Published:

Face coverings to be compulsory on public transport in England

“Face coverings are to be compulsory on public transport to control the spread of coronavirus, prompting calls for similar rules in shops. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said that all passengers using trains, trams, the London Underground, ferries, aircraft and buses would be required to cover their mouth and nose two months after he dismissed the idea as “counterproductive”. Passengers are expected to use a scarf or homemade covering to avoid shortages of clinical facemasks for NHS and care workers, with ministers publishing a make-your-own guide. Masks will become mandatory under national “conditions of travel”, with passengers potentially prevented from boarding without them. Travellers who do not comply can also be fined, with enforcement carried out by police. The level of penalty has yet to be revealed.” – The Times

  • People who will be excepted from the policy – The Sun

Scotland:

  • Scottish train passengers must put on masks when they reach English border – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon may force shoppers to cover their faces – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Shapps announces that face coverings will be required on public transport

World must come together like NATO to find coronavirus vaccine, Johnson tells summit

“Boris Johnson last night urged world leaders to recreate the spirit of Nato in building an international alliance to combat coronavirus. Hosting a virtual global summit to discuss the search for a vaccine, the Prime Minister said the world needed a similar commitment to “collective defence” against a “common enemy” to stamp out the disease. The UK-hosted event, involving representatives from more than 50 countries including at least 30 national leaders, raised nearly £7billion for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to fight coronavirus and other diseases. Closing the summit last night, the Prime Minister said: “We now need the same spirit of collective defence against the common enemy of the disease… Mr Johnson said the cash raised at the summit will save up to eight million lives.” – Daily Express

  • Zahawi says contact-tracing app will go live ‘by end of month’ – Daily Mail
  • Infections in England and Wales ‘hit peak days before lockdown’ – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • The risks of lifting lockdowns prematurely are very large – Martin Wolf,
  • Will coronavirus ‘dark matter’ save us from second wave? – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Colin Hart in Comment: As we start to ease lockdown, it’s time to lift the ban on weddings

BA boycotts Government summit over quarantine in row over job losses

“British Airways (BA) was embroiled in a furious row with the Government yesterday after boycotting an industry summit with Priti Patel to discuss her quarantine plans. BA, Britain’s largest airline, failed to turn up amid claims by industry sources that it believed the quarantine to be “unworkable” and economically damaging and the meeting a “waste of time.” However, Government sources hit back… BA officially declined to comment. The row overshadowed the meeting yesterday between Ms Patel, aviation minister Kelly Tolhurst and 24 aviation, maritime and raile bosses to discuss their differences over the quarantine and the prospect for easing the restrictions by introducing “travel corridors” to low-risk countries.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Avoid coronavirus travel quarantine by flying from ‘clean’ airport – The Times
  • SAGE scientists says proposals are ‘not useful’ – The Sun
  • Plan could be scrapped if travel bosses devise safe alternative – Daily Mail

More:

  • European holiday destinations push for UK ‘travel corridor’ – FT
  • Holiday lets poised to open doors in staycations boost – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Sweden backtracks on herd immunity. Or does it?

Ministers ‘considering renationalising England and Wales probation service’

“Ministers are considering renationalising the entire probation service in England and Wales, the Guardian understands, in the latest twist in a long-running saga to unwind Chris Grayling’s disastrous changes to the sector. Under Grayling’s widely derided shake-up in 2014, the probation sector was separated into a public sector organisation managing high-risk criminals and 21 private companies responsible for the supervision of 150,000 low- to medium-risk offenders. Last year the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced that all offender management would be brought under the state-run National Probation Service (NPS), while contracts for rehabilitation services such as the provision of unpaid work and accredited programmes were to be offered up to the private and voluntary sector.” – The Guardian

