Johnson says summer schools ‘will help children to catch up’

“Boris Johnson promised a “big summer of catch-up” for pupils who have missed months of lessons in the lockdown. The prime minister also announced there would be “a very big plan” to get all schools open in September and that Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, would reveal both next week. Mr Johnson made the promise at the Downing Street briefing as criticism of his education policy intensified. Primary schools in England began reopening more widely on Monday of last week for children from reception, Year 1 and Year 6. However, a patchy response from schools initially, and uncertainty among parents about safety, meant that by the end of the first week only 7 per cent of school-aged children were back in lessons.” – The Times

  • He brands Starmer a hypocrite on closures and safety – The Sun
  • Prime Minister pledges ‘catch-up operation’ to help before schools restart – Daily Mail
  • MPs and unions seek government plan to help children after lockdown – FT

Two-metre rule ‘to be scrapped in time for new school year’

“Boris Johnson plans to scrap the two metre rule by September at the latest so that schools can reopen fully for the start of the school year, The Telegraph has learnt. The Prime Minister has indicated to ministers that he is preparing to change the rule, possibly bringing it into line with the World Health Organisation standard of one metre, within weeks. The Government’s chief scientific adviser appeared to prepare the ground for a change on when he said two metres was “not a rule” but just a “risk based assessment”. It came as Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, said it was a “tragedy” that most children will not be back until the autumn, as he appeared to distance himself from the policy on school closures.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Parents ‘more frightened than they need to be’ about schools, Ofsted say – Daily Telegraph
  • Up to 700,000 children not doing homework, warns Halfon – The Sun
  • Ex-Ofsted chief: failure to plan for reopening of schools is ‘astonishing’ – The Guardian
  • Volunteer army of retired teachers could be deployed to help kids catch up on school – The Sun


MPs demand review of national curriculum, led by black leaders

“MPs are demanding the government holds a review of the national curriculum led by black and ethnic minority leaders and historians to better reflect black history. The cross-party group of more than 30 politicians has written jointly to the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, to ask for a re-evaluation of the history syllabus in light of the global Black Lives Matter protests over the killing of George Floyd… The letter, signed by the Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley, Labour’s former shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler and former frontbencher Clive Lewis, members of the SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Green party’s Caroline Lucas, said there should be a more balanced reading of Britain’s colonial and imperial past, and its legacy of abuse and exploitation.” – The Guardian

  • Dowden says he would not have removed Little Britain from iPlayer – Daily Mail


  • Zahawi backs removal of slaver statues – The Sun
  • Map reveals the 78 monuments that ‘Topple The Racists’ campaign wants torn down – Daily Mail
  • Historians split on purge of slavery statues – The Times
  • Police attend the home of museum curator who tweeted how to destroy bronze statues – Daily Mail


  • Patel says at least 35 officers were injured at BLM protests – Daily Mail
  • Bias built into society, claims black officer – The Times


  • Statues of slave owners and traders must not be taken down – Sir Geoff Palmer, The Sun
  • If the Left has its way, we will be forced to renounce our past – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail


  • Must Britain atone for the death of George Floyd by erasing its past? – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Slave Lives Matter. The anti-slavery campaign that every Conservative should join.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Khan, statues, the Left – and why the Government must take a stand

Sir Keir Starmer: We need a national plan to restart education

“We all want children back at school as soon as possible. Educating our children must be a priority. But the Government’s mismanagement – and even blind spot – on this issue puts at risk the welfare and education of children as well as denting the prospects of recovery. For weeks, parents and teachers were told that all children will be back at school for a month before the summer. However, on Monday, without warning, ministers ditched that commitment. Responsibility for this lies at the door of No 10. There was no plan, no consensus, no leadership. The longer schools are shut, the greater the damage to children’s wellbeing and education and the increasing pressure on parents who are having to juggle childcare and work commitments.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Our kids can attend demonstrations but not go to school… madness! – Rod Liddle, The Sun
  • Schools returning by September must be a moral mission – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

>Today: John Pennington in Local Government: Anti-government ideology is denying children in Bradford the education they need


Sunak ‘targets two-metre rule and calls for a spending spree’

“Rishi Sunak has indicated that he wants to cut the two-metre social distancing rule to help save jobs and get children back to school. The chancellor highlighted a warning from the hospitality industry yesterday that only a quarter of pubs would be able to reopen next month if the rule remained at two metres. He said that if it were reduced to one metre, three quarters of them could open. He told the backbench 1922 Committee of Tory MPs that 24 countries had introduced the flexibility to reduce the two-metre rule, while Sweden and Denmark had lowered it recently. Mr Sunak also suggested that the change could have a significant impact on schools.” – The Times

  • MPs and peers lobby Chancellor to stop debt collectors chasing council tax arrears – Daily Telegraph
  • Pandemic puts hold on £6bn infrastructure projects – FT


  • Prime Minister announces ‘support bubbles’ for single adults to join another household – Daily Telegraph


  • Relaxing lockdown without scrapping the 2m rule would be mere virtue signalling – Iain Duncan Smith, Daily Telegraph

Hancock downplays role of contact tracing app

“Matt Hancock refused to give a launch date for the much-vaunted NHS tracing app, in an interview with the Telegraph in which he also downplayed its significance. “I’m not going to put a date on it,” he said, despite having previously promised it would be available in mid-May. Minimising the significance of the app, once viewed as the centrepiece of the government track and trace strategy, Mr Hancock said that it was now viewed only as “the cherry on the cake” of a system that would rely far more on human tracers. “What really matters is the people. The technology is a facilitator for people to be able to do things better,” he said, adding that lessons from the app’s trials on the Isle of Wight had revealed serious limitations in its effectiveness.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tech cuts spread of coronavirus on Isle of Wight – The Times

