this is bbc news. i'm martine croxall. the headlines at midday. senior conservatives tell theresa may her brexit deal is more likely to pass, if she stands down as prime minister. but a former leader says their behaviour‘s appalling. there will be real disgust at the behaviour of some of our cabinet ministers, who are not fit for their positions if they behave like this. they should be apologising and they should shut up, for god's sake. one of those suggested as caretaker prime minister, if theresa may were to step down, is her deputy, david lidington. he says he's not interested. i don't think i have any wish to take over from the pm. i think she is doing a fantasticjob. the one thing that working closely with the prime minister does is cure you completely of any lingering shred of ambition to want to do that task. rescuers are airlifting hundreds of passengers and crew from a cruise ship, off the coast of norway.
mozambican authorities say half a million people are affected by cyclone idai. the raf is flying out aid supplies today. it was the daring wartime prison breakout that inspired a hit hollywood film — and today marks the 75th anniversary of the great escape. and the click team takes a look at the latest drone technology. that's in half an hour here on bbc news. former conservative leader and prominent brexit supporter iain duncan smith has said that any election to replace theresa may as leader of the conservative party would create "complete chaos" and that the behaviour of cabinet ministers who have briefed against her has been "appalling".
it comes as senior conservatives say they've told the prime minister that her brexit deal is more likely to be approved in a fresh commons vote — if she promises to step down. mrs may is still trying to win support for the agreement, which has twice been rejected. there had been speculation that theresa may's de—facto deputy — david lidington — could be a caretaker prime minister — but speaking in the last hour he backed his boss and denied any interest in the topjob. ido i do not think i have any wish to ta ke i do not think i have any wish to take over from the pm stopped she is doing a fantasticjob. one thing working closely with the prime minister does is cure you completely ofa minister does is cure you completely of a lingering shred of ambition to wa nt to of a lingering shred of ambition to want to do that task. i have absolute admiration for the way she is going about it. what if the deal has more chance of going through if she steps down? the deal should be
looked at on its merits and people should recognise and respect the enormous amount of work our prime minister has put into this. whenever i have spoken to her what i have seen i have spoken to her what i have seen as i have spoken to her what i have seen as a woman motivated by the national interest, getting the best dealfor this country, national interest, getting the best deal for this country, nothing national interest, getting the best dealfor this country, nothing else. will it be getting indicative votes? there will be a motion on monday and there have been a number of amendments. we will have to see what the speaker selects and what view the speaker selects and what view the house comes to on that. inaudible. i have been working on papers this weekend on how to support the deal and present the
arguments to get them through parliament and how to have an orderly departure from the european union. you are not aware of any of these rumours? i have learned to ta ke these rumours? i have learned to take rumours with a pinch of salt over the years. i've been speaking to our political correspondent, nick eardley about the mounting pressure on theresa may's premiership. all of this is leading to a lot of speculation about the future of theresa may. there are some people in the party who think that if she were to go, to stand down, or announce that she was about to stand down, it would give her a plan more of a chance of passing. having said that, those who have been on the airwaves this morning have been batting for the prime minister. let's listen first to former tory leader iain duncan—smith. i think all of these things are nuanced, so the question is really whether or not we think the deal first and foremost is acceptable given the alternatives and how that is exercised of course is a matter that we will have to decide on separately. i am generally not ruling
anything out is all i am saying to you. i am simply saying however that the way that these things are discussed is not like this and i think she has at least the right and the dignity, they owe her that, not to behave like they have behaved today. i think around the country, in the conservative party and outside the conservative party, there will be real disgust at the behaviour of some of our cabinet ministers who are not fit for their positions if they behave like this. they should be apologising and they should shut up, for god's sake. because that is the worst thing we want. strong reaction to that idea. philip hammond and stephen barclay have also been backing the prime minister, as you would expect, this morning. there is a big question of, if there is no prospect or very little prospect of the prime minister's deal passing next week, what happens? we expect there to be indicative votes where parliament will try to seize control of the process and look at other options, a series of votes on potential other plans. have a listen to this from the brexit secretary stephen barclay
