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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 24 May 2023

1

Johnson referred to police

Boris Johnson has been referred to police by the Cabinet Office over claims that he broke lockdown rules by hosting family and friends at Chequers during the Covid pandemic. The department said it made the referral after a review of documents ahead of the Covid public inquiry. The former PM, who was fined for breaking Covid rules in 2020, has strongly denied wrongdoing, and the referral has been branded a political “smear” by his allies, said The Telegraph.

Anti-Midas: the careers derailed by working with Boris Johnson

2

DeSantis to ‘jump into race’

Ron DeSantis is set to announce his 2024 presidential bid in an online appearance with Twitter chief Elon Musk today. Musk is scheduled to host a Twitter Spaces conversation with the Florida Governor this evening and an official launch video from the DeSantis campaign is also expected. After a long-running battle with Disney in his home state, the Republican hopeful will “finally jump into the race” by “throwing down a gauntlet” to Donald Trump” with “a launch strategy that frames him as the true anti-establishment rebel”, said CNN.

Mickey Mouse vs. GOP: fallout continues from battle between Disney and DeSantis

3

Woman hit by royal escort dies

An elderly woman who was hit by a police motorcycle escorting the Duchess of Edinburgh has died. Helen Holland had been in hospital in critical condition since she was hit on the afternoon of 10 May in London. She had been using the “safe route” of a “pedestrian crossing” when she was struck by the motorcycle, said her son, Martin. He told the BBC his mother died after suffering “multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries”. Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, had said after the crash that her “thoughts and prayers” were with Ms Holland.

4

Braverman ‘fact-check’ claims

Civil servants in Suella Braverman’s department were forced to “fact-check” the home secretary’s statements to cabinet on up to six occasions, said The Guardian. An insider said she made “basic errors”, while another said she “keeps getting facts wrong”, including during cabinet talks about King Charles’s coronation in March and in meetings held this week on migration. Meanwhile, said The Independent, the home secretary is facing fresh allegations of ministerial code breaches over her failure to formally disclose years of previous work with the Rwandan government.

Can Rishi Sunak afford to sack Suella Braverman?

5

US denies Russia border raid

Washington has distanced itself from an incursion into Russia, insisting it did not “encourage or enable” strikes across the border. Parts of the border region of Belgorod came under attack in one of the most major cross-border raids in the Ukraine conflict to date. Moscow said more than 70 attackers were killed in its operation to “repel cross-border raiders”, said Al Jazeera. It said the marauders battled with Russian forces for an estimated 24 hours before retreating from Russian territory.

6

Police CCTV Cardiff controversy

South Wales Police has referred itself to the policing watchdog after surveillance footage showed one of the force’s vans following two people on an electric bike before a fatal crash. The collision, which killed two teenagers, sparked a riot in the Ely area of Cardiff on Monday night, with 15 officers being injured. The impact will be “long-lasting”, said The Guardian, and “even before the burned-out cars and debris were removed, the recriminations had begun and questions about the police handling of the incident were being asked”.

7

Hunt may defy IMF on tax

Jeremy Hunt still hopes to cut taxes before the next election, despite warnings from the International Monetary Fund that the tax burden will have to grow in future, reported the i news site. The chancellor will point to a fall in the rate of inflation expected to be announced today and a significantly lower energy price cap as proof that households are under less pressure than they have been previously. However, the IMF said tax cuts were currently neither “affordable nor desirable”.

UK economic woes: are tax cuts the answer?

8

Davey backs trans women

Ed Davey has said that “quite clearly” a woman can have a penis, during an appearance on LBC. The Lib Dem’s support for gender self-identification “has been seen by some activists as costing it the support of some voters who were considering tactically backing the party”, said The Times, and the party leader backed single-sex spaces and called for “a bit more maturity” in the debate. He said some trans people “have a tough time” and “they’re harassed, discriminated against” and suffer “real serious mental health problems”.

9

WHO warns of future pandemic

The World Health Organisation has warned that governments need to prepare for a disease even deadlier than Covid-19. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of WHO, told its conference in Geneva that nation states cannot “kick this can down the road” and that the next global disease was bound to “come knocking”. The WHO’s 194 member states are now drafting a pandemic treaty which is up for adoption at next year’s assembly, noted Reuters.

10

Harris had low-key funeral

Rolf Harris’s relatives kept his death secret for almost a fortnight to ensure the convicted child abuser could have a unpublicised funeral. Although the disgraced entertainer died of neck cancer at his home in Bray, Berkshire on May 10, aged 93, news of his death was not made public until Tuesday afternoon after he had been laid to rest in a private service. Dr Lin Berwick, who accused him of assaulting her when she was 27, welcomed news of his death, exclaiming: “Yippee, thank God”.

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