russia expels 23 british diplomats, in the stand—off with the uk, over the poisoning of a former russian spy. after britain's ambassador in moscow is told the news, he defends no 10's decision to earlier expel russian diplomats from london. we will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves, our allies and our values against an attack of this sort. police have issued this picture of sergei skripal‘s car, and renewed an appeal for witnesses who may have seen it, on the day he was attacked. following today's russian expulsions, theresa may says britain will announce its next move after consulting with allies. also tonight... us officials investigate claims, that a political consultancy mishandled the data of millions of facebook users, to support donald trump's run for the white house. and it's a perfect st patrick's day for ireland, as they beat in the six nations to win the grand slam. good evening.
russia says it will expel 23 british diplomats in response to britain's decision to throw out the same number of russian officials, following the nerve agent attack in salisbury. theresa may says the government had anticipated the kremlin‘s move, and is considering its next steps. our correspondent, steve rosenberg, reports from moscow. he had been expecting the telephone call, and today it came. britain's ambassador was summoned to the russian foreign ministry. and in the skyscraper thatjosef stalin built as a symbol of a superpower, the ambassador was told how moscow would retaliate to uk sanctions. a note of defiance when he left. we will always do what is necessary to defend ourselves,
our allies and our values against an attack of this sort. which is an attack not only on the united kingdom but upon the international rules—based system on which all countries, all countries including russia, depend for their safety and security. thank you. the ambassador headed into work, to tell embassy staff about the russian sanctions. moscow says they are a response to british provocation, and russia has expelled 23 british diplomats. the uk had expelled 23 russians over the nerve agent attack in salisbury. the authorities here are shutting down the british consulate in st petersburg and the british council which promotes uk culture abroad will now be forced to end all activity in russia. moscow says the language coming out of london was a factor in deciding what sanctions to announce. translation: the british prime minister insults us and threatens us. her foreign and defence
secretaries insult us. they talk to russia as if they are drunk in a pub. so what the uk got from us today is the result of this loutishness and their groundless accusations. not so, said theresa may. russia's response does not change the facts of the matter. the attempted assassination of two people on british soil, for which there was no alternative conclusion other than that the russian state was culpable. relations between moscow and london have not been this fractured since the cold war. the expulsion of 23 british diplomats, that was expected. that is traditional tit—for—tat. but the shutting down of the consulate and the activities of the british council, that feels like a challenge to the british government. and the russians have said that if britain responds with more measures against moscow, then russia will respond with more sanctions against the uk.
the danger now is a spiral of confrontation. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. our diplomatic correspondent james robbins is at the foreign office tonight. what do you believe britain's options are in response to the expulsions announced today by the expulsions announced today by the kremlin? it is clear that theresa may and her ministers face a dilemma. she has made clear they will consider the issue of further possible sanctions next tuesday when the national security council has its regular weekly meeting. the dilemma is, do they interpret the expulsion of 23 britons from russia asa simple expulsion of 23 britons from russia as a simple tit—for—tat parody or do they think the russians have gone too far, by adding the closure of the consulate in st petersburg and the consulate in st petersburg and the complete closure of the british council operations in russia. that is significant because it is the way in which britain tries to export its
values as well as the english language into russia. it has huge reach, it reaches a lot of young russians, teenagers and young adults and is seen as a way of appealing to the post putin generation and export them values that they may miss at home so it is a blow, and the question is, how does britain respond to that? and police in salisbury have renewed their appeal for witnesses, following the poisoning of sergei skripal and his daughter yulia. around 400 people have been interviewed so far, and investigators are trawling through 4000 hours of cctv footage. health officials say detective sergeant nick bailey, who was exposed to the nerve agent, is making progress in hospital. duncan kennedy reports from salisbury. the tempo and scope of the police operation across salisbury remains intense and widespread. today police issued their first official photo of sergei skripal‘s bmw, whose movements they want to trace.
