Close pubs before schools if infections rise, ministers told

“Closing schools must be “a last resort” in any future lockdowns, the children’s commissioner for England has warned, with education taking priority over the economy. In a briefing for ministers Anne Longfield said that shutting restaurants, shops and other non-essential services must be the first line of defence in any future outbreak with schools remaining open. She accused the government of too often regarding children as “an afterthought” during the first lockdown, leading to damaging effects on their education and wellbeing. Schools are finalising plans to reopen to all pupils next month despite concerns from unions and some scientists that it could lead to a spike in infections.” – The Times

  • ‘Close shops and pubs to reopen schools,’ says Children’s Commissioner – Daily Telegraph
  • Doctors fear lockdown effect on non-coronavirus patients – The Times


  • The Government must up its game to prepare for a second wave – Sir Keir Starmer, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: A battle with teaching unions looks inevitable next month. Who will win?

MPs will start grading Health Secretary with ‘Ofsted-style ratings’

“MPs will start dishing out Ofsted-style ratings on how well Matt Hancock is doing his job. The powerful Commons’ Health and Social Care Committee will grade Government progress on major pledges – from “outstanding” to “inadequate”. The new system has been set up by chair Jeremy Hunt and will focus on performance in areas such as cancer, patient safety and mental health. The scores will be handed out by an independent expert panel chaired by one of the nation’s top docs, Professor Dame Jane Dacre… Ratings will follow the Ofsted scale – inadequate, requires improvement, good and outstanding. The panel’s first piece of work will look at maternity services in England, which have been rocked by a series of scandals in recent years.” – The Sun

  • English councils with highest Covid rates launch own test-and-trace systems – The Guardian
  • Many Whitehall mandarins ‘do not expect to return to the office’ before 2021 – Daily Telegraph
  • MPs say lack of early UK quarantine helped to accelerate pandemic – FT
  • Rules are dividing the young and sceptical – The Times


  • Workshy Whitehall is wrecking the recovery – Ross Clark, Daily Mail
  • Johnson’s rise to power taught him all the wrong skills for this crisis – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Public support for the Government appears to have dropped – but not when it comes to individual policies

Charities criticise Tory Chief Whip for refusing to suspend Conservative MP accused of rape

“Charities have accused the Conservative Party of “minimising violence against women” by refusing to suspend an MP who is the subject of a rape investigation. Women’s Aid was among the groups which joined unions to say the party’s lack of action suggested a “failure to believe victims”. It came as the woman who accused the former minister of attacking her alleged that Conservative Party Chief Whip Mark Spencer – to whom she made a complaint in April – prioritised the MP’s well-being over her own. The former Parliamentary aide claims Mr Spencer acted to ensure “pastoral care” for the MP but did nothing to investigate her allegations.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories ‘dismissing violence against women by not suspending rape suspect MP’ – The Times

Russian hackers ‘stole leaked documents from Fox’s personal email account’

“Russian hackers stole the contents of a former Cabinet minister’s personal email account, it has emerged, as Whitehall departments admitted that ministers received only “informal” training in data security. Classified documents relating to US-UK trade talks were taken from a private email account belonging to Liam Fox, the former International Trade Secretary. How the documents came to be in a private email account is expected to form part of an ongoing police investigation into the hack. The Government does not explicitly ban the use of private email accounts for official business, but says all information must be handled in accordance with the law, including the Official Secrets Act.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Theft proves Russia alerts were ignored, says Grieve – FT
  • Fox faces growing scrutiny over Russian hack of personal email – The Guardian

Philip Johnston: Cummings’ planning overhaul will provoke Tory shires into outright rebellion

“When governments talk of “radical overhauls”, they usually mean some modest tinkering dressed up as something fundamental. But the planning shake-up outlined by Mr Jenrick, the housing secretary, and to be published tomorrow really is radical in the literal sense because it will tear up the existing system by the roots and start all over again. The argument for doing so is that we still have a socialistic planning model, set out by the post-war Labour government, which is unsuited to modern needs (just like the NHS, in other words, though no-one is proposing its radical overhaul, sadly).The 1947 Town and Country Planning Act remains the template for decision-making despite umpteen repair jobs over the past 60 years, including half-a-dozen changes since 2010 aimed at speeding up building through permitted developments and planning in principle.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson cries ‘nimbyism’, but his planning changes will be disastrous – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • Let’s be honest about our overcrowded island – Clare Foges, The Times

>Yesterday: Ben Everitt in Comment: Our housing market is a weird spaghetti of disincentives. This must be fixed.

Ross ‘set to be crowned’ Scottish Tory leader as no challengers emerge

“Douglas Ross is set to be crowned the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives on Wednesday, after no other candidate put themselves forward for the role. Senior figures in the party have united around the former Scotland Office minister, who on Tuesday became embroiled in a row with the SNP after the party labelled him “racist”. Candidates have until noon to put themselves forward and gain 100 nominations, however, party insiders confirmed that a challenger to Mr Ross was not expected to emerge, meaning he will succeed Jackson Carlaw. One Tory insider confirmed last night: “It’s very much a one horse race”. The coronation was due to take place as a new row broke out between Mr Ross’s camp and the SNP.” – Daily Telegraph

More SNP:

  • Sturgeon forced to make U-turn over ‘ludicrous’ decision to ban men from seat – Daily Express


  • Why Ross has got what it takes to lead Scottish Tories – Murdo Fraser MSP, The Scotsman

>Yesterday: Emma Revell in Comment: Young people socialising made Sturgeon “want to cry”. If only she got as upset over their debt burden.

