Monkeypox, Boris Johnson and Queer as Folk: 5 essential things you need to know this week
After a turbulent few months, Boris Johnson is finally set to face a vote of no confidence from his parliamentary colleagues.
Elsewhere, monkeypox continues to spread across the UK and Europe, causing a level of worry among LGBTQ+ people – gay and bisexual men are among the most likely to contract the virus.
As always, there’s a lot going on in the world – but no need to worry. We’ve got you covered.
Here are five stories you need to know about this week.
1. Boris Johnson faces vote of no confidence
Months after the government was plunged into crisis by Partygate, Boris Johnson is finally set to face a vote of no confidence from his party colleagues.
Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, confirmed on Monday (6 June) that he had received at least 54 letters from Tory MPs calling for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.
The vote will take place on Monday with the result expected “shortly” after the ballot closes at 8pm.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “Tonight is a chance to end months of speculation and allow the government to draw a line and move on, delivering on the people’s priorities. The PM welcomes the opportunity to make his case to MPs and will remind them that when they’re united and focused on the issues that matter to voters there is no more formidable political force.”
Nobody knows how the vote is likely to go – Brady has refused to say just how many letters he received, so it’s not yet clear how strong opposition to Johnson is within the party.
Even if he does win the vote and continues serving as prime minister, the fact that a vote is being held in the first place will serve as proof that the Conservative Party is far from united.
2. More than 700 confirmed monkeypox cases in Europe
Monkeypox, the virus that’s usually found in parts of Central and West Africa, is continuing to spread in Europe – and gay and bisexual men are still being disproportionately affected.
There have now been 780 confirmed cases of the virus in Europe, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The UK still has the highest number of cases at 207, closely followed by Spain with 156 and Portugal at 138.
In the UK, many of the cases have been detected among gay and bisexual men. While not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), the virus is spread through close skin to skin contact, meaning it can be passed on easily during sex.
The WHO has said the virus poses a “moderate” risk.
3. Putin warns he will expand targets if other countries send Ukraine long-range weapons
The war in Ukraine is continuing to cause chaos and devastation, with parts of Kyiv struck by airstrikes fo the first time in weeks on Sunday (5 June).
Several western countries have announced that they will send weapons to Ukraine to aid the war effort, but Putin warned that he would escalate the war further if missiles with longer ranges are supplied.
“If they are supplied, we will draw appropriate conclusions fro this and use our weapons of which we have enough, to strike at those targets that we are not striking yet.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister pleaded with western countries to continue sending weapons, saying they need “constant support” to fend off Russia’s invasion.
4. Home Office tells asylum seekers they can go to Rwanda or go home
The UK government is continuing to face backlash from human rights organisations over its scheme to send asylum seekers who arrive via the English Channel to Rwanda.
According to The Guardian, the Home Office is now telling asylum seekers they can either go to Rwanda or be flown back home to the conflict zones they’ve just escaped from.
In documents issued to the first group of asylum seekers facing removal to Rwanda, the Home Office said: “You have the option to leave the UK voluntarily. However, should you be removed it will be to Rwanda.”
Despite strident criticism from refugee advocacy groups, the Home Office shows no sign of backing down on its controversial approach.
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5. Queer as Folk is finally coming back
Queer as Folk defined an entire generation – both in the UK and the US – and now it’s finally getting the reboot treatment.
Peacock’s reimagining of the hugely-popular LGBTQ+ themed television show relocates the action to New Orleans, while Devin Way, JesseJames Keitel, CG, Johnny Sibilly and Ryan O’Connell star.
The hotly-anticipated reboot will be available for US viewers to watch on Peacock on Thursday (9 June), while UK viewers will be able to watch it from 1 July on Starzplay.