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Prime Minister joins world leaders in call for pandemic treaty

“The world needs a global settlement like that forged after the Second World War to protect countries in the wake of Covid, Boris Johnson and other world leaders have said. Writing for The Telegraph on Tuesday, Mr Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the virus pandemic had been “a stark and painful reminder that nobody is safe until everyone is safe”. Amid growing international tension over vaccine supplies, they called for an end to isolationism and nationalism in favour of a new era of solidarity. The call by 24 world leaders alongside Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief, is made in The Telegraph and newspapers across the world including Le Monde in France, El Pais in Spain and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Germany.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson urged to push his coalition against China to top of G7 agenda – The Sun

Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron et al: No government can address the threat of pandemics alone

“The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge to the global community since the 1940s. At that time, following the devastation of two world wars, political leaders came together to forge the multilateral system. The aims were clear – to bring countries together, to dispel the temptations of isolationism and nationalism and to address the challenges that could only be achieved together in the spirit of solidarity and co-operation, namely peace, prosperity, health and security. Today we hold the same hope that, as we fight to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic together, we can build a more robust international health architecture that will protect future generations. There will be other pandemics and other major health emergencies. No single government or multilateral agency can address this threat alone.” – Daily Telegraph

  • China’s aggressive strategy of divide and rule is a historic miscalculation – William Hague, Daily Telegraph

Prime Minister hails ‘small step to freedom’ but urges caution as lockdown eases

“Boris Johnson has hailed Monday’s easing of the lockdown in England as “a small step to freedom”, but warned that a new wave of the virus could hit the UK from abroad, overwhelming its defences. Johnson is considering a “traffic light” system for foreign travel, but ministers have struck a cautious note and have given no firm dates as to when overseas summer holidays might be allowed again. The prime minister told a Downing Street press conference that the country had to “proceed with caution”, even as people in England were allowed to resume outdoor sports and meet family and friends in parks and gardens.” – FT

  • Britain’s ‘wall of vaccination’ against Covid is ‘leaky’, warns Whitty – Daily Mail
  • We’re on track to reopen shops and pubs – The Times
  • Forty MPs call on Boris Johnson to ease travel curbs and bring back foreign holidays – Daily Mail

>Today: Ryan Bourne’s column: We can never be certain of the costs and benefits of lockdowns

Britain seeks Covid vaccine security by making Novavax doses

“Almost 60 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine shown to be effective against the South African variant will be made and packaged in Britain. Boris Johnson called the Novavax jab a “significant new weapon in our armoury against Covid” as ministers plan autumn booster jabs for older people to prevent a damaging surge next winter. The vaccine is already being made on Teesside and Johnson announced that Britain’s largest pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, has agreed to finish and bottle it at its Barnard Castle plant in County Durham. As negotiations continue with the EU over allocations of Dutch-made doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, ministers are keen to ensure that as much as possible is made in Britain to ensure security of supply.” – The Times

More:

  • Covid contact app team NHSX now creating vaccine passports – The Times

Cameron ‘cleared of breaking lobbying rules’

“David Cameron has been cleared of breaking lobbying rules after asking ministers to grant Covid loans to a company he worked for. The former PM, 54, texted the Chancellor’s private phone asking for support for finance business Greensill Capital. He also allegedly spoke to the Bank of England. Directly lobbying ministers without being registered is an offence. His activities were investigated by the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists – a post set up in legislation passed by Mr Cameron’s Government in 2014. “Based on detailed information and assurances provided, Mr Cameron’s activities do not fall within the criteria that require registration on the Register of Consultant Lobbyists,” the watchdog’s decision said.” – The Sun

  • He ‘blocked rule change’ that might have prevented him lobbying for Greensill – The Guardian

Ministers’ use of secret ‘Mission Impossible’ texting app faces courtroom showdown

“Boris Johnson’s alleged use of an ultra-secretive messaging app that destroys texts after sending faces a courtroom challenge. Last year The Sun revealed the PM had joined Signal, the most secure digital communication app on the open market, alongside a host of other ministers and officials. It gives users the option of being able to self-destruct their messages within a set period of time, from a week down to just five seconds. Disappearing messages are liked by senior Government figures because they help limit leaks. But transparency campaigners fear it is a loophole to avoid scrutiny from Freedom of Information laws and are threatening legal action.” – The Sun

  • Arcuri pursuing ‘vendetta’, say friends of Johnson – Daily Telegraph

BAME is unhelpful as it fails to include white minorities, says Government

“The Government does not use the term BAME because it fails to include people from white minority and mixed ethnic backgrounds, Downing Street has said. Number 10 on Monday appeared to give its backing to calls for the term, an acronym for black, Asian and minority ethnic, to be dropped by public bodies as it fails to account for certain groups. It comes after The Telegraph revealed that the racial disparities commission set up by Boris Johnson last year had recommended scrapping the label because it had become “unhelpful and redundant”. The body, set up by Mr Johnson last July in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests, is concerned that the catch-all term fails to differentiate between the experiences of Britain’s numerous ethnic groups.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Race review chief reveals his schools plan to help white working-class boys – The Times
  • Lammy hits back at caller after she told him ‘you will never be English’ – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • It’s meaningless, especially for mixed-race Britons like myself – Calvin Robinson, Daily Telegraph

