Wednesday evening news briefing: Nicola Bulley police investigated

·6 min read
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Good evening. A visit by Lancashire Police to Nicola Bulley's home before she went missing is under investigation by the policing watchdog. And almost one year on from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have the latest analysis of the conflict, as Vladimir Putin attended a pro-war rally in Moscow.

Police visit to Nicola Bulley's home under investigation

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched an investigation into Lancashire Constabulary over its handling of information relating to Nicola Bulley before she went missing.

Helena Lambert reports that the watchdog is examining the contact officers had with Ms Bulley, a mother of two, during a welfare check at the family home less than two weeks before she disappeared.

The IOPC announcement came as an inquest into Ms Bulley’s death opened at Lancashire Coroner's Court, with the senior coroner confirming that the 45-year-old had been identified through her dental records.

Shamima Begum loses legal fight to return to Britain

Shamima Begum has lost an appeal against the revocation of her British citizenship, after MI5 argued that she continued to pose a threat to national security. Ms Begum, now 23, fled the UK at the age of 15 to join the Islamic State (IS) terror group in Syria and had her British citizenship removed by the home secretary when she resurfaced in a refugee camp in 2019.

She mounted a legal challenge against the decision, arguing that MI5 was wrong to conclude she represents a threat to the British public and claiming she was trafficked to Syria for sexual exploitation.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Jay, sitting at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), rejected Ms Begum’s legal challenge. The judge found that there was a “credible suspicion” Ms Begum was a victim of trafficking to Syria.

However, the commission concluded the then home secretary, Sajid Javid, was not formally required to consider whether Ms Begum was a victim of trafficking when he removed her citizenship.

Tory Brexiteers will 'come after Sunak', says Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer has told Rishi Sunak that "irreconcilable" Tory Brexiteers will eventually "come after him" over his Brexit deal to improve the Northern Ireland Protocol. During PMQs, the Labour leader repeatedly pressed Mr Sunak on what will be in the deal. Sir Keir said the country is being made to wait while the Prime Minister "plucks up the courage to take on the malcontents, the reckless, the wreckers on his own benches".

The Prime Minister replied that Sir Keir was "jumping ahead" because "intensive discussions" with the EU remained ongoing.

Our political correspondent Nick Gutteridge writes that No 10 is alarmed by spiralling criticism of the deal and is seeking to allay MPs' fears - but not everyone has been convinced.

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Strikes | Ambulance and other health staff including nurses and blood collection workers are to stage a fresh strike in an escalation of industrial action in the long-running dispute over pay. Unison announced that its members will walk out across England on March 8.

Comment and analysis

World news: Putin addresses rally in Moscow

Vladimir Putin led tens of thousands of people in chants of "Russia, Russia", in a patriotic stadium rally on the eve of the anniversary of the war. "We are proud of those who are fighting in Ukraine to defend the fatherland," he told the crowds at the Luzhniki Stadium, which hosted the 2018 World Cup Final. It was reported that Muscovites were offered free food and a payment of 500 rubles (£5.50) to attend the rally. As the anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches, our experts have answered questions from readers - whether they were about military aspects of the war or the humanitarian and political consequences of the conflict.

Interview of the day

Evanna Lynch: ‘JK Rowling has always advocated for the most vulnerable members of society’

The Irish actress was mentored by Rowling, and went on to star as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films – then cancel culture arrived

Read the interview

Sport news: Wales v England poised to go ahead after crunch talks

Wales’s Six Nations match against England this weekend is set to go ahead after crunch talks, Gavin Mairs reports. Sources close to the negotiations have confirmed that this Saturday’s game is expected to take place as planned, with players and officials from the Welsh Rugby Union and Professional Rugby Board (PRB) locked in tense discussions throughout Wednesday afternoon. Players had threatened to go on strike after they were proposed reduced contracts with fixed-variable pay bands, and in return had asked for an end to the national team’s 60-cap selection rule and a player representation on the PRB to have their say on the future of the game.

Editor's choice

Ukraine | Four obstacles facing Putin one year after invading Ukraine – as told by our experts

Culture | George Orwell’s chilling prediction has come true – it’s time to make a stand

Investigation | ‘Three soldiers took turns raping me in front of my children’

Business news: Tesco begins rationing fruit and vegetables

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco has become the fourth supermarket in the UK to begin rationing the amount of fruit and vegetables customers can buy. It has joined Aldi today in announcing that it has started limiting purchases to three items per person across peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. Asda and Morrisons had already revealed they are restricting items across a number of products following a squeeze on supplies.

Reports from Ukraine: One year on from the invasion

How the war could end – four scenarios examined | A year on, the conflict has triggered profound changes in Europe. An expert on global peace explains what an endgame could look like.

Your View | Ahead of the anniversary of the Russian invasion, do you think Rishi Sunak should send jets to Ukraine? Send a short comment and your name, with Front Page as the subject, to and you might feature in an article later this week.

Tonight starts now

The simple hack that will save you hundreds of pounds on your summer holiday | When it comes to cutting the cost of your peak-season break, good things come to those who wait - read this article to find out why.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Yellowstone’s ‘spoiled diamond diva’: is Kevin Costner the most demanding actor in Hollywood? | The star reportedly wants out of his hit TV show – much to his boss's annoyance. But what Costner wants, he usually gets, writes Alexander Larman.

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