Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 15 April 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Cameron to co-operate with probe
David Cameron has said he will “respond positively” to any requests from MPs for him to give evidence about Greensill Capital. The former prime minister is under fire for lobbying on behalf of the finance firm, which collapsed in March. After the government asked a senior lawyer to conduct a review into Cameron’s lobbying efforts, the Commons Treasury committee announced plans for its own probe. The BBC reports that other select committees are planning to follow suit.
Six-hour queues for returning Brits
Transport officials have warned that holidaymakers arriving home in the UK will face queues of more than six hours after rules on international travel are relaxed next month. A Heathrow boss said yesterday that delays at border control were already “well in excess of two hours and up to six” due to strict paperwork checks. He said some passengers had been made to wait so long that scuffles had broken out and the police had to be called.
Covid passports ‘could be illegal’
The government’s independent equalities watchdog has warned that Covid-status certificates could amount to unlawful indirect discrimination. The Equality and Human Rights Commission told the Cabinet Office the passports risk creating a “two-tier society”. The watchdog added: “Any mandatory requirement for vaccination or the implementation of Covid-status certification may amount to indirect discrimination, unless the requirement can be objectively justified.”
PM ‘intervened after Saudi lobbying’
Boris Johnson intervened in a Saudi bid to buy Newcastle United FC after he was lobbied by its crown prince, it has been revealed. The Daily Mail reports that Mohammed Bin Salman last year urged the prime minister to “correct and reconsider” a “wrong” decision by the Premier League, which was reportedly blocking a £300m takeover of Newcastle United. The crown prince warned the prime minister that Anglo-Saudi relations would be compromised unless the block was reversed.
Royals in ‘non-military dress at funeral’
Members of the Royal Family may wear non-military dress for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral following “intense discussions” over who should appear in uniform, The Telegraph says. Prince Harry would have been the only senior male royal not in uniform after he lost his military titles following his decision to step down from public duties. However, Prince Andrew – who was made an honorary Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy in 2015 – has reportedly demanded to wear his uniform.
British Gas ‘bullying’ staff
British Gas is facing protests after sacking hundreds of engineers who refused new contracts. Former staff say they were axed over the firm’s “fire and rehire” contracts that saw workers’ pay slashed. Unions have accused management of “bullying” British Gas’s 20,000 employees by telling them to accept reduced terms or risk the axe. The row centres on changes to contracts that include pay cuts and increased hours.
Ex-cop charged over Wright death
A former police officer has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after fatally shooting 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright. Kimberly Potter, a white suburban Minneapolis police officer for 26 years, was arrested yesterday in relation to the shooting of Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis. The killing has sparked days of unrest and clashes between protesters and police.
Denmark abandons Oxford jab
Denmark has stopped using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in all age groups because of a reputed link to a blood disease. The Danish authorities said that the pause in the use of the jab would be made permanent, which could delay the country’s vaccine rollout by more than a month. The 149,000 people who have had a first AstraZeneca vaccination will receive a different vaccine for their second dose.
Magic mushrooms may ease depression
Scientists have found that magic mushrooms could be used as a treatment for depression. A phase-two clinical trial has revealed that two doses of psilocybin, when combined with psychological therapy, appear to be as effective as the common antidepressant escitalopram in treating moderate to severe major depressive disorder. However, the experts at Imperial College London have warned against using magic mushrooms bought illegally for “DIY treatment”.
Bieber comes clean on drugs
Justin Bieber has said that his drug problem at one point became so bad that security guards would come into his room at night and check his pulse to make sure he was still alive. Speaking to GQ, the pop singer said: “It was like I had all this success and it was still like: ‘I’m still sad, and I’m still in pain’. And so for me, the drugs were a numbing agent to just continue to get through.”