Sublime, humble and witty to the last: Prince Philip’s funeral saluted a man like no other

“For a man like no other, it was a funeral like no other. From the Land Rover that carried his coffin, to the sounding of Action Stations as he was lowered into the crypt, there was no mistaking the Duke of Edinburgh’s hand in every detail. The one thing he did not anticipate was having to make allowances for a pandemic, but he would have been proud, as ever, of his wife of 73 years as the Queen, a study in stoicism, said her own silent farewell, battling through without anyone by her side. Inside St George’s Chapel the ceremony was stripped down and subdued by the strict lockdown regulations, but outside, on the Duke’s final journey through Windsor Castle, he was allowed a military presence befitting his stature. He was, in the words of the Dean of Windsor, a man of “courage, fortitude and faith”, who enriched lives through challenges that he set and with his personal encouragement, as well as through his “kindness, humour and humanity”. And it was the Duke’s lifetime of military service, both as a battle-hardened sailor and in his ceremonial connections to all branches of the Armed Forces, that dominated proceedings throughout.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Forced to mourn alone, the Queen bids goodbye to her strength and stay – Sunday Times
  • Farewell from Queen and country: Prince Philip’s funeral, told in 24 pictures – Daily Telegraph
  • Sweden tolls a bell for its Knight and Pacific tribe dances for its deity: how the world marked Prince Philip’s funeral – Daily Telegraph
  • Mourners across Britain bow their heads for a minute’s quiet reflection at 3pm – Daily Mail
  • Royal family mix protocol with precautions – Sunday Times
  • Edward and Sophie emerge as the new ambassadors – Sunday Times
  • Philip’s customised Land Rover takes centre stage – Sunday Times
  • Austere yet eloquent: his music choices reflected his ancestry – Sunday Times


Greensill 1) Hunt for Labour’s Downing Street moles: Network of civil servant ‘spies’ are feeding information to Starmer’s team to try to destabilise the Government, senior Tories claim

“A network of Labour Party ‘spies’ is operating at the heart of Whitehall, feeding secret information to Sir Keir Starmer’s team to destabilise the Government, senior Tory sources claim. The moles – Labour-sympathising civil servants – are believed to have played a key role in triggering the lobbying scandal which has allowed Sir Keir’s party to construct a narrative of ‘Tory sleaze’ by leaking details of David Cameron’s contacts with Ministers and officials. They are also suspected of using leaks to try to ‘sabotage’ the Brexit withdrawal negotiations last year, and to provide advance notice to the Labour leader about Government policies in the pipeline – giving him time to structure his responses. The Tory spy-hunters believe a ‘cell’ of Labour supporters, centred on the Cabinet Office, was activated last year after Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s former senior adviser in No 10, declared that a ‘hard rain’ was coming for the Civil Service as part of planned reforms to break up Whitehall’s grip on the establishment.” – Mail on Sunday


  • As we reveal the hunt for a Redthroat mole at the heart of the Government, a Labour insider says: ‘We have been getting very juicy stuff. You’d be surprised where it’s coming from’, Dan Hodges – Mail on Sunday

Greensill 2) Every living PM outside of politics will give evidence to a new anti-corruption inquiry

