this is bbc news. i'm annita mcveigh. the headlines at 3.00pm: all four board members of the government's social mobility commission resign — the chairman says theresa may's rhetoric on healing social divisions is not matched by reality. the government, probably for understandable reasons, is focused on brexit and seems to lack the bandwidth to be able to translate the rhetoric of healing social division and promoting social justice into reality. a new scheme to make it easier for children in england to access mental health services is outlined by the government. it's 50 years since the world's first successful heart transplant — the surgery revolutionised the way heart disease is treated. i was a second—year medical student in london, and it was of similar impact to people walking on the moon for the first time, or president kennedy being shot in dallas. severe disruption for rail passengers on routes
to and from london euston, due to emergency repairs on downed overhead power lines. and in half an hour here on bbc news, click takes a look at the latest in disability tech — including object recognition and ‘sign to text‘ translation. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. all four board members of the government's social mobility commission have stood down in protest at what they say is a lack of progress towards a fairer britain. ex—labour minister alan milburn, who chairs the commission, said he had little hope the current government could make the necessary progress. the resignations also include the former conservative cabinet anister gillian shephard.
downing street insists it is working to provide opportunities for all. here's our political correspondent, jonathan blake. your chances of getting a job, finding a good school for your children, and being able to afford somewhere decent to live — issues at the heart of social mobility. and from day one in power, tackling inequality was a personal priority for theresa may. the mission to make britain a country that works for everyone means more than fighting these injustices. if you are from an ordinary working—class family, life is much harder than many people in westminster realise. but for the former labour cabinet minister alan milburn, who was until now in charge of monitoring the government progress on social mobility, not enough is being done. what is lacking is meaningful political action transferring
words into deeds. in the end what counts in politics it is not about what you talk about, it is what you do. i'm afraid the divisions in britain are becoming wider, socially, economically and geographically. downing street said they already told mr milburn they planned to appoint a new chair, as his term in office had ended, so is the former minister's public resignation sour grapes or political point scoring? well, alan milburn and i both care deeply about social mobility and equality of opportunities. he said that, and he said you wanted to keep him on. is that true? i am not going to get into the discussions we had inside government. he had done a fantasticjob, but his term had come to an end. and i think it was about getting fresh blood into the commission. the education secretary went on to defend the government's record. we are seeing standards in our schools rise, and critically we are seeing the attainment gap gap in schools narrow — this is the difference in outcomes between disadvantaged children
and their better—off peers. in the report they found children's life chances vary in every part of england. two thirds of areas where children have the best chance of success are in london, but many rural, coastal and former industrial areas are being left behind. the midlands is one of the worst performing regions in england. deprived areas registered some of the highest support for leaving the european union. the government is facing criticism that it is so focused on brexit that it is ignoring the reasons which led people to vote for it. jonathan blake, bbc news. earlier i spoke to christian guy, formerly david cameron's special adviserfor social reform in number 10, and previously a member of the social mobility commission, and asked whether theresa may risked jeopardising the commitment she made to social mobility during her first speech as prime minister. i think it is easy to make a speech like that, especially in the moment when you become prime minister and take office. what you mustjudge a government on is what it does, as alan milburn said earlier.
and the commission, which i used to be a part of, has taken a view that they are losing much more than they are winning now, and on balance they are saying they don't see much prospect for it. i think there are some good initiatives taking place in government but i don't know if there is the leadership, the dynamism, the courage to really grip some of britain's deepest social challenges and make this a real priority of the government, and i think that is the challenge, and alan is flagging the issue of brexit, but you've also got i think a general lack of determination in number 10 and elsewhere with the really tough issues. one of the problems, there is almost no ability to win legislation in the house of commons, so i think there are some fair challenges here and this is a big moment for the government. this is a big blow to the prime minister. so it is about the dynamics in parliament, it's about the focus on brexit. is it also about a lack of money? money does matter, but you find money for the things you believe in.
