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  1. Updates on Wednesday 25 May 2016

Live Reporting

By Sian Davies

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage across the day

Updates for London have now ended for the day but we'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 with the latest videos, news, sport, travel and weather. Have a good evening.

On air: Sadiq Khan's housing promise, Luton murder and Southern trains sick leave

BBC London News

On BBC London tonight live at 18:30 on BBC OneSadiq Khan has insisted he will force developers to make 50% of new builds affordable - but he's coming under growing pressure to clarify his other election pledges on housing.

Also more on the story that detectives are investigating the murder of a woman, named locally as mother of four Saima Khan, 34, who was stabbed to death at her home in Luton.

And plans for a new International Centre for Film and TV on the Southbank have been revealed today.

Tonight's weather: Mainly dry leading to cold night

BBC Weather

It will be mainly dry overnight with clear spells leading to a chilly night, especially across southern parts with some mist and fog patches likely to form by dawn.

The odd patch of light drizzle is possible in the cloudier northern parts though such as over The Chilterns. 

The minimum temperature will be 8C (46F)

More than £30k recovered in drug raids

Seven men and two women have been arrested in a major operation to crack down on drug dealing in Thamesmead.

Acting on concerns raised by the community, officers carried out a series of dawn raids, with warrants executed at 11 addresses in Thamesmead and one address in Ealing.

Cash seized
Met Police

Around a kilo of class A drugs, two large carrier bags of cannabis, a variety of weapons and more than £30,000 cash has been recovered so far.  

The suspects, aged between 18 and 56, were arrested on suspicion of a range of offences, predominantly the supply of class A and class B drugs. They remain in custody at a south London police station.

Donmar to host Shakespeare trilogy in temporary theatre

London's Donmar Warehouse is to open a temporary theatre in King's Cross to host the company's all-female Shakespeare trilogy.

Phyllida Lloyd will direct revivals of Julius Caesar and Henry IV and a new production of The Tempest, which are all set in a women's prison.

Harriet Walter
Holly Wren

Harriet Walter will play Brutus in Julius Caesar, King Henry in Henry IV, and Prospero in The Tempest.

The new in-the-round venue will be open for 13 weeks from 23 September.

Cyclist, 76, 'critical' after collision with van

A 76-year-old cyclist is in a critical condition in hospital after a collision with a van in Ealing.

Police were called at 10:00 on Wednesday to reports of a collision at the junction of Northfield Avenue and Salisbury Road.

Northfield Avenue and Salisbury Road

Officers, London Ambulance Service and London's Air Ambulance attended the scene.

The male driver of the van stopped at the scene and is currently helping detectives with their enquiries. He was not arrested but is being interviewed under caution.

Detectives are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the collision which is believed have occurred at around 09:45.

Train conductors call in sick 1,000 times in a month

Train conductors have called in sick more than 1,000 times in a month, according to a rail operator they are in dispute with. 

An average of 83 services are being cancelled every day due to sickness of conductors, Southern said, as it published figures which show its conductors called in sick 1,066 times in the last 32 working days. 

Southern train

According to Southern the rate of absence has almost doubled since the first conductors' strike on April 26. 

Its data shows that in the two weeks prior to the first strike there was an average of 23 conductors off sick each day - but since the strike that number has risen to 40, and increased to 45 in the last 10 days. 

 A spokesman for Southern said: "We would not usually release such information, but passengers deserve to know the reasons behind the unusually high level of train cancellations they are presently experiencing."

Scotland Yard believe there are more guns on London's streets

Armed police patrols will target gun crime hotspots across the capital after a rise in the number of shootings. 

Scotland Yard chiefs believe there are more guns on the streets and this has fuelled a "significant" rise in the number of shootings in the past three months. 

Met Police

There were 226 last year, and so far this year there have been 122, with a particular rise since March. 

Nationally, there has been an increase of around 19% since 2013/14. Six boroughs - Newham, Hackney, Haringey, Brent, Lambeth and Southwark - have been highlighted as shooting hotspots. 

 Operation Viper, involving 50 officers, will crack down on gun crime in these areas, including with marksmen accompanying officers on traffic stops. The Viper squads will also carry out weapons sweeps and targeted raids.

Major operation against gun crime launched

Danny Shaw

BBC Home Affairs Correspondent

Scotland Yard has launched a major operation against gun crime in response to an increase in the number of shootings. 

A team of 50 dedicated officers, including armed police, will be carrying out intelligence-led patrols in London. 

The picture (below) shows some of the illegal weapons recovered by the Met Police in the last 12 months.

Illegal weapons

There will also be more weapons sweeps and use of number plate cameras in areas linked to gun crime. 

