tv BBC News at Ten BBC News April 26, 2021 10:00pm-10:31pm BST
tonight at ten — borisjohnson denies ever saying that he'd rather let thousands of bodies pile up than approve another lockdown. on the campaign trail today, mrjohnson said the reports were total rubbish but the question was asked again — did he use those words, yes or no? no, but, again, ithink the important thing i think that people want us to get on and do as a government is to make sure that the lockdowns work. another day when the prime minister has had to answer questions about his own conduct, another day when downing street has had to focus on defending itself. we'll have more details as the covid—19 bereaved families
group said the alleged remarks were heartless and disrespectful. also tonight... india's covid crisis deepens — people search for oxygen supplies as the government tells the public not to panic. in scotland, restrictions are eased as pubs, shops, gyms and cafes reopen. and in wales, activity centres join the list of places welcoming customers again. the british—iranian aid worker nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe is sent back to jail in tehran for 12 months, charged with spreading propaganda against iran. and, at the age of 83, sir anthony hopkins becomes the oldest person to win the best actor award at the oscars. and coming up in the sport on the bbc news channel... looking to get the band back together, as three former arsenal legends join the spotify founder in a bid to buy the club.
good evening. the prime minister borisjohnson has denied saying that he would rather "let the bodies pile high in their thousands" than agree to another covid lockdown. the remarks were alleged to have been made last autumn during a heated discussion in downing street. mrjohnson said today the reports were "total rubbish". but sources who say they're familiar with the exchanges have spoken to the bbc and they insist the prime minister did make the comments. the campaign group, the covid—19 bereaved families forjustice, said the alleged comments were "heartless, disrespectful and unsympathetic". our political editor laura kuenssberg is at westminster. this time last week downing street was hoping growing claims of bad behaviour and misconduct in government were pointing at former
prime ministers, at former officials and that they wouldn't touch them. but for six days in a row now, questions have been pointing at this administration. and today the comment the prime minister is alleged to have made in autumn last year have caused a whole new swirl of outrage. are you ready? politics is notjust a game, but a constant back—and—forth over the most serious of decisions. boris johnson's alleged, in the autumn, to have made the most serious of remarks, suggesting around the time of the second lockdown that the bodies of those dying of coronavirus could just pile up. did he? no, but, again, ithink the important thing, i think, people want us to get on and do as a government is to make sure that the lockdowns work. yet back in early autumn, it was tense. ministers and advisers divided over whether to lock down again as coronavirus rose. after arguments, borisjohnson did agree to reintroduce restrictions. you must stay at home,
you may only leave home for specific reasons. but several sources, familiar with private conversations at the time, say the prime minister did then suggest he would let bodies pile high in their thousands rather than repeat the process again. at the time, dominic cummings was by borisjohnson�*s side. now the prime minister's former chief adviser is very firmly out of government and very firmly on the warpath. there's a list of dangerous claims stacking up at downing street's door, not just about the prime minister's attitude during the pandemic but about how contracts were awarded, what promises he made, and how and who paid for an expensive makeover of the downing street flat where he lives above the shop. theresa may gave a rare glimpse of the flat in her last week in office, but the pink sofas and beige carpets were moved out when borisjohnson and his fiancee moved in. it's claimed tory donors initially picked up the tab for tens of thousands
of pounds of renovation. if so, that should've been declared, and that hasn't happened yet. and the most senior civil servant in the country wasn't willing to shed much light on it for mps this afternoon. i asked you whether you were aware whether or not any private donations had been used to refurbish the flat. i mean, that's a straightforward yes or no, really. so, as i said, the prime minister's asked me to conduct a review - into how this has been done and asked that i share - the details of those _ conclusions with the committee. after months of claims, downing street now says the prime minister paid out of his own pocket, but we don't know when or where he got the money. for the opposition, sparks flying in downing street are a political gift. we've got lots of investigations going on, but we haven't got anything that's looking at the pattern of behaviour. and day after day, there are new allegations of sleaze,
