Wednesday morning UK news briefing: The asylum ‘merry-go-round’

More details have emerged about al-Swealmeen’s time in Britain. Elizabeth and Malcolm Hitchcott, a Christian couple who took him into their home, described the 32-year-old as an “artistic” individual. 

It emerged last night that al-Swealmeen attended the City of Liverpool College three years before his attack – taking a course in cake decorating.

Tory anger at reversal on MPs’ second jobs

In an unexpected change of position, Boris Johnson has announced his support for a ban on some MPs’ second jobs after a fortnight of “Tory sleaze” headlines. The move follows two weeks of political pain for No 10 over MPs’ standards after the handling of the Owen Paterson case, with Labour taking the lead in a number of opinion polls. But there was disgruntlement from Tory backbenchers last night, with some accusing the Prime Minister of opening a “Pandora’s box” by tightening rules. Dozens were said to be furious, with many highlighting the ambiguity of the proposals and questioning how far-reaching they could be. A vote will take place today, with Mr Johnson coming under further scrutiny when he faces detailed questions from the Commons Liaison Committee on “propriety and ethics in government”. Follow our live coverage.

How to give the perfect hug – tips from scientists

When it comes to hugs, do you linger – or just go for a quick squeeze? New research has revealed the recipe for the perfect hug. Perhaps unsurprisingly, scientists found that 10 seconds give the most pleasure, with five seconds providing less joy and a one-second squeeze inspiring the least. But psychologists also concluded that the way we hold our arms during cuddles has a significant impact. Read their suggestions.

Daily dose of Matt

Today’s cartoon | View Matt‘s latest sketch as he imagines how the racism crisis is playing out at cricket clubs across the country.

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Pandemic | Nearly 10,000 more people than usual have died in the past four months from non-Covid reasons, as experts called for an urgent government inquiry into if the deaths were preventable. Science Editor Sarah Knapton reports fears that NHS delays at the height of the pandemic left large numbers of people with previously treatable conditions suffering illnesses that became fatal. Meanwhile, Germany could introduce an Austria-style lockdown on the unvaccinated.

Around the world: Shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, and Oleksii Reznikov, his Ukrainian counterpart, lay flowers to the fallen in Kyiv. France and Germany have joined Britain in standing by Ukraine as Russian troops mass at the border. Earlier this week, Boris Johnson warned that European nations must choose between “mainlining” Russian gas and defending peace.

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