in their most comprehensive timeline to date, the police now say the car was first seen at 9:15am on sunday, march the 4th, in the london road area of the city. at 1:30pm it's spotted on devizes road. ten minutes later the car arrives at sainsbury‘s and sergei and yulia go to the mill pub. at 2:20pm they visited the zizzi restaurant. and then nearly two hours later they're found violently ill on a nearby bench. it's nearly two weeks since the skripals left their home here and today the police revealed the full extent of their investigation. they've interviewed around 400 witnesses, gathered nearly 800 pieces of evidence, and are trawling through 4,000 hours of cctv footage. today the labour leader jeremy corbyn was in newcastle and repeated his call for more information on the nerve agent. the origins of the nerve gas
appear to be russian, yes. that is why i have said the issue should be referred to the chemical weapons convention and we should challenge the russian government on it. the nerve agent was identified at porton down near salisbury. the russians have denied involvement. but downing street has now invited chemical weapons experts to carry out independent tests. it is likely that a team will come over to porton down. theoretically they could do the analysis at the porton laboratories. i suspect what is more likely is they will take samples back to the hague. health officials said today they welcome the progress being made by sergeant nick bailey, who was affected by the nerve agent. sergei and yulia skripal remain in a critical but stable condition. duncan kennedy, bbc news, in salisbury. the attorney general in the us state of massachusetts, is to begin an investigation into claims that information from millions of facebook users may
have been used by a data company during the 2016 us presidential election. a former employee of cambridge analytica claims that 50 million profiles were accessed. the two companies deny any wrongdoing. with me is our business correspondent, joe lynam. what is the background to this? this is fiendishly complicated, so bear with me. it started with the creation of an app from the university of cambridge that harvested facebook profiles and friends of friends of people, and that information, the data from potentially millions of people was passed to a company called cambridge analytica. facebook ordered cambridge analytica to delete all this personal information but in the last 24 hours they are saying not all of that information was in fact deleted so that is why they have suspended this company. a whistle—blower has come forward alleging 50 million facebook profiles were harvested from the specific app, used to target very
specific messages during the 2016 presidential election, in favour of donald trump and against hillary clinton. the attorney general for massachusetts is investigating the matter. she says that they deserve a nswe i’s , matter. she says that they deserve answers, the residents of that state and here, the information commissioner has said that the circumstances in which the facebook data may have been illegally acquired and used for political purposes, and facebook has flatly denied there has been a data breach, saying that its users knowingly provided all of their information and that its systems had not been infiltrated. cambridge analytica pushed back and said that any information required from the app was not used in the 2016 election and it only uses data that has been obtained legally and fairly. forecasters say snow could cause further problems, across large parts of the uk this weekend. amber weather warnings have been issued in england and wales, and more than 100 flights
have been cancelled today at heathrow. the so called "mini beast from the east," swept in overnight. this was the scene in dartford. the met office says snow showers will become more frequent later, and weather warnings will remain in place until tomorrow afternoon. the former fbi deputy director, andrew mccabe, has accused the trump administration of acting with political malice after he was fired just days before he was due to retire. an internal review said that mr mccabe leaked information and misled investigators — claims he has denied. president trump called his sacking "a great day for democracy". let's go live now to our washington correspondent, chris buckler. clearly, mr mccabe has decided he is not going to go quietly. he was
fired by the attorney general, not president trump directly but he said it was as a direct result of presidential pressure and it was intended not just to presidential pressure and it was intended notjust to paint him but to discredit the fbi, law—enforcement agencies and the investigation by the special counsel into allegations of russian interference in the presidential election back in 2016. and certainly president trump has been celebrating his dismissal on twitter. his personal attorney has issued a statement saying that he feels like after this firing that a special counsel investigation should be brought to an end. he did make clear that this was his view, and not his client's. nevertheless that inquiry will continue and we understand it has got notes now of memos that mccabe by the president trump and about events surrounding the firing of his boss, the fbi directorjames comey. this has the potential to get nasty and with that i will give you
a quote from the former cia director john brennan. he said that he would ta ke john brennan. he said that he would take his place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. those are fighting words. with all the sport, here's karthi at the bbc sport centre. good evening, clive. ireland's head coach, joe schmidt, praised his side for their class and courage after beating england in rugby union's six nations to win the grand slam for only the third time in their history. already six nations champions, a clinical performance saw ireland win by 24 points to 15 at twickenham, asjoe wilson reports. if you missed ireland's progress, here is a recap. first there was france and a last—minute drop goal. then we thrashed italy. come on, the boys! and then ireland beat wales in dublin. yay! we scored four tries to beat scotland. four tries! that just left twickenham. and here we were.
