Wednesday briefing: Iain Duncan Smith facing second job questions

Hello, Warren Murray with the stories that stand out as we raise Wednesday.

Iain Duncan Smith, the MP and former Tory leader, is facing questions over his £25,000-a-year second job advising a multimillion-pound hand sanitiser company after he chaired a government taskforce that recommended new rules benefiting the firm. The taskforce’s report to government made no reference to Duncan Smith’s relationship with Byotrol, which provides the NHS with 92% of its non-alcohol sanitiser, although the role was declared in parliament’s register of members’ interests. Both have been approached for comment. Other Tory MPs have also been working in the healthcare sector – in some cases for companies that have benefited from lucrative Covid-19 contracts.

The Tory MP Geoffrey Cox has faced mounting pressure to quit amid suggestions the former attorney general moonlighted as a lawyer out of his Commons office. Labour’s Angela Rayner has called for an investigation into Cox appearing to use taxpayer-funded parliamentary facilities to appear in a court hearing virtually. It has emerged Cox was paid £150,000 for giving legal advice to the British Virgin Islands in relation to corruption charges brought by the UK Foreign Office. Cox, 61, declared his extra earnings as a barrister and did not break any rules. Some Tory MPs have rounded on Cox – one said there was an “old guard mentality” to second jobs among veteran MPs in safer seats, and that they were “taking the piss while some of us are solely focused on being a parliamentarian, care about constituents and work hard”. Cox’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

This morning it also emerges that Tory MPs have been writing “sponsored content” online for the Betting and Gaming Council which lobbies for the gambling industry. The politicians were not paid for their articles but the Betting and Gaming Council paid the ConservativeHome website through an advertising agency for the space online and they are labelled “sponsored”. The government is due to publish proposals for the reform of gambling regulation early next year. Matt Zarb-Cousin, of the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, said: “You really have to question why it would be in an MP’s interest to advocate for an incredibly unpopular sector that is resisting these types of reforms.”

Prediction of 2.4C catastrophe – The world is on track for disastrous levels of global heating of 2.4C, far in excess of the limits in the Paris climate agreement, according to Climate Action Tracker (CAT), the world’s most respected climate analysis coalition. As Cop26 continues in Glasgow, the CAT findings are based on the short-term goals countries have set out. It would far exceed the 2C upper limit the Paris accord said the world needed to stay “well below”, and the much safer 1.5C limit aimed for at Cop26. This morning we report that China’s chief Cop delegate says it has detailed and concrete plans on how to meet its climate commitments, and is pushing those plans forward vigorously, unlike some countries that are “paying lip service” to their climate targets. Boris Johnson will be back at Cop26 today, arriving by train after he was criticised for leaving by jet last time.

Midweek catch-up

> A pregnant Yemeni journalist, Rasha Abdullah al-Harazi, has been killed in a car explosion in Aden, witnesses and medical sources said. Her husband, Mahmoud al-Atmi, also a journalist, was injured, Reuters reported.

> Hundreds of pages of White House records from the Trump administration can be turned over to the House committee investigating the deadly 6 January attack on the Capitol, a judge has ruled against Donald Trump’s objections.

> Just over half of Britons did not know 6 million Jewish people were murdered during the Holocaust, a survey has found – though 89% had definitely heard about the Holocaust and about three-quarters knew it involved the mass murder of Jews.

> England has the highest death rates among frail and older hospitalised patients in the western world, a landmark global study has found.

> Squid Game will be back for season two, its creator, Hwang Dong-hyuk, has signalled. “There’s been so much pressure, so much demand, and so much love,” he said at a red carpet event. “You leave us no choice!”

‘Misogynist’ Megxit – Prince Harry has said the term “Megxit” – used to describe his and wife Meghan’s decision to quit their royal duties – is a “misogynistic term, and it was created by a troll, amplified by royal correspondents, and it grew and grew and grew into mainstream media”.

Speaking on a panel called the Internet Lie Machine, organised by Wired magazine, the Duke of Sussex said he told Twitter boss Jack Dorsey the day before the Capitol riots on 6 January that “his platform was allowing a coup to be staged”. Harry called misinformation a “global humanitarian crisis”.

