Schools will be last to close if second wave strikes, vows Johnson

“The country has a moral duty to reopen schools next month, Boris ­Johnson said, as it emerged that there is ­”little evidence” of virus transmission in them. Ensuring that all children return to school next month is now the “country’s top priority”, the prime minister said, because of the greater risk to them from the shutdown than coronavirus. He stressed the urgency of getting all children in England back into class next month and after telling officials that schools will be the last to close if a nationwide lockdown is reimposed. The coronavirus pandemic resulted in schools closing on March 20, ahead of many businesses. They will have been closed for more than five months by the start of the new academic year next month.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Prime Minister ‘to urge parents to send their children back to school’ – Sunday Times
  • Williamson ‘faces the chop if he doesn’t get schools open again in September’ – Mail on Sunday



  • Anxious Johnson simply can’t get away from it all – Tim Shipman, Sunday Times


>Yesterday: John Penrose MP in Comment: Here’s how we can put ‘levelling up’ at the centre of a One Nation agenda

Jenrick ‘warns Manchester against smoking crackdown’

“Plans to ban smoking at new outdoor pub or restaurant seating areas will lead to the loss of thousands of jobs, a city council has been warned. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it will wreck the chances of pubs and cafes bouncing back from the lockdown. He has intervened after Manchester City Council announced it will make all outdoor areas smoke-free to avoid a new health crisis. The city’s neighbourhoods chief Rabnawaz Akbar said that, after months inside, people don’t want “a face full of smoke” while trying to enjoy a meal or drink. But Mr Jenrick fired off a letter warning him a ban would be against the spirit of emergency laws to support businesses in the pandemic.” – Sun on Sunday

Patel appoints ex-Royal Marine to combat migrant smuggling gangs

“Priti Patel called up a former Royal Marine last night to spearhead action against illegal migrants crossing the Channel. The Home Secretary appointed a “small boats commander” with the job of intercepting boats and combatting people smugglers. Dan O’Mahoney, an expert in ship-to-ship operations, has been put in charge of a massive new mission to stop dinghies and other small vessels sailing to Britain’s shores from France. The ex-commando is under orders to collaborate closely with the French to draw up stronger joint enforcement measures. He was drafted in after the number of migrants to complete the crossing this year hit 3,950 – more than double the figure for the whole of 2019.” – Sun on Sunday

  • MoD considering request to deploy navy to stop Channel migrants – The Observer
  • French ask for £30m to police Channel – Sunday Telegraph
  • ‘Pay one fee and they’ll keep putting you on a boat till you succeed’ – Mail on Sunday


  • Patel vows to get tough on PCCs who went ‘missing in action’ – Sun on Sunday

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. Almost 75 per cent of members predict a Conservative majority at the next General Election.

‘Mystery deepens’ over how Elphicke bagged her Dover seat

“On November 8, 2019, less than five weeks before the general election, Natalie announced that she had been “unanimously” chosen as the local Tory candidate. “The whole situation was extraordinary,” said one member of the Dover & Deal Conservative Association. “We got an email on the Thursday saying there was going to be a meeting on the Friday. No other candidates were offered to the association. Natalie got straight on the list.” She hit the campaign trail with gusto. In less than two weeks, election leaflets had been designed and delivered across the constituency. They included a photograph of a beaming Natalie beside Boris Johnson. When this picture was taken is not clear.” – Sunday Times

Labour 1) Opposition uses Tories’ IRA jibe to target Fox

“Labour is set to weaponise Boris Johnson’s decision to award a peerage to a controversial former Brexit Party MEP who has been accused of defending the IRA. Claire Fox, 60, who was a member of a far-left party that defended the IRA’s terrorist attack in Warrington in 1993, will be used in anti-Tory campaign literature by the Labour Party. Last night an advert was being circulated online among Labour groups that featured an image of Fox and Johnson under the banner: “What does Boris Johnson offer a defender of the IRA? He put her in the House of Lords.” Labour, whose former leader Jeremy Corbyn was criticised for being an IRA sympathiser, will attempt to turn the tables on the Tories amid a backlash against the appointment last month. The party intends to exploit the controversy in marginal northern seats in the “red wall” as well as those in the London commuter belt.” – Sunday Times

