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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 12 May 2023

1

Hunt faces tax pressure

Jeremy Hunt is facing a fresh showdown on tax with Tory MPs after the Bank of England raised interest rates again and upgraded its economic forecasts. Pressure will grow on the chancellor to cut taxes after it was predicted that Britain is on course to escape recession with 0.9% growth over the next year. However, according to the i news site, Hunt is understood to be concerned by forecasts of stubbornly high inflation – and is set to urge MPs to “hold fire” on taxation until prices are under control again.

UK economic woes: are tax cuts the answer?

2

Migrants head to US border

Thousands of migrants are making their way to the US border as a key immigration law changes. The Title 42 law, which had enabled the speedy expulsion of migrants, has now expired. Tens of thousands had travelled north through Mexico towards border crossings as the “clock ran out” on the law, said Sky News. US President Joe Biden has admitted that “it’s going to be chaotic for a little while” now the measure is lifted.

3

Chains promise price cuts

Supermarkets have told the government that food prices have peaked and will start falling in the coming months. The Treasury held a call with leading chains after the governor of the Bank of England blamed the “very big underlying shock” for stubbornly high inflation and amid ministerial fears that food price inflation has proved more “sticky” despite falling energy prices, reported The Times. Food and drink price inflation increased by 19.2% year on year in March, up from the 18.2% in February, noted The Times.

Price of pasta doubles: what food is getting more expensive in UK?

4

NYC protects overweight people

Overweight people are protected against discrimination in New York under a law passed by the city council yesterday. The new legislation means that people cannot be denied public housing or jobs for being obese. “There has been increased momentum with weight discrimination laws over the last few years,” Jennifer Shinall, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School, told The Telegraph, adding that “the fact that this is in New York is symbolic”. San Francisco has outlawed weight discrimination and similar laws are under consideration in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

5

Strikes to cause rail disruption

Rail passengers face disruption today as workers from the Aslef union walk out in a long-running dispute over pay. Aslef members working for more than a dozen train operators will strike on Friday and members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will strike on Saturday as thousands make their way to the Eurovision Song Contest final in Liverpool. Both unions have been accused by Transport Secretary Mark Harper of targeting the contest. Train companies said the action “is likely to result in little or no services across large areas of the network”.

Strikes: is Sunak nearing the end of his unions problem?

6

Further Morgan hacking claims

Piers Morgan “lies at the heart” of allegations of unlawful information-gathering at the Mirror Group, the High Court trial brought by Prince Harry and other celebrities has been told. The Duke of Sussex’s lawyer outlined the complaints, including alleged phone hacking, which Morgan denies. “What we have, we say, is the direct involvement of Morgan in a number of these incidents,” said David Sherborne. “Morgan lies right at the heart of this in a number of ways. He was a very hands-on editor.”

7

Biden ‘made sure Brits didn’t screw around’

Joe Biden said that he had to visit Ireland last month to ensure the “Brits didn’t screw around” with the Good Friday agreement. Speaking to reporters at an event in New York, the US president said that he had had to visit Belfast and Dublin to ensure that the UK government abided by its commitments, despite the Windsor framework between Britain and the EU to reform the Northern Ireland protocol being agreed before his visit was confirmed. The Times said that Downing Street was “clearly determined to avoid a diplomatic spat” and “refused to be drawn on Biden’s comments”.

Can Biden break the Stormont stalemate?

8

Zelenskyy barred from Eurovision

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been blocked by the BBC and other international broadcasters from addressing the Eurovision Song Contest. The Ukrainian president asked to make a surprise video appearance during the final, hoping to urge the worldwide audience of 160m to continue their support for his country in the war. However, the European Broadcasting Union, an alliance of more than 100 broadcasters that oversees the contest, said that “one of the cornerstones of the contest is the non-political nature of the event”.

Eurovision 2023: what you need to know about Liverpool extravaganza

9

MP drops assault claim

A Labour MP reported one of her own party’s frontbenchers to police for allegedly sexually assaulting her. The unnamed MP contacted the Metropolitan Police in March and reported the allegation to party whips. She later told officers that she did not want the investigation to continue. The MP she complained about remains a shadow minister. Speaking to Tortoise, the woman said she felt the frontbencher’s popularity within the party would stand against her.

10

Royalist held after protest mix-up

A fan of the Royal family has said she was arrested and held for 13 hours during the Coronation because she was unknowingly standing near Just Stop Oil protesters. “I feel like once I was in the system they didn’t listen – I tried to explain that I wasn’t part of the group,” said Alice Chambers. Speaking to BBC Newsnight, she said she was handcuffed, fingerprinted and questioned in a police station. The police say they are reviewing the incident and trying to establish the full details of what happened.

Coronation protests: did the Met overreact?

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