Friday briefing: Labour's day of shame and blame

·8-min read
<span>Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA</span>
Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

Top story: McCluskey warns of Labour split

Morning everyone. I’m Martin Farrer and these are the top stories this morning.

Labour has been plunged into turmoil after former leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended in the wake of a damning report into antisemitism that found the party responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination. Len McCluskey, leader of Labour’s single biggest donor, the Unite union, said the decision risked splitting the party. The investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that the party had interfered in antisemitism complaints, had failed to provide adequate training to those handling complaints and was guilty of harassment. But what Keir Starmer called a “day of shame” for the party quickly developed into an internal crisis when his predecessor released a statement rejecting the findings and blaming the media for exaggerating the issue. Amid dismay at party HQ, Labour promptly suspended Corbyn, setting off accusations and counter-accusations between the party’s left and rightwing factions. Many of today’s papers report on a coming “civil war”. Margaret Hodge argues that antisemitism must never be allowed to return, while it appears the report has done nothing to draw a line under the issue.

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Macron pledge – Emmanuel Macron, the French president, says the country will “give in to nothing” as he called for calm and unity in the wake of the stabbing to death of three people in a church in Nice yesterday morning. The national anti-terrorist prosecutor was placed in charge of the investigation into why a man entered the Notre-Dame basilica in the centre of the city and killed a 60-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man. A woman aged 44 was also attacked but escaped to raise the alarm before dying from her wounds. A suspect was shot and “neutralised” by police but was not killed. He was named as Brahim Aouissaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian who left his homeland in September for Italy and entered France only at the beginning of the month. Leaders around the world condemned the attack, which has prompted Macron to deploy troops to guard churches and schools. The stabbings follow the murder two weeks ago of a Paris teacher targeted for showing students cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, and place the issue of Islamist extremism back in the national spotlight.

Forensic officers in front of Notre-Dame basilica in Nice last night
Forensic officers outside Notre-Dame basilica in Nice last night. Photograph: Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images

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Refugee plea – The United Nations’ refugee agency has urged Britain to restart its resettlement scheme after four members of an Iranian Kurdish family died while trying to cross the Channel. As their extended family grieved in their home city of Sardasht in north-west Iran, the UNHCR’s UK representative, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, urged ministers to drop their hardline approach to migrants and facilitate the transfer of recognised refugees from an asylum country to the UK.

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Coronavirus latest – West Yorkshire will on Monday become the latest urban area to enter the strictest tier of restrictions as the government faces mounting pressure to consider a second national lockdown. Nottinghamshire entered the tier 3 lockdown at mignight and it means nearly 11 million people in England will be living under the most severe curbs by next week, with a further 21.6 million under tier 2 restrictions. Infections are spreading rapidly across the country, with southern England now seeing a sharp spike. The home secretary, Priti Patel, yesterday did not rule out a second lockdown, as has already been announced in Germany and France, where schoolchildren above the age of six will have to wear face masks to keep schools open. Keep track of global developments here.

One in four nurseries and childminders in deprived areas of England will not stay in business after Christmas without additional income, according to a survey, as the pandemic continues to squeeze demand for the sector. Guardian readers who work outside give some tips on how to keep warm when you’re socialising around the firepit this winter. It’s all about the layers, apparently.

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Arming America – A record of almost 17m guns have been sold in the United States so far this year, according to estimates from a firearms analytics company, driven by fears about the coronavirus pandemic and the summer’s racial justice protests. A decision by Walmart to remove guns from display in its stores underlined concerns about possible unrest in the aftermath of Tuesday’s presidential election, with Donald Trump repeatedly casting doubt on the reliability of the country’s electoral system. Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, both held campaign rallies in the key battleground state of Florida overnight, but while the latter is ahead in the national polls, can they relied upon this time?

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BBC ban – BBC journalists may no longer be allowed to attend gay pride marches, even in a personal capacity, after the director general unveiled new rules designed to head off complaints from rightwing media outlets about alleged political bias at the corporation. The guidelines introduced by Tim Davie ban news reporters from taking part in “public demonstrations or gatherings about controversial issues”. Journalists have been led to understand that while pride marches were not specifically mentioned, they would be stopped from attending due to the new rules.

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Yes to euthanasia – New Zealand has voted convincingly to legalise euthanasia but appears to have rejected allowing recreational cannabis use, preliminary results of a dual referendum held on election day two weeks ago revealed this morning. The electoral commission said 65.2% of eligible voters ticked “yes” to legalising euthanasia, with 33.8% ticking “no”. Only 46.1% voted to legalise cannabis, while 53.1% voted no. While the count has not been completed, it is believed the cannabis resolution will be rejected.

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Sport

Eddie Jones has claimed the Barbarians fiasco has reduced rugby union to a “laughing stock”, urging his England side to restore the sport’s reputation when they seek to clinch the Six Nations title on Saturday. Mo Farah’s rumoured appearance on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! next month could affect his chances of defending his 10,000m Olympic title, the head of UK Athletics has warned. Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Nicolas Pépé scored in three minutes to give Arsenal a 3-0 Europa League victory over Dundalk, while Lior Refaelov’s wonder goal was enough for Antwerp to edge Tottenham 1-0, and first-half goals from Jamie Vardy and Hamza Choudhury gave Leicester a 2-1 win at AEK Athens.

Bureta Faraimo and Ratu Naulago scored two tries apiece to give Hull a 31-16 Super League derby victory over local rivals Hull KR. The German rider Pascal Ackermann won stage nine of the Vuelta a España despite finishing second behind the Irishman Sam Bennett, who was relegated for barging an opponent. Dan Palmer, the former Australia international, has become just the second rugby union pro, after Welshman Gareth Thomas, to come out as gay. And former England player Ebony Rainford-Brent, who spoke up this summer about racism in cricket, says “the game has been shaken up and there is no going back”.

Business

Jobs are being lost at the fastest rate on record as Britain heads towards the brink of a double-dip recession just as Rishi Sunak is planning to close the government’s furlough scheme this weekend. Analysis by the Guardian shows that early warning indicators suggest business activity is faltering as local coronavirus lockdowns take effect and as unemployment is on course to hit the highest levels since the 1980s by Christmas. Although resilient retail spending has provided a bright spot for the economy, the Conservative peer David Young, who served under Margaret Thatcher, writes in the Guardian urging the chancellor to develop new measures to create jobs. The FTSE100 is on track to lift 0.25% this morning while the pound is buying $1.293 and €1.107.

The papers

Labour strife dominates the front pages today, with the Guardian saying “Labour plunged into crisis after Corbyn suspended”. The Times reckons it’s “The battle for Labour’s soul” while the Telegraph says “Shaming of Corbyn sparks Labour civil war”. The Mail says ““R.I.P. Corbyn’s legacy of hate” and the Mirror headline searches for some positive spin with “Starmer’s zero tolerance”. The i reads “Labour facing civil war after Corbyn is suspended” while the Metro puns “Corbinned”. The Scottish Herald says “Labour split over Corbyn anti-Semitism bombshell”.

The FT finds room for Labour’s woes but leads with “Trump seizes on record growth in late push to close gap on Biden”. The Express prefers another line altogether, reporting “Stampede to cash in on house sales”. In Scotland the Record reads “Local heroes” over a lead about Nicola Sturgeon’s plea for people to stay at home to avoid spreading the virus.

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