Nothing will have a greater effect on our children’s life chances than returning to school, says Johnson

“Boris Johnson will directly appeal to parents to send their children back to school, amid fears they are the final stumbling block in the Government’s efforts to return youngsters to full-time education. The Prime Minister will say on Monday that “nothing will have a greater effect on their life chances” than continuing to keep children at home when schools return at the start of September. He’ll warn that it would be “far more damaging for a child’s development and their health and wellbeing to be away from school any longer.” “That is why it’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends. Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school,” he will add.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister moves to seize control of schools agenda after exams chaos – The Guardian
  • Teachers ‘spread virus more than their pupils’ – The Times
  • Top medical experts give green light for schools to reopen – The Sun
  • Exam results row deepens as Ofqual hits back at statistics body – The Guardian
  • Teachers’ union demands ‘plan B’ from Government – Daily Mail

Education Secretary:

  • Williamson hits back at holiday critics – Daily Telegraph
  • Unions don’t want ‘useful idiot’ sacked – The Sun
  • Top Tories turn on Williamson over exams fiasco – The Guardian

>Today: Judy Terry in Local Government: Councillors should do more to recruit school governors

Iain Duncan Smith: Time to win the battle to get our children back in school

“Notwithstanding Covid 19, this should be reasonably straight forward, after all it has been in other countries and the WHO has consistently for months said there is no record of Covid spikes when schools re-open. However, everyone remembers how the government decreed that schools should have returned a couple of months ago and yet despite all that evidence, the Teachers Unions took the government on, refusing to comply. Sadly, in a foretaste of the exam debacle, the Secretary of State backed down. Now everyone waits to see if September will see a repeat of the climb down – the Unions are licking their lips. All this adds to the sense that the government is drifting, buffeted for months by the pandemic and without a clearly articulated plan. After all, it’s only 9 months since Boris Johnson won a landslide victory, built on optimism.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Nothing must now stop schools reopening on time next month – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: School re-openings. When it comes to strategic communications, Johnson can learn from Sunak

Prime Minister faces calls to improve relations with Tory MPs

“Conservative MPs who won their seats for the first time at the December general election have urged Boris Johnson to appoint new parliamentary aides to improve increasingly strained relations between Downing Street and the party at Westminster. The government’s failures on secondary school results in England has angered many of the new intake of Tory MPs, as well as their longer serving colleagues in the House of Commons, who claim Downing Street is not listening to their concerns. But tensions have been growing between Number 10 and the parliamentary party for months, notably since Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, flouted lockdown rules in May. More than 60 Conservative MPs called for Mr Cummings to apologise and quit, but he refused and received Mr Johnson’s backing.” – FT

  • Prime Minister ‘urged to oversee ‘Value For Money’ test on quangos costing £206billion a year’ – The Sun


  • Johnson must stop destroying and start building – Will Tanner, The Guardian

>Today: Neil O’Brien’s column: The next algorithm disaster – coming to a Conservative constituency near you. This time, it’s housing growth.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Even Johnson’s opponents should regret the ruining of his holiday

Treasury ‘under fire’ over disclosure silence on virus loans

“The government has been criticised by politicians and campaigners for refusing to reveal the names of businesses that have secured state-backed coronavirus loans with a combined value of £52.7bn. Some 1.2m loans that each come with a government guarantee have so far been approved under schemes devised by chancellor Rishi Sunak to help businesses survive the Covid-19 pandemic. The government has provided regular updates on the number of loans authorised through the schemes, and their cumulative value, plus some information about which regions and industries have benefited. But the Treasury and the British Business Bank, the government-owned body that administers the schemes and accredits the commercial lenders that provide loans, have declined to disclose details about individual borrowers or the amounts secured by them. The BBB cited commercial sensitivities and data protection laws.” – FT

  • Department denies it plans to drop ‘Facebook tax’ in favour of trade deal – The Guardian
  • Companies ‘accused of furlough fraud’ – Daily Telegraph


