Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 July 2022

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

1

PM ‘determined to stay on’

Boris Johnson plans to fight and stay in Downing Street despite another dramatic day of resignations. Priti Patel, Michael Gove and Grant Shapps called for the PM to step down yesterday and Attorney General Suella Braverman launched a leadership challenge as Johnson’s authority collapsed. However, Johnson insisted he had a “colossal mandate to keep going” from voters. He added that he is “absolutely determined” to cling on to power and is “100% ready” to fight a second confidence vote.

2

MI5 and FBI warn of Beijing espionage

The heads of the MI5 and the FBI have sounded the alarm bell over Chinese economic espionage. In a rare joint address in London, MI5 director general Ken McCallum said that Beijing’s “covert pressure across the globe” amounts to the “most game-changing challenge we face”, while the FBI’s Chris Wray warned that Beijing was determined to steal the West’s technology for competitive gain. Wray added that the authorities in China are “looking for ways to insulate their economy against potential sanctions” and “trying to cushion themselves from harm if they do anything to draw the ire of the international community”.

3

Illinois suspect ‘considered second attack’

The suspect accused of opening fire on a Fourth of July parade near Chicago considered a second attack after the deadly shooting, police claimed. The 21-year-old man drove for more than two hours to Wisconsin after the shooting, said officers, where he saw another independence day celebration and allegedly considered attacking it. During yesterday’s court hearing, prosecutors also said he confessed to the shooting in Illinois, which left seven dead and dozens wounded.

4

Payout expected after trans tribunal win

A tax consultant who lost out on a job after claiming people cannot change their biological sex has won three claims at a new employment tribunal following an appeal. Maya Forstater, whose contract at the Centre for Global Development was not renewed in 2019 after she said biological sex could not be changed, was told by the tribunal she had faced discrimination and victimisation at work over her opinions on trans people. The Harry Potter author JK Rowling has praised her “warrior” friend Forstater, who could receive damages in the tens of thousands of pounds after the ruling.

5

Anxious pupils ‘failed by councils’

Children who are too anxious to attend school are being failed by English councils, according to a report by the local government ombudsman. The report found that many children have complex special educational needs and are unable to attend school because there are no suitable places available in their area, meaning they can go years without suitable alternative arrangements. “We know getting an alternative education set up as soon as possible is crucial to ensure children do not fall behind their peers,” said the local government and social care ombudsman, “but we see examples of councils trying to pass the buck, saying it is the school’s responsibility”.

6

Ukraine probes 21,000 ‘war crimes’

Ukraine’s prosecutor general told the BBC she is investigating more than 21,000 war crimes and crimes of aggression allegedly committed by Russia. Iryna Venediktova, who said she was receiving reports of between 200 to 300 war crimes a day, conceded that many trials would be held in absentia, but insisted that it was “a question of justice” to continue with the prosecutions. Moscow denies all war crimes allegations. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has announced that heavy weaponry from western allies has finally begun working at “full capacity” on front lines.

7

PM admits he met Lebedev

Boris Johnson has admitted that he met ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev at an Italian palazzo without officials present, when he was foreign secretary. Speaking to MPs, the PM said he had “certainly met” Lebedev privately. He added that the encounter took place “in Italy as it happens”. The admissions comes after the PM appointed Lebedev’s son Evgeny as a member of the House of Lords, which was seen as a “highly controversial move by some”, said the Daily Express.

8

PSNI officers probed over suicide body

Two police officers in Northern Ireland have been investigated for more than three years over claims they manipulated a suicide victim’s body and shared photos and a video online. The victim’s sister told the BBC that her brother’s genitalia had been exposed in one of the photographs and the man’s father said he was “physically sick to this day” over the allegations. Last year, two Met Police constables who took photos of two murdered sisters and shared the images on WhatsApp groups were jailed for 33 months.

9

Call for ‘cruel’ ham ban

Supermarkets must stop selling premium ham produced by EU farmers who use methods banned in the UK, animal rights campaigners have said. Compassion in World Farming said most Parma ham on UK shelves is farmed using crates that confine pregnant sows. Although the crates – called “sow stalls” – have been banned in the UK since 1999, their limited use in the EU is legal. Sarah Moyes, the group’s senior campaigns manager, said customers “are likely to be shocked to discover that these ‘high-end’ products are from systems that keep animals in such cruel cages”.

10

Downblousing ‘should be criminal offence’

Sharing so-called “downblouse” images without permission should be a criminal offence, the Law Commission has said. The body that advises on law reform said victims of downblousing – the surreptitious taking of photographs down a woman’s top – should be granted lifetime anonymity, to encourage them to report and support prosecutions. “Current laws on taking or sharing sexual or nude images of someone without their consent are inconsistent, based on a narrow set of motivations and do not go far enough to cover disturbing and abusive new behaviours born in the smartphone era,” said Penney Lewis, the criminal law commissioner.

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