HUNT QUESTIONS JOHNSON’S BREXIT PLANS
Jeremy Hunt has cast doubt on the Brexit plans of his leadership rival, claiming there is “no trust” in Boris Johnson to fulfil his promises. Hunt said he believes he stands a greater chance of returning from Brussels with an improved Brexit deal. He has claimed the UK’s next leader must be someone EU officials were “prepared to talk to”. “In the end, you don’t do a deal with someone you don’t trust”, he added. Johnson has challenged Hunt to commit to taking the UK out of the EU on 31st October – whether or not there is a withdrawal agreement in place. Hunt hit back on Tuesday, arguing such a stance was likely to “trip” the UK into a general election.
Meanwhile, Dominic Raab has suggested Johnson would be able to ignore MPs’ efforts to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Raab, who has backed Johnson in the leadership contest, said the new leader could override any motion against a no-deal Brexit in the House of Commons. He added that it would be the EU’s fault if Britain left the bloc without a withdrawal agreement in place, claiming: “There is nothing stopping us getting a deal by October, if there's the political will." Both Hunt and Johnson faced further questions on their Brexit plans during digital hustings yesterday. The winner of the contest is expected to take over from Theresa May on 24th July.
REVENGE PORN LAWS FACE REVIEW
The UK’s justice and culture ministries have requested that the Law Commission launches a review of legislation surrounding online harassment. The commission has been asked to examine laws on non-consensual intimate imagery, including revenge porn. It will consider whether current legislation has kept pace with technological developments and whether it still adequately protects victims. While sending revenge pornography has already been made a criminal offence, the commission is to consider whether victims should be granted automatic anonymity – as is currently the case for victims of other sexual offences.
The review will include a public consultation exploring whether existing laws need to be extended to criminalise “cyber-flashing” and “deepfake” images. Cyber-flashing is the act of sending unsolicited sexual images to another person’s mobile phone, while deepfake imagery sees a person’s face realistically superimposed onto pornography without their consent. The review comes amid growing concern over the ease with which sexual images can be made and distributed online without the permission of individuals pictured. It will begin next month and is expected to deliver its conclusions in 2021.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hits out at the mistreatment of migrant children at the country's southern border. Her comments follow reports of “severely neglected” children being held at a Texan border patrol station. Children were seen sleeping in overcrowded rooms, with those younger than ten left caring for infants.
Democrats in the House of Representatives have backed £3.5bn worth of humanitarian aid for those at the southern border, but the bill is likely to be met with opposition in the Republic-controlled Senate. It comes amid public outcry over an image showing a Salvadoran father and his two-year-old daughter lying face down in the shallows of the Rio Grande. They had drowned attempting to cross the river into Texas on Monday.
In other news...
ROBOTS TO REPLACE MILLIONS OF JOBS
New analysis from Oxford Economics has found as many as 20m manufacturing jobs around the world may be replaced by robots by 2030. According to the analysis firm, each new industrial robot will make 1.6 manufacturing jobs redundant. Regions with the most low-skilled workers are expected to be the most significantly impacted by the rise of automation. Oxford Economics has called on policymakers and business leaders to push for the development of workforce skills, ensuring that workers are equipped for increasing automation. Approximately 1.7m manufacturing roles have been replaced by robots over the last 19 years, including 550,000 in China and 400,000 in Europe.
AUDIOBOOK SALES SURGE AS PRINT SUFFERS
British book sales declined for the first time since 2014 last year, according to the Publishers Association’s annual yearbook. The UK publishing industry saw a dip of 5.4% in its sales of print books, amounting to a fall of £168m. Book sales had been climbing for the last five years, bolstered by the success of bestsellers such as Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming. Chief executive of the Publishers Association, Stephen Lotinga, said the decline was partially due to the increase in audiobook sales, which surged 43% last year. However, Lotinga insisted audiobooks weren’t the sole factor behind the drop in physical book sales, saying: “There was also always going to be a point where print sales couldn’t continue rising every year.”
IKEA TO CONSTRUCT AFFORDABLE UK HOMES
Worthing council has signed a deal to work with BoKlok, a company co-owned by Ikea, for the building of new affordable homes. Ikea formed BoKlok with construction firm Skanska, which specialises in low-cost housing. The co-owned company sets prices to ensure buyers can afford the cost of living once they have paid their housing costs, with its website claiming: “A single parent can afford to buy and live in a newly built two-bedroom BoKlok apartment”. Worthing councillors have agreed a deal which will see the company build 162 flats on council-owned land. The authority currently has more than 1,300 households on its housing waiting list, with property prices in the area around 11.7 times the average salary. Across England and Wales, this figure stands at 7.8 times the average salary.
MUELLER TO TESTIFY OVER RUSSIA INQUIRY
Former US special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify before Congress on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller will give his testimony before the House of Representatives judiciary and intelligence committees next month. Donald Trump has previously claimed the report’s findings offered him “complete exoneration” on the charge of obstructing justice – despite Mueller reaching no conclusion on the charge. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi welcomed news of Mueller’s testimony on Tuesday, claiming: “Our national security is being threatened and the American people deserve answers.” Trump has consistently criticised the inquiry as a “witch-hunt”, tweeting the words “Presidential Harassment!” following yesterday’s news.
CARDI B PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO STRIP CLUB ATTACK
Rapper Cardi B has pleaded not guilty to assault following an altercation in a New York strip club last year. Real name Belcalis Almanzar, the rapper and two members of her team have been charged with 12 offences. The charges include assault, harassment and conspiracy. Prosecutors have accused Cardi B of ordering attacks on two bartenders at the Angels Gentleman's Club in Queens. The rapper is said to have ordered the attacks after accusing one of the bartenders of sleeping with her husband, Offset. Cardi B handed herself in to police after the alleged assaults. If found guilty, the rapper and her co-defendants could face prison sentences of up to four years.
French restaurant Mirazur has been crowned the best in the world. Mirazur topped this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants competition, which has come to rival the famed Michelin-star rankings. Run by Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco, Mirazur offers a view out onto the French Riviera and has been praised by culinary critics for its “cascading vegetable gardens” and “outrageously talented cooks”.