“Every living Prime Minister who has quit politics will be called to give evidence in public to a major new anti-corruption lobbying inquiry to be announced on Monday. The investigation by MPs on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs committee (PACAC) will be the biggest and most wide ranging public ‘show trial’ into the lobbying of officials and ministers. On Saturday, William Wragg, the chairman of the committee, likened the new investigation (which will hear all evidence in public and is expected to report by the end of July) to a probe by the fictional police anti-corruption unit ‘AC-12’ on the BBC’s hit TV series Line of Duty.  Mr Wragg said: “PACAC may not be the AC12 of Whitehall, nor do we envisage encountering anything quite as exciting as in a television drama. “However, it is at least a sense of duty that motivates our work, just as duty and service motivates the vast majority of those in public life. As ever, we must not let the questionable judgement of a few tarnish all.”” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Greensill claimed he was adviser to Obama after Cameron introduced them – Sunday Times
  • No 10 adviser Eddie Lister owns shares in a firm awarded £1m in government and NHS contracts – Mail on Sunday
  • Greensill-backed finance firm Taulia got lucrative contract with Transport for London while Johnson was Mayor and Lex was a No 10 adviser – Mail on Sunday
  • Cameron’s lobbying emails to the head of NHSX on behalf of Greensill Capital said the company was ‘the UK’s leading fintech firm’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Ex-Labour Minister and Guardian chief Lord Myners faces lobbying questions as its revealed he is chairman of PR giant Edelman and vice chairman of consultancy Global Counsel – Mail on Sunday
  • Tories accuse Starmer ally David Evans of getting £200,000 in taxpayer contracts from the council where his ex-lover was deputy leader – Mail on Sunday
  • ‘Cameron rode the wave of Covid to target the NHS’ – Sunday Times
  • Borneo deal that brought Blair and Greensill together – Sunday Times
  • Now probe Cameron’s £700m China deal: Commons standards chief Bryant calls for sleaze inquiry to investigate suspicion ex-PM lobbied Hammond to back investment fund set up by friend Lord Chadlington – Mail on Sunday
  • Act now on sleaze crisis or lose red wall votes, Boris Johnson warned – The Observer

Greensill 3) William Wragg – Ex-politicians have to earn a living, but we need safeguards against them gaining unfair advantage

“In a week of revelations and excitement prompted by the collapse of Greensill Capital, you could be forgiven for thinking that dodginess is the hallmark of all politicians and civil servants, who are, when both in and out of office, graspingly on the make. Appleby, Hacker and associates, specialising in mutual back scratching: it is sad that this stereotype has been given the opportunity to perpetuate. For the record, I happen to believe that the vast majority of those in public life are in it for the right reasons, which is why episodes such as this need to be properly examined. It is for this reason that the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) will launch an inquiry in the week ahead. At stake are questions about the propriety of governance and the conduct of those in positions of power. Questions about conflicts of interest and ease of access to government by both current and former politicians and officials are also pertinent. Are the codes governing conduct sufficiently clear, applicable and adhered to? How well are they understood by those to whom they apply?” – Sunday Telegraph

More comment:

Coronavirus 1) Only eight countries would make green list for safe travel from May 17, industry modelling suggests

“The USA, Gibraltar, Israel and Iceland will be among only eight countries on the Government’s “green” list for safe travel from May 17, according to modelling for the industry. The analysis, based on the Government’s four “risk” criteria for travel, suggests the only other countries will be Ireland, Malta, and Australia and New Zealand – both of which are currently closed to foreign arrivals. The research, by Robert Boyle, former strategy chief at BA and its owner IAG, confirms government indications that only a handful of “green” countries are likely to be approved for quarantine-free holidays when ministers plan to lift the ban on non-essential foreign travel on May 17. Significantly, nearly all of Europe is either on the amber list, requiring home quarantine of 10 days, or even the red list, where arrivals have to hotel quarantine at a cost of £1,750 per person. Countries that should be red based on the criteria are France, Turkey, Holland, Croatia, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg  – but are unlikely to be classed as such for political and economic reasons.” – Daily Telegraph


Coronavirus 2) Britain could hit 10m second vaccine doses today as UK’s rollout continues at breakneck speed while many EU countries falter on less than 10m first jabs

“Britain is on course to have delivered ten million second doses of the vaccine by the end of today, as the UK’s jab rollout continues at breakneck speed. Ministers are confident they will reach the milestone in protecting the population against Covid, with the ten millionth second jab expected to go into someone’s arm today. The speed of the UK’s vaccine rollout is in contrast to other European countries, many of which have not yet hit ten million first doses. Spain has delivered just nine million doses of the first jab, while Poland has administered six million. Meanwhile France has given 12 million first doses and Italy 10.3 million. In the UK, 32.7 million people – almost half the total population – had received their first jab by Friday evening. And by the same time, some 9,416,968 people across the UK had received their second dose, according to figures released last night. That included 485,421 who received their second dose on Friday – a daily record for giving the ‘top-up’ jab, which provides enhanced and prolonged protection.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Why Britain’s regulator missed the link between the AstraZeneca jab and rare blood clots – Daily Telegraph
  • After developing AstraZeneca vaccine, Jenner Institute sets its sights on beating HIV – Sunday Times
  • Slow-starting Europe coronavirus vaccination drive could catch up with Britain in ‘coming weeks’ – Daily Mail
  • UK cases of Indian variant of coronavirus which scientists fear may evade current vaccines double in a week to 160 – Mail on Sunday