Forgotten no more – The records of 320,000 troops from the Punjab who fought in the first world war, left unread in a basement for 97 years, have been disclosed by UK-based historians. Files found in the depths of the Lahore Museum in Pakistan have been digitised and put on the web in time for Armistice Day on Thursday. Whereas historians and the descendants of British and Irish soldiers could search public databases of service records, until now no such facility existed for the families of Indian soldiers.

Using the database, the shadow minister Tanmanjeet Dhesi uncovered proof among the files that his great-grandfather had served in Iraq and lost a leg. Others have discovered that their family’s villages provided soldiers who served in France, the Middle East, Gallipoli, Aden and east Africa, as well as in other parts of British India during the first world war. Punjab was split between India and Pakistan in 1947.

The model views her body as a ‘tool’ to make a living – but ever since 2013’s Blurred Lines video, it has also been treated as public property. In this interview, she explains why she has written a book about her experiences, from an allegation of assault by Robin Thicke to how motherhood has changed her.

Many of us are keen to eat more sustainably – but is a vegan croissant better or worse than locally sourced sausages? And can climate-conscious eating ever be enjoyable? One writer finds out.

Eoin Morgan has said that beating New Zealand in Wednesday’s T20 World Cup semi-final “would be a hell of an achievement” given the injuries that have forced five key players out of his squad and the last-minute tactical rethink forced upon him after Jason Roy’s withdrawal on Monday with a torn calf muscle. Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire head coach, has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing into an offensive tweet he posted 11 years ago as the club continues to grapple with its racism scandal. Aston Villa look set to approach Rangers in the next 48 hours for permission to speak to Steven Gerrard, after the former Liverpool man was identified as their No 1 choice to succeed Dean Smith as manager. Emma Hayes praised “special” Maren Mjelde after the right-back made her long-awaited return to action during Chelsea’s thumping 7-0 defeat of Swiss side Servette in the Women’s Champions League.

Emma Raducanu has confirmed that Torben Beltz will be her new coach, and also laughed off comments from England rugby coach Eddie Jones, who claimed that she was distracted from her sport by photoshoots and wearing Christian Dior clothes. Jones’s preparations for Saturday’s autumn international with Australia have been hit by further turmoil after Joe Marler was ruled out of facing the Wallabies because of Covid. The Wallabies’ Nic White has insisted he will not fall for Jones’s mind games after the coach singled the scrum-half out for praise before the Test at Twickenham. And England Hockey has been accused of a “shocking abuse of power” and “institutional and structural bias” by a club that has won its appeal against a 12-month suspended ban for breaching a code of conduct.

Britain’s employers are offering bonuses of up to £2,000 to recruit Christmas workers amid fears over staff shortages disrupting the festive season. There are currently 26,307 seasonal job vacancies, almost double the 13,668 at the same point a year ago. Bonuses include £2,000 from Amazon for warehouse workers, £1,000 for DPD warehouse night sorters, and payments of £500 for new recruits at Ocado, AO.com and Hand Picked Hotels. Pressure on global supply was reflected in China where figures today showed that factory-gate inflation rose 13.5% last month, the highest for 26 years. The FTSE100 is due to fall about 0.25% this morning, with the pound on $1.355 and €1.170.

Apart from those dire global heating predictions, our Guardian front page today covers the crisis on the Polish border, where a wave of refugees is being used by President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus to put pressure on the EU, which has criticised his widespread crackdown on dissent. The Times has “‘Brazen’ Cox accused of flouting Commons rules” while the Metro has that as “Geoff in paradise” because he “spent almost a month working on a Caribbean island as part of his £1million a year second job”. The Mail says it has the “Tawdry truth” on that one if you turn to its “special dossier” inside. Its front-page lead, though, is “Fury grows over raid on historic UK insurer” – Bain Capital wants to take over LV, which was “founded to help Liverpool’s poor bury their dead”.

The Mirror reports on the “Race to jab 100,000 NHS staff” by next April or they’ll face the sack. “Just do it!” insists the Express. The i says “Care home cliff edge revealed” as staff shortages bite and the vaccination deadline approaches. The Telegraph says “Oxford ‘owes explanation to Jewish students’ for Mosley cash”, as in why did it take cash from a trust funded by the inheritance left by the fascist Oswald Mosley.

The Sun has Katie Price talking about her “drink-drive crash” while the FT leads with “General Electric pulls the plug on conglomerate with three-way split” – the resulting public companies will focus on healthcare, energy and aviation.

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