this is bbc news. the headlines at 8pm: theresa may hails a key moment on the path to brexit. the prime minister says she's determined to secure a deal that works for all parts of the uk. this will be a defining moment for oui’ this will be a defining moment for our whole country, as we begin to forge a new relationship with europe and a new role for ourselves in the world. threatened with famine — millions of people in africa and the middle east face one of the worst food shortages in decades. many of these people have lost their homes, lost their livelihoods. their husbands are farmers who have been forced off their lands by all the fighting involving boko haram. an irish coastguard pilot dies after she's pulled from the atlantic. her helicopter disappeared last night. three colleagues are still missing. three police staff are found not guilty of manslaughter, after a man with paranoid schizophrenia died in custody. i the next hour — time for change.
after 273 years, one of the world's most prestigious golf clubs — muirfield — decides to admit female members. it's been pretty unreal, we didn't expect any kind of attention like this at all. certainly never had anything like this in our life before. got to the point where we had to turn off the phones and facebook and twitter. and life after that interview that went viral. good evening and welcome to bbc news. theresa may has called the passing of the so—called brexit bill — the legislation that allows her to start the process of exiting the european union —
a defining moment for the united kingdom. ina in a statement to the house of commons, the day after scotland's first minister announced her intention to hold a second independence referendum, because of the uk government's approach to the broach it talks, mrs may told mps that any deal she reaches with the eu will work for the whole of the uk. let's hear a little of what she had to say. this will be a defining moment for oui’ this will be a defining moment for our whole country, as we begin to forge a new relationship with europe and a new role for ourselves in the world. we will be a strong, self—governing, global britain. with control once again over our borders and our laws. and we will use this moment of opportunity to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, so that we secure both the right dealfor society, so that we secure both the right deal for britain abroad and a better deal for ordinary working people at home. mr speaker, the new
relationship with the eu that we negotiate will work for the whole of the united kingdom. in edinburgh, meanwhile, nicola sturgeon said it should be the scottish government — not westminster — that decides when any new independence referendum should go ahead. she wants the vote to take place sometime between next autumn and the spring of 2019. here's our scotland editor sarah smith. there is not always so muchjoyful excitement in scottish cabinet room. today, they look pretty pleased with themselves. as nicola sturgeon insists theresa may must not try to block a scottish referendum or dictate the date. owning a rebuke from the prime minister, who is quite busy enough with brexit. this is not a moment to play politics or create uncertainty. but it isn't certain how she will respond to the snp demands for a referendum. it is a moment to bring our country together,
to honour the will of the british people and to shake for them a better, brighterfuture and a better britain. this relationship is turning nasty. nicola sturgeon tweeted today, i was elected as first minister on a clear manifesto commitment to a scottish referendum. the prime minister is not yet collected by anybody. —— elected by anyone. a vote in the scottish parliament next week will trigger the beginning of negotiations about when another referendum might happen. if the scottish parliament votes for a referendum, and they may do so next week, i think that is it. the reality is that the scottish parliament has asked for something and both the timing of it and the nature of that referendum is nobody else's business and i think theresa may should recognise it. it is within theresa may's control to say, you can't have a referendum before the uk leaves the eu. i think the question of democracy enters into this. it's extremely important.
the snp don't have an overall majority but, with the support of the scottish greens, they will be able to pass a vote calling for another vote on scottish referendum is a pro—independence. the snp say that gives them a cost in mandate that the uk government cannot ignore, but opponents say that voters of scotland don't want another referendum. already, people giving out leaflets on the street, but these ones come with a plugs attached, saying, scotland spoke, why won't the politicians listen? this has to stop, enough is enough. we want to get on and be a successful country as part of a united kingdom. another vote can't come soon enough for some of the independent supporters who have been campaigning for a second referendum practically since losing the first one to and a half years ago. —— two—and—a—half years ago. we have had people from across the country
getting in touch to volunteer to be part of local groups and the national campaign and, over the coming weeks, we will be bringing people together at a national meeting to discuss the issues we want to make part of the referendum and how we are going to make sure that we get a yes vote at the end. once the scottish parliament votes to demand another referendum next week, it becomes harderfor the uk government to try to refuse. they must take care not to antagonise scottish voters by appearing to scottish voters. ( and we'll find out how this story — and many ( others — tens of thousands of children are at risk of starving to death in parts of africa and middle east, as millions of people face the threat of famine. the un says the crisis in nigeria, south sudan, somalia and yemen could be the worst in 60 years.
