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Vaccines 1) Setback for UK’s Covid vaccine rollout

“Under-50s will have to wait longer for their coronavirus jab after the NHS warned last night of a four-week supply drought. Vaccine centres were told to halt any booking of new appointments for next month after NHS England said that it had been abruptly told of a “significant reduction” in supplies. Very few people will receive their first doses next month after what is understood to have been a fall in provision from AstraZeneca. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said that the country was still “on track” to hit vaccination targets to take England out of lockdown as he sought to play down the significance of supply problems.” – The Times

  • Riddle as Downing Street blame ‘production issues’ but AstraZeneca claim there are no hold-ups – Daily Mail
  • Shortage to paralyse British rollout – Daily Telegraph
  • Roadmap out of lockdown still ‘on course’, says Jenrick – The Sun

>Yesterday: Jonathan Werran in Think Tanks: Why Oxford should be a focal point for post-pandemic and post-Brexit growth

Vaccines 2) Cummings brands Health department a ‘disaster’ that couldn’t be trusted to run jabs programme

“Dominic Cummings has attacked the Department of Health as an “absolute total disaster” and “smoking ruin” at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting it could not be trusted to run the vaccine programme. The Prime Minister’s former chief adviser on Wednesday told MPs that when the nation emerges from lockdown, there should be an “urgent and very, very hard look in this building [Parliament] into what went wrong and why in 2020”. Giving evidence to the Commons science and technology committee, the maverick ex-aide launched an oblique assault on Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, over his department’s performance in the early phase of the coronavirus crisis.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He reveals science deal convinced him to work for Johnson – FT

More:

  • NHS chiefs fear collision course with ministers over Covid backlog – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Commons sketch: Cummings explains why it is safer to be a gambler than a bureaucrat

Vaccines 3) EU is acting like a dictatorship over vaccine supply, says Raab

“The foreign secretary has suggested that the EU is acting like a dictatorship after it threatened to use emergency powers to grab “Europe’s fair share” of vaccines from Britain. Dominic Raab accused the European Commission of the kind of brinkmanship associated with undemocratic countries after it threatened to block the export of vaccines to the UK. Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said she was no longer prepared for vaccines made in the EU to be exported to Britain while Europe faced shortages of critical medicines. To ensure supplies, she warned that Brussels was ready to trigger an emergency treaty clause allowing the commission to confiscate production plants and tear up patent controls.” – The Times

  • Von der Leyen threatens to block Covid vaccine exports – Daily Telegraph
  • Civil servants rebuked for leak of Raab remarks on trade and human rights – The Guardian
  • Government eyeing vaccine passports to open up economy and travel – The Sun

Comment:

  • Merkel’s legacy has been left in tatters – Daniel Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Foreign Secretary accuses Brussels of attempting to erect border down Irish Sea

“The United States must be “equally robust” with the EU when it threatens to compromise the Northern Ireland peace process as it is with Britain, Dominic Raab has said. In a conversation with US senators and journalists, the Foreign Secretary accused Brussels of attempting to erect a border down the Irish Sea and called on US congressmen to hold the EU to account for its “overt threat” to the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement. “Our argument has always been that it has been the EU, by trying to erect a barrier down the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, that is the one challenging both the Northern Ireland Protocol and the Good Friday Agreement,” Mr Raab told the Aspen Security Forum, an annual US foreign policy conference.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Martin tells Biden UK and EU must ‘stand by’ Brexit trade rules – FT
  • President ‘will not take sides’ in Britain’s row with Brussels – The Sun

More:

  • Would you hop on a floating tube to Ireland? – Daily Mail

Defence review draws ire from Moscow and Beijing

“Britain’s adversaries hit out at its defence review yesterday, describing it as a “threat to world peace”. The 100-page report on the UK’s defence, security and foreign policy included a plan to lift the overall cap on the number of nuclear warheads by 40 per cent to 260. It also identified China as a foreign policy threat. China, Russia and Iran all criticised the new strategy, including the reversal of plans to reduce Britain’s stockpile of nuclear weapons by the mid-2020s. The review defined China as the “biggest state-based threat” to the UK’s economic security. In response, Beijing accused Britain of “toadying” to the US. An editorial in the Global Times, a Chinese state-owned newspaper, argued that the “immature” policy “originated from London’s fantasy of reviving its past glory as a world superpower”.” – The Times

  • North Korean defector hopes to make history by winning Tory ballot in UK local elections – Daily Express

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: The Integrated Review’s tilt to Asia could leave us vulnerable closer to home – and Putin

>Yesterday: Alexander Downer in Comment: A truth runs through this Integrated Review – that foreign policy can no longer exist in isolation.

