Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 8 May 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Starmer says Labour has lost trust
Sir Keir Starmer is considering moving his party’s headquarters out of London to signal that Labour represents the whole country, according to party sources. Labour lost to the Tories in Hartlepool with a dramatic swing of 16% towards the Conservatives. The party leader has conceded that Labour has lost the trust of working people across England, says The Guardian. The Times says Starmer is “facing the fury” of his party.
Britain ‘free of Covid by August’
Britain will be Covid-free by August, one of the UK’s top vaccine experts has predicted. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph after stepping down as interim head of the vaccine taskforce, Clive Dix said: “Sometime in August, we will have no circulating virus in the UK.” He added that the booster jabs, slated for use this autumn, should be delayed until “maybe January or February”.
SNP majority ‘on a knife edge’
The SNP’s chances an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament election are “on a knife edge,” says the BBC. The party has taken both Edinburgh Central and Ayr from the Conservatives, as well as winning the East Lothian seat from Labour. However, it fell short in other targeted seats. Boris Johnson has again rejected calls for Scottish independence, saying: “I think a referendum in the current context is irresponsible and reckless.”
Israeli police fire bullets and grenades
Israeli police have fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at Palestinian youth at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque as tensions grow over the potential eviction of Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers. Over 200 Palestinians and 17 officers were injured in the clashes at Islam’s third-holiest site and around east Jerusalem. CNN says some of the grenades landed inside the mosque building and scattered worshipers.
‘Decade in power’ for Boris
Boris Johnson is preparing for a “decade in power” after this week’s historic victories in Labour’s former heartlands, says The Times. Tory ministers say there has been a permanent change in the nation’s political identity and suggested that Johnson could outlast Margaret Thatcher, who was in Downing Street for 11 years. The PM has vowed that he would embark on a “massive project” of levelling up the country.
Green list ‘overly cautious’
The travel industry says the government’s green list for travel is “overly cautious”. The 12 green list countries, which include Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel, will not require people to quarantine on return to England but popular destinations such as France, Greece, Italy and Spain are not included on the safe list. Airlines UK, representing UK carriers, described the list as “a missed opportunity”.
Pressure to cancel Tokyo games
The clamour to cancel the Tokyo Olympics is growing as opinion polls say 80% of Japanese people want the games to be called off. Around 200,000 people have signed an online petition demanding the event - postponed from last year and now due to open on 23 July - is scrapped due to the Covid crisis. The petition argues that the games cannot be held safely and that the event has diverted financial resources.
US state moves to firing squad execution
South Carolina has passed a bill to allow inmates on death row to be executed by firing squad in the absence of lethal injection drugs. Supporters say the method helps to bring about closure to victims but opponents have described it as “medieval”. Republican Governor Henry McMaster, has vowed to sign the bill “as soon as it gets to my desk”. The state currently has 37 death row prisoners.
Noel Clarke faces new claims
The actor Noel Clarke has been accused of sexual harassment on the set of Doctor Who. The Guardian says “several sources” have come forward to allege they were sexually harassed or inappropriately touched by the actor while making the flagship show. Another Doctor Who actor, John Barrowman, has been accused of repeatedly exposing himself to co-workers on two BBC productions.
Inquest into rail worker death
An inquest will held into the death of Belly Mujinga, the railway worker who died with Covid after she was coughed on and spat at by a customer. The 47-year-old died last April, two weeks after the alleged incident on the concourse at London’s Victoria station where she worked as a ticket sales clerk. The senior coroner says her death may have been “unnatural” and there are concerns about the provision of PPE and her deployment at Victoria.