about what would happen if parliament votes for something the government will not implement. there is a constitutional collision if parliament is instructing a government to do something which is fundamentally against what it has been elected to do. the legal position is indicative votes, not of itself binding. the question is whether parliament would seek to legislate to use the order book to give it force. they could do that if they were taking control? potentially. in that instance, parliament in essence would have been saying we are legislating to take no deal off the table but we are also not voting for the deal. the only consequence of that would be european parliamentary elections. for many in the conservative party and parliament as a whole that would run counter to what people stood in the manifesto. where is labour in all of this? they have been
criticised at times for not having a clear plan, a clear narrative. there has been a lot of ambiguity over the position of the labour party over potentially another referendum. officially it is party policy to support another public vote but hardly something the leadership has been throwing its weight behind. tom watson was at the people's vote rally yesterday, the march which had i million plus people at. we have this morning from the shadow brexit secretary keir starmer. let's hear what he had to say about where the position of the labour party is right now. we will argue the case that we have been making. this is the beginning of the exercise and not the end of the exercise, but we are the ones having the cross—party talks. we have been talking to people from all different parties. nowjeremy corbyn has had a whole host of meetings to that end. in a sense, we are leading on this initiative to find a way through the deadlock but we must have the assurance that the prime minister is
not going to use it just to frustrate the process and then say, "here is my deal yet again. you have rejected it twice, try it once more." a really crucial few days ahead. how many times have we said there is a crucial few days ahead ? it does feel like it is reaching a crescendo. over the next few days, there will be a lot of speculations about potential alternative policies and potential changes in government positions. i think we're getting to a point where hopefully over the next few days that will become more clear. meanwhile, let's take you live to chequers, where it's been reported that the prime minister is expected to meet prominent brexit supporting mps at her country estate this afternoon to discuss her next steps. she is under pressure from several of her mps she is under pressure from several of hermps and she is under pressure from several of her mps and even those in the cabinet to consider her position.
a cruise ship which got into difficulties off the coast of norway in stormy seas is being towed back to port after around half of its passengers were evacuated. some 200 britons were on board the viking sky ship which sent a mayday call after losing engine power, prompting the start of an operation to airlift 1,300 passengers and crew from the vessel in high winds. a rescue effort above a stricken ship is one thing but the rolling seas below make this quite another. no sooner has the furniture slipped one way, it comes back again. people are left holding on where they can. some injuries have been reported but they are not said to be life—threatening. in an auditorium, some of the 1300 passengers on board wait to be taken off as others are helped to fit lifejackets. the viking sky set out a distress call after suffering engine failure, with rough conditions off
the west coast of norway. some waves were said to be more than 30 feet high. passengers have been flown to shore in an operation which has been taking place throughout the night. the ship was due to arrive in tilbury, in essex, on tuesday. local media say lifeboats were forced to turn back because of the conditions. engines are now said to be running and the viking sky may attempt to reach shore this morning but it will all depend on the weather. simon clemison, bbc news. an hour ago i spoke to chris o'connor, who is still on board the ship waiting to be rescued. i began by asking him what conditions are like on the vessel. they are much better than they were on the night from around 2:30pm. we are now sailing into a port and we are now sailing into a port and we are sailing with wind and the waves. up are sailing with wind and the waves. up until about are sailing with wind and the waves.
