Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 8 June 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM urged to make Hunt chancellor
Boris Johnson is being urged by allies to offer Jeremy Hunt the job of chancellor, The Telegraph reported. Loyalists have reportedly concluded that the PM is better at winning elections than governing the country, and “vice-versa for Mr Hunt”. The proposal has been compared to Gordon Brown’s decision to bring Peter Mandelson, a Tony Blair ally with whom he had clashed, into government to shore up his premiership. However, Hunt might not accept such an offer. In 2019 he rejected the chance to become Johnson’s defence secretary after losing to him in the leadership race.
Strikes to ‘shut down rail system’
Rail workers have been told to “shut down the rail system” with strikes in late June. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers has told members to prepare for strikes on 21, 23 and 25 June, after a ballot of 40,000 members last month resulted in staff at Network Rail and 13 train operating companies voting overwhelmingly for full-scale industrial action. A further 10,000 London Underground workers will picket on 21 June, practically closing the network. It will be the largest strike on the railways since 1989.
Warning of new Covid wave
A new Covid wave could be approaching in England, experts have said. Admissions of people to hospital with Covid in England have stopped declining, according to an analysis of new NHS figures by John Roberts from the Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group. Asked if the UK was heading into another wave, Roberts told The Independent “yes we could be but... how big that wave and how serious it will be in terms of admissions and deaths is very, very difficult to judge at this stage”. Earlier this week, experts in France said Covid “appears to be starting a new wave” in the country.
Wounded teacher criticises police
A teacher injured in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, has described police as “cowards” for delaying taking action while his pupils were killed. Speaking to ABC News, Arnulfo Reyes said he told his students to pretend to be asleep during the shooting. However, 11 of them died when the gunman stalked his and an adjacent classroom for more than an hour as police stood in the hall. Speaking of the officers, he said: “You had a bulletproof vest. I had nothing. You’re supposed to protect and serve. There is no excuse for their actions.”
England fans arrested for Nazi salutes
Three England football fans have been arrested in Munich for making Nazi salutes before last night’s Uefa Nations League tie with Germany, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Local police said another fan caused an estimated €2,000 (£1,700) damage after he let off a flare in his hotel room, while four others were arrested for incidents including insulting police officers and urinating in the street. The arrests come after England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, pleaded with Three Lions fans to behave during the trip.
Cancer ‘jab’ could revolutionise treatment
A ground-breaking vaccine developed using the same mRNA technology as Covid jabs has raised hopes of a cure for pancreatic cancer. The Times noted that 50% of patients given the vaccine, designed to prevent cancer returning after surgery, remained free of the disease 18 months later. Experts said the “thrilling” results could usher in a new age of cancer treatment, where patients receive personalised vaccines teaching their body to destroy tumours. A trial is underway for a similar BioNTech vaccine in bowel cancer patients.
Labour calls for Javid tax probe
Labour has called on the taxman to investigate the financial affairs of the health secretary, Sajid Javid, The Independent reported. The party’s suspicions focus on Javid’s ties to a company called SA Capital, which raise the “possibility that he has been a beneficiary of a loan scheme designed to avoid paying UK tax”, said the shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting. However, a spokesperson for Javid said the request for an investigation was a “smear attempt” by the Labour Party.
Racism ‘endemic’ in the NHS
White nurses are twice as likely as black and Asian colleagues to be promoted in the NHS due to structural racism, according to a study. The Royal College of Nursing said its research suggests racism is “endemic” in health and care. For those aged between 35 and 44, 65.9% of white and 64% of mixed ethnic respondents in this age group had been promoted, but this answer dropped to just 38.3% of Asian and 35.2% of black respondents. An NHS England spokesperson said the health service “recognises that more needs to be done”.
Japan begins to open up
Japan is opening up to foreign tourists after two years of Covid travel restrictions. The country had imposed some of the strictest pandemic border controls in the world, but the Japan Tourism Agency said the country will begin allowing tourists to enter from Friday. However, Sky News reported that only visitors on package tours will be allowed in during the first phase and they will be required to wear masks, take out private medical insurance and be chaperoned throughout their visit.
Cabinet split over smoking plans
Plans to raise the legal smoking age to 21 and impose new levies on tobacco companies could be announced within days. A delayed government-commissioned review by Javed Khan, the former chief executive of Barnardo’s, will be released tomorrow. However, The Guardian said there have been splits in government over the radical recommendations, with “scepticism across government about changes to the legal age limit, as well as further tax rises”. There are currently more than six million smokers in England.