Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 6 Nov 2019
Official election campaign period begins
Five weeks of campaigning for the 12 December general election officially begin today, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the Queen at Buckingham Palace to formally dissolve Parliament. Kicking off their re-election efforts, the Tories will pledge to “get Brexit done”, while Jeremy Corbyn will promise “real change” if Labour wins.
South Western Railway strike set to cause Christmas chaos
One of the UK’s biggest commuter railways will be interrupted by 27 days of strikes in December, the RMT union has announced. Union members are planning to walk out on South Western Railway as part of a long-running dispute over the future role of guards on trains. The network runs around 1,700 trains each weekday in London and elsewhere.
Boeing whistle-blower warns of oxygen problem
A former quality control engineer for Boeing has told the BBC that up to a quarter of oxygen systems on the US firm’s 787 Dreamliner jets may be faulty and might not work in an emergency. John Barnett also says faulty parts were deliberately fitted to planes. Boeing denies his assertions and says all its planes are built to standard.
Trump reeling from Democrat state election gains
US President Donald Trump suffered a serious political blow last night when the Democrats made gains in two key state elections. The opposition party took full control of Virginia’s legislature for the first time in 20 years, while Democrat Andy Beshear won the Kentucky governorship. Trump’s Republicans held power in Mississippi.
Backpacker murder suspect ‘dated after killing’
The man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand in December 2018 went on a Tinder date with another woman while Millane’s body was in a suitcase in his room, a court has been told. The suspect, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Millane died when consensual sex games went wrong.
National Portrait Gallery to close for three years
The most extensive collection of portraits in the world will be unseen for the next three years as the National Portrait Gallery in London closes for refurbishment. The decision to close completely has surprised the art world – and some say it may be an excuse to end the controversial sponsorship of the gallery’s annual portrait award by BP.
Queen to stop wearing fur – mostly
The Queen will no longer wear real fur from this year, her dresser has revealed. However, the monarch has not ruled out still wearing animal skins as part of her ceremonial clothing. The Queen was last seen wearing ermine at the state opening of Parliament in October. The fur ban was revealed by Angela Kelly in a new book.
Scotland: world’s oldest post office to close
The world’s oldest post office is facing closure after operating for more than 300 years. Sited in the Scottish town Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway, the office first opened in 1712 and was bought by former doctor Mansoor Alam and his wife Nazra in 2015. However, the couple say they now have to step down as a result of ill health.
California: murder suspects escape through hole
Two men suspected of murder escaped from a California jail by cutting a hole in a toilet roof, police say. Santos Samuel Fonseca and Jonathan Salazar fled from the prison in Monterey County on Sunday after exploiting a blind spot on CCTV to cut a narrow opening. The pair, facing separate murder charges, crawled through ducts to escape.
Briefing: how does a UK general election work?
The UK’s main political parties are setting out their wares ahead of the launch of the official general election campaign period following the dissolution of Parliament on Wednesday.
As UK voters gear up to head to the polls on 12 December - the first December election since 1923 - here is what you need to know about the process.