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Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 6 March 2023

1

Sunak warned on asylum plan

Rishi Sunak has been warned that his plan for small boats will “lock up people fleeing war”, said The Guardian. Campaigners are “extremely concerned” that the prime minister’s plan to remove channel migrants from the UK will lead to an inhumane and costly detention of tens of thousands of refugees. Sunak told the Mail on Sunday: “Make no mistake, if you come here illegally, you will not be able to stay.” The government wants to stop an estimated 60,000 people a year from making the dangerous journey from mainland Europe.

Can new asylum plans boost Sunak’s standing?

2

Hancock wanted vaccine credit

Matt Hancock dismissed advice from the Chief Medical Officer to replace the 14-day Covid quarantine with five days of testing because it would “imply we’ve been getting it wrong”. The latest WhatsApp messages, leaked to The Telegraph, also revealed how Hancock fought to take credit for Britain’s vaccine campaign, telling colleagues: “Everyone knows I’m Mr Vaccine and this is the route out.” He feared being overshadowed by others and insisted that the rollout was a “Hancock triumph”.

Will the Lockdown Files change Westminster’s WhatsApp ways?

3

‘Landmark’ oceans treaty

A historic agreement has been agreed to protect the world’s oceans following 10 years of negotiations. The High Seas Treaty, agreed by UN member states on Saturday night, aims to place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030, to safeguard and recuperate marine nature. The Pew Charitable Trust welcomed the “landmark international agreement” and Veronica Frank, political adviser for Greenpeace, said: “We are really happy.”

4

Prince Harry coy on invite

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will be invited to King Charles III’s coronation, although it is not clear whether they will attend according to a statement from the couple indicated. A spokesperson for the Sussexes said: “I can confirm the duke has recently received email correspondence from His Majesty’s office regarding the coronation. An immediate decision on whether the duke and duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time.” The broadcaster and royal-watcher Piers Morgan said that “the arrogance of this statement is comical”.

King Charles coronation: what happens, who’s playing and will there be a bank holiday?

5

Hunt ‘won’t cut business tax’

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are on a “collision course” with Boris Johnson and Liz Truss over their plans for the Budget, said the i news site. The prime minister and his chancellor are set to rule out a cut to corporation tax in next week’s “slimmed down” statement, disappointing Sunak’s immediate predecessors who called on the government to cut business taxes. The Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to put forward a significantly improved economic picture from Hunt’s Autumn Statement in November.

Jeremy Hunt’s 2023 Budget: what to expect

6

Smiling hopefuls more likely to land job

Job applicants with a winning smile are seen as more “hireable” by employers, a new study has found. The findings contradict previous research that concluded a neutral expression is more effective because it is more professional. “I think smiling people perform better because you’re showing goodwill, showing confidence and it makes you generally more attractive,” said Sabrina Chan, the study’s leader from the University of Toronto.” First impressions are very important and research shows people have stronger memories for happy faces.”

7

Man formally cleared in US

A man wrongfully convicted of a 1983 murder and sexual assault has been declared innocent by a California court. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan has formally declared Maurice Hastings as “factually innocent”, reported CNN. “It means a lot,” said Maurice Hastings. “I’m ready to move forward with my life. I’m a happy man right now.” The 69-year-old was freed from prison in October after DNA from the 1983 attack identified another suspect. He had served 38 years.

8

Food banks for pets as owners struggle

Food banks for pets have been opened to help families who are struggling to feed their cats and dogs. Thousands of animals are benefitting from the initiative from the Pets at Home retailer, said The Times, enabling them to stay with families that might otherwise have been forced to take them to a rescue centre. Last year, the Dogs Trust reported an almost 50% increase in inquiries from dog owners about rehoming their pets. Blue Cross, a national animal welfare charity, found that more than 60% of people have experienced an increase in pet bills.

 

9

Johnson suggests knighthood for father

Boris Johnson has put his father’s name forward for a knighthood, according to a report in The Times. The former PM included Stanley Johnson among as many as 100 names put forward for various honours in his resignation honours list. The list is significantly longer than those of his predecessors: Theresa May nominated 60 people while David Cameron put forward 62. In 2020, Johnson nominated his brother Jo, a former minister, for a peerage.

What is Boris Johnson up to now?

10

Peel stage renamed after child sex row

Glastonbury will rename its John Peel stage amid controversies over the late DJ’s relationships with underage girls. Peel married his first wife in the US when she was 15, which was legal in Texas at the time. “Many feel that Peel hid in plain sight,” said The Times, with the paper recalling an earlier interview in which Peel admitted having sexual relations with young fans, and once said: “Well, of course, I didn’t ask for ID.” He reportedly claimed: “All they wanted me to do was to abuse them sexually which, of course, I was only too happy to do.” Glastonbury said the new name for the stage was not in response to a petition to rename it over the controversies.

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