i mean, they have just found a lot of money, billions of pounds, to do a deal with the dup, so there is money there when you really want to make something a priority. it is not all about money. you can achieve an awful lot in government without spending big sums of taxpayers' cash, but shortly after the budget i think alan and the team have taken a view that there is not the priority financially, or potentially in terms of focus, investment of time in government, that they want to see. and alan took a lot of flak for doing thatjob, and i used to be on this commission, and he got a lot of flak for working under a conservative government and then a coalition government, but he thought it was worth doing it because it was progress and there was a listening ear in the government. not everything got done, but he thought he was making progress, and now i think he has taken the view that there is very little chance for progress,
and that is a big blow, and this government has to respond now with massive determination to prove him wrong. the response is very important. you tweeted earlier, christian, that the commission was a rare source of big ideas for government, even if a thorn in the side in the side at times — needs strong replacement now. do you think the government will appoint four new members to the sport, or is there a chance they might scrap this commission potentially and try to come up with something else? and —— four new members to this board. that could happen. they might do but i think they would require legislation. this is a big moment. we had 10—12 commissioners at one stage and now there is zero, so they have to do something big. it is not always easy. i sat in number ten, and it is not always easy to have commission challenging with the big ideas, it is uncomfortable, but if you believe in it you have to bring in people like alan and the brilliance of alan is he was a former labour cabinet
minister, the ability to have cross—party support for this, so they now have to stack this commission with seriously impressive people who can reach across a divided politics and find the ideas. because politics is a battle for ideas, and we need some big ideas now to reach the parts of this country that feel completely disconnected from politics, people working very hard butjust not seeing any return on that hard work, and that determination to better life for them and their families. so it is a big challenge for the government, and i think it would be bad to scrap it. christian guy, former adviser to david cameron on social policy at number 10.
leading brexit supporters have urged the prime minister not to settle the uk's "divorce bill" unless the eu agrees to a series of conditions. the leave means leave group, which contains former cabinet ministers, says brussels must end the european court ofjustice's jurisdiction over the uk. it also wants freedom of movement to the uk for eu citizens to stop when britain leaves the bloc in march 2019. theresa may is to hold more meetings next week on the terms of the uk exit. one of those signatories was the conservative mp jacob rees—mogg. he told the bbc‘s andrew marr show that paying the divorce bill reduces the uk's hand in negotiations. it's very important that we don't hand over a great deal of money, unless we have an agreement. the risk is, that we pay the money from the day we leave, and that reduces our negotiating clout to get the trade deal finalised, if it hasn't been done before the 29th of march 2019, and that seems an obvious point. jacob rees—mogg. the irish foreign minister says his government cannot and will not allow the re—emergence of a hard border with ireland. simon coveney warned the brexit talks cannot move onto phase two without having some credible answers
on the border issue. it comes amid reports that the irish cabinet are to hold an emergency meeting ahead of tomorrow's talks between theresa may and jean claude—juncker. earlier i spoke with our correspondent louise cullen in belfast. she explained what the irish government is hoping for. well, annita, simon coveney, the minister for foreign affairs, and the recently appointed irish deputy prime minister, the tanaiste, has said ireland is simply seeking reassurances there won't be regional divergences between it and northern ireland post brexit. he said they need an agreed wording ahead of the crucial eu summit later in december, on the 14th and 15th, and the deadline set tomorrow by donald tusk ahead of that working lunch is rather focusing minds of course. he says ireland is asking questions that need credible answers before any brexit negotiations can move on, and donald tusk said of course if the uk offer on the border is not acceptable to ireland it will not be to the eu. at that special cabinet meeting tomorrow morning in dublin simon coveney and the taoiseach leo varadkar will brief their cabinet members. louise, of course we know that the former prime minister tony blair
has warned about the possible impact on the peace process depending the results of any negotiations over the border, but that has drawn some criticism from politicians in northern ireland, hasn't it? it has indeed. all the former prime minister tony blair is one of the architects all the former prime minister tony blair is one of the architects of the good friday agreement, and he said that agreement is now at risk. he said the uk and irish membership of the eu was central to it, as was the concept of free movement. now, a hard border, he said, would create tensions on the island, but ian paisley of the dup who of course are the tories‘ partners in government, he said that is simply a rekindling of project fear.
