this is bbc news, i'm julian worricker. the headlines at 11:00pm: contents 118, not contents, 204. the house of lords has passed the government's brexit bill, paving the way for the theresa may to trigger article 50 by the end of the month, so the uk can start leaving the eu. nicola sturgeon announces plans to hold a second independence referendum for scotland, claiming the prime minister is ignoring the wishes of scottish voters on britain leaving the eu. i believe that it would be wrong for scotland to be taken down a path that it has no control over, regardless of the consequences for our economy, for our society, for our place in the world, for our very sense of who we are as a country. but the response from downing street is forthright, accusing the scottish government of losing sight of the main issues.
instead of playing politics with the future of our country, the scottish government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people of scotland. politics is not a game. the other main headlines this hour: as famine looms for 20 million people across africa and the middle east, we report from somalia. rail services on some of the busiest lines in england have been disrupted because of a 24—hour strike. and the queen launches the baton relay for next commonwealth games, which are being held on australia's gold coast next spring. good evening and welcome to bbc news. the legislation to begin the process of the uk leaving
the european union, the so—called brexit bill, has been approved by both houses of parliament. amendments earlier proposed by the house of lords, which would have protected the rights of eu citizens living here and given parliament a final say on the outcome of the exit talks, were dismissed. the way is now clear for theresa may to trigger article 50, which will allow those talks to begin. it comes on the day that scotland's first minister, nicola sturgeon, announced she would seek permission to hold a second independence referendum, which she said was necessary to protect scottish interests because of the government's approach to brexit. we will have the latest from westminster in a moment, but first this report from our scotland editor sarah smith. this was a big and bold move from nicola sturgeon, a dramatic political moment, one that is a huge gamble for her. but it is a risk she
says she is ready to take. what scotla nd says she is ready to take. what scotland deserves, in the light of the material change of circumstances brought about by the brexit vote, is the chance to decide our future in a fair, free and democratic way. democratic decision she says must happen before the uk leaves the eu. it could have been avoided, she claims, if the uk government had been prepared to negotiate a separate brexit dealfor been prepared to negotiate a separate brexit deal for scotland. we have worked hard, really hard, to try to find agreement. the prime minister and her government have been given every opportunity to compromise. our efforts have instead been met with a brick wall of intransigence. opinion polls still don't suggest more than 50% of the country would want to vote for independence. the economic circumstances are much harder for you than they were in 2014. do you really believe you could win another referendum on independence?
yes, i do. absolutely i believe that. i believe it would be wrong for scotland to be taken down a path that it has no control over, regardless of the consequences for our economy, our society, our sense of who we are as a country. that would be wrong. and therefore myjudgement is that we should have that choice. outside, people came to share a significant moment. but this decision can't be made here alone. the scottish government will need the prime minister's permission for another referendum. instead of playing politics with the future of our country, the scottish government should focus on delivering good government and public services for the people of scotland. politics is not a game. in the scottish parliament, a majority do support another independence referendum, even though the tories, the lib dems and labour will oppose it. nicola sturgeon tells us she's forcing this debate on us because of brexit,
and the uncertainty that causes. so how on earth can creating more uncertainty to be a good thing? nicola sturgeon has seized the initiative today and taken theresa may by surprise. she did not know this announcement was coming. but nicola sturgeon will need the agreement of the uk government before she can have another independence referendum. theresa may could refuse to allow it, or she could insist any vote takes place after brexit is complete, after the whole of the uk has already left the eu. when the prime minister met the first minister here injuly, she said they would reach a uk—wide agreement on brexit. that failed. now, they must try and agree the terms of a scottish referendum. their predecessor signed a deal to allow the last independence vote, one they said was a once—in—a—generation event. and don't forget, both these men then lost theirjobs after losing referendums. tonight, voters in scotland will have to start thinking all over again about whether they want to stay in the united kingdom, a decision recent polls suggest
is very finely balanced. what we've seen over the last few weeks, actually, support for independence actually going up in the last few polls. what this tells us is that if you thought this was a foregone conclusion for either side, to take this for granted, would be absolutely wrong, this is going to be a really, really tight race, whenever the next referendum happens. clearly, a second independence referendum is going to be high—stakes for all concerned, with the result currently impossible to predict. the prime minister is set to trigger article 50 and open negotiations to bring the uk out of the european union by the end of the month. it follows a series of votes in both houses of parliament which allowed the government's brexit bill to pass without alteration. our political editor laura kuenssberg has more. not once... the ayes to the right, 335... the noes to the left, 287.
