Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 3 March 2023


Quarantine ‘mocked’ in leak

Matt Hancock “mocked” people in quarantine during lockdown and suggested getting “heavy with the police”. Leaked messages, published by The Telegraph, show Hancock conversing with a top aide about passengers being “locked up” in “shoe box” rooms. The WhatsApp messages also show Hancock saying the government needed to “get heavy with the police” to crack down on the public and Boris Johnson describing a £10,000 fine on two people who broke quarantine rules as “superb”. Hancock has described the leaks as a “partial, biased account to suit an anti-lockdown agenda”.


Police can sue Trump over 6 Jan

Donald Trump can be sued by police officers injured in the 6 January riot, the US government has ruled. The Department of Justice made the declaration after two officers with the US Capitol Police and 11 Democratic members of Congress launched a civil lawsuit that seeks to hold the former president accountable. However, Trump has appealed to dismiss the suit, claiming that as president at the time, he enjoyed absolute immunity. He has often claimed he is the victim of a “witch hunt”.

Will 6 January report end Donald Trump’s 2024 run?


Lawyer guilty of murders

A US lawyer has been convicted of murdering his wife and son to distract from his multi-million dollar financial crimes. The jury considered their verdict for less than three hours before convicting Alex Murdaugh, 54, of two counts of murder at the end of a six-week trial. Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were shot at close range on their family estate on 7 June 2021. The five-week trial has “dominated headlines and cable news channels”, said NPR, and “the murders have been the subject of podcasts and even two documentaries”.


Boris Johnson returns…again

Boris Johnson’s “bombshell attack” on Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal has raised hope among his supporters that the former PM is preparing for a comeback, said the i news site. Allies told the outlet that Johnson’s criticism of the new deal on Northern Ireland was evidence “the boss man is back”. Johnson said he will find it “very difficult” to vote for the deal, claiming it was “not about the UK taking back control”. A spokesperson for Sunak said the deal remained “the best deal for the people of Northern Ireland and businesses in Northern Ireland”.

Three issues that could stop a Boris Johnson comeback


Warning on global obesity

The World Obesity Federation has warned that more than half the world’s population will be classed as obese or overweight by 2035 if authorities do not act now. The report says that more than four billion people will be affected, with rates rising fastest among children, and in low or middle-income countries in Africa and Asia. The organisation forecasts that the cost of obesity will rise to more than $4tn (£3.3tn) annually by 2035. It comes as the demand for obesity drugs continues to skyrocket in the Western world. 

Tirzepatide and the other ‘breakthrough’ obesity drugs


Report criticises Hasidic schools

Thousands of British boys can “barely read or write English” at 16, “because the government allows a strict religious group to deny them an adequate education”, claimed The Times. Boys from the Hasidic Jewish community are usually taught in private schools, where Yiddish is the primary language. Boys “vanish en masse” from school rolls at the age of 13 to enter unregistered religious schools where no English is spoken, it claimed. Chinuch UK, which represents 12 registered ultra-Orthodox boys’ schools, said they were run “according to UK government regulations”.


Gray appointment criticised

Allies of Boris Johnson said the partygate inquiry “looks like a left-wing stitch up” after senior civil servant Sue Gray, who investigated lockdown gatherings, was offered a job as Keir Starmer’s chief of staff. A Labour spokesman said Starmer was “delighted” that Gray “hopes to accept the role subject to the normal procedures”. However, said a friend of Johnson, “what was supposed to be an investigation by independent civil servants is now revealed to have been carried out by someone who ultimately would go on to work for Keir Starmer”.

Who is Sue Gray? The Whitehall ‘sleazebuster’


MI5 apologises after Manchester report

The head of MI5 said he was “profoundly sorry” the security service did not prevent the Manchester Arena bombing. Victims’ families accused MI5 of a “devastating” failure after an official inquiry found the agency missed a “significant opportunity” to stop the deadliest terror plot in Britain since the 7 July 2005 attacks in London. Chairman Sir John Saunders said there was a “realistic possibility” that intelligence could have led to suicide bomber Salman Abedi being followed to a car where he stored his explosives.

How police ‘missed opportunities’ to prevent Manchester Arena bombing


Disabled woman jailed over bike death

A “childlike” partially-sighted and disabled pedestrian has been jailed for three years over the death of a cyclist she shouted at to get off the pavement, reported The Telegraph. A court heard that Auriol Grey, 49, gestured in a “hostile and aggressive way” towards retired midwife Celia Ward, 77, shouting “get off the f—–g pavement” moments before Ward stumbled into the road and into the path of a VW Passat. Passing sentence, Judge Sean Enright, said he acknowledged the issues that Grey suffered from, but said: “It does not reduce your understanding of right or wrong.”


Brain-eating amoeba kills man

A man in the US has died from a brain-eating amoeba, health officials have said. The naegleria fowleri infection was thought to be due to the man rinsing his nose with tap water but the department said it was still investigating. Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled organism found in soil and fresh water worldwide. There were three confirmed cases last year, which occurred after exposure to freshwater in Iowa, Nebraska and Arizona. “Overall, such infections are very rare”, said NBC News, “arising only when contaminated water enters through the sinuses”.



Mary Quant obituary: pioneering designer who created the 1960s look


Can ‘once-in-a-generation’ Renters’ Reform Bill fix private renting? 


John Kerry in Beijing: how red China is turning green


Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 26 June 2023