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Wallace tells EU leaders to ‘grow up’ after threat to vaccines

“A cabinet minister has suggested that EU leaders should be more “grown up” as Britain urged Brussels to step back from a full-scale vaccine war. Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, warned the EU that “the world is watching” after it doubled down on its threat to stop AstraZeneca from exporting jabs to Britain if the company did not meet its obligations to them. Wallace accused the bloc of trying to “balkanise or build walls” around vaccine supplies and said that the EU would “damage its reputation globally” if it went ahead with its threats. Boris Johnson will phone EU leaders early this week to urge them to abandon the idea of imposing a blockade on vaccines manufactured in Europe.” – The Times

  • Johnson will telephone his European counterparts this week to discourage export bans – Daily Telegraph
  • Member States urging Brussels to back down – Daily Express
  • EU export ban would delay UK Covid vaccine drive by two months – The Guardian
  • Trust in AstraZeneca’s Covid jab falls across the EU – Daily Mail

More:

  • Britain and EU close to agreeing forum for financial services – FT
  • Sunak delays decision on online sales tax until autumn amid hope of global tax reform – Daily Mail

>Today: Neil O’Brien’s column: The view that manufacturing is a relic of the past is itself a relic of the past

Nick Timothy: Europe’s disastrous vaccine rollout shows it to be a dangerous neighbour

“Failure followed failure as the Europeans lashed out. Under mounting pressure, German officials briefed the media that the AstraZeneca vaccine did not work, Emmanuel Macron called it “quasi-ineffective”, and 13 member states suspended its use over the risk – dismissed by regulators including the European Medicines Agency – that it might cause blood clots. Meanwhile, the EU has threatened to ban vaccine exports and sue AstraZeneca for not providing enough vaccines, while Italy has seized shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine bound for Australia. The confusing chronology of all these events demonstrates the chaos: Europe has managed to demand more jabs of a vaccine it says does not work, threaten a company whose products it says it does not want, and block exports of something it says it will not use.” – Daily Telegraph

  • We’re on the moral high ground in the EU vaccine fiasco, so please let’s stay there – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

Editorial:

  • Causing an international row is reckless and short-sighted – The Times

>Yesterday:

Warship to be sent to Gibraltar as Armed Forces face troops cut

“A Royal Navy warship will patrol from Gibraltar for the first time as part of a defence review designed to increase Britain’s influence across the globe. The announcement will be set out before Parliament in Monday’s Command Paper, titled Defence in a Competitive Age, which is also expected to include plans to reduce the Army by 10,000 troops over the next decade. That cut has been criticised by military experts and senior Tory MPs, who have warned that innovation must not be prioritised at the expense of “boots on the ground”. The Command Paper follows the publication of the Integrated Review last week, which set out the Government’s strategy on defence, security and foreign policy for the next 10 years and how it intends to fight “future wars” with a focus on cyber conflict, space and robotics.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Review that cuts size of army leaves Britain at risk, says ex‑forces chief – The Times
  • Defence cuts show gulf between ambition and action, says Labour – The Guardian

More:

  • Ministry of Defence academy hit by major cyber attack by ‘foreign power’ – The Sun
  • UK nuclear warhead increase prompted by Russia’s missile defence capability – FT
  • Wallace says Britain must honour Iran debt linked to Zaghari-Ratcliffe case – The Times

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Wallace – “We haven’t been soft on China”

Ministers in ‘straight fight’ over genocide amendment to Trade Bill

“Conservative rebels are in a “straight fight” with whips over a handful of Tory MPs who could inflict a major defeat on the Government over the Trade Bill. Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary, is poised to become the highest profile rebel to switch sides in the knife-edge vote on a genocide amendment to the Trade Bill. After weeks of toing and froing over the amendment, between the rebels led by Sir Iain Duncan Smith and the whips, the measure will be put to vote on Monday. If the Government loses and has to accept the amendment it will force ministers to justify to Parliament why it has signed trade deals with genocidal regimes. A panel of former judges will decide whether a country has committed genocide.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Kate Ferguson in Comment: This new genocide amendment puts Parliament at its centre. Which is why it should be supported.

Officers suffer broken bones during clashes at ‘kill the bill’ protest over police powers

“The Home Secretary has condemned “thuggery and disorder” in Bristol after officers sustained broken bones during violent clashes with demonstrators opposing the new policing bill. Rioters attempted to storm a police station in the centre of the city in a lockdown protest against plans to give officers more powers. Police officers suffered broken bones, while fireworks and missiles were thrown at them by masked demonstrators. Protesters smashed the windows of New Bridewell police station in the centre of Bristol and set fire to marked police vans amid violent clashes. One senior police officer branded the protesters a “mob of animals” while the head of the Police federation decried the protest as “mindless violence”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Home Secretary attacks ‘thuggery’ after police vans set alight – The Times
  • Call for law to protect civil servants who leak official secrets – The Times

Comment:

  • Student puritans play into the Tories’ hands – Trevor Phillips, The Times

>Today: Local Government: Police and Crime Commissioner elections could prove tricky for Starmer