Rewards of £2000 are on offer for people who direct police to an illegal firearm and a case resulting in a successful prosecution. 

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said it appeared there had been a "worrying" increase in the supply of guns. "We need to refocus our efforts on the supply side," he said.

Presenter camps at the top of the O2

Presenter Julia Bradbury spent the night camping on the summit of Up at The O2 to complete her Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Challenge. 

Julia camped out on top of the arena in east London to celebrate the Duke of Edinburgh's Awards Diamond Anniversary, and the Camping and Caravanning Club's National Week. 

Julia Bradbury
Matt Crossick/PA

Trading Standards dig out hidden stash of illegal cigarettes hidden beneath shop

Get West London

Trading Standards has seized close to 2,000 counterfeit cigarettes buried beneath a shop in Kensington and Chelsea.

Rail update: Delays due to passenger illness at Gatwick Airport

BBC Travel

There are delays of up to 15 minutes on Southern trains between East Croydon and Gatwick Airport due to passenger illness at Gatwick Airport. Tickets are being accepted on Thameslink services between Brighton and London Bridge.

There are delays of up to 10 minutes on Great Northern southbound between Haringey and Finsbury Park due to a signalling problem. 

There are delays of up to 10 minutes on C2C between Fenchurch Street and Grays due to an object being caught on the overhead electric wires between Purfleet and Rainham.  

There are reduced service on Southern between Victoria and Brighton, between Brighton and Ashford International, between Milton Keynes Central and Clapham Junction and between Southampton Central and Brighton due to a shortage of train drivers and conductors due to sickness.

Four injured after police car flips in south London

Four people have been taken to hospital after a marked police car was involved in a crash in Albert Square, junction with Clapham Road in Stockwell, south London.

The collision with another car happened at 11:49 when the police car was on the way to an emergency call.


Two police officers and two members of the public - believed occupants of the other car - were injured. London Ambulance Service attended the scene - all four people were taken to hospital for treatment to minor injuries.  

View more on twitter

Travel update: Heavy traffic on M25 due to broken down lorry

BBC Travel

On the M25 one lane is closed on the exit slip road and there is heavy traffic clockwise at J29, A127 (Romford), because of a broken down lorry.  

Two lanes are closed and there is queuing traffic and long delays on the A406 North Circular Road eastbound in Wembley between Harrow Road Underpass and Ikea, because of an earlier lorry fire and resurfacing work. Congestion stretches to Hanger Lane Gyratory.  

The B278 Wrythe Lane in Rosehill is partially blocked in both directions between the Robertsbridge Road junction and Rose Hill Roundabout because of an accident.

Maybank Road in Woodford is blocked between the Latchett Road junction and the A113 Chigwell Road junction because of an accident. A diversion is in operation for bus route W14. 

Caroline Pidgeon: Mayor must deliver on Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge

Sadiq Khan must deliver on building a pedestrian and cycle bridge between Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf and extending the cycle hire scheme out to Rotherhithe, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon.

At Mayor's Question Time earlier she highlighted the immense transport need for a pedestrian and cycle bridge as demonstrated by the frequent overcrowding on the Jubilee Line created by commuters needing to cross the Thames.

Mayor's Question Time

She also highlighted how Bermondsey and Rotherhithe are excluded from the cycle hire scheme.

Responding the Mayor described the proposed pedestrian bridge as a "great project" and in relation to extending the cycle hire scheme stated: “I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t.”

Ms Pidgeon responded: “The case for the bridge is overwhelming. The Mayor must now come forward with concrete plans to ensure that this idea is turned into reality as quickly as possible."

Granit Xhaka: Arsenal sign Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder

BBC Sport

Arsenal have signed Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach.

The 23-year-old, who has won 41 international caps and captained the German club, joins for a reported £35m on a long-term contract.

"I'm very proud to be joining Arsenal," said Xhaka. "I cannot wait to move to London, represent this special club and play in the Premier League.

"I will give everything to help Arsenal win trophies and make the fans happy."

Shed damaged in huge blaze

Two fire engines and around 10 firefighters dealt with a garden fire on Goshawk Gardens in Hayes yesterday afternoon.

Garage fire
Brian Duffy

London Fire Brigade received numerous calls to the fire. The blaze damaged part of a garage and completely damaged a wooden shed. There were no injuries.

The brigade was called at 1820 and the fire was under control by 1901. Fire crews from Hillingdon fire station attended the scene. 

Garage fire

Jekyll & Hyde will bring dance back to Old Vic

The gothic story of Jekyll & Hyde has been choreographed by Olivier Award winning Drew McOnie.

