Johnson “came close to death”

“Boris Johnson came close to death as he desperately fought coronavirus in an intensive care unit, his friends revealed last night. After rallying, the Prime Minister told them that he owed his life to the doctors and nurses at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, adding: ‘I can’t thank them enough.’ The Mail on Sunday today reveals the extraordinary battle to save the stricken PM by medics who had been expecting him in hospital three days before he was finally admitted last Sunday. At one point, Mr Johnson’s plight was so grave that Cabinet Ministers and aides prayed for him. While in hospital, Mr Johnson has been boosted by a love letter from his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, which included a scan of their unborn child.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “I don’t think he should be coming back to work any time soon,” said aide – Sunday Times
  • Medics expected Johnson to be rushed to hospital three days before he was admitted – Mail on Sunday
  • People across the country had sleepless nights – The Guardian
  • Johnson continues to make “very good progress”, says Number 10  – Sunday Telegraph

Crime falls 21 per cent but number of online paedophiles and domestic abuse up

Crime has fallen by 21 per cent, senior officials claimed, while conmen and paedophiles are accused of adapting to exploit the coronavirus crisis by defrauding the public and grooming children online. Priti Patel’s first No10 coronavirus press briefing comes as the Government slapped down zealous police chiefs this week who threatened to take tougher action against suspected rule-breakers. The Home Secretary revealed that fraudsters have exploited the pandemic to con Britons out of £1.8million. She also warned of paedophiles scouring the Internet for children working and socialising online.” – Daily Mail

  • Calls to domestic abuse hotline soar by 120 per cent – Sunday Times

Cabinet divided on when to lift lockdown

“The Cabinet has divided into hawks who want to lift the lockdown in a few weeks and doves who want to delay until late May at the earliest. Leading the hawks is Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who The Mail on Sunday revealed last week had made ‘robust’ representations to ‘doveish’ Health Secretary Matt Hancock that the economy will suffer irreparable damage unless a path is mapped now for a swift return to normal activity. While Mr Hancock believes the protection of the NHS should be the overarching priority, the hawks – who are understood to include Home Secretary Priti Patel, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey – have been alarmed by the problems stacking up in their departments. Ms Patel is concerned by an increase of nearly one third in reports of domestic violence.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Britain losing £2.4 billion a day – The Sun
  • Lockdown shock could trigger “unexploded debt bomb” – Sunday Telegraph 
  • Only one in 60 small businesses to get coronavirus rescue cash – Sunday Times
  • One in five dental practices going bust – Sunday Times
  • 89 per cent of people believe social distancing advice is clear and easy to understand – Sunday Telegraph
  • … but more than 1,000 fines issued to those ignoring pleas to stay at home – Sunday Telegraph
  • Fears for vulnerable children as those at risk become “out of contact” during lockdown – Sunday Telegraph
  • … as children’s commissioner asks for schools to open in the summer – The Guardian 
  • Ministers order new NHS mobile app to help end lockdown – Sunday Times

Daniel Hannan: It’s time to start loosening the lockdown

“Logically, some easing of the restrictions should begin tomorrow. When our shops were closed three weeks ago, we were told it was to buy time. “It’s vital to slow the spread of the disease,” said the Prime Minister in his televised address. The intervening three weeks have not been wasted. We have more ventilators, more hospital beds, more protective gear. Our doctors, nurses and ancillary staff are facing their test with unfussy heroism. We have, thank God, avoided the horrors that overwhelmed some northern Italian hospitals. It is dreadful that people should be dying; but, as the Health Secretary confirmed on Friday, they are not dying for want of medical attention. The stoppage was intended to allow the NHS to increase its capacity to the point where the peak of the disease would not overwhelm it. It worked. Yet, oddly, no one seems in a hurry to lift the prohibitions.” – Sunday Telegraph

    • Counting on Donald Trump’s abject performance on the coronavirus crisis to see him kicked out? I wouldn’t bet on it, Lord Ashcroft – Daily Mail

NHS hospitals about to run out of protective gowns

“Britain is facing a shortage of the gowns required to protect medical staff against coronavirus, with NHS hospitals resorting to flying in their own stocks from China. Senior health officials disclosed that major NHS hospitals have been forced to try to source protective equipment from China and commission flights back to the UK in an attempt to boost their supplies. The disclosures emerged alongside a new Government plan to tackle dangerously low supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), with any company that can produce such kit now asked to sign up.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • One in three surgeons lacks enough protective kit – The Guardian
  • Death toll rises among NHS staff – Sunday Telegraph
  • Cancer patients and vulnerable children’s parents asked to sign DNR forms – Mail on Sunday
  • NHS staff are being tested for virus at “shambolic drive-through centres” – The Sun
  • Whitty had previously challenged the UK’s vaccine policy – Sunday Telegraph
  • NHS trials anti-malaria drugs endorsed by Trump – Sunday Telegraph
  • Foreign doctors stranded in the UK barred from helping NHS – Sunday Times
  • Private sector offers to solve Britain’s coronavirus testing crisis – Sunday Telegraph
  • Deep-sea divers called in to help NHS – Sunday Times
  • It’s shameful brave medics on the frontline are still crying out for more protective equipment – The Sun
  • If anyone can crack mass testing and beat the coronavirus pandemic, it’s Britain, Jeremy Hunt – The Sun

Ministers 1) Jenrick claimed £100,000 expenses for “third home”