Society has a duty to defend figures who are bullied by ‘online mob’, says Fox

“Free speech will be put in peril unless society speaks up to defend figures like JK Rowling who are ‘bullied by the online mob’, Liam Fox warns today. The former cabinet minister says new technology poses risks to free speech that must be addressed by government and wider society. In an address to the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Fox will point out how the Harry Potter author was abused by trans activists after speaking out in favour of women’s rights. ‘The sinister part was that it was not a counter-attack or riposte to the views she had posted but an attempt to delegitimise her and thus her intervention,’ he will say.” – Daily Mail

The Telegraph steps up its campaign against the Coronavirus Act as a Commons vote looms

“Dozens of Tory MPs are set to rebel over Covid-19 rules as they vow to vote against the Government’s “disproportionate and wholly unnecessary” extension of coronavirus powers. Steve Baker, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group, said he expected to vote “squarely against” the motions on Thursday, where Parliament will vote on the continuation of the provisions contained in the Coronavirus Act. The temporary provisions, which need to be renewed every six months, are believed by the Government to be necessary to provide the powers  to be able to continue to respond to the pandemic. However, Mr Baker said he believed the legislation was “excessive and disproportionate” and “should go now.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK aid budget cut unlawful, legal advice to Tory rebels says – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Would an earlier lockdown really have saved tens of thousands of lives? – Raghib Ali, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • Emergency powers should not exist for a day longer than is necessary – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “People will be right to ask why the Government is still seeking to hang on to these powers”, says Baker

Refugees will be offered path to immediate asylum, says Patel

“Refugees who arrive in Britain through a new legal route will be allowed to stay permanently as part of plans to clamp down on illegal immigration. Priti Patel, the home secretary, will announce a new scheme for individuals fleeing war or persecution and those granted asylum will be given immediate leave to remain. At present refugees who are resettled in Britain must stay in the country for five years before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain. The new arrangement is intended to give refugees the stability to rebuild their lives in the UK and will be accompanied by £14 million to help them to integrate. Plans for the “safe and legal resettlement route” are designed to encourage asylum seekers to apply through legal routes instead of making perilous journeys in boats or in the back of lorries.” – The Times

  • Deported criminals who sneak back into Britain face up to five years in jail – Daily Telegraph

Whitehall set to run ‘corrupt’ Liverpool city council

“Ministers are poised to take over the running of Liverpool in response to widespread allegations of corruption surrounding the city council. Robert Jenrick is considering sending in commissioners to take control of the day-to-day running of the authority as a property development scandal unfolds. The local government secretary has received a report from inspectors about whether Liverpool city council represents best value to the taxpayer and will make an announcement this week on what measures will be taken. The unprecedented move would see officials sent to assume control of the local authority. The report was commissioned in December after Joe Anderson, the Labour mayor, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit misconduct.” – The Times

  • Labour says Cameron must explain Covid aid lobbying – The Times

Parliament: Red wall MPs call for rethink of restoration…

“Tory red wall MPs have urged a rethink on the scale of the multi-billion pound refurbishment of Parliament. In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, the six MPs say costs could be reduced by restoring the Speaker’s House as an alternative to spending more money on developing a business case for the bigger scheme. They argue that restoring the House, rebuilt by Charles Barry after the burning of Parliament in 1834, could provide a testbed for the developing a business case for the bigger renovation of Parliament. It follows a warning a week ago by Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has that costs of refurbishing the Houses of Parliament could spiral to £20 billion – five times original estimates.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK faces ‘colossal’ task to modify homes under green plans, MPs warn – FT
  • Westminster repairs – Letters, Daily Telegraph

…as hereditary peers face fresh calls for abolition

“MPs have blasted expenses of dozens of hereditary peers amid fresh calls for the system to be abolished. Fuming politicians lashed out at revelations the members, whose titles pass down through the generations, cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. The bill comes to more than that for the life peers yet they show up even less. Lord Palmer has claimed £216,673 since 2016 and voted just 58 times, while the Earl of Glasgow claimed £212,144 despite speaking in Parliament just 19 times. Of 85 current hereditary peers in the Lords, all are white males and around half went to Eton. At least four more hereditary peer “elections” are expected in the coming months, but have been put on pause due to Covid.” – The Sun

Sturgeon under pressure over alleged treatment of women when she was Salmond’s deputy

“Nicola Sturgeon helped “cover up” Alex Salmond’s alleged behaviour to prevent the independence campaign being damaged before the 2014 referendum, it has been claimed ahead of an inquiry being published over whether she broke the ministerial code. Prof Adam Tomkins, a Scottish Tory MSP, poured scorn on Ms Sturgeon’s claim she had not heard any concerns before Nov 2017 after it emerged a Holyrood committee had heard evidence that concerns were an open secret when Mr Salmond was First Minister and she was his deputy. Ms Sturgeon told the committee she has “no general concerns at the time about Scottish government culture from 2008-14, and certainly not about sexual harassment.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • First Minister is accused of ‘arrogance and pettiness’ and indulging in ‘excessive secrecy and resentment of others’ – Daily Mail

More:

  • Union Jack to be flown on government buildings every day of the year – The Sun
  • Wales sets up its own Erasmus programme – The Guardian

Comment:

  • A diminished First Minister is all Johnson needs – Alex Massie, The Times

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