Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 21 November 2021

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

1

PM could face criminal investigation

Boris Johnson could face possible criminal investigation after a new inquiry opened into his relationship with Jennifer Arcuri. The Observer reported that the US businesswoman has “dramatically agreed to assist officials” by allowing them to inspect extracts of her diary entries chronicling her affair with Johnson and agreeing to be questioned for the first time over the relationship. Johnson could face an investigation for a potential criminal offence of misconduct in public office.

2

Fresh lockdown unrest in Netherlands

Further unrest has broken out in the Netherlands against new lockdown rules as cases of Covid-19 rise in Europe. Protesters hurled fireworks at police and set fire to bicycles in The Hague. After the World Health Organization said it was “very worried” about rising Covid cases on the continent, thousands of demonstrators also took to the streets in Austria, Croatia and Italy as anger mounted over new curbs.

3

Palace fumes over BBC documentary

The Queen has joined forces with Prince Charles and Prince William in a threat to boycott the BBC over a documentary alleging briefing wars between members of the Royal Family. The Corporation has refused to let the Palace see The Princes And The Press before it airs on BBC2 next week. A senior royal source condemned the documentary as “tittle-tattle” and said the row over the programme had left the 95-year-old Monarch “upset”.

4

PM told migrants could ‘destroy’ Tories

Boris Johnson has been warned the migrant crisis could “destroy” the Conservative Party, said The Telegraph. A poll for the newspaper showed the overwhelming majority of Tory voters believe the government’s approach to Channel crossings is “too soft”. A leading party donor said ministers must do “far more” to tackle the problem, warning that immigration is “going to destroy us and there is going to be a [Nigel] Farage-style party”.

5

Video ‘shows Peng at tennis match’

State media in China claims that tennis champion Peng Shuai has appeared as a guest at a tennis tournament in Beijing. An outlet posted a clip said to be of Peng after tennis officials and players voiced concerns about her wellbeing. Two weeks ago, Peng made sexual assault allegations against a former China vice-premier. Since then she has not been in direct contact with the Women’s Tennis Association, which said the video was “insufficient” evidence of her safety.

6

Javid orders review into race bias

The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has ordered a review into whether medical devices are equally effective regardless of the patient’s ethnicity. A study has found that oximeters, which are clipped to a person’s finger, can overstate the level of oxygen in the blood of people from ethnic minorities. There are fears that this could have prevented patients receiving appropriate Covid treatment. Javid said any bias was “totally unacceptable”.

7

Arrests at climate protest in London

Police have arrested 30 climate activists after a London bridge was closed by a sit-down protest. The demonstration at Lambeth Bridge was held in support of nine Insulate Britain campaigners who were jailed this week for defying an injunction on road blockades. Campaigners said that the nine jailed Insulate Britain campaigners were “political prisoners” who will not be the last to be locked up for their convictions about climate change.

8

PM facing rebellion on care charges

Senior Tories have urged Boris Johnson to scrap plans that would see many of England’s poorest pensioners paying more for their social care – or risk being forced into a humiliating U-turn. The Observer said the “increasingly mutinous” party is threatening another potentially damaging Commons rebellion over the matter. Several MPs from north of England are said to have vented their rage in emergency call with minister Gillian Keegan.

9

Europe’s Covid wave ‘warning’ to UK

The new Covid wave in Europe should be “a warning to us”, a SAGE advisor has said. Professor John Edmunds, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and member of SAGE, told Sky News how soaring cases in central Europe show “the importance of vaccination”. Several countries on the continent have experienced a record number of daily cases in recent weeks. However, Edmunds said the UK was unlikely to be hit the same way because it “is in a slightly different position”.

10

Cyclists disrupt pony checks in New Forest

The annual health checks on ponies in the New Forest have been disrupted by cyclists, claim rangers. The officials say “abusive” cyclists are treating the historic woodland as a “playground”, putting themselves and others in danger by ignoring signs warning them off and getting in the way of the round-up, which is known as the drift. Some have sworn at park rangers and “startled” the animals.

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