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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 21 July 2023

1

Two defeats for Sunak

Labour has won the Selby and Ainsty by-election, overturning a majority of 20,137 votes, and the Liberal Democrats won the Somerton and Frome by-election by more than 11,000 votes. However, despite predictions the Conservatives would lose all three polls, the party narrowly held off Labour in Boris Johnson’s former Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency by 495 votes after a recount. Labour’s loss is being blamed on the expansion of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone in the capital under Labour mayor Sadiq Khan. Khan “has lost Labour this election,” said the victorious Tory, Steve Tuckwell.

The cost of clean air: who will win the battle over low emissions zones?

2

Trump makes threat

Donald Trump shared a new video on his Truth Social account in which he promises to “do things that have never been done before” to people who “f*** around with us”. The nine-second video features a close-up, black and white image of the former president’s face set to ominous music and Trump saying, “If you f*** around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are going to do things to you that have never been done before.” The message is “apocalyptic” said The Independent.

Biden’s dilemma: should he pardon Trump?

3

Public funding of monarchy to rise

King Charles III will receive a “huge pay rise” from the UK taxpayer, said The Guardian, as part of government plans to boost public funding of the monarchy by 45% from 2025. A review of royal funding published by the Treasury revealed the royal family’s grant is due to increase from £86m to £125m. The review was “heavily spun” by the Treasury to give the impression that the king would be taking a pay cut, said The Guardian, but, the report reveals the monarchy is due to receive a “huge pay increase”.

How King Charles became richer than the Queen

4

NHS waiting lists worry

A senior medic has claimed that more than nine million people in England could be on the NHS waiting list unless industrial action by doctors is “immediately” ended. With a growing backlog already putting trusts on the verge of drawing up major incident plans, Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, told the i news site that the window of opportunity to take action which would help halt the rise in waiting lists is “rapidly closing”.

The NHS at 75: can it make it to 100?

5

Month’s rain in a weekend

A month’s worth of rain is set to drench the UK this weekend, warned the Met Office. Families heading for a getaway at the start of the school summer holidays are being warned that much of the UK is set to be hit by the downpours. The wet weather is a “stark contrast” to southern Europe, which is in the midst of a blistering heatwave, said Sky News. Millions of families are expected to take to the roads over the weekend for a day trip or long weekend holiday, said to the RAC.

6

Bank boss apologises to Farage

The boss of NatWest Group has apologised to Nigel Farage for “deeply inappropriate” comments made about him in a document on his suitability as a Coutts customer. In a letter to the politician, Dame Alison Rose said that the comments did not reflect the banks view. However, noted The Telegraph, she failed to reveal who briefed the BBC that Farage had been de-banked for “commercial” reasons. Farage, who insists that his Coutts account was closed because of his political views, said Dame Alison should now be questioned by MPs

Nigel Farage: was former UKIP leader cancelled by Coutts?

7

‘Existential moment’ ahead of Spain election

Spain has reached an “existential moment” as challenges from separatists and extremists threaten to destroy the country’s unity if the socialist-led coalition government remains in power, claimed a former prime minister. Speaking to The Times ahead of the general election, José María Aznar called for a massive centre-right vote “to push aside extremists” and give the conservative Popular Party a majority mandate. The BBC said Sunday’s election has “revived the issue of national unity”.

Pedro Sánchez’s snap Spanish election gamble

8

US cluster bombs in Ukraine

Ukraine is using US cluster bombs against Russian forces, the White House has confirmed. Washington agreed to supply cluster bombs, which scatter multiple bomblets and are banned by more than 100 countries due to their threat to civilians. National Security Spokesman John Kirby said initial information suggested they were being used “effectively” on Russian defensive positions and operations. Kyiv’s forces are using cluster munitions against “well-fortified Russian positions that have slowed Ukraine’s summer offensive”, said the Washington Post.

Cluster bomb controversy hangs over Biden’s ‘chilly’ visit to UK

9

Truss chaos cost thousands a day

Liz Truss’s reign in Downing Street cost taxpayers nearly £34,000 a day in compensation payments to sacked ministers, advisers and officials. According to official data, special advisers were paid a total of £2.9 million in severance as their bosses were shown the door. Truss herself received £18,660 in severance pay, and Kwasi Kwarteng, who was sacked as chancellor after his mini-budget sparked turmoil in financial markets, received £16,876. The Tories “should be hanging their heads in embarrassment”, said Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, “not walking away with an enormous payoff”.

‘Chaotic scenes’: how did Liz Truss’s premiership come to an end?

10

Amsterdam bans cruise ships

Amsterdam has banned cruise ships from the city centre as the Dutch capital continues its efforts to limit tourist numbers. After local politicians said the vessels were not in keeping with the city’s sustainable ambitions, the central cruise terminal near Amsterdam’s main train station will close. The council has been “trying to scrub up”, said the BBC, banning cannabis smoking on the streets of the red-light district. Earlier this year, it launched an online campaign urging young British men considering holding their bachelor parties in Amsterdam to stay away.

Amsterdam ‘stay away’ campaign: do Brits abroad deserve a bad rap?

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