of favours, of privileged access. we need a full investigation to get to the bottom of that, and, most importantly, make recommendations about change because we need to change the rules. borisjohnson�*s sometimes been proud of pushing political convention. downing street is adamant that, in all senses, regulations were followed. but with a long list of claims against him, it isn't yet clear if he was always following the rules. laura kuenssberg, bbc news. and laura joins us from westminster. you said about a list of dangerous claims stacking up. what is your sense of the potential danger for the prime minister? irate sense of the potential danger for the prime minister?— sense of the potential danger for the prime minister? we have got to be clear about _ the prime minister? we have got to be clear about all _ the prime minister? we have got to be clear about all of _ the prime minister? we have got to be clear about all of this. _ the prime minister? we have got to be clear about all of this. on - the prime minister? we have got to be clear about all of this. on all - be clear about all of this. on all of these issues, downing street says the rules had been followed appropriately. they said again and again that nothing is wrong, but this lengthening list could pose some serious problems. first of all there's the mystery around exactly
how the expensive renovations of the prime minister's flatware paid for. we simply don't know exactly what happened yet. second there are questions about whether all of the rules were followed during the pandemic, whether that is over the awarding of contracts are indeed the controversial remarks he is said to have made as we been reporting today. and at the beginning of all of this, asking conservatives about it, they would say things like as johnson is known for pushing the rules, everybody knows he likes to push the boundaries, he enjoys overturning convention. but these matters are serious, notjust a question of political rhetoric or flourishes or somehow trying to provoke people with the kind of political activities you are taking. there are many questions here that are not yet complete answers to. i think the confidence conservatives had a few days ago that somehow this was priced in, somehow it would blow
over is in some quarters beginning to fade, and there is a question they are not in control of events. lara, many thanks again. laura kuenssberg, our political editor at westminster. india is reportedly running out of covid vaccines just as the government was planning to boost the nationwide vaccination programme. india s health care system is unable to struggle with the scale of the crisis — more than 352,000 new cases were reported in the past 2a hours and more than 2,800 deaths. the indian government says there is no need to panic, as our correspondent devina gupta reports. a haunting warning. as these funeral pyres burn through the night in a western indian city, they indicate how the country is failing to say precious lives. for the fifth straight day, india saw a record high of over 2800 deaths. a worsening scenario
as hospitals and covid hotspots face acute shortage of beds, supply and medicine. this public hospital in india's capital delhi is simply unable to cope. this woman came with her mother, who is on oxygen support and needs immediate aid. but like many others, they are forced to wait for hours outside. since morning, we are calling people, trying for oxygen and everything, but nobody is responding. and i don't think we have enough. i don't know, since my mother is ill and i have been panicked since so long. the ambulance driver who drove them here feels helpless. translation: we have | been waiting since 11am. they are not taking the patient. look how seriously ill she is.
even though the government is opening new covid facilities to admit patients and transporting additional oxygen supply to the city, they cannot meet the rush in the hospitals. for now, countries like the uk and the us have come to india's aid with essential medical supplies and oxygen kits, but much more is needed. and until then, for thousands in the city, the endless nightmare continues during the day. on sunday, this hospital in north delhi, as its oxygen stock dwindled. families like this were told to organise oxygen on their own. he managed to refill the cylinder by paying 900 times the regular cost. for him, it's a small price to keep his father alive and breathing in the icu. translation: | got ten | litres of oxygen cylinder. it won't last for- more than one hour.
where do we go? which government should be go to? which government should we go to? who will give us oxygen? my father is in thel hospital right now. as he rushes to search for another oxygen refill, throughout the day countless others are running out of time in india's capital. devina gupta, for bbc news, delhi. scotland's pubs, cafes and restaurants have opened their doors again, as restrictions are eased, and customers can go inside before 8pm but can only have an alcoholic drink if they're seated outside. shops, gyms and swimming pools are also reopening. and travel restrictions have been relaxed allowing trips to and from other parts of the uk. our scotland correspondent lorna gordon has the latest. scotland is reopening for business. after so many months of shuttered shops and closed doors, colour, cash and people are returning to the streets.
