POLITICS
13/12/2018 07:00 GMT

5 Big Stories You Might Have Missed While The Tories Were Busy Imploding

Here's what you need to know.

Another day, another step closer to a constitutional crisis.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past 24 hours (which probably wouldn’t be the worst idea at this point), you will be well aware that just three months before the UK is due to leave the EU, a group of Tory MPs decided that now was the perfect time to try to oust the prime minister.

And, judging by yesterday’s headlines, you might think the only newsworthy thing that happened this week was Theresa May fending off the challenge to her leadership with the backing of two thirds of her parliamentary party.

But you would be wrong.

Here’s a round-up of the five biggest stories you missed while everyone was busy watching the Conservative Party turn on itself.

Trump’s Former Lawyer Jailed 

Andrew Kelly / Reuters
Michael Cohen outside court in New York 

It’s not just UK leaders embroiled in drama – there’s been plenty on the other side of the pond too. 

Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday for a range of crimes including tax evasion, lying to Congress and arranging illegal payments to silence women who posed a risk to Trump’s presidential campaign. 

The president had called for a tough sentence for Cohen, whom he labelled a liar.

The judge said Cohen’s cooperation with prosecutors did not “wipe the slate clean” of his crimes, adding that he appeared to have “lost his moral compass” and that he “should have known better”.

Lord Lester Resigns 

PA Ready News UK

And Theresa May wasn’t the only British politician to hit the headlines. Before Westminster found out early on Wednesday that the PM would face a vote of no confidence, it was revealed that 82-year-old peer Lord Lester of Herne Hill had resigned from Parliament following historic sexual harassment allegations.

Lester – who strongly denies the claims – was accused of offering a woman a peerage in exchange for sex 12 years ago.

The veteran human rights lawyer narrowly dodged a historic four-year-long suspension from the House of Lords, recommended by its privileges and conduct committee, after his fellow peers voted against the move last month.

However, it later emerged that Lester – who was suspended from the Liberal Democrats after the allegations emerged – had stepped down from Lords.

A Lib Dem spokesperson told the BBC it was the “right decision”.

London Homicides Hit 10-Year High

The number of homicides committed in London this year is the highest in a decade, it has emerged.

Data from the Home Office revealed that there had been 125 violent deaths in the capital so far in 2018 – just six less than a high of 131 in 2009.

While 72 of the deaths involved a knife, a gun was used in 13 of them. One death involved a crossbow.

The figures were released a day after an 18-year-old man was stabbed to death in a fight in south east London on Tuesday night.

NHS Waiting Lists On The Rise  

PA Wire/PA Images

An extra 1.5 million people are stuck on NHS waiting lists than in 2011, the Labour Party has uncovered.

Researchers discovered that the number of patients in England waiting for treatment had spiked by 62% in seven years, with the waiting list for lung treatments alone growing by 128%.

Meanwhile, the number of patients forced to wait six months or longer for treatment rose by almost 70,000 in a year, the report found.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth called the increases “staggering”.

“Let’s be clear, this means patients waiting longer and longer in pain, distress and anxiety,” he said.

But a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said the government had given the NHS £2bn this year to “improve performance, redevelop A&Es and help patients get home quicker”.

They added: “Every single month over a million patients start NHS treatment and nearly 15,000 fewer people are waiting over a year for non-urgent operations compared to eight years ago.”

Drama Over ‘Golden Visas’

The Home Office found itself at the centre of some serious scrutiny after the government failed to live up to its promise to suspend its ‘golden visa’ scheme for wealthy foreign citizens.

Introduced in 2008 to encourage the super-rich from outside the EU to pump cash into the UK, the Tier 1 visa scheme allowed investors to buy a visa and indefinite leave to remain in the country after five years with a £2m investment.

Ministers vowed to halt fast-track visas for foreign investors by December 7 as part of a crackdown on financial crime, amid fears they were being used to launder money.

But in a statement on Tuesday, the Home Office said the scheme was “not currently suspended”.

A spokesperson told the Guardian the department remain “committed to reforming the route”, adding that a further statement would be made at a later date.