Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 13 November 2021

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

1. Poll finds six-point lead for Labour

Labour have reached a six-point lead in a poll as the Conservative Party is hit hard by the sleaze scandal. According to the Savanta ComRes survey, a three-point Conservative lead last week has become a six-point deficit. The study, for the Daily Mail, found that voters overwhelmingly believe Boris Johnson should apologise for his handling of the scandal. A YouGov poll for the Times put the two parties neck and neck on 35%.

2. Climate talks reach final hours

Negotiators at the Cop26 climate talks were hoping for a global deal aimed at limiting devastating global warming. Delegates from nearly 200 nations are tasked with keeping alive the 2015 Paris goal of limiting temperature rises to 1.5C. The BBC said a new draft agreement to avert the worst impacts of climate change is expected to be announced today after talks at the COP26 summit in Glasgow passed the Friday deadline.

3. Bannon charged with two counts

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress. Bannon, 67, was charged with one count related to his refusal to appear for a deposition and another related to his refusal to produce documents. He could face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 (£74,500) fine. CNN said the indictment “sent shock waves through Washington”.

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4. Johnson villa linked to tax evasion

The villa where Boris Johnson stayed on holiday is linked to Costa del Sol property businesses owned by Zac Goldsmith’s family that allegedly engaged in a multimillion-pound tax evasion scheme, claimed The Guardian. Court papers in Spain show tax inspectors ordered two property companies owned by the Goldsmith family to pay €24m (£20m) in unpaid taxes and fines after investigating a suspicious property deal. The PM refused to declare his use of the luxury property in the MPs’ register of interests.

5. Staley emails with Epstein released

The former Barclays boss Jes Staley exchanged 1,200 emails with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein over four years, some of which featured unexplained terms such as “snow white”. The news emerged less than two weeks after Staley resigned from Barclays after being shown the preliminary conclusions of a regulatory investigation over his links to Epstein. Staley’s lawyer said the banker “had no involvement in any of the alleged crimes committed by Mr Epstein”.

6. Spears conservatorship ended by court

The conservatorship that has controlled pop star Britney Spears’ personal affairs and finances for 13 years has been ended at a court hearing in Los Angeles. Fans had gathered outside the court to support Spears, who had described the guardianship as abusive. “I think I'm gonna cry,” she told her 35m Instagram followers following the hearing. Sky News said it is a “life-changing decision” for Spears for the singer.

7. Blow for students over loans

Graduates will have to start paying back student loans sooner under government plans to raise around an extra £2.5bn a year. Presently, graduates only have to start paying off their student loans when they earn £27,295 a year – but that would fall to as low as £22,000. The Telegraph noted that young people have seen their prospects hit hardest by recent tax changes, while pensioners’ benefits have been relatively protected.

8. PM demands French action on crossings

Boris Johnson has called on France to stop the surge of migrants after nearly 1,200 people crossed the Channel in a single day this week. The prime minister called on Emmanuel Macron to close France’s border with Belgium, where seven in 10 Channel migrants cross on their journey to Britain. So far this week 2,449 migrants have crossed the Channel, taking the number this year to more than 23,500, almost three times as many as last year’s total of 8,420.

9. Risk of war with Russia high

There is “a greater risk” of an accidental war with Russia now than at any time during the Cold War, Britain’s most senior military officer has warned. General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff, told Times Radio the threat of “escalation leading to miscalculation” was “a real challenge”. His remarks came amid fears that Moscow is preparing to invade Ukraine.

10. Man dies and woman injured in stabbing

A young man has died and an elderly woman is in a critical condition after being stabbed in west London. The man, aged around 20, was pronounced dead at the scene in Brentford at about 8pm. The woman, in her 80s, was taken to hospital and is said to be in a critical condition. There has been no arrest and a police spokesman said: “At this stage, there is nothing to suggest that the incident is linked to terrorism.”

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