Exams U-turn 1) Williamson ‘set to quit before he’s sacked’…

“Gavin Williamson was branded a ‘lame duck’ Education Secretary last night as senior Tories urged him to quit over the exams fiasco. MPs believe he will ultimately get the boot when the Prime Minister reshuffles his Cabinet this autumn. But former ministers insisted he should go now, saying his position was ‘completely untenable’. One added: ‘He can’t hang around until autumn. He is a lame duck now.’ However, other MPs predicted that Boris Johnson would wait before sacking Mr Williamson, with the Education Secretary likely to cling on until later in the year ‘to take the rap for GCSE results and any chaos that arises when schools reopen’. University admissions were plunged into chaos after an astonishing government U-turn on exams left Mr Williamson fighting for his job.” – Daily Mail

  • Johnson backs ‘loyal’ Williamson – The Times
  • And Williamson ‘will stay in post’ – The Guardian
  • Tories call for Williamson to go – The Sun
  • Williamson blames Ofqual – Daily Telegraph
  • Ofqual announces A levels and GCSE results will be based on teacher assessments – Daily Mail
  • GCSE students will get teacher-predicted grades on Thursday – Daily Mail
  • Where did it all go wrong for the government? – Daily Telegraph

Exams U-turn 2) …as top civil servant also under pressure to go

“The top civil servant at the Department for Education faces being ousted because of concern at the department’s performance, The Times has been told. Jonathan Slater has been permanent secretary at the department since 2016 and has served under four education secretaries. Ministers are understood to be concerned after controversies over school reopening and exam grading, but a spokesman said: “The permanent secretary is not leaving his post and is focused on the job in hand, delivering the government’s agenda alongside ministers and the wider department.” – The Times

  • Civil servant working from Canada for months – The Times

Exams U-turn 3) Chaos as 55,000 students attempt to get into universities that rejected them

“Universities were frantically trying to unravel the Government’s exams U-turn last night as experts warned that 55,000 students might now try to switch back to institutions that rejected them. The industry’s main umbrella body said universities were seeking ‘urgent clarification’ on how to accommodate students they had earlier refused because of A-level results downgrades. Ministers last night lifted a temporary recruitment cap designed to prevent the most popular universities from hoovering up students at the expense of less popular institutions.” – Daily Mail

Exams U-turn 4) Welsh Labour made same U-turn

“Sir Keir Starmer faced a furious online backlash after the Labour Party leader attacked the Tories following its U-turn on A-Level exam results – with the Welsh Labour Party making the same move earlier in the day. Starmer dubbed Boris Johnson’s Tory Government incompetent following their decision to overturn the A-level exam result grading system. Sir Keir noted he agreed with the decision, but insisted it came too late and caused many young people stress across the country. Despite his best efforts, the Labour leader faced a backlash from viewers who criticised the party’s apparent hypocrisy”. – Daily Express

Coronavirus 1) Public Health England chief ‘sorry’ over merger leak

“The chief of Public Health England (PHE) has apologised to his staff that they first found out about plans to merge the body with NHS Test and Trace via the media. Duncan Selbie, the chief executive, was forced to write to shocked and angry staff at the weekend after the plans were leaked. “I am sorry beyond words at the way that decisions about our future have been briefed to the media before I have had the chance to explain them,” he said. The plans aimed to “boost our unique scientific capability and world-leading health protection expertise with new investment”, he added.” – The Times

  • New outbreaks hit Paris and Marseilles – The Times

Coronavirus 2) Harding to run new health agency

“Dido Harding, a Conservative peer who heads up England’s widely criticised test-and-trace system, has been chosen to run a new institute to replace Public Health England, after the controversial decision to axe the agency. Harding will be named as the chair of the National Institute for Health Protection, which will be charged with preventing future outbreaks of infectious diseases, despite the poor performance of NHS test and trace, which she has led since May. Her appointment, which the health secretary, Matt Hancock, is due to confirm on Tuesday in a speech on the future of public health as a result of the pandemic, has sparked a row over yet another Tory politician being handed a senior role in the health system.” – The Guardian

  • New pandemic agency to be led by Harding – FT

Coronavirus 3) Former world leaders call for action to stop ‘lost Covid generation’

“A group of former world leaders has called for urgent measures to prevent the global health crisis creating a tragic “Covid generation” denied an education. Among the 275-strong group of senior figures are former UK prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Sir John Major, as well as economists, politicians and educationalists from around the world. In a letter addressed to G20 leaders, national governments and global financial institutions, the group call for action to ensure that a generation of young people are not “robbed of their education” due to Covid-19. As countries’ lockdowns come to an end, they warn that as many as 30 million children may never return to school because of the pandemic, according to a Unesco report.” – The Guardian

Phillips: MP should be named along with accuser

“An unnamed former Tory minister, who has been accused of rape, arrested and released on bail but as yet remains uncharged, will reportedly absent himself from the Commons when his fellow MPs return from holiday next month. There has been public outrage that he has not been suspended from either parliament or his party. Charlie Elphicke, the former Tory MP who was convicted last month of sexual assault, was first suspended by his party in 2017 even though he wasn’t charged until 2019. So what’s the difference? The answer is Sir Cliff Richard. In 2014, the police began investigating an allegation against the singer of a sexual offence involving an under-age boy. Discovering that the police were about to search his home, the BBC gave the raid extensive coverage with the aid of a helicopter camera.” – The Times

  • Activist accused Tories of abuse before suicide – The Times

Cummings’ role in Integrated Defence Review ‘must be investigated’

“The Daily Telegraph has learnt that Boris Johnson’s chief aide has been twice invited to appear before the Commons’ committee however declined on the first occasion and has yet to respond to the second invitation. Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the committee, said the second invite was extended after it was revealed that Mr Cummings had been granted permission to visit five classified national security sites ahead of the looming review. “It’s unclear what his (Mr Cummings’) role is and yet he’s happy to let it be known that he is visiting clandestine agencies,” Mr Ellwood told this newspaper.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Javid returns to JPMorgan – FT

Moore: Britain should abandon its shielding of Iran

“One suspects Britain is hedging its bets, waiting for a Biden administration. Understandable, perhaps, though scarcely certain. But the larger question is: “Does our Middle Eastern policy want to be on the wrong side of history?” Why shield it? Our policy towards Iran will probably resemble that on Huawei. At first, we pointlessly hold out against US pressure. Then we recognise the facts and do shamefacedly and late what we should have done confidently and much earlier.” – Daily Telegraph

And finally, Johnson: ‘It would be terrible if no-one died’

“With his shock of white hair, love of ancient Greek and tendency towards tangential speech, Stanley Johnson is very much his son’s father. Never one to answer a straight question with a straight answer, our Skype interview to mark the globetrotting environmentalist’s 80th birthday on Tuesday is characterised by the sort of subtle obfuscation for which his eldest child, the Prime Minister, is notorious. Describing the recent heatwave as “superbly awful”, he soon reveals that he has returned from the second of two holidays since the coronavirus outbreak. The first – a trip to Greece in June when his son’s Government was still advising against all but essential travel – landed him in hot water.” – Daily Telegraph

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