Published:

Johnson condemns President’s incitement to violence

“Boris Johnson broke with President Trump last night saying that he “unreservedly condemned” his incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol. Mr Johnson, once described by the US president as “Britain Trump”, said he was “completely wrong” to cast doubt on Joe Biden’s victory in a “free and fair” election. At a Downing Street press conference, the prime minister portrayed the events in Washington as an aberration against democracy. Mr Johnson, who was born in the US, said: “All my life, America has stood for some very important things — an idea of freedom and an idea of democracy.” In response to a question about Mr Trump’s responsibility for the scenes, the prime minister said: “In so far as he encouraged people to storm the Capitol and in so far as the president consistently has cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election I believe that that was completely wrong.” – The Times

  • Tories urged to suspend politicians who likened US violence to anti-Brexit protests – The Guardian
  • America’s adversaries revel over US Capitol storming – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour confronted on support for left-wing protesters after Trump attack – Daily Express

More:

  • Trump must go or we will impeach, say Democrats – The Times
  • Biden says Capitol siege domestic terrorists were treated too leniently – The Times
  • Trump has told aides he wants to pardon himself, his children, his aides and ‘rappers’ – Daily Mail
  • President condemns ‘mayhem’ and commits to ‘smooth transfer’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Loyal Pence breaks with diehards at last – The Times

>Yesterday:

Fraser Nelson: Trump’s final act was a betrayal of the people who voted for him

“Most of his supporters told pollsters they regard him as personally unfit for office; he’d prove them right quite regularly. But he still posed as their champion, saying he’d advance their interests and upend the Washington consensus. After all his outbursts they stuck with him: right up to – and, this week, beyond – the point of destruction. He told them that the election was stolen, and they believed him. He convened a “Save America” rally, telling crowds to march on the Capitol. “You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” he said, “You have to show strength.” As Joe Biden later said, a president has the power to inspire – or to incite. In choosing the latter course, with lethal consequences, Trump put his vanity before his party and his country – but also before his supporters. They ended up used as fodder for his personal vindication campaign.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson is not Trump’s transatlantic twin – James Forsyth, The Times
  • The President and pandemic combined have made a mockery of supposed Western superiority – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • Traitorous Trump should be ousted now – Lionel Shriver, The Times

>Today:

‘Hundreds of thousands a day’ to get vaccine as Prime Minister promises huge acceleration

“Hundreds of thousands of people a day will be getting coronavirus vaccines next week, the prime minister has promised as the NHS plans a “huge acceleration” in the programme. Boris Johnson said that the country was in a “race against time” to vaccinate as many people as possible, promising that the government was “throwing everything at it, round the clock”. Army logistics chiefs have been brought in to use “battle preparation techniques to help us keep up the pace”, he said. The prime minister has promised to have offered injections to the top four priority groups by February 15, but stopped short yesterday of setting a numerical target for vaccination by this point. He said only that up to 15 million inoculations across the UK were “doable” by the middle of next month.” – The Times

  • Johnson vows everyone in UK will be within 10 miles of vaccination centre – The Sun
  • Government still hopes to reach target of inoculating 14m people despite ‘bumps in the road’ – FT
  • Hancock red-faced after visiting GP surgery for vaccine rollout where delivery doesn’t arrive – The Sun
  • Police could be prioritised for jabs alongside teachers, says Hancock – Daily Telegraph
  • Army ready to deploy 21 ‘jab squads’ – The Sun
  • Sturgeon pledges that all Scots over 80 to be vaccinated within four weeks – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Treasury set to bailout a million small businesses ineligible for previous Covid support

“The Treasury is finally considering a scheme to bailout up to a million small business owners excluded from previous Covid support, The Sun can reveal. A team of Treasury officials are scrutinising a proposal that would see the Government pay up to 80 per cent of lost trading profits of sole directors of limited companies. The Directors Income Support Scheme would pay grants of up to £7,500 to cover three months of lost trading profits and would be limited to those who earn less than £50,000 a year. Initial estimates have put the cost of the scheme between £2-3 billion depending on take-up. A government source insisted there was still no guarantee that the scheme will be introduced as there are still several loopholes to close down to avoid fraud, waste and legal challenges.” – The Sun

Hancock ‘reveals the four things that need to happen’ before lockdown eases

“Matt Hancock today insisted vaccines will mean this is the last national lockdown as he set out four criteria for lifting restrictions. The Health Secretary tried to strike an optimistic tone as he faced questions over the delay in bringing in the brutal curbs to control the mutant Covid strain as he gave evidence to MPs this afternoon. Asked if this would be the ‘last of the lockdowns’ due to the availability of vaccines, he said: ‘I do, yes.’ And he also laid out the elements that will need to fall into place to ease the brutal curbs – that cases and deaths are falling, vaccines are working, and there is no ‘major’ new variant causing trouble. Health committee chair Jeremy Hunt challenged Mr Hancock that by the end of last week it was known that the number of hospital patients was above the first wave, while SAGE had advised that the R number would not stay below one while schools were open.” – Daily Mail

