Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 21 Nov 2020

1. Boris pressed Patel inquiry for ‘palatable’ findings

Boris Johnson has been accused of trying to tone down an independent report which said Home Secretary Priti Patel broke the ministerial code by bullying staff. A Whitehall source told the BBC that the head of the investigation was pressured to make the findings more “palatable”. However, Downing Street has insisted the conclusions of Sir Alex Allan's investigation were “entirely his own”.

2. Officials in Brussels say Brexit deal ‘95% agreed’

European Union officials believe a Brexit deal is 95% agreed, according to notes seen by Sky News. At a meeting of the most senior diplomats in Brussels on Friday morning, they were briefed about the state of Brexit talks by the European Commission's Secretary General Ilze Juhansone, who told them the legal text of a trade deal was now “finalised” in almost all areas, “covering almost all subjects”.

3. Donald Trump ‘frantic’ after fresh electoral setback

Donald Trump has been dealt a fresh blow to his chances of overturning his loss in the US election after lawmakers in Michigan signalled that they would not seek to overturn Joe Biden’s projected win in the state. CNN says that Trump’s “subversion efforts” are growing “more frantic”. Biden is set to take office on 20 January as the 46th US president.

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4. Government set to allow week of Xmas get-togethers

The government plans to allow families to meet for up to a week at Christmas but will also keep strict restrictions in place until then, says the Daily Telegraph. Boris Johnson is reportedly preparing to announce a UK-wide relaxation of rules from December 22 to 28, allowing several families to join in one “bubble”.

5. Covid vaccination could start in the UK within weeks

Matt Hancock says the NHS could start immunising people against Covid-19 next month, if the medicines regulator approves a vaccine in time. The health secretary said there was a chance of an unprecedented vaccination programme starting before Christmas, if the vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech is given the go-ahead soon. NHS bosses believe that at least some people will have the injection before the festive season begins.

6. Putin ‘underwent surgery’ and ‘plans to step down’

A critic of Vladimir Putin claims that earlier this year the Russian president was suffering from cancer and underwent surgery. Valery Solovei, who says he has sources “at the epicentre of decision making”, also says Putin is planning to step down in January due to his health problems and is planning to name daughter Katerina Tikhonova as his successor.

7. Madrid to build migrant camps on Canary Islands

Spain says it will build emergency camps on the Canary Islands to provide shelter for some of the thousands of recently arrived migrants. Jose Luis Escriva, the Migration Minister, said temporary accommodation for 7,000 migrants would be ready within weeks after more than 18,000 people arrived on the islands this year. Thousands have been sleeping in what officials describe as “subhuman conditions” in Gran Canaria's Arguineguin port.

8. Government plans investment review to ‘share prosperity’

The government claims it will make a major reform to the way it assesses the value for money of government investments in big projects, removing a longstanding favouritism that has affected funding for northern England and other regions. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the reforms will allow those “in all corners of the UK to get their fair share of our future prosperity”.

9. Prince Harry welcomes probe into Panorama interview

Prince Harry has welcomed an investigation into Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Princess Diana as a “drive for truth”, reports the Daily Mail. However, Earl Spencer, brother of Princess Diana, has questioned how a BBC inquiry will get to the truth behind the bombshell Panorama interview. The investigation has been launched into claims Martin Bashir used forged bank statements to convince Diana to do the interview.

10. Donald Trump Jr tests positive for Covid-19

The oldest son of US President Donald Trump has tested positive for coronavirus, according to his spokesman. Donald Trump Jr, 42, was diagnosed earlier this week and has been quarantining at his hunting cabin. “He's been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended Covid-19 guidelines,” according to the statement.

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