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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 5 February 2023

1

Truss blames ‘orthodoxy’ for exit

Liz Truss has blamed a “left-wing economic establishment” and her own party for her downfall. In her first major statement since leaving Downing Street, the former PM said that she stands by her radical policy agenda but “the forces against it were too great” for it to succeed. In a 4,000-word article for the Sunday Telegraph, she blamed Whitehall’s “strength of economic orthodoxy and its influence on the market”. Truss was forced to quit after her £45bn package of unfunded tax cuts “panicked the markets and tanked the pound to a record low”, said the BBC.

2

EU says Sunak risks trade war

Senior EU figures have warned that the UK government’s plan to scrap thousands of EU laws by the end of this year risks triggering a full-scale trade war. European leaders have warned that Rishi Sunak’s plan will spark retaliatory countermeasures, including imposing tariffs on goods. They believe that Sunak’s intention to lower standards in areas such as environmental protection and workers’ rights breach “level playing field” provisions that were agreed. However, said the UK government, the plans are “not about watering down standards”.

3

China protests over balloon shooting

China has expressed “strong dissatisfaction and protest” after the US shot down a giant Chinese balloon that it said has been spying on key military sites across America. Beijing insists it was a civilian research vessel. The Department of Defence confirmed its fighter jets brought down the balloon over US territorial waters. President Joe Biden described the mission as a success. He said he had ordered the military to shoot it down “as soon as possible” when he was briefed earlier this week.

4

‘Fights and brutality’ at migrant centre

Asylum seekers were handcuffed and restrained after self-harming at a controversial migrant processing centre, The Independent reported. Testimonies frim Home Office staff and private contractors described fights breaking out over food and overcrowding as the population at Manston climbed towards 4,000 people in October. There were incidents of detainees being pinned to the ground and beaten after hitting their heads against a wall. A migrant was forcibly restrained after asking for food.

5

Bulley witness found

Detectives searching for Nicola Bulley said they have found a “key” witness who they believe was in the area on the morning of the mother-of-two’s disappearance. Bulley, 45, was last seen a week ago walking next to the River Wyre in St Michael’s on Wyre in Lancashire. The witness is a woman who was seen pushing a pram on Friday 27 January, when Bulley went missing. The police added that “the speculation and abuse on social media aimed at some people who are merely assisting our enquiry is totally unacceptable”.

6

MeToo movement ‘harming boys’

Boys are being left lost, insecure and traumatised by “an excessive cultural shift” against them caused by the #MeToo and Everyone’s Invited movements, according to top child experts. A psychotherapist with 35 years’ experience said the two movements involving girls and women speaking out about sexual harassment have led to a “dangerous” backlash against boys, many of whom done nothing wrong. Speaking to The Sunday Times, she added that she has worked with boys who have been ostracised, punished or even expelled for behaviour that she describes as little more than clumsy “teenage fumbling”.

7

Ofcom asked to intervene on phone bills

The regulator is being urged to respond to concerns that mobile and broadband operators are “lining their pockets” with £2.2bn of above-inflation price rises. Some providers have already announced increases of more than 14% and experts believe price rises for some customers could be as high as 17%. Matthew Upton, director of policy at Citizens Advice, said: “We keep calling on these firms to do the right thing and axe their price hikes, but they’ve not listened. It’s now time for Ofcom and the government to force them.”

8

MP’s housekeeper says she was a ‘slave’

A Conservative MP’s housekeeper told The Mirror she was treated like a slave, and had to take legal action against the politician’s wife to get paid. Hazel Settas said she “worked like a dog” for ex-justice minister Jonathan Djanogly and wife Rebecca. She said she was insulted, reduced to tears and looked down on as “not even a human”. She and another former housekeeper of Djanogly won court battles after their wages were withheld. Djanogly and the Conservative Party have not commented.

9

Coffey ‘to scrap foie gras ban’

The government’s proposed ban on importing fur and foie gras is to be shelved, the environment secretary has told The Telegraph. In her first interview since being appointed to the role, Therese Coffey said that although animal welfare is important: “We need to think through priorities.” Banning fur and foie gras imports had been part of the Animals Abroad Bill, but Coffey said “there’s only so much time” on “stuff like that”.

10

Lydon misses out on Eurovision slot

Punk rock legend John Lydon has failed to land the spot in representing Ireland with his band Public Image Ltd in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Performing their entry, Hawaii at a special Eurovision selection edition of Irish TV show “The Late Late Show” alongside five other contestants, the band lost to Wild Youth’s We Are One. Eurovision “veers from ridiculous to sublime”, said the Irish Times, adding that the voting process was “nail-biting”.

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