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Gordon Brown says UK is “moving closer together” despite talk of indyref2

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Former Prime minister Gordon Brown has said the UK is “moving closer together, not further apart” and warned Prime minister Boris Johnson to scrap his “muscular unionism” approach to devolution claiming that “narrow nationalists” ran both Holyrood and Westminster.

A poll released today by the pro-union pressure group “Our Scottish Future” of which Brown is founder, said the results demonstrate “that the nations of the UK are united on the key priorities they want government to pursue after the pandemic”, and by certain national values.

The group polled people across Scotland, England and Wales to ask them about their own values and their priorities for the coming years ahead.

In Scotland, England and Wales, people are united in their belief that equality (78%, 76%, 78%), tolerance (83%, 83%, 83%), liberty (86%, 87%,83%), and diversity (82%, 82%, 80%) are key to feeling national pride.

In light of these findings Brown said: “If people thought before that England was not as forward in diversity, equality, tolerance or indeed on inclusivity, that is dispelled by this poll. In fact, the polling shows that England is more egalitarian than Scotland on the issues that we raised on colour. The idea that the three countries are moving apart is wrong.”

The poll also showed that people across the three nations largely agree on controversial social questions such as immigration levels, the nature of British history, and the balance between opportunity and equality in society.

47 per cent of respondents in Wales, 42 per cent in Scotland and 41 per cent in England said that the NHS was their number one issue.

Similarly, people across the UK prioritised a “dignified” retirement for old people, tackling climate change, and making sure every child has the best education as other top priorities.

Writing in the New Statesman magazine this week, Brown cites England football manager Gareth Southgate’s “Letter to England” earlier this summer, which highlighted the values of tolerance and equality.

Brown says the poll demonstrates that he was indeed speaking for the majority of people in England.

Writing in tomorrow’s New Statesman magazine, Brown argues that a “new Britain is waiting to be born” based on the shared values and priorities that now exist across the whole UK as the country emerges from the division of Brexit and the trauma of the pandemic.

Brown’s comments were later dismissed by a number of SNP MPs via Twitter.

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Ringway to replace Kier on Surrey roads deal worth up to £2.5bn

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Ringway will take over from current incumbent Kier next April to carry out road repairs, resurfacing and specialist structural projects as well as the upkeep of drains, winter gritting and snow clearing under the contract which will initially run for 10 years with the potential to be extended up to 21 years.

Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure, Matt Furniss said: “Ringway will work with SCC to invest £200m in Surrey’s highways over the next five years which will see improvements to approximately 350 miles of road and 180 miles of pavements. This will include the development and adoption of innovative materials, construction techniques and ways of working.

“I would like to thank Kier Highways Limited who have successfully delivered highways activities on behalf of the Council over the past eleven years.  We will work with them to ensure a smooth transition that doesn’t detrimentally affect services for residents.”

Mike Notman, Ringway Managing Director added: “We are very much looking forward to working with local people, partners and communities, ensuring that Surrey’s roads deliver connectivity and accessibility benefits for local people, as well as supporting the council’s climate change ambitions.”

The contract was awarded following a 12-month procurement process which saw seven organisations initially submit expressions of interest for the contract and Amey, Kier and Ringway make the shortlist.

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John Nicolson takes aim at Newcastle Supporters over Saudi takeover

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SNP MP John Nicolson took aim at Newcastle supporters for ‘not caring’ about Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses following the club’s controversial takeover last week.

The SNP culture spokesperson criticised some sections of fans for being “numpties dancing around in cod-Arabic dresses outside Newcastle United” after the takeover, and for the “enormous abuse” journalists received when reporting on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

Nicolson claimed “there was nobody who could have taken over that club, no matter the level of evil of the person… that would have resulted in anything other than celebration for large numbers of these Newcastle United supporters.”

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BFT boosts fleet with new mastclimbers

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The new BFT120 Mastclimbing machines can reach heights of 130m with a total platform length of 30m when in a twin mast configuration.

The standard platform is 1.1m wide with a max SWL capacity of 3,700kg making it very versatile and suitable for many different construction projects.

BFT has around 600 of this machine type making up around one third of the fleet.

The new machines are all sourced from European manufacturers that BFT has held longstanding relationships with and come complete with CE certification and full service records available throughout their life.

BFT said: “It is important to note that these high quality machines meet all UK construction safety standards and we would actively encourage contractors to book a visit to our health and safety and maintenance facilities to see for themselves how this will benefit their projects.

“By keeping the machines maintained via rigorous safety checks both on site and back in our new manitenance facilities we are proud of our safety record and look forward to having more brand new machines out on sites in 2022.

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