Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 3 April 2022

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

1

Explosions in Odesa

Explosions were heard this morning in the strategic southern port city of Odesa on the Black Sea coast. Anton Herashchenko, adviser to the interior minister, wrote on his Telegram account that Odessa was attacked from the air. The development came after Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, said Russian forces want to seize the east and south of the country. He warned that Moscow was preparing “powerful strikes” in the south.

2

Tory MP suspended over harassment claims

A Conservative MP who has been suspended from the party over sex and drugs allegations could have been targeted as part of a ‘sting’ operation, according to senior party sources. David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome, is under investigation by the parliamentary harassment watchdog after a series of images, audio recordings and messages emerged implicating him in the use of Class A drugs. Sources have told the BBC that three allegations of sexual harassment are also being investigated.

3

Gun smuggler linked to Andrew

Prince Andrew was introduced to the alleged conman who paid him more than £1million by a convicted Libyan gun smuggler, revealed The Telegraph. Tarek Kaituni, who has boasted of his influence over the Duke, had earlier brokered meetings between the royal and the late dictator Colonel Gaddafi. Turk is alleged to have facilitated payments to the Duke totalling £1.1m, to his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson of £250,000 and to Princess Eugenie of £25,000. He allegedly stole the money from a 77-year-old Turkish millionaires.

4

Cummings criticises PM again

Dominic Cummings has accused Boris Johnson of encouraging attacks on junior civil servants in order to protect himself and his wife, Carrie. In his latest blogpost, the PM’s former aide referred to briefing against one No 10 private secretary, Hannah Young. He wrote that “it is deeply, deeply contemptible” that “not just the PM but senior civil servants have allowed such people to have their reputations attacked in order to protect the sociopathic narcissist squatting in the No 10 flat”.

5

Man leaves Guantanamo after 20 years

Guantanamo Bay inmate Sufiyan Barhoumi has been repatriated to Algeria after spending nearly 20 years at the detention facility. Barhoumi was captured at a safehouse in Pakistan with a leading al-Qaeda man in 2002, and accused of taking part in a plan to bomb the US. He was cleared for transfer in 2016, but had continued to be held in Guantanamo while he waited for the US government to find a willing third-party country to repatriate him to.

6

Tories revolt against Sunak

Rishi Sunak is facing a growing Tory revolt over the cost of living crisis, reported The Observer. Senior Tories, including former minister David Davis, have warned that high taxes will fatally undermine their party’s appeal to voters at the next general election. A poll last week caused deep concern among Tory MPs, when it found the Conservatives were already seen as the party of high taxation by more voters (39%) than had that view of Labour (27%).

7

Plane crashes into Oxford flats

A plane has crashed into an empty block of flats near Bicester, Oxfordshire. The pilot has been taken to John Radcliffe Hospital, but the extent of his injuries is unknown. Nobody else was hurt. An eye witness said: “I saw the whole thing happen as I was just walking the dogs at the time, I think I was one of the first to call for the emergency services, scared the bloody life outta me.” Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said it was able to bring the incident to a “safe conclusion”.

8

Refugees ‘will wait 48 hours’

The refugees minister has promised to process visas for those fleeing Ukraine within 48 hours following criticism that those seeking a haven in Britain have faced long delays. Lord Harrington of Watford admitted that only “hundreds” of refugees have arrived in Britain under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and the process had been “far too slow”. Harrington, who is the grandson of Russian refugees who fled a pogrom in the early 1900s, backs the idea of using sanctioned oligarchs’ homes to house refugees.

9

Kwarteng trails nuclear power plants

Britain could build up to seven new nuclear power stations, said the Business Secretary. Speaking to The Telegraph, Kwasi Kwarteng said “there is a world where we have six or seven sites in the UK” by 2050 as part of a push for self-reliance. The stations would be part of a radical expansion of homegrown energy following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. A government source said: “Nuclear will definitely look larger in the British energy mix by the end of this decade.”

10

Javid ‘backtracked’ on health pledge

Sajid Javid has been accused of backtracking on a promise to give private hospital bosses an official role in discussions about how to deal with waiting lists. Senior private health sector sources told The Telegraph that the about-turn raised fresh questions about whether the NHS would provide value for money for the National Insurance increase. A Tory MP said: “We’ve got to move on from this childish debate that involvement by the independent sector means privatisation.”

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