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Monday briefing: PM to lead tributes to Sir David Amess

·7-min read
<span>Photograph: Hollie Adams/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Top story: ‘Show kindness and love to all,’ family urge

Morning everyone. I’m Martin Farrer and these are the top stories to start the week.

Boris Johnson will lead tributes to Sir David Amess in the House of Commons today as discussion continues about how to step up security in the wake of the MP’s murder. Last night Amess’s family appealed for public unity, urging people to “set aside their differences and show kindness and love to all”. In a statement, his relatives said they were “absolutely broken” but had drawn strength from the tributes to him from across the political spectrum. The attack has reopened questions about MPs’ safety five years after the murder of Labour’s Jo Cox. The home secretary, Priti Patel, said yesterday she was considering offering MPs police protection at their surgeries, and the use of airport-style scanners was under consideration.

On the day he died, Amess held a Zoom call to finalise plans for a “children’s parliament” at the forthcoming Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, according to the celebrity PR Richard Hillgrove. Minutes after the call ended he was stabbed to death. A 25-year-old man, Ali Harbi Ali, a British national, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Muslim groups are braced for a rise in hate crimes in the wake of the attack. You can read our obituary of Amess here.

* * *

Cop26 ‘mismanaged’ – Corporate sponsors of the Cop26 climate summit have condemned it as “mismanaged” and “very last minute” in a volley of complaints ahead of next month’s event in Glasgow. The sponsors, which include Sky, Microsoft, GSK, NatWest, Reckitt and Sainsbury’s, have raised formal complaints blaming “very inexperienced” civil servants for delayed decisions, poor communication and a breakdown in relations between the organisers and firms in the run-up to the landmark talks. The UK is running its Cop26 presidency from within the Cabinet Office, under the leadership of the former business secretary Alok Sharma.

* * *

Covid crisis – Cases of psychosis have soared in England over the past two years as an increasing number of people experience hallucinations and delusional thinking amid the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a 75% increase in the number of people referred to mental health services for their first suspected episode of psychosis between April 2019 and April 2021, NHS data shows. The rise continued throughout the summer, with 12,655 referred in July 2021, up 53% from 8,252 in July 2019, according to the charity Rethink Mental Illness. A coronavirus-era financial crisis is driving a new, perilous exodus from South America to the United States as middle- and lower-middle-class families flee the hardship, unemployment and inflation wrought by the health crisis. The death of a Brazilian nurse, Lenilda dos Santos, whose body was found hunched in the New Mexico desert by border police, has illustrated how desperation is spreading from countries such as Mexico and Guatemala to once more prosperous Latin American nations.

* * *

Muscled out – Nightclubs are suffering from a growing shortage of bouncers, with some estimates suggesting venues are having to pay security staff as much as 25% more. The latest labour shortage comes as hospitality businesses are also being hit by higher energy costs as they try to rebound from months of closures during the pandemic.

* * *

Brain drain – The Welsh government is launching a drive to persuade more young people to remain in their homeland amid growing concerns that the percentage of working-age citizens is dropping to worryingly low levels. Ministers fear that unless the “brain drain” is stopped the country may struggle to pay the bills to look after its ageing population. It could also lead to a decline in the Welsh language. However, young people fear they will be forced to leave to find jobs. “You have to go where the work is,” one said.

* * *

Nude models pose for a photograph by Spencer Tunick in Arad, Israel.
Nude models pose for a photograph by Spencer Tunick in Arad, Israel. Photograph: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Naked truth – American artist Spencer Tunick has gathered hundreds of models wearing only white body paint in the Israeli desert in the latest instalment of his photography project to highlight the environmental threat to the area. Anna Kleiman, 26, a student, said she joined the shoot yesterday to bring awareness about how the Dead Sea is shrinking. “It feels really natural, once you take your clothes off,” she said.

Today in Focus podcast

For Black History Month we’ve brought together star authors Ben Okri, Candice Carty-Williams and Caleb Azumah Nelson to discuss the past, present and future of black writing.

Lunchtime read: Michael Caine: ‘I’ve made enough movies’

Michael Caine photographed in London, England.
Michael Caine photographed in London, England.

With what could be his last film about to be released, Michael Caine talks to Xan Brooks about getting too old to work, and how many of his old friends and family have died. He also discusses his big Hollywood break (“I’m the Dick Whittington of acting”), post-Brexit problems (“teething trouble”), and Boris Johnson (“very disappointed in him”).

Sport

Steve Bruce has admitted his future is out of his hands after enduring defeat in Newcastle’s first match under their new owners, but he praised the actions of home supporters for potentially saving a fellow fan’s life after a medical emergency caused a lengthy delay to the game. Cameron Norrie battled back to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the Indian Wells final and become the first British man to win the Masters 1000 tournament. Clare Connor gave her life to cricket. She played more than a hundred games for England, captained them for six years, then moved into administration at the England and Wales Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council, and now she is the first female president of MCC. England are sweating on the fitness of Maro Itoje, Anthony Watson and Luke Cowan-Dickie before rugby’s autumn squad announcement today. Chris Greaves was the hero as Scotland got their T20 World Cup campaign off to a dream start with a six-run victory over highly fancied Bangladesh in Muscat.

Business

China’s economy grew slower than expected in the third quarter, official data showed overnight, thanks to power outages, supply bottlenecks, Covid outbreaks, and concerns about the struggling property sector. Although China’s central bank governor said the country is “doing well”, independent economists predicted that the mounting array of headwinds suggest a “deeper downturn” resulting in the country’s weakest growth for more than a decade next year. Asian markets dipped on the news and the FTSE100 is seen opening slightly lower this morning. The pound is up strongly at $1.375 and €1.184.

The papers

The Mirror leads with the Amess family describing their grief – “All our hearts are shattered” – and the i has “Our hearts are shattered”. It’s a similar line in the Express where the splash reads “Nobody should die in that way, nobody”, while the Mail asks “So why didn’t ANYONE stop him?”. The Telegraph says “Security chiefs warn of lockdown terror plots” and the Times leads with “Police examine Qatar link over killing of MP”.

The Guardian lead is “Key Cop26 corporate sponsors condemn ‘mismanaged’ summit”, and the FT has “China’s leap in hypersonic missile technology shakes US intelligence”. The Daily Record leads on the death of a 14-year-old boy at Glasgow’s High Street station: “Shocking act of violence”.

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