4 min read

⏳ Thursday Fix: Wallowing in Sleaze?

⏳ Thursday Fix: Wallowing in Sleaze?

Morning all,

A ferocious debate in the House of Commons, an explosive allegation in China, and a badly handled racial dispute, on 'Ballance'.

Until tomorrow,

Your Fixers


Here is the podcast version of today's newsletter.


A Conservative MP called Owen Patterson is at the centre of a controversial vote in the House of Commons, which stopped him from being suspended from the party.

What's the background here? Basically, Paterson was being paid more than £100,000 a year by two firms - Lynn's Country Foods and Randox. He is accused of an "egregious" breach of lobbying rules by using his position as an MP to benefit those companies.

Okay, what happened then? Paterson was facing a 30-day suspension from the House of Commons, but argued the probe into his behaviour was unfair. The suspension was avoided Wednesday, when enough Tory MPs voted in favour of changing the process into how MPs are investigated.

Reactions: In a scathing article, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the Conservatives of "wallowing in sleaze," while the Conservatives insisted this was about bettering the process of a probe on any MP.

Worth noting: This all stems from a 2019 investigation into Paterson's conduct. In June 2020 - on his birthday - Paterson's wife Rose took her own life. Paterson has previously said the investigation played a "major role" in his wife's death.

A Chinese professional tennis player accused the country's former vice-premier of forcing her to have sex with him a few years ago.

The allegation was made in an open letter on a social media post that was deleted within half an hour. According to Reuters, the pair went on to have a consensual on-off relationship that lasted for at least a decade.

Worth noting: By Wednesday, mentions of the accusations were blocked on the country's popular social media platform, Weibo. China's online censorship is often referred to as 'The Great Firewall of China'.

Here is undoubtedly the most detailed article on this story.

Badly handled, on Ballance? Yorkshire cricketer Gary Ballance has admitted to using racial slurs towards former teammate, Azeem Rafiq.

The former England cricketer made the admission following the ongoing fallout over how Yorkshire handled the accusations of racism, which has led to a loss of sponsorship.

Yorkshire lost sponsors after an independent panel concluded the comments were made "in the spirit of friendly banter".

Ballance maintains he saw Rafiq as a "best mate" in cricket, and said both made comments to each other that were offensive.


Claudia Webbe, an MP who used to be a member of the Labour party, is due to be sentenced today, weeks after she was found guilty of threatening to pour acid on a woman.

Media reports suggest Webbe could face jail time. In October, she was found guilty of a campaign of harassment against a female friend of her partner .

In Ireland, the government will unveil a €125bn climate action plan this afternoon.

Key goals? To have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030. Here is a helpful article outlining all of the main info.

The UK's Brexit Minister, Lord Frost, will meet with his French counterpart in Paris later today, in an effort to resolve the ongoing row over fishing rights.

What's the background here? There's been an escalating dispute over a number of French fishing boats saying they've been denied access to fish in British waters post Brexit. As BBC News noted, the Brexit deal means boats can fish in each other's waters if they can prove they have done so for years. How they prove that and get the licence to fish is what is being disputed. Last week, France threatened to deny British boats access to some French ports if their licenses were not granted.


That's according to designer Stella McCartney, who had a fascinating conversation with CNN's Bianca Nobilo on Wednesday.

McCartney is calling on those in the industry to reduce their use of leather and fur.

"The fashion industry is the most unfashionable, it's the most in danger of becoming irrelevant if we don't stand up to the fact that we're basically killing the earth through fashion." - Stella McCartney

Did you know? The fashion industry is the world's second largest polluter after the oil industry. Read our full #DeepDive from earlier this year to learn more - Fast Fashion: Saving Money, at What Cost?



Five years since the Paris Climate Change Agreement became effective. The agreement's main goal was to keep global warming well below 2 degrees celsius - preferably 1.5.


Apple didn't fall far...