in. —— louise cullen reporting. children will be able to get access to mental health support at schools or colleges in england under plans announced by the government. it's a joint initiative between the departments of health and education. campaigners say the measures are welcome, but long overdue. edward curwen reports. i didn't have any therapy. it was sort ofjust to talk about things... one young person's story of suffering from an eating disorder and depression for five years. she waited two years before she got help. ifeel i have not been properly treated for the mental side. theyjust sort of put me in hospital when my physical side is bad and don't treat anything else, and then they wonder why it keeps happening and i have to go back into hospital. the hospital she was sent to, hundreds of miles away, a nightmare scenario which the government now promises no family should face. so ministers, chatting here with pupils in east london, are publishing plans to provide support in schools for so many children who face issues regarding their mental well—being. teachers will be trained at spotting problems early. i put excessive pressure on myself wanting to achieve high grades. and there will be new mental health support teams,
the idea to bridge the gap between schools and the nhs. if your child has a mental health issue, we want to make sure you get the help much, much earlier than happens at the moment, and if possible, we want to work within the schools system, to prevent that condition deteriorating. but labour claims mental health care in england has been desecrated by cuts. services are really overstretched and children are waiting years for that vital support that they need. this is a drop in the ocean and paired with the cuts that many services have faced. the government is facing up to the scale of the issue. it now hopes schools can spot problems and address them early. rail passengers travelling to and from the west country
from london's euston station have been told not to travel after all train lines from the station were closed. the disruption has been caused by emergency repairs which were needed after overhead power lines came down. our correspondent lisa hampele is at euston station and we can speak to her now. lisa, i think the situation has improved a bit, but perhaps you can ta ke improved a bit, but perhaps you can take us through the very latest new hearing on whether it is advisable to travel are not? absolutely. things here have improved greatly this afternoon. what happened was on friday —— travel or not. on friday what's of the wires overhead on the line coming out of euston towards north london, they came down. there we re north london, they came down. there were 5000 metres of wires that came down, and they had emergency repair work this morning, so there were no services coming in and out of the station here, for london midland,
virgin trains, and london overground trains, nothing at all. but from the day they started picking up again and the lines are running, but there have been lots of cancellations and quite a lot of delays. but now things are a lot better. i am looking at a board in fact, just a minute ago, and there were hardly any more cancellations, but we have been warned they will go on during the day, but we have been assured everything will be back to normal for the rush hour tomorrow and there will be no problems tomorrow. also people who have bought tickets, their tickets will also be able to be used tomorrow. all people —— or people can use other routes to get home or to euston, so places like glasgow, birmingham new street, manchester, a lot of the main arteries coming into london and going out of london, they were affected, but things are much better now and it is all getting back to normal. good to hear, lisa, thank you very much, lisa hampele at euston station. it is quarter past three exactly.
the headlines on bbc news: the chair of the government's social mobility commission quits, with the rest of the board — warning that the prime minister is failing to build a "fairer britain." children in england are to get to access mental health support at school or college under government plans to improve services. it's 50 years since the world first successful heart transplant — the surgery revolutionised the way heart disease is treated. and in sport: england are struggling in the second ashes test. australia declared on 4112—8 on the second day and england closed on 29—1 in adelaide. mark stoneman was the wicket to fall. ten—man rangers beat aberdeen 2—1 in the scottish premiership. that moves them into second on goal difference ahead of the dons but still seven points behind leaders celtic. and teenager alfie hewett has become the first british singles winner at end of season wheelchair masters tournament. he beat fellow britr gordon reid is straight sets in loughbrough. i will be back with a full update in
the next hour. see you then. pioneering surgeons successfully completed a human heart transplant for the first time 50 years ago today — a procedure which has changed the way heart disease is treated. the youngest person on the uk transplant list, eight—week—old baby charlie, is making good progress following a nine—hour operation where he received a new heart. duncan kennedy reports. a tender moment tracie wright thought she would never have with her baby, charlie. charlie was born with only half a heart. hospitals across europe were contacted to find an organ donor. this week, a heart did become available. and now, atjust eight weeks old, charlie has had a transplant. his skin colour was just amazing. i can't describe it. from going so blue — he was just blue all the time — to being so pink and peachy and perfect.
