Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 30 March 2022

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

1

Fines put PM under pressure

Boris Johnson “faces a renewed threat to his position” over the partygate scandal after the police fined 20 people for lockdown breaches, said The Guardian. The move by the Metropolitan police appeared to undermine the PM’s previous claim that Covid rules were followed in Downing Street. However, No. 10 has denied that the fixed-penalty notices meant the rules had been broken. Conservative MPs who previously organised against the PM said they would now renew efforts to convince colleagues that he had lied to the House of Commons.

2

Russia pledge ‘misleading’

Moscow is aiming to mislead with its pledge to scale back military operations intwo key areas, Ukraine has claimed. “Ukrainians aren’t naive,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, after Russia promised to scale down military operations around Kyiv and Chernihiv. Russia’s statement, which followed peace talks between the two sides in Turkey, has been met with cynicism from Western leaders. US President Joe Biden said: “I don't read anything into it until I see what their actions are.”

3

Poor families will lose spare cash

The poorest families in the UK will see the amount of spare cash at their disposal drop by a fifth this year, leaving them with £850 less to spend on non-essentials. Market analysts Kantar said pressure on family budgets is tightening as grocery price inflation reached 5.2% in March, the highest level since April 2012. The effect of the crisis has led discounter Aldi to grab its biggest share of the grocery market to date. while Lidl matched its previous peak.

4

Jada comments on Oscars slap

Jada Pinkett Smith has broken her silence amid the storm over her husband slapping Chris Rock for making a joke at her expense during the Oscars. In a brief post to Instagram, the actress wrote: “This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.” Although Rock has not commented publicly on the incident, ticket sales for his forthcoming comedy shows have reportedly rocketed. The live event ticketing site, TickPick, said on Monday that it sold more tickets the previous night than it had in the past month combined.

5

New attack in Israel

Five people have been shot dead in Israel, medics say, in the third deadly attack of its kind within a week. It happened in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, one of the country’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish areas, said the BBC. Security forces in Israel are on high alert after attacks by Israeli Arabs last Tuesday and Sunday, which left six people dead. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack, saying: “The killing of Israeli and Palestinian civilians will only lead to a deterioration of the situation ahead of Ramadan.”

6

Mosley shot himself after diagnosis

Formula One boss Max Mosley killed himself after learning he had terminal cancer, an inquest has heard. The 81-year-old was found with a fatal gunshot wound to the head at his home in Chelsea, west London, last May. When his family announced his death in a statement at that time they said only that he “died after a long battle with cancer”. The 81-year-old was the son of the fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley and had been an ardent privacy campaigner.

7

Underage children use social media

A study from Ofcom has found that children as young as five use social media, despite most platforms banning users under the age of 13. The watchdog said a third of parents of five- to seven-year-olds admitted their child had a social media profile. Among the eight- to 11-year-olds who used social media, the most popular platform was TikTok, with one in every three having an account. Ofcom strategy and research director Yih-Choung Teh said the findings were “really striking”.

8

PPE passes expiry date

The public spending watchdog has revealed that some 1.5bn items of personal protective equipment in storage have passed their expiry date. Health officials are urging the government to “get a grip” after it was revealed that more than 3.6bn PPE items are being stored by the government because it considers them unsuitable for frontline services. Earlier it was revealed that PPE the government bought for £122m from a company linked to the Tory peer Michelle Mone was purchased from the Chinese firm for just £46m.

9

MP ‘groped boy’

A Conservative MP groped a 15-year-old boy after encouraging him to watch pornography, a court was told yesterday. In the incident in 2008, Imran Khan also “lunged” at the boy’s 18-year-old brother and lifted his kilt to see if he wore it as “a true Scotsman”, Southwark crown court was told. The alleged victim contacted the police after Khan became an MP in 2019. Khan denies sexual assault. The trial continues.

10

‘Modest’ Trump reveals golf glory

Donald Trump has released a lengthy statement explaining that he achieved a hole-in-one while playing golf. “Many people are asking, so I’ll give it to you now, it is 100% true,” said the former US president. He declined to reveal directly who won the match, saying: “I won’t tell you who won because I am a very modest individual, and you will then say I was bragging... I don't like people who brag!”

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