Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 May 2022

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

1

MPs split over Sunak plan

Conservative MPs are divided over Rishi Sunak’s windfall tax and “spending bonanza”, said The Times. Yesterday, the chancellor announced that every household in the country will receive £400 to help cover the rising cost of their gas and electricity bills, with further payments for pensioners and other lower-income homes. Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, is opposed to the temporary windfall tax that will fund the package and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities minister, has also raised concerns. “It looks like we’re being dictated to by Labour,” an unnamed cabinet minister told the paper.

2

Shooting raises security questions

The gunman who attacked a primary school in Texas was not confronted by a school resource officer outside the building and apparently entered through an unlocked door, officials have said. The statement contradicts “earlier comments from authorities” and raises “further questions about the police response to the massacre”, said CNN. Yesterday, police in Toronto shot and killed a man after he was spotted carrying a rifle near a primary school, sparking an emergency lockdown for hundreds of students.

3

More Tories call for PM to quit

Four more Conservative MPs urged Boris Johnson to resign yesterday in the aftermath of the Sue Gray report. Stephen Hammond, the former health minister, and MPs David Simmonds and John Baron said they had lost confidence in the PM over Partygate. Angela Richardson, who quit as a parliamentary private secretary earlier in the year, said she would have resigned if she had been in Johnson’s position. MPs have told The Guardian that they expect the number of letters of no confidence to increase over the coming days.

4

Kevin Spacey to be charged

Kevin Spacey is to be charged with four counts of sexual assault against three men dating back to the time he was in charge of London’s Old Vic Theatre. The 62-year-old Oscar-winning actor will be charged following a review of evidence by the Metropolitan Police regarding a series of complaints dating back to between 2005 and 2013. Although the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has authorised the charges against Spacey, it is understood that he has not been formally charged as he is not in the country. The CPS refused to confirm whether or not it would seek extradition of the American star, said the BBC.

5

Anger over Brazil killing

Protests have been held in Brazil after the death of a mentally ill black man who was bundled into the back of a police car by officers who then released a gas grenade inside the vehicle. Genivaldo de Jesus Santos was stopped by federal highway police in the city of Umbaúba who said they used “immobilisation techniques” after he became aggressive. His death came two years to the day after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis by a white police officer.

6

Immigration stats ‘undermine’ promises

More than one million foreign nationals were allowed to live in the UK last year for the first time in recorded history, said The Telegraph. Data from the Home Office shows that the number of visas handed to workers, students, family relatives and other foreign nationals rose by 35% to 994,951 in the year to March, up from a pre-pandemic high of 739,936, while a further 15,451 people were granted asylum. Red wall Conservative MPs have written to home secretary Priti Patel, saying the data “undeniably undermines” Brexit promises.

7

BBC Four to move online

The BBC will move BBC Four and CBBC online as part of a £500m savings plan. As many as 1,000 people will either lose their job or be moved from licence fee-funded operations into commercial arms. Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, told The Times that the corporation had been forced to make “difficult choices” as it sought to plug a £1.4bn hole in its finances and embrace the digital revolution. The BBC needs to save £285m a year by 2027 following culture secretary Nadine Dorries’s decision to freeze the licence fee at £159 until 2024.

8

Fish and chips shops under threat

Government plans to hit Russian seafood imports with punitive trade tariffs could “cripple” Britain’s fish and chips shops, said The Telegraph. Ministerial sources said there is a “clear intention” to include Russian whitefish exports, including cod and haddock, in the next wave of sanctions against Moscow. A third of fish and chip shops fear they could be forced to close if shortages of essential ingredients such as cod, haddock and sunflower oil are not addressed by ministers with a reduction in VAT.

9

Soldiers arrested on drug offences

Six serving soldiers from the regiment set to lead the Trooping of the Colour have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply drugs, as well as money lending and laundering offences, reported Sky News. The six members of the Irish Guards were arrested along with a Coldstream Guards veteran this week in an operation led by the Royal Military Police. A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed that those arrested would not be taking part in the Jubilee celebrations.

10

Tributes paid to Goodfellas actor

Tributes have been paid to Ray Liotta after the Goodfellas actor died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic at the age of 67. Martin Scorsese, who directed Goodfellas, praised the “uniquely gifted” and “courageous” actor, adding that he would “always be proud” of the work they had done together. Robert De Niro, Liotta’s co-star in the movie, said he was “very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing”. In an acting career that spanned four decades, Liotta established himself as “one of the most dependable tough-guy performers in Hollywood”, said NBC News.

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