Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 9 Sep 2019

1. Johnson heads to Ireland as Plaid Cymru suggests impeachment

Boris Johnson is in Dublin today for talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who has warned that the risk of a no-deal Brexit is “significant and growing”. The Irish government has said it would support an extension to the 31 October deadline for the UK to quit the EU, but Johnson opposes the plan and is expected to make a second bid to trigger a snap general election. Welsh party Plaid Cymru is urging opposition leaders to try to impeach the PM if he ignores laws designed to block no-deal.

Could Boris Johnson be sent to jail?

2. PM ‘told Cabinet he will abide by rule of law’

The Times reports that Boris Johnson has told cabinet ministers that he will “abide by the rule of law” and respect any Supreme Court ruling forcing him to accept an extension to the Brexit deadline. The alleged climbdown comes amid threats of further resignations after Amber Rudd stepped down as work and pension secretary on Saturday. On Thursday, after his brother Jo quit government, Johnson said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than “go back to the EU”.

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Brexit timeline: key dates in the UK exit from the EU

3. Flights cancelled as BA pilots begin strike

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled as British Airways pilots stage the biggest strike in the airline’s history. Members of pilots’ union Balpa began a 48-hour walkout at midnight on Sunday and will strike again on 27 September if no resolution is found to their dispute over pay. BA said on its website this morning that it had “no option but to cancel nearly 100% [of] our flights”.

British Airways pilots begin two-day strike

4. Four-storey block of flats burns in London

Around 125 firefighters and 20 fire engines are tackling a major blaze at a block of flats in southwest London. The fire in Worcester Park broke out in the early hours and is now under control, the London Fire Brigade said this morning. The cause of the fire is not yet known and no injuries have been reported.

5. Bahamas authorities defend hurricane response

The authorities in the Bahamas have defended their handling of Hurricane Dorian, which killed at least 43 people last week. Residents of the Abaco Islands say not enough was done to provide assistance and prevent looting after the storm. Several thousand people were left homeless after Dorian hit with wind gusts of up to 200mph.

6. Indian lunar lander Vikram found on surface

The lander module from India’s moon mission has been found on the surface of the Moon, more than a day after losing contact with the space station. Communications between Vikram and the Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) stopped on Saturday as the probe made its final approach to the south pole of the Moon. Vikran has now been spotted by the mission’s orbiting module, which is attempting to establish contact.

7. Belfast named UK’s worst airport

Belfast International has been identified as the UK’s worst airport in a survey by Which? consumer magazine, with those quizzed complaining of long queues, overcrowding and expensive parking. The Northern Ireland airport managed an approval rating of just 42%, while London Luton scored 43% and Manchester Terminal 3 got 47%. Doncaster Sheffield retained its crown as the nation’s best-rated airport for the third year running, with a score of 86%.

8. Shrinkflation: Quality Street chocolates get lighter

Quality Street is slimming down for Christmas, with its new seasonal tubs downsized from last year’s 720g to 650g. Chocolate lovers are often targeted for so-called shrinkflation - the practice of reducing the size of a product while charging the same price - notes The Guardian. The new Quality Street tubs, which hit supermarkets this week, will contain more chocolates and fewer toffees.

9. Tom Hanks: ‘Cynicism has become our default’

Actor Tom Hanks told press at the Toronto Film Festival yesterday that he was inspired to take the role of children’s entertainer Mr Rogers in new movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood because “cynicism has become the default position for so much of daily structure and daily intercourse”. The movie is directed by Oscar nominee Marielle Heller.

10. Briefing: who is Dominic Cummings?

Unelected bureaucrat Dominic Cummings was appointed to “deliver Brexit in just 99 days” and is “widely feared in Whitehall even amongst ardent Brexiteers”, according to ITV political editor Robert Peston.

He was famously described by former prime minister David Cameron as a “career psychopath”, while Nick Clegg said he had “anger management problems”.

So just who is the man behind Boris Johnson?

Dominic Cummings: the man behind the electoral thumping

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