Coronavirus 1) Johnson “fears a second wave” in the UK in a fortnight

“Boris Johnson fears a second wave of coronavirus could start within a fortnight. A senior government source told the Mail the Prime Minister was ‘extremely concerned’ by outbreaks ‘bubbling up’, both at home and abroad. Although the number of UK cases is relatively low, rises were recorded each day last week for the first time since the April peak. The seven-day average stands at almost 700 – 28 per cent up on three weeks ago. Ministers have been warning of a potential second wave of the pandemic this winter but now fear it could come sooner. On a visit to Nottingham yesterday, Mr Johnson said Britons must not drop their guard.” – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 2) Ministers split on travel restrictions

“Boris Johnson is facing government splits over his travel quarantine policy after a transport minister suggested that a regionalised approach could be adopted. All non-essential travel to the Canary Islands and the Balearics was barred on Monday, bringing the destinations into line with the restrictions for mainland Spain… Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, pushed strongly for a blanket country-by-country approach rather than allowing travel to specific regions. There were suggestions that the Department for Transport and the Foreign Office pushed for a regionalised approach, but there was unanimous agreement between cabinet ministers at a meeting of the Covid-19 operations committee on Saturday. However, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, a transport minister, said yesterday that the government could adopt a regionalised approach in future.” – The Times

  • Smart tests for Covid ‘poised to halve quarantine within days’ – The Times
  • France introduces beach-side testing – The Sun
  • Government must reconsider its blanket quarantine on arrivals back from Spain – Leader, The Sun
  • Island breaks – Leader, The Times
  • An alternative approach must be found – Leader, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Government’s speedy response to Spain reflects what happened in the initial stages of the Coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus 3) Heathrow boss calls for airport tests

“The chief executive of Heathrow Airport has urged the Government to allow passengers to be tested for Covid-19 on arrival in a trial to rescue the summer tourism season. John Holland-Kaye told The Telegraph that Heathrow could have a test “up and running” in two weeks, meaning holidaymakers who have just set off for Spain could be checked – at a cost of £150 – when they arrived home. They would be tested on arrival and, if the result was negative, would be tested again five or eight days later. A second negative test would allow them to come out of quarantine up to six or nine days early, depending on how quickly tests are processed. France and Germany are among at least 20 countries already using such tests to cut quarantine for arrivals from countries with high levels of coronavirus, and there is growing pressure on Boris Johnson to follow suit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK facing ‘K-shaped’ economic recovery as the gulf between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ widens – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 4) MPs condemn “appalling error” of patients discharged to care homes untested

“The decision to allow hospital patients in England to be discharged to care homes without Covid-19 tests at the start of the pandemic has been described as “reckless” by MPs. The Public Accounts Committee said there had clearly been an “emerging problem” with official advice before it was “belatedly” changed in April. It accused ministers of being slow to support social care during the crisis. The government said it had been “working closely” with the sector. The committee said around 25,000 patients were discharged into care homes in England between mid-March and mid-April to free up hospital beds. After initially saying a negative result was not required before discharging patients, the government later said on 15 April all patients would be tested. In a highly critical report, the cross-party committee said the initial decision to allow untested patients into care homes was an “appalling error”.” – BBC

Coronavirus 5) Ending furlough scheme “will increase unemployment to ten per cent”

“UK unemployment will rise to 10 per cent of the workforce by the end of the year because of the government’s decision to bring a premature end to its furlough scheme, the National Institute for Economic and Social Research has warned. Publishing its latest quarterly forecasts, the think-tank said on Tuesday that its main scenario was for UK output to fall by 10 per cent in 2020, and to remain 6 per cent below its pre-coronavirus trajectory in 2024. In this scenario, unemployment would rise above 3m to almost 10 per cent, its highest rate since the early 1990s — and although the jobless rate would recede after that, it would not return to pre-Covid lows by 2024.” – Financial Times

  • Labour highlghts loss of jobs in tourism sector – The Guardian
  • Here comes a 1920s-style, post-pandemic boom – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Simon Kaye on Local Government: The scale of the community and voluntary response to the pandemic was a wake up

Coronavirus 6) Government agrees to £500 million emergency funding for film industry

“Ministers have pledged £500 million to get the cameras rolling on Britain’s crisis-hit film sets. The money will cover the insurance of productions hammered by the Covid lockdown. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “The UK’s film and TV industry is the envy of the world. He added: “It’s vital that productions get the help they need to restart as part of our plan to kickstart jobs following the lockdown. “This targeted scheme, which will help fill the gap created by the lack of available insurance, will help protect tens of thousands of jobs, from actors and directors through to camera operators, costume designers, and runners. The sector is worth over £12billion to the UK’s economy, so it’s right that we do what we can to help them reopen and get back to making the films and shows that we all love.” – The Sun

Coronavirus 7) Sturgeon: I wouldn’t book a foreign holiday at the moment

“The First Minister has said she would not personally book a foreign holiday given the “inherent unpredictability” of the spread of coronavirus, as she poured cold water on demands for compensation for those affected by the sudden reintroduction of quarantine on travellers from Spain. Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon was asked about potential compensation for Scots who booked holidays in Spain only to find they would now have to spend 14 days in quarantine on their return, with the potential loss of earnings it could cause.” – The Scotsman

>Today: ToryDiary: The Union with Scotland is neither as weak nor as strong as it looks

