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Don’t fly over Belarus after ‘hijacking’, Raab tells UK airlines

“Dominic Raab ordered British airlines last night not to fly over Belarus as he condemned Minsk’s “outlandish” operation to arrest a dissident by forcing a Ryanair plane to land on the pretext of a bomb threat. The foreign secretary said that Britain was also revoking the Belarusian national carrier’s licence to operate in the UK over what Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair chief executive, called a “state-sponsored hijacking” on Sunday. The opposition journalist Roman Protasevich was arrested after Belarusian authorities ordered the flight from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania, to divert to Minsk, scrambling a fighter jet to force it down and claiming that a bomb might be on board. Protasevich’s Russian girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, was also arrested and up to five passengers, thought to be Belarusian secret service members, disembarked.” – The Times

  • EU agrees sanctions on Minsk for forcing down flight – FT
  • Journalist appears on state TV ‘with a broken nose’ to ‘confess’ to crimes – Daily Mail
  • ‘Europe’s last dictator’ fighting to keep his grip on Belarus – The Times

Patel vows new border crackdown with tough controls to ‘slam the door on dangerous criminals’

“Priti Patel this morning vowed to “slam the door on dangerous criminals” with a fierce border crackdown. The Home Secretary announced sweeping plans for a “fully digital border” by 2025 to make it easier to weed out convicts. She also pledged to fix the UK’s “broken” immigration system – and took aim at migrants who “abuse our hospitality and generous spirit”… Ms Patel promised to pursue “digital by default” strategy so the Government can count the amount of people coming to Britain. Arrivals without a visa will be forced to apply for a US-style Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) so their criminal record can be checked. But Ms Patel also said the e-border would make it easier for talented internationals to immigrate here under the post-Brexit points-based system.” – The Sun

  • Immigration protesters protecting ‘murderers and rapists’, says Home Secretary – FT

More:

  • Patel accused of ‘cover-up’ over Daniel Morgan investigation – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: When the police take the knee, the mob takes the streets

‘Hypocrite’ Cummings accused of trying to rewrite the past over Covid response

“Dominic Cummings is attempting to “rewrite history” and is a “rank hypocrite”, a government source has said ahead of his appearance before MPs tomorrow. Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser will criticise the prime minister for repeatedly delaying lockdowns and accuse the government of initially pursuing a policy of herd immunity. He is expected to claim that by failing to get a grip on the crisis Johnson and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, cost thousands of lives. A government source yesterday sought to defend Johnson’s record against criticism that the government had failed to do enough to prepare for the impacts of the coronavirus. Cummings has described the government’s contingency planning for virus epidemics as “part disaster, part non-existent” and criticised the fact that it considered only the threat of flu.” – The Times

  • He blasts ministers for not ‘understanding’ chilling effect of herd immunity – The Sun
  • Cummings to be challenged as source of ‘let the bodies pile high’ claims – Daily Telegraph
  • The curious tale about Johnson and the Shakespeare biography – FT

More:

  • Tories sense ‘shapeshifter’ Gove and Cummings are stalking No 10 – Daily Telegraph
  • Weddings, social distancing and masks update delayed – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Cummings’ revenge tragedy

Wallace ‘regrets’ withdrawal from Afghanistan without setting conditions on Taliban

“Britain was against Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan without setting conditions for the Taliban, the Defence Secretary has admitted. It comes as British troops are preparing to leave Afghanistan by September 11, in line with the date set by the American president. However, Ben Wallace told MPs that it was “a regret for most of the Nato allies” that the United States had not made the withdrawal agreement  “conditions based” for the Taliban. He said:  “We thought that was important, however, a lot of people have lost their lives in that conflict and sacrificed a lot. It is not my intention that that is for nothing.” Last month, General Sir Nick Carter revealed the decision to pull out all US troops was “not the decision” the UK wanted.” – Daily Telegraph

MPs slam BBC over Bashir scandal

“Angry MPs battered the BBC yesterday over the Martin Bashir scandal, with one boasting of ripping up his TV licence. The barrage of criticism came as desperate bosses at the Beeb launched an internal probe into the fiasco. Tory Lee Anderson was among those lashing out in the Commons. A hard-hitting report by Lord Dyson last week found that Bashir lied and forged documents to win his 1995 Princess Diana interview. BBC bosses then spent years covering up the truth. Mr Anderson, MP for Red Wall seat Ashfield in Notts, called for the BBC to lose its funding and warned that the Corporation had lost touch with viewers… Ex-Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said police should consider prosecuting Bashir and his BBC bosses for fraud.” – The Sun

