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New cabinet, new chancellor
Boris Johnson’s new cabinet meets later for the first time. And before the prime minister reshuffled his team, few in Westminster would have expected Sajid Javid to be absent. Indeed, Mr Johnson intended to reappoint his chancellor. However, Mr Javid refused a demand to fire his aides in favour of a shared team with No 10. So, instead, Rishi Sunak will be in his seat. The promoted chief secretary to the Treasury says he has “lots to get on with”. Read about the new chancellor.
“No 10’s priority was political control rather than keeping personnel they valued,” says our political editor, Laura Kuenssberg. “This begs a wider question – is it stronger to share power or hoard it?” Another two of the contenders in last year’s race to lead the Conservative party – Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey – were sacked. You can see who replaced them – and who held on to jobs – in our interactive graphic.
‘No change’ in virus outbreak
Another 121 deaths are attributed to the coronavirus in China, bringing the total there to 1,380. However, the World Health Organization says cases are not rising dramatically outside China. Neither has there been a major shift in its pattern of mortality or severity, it says. The exception is on the Diamond Princess cruise liner, docked in Japan, where 44 new cases brought the total to 218.
Knock-on effects are being felt in the UK, however. The British Dental Association says panic-buying of face masks, most of which are made in China, could cause some dentists to “down drills”. Current guidance means dentists across the UK must wear disposable face masks when treating patients. However, shortages have caused prices to triple since January and practices are being limited to buying 100 a day, leaving those with several dentists running out of supplies.
Roses are red, violets are out of stock
*Whispers* It’s Valentine’s Day…
If you forgot (and if you care), there’s still time to nip to the shop. Chances are you’ll find a fairly wide selection tailored to those a-wooing, as retailers aim to cash in on a growing trend that saw Britons spend £853m last year, up 7.8% on 2018. If you were planning to pop the question, one might hope you’d have remembered. However, you’ll probably find the odd £1 bling ring left at Poundland. The store tells the BBC it has sold almost 40,000 which, it says, are intended as placeholders. For a more eco-friendly gift – and one that implies less commitment – you could pick up one of M&S’s heart-shaped “love cucumbers”. They’re to put in gin, apparently. However, one analyst offers a damning verdict on the use of some gimmicks: “Increasingly desperate.”
Why sex still sells in women’s fashion
By Jessica Sherwood, BBC News
With PrettyLittleThing coming under fire for its overly sexualised advertising, consumers are more conscious than ever of companies who use sex appeal to sell to young women. So how lucrative is it to market women’s clothing through sex in a post-#MeToo era? When done right, incredibly.
Take the online retailer TechStyle Fashion Group. Its revenue topped $750m (£574m) last year after adding Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty label to its range. And the key to its success has been way it puts female desire at the forefront, says Olga Mitterfellner, of the London College of Fashion. It’s about making them look good in their own eyes, not the eyes of someone else – namely, men.
What the papers say
Front-page headlines make clear the papers’ assessment of Sajid Javid’s ousting as chancellor. “Boris Johnson tightens grip,” says the Guardian, a sentiment echoed by the Daily Express. For the Financial Times, it’s a prime ministerial “power grab”. The Metro reckons Mr Javid, son of an immigrant bus driver, was “thrown under the bus” when told to fire all his advisers or go. And the Daily Mirror suggests it wasn’t entirely the PM’s idea, picturing him as a puppet controlled by his chief adviser Dominic Cummings. Read the review.
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10:00 The Conservative Party in Scotland is expected to announce the result of a ballot to elect its next leader.
10:30 Boris Johnson holds his first cabinet meeting since reshuffling his top team.
On this day
1989 Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issues a fatwa against British author Salman Rushdie and his publishers over the book Satanic Verses. Watch the report.