Enforcing UK lockdown one week earlier ‘could have saved 20,000 lives’

“The number of coronavirus deaths in the UK could have been halved if the government had introduced the lockdown a week earlier, according to damning testimony from one of the scientists who was advising the government at the time. The stark claim by Prof Neil Ferguson that thousands of lives could have been saved intensified the pressure on the government over its handling of the outbreak, leaving Boris Johnson facing repeated questions at the daily Downing Street press conference. The prime minister insisted it was “premature” to make judgments about the government’s approach, and said he had taken the steps “that we thought were right for this country”, on the basis of scientific advice.” – The Guardian

  • Prime Minister faces growing backlash over virus strategy – FT
  • Ministers spent £220million setting up and running barely used temporary hospitals – The Sun

Blackford shamed as Johnson dismantles SNP’s coronavirus ‘myth-making’

“Ian Blackford’s criticism of Boris Johnson’s coronavirus strategy was brutally dismantled by the Prime Minister during PMQs as “myth-making” and “obscurantism”. The SNP Westminster leader accused the Prime Minister of failing to follow scientific advice on the coronavirus two-metre rule as the Cabinet is reviewing the measure to potentially half it to one metre. Mr Blackford warned the British public is growing tired and mistrusting of the Government’s guidance on COVID-19, but Boris Johnson immediately dismantled his claim… Mr Blackford challenged the Prime Minister on the science of reducing the two-metre rule.” – Daily Express

  • ‘Scandalous’ postcode lottery of coronavirus care home testing in Scotland – The Guardian


  • Fury as Sinn Fein ‘blocks payments to victims of IRA bombings’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Adrian Mason in Local Government: Set Deeside free from Cardiff

England’s planning system set for shake-up

“Ministers are preparing for a major overhaul of the planning system in England to speed up approvals for new developments as part of the government’s attempts to kick-start the economy hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.  Central to the proposals are the introduction of a zonal planning system and the creation of special development zones, in which private developers will play an expanded role.  Robert Jenrick, communities secretary, said the government wanted to “rethink planning from first principles” with a shake-up designed to accelerate the process.  “The time has come to speed up and simplify this country’s overly bureaucratic planning process,” he said on Wednesday.” – FT

  • Developer gave Tories £12k after Isle of Dogs housing approval – The Times
  • Labour calls on Robert Jenrick to make statement over billionaire’s donation – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Alex Morton in Comment: We need a Help to Build plan to save building new homes from collapse

UK’s top prosecutor ‘threatened with legal action’ over failure to investigate Dominic Cummings

“The director of public prosecutions, Max Hill, is being threatened with legal action over the failure to investigate Dominic Cummings for alleged breaches of the lockdown rules. A legal team, headed by the barrister Michael Mansfield, has twice written to Hill, expressing concern that no action has yet been taken against Cummings after a Guardian and Daily Mirror investigation revealed the prime minister’s chief adviser travelled with his family to Durham and Barnard Castle during the lockdown. The letters were sent on 3 and 8 June on behalf of Martin Redston, a 70-year-old London engineer who is concerned that the lockdown laws should apply to everyone irrespective of their position in government.” – The Guardian

  • MPs call for criminal prosecutions over Post Office IT scandal – Daily Mail

Barnier ‘ready’ to compromise with UK in trade talks

“The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator on Wednesday said he was willing to reach a compromise on one of the key sticking points in trade deal talks with the UK, as both sides seek to deflect blame for a stalemate.  In a speech, Michel Barnier rejected British calls for him to seek a looser negotiating mandate from EU leaders, insisting he has the political space to find solutions to the impasse in the talks. Mr Barnier indicated he was prepared to review the nature of the EU’s “level playing field” demands, which include requiring Britain to continue to apply the bloc’s state-aid rules in exchange for a trade deal.  While Brussels is clear that the level playing field must be part of any agreement with Britain, Mr Barnier said its precise form was up for discussion so long as any solution honoured a declaration on future relations that Boris Johnson… agreed with EU leaders last year.” – FT

  • Foreign trawlers double their time in protected waters as Brexit nears – The Times
  • No more Brexit delays, urges CBI – Daily Mail

>Today: Stephen Booth’s column: Barnier sees the need for compromise. The question is whether EU member states will let him.

>Yesterday: Sir Julian Brazier in Comment: Without preparing the UK’s territorial waters for No Deal, the EU will think we are blustering

Trump says ‘domestic terrorists’ have overrun Seattle as protesters set up armed checkpoints

“President Donald Trump has demanded that Seattle officials immediately regain control of a six-block zone and police station that have been taken over by armed George Floyd protesters who are demanding the the city’s police department and courts be dissolved. ‘Radical Left Governor [of Washington, Jay Inslee] and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before,’ Trump tweeted late on Wednesday… It followed astonishing developments in Seattle, where protesters have established what they call the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,’ or CHAZ, setting up barricades and armed checkpoints and declaring that police are not allowed inside the zone.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Why I broke with Boris – Tim Montgomerie, New Statesman
  • In defence of liberalism: resisting a new era of intolerance – Douglas Murray, The Spectator
  • Locke must fall – Gerald Warner, Reaction
  • Bristol’s woke hypocrisy – James Bloodworth, UnHerd
  • Why polling the views of ethnic minorities is so difficult – Matt Singh, CapX
  • Why is a Tory government proposing to extend the scope of the Human Rights Act? – Henry Hill, The Critic