MPs from eight nations voice fears over China

“Senior legislators from eight countries have launched an alliance to drive for a tougher international stance on China. Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative former cabinet minister, and Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, QC, a Labour peer and human rights barrister, will be the UK leaders of the new Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (Ipac). They have joined cross-party politicians from the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway and Sweden, as well as members of the European parliament, to lobby their respective national governments on China. The alliance is founded on the belief that in recent years China has not been held to the same standards as other countries.” – The Times

  • Beijing blasts Britain’s ‘Cold War mentality’ – The Sun
  • Democracy activist urges Britain to rethink Huawei’s 5G role – The Times
  • Pandemic has focused minds on China, says GCHQ chief – FT
  • Backlash over HSBC support for Beijing – The Times

More:

  • Hong Kong offer ‘betrays immigration pledge’ – The Times

>Yesterday: Tom Tugendhat MP in Comment: China. The five actions that the Government must take to defend our interests.

Iain Duncan Smith: It will take a multinational effort to rein in Beijing

“The time has come for democratic countries around the world to mount a common defence of our shared principles as a response to China’s increasingly belligerent foreign policy. The new Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) was launched today to achieve just this. Too often where countries have stood up to Beijing they have been forced to do so alone. Notice how quick China’s propaganda mouthpieces have been to threaten retaliatory action since a new review into Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s 5G network was announced. By working with policy makers from across the globe, IPAC will push for a united response among democratic countries, ensuring that no individual country is seen as a weak target.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Pro-China banks don’t deserve our custom – Philip Collins, The Times

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: The EU’s insipid response to China’s Hong Kong aggression. Another reason to be glad we’re leaving.

Sharma tests negative for coronavirus amid row over physical return to Commons

“Business Secretary Alok Sharma has tested negative for coronavirus after appearing unwell during a parliamentary session earlier this week. Mr Sharma, Conservative MP for Reading West, could be seen using a tissue to wipe his brow multiple times whilst speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, At one point, Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband passed Mr Sharma a glass of water. Mr Sharma announced his negative test result in a tweet yesterday… The fact that Mr Sharma appeared unwell in Parliament raised some concerns regarding who he had been in contact with in the days prior. The Business Secretary had had a 45-minute meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak the day before, though Number 10 said that the meeting had been “socially distanced”, the BBC reports.” – Daily Express

  • Johnson may avoid quarantine despite 45-minute meeting – Daily Telegraph

Too little data for recommendations in Covid-19 BAME report, says minister

“Public Health England was unable to make any recommendations in its report on BAME people and coronavirus because some of the data needed to do so was not available, a minister has said. Kemi Badenoch, the minister for women and equalities, told the Commons she wanted any action the government takes to be driven by evidence, and it was not “easy to go directly from analysis to making recommendations”. The government-commissioned investigation found that people of Bangladeshi background in England are twice as likely as white Britons to die if they contract Covid-19, and other BAME groups face an increased risk of up to 50%. The report, published on Tuesday, was quickly criticised for failing to investigate possible reasons for the disparities or make recommendations on how to address them.” – The Guardian

  • Watchdog to investigate coronavirus racial inequalities – BBC

>Today: ToryDiary: Race and justice – much more than a black and white issue

UK and EU officials ‘remain far apart on core issues’ as Brexit talks falter

“The latest round of talks between the EU and UK on their post-Brexit relationship looks to have made little progress, increasing the pressure on Boris Johnson and EU leaders to try to thrash out a way forward when they meet later this month. Following three days of virtual talks this week, EU and UK officials said that the two sides remained far apart on core topics including future alignment of business regulations and access to British fishing waters.  Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, will on Friday give his verdict on the round, the fourth since talks on the two sides’ future partnership began in March. This week’s video negotiations covered everything from trade in goods and services to law enforcement co-operation and nuclear energy. Mr Barnier warned last month of a risk of “stalemate” if a “new dynamism” was not found this week.” – FT

