Newslinks

Close pubs before schools if infections rise, ministers told

“Closing schools must be “a last resort” in any future lockdowns, the children’s commissioner for England has warned, with education taking priority over the economy. In a briefing for ministers Anne Longfield said that shutting restaurants, shops and other non-essential services must be the first line of defence in any future outbreak with schools remaining open. She accused the government of too often regarding children as “an afterthought” during the first lockdown, leading to damaging effects on their education and wellbeing. Schools are finalising plans to reopen to all pupils next month despite concerns from unions and some scientists that it could lead to a spike in infections.” – The Times

  • ‘Close shops and pubs to reopen schools,’ says Children’s Commissioner – Daily Telegraph
  • Doctors fear lockdown effect on non-coronavirus patients – The Times

Comment:

  • The Government must up its game to prepare for a second wave – Sir Keir Starmer, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: A battle with teaching unions looks inevitable next month. Who will win?

MPs will start grading Health Secretary with ‘Ofsted-style ratings’

“MPs will start dishing out Ofsted-style ratings on how well Matt Hancock is doing his job. The powerful Commons’ Health and Social Care Committee will grade Government progress on major pledges – from “outstanding” to “inadequate”. The new system has been set up by chair Jeremy Hunt and will focus on performance in areas such as cancer, patient safety and mental health. The scores will be handed out by an independent expert panel chaired by one of the nation’s top docs, Professor Dame Jane Dacre… Ratings will follow the Ofsted scale – inadequate, requires improvement, good and outstanding. The panel’s first piece of work will look at maternity services in England, which have been rocked by a series of scandals in recent years.” – The Sun

  • English councils with highest Covid rates launch own test-and-trace systems – The Guardian
  • Many Whitehall mandarins ‘do not expect to return to the office’ before 2021 – Daily Telegraph
  • MPs say lack of early UK quarantine helped to accelerate pandemic – FT
  • Rules are dividing the young and sceptical – The Times

Comment:

  • Workshy Whitehall is wrecking the recovery – Ross Clark, Daily Mail
  • Johnson’s rise to power taught him all the wrong skills for this crisis – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Public support for the Government appears to have dropped – but not when it comes to individual policies

Charities criticise Tory Chief Whip for refusing to suspend Conservative MP accused of rape

“Charities have accused the Conservative Party of “minimising violence against women” by refusing to suspend an MP who is the subject of a rape investigation. Women’s Aid was among the groups which joined unions to say the party’s lack of action suggested a “failure to believe victims”. It came as the woman who accused the former minister of attacking her alleged that Conservative Party Chief Whip Mark Spencer – to whom she made a complaint in April – prioritised the MP’s well-being over her own. The former Parliamentary aide claims Mr Spencer acted to ensure “pastoral care” for the MP but did nothing to investigate her allegations.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories ‘dismissing violence against women by not suspending rape suspect MP’ – The Times

Russian hackers ‘stole leaked documents from Fox’s personal email account’

“Russian hackers stole the contents of a former Cabinet minister’s personal email account, it has emerged, as Whitehall departments admitted that ministers received only “informal” training in data security. Classified documents relating to US-UK trade talks were taken from a private email account belonging to Liam Fox, the former International Trade Secretary. How the documents came to be in a private email account is expected to form part of an ongoing police investigation into the hack. The Government does not explicitly ban the use of private email accounts for official business, but says all information must be handled in accordance with the law, including the Official Secrets Act.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Theft proves Russia alerts were ignored, says Grieve – FT
  • Fox faces growing scrutiny over Russian hack of personal email – The Guardian

Philip Johnston: Cummings’ planning overhaul will provoke Tory shires into outright rebellion

“When governments talk of “radical overhauls”, they usually mean some modest tinkering dressed up as something fundamental. But the planning shake-up outlined by Mr Jenrick, the housing secretary, and to be published tomorrow really is radical in the literal sense because it will tear up the existing system by the roots and start all over again. The argument for doing so is that we still have a socialistic planning model, set out by the post-war Labour government, which is unsuited to modern needs (just like the NHS, in other words, though no-one is proposing its radical overhaul, sadly).The 1947 Town and Country Planning Act remains the template for decision-making despite umpteen repair jobs over the past 60 years, including half-a-dozen changes since 2010 aimed at speeding up building through permitted developments and planning in principle.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson cries ‘nimbyism’, but his planning changes will be disastrous – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • Let’s be honest about our overcrowded island – Clare Foges, The Times

>Yesterday: Ben Everitt in Comment: Our housing market is a weird spaghetti of disincentives. This must be fixed.

Continue to all today’s Newslinks