8 News Stories You May Have Missed Because Of Dominic Cummings

The Hillsborough trial's collapse, scientists' fears over "super mutant" virus, Chris Grayling's hedgehog pleas and Jeremy Corbyn's birthday.
Former number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves Parliament after giving evidence to a Parliamentary committee hearing in London on May 26, 2021. -
Former number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves Parliament after giving evidence to a Parliamentary committee hearing in London on May 26, 2021. -
JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

Boris Johnson has been left licking his wounds after Dominic Cummings dropped bombshell upon bombshell on the prime minister over his handling of Covid.

The former aide sent shockwaves through Westminster at his long-awaited Commons committee hearing, in which he called for health secretary Matt Hancock to be sacked over alleged lies and said the PM was “unfit” for office.

In a frankly bizarre turn, the PM’s ex-adviser also claimed that in the early days of the pandemic, Johnson considered having Covid injected into him live on television by chief medical officer Chris Whitty.

Amidst all this, you may have missed some other important news.

Let’s get you caught up with some of today’s other headlines.

1, The Hillsborough trial collapsed

Retired police officer Donald Denton leaves court
Retired police officer Donald Denton leaves court
AFP Contributor via Getty Images

Two retired police officers and an ex-solicitor accused of altering police statements after the Hillsborough disaster have been acquitted.

The trial against Donald Denton, 83, retired detective chief inspector Alan Foster, 74, and solicitor Peter Metcalf, 71, collapsed on Wednesday after a judge ruled there was no case to answer.

The three men denied charges of perverting the course of justice after it was alleged they tried to minimise the blame on South Yorkshire Police.

Mr Justice William Davis said the amended statements were intended for a public inquiry into safety at sports grounds, however, and that as such it was not a course of public justice.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died as a result of the crush at the FA Cup semi-final match at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground on 15 April 1989.

Margaret Aspinall, whose son James was among them, said the ruling was “an absolute mockery” and a “shambles”.

“We’re always the losers no matter what the outcome today,” she said.

2, Raab met Israeli and Palestinian leaders for peace talks

Dominic Raab met with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as he reiterated the UK supports a two-state solution in the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The foreign secretary called for a “lasting peace” on Wednesday and visited both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories following last week’s ceasefire.

The ceasefire was declared on Friday after 11 days of fighting killed more than 250 people, the vast majority in Gaza, in what was the worst violence in the conflict since 2014.

Raab tweeted: “Vital we make progress towards a more positive future for Israelis and Palestinians.”

3, Five arrested after Black Lives Matter activist shot

 Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson
Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson
Guy Smallman via Getty Images

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder over the shooting of black equal rights activist Sasha Johnson.

The 27-year-old Oxford graduate is fighting for her life in hospital after being injured at a party in Peckham, south-east London in the early hours of Sunday.

The Metropolitan Police said that officers detained three teenagers and two older men on suspicion of other offences, before they were all also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

The first suspect, a 17-year-old boy, was held on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and drug dealing on Tuesday afternoon.

Police then raided an address in Peckham where they arrested three men – aged 18, 19 and 28 – on suspicion of affray and possession with intent to supply class B drugs.

A fifth man, aged 25, was arrested later that evening following a car chase, also in Peckham, on suspicion of affray and failing to stop for police.

All five have also since been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

4, Disgraced MP Rob Roberts avoids by-election

MP Rob Roberts
MP Rob Roberts
MP Rob Roberts

Disgraced MP Rob Roberts may escape a by-election despite breaching sexual misconduct rules.

The MP for Delyn faces being suspended from the Commons for six weeks after repeated unwanted advances to a member of staff during which asked him to be “less alluring”.

Roberts has been stripped of the Tory whip but the way recall laws are drawn up means he cannot face the prospect of losing his seat.

The sanction was proposed by the panel set up in 2020 to deal with cases raised under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.

But the Recall of Parliament Act was passed in 2015 and only allows the prospect of a by-election for sanctions imposed on the recommendation of the Commons Committee on Standards.

House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg will invite the “relevant bodies” to consider whether the laws need to be changed to enable the recall process to be triggered.

MPs need to approve the six-week suspension.

5, SNP in talks with Scottish Greens over ‘formal’ government

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Nicola Sturgeon has revealed her SNP government is in talks with the Scottish Greens over a formal co-operation agreement.

The first minister has said that by working together the two parties “can help build a better future for Scotland” as she set out her priorities following the SNP victory in the Holyrood election earlier this month.

She stressed discussions between the two parties – which are being supported by the civil service – will continue over the coming weeks, and said it is “not inconceivable” that they could see Green MSPs joining the SNP in the Scottish Government.

Both parties support the case for Scottish independence.

6, ‘Super mutant’ virus fears

Semi Transparent Viruses
Semi Transparent Viruses
fotograzia via Getty Images

Coronavirus is going to do “weird” things going forward, and “super mutant viruses” may emerge, an expert has warned.

Professor Ravi Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said that while this would not necessarily be a bad thing, the virus would try to become more efficient at transmission as more people are protected.

He added that coronavirus is unpredictable and we should not be overconfident at any stage.

Asked about how to prepare for future variants, Gupta told a press briefing: “I think that we have good vaccines, now we need to keep the pressure on vaccine designers, manufacturers to adapt vaccines.”

He added: “Secondly, the virus is going to do some weird things. I mean, this is just the beginning.

“I think it’s going to recombine, you’re going to get super mutant viruses, I believe.

“But that’s not not necessarily a terrible thing, but the virus is going to do very unexpected things because the amount of pressure on it is going to be severe, so it will adapt.

7, Chris Grayling makes plea over ‘tragic’ decline of hedgehogs

A hedgehog
A hedgehog
picture alliance via Getty Images

Former Tory cabinet minister Christ Grayling has urged the government to do more to stop the decline of hedgehogs

The Epsom and Ewell MP said the “catastrophic loss” of the small, spiky mammals was due to a mixture of habitat loss, the reduction of wildlife and protections available.

Speaking in a Commons debate on the Environment Bill, he said: “It is tragic, back in the 1950s there was something like 30 million hedgehogs in this country, now it’s estimated to be about 1.5 million, that is a catastrophic loss.”

“When I was a child, hedgehogs were around in the garden all the time, I have never as an adult seen a hedgehog in my garden or anywhere near it, this is a tragic loss and one we have to work to reverse.”

Too many species he said had declined in numbers, adding “we should be protecting them all”.

Saying hedgehog numbers had declined by 95% in recent years, he asked the government to address “shortcomings” in current legislation, adding: “I hope we’ll all be hedgehog champions going forwards and I’d say to the minister we’re going to be holding her feet to the fire to make sure her department delivers.”

8, It’s Jeremy Corbyn’s birthday

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn
NurPhoto via Getty Images

And finally ... Jeremy Corbyn is celebrating his 72th birthday.

The former Labour leader shows no sign of slowing down campaigning, however, as he plans on celebrating the milestone with an online event entitled ‘Happy Birthday Jeremy – Restore the Whip’.

Corbyn sits as an independent MP after his successor Keir Starmer suspended him from the Parliamentary Labour Party following his claim that anti-Semitism in the party on his watch had been “overstated” by his opponents.

He remains a member of the Labour Party, however.

At the event will be comedian Alexei Sayle, as well as a number of left-wing MPs, including Richard Burgon and Zarah Saltana.

There were no well wishes from Dominic Cummings, however, who told MPs as part of his marathon evidence session: “There’s a very profound question in the nature of our political system, any system that leaves people with the choice between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn is obviously a system that’s gone extremely badly wrong.”