  • It would be a mistake for Sunak to shy away from further stimulus – Larry Elliott, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Alison Cork in Comment: Entrepreneurs can lead Britain’s recovery if we help them

Ministers under pressure to fix criminal case backlog in England and Wales

“The UK government is facing mounting criticism over its efforts in England and Wales to deal with a backlog of criminal court cases which has caused some jury trials to be scheduled for 2022. The backlog originates from a government miscalculation of the number of crown court hours needed to deal with criminal cases in 2019, but the issue has been made worse by the coronavirus crisis. Crown courts were closed and jury trials suspended between mid-March and mid-May. The number of outstanding cases in crown courts in England and Wales increased from 39,549 in early March to 43,676 by July 26, according to HM Courts and Tribunals Service. The backlog is such that some jury trials have been scheduled for next year or 2022.” – FT

  • Johnson ‘told to overhaul ‘not fit for purpose’ asylum system’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Anderson ‘takes law into own hands’ to stop travellers – Daily Express

>Today: Mo Hussein in Comment: This channel crisis must not distract Ministers from bringing vulnerable refugees to Britain

Patel calls on Boohoo to protect workers

“Home secretary Priti Patel has called on online retailer Boohoo to work with its suppliers to ensure workers are protected, following allegations that some are paid less than the minimum wage. The fast-fashion retailer has previously denied allegations of illegal wages among its suppliers, but Boohoo did terminate contracts with at least two factories due to “non-compliance” with its code of conduct. Ms Patel said in a letter to Boohoo chief executive John Lyttle that she expected the company to work with suppliers to ensure workers were “protected and remediated”… Boohoo is estimated to secure more than one-third of its stock from Leicester, with orders worth at least £100m last year, according to Financial Times analysis of company filings.” – FT

Four million people ‘could be tested daily for Covid-19’ by early next year

“Up to four million people could be tested every day for coronavirus by early next year under ambitious plans to further ease restrictions and boost the economy,  the Telegraph understands. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has contracted Deloitte as consultants to help develop a mass testing regime that would identify asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus, most of whom are currently missed by the current test and tracing. Such mass testing would allow ministers to see exactly where outbreaks are and stop infected people unknowingly spreading it. Mr Hancock also sees it as a critical to easing remaining restrictions on businesses and meeting family and friends… Some 190,000 people a day are currently being tested, although the NHS has the capacity to test 326,000 daily.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Cross-party MPs to sue Government for details of PPE contracts – The Guardian
  • Whitehall gets ready for coronavirus second wave – The Times


  • NHS pays millions in fees for overseas staff – The Times
  • Labour attacks £15m spent on workers’ visas by NHS – The Guardian
  • Trump ‘considers fast-tracking UK Covid-19 vaccine’ – FT


  • With this shambolic Tory defence, should Starmer be scoring more goals? – Stephen Bush, The Guardian

More diplomats needed with Mandarin, say MPs

“Conservative MPs have called on the Foreign Office to raise investment in Chinese language skills, as figures reveal a fall in the number of diplomats holding the department’s key qualification in Mandarin. A Freedom of Information request by The Times showed that 44 British diplomats hold the “gold standard” certification, known as C1, down from 50 in the summer of 2016. The Foreign Office also admitted that during the past five years it had no record of any diplomats passing the exam in Cantonese, a main language of Hong Kong and Macau. A global economic superpower, run by an increasingly assertive administration under President Xi, China has been rising up the British government’s agenda in recent years… Despite the lack of C1 passes, it is understood that the department does continue to train in Cantonese, which is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin. The Foreign Office admitted it does not train or teach other forms of Chinese.” – The Times