but twice... the ayes to the right, 331, the noes to the left, 286. the prime minister never wanted them to have a say. but tonight, mps voted for her to get brexit started. ceremoniously, the bill went along the corridor of power, back to the house of lords, who had tried to change it. but resistance has been fading. only the lib dems left in theresa may's way. they have voted. contents, 135, not contents, 274. so the not contents have it. a comfortable win for the government. westminster is different these days. the uk as we know it could soon be very different, too.
the question is whether or not scotland is going to be taken into the abyss, with this tory government. i'm glad that we on this side of the house have an alternative. there might not be a real, meaningful vote in this chamber, but there shall be a meaningful vote in scotland about protecting a millennium—long history as a european nation. whether on rights for eu citizens to stay in the uk, or parliament having the final say, the government has not budged much. but it won the day. over the past five weeks, we have seen parliament at its best. right honourable members and peers have spoken with passion, sincerity and conviction. so, with the uk tonight now firmly on the path to exit, the scottish government wants to give voters a chance to leave the union, with all its complex history.
can the prime minister, attending a commonwealth service today, really deny that? technically, it is down to westminster. but politically, is it really possible? nicola sturgeon is talking about independence, three hours after the brexit result was declared on 24june, and actually has been banging on about independence every day since. i'm afraid today's irresponsible actions just demonstrate that nicola sturgeon has a constitutional obsession. you could rule this out right now. you could just say, the uk government will not allow another scottish independence referendum to take place. there could be another referendum. there's a process for doing that. but we are absolutely focused on the argument that there should not be another independence referendum. you're saying, not yet, but you're not saying no. there's a process issue. we don't want to be in the process argument, because that's not a real argument.
behind closed doors, ministers used to say they said they would not allow another independence vote to go ahead. but the eu referendum, and how scotland voted, has changed that whole dynamic. even before today, there was a growing sense it wasn't if, but when. it is only 263 days since the eu referendum. yet, just as one fight for the tories comes to an end, another, perhaps more profound, begins. let's speak to our political correspondent chris mason. is itfairto is it fair to say that it has been a slightly easier night the government than perhaps they were expecting?m has been. and what is interesting as politics has been very noisy but quite awhile. the decibels levels last night cranked up a few notches, but the government has got its way. in the house of lords and in the house of commons, it didn't face any
trouble whatsoever. barely any rebels at all in the house of commons early in the evening, and the house of lords basically got the hintand the house of lords basically got the hint and recognised that there was a limit to its powers to intervene, given that it is an appointed chamber rather than an elected one. what they had made their point. they had attempted to persuade the commons to amend the bill on the rights of eu nationals, and that meaningful vote, so—called, at the end of process. what they acknowledge the commons wasn't going to wear that, and so they said, look, this is the end of the road. liberal democrats continue to make the point that they have a real problem with brexit, but labour and a good number of the independent crossbench peers recognise that the end of the road had been reached. so the bill now will get royal assent, it will become an act of parliament, and so theresa may will have on her back pocket the very thing that the supreme court said a couple of months ago she had to have in order to start the whole racks at process,
triggering article 50. but she isn't going to do it tomorrow. she could have done, but she isn't going to —— brexit process. as she has promised for sometime now, towards the end of the month, so a couple of weeks yet. why are they going to wait another two weeks. there were some suggestions it would happen more quickly. there were, there was a lot of headlines over the weekend using the word could, hearing a lot of the word could, because she could do it tomorrow but it doesn't necessarily mean that she will. and now we know that she won't. why not? i think she wouldn't want to be seen to be rushed, it is not really in her nature. we have got the elections coming up in holland. there was of course the intervention from nicola sturgeon, which might have made it think she should just leave it a little while longer. —— made her thing. there is a big day in her diary she has to avoid later this month when there is a big celebration of euery, for want of a better word, with the anniversary of
