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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 5 March 2023

1

Charity ‘concerned’ by asylum plan

Anyone arriving in the UK on a small boat will be prevented from claiming asylum, under new laws expected to be announced by the prime minister and home secretary next week. The new legislation would place a duty on the Home Office to remove “as soon as reasonably practicable” anyone who has come to the UK on small boats to Rwanda or another “safe third country”. The British Red Cross, a humanitarian charity, called the plans “extremely concerning” and The Sunday Times said the government is “likely to face significant legal and practical obstacles”.

2

Hancock wanted to ‘frighten’ public

Matt Hancock suggested to an aide that they “frighten” the public, according to leaked WhatsApp messages published in The Telegraph. Discussing when to reveal the existence of the Kent variant of Covid, to ensure people comply with lockdown rules, the former health secretary said: “We frighten the pants off everyone”. Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak is facing calls for an inquiry into whether Treasury officials hid or ignored evidence that his £849m “eat out to help out” scheme fuelled the spread of Covid.

3

Trump ‘would end Ukraine war in a day’

Donald Trump said it would take him “no longer than one day” to settle the war between Russia and Ukraine. In a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, he said: “We’re going to have World War Three if something doesn’t happen fast. I am the only candidate who can make this promise – I will prevent World War Three.” He received a “rapturous reception”, said The Telegraph, and was interrupted by chants of “four more years”.

4

Harry and Diana ‘always felt different’

Prince Harry has said he “always felt slightly different” to his family, and that his late mother felt the same. “I certainly have felt throughout my life, my younger years, I felt slightly different to the rest of my family,” said the Duke of Sussex, in an online conversation with author Dr Gabor Mate. “I felt strange being in this container, and I know that my mum felt the same so it makes sense to me,” he added. Harry said he made sure to “smother” his children with affection to avoid passing on any “traumas”.

5

Has Boris ‘gone full Trump’?

Tory grandees have compared Boris Johnson to Donald Trump. Several Conservative MPs were shocked when Johnson and his team questioned the work of the independent Commons privileges committee after it found there was a significant volume of evidence suggesting that the former PM may have misled parliament. A senior Tory said: “They have gone full Trump. It is wicked. Where will this end? They are desperate.” Another said Johnson was “just like Trump, saying black is white, white is black”.

6

Labour condemns ‘savage’ rail hikes

Rail passengers are facing the biggest fare hike in more than a decade, after it was announced that regulated ticket prices are increasing by 5.9%, adding hundreds of pounds to the cost of many annual season tickets. Although it is the highest fare rise since 2012, when prices rose by 6%, the government said this year’s increase is “well below inflation”. Labour described the rise as “savage” and public transport groups claimed passengers are not getting value for money.

7

No ‘protocol bounce’ for Sunak

A survey has found that twice as many voters believe Labour under Keir Starmer has the nation’s best interests at heart than say the Tories do under Rishi Sunak. Despite Sunak agreeing a well-received deal with the EU on the Northern Ireland protocol, Labour still enjoys a hefty 17-point lead and is unchanged compared with a fortnight ago on 44%. The findings “will disappoint Conservatives”, said The Observer, which commissioned the poll.

8

Rock ‘still hurts’ from Oscars slap

Chris Rock has made his first substantial statement about being slapped by Will Smith during the Oscars, almost a year since the notorious incident. “Everybody knows, yes it happened, I got slapped a year ago – I got smacked by this motherf**ker,” Rock said. “And people are like, ‘Did it hurt?’ It still hurts. I’ve got Summertime ringing in my ears.” The Observer said Rock “appeared weary and frustrated” as he spoke about Smith at the end of a stand-up show, which was streamed live on Netflix from the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore.

9

‘Laughter and groans’ for Lavrov

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, faced laughter and derision at a conference in India, when he claimed that the Ukraine war had been “launched against” his home country. “The war, which we are trying to stop, which was launched against us using Ukrainian people, of course, influenced the policy of Russia, including energy policy,” he said, stumbling over his words as he faced a “chorus of laughter and groans”, said Sky News. He was addressing the Raisina Dialogue, an event in New Delhi.

10

HMV dog ‘close to extinction’

The “HMV dog” is on the brink of extinction after a 97% collapse in annual puppy births, said The Telegraph. Nipper, the dog featured on the logo of the record store chain, lived in the late 19th century and is believed to have been a Smooth Fox Terrier. According to the Kennel Club, the breed has suffered the biggest swing in its fortunes in 150 years. “We have such a rich diversity of breeds, but if people don’t look beyond the most popular choices then there is a real danger we could lose them forever,” said a spokesperson for Crufts and the Kennel Club.

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