Harrabin reports, other policies are leaving emissions untouched, or even driving them up.

The prime minister’s ambitious 10-point plan has been broadly welcomed by businesses and environmentalists.

But while Mr Johnson creates jobs and cuts carbon dioxide with one hand, he’s either increasing emissions – or leaving them uncut – in at least 10 other areas.

These are road-building, SUVs, high-speed rail, aviation, overseas finance, oil and gas, coal mining, farming, meat-eating and peat.

The £27bn roads programme will actually increase emissions. Increased road capacity not only encourages driving but also leads to car-dependent developments such as retail and business parks. It will be decades before electric vehicles rule the tarmac.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says people should be driving less, and even the AA’s president Edmund King concedes: “Arguably in future, we should invest more in broadband [so people can] work from home.”

There’s secrecy and confusion over the calculations for CO2 emissions from the roads programme, and the government is facing court action by greens complaining that road-building doesn’t fit with a zero emissions economy.

Building highways doesn’t create many jobs either because most work is mechanised.

Large sports utility vehicles (SUVs) emit a quarter more CO2 than medium-sized cars, yet the PM’s doing nothing to deter people from buying them.

The motoring industry says electric SUVs will eventually be the answer. But some academics argue that the most polluting SUVs should be removed from the roads immediately.

They say electric SUVs won’t solve all problems, because they gobble far more energy and resources than smaller cars.

There’s controversy over emissions from HS2 – the planned high-speed railway linking cities in the north and the Midlands with London. A previous report said it wouldn’t reduce CO2 overall for more than 100 years, largely because of the emissions created during tunnelling and construction.

HS2 says that forecast is out of date – and points to measures it has taken to reduce construction emissions by using less steel to do the same job.

HS2’s environment director Peter Miller said: “HS2 is playing a crucial role in supporting the green economic recovery and ensuring the UK is on track to achieve net-zero by 2050.”

Greens don’t trust the revised CO2 figures, and say the £100bn cost of HS2 could have been spent better on more effective climate policies.

Aviation poses another transport CO2 challenge. The PM hopes to develop large commercial planes that can fly long-haul passengers planes with zero emissions (Jet Zero, he calls it), but these are decades away.

Right now, some maintain, the government should dampen demand for flying when the economy picks up.

The Citizens’ Assembly – set up to gauge popular opinion on climate change – recommended a frequent fliers’ tax.

Finance is another area requiring attention, with the UK accused of carbon hypocrisy over its £1bn finance guarantee for a gas project in Mozambique.

It’s part of a broader package for fossil fuel ventures in developing countries.

Friends of the Earth is taking the government to court for contradicting UK climate policy. Its campaigner, Rachel Kennerley, said: “The government is keen to talk up its climate plans, yet it pours billions into oil and gas projects globally.”

The prime minister is said to have felt “bounced” into accepting the Mozambique project, but he’s not announced any revision so far.

What about oil and gas in UK waters? Scientists say fossil fuel firms have already found far more hydrocarbons than society can burn without major damage to the climate.

Yet the government aims to enhance oil and gas production in the North Sea.

The UK Oil and Gas Authority said the fuels would form an important part of the UK energy mix for the foreseeable future.

The government is reviewing the offshore licensing regime to make it “greener”, while preserving jobs.

OGUK’s chief executive Deirdre Michie said this is “an opportunity to shine a light on how our industry is changing”.

Oxford University’s Prof Myles Allen says firms extracting fossil fuels should pay to dispose of the resulting CO2 emissions by the technique of carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Meanwhile, there’s even a bid to resurrect production of the dirtiest fuel, coal, in the UK.

The Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick is deliberating over a decision on whether to allow a new deep mine to extract coal from under the sea in Cumbria.

Environmentalists say it’s irrational to look for more of something there’s too much of already. The coal firm says it will create 500 jobs.

Farming in the UK is emerging as a substantial source of greenhouse gases.

Ministers say their post-Brexit subsidy regime for farms will incentivise farmers to reduce emissions and capture CO2 in the soil and in trees.

Farmers are frustrated because no details – or cash – has been provided.

Protecting and restoring peat bogs is the simplest, quickest and cheapest way to combat climate change.

The moss covering the bogs locks carbon into the soil indefinitely, unlike trees which soak up CO2 then release it when they rot.

Ministers have promised a strategy to protect peat, but the PM hasn’t put laws into place. A £40m grant for countryside restoration announced previously is said to be a fraction of what’s needed.

The Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change, which brought together people from all walks of life to discuss solutions to global warming, foresees a gradual reduction in meat-eating over coming decades to meet emissions targets.

But campaigners say the prime minister should take a public lead on this issue by pledging to eat less meat and inviting others to follow suit.

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Brexit: Lords defeat government twice over internal market law

The government has lost two more votes in the Lords over its Brexit bill.

Peers voted by 367 to 209 to amend the Internal Market Bill, after claims that it would allow the UK government to “shackle” devolved administrations as powers are returned from Brussels.

And they voted by 327 to 223 to curb ministers’ powers to rewrite parts of the bill at a later stage.

The proposed law aims to create a UK-wide internal market after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December.

It was approved by the Commons in September but is encountering strong resistance in the Lords, where Boris Johnson’s government does not have a majority.

Last week, peers defeated the government over plans to allow the UK to override parts of the legally-binding withdrawal agreement that apply to Northern Ireland.

Once peers have finished debating the bill it will head back to the House of Commons where MPs will decide either to reject or accept the Lords’ amendments.

In the event of a stalemate between the two Houses, the government has not ruled out forcing through the changes through a rarely-used law known as the Parliament Act, which dates back to 1911.

The act, which enshrined the primacy of the elected Commons over the unelected Lords, was used in 2004 by Tony Blair’s government to push through a ban on fox and deer hunting and hare-coursing with dogs.