the treaty of rome, the first act which started the business of eu integration. so a diplomatic and political act, the date on which article 50 is triggered, and every date after it will be deeply political as well. there must be a better word than eu—ery. political as well. there must be a better word than eu—erylj political as well. there must be a better word than eu-ery. i am working on it. i have two years. let's return now to the passage through parliament of the brexit bill. joining me now is professor richard whitman, head of the school of politics and international relations at kent university, and senior research fellow at chatham house. good evening to you. good evening. what is your assessment of this evening's events in parliament, and where this takes us? i think what it has done is to really strengthen theresa may's position. this was a process she didn't want to go through, taking article 52 parliament. she was forced by the supreme court, though, and i think she has ended up now as we have seen with the parliamentary arithmetic,
much, much stronger than might have otherwise been expected, and it clearly demonstrates, i think that gives her a very strong hand for going into the negotiations with the eu. one of the issues that is difficult with this debate is the level of parliamentary scrutiny there is going to be through this process. how much do you think there commons and the lords now is taking a look at some aspect... going through every aspect with a fine tooth comb, picking up some issues which can get explored at length in the referendum and i think what we are going to discover between now and the summer is the complexity of the negotiations, but also as far as parliament is concerned, i think it is really going to want to... it is
really going to want to give the government things to think about in terms of the different aspects of the relationship. and so i think parliament is really going to come into its own. and that could mean, looking at tomorrow morning's times newspaper, separate bills on separate issues, say on agriculture, for the sake of argument, on immigration. and if we get to that point then of course there could be debates and amendments. the lord's gets involved. it is potentially quite convex, isn't it? absolutely. we have two things going on. on the one hand we have the disentangling of the uk's relationship with the eu, which was a two—year negotiation process , eu, which was a two—year negotiation process, triggered when article 50 is invoked. what we also have is the uk needing to put in place the arrangements to replace what we have with the eu. we know we have a great repeal bill coming, but we also have to think about areas such as the environmental policy, energy policy, competition policy, agricultural policy, fisheries policy, and so on. and all of those are clearly areas that parliament will have a view on.
we'll want to investigate, explore through committees and a vis the report to the government in terms of the directions they think the uk's policy should start taking in these areas. does that mean two years is long enough, or not? well, i think it depends on what you are looking at. two years in terms of negotiations with the eu is probably enough to look at how you disentangle the uk from the eu. it is not enough, really, to work out a new sort of trade deal with the eu, and it is certainly not long enough, i think, to work through most of the areas of public policy that the uk either has to do decide on, what principles they want to be based on. and the european union has been part of our public policy—making since the early 1970s. in a sense we have to look at where we find our national policy, a whole series of things. let's return to the prospect of a second independence referendum in scotland. in september 2014, the people
of scotland voted by 55% to 45% to reject independence. our scotland correspondent lorna gordon has been to fife to see if the mood has changed — and to test the appetite for a second referendum on independence. across the first from scotland's of the city of edinburgh light of these streets. they are typical of many scottish towns. what do people here think of the possibility of a second independence referendum? it's too early for a referendum. people are tired. the fight that nicola sturgeon wants to take us into the key you. going out, want to go back in. the last independence referendum a little over two years ago, a majority of the people here in the kingdom of fife voted to remain as pa rt kingdom of fife voted to remain as part of the uk. in fact, the results here mirrored exactly the result across scotland as a whole. families
and couples were divided in their opinions of what was best for scotland's future. i want more independence. my personnel at 10—— opinion, i would go back to another vote. hopefully this time it would go to independence. her partner originally voted no to independence but has not changed his mind. originally voted no to independence but has not changed his mindm originally voted no to independence but has not changed his mind. in the la st but has not changed his mind. in the last referendum i voted to stay in the united kingdom but this time i would vote to leave the rest of the united kingdom. why? so we can have a chance to stay in europe. we have been lied to so much in the past. there are others travelling in the opposite direction. first referendum i voted for freedom. because i'm a nationalist. and i voted for brexit. but this referendum, i'm going to vote to stay with the uk. why?