  • MPs call for more transparency over Covid decisions – The Guardian
  • Hospitals ‘will be overwhelmed’ by middle of January – The Times
  • NHS presentation to senior doctors forecasts 2,000-bed shortfall in ‘best-case scenario’ – FT
  • Drivers are turned away from beauty spots while police question parents with pushchairs – Daily Mail
  • Arthritis drug tocilizumab offers new hope for Covid patients – The Times
  • Welsh lockdown is extended for three more weeks – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Johnson’s lockdown rebels have gone quiet, but it won’t be for long – Katy Balls, The Guardian

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: The twelve Conservative MPs who voted against the third lockdown

Ofsted ‘angered’ by Williamson’s claim it will act as enforcer during school lockdown

“Ofsted was blindsided by Gavin Williamson’s request for parents to report schools to the inspectorate if they failed to provide adequate online learning during lockdown, it has been claimed. The Daily Telegraph has been told that Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, has privately expressed frustration at the Education Secretary’s claim that Ofsted would act as an enforcer to ensure pupils are receiving between three and five hours of teaching a day. One insider claimed that the watchdog was “furious” with the language used by Mr Williamson in an update to MPs on Wednesday, in which he stated that mandatory requirements to ensure high quality remote education would be “enforced by Ofsted.” The comments have also provoked a backlash from teaching unions, who have accused ministers of threatening to sanction schools which are trying to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Unions call for review of key worker list amid complaints over soaring school attendance rates – Daily Telegraph

Higher education:

  • Williamson wrong to force universities to abide by antisemitism definition, say lawyers – The Guardian

>Today: Gareth Lyon in Local Government: We need a Public Sector Neutrality Act to rein in politicisation

Race to reach UK before Wednesday for 100,000 Brits abroad

“Grant Shapps today revealed that the diktat forcing travellers to present a negative covid test before travelling to the UK will be imposed ‘next Wednesday or Thursday’ to give 100,000 Britons abroad the chance to get home. The Transport Secretary has said nobody will be able to depart to the UK by plane, train or ferry unless they present a ‘recognised’ test result on check-in along with a valid passport and visa if required. Mr Shapps said that airlines or other travel firms such as Eurostar or P&O would be forced by law to check – and turn back anyone without one. Anyone who slips through will face a £500 on-the-spot fine. It is not clear whether they will then forced into quarantine or prosecuted. Travellers will have to self-isolate for ten days after arrival, regardless of whether they tested negative, to the ire of industry leaders who today declared the plan will further damage Britain’s travel industry with boss of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, warning: ‘Very few people will travel with this in place’.” – Daily Mail

  • Negative coronavirus test needed for all international arrivals… – The Times
  • …or else a £500 fine – Daily Express

Patel bans EU citizens from using ID cards to enter UK

“EU citizens will be banned from using ID cards to enter the UK from October because they are so easy to fake they are being widely used by terrorists, criminals and illegal immigrants to enter the country. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, is using Brexit to change the rules so that EU ID cards can no longer be used as travel documents, and instead visiting EU nationals will have to present passports at UK borders. It comes amid growing concern about the proliferation of fake European IDs, which have been used by jihadis, rapists, thieves and benefit fraudsters. A Home Office source said: “These documents are some of the most insecure and abused documents seen at the border and we know that they are used by organised crime groups.” Thousands have used them to enter the UK, with Italian and Greek documents most susceptible because they are paper-based, more easily forged, and on sale for £800 on the black market.” – Daily Telegraph

‘Gigabit’ broadband rollout under fire from MPs

Shield“The government has been accused of a “litany of failures” in rolling out ‘gigabit’ broadband across the UK by a committee of MPs, which would result in rural internet users suffering slow speeds for years to come. The public accounts committee, which scrutinises whether taxpayers are getting value for money, said the shortcomings of the broadband strategy would “compound and exacerbate” inequalities during the latest lockdown as millions of households have once again become reliant on reliable connectivity at home for online schooling and work. “With the grim announcement that the country and economy will be locked down for months, the government’s promises on digital connectivity are more important than ever,” said Meg Hillier, chair of the public accounts committee.” – FT

  • Government failures ‘will leave thousands of rural homes with slow broadband’ – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • ‘We’re going to have a great summer’: an interview with Matt Hancock – The Spectator
  • Teachers should not be at the front of the vaccine queue – Jonathon Kitson, CapX
  • Trump’s ruinous legacy – Michael Tracy, UnHerd
  • The danger of rewriting history – Marcus Walker, The Critic

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