in north—east nigeria, the situation is intensified because of fighting with the islamic extremist group, boko haram. you may find some of the images in clive myrie's report distressing. they begin queueing at sun rise. you can't afford not to get in. and through the day, the stream of anxious women and their children get bigger and bigger. is my child malnourished? could my child die? this treatment feeding centre has been working flat out recently, and in the queue we found fanna ali and her ten—month—old child, born into a cruel world. translation: we have had to beg for food. sometimes going to sleep without eating. our home was burnt down
and we had to leave our village, but i pray now that things will get better. —— so —— so typical. this story is so typical. all of these people were driven from their homes by the islamist group boko haram, whose fighters for seven years burned villages, killed thousands and left 2.5 million people homeless, all in the name of strict sharia law. farmers couldn't attend their fields because of the fighting and so now people are starving. a nurse takes the measurements. it's not good. that's clearly in the red. she is painfully thin and her weight is confirmation. does that mean the child is malnourished? yes, it's malnourished. but her chances of survival are better than mohammed's, who is four years old, severely malnourished and badly weakened by tb. or this child, aged five,
whose mother is helpless nearby. translation: seeing my daughter sick like this has been unbearable. there was little food around when we escaped to go around. —— escaped boko haram. i can't count the number of days we have had to go hungry. it's been so difficult. i just want have had to go hungry. it's been so difficult. ijust want my child to live. seconds later, a new arrival at the treatment centre. doctors struggle to help mustafa, who is 20 months old, to grieve. —— to breathe. cradled in his mother's arms, his life is ebbing away. later that evening, mustafa died. what about those children who don't make it to a treatment centre like this from areas inaccessible to aid? where there are no doctors or clinics, where food and water has been looted by retweeting boko haram fighters.
—— retreating boko haram fighters? for those children, the end is inevitable. innocent victims of a man—made tragedy. this ten—month—old should make it. she has an appetite and should begin to recover. but while boko haram have been driven from most areas, their legacy of pain and starvation endures. a conservative mp has been interviewed under caution over his election expenses, the bbc understands. craig mackinlay, the mp for south thanet, is being investigated over alleged overspending in the 2015 general election campaign. our political correspondentjoins me now. what can you tell us? craig
makinley was voted in and he beat the former ukip leader, nigel farage, to become the mp there. the bbc understand that's he has been interviewed under caution over allegations of overspending during the general election. the conservative party is facing claims that accommodation costs for activists who were bussed around the country to key constituencies should have been recorded as part of local spending limits, not as part of the national campaign limit. so as a result, there are a number of police investigations going on across the country, looking into whether some mps agents should have filed costs associated with the battle bus under their local constituency expenses. now tonight, craig mackinley isn't commenting and a conservative spokesman has said that the party was cooperating with the ongoing
investigations. separately, i know, there was a meeting that was held this afternoon with a number of concerned mps as well as the conservative party chairman. i'm told there were some unhappy mps at that meeting, but others say there was a sensible discussion. so that is the latest as we have it on this story. thank you very much. three police staff have been found not guilty of manslaughter, after a man with paranoid schizophrenia died in custody. thomas orchard, who was 32, was held down, handcuffed and restrained at a police station in exeter, after resisting arrest. custody sergeant jan king—shott and detention officers simon tansley and michael marsden insisted their actions were "proportionate and lawful". jon kay reports. october 2012 and thomas orchard is arrested.
he'd reportedly been shouting at people in exeter, after a relapse in his mental health. the church caretaker was taken to a local police station where a restraining belt was put around his head forfive minutes to stop him biting and spitting. the 32—year—old was then carried into a cell where the belt was removed and he was left alone but when he was checked, 12 minutes later, he wasn't breathing. thomas orchard died a week later in hospital. this is the kind of belt that was placed around his head here. as you can see, it's a thick, coarse material, more typically used to restrain the arms and legs. very sorry for the family. today, custody sergeant jan kingshott was found not guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. it has taken five years to get to this point. horrendous. it has been horrendous for everybody. two of his colleagues were also found not guilty. civilian detention officers michael marsden, at the front, and simon tansley,
in the blue shirt here. the three men could still face internal disciplinary hearings over what happened in this cell and the independent police complaints commission is investigating whether devon and cornwall police as a force was at fault. ourfight for truth and transparency continues. thomas orchard's mother said the case raised important questions about the way people with mental health problems are treated. thomas cannot be brought back. but we do want his needless death to bring about change and the change we want most is in the attitude of the police, particularly towards those with mental health vulnerabilities. after the thomas orchard case, the independent police complaints, commission wrote to all chief constables expressing concern about the use of the belt over the head. it's understood that it is no longer being used in that way by any force.
