Tuesday morning UK news briefing: Historic sentencing reforms

·6-min read
covid latest news bbc judges courts dominic raab prince harry andrew
covid latest news bbc judges courts dominic raab prince harry andrew

It is the biggest change to the justice system in 140 years. Magistrates are to be given powers to jail criminals for up to a year in an attempt to clear backlogs in the courts system.

Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, today announces the prison terms that magistrates can impose will double from the current maximum of six months - enabling them to try more serious offences such as assault, burglary, theft and fraud.

Read his article for The Telegraph, arguing that the change will free up judges to concentrate on major trials and speed up justice.

However, Home Affairs Editor Charles Hymas reports warnings from leading barristers that it would lead to more people being jailed - piling pressure on prisons.

NHS to start sacking unvaccinated front-line staff

The NHS will begin sacking workers who have failed to have the Covid vaccine in just over two weeks' time, new guidance reveals. All front-line staff are required to have had two jabs by April 1, meaning the first dose must have been administered by February 3. More than 80,000 NHS staff - six per cent of the workforce - remain unvaccinated, despite repeated efforts to boost uptake. Health Editor Laura Donnelly explains the details of how dismissal notices will start being issued.

After revelations about multiple Number 10 parties, a minister has declared that the Prime Minister "should set the highest standards" and warned that allegations have damaged trust in the Government. George Freeman, the business minister, told a constituent that people in power "shouldn't seek to escape public responsibility or accountability". The remarks came as Dominic Cummings claimed he was prepared to swear under oath that Boris Johnson "lied to Parliament about parties" at Downing Street. The former chief aide to Mr Johnson indicated he will "say more" about the issue only after a report by Sue Gray into alleged rule-breaching parties is published. The threat risks undermining Ms Gray's report, which is expected to conclude between the end of this week and early next week. Can any leader survive the pandemic? From Australia to Israel, Fraser Nelson explores how the curse of Covid appears to kill off a politician's chance of re-election.

Does Prince Harry just want to come home?

After both losing their honorary titles, it has emerged that the Dukes of York and Sussex will not be awarded the Queen's Platinum Jubilee medal like other members of the Armed Forces. It comes as the Duke of Sussex seeks a court review of his UK security arrangements, believing he and his family deserve enhanced police protection like "others who have left public office". Celia Walden wonders if Prince Harry is trying to tell us he wants to come home, as she reads between the lines of his complaint.

Daily dose of Matt

View Matt's latest cartoon as he focuses on Sir Keir Starmer's office drinking during lockdown.

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Ski death charge | A man has been charged with manslaughter after a five-year-old British girl was killed in a "high-speed" skiing crash in Switzerland. The 40-year-old was charged just over 48 hours after the accident. The child, thought to be from a British expat family who were on holiday at their second home near the Flaine resort, was part of a group lesson skiing on an easy "blue" slope when tragedy struck.

Around the world: Britain to send weapons to Ukraine

Britain will send defensive weapon systems to Ukraine for the first time to help deter a potential Russian attack, the Defence Secretary has announced. Ben Wallace said he would also invite Sergei Shoigu, his Russian counterpart, to talks in London in an effort to defuse an escalating crisis that has seen Russia threaten to attack Ukraine unless Nato delivers on a series of security guarantees. Roland Oliphant understands the UK will send next-generation light anti-tank weapons.

A Ukrainian serviceman on the frontline with Russia-backed separatists in the Donetsk region - AFP
A Ukrainian serviceman on the frontline with Russia-backed separatists in the Donetsk region - AFP

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice

  1. What next for the corporation? | How to sell the BBC to young people

  2. Smashed antiques and ripped paintings | Perils of letting a film crew into your home

  3. No tables, price hikes and terrible service | Is it all over for British restaurants?

Sport briefing: Ashes party broken up at 6am

The ECB have confirmed they are investigating an all-night party involving members of England and Australia's Ashes squads, which had to be broken up by police shortly after 6am. As Isabelle Westbury reports from Hobart, mobile phone video shows four police officers arriving to confront players including England captain Joe Root. In tennis, Novak Djokovic faces a Grand Slam exile after Wimbledon gave no guarantees he would be allowed to defend his title there this summer.

Business briefing: Glaxo tries to fend off takeover

GlaxoSmithKline is courting the sovereign wealth funds of Qatar and Singapore as investors in a listing of its £50 billion consumer business as it seeks to head off a risky takeover by Unilever. The pharmaceuticals titan will formally open discussions with state-owned funds after GSK's capital markets day next month in a bid to shore up support ahead of a float slated for mid-2022. Meanwhile, a stark new think tank report suggests the state pension age must rise much faster than planned.

Tonight's dinner

Courgette and potato ragout | Pair this dish by Olia Hercules with warm, crusty bread. View the recipe. For more, try our Cookbook newsletter.

Travel: The world's most exciting hotel openings

This year's hottest hotel openings are a varied bunch, from bumper-size projects that were half a decade in the making to little island retreats that have quietly cropped up. Revival is a key theme, with former landmark hotels restored to their former glory. Unbridled luxury also features heavily. Emma Beaumont looks at the world's most anticipated new hotels in a year in which we can truly get excited about travel again.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

The Betrayal of Anne Frank | A stunning piece of historical detective work has unearthed the untold story of how Anne Frank's betrayer was tracked down. Rosemary Sullivan's account of a painstaking project to identify the person who gave up the family is a gripping read, says Saul David in this five-star review.

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