Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 2 July 2021

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1

Labour hold Batley and Spen

Labour has won the Batley and Spen by-election by a narrow majority of 323 votes following a closely fought campaign. Kim Leadbeater, who won the seat with 13,296 votes, said she was delighted constituents had “rejected division” and “voted for hope”. Labour leader Keir Starmer welcomed the “fantastic result” at the end of a campaign the BBC describes as being “marred by acrimony, personal abuse and allegations of dirty tricks”.

2

Euros Covid-19 warning

Euro 2020 could act as a “super-spreader” event and contribute to a new wave of Covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. Infections have risen by 10% in a week in Europe after two months in decline, while the risk of a new wave of cases is growing, said WHO regional director Hans Kluge. “What we need to look at is around the stadia,” he said. “What’s happening after the games? Are they going into crowded bars and pubs?”

3

Nations agree corporation tax

More than 100 countries have agreed to accept a minimum corporation tax rate of 15%. The agreement between 130 nations, which account for nine tenths of global GDP, is part of a bid to call time on tax avoidance by multinational companies. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said the deal would end the “race to the bottom” and deliver $150bn (£109bn) more in tax every year for governments around the world.

4

China ‘building silos in desert’

Satellite imagery suggests China is building 100 new missile silos in the desert. In a development that The Telegraph says will raise fears of an “incredible” expansion of Beijing’s nuclear capabilities, satellites picked up construction work on a site near Yumen, including underground bunkers, cable trenches and a small military base. A nuclear expert told The Washington Post he believes China is “expanding its nuclear forces in part to maintain a deterrent that can survive a US first strike”.

5

Warning on July 19 reopening

Hospital bosses fear the 19 July reopening plan will lead to a new spike in Covid-19 admissions. NHS Providers warned that this could in turn prompt the cancellation of surgery and other care. Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of the NHS membership organisation, said “the reality on the frontline is that even a small increase in Covid-19 admissions or emergency care pressures could affect our ability to deliver non-Covid services in a context where many staff are exhausted”.

6

Firm quits Britney conservatorship

A finance company has asked to withdraw as co-conservator of Britney Spears’ financial affairs following her powerful testimony in court last week. After the pop star described the conservatorship as “abusive”, the Bessemer Trust, which is named as a joint guardian of her estate, said it had previously “relied on the representations” that the conservatorship was voluntary. The pop star has been under a conservatorship arrangement, governing her personal and financial affairs, for more than a decade.

7

Branson wants to beat Bezos to space

Richard Branson is hoping to beat fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos into space by nine days. Branson’s Virgin Galactic has announced that its next test flight will take place on 11 July and that its founder will be among the six people on board. The announcement came just hours after Bezos’ Blue Origin said the Amazon founder would be accompanied into space on 20 July by Wally Funk, a female aerospace pioneer.

8

Search for migrants on M25

Britain’s busiest motorway was temporarily closed yesterday after police received a call from a group of migrants saying they were in the back of a lorry and struggling to breathe. Emergency services were called to the M25 in Chertsey, Surrey as police stopped a number of vehicles. Officers eventually identified the correct container between junctions 10 and 11 and were able to release the group, who were unharmed.

9

Ministers plan gas and fuel increase

Gas and car bills are set to soar under “radical” government plans to reduce carbon emissions. The average cost of running a petrol car could rise by more than £100 a year and the average gas bill could increase by as much as £170, The Times reports. The news comes a day after the Queen said that “we are going to have to change the way we do things” in response to climate change.

10

Arrest after London stabbing

A suspected knifeman was detained by members of the public last night after a stabbing in central London. Officers arrested the man, who is being treated for a non-life threatening head injury, in Oxford Circus. Another man who was treated at the scene for stab wounds was taken to hospital where he remains in a critical condition. A crime scene remained in place on the country’s busiest shopping street last night.

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