john kay, bbc news, bristol crown court. the headlines on bbc news: theresa may has told mps that her timetable for triggering formal brexit negotiations, by the end of the month, remains on track. aid agencies are warning that time is running out to save more than 20 million people who are facing famine across africa and the middle east. a crew member from a crashed irish coastguard helicopter, who died after being pulled from the sea, is named as captain dara fitzpatrick. sport now and for a full round up, let's go to the bbc sport centre. good evening. leicester city are playing sevilla in the last 16 of the champions league. right now. remember they lost the first leg of that tie 2—1 in spain. they must win
tonight. they've been playing for about half an hour. they have made a fantastic start. captain wes morgan bundling in at the far post. as it stands that would be enough because of that away goal from the first leg. there are still —— there's still a long way to go. in the evening's other champions league match: some encouraging news for totte n ha m , match: some encouraging news for tottenham, harry kane has damaged ankle ligaments, but it's not as serious as first feared. he was injured early on during their quarter final against millwall. injured early on during their quarterfinal against millwall. he was out for six weeks with an ankle problem earlier in the season, but the club say that this ligament damage isn't as severe. the hope is that he will be fit for the wembley semifinal against chelsea next month. talking about chelsea, and their
quarter final. talking about chelsea, and their quarterfinal. manchester talking about chelsea, and their quarter final. manchester united have been charged by the fa for failing to control its players during last night's tie at stamford bridge. it relates to this incident about ten minutes before halftime, when michael oliver sent off ander herrera after a second yellow card. united's players crowded around the official. harangued him. the fa don't like that. chelsea won the game. united have got untilfrom i to respond to that charge. everton striker romelu lukaku has turned down the most lucrative contract offer in the club's history. he has two years left on history. he has two years left on his current deal. but everton were confident that he would sign a new five—year contract believed to be worth around #140£,000 a week. the sports minister says the
decision by muirfield golf club to admit women as members for the first time has been a long time coming. the ladies european tour said it was extremely pleased with the vote. they believe it would begin to restore the reputation of the club. the r&a confirmed muirfield would 110w the r&a confirmed muirfield would now be eligible to host the open again after it was removed from the roster following the decision not to admit women last year. roster following the decision not to admit women last yearlj roster following the decision not to admit women last year. i hope it sends out a message that we are a friendly, welcoming club and that we will be delighted to welcome women members in the future. i think we will have to work hard to convince women that they genuinely will be welcome as members here. but we've had 498 members who voted in favour of women as members of the club. so we'll be looking to them to propose and second women as members in the next few months and years.
rugby union six nations news, fraser brown is going to be free to face italy in the final match on saturday, after it was ruled that the yellow card for his tackle on elliott daily at twick nal was —— at twickenham was sufficient. a disciplinary panel has ruled out any further action. gavin henson is going to be playing clu b gavin henson is going to be playing club rugby back in wales again. the 35—year—old will leave bristol to join gwent dragons next season on a two—year deal. it will be his tenth clu b two—year deal. it will be his tenth club in his career. check on the score, leicester still leading 1—0. that would be enough to see them into the quarter finals. a long way to go. a 45—year—old woman has died and her three search and rescue colleagues are missing, after the coastguard helicopter they were in went missing in the early hours of this morning. captain dara fitzpatrick
was pulled from the atlantic but didn't survive. she had been with the search and rescue service for more than 20 years. their helicopter disappeared off the coast of county mayo. our ireland correspondent chris buckler has the details. ireland's coastguard patrol the waters around this island, watching out for other people's safety, but that carries its own risks. this evening, the wreckage of a rescue helicopter has been brought to shore and in the sea the search for some of its crew continues. it was at 00.45am in the morning when we last heard a message from rescue 116 to say that she was making her approach to blacksod, and that's the last we heard of it. the helicopter was called to this coast to provide cover as another team helped a man in need of medical attention on a fishing vessel from the uk.
