Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 November 2021

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

1

Paris trio say Cop26 targets are not enough

Climate targets agreed at Cop26 are too weak to prevent disastrous levels of global heating, the three architects of the Paris agreement have warned. Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who oversaw the 2015 Paris summit, and Laurence Tubiana, who penned the agreement, have told The Guardian that world leaders will have to negotiate again next year if the world is to avoid exceeding its 1.5C temperature limit. Laurent Fabius, who also oversaw Paris, added: “In the present circumstances [targets] must be enhanced next year.”

2

PM mask row deepens

The Mirror reported that Boris Johnson had to be told three times before he succumbed to rules and donned a mask during a hospital visit. The prime minister was accused of “callous disregard” for the NHS after he walked around the hospital without a mask. Sources have confirmed that Hexham General Hospital chiefs emailed Johnson’s team before his visit to tell him masks must be worn in all areas.

3

Charles aide quits over honours row

The Prince of Wales’ top aide has “dramatically quit” over the “cash for honours” inquiry, said the Daily Mail. Following reports he offered to help a billionaire Saudi donor to the prince’s charity secure a knighthood and British citizenship, Michael Fawcett stepped aside, with friends saying he is “heartbroken” and “shattered” by events. Clarence House said it was severing links with Fawcett on a personal basis and would not work with his events company, Premier Mode, again.

4

MPs’ renting scandal exposed

More than a dozen MPs are using the parliamentary expenses scheme to rent homes while letting out properties that they own in London for at least £10,000 a year, reported The Times. The 14 politicians, “nearly all Tory”, are exploiting a loophole in the expenses system that allows MPs to let their own homes while using taxpayers’ money to rent another property in the capital. The Conservative Party has been hit by a series of sleaze allegations.

5

Austria may launch lockdown for unjabbed

Austria is on the brink of imposing a lockdown for anyone not fully vaccinated. After record infections were reported, upper Austria province plans to launch restrictions from Monday if it gets the go-ahead from the federal government. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said a national lockdown for the unvaccinated was “probably inevitable,” arguing that two-thirds of people should not suffer because others were not getting jabbed. However, critics say such a lockdown would be very hard to enforce.

6

Growth slowed in latest quarter

Economic growth slowed between July and September as supply chain problems inhibited the recovery, according to the Office for National Statistics. Although consumer spending increased as Britain continued to emerge from lockdown, the contribution was offset by falls in other areas of the economy, leaving growth for the three months at 1.3%. The BBC’s economics editor said the UK economy has still not caught up with its losses during the pandemic.

7

Assange to marry in prison

The BBC revealed that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been granted permission to marry his partner Stella Moris in Belmarsh prison. Moris said she was “relieved that reason [had] prevailed” and hoped “there will be no further interference with our marriage”. Assange is wanted in the US on allegations of conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information, following Wikileaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq invasions.

8

Warning for homeworking women

A Bank of England policy setter said that women who stay away from the office risk their careers suffering. Catherine Mann, a member of the monetary policy committee, said the spontaneous conversations that took place in the office were hard to replicate remotely. A difficulty in accessing childcare and pandemic-related disruption to schooling meant many women were continuing to work from home, she said, adding that she fears “two tracks” will develop.

9

US says Russia may invade Ukraine

The US has warned that Russia could be plotting to invade Ukraine in a repeat of the 2014 annexation of Crimea. Officials in Washington have privately briefed their EU counterparts as tens of thousands of Russian troops have amassed near the border. Leading Whitehall sources told The Telegraph that the government was concerned about the reports and that there was “twitchiness” and “anxiety” among officials.

10

Rashford critic accused of hypocrisy

The Conservative MP who told Marcus Rashford he should stick to football has a second job herself, reported The Guardian. Natalie Elphicke, who criticised the free school meals campaigner in July after he missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 final, has a £36,000 a year role as chair of the New Homes Quality Board, as well as her job as an MP. She Elphicke subsequently apologised for the message and said that she regretted her “rash reaction”.

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