Sunak signals he’s ‘not about to cut VAT’ as incomes are in ‘good shape’

“The Chancellor has played down reports he is set to cut VAT, saying the economic challenge posed by coronavirus is a matter of “psychology” rather than “income”. Rishi Sunak insisted household finances were in “reasonably good shape” thanks to the Government’s furlough scheme, suggesting there would be little need to slash taxes. Instead, he said that his “number one” priority was boosting public confidence to return to hairdressers, restaurants and pubs when they reopen on July 4. It follows reports that Mr Sunak had instructed Treasury officials to explore a temporary cut in VAT. One option believed to be under consideration includes introducing a lower rate for the tourism sector, which has come under particular strain during the pandemic.” – Daily Telegraph

  • No austerity for workers as we recover, says Prime Minister – The Times
  • Johnson and Sunak try out smartphone ordering and ‘one-metre plus’ social distancing – Daily Mail


  • Government considers ending drivers’ MOT holiday early – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon ‘could raise taxes to avoid financial ruin’ – Daily Express


  • Chancellor and Prime Minister insist they are ‘in lockstep’ over the economy – Steven Swinford, The Times
  • Johnson learned how to weather a storm as London mayor – Camilla Tominey, Daily Telegraph


  • The Government’s plans for stimulus make sense – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Don’t rule out a second lockdown

Police ‘plan for July 4 violence’ as bars reopen

“Weekend patrols will be doubled and police leave could be cancelled to cope with feared violence and disorder next weekend, senior officers have said. Concerns about unrest have intensified after two nights of violence in London when police trying to break-up illegal parties were pelted with objects by aggressive youths. Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, spoke yesterday of the potential for future disorder and described attacks on police as “utterly unacceptable”. Chief constables believe it is inevitable that more illegal raves and parties will erupt.” – The Times

  • Patel demands police take tougher stance against illegal rioters – The Sun
  • Riot police struggle to clear another London block party – Daily Mail
  • Brits’ ‘party-time’ attitude has halted fall in coronavirus cases – The Sun


  • Consequences will follow for those involved in thuggery – Cressida Dick, The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: The ‘Peelian Principles’ do not prohibit much tougher public order policing. They mandate it.

Ministers agree to open air corridors for dozens of countries

“A traffic light system showing the safest holiday destinations is set to be introduced so families can book summer getaways – as ministers agree to open air corridors for dozens of countries. The partial dismantling of Priti Patel’s quarantine scheme means UK holidaymakers will be able to return home without having to self-isolate for 14 days. The Foreign Office will also lift its advice against ‘all but essential travel’ to low or medium-risk destinations, making it possible to obtain travel insurance. Tour operators were yesterday offering record discounts of up to 70 per cent for trips to France, Spain, Italy and Greece.” – Daily Mail

  • Holiday season back on with travel ‘traffic light’ plan – The Times
  • Britain close to revealing ‘air corridor’ destinations – FT
  • EU risks angering Trump with plan to ban American travellers – Daily Mail

Coronavirus app fiasco takes ‘another humiliating turn’ as UK asks Germany for help

“Britain’s coronavirus app fiasco took another humiliating turn as it emerged we’ve now had to turn to Germany for help. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has already ditched plans to build the mobile contact tracing system from scratch after his efforts flopped. Instead the Government announced it will rely on technology from Apple and Google – something most European nations decided to do weeks ago. And now Berlin’s ambassador to the UK has revealed he’s in discussions with Mr Hancock about us adopting their model… The revelation is a particular humiliation for the PM, who claimed on Wednesday that no other country had a working app.” – The Sun

  • Johnson’s second wave warning: ‘Stop taking liberties!’ – Daily Express
  • The rise and fall of Hancock’s homegrown tracing app – FT


Charles Moore: Only nuts-and-bolts reform will make us better governed

“During Covid, it has become more obvious that the nuts of British administration have worked loose. There have been some under-reported triumphs – the quicker than expected payments of Universal Credit, Rishi Sunak’s successful underwriting of furlough via HMRC – but on the whole, our civil and public service leaderships have tended to exhibit the confusion and self-protectiveness typical of big bureaucracy. Compare, for instance, the openness of the much less centralised German health services to business and university cooperation with the jealousy with which the NHS and Public Health England have tried to guard their own fiefdoms.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Combining diplomacy and development will make UK aid’s work even better – Anne-Marie Trevelyan, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Robert Tyler in Comment: We need a Margaret Thatcher Foundation for Democracy

Cabinet secretary’s future in doubt after rival’s star rises

“The future of Britain’s most senior civil servant was called further into question yesterday as Downing Street refused to say that Sir Mark Sedwill would serve as cabinet secretary into next year. Sir Mark has been the target of increasingly hostile briefing as Boris Johnson draws up plans for an overhaul of the Cabinet Office and Number 10 before what is regarded as an inevitable public inquiry into how the government has handled the pandemic. Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s senior adviser, told a meeting of political aides this week that a “hard rain is going to fall” after detailing Whitehall’s “fundamental” shortcomings displayed during the coronavirus crisis.” – The Times

