Prime Minister’s push for quarantine ‘will isolate UK as others emerge’

“Boris Johnson last night pushed ahead with his quarantine policy despite his chief scientific adviser declining to explicitly back the plan. The Prime Minister faced criticism from the Tory backbenches, including the former Prime Minister Theresa May, for forcing “unnecessary economic isolation” on Britain with the policy, which was described by one airline boss as “shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted”. Speaking as the quarantine plans were formally presented to Parliament, Ms May said there would be “no global Britain” without international air travel which was essential for trade… Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser also appeared to undermine the case for quarantine by saying it was most effective when it was imposed to prevent travel from high-risk countries to those with low rates.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Home secretary says measures essential to prevent second wave of Covid-19 – FT
  • Fourteen-day isolation scheme ‘makes no sense’ – The Times
  • Vallance avoids full backing for UK quarantine move – The Guardian
  • Why on earth is the Government pursuing such a divisive policy as quarantine? – Daily Telegraph
  • May leads Tory rebellion over ‘damaging’ plan – The Times
  • Heathrow boss urges ministers to ‘save holidays’ – The Sun


  • Scheme will aid neither health nor the economy – The Times
  • How can Global Britain impose a quarantine on travellers? – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Sir Graham Brady MP in Comment: As it stands, the quarantine plan won’t work, will wreck holidays, damage aviation – and lose jobs

MPs allowed proxy votes ‘after Johnson intervenes’

“Boris Johnson has announced that vulnerable MPs who cannot travel to Westminster will be entitled to a proxy vote, in an abrupt reversal of the policy outlined by Jacob Rees-Mogg on Tuesday. The government faced accusations that it was disenfranchising those with health conditions or caring responsibilities after insisting that MPs should only be able to vote in person. The development came as Alok Sharma, the business secretary, was tested for coronavirus and went into isolation yesterday after feeling ill in the Commons. He was visibly unwell in the chamber and struggled to deliver a speech at the despatch box, regularly wiping his face with a handkerchief. Mr Sharma’s condition caused many MPs to renew their calls for parliament to be conducted virtually.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister ‘forced to apologise to MPs for Rees-Mogg’s decision’ – Daily Express
  • Calls for virtual Parliament to return as Alok Sharma is tested for Covid-19 – Daily Telegraph

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

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: When it comes to dealing with its own MPs, this Government is out of its depth

Gove’s Cabinet Office to oversee new Covid-19 alert system…

“A new Covid-19 alert system is to come under the direct control of the Cabinet Office as part of Boris Johnson’s plans to centralise the running of the Government’s response to the pandemic. The shake-up comes as the Prime Minister starts to plan a new speech in coming weeks based around “three pillars of renewal” – technology, infrastructure and education – as the UK exits the coronavirus lockdown. The Government announced plans last month for a new biosecurity monitoring system and a Joint Biosecurity Centre to work on the independent collection and analysis of data on infection rates across the country.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Testing pledge does not include all cases – The Times
  • UK drugs stockpile eroded by coronavirus ahead of Brexit – FT

>Today: Neil Shastri-Hurst in Comment: The NHS risks becoming a sacred cow. Let that not be the legacy of Covid-19.

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: The Leader of the Opposition asks the Prime Minister who has been in ‘direct control’ of combating the crisis until now

…as Johnson hosts global vaccine summit

“Boris Johnson will host a global vaccine summit on Thursday, urging nations to pledge funding for vaccinations against infectious diseases to help the poorest countries tackle the coronavirus crisis. Representatives of more than 50 countries, including 35 heads of state or government, will come together virtually in London to raise funds for the GAVI vaccine alliance, a public-private global health partnership. The summit aims to raise at least $7.4 billion (6 billion pounds) for GAVI to immunise a further 300 million children in the world’s poorest countries by 2025 against diseases such as polio, diphtheria and measles.” – Reuters

  • Johnson warns that rainy weather is no excuse to move outdoor gatherings inside – Daily Mail


Japanese company enters 5G talks as Huawei doubts grow

“A Japanese telecoms company is in talks with the government about providing technology for Britain’s 5G network, in the latest sign that ministers want to avoid reliance on Huawei as the UK adjusts its ties with China. Talks with NEC started last month, according to Bloomberg. Samsung, of South Korea, will also soon be invited for talks as part of the plan to diversify the network supply chain, it was reported. A Tory rebellion over Huawei has swollen since 36 MPs voted against the government in March. In January the prime minister approved Huawei’s participation, subject to a 35 per cent cap and a ban on providing equipment for the “core” of the network… Last night Boris Johnson declined to deny reports that he is considering banning Huawei from 2023.” – The Times

  • Beijing tells Britain to ‘step back from the brink’… – The Times
  • …and blasts Britain’s ‘Cold War mentality’ – The Sun
  • China hits back at UK criticism of Hong Kong security law – FT

Jeremy Hunt: China’s hostility to Taiwan threatens the global order

“The biggest brake on any heavy-handed clampdown on Hong Kong’s freedoms is that it makes voluntary reunification with Taiwan vanishingly unlikely. It would at a stroke invalidate any promise to Taiwan to replicate the “one country, two systems” approach upon which Hong Kong has, until recently, thrived. This is why last year the ever-strategic CCP hesitated in its response to the umbrella movement protests in Hong Kong. Far from being something it has long wanted, imposing a new security law in Hong Kong is a huge policy failure as far as peaceful reunification with Taiwan is concerned. So the fact that the CCP has decided to change tack should be a red alert to western policy makers.” – The Times

