Article 50 – what does ‘triggering’ actually mean?

By Political Editor Andy Bell

No emails, tweets or faxes for this most important message to be delivered tomorrow; some time around 13.30 Brussels time the UK ambassador to the EU will hand Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, a letter from the Prime Minister.

The letter will even have what in the civil service is called “a wet signature”. In other words, it will be the one actually signed with a pen back in London by Theresa May.

Under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, this letter “triggers” Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and formally tells the EU that Britain is leaving.

It also starts the clock running on two years of negotiations. Back in London, Theresa May will make a statement to Parliament after Prime Minister’s Questions.

The phoney war of the last nine months will be over and we should be into the nitty gritty of negotiations. It will be a slow start though.

The first proper meeting of the 27 remaining EU governments won’t happen until the end of April and we presumably won’t see David Davis sitting down across the table from his opposite number Michel Barnier until some time in May.

And for two years it’s unlikely people will notice any real difference because until the final agreement has been reached and all the countries (and some regions) of the EU have signed it off, the UK remains a member of the EU.

That means we are supposed to abide by the rules of the EU until that point. The truth is that the people who drafted the Lisbon Treaty never really expected that anyone would want to leave and trigger Article 50.

So, as we are sure to hear again and again over the next couple of years, we are in uncharted territory here.

Tesco faces £129m fine for overstating profits

UK supermarket giant Tesco will be forced to pay £129m to avoid being prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
The UK’s biggest supermarket entered a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the SFO, on top of the fine they must also pay £85m in compensation to investors.
The compensation is for those who bought shares or bonds between 29 August and 19 September in 2014, as it is believed those investors would have been given misleading information in a trading statement.
The overstatement of profits in that statement has been measured at £326m, this meant overall the Big Four made a £6.4bn loss in 2015, one of the largest in corporate history.
Dave Lewis, Tesco chief executive, said the firm would do everything it could to “restore trust” after seeing the brand suffer from the accounting scandal.

Marine to be freed within weeks after Taliban killing

A Royal Marine convicted of fatally shooting a wounded Taliban fighter in Afghanistan could be freed from prison within weeks.

Sergeant Alexander Blackman, 42, was sentenced to seven years for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Blackman has already served half of this sentence due to a now quashed murder conviction for the same incident, as a result, the decision of five judges at the Court Martial Appeal Court means it is possible that he could be freed next month.

The 2011 fatal shooting took place after a British patrol came under fire. Blackman, who was known as Marine A during the original trial process in 2013, was seen on footage from the helmet camera of another marine shooting the Afghan prisoner with a 9mm pistol.

The original murder conviction was re-examined after his wife, Claire, led an appeal campaign.

Surrounded by scores of veterans outside the Appeal Court in London, she said: “We are overjoyed at the judges’ decision to significantly reduce Al’s sentence, such that he can be released imminently. “This is the moment that we have all been fighting hard for. It is hard to believe that this day is finally here.”

Livin’ Libido Loca

This week Oli came in to ask Sex Pod for some advice. “I’ve got a very high libido,” he said, “and it’s out of control, what do I do?”

Glad you asked Oli! Our sex professionals are always happy to help.

The reason Oli was worried about his high sex drive, or high libido, is he felt that going without doing the naughty put him in a foul mood and made him behave aggressively to others. He said he felt he needed to have sex twice a day, and that it made him feel on top of the world whenever he did.

What determines your libido?

As our sex professionals pointed out, libido is not set in stone. You aren’t born with a high libido or a low libido, it changes throughout your life. It depends on your experiences and on psychological factors, like if someone is bipolar and in a manic phase they are more likely to have a very high sex drive and have more sexual partners.

It also depends on things like stress and exhaustion (which can really take out the sexy in life).

So just because Oli felt like he wanted to have sex twice a day and thought about it 50-60% of the time, doesn’t mean he’s always felt that way, and it doesn’t mean he’ll always feel that way.

Can your libido cause you problems?

Whether you have little or an overwhelming desire for sex, libido can cause problems in relationships.

In Oli’s case, it used to cause arguments between him and his girlfriend as whenever she said no to sex he couldn’t understand why and thought it was because she didn’t fancy him as much as he fancied her.

When a couple have different sex drives it can cause rifts. The person who wants more sex may feel frustrated, guilty for asking their partner to have sex when they don’t want to, or rejected – they might feel, like Oli, that their partner doesn’t desire them. They could also feel like there’s something wrong with them, for wanting sex as much as they do.

The person who wants less sex can also feel guilty for not being able to satisfy their partner’s desire, or feel pressured to have sex when they don’t want to.

So you can see how different libidos within relationships can cause problems.

How common is it to have different libidos in relationships?

Having said this, couples who have different libidos are VERY common. And, because libido is so dependent on other factors, there’s no reason to assume that it is simply a loss of desire for the other person. Many people go into relationships with the same libido and things change over time, but remember they can easily change again!

What can I do if my libido is causing problems?

