Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 14 August 2022

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

1. Liz Truss 22 points ahead

Liz Truss enjoys a 22-point lead over Rishi Sunak in the race to become the next Tory leader and PM, according to poll of 570 party members for The Observer. With less than three weeks to go before the September 2 deadline for voting, the survey puts the foreign secretary on 61% and the former chancellor on 39%. However, offered the choice of Boris Johnson or Truss, 63% said they would prefer Johnson to be still in charge against 22% who wanted Truss. Some 68% said they would prefer to still have Johnson than Sunak, who was preferred by just 19%.

2. Wildfire warnings as heatwave peaks

Wildfires could continue to break out across the UK this weekend, as some regions are braced for temperatures as high as 35C. A fire in Derbyshire was tackled by four fire engines, while emergency services were called to put out blazes in Dorset and east London. The Environment Agency has warned that the drought in England could persist into next year, with a spokesman saying that after the driest summer in 50 years, it would take “weeks’ worth of rain” to replenish water sources.

3. Starmer to call for cap freeze

Labour will call for the energy price cap to be frozen this autumn. As pressure grows on Sir Keir Starmer to respond to the cost of living crisis, the party leader is expected to make the call in a speech tomorrow. The cap - the maximum amount suppliers can charge customers in England, Scotland and Wales - is expected to climb to around £3,500 a year. Writing in the Sunday Mirror, Starmer said that Labour has a plan that “meets the scale of this crisis”.

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4. Schools ‘consider three-day weeks’

School leaders are considering three or four-day weeks amid rises in energy bills and teacher salaries, said The Telegraph. Headteachers, trustees and governors are holding “crisis meetings” to work out how to keep schools afloat in the autumn term. Teacher pay rises planned for September will coincide with energy costs rises of up to 300%. Mark Jordan, from the Creative Education Trust, a multi-academy trust, said there had been discussions of a “three-day week” to save on costs.

5. Rushdie attack ‘wake-up call’

Rishi Sunak said Britain should proscribe Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation following the attack on Sir Salman Rushdie. The former chancellor said that the stabbing should be a “wake-up call for the West”. He also hinted that the nuclear deal that lifted sanctions against Iran could have reached “a dead end”. The suspect, Hadi Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey, has been charged with attempted murder and assault. Rushdie has been taken off a ventilator and is able to talk.

6. ‘No fines’ for hosepipe bans

No-one has ever paid a fine for breaking a hosepipe ban, claimed the Sunday Telegraph. Although water companies can fine hosepipe users who defy a ban under the Water Industry Act 1991, with penalties of up to £1,000, no company contacted by The Times confirmed ever having issued one in the 31 years since the measure was introduced. Of England’s 15 water companies, seven said that they have never fined a customer and the rest did not answer either way.

7. Manhunt after shootings in Jerusalem

At least seven people have been injured after gunmen opened fire in Jerusalem, Israeli officials have said. The attackers shot at a bus and opened fire in a car park near the Western Wall in the early hours of the morning. Israeli police told the Ynet news site that forces were dispatched to the scene to investigate. Israeli security forces were in pursuit of a suspect seen fleeing on foot to the nearby Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan.

8. Plaid Cymru MP ‘should quit’

An MP who assaulted his wife should resign and leave Plaid Cymru, said party leader Adam Price. Jonathan Edwards, the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, was recently readmitted to the party after being suspended in the wake of the assault in 2020. However, his wife, Emma Edwards, said she was “appalled” that he would be allowed to return to being a Plaid MP. Price wrote on Twitter that Edwards’ “actions do not represent our values” and his position as an MP “sends the wrong message out to domestic abuse survivors in Wales and beyond”.

9. Tight run for Kenyan president

The two main candidates in Kenya’s presidential election were running almost neck and neck after more than a third of the results were confirmed. Deputy President William Ruto (51%) had a slight lead over ex-PM Raila Odinga Deputy (48%). The verification of the results of Tuesday’s election were stopped several times after complaints by supporters of the main candidates. Odinga’s supporters disrupted the verification process several times and accosted some of the electoral officials, said the BBC.

10. Haywards Heath goes plant-based

Haywards Heath in Sussex has become the first town council to sign up to the plant-based treaty, an initiative aimed at persuading world leaders to transform societies gradually to vegan diets. The treaty’s demands range from no building of new animal farms and no intensification of farms, along with transitioning to plant-based meal plans in schools, hospitals and nursing homes, and subsidising fruit and vegetables. “It’s the first step in a long journey,” said a councillor.

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