an irish navy ship, lifeboats and local fishing vessels have all helped the coastguard in their attempt to find colleagues. the pilot, captain dara fitzpatrick, was found in the water just after daybreak, but she died after she was taken to hospital. we're all deeply saddened to hear of dara's passing. she was a hugely experienced pilot, in fact, the most senior pilot with chc and also a very popularfigure. teams have been looking for the helicopter‘s flight recorder as well as the still missing members of the crew, but any hopes of finding them alive have faded with the light here on the edge of the atlantic. chris buckler, bbc news, blacksod. the bank of england's newly appointed deputy governor, charlotte hogg, has resigned. she'd been criticised for breaking the bank's own code of conduct, which she'd helped to write. ms hogg had been the bank's chief operating officer since 2013. her resignation follows criticism from mps over herfailure to disclose that her brother works at barclays — creating a possible conflict of interest. the chair of the treasury select
committee, andrew tyrie, said ms hogg had made her decision in the best interests of the bank. there are no winners in all this. there are no winners in all this. the committee didn't ask charlotte hogg to resign. we were considering whether she should be in one of the most seniorjobs in the bank of england. we concluded she didn't meet the very high standards required for that particular role. we published our report this morning and charlotte hogg responded to it commendably and very quickly. a former champion fell runner has beenjailed for 18 years, after admitting trying to murder a uk athletics official. lauren jeska, who's transgender, attacked ralph knibbs with a knife after a row about hormone tests. she also wounded two people who intervened. channel 4's chief executive david abraham has said he intends to step down from his role by the end of the year. in a statement the broadcaster said
mr abraham will remain in hisjob until a new chief executive has been appointed and is in post. it was the kind of mystery detectives hadn't been faced with for 20 years. a man, who travelled more than 5,000 miles, found dead on remote moorland. he had no phone, no wallet and there was no way of identifying him. in fact, it took the authorities over a year tojust find out his name. today an inquest finally learnt more about what happened. our correspondent judith moritz reports. saddleworth has a stark beauty, its reservoirs and moorland set against pennine skies. people come here to walk, to sail and to cycle, but one man came here and died. this grainy film shows david lytton at a wedding. there's very little footage of him and his identity was a mystery for so long the best image available of his face was an artist's impression.
he travelled from a different world, 5,500 miles away in pakistan. we now know that, although he was from london, he had been living here in a suburb of lahore since 2006. translation: he was our neighbour. he was a nice person, keeping himself to himself. he never bothered anybody. local lads used to tease him at times. on december 10th 2015, david lytton flew from lahore in pakistan to heathrow in london. the next day he travelled from ealing broadway station to euston and on to manchester piccadilly, where cctv cameras show he spent an hour visiting shops. he bought a return train ticket, but david lytton then went 1a miles to the foot of saddleworth moor, walked into a pub and asked for directions to the top of the mountain. the following morning his body was discovered. with it, a medicine bottle with urdu writing on it. he had died of rare strychnine poisoning.
a cyclist found the body, but on it there was no mobile phone, wallet, driving licence or credit cards. no clue as to who the man was. the mystery, which started here on saddleworth moor, took detectives on a year—long, worldwide search. through a metal implant in his leg, police found he had had surgery in pakistan. they combed flight records and finally found his name. david was a very private guy. he kept everybody departmentalised from each other, all of us. he learnt to do that from a very young age. i adored david. he was very, very different. david lytton‘s family say they are not aware of any link he had to saddleworth moor. although we now know who he is, the reason why he went there and died remains a mystery. judith moritz, bbc news, saddleworth. a state of emergency has been
declared in new york, newjersey, pennsylvania and virginia as a huge winter storm sweeps into the american north—east. storm stella has forced schools to close and resulted in thousands of flight cancellations. the conditions also caused german chancellor angela merkel to postpone a trip to washington to meet president trump. reporter: snow emergency — that life threatening storm pummelling the north—east. this is the winter whiplash snowstorm, fast furious and dangerous, it caused this 3a car pile—up in chicago. couple of cars stopped. i saw the smash, i stopped the car, and i saw all the cars were coming, a pile—up, bump, bump. they hit each other and hit me too. sweeping across the north—east, this massive storm has
left roads impassable. with temperatures expected to plummet to minus 30, authorities are asking people not to travel unless absolutely necessary. millions of people in wisconsin, pennsylvania and connecticut face blizzard warnings. in washington, the white house faces, well, a white out. here, storm stella has the power to disrupt diplomatic relations. president trump had been set to welcome the german chancellor angela merkel, but winds of up to 100 kilometres per hour have forced her to postpone her plans, and she is not the only one. in new york, this was the picture — airport is empty as airlines —— airports empty as airlines cancelled flights, saying it was too dangerous to take to the air, leaving passengers stranded. i will be spending half of my vacation in this airport. yes, the weather. it's the weather, and we can't do anything about it. for anything you can't do anything about, you might as well chill, relax.