Set in the 1950s, it's the first time dance has been staged at the Old Vic in more than a decade.

Jekyll and Hyde dance production at the Old Vic

Anger over London skyscraper which is 60% foreign-owned

Berkeley Group

The former Labour deputy prime minister John Prescott has attacked the buy-up of almost two-thirds of the UK’s tallest residential building by foreign investors as deplorable, according to the Guardian newspaper.

It reports Lord Prescott was joined by a senior Conservative, London’s mayoral leadership and Labour’s front bench in voicing serious concerns about the Tower, after the Guardian revealed the 50-storey block of 214 luxury apartments by the river Thames at Vauxhall was more than 60% owned by foreign buyers.

Deputy Mayor of London for Housing, James Murray, told BBC Radio London: “This is another example of where the previous Mayor failed to get to grips with London’s housing crisis. 

"Sadiq Khan was elected on a mandate that Londoners should have ‘first dibs’ on more of the homes built in the capital. We will work closely with our partners to build more new homes for Londoners.”

Man bailed following attempted murder

Detectives investigating an attempted murder in Belvedere, south east London, have bailed a man in connection with the incident.

Police were called to Belvedere Road  at 21:20 on Monday, 9 May to reports of a stabbing.

Belvedere Road

A 23-year-old man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder has been bailed to return to a south London police station on a date in late June pending further enquiries.  

A 32-year-old man was taken to hospital for treatment for his injuries and has since been discharged.

Afternoon weather: Cloudy but dry

BBC Weather

It's set to be a rather cloudy and mainly dry afternoon for most.

Feeling much cooler than recent days, thanks to the thicker cloud and easterly breeze. 

Maximum temperature 13C (55F).

Increased migration putting pressure on Croydon health services, warns NHS report

Croydon Guardian

An influx of immigrants in Croydon, attributed in part to the borough hosting the UK’s only asylum screening unit, is “adding a strain to the whole local health economy,” according to an NHS report.  

Arsenal sign Switzerland midfielder Xhaka

Granit Xhaka

Borussia Monchengladbach and Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka joins Arsenal on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee.

Ellie Butler trial: Mother 'put devotion of murder accused' ahead of daughter

Ellie Butler with her mother Jennie Gray

The mother of six-year-old Ellie Butler has been accused in court of allowing her "devotion" to her violent partner to override concern for the daughter he allegedly killed in a fit of rage. 

Jennie Gray told jurors at the Old Bailey she still loves Ben Butler and has visited him in prison 190 times since he was charged with Ellie's murder. 

The 36-year-old graphic designer was at work in the City of London when Mr Butler allegedly battered the little girl to death in October 2013 at home in south-west London. 

The couple have admitted delaying calling 999 over fears that Mr Butler would be blamed for harming Ellie as he had in 2007 when she was a baby. 

Ms Gray has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by lying to police and covering up the circumstances of her daughter's death. 

But she denies child cruelty over the failure to get treatment for Ellie's broken shoulder, and Mr Butler denies murder and child cruelty.

On air: Khan accused of 'rowing back' on housing pledge

Sonja Jessup

BBC London News

The new Mayor of London has been criticised for not confirming his targets on affordable housing. 

Labour's Sadiq Khan had promised, during the election campaign,  to provide 80,000 affordable homes a year, but today Conservatives on the London Assembly accused him of rowing back on that pledge.

We'll have the full story in our lunchtime bulletin on BBC One at 13:30.

Top model agencies accused of price fixing by watchdog

The UK's five top model agencies have been accused of collusion and price fixing by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

It follows a series of raids at the agencies' offices in London last August.

Poppy Delevigne
Getty Images

The five: FM Models, Models 1, Premier, Storm and Viva, agreed "a common approach to pricing", the CMA said.

None of the agencies have so far responded to the accusations, which at this stage are provisional findings.

Sabrina Moss killers refused appeal against murder convictions

The killers of a nursery school teacher murdered on her 24th birthday have been refused permission to apply for an appeal against their convictions. 

Martell Warren, Hassan Hussain and Yassin James were jailed for life on 12 September 2014 for murdering Sabrina Moss the year before.

From left: Martell Warren, Hassan Hussain and Yassin James
Met Police

Warren and James also applied for permission to appeal against their life sentences. They were both refused.

What will new Mayor do about London knife crime?

Susana Mendonca

BBC Radio London Political Reporter

New Assembly Unmesh Desai asks the mayor what he will do about knife crime in the capital.

Sadiq Khan says he'll increase youth engagement. 

Mr Khan says the priority for his policing deputy mayor Sophie Linden will be preventing young people carrying knives.