aiming for the grand slam, ireland hoofed the ball towards the london snowflakes. england's anthony watson was under it, or was he? whose hands put pressure on the ball to the turf? ringrose's for ireland. try for ireland, and another followed. 14—0 down, england had to respond. and here it came. farrell's kick, daley‘s finish. the home side had something. something. but watch jacob stockdale. ireland's super kid. kick and dash. he had to reach the ball before the blue line, coloured in case of snow. england had extended the pitch — perfect for this. stockdale's seventh try of the six nations, and that is a record. eddiejones could see his first defeat with england coming. england added tries in the second half but never got close to winning. ireland's grand slam, a perfect six nations completed here, never better. it is a special day for everyone involved with irish rugby and to be here and celebrate that and to top it off with winning somewhere like this.
this is a fortress, a really tough place to go and it is a sign of a champion team to come here and do that. irish rugby union is now the envy of europe and not just because of these scenes of celebration at twickenham. the challenge for these players is to be world champions next autumn. standing here right now, that seems very possible. wales finish the six nations in second place behind champions, ireland, afterjust beating france by one point. liam williams scored the only wales try of the game but their third home win earned wales a hard —fought 14 points to 13 victory. scotland won their final game of this campaign but it took a 79th minute greg laidlaw penalty to give them a 29—27 victory over italy. it was scotland's first away win in the championship for two years. this is the final six nations table with ireland as champions at the top. wales and scotland in
second and third place. eddiejones‘ england in fifth place, their lowest finish since the six nations began. now match of the day and fa cup highlights follow soon on bbc one so it is time to pop out of the room if you don't want to know today's results. mohamed salah scored four goals this evening as liverpool beat watford 5—0. salah is the premier league's top scorer with 28 goals so far. jurgen klopp‘s side is now in third place in the table. at the other end of the table, west brom are edging closer to relegation after a 2—1 defeat to bournemouth. stoke city are just above west brom in 19th but they also lost today, beaten 2—1 by everton. crystal palace moved out of the relegation zone with a 2—0 win over huddersfield. tottenham have booked their place in the semi finals of the fa cup after a 3—0 win over swansea city. mauricio pochettino's side are targeting a first trophy in ten years. christian eriksen scored twice and
that one. manchester united are through to the fa cup finals after a 2-0 through to the fa cup finals after a 2—0 win over brighton. in the scottish premiership, second—placed rangers were beaten 1—0 by kilmarnock. graeme murty‘s side are nine points behind leaders celtic. hearts were 3—0 winners over struggling partick thistle. all three of the hearts goals were scored in the first half of the game. elsewhere aberdeen beat dundee, while ross county and hamilton drew 2—2. the rest of the day's sports news is on the bbc website, including the latest from the winter paralympics with the british team one short of their medal target you can see more on all of today's stories on the bbc news channel. that's all from me. goodnight. hello. you're watching bbc news. i'm nicholas owen. russia has expelled 23 british diplomats in retaliation for the action taken by theresa may in response to the nerve agent attack in salisbury. it's also closing down
the british council in russia which promotes better trade and cultural links between the two countries. the labour mp stephen kinnock — who ran the council in russia for three years — described the decision as "mean—spirited, vindictive, narrow minded "and driven by paranoia." i was director of the british council in st petersburg from 2005—8. there was a campaign of intimidation and harassment against us by the russian authorities because the bilateral relationship between russia and britain was bad at that stage and in the middle of it all was the assassination of alexander litvinenko and the russians insisted on closing down our office in st petersburg, and there was a stand—off. we refuse to close down and in the end they took action which forced us to do so. it really showed us the ruthlessness of the russian regime,
