Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 2 Dec 2020
Jabs could start on Monday as Pfizer wins UK approval
The Army and the NHS have begun urgent preparations for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine within the next few days, according to a Daily Telegraph report published before this morning’s confirmation that the Pfizer injection has been approved for use in the UK. A major hospital trust in London expects Britain’s first coronavirus vaccinations to take place as early as Monday after NHS bosses appealed for volunteers to administer the jab from 7am that day. A government source said: “If one vaccine is found to be safe and effective, we can move ahead quickly.”
Tier restrictions in force despite Conservative revolt
Boris Johnson suffered his worst Commons rebellion as 55 Conservative MPs opposed new tier restrictions despite the prime minister pleading with them as they cast their votes. The measures were still passed after Labour and other opposition parties abstained. Some 99% of the population are now under the two toughest tiers of restrictions, which are stricter than they were before lockdown.
Attorney general says he found no electoral fraud
William Barr says the US Department of Justice has not discovered any evidence of widespread voter fraud during the presidential election. The attorney general said: “To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” The Trump campaign said Barr’s “opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud”.
EU leaders ‘anxious’ over Barnier’s concession plans
Heads of EU states are to tell Michel Barnier that they want full sight of any deal with the UK before it is agreed. The nations are concerned that the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator may concede too much ground in the final days of negotiation. A senior EU diplomat said anxiety grew after Barnier’s briefing on Friday, during which he had told the ambassadors of his “flexibility” over aspects of customs and border controls.
‘Landmark moment’ as lab meat approved by regulators
Cultured meat, produced in labs without the slaughter of an animal, has been approved for sale by a regulatory authority for the first time. In a development described by The Guardian as a “landmark moment across the meat industry,” the “chicken bites”, produced by the US company Eat Just, have passed a safety review by the Singapore Food Agency.
Canadian star announces that he is transgender
The Oscar-nominated star of Juno has announced that he is transgender. Re-introducing himself as Elliot Page in a tweet, the Canadian-born actor, formerly known as Ellen Page, said he could not “begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self”. Page also said he was “scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the ‘jokes’ and of violence”.
Easyjet slammed for new baggage charges
Under new rules announced yesterday Easyjet will charge passengers at least £8 to bring larger hand baggage into the cabin. The budget airline insisted that the policy was being introduced to improve punctuality but Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, said: “Passengers would be forgiven for thinking this is nothing but Easyjet finding a new way to get more cash out of them.”
Murdoch gets go-ahead for new TV channel
Rupert Murdoch has got the green light from media regulator Ofcom for his television news channel. News UK TV is locked in a battle with the rival Andrew Neil-backed channel GB News to be first on air. Both outlets believe there is a gap in the market for a right-leaning television news channel.
Daughter of IRA bomb victim seeks damages
The daughter of a soldier killed in the IRA bombing of Hyde Park in 1982 has said she should be awarded “exemplary damages” to “reflect society’s disgust” over the attack. Sarah Jane Young, who was four when her father, Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young, was killed, has launched a claim for £750,000 for psychiatric damage. John Downey, who was convicted of being an IRA member, has been legally held responsible for the bombing.
Queen to spend ‘quiet Christmas’ at Windsor
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will spend Christmas at Windsor Castle, the first time in 32 years that the couple will not be at Sandringham for the festive period. They hope their decision to opt for a “quiet Christmas” will “inspire others to celebrate the festive period carefully”, says the Daily Mirror. The Queen usually remains at her estate in Norfolk until after the anniversary of her father’s death. George VI died at Sandringham on 6 February 1952.