Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 11 February 2022

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

1

Cressida Dick steps down

Cressida Dick is leaving her role as head of the Metropolitan police after the Mayor of London accused her of failing to deal with a culture of misogyny and racism within the force. Dick said she was left with “no choice” but to step aside after Sadiq Khan made it clear that he had no confidence in her leadership. Martin Hewitt, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and Louisa Rolfe, the Met assistant commissioner, are among the likely candidates to replace her, said The Guardian. 

2

US citizens told: ‘leave Ukraine’

Joe Biden has urged US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately, warning that “things could go crazy quickly” in the region. Referring to Russia, the US president said “it’s not like we’re dealing with a terrorist organisation, we’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world”. Biden also warned there was no scenario that would see him rescuing Americans if Russia does invade Ukraine. On Thursday, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss held discussions with her counterpart in Moscow and warned of tough sanctions in the event of an attack.

3

PM ‘lines up Covid legal expert’

Boris Johnson will appoint a private lawyer if he is quizzed by police over claims that he broke lockdown rules, said The Times. A source told the paper that the PM “has lined up a legal expert on coronavirus regulations who will help him to defend his participation in the parties”. Scotland Yard is preparing to send letters to 50 people in Westminster asking them to explain their potential breaches of the rules, with Johnson expected to be among them. The PM’s lawyer is expected to focus on the fact that Downing Street is his workplace as well as his home.

4

Snoop Dogg accused of assault

A woman has accused Snoop Dogg of sexual assault and battery. Identified in court papers as Jane Doe, the woman says she was attacked by the hip-hop star after one of his concerts in 2013. The lawsuit, filed this week in the Central District of California, states that the woman was a dancer, model, host and actress who worked with the rapper. “Gold digger season is here be careful... keep ya guards up,” Snoop Dogg posted on his Instagram, seemingly referencing the news. The rapper is set to perform at the half-time show at the Super Bowl this weekend.

5

Queen met Charles before positive test

There are fresh fears for the health of the Queen after it was revealed that the Prince of Wales, who is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, met with the 95-year-old two days ago in Windsor. Buckingham Palace has not confirmed whether the Queen has tested positive or negative, citing medical privacy, but a royal source told the BBC that she is not showing any Covid symptoms. Clarence House confirmed that Camilla tested negative yesterday. 

6

Black QC: wigs are ‘ridiculous’

A leading black QC has called for wigs to be scrapped from court because they are culturally insensitive, said The Times. After a colleague with an afro hairstyle was told he must wear a wig or risk being in contempt of court, Leslie Thomas said that wigs were “fashioned for caucasian hair” and look “ridiculous” on black advocates. According to the paper, pro-wig barristers are arguing that they act as a “symbol of authority and solemnity” that provide advocates with “a degree of anonymity”.

7

Koala listed as endangered

Australia has listed the koala as an endangered species across most of its east coast as numbers fall dramatically due to land clearing and bushfires shrinking its habitat. Drought, disease and other threats have also been blamed for the fate of the once-thriving marsupial. Successive Australian governments have “failed to turn the much-loved animal’s circumstances around” since it was first listed as vulnerable in 2012, said The Guardian.

8

Human rights watchdog under fire

LGBTQ+ charities are calling on the UN to revoke the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)’s status as an independent group because of its stance on transgender rights. The watchdog had faced criticism for calling for a pause to proposed reforms which would make it easier for people to legally change sex in Scotland. The EHRC insists it makes all decisions impartially.

9

BBC reveals stars’ side hustles

Naga Munchetty, Emily Maitlis and Huw Edwards made tens of thousands of pounds moonlighting outside their BBC presenting duties last year, said The Times. The so-called moonlighting register, released quarterly by the BBC, found that BBC Breakfast host Munchetty took home at least £40,000 from nine side gigs last year. Maitlis made at least £35,000 from five external engagements, while Edwards, the BBC’s highest-paid news presenter, earned at least £20,000 on the side.

10

Durham donor pulls out

One of the UK’s wealthiest men has withdrawn his support for Durham University after disagreeing with its “pedantic and ineffective” Covid policies. Mark Hillery, a former Durham student who has donated £7m since 2015, took issue with the establishment continuing with online learning even after Plan B restrictions in England were lifted. “Our approach to managing the Covid-19 pandemic has always prioritised the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and wider community,” said a university spokesperson.

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