Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 26 June 2022

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

1

PM’s third term remark ‘delusional’

Senior Tories said Boris Johnson was “delusional” after he said he was already planning for his third term as prime minister, just two days after the Tories suffered a double by-election defeat. Asked by reporters whether he would like to serve a second term as PM, Johnson said: “At the moment I am thinking actively about the third term.” The Sunday Times said rebel Tory MPs are discussing defections and fresh letters of no confidence, as “mutinous” cabinet ministers consider whether to move against Johnson.

2

Biden approves gun reforms

Joe Biden has signed into law the first major gun safety legislation passed in decades. It imposes tougher checks on young buyers and encourages states to remove guns from people considered a threat. “God willing, it's going to save a lot of lives,” the US president said at the White House as he finished signing the bill. CNN said the development marks “a significant bipartisan breakthrough on one of the most contentious policy issues in Washington”.

3

Charles accepted cash in suitcase

The Prince of Wales accepted €3m in cash from a controversial Qatari politician, reported The Sunday Times. The cash came from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, the former PM of Qatar. It was handed to the heir to the British throne in a suitcase on one occasion, a holdall on another, as well as in Fortnum & Mason carrier bags. The sheikh, one of the richest people in the world, has been described as the “man who bought London”. Clarence House insisted the money was “passed immediately to one of the prince’s charities”.

4

Putin promises nukes for Belarus

Vladimir Putin said Moscow will send nuclear capable short-range missile systems to its ally Belarus in the coming months. The Russian president said Iskander-M systems “can fire ballistic and cruise missiles, both conventional and nuclear types”. The missiles have a range of up to 500km (300 miles). Speaking in St Petersburg, Putin also said Moscow would help to modify Belarusian SU-25 warplanes so that they could carry nuclear weapons.

5

Lynch bites back at Shapps

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, has told Grant Shapps to “tone down the rhetoric and get on with his job”. The transport secretary had accused the union of spreading a “total lie” over claims he was “wrecking” negotiations by refusing to allow Network Rail to withdraw redundancy threats. However, Lynch said: “We haven’t made any false claims.” He said those in power “have never worked on the tools” and were brought up on a diet of “Latin and Greek”. The 24-hour rail strikes entered a third day yesterday.

6

Thunberg warns of ‘catastrophe’

Greta Thunberg has warned that the planet faces “total natural catastrophe” unless citizens take urgent action. During a surprise appearance at Glastonbury festival, the 19-year-old activist led chants of “climate … justice” during a speech from the Pyramid stage. She said: “I would strongly suggest that all of those who have not yet been greenwashed out of our senses to stand our ground. Do you not let them drag us another inch closer to the edge. Right now is where we stand our ground.”

7

Presenter under fire for abortion term

A leading BBC presenter has been criticised for using the term “pro-life” to describe anti-abortion campaigners in a segment about the US supreme court’s overturning of Roe v Wade. The term, which is considered partisan, was used twice by Amol Rajan during the Today programme on Radio 4. Women’s organisations criticised his use of the term, which they said was “disappointing” and “speaks to the huge power and influence” of the anti-abortion lobby. A BBC spokesperson said: “The style guide suggests anti-abortion as the preferred term.”

8

Burnham tells Labour to back PR

Andy Burnham said Labour should back proportional representation for general elections to allow more cooperation between political parties on a programme of urgently needed social reform. Writing for The Observer, he said: “What I am proposing is cooperating now on a programme for political reform. At a grassroots level, Labour is moving towards support for PR.” He denied that his intervention is part of a leadership bid against Keir Starmer. “This is nothing of the sort,” he said. “I am doing this because I want Keir to seize the moment.”

9

Oslo suspect charged with terrorism

A 42-year-old man charged with killing two people and injuring 21 others at a gay bar in Norway has been named as Zaniar Matapour. According to local media, Matapour was born in Iranian Kurdistan before arriving as a refugee in Bergen, Norway at 12 years old. He is a Norwegian national and lives in Oslo. He is suspected of launching a terrorist attack during Oslo’s Pride Festival. Police said: “Our overall assessment is that there are grounds to believe that he wanted to cause grave fear in the population.”

10

WHO plays down monkeypox fears

The World Health Organization has said the monkeypox outbreak is not a public health emergency of international concern. After the health body convened an emergency committee meeting to discuss the severity of the monkeypox outbreak, director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “overall they advised me that at this moment the event does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, which is the highest level of alert WHO can issue”. There have been more than 3,200 confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death reported to the WHO in 48 countries this year.

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