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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 18 June 2023

1

Tory revellers ‘mocked lockdown laws’

The Mirror has published a video showing Conservative Party workers drinking and dancing at a Christmas party during the Covid pandemic. In the footage, one person is heard saying it is OK to film “as long as we don’t stream that we’re, like, bending the rules”. The video was recorded at the Conservative party’s headquarters in December 2020, when London was in Tier 2 restrictions. The paper said it shows the staff “mocking lockdown laws”. Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said “the Tories think it’s one rule for them and one rule for everyone else”.

2

Macron ‘tries to block Wallace’

Emmanuel Macron is trying to block the UK defence secretary from becoming the next Nato secretary-general because the UK has left the European Union, claimed the Sunday Telegraph. Ben Wallace has been put forward as a potential successor to Jens Stoltenberg when the Norwegian’s reign comes to an end this autumn. However, French officials have reportedly told Nato colleagues that they want a figurehead from the EU, to make the bloc less reliant on the United States for its security.

3

Johnson power base ‘collapses’

Allies of Rishi Sunak have dismissed Boris Johnson as “just an ex-MP” of no particular importance, as the former prime minister’s “political power base appeared to collapse at Westminster”, said The Observer. Sunak’s supporters “made it clear the prime minister now regarded Johnson as a political irrelevance who no longer posed a real threat”, said the paper. However, said The Sunday Times, Johnson is “chipper” and “still thinking he can do a Churchill” and return to 10 Downing Street.

4

Spotify chief calls Sussexes ‘grifters’

A Spotify boss has described the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as “f***ing grifters” after their lucrative podcast deal was dropped after one series. On Friday, the couple and the streaming giant said they had “mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together”. However, Bill Simmons said: “The f—ing grifters. That’s the podcast we should have launched with them.” He added: “I’ve got to get drunk one night and tell the story of the Zoom I had with Harry to try and help him with a podcast idea. It’s one of my best stories.”

5

Students ‘hacked to death’ in Uganda

At least 37 people have been killed and others have been abducted in an attack on a secondary school in western Uganda. Students from the school are thought to be among the dead. The Allied Democratic Forces – based in the Democratic Republic of Congo – have been blamed and a manhunt is under way. “Shock, grief and disbelief” have gripped the nation in the wake of the attack, said The Monitor, adding that students were “hacked and burnt to death”.

6

Warning as storms approach UK

Thunderstorms, winds and hail are expected to sweep across the UK today and could cause flash flooding, the Met Office has warned. Forecasters said that warm, humid air this week has caused the storms to develop. The stormy weather is expected between midday and midnight and there is a risk of “flooding, power cuts, possible train disruption as well as difficult driving conditions and possible road closures”, said the inews site. Temperatures will still be relatively warm.

7

Tory MP quits after misconduct claim

A Conservative MP who was suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct has quit. David Warburton, who represents Somerton and Frome in Somerset, becomes the fourth Tory MP in eight days to announce their resignation. He claimed he was denied a fair hearing by a parliamentary harassment watchdog investigating allegations that he had made unwanted advances towards two women, adding that the past 14 months since allegations were published in a national newspaper had been “extraordinarily difficult”.

8

Blinken in Beijing for talks

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Beijing for two days of meetings with Chinese officials, the first visit by an American diplomat to China in almost five years. His two-day trip “comes amid frosty bilateral ties”, said Al Jazeera, and both sides “have played down expectations of a significant breakthrough”. It is not clear whether Blinken will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, noted the BBC.

9

Schools ‘close to crisis point’

Schools in England have “reached crisis point” as they struggle to recruit English teachers, with hundreds still trying to fill vacancies in time for September, said The Observer. Secondary heads warned that if the government does not tackle low pay, overwork and the pressure of inspections by Ofsted, growing teacher shortages will mean “spiralling class sizes” and children falling behind. Meanwhile, teachers in England have announced that they will strike over pay again on two dates in July.

10

William wants to end homelessness

Prince William has told The Sunday Times that he will “end homelessness”. The prince said he will launch “a really big project” from his and the Princess of Wales’s Royal Foundation. He pledged to use his own land for social housing in a bid to end homelessness. “It’s nerve-racking,” he says. “But I’m really excited. I’ve been waiting for the right time to do this.” He was 11 when his mother took him to a homeless shelter in London — “a formative moment for William”, said the paper.

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