Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 2 December 2022

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

1. NHS ‘to grind to a halt’

The NHS will “grind to a halt” on 20 December under proposals for a coordinated Christmas strike in England and Wales by nurses, ambulance workers and hospital staff. The “unprecedented” day of industrial action would “leave NHS bosses struggling to keep even the most basic services running to standards that patients would expect”, said The Guardian. Unions complained of pay offers significantly lower than the rate of inflation during a cost of living crisis and dangerously low staffing levels.

What strikes are taking place - and when

2. Appeals court blow from Trump

A federal appeals court has halted a third-party review of documents seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The ruling “removes a major obstacle” to the Justice Department’s investigation into the mishandling of government records from Trump’s time in the White House, said CNN, and represents a “major defeat” for the former president. The justice department is now set to regain access to the entirety of the materials for use in the criminal investigation surrounding the former president.

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Inside Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s home, club, ‘winter White House’ and document store

3. Kanye West praises Hitler

Kanye West has praised Adolf Hitler and questioned the Holocaust during an appearance on a conspiracy theory TV show. “Well, I see good things about Hitler also,” he said on InfoWars, a programme hosted by the far-right broadcaster Alex Jones. The rapper - who has courted considerable controversy in recent months - said that Hitler “invented highways, invented the very microphone that I use as a musician”, adding that “you can’t say out loud that this person ever did anything good and I am done with that”. West also said of Hitler that “he didn’t kill six million Jews”.

Kanye West’s White Lives Matter controversy

4. Sunak pressed over Mone whip

The prime minister is under pressure from main opposition parties to withdraw the Tory whip from Michelle Mone in the House of Lords after she was accused of gaining millions from the profits of a PPE company. Labour and the Liberal Democrats said Rishi Sunak’s core pledge to lead a government that acts with “integrity and professionalism” has become an “empty promise”. Labour chair Anneliese Dodds said it is “staggering” that Baroness Mone still has the Conservative whip.

NOV 2020: Secret PPE scheme saw government hand billions to political ‘cronies’

5. Labour enjoys big Chester swing

Labour has won the Chester by-election - the first electoral test of Rishi Sunak’s reign. Samantha Dixon comfortably retained the seat for her party with 17,309 votes - a 61% share and nearly 11,000 more than the Conservative candidate. Although Labour was widely tipped to win, the margin was bigger than in 2019 when the gap was 6,164 votes. Election officials said that turnout was 41.2%, with a total of 28,541 votes cast.

6. Hancock reveals ‘bonkers’ plan

Ministers considered releasing prisoners at the start of the Covid pandemic, claimed Matt Hancock. The former health secretary said there was a “bonkers proposal from the Ministry of Justice to let prisoners out, as they’d be easier to manage if they’re not in prison”. In his book, Pandemic Diaries, serialised in the Daily Mail he continued: “Yes, really: they actually thought this might be a goer. I was emphasising [my opposition] so hard that all of a sudden my chair could take the strain no longer and ripped, tipping me unceremoniously on to the floor.”

Matt Hancock: the former health secretary turned reality-show contestant

7. Hussey asked lawyer about heritage

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal says royal aide Lady Susan Hussey, who resigned after a racism row, also asked him about his “heritage” at Buckingham Palace. Writing on Twitter, the leading lawyer said: “I was at the Buckingham Palace reception at which Lady Hussey questioned the heritage of a brilliant DV [domestic violence] expert Ngozi Fulani. She only asked me my heritage once & seemed to accept my answer - Manchester currently! Racism is never far away tho.” Meanwhile, the late monarch’s lady-in-waiting has offered to meet Fulani, said The Mirror.

Lady-in-waiting Susan Hussey resigns over racist ‘abuse’ row

8. Ukraine death figure claimed

Up to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the start of the conflict, said Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “It is rare for Ukraine to give figures for casualties”, said the BBC, noting that Podolyak’s figures have not been confirmed by the country’s military. Meanwhile, France has become the first major western state to officially back a special tribunal to try senior Russian officials – potentially including Vladimir Putin – for the crime of aggression in Ukraine.

The real Ukraine war death toll

9. ‘Dangerous’ to reappoint Braverman

The reappointment of Suella Braverman as home secretary sets “a dangerous precedent”, said a committee of MPs. The home secretary, who was fired from her role after leaking restricted material, was handed back her job just six days later, when Rishi Sunak became prime minister. William Wragg, chair of the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, said a “robust” system for upholding standards was necessary, “with proper sanctions for those who break the rules”.

Suella Braverman - and five of the other most divisive politicians since Brexit

10. Chaos in postal depots

Royal Mail is struggling to cope with a mounting backlog of parcels, said the i news site. Leaked footage and images show postal depots crammed with trolleys. The paper said there are also warnings that cards posted now might not make it in time for Christmas. There are six days of strike action by Royal Mail workers in December. The Communication Workers Union wants a pay rise that matches the soaring cost of living.

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