Thursday newspaper roundup: Passport Office, Brexit checks, Elon Musk, BT, exceptional tax

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The private company behind the Passport Office’s contact center has been ordered to hire more staff to mitigate “unacceptable” delays. Teleperformance, the French multinational responsible for handling calls, has been “urgently instructed to add additional staff” by the Interior Ministry, which is trying to avoid a chaotic summer. – The temperature

The UK government is set to announce a fourth postponement of physical checks on fresh food imported from the EU, as industry reports that neither technology nor infrastructure was ready for the July start of the next phase of the Brexit. Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg is expected to frame the move as using the UK’s new independent powers to control the trade border since leaving the EU and the single market. – Guardian

Elon Musk has lost a legal bid to get rid of his “Twitter Sitter”, a Tesla lawyer responsible for overseeing comments the billionaire wants to post on social media about his electric car company. Last month, the Tesla chief asked a US judge to end his 2018 deal with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which included scrutiny of his tweets, saying it violated his right to freedom of expression. – Telegraph

The Serious Fraud Office has stepped up its investigation into metals tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s business empire after its investigators raided sites of his GFG alliance for documents. Yesterday’s coordinated and unannounced operation involved GFG’s business sites in England, Scotland and Wales. Investigators used the Section 2 notices to demand the immediate provision of documents, including “company balance sheets, annual reports and correspondence” related to the investigation, the fraud office said. – The temperature

Rishi Sunak opened the door to a windfall tax on oil and gas companies despite the policy being rejected, as Labor accused the government of sticking its head in the sand over spiraling bills. The Chancellor has hinted at a possible reversal of a tax on oil and gas suppliers, having repeatedly refused to endorse the idea in the past when suggested by Labor and the Liberal Democrats. – Guardian

BT is to be phased out as a ‘flagship’ brand for millions of consumers as the former state telephone monopoly seeks to weed out rivals in the fierce broadband market. BT Group said it would instead focus on promoting its EE division, in sweeping reforms that will spark fears that the company’s much-loved BT TV adverts will be consigned to history. – Telegraph

The foreign minister believes the war in Ukraine could last for years and fears that President Putin may deploy weapons of mass destruction in a desperate attempt to break the impasse. Liz Truss, in a speech at Mansion House in London, said Putin was a “rogue operator” and warned he could invade other countries, including Georgia and Moldova. – The temperature

The Tories have been hit by another sex scandal in the House of Commons after a female minister reported seeing a male colleague watching pornography on a mobile phone in Parliament. A series of female MPs from the party complained to the whips of sexism and misogyny in its ranks during a heated meeting on Tuesday evening. – Guardian

Matt Hancock has accused Public Health England (PHE) of sending untested hospital patients back to care homes, after the High Court ruled the policy was unlawful. The former health secretary said PHE failed to alert him to asymptomatic transmission of the Covid virus, after judges ruled on Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) policy in the early stages of the pandemic. – Telegraph

The Facebook and Instagram owner suffered its slowest quarterly sales growth in a decade, but user numbers exceeded Wall Street forecasts, sending the stock soaring. Shares of Meta Platforms rose 18.9% in late trading last night as the world’s largest social media group revealed an increase in business and posted higher-than-expected profits. – The temperature

Ministers will formally launch the Channel 4 privatization process on Thursday – despite widespread opposition from the UK media industry, the broadcaster’s current management and a slew of Tory MPs. The government insists the public broadcaster must be sold, but there are doubts whether they have the political support to pass the necessary legislation. Ministers will finally release the findings of a 60,000-person public consultation on the sale, with most comments expected to be against privatization. – Guardian

The Silicon Valley life coaching startup employing Prince Harry is facing a mutiny from staff who have accused the company of questionable ethics while questioning the value of the royal’s role. The Duke of Sussex was appointed ‘Head of Impact’ at BetterUp, a life and mental health coaching firm, last March. – Telegraph

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