for some, today means family reunions. well, it's coming to see my granddaughter, who i haven't seen for two years. and this was the day i thought, "right, get on a train, scotland is now open for visitors." where have you come from? lancaster. for others, it's a chance to celebrate with friends. we've all taken the day off and the following day so we can revel in edinburgh's brilliant hospitality. scotland's not exactly been known for its outdoor dining culture, but covid is changing all that, and today feels like a big step back towards normality. cheers! outside, as well as indoors, hospitality is restarting here, but the scottish government says the risk of transmission is greater inside, so strict controls remain in place. the industry disputes this. nick wood, who runs over 20 venues, says the restrictions mean it's too financially challenging for some to reopen straight away. at the moment, i can't serve alcohol inside and i have to shut inside at eight o'clock. outside, i can serve
alcohol till ten. until we can serve alcohol indoors, there's a huge amount of our venues that just won't be viable at all. all retail in scotland can now reopen. after months away from the till, staff in this shop just glad to be back at work. it was a bit like waking up from a long nap, kind of everything's a bit like relearning how tojust work in a shop again. it's a bit sort of strange, but also very nice. it's a familiar space. guest houses, b&bs, hotels and campsites are ready to welcome back visitors in this, the biggest push to open scotland's economy since this latest lockdown started easing. for many, though, it will still be a soft start. i do have somebody coming in today, later on, and then it's a slow trickle. and in the middle of may, when the restaurants can then more... i think they're allowed to serve alcohol indoors, that's when i've got more bookings. rules on masks and social distancing remain, but this is still a big change to life in scotland, and, all going well, further easing
is planned for the months ahead. lorna gordon, bbc news, edinburgh. some restrictions have also been lifted in wales — groups of six people from six different households can meet outside at pubs, cafes a nd restau ra nts. theme parks are also welcoming visitors again. a maximum of 30 people can take part in organised sports and the same number can attend outdoor receptions for weddings and funerals. our wales correspondent hywel griffith report from aberdare, in south wales. in three, two, one... launching out of lockdown and into business. this new zip wire in aberdare welcomed its first ever customers this morning after what's been a bumpy ride — having to change their opening date several times. colin was one of the first down the line. absolutely awesome! oh, it was fabulous. i thought it might have been a bit faster than it was,
but it was brilliant. built on the site of an old coal mine, this zip wire was originally meant to open injuly last year, but the pandemic kept pushing plans further and further into the future, until today finally arrived. they are now fully booked for the next three weeks. i really, really think that people are going to enjoy this. that's welcome news for caitlin, who's been desperate to start her newjob. i'm really excited. like, i didn't really sleep last night because it's one of those things where everyone is just going to be rushing in, really excited. high spirits, and plenty of wine and beer too, as pubs and cafes around wales started up outdoors service again. after months of meeting online, it was a chance for sophie and her colleagues to see each other face—to—face again and not worry about pressing mute. it just feels a bit less forced.
you know, when we're talking online, it normally was about work and stuff but, you know, you get to spend a bit more time getting to know people personally outside. so when i've been chatting to you online, you've been forcing it? yeah, it's been a bit forced! oh, it's fantastic, it's been a really long winter. - so we were last out, i think, . in december, novembertime. so, yeah, coming back out — in the sunshine as well — - it's fantastic. it isn't your first rodeo! the weather has, so far, been kind to those who make their living outdoors. a sudden drop in temperature could cool demand but, for now, there's little to dampen the exhilaration of being open at last. hywel griffith, bbc news, aberdare. the latest official government figures on coronavirus show 2,064 new infections were recorded in the latest 24—hour period, which means an average of 2,309 new cases per day in the last week.
there were 1,781 people in hospital with coronavirus over the seven days to last thursday. six deaths were recorded in the past 2a hours of people who'd had a positive covid test within the previous 28 days. these figures are often lower on a monday. the average number of deaths per day in the past week is 23. the total number of uk deaths is now 127,434. and a total ofjust over 33,750,000 people have now had theirfirstjab. that takes the overall number who've had their second jab to nearly 12,900,000. now, vaccines are being offered to all those aged 44 or older in england from today. the nhs hopes to roll out the offer to all adults over 40 in the coming days, if supplies are available. our health correspondent sophie hutchinson has more details. a large vaccination centre
at wimbledon football club, in southwest london today. staff here say they've had a rush of younger people booking appointments, as 44—year—olds were invited for vaccines in england for the first time. it's just fantastic to know that there's more cohorts coming through. people then are offered vaccination, and that means safety. but why has the vaccination programme only opened up to a single new year group this time — 44—year—olds, instead of everyone in their 40s? well, one answer may be found here. although the number of doses being given remains relatively stable, hundreds of thousands of people are now being prioritised for their second jabs, seen here in dark blue. the danger is, if we extend that period between the first and the second vaccination — so the so—called prime and boost — that we might have a situation where the protection really goes down.