Asylum seekers ‘could be removed from Britain while their claims are processed’

“Foreigners who enter Britain illegally on boats and lorries before seeking asylum could be removed from the country to have their claims processed abroad under Home Office plans. The Telegraph understands that policy principle, which would be a major departure from the current setup, will be included in a consultation due imminently to be published. If adopted it would mean that thousands of people who cross the English Channel illegally each year would be removed first from the UK before being allowed to seek asylum. Currently people who arrive in Britain via such means are put in Government-owned council houses and army barracks or hotel rooms as their claims are processed.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Biggest overhaul of the asylum and immigration system for a generation – The Times

More Home Office:

  • Misogyny will now be recorded as a hate crime – Daily Mail

Johnson vows to stop investing money in dirty fossil fuels overseas

“Boris Johnson has pledged to end investment and promotion of dirty fossil fuels overseas as he vowed to make battling climate change his “number one international priority”. The PM committed to ditching taxpayer support for polluting fossil fuel as quickly as possible as part of his green goals. Ministers hope to ditch the cash before Britain hosts the influential COP26 climate summit in November. In the last four years, the government supported £21 billion of UK oil and gas exports through trade promotion and export finance. But oil and gas will remain an “important part” of the UK’s energy strategy while the country transitions to cleaner resources.” – The Sun

  • UK halfway to hitting its carbon neutral target by 2050 – The Times

Comment:

  • Prime Minister made a catastrophic error by pledging to return aid spending to 0.7 per cent – Ian Birrell, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: How having the 0.7 per cent aid commitment in law is haunting the Government

Plans for Britain’s first deep coal mine in 30 years are set to be ditched

“Controversial plans to dig Britain’s first new coal mine for 30 years look set to be ditched by the Government. There are ‘very compelling reasons’ to block the application for the mine on the Cumbrian coast, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said yesterday. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick had said a public inquiry would examine the application for the deep mine near Whitehaven. Mr Kwarteng was asked why he was not stopping the development, which would extract 2.7million tonnes of coal a year from the seabed for steel production… The apparent rejection was welcomed by environmentalists who said opening a coal mine was wrong when the UK is holding the UN Cop26 climate summit this year.” – Daily Mail

  • Thousands of rough sleepers will be offered shelter – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Never mind a coal mine – housing is where Jenrick’s planning power really lies. And he can use it to build, build, build.

>Yesterday: James Wild in Comment: Ministers need to be clear about what ending rough sleeping will mean in practice.

Allister Heath: The Tories have abandoned Sadiq Khan’s London to a doom-spiral of permanent decline

“The usual checks and balances of democracy have broken down. The worse mayor Sadiq Khan’s record, the higher his support, partly because the Government has repeatedly bailed him out, starting long before Covid with his incompetent management of Crossrail. The reality is that while the Tories will happily take your tax money, they won’t lift a finger to help you. They prefer to help Khan: refusing to criticise the Met Police’s deplorable performance, which the mayor is ultimately responsible for; handing over billions for Transport for London, chaired by the mayor, without seizing genuine control; and promoting Low Traffic Neighborhoods and anti-car measures that infuriate Tory voters. Covid should have been a chance to force an insolvent London mayoralty into special measures, and engineer a renegotiation of the dysfunctional devolution settlement; instead, Labour has been handed victory on a plate.” – Daily Telegraph

Commons claims just ‘the latest instalment’ in Salmond’s ‘conspiracy theory’, Sturgeon says

“Messages between senior SNP figures which a former Tory minister claimed point to a criminal plot against Alex Salmond have been dismissed as “the latest instalment” in “a conspiracy theory” by Nicola Sturgeon. The First Minister said she strongly refuted “suggestions and insinuations” put forward by David Davis in the Commons on Tuesday, when he used parliamentary privilege to read out exchanges he said showed a “very strong prima facie case” of a “criminal conspiracy” against Mr Salmond. She also backed her top aide, Liz Lloyd, after the former Brexit Secretary read out messages which he said showed she had sought to interfere in a civil service harassment probe against Mr Salmond two months before Ms Sturgeon claims she knew her predecessor was being investigated.” – Daily Telegraph

  • First Minister rejects Davis claims of SNP aide meddling in Salmond case – FT
  • Woman rebuts claims Sturgeon’s aide ‘interfered’ in Salmond complaint – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Davis delivers yet more evidence of shady behaviour by the SNP – but will it matter?

News in Brief:

  • The rout of the Covid conspiracy theorists – James Bloodworth, CapX
  • The EU’s jab snatching ruse is legally absurd – Steven Barrett, The Spectator
  • Does Britain need more nukes? – Graham Stewart, The Critic
  • How celebrities became irrelevant – Kat Rosenfeld, UnHerd