Williamson brands National Education Union the ‘No Education Union’

“Gavin Williamson has vowed to end the ‘softly, softly’ approach for dealing with teaching unions and get all children back in school by September. The Education Secretary said he plans for all children to go back to school at the start of the next school year ‘come what may’. It was said Mr Williamson ‘got the knuckle dusters out’ while addressing backbench Tory MPs at a meeting this week… Mr Williamson has previously come under criticism for his handling of reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. He argued on plans for primary school children to return to school before summer, but later changed his mind, saying this would be encouraged.” – Daily Mail

  • Education Secretary “got the knuckle dusters out” for unions – Daily Telegraph


  • Head suspended after saying some teachers ‘did nothing’ in lockdown… – The Times
  • …but doubles down on claim and vows to fight for her career – Daily Mail

Jenrick reported to Parliamentary standards watchdog over planning row

“Robert Jenrick has been reported to the Commons standards watchdog over his decision to approve Richard Desmond’s £1bn property scheme. Labour has asked Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, to investigate whether the Housing Secretary breached the MPs’ code of conduct in rubber-stamping the Westferry development. On Friday shadow housing secretary Steve Reed accused Boris Johnson of attempting to sweep the issue “under the carpet” after he expressed “full confidence” in the minister and decided the matter was closed. In his letter to Ms Stone, Mr Reed said he believed the minister had failed to “live up” to the transparency required of MPs and that he appeared to have “wanted to do favours for Mr Desmond without being seen to do so.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Khan ‘offered to fast track development’ – The Times
  • Desmond ‘had drinks with Boris Johnson at Number 10’ – Daily Mail


  • Jenrick affair taints the Conservative Party – Matthew Parris, The Times
  • Too close to home: Johnson’s ‘expert’ housing minister – Henry Mance, FT

>Yesterday: Iain Dale’s column: The Jenrick row. What grudge could the Daily Mail possibly have against the former owner of the Daily Express?

Johnson ‘gives nod to African gas pipeline’

“Boris Johnson will give the go-ahead next week to a £1 billion loan guarantee for an African gas pipeline despite warnings that it will damage Britain’s environmental credentials before the international climate change summit in Glasgow next year. The Mozambique LNG Project to pump off-shore gas to a liquefying plant for domestic use and export is Africa’s largest private investment. The French firm Total and partners are seeking $15.5 billion for the project and have been in discussions with UK Export Finance for months. Mr Johnson has approved the deal, under which the taxpayer will underwrite £1 billion of the debt despite fierce opposition from allies including Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister ‘aims to raise Britain’s game in science’ – FT
  • UK tech gamble ‘baffles experts’ – The Guardian

Rift at the top of Labour over sacking of Long-Bailey

“Cracks have appeared in the unity at the top of the Labour Party after its deputy leader was said to be unhappy with Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to sack Rebecca Long Bailey. Angela Rayner, who was backed for the deputy leadership by the Corbynite campaign group Momentum, is a close friend of Ms Long Bailey and shares a flat with her in Westminster. Sir Keir sacked Ms Long Bailey as shadow education secretary on Thursday after she shared an article containing what he said was an “antisemitic conspiracy theory”. A close ally of Ms Rayner said yesterday: “It’s not what we would have wanted to happen. It could have been dealt with differently.”” – The Times


  • Sacking shows that, at last, Labour is serious about antisemitism – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Johnson, Starmer – and their strategies in firing people

Church of England statues will have to come down, says Archbishop of Canterbury

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that statues and memorials in churches and cathedrals will “have to come down” over links with slavery, dividing clergy and historians. In a move that experts said recalled the “iconoclasm of Reformation” in the 16th century, many dioceses are conducting audits to document who is memorialised in the Church of England’s 16,000 churches and 42 cathedrals after leaders backed the “alteration or removal of monuments” in some cases. Britain is examining its links with the slave trade after Black Lives Matter protests. There are several examples on church land of memorials to those who either participated in or profited from it or who were known to have murdered or tortured slaves under their control.” – The Times

  • Mandela’s widow says statues are part of our history – Daily Mail


  • Statues and monuments in English churches must be left alone – The Times

News in Brief:

  • It’s time the Tories met Britain’s university challenge – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Black Lives Matter are pushing division, not unity – Wanjiru Njoya, The Critic
  • The woke have no vision of the future – John Gray, UnHerd
  • Will Cambridge University finally stand up for free speech? – Laurence Wilkinson, The Spectator
  • Lockdown was a disaster for jobs and health – Annabel Denham, Reaction