Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 June 2022

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

1

Pressure mounts on PM

Lord Geidt, Boris Johnson’s ethics adviser, has threatened to quit over the lockdown parties scandal, saying there are “legitimate” questions over whether the PM broke the ministerial code. Johnson and his allies have launched an emergency effort to lobby wavering MPs as senior Conservatives believe the PM could imminently face a vote of confidence in his leadership. A former cabinet minister told the i news site that he thought Johnson would win such a vote “but then he will struggle to regain momentum and it will probably be a slow death”.

2

Travel bosses face ‘showdown’

Grant Shapps called for a meeting with travel industry bosses – described by The Daily Express as an “angry showdown” – as thousands of holidaymakers faced a wave of cancellations and hours-long queues at Manchester, Heathrow, Gatwick and Bristol airports. The transport secretary said the government had “done its part”, including giving £8bn to the aviation industry during the pandemic. Travel bosses said they wanted ministers to change employment rules so they could validate people for jobs using records held by HMRC, to speed up the process.

3

Brit in Ukraine speaks out

British citizens who travelled to Ukraine to fight are being treated as “cannon-fodder”, according to a teenage volunteer. Ben Atkin, 18, the youngest-known Brit to join the war, told Channel 4 News: “You can’t trust these people to look after you. It’s disorganised mayhem, you are ill-equipped, you’re poorly armed… You will be used as cannon-fodder.” The Times said there have been claims that 20 British citizens have died in the conflict, but the Foreign Office believes the figure to be much lower.

4

Starmer sent questionnaire

Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have been sent questionnaires by detectives investigating whether they broke lockdown laws with a gathering which featured beer and curry last year. The Labour leader, who has promised to resign if he is fined for breaching the law, said he and his team were working on the night in question when they stopped for something to eat. Social distancing rules were in place at the time, including a ban on indoor mixing between households, but there was an exemption for work purposes.

5

Welby calls for Andrew forgiveness

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Queen was “fully entitled” to have been accompanied by Prince Andrew to Prince Philip’s memorial service earlier this year. Speaking to ITV, Justin Welby called on people “to step back a bit” and said the Queen’s second son was seeking to make amends having settled his sexual abuse lawsuit, adding: “I think that’s a very good thing.” Andrew stepped down from public life earlier this year after agreeing to settle with Virginia Giuffre, who accused him of sexual abuse.

6

Violence at GP surgeries rises

Criminal acts of violence at GP surgeries across the UK have almost doubled in five years and police are now recording an average of three violent incidents at general practices every day, said The Guardian. Workers are facing unprecedented assaults, abuse and aggression by patients, amid a perfect storm of soaring demand and staff shortages. Security measures such as CCTV, panic buttons and screens at reception areas are now more common at GP surgeries.

7

Bradford wins City of Culture race

Bradford has won the contest to be named the UK’s City of Culture for 2025. The Yorkshire city will follow Coventry, the current holder of the title, and those behind the successful bid believe it will generate £700m and create 3,000 jobs. The leader of Bradford council said the win will bring “so many opportunities” to the area. The final shortlist for the honour comprised of Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough.

8

PM ‘failing to level up’

New data has led to claims that Boris Johnson has failed in his “defining mission” to level up Britain, said The Telegraph. GDP in London surged by 2.3% in the third quarter of 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in contrast to a 1.2% slump in the North East. Regional data published by the ONS also showed GDP falling in the West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England – regions the PM had pledged to “level up” as part of his efforts to address regional inequality.

9

Three jabs best for Covid

A major study has found that three doses of the same Covid vaccine or a combination of jabs work equally well in preventing infections. A global analysis of data from more than 100m people has confirmed that the number of doses is the key to boosting immunity rather than jab combinations. Meanwhile, Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, has told The Guardian that Covid infection rates “are not going to get down to very low numbers again in our lifetimes”.

10

Polls find Sussexes are unpopular

The popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is at an all-time low, according to two new polls. A survey by JL Partners found just 27% of British adults had a positive opinion of Prince Harry while just 22%, thought well of Meghan Markle. Another study, by YouGov, found the couple’s favourability rating has never been worse, with almost two-thirds holding a negative view of them. The Sussexes are preparing to fly from California to Britain for the Jubilee celebrations.

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