Tuesday evening UK news briefing: Nicola Sturgeon sets a date for second Scottish independence referendum

·7 min read
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Evening briefing: Today's essential headlines

Sentencing latest | Ghislaine Maxwell could face decades behind bars as proceedings began in New York today to determine her punishment for her role in supplying girls for Jeffrey Epstein to abuse, as part of one of the largest sex-trafficking rings in US history. Follow our live blog.

The big story: Sturgeon takes Indyref2 to the courts

Your move, Prime Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon today insisted that "now is the time" to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence as she set out her roadmap for holding the ballot next year.

The First Minister's bid to hold a re-run of the 2014 vote will be decided on by the Supreme Court as she said she is not willing to allow "democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson".

The SNP leader announced she intends to hold a "consultative" referendum on October 19 next year.

Downing Street has so far refused to issue a Section 30 order which would grant Holyrood the powers to organise and hold another referendum.

Ms Sturgeon said the ability of the Scottish Parliament to act on the matter without the permission of the UK Government is "contested" and Scotland's Lord Advocate has referred the matter to the Supreme Court.

Downing Street has given its response while Vernon Bogdanor outlines the reasons why the case for a second Scottish independence referendum is weak.

Meanwhile, the Queen met with members of the armed forces during an act of loyalty parade in Edinburgh as part of Holyrood week.

The event took place in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse to celebrate her visit to Scotland and mark her Platinum Jubilee.

See pictures of the Queen's second in-person engagement in as many days, as Hannah Furness outlines how the visit packs an ever-so-polite political punch.

PM to break manifesto pledge on defence spending

The renewed controversy around Scottish independence comes as Boris Johnson is set to break a flagship manifesto commitment on defence spending, amid calls for an increase to the budget in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

On the eve of a Nato summit in Madrid, where Western countries will agree to boost their forces on the alliance's border with Russia, ministers are set to miss their target of increasing spending on defence by 0.5pc above inflation every year.

The Telegraph understands Ben Wallace has privately made the case to the Treasury and Downing Street that the war justifies more spending on troops and equipment.

A government source's reasoning for missing the target is less surprising when set against the backdrop outlined by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who warns Europe's banks are priced for economic Armageddon.

GPs vote for industrial action over Saturday working

This newsletter's theme of general discontent also extends to GPs, who have voted in favour of industrial action over a new GP contract which forces practices to open on Saturdays.

Doctors at the BMA's annual conference expressed solidarity with rail unions, urging fellow medics to "channel our inner Mick Lynch" in protest at new terms.

Yet there are 87,000 reasons why NHS workers should not demand a pay rise.

Meanwhile, a firefighters' union leader is warning of strikes after reacting angrily to a 2 per cent pay offer.

Ben Wilkinson suggests the clamour for pay rises is nothing but shameful opportunism.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: France and Germany toughen up

Emmanuel Macron said that Russia cannot be allowed to win the war in Ukraine, as Germany and France toughened their stance. Speaking at the end of a summit of the world's G7 countries, President Macron was clear that Moscow now had the sole objective of trying to force Ukraine to surrender. Earlier he described Russia's strike this week on a Ukrainian shopping mall as a "war crime" and said that France would keep supporting Ukraine for as long as necessary. New footage at the scene exposed the scale of utter destruction as Moscow insisted it had no idea the centre was open to customers when it fired its missiles at a nearby target. Meanwhile, as vital medical supplies destined for besieged Ukrainians fall into the wrong hands, read about the "parallel world" of bribery and corruption at the heart of the country's health sector.

Tuesday interview

Judy Murray on wobbly arms and being a White Hot Blonde

Judy Murray - Alan Peebles
Judy Murray - Alan Peebles

With 15 years in the spotlight, Judy Murray has honed a sense of style that every midlife woman can take cues from. She talks to Lisa Armstrong about her Wimbledon wardrobe

Read the interview

Sport briefing: Nadal on Centre Court - Morgan retires

Rafael Nadal launched his bid for a third Wimbledon crown on Centre Court this afternoon, with Serena Williams due out next. Follow the action here. Yet there are fears of a Covid outbreak among the leading men's players after Matteo Berrettini became the second former finalist to withdraw. Lewis Hamilton has said the "archaic mindset" of Nelson Piquet has "no place in our sport" after the Brazilian three-time Formula One world champion made racist remarks about the British driver. As England's white-ball captain announces his retirement, Nick Hoult analyses how Eoin Morgan ripped up the rule book and transformed English cricket forever. Meanwhile, our rugby union writers have select their 23s for England's first Test against Australia - pick yours here.

Editor's choice

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  2. 'Dull but lucrative' | The degrees that will earn you the most money

  3. Wine! Holidays! Handbags! | How much is too much to gift your child's teacher?

Business briefing: Boots owner abandons £5.5bn sale

Britain's largest pharmacy chain Boots is no longer up for sale, its owners have said, after reports suggested a £5.5bn auction had only attracted one binding offer. Walgreens Boots Alliance, the US owner of the high street chain, said it had decided to end the auction process after several months, after "no third party has been able to make an offer that adequately reflects the high potential value of Boots and No7 Beauty Company". In case you missed it, Russia has defaulted on its foreign-currency sovereign debt after failing to make payments to creditors for the first time in a century. Here are the implications for the world.

Tonight starts now

Gardening | With thousands more of us buying new-build homes on former brownfield land, and with more set to be built in the coming years, what can new homeowners do when faced with contaminated land and poor, unpromising soil conditions? And is it wise to think about growing your own food? The answer is to tap into the power of plants to improve the soil and help you transform your space into a vibrant, nature-friendly garden that works for you and the wider environment. Here are four jobs that will instantly improve a new-build garden.

Three things for you

And finally... for this evening's downtime

'He would get in a frenzy and fight to the end' | Physically tough, boring in person and dangerous when cornered, the real Vladimir Putin has been revealed in Philip Short's new biography. Here are its illuminating lessons on the volatile Russian leader.

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