Campaigners vow to fight on for a 'better Barnet'

This Is Local London

Dedicated Barnet protesters say “all we have is hard work” as they continue to fight for better borough services.

Khan commits to 'root and branch' review of Transport for London

Susana Mendonca

BBC Radio London Political Reporter

Sadiq Khan has committed to a 'root and branch' review of Transport for London (TfL).

At his first Mayor Question Time, Mr Khan said "this for me is not a stepping stone to another job" and committed to a full review.

He said he wants police on transport at the right times and a clampdown on harassment, and is reviewing police priorities in order to fund the move.

Sadiq Khan supports pedestrian and cycle bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf

Susana Mendonca

BBC Radio London Political Reporter

Sadiq Khan says he "supports" a pedestrian and cycle bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf but that the "record breaking span" will take time to design.

The comments came at the new mayor's first Question Time at City Hall in response to a question from Lib Dem London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon.

Ms Pidgeon said there needed to be "more than words" on the Rotherhithe bridge and said there needs to be private funding. 

Mr Khan said TfL is working on the project, including setting an opening date, adding there is no reason why cycle hire shouldn't be extended too.

Met Police video shows horses exposed to fire in training

A Metropolitan Police video shows horses being exposed to fire as part of their training.

The horses need to be prepared for "serious public disorder", the Met Taskforce said.

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Khan distances himself from plans to build 80,000 homes in a year

Susana Mendonca

BBC Radio London Political Reporter

Sadiq Khan has distanced himself from previous suggestions he'd build 80,000 homes a year, which he told Vanessa Feltz on BBC Radio London months ago.  

The new mayor was pressed by Chair of the Housing Committee Andrew Boff at his first Mayor's Question Time on what he will include as affordable homes.

The new mayor said 50% affordable homes is achievable without reducing supply.

He said "I'm not giving numbers" it's about "ensuring the right sort of homes are built".

Mr Khan said "it's refreshing to see Tories obsessed with targets" as Assembly members challenged him on numbers of homes.

Circus lorry bursts into flames

A lorry carrying 20 tonnes of circus equipment caught fire while parked on North Circular Road in Stonebridge in the early hours of this morning.

The London Fire Brigade was called at 01:55 and the fire was under control by 03:59 as four fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers battled the blaze.

Lorry fire

The trailer and cab were completely destroyed, while a caravan from the circus fleet and two cars parked down the street were also damaged by the fire.  

Three gas cylinders were also involved in the fire. Around 30 people were evacuated from neighbouring properties as of precaution. There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Khan 'focused on good industrial relations' in Tube plans

Susana Mendonca

BBC Radio London Political Reporter

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said industrial action in discussions on the night Tube is a "sign of failure".

At his first Mayor's Question Time, at City Hall, he said he is focused on good industrial relations.

Mayor's Question Time

Labour Assembly member Florence Eshalomi expressed concern about the impact of the Garden Bridge as Mr Khan revealed it would cost more to cancel the scheme than to go ahead with it.

Fire in cafe near Finsbury Park Station

Three fire engines and around 15 firefighters are attending a fire in a café on Wells Terrace, close to Finsbury Park Station.

Fire in cafe

The fire is affecting a small cabin at the back of the property. Cylinders are also believed to be involved in the fire.

London Fire Brigade was called at 09:11. Crews from Holloway, Islington and Kentish Town fire stations are at the scene. The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.

Mayor of London: 'It would cost double to cancel Garden Bridge'

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has used his first Mayor’s Question Time to discuss the finances of the Garden Bridge.

He said it would cost taxpayers more than twice as much to cancel the project now, as it would to complete it and build the new bridge.

Garden Bridge
Heatherwick Studio

Of the £60m total of taxpayers money pledged, £37.7 million has already been spent by the Garden Bridge Trust. If the project was scrapped now, this amount would be lost in full with no benefit at all for Londoners or taxpayers, Mr Khan said.

However, if the Garden Bridge is completed, not only will TfL be repaid its £20m loan by the Garden Bridge Trust, but it will also pay approximately £22m in VAT to the Treasury. 

On this understanding, Mr Khan has given his support to the completion of the Garden Bridge but has demanded that it is made more accessible for all Londoners in return.

New mayor kicks off Mayor's Question Time

Susana Mendonca

BBC Radio London Political Reporter

The new mayor of London has shaken hands with assembly members at Mayors Question Time. 

Chair Tony Arbour says MQT is "not entertainment as it had become by end of last administration".

Fire near Finsbury Park station

London Fire Brigade are currently attending a fire on Wells Terrace near Finsbury Park station in north London. 

Three fire engines are at the scene.