Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 14 June 2022
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
PM ‘not planning to cut taxes’
Boris Johnson is not planning to cut taxes for households until inflation is brought under control, reported The Telegraph. Downing Street and the Treasury have concluded that soaring prices could “spiral” even further if taxes are cut too soon, with a senior government source telling the paper: “The more you spend, inflation spirals. We’ve got to be responsible”. The Bank of England and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development predict inflation will start falling in the first quarter of next year. Conservative Party backbenchers insist Johnson should cut taxes sooner.
EU poised for legal action
The EU is set to launch legal action against the UK after the government claimed an emergency loophole allowed it to scrap post-Brexit checks and standards in Northern Ireland. Although No. 10 accepted that its new protocol bill would mean it broke international law, it justified the move under a principle called the “doctrine of necessity”. The government said the term “necessity” is used in international law to justify situations where “the only way a state can safeguard an essential interest” is by breaking another international obligation.
Trump ‘detached from reality’
The former US attorney general said he thought Donald Trump was “detached from reality” after the 2020 election. Testimony from Bill Barr played at the Capitol riot inquiry revealed that the Trump campaign split into two camps: a “team normal” that accepted Trump’s loss and loyalists who did not, said the BBC. Barr said he repeatedly tried to convince the former president that the election had been fair. “I told him that the stuff that his people were shuttling out to the public was bullshit,” he said in a clip shared by the committee.
Starmer ‘boring everyone’
Shadow cabinet ministers have said that Keir Starmer is “boring voters to death”, reported The Times. Several opposition frontbenchers said that the Labour leader’s “locker is empty” and that “there’s no energy or direction from his team”. One unnamed shadow cabinet minister told the paper: “Is he exciting? No, of course not – that isn’t why we ended up with him. But there is a big difference between not being Mr Razzmatazz and boring everyone to death.” A poll published by The Observer over the weekend found that the public thinks Starmer would be a worse choice for PM than Boris Johnson.
Legal challenges on Rwanda flight day
Three more people who are due to be on the first flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda are planning legal challenges before take-off today, said the BBC. A last-ditch attempt to block the flight – which is likely to cost more than £500,000 – was rejected by the Court of Appeal on Monday but dozens of people have won legal cases and are no longer set to fly. The Rwanda asylum plan has been described by Church of England leaders as an “immoral policy that shames Britain”. However, ministers argue that it will disrupt the business of people traffickers.
Government drops animal welfare pledge
There has been an outcry from animal welfare campaigners after the government watered down pledges in its food strategy. In a version of the strategy leaked last week, the government committed to making it easier for countries to import goods if they have high animal-welfare standards. However, this commitment has been removed from the final version, which merely commits to “considering” animal welfare when it comes to free trade agreements. “This looks like yet another shamefully squandered opportunity to cement stringent animal welfare protection into our free trade agreements,” said Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.
Spacey arrives in UK to be charged
Kevin Spacey has arrived in the UK to be formally charged with several sexual assaults. The Oscar-winning actor, 62, will appear in court in London this week accused of four counts of sexual assault on three men in the UK over an eight-year period from 2005. He has also been charged with causing one man to “engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent”. The actor, who denies the allegations, was first accused of sexual impropriety during the #MeToo movement in 2017.
William issued Andrew warning
Prince William told the Queen that he would feel uncomfortable taking part in the Order of the Garter ceremony alongside his disgraced uncle, Prince Andrew, reported The Telegraph. The Duke of York was dropped from the ceremony after Prince Charles also made an eleventh-hour intervention amid fears of a public “backlash”, said the paper. After the pair expressed their concerns, the Queen told her second, and reportedly favourite, son that he could not appear in public at the event “for his own good”.
Commons commits to menopause pledge
The Commons Speaker has signed a pledge to make the House of Commons “menopause friendly” for staff. The Menopause Workplace Pledge, which has been signed by more than 600 organisations including the civil service, Tesco and John Lewis, commits employers to supporting employees affected by the menopause, for example by providing access to fans or flexible working. Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said the menopause should not be a “taboo subject” that is “swept under the carpet”.
Brexit bankroller loses libel case
The multimillionaire Brexit bankroller Arron Banks lost his libel action against the Observer and Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr. Banks, who funded the pro-Brexit Leave.EU campaign group, sued Cadwalladr over two instances in which she accused him of lying about his relationship with the Russian state – one in a TED Talk and the other in a tweet. The judge ruled that Cadwalladr successfully established a public interest defence under the Defamation Act.