Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 2 July 2022

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

1

Whip response galvanises rebels

“Furious” Conservative MPs have accused Boris Johnson of trying to protect his ally Chris Pincher before he was eventually forced to suspend the whip following allegations of sexual misconduct, said The i. Backbenchers said that Johnson’s failure to take immediate action against Pincher had “galvanised efforts” to oust the PM. Meanwhile, a parliamentary watchdog will examine allegations of sexual misconduct by the former Tory deputy chief whip, who is accused of groping two men in a private members’ club.

2

Deadly earthquakes hit Iran

At least five people were killed and 44 were injured following four earthquakes in southern Iran. The earthquakes were recorded near the southern port city of Bandar-e Lengeh, including one that registered at a 6.1 magnitude, said the United States Geological Survey website. Major geological fault lines “crisscross Iran,” explained The Guardian, and in 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake in Kerman province killed 31,000 people.

3

NHS scraps special Covid leave

Special paid leave for Covid-related sickness and isolation will be scrapped next week for NHS staff in England, as the health service reverts to normal contractual sick pay arrangements. The Royal College of Nursing said the decision indicated “how little” the government valued its staff but the Department of Health and Social Care insisted the changes were part of learning to live with Covid. Meanwhile, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed an estimated 2.3m people have the virus - a rise of 32% on the week before.

4

Truck driver ‘did not know air con was off’

The driver of a truck in which 53 migrants died from heat in Texas did not know that the air conditioner had stopped working, said an informant. Homero Zamorano, who was found hiding near the truck, is one of four people charged in the deadliest human trafficking incident in US history. CNN said the truck’s discovery came as US federal authorities launched an "unprecedented" operation to disrupt human smuggling networks amid an “influx” of migrants at the US-Mexico border.

5

Ministers consider 50-year mortgages

Boris Johnson is considering encouraging ultra-long mortgages that could be handed down to children. The Times said the PM, who is seeking “creative ways” to increase home ownership, hopes to encourage people who would otherwise struggle to take out a loan to take out longer-term mortgages, so their children could inherit the debt along with the property. However, mortgage experts warned that the plan would not address the fundamental issue of housing supply.

6

Met officers sacked for Meghan joke

Two Met Police officers have been sacked for making “abhorrent” comments in a WhatsApp group, including a racist joke about the Duchess of Sussex. A tribunal found that PC Sukhdev Jeer and PC Paul Hefford had committed gross misconduct, by posting messages mocking the people the officers were supposed to be policing. Vishal Misra, representing the Met, said the men's dismissal was necessary to maintain public confidence in the force.

7

Hall files for Murdoch divorce

Supermodel Jerry Hall has cited “irreconcilable differences” in her filing for divorce from Rupert Murdoch. Hall, 65, petitioned for the permanent split in court papers filed in Los Angeles County Courts on Friday, according to the Daily Mail. There is no mention of a prenuptial agreement in the divorce paperwork, which states that Hall is “unaware of the full nature and extent of all separate property assets and debts,” and “will amend this Petition when the information has been ascertained”.

8

Piquet ‘made further race slurs’

Evidence has emerged of further racist and homophobic slurs made by Nelson Piquet against Lewis Hamilton. Earlier this week, an interview was released of Piquet using a racial slur to describe Hamilton. Piquet insisted his words had been “ill thought-out” but denied they were racist, claiming they had been mistranslated. However, said The Guardian, his arguments “look all but hollow” after Brazilian website Grande Prêmio said a full version of the interview revealed Piquet repeated the racist term and added an anti-gay slur.

9

More Britons face death penalty

Two more Britons held by Russian proxies in Ukraine could face the death penalty. Andrew Hill from Plymouth and Dylan Healy from Huntingdon were reported to have also been charged with “forcible seizure of power” and undergoing “terrorist” training, according to a state news agency in Russian-controlled Donetsk. Meanwhile, at least 21 people died in overnight Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s southern Odesa region.

10

MP who walked in on Carrie named

The Independent has named the MP who walked in on Boris Johnson and then-girlfriend Carrie Symonds in a reportedly “compromising situation” when he was foreign secretary, as Northern Ireland minister Conor Burns. Downing Street said that Burns “flagged up” the couple’s relationship to Foreign Office officials. Johnson’s team discussed the potential risk to him of blackmail – or kompromat – as foreign secretary if any of Britain’s enemies discovered he was having an affair.

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