that's why it's so important to have that second dose. another challenge is that people in their 40s make up a vastly larger age group than any of the older groups who've already been invited for vaccinations. there's no doubt that the roll—out of the uk's vaccination programme has been rapid. already, 90% of people at risk of dying of covid—i9 have received one dose. the big question is, will the younger generation, who are at less risk of coronavirus, be as enthusiastic for the jab? the good news is that vaccine hesitancy seems to be falling in great britain. figures comparing february with march showing young people, who are among the most sceptical, it dropped from 17 to i2%. and in the black population, it halved from a high of 44% to 22. and to ensure as many younger people as possible are vaccinated, this government advert is running for the first time today. 35—39 year olds have now been
invited for vaccination in northern ireland. nhs england says a decision on all 40 year olds will be made in the next few days, based on factors such as vaccine supplies. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. the british—iranian aid worker nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe has been sentenced to a further 12 months in prison in tehran on charges of spreading propaganda against the iranian regime. last month, she completed a five—year sentence for spying — a charge that she had vehemently denied. her husband said he was bitterly disappointed at the court's decision, as our correspondent caroline hawley reports. nazanin�*s baby girl is now almost seven and gabriella has only celebrated one birthday, herfirst, with both her parents there. she's now watching her daughter grow up over the phone. there she is! there she is. neither parent can bear to break the news of the latest sentence to her.
we haven't told her yet and, infact, iwant to check with nazanin — does she want me to tell her, does she want to tell her? i suspect she'll want to protect her for as long as we can. but how can richard protect nazanin? he says she and other dual nationals are being used as bargaining chips over a long—standing military debt iran wants britain to repay, and that her fate may also now be tied to negotiations with iran over its nuclear activities. what do you want the government to do now? there clearly is both the need to get nazanin home and the others home as quickly as possible, and to make it clear that this is... you can't do diplomacy this way. that is going to need discussions with all of the western world. it's more than five years since she was arrested at tehran airport, on her way home to the uk. since then, nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe has been through solitary confinement, two trials, and now two sentences. i think it's wrong that she's
there in the first place and we'll be working very hard to secure her release from iran, her ability to return to her family here in the uk, just as we work for all our dual—national cases in iran. and the government will not stop, we will redouble our effort. this used to be a favourite spot for nazanin, they used to come here together as a family, but richard says a one—year travel ban is to follow the one—year sentence — so, without a solution, they're now looking at another two years apart. caroline hawley, bbc news. let's take a look at some of today's other news. a 20—year—old man, who died afterjumping into the river thames to rescue a woman, has been hailed a hero by his family. folajimi olubunmi—adewole and a friend went into the water after spotting the woman falling from london bridge, on saturday night. emergency services rescued
the woman and one male. a case brought by the serious fraud office against two former executives at the private security firm serco has collapsed after the sfo declined to offer evidence. a judge ordered that nicholas woods and simon marshall be acquitted. they had been accused of concealing £12 million in profits from electronically tagging criminals. students and staff at a college in west sussex had to leave the premises this afternon, after reports of gunfire. an 18—year—old local teenager was arrested following the incident at crawley college and a firearm and a knife were seized. two staff members suffered minor injuries. now, the former chief executive of the post office, paula vennells, has resigned her roles on the boards of the supermarket morrisons and the home furnishing retailer dunelm, following the scandal which led to the wrongful convictions of post office workers when she was in charge. ms vennells is also stepping down from her duties as an anglican priest.