immigration. on both sides, there are those who are fearful for the future. if we go independent, we don't know what's around the corner. it's better the devil you know. don't know what's around the corner. it's better the devil you knowlj would vote for independence. but i would vote for independence. but i would be very wary. i think it's leaving both the united kingdom and potentially europe, you would have to ask some serious questions. polling suggests this would be close. nicola sturgeon hopes the tide is turning in herfavour. and there is more information on the latest breakfast developments on our website. the headlines on bbc news: the house of lords has passed the government's brexit bill, paving the way for the theresa may to trigger article 50 by the end of the month so the uk can start leaving the eu. nicola sturgeon has announced plans to hold a second independence referendum for scotland, claiming the prime minister
is ignoring the wishes of scottish voters on britain leaving the eu. theresa may has delivered a forthright response — accusing scotland's first minister of tunnel vision and of wanting to set a course for uncertainty and division. let's have a quick look at some of the front pages. —— a brief look at some of the day's other news stories. aid agencies are warning that time is running out to save more than 20 million people who are facing famine in africa and the middle east. the united nations says the crisis in nigeria, south sudan, yemen and somalia threatens to be the worst in 60 years. in somalia — conflict has intensified the effects of a two—year drought. it's left nearly three million people without enough water and food and vulnerable to disease. our correspondent andrew harding is in baidoa in south—west somalia. you may find some of the images in his report distressing. this is baidoa, a town besieged by two unforgiving enemies.
the soldiers are here to guard against al—shabab, the militant islamists controlling the countryside in this corner of somalia. but it's the second enemy, drought, that is now far more dangerous. nine—year—old ali has just been carried into the local hospital. he is unconscious. but it's not from hunger. not yet. after three years of failed rains, clean water is hard to find. the doctors here believe they are battling a sudden outbreak of cholera. inside, weak from diarrhoea, dozens of new cases. many families have walked miles get help. it's a cruel, opening salvo of disease before famine marches into town. we are feeling this situation is getting very bad. out of control?
yes. due to the disease outbreak, this is totally different. and can you deal with that? with our capacity, no. for now, there's an orderly queue at baidoa's well. a nurse has volunteered to oversee the rationing. but every day more people are coming into town from the parched countryside. the famine is going fast, very fast. there isn't enough wheat. there isn't enough water. and the problem is very big. like any town under siege, this one is digging in and praying that reinforcements arrive soon. as things stand, they only have enough supplies here to help one in ten of those who need it. and there's little doubt things are going to get a lot worse. new arrivals seeking shade on the edge of town. during the last famine in 2011, many left it too late before moving to seek help.
so maybe this counts as progress. but it's hard to get the timing right in such a gruelling climate. this woman buried herfour—year—old daughter and five—year—old son on thejourney here, probably cholera again. and what happens if the aid supplies run out? those helping say the main lesson of 2011 is to sound the alarm early. what we want to do different is we want to say there is a famine that is coming. we are sure it is going to come, and especially if the april rains fail. so what we are saying is get us help now, get us the resources we need now, and we will save the children that need to be saved. and look how easy it can be. after 15 minutes of treatment in hospital, nine—year—old ali opens his eyes and asks his father for water. in a besieged town, one life saved, many more to go. hundreds of thousands of rail
passengers have had theirjourneys disrupted because a 24—hour strike on some of the busiest lines in england. members of the rmt union at merseyrail, arriva trains north and southern rail took part in the walk—out. it's part of a dispute about changes to the role of conductors. our transport correspondent richard westcott has the details. the joys of the monday morning commute. welcome to the leeds train. passengers across northern england today hit by the same strike that has caused months of misery for commuters in the south. northern are only running about 40% of their trains today. this is the eight o'clock train from keighley into leeds, a busy commuter service. it's really filling up now. it's been pretty busy. i mean, i usually get