authorities in new york, however, aren't taking any chances and last night declared a state of emergency, urging people to stop up on food —— stock up on food and water for up to ten days. nothing like that here, thank goodness. here's the weather. very pleasant end to the day across most parts of the uk. it's been very windy in the far north of scotland. those winds will ease a bit as we go through tonight. the showers becoming confined to the northern isles. a lot of dry weather elsewhere. cloud increasing for northern ireland, wales and western england later in the night. where it's still clear across the northern half of the uk going into tomorrow morning will be chilly enough in the countryside for a touch of frost. a mild night across much of the south. let's go into tomorrow then. damp and drizzly early on in northern ireland. outbreaks of rain heading into western scotland. plenty of cloud in the far west of england and wales. elsewhere in england and
wales, for a time in eastern scotland, there'll be sunny spells. into the afternoon, where you see sunshine, breaking through that cloud it will feel pleasantly warm. there'll be lots of showers working through scotland and northern ireland on thursday. a stronger wind too. wetter weather spreading from north—west to south—east across the uk on friday as it turns cooler by then. hello. this is bbc news. theresa may has said her timetable for triggering brexit by the end of the month remains on track. the prime minister told mps preparing to leave the eu will be a defining moment for the uk. this will be a defining moment for oui’ this will be a defining moment for our whole country as we begin to forge a new relationship with europe and a new role for ourselves in the
world. aid agencies say time is running out to help more than 20 million people across africa and the middle east as food shortages worsen. after a crash at sea an irish coastguard pilot has died, three colleagues are still missing. three police staff are found not guilty of manslaughter — after a man with paranoid schizophrenia died in custody. as we've been hearing, the prime minister has welcomed parliament's decision to give her the authority to begin the uk's divorce from the european union. parliament cleared the way last night for theresa may to trigger article 50 — the formal process of leaving the eu. earlier this afternoon she told mps the process would start before the end of this month. she said that brexit would be a defining moment for the uk to reach an agreement that would work for the whole of the united kingdom, including scotland. let's hear more of what the prime minister told the commons. last night, the bill on article 50 successfully completed its passage
through both houses unchanged. it will now proceed to royal assent in the coming days, so we remain on track with the timetable i set out six months ago. i will return to this house before the end of this month to notify when i have formally triggered article 50 and begun the process through which the united kingdom will leave the european union. this will be a defining moment for our whole country, as we begin to forge a new relationship with europe and a new role for ourselves in the world. we will be a strong, self—governing, global britain, with control once again over our borders and our laws, and we will use this moment of opportunity to build a stronger economy and a fairer society so that we secure both the right deal for britain abroad and a better deal for ordinary working people at home. and, mr speaker, the new relationship with the eu
that we negotiate will work for the whole of the united kingdom. that is why we have been working closely with the devolved administrations... heckling including the scottish government, listening to their proposals and recognising the many areas of common ground that we have, such as protecting workers' rights and our security from crime and terrorism. so, mr speaker, this is not a moment to play politics or create uncertainty. so theresa may is poised to trigger the process that will see the uk leave the european union. so what happens next? our correspondent chris morris explains the brexit process. yes, what is article 50? well, it's part of the lisbon treaty, which came into force in 2009. article 50 itself isn't all that long, just five brief paragraphs. the crucial bit is this.