charlie was the youngest patient on britain's transplant waiting list. his doctors say the operation went well. he was extremely lucky, considering his condition and his size, to get a heart, a suitable donor heart, on time. it's not known if the family who donated their baby's heart know about charlie, but charlie's mother says they've given her a precious gift. it's the bravest thing anyone could do. they've given my boy a second chance at life, and for that i'll be forever thankful. i cried for them. charlie is expected to be strong enough to go home in the new year. an unbearable loss in one family that became unrestrained joy in another. duncan kennedy, bbc news. and a very best wishes to baby
charlie and his family. well, a heart transplant can be a life saving and life changing operation, as kieran sandwell — who received his new heart in 2009 — explained to me. well, before, as my heart deteriorated i went into end—stage heart failure, and so any form of exercise rendered me breathless. i was tired all the time, and towards the end my cardiac output was down to 11%, which meant i was just tired all the time. and, yeah, life was pretty grim, to be honest. and i was extremely grateful to get the transplant. and afterwards — well, a few years afterwards — you run the london marathon, so i think that tells us everything, doesn't it?
yes. yeah, straight from the moment i left the hospital, after 18 days, i could do things that i couldn't usually do. i was like a child almost, wanting to do new things, and running was one of them, so i ran the london marathon in 2012 and then in 2014, and i have just continued to do all sorts of weird and wonderful things with my brand—new life, as i like to think of it. it is a brand—new life, and tell us what you're doing currently in support of the british heart foundation. so i am walking round the coast of britain. i started this year in february, and i have walked 2600 miles, anticlockwise, so i have gone up tojohn o'groats in scotland and i'm now back down in wales currently, and hoping to finish about march next year. and this is all for british heart foundation research, yes. so my website is a trail
of two hearts, which is how ifigure my life is. two lives, two hearts. and have you ever found out anything about the person whose heart you now have? yes, i wrote to the donor's family and i was very lucky to receive a reply back, so i know some bits about my donor, and it's wonderful that i canjust carry on doing amazing things with her heart. and on this anniversary have you been reflecting on those pioneering surgeons, the people who went through those early heart transplants to lead to the point where you were able to have such a successful transplant and have been to effectively live a new life? yes, my open heart surgery i had when i was three was
pioneering, all brand—new surgery. my generation of congenital heart patients were told we probably wouldn't reach 16, or adulthood or anything like that. so all the doctors have started to do this and the obviously do great research into the after—care. the reason why they are so successful is really from the after—care now. and the immune suppressant drugs and things like that, it is all much better nowadays. so, yes, i am eternally grateful. that was heart transplant recipient kieran sandwell talking to me a little earlier. donald trump has denied asking the head of the fbi, james comey, to drop an investigation
into his former national security advisor, michael flynn, after he was sacked for lying about his russia connections. in a tweet, mr trump said the allegation was just more fake news covering another comey lie. mr trump was referring to a memo written by mr comey — and presented to a congressional investigation — saying that in february, the president had asked him to "go easy" on mr flynn. north korea has accused the united states of being a warmonger on the eve ofjoint us—south korean military exercises. monday's drills are the largest ever involving us and south korean troops. meanwhile president trump's national security advisor has said the us and its allies are in "a race" to tackle the problem with north korea before the reclusive state achieves its nuclear ambitions. celia hatton reports. american military might on display near the korean peninsula. here, a rare site. three us aircraft carriers, so—called super carriers, brought together last month for the first time in a decade. and now the us decision to hold
another round of air exercises has raised tensions again. on monday five days of air drills will begin, the largest ever joint drills with us and south korean forces. they will simulate the strikes on mock north korean nuclear and missile targets. this comes as president trump's national—security adviser warns the possibility of war with pyongyang is increasing by the day. the greatest immediate threat to the united states, and to the world, is the threat posed by the rogue regime in north korea, and his continued efforts to develop long—range nuclear capability. there are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict, but it is a race because he is getting closer and closer, and there's not much time left. in north korea news of the military exercises drew dire warnings. translation: if the korean peninsula and the world are embroiled