Business urges rethink on Sunak’s job support measures

“Ministers were urged to rethink measures to avert mass unemployment after companies warned in a survey on Wednesday that they would not use schemes set out by the government last month to protect jobs. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, unveiled a package of measures in his summer statement to support jobs across the UK that the government said would give businesses the confidence to retain as well as hire workers. His plan for jobs included a £1,000 “bonus” for companies for each furloughed worker they bring back, as well as a subsidy to cover some of the pay for young people, and grants for apprentices and trainees. But according to a survey of more than 500 companies by the British Chambers of Commerce, only 43 per cent said that they would seek the furlough bonus and far fewer stated they intended to use the other schemes.” – FT

  • Chancellor could hike business rates for ‘most valuable properties’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Firms say proposals could lead to more job losses and store closures – Daily Mail
  • Javid’s verdict on the Johnson government – FT Podcast

>Today: Ryan Bourne’s column: “Levelling the playing field” is no argument for an online sales tax

Bailey accuses Khan of ‘forgetting his roots and betraying his communities’ as Mayor

“Sadiq Khan has been accused of “forgetting his roots” and “betraying his communities” as Mayor of London. Tory Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey will today lash out at the capital’s leader for being “all talk and no action” and failing to help “people of colour from poorer backgrounds”. In a major speech on Wednesday alongside the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, Mr Bailey will take aim at Mr Khan for not helping to tackle the “difficult and deep-rooted causes of poverty and inequality”… Mr Bailey will say the pair have a lot in common and both have a “responsibility to our communities”. He should “avoid creating an us versus them culture, where we end up fighting only for politically useful causes”, Mr Bailey will say.” – The Sun

Tories make donors and friends directors of civil service boards

“Ministers are inserting a slew of Conservative allies into senior Whitehall roles as they continue their assault on the civil service establishment. Analysis by The Times has found that over half of new appointments to departmental boards this year have gone to close political colleagues of cabinet ministers rather than figures from the world of business. Of the 13 appointments that have taken place this year, eight have gone to Tory party insiders. Departmental boards were introduced in 2010 to bring in “independent” non-executive directors who could “fundamentally transform the way government operates, scrutinising decisions and sharpening accountability”… However, recently ministers have appointed a number of former special advisers to the positions, which carry an average salary of £15,000 per year.” – The Times

  • Health official Wormald leads race to become UK’s top civil servant – FT

Corbyn launches official complaint after House of Lords snub leaves him ‘humiliated’

“Jeremy Corbyn has lodged an official complaint with Parliamentary officials after his nominations for peerages were overlooked while former Labour MPs who rebelled against his leadership were given seats in the House of Lords. Mr Corbyn is understood to have been particularly enraged by the rejection of a peerage for former Labour official and close ally Karie Murphy whom he had wanted to install in the Lords to work on trade union rights. Ms Murphy was one of the most powerful figures inside Labour under Mr Corbyn’s leadership and insiders believe her nomination was blocked as a result of an Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into the party’s handling of alleged antisemitism. She denies any wrongdoing.” – Daily Express

  • Union members accuse Len McCluskey of losing focus on saving jobs – The Sun

Toll mounts after Beirut rocked by massive explosion

“A huge explosion in the port of Beirut devastated a large area of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, leaving at least 78 dead and some 4,000 injured. Hassan Diab, Lebanon’s prime minister, described the blast as a “catastrophe” and asked for international support, declaring that Wednesday would be a national day of mourning. The country’s higher defence council said Beirut was a “disaster zone” and Michel Aoun, Lebanon’s president, called for a two week state of emergency. Interior minister Mohamed Fahmi said initial investigations suggested the explosion was caused by confiscated explosive material, according to local media. Badri Daher, director-general of Lebanon’s customs authority, linked the explosion to ammonium nitrate being stored at the port, in comments to a local news channel.” – FT

  • At least 100 people are killed and thousands hurt – Daily Mail

Tributes paid to John Hume, former SDLP leader and Nobel peace prize winner

“World leaders have paid tribute to John Hume, the former SDLP leader, Nobel peace prize winner and leading player in the Northern Ireland peace process, who has died aged 83. His death marks the passing of one of the most important Irish political leaders of the 20th century whose ideas of compromise, opposition to violence and cross-community outreach underpinned the principles of the 1998 Good Friday agreement. In a statement on Monday morning, his family confirmed that Hume had died in a nursing home in his native Derry. He had had dementia for many years. “Celebrating community in all its diversity went to the heart of John’s political ethos and we are very appreciative that our communities supported, respected and protected John,” the family’s statement said.” – The Guardian

  • Body arrives at cathedral ahead of his socially distanced funeral tomorrow – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Is it time to disband the Scottish Conservatives? – Minoo Dinshaw, CapX
  • Johnson used to scoff at the puritans… now he’s become one of them – Diane Purkiss, UnHerd
  • Predicted A-level grades could destroy my university dream – Samantha Smith, The Spectator
  • Macron displaying resilience as he embraces his inner conservatism – Walter Ellis, Reaction
  • The problem with juries – Matthew Henderson, 1828