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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 17 January 2023

1

Met rapist said he was ‘untouchable’

The Metropolitan Police commissioner Mark Rowley said the force is investigating 1,000 sexual and domestic abuse claims involving about 800 of its officers. The admission came after PC David Carrick pleaded guilty to 49 offences, including dozens of rapes. Carrick bragged to a woman that he was “untouchable” due to his position in the force, said the Daily Mail. The revelations expose “a deeply rotten misogynistic culture” within Britain’s largest police force, Harriet Wistrich, a solicitor and director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, told The Guardian.

Mark Rowley: new police chief admits officers are ‘treating women appallingly’

2

Boris to publish ‘memoir like no other’

Boris Johnson has announced plans to publish his memoirs, fuelling speculation that he is considering a political comeback. The former prime minister has signed a deal with HarperCollins to write “a prime ministerial memoir like no other”. He is likely to start work on the account later this year when he has finished a “much delayed” biography of William Shakespeare, said The Telegraph. His former culture secretary Nadine Dorries is to publish an account of Johnson’s downfall, titled “The Plot”. Johnson is said to have told his allies to “tell her everything” from his turbulent time in office.

The highs and lows of Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister

3

Sickness costing UK economy

Rising ill health among working-age people is costing the economy about £150bn a year, according to an analysis for The Times. The cost, the equivalent of 7% of GDP, has increased by about 60% in the past six years. “For perhaps the first time since the industrial revolution, health factors are acting as a serious headwind to UK economic growth,” said Andy Haldane, former chief economist at the Bank of England and head of the government’s levelling-up task force.

4

‘Hangover’ from Truss instability

A “hangover effect” remains from the financial chaos seen during the brief reign of Liz Truss, the governor of the Bank of England has said. Speaking to MPs, Andrew Bailey said that although the cost of government borrowing, which soared after the mini-budget, had normalised, international investors were still wary about lending money to the UK government. “It’s going to take some time to convince everybody that we’re back to where we were before,” he said.

Where did Jeremy Hunt’s £55bn black hole come from?

5

Indictments over Brazil riot

Brazil’s attorney general has indicted 39 people for their alleged involvement in the storming of the Senate building on 8 January. The filing says the individuals used violence and threats to try to abolish democracy as thousands of supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro attacked government buildings following his election defeat last year. “Perceived threats to democratic order” are a “sensitive subject” in a country where military rule ended in 1985, said the BBC. The Rio Times reported that a former minister of justice in Bolsonaro’s government has also been arrested.

Bolsonaro supporters storm Brazil’s presidential palace

6

Gender row ‘reshapes independence debate’

The UK government’s decision to block Gender Recognition Reform risks “reshaping the independence debate”, said The Scotsman. Yesterday, Westminster decided to block the Scottish bill designed to make it easier for people to change their legal gender, the first time a Scottish law has been blocked for affecting UK-wide law. Ministers in London said the draft law would conflict with equality protections applying across Great Britain.

Battle of Britain: will Rishi Sunak block Scotland’s gender recognition law?

7

Teachers vote to walk out

The education secretary Gillian Keegan accused teachers of “turning their backs” on children after the largest teaching union voted in favour of strike action. Some 90% of those who voted in the National Education Union ballot backed a walk out, which will take place on 1 February, 15 and 16 March.  The NEU is the UK’s largest education union, and the strike is expected to affect 23,400 schools in England and Wales. The union is calling for a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise for members.

Winter strikes: can a resolution be found?

8

Diversity rises in England and Wales

“Rainbow” towns and cities are being created as ethnic segregation in England and Wales falls, according to a new study. Researchers found there was close to a tenfold increase in diversity in Boston, Lincolnshire. Barking and Dagenham enjoyed a ninefold increase, while diversity in Watford and Reading increased fourfold. “We do see growing diversity and spread,” said Gemma Catney, population geographer at Queen’s University Belfast and a co-author of the study. “There is a broader rainbow of different ethnic groups represented across districts than ever before.”

9

Pope ‘has no hotline to God’

Pope Francis “has no phone contact” with God, according to German cardinal Gerhard Müller. The Times said the 75-year-old German prelate is “setting himself up as a champion for conservative critics within the Catholic Church” and believes the Pope has “messed up” everything from his green policy and outreach to Islam, to his bid to take advice from rank-and-file Catholics. He also believes the Pope does not speak enough about God. “The Pope has no phone contact with the Holy Spirit,” he told the paper. Last year saw a great deal of speculation that The Pope could be looking to step down from the role.

Will Pope Francis resign?

10

Amazon ‘will drop Clarkson’

Jeremy Clarkson is “likely” to be dropped by Amazon, after he admitted that the streaming service was “incandescent” over his newspaper column about Meghan Markle. The broadcaster faced a backlash after writing in The Sun last month that he was dreaming of the day that she was made to parade naked through every British town while crowds hurled excrement and chanted “shame”. Amazon is expected to part ways with the former Top Gear host beyond shows that have already been commissioned, according to industry website Variety.

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