Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 30 April 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
MP ‘may have watched porn by mistake’
An MP under investigation for allegedly watching porn in the House of Commons has claimed he may have opened it on his phone by mistake. Neil Parish, who has referred himself for investigation, has refused to resign as an MP or as head of the environment select committee until the inquiry concludes. However, some Tory MPs have urged him to resign to shield the party from sleaze before next week’s local elections.
US criticises Putin’s ‘depravity’
Washington has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of acting with “depravity” in Ukraine. US defence department spokesman John Kirby asked how anyone “moral” could justify the atrocities committed by Russia. He also described Putin’s justifications for the invasion as “BS”. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said a nuclear war must never be launched as there could be “no winners”.
‘Remorseless’ Becker jailed
Boris Becker has been jailed for two and a half years for hiding £2.5m worth of assets and loans to avoid paying debts. The former Wimbledon champion, 54, was found guilty of four charges under the Insolvency Act, centring on his bankruptcy in June 2017 resulting from an unpaid loan of more than £3m on his luxury estate in Mallorca, Spain. Judge Deborah Taylor refused Becker’s pleas for a suspended sentence, saying: “You have not shown remorse, acceptance of your guilt and have sought to distance yourself from your offending and your bankruptcy.”
Maxwell judge upholds conviction
The judge in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex-trafficking case has upheld her conviction, rejecting the British socialite’s request for acquittal. Judge Alison Nathan said the guilty verdict was “readily supported by the extensive witness testimony and documentary evidence admitted at trial”. However, the judge did reject two of the guilty verdicts, reducing the maximum possible sentence Maxwell could face by 10 years to 55 years in prison. Last December, Maxwell was convicted of five counts for bringing girls, some as young as 14, to financier Jeffrey Epstein, for him to sexually abuse.
Bolsonaro hits back at DiCaprio
The president of Brazil has slapped down Leonardo DiCaprio after the Hollywood actor and environmentalist urged the country’s youth to vote in the elections later this year. Writing on Twitter, DiCaprio said Brazil is “home to the Amazon and other ecosystems critical to climate change” and “youth voting is key in driving change for a healthy planet”. Jair Bolsonaro, who has cut environmental protections, said: “Our people will decide if they want to keep our sovereignty on the Amazon or to be ruled by crooks who serve foreign special interest.”
Tory says party is institutionally sexist
The Conservative Party is institutionally sexist, a senior Tory MP has told The Times. Caroline Nokes, the chairwoman of the women and equalities committee, said there was a culture of “male entitlement” in the party and she has faced misogynistic smears and poisonous briefings for speaking out. Joining a succession of senior Tory women who have gone public with their experiences, Nokes said the party was like an “old boys club”.
Taser officer loses anonymity bid
A Metropolitan police officer accused of grievous bodily harm after a black man was left paralysed from the chest down has lost a bid to keep his name from the public domain. When the officer, Imran Mahmood, was charged with grievous bodily harm last month he sought anonymity from Westminster magistrates court after expressing concern of Jordan Walker-Brown’s alleged links to criminal gangs. Walker-Brown was left with life-changing injuries after he was shot with a Taser while being pursued by police. He said he believed he was targeted because he is a black man.
IS ‘Beatle’ sentenced in US
A British-born member of an Islamic State group that beheaded western hostages in Iraq and Syria has been sentenced to life in prison in the US. Alexanda Kotey, 38, originally from Paddington, London, was given a life sentence for each of the eight counts he faced, admitting responsibility for the deaths of four American hostages in Syria as well as the kidnapping and torture of numerous journalists and relief workers. His group had been nicknamed “the Beatles” for their British accents.
‘Noise cameras’ to be trialled
A trial of “noise cameras” is to be introduced to catch and punish drivers of excessively loud cars and motorbikes. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, will announce that acoustic cameras to detect when cars, motorbikes and other vehicles are breaking legal noise limits will be installed in four areas of England and Wales. The legal limit for noise from a vehicle is 74 decibels, about the same as flushing a lavatory, said The Times.
Boehly chosen as preferred Chelsea bidder
A consortium led by LA Dodgers owner Todd Boehly is set to be named the preferred bidder for Chelsea, despite a dramatic late move by Sir Jim Ratcliffe to hijack the process with a £4.25bn offer. Sources said that it was likely that Ratcliffe’s bid had come too late, with the group led by Boehly — and funded largely by the California-based investment firm Clearlake Capital — ready to go for UK government and Premier League approval.