United Kingdom

Wednesday evening UK news briefing: Boris Johnson announces full public inquiry into Covid-19 crisis

Boris Johnson has announced a full public independent inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic, with spring 2022 named as the start date.

It will be put on a statutory footing, meaning it will be underpinned by the Inquiries Act of 2005 and have legal powers such as compelling people to give evidence.

Mr Johnson also told MPs that a "commemoration commission" will be formed to consider a national memorial to honour those who have died from Covid-19.

It comes as the first major independent review of the crisis has found the worst ravages of the pandemic could have been avoided had the world not "lost" a month due to indecision and complacency.

Read more on the report that called Covid-19 "the 21st century's Chernobyl moment" while Paul Nuki and Sarah Newey set out the 13 mistakes that plunged the world into chaos.

The conversation about race has changed in the decades since Sir Trevor McDonald became a broadcaster, he tells Guy Kelly

Read the full interview

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice: Features and arts

  1. 'Important collection' | Why this stately-home furniture sale is getting high society excited
  2. It's a Sin... to steal | How Pet Shop Boys' hit ignited the music industry's strangest feud
  3. Saving Burgess | Why a bodybuilding pastor wants to rescue English rugby's prodigal son

Business and money briefing

Choppy waters | France is aiming to block a post-Brexit deal for the City of London until Boris Johnson grants European fishermen access to UK waters. Read on for details as tensions continue to run high.

Sport briefing

Inside City's title celebrations | It was a case of last-minute squad beers and 9am Covid tests as Manchester City clinched the Premier League title without kicking a ball. Mike McGrath reconstructs how the team celebrated while Jason Burt analyses how the team won the title with no moaning and 1,000 passes a game. Yet Thom Gibbs has a piece to try and bring fans down to earth before the Champions League final, saying the club will not be truly great until everybody hates them.

Three things for tonight

And finally... for this evening's downtime

The next career chapter | The Prime Minister’s reskilling initiative is a chance for older workers to stay relevant. Eleanor Mills reveals why now is the perfect time for a midlife career reboot.

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Mr Johnson also warned in the Commons that the highly infectious coronavirus variant first detected in India is of "increasing concern" in the UK after isolated outbreaks have been detected across the country.

The Prime Minister said that while scientists are reporting increasingly encouraging data at the current time, the threat of the virus remains "real" and new variants "pose a potential lethal danger". 

Click here to search how many Covid cases have been found in your area.

Gaza conflict heading 'towards a full-scale war'

Fighting between Israelis and Palestinians seemed on the verge of spiralling into a "full-scale war" today amid the most intense hostilities seen in years despite international calls for calm. More than 1,000 rockets have been launched by Palestinian militants since Monday, according to Israel's army, while it conducted hundreds of airstrikes in the crowded coastal enclave of Gaza. Watch the moment a Gaza tower block collapses after an Israeli airstrike and see the conflict in pictures.

Forget manbags: Harry Styles sports the male handbag

Harry has been up to his old hijinks, shaking up the establishment. Only this time it’s not HRH of Montecito, but Mr Styles, crown prince of hifalutin fashion. The musician donned a striking, geometric-patterned Gucci suit for the Brit Awards last night. Yet it was the dainty handbag the androgynous singer carried that really caught the eye. Stephen Doig analyses the next frontier of gender fluid dressing for men.

At a glance: Coronavirus evening briefing

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

'Heinous crimes' | The UK has agreed Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic should be transferred to a British prison to serve the rest of his sentence for his role in the Srebrenica genocide, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said. Read about his crimes against humanity.

Around the world: Key moment in Theranos scandal

When Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes came walking through the office, employees would mutter "E is coming", under their breath. "It was like Beetlejuice," says Cheryl Gafner, a former receptionist at the biotechnology firm. "If you said it three times then s*** would happen." Perhaps workers were onto something. Holmes could face up to 20 years in prison for allegedly lying to investors, doctors and patients about the limits of Theranos' technology. Margi Murphy sets out how the 37-year-old's story has become a cautionary tale among entrepreneurs.

Wednesday interview

'My parents let me think I could do anything'

Football news:

Scotland coach Clarke: There were a lot of good moments during the group stage, but no points scored
England are the most boring group winners in history. Two goals were enough! And at the World Cup, the Italians once became the first even with one
Dalic - to the fans after reaching the Euro playoffs: You are our strength, and we will be your pride
Modric became the youngest and oldest goalscorer in Croatia at the Euro
Czech Republic coach Shilgava: We came out of the group and fought with England for the first place. We got what we wanted
Gareth Southgate: England wanted to win the group and continue to play at Wembley-and it succeeded
Luka Modric: When Croatia plays like this, we are dangerous for everyone