“A cabinet minister accused of breaching the lockdown faces fresh questions over his housing portfolio as he has charged taxpayers more than £100,000 for a constituency home that he appears to use only rarely. Robert Jenrick, the housing, communities and local government secretary, was accused of ignoring government advice last week after leaving his £2.5m London house during the lockdown and moving to a country home that he owns in Herefordshire. Lockdown rules say families should not travel to second homes. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said such journeys were not “necessary”.” – Sunday Times

Ministers 2) Duncan Smith: Britain’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2050 risks China dependence

“The Government’s goal for a carbon neutral UK by 2050 risks Britain becoming even more dependent on China, Sir Iain Duncan Smith warned last night. The Tory grandee and backbencher warned that a push for electric vehicles risks driving vast public sector contracts for electric buses and car batteries to Chinese firms which have ‘already won the battery race’. He said: ‘China has made itself the world’s largest producer of batteries and their special charging systems. ‘The pressure to go electric in the UK, in haste, means we are queuing up to strike deals with these vast Chinese firms.’” – Mail on Sunday

Ministers 3) Beijing is exploiting Covid-19 panic to move tech company, says Tugendhat

“Beijing is exploiting the disarray caused by the Covid-19 epidemic to try to move a security-sensitive British technology company to China, a leading Tory MP said last night. Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the powerful Foreign Affairs Committee, said China was ‘using the cover’ of Boris Johnson’s illness to ‘launch a raid’ on Imagination Technologies, which designs graphic chips for Apple. It came as the company’s chief executive Ron Black quit in the wake of attempts by Beijing-linked China Reform Holdings to seize control of the firm. The row follows a similar outcry in the party over Mr Johnson’s decision to allow Huawei to help to build the UK’s 5G network, which led to furious protests from Donald Trump’s White House and Tory MPs over the potential threat to British security.” – Mail on Sunday

… as he warns “We need to make sure our friends in the US are playing by the same rules”

“The Foreign Office has waived diplomatic immunity for 13 British citizens accused of crimes in the United States since 1999, The Mail on Sunday has learned. Britain has not refused a single request from Washington to prosecute a serving diplomat in that time. In contrast, it is understood the US has not reciprocated over its officials during the same period. The news will reignite the row over the death of Harry Dunn, the teenage motorcyclist hit by a car driven by American Anne Sacoolas close to the RAF base where her husband worked. She was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving but by that time she had already fled the country. The US has refused to extradite her, claiming that, as the wife of a serving diplomat, she has immunity.” – Mail on Sunday

Government wants money back from China after 3.5 million antibody tests faulty

“The Government wants its money back for millions of faulty antibody tests supplied by China. The Department of Health has admitted none of the 3.5million finger-prick tests ordered from mainly Chinese manufacturers in March passed accuracy checks. It comes as a number of European governments have already rejected Chinese-made equipment designed to combat coronavirus. The Dutch health ministry recalled 600,000 face masks at the end of March because they did not fit and the filters were defective.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Wuhan lab was performing coronavirus experiments on bats – Mail on Sunday
  • Government advisor faces questions about why he didn’t raise alarm from China – Mail on Sunday

MPs to vote from home using Zoom

“Spy chiefs are advising parliament on how to set up a “virtual” House of Commons after key figures last week agreed that MPs must return to work on April 21. Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker, has called in intelligence experts from GCHQ to help set up new systems that will let MPs question ministers using a video link and vote from their homes using a secure system that cannot be hacked. The National Cyber-Security Centre (NCSC), a branch of the UK’s eavesdropping agency, is advising on how to make a video-conferencing app such as Zoom secure so it can be used in parliament.” – Sunday Times

UK terror suspects now over 40,000

“MI5 is aware of more than 43,000 people who pose a potential terrorist threat to the UK, according to a government report — almost twice the number of terror suspects previously disclosed. After the 2017 attacks at London Bridge and Manchester Arena, it was revealed that MI5 had about 23,000 current and historic suspects on its radar. This included 3,000 so-called subjects of interest (SOI) who were under active investigation, as well as 20,000 people who had been investigated in the past and who might engage in terrorism in the future. The latter are known as “closed” subjects of interest (CSOI) and included terrorists such as Salman Abedi, who went on to kill 22 people in the Manchester Arena suicide bombing.” – Sunday Times

Over 10,000 Britons have become German, French or Swedish since Brexit vote

“The number of Britons taking up EU citizenship has surged following the Brexit vote in 2016, it has emerged. Over 6,000 UK nationals have become Germans and more than 3,000 obtained French passports in the rush to secure future residency in EU states. Official figures released by Eurostat, the bloc’s statistical body, suggest that the result of the EU referendum prompted the spike. There has been a six-fold increase in the number of Britons taking the citizenship of an EU nation since 2015, when just 2,642 successful applications were.” – Mail on Sunday

Opposition parties call for House of Commons to resume

“Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has demanded ‘urgent talks’ with the Government to ensure MPs can probe ministers over their handling of the coronavirus crisis. Sir Keir, who replaced Jeremy Corbyn as leader last week, said the Commons must open for business after Easter, even if it means MPs asking questions over webcams. His calls have been backed by the Liberal Democrats and SNP as Ed Davey and Ian Blackford blasted the lack of parliamentary scrutiny as the death toll nears 10,000.” – Mail on Sunday


Ministry of Justice defends itself after Rory Stewart comments on trans women

Female prison officers have been raped by male-bodied inmates who self-identify as trans women, a former Minister has revealed. The disclosure was made by Rory Stewart, the ex-Tory Cabinet Minister who oversaw prisons in 2018 and 2019 and who is now running as an independent candidate for Mayor of London. It will fuel questions about policies that have allowed criminals with male bodies to describe themselves as female and demand to be housed in women’s prisons.” – Mail on Sunday

News in brief: