Saturday morning UK news briefing: Today’s top headlines from The Telegraph

Welcome to your early morning news briefing from The Telegraph – a round-up of the top stories we are covering on Saturday. To receive twice-daily briefings by email, sign up to our Front Page newsletter for free.

1. New Covid variant is less worrying than delta, says Prof Chris Whitty

The delta variant is of greater concern to the UK than the new Covid mutation, England’s chief medical officer has said amid rising international fears about the omicron strain.

Prof Chris Whitty said ministers were right to take "precautionary" border measures to slow the arrival of the new variant into Britain. Read the full story.

2. Border Force rudderless as no one wants to take ‘poisoned chalice’ job

 Priti Patel is facing a leadership crisis at the top of Border Force as it wrestles with a record number of migrant crossings and one of the worst Channel disasters on record.

The Home Secretary has been unable to find a suitable candidate to head up Border Force and Immigration Enforcement as part of an overhaul ordered in the summer, amid frustration at the failure to stem the flow of Channel migrants. Read the full story.

3. Migrant smuggler ‘butchers’ must be stopped, victim’s father tells France

The father of the first confirmed victim of the Channel migrant tragedy has accused France of allowing “butchers” to send innocent people to their deaths.

Baran Nouri Hamadamin, a newly engaged student, was identified as one of 27 migrants who drowned when a flimsy boat capsized six miles off Calais in stormy weather. Read the full story.

4. Winds of almost 100mph batter UK as Storm Arwen hits 

The UK felt the full force of Storm Arwen with gusts of almost 100 miles per hour battering some areas.

One man died, buildings were damaged and trees blown down in the "damaging" winds. Read the full story.

5. How Beijing’s billions are buying up the Commonwealth

When Tuesday morning dawns in Barbados, British influence in the Caribbean will retreat one more step as the island becomes a republic, ending almost 400 years of loyalty to the Crown.

The Queen will be head of state of one fewer Commonwealth realm, though the transition will be a gentle one, as her replacement, president-elect Dame Sandra Mason, is currently the governor-general, Her Majesty’s official representative. Read the full story.

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