Wednesday evening UK news briefing: MPs who break rules must be ‘punished’ says Boris Johnson amid Geoffrey Cox row

Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines

Meghan apology | The Duchess of Sussex has apologised to the Court of Appeal for failing to remember that she authorised a senior aide to brief the authors of her biography. The Duchess, who has previously insisted through lawyers that there was no collaboration with the authors of Finding Freedom, said she had forgotten email exchanges with her then-press secretary Jason Knauf about a meeting. Read the content of emails sent between Mr Knauf, the Duke of Sussex and the Duchess, which prompted a new witness statement from Meghan. For detailed analysis, read Camilla Tominey’s Your Royal Appointment newsletter.

  • Forced to flee | Patel ‘disgusted’ by treatment of Israeli ambassador
  • WPc Yvonne Fletcher | Senior Gaddafi aide ‘orchestrated shootings’
  • Stonewall | BBC leaves diversity scheme over ‘impartiality’ concerns
  • Bridge to nowhere | Black Book details wastes of taxpayers’ money
  • ‘Mummy?’ | Jacinda Ardern interrupted by daughter during address

The big story: MPs should ‘follow the rules’ says PM

Boris Johnson has said "those who break the rules must be investigated and must be punished" in the wake of the scandal surrounding former Tory minister Sir Geoffrey Cox. 

Mr Cox is facing criticism after earning more than £1 million last year for work outside of Parliament, and proxy voting in the Commons while in the British Virgin Islands representing its government in a corruption inquiry ordered by the UK Foreign Office. 

Mr Johnson, speaking at Cop26, again refused to apologise but noted that for hundreds of years MPs have gone to Parliament and had second jobs, although he added that "if that system is going to continue today, then it is crucial that MPs follow the rules". 

Earlier a statement posted on Sir Geoffrey’s parliamentary website claimed the MP was given permission to vote remotely by the Chief Whip before he went to the Caribbean. 

The office of the Chief Whip has hit back at the claim. 

Read on for details and Tom Harris analyses why Owen Paterson did not deserve the support of his party – but Sir Geoffrey Cox does.

Of course, Mr Johnson was aiming to speak about climate change at the press conference at Cop26, where he said "with just a few days left there is still a huge amount to do". 

He asked world leaders: "Will you help us grasp that opportunity or will you stand in the way?" 

It comes as countries were urged today to bring new plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions as soon as next year, as well as phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and coal, in an early draft agreement from the summit. 

It would be the first time that a fossil fuel phase-out is explicitly mentioned in an agreement at the end of the annual climate summit, if it makes it to the final text. 

World Bank president David Malpass sets out how we can do more to help countries deal with climate disasters. 

Cop26 also sparked a search for results of a different kind, as US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went on the hunt for Scotland’s second national drink.

Over-65s without boosters may be banned from spaces

Sajid Javid has said he cannot rule out the possibility that over-65s who have not had a Covid booster jab could be barred from taking trains or entering restaurants at some point. Meanwhile, the Health Secretary has warned the NHS must be "careful" with Covid numbers in the wake of an error by the head of the health service in England. The latest data on Covid hospital admissions in England show the number of people in hospital is significantly lower than last year, despite Amanda Pritchard claiming admission were 14 times higher. Elsewhere a new report suggests the world is dividing into two broad categories: those who are close to vaccinating the bulk of their population, versus many that may never reach that goal. Sarah Newey reveals why millions may never get a jab with a graph showing the pace of the rollout across the world.

Cleese pulls out of Cambridge talk over ‘woke rules’

John Cleese has pulled out of a talk at the Cambridge Union, suggesting students who want to hear from him "find a venue where woke rules do not apply". Cleese – who famously impersonated the Nazi leader as Basil Fawlty in the BBC’s Fawlty Towers – said he was blacklisting himself before someone else did. Cleese’s withdrawal comes after Keir Bradwell, the student president of the 200-year-old debating society, emailed members on Monday to inform them he was setting up a blacklist of speakers that would include Andrew Graham-Dixon, an art historian who offended students with a Nazi impersonation last week. He did an impression of Adolf Hitler to demonstrate the Nazis had bad taste because they rejected some art because they were racist. Read the full transcript of what Mr Graham-Dixon said at the Cambridge Union.