a member state which decides to withdraw shall notify the european council and the union shall then negotiate and conclude an agreement with that state, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal. in other words, this is the legal route out of the eu. it will be triggered officially by theresa may later this month when she informs this man, the president of the european council, donald tusk. but i suspect a letter will be involved. when that happens, the uk will remain part of the eu, with all the rights and responsibilities that implies for two years while the brexit talks take place. can you change your mind once you have triggered article 50? can you change course? legally, that is in dispute. eee; ensue-ea“: 'e|hr-e extremely difficult. the government anyway has made it very clear it has no intention of changing its mind. so, who's going to be leading the negotiations? well, the uk has to negotiate
with all 27 other eu countries and it will take a couple of months to get those negotiations going. but leading them around the table will be david davis, the brexit secretary for the uk, and michel barnier from the european commission for the eu. inevitably, though, other people will be closely involved. the prime minister, the chancellor of germany. whoever becomes the next president of france, and so on. all the big political leaders will have their say as the political debate hots up. what exactly are we going to be negotiating about? well, article 50 is more about how you leave the eu, rather than what happens in the future. first of all, there's the divorce bill. the eu wants tens of billions of euros from the uk. so, there will be a big fight about money. then, we have heard a lot about this issue. uk citizens in the eu and eu citizens here in the uk. how will their rights be guaranteed? everyone says they want to sort that out quickly, but technically it will be complicated.
then there is this issue which the uk wants to talk about at the same time — the future trading relationship. even though the eu says we have to sort out the divorce first. and that has raised fears about time. will there be time to get everything done? what happens, a lot of people ask, if there is no deal? that is the subject of real concern. but, in a couple of weeks — nine months after the referendum — finally, the negotiations will begin for real. and they won't be easy. now on to the political implications of brexit in scotland. first minister nicola sturgeon has said she will ask the scottish parliament to request a section 30 orderfrom westminster next tuesday. prime minister theresa may, however, has said an independence vote would only create more uncertainty and division. but mrs sturgeon has warned downing street against any blocking mechanisms or diktats, saying scotland's referendum must be made in scotland. the snp‘s fiona hyslop, who is cabinet secretary for the european affairs,
echoed that response from nicola sturgeon. we want to make sure that we can protect scotland's interests. we think continued membership of the single market is very important forjobs and for people in scotland and for our future. so therefore, the choice that we want to provide for the people of scotland is when there is clarity over what the brexit deal will be. now, we won't know that until the autumn of 2018, we think, at the earliest, so it's important to have clarity about the brexit deal. we need to have clarity, yes, about independence, but most importantly, we need choice. yes, the rest of the uk — apart from northern ireland — voted to leave the eu, but scotland voted to remain and our interests must be with the continuing relationship with europe and we want to provide that opportunity. this is notjust about brexit or the eu, this is about the type of country that we want to be in and we want to seek. and with a very weak labour opposition in westminster, the prospect of perhaps decades of a conservative rule is just intolerable.
now, kezia dugdale is the leader of the scottish labour party. she is against a second scottish referendum and says the snp are simply trying to drag scotland back through the arguments of the past. i don't think mps are under any illusion that nicola sturgeon's been angling for a second independence referendum. she's been trying to increase that grievance element for a number of months now. i'm very angry and disappointed that we're faced with that referendum because it was, of course, just two years ago that scotland faced and answered this question, and we said a very clear no. but she has said everything has changed, brexit has changed everything. well, the fundamental economic case for independence hasn't changed. and if it has, it's weaker now than it ever was before. and fundamentally, that's what matters to scottish families who'll be going to vote in this referendum. our country is so divided because of these referendums that we've been through. we do not want to be dragged through the arguments of the past. and the difference between what scotland raises in taxes and what we spend on our public services is £15 billion. that's how much less money we would have for our public services. that's what nicola sturgeon is arguing for, to have less
money to spend on our schools and hospitals. that's why the labour party's so firmly opposed to independence. kezia dugdale there, the leader of the scottish labour party. we've also been speaking to the leader of the scottish conservatives ruth davidson. she says most people in scotland do not want a second referendum and that she has been speaking to prime minister theresa may about the possibility of a second scottish referendum. well, i've been speaking to theresa may over the past not just couple of days, but also, the past weeks and months, and her position has always been that, of course, there could be another referendum, but it's whether there should be. when you've got an snp government that doesn't have a clear mandate, that lost its majority. when you've got the majority of people in scotland saying that they don't want to be dragged back to that question. and i think even since yesterday, we've seen the proposition from the snp fall down. so they're saying that europe's the reason that they've got to have another independence referendum, but they haven't actually confirmed whether an independent scotland would apply to be a full member of the eu. and the timetable they've put down is asking people in scotland to vote blind on an issue when they don't know either what brexit
