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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 28 May 2023

1

Ministers battle Covid inquiry

Ministers may take the “extraordinary step” of launching legal action against the Covid inquiry, in their battle to keep secret a “slew of sensitive messages” from senior figures including Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, said The Observer. Just 48 hours remain before the deadline to hand over unredacted messages and notes between Johnson and his ministers, and the government is “standing firm in its refusal to divulge the material”, said the paper. Heather Hallett, the chair of the inquiry, has warned that a failure to comply with her order would amount to a criminal offence.

2

Russia bombards Kyiv

Russia has carried out a massive overnight drone attack on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, killing at least one person, said the city’s mayor. Vitaliy Klitschko said a man died when drone wreckage fell near a petrol station. Ukraine’s Air Force said that Moscow had launched a record 54 so-called kamikaze drones on Ukrainian targets. Meanwhile, a Ukrainian presidential adviser has said that preliminary operations have begun to pave the way for a counteroffensive against Russian forces.

3

Starmer North Sea pledge

Sir Keir Starmer will promise to block all new North Sea oil and gas developments and limit borrowing to green investment only, reported The Sunday Times. The Labour leader is expected to set out a net zero energy policy, including a pledge to ban all new North Sea oil and gas licences, as part of a radical blueprint to make Britain a “clean energy superpower”. The “seismic shift in decades of UK energy policy”, will be “one of Starmer’s five key pledges to the electorate”, said the paper.

4

Sunak plans supermarket cap

Downing Street is planning to suggest voluntary price caps on basic food items such as bread and milk. The prime minister’s team has started work on a deal with supermarkets, similar to an agreement in France, in which the country’s major retailers charge the “lowest possible amount” for some essential food products. The move would amount to “the biggest attempt to manage supermarket prices since controls established by Edward Heath in 1973”, said the Sunday Telegraph.

5

Erdoğan tipped for poll win

Turks are voting in a “momentous” presidential run-off to decide whether or not Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should remain in power after 20 years, said the BBC. Erdoğan’s challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, is backed by a broad opposition alliance but the president is favourite to win after he narrowly missed a chance to take the first round when he attracted more than 49% of the vote. The opposition “sees it as the last chance to defeat Erdoğan”, who has “dominated the political landscape as prime minister and the president for years”, said Daily Sabah.

6

Willoughby says Schofield lied

Holly Willoughby has claimed her co-host Phillip Schofield lied to her over his affair with a young employee. “When reports of this relationship first surfaced, I asked Phil directly if this was true and was told it was not. It’s been very hurtful to now find out that this was a lie,” she claimed on Instagram. However, former colleagues told The Telegraph the relationship was an “open secret” on set. Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday says Schofield first met the young man when he was 15 years old.

7

Tory claimed back driving fine

A Tory minister claimed back a £80 fine issued to her while she was driving in London in July 2020, listing it under “MP travel expenses”. Amanda Solloway, who served under Suella Braverman at the Home Office, is among several high-profile MPs to have wrongly claimed hundreds of pounds in driving fines on expenses, The Independent reported. Tory MP and select committee chair Simon Hoare, and former Tory vice-chair Bim Afolami, also got taxpayers to cough up for their penalties.

8

Man opened jet door during landing

A man who opened the emergency door of an Asiana Airlines plane just before landing told police that he felt suffocated and wanted to get off the plane quickly. The door of the jet opened as it was coming in to land in Daegu, South Korea, on Friday, “leaving wind whipping through the plane’s cabin as terrified passengers gripped their armrests”, said CNN. Anyone breaking the Aviation Security Act could be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, said South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

9

Hottest day in Yorkshire

The bank holiday weekend kicked off with the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures reaching 24.3C (75.7F) in Bramham, West Yorkshire, yesterday, ahead of the previous record of 23.4C, which was set on May 22 in Cardiff. The weather is expected to be “more muted” today and tomorrow due to a northern wind sweeping the country, providing a “flush of fresh air”, said forecasters. But “there could be even warmer weather ahead,” said the Sunday Mirror.

10

Charles turns down pool heat

King Charles has turned down the thermostat in the swimming pool at Buckingham Palace, said The Sunday Times. It is understood that the monarch is keen to continue reducing the royal household’s energy use. “A few people using the pool have noticed that the temperature of the water has dropped, and it is quite a bit cooler than it used to be,” said a source. “They have been told the King has had the heating turned down.”

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