  • Barnier attacked for plotting ‘blame game’ if UK-EU trade deal collapses – Daily Express
  • EU leaders will intervene in Brexit talks in autumn, says German official – The Guardian
  • Northern Irish business calls for 6-month delay in Brexit trade plan – FT

Just Yorkshire race charity censured after ‘fascist’ slur against MP Sarah Champion

“A charity that accused an MP of acting like a “neo-fascist murderer” after she condemned the sexual abuse of girls by British Pakistani men has been found guilty of multiple failings by the regulator. Just Yorkshire, a racial justice charity, exhibited a “repeated pattern of behaviour” involving unauthorised payments to “conflicted parties” including two of its own trustees. The Charity Commission also censured it for “unbalanced research” and a “concerning lack of transparency” in reports that it published in 2017 and 2018. One examined the Prevent counterterrorism programme, concluding that it was “built upon a foundation of Islamophobia and racism”. The report quoted two people said by the regulator to be “linked to statements which could be considered to support extreme views”.” – The Times

Amazon executive Doug Gurr in running to lead BBC

“The BBC is preparing to name its next director-general after interviewing four candidates this week. An announcement is expected as early as today. Tim Davie, the head of BBC Studios, is seen as the front-runner, alongside Charlotte Moore, the corporation’s director of content. The shortlist – three men and a woman – was compiled by headhunters as the corporation seeks a successor to Lord Hall of Birkenhead, who leaves the post this summer. Will Lewis, the former Daily Telegraph editor who recently stepped down as chief executive of Dow Jones, was also shortlisted, alongside Doug Gurr, the UK chief at Amazon. Sir David Clementi, the BBC chairman, has led the selection process after Lord Hall, who earns £450,000 a year, announced in January that he was departing. He was in post for seven years.” – The Times

  • Maitlis risks another BBC impartiality row as she mocks Johnson’s ‘pride’ – The Sun

Scottish leader faces backlash over care home crisis

“Nicola Sturgeon should have appointed a dedicated government minister with complete responsibility for care homes, her opposition has said. The latest criticism of the Scotland First Minister from Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw came after it emerged there have been more deaths related to coronavirus in care homes than hospitals. The latest data from National Records of Scotland (NRS) showed there have been 1,818 deaths in care homes where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, higher than the 1,815 in hospitals. Mr Carlaw, also argued Scotland needed to “do better” on testing for the virus adding that every person in care homes should be tested. The Scottish Conservative leader said research on both the number of people who have been tested and the number of tests carried out showed Scotland had “one of the worst levels of performance anywhere in the world”.” – Daily Express

  • SNP duo want vote on ‘independence plan B’ at virtual conference – The Scotsman

Comment:

  • Coronavirus would have caused catastrophe for independent Scotland – Murdo Fraser MSP, The Scotsman

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Do Johnson’s two Scottish Office appointments show he’s taking the SNP more seriously?

UK parliament union threatens to strike after MPs’ queueing chaos

“A union representing hundreds of clerks, security guards and kitchen staff in parliament is threatening strike action following chaotic scenes on the parliamentary estate as MPs queued to vote on Tuesday. Officials from the PCS union have told parliamentary authorities that they could recommend balloting their members following the failure of MPs to distance themselves from staff as some waited for more than an hour to cast their votes. The union is especially concerned because more than a third of their members in parliament are BAME. People from ethnic minorities are at a higher risk of dying from coronavirus according to Public Health England. The development came as ministers come under increasing pressure to ditch its return to a physical parliament after weeks of allowing MPs to attend remotely via video link.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: More haste, less speed. Ministers should take more care in bringing back the Commons.

News in Brief:

  • A section of the British left carries on cheering China – Oliver Kamm, CapX
  • How the Government is preparing for the Covid inquiry – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Covid-19 is proving fatal to independent schools – David James, The Critic
  • Why I won’t ‘take the knee’ – Douglas Murray, UnHerd
  • Merkel is once again ‘Queen of Europe’ – Walter Ellis, Reaction

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