Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 13 June 2023


Sunak and Johnson ‘bicker’

A “war of words erupted” between Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson over the former PM’s attempt to give peerages to several close allies, said the BBC. Sunak accused his former boss of asking him to “overrule” the vetting advice on his House of Lords nominations, but Johnson accused Sunak of “talking rubbish”. The two men are “bickering like toddlers”, said The Mirror, which argued that the 227,000 “decent” Britons who died from Covid “deserve better”.

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Call for abortion law reform

MPs should debate abortion rules after a woman was jailed, the chair of the Commons equalities committee told the BBC. Carla Foster woman has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for procuring drugs to induce an abortion after the legal limit during the first national lockdown when women were able to carry out abortions at home. Caroline Nokes MP told the BBC the 1861 law used to prosecute mother-of-three Foster was “out of date”. Labour’s Stella Creasy also called for urgent reform, telling the BBC: “I don’t understand in whose interests this case was.”

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Blair and Hague AI warning

Britain “failed to anticipate” the AI revolution and risks becoming “irrelevant” in the field, Tony Blair and William Hague have warned. In a damning report, the former political foes said “if the country does not up its game quickly, there is a risk of never catching up”. At the “heart” of their proposals is a new nationally funded AI lab, said The Times, and “without such an endeavour, there is a strong possibility that the UK simply becomes irrelevant to the progress of potentially the most transformative technology in history”, they said.

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Outcry over BOGOF plan

Ministers said they will press ahead with plans to ban ‘buy one, get one free’ (Bogof) supermarket offers despite the government’s own findings that it will only result in a reduction of four calories per person. Downing Street “faced a backlash from its own backbenchers” after “doubling down on the policy”, said The Telegraph. “It’s not the government’s job to make people thin – it’s our own personal responsibility,” said Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield.


Berlusconi ‘populist innovator’

The “biggest legacy” of Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister who died yesterday aged 86, was to “pioneer a new style of sleazy populist politics that was subsequently adopted by the likes of Boris Johnson and Donald Trump”, said the i news site. “Berlusconi was an absolute innovator,” Lorenzo Catellani, a professor of political science, told the outlet. He added that the Italian resembled Trump by “battling the political and intellectual establishment” and “presenting himself as the extraordinary representative of the people”.

Silvio Berlusconi: ‘bounce-back politician’ dies aged 86


Queen’s footman freezes to death

An RAF airman who served as the late Queen’s personal footman and carried the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, died from hypothermia while homeless, a coroner’s court has heard. Malcolm Livingstone, 44, was left homeless while suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after he returned from the Iraq War. The court was told how he was found dead in the grounds of a church next to a shelter that he had approached for a bed on two occasions in the hope of not sleeping outside.


Dorries rails against ‘sinister forces’

Nadine Dorries said she is “broken hearted” as she claimed that Rishi Sunak deliberately blocked her from getting a peerage and is “not telling the truth” about what happened. Speaking to TalkTV, the Boris Johnson loyalist blamed the PM for her disappointment. “He, very cleverly of course, used his political secretary James Forsyth to do the heavy lifting, but obviously, he works for Rishi Sunak,” she said. Writing in the Daily Mail, she said that “sinister forces” stopped “a girl born into poverty in Liverpool, from reaching the House of Lords”.

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Bank settles Epstein claim

JP Morgan has agreed to pay around $290m (£232m) to settle a lawsuit brought on behalf of alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein. The legal action had alleged the US bank ignored warning signs about the sex offender during a 15-year relationship. Lawyers for the lender said the settlement was “in the best interests of all parties”. A lawyer for the victims said the case was “an object lesson of how much farther we need to go… to really implement the rule of law — not just for the rich and powerful, but for the weak and the vulnerable”.

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Hunt hints at tax cuts

Jeremy Hunt has promised lower taxes in the future, reported The Telegraph. Speaking yesterday, the chancellor said that if state organisations were as efficient as the private sector, it would help the country save money and put it on a “sustainable path to lower taxes”. Rishi Sunak is likely to face “intense pressure” to “set out firm plans to cut taxes” as he faces three by-elections following last week’s high-profile resignations, said the paper.

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Trump sells candlelit dinners

Donald Trump will offer private candlelit dinners to his wealthy donors at a fundraising reception held hours after his court appearance today. The former president is offering the packages for $100,000 (£79,555). The 76-year-old will appear before a Miami federal court at 3pm local time on charges of illegally keeping top-secret files after he left the White House. His campaign said it expects to raise $2 million at the fundraiser, noted Politico.

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