this is bbc news. the headlines at 11:00 — theresa may touches down in the united states to talk trade with president trump. we have the opportunity, indeed, the responsibility to renew the special relationship for this new age. suicide rates in prisons in england and wales have reached record levels with 119 inmates taking their own lives during 2016. no signs of a post—brexit slowdown as the uk economy grows faster than expected. how will theresa may conduct her relationship with the leader of the free world when he is promising britain a new trade deal and he backed exit? will this trump everything else? and we revisit train—spotting as the sequel finally hits the cinema. good evening and
welcome to bbc news. theresa may has arrived in america at the start of a trip which she hopes will pave the way for a post—brexit trade deal with the united states. she'll be the first foreign leader to hold talks with donald trump when she meets the new president at the white house tomorrow. this evening, she addressed a republican conference in philadelphia in a speech where she sought to find common ground with mr trump. but the prime minister's bid to launch a new era of co—operation with america risked being overshadowed by a row about president trump's support for torture and in particular, water—boarding. our political editor laura kuenssberg is travelling with theresa may and has just sent this report. opposites attract. theresa may's hope. but how close does she want to get to him? the prime minister made a quieter
arrival, making her way down the windy steps in philadelphia. her convoy speeding towards her debut in trump land, here to make friends. no hate, no fear. a reminder right outside the 5—star hotel where they were both to speak, donald trump has many enemies as well. the prime minister's warm up act was the president himself. is he ready for her? i'm meeting with the prime minister tomorrow, as you know. great britain. i'm meeting with her tomorrow. i don't have my secretary, they want to talk trade, so i'll have to handle it myself. laughter which is ok. then it was her turn, with, as you would expect, fulsome reference to the friendship across the atlantic. it has been america's destiny to bear the leadership of the free world and to carry that heavy
responsibility on its shoulders, but my country, the united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland, has been proud to share that burden and to walk alongside you at every stage. applause cheering but this is much more than a meet and greet. theresa may came with a serious message for republicans and the world. under her leadership, no more western conflicts like iraq, or afghanistan, she suggested. this cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. the days of britain and america intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over, but nor can we afford to stand idly by, when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. we must be strong, smart and hard—headed, and we must demonstrate the resolve necessary
to stand up for our interests. and a warning perhaps directed at the president over an assertive russia. when it comes to russia, as so often it is wise to turn to the example of president reagan, who, during his negotiations with his opposite number mikhail gorbachev, used to abide by the adage — trust, but verify. with... applause with president putin, my advice is to engage, but beware. noticeable as well, her praise for the republicans and president trump's controversial win. because of what you have done together, because of that great victory you have won, america can be stronger, greater and more confident in the years ahead. even before she touched down though, theresa may had a taste of how much political trouble closeness
to president trump could cause. number ten believes the risk is worth it, because there's a big opportunity as well, but this new friendship could cause fireworks. every time donald trump's speaks his mind. like suggesting torture, banned under british and international law, works. i want to do everything within the bounds of what you're allowed to do legally, but do i feel it works? absolutely i feel it works. the prime minister was adamant britain won't change its laws and signalled we might stop sharing intelligence with america if torture was brought back. here among the republican top brass, the idea is unlikely to fly. the deep—seated policy in american culture is not to torture. so theresa may is right and president trump is wrong? i didn't say that. just one of many awkward subjects the pm and president could discuss tomorrow, a test, even in politics true friends tell the truth to one another, not merely platitudes,
or what they want to hear. there's been a record rise in suicides, assaults and self—harm inside prisons in england and wales and the latest figures are a stark reminder of the crisis in the penal system. there were 354 deaths in prison custody last year, more than 100 were suicides. nearly 6500 staff were assaulted in the year to last september — that's a 40% increase. and incidents of self—harm are up by nearly a quarter. our home affairs correspondent, june kelly, has been speaking to one prison officer about life inside the prison walls. shouting. life in ourjails is getting worse, for staff and prisoners. the rise in assaults, suicides and self—harming is relentless. the sense of crisis in the system was underlined by a riot
in birmingham prison, where inmates posed in helmets stolen from staff. just one of a string ofjail disturbances in recent months. amid the volatile atmosphere, today's figures show that in the past year a record number of prisoners have taken their own lives. it's very hard when you've got members of your family who... sarah is a long—serving prison officer, whose identity we are protecting. she describes having to deal with a teenage suicide. a self—inflicted death is an horrific experience. you feel, is there something more i could have done? he was only 19. i came on duty, and i went to perform a roll check. i lifted the flap, and this young man was suspended in his cell. he'd hung himself overnight. we lay him on the bed, and i saw a note to his sister on the side, and i saw it was his birthday, and i thought, what a waste. that will stay with me. just describe the thoughts in your head as you're going into work.