PS – Today is the Telegraph’s birthday and to mark the occasion we have taken our paywall down until 8am tomorrow. So if you have not yet joined our subscribers you can see everything you are missing for free by registering here. To get full access permanently, try our special offer.

Comment and analysis

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  • Norman Tebbit | Smart motorways must go
  • Julian Jessop | UK recovery set to outpace eurozone – despite Brexit
  • Eric Kaufmann | Britain needs a university of dangerous ideas too
  • Chris Bennion | It’s time British TV drama got out of this dismal rut

Around the world: EU may use force without support

The EU is considering controversial plans to allow the bloc to deploy a joint military force without the unanimous support of all its member states. Removing the need for unanimity would stop a country blocking the rapid reaction force of 5,000 troops from being sent to crisis situations independently of Washington and Nato. It comes as Russia has dispatched nuclear-capable bombers to patrol Belarusian airspace as Moscow demands the EU take in thousands of migrants camped on its borders. The two supersonic warplanes were scrambled over Belarus to test the country’s missile defence shields, the Russian defence ministry said, amid a worsening migrant crisis on the bloc’s frontier.

Wednesday interview

‘You used to be black or white, gay or straight. Now it’s complex’

Life and rhymes: Benjamin Zephaniah

Credit: Fabio De Paola/Shutterstock

As a new series of his Bafta-winning spoken-word show begins, the poet Benjamin Zephaniah talks to Tristram Fane Saunders about sexuality, prison life and studying kung fu with Shaolin monks

Read the full interview

Sport briefing: England out – ‘Anyone but Newcastle’

England crashed out of the T20 World Cup after New Zealand put on a stunning performance at the death to avenge their 50-over World Cup final defeat. Here is how the semi-final played out. In rugby, England have encountered no further coronavirus setbacks in the wake of Joe Marler’s positive test that rules him out of Saturday’s showdown with Australia. Our writers pick their XVs for the autumn international clash, where fans have been warned to expect further travel chaos at Twickenham station following huge bottlenecks following the 11-try win over Tonga. In football, Eddie Howe’s bid to revive Newcastle United could be made more difficult by a refusal of some Premier League clubs to sell or loan players to the relegation-threatened club in January under an ‘Anyone But Newcastle’ policy in protest at its Saudi takeover.

Editor’s choice

  • TV adaptation | The Wheel of Time isn’t the next Game of Thrones – it’s the original
  • Moral Money | ‘My parents are sitting on their wealth – can I ask for my inheritance early?’
  • Not just a bloke on BBC Breakfast | Why Strictly fans are voting hard for Dan Walker
  • Business briefing: M&S boost – delivery app prediction

    Marks & Spencer has been buoyed by higher profits as sales were boosted by a surge in demand for women’s clothing after a string of rivals went bust. The high street chain reported a profit of £187m for the six months to October 2, compared with a loss of £88m a year earlier as it benefitted from a post-lockdown rush onto the high street. Many of us during the pandemic turned to delivery apps offering orders of groceries and essentials in less than an hour. Yet the founder of America’s biggest instant grocery app has predicted a spate of failures among UK rivals, saying many loss-making delivery firms are "unsustainable".

    Tonight starts now

    Passing, review | To describe Passing as a black-and-white film is to wrestle with the inadequacy of that very term. Based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novella, Rebecca Hall’s exhilarating debut as a writer-director is about a reunion between two black women during the Jazz Age. One of them has been passing as white, even fooling her racist white husband; the other is married with two boys and living in a well-to-do Harlem neighbourhood. Here is why you should watch it on Netflix now.

    Three things for you

    • Watch | Life at 50°C, BBC Two, 8pm and more of tonight’s TV listings
    • Read | Viral by Alina Chan & Matt Ridley, review
    • Fantasy Fund Manager | Sign up for 10 chances to win £15,000

    And finally… for this evening’s downtime

    ‘Why was this film ever made?’ | The Wild Bunch caused carnage both on- and off-set, setting new and enduring standards for on-screen violence. Tom Fordy looks back at the savage history of ‘Bloody Sam’ Peckinpah’s rough, rugged, quick-draw 1969 film.

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