Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 9 September 2021

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

1

Patel authorises turning back of migrants

Priti Patel has authorised the Border Force to turn boats carrying migrants back at sea to prevent them reaching the UK. Several newspapers reported that officials are to be taught how to use “pushback” tactics to turn boats around, after the home secretary failed to agree new measures with Paris on how to prevent the crossings. The BBC says her plan is likely to be opposed by French authorities, who consider it to be dangerous.

2

IFS says PM’s care plan doesn’t add up

Experts have warned that Boris Johnson’s health and social care plan will fail to fix the urgent crisis in the care system. A motion approving the £12bn a year package passed by 319 votes to 248 on Wednesday evening, a majority of 71, despite the concerns of some Tory MPs about breaching their manifesto commitment. The Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that “an ever-growing NHS budget could swallow up all of this week’s tax rise, leaving little for social care”.

3

Taliban cracks down on protests

The Taliban has banned any demonstrations that do not have official approval for both the gathering itself and for any slogans that might be used. The militant group warned opponents that they must secure permission before any protests or face “severe legal consequences”. The Guardian said the move follows other signs that Afghanistan’s new all-male interim government – made up entirely of Taliban loyalists – is “moving rapidly away from earlier promises of moderation and inclusivity”.

4

Panel calls for Cressida Dick to go

A panel of victims of police corruption, incompetence and malpractice are calling for Cressida Dick to quit. Led by Stephen Lawrence’s mother, Baroness Lawrence, and Lady Brittan, widow of Tory home secretary Leon Brittan, the signatories all give the Metropolitan police officer a vote of no confidence. The panel also includes BBC broadcaster Paul Gambaccini and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, who were wrongly accused of sex offences.

5

Don’t boost too soon says jab expert

A member of the vaccine committee has warned that giving booster jabs too soon could leave the vulnerable unprotected when they need it most. Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Bristol and member of the JCVI, told The Telegraph there was a “real concern” people could be protected “too soon”, leaving them vulnerable later on. “For example,” he said, “if you boost everyone in September and it takes six months [to decline] then you hit that in March, whereas if you do it in December you hit it in June.”

6

North Korea banned from Winter Olympics

North Korea has been suspended from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics by the IOC as punishment for refusing to send a team to the Tokyo Games. The International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, said the North Korean national Olympic body would also now forfeit money – thought to be millions of dollars - it was due from previous Olympics. North Korea refused to send a team to Tokyo due to fears over Covid-19.

7

Fire at Macedonia Covid hospital

At least 10 people have been killed in a fire at a hospital treating Covid patients in North Macedonia. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said the blaze was caused by an explosion and that an investigation was under way. “This is a truly tragic event,” he said. Firefighters reportedly extinguished the blaze less than an hour after it broke out at about 9pm on Wednesday. Several patients have been transported to a hospital in the capital Skopje.

8

Geronimo supporters dispute post mortem

A fresh controversy has erupted around Geronimo the alpaca, after supporters disputed the government’s claim that its examination of the alpaca found possible evidence of bovine tuberculosis. Authorities took Geronimo from his farm near Bristol on 31 August and killed him after he twice tested positive for the disease. Lawyers acting for his owner said the “preliminary gross post-mortem findings are negative for visible lesions typical of Bovine Tuberculosis”.

9

KPMG sets working-class quota

KPMG has become the first big business in Britain to set a target for the number of working-class staff. The accounting and consulting firm is aiming for 29% of its partners and directors to be working class by 2030. It defined working class as having parents with “routine and manual” jobs, such as plumbers, electricians, butchers and van drivers. In Britain, people who come from a privileged rather than a working-class background are 60% more likely to be in a professional job.

10

Andrew thinks scandal will ‘blow over’

Royal sources said Prince Andrew believes he could return to public life as soon as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year. The Daily Mirror reported that the prince has told his closest confidants that the scandal surrounding sexual assault allegations will “blow over” and that he is “utterly convinced” that he will brush off claims of “rape in the first degree” from a teenager trafficked by his disgraced late friend Jeffrey Epstein.

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