up untilaboutan are sailing with wind and the waves. up until about an hour ago we had been sailing into the wind and the waves to keep the ship stable that it was pretty terrible yesterday afternoon. it sounds terrifying. pictures yesterday on furniture flying all over the place and people injured by that. how have they prioritised he gets rescued when? they did not actually announce how they did it but they seemed to take of the injured and in fan first and then i think it was a cabin room lottery because they would come into the master areas and read out some cabin numbers and take those people off. —— muster areas. there might be half an hour between one call and the next stop taking them off by
helicopter seems to have been a very slow process. how inclined are you to go through the rescue process rather than staying on board and trying to reach port?|j rather than staying on board and trying to reach port? i am definitely keen to stay on the vote. i worked out that, as long as the vote was stable and underpowered, we we re vote was stable and underpowered, we were safe. the idea of being hoisted up were safe. the idea of being hoisted up to the helicopter in those winds, idid not like up to the helicopter in those winds, i did not like that idea at all. how well looked after have you been on board the ship? the crew have been brilliant. they had been very calm and attentive. we have had volu nteers and attentive. we have had volunteers who were paramedics. there was a family and maybe they had a fire man in there, a paramedic and a couple of other people. they
took charge and made sure that people who were hurt were treated, people who were hurt were treated, people who were hurt were treated, people who needed their meds, they told them where their rooms were so somebody could go and get their meds for them. we just had an improvised meal of rump steak and veal escalope, french fries and prawns. i cannot say how good they were. i am grateful that captain knew what he was doing because we were minutes away from crashing into rocks. had he not pulled the anchors down to hold us in that position, i am not sure we would have been there. that is a pretty decent improvised meal. you do not sound too distressed. what happens next with your holiday? i do not they know. ido i do not think they know, to be
honest. we managed to get back to our room to get some meds for my wife and it was a mess. we have been told the cabin crew are going through their rooms, tiding them up, hoping to get us back into our rooms so we can finish the journey into port, which will take about three and a half hours. once we get there, they have not told us because basically i do not think they know. as far as i can tell, the port is tiny. i can only imagine they will take stock and wait for the weather to get better and then sail us off to perhaps stavanger, where we were meant to have our last port call in norway. the headlines on bbc news... senior conservatives tell theresa may her brexit deal is more likely to pass, if she stands down as prime minister. rescuers are airlifting hundreds of passengers and crew from a cruise ship, off the coast of norway. mozambican authorities say
half a million people are affected by cyclone idai — the raf is flying out aid supplies today. sport now. good afternoon. wales get their euro 2020 qualifying campaign underway today, with star player gareth bale saying he is "raring to go". the welsh take on slovakia this afternoon and bale will be looking to put what's been a difficult campaign with real madrid behind him. he is still scoring goals in spain, but hasn't played much and apparently doesn't get on with some of his real team—mates. bale says he excited about being one of the older players in ryan giggs' wales squad. it is a little bit different having a lot of new players in. with the last squad, we had all pretty much been together for ten years or more. obviously a bit of getting used to some of the new players and i suppose the different style
of play of the manager. he has been in for a year and we are getting used to it. hopefully we can showcase what we can do and get the win. scotland will be desperate to put their humiliating defeat to kazakhstan behind them today. on paper, it should be simple to do — they play san marino, who are officially the worst side in the world. and manager alex mcleish says it's the perfect opportunity to put things right. the only apology we can give the fans is to go out and win the next game. we are all hurting. we are fans as well. you know, i followed the team as a young man and always proud to wear the jersey and these guys are as well. northern ireland, meanwhile, play belarus in belfast tonight. it's a big game for them in qualifying with games against the netherlands and germany to come.
