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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 30 April 2023

1

Public asked to swear allegiance to King

Viewers watching the Coronation will be invited to join a “chorus of millions” to swear allegiance to the King and his heirs, organisers have announced. This “homage of the people” replaces the traditional “homage of peers” where hereditary peers swear allegiance to the new monarch, noted the BBC. Meanwhile, said the Sunday Mirror, a “massive security operation” will push the cost of the Coronation of King Charles III to £250m. The “eye-watering cost to taxpayers” comes “despite the King’s wishes for a slimmed-down, cost-effective monarchy”, it added.

2

Brexit ‘killing hospitality industry’

The number of hospitality venue closures is rising sixfold in just a year, reported The Independent. Brexit is “killing the hospitality industry”, said the paper, as the net closure of almost 4,600 pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants in the year to 31 March 2023 “lays bare the devastating impact of staff shortages caused by Brexit as well as the cost of living crisis”. Many owners have blamed persistent staff shortages since leaving the EU as the main reason for closure.

3

Tory blames Home Office for crisis

A senior Conservative MP has said that Home Office incompetence is to blame for the small boats crisis. Sir Bob Neill said he did not think the Illegal Migration Bill would curb the crossings because “it’s the administrative failures of the Home Office that are to blame”. Speaking to GB News, he said: “The real problem is that the system doesn’t work efficiently enough. It’s the administrative failures of the Home Office that are to blame.” His remarks come days after Suella Braverman’s Bill, aimed at stopping the boats, cleared the House of Commons.

4

Labour lengthens lead

Labour has increased its lead over the Tories to an 18 point margin, bucking a trend of recent polls that suggested the Tories were closing the gap. The latest research, by Opinium, put Labour on 44%, an increase of two points compared to a fortnight ago. The Conservative Party dropped two points to 26%. The poll, which found that 20% of those who voted Conservative in 2019 are currently planning to switch their vote directly to Labour, will “make dispiriting reading” for Rishi Sunak, said the Sunday Telegraph.

5

Nurses prepare to walk out

Health services across England are bracing for more disruption, as nurses prepare to stage a 28-hour walkout over pay. Members of the Royal College of Nursing will begin their latest strike action at 8pm today, and will end it at 11.59pm on Monday evening. Services including intensive care will be disrupted for the first time, after the RCN refused to issue any national exemptions as it has done before. The union was forced to shorten its industrial action after the high court ruled its legal mandate for strikes expired on 1 May.

6

Brits ‘stranded in Sudan’

There are fears that some Britons were left stranded in Sudan after the chair of the foreign affairs select committee told The Observer she had received information that the Sudanese Armed Forces had blocked British nationals as they attempted to navigate the dangerous route to an airbase north of Khartoum. Despite this, Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell said that the operation to evacuate people from Sudan had been “extremely successful”. Meanwhile, the former prime minister of Sudan has warned that the conflict could become worse than those in Syria and Libya.

7

Starmer vows to better Blair

Sir Keir Starmer has told The Observer he will more than match Tony Blair for radical ideas on overhauling public services, including the health service. “This will be a bold and reforming Labour government bringing about real change that I hope will be felt through the generations,” he said. “I think we can go beyond what the Blair government did on public services … because I think there is unfinished business there,” Starmer added, ahead of next week’s local elections.

8

US-South Korea deal criticised

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has criticised a key agreement between the US and South Korea, arguing that it will be counter-productive. Earlier this week, Washington and Seoul made a pact at the White House that aims to deter North Korean aggression, including a new US commitment to deploy a nuclear-armed submarine in South Korea for the first time since the early 1980s. However, said Kim Yo Jong, the deal “will only result in making peace and security of northeast Asia and the world… exposed to more serious danger”.

9

Guardian apologises for cartoon

The Guardian has apologised after a cartoon was criticised as antisemitic. The image depicted BBC chairman Richard Sharp, the day after his resignation for breaching conflict of interest rules. Critics said it portrayed Sharp, who is Jewish, with exaggerated features. The Guardian, which has removed the image from its website, has apologised to “Mr Sharp, to the Jewish community and to anyone offended”. Martin Rowson, the artist who drew it, said Sharp’s “Jewishness never crossed my mind as I drew him”.

10

Murdoch ‘makes Biden look like Harry Styles’

Joe Biden has made jokes about his age at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The US president quipped that 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch made him look like singer Harry Styles, and joked that he was friends with one of the US founding fathers, James Madison. Biden also had a dig at his predecessor, Donald Trump, when he joked that he had been offered $10 to keep his speech short. “That’s a switch – a president being offered hush money,” he said.

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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 23 January 2023