  • Barrow to be political director at enlarged UK Foreign Office – FT

UK warns Brussels it ‘will not be able to set Brexit rules’ as talks stall

“Brussels has been warned off “picking and choosing” its version of Brexit as talks stall. The UK says the EU wants a deal too closely aligned to current rules, especially relating to fisheries and state aid. UK chief negotiator David Frost wants to progress talks in other areas but is stuck on the “difficult” ones. The British team, which has just completed the seventh round of trade talks, holds out hope for an agreement by the end of next month. But EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has been told he is not dealing with the Theresa May regime, which only wanted minor differences. Britain is angry the EU is insisting we give up the right to catch nearly half our fish in our waters. And Mr Frost will not accept a state aid system similar to countries inside the Single Market and Customs Union.” – The Sun

  • Barnier has warned a deal now seems unlikely as talks with EU stagnate – Daily Mail
  • Percy ‘lobbied EU to back donor’s energy project’ – The Times


  • The risk of a no-deal Brexit is rising, and that’s no bad thing – Wolfgang Münchau, FT
  • Macron is trying to use the migrant crisis as a Brexit negotiating weapon – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

Bailey calls for drug tests to catch middle-class cocaine users

“Drug tests on employees in firms of more than 250 people should be brought in to identify middle-class cocaine users, the Tory London mayoral candidate has said. Shaun Bailey called for every business in the capital to sign up to a drug-testing charter – routinely checking workers for illegal substance use. Mr Bailey said this would help to identify middle class cocaine users, who are fuelling the “explosion” of crime among poorer communities by purchasing drugs from criminals… Mr Bailey, 49, who grew up in a council house in Ladbroke Grove, west London, was a youth worker with gang members for 20 years. “The purpose of this charter is not to get employees fired or shamed. Individual results will be anonymous,” he said.” – The Sun

BBC ‘can be the nation’s voice after Brexit’, says director-general

“Britain needs the BBC more than ever to promote the country’s “voice and values” after Brexit, Lord Hall will claim on Monday. In his final speech as director-general, he will appeal to the government to “unleash the full global potential of the BBC” as the UK forges a new relationship with the world. The BBC needs more taxpayers’ money to combat a “second pandemic” of fake news spread by Russia and China, he will claim. During his virtual address at Edinburgh Television Festival, Lord Hall will attempt to set out his legacy as BBC director-general after seven years in the job. Tim Davie, a senior BBC executive, will replace him next month. “My goal, when I arrived at the BBC, was to double our global audience to reach 500 million people by 2022 – our centenary year,” Lord Hall will say.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Corporation ‘can help global Britain’ – The Times
  • A ‘bulwark against pandemic of fake news’ – The Guardian
  • Hall will claim he has made the BBC ‘leaner’ and ‘more efficient than ever’ – Daily Mail

SNP’s hate crime law leaves Scots fearing free speech will be ‘criminalised’

“The majority of Scots think the SNP’s new hate crime law poses a significant threat to free speech, a poll has found. New polling for the Free to Disagree campaign finds wide support for free speech and opposition to the Scottish Government’s hate crime plans. The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill was introduced by Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf. It looks to extend the law on ‘hate crime’ covering particular characteristics, including religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity. If the law is passed by the Scottish Parliament, it means that words or behaviour considered to be “abusive” and “likely” to stir up hatred would constitute an offence. However, the controversial legislation has already faced criticism from the Scottish Police Federation, Catholic Church in Scotland and the Law Society of Scotland.” – Daily Express

  • Scottish Labour’s plight also hurts the cause of the union – Sebastian Payne, FT
  • The Covid-19 crisis is accelerating the breakup of the UK – John Harris, The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Scrapping Public Health England should be only the beginning – Maria Chaplia, 1828
  • The generation betrayed by Boris – Louise Perry, UnHerd
  • Sports stars pushing back against the BLM movement – Laurence Wilkinson, The Critic
  • Botswana’s success is remarkable, and it’s down to capitalism – Marian L Tupy, CapX
  • The danger of following ‘the science’ – Rory Sutherland, The Spectator