Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 July 2022

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

1

Trump faces new Capitol probe

The US Justice Department is investigating Donald Trump over the Capitol riot, the Washington Post reported. A federal grand jury has been questioning witnesses about conversations involving Trump about replacing election results in swing states won by Joe Biden. Last night, the former president returned to Washington for the first time since leaving office, to repeat his false claims that he won the 2020 election. He hinted once again that he will run in the 2024 US election and has suggested that he will make further policy speeches “in the weeks and months to come”.

2

Tory debate halted

The second televised debate between the Tory leadership candidates was halted dramatically last night after the presenter Kate McCann fainted. Viewers heard a loud crash and could see Liz Truss holding her hands to her face in shock, then walking over to where McCann had been standing before the video feed was cut. Rishi Sunak rushed over to McCann and held her hand, said the Daily Mail. McCann, TalkTV’s political editor, was stand-in host for the evening after The Sun’s Harry Cole pulled out due to Covid. She was said to be “fine” after the incident.

3

Latest rail strike begins

A new round of national rail strikes has begun, with only 20% of train journeys expected to go ahead today. As 40,000 of its members walked out over pay, jobs and terms, the RMT accused Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of preventing the rail industry from doing a deal with the union. The Department for Transport said the RMT was “hell-bent on creating further misery for passengers across the UK”. Further rail strikes are planned for 18 and 20 August, and London Underground staff are planning to strike on 19 August.

4

England through to Euro final

England’s Lionesses beat Sweden 4-0 to book their place in the women’s Euro 2022 final at Wembley. Sarina Wiegman’s side will now face either Germany or France, who are playing each other on Wednesday in Milton Keynes. It is the first time since 2009 that England Women has reached a major final and they are the favourites to lift the trophy for the first time at Wembley on Sunday. The Daily Mail said the “rampant” lionesses were “roarsome”.

5

Long Covid bill revealed

Long Covid is costing the UK £1.5bn in lost earnings per year, according to a new study. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that 110,000 of the two million people suffering from long Covid – which is when symptoms have been reported for at least three months – were signed off sick over the last 12 months. The Independent said the findings will “heap further pressure on the government to tackle a problem which is expected to grow further as infections rise again”.

6

Johnson linked to Nato post

Boris Johnson is being touted to become the next secretary general of Nato, The Telegraph reported. The PM is being linked with the key defence post amid speculation that the incumbent Jens Stoltenberg will stand down next September. Johnson would need to quit as an MP to take up the role, which is appointed unanimously by Nato member countries. Richard Drax MP, a senior Conservative member of the defence select committee, said “any distinguished Brit would be a great choice” and “if indeed that is what Boris Johnson wants to go and do, of course I would support that”.

7

Ministers criticised over Covid deals

The government played “fast and loose” when awarding £777m in Covid contracts to Randox, a healthcare firm that employed the Conservative MP Owen Paterson as a lobbyist, the House of Commons public accounts committee has ruled. The Guardian said the “damning” report concluded that the government made a series of failures, and added that officials were aware Paterson had been in direct contact with Matt Hancock, the health secretary at the time, while promoting Randox. Paterson resigned from parliament last year after he wrongly used his position to lobby for his clients.

8

Beijing hits back at Tory hopefuls

China has told the Tory leadership candidates to refrain from “hyping up the so-called ‘China threat’”. After Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss talked tough on the issue, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said: “I want to make it clear to certain British politicians that making irresponsible remarks about China, including hyping up the so-called ‘China threat,’ cannot solve one’s own problems.” Sunak had described China as the “largest threat to Britain and the world’s security and prosperity this century”, while Truss said the UK should limit technology exports to “authoritarian regimes”.

9

Pollution and dementia link confirmed

A government review has confirmed a link between air pollution and a rise in dementia, reported the Daily Mail. For many years, toxic airborne particles from cars and fossil fuels have been associated with rapidly increasing rates of the disease, and a major review on behalf of the UK Health Security Agency has now concluded it is “likely that air pollution can contribute to a decline in mental ability and dementia in older people”. Researchers examined 70 human studies, including population-based research.

10

Optician suspended for ‘unacceptable breach’

An optician has been suspended after he mistook a female patient’s yoga moves in his shop for flirting. The woman had tilted her head down and bent forward when trying on a pair of glasses to make sure they stayed on when she performed her postures. John Snelgrove, 64, said he thought she was “oscillating her posterior” in a provocative way to get his interest. He later texted the woman to ask if she was “interested in taking it further”. The General Optical Council said he “should have been well aware that what he was doing was an unacceptable breach of professional boundaries”.

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