There are actually some things you can do to decrease your high libido. For example, taking up sports will use up some of that extra energy, and taking up mindfulness or yoga is a good way to relax and take your mind away from the subject of sex.

Equally, if you feel like you have an addiction to sex and it’s causing you anxiety or stress, you can definitely go to see a doctor who would help you get in touch with a psychologist or psycho therapist. There are always people who can help clear things up about why you might be addicted to sex and who can offer you support.

The same if you are suffering from low libido, which happens to most people at some point in their life. If your sex life has become a stress, it’s always worth seeking help –  sex is meant to be enjoyable, and it would be a shame to miss out.

Till next time Sex Pod-ers!

Find out more about Nelly and Harlequin Icthyosis

Nusrit ‘Nelly’ Shaheen from Coventry has skin that cracks and appears scaly, meaning that she has to scrub off layers of dead skin each day in a two-hour, twice daily routine. Nevertheless, Nelly battles to live a normal life in the face of extreme adversity.

She has defied odds to become the world’s oldest known survivor of Harlequin Ichthyosis, a condition which causes skin to grow ten times faster than normal.

The Samuel Hardgrave Harlequin Icthyosis Research Trust (SHHiRT) is a charity dedicated to research into Harlequin Icthyosis and to improving the lives of those, like Nelly, who are affected by it.

For more information, please visit

One Night With My Ex

One Night With My Ex’ is a bold and compelling new series in which former couples spend the night alone in a rigged luxury apartment and decide whether to get back together, or go their separate ways for good.

When it ends, every relationship has unfinished business—things you wished you had asked, things you wish you had known and things you never had the nerve to bring up. Now you can… and put that nagging doubt to bed, or realise that you were in love all along and want to go back—all in 24 hours, totally alone together.

Three lively sets of couples are brought back together in a rigged swanky apartment for 24 hours to confront their past. So will these couples move on and find closure, or make up and rekindle lost love? Intimate, funny and emotional, ‘One Night with My Ex’ gets to the heart of these tangled love lives.

Catch the first episode on Wednesday 29th March at 10pm.


Paul O’Grady confirmed to host Blind Date on Channel 5

Blind Date, the nation’s favourite match-making show, is back for a brand new series.

Hosted by Paul O’Grady, the show has been updated for the 21st century, as a new generation of love-seeking characters compete against each other to hook up with their potential love match, hiding behind the legendary sliding panel.

Paul O’Grady commented: “Blind Date is an incredibly special family show which brought laughter, tears and joy to TV viewers throughout the land. I am honoured to present the brand new series and, after speaking to Channel 5, I know the series is in safe hands. I can’t wait to see if we can find love.”

With no chance to swipe left, send a selfie or message back, the class of 2017 must break with modern day dating convention and rely on their basic instincts to find the chemistry.

Whilst paying respect to the traditions and family appeal of the programme with the legendary sliding panel, three question format and live studio audience, Blind Date will be updated to reflect the present day, whilst maintaining the humour, charm and cheekiness of the original show.

Blind Date will also welcome LGBT contestants for the first time and there’ll be thematic twists which will breathe new life into the series.

More on Blind Date

Apply to be a contestant on Blind Date

Melanie Sykes to join Channel 5’s Blind Date

What are the best places to visit in Spain? | Spectacular Spain with Alex Polizzi

Spain is a land rich in history, tradition, culture and natural beauty, with a wide-ranging cuisine based on fresh local produce.  Join Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi as she embarks on a personal tour, sharing her passion for the country, culture and people, and making some new discoveries along the way.

Alex explores all it has to offer region by region, from its remote villages to its cosmopolitan cities, seeking out its best-kept secrets.

Alex Polizzi's Secret Spain
She begins in the north east, a region often ignored by Brits. Alex visits an amazing hotel designed by Frank Gehry, the architect responsible for the Guggenheim museum in Bilbão, enjoys a luxurious cabernet grape body scrub, and is shown around an astonishing cellar full of ancient wines. She also experiences the craziness of the San Fermin fiesta, including the legendary running of the bulls through the streets of Pamplona famously described by Hemingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises.

Like the Basques, the Catalans have their own language and strong local identity. Alex visits Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city— a vibrant, cosmopolitan coastal metropolis, famous for its football team and architecture. One of its most visited attractions is the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s fairytale basilica, still under construction and years away from completion. To inspect its towers, Alex conquers her fear of heights and takes the rickety lift to the top, where she is rewarded with the best views across Barcelona.

Alex Polizzi's Secret Spain Ep 1 - Alex Polizzi and guide Esteve stood at the top of Sagrada Familia.
She also explores the city’s thriving art and café scene. Picasso and Joan Miro are long gone, but there is no shortage of new art in the back alleys of the barrios. She samples absinthe, the drink of choice of artists and writers.

Finally, Alex takes part in the Human Towers, and is visibly moved by the spirit of the Catalan community as they support one another to erect an extraordinary human tower nine storeys high!

Spectacular Spain with Alex Polizzi starts on Friday 31st March at 9pm on Channel 5.