It might be a busy week politically speaking but it should be a tiny bit quieter on the roads, albeit those backroads with the 20mph signs, because driving test examiners will be going on strike. The 48-hour stoppage is being undertaken by members of the Public and Commercial Services union in protest at changes to the driving test, which they claim are dangerous. One of the changes requires learners to pull up in the right hand side of the road, reverse two car lengths and then rejoin the flow of traffic. Some argue this is a contradiction of Highway Code rule 239, which states drivers should not park facing against the traffic flow. Union members have called for a safety review before the changes are made.
Some political commentators wonder whether Prime Minister Theresa May would like to go on strike, or at least have a bit of time off from the constant flak she seems to be taking at the moment over Brexit and ‘toxic tweets’ from US President Donald Trump. However, whether she likes it or not, today’s meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is likely to thrust her into the headlines once more. It was the European Commission which recently ruled no UK cities, including Leeds, could bid for the European Capital of Culture 2023, which caused many from the competing cities to react with alarm to anger. Sources in government say frantic behind-the-scenes talks are ongoing but this could also be on Mrs May’s agenda today.
On Tuesday, the Duchess of Cornwall will visit ICAP during the broker’s annual charity day. Founded in 1993, the charity day aims to raise funds for charities internationally. Each year, the company and its brokers commit to donating all revenues and commissions for one day’s trading to a selected group of charities around the world. Now in its 25th year, the project has raised nearly £135m to date.
On Wednesday, the Prince of Wales will present the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering at a reception at Buckingham Palace. On the same day, the Queen will attend the Scripture Union’s 150th anniversary service of celebration. Scripture Union is a Christian charity that invites children and young people to explore the difference Jesus can make in the challenges and adventure of life. The event will take place at St Mary’s Church, Islington, London.
On Thursday, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be commissioned into the Royal Navy. The Queen will formally name Britain’s biggest and most powerful warship into the Royal Navy when she embarks on to her aircraft carrier namesake. Members of the Royal Family and a host of Government and military dignitaries will also attend the ceremony, before the Queen offers a few words as Lady Sponsor. The commissioning warrant will also be read and the White Ensign raised, which will signify the acceptance of HMS Queen Elizabeth into the Royal Navy fleet.
Towards the end of the week, the spirit of Christmas will be more apparent; certainly on Sunday with the St Gemma’s Hospice Santa Dash, which will take place on Lands Lane, Leeds. So, Santa will most certainly be coming to town but there won’t just be one, two or even 10 Santas, there will be hundreds. In fact, organisers of the annual fundraiser are hoping to break the ‘1,000 Santas’ barrier this year, making it their biggest ever event. The ‘dash’ itself ranges from 1km to 5km, depending on age and ability. See their website or call 0113 218 5570 to book a place.