High street shops to reopen to customers

“Shops, department stores and shopping centres are set to reopen on June 15 in the biggest easing of the lockdown since coronavirus hit Britain, Boris Johnson announced on Monday night. The Prime Minister said outdoor markets and car showrooms would be the first to open no earlier than June 1 provided they had social distancing measures in place to protect consumers from the risk of coronavirus infection. This will be followed two weeks later by all other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, together with tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets. The Cabinet also discussed proposals to relax social distancing rules by the end of next month that would enable families to meet up outdoors for social gatherings such as garden parties, picnics and barbecues.” – Daily Telegraph
All shops open from 15 June – Daily Mail


Cummings’ statement: ‘You will have to make up your own minds,’ says Johnson

“Boris Johnson admitted his top aide Dominic Cummings had created ‘confusion, anger and pain’ tonight as he again defended him from fury over his breach of lockdown rules. The Prime Minister said Mr Cummings had acted ‘legally’ at tonight’s Downing Street news conference as senior ministers rallied around the beleaguered strategist, but added repeatedly: ‘You will have to make up your own minds.’ Mr Cummings admitted during an astonishing press conference of his own in the gardens of No 10 that he had driven 260 miles to Country Durham to self-isolate with his family. He also admitted taking a 60-mile round trip while there to the town of Barnard Castle simply to check his eyesight had recovered from the effects of a suspected case of coronavirus.” – Daily Mail

  • Charlotte Gill: “I live in Islington South. It makes me feel disgusted and ashamed that people boo each other in the neighbourhood. Never mind that my MP — yes, Emily Thornberry — thinks it’s telling ‘it as it is’.” – The Times
  • Cummings says he did nothing wrong and refuses to apologise – Daily Telegraph
  • Aide refuses to say sorry – The Guardian
  • And defends his actions – The Guardian
  • PM sorry for public anger – FT
  • Cabinet told Cummings broke no rules – Daily Telegraph
  • But Cabinet ‘not told about press conference’ – The Times
  • ‘I did not break lockdown rules’ – The Times
  • And ‘I tried to do the right thing’ – The Times
  • Johnson facing ‘poll tax moment’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Durham Police will investigate Cummings trip – Daily Mail
  • And police admit giving misleading statement – The Times
  • Beach-goers cite Cummings as reason for outing – Daily Telegraph
  • Shadow minister accused of encouraging protestors – The Times
  • The families who have stuck to lockdown rules – Daily Telegraph

Cummings comment 1) Wallace: I admire him – but he needs to resign now

“I’m glad that Dominic Cummings exists. Not only is he one of the greatest political campaigners of his generation but he displays a rare refusal to bow to dogma, hierarchy and convention without first questioning where their authority originated, whether it remains valid, and if they might be replaced by something better. You might not like the conclusions he draws, but a society in which these questions are never asked stagnates and then decays. We need those who are willing to ask them, without fear of disapproval and censure. Inevitably, vested interests, obsolete elites and lazy thinkers find such challenges threatening, and set out to destroy the questioner. None of these are sufficiently good reasons for him to continue at Downing Street, however.” – the i

Cummings comment 2) The Sun: Whipped up rage against him was political

“What a stomach-churning and shameful debacle the screeching hate campaign against Dominic Cummings has been. The mass hysteria on TV, social media and in his own street was like a weekend Rapture event for Remainer cultists and defeated Labour tribalists. In they all piled, scenting blood — every single political foe on the Left, from the BBC to the civil service. One Whitehall numbskull even tweeted partisan abuse from the civil service’s official account, confirming precisely why Cummings wants to dismantle it. Even a few left-wing bishops feebly threatened something or other if he wasn’t sacked. And some Tories bearing grudges joined the fray. Boris Johnson’s top aide gave a convincing, detailed and verifiable account of himself yesterday, as he should have done three days ago.” – The Sun

Varadkar defends picnic with friends

“The Taoiseach has issued a staunch defence of his decision to have a picnic with friends in the Phoenix Park on Sunday afternoon. In a statement, Leo Varadkar’s spokesperson insisted the Taoiseach “broke no laws, breached no regulations and observed public health guidance”. The comments came after photographs circulated on social media showing the Taoiseach and his partner Matthew Barrett picnicking with friends in the Dublin City Centre park. However, last week, Department of the Taoiseach Assistance Secretary General Liz Canavan urged people not to have picnics in public areas during the first phase of lockdown restrictions being eased. She said: “If you’re visiting a public amenity try not to stay too long at the site or have picnics. Please do your exercise and then go home.” – Independent

  • Irish PM has picnic with friends – The Sun

Government to take stake in key industries under Project Birch

“France and Germany lined up bailouts worth €14bn to take equity stakes in big industrial companies, as Britain drew up a similar plan, known as Project Birch, to prop up strategic firms stricken by the coronavirus crisis. As the main eurozone economies intensified support for struggling companies, carmakers and airlines are first in line. The crash in sales makes companies with high fixed costs and low margins highly vulnerable. Experts say Britain could see French and German bailouts for key industries as a model for upcoming rescue packages in the weeks ahead, as Whitehall officials work on similar plans to take stakes in key companies as a “last resort” to prevent bankruptcies. Jaguar Land Rover is at the front of the queue as the company seeks a £1bn loan which could come with convertible elements potentially leaving taxpayers holding a stake in the business. Energy suppliers have also called for a state bailout as shuttered business customers demand less power while unemployed workers are more likely to be unable to pay their bills..” – Daily Telegraph


Only small number of children to go back to school next week, Williamson says

“The Education Secretary said “nervous” parents will not be punished if they keep their kids home. But he said the Covid-19 crisis could last another year and schools must start gradually reopening to stop kids falling “tragically” behind. Primaries will be allowed to stay shut past June 1 only if they have “practical problems” sorting out the new class size cap, he said. Mr Williamson went on: “When you see other countries around the world who are quite a number of weeks ahead of us in terms of bringing schools back, you see small numbers of pupils in school for the first few weeks. “And then that rapidly starts to increase when people realise how much their children are missing out by not being in school.” – The Sun

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