in the crucible of a nuclear war, because of the reckless nuclear war mania in the us, they must take full responsible for it. on friday north korea held a mass event, celebrating the success of recent weapons tests, and the latest one centre missile higher than ever before, putting the continental united states in striking range. now pyongyang is rushing to perfect its weapons technology, including the development of a nuclear warhead that could fit on a missile. kim jong—un is getting closer to his nuclear ambitions. here he inspects a factory making tyres for missile launch vehicles. some are quick to brush off the exchange of threats between kim jong—un and the trump administration, dismissing them as buster. —— bluster. but as north korea ramp up their capabilities it
raises the prospect that one misstep and one miscalculation could ignite and one miscalculation could ignite a sudden military confrontation, claiming hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives. celia hatton, bbc news. the british red cross is calling for syrian refugee families who are being resettled in the uk to be allowed to bring their young adult children with them. around 9000 syrians have been allowed into the uk under the home office's vulnerable person resettlement scheme. but the british red cross says it's wrong that refugees who have come in under a different programme are being forced to leave their over 18s behind. june kelly reports. do you like that? born in syria, but this 14—year—old is growing up in glasgow. he's really good at what he does. we want to think about her story
in terms of human rights. what do you think about children's rights? in this lesson on human rights, she describes how her home was bombed. three bombs fell into my house... beside her, her brothers. my brother's face got burned, half of it. what's it been like in scotland? you can go to school, you can go out. you're not scared of anything. the children's parents are grateful to the uk for giving their family refuge. but this family was fractured when the rules forced them to leave their eldest child behind in syria. their daughter here, growing up with her sister and brothers, was barred from coming to the uk. this is because she was 19 and so legally an adult. her parents decided she had to get married, just to have someone to protect her. now this is how they all keep in contact. translation: i couldn't come with my family. i had to get married because i had no one left at home. i had to give up university and the prospect of getting a job.
this had been my dream since i was a little girl. three years on, she is now a mother of two. after paying people smugglers, she embarked on a treacherous journey and finally followed her new husband to germany. but the uk is still refusing to let her in. translation: this law that stopped her coming here is a war against families. i managed to bring my entire family, except for her. she had to stay behind. this law is helping to bury her. in a statement the home office said... the british red cross believes these cases shouldn't be left to the discretion of case workers. let's be clear — we're
talking about children that are part of the family unit. you know, people watching this now — think of your family. the children who still live at home, children who are maybe away studying. that's what we are talking about here. let's bring those families back together. families belong together. this family will always be thankful to the uk, but having endured the horror of war, they are still suffering the trauma of separation. june kelly, bbc news, glasgow. it is time now for a look at the weather forecast, so let's get the details with them. hello. a lot of twists and turns in the forecast for the week ahead but it all starts on a fairly quiet and mundane note. some cloud and sunshine today, then through the ceiling and tonight central and eastern areas will see the lion's share of the clear spells and where we have clear skies that could be a touch of frost and perhaps some fog patches as well. a little cloud for the west, the odd
spot of rain, and temperatures should mainly hold above freezing. enter monday, not a bad looking day. some early fog across east anglia and the south—east, large areas of cloud floating through, the thickest of which could produce the odd bit of which could produce the odd bit of rain but largely speaking at friday. some spells of sunshine, temperatures not doing too badly for this time of year, 8—11 degrees, but later in the week, after the mail start the middle of the week will bring some wet weather, and then by the end of the week it will turn much colder and with that colder air of some of us will get to see some sun. hello, this is bbc news with annita mcveigh. the headlines... all four board members of the government's social mobility commission have resigned in protest at what they see as a lack of