as for england, they play montenegro tomorrow, and spirits are still high from that 5—0 win over the czech republic on friday because the unicorns are back. remember these from the world cup in russia last year? good to see that they're very much still very much part of the england set—up. it's been a good morning for england's women, who've beaten sri lanka in the first international twenty20 of a three—match series. henry moeran was watching in columbo. this first t20 followed the pattern of the previous one—day internationals. england were dominant and ruthless. they bowled the hosts out for 94. smith's 3—18 were the standout figures. two wickets on debut for davies, who performed in england colours for the first time. england have two more games left in the subcontinent
and they are on some run. this makes it eight out of eight for england since defeat in the first couple of odis in india last month. it is the best run they had been on since her 2017 world cup campaign. if they can make it ten from ten, it would represent a fine end to the winter and the perfect momentum going into an ashes summer. tyson fury‘s getting back into the ring this summer to fight german heavyweight tom schwarz. there were rumours of a rematch with deontay wilder, or a super—fight with anthonyjoshua, but fury‘s gone with the 24—year—old unbeaten german. they'll fight in las vegas, and it's the first of five bouts as part of a multi—million pound deal that fury signed with an american broadcaster. there was a shock defeat for naomi osaka at the miami open tennis. osaka's won the last two grand slam events and is the world number one, but she was beaten in three sets by taiwan's hsieh su—wei. meanwhile, serena williams has pulled out of the tournament with a knee injury.
roger federer is through to the third round, but he didn't have it all his own way against radu albot. he had to come back from a set down to beat the world number 46. britain's dan evans, though, is out. that's all the sport for now. i'll have more in the next hour. polls have closed in thailand's first election since a military coup five years ago. after seizing power the army promised to restore order and democracy, but has repeatedly postponed the vote. critics say a new constitution the army introduced will ensure it remains influential whatever the outcome. our south east asia correspondentjonathan head is in the thai capital bangkok.
how enthusiastically have people joined in the elections? very enthusiastically when you consider they know the current military government has waited the entire system in its own favour. there is an entirely appointed 250 seat senate automatically voting for the coup leader to stay on in office. people have still come out in huge numbers. we do not know the turnout but is —— it is expected to be more than 80%. the military is running with its own party which is quite new. if it does worse than expected, we can expect a serious challenge, particularly from the party behind me. this is the headquarters. we have had huge cheers from inside. it is backed by the former prime
minister. he has won every election for the past two decades. they cannot form the next government easily but they might win a majority of all the seats contested today which will be a big miscalculation by the military. we are hearing a lot of enthusiasm. the way the vote goes could make a huge difference to how easily the new government is formed with all the advantages the military has given itself. the official death toll in mozambique from cyclone idai has risen to more than 400 but that's expected to rise further as floodwaters recede. the authorities say that more than half a million people have been affected by the disaster and 100,000 of them are living in camps.
aid agencies say they are only beginning to get a sense of the scale of this disaster that those who have been there, the international federation of the red cross has described it as staggering and they are saying it is only when the water recedes and they retrieve more bodies when they know the true extent of the damage and the number of deaths that it has caused. so far across the three countries more than 700 people are known to have died, these are bodies that have been counted. they are still retrieving more bodies and right now the critical thing to do is to get people who are still cut off by the floods to safer ground and to give them life—saving supplies like food, shelter and medicine. how difficult is it to deliver that help given the amount of water that is still lying around ? it is very difficult. the water covers a vast area and this is a place that was previously land. there would be buildings that had been damaged. so they are not generally water waterways, that would have made it easierfor even water vessels to go to the people
but they had been deploying small boats to get people who can be reached and bring them to dry ground. there have been helicopter rescues going on for more than a week now, hampered by bad weather in some cases because the area that was affected is still experiencing heavy rainfall. how well—equipped is a country like mozambique generally speaking to cope with whether this type? —— weather of this type? well, this is the worst disaster to have ever happened in this region. the un says that it is the worst natural disaster of its kind in the southern hemisphere. it was not at all prepared for this level of destruction. in the days leading up to the disaster, there were forecasts of strong winds and heavy rain. people did not expect this magnitude of devastation. the main findings of the inquiry into alleged interference in the 2016 us
presidential election are expected to be published later today. the special counsel, robert mueller, has not recommended any further indictments, but the attorney general — who was handed his report on friday — is yet to decide how much of it will be made public. barbra streisand has apologised for comments she made about allegations that michaeljackson sexually abused boys. the singer told a newspaper that she believed the allegations against the late superstar but said his actions "didn't kill" the accusers. ms streisand said she was profoundly sorry for any pain she'd caused with words which "did not reflect her true feelings." a man has died after being stabbed in north—west london. officers were called to an address on marsh road near pinner station early this morning and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. a large section of marsh road was cordoned off by police. one resident described pinner as "lovely", but said she was not our correspondent katy austin is in pinner.
