Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 27 Sep 2020

1

Labour records first poll lead of the Boris Johnson era

Labour has enjoyed its first poll lead since Boris Johnson became prime minister. Keir Starmer’s party now has a three-point lead over the Conservatives, according to the latest Opinium poll, which puts Labour on 42% support, with the Conservatives on 39%. The Observer says the numbers mark “an extraordinary changes in fortunes for the two main parties”.

2

Government's new coronavirus app plagued with problems

Millions are unable to use the government’s flagship coronavirus tracing app after a series of flaws emerged. Five months after its creation was announced by Matt Hancock, the Covid-19 app was finally launched this week. But it has emerged that tests taken as a result of the Office for National Statistics surveys, and all those taken via the NHS or Public Health England, cannot be shared on the app.

3

Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a favourite of social conservatives, to be the new Supreme Court justice. Unveiling her in the White House Rose Garden, the US president described Judge Barrett as a “woman of unparalleled achievement”. If confirmed by senators, she will replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died recently, aged 87.

4

Prince Charles calls for ‘urgent help’ for the young

One million young people could need “urgent help” to protect their futures from the coronavirus pandemic, says the Prince of Wales. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Charles said the country has never faced a more “uniquely challenging” time, with the “destructive hopelessness” of unemployment looming once again. He added that the “enormous challenges” testing society are reminiscent of the 1970s.

5

Brain-eating microbe found in drinking water in Texas

The authorities in Texas have warned residents of communities near Houston to stop using tap water amid fears it may be tainted with a deadly brain-eating microbe. Tests have confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri in the system. The amoeba can cause an infection of the brain, which is usually fatal. Infections are rare in the US, with 34 reported between 2009 and 2018.

6

Police leader warns of autumn of armed conflict

More firearms are finding their way on to Britain’s streets, says the head of the Police Federation. John Apter said the death of Sgt Matiu Ratana at Croydon custody centre in south London was a “poignant reminder of how dangerous the job is”. As ministers press police officers to enforce Covid rules, Apter said the force is facing an autumn of conflict.

7

Teen suspected of Paris attack was targeting Hebdo office

A teenager suspected of injuring two people with a meat cleaver in Paris has admitted to deliberately targeting the former offices of the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine. According to local media, the suspect linked his actions to the magazine’s recent republication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. A minister said: “He arrived in France three years ago as a lone minor. Clearly it was an act of terrorism.”

8

Shadow education secretary says students must be allowed home

Labour has called on the government to promise university students that they will be allowed to return home for Christmas. With thousands of students currently in lockdown at universities across the UK after coronavirus outbreaks, the shadow education secretary Kate Green said it was “unthinkable” that students could continue to be locked in halls and unable to see their families.

9

Former model agency boss accused of rape by two women

A former top boss at a leading modelling agency may face investigation in France after being accused of rape and sexual assault. Two former models allege that they were raped by Gérald Marie, the president of the European arm of Elite for 25 years, when they were 17 and 20 respectively. Marie, now the chairman of a Paris modelling agency called Oui Management, denies the allegations.

10

Laurence Fox to launch a new political party

The actor Laurence Fox is launching a political party after raising funds from former Tory donors, says the Sunday Telegraph. The aims of his party, initially called Reclaim, include reforming publicly funded institutions, likely to include the BBC, and celebrating Britain's history. Fox says he has been planning the party for the past eight weeks. The news has been greeted with both support and mockery on social media.

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