In the first of Wednesday’s reverses for the government, peers supported an amendment that sought to strengthen the role of the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Speaking in favour of the amendment, Crossbench peer Baroness Finlay of Llandaff said the bill would allow Westminster to bypass the views of devolved governments in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast and consign current arrangements to a “meaningless sideshow”.

She added that the proposed legislation “shackles the ability of the elected parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to find their own solutions to the problems we face”.

And Labour said it would, for example, prevent the Welsh government from banning different types of plastic ahead of the rest of the UK.

Speaking for the government, Cabinet Office Minister Lord True said the right place for final decisions on the internal market should be the Westminster Parliament.

The Internal Market Bill is designed to enable goods and services to flow freely across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland once the transition period is over.

Currently regulations and standards on issues like animal welfare are agreed and applied across the EU.

After the transition period, many of these standards will be directly controlled by the devolved administrations – but the UK government has said they will still have to accept goods and services from all other parts of the UK, even if they have set different standards locally.

Man prowled streets before raping teen in Exeter

A man had been “prowling the street” for a victim before raping a teenager in an alleyway, a court heard.

Gheorghe Bertlef attacked the 18-year-old in Exeter on 13 November 2019 as she walked home from a club.

An earlier trial at Exeter Crown Court heard he had “manhandled” his victim in Hoopern Lane and jurors found him guilty of rape and attempted rape.

Jailing him for 13 years, Judge Robert Linford told Truro Crown Court the defendant he was a “dangerous man”.

He said 32-year-old Berltlef had been “prowling the street” looking for a victim and that when he approached her, it should have been “blindingly obvious she didn’t want anything to do with you”.

Judge Linford added: “You are a dangerous man with no desire whatsoever to change.”

Jurors heard Bertlef, of Pinhoe Road, had spent weeks walking around Exeter in the middle of the night looking for lone women.

The court heard when he found his victim, he blocked her from leaving the alley during a 30-minute “sustained” attack.

The victim told his trial she had been so frightened she had frozen and did what her attacker said, but told him repeatedly she wanted to be allowed home.

His defence team said the Royal Mail sorting officer worker had been a man of previous good character and hard-working.

Bertlef, a Romanian national who came to the UK in 2016, was jailed for 13 years for rape, with 10 to be served in prison and three on licence.

He was jailed for seven years concurrently for attempted rape, ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life, and will face deportation on release.

Labour: Bring back persecuted Corbyn, allies demand

Allies of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have called for him to be reinstated as one of the party’s MPs, arguing he is being “persecuted” by successor Sir Keir Starmer.

Unite union leader Len McCluskey described Sir Keir’s decision not to bring back Mr Corbyn as “vengeful”.

And former Labour chairman Ian Lavery called it “undemocratic”.

But Sir Keir said Mr Corbyn’s remarks on the scale of anti-Semitism within Labour had “undermined” trust.

Mr Corbyn was suspended from Labour at the end of October after a damning report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the party’s response to allegations of anti-Semitism during his tenure as leader.

The move followed Mr Corbyn saying opponents had “dramatically overstated” the scale of the problem within Labour for political gain.

The party’s ruling body decided on Tuesday to readmit Mr Corbyn as a member.

But this did not mean he would automatically be reinstated as a Labour MP, and on Wednesday Sir Keir decided not to restore the party whip to his predecessor – meaning he will continue to sit in the House of Commons as an independent.

Sir Keir promised to keep the situation under review, but allies of Mr Corbyn have urged him to change his mind immediately.

Mr McCluskey, whose Unite union is one of Labour’s biggest financial backers, said he was “astonished”, adding: “The continued persecution of Jeremy Corbyn, a politician who inspired millions, by a leadership capitulating to external pressure on party procedures risks destroying the unity and integrity of the party.”

MPs sitting in the House of Commons on behalf of a party are given what is called “the party whip”.

It allows them to represent their chosen party and stand for them in elections, as well as ensuring they receive a letter about forthcoming parliamentary business, detailing the position the party is taking.

Having the whip taken away is considered a serious punishment by a party.

While the MP can keep their seat in the House, they are classed as an independent and cannot run for the party in the next election, unless that whip is restored.

Mr Lavery, who served as Labour chairman under Mr Corbyn, leader from 2015 until earlier this year, told the BBC News Channel: “This is a strange way of rebuilding trust.”

He added: “Does this mean that, for the first time in Labour Party history, we have a leader who overrules who overrules democratic processes… because of what he sees as the right decision?”

Mr Lavery also asked: “Is this political persecution against the former leader?”

While many Labour MPs have supported Sir Keir’s decision, 28 MPs and four peers have signed a statement calling for a “swift reversal”.

The EHRC’s report found Labour had broken the law over its handling of anti-Jewish racism complaints by party members during Mr Corbyn’s tenure.

On Tuesday, Mr Corbyn attempted to clarify his position in public, saying that “concerns about anti-Semitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated'”.

But Board of Deputies of British Jews president Marie van der Zyl said Sir Keir had “taken the appropriate leadership decision”, adding Mr Corbyn had been “shameless and remorseless for what he has put the Jewish community through”.

Shadow justice minister Peter Kyle tweeted in support Sir Keir, saying: “We always knew tackling the cultural problems allowing anti-Semitism to exist in Labour would take time.

“We knew there would be moments that challenge and test us. The last 24 hours were unnecessarily difficult but Keir Starmer has acted authoritatively. We are moving forward.”

Fellow Labour MP Margaret Hodge – who is the parliamentary chair of the Jewish Labour Movement – also supported the move.

She said Mr Corbyn had “refused to himself accept the findings of the EHRC report, refused to apologise for his actions and refused to take any responsibility”, so it was right to withhold the whip.

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