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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 22 March 2023

1

‘Key moment’ for Boris Johnson

MPs investigating Boris Johnson over lockdown parties will publish new documents later, ahead of a televised hearing. The former PM is “facing the key moment” in his fight against suspension from Parliament in the four-hour evidence session, said the i news site. In a 52-page dossier published yesterday, he insisted that the case against him was founded on the arguments of the “discredited” Dominic Cummings, who may now be called to give further evidence to the committee. Cummings has accused Johnson of spreading “further misinformation”. Johnson’s defence, prepared by a legal team headed by Lord Pannick, has been funded by the taxpayer at a cost of around £220,000. 

Lord Pannick: the barrister summoned to save Boris Johnson

2

Putin nuclear claim

Britain has accused Vladimir Putin of deliberate disinformation after he claimed London was supplying Ukraine with “weapons with a nuclear component”. The Russian president, who is facing war crimes charges, warned that Russia will “respond accordingly” if Britain sends depleted uranium tank ammunition to Kyiv. However, said the British defence ministry, the British Army “has used depleted uranium in its armour piercing shells for decades” and “it is a standard component” which “has nothing to do with nuclear weapons or capabilities”. The spokesman added: “Russia knows this, but is deliberately trying to disinform.”

Will Vladimir Putin be put in the dock?

3

The pill increases cancer risk

Taking the contraceptive pill increases the risk of breast cancer by 25%, according to new research by Oxford University. Scientists compared the NHS records of 10,000 women under the age of 50 who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1996 and 2017, with a control group of 18,000 women of the same ages and GP practices who had not had breast cancer diagnosed. Hormonal contraception, including the pill, the implant or an intrauterine device (IUD or coil), was found to increase the risk of breast cancer by between 23 and 32%.

4

Starmer accused of hypocrisy

Keir Starmer has been accused of hypocrisy after The Telegraph revealed that under a special arrangement with the Government, he has a unique pension deal which allows him to avoid tax on his savings. Although the Labour leader has pledged to force other wealthy savers to be subject to a cap on their pension savings, a special arrangement means his pension from his time as Director of Public Prosecutions is exempt from the tax rules he would apply to other workers who save more than £1m. Kieran Mullan, a Tory MP, said: “This is brazen hypocrisy from Keir Starmer.” A Labour spokesperson said: “The pension rules for the Director of Public Prosecution are set by the government of the day, not the DPP themselves.”

How your pension is taxed and ways to reduce your bill

5

Police exploring mosque attacks link

Counter-terror police have launched an investigation into a man being set alight as he walked home from a mosque in Birmingham. The West Midlands and Metropolitan forces are exploring whether there is a link to a similar attack in Ealing, west London last month. A man has been held on suspicion of attempted murder after the attack in Edgbaston on Monday. Local MP Shabana Mahmood told the Birmingham Mail she was “shocked” and that her “thoughts and prayers are very much with the victim and his family”.

6

Braverman disputes Met race claim

Suella Braverman said the description of the Metropolitan Police as “institutionally racist” is “politically charged”. Yesterday, Baroness Casey delivered a highly-critical review into Britain’s biggest force, concluding it had a problem with ingrained racism, sexism, misogyny and homophobia. Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, said he would not use the phrase “institutional” because it meant different things to different people. Speaking to MPs, the home secretary said: “I agree with Mark Rowley. It is not a helpful term to use.”

Is breaking up Scotland Yard the answer to its problems?

7

‘Vampiric’ water consumption risks crisis

The UN has warned of an impending global water crisis, saying the planet is “blindly travelling a dangerous path” of “vampiric overconsumption and overdevelopment”. In a report, it said there is an “imminent risk” of shortages due to overconsumption and climate change. The report, by UN Water and Unesco, was released on the eve of the first major UN water summit, which will see thousands of delegates gather in New York for three days. It will be the “first such event in nearly half a century”, said Nature.

8

Bolton calls for Trump to be ‘cleansed’

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser said the Republican Party should “cleanse itself” of Trump because there are “no limits on what he’s capable of doing”. Speaking to The Telegraph, John Bolton, a potential presidential candidate, said Trump’s administration had “damaged” the US and warned of “danger” that would come with a second Trump term. “This is really our responsibility,” he said. “It’s not going to come from the liberal media. It’s not going to come from the Democrats. Republicans have to do this.”

What does Trump’s possible arrest mean for 2024 race?

9

Car crash deaths higher among troops

More British soldiers die in car crashes than in war, said the Ministry of Defence. Road incidents have emerged as the leading cause of fatality and injury across the MoD, with soldiers at a 50% higher risk of dying in a traffic collision compared with a member of the public. The armed forces recorded more than 3,800 traffic collisions during the past year alone, which resulted in one on-duty death and 44 injuries. Baroness Goldie, a defence minister, said the figures “remain unacceptably high”.

10

Paltrow denies skiing claim

A US court has heard that Gwyneth Paltrow crashed into a skier in a “hit and run” collision that left him with permanent brain damage after she became distracted by her children on the slopes. The 50-year-old actress is accused in a lawsuit of slamming into a pensioner during a 2016 family ski vacation before rushing off without saying a word. However, Paltrow has filed a countersuit against Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist, claiming that he skied into her. The actress “looked sombre” in court, said the Washington Post.

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