The legal drink-drive limit should be lowered in England and Wales to cut alcohol-related accidents, councils and fire authorities have urged. The Local Government Association (LGA) and all fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales are calling for the current limit to be lowered from 80mg to 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The move could save 170 lives in the first year, according to the LGA. The government said UK roads were "amongst the safest in the world". The Scottish government reduced its legal limit for drivers to 50mg in December 2014.
Theresa May has urged EU leaders to focus their minds on getting a Brexit deal in the next two months, saying negotiations will not be extended. At a dinner in Salzburg, she told her 27 counterparts her priorities are maintaining economic ties and ensuring promises to Northern Ireland are kept. There are suggestions the UK will put forward new ideas for regulatory checks to address the current Irish deadlock. It comes as the PM insisted the EU must also rethink its stance on the border. In a speech over dinner, Mrs May stressed her "serious" proposals for future co-operation between the UK and EU would ensure a "shared close relationship".
Catalonia's parliament declared independence from Spain on Friday in defiance of the central government, in Madrid. The Spanish government responded by approving direct rule in the breakaway region. The vote by the upper house on Article 155 allows Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to rule Catalonia directly. Prime Minister Theresa May's office said Britain "does not and will not" recognise the Catalan regional parliament's declaration of independence, which "is based on a vote that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts." But the Scottish government, led by the pro-independence Scottish National Party, criticized Spain for refusing dialogue and said imposition of direct rule by Madrid "cannot be the solution."
Much of the UK is taking a battering as Storm Eleanor sweeps eastwards. Winds are set to reach 80mph (128km/h) in parts of Wales, England, southern Scotland and most of Northern Ireland. More than 12,000 homes in Northern Ireland have been without power, as have 2,700 in England and 460 in Wales. Fallen trees have closed a number of roads, including two lanes on the clockwise section of the M25 and, overnight, the Severn Crossing between Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, and the Orwell Bridge near Ipswich. Ferry crossings to and from the Isle of Man have been cancelled too.
Clara Ponsati, Catalonia's former education minister, has turned herself in to authorities in Scotland and is facing extradition to Spain. She arrived voluntarily at an Edinburgh police station on Wednesday before being formally arrested. Spanish authorities have accused her of rebellion and misuse of public funds, and the Supreme Court of Spain issued a European arrest warrant for her and a number of separatist leaders. Ponsati's lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said she views the charges - which carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail - as "political persecution". I can confirm @ClaraPonsati has been arrested & the extradition hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court is likely 2take place earlier than expected btw 130 & 2pm- Clara is in good spirits & greatful 4all support #Catalonia https://t.co/Lwi2rGLweG