■ Sir John Major would go to court to prevent Brexit parliament shutdown
FORMER prime minister Sir John Major has warned it would be ‘utterly and totally unacceptable’ if the new Conservative leader tried to suspend parliament to deliver a no-deal Brexit and would seek a judicial review if it happened.
Tory leadership frontrunner Boris Johnson has refused to rule out proroguing parliament to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal exit from the European Union on October 31.
He dismissed Sir John’s ‘very odd’ threat of being dragged through the courts, insisting that parliament should accept its responsibility to deliver Brexit.
‘What we want is for parliament to take their responsibilities, get it done as they promised that they would.
‘They asked the British people whether they wanted to leave in 2016, the British people returned a very clear verdict, so let’s get it done.’
In order to prorogue parliament — shutting it down until the next state opening — a prime minister would have to ask the Queen to formally allow it.
Although the Queen’s decision could not be challenged, Sir John (pictured above) said the advice of the prime minister could be.
The monarch would be ‘in the midst of a constitutional controversy that no serious politician should put the Queen in the middle of,’ Sir John said.
‘I for one would be prepared to go and seek judicial review to prevent parliament being bypassed.’
■ Amazon defends NHS partnership amid privacy concerns
AMAZON has defended its new partnership with the NHS, insisting it takes customer privacy seriously.
Campaigners have criticised a move to provide verified health information via Amazon’s Alexa, saying it is a ‘data protection disaster waiting to happen’.
But health secretary Matt Hancock called it ‘absolutely terrific’ and said the NHS needed to embrace technology because it ‘will give back the gift of time’ to clinicians.
Until now, people asking Alexa a health question would be given an answer based on a variety of popular responses.
But the new partnership means Alexa will now give answers based on information from the official NHS website, which has been verified by health professionals.
The aim is to help patients, especially the elderly, the blind and those who are unable to access the internet in other ways to take more control of their healthcare and help reduce the burden on the NHS.
But move has been met with scepticism, with Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, saying: ‘Encouraging the public to give their private health details to one of the most aggressive corporate data guzzlers is astonishingly misguided.
‘Amazon’s Alexa records what people say, stores recordings in data centres we know nothing about, and exploits our data for profit.
‘This scheme will likely result in people being profiled and targeted by data brokers based on their deeply personal health concerns.’
Amazon said in a statement that ‘customer trust is of the utmost importance, and Amazon take privacy seriously’.
■ Driver fatigue ‘may have contributed to Tube train travelling with doors open’
A LONDON Underground driver’s lack of sleep and food may have contributed to a train travelling at nearly 40mph with some of its doors open, an investigation has found.
Ten doorways were wide open as the Jubilee line train made the 56-second journey between two stations on September 1 last year, a report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch stated.
The Tube driver, who has not been named, only became aware of the issue when a passenger activated an alarm inside the train after it reached West Hampstead station, north-west London.
None of the 30 passengers on board fell out of the train and nobody was injured.
The investigation found that the driver’s actions were ‘probably influenced’ by several factors including fatigue from his sleeping pattern and a prolonged period without food.
His normal routine when working was to get between four-and-a-half and six hours’ sleep, while he would sleep for up to 10 hours on rest days.
The report stated: ‘This suggests that during the days he worked he had incurred a sleep debt, the situation when people have less than the required amount of sleep and suffer from fatigue.’