or independence looks like. so i think there are a whole lot of issues in there that the snp needs to clarify. europe's highest court has ruled that companies can prohibit employees from wearing political or religious symbols in the workplace. the ruling by the european court ofjustice means that employers can ban workers from the visible wearing of any political, religious or philosophical signs. the muslim council of britain and the church of england have expressed concern about the ruling. it follows the cases of two women in france and belgium who were sacked because they refused to take off their headscarves. with me isjohn dalhuisen, who is the europe director of amnesty international. thank you forjoining me this evening. what is amnesty international‘s view on this ruling? it isa international‘s view on this ruling? it is a fairly complicated set of rulings that essentially says
slightly contradictory things in two rulings. the first one said that you can oblige employees to not wear headscarves or other religious insignia, as long as you have a company policy consistent across all religions equally. you cannot request this just religions equally. you cannot request thisjust on religions equally. you cannot request this just on the grounds of a complaint from an individual customer. now, these two things sat very uncomfortably alongside each other. the ruling does not say what the circumstances are in which you can have a blanket policy to ban these things. it is clearly a back doorfor these things. it is clearly a back door for dissemination against all religious believers equally, which will be a concern to many people from religious communities, and a back door to prejudice specifically against muslim communities. do you think the muslim community in particular is going to be disproportionately affected by this? if you look at how the debate is playing out in europe at the moment, there is a lot of identity politics
going on in which questions around appearance, the place of religious symbolism in public space is very much at the forefront. a lot of that isa much at the forefront. a lot of that is a proxy argument for the world of islam, the place of islam, and the visible place of islam in european societies. i think a lot of this will be opening up a space for employers to pander to the prejudices of their clients, with the basis of supposedly neutral policies that are designed to assuage the fears of clients that are sceptical towards people wearing muslim symbols. do you think the court has failed to address why it is necessary in its opinion to have this ruling, all these rulings?m seems to be saying, and these judgments are always very complicated, that it is a legitimate interest for a company, a perfectly reasonable position for it to have a neutrality policy, as a piece of company policy. what doesn't go on to interrogate is, under what
circumstances is such a policy justified? when circumstances is such a policy justified ? when is circumstances is such a policy justified? when is it reasonable to assume 01’ justified? when is it reasonable to assume or believe that wearing religious symbols in some way compromises your ability to do that job, or reasonably, compromising's sorry to interrupt, do you think most companies will ignore this?|j think most companies will ignore this?” think a lot of them will come i think a lot of them will come i think a lot of them will come i think a lot of countries have legislation that goes beyond what the ruling says already, and amnesty international is not urging them to i’ow international is not urging them to row back on this. i think a lot of people will not ignore this, it does open upa people will not ignore this, it does open up a back door to companies that do want this kind of policy, that do want this kind of policy, that are concerned about this kind of prejudice, to pander to it. in today's europe this is a very worrying development. thank you very much. it's one of the world's oldest golf clubs, but it's taken muirfield in east lothian a while to catch up with the times.
today members finally voted to allow women to join the club. the move does mean that muirfield will be able to stage the british open championship again, after being stripped of the right because of its men—only policy. our scotland correspondent lorna gordon reports. muirfield is a club proud of its heritage and history, but it's recently been in the rough for its stance on women members, that now is all set to change. i hope it sends out a message that we a friendly, welcoming club and that we will be delighted to welcome women members in the future. do you accept that was something that, perhaps, some people questioned? perhaps, some women questioned as a result of the previous ballot result? yes, i'm sure it is. i think we will have to work hard to convince women that they genuinely will be welcome. muirfield had hosted the open 16 times, it's now back on the tournament's rota. its stance on women had shocked the sport and some of the game's biggest stars.
we're in a day and age where, you know, it's not right to host the world's biggest golf tournament at a place that doesn't allow women to be members. even on a blustery spring day like this, there are plenty finally, look forward to joining them, notjust as visitors or guests, but as members, too. these golfing visitors from switzerland, pleased at the result. 80%. that's a lot. great. yeah. congratulations to the scottish people then. i find it a very historical moment, i find it great that women can become members now. women and men can now play as equals here, not immediately though — the waiting list for entry is at least two years. lorna gordon, bbc news, muirfield. the headlines on bbc news: