Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 July 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
‘Anxious’ PM announces unlock
Boris Johnson yesterday announced that virtually all Covid-19 restrictions in England will end this month despite rapidly rising infections. The prime minister said cases could soar to 50,000 a day before masks and social distancing are ditched on 19 July, with scientists warning that Johnson’s plan will cause a new rise in hospital admissions and deaths. The Telegraph says the PM “looked unmistakably anxious” as he described a “move from a universal government diktat to relying on people’s personal responsibility”.
Home Office asylum crackdown
The government is to announce offshore centres for asylum seekers and criminal charges for migrants “knowingly” arriving in the UK without permission. The Home Office has said the new Nationality and Borders Bill includes “the most radical changes to the broken asylum system in decades”, however, campaigners say the legislation could see thousands of refugees turned away and vulnerable migrants criminalised. Ascension Island, disused ferries and abandoned oil rigs have all been considered as offshore centres. Sharing an offshore facility in Africa with Danish authorities has also been discussed.
Trump ‘feared Epstein entanglement’
Donald Trump was worried that Ghislaine Maxwell could entangle him in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, according to an upcoming book on the dying days of the former president’s administration. In Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, journalist Michael Wolff writes that following the arrest of Maxwell, who faces sex trafficking charges stemming from her relationship with Epstein, Trump said: “Has she said anything about me?”, adding: “Is she going to talk? Will she roll on anybody?”
Babies dying unnecessarily
A cross-party group of MPs has claimed thousand of babies die preventable deaths every year in England because a culture of silence and shifting blame means lessons are not learned after mistakes happen on NHS maternity wards. The health select committee said almost two in five childbirth units still provide care that is unsafe to some extent, despite maternity care improving after a raft of scandals in recent years.
Leading chef ‘took tips from staff’
A top chef took thousands of pounds from staff tips at his restaurant over five years, The Times reports. Tom Kitchin, one of the youngest chefs to receive a Michelin star, paid himself and his wife Michaela up to £700 a month each from gratuities earned by front of house staff at his Edinburgh gastropub, Scran & Scallie. A former waitress told the paper: “The tips never added up. I am furious.” A spokesperson said the company’s operations were restructured last year.
Johnson said becoming PM ‘ludicrous’
Dominic Cummings has claimed that Boris Johnson admitted privately that him becoming prime minister would be a “ludicrous” idea three years before he won the top job. In another behind-the-scenes blog post, the former No. 10 adviser writes that after the Brexit referendum in 2016, Johnson took him aside and said: “Obviously it’s ludicrous me being PM – but no more ludicrous than [David Cameron] or George [Osborne], don’t you think?”
BBC to announce salary cuts
A senior BBC source has claimed the broadcaster will announce a 10% drop in pay for its highest-earning presenters, with the number of people on £150,000 per year falling slightly. BBC salaries have become a hot topic since 2017, when the corporation was first obliged to publish them under the terms of an agreement with the government. The source also told The Times the BBC’s annual report would include data that would demonstrate a commitment to reform.
US shootings soar over weekend
At least 150 people were killed by gun violence in more than 400 shootings across the US during the Fourth of July weekend, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive. Eight people were injured in a shooting near a car wash in Fort Worth, Texas, after a group of men got into an argument. One of the men left the scene during the row, returned with a gun and began firing “towards groups of people”, police said.
Raducanu quits Wimbledon
Britain’s Emma Raducanu has retired from Wimbledon after suffering breathing difficulties during her fourth-round match. The 18-year-old was trailing 4-6, 0-3 to Ajla Tomljanovic when she left the court to receive treatment. Soon after, it was announced she would not be returning. Wimbledon confirmed that Raducanu retired from the match because of “difficulty breathing”, while the BBC says the Briton enjoyed a “remarkable rise” over the last week at the tournament.
Ashcroft pulls out of pilot festival
Richard Ashcroft has pulled out of the headline slot at a Sheffield music festival after it became part of the government’s pilot events programme. The Tramlines Festival is part of the Events Research Programme. “The status of the festival was one thing when I signed up for it, but, sadly was forced to become something else,” said the Britpop singer. In March, former Stone Roses frontman and Covid-sceptic Ian Brown pulled out of a festival over his refusal to play events that “accept vaccination proof as condition of entry”.