Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 January 2021

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

1

NHS facing staff crisis

Health chiefs have warned that patients will suffer declining care unless the government takes urgent action to alleviate the severe staffing crisis engulfing the NHS. The NHS Confederation has called for “tens of thousands of medical students” to be deployed on wards, “priority access to lateral flow and PCR tests” for NHS staff and a halving of the self-isolation period from 10 days to five, The Guardian reported. Matthew Taylor, the body’s chief executive, told the paper that hospital bosses are “extremely concerned” about the widening ratio of staff to patients.

2

Djokovic refused Australia entry

World tennis number one Novak Djokovic last night had his visa revoked on his arrival in Melbourne for the Australian Open. The sportsman was held in the airport for several hours before border forces announced he had not met entry rules and would be deported. He has reportedly been moved to a government detention hotel pending his departure. Djokovic said last year that he was “opposed to vaccination”, provoking anger on Tuesday when he claimed to have received a vaccine exemption to compete in the nation’s top tennis tournament.

3

Trump blamed for Capitol riot

Joe Biden will today blame Donald Trump for the 6 January Capitol riot in an address to mark the first anniversary of the deadly insurrection. Speaking in Congress, the president will say his predecessor holds “singular responsibility” for the “chaos and carnage”. The date will also be marked by a moment of silence on the House of Representatives floor and a prayer vigil on the steps of the Capitol. Trump has cancelled a Mar-a-Lago press conference originally scheduled to coincide with the ceremony in Washington.

4

Maxwell lawyers call for retrial

Lawyers for Ghislaine Maxwell have said that she should be granted a retrial after a juror revealed that he used his experience of being sexually abused to persuade jurors to convict her. Maxwell was found guilty last week of grooming underage girls to be abused by Jeffrey Epstein. One of her lawyers, Christian Everdell, filed a letter describing the juror’s comments as “an issue of pressing importance” that “presents incontrovertible grounds for a new trial”.

5

Rees-Mogg calls to scrap tax rise

Jacob Rees-Mogg yesterday called on Rishi Sunak to abandon his planned National Insurance rise during a meeting of the cabinet, it has emerged. Rees-Mogg, the House of Commons leader, spoke out against the tax rise coming into effect this April, however, the chancellor “rejected the call”, The Telegraph said. The dispute within Boris Johnson’s top team “reflects the scale of concern from some ministers about the looming cost of living crunch and tax increases”, the paper added.

6

Electric car sales soar

Carmakers have reported booming UK sales of electric vehicles. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said carmakers sold 190,000 battery electric cars across the country last year, accounting for about 11.6% of total sales. These figures were up from 108,000 in 2020, when battery-powered cars accounted for just 6.6% of new cars bought in the UK. The Guardian said sales of battery electric vehicles were a “bright spot” for the industry amid disruption to global supply chains.

7

Ex-peer guilty of child sex crimes

A former Labour peer has been found guilty of child sex offences dating back almost half a century. Nazir Ahmed, 64, was convicted of twice attempting to rape a young girl and one count of buggery against a young boy. He will be sentenced next month. The Telegraph said the verdicts mark the downfall of a “controversial figure who was dogged by scandal throughout his political career and personal life”.

8

Dementia victim wins Asda case

A 75-year-old dementia sufferer has successfully sued Asda for age discrimination after her boss asked if she wanted to retire. Joan Hutchinson said she resigned after her manager made her feel she was being “pushed out of the business” and was “too old to be there”. Colleagues told the tribunal that they had begun to notice her slowing down at work, becoming “flustered” and losing belongings.

9

Israeli army shoots Palestinian

A Palestinian has been killed in a gunfire exchange with Israeli troops in the city of Nablus. The man, Bachar Hashash, was shot dead at the entrance to the Balata refugee camp. The incident comes days after Israel launched strikes against militant targets on the Gaza Strip after two rockets were fired from Gaza. Both rockets landed in the Mediterranean Sea off central Israel.

10

Gove’s mistress ‘was politics’

Michael Gove’s “only mistress was politics”, his estranged wife has claimed. Addressing speculation about why their marriage ended last summer, Sarah Vine said: “The mistress wins in the end. It’s all about making sure she is happy. In my case, despite all the rumours, his only mistress was politics.” Gove and Vine have been married since October 2001, having first met two years earlier. “That’s what he is in love with,” Vine added. “He is genuinely in love with politics.”

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