The Leader | Evening Standard daily
Summary: Released at 4pm on the day of recording, the Leader podcast brings you the latest news, analysis and interviews from the Evening Standard. Our journalists, editors and columnists will take you through the day’s events, helping you understand what’s happening during these extraordinary times.
Central London is facing the biggest economic crisis in generations with tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses at risk of being wiped out in Britain’s most vibrant economic powerhouse. An Evening Standard investigation has unearthed the true scale of the problem, revealing predictions that 50,000 jobs in the vulnerable retail, tourism and hospitality sectors could disappear in the West End alone this year with total spending down by half — a loss of revenue of about £5 billion — as a direct result of the coronavirus lockdown. Our consumer business editor Jonathan Prynn tells the podcast why it's the worst outlook since the Second World War. Also, Andy Byford earned the nickname "Train Daddy" when he turned around New York's failing transit system. Now he's back in London, where he started as a trainee on the underground, having been picked as TfL's commissioner by Sadiq Khan. The Evening Standard's City Hall editor Ross Lydall takes him for a walk around the city to find out what the new boss's plans for the future are. Is Crossrail among them? And how will he get reluctant commuters back on the tube? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The Evening Standard's revealed how thousands of Londoners are missing urgent checks for cancer as the full impact of the coronavirus lockdown emerges. Those seeking a two-week hospital referral from their GP fell by almost 18,000 in May — 53 per cent lower than the same month last year, and worse than the rest of the country. The number of Londoners starting life-saving or life-extending treatment also fell by about 1,000 — 35 per cent lower than last year. Health editor Ross Lydall tells us how health campaigners fear cancer has become "the forgotten C" during the Covid-19 pandemic. And, Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird is turning 60, but is the race relations story told through the eyes of young white girl still relevant in a Black Lives Matter world? We speak to best-selling author Lauren Wilkinson, whose novel American Spy, about a black female FBI agent in a white male dominated field, was named by Barack Obama as one of the best of last year. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The government's announced that gyms and swimming pools will reopen within weeks, but office blocks around the country remain empty as the coronavirus lockdown limps on. It follows the Chancellor unveiling a discount meal scheme, and help for homebuyers. Our associate editor Julian Glover asks if ministers are doing what's popular instead of making the hard decisions that will restart an economy lumbering towards recession. Also, Labour's Jess Phillips speaks to the Leader podcast about a gap in the new Domestic Abuse Bill. It's being hailed as "landmark legislation" after passing the Commons earlier this week, but Ms Phillips says it doesn't cover migrant victims who are being denied public money and shelter support. She tells us why that's putting people's lives at risk. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Rishi Sunak's given everyone in Britain a discount voucher for half price meals at restaurants, pubs and cafes during August in an unprecedented move to boost the battered economy. He's also slashed VAT from 20 per cent to just five per cent on leisure and nights out and cut Stamp Duty. We ask city journalist Mark Shapland and Prudence Ivey from the Evening Standard's Homes and Property if the Chancellor's done enough to get the economy moving. Also, Lauren Bravo, writer of How to Break Up with Fast Fashion joins us to talk about Boohoo. The retailer's launched an independent investigation after one of its suppliers was accused of paying staff below the minimum wage, and allegedly making them work in unsafe conditions during the coronavirus lockdown. But is Boohoo the only player in the fashion industry with questions to answer over how workers are treated? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Boris Johnson has been blasted for an "absolute travesty of leadership" after saying that "too many" care homes did not properly follow procedures during the coronavirus pandemic. Care providers have branded his comments as "cowardly" while the head of the National Care Forum said they were "frankly hugely insulting". But Downing Street's neither apologising nor backing down. Instead, our political editor Joe Murphy says Number 10's claiming the PM's words "didn't mean what we think they mean”. Three pubs which reopened their doors for the first time on Saturday have had to close again after customers tested positive for coronavirus. The Evening Standard's Go London editor, David Ellis, says it proves landlords are taking the Covid-19 threat seriously, and it shouldn't put people off heading out at the weekend. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Headteachers have been telling the Evening Standard how the coronavirus lockdown is having a "severe impact" on the country's children. Sleep loss, silence, and appearing withdrawn or sad are just some of the manifestations of the mental strain that has been placed upon some, while teachers say that others had not even picked up a pen or book since their schools were shut. Our education editor Anna Davis talks to us about her investigation, and why the government needs to intervene to help the most vulnerable. Also, one of the country's top west end producers joins the podcast to talk about the £1.5bn lifeline the government's giving the arts industries. Sonia Friedman, whose company is behind hits including the Book of Mormon and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, explains why she's "immensely grateful" for cash she hopes will save the culture sector, but also reveals concerns over how and when it will be handed out. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
London is set to reopen but London mayor Sadiq Khan warns this isn’t a time to celebrate. He tells The Leader podcast that while Londoners should go out and enjoy the city on Saturday, it's crucial to remember that the threat of Covid-19 is still very real and social distancing must be respected. What will happen if we don’t? We also speak to Professor Karol Sikora who tells us exactly what the consequences will be. And, Ghislaine Maxwell is facing charges over allegations she helped Jeffrey Epstein 'identify and befriend and groom girls’. Evening Standard columnist and former acquaintance Anne McElvoy says she remembers Ghislaine in the 80s a British socialite with bullet-proof confidence. She tells us whether there was any sense then that Ghislaine was wrapped up in another world with Epstein. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
