Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 2 Feb 2014

The Week’s super-quick catch-up on the main news talking points, available from 8am daily

1. 'TOXIC' CULTURE THREATENS NHS FUTURE
The NHS will “go bust” unless there are radical changes to rid hospitals of their “toxic” bullying culture, warns the chairman of the Care Quality Commission. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, David Prior says a “dysfunctional” rift between NHS managers and clinical staff is putting the lives of the most vulnerable patients at risk.
2. POLL: LABOUR IN SEVEN-POINT LEAD
Labour has a seven-point lead over the Conservatives, according to a new poll in The Observer. The poll puts Labour unchanged on 36%, with the Tories down one point on 29%. However, David Cameron continues to enjoy stronger personal ratings than Ed Miliband. Cameron’s net approval rating is -14%, with Miliband on -24%.
3. ABUSE CLAIM AGAINST WOODY ALLEN
Woody Allen’s adopted daughter has renewed claims that the film director molested her when she was a child. In an open letter on the New York Times website, Dylan Farrow has made her first public comments about the allegations which have been in the public domain for many years. She says Allen “sexually assaulted” her when she was seven. Allen has long maintained his innocence.
4. OFTSED: LAWS ‘FURIOUS’ WITH GOVE
Liberal Democrat minister David Laws has accused his boss, Michael Gove, of removing the head of Ofsted for political reasons. After Baroness Morgan said she was removed as a result of a “determined effort from Number 10” to appoint more Tories, a source close to Laws says he is “furious” at the “blatant attempts” to politicise the schools inspectorate.
5. IS IT A CRIME TO DRINK WHEN PREGNANT?
Expectant mothers who damage their unborn babies by drinking alcohol could be guilty of a criminal act if a test case succeeds. A council is to argue that a six-year-old who suffered brain damage from her mother’s drinking during pregnancy was criminally “poisoned”. The lawyers represent 80 children who suffered a range of physical and mental damage.
6. UNIONS SLAM MILIBAND VOTE REFORM
Ed Miliband’s plans to reform the way Labour leaders are selected will result in “white, middle-aged, grey suit” candidates in the future, say senior union activists. Milband has announced he will install a one member, one vote system. “You would struggle to get someone like a Jon Cruddas on the ballot, let alone a Diane Abbott,” one union source tells the Independent On Sunday.
7. ‘COME CLEAN’ HILL TELLS PUB BOMBERS
One of the Birmingham Six, who were wrongly convicted of 1974 IRA pub bombings, has challenged the IRA members behind the outrage to come forward. Paddy Hill is to launch an online petition calling on the government to launch a new public inquiry into the bombings, which killed 21 people. Hill called on those behind the attacks to “come clean”.
8. ROWLING ADMITS SHE GOT IT WRONG
Hermione Granger should have married Harry Potter rather than Ron Weasley, JK Rowling has admitted. The author tells the Sunday Times she paired Granger with Weasley “as a form of wish fulfilment”. She adds: “I know, I’m sorry, I can hear the rage and fury it might cause some fans, but if I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that.”
9. LEGO: YOU CAN BUILD IT LIKE BECKHAM
David Beckham’s latest hobby is Lego, he tells the Sunday Times. The former England captain says playing with the plastic bricks helps him to relax. “The last big thing I made was Tower Bridge,” he says. “It was amazing. I think Lego sometimes helps to calm me down.” Beckham has previously revealed he battles with obsessive compulsive disorder.
10. STOKE HEAP MORE MISERY ON MOYES
David Moyes endured another tough afternoon as Stoke City recorded their first league win over Manchester United since 1984. Despite fielding Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie together for the first time, United suffered their eighth Premier League defeat in 24 games. Sunderland beat Newcastle United 3-0 to climb further away from the relegation zone.