Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 9 May 2022

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

1. Tories fear Lib Dem threat

The Conservatives are setting up a dedicated unit to combat the threat from the Liberal Democrats after the party made significant gains in the Tory’s southern heartlands in last week’s local elections. A cabinet minister has called on Boris Johnson to address the threat to the Conservative “blue wall” after a Lib Dem MP refused to rule out a post-election pact with Labour. Daisy Cooper, the Liberal Democrat MP for St Albans, said her party had “no interest” in another coalition with the Tories, but declined to say whether her party would support a minority Labour government.

Five key takeaways from the local elections 2022

2. Protocol may block NI progress

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State will hold talks with the five main parties today to encourage them to form an executive as soon as possible. Sinn Féin won the most seats at last week’s election and are entitled to the position of first minister. But the Democratic Unionists are not prepared to re-enter a power-sharing deal until their concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol are addressed. Ministers could “take unilateral action to override” the deal “within weeks”, The Times said, “claiming that it is crucial to restoring power sharing” in Northern Ireland.

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3. Putin ‘mirroring’ the Nazis

Vladimir Putin and his inner political circle are “mirroring the fascism” of the Nazis, the defence secretary will say today in a speech at the National Army Museum in London. In an address scheduled to coincide with the Kremlin’s annual military parade, Ben Wallace will condemn Moscow’s “unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine, attacks against innocent citizens and their homes”. He will also single out Russia’s generals for criticism, stating that they are “utterly complicit in Putin’s hijacking of their forebears’ proud history of defending against a ruthless invasion”.

What to expect from Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day parade on 9 May

4. Two million miss meals

More than two million adults in the UK have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because they cannot afford to eat, a survey has found. The Guardian said the study by the Food Foundation think tank revealed a 57% rise in the proportion of households cutting back on food. The research found one in seven adults (7.3m) are estimated to be food-insecure, up from 4.7m in January.

When will the cost-of-living crisis end?

5. Israel to target Hamas chiefs

Israel is preparing to send assassination teams to kill Hamas leaders abroad in retaliation for deadly attacks on Israeli civilians over the past two months, it has emerged. The Palestinian group is believed to have been warned of the impending hits by intelligence agencies in the Middle East and Europe, according to The Times. Although only one of the recent attacks, the shooting of a security guard at a West Bank settlement, has been directly linked to Hamas, Israel blames the group for inciting Palestinians who have acted “on their own initiative”.

Why are Islamic State-linked attackers targeting Israel?

6. Starmer pulls out from event

Keir Starmer has withdrawn from an event to discuss the “challenges the country faces” amid the on-going controversy over “Beergate” allegations. According to The Telegraph, Labour did not offer an explanation as to why Starmer was no longer attending Monday’s event at the Institute for Government. However, it comes after a leaked memo emerged that revealed that the event in Durham last year was pre-planned, in contrast to the party’s earlier claims that it was decided on the night as “nowhere served food”.

‘Beergate’: did Keir Starmer break lockdown restrictions?

7. Child influencers need protection

MPs are calling on the government to introduce legislation to protect child social media influencers from exploitation. Julian Knight, the Conservative chair of the House of Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said: “As is so often the case where social media is involved, if you dig below the shiny surface of what you see on screen you will discover an altogether murkier world where both the influencers and their followers are at risk of exploitation and harm online.”

The rise of the social media influencer

8. Hay fever stocks running out

Hay fever medication supplies are running low because of a shortage of a common allergy drug. Boots said that stocks of chlorphenamine maleate, the active ingredient in Piriton and other hay fever remedies, are running low across the industry. The shortage comes as Met Office forecasters warn of high pollen levels over the coming days. The middle of May can be the “worst time” for many hay fever sufferers, said The Telegraph, because two main types of pollen – from trees and grasses – are “released at the same time”.

May 2019: Why is hay fever so bad and is there a cure?

9. PM plans ‘bonfire’ of regulations

Boris Johnson is planning a “bonfire of EU laws” in a bid to “reboot his government”, reported The Times. The PM, who wants to grab his last chance to implement significant legislative reform before the next general election, will announce plans to remove hundreds of pieces of EU law from the statute book. This will include cutting regulations for small businesses and removing environmental restrictions that can delay or prevent infrastructure projects. He hopes to use the Queen’s Speech tomorrow to “move on” from last week’s local election results, the paper added.

10. Tributes to ‘superb’ Waterman

Tributes have been paid to the actor Dennis Waterman who has died at the age of 74. Waterman, known for his roles in TV shows including Minder, The Sweeney and New Tricks, died in Spain on Sunday afternoon. Comedian Matt Lucas tweeted: “I grew up watching Dennis Waterman’s iconic performances in The Sweeney and Minder.” DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles described Waterman as “a genuinely lovely guy”. Piers Morgan paid tribute to the “superb actor”

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