Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 June 2022

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

1

Tories ‘could lose both by-elections’

A leading polling expert has predicted that the Conservatives will lose their Wakefield seat in today’s by-election and may also lose in Tiverton & Honiton if Labour supporters vote tactically. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been accused of deliberately running weaker campaigns in the seat where the other is stronger and Professor Sir John Curtice said a double defeat would mean Boris Johnson’s government would be “at risk of losing its electoral footing”. Voters go to the polls in both constituencies today, with the results expected on Friday morning.

2

Sanctions ‘hampering earthquake response’

The Taliban has appealed for international support after Afghanistan was hit by a devastating 6.1 magnitude earthquake. More than 1,000 people have been killed and at least 1,500 injured after the quake struck about 27 miles from the city of Khost, close to the country’s border with Pakistan. The Taliban said sanctions imposed by the West after the withdrawal of US-led coalition forces last year have limited its ability to deal with Wednesday’s disaster.

3

Shapps accused by union

The RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has accused Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of ruining strike negotiations by “not allowing Network Rail to withdraw their letter threatening redundancy for 2,900 of our members”. Shapps said the allegation was “a total lie” and insisted the union was solely to blame for the “massive disruption”. Labour has accused Boris Johnson of being more interested in “blaming everyone else” rather than stopping the strikes. A second walkout is under way today after talks between the RMT union and railway employers broke down.

4

Polio spreading again

Health officials warned yesterday that Polio is spreading in Britain for the first time since 1984. A small outbreak was identified in London by analysing sewage. The NHS will begin a campaign to ensure children are vaccinated, after uptake of routine childhood jabs, including polio, fell during the Covid pandemic. The Times said the overall risk “remains low because of the high level of vaccine coverage across the population” and said parents should ensure children are up-to-date on all their vaccinations.

5

Murdoch and Hall ‘divorcing’

Rupert Murdoch and actress Jerry Hall are to divorce, according to reports in the US press. The New York Times cited two anonymous sources for its report on the purported split. Sources close to Murdoch said they were “surprised” to hear the marriage had ended, the paper said. Murdoch was married three times previously. Hall married Mick Jagger but the union was annulled nine years later. Representatives for Murdoch and Hall, who wed at a mansion in central London in 2016, are yet to comment.

6

CBI boss warns of recession

Britain is “definitely” heading for a recession, the outgoing president of the CBI has said. In an interview with The Telegraph, Lord Bilimoria said households are “tightening their belts” as the Office for National Statistics reported inflation of 9.1% in May. He dismissed the argument that tax cuts would push up prices further, saying: “Helping businesses now will not fuel inflation. You need to generate demand, consumers are already beginning to tighten and not spend. You need to encourage spending.”

7

Medics face Maradona homicide charges

Eight medics are to stand trial accused of criminal negligence relating to the death of the football star Diego Maradona. A judge has ordered a culpable homicide trial after a medical panel found that the footballer’s treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities”. The crime can carry a sentence of eight to 25 years in prison. Maradona died in November 2020 of a heart attack in Buenos Aires, aged 60.

8

PM to meet Charles in Rwanda

Boris Johnson will tell the Prince of Wales he is “proud” of his Rwanda migrants policy during a meeting tomorrow, The Telegraph said. It will be the first meeting between the two men since it emerged that Prince Charles privately described the planned deportation of asylum seekers to the country as “appalling”. Clarence House described the meeting, which will take place in Rwanda, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, as Johnson “popping in for a cup of tea” with the Prince. Johnson said that he is “very much looking forward” to it.

9

Vienna ‘most liveable city’

Vienna has been named as the world’s most pleasant place to live, according to an annual report. The Austrian capital grabbed the top spot from Auckland, which sank to 34th place due to  New Zealand’s pandemic restrictions. The report by The Economist said of Vienna that “stability and good infrastructure are the city’s main charms for its inhabitants, supported by good healthcare and plenty of opportunities for culture and entertainment.” London was the world’s 33rd most liveable city.

10

Lords turns down Lewis

Consumer champion Martin Lewis said that he applied recently to become a member of the House of Lords but was turned down. Speaking to the BBC, the founder of the Money Saving Expert website said that he had been “honest” about not having enough time to attend many sittings. A House of Lords spokesperson said appointments were “not determined on the basis of caring or family circumstances” and that “some very good candidates” were rejected.

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