Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 14 July 2022

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

1

Mourdant ‘the one to beat’

Penny Mordaunt has been named the frontrunner in the Conservative leadership race after she attracted the backing of nearly 70 MPs and a survey suggested that she would beat Rishi Sunak in a final run-off. The news puts pressure on Liz Truss, who will attempt to reinvigorate her campaign today by promising an “aspiration nation”. Yesterday, Sunak won the first round in the leadership race with 88 votes, with Mordaunt second (67) and Truss third (50). Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi were knocked out of the contest. The second round of voting begins today at 11.30am, with the result announced at 3pm.

2

Economic outlook has ‘darkened significantly’

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the outlook for the global economy has “darkened significantly” in recent months, leading to an increasing risk of recession. The group’s head, Kristalina Georgieva, said the economic fallout from the Ukraine war is “only getting worse”. The IMF would be downgrading its growth forecasts for global growth for both 2022 and 2023 later this month, she added, having warned in April that its forecast of 3.6% was likely to be revised downwards.

3

Water firms warn customers

Water companies have told millions of households to reduce the amount of water they use or face a hosepipe ban. Thames Water advised customers in London to reduce usage by taking shorter showers and using watering cans instead of hoses in the garden. South East Water has said usage was 50% higher than normal as customers filled “giant paddling pools” – which can hold thousands of litres of water – to cool down in the heat.

4

Tory hopefuls ‘ignoring energy crisis’

Leading charities said the Conservative leadership candidates are ignoring the “catastrophic” winter energy crisis. In a joint letter to the hopefuls, the 50 groups, including Oxfam, Save the Children and Fuel Poverty Action, said none had made “credible” proposals to support families and businesses to “keep their buildings warm this winter”. Boris Johnson will not announce any policy that could tie the hands of his successor and the letter’s signatories fear that this could lead to key decisions on cost of living left until the autumn when a new leader is elected.

5

Sri Lanka PM calls on army

The prime minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has told the military to do “whatever is necessary to restore order” after protesters stormed his office yesterday. Tensions are high in the country after a promised resignation from the president has still not been confirmed. It is believed that the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, escaped to the Maldives, where he is awaiting a private jet to take him to his final destination of Singapore. There have been months of protests in the country due to the cost-of-living crisis.

6

Macron suffers ‘nightmare’ defeat

One of the first bills put to parliament by Emmanuel Macron’s new government was defeated yesterday. The three main opposition parties – the far-right National Rally, the hard-left La France Insoumise and right-wing Républicains – united to reject a proposal to reinstate vaccine passes. The Telegraph said the development is a “nightmare” for Macron and raises “major doubts” over his ability to pass new laws. Macron failed to win a majority at last month’s polls and could not form a coalition government.

7

Netflix teams up with Microsoft

Netflix has joined forces with Microsoft to offer a cheaper subscription plan to customers that will show adverts. The Wall Street Journal said Netflix is trying to renegotiate the deals it has with major entertainment firms so that it can show adverts as part of its service. CNN added that the company is “going through one of the roughest periods in its 25-year history” after losing subscribers in the first quarter for the first time in more than a decade.

8

Westwood faces new abuse claim

Tim Westwood is facing allegations from a woman who said he first had sex with her when she was 14. The woman said the DJ was in his 30s at the time and describes him as a “predator”. In April, a number of women accused the former Radio 1 DJ of predatory and unwanted sexual behaviour and touching, in incidents between 1992 and 2017. The women, who are all black, also accused him of abusing his position in the music industry. Westwood has strenuously denied the previous allegations, but has yet to comment on the new claims.

9

More poorer students apply for uni

A record number of poorer school leavers are bidding for university places as applications from the richest teenagers stall. According to data from Ucas, the admissions service, the application rate for the most deprived fifth of 18-year-olds in Britain was 28.8%, up from 27% last year and more than ten percentage points higher than in 2013. Meanwhile, the UK-wide application rate for the most affluent fifth of school-leavers remained the same as last year – 59.5%. Ucas predicts it will see “record numbers of disadvantaged students start university and college in the autumn”.

10

Dylan demands phone pouches

Bob Dylan fans will not be able to use mobile phones at his forthcoming tour. The 81-year-old Nobel prize winner has become the latest performer to deploy Yondr pouches equipped with magnetic locks which concertgoers have to put their devices into. The pouches, which can only be unlocked at stations away from the stage, have previously been used by other acts, including Madonna, Alicia Keys and Dave Chappelle. They prevent the unauthorised release of concert footage through online platforms.

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