Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 9 November 2022

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

1. US midterms ‘on a knife edge’

Republicans are expected to take control of the House of Representatives but the battle for the Senate is “on a knife edge” said the BBC, as results of the US midterm elections roll in. USA Today said that despite Republican gains, an “overwhelming “red wave hasn’t yet materialised”, as Democrats held on to and even gained several competitive Senate and governor seats. Americans went to the polls yesterday to determine control of the US Congress for the next two years, in a vote largely seen as a referendum on Joe Biden’s presidency.

US midterms 2022: the process, polling and how results will affect 2024

2. PM showed ‘poor judgement’

Labour said Rishi Sunak has been shown to have “poor judgement and leadership” following the resignation of cabinet minister Sir Gavin Williamson amid bullying claims. Williamson dramatically quit Sunak’s cabinet last night after The Guardian revealed claims that he told a senior civil servant to “slit your throat” while he was defence secretary. The Cabinet Office minister stepped aside after a former Whitehall aide put in a formal complaint to parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.

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Gavin Williamson: the tarantula-wielding Tory minister accused of bullying

3. Government ‘blocking party probe’

The ‘partygate’ inquiry is being delayed by government “foot-dragging”, said The Guardian. A series of documents – including Boris Johnson’s diaries, event email inviations, No 10 entry logs, briefing papers and WhatsApp messages - were requested more than three months ago but many have not been handed over yet. Once source said it was “impossible” to proceed before all the evidence had been received and another said the government was being “f***ing difficult”.

Why Partygate could lead to a Boris Johnson by-election

4. Zelenskyy issues climate warning

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told world leaders they will not be able to tackle the climate crisis unless Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ends. The president said that the invasion has forced dozens of countries to resume coal-fired power to alleviate energy costs. “There can be no effective climate policy without the peace,” said the Ukrainian president in a video address at the Cop27 UN climate summit. He added that “there are still many [countries] for whom climate change is just rhetoric or marketing, not real action”.

Is the West getting ‘Ukraine fatigue’?

5. Kremlin ‘gives Iran British missile’

Iran was given a British anti-tank missile by Moscow “in exchange for unmanned drones used to attack Ukraine”, reported The Telegraph. A security source has claimed that Russia handed over £120m in cash along with British and US weaponry seized from Ukrainian troops to pay for the drones. Sky News said that the weapons had been intended for the Ukraine military but “fell into the wrong hands”. A source said the weaponry “will probably be reverse-engineered and used in future wars”.

What Iranian Kamikaze drones mean for Ukraine

6. Sunak adviser calls for net zero urgency

A new adviser to Rishi Sunak has urged the government to go harder and faster on net zero. Nick Park, who joined No 10 this week as energy adviser, has encouraged the PM to “accelerate” towards the target rather than surrendering to calls to “deviate” from the plan. In a report for the think-tank Public First, Park argued that pressing ahead with net zero “remains the best plan” for the nation. The Telegraph said the net zero drive has been “controversial” within the Tory party.

Rishi Sunak’s plans to tackle climate change

7. Hunt ‘thinks unthinkable’ on tax

The government is considering increasing council tax and pulling more people into the top rate of income tax as ministers “think the unthinkable” ahead of next week’s budget, said The Times. Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt may allow local authorities to raise more in council tax by tearing up a requirement to hold a referendum if they are increasing it by more than 2.99%. They may also reduce the threshold at which people start to pay the 45p rate of income tax, which is currently paid by those earning more than £150,000.

Budget cuts and tax rises: five predictions for the Autumn Statement

8. Trump threatens DeSantis

Donald Trump has warned Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis against running for the White House in 2024. Speaking to Fox News, the former president said: “I think he would be making a mistake. I think the base would not like it.” He also threatened to leak unspecified unflattering information about the 44-year-old, claiming: “I know more about him than anybody - other than, perhaps, his wife”. Both men have been tipped to announce presidential runs and become “likely rivals” for the Republican nomination, said the BBC.

Ron DeSantis: Florida governor tipped as ‘Trump 2.0’ presidential candidate

9. Calorie labels ‘don’t work’

Food labels showing how much exercise is needed to burn off calories do not help tackle obesity, according to researchers at Cambridge University. The team placed physical activity calorie-equivalent (Pace) labels on meals and snacks at 10 workplace canteens across England. During a 12-week period, the researchers recorded 250,000 transactions and found the exercise information had “little or no impact” on the food bought. The report, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, found there was “insufficient evidence to justify implementing the labels”.

Arguments for and against calorie-count menus

10. Fry leaves Twitter again

Stephen Fry has deleted his Twitter account as the exodus from the platform continues under the ownership of Elon Musk. The veteran broadcaster and actor posted a picture of Scrabble letters spelling out “Goodbye” to his 12.5m followers before leaving the site. However, this is not the first time Fry has left the micro-blogging site. For instance, in 2016 he said Twitter had become a “stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous” after deleting his account.

Elon Musk’s charges for Twitter blue tick

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