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Tuesday's Business and Politics round-up

18 Jun 2019

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Good morning!

Hedgehogs will become the first animals in 25 years to be given their own roadside warning signs, in an effort to curb the decline in population.

Some 100,000 hedgehogs are killed on the roads each year. Since the year 2000, their numbers have halved in the countryside and dropped by one-third in urban areas. 

The signs will be 'flag-bearers' for several creatures, and will be put up in habitats with large populations of squirrels, badgers and otters. 

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society said "We are delighted the issue of hedgehogs being killed on roads is being taken seriously". 


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Air born

Heathrow Airport has revealed its expansion “masterplan”, which includes building a third runway by 2026 and completing its expansion by 2050. 
 
The strategy will also see it diverting rivers, moving roads and rerouting the M25 inside a tunnel underneath the runway.  
 
The expansion plans are now open to public consultation until 13 September. Feedback can be submitted via a website and 43 consultation events taking place over the course of the three-month period. 
 
Local and environmental campaigners have argued a third runway would yield unacceptable levels of noise and pollution. Heathrow argues “environmental considerations [are] at the heart of the expansion”, with a new low-emission zone planned for the airport. 
 
The third runway is expected to cost £14 billion and the second phase of the expansion is valued at £16 billion. 

Mum's the word 

The parliamentary regulator has reportedly told a pregnant MP that she is not entitled to maternity leave. 
 
Writing in the Guardian, Labour’s Stella Creasy claims the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority says it does not “recognise” that MPs go on maternity leave and therefore does not make provision for maternity pay. 
 
Creasy explains she is speaking publically about the issue because “for far too many women, the personal inevitably becomes political when reproduction is involved”. 
 
Earlier this year MPs approved a year-long trial to allow MPs who had recently become a parent to nominate another MP to vote on their behalf in the Commons. Tulip Siddiq became the first to vote by proxy, although she delayed a caesarean to vote on May’s Brexit deal. 
 
In 2017 former Labour deputy Leader Harriet Harman called for MPs to be granted six months’ maternity leave. 

Blue on blue

The Conservative leadership contest will enter its next phase later today as MPs participate in a second round of voting. 
 
Tory leadership contenders – of which there are currently six – will require a minimum of 33 votes to go through to the next round. Results of today’s secret ballot are expected at around 6pm, with a live BBC leadership debate taking place at 8pm. 
 
Further ballots will take place later in the week, whereby the least popular candidates will be knocked out until just two remain. The two frontrunners will be put to a vote by the wider membership which begins on 22 June.  
 
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson topped the first ballot with 114 votes, with his replacement Jeremy Hunt and Environment Secretary Michael Gove coming in at 43 and 37 votes, respectively. 
 
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart’s campaign saw a boost last night as Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington declared his support for him. Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has backed Johnson. 


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