the fact that they will not stop, they stop at nothing. and unfortunately for the russian people, because the british council is a purely constructive agenda, building intercultural dialogue and helping russians to learn english, education projects, the arts, creative industries. it has no political agenda whatsoever. it is a real tragedy now that they have shut us down in st petersburg. back in 2008, and now they are shutting us down in moscow as well, and i just feel very sorry for all those russian people, many of them younger people, who value the british council services so much. you can't be surprise, though, that it has happened. no, it reflects a pattern of behaviour, mean—spirited, narrow—minded, driven by paranoia, we see from the russian regime. i think what we also know is that they see a new generation
of russians coming through, and change will, eventually in russia, putin is not going to be there for over. and i think a lot of people in and around the kremlin, who are desperate to cling on to power and that is why they want to undermine organisations like the british council, which has no explicit political agenda, but they see that change is coming. there are millions of russians who hate the isolation and the authoritarian nature of the regime, they want to be open to the world, to learn english, to understand how things to many of the people in and around the kremlin. we've had the tit—for—tat expulsions of diplomats which is a familiar thing going back in time, and now the british council. where do you see this going, if britain is going to take more
action what might the russians do, in your view? the ball is now in the british court. the russian retaliation will depend on whether we retaliate against the measures they have just taken. my view is that we need to put the world cup into the mix. i think that theresa may should be approaching angela merkel and emmanuel macron and other european leaders to approach fifa to suggest the world cup should be postponed until 2019 and should take place in a different host country or countries. i think it is just unthinkable that we could be vindicating and legitimising the putin regime by rewarding him with this festival of football in the summer, giving him a huge public relations coup, if you like, and allowing him to showcase his government and rewarding his behaviour. i think that it conflicts directly with what is happening, with the brutal and
appalling attempted murder on the streets of britain. that's where i think the next steps should be. in addition to of course, cracking down on the finances of those people in and around the kremlin, signing up to the magnitsky act across the european union and so many other measures that we can take to directly target the people in and around the kremlin. but make no mistake, the move that would do the most damage to putin and undermine his support amongst the russian people would be if the world cup were to be moved away from russia. the labour mp stephen kinnock speaking to me early on. amber weather warnings have been issued in england and wales,
and more than 70 flights have been cancelled today at heathrow after the so called "mini beast from the east," swept in overnight. forecasters say snow could cause further problems, across large parts of the uk this weekend. our reporter simon jones has the latest from dartford in kent. snow and ice warnings are in place, though. it has been dubbed the mini beast from the east. the snow in north kent has been coming down throughout the evening and getting heavier as time goes by. what a difference a day makes. yesterday temperatures were around 15 celsius. today in many areas, with the snow in the biting wind, they have dropped below freezing and when you add in the wind—chill factor in areas like dartford, the temperatures feel more like minus nine. we have an amber weather warning in place for much of kent, london, the midlands and the north—west that continues throughout the night and into tomorrow morning.
