Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 April 2022

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

1

Tories haemorrhage Red Wall support

The Conservatives are losing support in the Red Wall in the wake of the “partygate” scandal, said The Telegraph. A new poll showed the party now enjoys the support of just 38% of Red Wall voters, down from 56% at the last general election in 2019. Meanwhile, Steve Baker, the Tory MP who said the “gig’s up” for Boris Johnson during a Commons debate this week, has told the paper he’s “p----d off with members of the Cabinet sitting there fat, dumb and happy”.

2

Zelensky says Ukraine only the start

Ukraine’s president has claimed that Moscow has ambitions to invade other countries. “We are the first in line. And who will come next?” Volodymyr Zelensky said in his regular overnight address. The remark came after a Russian senior commander was quoted in state media as saying Moscow would seek to seize southern Ukraine before opening a route to a region of Moldova. Moldova has summoned Russia’s ambassador and expressed “deep concern” about the comment.

3

Supermarkets limit sunflower oil

Tesco has rationed cooking oil as the war in Ukraine stems the flow of sunflower oil to the UK food industry. The chain is allowing three items per customer, after Waitrose and Morrisons announced they are limiting shoppers to two items each. The majority of the UK’s sunflower oil comes from Ukraine and the war has had a significant impact on availability as exports ground to a halt. Grocery expert Ged Futter told the BBC that “in a couple of months, there won't be any sunflower oil available to buy”.

4

New fine for Downing Street event

No 10 has denied Boris Johnson received another fixed penalty notice for a “bring your own booze” Downing Street garden party on 20 May 2020. A source had told The Guardian that at least one fine was issued on Friday to a Downing Street official who attended the event. Last week, the Metropolitan police announced it would not provide any updates on fines for Downing Street lockdown breaches until after next month’s local elections “due to the restrictions around communicating” ahead of the 5 May polling.

5

French rivals trade attacks

The BBC said the two candidates fighting for the French presidency have “launched bitter attacks on each other” in a final pitch to undecided voters before Sunday’s election. Emmanuel Macron said Marine Le Pen’s far right risked a society of hate and fracture. Le Pen said it was proof of her rival’s weakness that he used old insults of extremism. The latest polls showed Macron’s score stable or rising at between 55.5% and 57.5% and Le Pen’s between 42.5% and 44.5%

6

McCann’s welcome case development

The parents of Madeleine McCann have welcomed news that a German man has been formally made a suspect over their daughter’s disappearance. Writing on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page, Kate and Gerry McCann said the development “reflects progress in the investigation, being conducted by the Portuguese, German and British authorities”. Portuguese prosecutors made Christian Brueckner an “arguido” on Thursday, but did not officially reveal his name.

7

Covid levels fall in the UK

The number of people who currently have Covid in the UK is continuing to fall, said the Office for National Statistics. The data suggests around 3.76m people were infected in the week ending 16 April - roughly one in 17 people. This is a drop of about 15% on the week before - when the figure stood at 4.4m, or around one in 15 people. The ONS also said that more than 70% of people in England have had Covid since the pandemic began.

8

Child gun deaths rise in UK

Guns were the leading cause of death for US children and teenagers in 2020, new research shows. Official data showed that over 4,300 young Americans died of firearm-related injuries in 2020. Previously, gun-related deaths were second only to car crashes as the leading cause of death among young Americans, but car crash deaths have fallen, while gun violence in the US has increased since the Covid pandemic began in 2020.

9

Balls won’t stand in Wakefield

Ed Balls has ruled himself out of standing a Labour candidate in the upcoming Wakefield byelection. The former shadow chancellor, who left the Commons in 2015, wrote on Twitter that he had “no intention of putting myself forward” for the contest. The Yorkshire constituency is due to elect a new MP after the incumbent Imran Ahmad Khan was convicted last week of sexually assaulting a teenage boy. Keir Starmer will have his sights set on recapturing it from a beleaguered Conservative party.

10

Murray ‘accused of inappropriate behaviour’

A complaint of “inappropriate behaviour” has been made against Bill Murray, leading to the production shutdown of the film he is working on, according to US media. A letter sent to the cast and crew of the film Being Mortal said: “We were made aware of a complaint, and we immediately looked into it.” Deadline and the New York Times named Murray as the person facing the complaint, referencing an anonymous source who said that the movie was shut down because of “inappropriate behaviour”.

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