‘Blue Wall’ MPs put on standby for major speech on ‘rebuilding Britain’

Tory MPs have been put on standby for a major launch of Boris Johnson’s ambitious plan for rebuilding Britain in the coming weeks. Party whips have told backbenchers to prepare for a big push highlighting the Prime Minister’s blueprint for modernising the country’s infrastructure and helping previously neglected communities catch up with the rest of the country. Mr Johnson will make a major policy speech promising to “build, build, build” within the next fortnight, setting out proposals for boosting growth and help the economy recover from the coronavirus lockdown within the next fortnight. And his party troops have been instructed to go on the offensive in the so-called “Blue Wall” swathe of constituencies in the Midlands and North of England captured from Labour at the last general election to trumpet the Government’s ambitions for transforming their areas.” – Daily Express

  • Tata Steel closes in on funding deal for UK business – FT


  • Poor lives matter whatever their colour – David Aaronovitch, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The big speech Johnson makes next week should be about education

Keeping gyms shut could ‘set back public health for a generation’, Prime Minister is warned

“Baroness Grey-Thompson has written to Boris Johnson expressing her “disappointment and frustration”, after the Prime Minister confirmed pubs will be allowed to reopen while sports facilities remain shut. The paralympian warned that 2,800 gym and leisure facilities are at risk of closure, with more than 100,000 jobs at risk. To lose such facilities in the midst of the coronavirus crisis could “set back public health for a generation”, she said. Baroness Grey-Thompson wrote: “Prime Minister, this is a personal plea to you. I fear further delays could see us lose these facilities forever.” Writing in her role as chair of the health body ukactive, the peer urged Mr Johnson to publish the guidance that led to his decision making.”  – Daily Telegraph

  • Hope for gyms and pools as owners insist they are safe – The Times

Labour opposes against reopening until track-and-trace ‘more effective’

“Boris Johnson has been cautioned against reopening England’s economy on July 4 without a successful test and trace system in place, as UK health leaders warned of the risk of a “second wave” of coronavirus infections. A day after the prime minister announced measures to ease the lockdown next month, Labour leader Keir Starmer on Wednesday warned it was a “big problem” that two-thirds of those estimated to have the virus were not being reached. “If we don’t get track, trace and isolate properly running we can’t open the economy, we can’t prevent infection spreading,” he told Mr Johnson during prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons.” – FT

  • Johnson accused of ‘dodgy’ answer at PMQs over contact tracing apps – The Times
  • Opposition hits out at Rishi Sunak’s approach to ending wage subsidies – The Guardian


  • Government ‘to make boozing in streets and carparks the norm’ – Daily Express
  • Pub owners could face two years in jail if customers unsafe – The Sun
  • Bars and restaurants blast ‘unworkable’ rules – Daily Mail
  • Vacant shops to be used as walk-in coronavirus test centres – The Times


Madeline Grant: It really is our patriotic duty to save the pubs

“I miss the pub so much, I don’t even care. When they are finally liberated, I’m half-tempted to pack a deckchair and thermos, and queue up overnight, swathed in a Union Jack, like those starry-eyed monarchists at the Lindo Wing whenever a new royal baby arrives. The PM insists supporting pubs is a “patriotic duty”, and so it is – not because this timid Government says so, but because, through no fault of its own, a great British institution is in mortal peril. Pandemic, lockdown and excessive caution have conspired to create a situation so dire that we should assume many of our favourite watering holes will never resurface from this economic maelstrom, and spend as if their – and our – lives depended on it.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Matt Kilcoyne in Comment: An unholy alliance is frustrating our freedom to shop on Sunday. Johnson should take it on.

Hard Rain Cummings: the Times picks up ConHome’s story of yesterday

““Anybody who has read what I’ve said about management over the years will know that it’s ludicrous to suggest the solution to Whitehall’s problems is a bigger centre and more centralisation,” he said, according to an account on the Conservative Home website. “It’s already far too big, incoherent and adds to the problems with departments.” He added that the intention was to create a “smaller, more focused and more elite centre”. The account of the call was not disputed by friends of Mr Cummings, who confirmed that an overhaul of the Cabinet Office and No 10 was planned. Michael Gove, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, recently moved to strengthen his grip over the sprawling department at the centre of Whitehall.” – The Times

  • Chief of Staff could face inquiry over special advisers – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Friends of Cummings: “A hard rain is coming.”

Jenrick ‘under pressure’ over £1bn Isle of Dogs housing scheme

“The housing secretary was under mounting pressure last night after text messages and emails revealed his close relationship with a Tory donor whose £1 billion housing scheme he approved against the advice of his own officials. Robert Jenrick backed Richard Desmond’s plans to build 1,500 flats on the site of Westferry printworks on the Isle of Dogs, east London, in mid-January, over-ruling the objections of planning officers and the local council. The decision was made early, to ensure that Mr Desmond did not have to pay a £40 million community charge, which came into effect a few days later. Newly disclosed documents reveal that Mr Jenrick gave the former owner of the Daily Express his private mobile number after he was seated next to Mr Desmond at a Tory fundraising dinner in November last year.” – The Times

  • Housing Secretary ‘rushed approval’ of Tory donor’s development after texts – Daily Telegraph
  • Government releases documents on Jenrick approval of Desmond project – FT


