Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 4 July 2021

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

1

PM ‘agrees to end face masks’

Boris Johnson has finalised plans to end the compulsory wearing of face masks from July 19, claims the Sunday Telegraph. The PM is preparing to declare this week that the link between Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations has been broken. He will then announce that England must learn to live with the virus, as he replaces legal restrictions with a call for “common sense” and “personal responsibility”.

2

Vatican indicts cardinal on embezzlement

The Vatican has indicted 10 people, including an Italian cardinal, on suspicion of offences including extortion, corruption, fraud, forgery, embezzlement and abuse of power. In a statement, the Vatican said an investigation alongside the Italian authorities revealed “a vast network of ties between financial market operators who generated substantial losses for the Vatican finances”. Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu has been indicted for the crimes of “embezzlement, abuse of office ... and bribery,” said the Vatican.

3

England cruise to semi finals

England face Denmark at Wembley in the semi-finals of Euro 2020 on Wednesday – the nation’s first semi-final in the competition since 1996. Gareth Southgate’s side comfortably beat Ukraine 4-0 in front of a small number of England fans in Rome. “These nights bring together families, communities,” said the England boss. “To give people hope and looking forward is a part of the privilege of the job.”

4

Hancock faces new allegations

Matt Hancock issued his lover with a parliamentary pass when her only declared work was as a communications chief for a private company, reports The Observer. Sources have said Gina Coladangelo began advising the then health secretary in an unpaid capacity in early 2020 but official documents show she had a House of Commons pass through his office from June 2019 to February 2020, before her term as an unpaid adviser.

5

PM ‘to climb down on aid cuts’

Boris Johnson is expected to climb down and offer the House of Commons a vote on foreign aid cuts. The Sunday Times says the PM is “actively considering” plans to allow MPs a binding vote on the £4bn cuts after being warned he risks turning the Conservatives back into the “nasty party”. A group of about 50 Tory rebels, including Theresa May, are opposed to the planned reduction of the 0.7% of national income.

6

Deaths in Japanese landslide

A rescue operation is under way in Japan after a landslide in the resort of Atami killed two people and left 20 others missing. After Atami had more rainfall in the first three days of July than it usually sees in the whole month, several houses were swept away by the mudslide, which followed heavy rain. “We are trying our best to search for survivors as quickly as possible while carrying out the operation very carefully as it is still raining,” said a Shizuoka prefecture official.

7

‘Shoddy workmanship’ law planned

Homeowners will be given up to 15 years to sue builders and developers for “shoddy workmanship” as the current time limit for bringing legal claims is more than doubled in length. In a move Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, said will hand residents “greater powers to seek redress from developers whose work is simply not up to scratch,” the Building Safety Bill will extend the current six-year period in which legal claims can be brought against developers. It will apply retrospectively.

8

Morrisons accepts US takeover

Morrisons has accepted a £6.3bn ($8.7bn) takeover bid by a US investment group led by the owner of Majestic Wine. Labour says the government must closely scrutinise the takeover bid and workers union Unite said it wanted “unbreakable guarantees” on jobs and conditions or it would not co-operate with any sale. The deal comes after the supermarket group turned down an offer worth £5.5bn from a different firm, saying it had significantly undervalued the business.

9

Starmer plans ‘buy British’ policy

Labour has announced plans to “make, sell and buy more in Britain” as it seeks to build a strongly patriotic policy platform with which to take on the Tories. The shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves says Labour plans to have far more public contracts awarded to British businesses, with an emphasis on securing more high-skilled UK jobs in the green, financial technology, digital media and film sectors, and other industries in this country.

10

Morrisons accepts US takeover

Morrisons has accepted a £6.3bn ($8.7bn) takeover bid by a US investment group led by the owner of Majestic Wine. Labour says the government must closely scrutinise the takeover bid and workers union Unite said it wanted “unbreakable guarantees” on jobs and conditions or it would not co-operate with any sale. The deal comes after the supermarket group turned down an offer worth £5.5bn from a different firm, saying it had significantly undervalued the business.

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