Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 19 Sep 2019

1. John Major to challenge suspension of Parliament in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will today hear from former prime minister Sir John Major and other supporters of a legal challenge against Boris Johnson’s controversial decision to suspend Parliament. As the historic hearing reaches it third and final day, a submission on behalf of Major will be put to the 11 justices set to rule on whether Johnson acted lawfully when he prorogued Parliament earlier this month for five weeks. Critics say the PM’s intention was to stop MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit.

Is it time for a written constitution in the UK?

2. EU tells Johnson he has 12 days to set out Brexit plans

Boris Johnson needs to set out his plans for leaving the EU in writing within 12 days or “it’s over”, EU leaders say. Finland, which currently holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, says it has agreed with French leader Emmanuel Macron that the UK needs to produce the proposals by the end of September. Johnson had said a new deal could be struck at an EU summit on 17 October.

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Today’s newspapers: ‘Bullish Boris ready to walk away’

3. Justin Trudeau ‘deeply regrets’ brownface photo

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologised “profoundly” after a photograph surfaced of him at a party in 2001 dressed in a turban and wearing ‘brownface’ make-up. The Liberal Party leader added: “It was a racist thing to do.”

Justin Trudeau apologises after ‘brownface’ image emerges

4. Booking.com still duping customers, says Which?

Accommodation website Booking.com is still misleading customers even after being told by the Competitions and Markets Authority that it must review its pressure-selling practices, according to a Which? investigation. The consumer organisation says the site has continued to use “one room left” warnings in a bid to panic holidaymakers into making bookings - a claim that was untrue in half of the cases examined.

5. Labour set to undo Tony Blair’s clause IV reform

The Labour Party is considering rolling back reforms introduced under Tony Blair’s leadership, potentially reinstating a commitment to mass nationalisation formerly enshrined in clause IV of the party’s constitution. Some more centrist Labour figures have warned against going back, with Alan Johnson saying it would be a “doctrinaire” mistake.

6. Cameron ‘sought Queen’s help’ over Scots independence vote

Former prime minister David Cameron has told the BBC he approached Buckingham Palace for help when he feared Scotland might vote to leave the union in 2014. Cameron said he asked if the Queen could “raise an eyebrow” during the Scottish referendum campaign. Her Majesty later told a well-wisher near Balmoral that she hoped voters would “think very carefully”.

What is David Cameron doing now?

7. John Humphrys bows out after 32 years on Today

Veteran broadcaster John Humphrys is presenting his final edition of BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today news show, after 32 years at the helm. BBC director general Tony Hall said many public figures would “breathe a sigh of relief” at the departure of the 76-year-old Welshman, whose tenacious questioning has earned him the nickname Rottweiler.

John Humphrys leaves Today: eight of his most memorable moments

8. Rees-Mogg says laying down in Commons was ‘mistake’

Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg has conceded that he made “a mistake” in sprawling across the front bench as MPs debated the Government’s Brexit plans earlier this month. Asked by The Daily Telegraph if his behaviour during the Commons clash on 3 September was acceptable, the Tory MP for North East Somerset said: “In hindsight, I think not.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg: memorable quotes from the arch-Brexiteer

9. China’s ‘Loch Ness monster’ is industrial airbag

Chinese cryptozoology fans are disappointed after footage of what seemed to be a huge, black water snake in the Yangtze River turned out to show a discarded industrial airbag. The phenomenon had given rise to hopes of a Chinese “Loch Ness monster”, with images and video clips published by major media outlets including state broadcaster CCTV.

Why everyone’s talking about the Loch Ness monster

10. Briefing: why Korean politicians are shaving their heads

Opposition politicians in South Korea’s parliament are shaving their heads in protest against the appointment of a justice minister whose family is being investigated for suspected wrongdoing.

So what exactly is going on?

Why Korean politicians are shaving their heads

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