Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 11 October 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Czech drama after poll shock
The Czech Republic is facing “political upheaval and a possible power vacuum”, The Guardian said, after its prime minister suffered a surprise general election defeat and its president was taken to hospital. PM Andrej Babis’ populist Action for Dissatisfied Citizens party finished second in this weekend’s vote, behind the centre-right Spolu (Together) alliance. Milos Zeman, the president, who had promised to do all he could to keep Babis in office – is said to be seriously ill.
NHS workers facing threats
NHS staff are enduring a “growing tide of abuse”, including assaults from patients, as frustration over long waits for care boils over. Six leading medical bodies and staff groups are urging the government to be “honest and transparent” about the intense strain on the NHS after a spike in threats and assaults on staff. The groups blame increasingly long delays on years of underinvestment in the NHS.
Met won’t charge Prince Andrew
The Metropolitan Police are taking no further action after reviewing allegations connected to Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein. Officers had assessed a document released last summer as part of Virginia Giuffre’s US lawsuit against the Duke of York. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Prince William sees Andrew as a “threat to the royal family”.
Sunak criticised over aid plan
Rishi Sunak will save about £4bn by counting some of the money received from the International Monetary Fund and distributed on its behalf as UK aid spending. A former Conservative international development secretary, Justine Greening, said: “Britain has already reduced its aid spend from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income. If we are to be a truly global Britain then we should now be focused on having the maximum impact with what remains.”
Kwarteng slapped down by Treasury
Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, was accused of lying on television yesterday after he claimed he was holding meetings with the Treasury to discuss the energy crisis. In what Sky News describes as an “unprecedented slapdown,” a Treasury source told Sky News they are “not involved in any talks” and added that it wasn’t the first time Kwarteng “has made things up in interviews”. The source added: “To be crystal clear the Treasury are not involved in any talks.”
Packham to fight on despite attack
The wildlife campaigner and broadcaster Chris Packham said intimidation will not silence him after a suspected arson attack at his home. The BBC Autumnwatch presenter said two masked men set a vehicle on fire at the entrance to his property in the New Forest, Hampshire, at 12.30am on Friday. Packham, who has previously had dead foxes and badgers left at his home, said the escalation would not stop him from campaigning against fox hunting and animal cruelty.
Sex claims against 2,000 police
The Times has discovered that two thousand police have been accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, over the past four years. The paper’s investigation found that sexual misconduct and other police corruption is routinely covered up, with forces frequently holding hearings to examine cases in private. In nearly two thirds of cases, officers accused of sexual violence and of abusing their power for personal gratification faced no further action.
Tory MP comes out as bisexual
Dehenna Davison has become the first female Conservative MP to come out as bisexual. The member for Bishop Auckland has told GB News “I’ve known that I'm bisexual for quite a lot of years. All my close friends and family know.” She said she did not want expect the news to be a big deal: “If I did a very public kind of coming out parade, that would be me saying there’s something really unusual about this and trying to make a big deal of it when to me it’s not.”
Driver dies trying to hit pedestrians
A man has died after driving onto a pavement in Los Angeles in a bid to strike pedestrians before bystanders pulled him out of the car and attacked him. The driver was involved in a verbal altercation around midnight inside a business in Hawthorne, near LA airport, after which he was asked to leave. He returned and drove his truck onto the pavement, nearly hitting several people. Witnesses pulled him out the car and a “physical altercation ensued”, said police.
Lego to work on gender stereotypes
Lego says it will remove gender stereotypes from its toys after a survey found attitudes to play and future careers remain unequal and restrictive. The global study, arranged by the company, found that while girls were becoming more confident and keen to engage in a wide range of activities, the same was not true of boys. It also found that parents still encouraged sons to do sports or science-based activities, while daughters were offered dance, dressing up, or baking.