Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 October 2021

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

1

PM urged to act on Covid surge

Trade union leaders representing three million frontline workers have warned that Boris Johnson risks “another winter of chaos” if urgent action is not taken to curb the spread of Covid. Scientific advisers have also urged the government to prepare now so that Plan B measures – such as working from home, mandatory face masks indoors and vaccine passports – can be “rapidly” deployed if cases, hospital admissions and deaths continue to rise.

2

Baldwin ‘was told gun was safe’

Court records suggest that the gun that Alec Baldwin fired on set, killing a woman, was handed to him by an assistant director who told him it was safe. Dave Halls, a director, did not know the prop contained live ammunition and indicated it was unloaded by shouting “cold gun”. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot in the chest on the set of the film Rust and director Joel Souza was wounded. Baldwin was questioned by law enforcement but no-one has been charged.

3

Arrests over spiked drinks

Three men have been arrested over suspicions of spiking drinks or using injections, reported The Independent. Lincolnshire Police said they had arrested a 35-year-old man in the early hours of the morning in connection with an attempted drink-spiking at a nightclub in Lincoln. Two teenagers were arrested by Nottinghamshire Police on suspicion of conspiring to administer poison with intent to injure, annoy or aggrieve. More than 160 people have reported related incidents to police in two months.

4

Buckingham Palace ‘misled nation’

Buckingham Palace has been accused of misleading the public over the state of the Queen’s health. The BBC’s royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell, was one of several commentators to ask whether the palace had undermined public trust by failing to reveal she had been taken to hospital. The 95-year-old monarch was admitted to King Edward VII’s on Wednesday afternoon and stayed there overnight for tests but the palace’s communications team told journalists Her Majesty had remained at Windsor Castle.

5

White House postpones JFK file release

The White House has announced that it would further postpone the release of documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F Kennedy, blaming the “significant impact” of the Covid pandemic for the delay. In 2018, the then president, Donald Trump, extended the deadline for the public release of the assassination files to 2021, citing “identifiable harm to national security, law enforcement, or foreign affairs”.  

6

Truss sounds warning on China

The foreign secretary said that Britain must not become “dependent” on China, adding that major national infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants, should be built only with “like-minded” partners. Speaking to The Telegraph, Liz Truss said joint work on sensitive projects should be undertaken only with nations that have a “bond of trust” with the UK. However, earlier this week Boris Johnson said he was not a “Sinophobe” and would not “pitchfork away” Chinese investment.

7

US holds record number of migrants

The US says a record 1.7m migrants were detained along its border with Mexico in the past 12 months. Data from US Customs and Border Protection shows that more than one million of the detainees were expelled to Mexico or their native countries. The BBC noted that President Joe Biden’s popularity in polls has been sinking, partly as a result of his immigration policy. Republicans have blamed his pledge to create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants for fuelling the surge.

8

Arrest over Manchester arena bomb

A man has been arrested on suspicion of a terror offence in connection with the Manchester Arena attack. The 24-year-old, from Manchester, is being held on suspicion of engaging in the preparation of acts of terrorism or assisting others in acts of preparation. Twenty-two people were killed when Salman Abedi detonated a bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017.

9

Lord Field reveals he is close to death

Lord Field of Birkenhead has announced he was terminally ill and revealed he had changed his mind over euthanasia. The former Labour MP, who served as a minister under Tony Blair, revealed in a statement, which was read out for him during a debate in the House of Lords on assisted dying, that he had changed his mind on the issue after seeing a friend’s cancer treatment. The Assisted Dying Bill proposes giving terminally ill patients of sound mind the right to die.

10

PM watched Bond briefing room

The Guardian reported that Boris Johnson used the £2.6m press briefing room to enjoy a screening of the new James Bond film with No 10 staff. It is understood the prime minister attended the screening of No Time To Die at the White House-style room after work hours on Thursday. Earlier this year, Labour criticised the controversial transformation of the room as a “pointless vanity project” and said the fee should have been spent giving a pay rise to NHS workers

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