In an exclusive interview with the Evening Standard’s new editor, Emily Sheffield, Boris Johnson warned Britain: the furlough scheme cannot go on. He said an extension to the scheme, which is keeping 9.3 million people in ‘suspended animation’, wouldn’t be healthy for the economy - or for us. But Ms. Sheffield tells The Leader podcast the PM revealed there’s more big spending to come as the country emerges from the pandemic. And, we introduce you to the Evening Standard’s new editor. Emily Sheffield is returning to the paper after a period as British Vogue’s deputy editor and launching female-led digital news brand ThisMuchIKnow. She says this is a period of great innovation and change and she’s here to make the most of it. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
If a Leicester-style Covid-19 outbreak hits London, town halls are warning they need more information on how they could enforce a local lockdown. Mayor Sadiq Khan says London isn’t ready for a second surge, and if one hits, more people could lose their lives. The Evening Standard’s Nicholas Cecil has pieced together what plans are in place to stop a surge spiralling out of control, but tells us public health chiefs are operating in the dark. And, a list of air bridges with the UK is set to be released this week and airlines are already ramping up their flight schedules. So does this mean summer is saved? Abta’s Sean Tipton tells us we’re likely to see a boom in out-of-season travel. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Leicester became the UK’s first city to experience a local lockdown just as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his ‘New Deal’ plan to soften the blow to Britain’s economy post-pandemic. What does a new surge in coronavirus cases mean for the heath of the Midlands city’s businesses? We spoke to local hair salon owner Barrie Stephen who says after weeks of intense preparation and thousands of pounds spent, the news is devastating. And, the National Gallery is set to re-open its doors - the first of the museums and galleries to do so as lockdown measures in England begin to ease. Director Gabriele Finaldi says this is a big moment not just for him, but for the recovery of the nation. Arts editor Nancy Durrant spoke with him for a piece in today’s Evening Standard, she tells us what visitors can expect when they visit next week. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The city of Leicester is facing two more weeks of lockdown as the rest of England prepares to head to the pub this weekend. Boris Johnson says this is part of the government’s new ‘whack-a-mole’ approach to deal with local flare ups of coronavirus. But if London’s hit, what would a lockdown look like? The Institute for Government’s Alex Thomas tells us it's complicated. And, Sir Mark Sedwill, the government's top civil servant and National Security Advisor has been forced out of both his roles. Chief Brexit negotiator David Frost has taken up position as NSA, which the Evening Standard’s Joe Murphy says has some former top mandarins worried - but who will fill his spot at the heart of Number 10? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
More than 140 police officers have been injured in the last three weeks trying to break up massive illegal street parties across London. They're struggling to control the crowds of hundreds gathering in places like Brixton, Streatham and Notting Hill to party until the early hours of the morning. Met Commissioner Cressida Dick's warning people to "cool it," but Evening Standard journalist John Dunne says that will be difficult as the sun comes out and lockdown restrictions ease. Also, Labour's at war with itself again following the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey. Leader Sir Keir Starmer's had a tense confrontation with left-wingers including Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott, who are calling for the former shadow education secretary to be reinstated. A petition supporting Ms Long-Bailey's also passed its 10,000 signature target. Evening Standard columnist Ayesha Hazarika tells us why Sir Keir is standing firm in his decision. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
A trove of documents, emails and text messages that was supposed to clear Robert Jenrick of allegations he did billionaire Richard Desmond a favour over a planning decision has done anything but. Questions are being raised about the Housing Secretary’s relationship with the businessman, who was complaining about “Marxists” plotting against his plans to build 1,500 homes at Westferry in East London. The Evening Standard's political editor Joe Murphy joins the podcast to talk about new documents he's seen covering the affair. Also, holiday operators are reporting a sudden surge in bookings for Mediterranean villas offering “privacy and space” following reports that air bridges to leading European destinations will be available from next week. A scramble to save a peak summer season worth up to £20 billion is under way ahead of an expected formal announcement on Monday that the much criticised quarantine rules for travellers returning to Britain will start to be eased. Travel journalist Simon Calder, though, says it's too little too late. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
After the big announcement, the government’s now delivering the details on how lockdown will be eased on July 4th. Guidance has been dispatched to businesses affected , including things like telling pubs to warn customers police can be called if they’re not socially distancing. But as the advice was being delivered, some of the country's top health bosses released a letter warning the UK needs a review of preparedness for a second peak of the infection. We speak to BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul who says around 40% of doctors say they couldn't cope with having to do it all again. Also, parts of the UK have seen temperatures above 30c as a heatwave spreads around the country. Could it last until the lockdown restrictions are lifted, or is there stormy weather ahead? Forecaster Jo Farrow, from Netweather, tells us what's happening and how long it will last for. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
MPs were so excited to hear Boris Johnson say pubs will re-open, they shouted "Hallelujah" in the Commons. Museums and art galleries have the green light too. But after more than three months in lockdown, how many will be ready to welcome people by July 4th, and how many people will actually go? The Evening Standard's Lizzie Edmonds says many of London's top tourist attractions are worried the pandemic's effects will last even longer than lockdown itself. Also, it can't be said for certain that coronavirus came from a wet market in Wuhan but most scientists have it at the very top of a short list of suspects. The trade is supplied by a huge international operation, much of it run by organised crime, making large amounts of money from cruelty to animals. The Evening Standard's begun a campaign to end the illegal wildlife trade, and teamed up with conservation group Space for Giants. Their CEO Dr Max Graham tells us how the supply chain works, and the global effort that will be needed to stop it. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.