Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 April 2023


Raab criticises ‘activist’ civil servants

Dominic Raab has accused “activist civil servants” of trying to block the work of government, following his resignation over bullying claims. The Telegraph said the former deputy PM was “sunk” when an official report found that he bullied a British ambassador said to have secretly proposed putting Spanish boots on the ground in Gibraltar during Brexit talks. Speaking to the BBC, Raab said he was sorry if he upset anyone but insisted “that’s not bullying”.


US court protects abortion drug

The Supreme Court has safeguarded access to a widely used abortion drug by freezing lower-court rulings that placed restrictions on medication abortion. The future of the drug had been called into question after a Texas judge sought to invalidate its long-standing approval. The new ruling is a “striking victory for the Biden administration and its allies” who “suffered a withering defeat at the Supreme Court last year when the conservative majority reversed the Roe v. Wade precedent”, said CNN.


Meghan ‘wrote to Charles’

The Duchess of Sussex wrote to the King expressing her concerns about unconscious bias in the Royal family, revealed The Telegraph. It is thought that the correspondence was sent in the aftermath of the March 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview. Then Prince of Wales, Charles is understood to have opened the correspondence by expressing sadness over the divide that had emerged between the two sides of the Royal family. A source said that the Duchess feels she has not received a satisfactory response to the concerns she outlined in her reply.


Catholics reach jobs parity in Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission said Northern Ireland has almost the same number of Catholics and Protestants in its workforce for the first time since records began more than 30 years ago. In a new report, the watchdog found that from a total workforce of 564,296 in 2021, 43.5% were Protestant and 43.4% were Catholic.  In 1990, just 34.9% of the workforce was Catholic, with 65.1% Protestant. The watchdog credits legislation that has stamped out discrimination in employment in the region.


Barclay accused of ‘bullying’

The health secretary has been accused by the Royal College of Nursing of trying to “bully and silence” nurses after the government tried to legally block a planned May Day strike. A “pre-claim” letter was issued in Steven Barclay’s name, demanding the RCN cancel industrial action planned for 30 April to 2 May. Pat Cullen, the RCN’s general secretary, described the move as “nakedly political” and The Guardian said it was “an extraordinary escalation of a dispute over the planned strike days”. The government said the strike would “put patient safety at risk”.


Firms quit CBI

The Confederation of British Industry has announced it is to suspend its operations until June following reports of alleged sexual misconduct by male employees. The allegations have “led to an exodus of businesses including John Lewis and NatWest”, noted The Guardian, after it published a series of accounts of more than a dozen women who claimed they were the victims of sexual misconduct by men at the CBI. The Telegraph’s chief city commentator said “corporate Britain” should have “abandoned the toxic CBI weeks ago”.


Neville Lawrence ‘won’t forgive police’

The father of Stephen Lawrence said he will “never forgive the police” for how they handled the investigation of his son’s murder. Speaking 30 years since the 18-year-old was murdered in a racist attack in Eltham, southeast London, on 22 April 1993, Neville Lawrence said the anniversary marks “30 years of pain and suffering for me and my family”. Speaking to Sky News, he said: “Remember this is my first child. The memories I have of Stephen will never go away. I will never forget them, never.”


Long sentences for climate activists

A judge has handed long sentences to Just Stop Oil protesters who brought traffic at the Dartford Crossing to a standstill last year. Morgan Trowland, 40, and Marcus Decker, 34, used ropes and other climbing equipment to scale the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which links the M25 between Essex and Kent across the River Thames, in October last year. In what are thought to be the longest sentences for peaceful climate protest in British history, Trowland was sentenced to three years in prison, while Decker received two years and seven months.


Cops hunt tomato thrower

A driver or passenger who hurled tomatoes and apples at pedestrians is being hunted after two people were seriously injured and others were hurt in a series of attacks. After seemingly random assaults occurred over three days in the seaside resorts of Eastbourne and Hastings, both in East Sussex, one woman was left with a fractured cheekbone, said Sussex Police. “Most of these attacks have occurred during daytime hours, when the victims have been out, alone, in open and public places,” said a spokeswoman.


‘Fiendish’ questions for University Challenge

Questions on University Challenge are to get harder following criticism that the quiz show had “dumbed down”. As Amol Rajan prepares to take over from Jeremy Paxman as host, bosses have promised “fiendish” questions for the new series. Pinki Chambers, commissioning editor for entertainment and comedy, said: “The competition is fierce, the questions are harder and Amol has taken to the programme in an instant. This is going to be one of our best series yet.”



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