Education Secretary urges abuse victims to report their experiences…

“England’s education secretary has urged school pupils who are victims of sexual abuse to come forward to report their experiences, after thousands of young people published testimonies of “rape culture” at the hands of their peers in an online campaign. Writing on Twitter about “shocking and abhorrent” allegations made in recent days, Gavin Williamson said on Monday evening that “no school . . . should ever be an environment where young people feel unsafe, let alone somewhere that sexual abuse can take place”. The intervention follows the rapid growth of Everyone’s Invited, an online platform on which more than 9,000 people have reported incidents of sexual assault, harassment, violence and misogyny in education since June.” – FT

  • Call for urgent Ofsted inquiry into allegations of school sexual abuse – The Guardian
  • Former law chief says Britain could ‘live to regret’ rush to criminalise schoolboys – Daily Mail

…as Labour says ministers dropped the ball on sexual violence in schools

“Sexual violence is endemic in schools and the government must launch an inquiry to establish how widespread it is, the shadow minister for domestic violence has said. Jess Phillips said the issue had been pointed out to the government five years ago, it had been a “problem for a very long time” and ministers had “dropped the ball”. She told Times Radio: “We need to have proper safeguarding responsibly monitored by Ofsted and it needs to be written into the statute that schools have to prevent sexual violence.” On Monday the Conservative MP Maria Miller called for an urgent Ofsted inquiry into allegations of school sexual abuse as part of a “deep dive” investigation to establish why complaints by pupils of rape, harassment and assault are not being taken seriously.” – The Guardian

  • Today’s teenage boys need to be shown a positive vision of masculinity – Robert Taylor, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Schools and abuse. Do we really want to repeat the disaster of the Child Abuse Inquiry?

Foreign aid must be cut by two thirds to meet target

“The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, will need to reduce Britain’s unilateral foreign aid budget by two thirds to meet the government’s new spending target, analysis reveals. Ministers have repeatedly refused to publish plans for how they intend to make the savings necessary as part of the government’s proposals to cut aid spending from 0.7 per cent of gross national income to 0.5 per cent. A study of current spending by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office reveals that the cuts will have to fall most heavily on UK charities supported by the government and directly-funded UK aid projects. Under plans announced by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, UK aid will fall from £15 billion in 2019 to £10 billion this year because of a shrinking economy and reducing the 0.7 per cent target.” – The Times

Starmer urged to condemn candidates who criticised police over Bristol protests

“Sir Keir Starmer has been urged to condemn Labour politicians who criticised police for “excessive force” in dealing with illegal Kill the Bill protests in Bristol. A group of 16 Labour candidates for the forthcoming city council elections put their names to an open letter condemning “chilling” scenes of police using “excessive force” against protesters demonstrating against the Government’s new criminal justice Bill. Their letter was in stark contrast to a defence of police and the tactics used to clear people staging sit-down protests on Tuesday and Friday by Marvin Rees, the Labour Mayor of Bristol. He said: “Avon and Somerset Police in Bristol have shown they are capable of managing protests well and with sensitivity and have developed a strong culture of working with our communities.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour frontbencher under fire after calling business people ‘the enemy’ – The Sun
  • Opposition names Joanne Anderson as Liverpool mayor candidate – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Buckland gears up for a stealth raid on judicial power – and the Labour legacy that boosted it

Sturgeon takes swipe at Salmond at Scottish campaign ‘conference’

“Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon on Monday took a thinly veiled swipe at her former mentor and new election rival Alex Salmond, saying she would not indulge those who put “self-interest” above country. Salmond’s dramatic return to frontline politics last week opened a new chapter in the bitter rift between him and Sturgeon, his former protégée and successor as Scottish National party leader and first minister. Salmond’s launch of his new Alba party also seriously complicated the SNP’s campaign strategy ahead of May 6 Scottish parliamentary elections that Sturgeon hopes will provide a platform to push for a second referendum on leaving the UK. In her speech to an online SNP “campaign conference” on Monday, Sturgeon did not mention Salmond by name, but said coronavirus had changed how she felt about politics.” – FT

  • Hospitality bosses hit out at £680,000 taxpayer subsidy for politicians’ pandemic catering – Daily Telegraph

Unionist legal challenge over Northern Ireland Protocol set for High Court hearing

“A legal challenge by unionists against the Government over the Northern Ireland Protocol looks set to end up in the High Court after ministers dropped their opposition to the case being heard. The judicial review, which is being pursued by the leaders of the three main unionist parties in Northern Ireland and Lord Trimble, one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement, is now expected to be heard between May 13-18. The group, which includes Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland’s First Minister, are seeking to challenge the legality of the post-Brexit trading arrangements which were set up to reflect the province’s dual status of being in the UK internal market while continuing to apply many EU rules. The protocol has been blamed for fuelling trade disruption for businesses and consumers in Northern Ireland, with Boris Johnson now facing calls from prominent unionists for it to be overhauled.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • The Guardian’s careless use of data is dangerously unhelpful on racism in schools – Tom Chivers, UnHerd
  • Salmond’s new party could be a two-edged sword – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Sturgeon reinvents herself as a social democrat. Again. – Stephen Daisley, The Spectator
  • Filling n the gaps in an official guide to Scottish history – Minoo Dinsahw, The Critic