First Brexit trade deal “will be with Japan”

“Britain will sign the first post-Brexit trade deal within weeks after talks with Japan. The discussions, in the wake of 40-plus years of being tied to the European Union, were carried out at breakneck speed. Negotiations opened on June 8 and have been conducted daily until today’s “significant breakthrough”. The top-level dialogue is at an “advanced stage” and ministers believe they could wrap it up by September. The accord will reduce the cost of Japanese tech devices, such as PlayStations, and allow the UK to sell more luxury cars there. The arrangement will be implemented on January 1, 2021 — as soon as the UK’s transition period out of the EU expires. The outline of the agreement is based on the EU-Japan deal from last year.” – The Sun

  • £50 million for new customs officers “not enough” – Peter Foster, Financial Times
  • David Frost has warned his counterpart Michel Barnier to rethink his position or the UK would proceed with no deal – Daily Express

>Today: Andrew Bowie on Comment: Evidence today that Ministers won’t negotiate trade deals that expose British farmers to unfair competition

Downing Street searches for a spokesman for televised press conferences

“Boris Johnson has launched a search for a new £100,000-a-year spokesman to become the face of the Government in regular televised press conferences from this autumn. A job advertisement for a new spokesman to “communicate with the nation on behalf of the Prime Minister” will be posted online by Conservative Central Office on Wednesday morning. Mr Johnson wants to build on the success of the Government’s coronavirus press briefings which, until late last month, were broadcast to millions of Britons from Number 10 each day.” – Daily Telegraph

Call to widen eligibility for free school meals

“Free school meals should be extended to another 1.5 million children in England, says a government-commissioned review into food and healthy eating. The National Food Strategy warns that the country’s eating habits are a “slow-motion disaster”. The review warns of the toxic connection between poor diet and child poverty. Report author Henry Dimbleby said a nutritious diet was the “foundation of equality of opportunity”. “Unless action is taken to improve our food system, many thousands will continue to suffer,” said Mr Dimbleby, co-founder of the Leon food chain.” – BBC

  • ‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for more sustainable food – BBC
  • Ban on checkout treats would be a ‘shoplifters’ charter’ – The Sun
  • Contradictory measures show the government is making it up as it goes along – Julia Hartley-Brewer, Daily Telegraph

Facebook bans anti-semitic grime musician

“The Facebook and Instagram accounts of grime star Wiley were finally removed today after he launched another inflammatory rant which appeared to contain anti-Semitic remarks. The musician – real name Richard Cowie – had previously been suspended from Facebook and Instagram for seven days over the posts, which were made over the past 48 hours. He had already been banned from Twitter over the weekend over anti-Semitic comments which are currently being probed by police. However, his Twitter account has not yet been taken down.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Columnist Robert Halfon: Do Twitter’s bosses believe that anti-semitism is worth indulging for profit?

Vans could be banned in city centres

“HGVs and delivery vans could be banned from city centres under government plans to create more road space for cyclists. The transport department is proposing to introduce compulsory “freight consolidation schemes” where all deliveries are made to out-of-town depots. The goods would then be transported to their final destination in the city centre by a “far smaller number of vehicles”, with a focus on environmentally friendly cargo bikes and electric-powered vans. Pilot schemes are being proposed in one or two small older cities with “narrow and crowded streets”.” – The Times

Balls: Tory split over online sales tax

“Johnson’s first instinct is to go for growth but even these measures have so far proved controversial. A plan to temporarily relax Sunday trading laws to stimulate the economy was pulled when the old Christian right of the Tory party began to rally MPs to their cause. Some form of tax rise is viewed as likely – with an online sales tax the latest to be under discussion. This immediately divided opinion with Telford MP Lucy Allan voicing her opposition after West Midlands mayor Andy Street suggested it was a good idea. But Johnson has said recently that the government will not raise income tax, national insurance or VAT for five years and will protect the state pension triple lock. This is where it all becomes rather dicey. The new Tory coalition all have different views on who should carry the burden.” – Katy Balls, The Guardian

  • Tories can’t put off new property tax forever – James Kirkup, The Times
  • We must have an online tax to save our high streets – Tim Newark, Daily Express

>Today: Columnist Darren Grimes: “Hey folks, eat out and spend more – no, not you, fatty. And here’s a new tax for you, consumer-friendly online retailer.”

Johnston: Scrapping the Lords would not improve democracy

“When it comes to the Lords, though, I doubt that much will change and nor am I convinced that it should. Proponents of reform tend to caricature the Lords as a bloated legislature stuffed with placemen and women claiming money for doing no work. But it contains scores of peers with far greater expertise and wisdom than anyone in the Commons. An elected Upper House would merely replace independent-minded crossbenchers with party hacks. Lord Fowler is right to keep plugging away at reducing the numbers. But as to more sweeping reforms, there is no evidence that members of an elected House would contain members of a higher quality than an appointed body…Two elected chambers would make government more difficult because they would always be confronting one another. So when the new peers are gazetted in the next few days we should take the calls for Lords reform that will inevitably accompany their elevation with a pinch of salt.” – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • The growing evidence of a V-shaped recovery – Ross Clark, The Spectator
  • The four sins of science – and how to overcome them – Sam Bowman, CapX
  • Where should we build? Harry Phibbs, The Article
  • Defending our nation – John Redwood
  • We must free the millions held as modern slaves – Laura Anne Jones, Conservative Woman