what more is known about this? people in the suburb of north—west london woke this morning to extensive police cordon is on marsh road. emergency services were called toa road. emergency services were called to a property here at six o'clock this morning. they found a man who had been stabbed and he was pronounced dead at the scene. since then a murder investigation has been launched. no arrests have been made that there has been significant police activity. further down the road towards pinner underground station in the centre of the area, there is an extensive cordon and it is sad that forensic team seem to have been centring their investigations. attempt has been put up investigations. attempt has been put up and they seem to have been concentrating on pavement outside a newsagent. people around here say
they are very shocked that something like this could happen in an area like this could happen in an area like pinner but there has been rising concern about knife crime, not just rising concern about knife crime, notjust in the capital, but across the country stop very little is known about what happened here in the early hours. the murder investigation continues. it was the daring wartime prison breakout that inspired a hit hollywood film — and today marks the 75th anniversary of the great escape. the plan had been for around 200 prisoners of war to escape from the german camp through a network of tunnels but, although 76 escaped, most were recaptured with the majority of those caught being shot, on hitler's orders. just three made it home. robert hall has visited the site of the camp at zagan in western poland and we can join and we canjoin him now. paint a
picture of a freezing snowy night in 1944. the guard looking out across the camp, looking at signs of escape. 30 feet under the ground was a tunnel, codenamed harry stop it was designed to go all the way to the tree line. you can see from the commemorative stone it never quite made it. they had to set up an elaborate system to enable men to get out of the tunnel without the german sentries noticing. they were eventually spotted and the escape came to an abrupt end. 73 were captured, only three made it home. do not forget the sadness in that over half, 50 men were executed on the orders of hitler, murdered by the orders of hitler, murdered by the gestapo. that will be the focus
of the ceremonies. let's have a look at something that happened last night, a commemorative run that retra ced night, a commemorative run that retraced events on that evening in march of 1944. on the edge of zagan forest, british airmen prepare to make a dash forfreedom. they're echoing a story that unfolded here during a snowy night when 200 prisoners of war queued up for what they hoped would be the largest ever mass escape. a story brought to us by some of hollywood's biggest stars. working in secret, teams of prisoners had spent months tunnelling through the sandy soil, whilst others prepared civilian clothes and forged identity papers. thanks to the efforts of local polish volunteers, it's still possible to get a taste of what the real—life escapers went through. this reconstruction may not contain
the hazards of the great escape tunnel but it does give me a real sense of the claustrophobia and the effort that must have been needed to haul those men 100 metres to the tunnel exit. when you get to the bottom of the shaft, you will be put on or get onto a trolley and you will be hauled up to the other end. you also know that there are people going out, steadily or not so steadily, according to what the goons are doing on the other side of the wire. but the tunnel, codenamed "harry", hadn't reached the tree line. just 76 of the 200 got out before the alarm was sounded. sunrise the next day brought a massive search. 73 men were eventually re—captured. on hitler's orders, 50 of them were murdered by the gestapo. marshall, nelson churchill, cameron,
armstrong and shand. and all these other names? these are the people who were taken away and murdered. they were taken away in groups of three or four and were executed by the side of a road. after the war, members of the raf police, whose successors willjoin today's commemorations, tracked down 38 of the killers. most of them were tried and sentenced to death. the man in charge at the time, he went through the old fashioned door—to—door inquiries. he chased down every lead, no matter how trivial, and i think that dogged determination was the driving factor. nature is slowly reclaiming what's left of stalag luft 3 and the last escaper has left us, but their story is still being told,