Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 June 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
White working class ‘neglected’
A disputed report by a committee of MPs has claimed that white working-class pupils have been let down by decades of neglect in the English education system. The MPs also found that schools could be breaking the law by promoting “divisive” terminology like “white privilege”, with Robert Halfon, the Tory chair of the committee, saying the existing system “condemns [white working-class pupils] to falling behind their peers every step of the way”. However, Kim Johnson, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside and a member of the committee, said she was “not happy about the whole section on white privilege” because “the inquiry cherrypicked data”.
Double-vaxxed avoid quarantine
British holidaymakers who have had both Covid jabs could enjoy more quarantine-free travel from August under latest government plans. Ministers are considering a policy to exempt travellers with two vaccine shots from 10 days quarantine after visiting amber list destinations. However, children, who have not yet been approved for the jab, could prove an obstacle to the plans, causing a headache for families looking to holiday together.
Bercow lobbied for peerage
Leaked emails have revealed that John Bercow lobbied Jeremy Corbyn to secure a peerage, even writing his own reference for his nomination. The Times reports that the former Speaker secretly met the then Labour leader’s team following the 2019 general election to discuss his nomination to the House of Lords. The meeting came after he became the first Speaker of the House of Commons in living memory not to be nominated for a peerage by the government when he stepped down. Bercow last week announced that he had joined Labour, telling The Observer the Conservatives under Boris Johnson were “reactionary, populist, nationalistic and sometimes even xenophobic”.
No-confidence vote against Swedish PM
Sweden’s parliament has backed a no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. The Social Democrat leader has a week to resign and hand the speaker the job of finding a new government. Alternately, Lofven could call a snap election. He is the first Swedish premier to be ousted by a motion put forth by opposition lawmakers. Responding to the vote, he said Sweden was now in a “difficult political situation”.
Pandemic triggering panic in young
NHS leaders have said children as young as five-years-old are suffering panic attacks over meeting friends following a year of lockdown restrictions. Experts said young children have become increasingly anxious, with some fearful of leaving their homes, adding that 1.5m children are in need of mental health treatment in the wake of repeated lockdowns. Demand for mental health support following the pandemic is expected to be up to three times greater than the capacity of NHS mental health services.
MPs call for protest protections
A parliamentary committee has said the government should drop its “disproportionate” plan to ban noisy protests in England and Wales. The Joint Committee on Human Rights said the legislation could undermine freedom of expression, however, the Home Office has insisted it will not “impinge” on the right to protest. MPs have already backed the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in principle and it is currently undergoing detailed scrutiny.
Coffee may protect against liver disease
In welcome news for coffee drinkers, scientists have linked a morning “cup of joe” to a lower chance of developing or dying from chronic liver disease. A new study found that people who drink coffee had a 49% reduced risk of dying from the condition. According to the British Liver Trust (BLT), liver disease is the third leading cause of premature death in the UK, with deaths rising 400% since 1970. The BLT added: “It’s important that people improve their liver health not just by drinking coffee.”
Smaller juries could help backlog
The Lord Chief Justice has said the coronavirus crisis has led to “deeply damaging” delays in the justice system, arguing that juries should be cut down to clear the backlog. Lord Burnett of Maldon told The Telegraph that one solution to the accumulation of cases may be to reduce the size of juries, pointing to the fact that juries were reduced to seven during the Second World War in order to keep the court system running without disruption.
NFL star comes out as gay
Las Vegas Raiders star Carl Nassib has become the first active NFL player to come out as gay. In a video posted on his Instagram, the defensive end said: “Just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.” No openly gay player has ever played a regular-season game in the NFL.
Documentary claims English invented champagne
Champagne was developed in England long before it was popularised in France, a new documentary has claimed. The show, Sparkling: The Story of Champagne, reveals that a 1676 play called The Man of Mode includes “the first mention of sparkling champagne anywhere in the world”. The director claims he has “documentary proof to the British claim that the Brits were drinking sparkling champagne years before Dom Perignon, the ‘Father of champagne’”, developed his winemaking techniques in northeast France.