  • Jenkin: send Lords to ‘Churchill’s church’ while second chamber restored – Sunday Times


  • Should the woman who said the IRA had a right to kill children really be a Baroness? – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • Lords is absurd because it suits MPs to keep it that way – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

Labour 2) Big donors returning to party under Starmer

“Former Labour donors who had abandoned the party are already considering renewing their support under Keir Starmer’s leadership, it has emerged. Figures who have given the party large sums in the past said they had rejoined Labour, with one major donor saying they were already prepared to give again. Another former supporter said there was “a long road” ahead after allegations of antisemitism in the party, but that they had been impressed with Starmer’s start… Big private donations dried up almost completely under Jeremy Corbyn, although the party’s huge membership and union support put it in a strong financial position without the need for funding from wealthy backers. However, Unite, Labour’s biggest union backer and a major supporter of Corbyn’s leadership, has issued warnings over future funding.” – The Observer

Frost ‘to stay on as Brexit negotiator’ if deal not agreed by September

“David Frost, the Prime Minister’s chief Brexit negotiator, will oversee talks with the EU even after he takes up his new post as National Security Advisor (NSA) in September. Boris Johnson’s Europe advisor is understood to have told colleagues he will stay on if a trade deal has not been agreed with Brussels by the Autumn. His appointment in June was intended to send a signal to the bloc that Britain was willing to walk away if a deal could not be struck over the summer. A government source said: “He’s said he will stay in charge of the negotiations until they have been completed. He will take up the new post in September but plans to spend 90 per cent of his time on the trade talks if that’s what is needed.” The revelation will raise concerns that Mr Frost’s dual role could leave the UK vulnerable in the event of a terrorist attack.” – Sunday Telegraph

Neil and Morgan ‘in frame’ for BBC chairman

“Boris Johnson is seeking to rebuild bridges with the BBC by appointing as its new chairman a prominent figure from the right, who does not want to “blow up” the national broadcaster. The prime minister is drawing up a long list of possible leaders, understood to include the former cabinet ministers Nicky Morgan and Amber Rudd and the television interviewer Andrew Neil. All are seen as credible figures with both the BBC and the Conservative Party. Johnson has also held preliminary peace talks with Lord Hall, the corporation’s outgoing director-general, after a year of fractious exchanges. The two men had a brief phone chat in the past few weeks and are expected to meet face to face soon.” – Sunday Times

How Sturgeon has ‘secretly massaged’ Scotland’s coronavirus record

“Nicola Sturgeon spent much of July telling anyone who would listen that the prevalence of coronavirus in England was “five times” higher than in Scotland. The figure was deployed to justify her refusal to rule out effectively closing the border by imposing quarantine on travellers from England, and her highly controversial move to set her a Scotland-only policy on air bridges, which airports warned put livelihoods at risk. The day after she first made the claim, masked nationalists in hazmat suits descended on the border near Berwick-upon-Tweed, shouting abuse at English “plague carriers”. Alongside their saltires and SNP flags (the First Minister refused to confirm whether her party took any disciplinary action against participants) the wording on their banner was instructive: ‘Keep Scotland Covid Free’.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • First Minister admits party disputes a massive ‘risk to SNP success’ – Sunday Express

Douglas Ross: We can stand up to nationalism’s false promises

“I will give the Scottish Nationalists this – their relentless campaign to try and break up the United Kingdom has forced Unionists to focus harder on how we make our counter-argument. Too often in the past we lapsed into complacency, assuming those arguments were self-evident. Or we have relied on the clear and obvious weaknesses of separation, as if that would be enough to persuade the people of the United Kingdom to stay united. It won’t. My mission – as I take over as the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives this week – is to take on the half-baked nationalist case set out by Nicola Sturgeon by re-making the positive case for the benefits of our union, a case that is as strong now as it ever has been. The Coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated those benefits in full.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. How Unionist are Conservative Party members?