Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 10 June 2022

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

1

Britons face firing squad

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will speak with her Ukrainian counterpart about two Britons handed death sentences by a Russian proxy court in eastern Ukraine. Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, who were accused of “terrorism”, face a firing squad after they were found guilty of “mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the DPR”. The British government said the sentences breach the Geneva Convention.

2

Trump ‘orchestrated Congress riot’

Donald Trump orchestrated last year’s Capitol riot in an “attempted coup”, a congressional inquiry has heard. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the committee, said the former US President had “lit the flame of this attack”. The committee revealed testimony from Trump White House officials who said the former president angrily resisted his own advisers who were urging him to call off the rioters and thought his own vice-president “deserved” to be hanged.

3

Sunak ‘wasted £11bn of taxpayers’ money’

The chancellor has been accused of squandering £11bn of taxpayers’ money by paying too much interest servicing the government’s debt. According to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, the losses stem from Rishi Sunak’s failure to take out insurance against interest rate rises a year ago on almost £900bn of reserves created by the quantitative easing process. The FT said the loss to taxpayers is greater than the amount Tories have accused former Labour chancellor and prime minister Gordon Brown of squandering.

4

‘Summer of discontent’ looming

A union leader warned of a “summer of discontent” after train drivers voted to join the biggest rail strikes in a generation. After a strike by 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, set for June 21, 23 and 25, was announced, two other unions have joined the fray: Aslef, representing drivers, and the Transport and Salaried Staffs’ Association, of non-driving staff. The Times said strikes elsewhere across British infrastructure are being considered, including by members of the GMB and Unite unions working for British Airways at Heathrow.

5

Andrew’s accuser accused of abuse

The woman who agreed a settlement with Prince Andrew over claims of sexual assault has been accused of abuse by an alleged victim of Jeffrey Epstein. Virginia Giuffre is said to have forcibly touched Rina Oh in a massage room at a Manhattan townhouse belonging to the paedophile financier in 2001. In a court filing lodged in New York this week as part of a defamation lawsuit between the women, Oh said that Giuffre touched her “without consent”.  Giuffre’s lawyer told the New York Post: “The allegations of sexual assault against Ms Giuffre are not true.”

6

Care workers can’t afford petrol

Low-paid health and care workers are calling in sick because they cannot afford to fill their cars with petrol to travel to work, said Christina McAnea, general secretary of Unison. The head of the UK’s largest trade union said “we’re actually hearing of people who would rather phone in sick because they don’t have the money to fill up their cars and do their jobs” adding that “more and more people are leaving public services, even in local government”. The cost of a tank of fuel hit a record £100 yesterday.

7

Frost says PM could go in autumn

Boris Johnson could be forced out by the autumn, Lord Frost has warned. Writing in The Telegraph, the PM’s former Brexit minister urged him not to “ignore” the scale of discontent among his own MPs. Calling for tax rises to be reversed, VAT on energy bills to be cut and the preparation of a “10-year Conservative plan” for Britain, Frost predicted that another attempt to oust Johnson could come after the Conservative Party conference in early October.

8

Biden blames media for rating

Joe Biden has blamed a clickbait media culture for the public’s poor perception of his presidency. In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the US president took a swipe at news outlets for “sensationalising” problems. “With notable exceptions, even the really good reporters have to get a number of clicks” so “everything gets sensationalised,” he said. Biden’s approval rating has dropped to 41%, lower than Donald Trump at the same point in his presidency.

9

PPE worth £4bn to be burned

Protective clothing worth billions of pounds bought early in the pandemic to stop NHS staff being infected is to be burned because it is unusable, a report has revealed. The Commons public accounts committee found that the Department of Health and Social Care has £4bn of PPE in storage that cannot be used by frontline workers because it is substandard. Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said “this absolutely damning report exposes the shameful and toxic waste of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives”.

10

Reptiles next victims of energy surge

Soaring energy costs have forced reptile owners to give up their pets. The National Centre for Reptile Welfare in Kent has seen a surge in the number of snakes and other reptiles being handed in. Its director, Chris Newman, said more reptiles were left with the centre in the first three months of 2022 than in the whole of 2021. “Finance seems to be the big issue,” he told the BBC. “People are worrying about not being able to afford to heat and feed the animals.”

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