Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 2 May 2021

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1. Labour cuts Tory lead in half

Labour has halved the Conservatives’ lead, according to the latest Opinium poll. The survey shows the Tory lead has fallen from 11 points to five points after Boris Johnson faced allegations of sleaze and reports claiming he would rather see “bodies pile high” than order another lockdown. According to a separate poll for The Sunday Times, Labour is narrowly ahead in the 43 red wall seats the Tories won in the 2019 general election.

2. North Korea slams ‘hostile’ Biden

North Korea has accused Joe Biden of a “hostile policy” over its nuclear programme. In a series of statements by the foreign ministry, North Korea branded US diplomacy “spurious” and warned of a response that could leave the US “in a very grave situation”. The White House said last week that its goal remains “the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

3. Met assess report after Clarke claims

The Metropolitan police are assessing a “third-party” report of sexual offences committed by a male, after allegations were made against the actor Noel Clarke. The news comes after 26 women accused Clarke of sexual harassment, bullying and other misconduct. The actor says: “I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing and intend to defend myself against these false allegations.”

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4. Jabs for kids from September

Health officials are expected to offer the Pfizer vaccine to secondary school pupils from September. NHS planning documents include the offer of a single dose to children aged 12 and over when the new school year starts. The proposal is subject to advice from scientists on the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation. One expert said the move might be unnecessary if infection rates dropped to a low level before the autumn.

5. Kill the Bill protest in London

Thousands of protesters marched through London yesterday to demonstrate against the new police, crime, sentencing and courts bill. At the biggest “kill the bill” protest to date, Pragna Patel,of Southall Black Sisters, said: “We are really, really alarmed by the government’s thrust towards authoritarianism.” A Home Office spokesman said: “These new measures will not stop people from carrying out their civic right to protest and be heard, but will prevent large scale disruption”

6. ‘Traitor’ Romney booed in Utah

Mitt Romney was booed and called a “traitor” and a “communist” at the Utah Republican party convention yesterday. “Aren’t you embarrassed?” the Utah senator asked the crowd of 2,100 delegates at the Maverik Center in West Valley City. Romney was the only Republican to vote to impeach Donald Trump twice – for seeking political dirt on opponents from Ukraine and for inciting the deadly insurrection at the Capitol.

7. Johnson bid to ‘save the Union’

Boris Johnson will splash billions of pounds on Scotland in a “desperate counter-offensive” against Nicola Sturgeon, reports the Sunday Telegraph. The prime minister will fund new road and rail links and treat Scottish patients on English NHS beds as part of a strategy to “save the Union”. Whitehall lawyers have also been told to prepare to fight in court any attempt by the SNP to call a referendum without the consent of the UK Government.

8. Sports Direct comes bottom in survey

Sports Direct has been named the worst place to buy outdoor and sporting equipment. The retailer, owned by Mike Ashley, finished bottom in a consumer survey due to its after sales service, product guarantees and response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Sports Direct said it was investing “significant sums into improving the customer journey”. The top three chains in the survey were Rohan, Sweaty Betty and Cotswold Outdoors.

9. Buffett warning on trading platforms

Warren Buffett said stock trading platforms that allow people to buy and sell stocks for free are encouraging a “gambling impulse”. Speaking of the platforms such as Robinhood, the billionaire investor said though “there is nothing illegal” or “immoral” about such trading, “I don’t think you build a society around people doing it”. He was speaking at the annual meeting of his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway in Los Angeles.

10. Jenner opposes trans girls in women’s sports

Caitlyn Jenner says trans girls should not be allowed to participate in women’s sports. Jenner, who came out as a trans woman in 2015, told a reporter: “It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.” The Republican candidate for California governor and former Olympic gold medallist spoke out as a number of US states are considering a ban on trans girls in women’s sports.

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