- 1. UK pledges £1bn more to Ukraine
- 2. Rebels plan 1922 ‘clean sweep’
- 3. Meghan findings won’t be published
- 4. Paris attacker sentenced to life
- 5. R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years
- 6. Captain Tom charity probed
- 7. MPs baby ban upheld
- 8. Renovations push up royal bill
- 9. Police find severed head outside court
- 10. Heinz and Tesco in price dispute
1. UK pledges £1bn more to Ukraine
The UK will provide an additional £1bn in military aid for Ukraine, taking the aid given to Kyiv to £2.3bn. The government said the new money will go towards “sophisticated air defence systems”, drones, electronic warfare equipment and “thousands of pieces of vital kit”. Meanwhile, reported the inews site, the UK’s Armed Forces is facing a cut of £1.7bn in real terms by 2025 because of high inflation. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are both calling for a spending boost.
2. Rebels plan 1922 ‘clean sweep’
Boris Johnson is facing a renewed threat from Conservative rebels amid a “hardening of the mood against the prime minister”, said The Guardian. Opponents of the PM, including some who backed him only last week, are planning a “clean sweep” of the 1922 committee that could allow a fresh vote of no confidence in the leader sooner than the current rules allow. A secret ballot to elect the committee’s executive members will be held next month and the Tory rebels hope to secure all 18 positions. A source said rebels are “getting ruthlessly organised”.
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3. Meghan findings won’t be published
Buckingham Palace has refused to release the findings of an investigation into bullying allegations made against the Duchess of Sussex. The review was launched in March 2021 to explore what “lessons could be learned” after it was alleged that she had driven out two personal assistants and “humiliated” staff. Although the palace initially said that any changes in policies or procedures recommended by the review would be published, a source has now said that those taking part needed to have “confidentiality”.
4. Paris attacker sentenced to life
Salah Abdeslam, thought to be only surviving member of the Islamic State group that carried out deadly gun and bomb attacks in Paris in 2015, has been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Nine out of the ten gunmen died on the night of the attacks. Of the further ten members thought to have coordinated the attacks, six are currently missing. The attacks killed 130 people and wounded 494 in the Bataclan theatre and in bars and restaurants across the French capital.
5. R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years
The disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for using his celebrity status to sexually abuse children and women. Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Kelly, 55, to more than 25 years behind bars, following his conviction last year on federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges. Handing down the sentence, district court judge Ann Donnelly told Kelly he left “a trail of broken lives” behind him. “The most seasoned investigators will not forget the horrors your victims endured,” she added.
6. Captain Tom charity probed
The Charity Commission will hold a full inquiry into suspicions that the family of NHS fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore personally profited from the charity set up in his name. The watchdog’s probe will examine concerns that a company, controlled by Captain Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband, Colin, may have enjoyed “significant profit” by trademarking the “Captain Tom” brand. The Guardian said Charity Commission inquiries are rare and not undertaken unless the watchdog has evidence of “serious concerns”.
7. MPs baby ban upheld
A cross-party committee has ruled that MPs should not be allowed to bring their babies into the Commons chamber. Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle asked the Commons’ Procedure Committee to review rules after Labour’s Stella Creasy was told in November 2021 she could not have her baby son with her. The MPs noted that banning babies from the chamber had been a “long-standing practice of the House” and their inquiry had come to the same conclusion. However, they said discretion could be exercised “sparingly”.
8. Renovations push up royal bill
The Royal Family cost taxpayers £102.4m last year, reported the Daily Mirror. The Sovereign Grant Report showed that the renovation of Buckingham Palace helped to drive up the bill. Travel costs were also up – from £1.3m to £4.5m. Royal finances expert Norman Baker said the government should have a “complete rethink” of how taxpayers’ money is allocated to the royals because the public having “no say” in how such sums are spent while “ordinary people are struggling isn’t right”.
9. Police find severed head outside court
Police in Germany said that they have detained a man suspected of leaving a human head in front of the Bonn district court. A body, believed to belong to the severed head, was found nearby on the Rhine river. Officers said the 38-year-old suspect is from the Bonn area. Police said no suspicious activity was reported in the area, and they are looking for witnesses. The victim is a 44-year-old man, according to German newspaper General Anzeiger. Police said the suspect, 38, is known to them for narcotics offences.
10. Heinz and Tesco in price dispute
Heinz has withdrawn its baked beans and ketchup from Tesco’s shelves and website in a dispute over prices. Kraft Heinz wants to put up prices for its products because production costs are rising but Tesco said its stores “will not pass on unjustifiable price increases to our customers”. The Telegraph said the standoff is reminiscent of “Marmitegate” in 2016, when jars of the spread disappeared from Tesco shops, as the chain resisted owner Unilever’s bid to raise wholesale prices.
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