Wednesday evening UK news briefing: More than 30 migrants die after boat capsizes in English Channel

·7 min read
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Covid latest | Angela Merkel reportedly wanted to impose a new coronavirus lockdown on Germany - but was thwarted by the incoming government. It comes with France set to announce fresh Covid-19 measures on Thursday as the country faces a rising tide of infections. Our liveblog will keep you up to speed, while Ambrose Evans-Pritchard analyses why Emmanuel Macron and the EU were too quick to mock Britain's pandemic strategy and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The big story: More than 30 migrants die in Channel

Time and again the Government has warned of the dangers of migrants illegally crossing the Channel on dinghies in a bid to reach Britain.

Today, the biggest loss of life of the crisis so far makes the human cost of the tragic situation hit home.

More than 30 migrants have died after their boat sank off the coast of the northern port of Calais.

French patrol vessels went to the scene after a fisherman reported seeing over a dozen bodies floating in the water, authorities said.

It comes as Channel migrant smugglers are maximising their profits by attempting crossings with bigger boats that can carry up to 90 people amid concerns that France is still failing to take a tougher approach.

A group of more than 40 migrants were pictured on Tuesday carrying a 30ft inflatable dinghy on the northern French coast near Wimereux as French police appeared to look on and do nothing.

In her column this week, Sherelle Jacobs argued that the only answer to the migrant crisis is for the Government to adopt a "push back" policy, returning boats to the French coast.

In our new Write to Reply series, she responds to readers about the issue.

French police watch the group on the beach - Reuters
French police watch the group on the beach - Reuters

It comes as the new German government is to make the country more welcoming to migrants, under plans announced today.

The coalition led by Olaf Scholz will provide new ways for asylum-seekers to reach Germany legally, including humanitarian visas.

Mr Scholz is expected to be sworn in as chancellor in two weeks' time after he sealed a coalition deal today, ending the Angela Merkel era.

Read a profile of the man once described by Der Spiegel as "the embodiment of boredom in politics".

'Working class dementia tax'

Meanwhile in Westminster, Sir Keir Starmer claimed in a fiery Prime Minister's Questions that Boris Johnson's social care plan is like a "classic Covent Garden pickpocketing operation", in which people are distracted while being robbed.

Having altered the way the cap on care costs is calculated, so it no longer includes council contributions towards total fees, the plan will "pick the pockets of the poorest" while leaving the richest protected, the Labour leader said, accusing the Government of having created "a working class dementia tax".

It comes as a new poll has found Mr Johnson's personal ratings have slumped to their lowest level - but Labour is still struggling to cut through.

After questions were raised following the Prime Minister's now infamous Peppa Pig speech, Jeremy Black wonders whether we expect too much from our leaders.

No babies allowed

The other drama in Westminster came from the youngest member seen in Parliament in recent times.

Labour MP Stella Creasy was told babies are not allowed in the Commons after bringing her three-month-old son to the House.

The Speaker of the Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle has ordered a review into the situation after Ms Creasy received an email reminding her of Commons rules, following the Walthamstow MP's appearance in the Hall on Tuesday with her son, who is breastfeeding.

MPs have reacted with dismay to the no-baby-rule but Joanna Williams writes that Ms Creasy can't have it both ways on childcare.

Alys Denby says take it from a mother, home working isn't good for women.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: The Lovely Bones whodunnit

When Alice Sebold wrote of her own horrific rape and how she bumped into her alleged attacker on the street, her memoir launched a glittering literary career. But the man she accused in 'Lucky' has now been cleared after 16 years in prison, flaws in the case having been exposed during production of a film based on Sebold's experiences. Anthony Broadwater, a handyman who has always maintained his innocence, was finally released as a judge deemed his conviction an injustice. Read how 'Lucky' was in the process of being filmed when the executive producer of the adaptation became sceptical of Mr Broadwater's guilt after the first draft of the script came out because it differed so much from the book.

Wednesday interview

'Am I entitled to write a black character? Sure'

Best-selling author James Patterson - Rankin
Best-selling author James Patterson - Rankin

American author James Patterson talks to Claire Allfree about culture wars, his celebrity friends and his new novel

Read the full interview

Sport briefing: Vaughan axed - rugby rule changes

Michael Vaughan has been axed from the BBC's Ashes team amid the on-going fallout from cricket's racism scandal. The corporation announced it would not be "appropriate" for Vaughan to have a role in its coverage of the sport at the current time. Meanwhile, Roman Abramovich has claimed victory in the first stage of his High Court battle with HarperCollins over a book which said he bought Chelsea under orders of Vladimir Putin. Read on for details. World Rugby have approved an amendment to the game's eligibility laws, with players no longer tied to Test sides and able to switch to play for another country providing they have a birth right or relative born in that country, and also stand down from Test rugby for a period of 36 months. After the autumn internationals, read Maggie Alphonsi's real rugby world rankings.

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Business briefing: Bitcoin legal tender in El Salvador

A "Bitcoin city" powered by a volcano may sound like a villain's lair from the latest Bond film, but for El Salvador's president Nayib Bukele it's a vision of the future. The Central American minnow has become the first country to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender, alongside the US dollar, and is launching a $1bn "Bitcoin bond" that has raised eyebrows both in the crypto and traditional finance worlds. At home, thousands of National Savings & Investments customers may have prizes retroactively cancelled after decades-old Premium Bonds were discovered, breaking rules about maximum holdings. If none of those investment options appeal, here are the next places to invest for house price rises in London and buy shares in these banks to profit from rising interest rates.

Tonight starts now

Robin Robin | Christmas comes earlier by the year, but when the outcome is this appealing, who's complaining? Aardman Animations' first musical, Robin Robin, is a stop-motion affair crafted with typical charm and eccentricity. Bronte Carmichael voices Robin, perhaps the cutest infant seen on a streaming service since The Mandalorian's Baby Yoda. Read Anita Singh's review of the family fare released on Netflix, also starring Gillian Anderson, and here are the rest of tonight's TV listings.

Three things for you

And for this evening's downtime....

The Morning Show car crash | Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon's prestige Apple series has an enormous price tag. Rebecca Reid tries to work out how the TV drama drove off a cliff.

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