Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 6 Feb 2020
Donald Trump acquitted at impeachment trial
US President Donald Trump has been acquitted on two articles of impeachment following a brief trial. The Senate, run by his fellow Republicans, voted to acquit the president by 52-48 on charges of abuse of power, and by 53-47 on obstruction of Congress. Trump is only the third president in US history to face impeachment, after being accused of putting political pressure on Ukraine to smear his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas dies aged 103
Actor Kirk Douglas has died at his Beverly Hills home at the age of 103, his son Michael has announced in a statement shared on Instagram. Born Issur Danielovich Demsky to penniless Jewish immigrants from Russia, Douglas enjoyed a seven-decade career in films including the 1960 swords-and-sandals epic Spartacus. He is survived by his wife of 65 years Anne Buydens and their sons Michael, Joel and Peter.
Johnson’s level-up pledge ‘will take ten years’
Boris Johnson’s pledge to “level up” the UK economically by spending on infrastructure will take ten years to offset the negative impact of Brexit, the country’s oldest economic think-tank is warning. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research says the positive impact on the economy will be less than 0.5% of GDP in the long run, compared with an estimated 3%-4% cost of Brexit.
Newborn baby diagnosed with coronavirus
A baby born to a coronavirus patient in the Chinese city of Wuhan has been diagnosed with the deadly infection 30 hours after being delivered. Doctors say they are unsure whether the virus was transmitted in the womb or after birth. UN experts will meet in Geneva next week to discuss the outbreak, which has claimed more than 560 lives so far.
Police uncover ‘hidden epidemic’ of historic abuse
Police have uncovered a “hidden epidemic” of sexual abuse of children in the 1970s and 1980s, leading to a recent spate of convictions for historic offences, The Guardian claims. The newspaper says new figures show that 4,024 allegations have led to guilty verdicts since 2014. Labour has called for Boris Johnson to apologise for his comment last year that police were “spaffing money up the wall” with inquiries into non-recent sexual abuse.
Race to stop terror convict being released
The Government is scrambling to pass emergency legislation to block the automatic release of convicted terror offenders before the next such prisoner is freed at the end of this month, it has emerged. Mohammed Zahir Kahn, a 42-year-old shopkeeper from Sunderland, is due to be released on 28 February after serving half his sentence for encouraging terrorism. The push to rush through the new legislation follows the stabbing of two people in south London on Sunday by a man convicted of terror offences.
Plan for first all-electric bus town unveiled
Downing Street is inviting local authorities in England to bid for a £50m fund to create the country’s first town bus fleet powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels. Announcing the plan, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said buses have a “crucial role to play in bringing down emissions”. The winning town will act as a model for others, with all buses to be electric by 2025.
PM nominates Clarke and Hammond for Lords
Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke have both been nominated for peerages by Boris Johnson, according to the BBC - despite both having been kicked out of the Conservative Party for opposing the prime minister on Brexit. Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson - another frequent critic of the prime minister - is also reportedly on the latest Downing Street honours list.
Johnson’s father embarrasses son with email gaffe
Boris Johnson’s father Stanley has accidentally copied in the BBC on an email revealing Chinese officials’ concerns that the PM had not send a personal message of support to Beijing about the coronavirus outbreak. Johnson senior, an environmental campaigner, sent the email after visiting China’s ambassador in London earlier this week to discuss the climate. A government spokesperson said the UK had been in close contact with the Chinese authorities since the virus outbreak.
Briefing: the conduct rules in the Commons
Shadow culture secretary Tracy Brabin has hit back after being criticised for wearing an off-the-shoulder dress in the Commons.
The Labour MP and former EastEnders actor has faced a barrage of abuse over her choice of outfit for a debate earlier this week. So what are the rules on dress and general conduct in the Commons?