Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 19 July 2022

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

1. Tory contest is ‘wide open’

Another leadership hopeful will be eliminated today when Conservative MPs vote again. Rishi Sunak is expected to make the final two and will be joined by Penny Mordaunt or Liz Truss or Kemi Badenoch. The Times said the contest is “wide open” and Badenoch could capitalise on Mordaunt and Truss’s stalled progress. Last night, Tom Tugendhat was eliminated from the leadership race after coming last in the latest round of voting. “Although it wasn’t to be today, I am immensely proud of the positive vision we put forward for our country,” he tweeted.

‘Dark arts’ and ‘dirty tricks’: how Tory leadership race became a mud-slinging war

2. Temperatures could hit 43C

The UK is set to see its hottest day on record today, with temperatures forecast to reach up to 43C. The Met Office has issued its first red extreme heat warning which covers much of central, northern and south-east England, while Network Rail has advised people against non-essential travel. Yesterday, a high of 38.1C was recorded in Suffolk, just short of the UK record of 38.7C which was set in 2019. The Daily Mail said “tropic-hell Tuesday” will see more “sizzling heat”.

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What is the hottest UK temperature on record?

3. Petrol prices falling

Petrol prices will fall by around £1.50 a tank after fuel costs dropped from recent record highs. Prices at the pump have fallen from around 191.53p a litre for petrol and 199.07p a litre for diesel at the start of the month to 188.76p for petrol and 196.96p for diesel, thanks to an overall drop in the price of oil. “Wholesale petrol’s trajectory, if sustained, would lead to savings of a tenner off a tank from the record highs, providing the fuel trade is prepared to pass them on,” said the AA’s fuel price spokesperson, Luke Bosdet.

4. Harry criticises abortion ruling

Prince Harry has criticised the “rolling back of constitutional rights” in the US. During a speech to the UN General Assembly marking Nelson Mandela International Day, the Duke of Sussex made a “thinly-veiled critique” of the US Supreme Court’s decision to end abortion rights, said The Independent. “From the horrific war in Ukraine to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom – the cause of Mandela’s life,” he said.

Roe vs. Wade overturned: what the ruling means for other American rights

5. Child dieting on the rise

A study has found that more than one in every four children in England are dieting, including some who are a healthy weight and as young as eight. The proportion of young people trying to slim down has risen from 21% in 1997 to nearly 27% in 2016. “We have been seeing a rise in boys dieting – it’s not just girls doing it,” said University of Oxford study author and dietician Melissa Little. Researchers spoke to more than 34,000 children and teenagers for the study, which was published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

6. Wedding restrictions could be scrapped

Couples could soon marry on the beach, during a cruise or at their kitchen table under proposals to scrap current restrictions on where weddings can be held. The Law Commission is recommending that weddings should be able to take place anywhere, providing the presiding official considers it safe and dignified. Currently, religious weddings must generally take place in a registered place of worship and civil weddings in a registry office or on another approved premises. The Guardian said the move would be “the biggest overhaul to marriage regulations in England and Wales since the 19th century”.

7. Starbucks denies UK sale plan

Starbucks has denied it is putting itself up for sale in the UK. Over the weekend, The Times claimed that the coffee chain has asked its adviser, Houlihan Lokey, to canvass interest for its UK business, which oversees more than 1,000 coffee shops and employs 4,000 people. However, the chain, which is facing increasing competition from rivals such as Pret A Manger and Costa Coffee, showed CNN an email sent to its UK staff denying the company is engaged in a “formal sale process” and insisting it wants to remain in the region.

8. Bannon on trial for contempt

The former top adviser and campaign chief for Donald Trump has gone on trial for refusing to co-operate with the congressional committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. Jury selection began for Steve Bannon’s trial at a court in Washington DC. CNN said Bannon is “disrupting democracy”, describing him as a “spearhead in the movement to shift the Republican Party away from the country club and toward the working class” and “a master of bumper-sticker messaging”. He faces two counts of contempt of Congress.

Will Steve Bannon face jail time over contempt of the Capitol riot inquiry?

9. Heading ban extended to games

A ban on heading for under-12s in matches in England is to be trialled by the Football Association (FA). After research showed former professional footballers were more than three times as likely to die from a brain disease than other men of a similar age and background, the FA outlawed heading in training for primary school children. It now plans to extend that ban to junior matches permanently. Troy Deeney, captain of Birmingham City, warned that eliminating heading from football would “change the nature of the game beyond recognition”.

10. Sports Direct ‘hitman’ trial opens

A woman tried to hire a hitman to murder her female colleague at a Sports Direct shop after they both started a relationship with their manager, Reading Crown Court heard. Whitney Franks became “rampantly jealous” when Ruut Ruutna joined the shop and also started an affair with James Prest, the court was told. She allegedly posted an ad on the dark web, which stated: “I’m looking for the murder of a woman. I have £1,000 and I am willing to pay more. Please can you help sort this out.” Franks denies soliciting murder.

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