in certain areas that could be up to 15 centimetres of snow. that could make getting around extremely difficult. we are told tomorrow the big concern is going to be, as the snow moves from here towards the south west, there could be up to 25 centimetres of snow. travelling here, the roads did not seem too bad, but looking at the side roads like this, the snow is beginning to gather and the concern is going to be that with freezing temperatures, what happens when it turns the ice? there could be some very difficult conditions ahead. the advice is, if you're heading out in your car, don't if you don't have too if you are ina don't if you don't have too if you are in a particularly bad area, but make sure that you have got the right equipment, a shovel, warm clothes, if the worst happens and you break down and get stuck anywhere with snow. the warning is, it is going to be difficult tonight and tomorrow. then towards the
middle of the week, things are going to improve, temperatures returning to improve, temperatures returning to something like normal. i can tell you, standing here this evening, that can't come too soon! on the line is frank bird, an emergency planner at highways england. he's in their birmingham control centre off the m5. good evening to you. how are things out there? lots of reports of people stuck in the snow in nasty conditions? at the moment it is not looking too bad. lots of the main roads are open. we have been watching the cameras, we had a jackknifed lorry that was testing oui’ grey jackknifed lorry that was testing our grey cells for the last couple of hours on the m1 around leeds and bradford. we have just of hours on the m1 around leeds and bradford. we havejust managed of hours on the m1 around leeds and bradford. we have just managed to get that weigl sorted out. it is in the process of being removed so we should get the m1 open. —— that weigl sorted out. there has been an
accident between coventry and birmingham. we have managed to keep that open whilst dealing with that incident alongside my 909 colleagues. the key story is the snow gates being closed on the a66 earlier this afternoon, and they will remain closed until at least daylight tomorrow morning. will remain closed until at least daylight tomorrow morningm will remain closed until at least daylight tomorrow morning. it has lots of problems, scotch corner across to penrith, across the top of the pennines. absolutely. that is pa rt the pennines. absolutely. that is part of the reason why we have used the snow gates, it is easier to close the road completely, and it stops people from travelling along that route. obviously once people ignore our advice and do start to travel that route, when probably they shouldn't, we then have to rescue them, so it is easier to lott do not get into trouble in the first place. i was speaking to a lady and her husband that were trapped on the a66. i asked
her husband that were trapped on the a66. iasked if her husband that were trapped on the a66. i asked if they were all right and had any food and they said they didn't. it seems to me that people should have at least basic supplies to keep them going in case you are going to get stuck. absolutely. this is one of the things that continues to disappoint, when we have severe weather situations, notjust for to disappoint, when we have severe weather situations, not just for the winter but also the summer although that seems an awful long way away! carry some water, carry some food, some high energy bars, something that'll keep you warm, extra clothing. if your vehicle keeps —— if it breaks down that is your key source of heat so if your engine is not running you will get cold, very quick. interesting your reporter was saying how cold the wind was. temperatures here in the midlands have struggled to get above zero all day. actually, the wind—chill puts another 10—15d, so it has felt like
-15, -24 +, another 10—15d, so it has felt like —15, —24 +, very much like siberia. a blanket or two in the car would be a very good idea. thank you. time for a look at the weather with ben rich. good evening. winter returned with a vengeance today. strong, cold easterly winds have been blowing across the country, and the winds have been bringing some snow showers. that was how it looked in north yorkshire. this was the scene a little bit earlier on in kent. and if we take a look at the earlier radar from today, you can see just how many snow showers there were. lots and lots of them feeding in from the north sea. and then some more persistent snow that's been developing down towards the south—east. two main areas of concern through the rest of this evening. met office amber warnings across parts of the south—east, the london area, also across yorkshire, lincolnshire and and then, into tomorrow, south—west england and the south—east of wales also covered by a met office amber warning because of this area
of more persistent snowfall that is going to continue to drift its way westwards as we head through tonight. that could give 5—10 centimetres of snow in places, but perhaps a little bit more in the way of snow beginning to develop across the far south—west. elsewhere, still some showers, clear spells as well, a widespread frost and the potential for some ice to take us into tomorrow morning. but the main concern for the first part of tomorrow really is the south—west of england and parts of wales because this snow will continue to fall, really piling up, and blown in on this strong easterly wind. the snow is going to blow around, it's going to drift. that could cause its own issues. and still this feed of snow showers across parts of north—east england and the eastern side of scotland, one or two into northern ireland as well. now, as we go on through the day, many of the showers in eastern areas will tend to fade. it will be quite a slow process but, by the afternoon, many places here will be dry, particularly down towards the south—east where we could see some brightness. but notice the snow continues for a good part of the day across the south—west of england,
and that's why there is so much risk for disruption here. still pretty windy and still cold as well. but as we move through sunday night, we will lose that area of snowfall from the far south—west. high pressure taking charge. and we'll lose the cold, easterly winds, starting to bring in more of a northerly wind on monday. now, northerlies are never particularly warm, but they will not be quite as cold, so temperatures of