Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 May 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Israel declares emergency
Israel has declared a state of emergency in the city of Lod after rioting by Israeli Arabs. The measure came after several days in which Israeli forces and Palestinian militants exchanged fire. The UN warned there was a chance of “a full-scale war” as Palestinian militant groups launched rockets at Tel Aviv, Beersheba, and other central Israeli cities and Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza.
Cameron’s text push revealed
David Cameron bombarded ministers and officials with 68 messages about the collapsed lender Greensill, a committee of MPs has revealed. On one particular day, the former Conservative prime minister totted up 19 calls, text and emails. Cameron will appear in front of the Treasury committee, one of three Commons select committees conducting an inquiry into Greensill Capital, on Thursday.
Voter ID plan will ‘undo progress’
The government’s plan for mandatory photo ID at elections risks disproportionately hitting older, disabled and homeless voters who are less likely to have such documents, campaigners have alleged. There have been warnings that “decades of democratic progress” could be undone by the measure because more than two million UK voters could lack the necessary ID to take part in future elections.
Rayner speaks out after Labour flop
Voters didn’t know what Keir Starmer stood for, Labour’s deputy leader has said, following poor results in England’s local elections. Angela Rayner said the party now had to “connect with voters we’ve lost” to return to power. Despite “robust conversations” between her and Starmer over the weekend, she also said she believed in him “100% because I wouldn't still be working with him if I didn’t”.
Boom might help UK avoid tax rise
A new analysis of Bank of England data suggests that Britain’s booming economic recovery will remove any need for tax rises as Rishi Sunak is given a £20bn growth windfall. The Times says the chancellor is likely to use the headroom in full to fulfil the Tory pledge to “end austerity” and to avoid a wealth tax. Andrew Goodwin, chief UK economist at Oxford Economics, said: “The prospect of better growth has given him more flexibility.”
Thousands driven to work in NHS
The Covid pandemic has created a “Nightingale effect” that has increased the number of nurses, midwives and health visitors in the NHS by more than 11,000. Overall staff numbers rose by 3.5% in the year to January. “It is no surprise that given the profession’s high profile over the last year many more people have been inspired to join the NHS’s ranks by the so-called Nightingale effect,” Sir Simon Stevens told The Times.
Former ballet dancer guilty of assaults
A “dangerous and predatory” former English National Ballet principal dancer has been found guilty of sexually assaulting students. Yat-Sen Chang, 49, was convicted at Isleworth Crown Court of 12 counts of sexual assault and one count of assault by penetration. He assaulted the four women, who were aged between 16 and 18 at the time, with inappropriate massages as he worked as part of the English National Ballet and Young Dancers Academy.
Boy dies after lightning strike
A nine-year-old boy has died after apparently being struck by lightning during a private football coaching session. The child was injured on a playing field in the Common Edge Road area of Blackpool yesterday afternoon. Lancashire Police said he was taken to hospital but did not survive. Det Supt Nick Connaughton said: “This is a truly devastating incident and our thoughts are wholeheartedly with the family and friends of the young boy.”
Government attacks ‘cancel culture’
The government has announced that student unions will be legally obliged to protect freedom of speech for the first time. New laws announced in the Queen’s Speech will allow cancelled speakers to take universities to court. Ministers also plan to regulate social media companies, introducing an unprecedented requirement for them to safeguard freedom of expression. The Times says the measures are part of a government attack on “cancel culture”.
Man City crowned champions again
Manchester City won the Premier League title after their nearest challengers Manchester United were beaten by Leicester City. It is the club’s fifth title in nine years. “This has been a season and a Premier League title like no other,” said manager Pep Guardiola. The 50-year-old has now won eight domestic trophies since arriving in Manchester in 2016.