Boris Johnson may soon have the power to call elections whenever he wants – a legal view on why that’s not a good idea

“Legislation is currently making its way through the UK parliament to repeal the controversial fixed-term parliaments act, which sets the period between general elections at five years and limits the prime minister’s power to trigger an election earlier.

An earlier election is possible if two thirds of MPs vote for it or if the government loses a vote of confidence among MPs.” Find out more with Law Lecturer, Dr John McGarry’s article on The Conversation, here.

Video: unique footage of secret WW2 ‘Scallywag Bunkers’ that were Britain’s lethal last line of defence

(Geoforensic Researcher and Lecturer in Chemistry at Staffordshire University), Jamie Pringle (Keele University) and Peter Doyls (London South Bank University) have written an article on The Conversation about the unique footage of the secret WW2 Scallywag Bunkers. You can read the article and watch the video here

Spending Review 2020: the experts react

“The chancellor claimed the spending review ‘strengthens the United Kingdom’s place in the world’, and that the UK will remain ‘open and outward looking’. However, the financial resources required to make a convincing case for a global Britain were lacking.”

Associate Professor Simon Smith (Security and International Relations) shares his reaction to the Spending Review in a co-written piece on The Conversation. You can read the full article here.

How your car sheds microplastics into the ocean thousands of miles away

The impact of car travel on the environment is well known. Exhaust emissions pollute the atmosphere with gases that raise global temperatures and make the air less safe to breathe. Sadly, the problems don’t end there. Scientists have been studying another problem – and one that connects your daily commute to the most remote stretches of the world’s oceans.

Find out more from Professor Claire Gwinnett on The Conversation here

The racism faced by teenagers in the UK: new research

“Thousands of people took part in Black Lives Matter protests in the UK in recent months, not just in solidarity with Black people in the US following the murder of George Floyd, but also standing against racism in the UK. However, some people in the UK may assume that racism is not as big an issue in Britain as it is in the US – my latest research suggests otherwise.”

Read more on The Conversation here

Homeless numbers set to rise – but lockdown shows government can solve this

Fiona Hassett, is a PhD Scholarship Student, researching on homelessness, addiction and mental health issues and the lack of service provision.

“…as lockdown rolls on, it seems some homeless people are choosing to leave or even being evicted from their temporary accommodation. This is despite efforts from support workers, local councils and the government to enable them to “stay at home”.

With many hotels and B&Bs now reopening for tourists, there is also a real risk that many other homeless people will simply be returning to rough sleeping in the coming days and weeks. And along with the risks that come with rough sleeping, being homeless also increases the likelihood of contracting and spreading COVID-19.”

Read the full piece on The Conversation, here

Farmers have Britain’s most lethal job – here’s how to make them safe

“Britain’s farmers are almost 18 times more likely to be killed on the job than the average industrial worker, and the fatality rate is increasing. Look through the government’s summary of the 33 fatal farm, forestry and fishing accidents in 2017/18 and there were a number of types of fatalities such as falls, crushes, electrocutions and equipment malfunctions. Most people (but not farmers) might be surprised to learn that work with cows is particularly dangerous – “crushed by a bull” was the single most common cause of death.

So what can be done?” Sallyann Mellor, lecturer in Law and Law Apprenticeships Course Leader at Staffordshire University explains, on The Conversation. Read the full article here.  

What if England voted to leave the EU in a second referendum but the rest of the UK wanted to stay?

“At the referendum, only two of the four component parts of the UK – England and Wales – voted to leave the EU. This was enough to swing an overall UK-wide majority in favour of leave, but it went against the will of the Scottish and Northern Irish electorate…

It is relatively safe to assume that majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland would vote to remain, were it an option on the ballot [for a second referendum]. And despite its original vote, a recent opinion poll, suggests Wales would now also vote to remain. But there is far less certainty about England.”

Gareth Evans, Lecturer in Law, discusses on The Conversation.

The major source of ocean plastic pollution you’ve probably never heard of

Nurdles: the not-so-cute Mermaid Tears of the ocean

” ‘Nurdles’ are the building blocks for most plastic goods, from single-use water bottles to televison sets. These small pellets – normally between 1mm and 5mm – are classed as a primary microplastic alongside the microbeads used in cosmetic products – they’re small on purpose, as opposed to other microplastics that break off from larger plastic waste in the ocean.”

Associate Professor, Dr Claire Gwinnett explains on The Conversation here.