  • Corporation ‘badly tarnished’ by cover-up, says Whittingdale – The Times
  • Government will not ‘rush into any changes’ – The Guardian
  • BBC to investigate broadcaster’s culture and editorial practices – FT

More:

  • Truss: British entries to Eurovision should be picked in public talent show – The Sun

>Today: Ryan Bourne’s column: GB News will offer viewers a new choice – within the rules. Which is precisely why the left fears it.

William Hague: A strong institution doesn’t evade scrutiny

“And here we have broadcasters under a responsibility to provide balance, with public service broadcasters who have a duty, in the classic definition of Lord Reith, to “inform, educate and entertain”. Last week, 120 distinguished figures wrote to the culture secretary with a good argument that this system, with its “independence from government and commitment to impartiality”, needs building up. Not many hours later, however, came the devastating findings of the Dyson inquiry, a long story of repeated deceit, subsequent cover-up and long-term failure to mount effective questioning and challenge internally. In the same way that a political party, like the US Republicans today, can possess many smart people, pursue good ideas and enjoy popularity but still be a failing institution, so can a broadcaster.” – The Times

UK accuses minority Norwegian party of ‘undermining’ trade negotiations

“Liz Truss and her International Trade team are keen to secure an “ambitious and comprehensive” free trade agreement as they look at building opportunities for a post-Brexit Britain. The EEA nation exported goods worth 181 billion Norwegian crowns (£15.5billion) last year to the UK with oil and gas making up the majority of exports. Norway wants to continue enjoying zero tariffs on all industrial goods exported to Britain but wants fully free trade in seafood. However, the Christian Democrats threatened to block any agreed trade deal due to fears many farmers in the country were out of business due to fears of being outcompeted by British counterparts. The Christian Democrats are one of three parties in Norway’s current coalition government led by Prime Minister Erna Solberg.” – Daily Express

  • Blame Brexit for Northern Irish tensions, says Von der Leyen – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Alexander Downer in Comment: A trade deal with Australia is just the first step. It could open the door for Britain to the Asia-Pacific trading club

Students face bigger loan repayments to aid public finances

“Student tuition loan repayments could rise or be extended under plans that are being considered by the Treasury. Measures to reduce the government’s exposure to unpaid student loans could include lowering the income threshold at which graduates begin to repay their student debts, which is at present set at £27,295 a year, and extending the repayment window past the present 30 years. As many as three quarters of student loans will never be repaid in full. Universities are also understood to be nervous before the autumn spending review, which is due to be published within two months. One option to help the government’s books is to cut tuition fees, as recommended two years ago by the Augar review, which suggested that they be reduced to £7,500 a year.” – The Times

>Today: Nick King in Comment: Levelling up. The challenge is less defining it than delivering it, for which Johnson will need the private sector.

>Yesterday: Peter Aldous MP in Comment: To bounce back from the pandemic, we need immediate action on ‘lost learning’

Chesham and Amersham byelection will be test of Tory retreat in south, say Lib Dems

“The Liberal Democrats aim to use next month’s Chesham and Amersham byelection to test the extent of disillusionment with the Conservatives in southern commuter belt seats, Ed Davey has said – even if victory is still seen as a long shot. While there has been much focus about Tory gains in former Labour heartlands, this month’s local elections highlighted an apparent retreat for the party in more prosperous areas in the south of England and around London. On 17 June, voters in Chesham and Amersham will select a new MP to replace Cheryl Gillan, who died in April, in a Buckinghamshire constituency which has never seen the Conservatives win less than 50% support since it was created in 1974. Nonetheless there “definitely could be a shock”, the Lib Dem leader told the Guardian.” – The Guardian

  • Rural areas face threat of 400,000 new homes – The Times

>Yesterday:

News in Brief:

  • Is the BBC really the people’s public service broadcaster? – Alys Denby, CapX
  • Why Lukashenko keeps getting away with it – Tim Ogden, The Spectator
  • Cummings can’t read the room – Tom Chivers, UnHerd
  • The problems with Labour mythology – Anthony Broxton, The Critic