the train from ilkley, but there's no way i'd have got home. i finish work at half five, and the last train is at half five. it's a 24—hour strike with around 2,000 rail workers walking out today across three companies, northern, merseyrail and southern. three strikes, same issue — the introduction of driver—only controlled trains... please take all your belongings with you. ..where the driver takes over all of the safety critical jobs, jobs like closing the doors. which is currently done by the guard. we fundamentally believe that services operated on a driver—only, driver—controlled operation are fundamentally less safe. and every train in the uk should retain a second safety—critical person on board. we put safety at the heart of everything we do. the independent rail regulator has actually indicated that this is as safe as conductor operation of the doors. this isn't about who opens and closes the doors, this is about giving our customers what they want. southern rail ran the bulk of its trains today,
but merseyrail and northern struggled, stopping most of their services at around seven tonight. for many, it meant an early dash home. just panicking to get back before the last train at quarter past. if you've got a hospital appointment, it does panic you a little bit. as the last trains left a quieter than usual leeds this evening, passengers are facing more disruption in future. richard westcott, bbc news, leeds. the countdown to the next commonwealth games in australia is under way. the queen launched the games‘ baton relay at buckingham palace today — and over the next 388 days — it will visit all of the commonwealth nations and territories — before arriving on australia's gold coast. our royal correspondent nicholas witchell followed today's events. it is said to be the third—largest multisport event in the world, the commonwealth games, bringing together countries which between them represent roughly
one third of the world's population. the venue for next year's games will be australia's gold coast. the queen will not be there herself but the message from her as head of the commonwealth will. she placed the message in the baton which will be carried to all the countries of the commonwealth to arrive on the gold coast in april of next year. the baton relay was started by the australian track cyclist anna meares. she was joined by britain's victoria pendleton and then to add another australian touch, it was transferred to a combi, the camper van used by so many generations of surfers which trundled off down the mall at the start of the 140,000 milejourney. four years ago it was sir chris hoy who did the honours, launching the baton relay to the city of glasgow, the 2014 venue. the route over the next 13 months will be much the same, taking the baton to every commonwealth nation and territory. so it will travel across much of africa.
to the indian subcontinent, where four years ago it was taken by steam train in sri lanka. and two tiny islands in the pacific. a reminder of the scale of the commonwealth and of the cultural and historic links which bind its 52 member nations. in april next year, in australia, the commonwealth's sporting rivalries will be resumed, but in the context of a sporting event, which like the commonwealth, as self showing respect and mutual understanding. and if a city fancies and hosting such an event in 2022, there is a vacancy. durban has just pulled out. nicholas witchell, bbc news. now let's catch up with the weather prospects. hello there. monday was our mild and for many of us, sunny day. tue brings more cloud that temperatures
on the mild side for this time of year. it will feel breezy and particularly across the northern isles of scotland where the strength of the winds could cause disruption. for the rest of the uk, a quieter day to come. we will start off with quite a lot of cloud that certainly mild and frost free from the word go. the cloud should break up later in the day. that start off across scotla nd in the day. that start off across scotland and northern ireland, sunshine in the morning. scattered showers will continue in the north of scotland, particularly in the northern and western isles where it will be breezy. heading south, largely dry across england and wales. parts of wales and the south—west have hill fog and possibly the odd spot of drizzle. a murky start. the central and eastern parts, the cloud is thin so the sunshine will break through. slightly cloudy are further north—west across england and wales. sunshine but 70 mph gusts of wind.
combined with big waves for the northern island. the wind and waves could cause disruption here. northern ireland, not a bad day. mostly dry with sunshine. temperatures getting up to mainly 13 01’ temperatures getting up to mainly 13 or 15 degrees is still mild for this time of year. as we and the day for tue, most places dry, light patchy rain pushing a bit further south across england and wales. clearer skies heading into the northern half of the country. for wednesday, high—pressure dominates, still quite breezy and showery in the far north but for most of us, dry and showery. sunshine towards the east but cloudier skies in the west. temperatures still in the mid teens so temperatures still in the mid teens so at the good—looking day. heading into thursday, a weather front is trying to push in from the into - weather he willajésg hear a he will 3.125; hear a few country. he will also hear a few spots of rain. further south and east across england —— england and