  • Covid-19: Lockdown bought us this freedom. Now focus on vaccinating the young – Sunday Times

Coronavirus 3) More than 1,000 vicars vow to defy any vaccine passport plans for churches

“More than 1,000 vicars have indicated they will defy vaccine passport rules if they are implemented in churches, describing them as a “fundamental betrayal” of Christian belief. In an open letter to the Prime Minister concerning vaccine passport proposals, the church leaders said: “To deny people entry to hear this life-giving message and to receive this life-giving ministry would be a fundamental betrayal of Christ and the Gospel. “Sincere Christian churches and organisations could not do this, and as Christian leaders we would be compelled to resist any such Act of Parliament vigorously.” “For the Church of Jesus Christ to shut out those deemed by the state to be social undesirables would be anathema to us and a denial of the truth of the Gospel,” it added. The letter, which is signed by a mix of vicars, reverends, pastors and elders from a range of Christian denominations, also said: “There is also a legitimate fear that this scheme would be the thin end of the wedge leading to a permanent state of affairs in which Covid vaccine status could be expanded to encompass other forms of medical treatment and perhaps even other criteria beyond that.” – Daily Telegraph

EU-UK relations 1) Exclusive: Northern Ireland faces medicine shortages ‘unless Brexit rules are changed’

“Vital medicine supplies to Northern Ireland will be disrupted unless Boris Johnson changes the way the province is treated under the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union, the Democratic Unionist Party is warning. The comments come after face-to-face talks between Lord Frost, the Cabinet minister in charge of Brexit, and his EU counterpart, vice president Maros Šefčovič, on the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol ended without agreement last week. Last month the UK delayed the implementation of some new sea border processes without EU agreement, prompting the EU to take legal action. The UK sent the EU a plan for implementing the protocol which set out areas where the two sides could work together but does not include dates for when the problematic parts of the protocol – the Northern Ireland part of the Brexit deal – will be in place. Writing on the Telegraph website, Lord Dodds of Duncairn warns the Prime Minister that without reform to the protocol, medical supplies to Northern Ireland will be thrown into turmoil.” – Sunday Telegraph

EU-UK relations 2) Shellfish war between Britain and the EU nears a resolution as fishermen are given green light to export catches to Continent after UK seas are ‘upgraded’

“The ‘shellfish war’ between the UK and the EU moved closer to a resolution last night after fishermen around the country were given the green light to export their catches to the continent. No 10 was left furious earlier this year when the EU suddenly announced a ban on the export of live mussels, oysters, clams and cockles in what was viewed as an act of revenge for Brexit. The European Commission said it would not accept crustaceans fished from Britain’s so-called Class-B waters – which account for the vast majority of the produce – on the grounds of ‘purity’, despite Ministers being able to point to correspondence in which Brussels assured the UK that the exports would be allowed if accompanied by the right health certificate. But now, in a review, the independent Food Standards Agency has upgraded the waters off Kent, Essex, Devon, Cornwall and Northumberland to Class A.” – Mail on Sunday

Thousands of ‘Kill the Bill’ protesters take to the streets of London, Brighton, Newcastle, Sheffield and Bristol

