Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 5 May 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Labour fears huge by-election defeat
Internal polling suggests that Labour is set for a damning election defeat in Hartlepool on Thursday. Party activists fear a historic Conservative victory after they found that fewer than half of recent Labour voters in Hartlepool say they will back the party in the by-election. Labour sources said they were in “huge trouble” in the north-eastern seat that has elected a Labour MP at every parliamentary election since 1964.
Third jab ‘to eradicate Covid’
A third vaccine jab is to be offered to everyone over 50 in the autumn, according to The Times. Under trials supervised by Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, vaccines specifically modified to tackle new variants are being devised. The government has been told that early results from the trials have raised hopes that they will be able to eliminate the threat from Covid-19 by Christmas.
Covid passports ‘could be paper’
Holidaymakers may be required to use paper Covid certificates to prove they have been vaccinated when the foreign travel ban is lifted from May 17. Downing Street has admitted that the NHS app may not be ready for use as a vaccine passport in time. Although a paper certificate is being considered, Rita Marques, Portugal's tourism minister, has said her country would accept only a digital pass because of the risk of forgeries.
Trump unveils ‘glorified blog’
Donald Trump has launched a new social section of his website, which promises to publish content “from the desk” of the former president. Trump's senior adviser, Jason Miller, said the new website was not the social media platform he has previously promised. “We'll have additional information coming on that front in the very near future,” he said. The Guardian describes the new platform as a “glorified blog”.
Netanyahu ‘less secure’
The deadline for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government has expired, meaning president Reuven Rivlin could now officially ask another political leader to try to assemble a coalition. Netanyahu had been trying for the past 28 days to build a coalition after the fourth inconclusive general election in two years. CNN says his hold on Israel now looks a “little less secure”.
US birth rate plummets
The US birth rate has fallen by 4% - the largest single-year drop in nearly 50 years. A government report has found that births declined among mothers of all ethnicities and in nearly all age groups, falling to the lowest point since federal health officials started tracking it more than a century ago. It is thought that the Covid crisis has accelerated a longer-term trend.
Chauvin asks for new trial
The former Minneapolis police officer convicted last month of the murder of George Floyd has requested a retrial. Derek Chauvin’s lawyer claims there was misconduct by both prosecutors and jurors and argues that media coverage was “so pervasive and so prejudicial” before and during the trial, that it amounted to a “structural defect in the proceedings”.
Spanish centre-right misses majority
Spain’s conservative People’s Party has fallen just short of an absolute majority in the Madrid regional election. Despite more than doubling the party’s seats, leader Isabel Díaz Ayuso may end up in alliance with the far right. Meanwhile, the Socialist party of the prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, slumped from 37 seats to 24. The BBC says the “acrimonious” electoral campaign involved death threats against several candidates.
France threatens Jersey’s electricity
The French government has threatened to cut off the electricity supply to Jersey as tensions grow over post-Brexit fishing rights. Annick Girardin, the minister for maritime affairs, said she is “revolted” by the UK government’s behaviour over its waters. Raising the electricity supply as a point of leverage, she said: “I would regret it if we were to get there [but] we will do so if we have to.”
Meghan announces kids’ book
The Duchess of Sussex has written her first children’s book, inspired by Prince Harry and their son Archie. She said The Bench explores the “special bond between father and son as seen through a mother’s eyes”. Meghan, who will narrate the audiobook edition, said: “My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine.”