  • Time is running out to constrain Beijing’s global ambitions – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph


  • UK is right to honour its obligation to the people of its former colony – The Times

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

Osborne urges UK to write off Covid-19 business debt

“George Osborne, former Tory chancellor, has said the UK government should eventually write off billions of pounds of loans to small companies to help speed recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. Mr Osborne said officials at the Treasury would “hate” the idea but that the recovery would be delayed if companies were overburdened with debt accumulated during the crisis. “There comes a point where it’s for the overall good of the country that you write off some of those debts even if they score as a loss on the government’s balance sheet,” he told the Commons treasury committee. More than two-thirds of the £31.3bn lent to businesses under state-backed bailout schemes has been through light-touch “bounce back” loans to the UK’s smallest companies, the Treasury said on Tuesday.” – FT

  • Prepare for 1980s-level unemployment, former chancellors warn – The Guardian
  • Johnson has ‘no choice’ but ‘hiking taxes and bringing back austerity’ – The Sun
  • Furlough cost rises £2.5bn in a week – Daily Express
  • Apprenticeship promised for every young person – The Times

>Yesterday: Nick Herbert in Comment: Whitehall musn’t return to business as usual after Coronavirus. We need radical, energetic, can-do fusion government.

Allister Heath: Government must act now or a triple Covid storm will destroy it

“It would be idiotic for anybody to write off Johnson: the election is years away, and the Government’s poll ratings remain at Thatcher-era levels. The Dominic Cummings row cut through, and finally ended, the PM’s Covid-bounce, but was no terminal, “poll tax moment”. So far, his 2019 voters remain loyal. Yet for the first time, plausible scenarios exist under which a series of events triggered by the virus lead to the Government being annihilated, John Major-style, by a Keir Starmer-led Labour Party that is fast consolidating centre-Left support from the Lib Dems. Johnson and the Tory party must urgently recalibrate to prevent such a nightmare: the world has changed, and they must react more forcibly. The old levelling up and green agendas alone won’t cut it.” – Daily Telegraph

  • If we don’t rouse from our lockdown torpor soon, we face an economic apocalypse – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail


  • Chancellor must lower taxes after lockdown to prevent a tsunami of job losses – The Sun

>Yesterday: Robert Halfon MP’s column: There must be no tax rises for lower income voters to help meet the costs of the virus

America 1) Britain ready to allow import of chlorinated chicken from US

“Britain is prepared to permit imports of chlorinated chicken from the US but will slap high tariffs on cheaply-produced food in order to minimise the impact on British farmers. The latest Government proposal for a trade deal with the US is for a “dual tariff” regime that imposes different levels of duty on imported foods, depending on whether they comply with UK animal welfare standards. Hormone-fed beef, chlorinated chicken and other foods that use techniques banned in Britain will be allowed across the Atlantic, but ministers want to use tariffs to make it uneconomical for US producers to export them to the UK. High-quality foods, such as organically-reared free range meat, would be subject to lower tariffs in order to encourage foreign producers to lift their animal welfare to British levels.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Government to guarantee £10bn of trade credit insurance – FT

America 2) Mattis attacks Trump

“Donald Trump denigrated his former defense secretary, James Mattis, as the ‘world’s most overrated general’ after the military veteran published a scalding op-ed denouncing the president’s leadership in the face of widespread protests across the country. Mattis spoke out for the first time publicly since his acrimonious December 2018 exit from the White House by blasting Trump as making a ‘mockery of the Constitution’ in a fiery statement shared Wednesday, but the president was quick to fire back… Mattis’ op-ed in The Atlantic was his first time publicly castigating the president, condemning the flexing of military might against George Floyd protests, which he calls a legitimate response to demands for equal justice.” – Daily Mail

  • I won’t turn army on George Floyd protesters, Defence Secretary tells President – The Times

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: America’s military leaders are ready to resist illegal orders from the country’s rogue President. How has it come to this?

At least 13 people arrested as violence erupts after Black Lives Matter protest in London

“Riot police were called in tonight to deal with a group of protesters who tried to attack a police van after the peaceful main Black Lives Matter demonstration in London had finished. At least 15,000 Black Lives Matter protesters including actor John Boyega and singer Liam Payne gathered in London on Wednesday, ignoring social distancing guidelines, as a show of anger against the death of Mr Floyd in the US. Though that protest dissipated by the evening, around 200 people, many in masks, remained close to Downing Street after the peaceful protesters had departed. Two officers who were in a police van close to Downing Street came under attack shortly after 9.30pm with attempts made to damage the vehicle.” – Daily Mail

  • Violence is a betrayal of our cause – Shaun Bailey, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Ben Roback in International: Black Lives Matter proves that black lives matter – all over the world

News in Brief:

  • Our duty to Hong Kong – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator
  • The West must not let the Chinese Communist party rewrite history – Louise Clamart, 1828
  • Britain’s George Floyd protesters exude the stench of humbug – Theodore Dalrymple, The Critic
  • The idea the SNP is having a ‘good pandemic’ is preposterous – Robyn Staveley, CapX
  • Both the radical Left and Right are ‘left-behinds’ – Mary Harrington, UnHerd