“Thousands of Kill the Bill protesters who have taken to the streets of London this afternoon have been accused of ‘disrespect’ towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral. Placard-waving protesters have marched through the capital in another day of protests against the Government’s new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill. Similar rallies are taking place across the UK in the likes of Brighton, Newcastle, Sheffield and Bristol. It comes despite pleas from police on a significant day for the nation as Prince Philip is laid to rest in Windsor. One protestor said on Twitter ahead of the march: ‘On my way to Kill the Bill demo in London. ‘May as well protest while I can. Use it or lose it!’ The action has angered some who believed it should have been postponed until tomorrow in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh, who died aged 99. One said: ‘Do these always offended socks have no respect at all. On the day of Prince Philip’s funeral, of all days.’ Another added: ‘The same fruit loops who won’t wear masks, complain that there is coverage of Prince Philip, complain about lockdown, moan about furlough and protest at every march blm, kill the bill, etc etc just woke troublemakers.” – Daily Mail

Tories’ Andy Street on course to win West Midlands for Boris Johnson in ‘red wall’ mayoral contest, poll shows

“The Tories’ Andy Street is on course to regain the West Midlands for Boris Johnson in a major blow to Keir Starmer’s efforts to erode the Conservatives’ “red wall” powerbase outside London. An exclusive poll shows Mr Street is four points ahead of former Labour Cabinet minister LIam Byrne in the race to be mayor of the West Midlands even when second preference votes from “left-wing” parties are taken into account. The survey of 1,000 adults by pollster Find out Now and election experts Electoral Calculus shows Mr Street is seven points ahead on the first poll, by 52 pr cent to 45 per cent. When second preference votes from the LIbDems Jenny Wilkinson, Greens Steve Caudwell and a local independent candidate Ashvir Sangha, Mr Street is still ahead 52 per cent to 48 per cent.” – Sunday Telegraph

Czech police hunt two men with names matching Skripal suspects

“Czech police have said they are seeking two Russian men in connection with a 2014 blast that killed two people. The men, they said, hold passports used by the suspects in the attempted poisoning of Sergei Skripal. The names match those used by the two men accused of poisoning Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the Soviet-era nerve agent novichok in the English city of Salisbury in 2018. Russia denied involvement in the poisoning, but about 300 diplomats were sent home in subsequent tit-for-tat expulsions. “The two men were present on Czech territory in … October 2014,” when the Vrbetice blast occurred, the Czech organised crime squad said on Saturday, adding that they also used Tajik and Moldovan identities. The Czech government had earlier said it was expelling 18 Russian diplomats identified by local intelligence as secret agents of the Russian SVR and GRU services that are suspected of involvement in a 2014 explosion.” – The Observer


Jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny could die at any minute, doctors warn

“Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny risks cardiac arrest at “any minute” as his health has rapidly deteriorated, doctors warned Saturday, urging immediate access to Russia’s most famous prisoner. On 31 March, Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent went on hunger strike to demand proper medical treatment for back pain and numbness in his legs and hands. On Saturday, Joe Biden added his voice to a growing international chorus of protest at the treatment of the activist, describing his situation as “totally unfair”. Navalny, 44, was imprisoned in February and is serving two-and-a-half years on old embezzlement charges in a penal colony in the town of Pokrov about 100km (60 miles) east of Moscow. Navalny’s personal doctor Anastasia Vasilyeva and three more doctors, including cardiologist Yaroslav Ashikhmin, have asked prison officials to grant them immediate access.” – The Observer

London council is set to become the first to scrap green roads

“A London council is set to become the first to scrap green roads after a review found they increased traffic jams, caused more pollution and delayed the emergency services. Following the review, Harrow Council announced it will rip up three cycle lanes and scrap four low-traffic neighbourhood schemes, The Telegraph reports. A report, issued by the council’s traffic and road safety advisory panel, revealed a large number of residents were opposed to the road changes and supported their removal. When asked what they thought of the Honeypot Lane cycle path in Queensbury more 90 per cent of respondents would like it to be removed. Similar figures were seen for the other schemes in the local area, with 83 per cent calling for the removal of the scheme on Sheepcote Road. Others, a whopping 87 per cent, also called for the removal of the cycle lane on Uxbridge Road.” – Daily Mail

News in brief: