Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 24 April 2022

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

1

Tories say PM ‘must go soon’

Boris Johnson should be replaced “sooner rather than later” according to a growing number of senior Conservatives. The Observer said that “amid mounting alarm” over the electoral impact of the lockdown parties scandal, high-ranking MPs are urging wavering colleagues not to tarry because of worries about the succession, or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One former minister said: “If we don’t act well before the party conference in October, it will be too late.”

2

Blinken ‘to visit Kyiv’

The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has warned that he will call off peace talks with Moscow if Mariupol’s last defenders are killed, or if Russia holds an independence referendum in the occupied city of Kherson. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary for Defence Lloyd Austin will visit Kyiv today, according to Zelensky. At least eight civilians were killed in Odesa after Russian shelling hit a residential building.

3

France to vote for president

Voters in France head to the polls today to decide whether to give Emmanuel Macron five more years as president or replace him with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Polling stations will open at 8am and close at 7pm. Around 8pm in France (7pm in the UK), exit polls will be released and an official preliminary estimate will follow shortly afterwards, based on early counts. However, a definitive result is not expected until Monday.

4

P&O ‘tries to cut wages’

P&O Ferries has drawn fresh criticism after it tried to cut the wages of its new low-paid foreign crew. The Mirror reported that overseas agency workers, who were hired to replace 786 staff illegally sacked by Zoom call last month, have claimed they were asked to sign new contracts on lower pay. One agency worker emailed the RMT union from the Spirit of Britain ferry in Dover and declared: “We are desperate.” Some crew earn just £748 a month for a 40-hour week – around £4.30 an hour.

5

Acute hepatitis hits children

At least one child has died from a mystery strain of hepatitis which has now been reported in 12 countries, said the World Health Organization. The WHO said that it is aware of 169 rare cases of acute hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, in young children.  Most of the infections – 114 – are in the UK, followed by Spain, which has recorded 13 cases, and Israel with 12. The British Health Security Agency has urged handwashing and “thorough respiratory hygiene”.

6

MPs accused of sexual misconduct

Three cabinet ministers are among the 56 MPs facing allegations of sexual misconduct after being referred to a parliamentary watchdog, reported The Observer. None of the MPs have been named but at least one of the complaints made to the watchdog is believed to relate to a criminal offence. The Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme was set up after parliamentarians, including Sir Michael Fallon and Charlie Elphicke, faced a series of allegations relating to sleaze and sexual misconduct.

7

‘Moon shot’ Covid jab in the works

Trial results of a new Covid-19 vaccine – described as a “moon shot” – could be released within days. The preliminary results of the single-dose jab, which is said to protect people against any variant of Covid, have been hailed by Professor Luke O’Neill as “impressive”. Speaking to Newsweek, he said: “There’s a massive effort happening in the US at the moment, trying to make what’s called a ‘universal vaccine’. It’s a great goal to have.”

8

Long Covid plagues 70% of hospitalised

More than 70% of those admitted to hospital because of Covid-19 are suffering complications from the virus a year later, a study has found. The most common long-term symptoms include fatigue, muscle pain, physically slowing down, poor sleep and breathlessness. The Sunday Times said that women, those who were obese and those put on a ventilator were less likely to be fully recovered a year after being discharged. “Without effective treatments, long Covid could become a highly prevalent new long-term condition,” said the study authors.

9

Royals face protests in Saint Vincent

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have been met with protests on their visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday. A group of around 15 people stood outside Government House on the island with banners demanding an “end to colonialism” and stating: “Britain your debt is outstanding”. Earlier, the couple had received a warning from the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission to avoid “phoney sanctimony” over slavery.

10

Fury ‘to retire’ after victory

WBC champion Tyson Fury has said he will retire from boxing after he produced a stunning one-punch stoppage in the sixth round to beat fellow Briton Dillian Whyte. Fury, who dominated a scrappy bout, has now taken his pro record to 32 wins and a draw from 33 fights. “I am a man of my word,” he said. “This might be the final curtain for The Gypsy King and what a way to go out!”

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