Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 18 June 2022

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

1

Some asylum seekers to be tagged

Campaigners for refugees have reacted with fury after it emerged that some asylum claimants who arrived in the UK in small boats or in the back of lorries could be electronically tagged under new government plans. A 12-month trial will target adults due to be removed from the UK after arriving via what the government calls “dangerous or unnecessary” routes. Campaigners and experts have accused ministers of adopting a “draconian and punitive” approach that will see people who have fled conflict and danger treated as “criminals”.

2

Covid cases up after Jubilee week

Covid cases have risen 50% in England during the last week with experts warning that the increases may be the start of a new wave. The latest infection survey from the Office for National Statistics estimates that 1 in 50 people are now infected in England – 1.1m– compared to 1 in 70 the previous week, around 745,000. The BBC noted that millions of people gathered to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee up and down the UK between 2 and 5 June, which will have given Covid many opportunities to spread.

3

PM showed ‘total contempt’ for north

Boris Johnson has been accused of showing “total contempt” for the north of England after he pulled out of a conference in Doncaster at the last minute. It later emerged that the PM was in Ukraine, meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. “Even his most loyal supporters here are pretty pissed off,” said one MP. Another warned him it was an “illusion” to think the party would comfortably hold seats that it won for the first time in 2019 at the next general election.

4

Body of Dom Phillips identified

Police in Brazil have confirmed that the remains of one of the two bodies found in the remote Amazon rainforest are those of the British journalist Dom Phillips. The second body - believed to be that of indigenous expert Bruno Pereira - is still being examined. Earlier on Friday, police said that two men arrested for the murder had not acted on orders from above, in an attempt to dampen speculation that their killing was carried out at the behest of an organised crime group.

5

Troops grounded after orgy video

Hundreds of paratroopers have been banned from an annual Nato deployment to the Balkans after videos emerged of an orgy at a military barracks, reported The Guardian. In a letter to generals and commanding officers, the new head of the army said he was not willing to “risk the mission or the reputation of the British army” by deploying them overseas. The Royal Military Police was called in after sex tapes were circulated showing a civilian woman having sex with eight men from 16 Air Assault Brigade as dozens of others watched on.

6

Schools and libraries face cuts

School-building projects, swimming pools and libraries are facing emergency funding cuts because local councils have been hit by an unexpected £1.7bn hole in their budgets, reported The Guardian. Rampant inflation and soaring energy bills have forced town halls to scrap financial plans from a few months ago. Without help from the government, it will leave them no option but to cut services. Georgia Gould, chair of London councils, warned that the crisis would force leaders “to make reductions to services, affecting those residents who need them most”.

7

William ‘grieves’ for lost Harry bond

Friends of the Duke of Cambridge have told the Daily Mail he is “grieving for what he has lost” in his relationship with his brother, the Duke of Sussex. A source said that William, who turns 40 next week, thinks Harry has been “sucked into an alien world” since moving to Los Angeles. The sources also claim relations between the two are still at “rock bottom” but insist that Prince William “truly loves Harry”.

8

Treasury warns against pay rises

The chief secretary to the Treasury said employers must be “very careful” about giving staff big pay rises because they could fuel an inflationary spiral reminiscent of the 1970s. Simon Clarke warned public sector workers that they should not have “unrealistic expectations” about their pay because increases would only “prolong and intensify” the cost of living crisis. The Bank of England warned this week that inflation could rise to 11% in October.

9

Putin blasts ‘mad’ sanctions

Western sanctions on Russia are “mad and thoughtless,” Vladimir Putin has said. The Russian president said “the economic blitzkrieg against Russia had no chance of succeeding from the very beginning” because the restrictions were “more harmful” to those who imposed them. The speech on Friday, which the Kremlin had trailed as “extremely important”, was delayed by 90 minutes after Putin’s spokesperson cited “large-scale” cyberattacks on the conference’s computer systems.

10

Starmer hands in Covid questionnaire

A Labour spokesman has confirmed that leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner have returned questionnaires to police investigating whether they broke Covid rules. Durham police are exploring whether regulations were violated after Sir Keir was caught on camera drinking a beer in an MP’s office in April 2021. The two politicians, who deny breaking lockdown rules, have said they will stand down if they are issued with fixed-penalty notices by police.

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