  • Jenrick has failed to dispel concerns – The Times

>Yesterday: Profiles: Robert Jenrick, who rose without trace until he hit two bumps in the road

Shapps set to centralise control of Britain’s railways

“The Government will use emergency coronavirus controls of the UK’s railways to centralise control of Britain’s railways, in a move comparable to nationalisation. The Transport Secretary said the crisis had provided opportunities to establish a “different type of railway”, in a move that would mean the end of the franchise system established by John Major. Train operators would receive a fixed fee from the Government which would essentially own all routes and collect fares. Under the current system franchise holders collect fares and pay a percentage to the Exchequer, which encourages them to maximise income. The entire system would be overseen by a board, which would likely be chaired by the Transport Secretary, giving the Government more control over pricing and timetabling.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Plans will be revealed in a report of an independent review into UK railways – Daily Mail

Javid calls for tax cuts to boost economy recovery after lockdown

“Former chancellor Sajid Javid has called for radical tax cuts to boost post-lockdown economic recovery. He urged slashing VAT and National Insurance to encourage households to spend and firms to hang on to their staff. Mr Javid and the Centre for Policy Studies suggested more than 50 recommendations in their After The Virus report. The ex-chancellor, who quit the Government earlier this year after a clash with Boris Johnson, praised his successor Rishi Sunak, for acting decisively with measures such as the furlough scheme. But he said: “Soon, the focus must shift from safeguarding the economy to rebuilding it.” … A rapid bounce back was “optimistic”, Mr Javid wrote in a newspaper yesterday, predicting up to 2.5 million jobless due to the virus.” – Daily Express

  • Quarter of furloughed workers ‘likely to lose their jobs when Government cuts payouts’ – The Sun
  • Liverpool asks for government help to avoid 1980s recession rerun – FT


  • This generation of Tories is complacent about the blight of unemployment – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

Mitchell and over 70 MPs attack decision to scrap DfID

“Anger is growing over the government’s decision to merge the overseas aid department with the Foreign Office, with senior Tories and ex-ministers demanding Boris Johnson install a development minister in the cabinet. The Conservative former secretary of state for the Department for International Development (DfID) Andrew Mitchell is among the signatories to a cross-party letter sent to the prime minister that also calls for the retention of the Commons international development committee (IDC) and the scrutiny body, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI). More than 70 parliamentarians have signed the letter led by a former IDC chair, Lord Malcolm Bruce, to say scrutiny on aid following the sudden merger is vital and the UK must show it is “not turning its back on the world’s poorest”.” – The Guardian

Trade 1) Truss attacks ‘unfair’ US trade practices as markets slide

“Liz Truss hit out at America for “unfair” trade practices as almost £50bn was wiped from the FTSE 100 amid fears of new transatlantic tariffs. In her most critical comments of Washington’s approach to negotiations over a new deal, the Trade Secretary said that the US is failing to live up to its high-minded ideals and must open up its markets for British exports. It came as the White House threatened to impose new duties on $3.1bn of European goods including biscuits and gin as part of a long-running dispute over subsidies for aircraft maker Airbus. Markets dropped around the world as jitters over a new trade war combined with fears of a second wave of Covid-19 after infections jumped in the US. The FTSE 100 dropped 3.1pc while the Dow Jones was down 2.9pc in early trade.” – Daily Telegraph

  • She insists a ban on controversial US farm produce is ‘already in law’ – Daily Mail


  • Trade deal with US could lower standards, manufacturers warn – FT
  • Waitrose boss joins calls for post-Brexit food standards protection – The Guardian

>Today: Stephen Booth’s column: While UK-EU talks gather momentum, Britain should continue to diversify its trading relationships.

Trade 2) Brussels signals compromise possible in ‘level playing field’ talks

“Brussels has said it is willing to hammer out a compromise with Britain on the sensitive issue of “level playing field” rules for business, in a sign of how positions are shifting ahead of intensive EU-UK future-relationship talks, which start next week. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said his team was willing to work with Britain on a “credible and operational” framework for so-called level playing field commitments. These aim to ensure close alignment between the two sides’ state-aid, environmental and employment regulations.  However, he insisted the EU would not allow anything to jeopardise the integrity of the single market.” – FT

  • UK angles for Falklands squid in post-Brexit trade talks – FT

Rose Paterson obituary

“For 18 years Rose Paterson was the backbone of her husband’s office as North Shropshire MP, before moving out from behind the scenes to take on one of the most high profile positions in British sport. Mrs Paterson, 63, the daughter of the fourth Viscount Ridley, had been married to Owen, MP for North Shropshire, for 40 years. For nearly two decades she was a central part of her husband’s political life. Following his election in 1997, Mrs Paterson was her husband’s Shropshire-based personal assistant and office manager, including during his time at the sharp end of government as Northern Ireland Secretary, and then Minister for the Environment.” – Shropshire Star

News in Brief:

  • Our Soviet-style planning system is designed to fail – Anthony Breach, CapX
  • The police have become too politicised to function – Rod Liddle, The Spectator
  • Incels could become the new Vikings – Mary Harrington, UnHerd
  • Public schools are joining the culture war – David James, The Critic
  • A plea for technological liberalism – Connor Axiotes, 1828