i go into work feeling anxious. tensions are high. prisoners are angry and frustrated. when you open a door, you don't know what you're going to be faced with. i've had everything from urine, faeces, televisions thrown at me. spice in a jar. prisons are awash with drugs and psychoactive substances which are meant to be banned. all adding to the underlying problems of staff shortages and overcrowding. vulnerable prisoners are suffering in the increasingly—threatening environment in some jails. i'm very clear that the levels of violence in our prisons are too high, and the levels of self harm are too high. since i becamejustice secretary, i've focused on dealing with this problem. that's why we're investing an extra £100 million. 2,500 extra prison officers across the estate, so that we are able to have a caseload of one prison officer for every six prisoners. but sarah says the challenge is not recruiting staff,
it's retaining them. it's like a soldier on a battlefield. you don't know what you're going to be faced with. and on top of that, you've got the fear. "am i going to make it home tonight?" i've never been in fear of my life until now, and we just don't get paid enough to have that fear every day. june kelly, bbc news. and there's a lot more detail about the pressures on the prison system on our website. you can find it at bbc.co.uk/prisons. here in the uk, strong consumer spending helped the economy grow faster than expected at the end of last year. figures show it grew by 0.6% in the 0ctober—to—december period. it means the british economy expanded by 2% last year, confounding predictions from some economists that there would be an immediate slowdown after the brexit vote. the chancellor, philip hammond, said the figures show the economy is robust but warned there could be a period of uncertainty ahead,
as our economics editor, kamal ahmed reports it was napoleon who famously and sarcastically called us a nation of shopkeepers, and the government will be pleased today the uk economy is still one based on consumers and the high street. britain's services sector, 80% of the economy, was the reason for the positive growth figures. for shoppers in reading, it was good business as usual. a lot of people thought that the referendum and the vote to leave the eu would mean consumers might be nervous, "what does the future hold?" and would stop spending. did you find that was true? no, i haven't seen any difference personally. i think consumer spending will maintain itself and, long—term, i think we are in for a good ride. i think we are in a terribly unstable situation, i really do. we have got nothing that is filling us with confidence. instability, lack of confidence.
they drove a myriad of warnings before the referendum. there would be a hit to the value of people's homes, at least 10%, and up to 18%. material slowdown in growth, notable increase in inflation. higher prices, less growth means less jobs, so higher unemployment. we are indeed a nation of shoppers and, frankly, those gloomy predictions before the referendum haven't come to pass. consumer confidence is still strong, business confidence is still strong, but with inflation rising and britain actually still to start the process of leaving the eu, which of course we haven't done yet, will that confidence remain? the chancellor meeting apprentices at microsoft, near reading, a company that is investing in the uk. i met him later and asked him about the bank of england forecast which said growth could slow next year. is this economic pain
cancelled or is it delayed? what the figures today show is that the uk economy continues to be resilient and continues to confound the sceptics. of course, we recognise that as we go into this period of negotiation with the eu, and as we absorb the impact of the depreciation of sterling last year, there will be more uncertainty ahead during the course of this year. british—built cars off to the continent today, a mark of optimism, as production reached a 17—year high and exports hit a record. there is still, though, the brexit shadow. we are getting comments from a number of our members saying they are sitting on their hands, waiting to see what the future will hold, and looking for greater certainty about future relationships, especially with europe. the nation of shoppers forges on. britain's growth last year was the highest of any of the major western economies.
are we still waiting for the full brexit effect? most of the front pages deal with the speech by theresa may and head of her meeting with donald trump. the telegraph highlights are pledged to never repeat what she calls the failed policies of blair and bush. no more war with iraq, she says. the metro describes the leaders as an old couple. meanwhile the express has brexit boom and a surge in share prices giving pension a huge boost with annual pay—outs at their highest level. back to the meeting in the guardian which highlights the prime minister's assertion that she
can forge a strong personal relationship with president trump. the eye focuses on president trump's relationship with his neighbours and especially the border more with mexico. news about rory mcgrath who admitted stalking a former lover. the daily mail leads with a story about the nhs. and rory mcgrath on the cover of the sun as well, the comedian threatened to sell incriminating photographs of his mistress. we have more online. thank you for your company this evening and newsnight is coming up. to join hands, as we pick up that mantle of leadership once more. to renew our special relationship, and to recommit ourselves to the responsibility of leadership in the modern world. "haven't you noticed?
sometimes opposites attract." so said theresa may en—route to her meeting with donald trump. she's been turning on the charm for senior republicans this evening so how will she handle the president? we'll hearfrom former labour leader ed miliband. 0n the eve of summit to discuss gay sex and the clergy, we discuss the church of england policy to pretend just not happening. tomorrow, the long awaited sequel to trainspotting opens in cinemas everywhere... but what was it about that film that entranced a whole generation? it is primarily a youth book, and a youth movie. because i would rather be, kind of, on drugs in a bedsit in my 20s than i would be sailing around the bay of biscay in a yacht in my 50s, there's no question!