Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 4 December 2022

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

1. Ministers show ‘toxic indifference’ to Afghans

Afghan nationals who were promised resettlement to the UK nearly a year ago are “facing torture and death while they wait for a response from the British government”, said The Observer. Ministers have been accused of showing a “toxic combination of incompetence and indifference” after it emerged that not a single person has been accepted and evacuated from Afghanistan under the Home Office’s Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme, which was launched in January.

2. Police watchdog quits over ‘historical allegation’

The head of the police watchdog has been forced to quit after becoming the subject of a police investigation, the Home Secretary has announced. Michael Lockwood, the Independent Office for Police Conduct director general, announced on Friday that he was resigning for “personal and domestic reasons”. However, said Suella Braverman, she was forced to take “immediate action upon being made aware that Mr Lockwood was the subject of a police investigation into an historic allegation”.

3. Minister wants to block Albanian claims

The immigration minister said Albanian migrants should be barred from claiming asylum, reported the Sunday Telegraph. Robert Jenrick said it is “very hard” to see how Albanians should be able to claim asylum when they come from a “demonstrably safe” country. “The principle that we come from is that a safe country like Albania should be excluded from the right to claim asylum,” he said. Last week, Rishi Sunak and the Albanian prime minister, Edi Rama, agreed to close “loopholes that are preventing the rapid return of failed asylum seekers”.

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4. Royals warned ahead of Netflix doc

The Royal Family have been warned that Harry and Meghan’s bombshell Netflix documentary series, which airs next week, could be “worse than they imagine”. A source in contact with a Netflix production insider told The Mirror that “it’s going to be utterly explosive and will be very damaging”. Meanwhile, there are rumours that the couple may criticise the British public, too, after senior sources told The Sun that Harry said “those Brits need to learn a lesson”.

5. Ministers ‘spoiling for fight’ with nurses

Labour and NHS sources said that the government is playing politics and deliberately “spoiling for a fight” with nurses, said The Observer. Ministers are under growing pressure to open new pay talks as health unions hinted a deal could be possible if both sides were willing to negotiate and compromise. Meanwhile, said the Sunday Telegraph, pharmacists may be drafted in to help break NHS strike action and ease winter pressures on the NHS, under plans being considered by ministers.

6. Mone was ‘pain in the arse’

Whitehall sources have told The Sunday Times that Baroness Mone tried to “bully and hector” ministers into awarding public PPE contracts worth more than £200m to a company from which she is alleged to have quietly made a fortune. The controversial Conservative peer was “rude and abrasive” as she lobbied Michael Gove and Lord Agnew, another Cabinet Office minister, said the paper. An “exasperated” Gove is said to have described her as “a right pain in the arse”. Mone denies wrongdoing.

7. Putin ‘will visit Ukraine’

Vladimir Putin will visit the Donbas region “in due course”, said a Kremlin spokesperson. “It will certainly happen in due course because it is part of the Russian Federation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of Russian-occupied areas of eastern Ukraine. In October, the Russian president signed measures annexing four Ukrainian regions in defiance of international law. The territories claimed by Moscow are Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

8. Starmer signals Lords backtrack

Sir Keir Starmer has hinted he may not abolish the House of Lords until Labour wins a second term in government, reported The Sunday Times. The plans will be “watered down” following an eleventh-hour row between Gordon Brown and Starmer’s advisers, said The Times. “Gordon is insisting Keir endorse it all, and wants a headline about Lords abolition,” a source said of a report from the former PM. “But the leadership don’t.”

9. Johnson advised Hancock on affair

Boris Johnson gave Matt Hancock “personal advice” as a “friend” on how to cope with his affair being exposed, the former health secretary has revealed. In his upcoming memoir, Hancock remembered when his affair was about to be revealed. “I called the PM: no stranger to personal turmoil and, it turned out, the kindest of confidants in these ghastly circumstances,” he wrote. Meanwhile, a care home boss told The Sunday Times that “the sector is up in arms” over Hancock’s claim he was not to blame for care home deaths during the Covid pandemic.

10. Kane ready for Senegal clash

Gareth Southgate said England’s status as favourites means nothing as they prepare for their World Cup last-16 meeting with Senegal. Harry Kane said he is not concerned about his lack of goals in the tournament so far. “Form-wise I feel like I have been playing well, goals are what I’m going to be judged on most but as always I’m a calm individual and always try to focus on the team and do my best for the team,” he said.

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