Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 28 Jun 2020

1. Labour warns unemployment could reach 1980s levels

Labour is warning that unemployment in Britain could soar to levels not seen since the 1980s unless ministers boost support for businesses struggling because of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. A new study from the House of Commons library shows that up to one million people could be added to the current jobless total of 2.8m, unless extra support is given from August.

2. Housing minister overruled officials to push through deal

Robert Jenrick overruled civil servants and lawyers to push through a £1bn property deal backed by the Tory donor Richard Desmond. A Whitehall whistleblower said the housing secretary dismissed officials' advice over the luxury housing plan in London’s Docklands. According to The Sunday Times, civil servants warned Jenrick that the development violated planning rules and was “70% to 80%” likely to be judicially reviewed.

3. Lockdown could leave public weakened to new viruses

The lockdown leave people dangerously vulnerable to new viruses, a leading epidemiologist has warned. Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford, says the restrictions could weaken immune systems because people are not exposed to germs and so do not develop defences that could protect them against future pandemics. She said we could be “like clumps of trees waiting to be set ablaze”.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

4. Moscow offered to pay Taliban to kill British soldiers

Russia secretly offered to pay Taliban-linked fighters to kill British and American soldiers in Afghanistan, according to reports in the US. The New York Times says there has been a major escalation by Moscow to undermine the White House and its coalition allies, including the UK, as President Donald Trump attempts to strike a peace deal with the Taliban.

5. No more austerity, pledges Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has vowed that his government will “not go back to the austerity of 10 years ago” ahead of a speech on Tuesday. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, the prime minister said he will launch a new taskforce, led by the chancellor, which will look at speeding up the building of hospitals, schools and roads. “We are absolutely not going back to the austerity of 10 years ago,” he said.

6. Lisa Nandy calls for boycott as Israel prepares annexation

Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, says the UK must ban the import of goods from illegal settlements in the West Bank if the Israeli government presses ahead with annexation plans this week. She told The Observer the move would be a “major step” and require “courage that so far ministers have not been willing to show”, adding that “such a blatant breach of international law must have consequences”.

7. ‘Nervous’ Hancock considers a Leicester lockdown

Ministers could impose the first local lockdown within days following a surge in coronavirus cases in Leicester. Sources say Matt Hancock, the health secretary, is “quite worried” and has been examining the legislation required for a shutdown after it was revealed there have been 658 coronavirus cases in the area in the two weeks to June 16.

8. Greta Thunberg slams politicians who queue for selfies

Greta Thunberg has criticised world leaders for wanting to be pictured with her to “look good”. The teenage environmental campaigner told Swedish radio that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had queued up to have a “selfie” with her. She said: “Presidents, prime ministers, kings and princesses came and wanted to talk to me. It seemed as if they had forgotten for a moment to be ashamed that their generation had let future generations down.”

9. ‘Betrayal’ of WPC Fletcher as suspect avoids questioning

There are fears that no one will ever be held to account for the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, who was killed by shots fired from the Libyan embassy in London in 1984. Critics say the government is ensuring the prime suspect, Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk, will never face justice by secretly barring him from returning to Britain.

10. Rolling Stones warn Trump not to use their songs

The Rolling Stones have warned Donald Trump that he could face legal action if he continues using their music at his campaign rallies. After the Trump campaign used the song You Can't Always Get What You Want at last week's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a statement from the band's legal team said it was working with the performing rights organisation, the BMI, to stop the unauthorised use of their music.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.