Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 20 July 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM announces vaccine passports
Boris Johnson has announced that anyone attending a nightclub from the end of September will have to show proof of two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. In a sign that vaccine passports will be required by law in some situations, the PM said “other venues where large crowds gather” could also be made to adopt the checks. The announcement has been seen as a move to encourage young people to take the jab, with The Telegraph suggesting Johnson has “dropped the carrot and picked up the stick”.
First Capitol rioter jailed
A man who pleaded guilty to breaching the Senate chamber during the Capitol riot has been sentenced to eight months in prison. Paul Hodgkins, a 38-year-old from Florida, spent about 15 minutes inside the Senate chamber dressed in a Donald Trump t-shirt and carrying a Trump flag. He is the first Capitol rioter convicted of a felony to be sentenced. CNN says his “closely watched case” could “influence how hundreds of other rioters charged with the same felony are punished”.
Footballer in child sex arrest
A Premier League footballer has been arrested on suspicion of “very serious” child sex offences, The Sun reports. Police raided the unnamed player’s home this month and he has been suspended indefinitely by his club pending further investigation. The probe is reportedly being led by Greater Manchester Police’s Major Incident Team. “It has stunned the dressing room,” a source told the paper. “Everyone’s hoping the allegations aren’t true.”
Cummings makes new PM claims
Boris Johnson resisted tightening Covid restrictions last autumn because he thought people dying were “essentially all over 80”, Dominic Cummings has claimed. In a clip of his much-anticipated interview with the BBC, the former Downing Street adviser said the prime minister told him: “I no longer buy all this NHS overwhelmed stuff.” Cummings also claims Johnson had wanted to let Covid “wash through the country” rather than destroy the economy. The full interview will air tonight on BBC Two.
Dozens dead in Iraqi suicide bombing
A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people and wounded more than 60 in a crowded market in Baghdad yesterday. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which came on the eve of the Eid al-Adha festival, claiming that one of its militants exploded an explosive vest among the crowd. Hospital sources said the death toll could rise as some of the injured were in critical condition.
Prince Harry writing memoir
Prince Harry is to publish a memoir next year in which he will share “mistakes and lessons learned” during his life. Announcing the deal with publishers Penguin Random House, the Duke of Sussex said he would reflect “the highs and lows” and be “accurate and wholly truthful”. Sources close to Prince Charles told the Daily Mail that he was “surprised” to learn his son is writing the book.
National insurance rise to fund NHS
Boris Johnson has agreed to increase national insurance to fund long-term reform of social care and reduce NHS waiting lists, The Times reports. The prime minister is expected to announce plans to increase payments by a penny in every pound for both employers and employees in a move that will raise £10bn a year. The funds will be initially used to ease the NHS backlog and will then be used to cap care costs.
Blair considered Diana dome tribute
Tony Blair considered turning the Millennium Dome into a tribute to Princess Diana in the immediate aftermath of her death, it has emerged. Documents released by the National Archives show there were discussions over a French-style “grand project” on the site now known as the The O2, with accommodation for a children’s hospital and charities to be called the “The Princess Diana Centre”. Another suggestion considered by the then prime minister was an exhibition honouring Diana’s life and work modelled on the John F. Kennedy museum in Boston.
Ben & Jerry’s halts sales in disputed territories
A leading ice cream brand has said it will end the sale of its products in the disputed territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Ben & Jerry’s said it was “inconsistent with our values” for its ice cream to be sold in the “occupied Palestinian Territory”. The company, which operates a factory in Israel, has come under sustained pressure for years. The West Bank and East Jerusalem have been under Israeli control since 1967.
MPs say Cameron ‘lacked judgement’
A committee of MPs has said David Cameron showed a “significant lack of judgement” in the way he lobbied the government on behalf of Greensill Capital. The Treasury committee said that while the former prime minister did not break the rules over lobbying by former ministers, there was a “good case for strengthening them” as the current guidance has “insufficient strength”. Cameron said he acted in good faith while admitting there were “lessons to be learnt”.