our consumer affairs correspondent colletta smith has been following the story. still on a high from her victory at the court of appeal on friday, i'm back in hull with janet skinner... it's just... it's just wrong. ..and paula vennells is on her mind. she's had numerous times where she could have, do you know, been upfront with everything. so, to have to actually get a victory for her to step down, it's quite bitter—sweet, really. although the computer problems began before paula vennells took charge, under her leadership, prosecutions continued. a high courtjudge has previously said that when she was the boss, the post office had engaged in "oppressive behaviour". here at morrisons headquarters — and at the homeware retailer dunelm — they're hoping that today gives them some points in terms of good governance and puts enough distance between themselves and the storm clouds that are surrounding the post office because of this scandal and the damage that's been
done to the post office brand. the diocese of st albans also announced today that paula vennells will be stepping back from her duties as an ordained minister in the church of england. former sub—postmaster and churchgoer tom hedges was also one of those who had his conviction overturned on friday. she's done the right thing now and stepped down, but ijust wonder whether she jumped before she was pushed. in a statement, paula vennells has again apologised to sub—postmasters and says that she will now be able to... "focus fully on working with the ongoing government inquiry to ensure the affected sub—postmasters and wider public get the answers they deserve". the department for business says it welcomes that move. but the man who ran the post office's original investigation says those questions won't be answered because the government inquiry is looking the wrong way. it wasn't dodgy software thati prosecuted sub—postmasters, it was senior management
within post office, - and the inquiry is avoiding looking at the decision—making _ and the accountability within post office. - janet agrees and wants a more thorough investigation. i think there is a lot more people involved, and she shouldn't be made the scapegoat for everything that's gone wrong. the business minister is due to make a statement about the sub—postmasters issue tomorrow, in parliament. colletta smith, bbc news. two former british paratroopers have denied the murder of a leading member of the group known as the official ira in belfast half a century ago. at the opening of the trial today, prosecutors said the two officers were not lawfullyjustified in shooting 24—year—old joe mccann. lets talk to our ireland correspondent, emma vardy. emma, what happens today? well, the prosecutions — emma, what happens today? well, the prosecutions of — emma, what happens today? well, the prosecutions of former _ emma, what happens today? well, the
prosecutions of former british - prosecutions of former british soldiers involved in the conflict known as the troubles is very divisive here and today, we saw two former paratroopers coming back to northern ireland appearing in court and pleaded not guilty in relation to the killing ofjoe mccann nearly five decades ago. back then, the circumstances where that soldier a and soldier c as they are referred to in court were in patrol —— on patrol in belfast and they were asked by police to help with the arrest ofjoe mccann, but when he ran away, the soldiers opened fire and he was killed. the prosecution's argument is the shooting was not justified for self defence or in order to bring around the defence. the defence meanwhile is the use of defence was reasonable and joe mccann were suspected of being a very dangerous individual, a member of the official ira. also here at court today it was johnny mercer of the official ira. also here at court today it wasjohnny mercer mp, the former government defence minister, he came to support the two
defendants, he previously left the government over the treatment of veterans. he believes former soldier should be protected from prosecutions like this. but meanwhile, there are many victims, relatives, families in northern ireland who believe this case must go ahead in order to deal with what happened in the past year. this case involving soldier a and soldier c is expected to last around four weeks, but there are many others still under investigation.— but there are many others still under investigation. emma, many thanks, with _ under investigation. emma, many thanks, with the _ under investigation. emma, many thanks, with the latest _ under investigation. emma, many thanks, with the latest from - under investigation. emma, many thanks, with the latest from the l thanks, with the latest from the case in belfast. last night saw an oscar ceremony unlike any other, held in the grand hall at union station, los angeles, to allow for a covid—safe ceremony. nomadland was the biggest winner of the night — and the film's director, chloe zhao, became the second woman to be named best director, and the first of asian descent. there was anotherfirst, as sir anthony hopkins became the oldest winner of best actor, at the age of 83, while daniel kaluuya is the first black british actor to win an oscar in the supporting category. will gompertz watched the ceremony.
the oscars 2021 pulled into la's union station for a pandemic—era showy live event presented a bit like a movie — but the script lacked surprises, and there was a stumbled start by nominee and guest presenter regina king. ha. laughter ooh. live tv, here we go! the mood was more low—key art house, rather than hollywood blockbuster. fitting, then, that nomadland — an elegiac film about a widowed woman seeking solace on the open road — was the night's big winner. it's writer—director chloe zhao became only the second woman in the oscars' 93—year history to win the best director award. this is for anyone who has the faith and the courage to hold on to the goodness in themselves. the film's star, frances mcdormand, took home the leading actress oscar — the third in her career — and then, when the film won best picture, told millions of tv viewers to go to the movies.
take everyone you know into - a theatre, shoulder—to—shoulder, in that dark space, and watch every film that's representedj here tonight. daniel kaluuya. daniel kaluuya became the first black british winner of an acting award, picking up the best supporting actor oscar for his portrayal of fred hampton, chicago's black panther leader, injudas and the black messiah. you can murder a liberator, but you can't murder liberation! to chairman fred hampton, whata man! how blessed we are that we lived in a lifetime where he existed, d'you know what i'm saying? the 83—year—old sir anthony hopkins became the oldest ever leading actor oscar winner for his remarkable performance as an old man with dementia in the father. oh, i was a dancer. were you? yes. dad! what? you were an engineer. what do you know about it? yes, tap dancing was my specialty. he chose not to attend, which was another blow to an underwhelming show. still, he was delighted, as he said in a video posted