Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 January 2022

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

1

Tory MPs pile pressure on PM

Boris Johnson will face MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions today as public anger grows over his refusal to say whether he attended a drinks event in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown. A major party donor and his own MPs are among those demanding that the PM come clean over whether he was present at the May 2020 gathering. ”Prominent Conservatives said it was ‘appalling’ and ‘utterly indefensible’ that the event took place,” The Telegraph reports. A poll has found that 66% of voters believe Johnson should resign over the scandal.

2

Boss warns of two-year energy crisis

The chief executive of Centrica, which owns British Gas, has warned that soaring energy prices could last for up to two years. Chris O’Shea said there was “no reason” to expect gas prices would come down “any time soon”. Instead, he told the BBC, “the market suggests the high gas prices will be here for the next 18 months to two years”. His words dashed hopes that bills rising by more than 50% to about £2,000 a year would be short-lived.

3

Truss considers Russian visit

Liz Truss is reportedly planning to travel to Moscow for talks with her counterpart amid growing concern that Russia could invade Ukraine. Truss, who would become the first foreign secretary to visit Russia since Boris Johnson in 2017, wants Moscow to “stop its unprovoked aggression”, said The Times. “A build-up of about 100,000 Russian troops at the Ukrainian border has led to concerns that an invasion is imminent,” a source told the newspaper.

4

Djokovic comes clean on breach

Novak Djokovic has admitted breaching isolation rules after testing positive for Covid-19 last month. In an Instagram post, the tennis champion admitted meeting a journalist for an interview two days after he tested positive on 16 December. He described this as an “error of judgement”. He has also stated that his agent made a mistake on his Australia entry form when providing details of his travel in the days before his arrival in the country.

5

Offence over Nazi flag at funeral

A funeral in Rome for a right-wing extremist in which the coffin was draped with a Nazi flag bearing a swastika has been condemned by Italy’s Jewish community and the Catholic Church. The flag covered the casket of Alessia Augello, a member of the neo-Fascist Forza Nuova party, who died of post-surgery complications last week at the age of 44. Members of the party gave fascist salutes as the coffin entered the Santa Lucia parish church.

6

Burglaries fall when police sent to scene

Burglaries were cut by up to a half and detection rates trebled after police sent officers to the scene of every break-in. After the Northamptonshire constabulary publicly pledged to send an officer to every burglary, domestic break-ins across the country fell by 48% in two years – from 5,500 burglaries in 2019, to 2,850 in the 12 months to December last year. Bedfordshire said its detection rate also nearly halved.

7

Biden demands election overhaul

Joe Biden has called for a historic change to Senate rules as he bids to overhaul the country’s election laws. He said he wanted to abandon the requirement for a 60-40 majority in the upper, relying instead on a simple majority to introduce standardised, nationwide voting rules for subsequent elections. US electoral law currently consists of a “patchwork of state-by-state rules”, said the BBC. Banging his lectern, the US president, said he was “tired of being quiet.”

8

Smart motorways paused for checks

The government said it has paused new “all-lane running” smart motorways until their safety is assessed. Letting drivers use the hard shoulder as another lane increases capacity, but campaigners said it has contributed to road deaths. Five years of safety and economic data for the schemes will now be collected. Hard shoulders will not be reinstated on current stretches of all-lane running motorways.

9

Committee ‘closes in on Trump’

The House of Representatives select committee investigating the Capitol attack has “closed in on Donald Trump’s inner circle” by issuing subpoenas to three White House officials involved in planning Trump’s appearance at a rally on the day of the insurrection, The Guardian reported. It said the move suggested the panel is now examining whether the former president’s speech revealed that the White House had advance knowledge of plans to attack the Capitol on 6 January.

10

Cash levels lowest for eight years

Households in the UK have suffered the sharpest fall in available cash for almost eight years, reported The Guardian. Amid a worsening cost-of-living crisis driven by high inflation and rising energy bills, a study found that increasing living costs at the end of last year hit people’s pockets and led to the steepest decline in cash availability since the start of 2014. With inflation at the highest level in a decade, the government is under pressure to act on living standards.

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