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Coronavirus 1) Restrictions eased on foreign holidays – but EU threat leaves confusion

“Foreign holidays in the Balearic islands, Malta and Madeira were given the go-ahead last night despite threats from the European Union to close the door to British tourists. The government announced that its green list would be significantly expanded from Wednesday, permitting holidaymakers to travel to 16 countries and overseas territories without needing to quarantine on return. It will cover the Balearics, including Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca, which attract five million British tourists each year… The government confirmed that it would let fully vaccinated Britons travel to “amber” destinations without being forced to quarantine on their return, probably from August. The details will be announced in full next month. The announcement was thrown into chaos, however, when it emerged that the EU was planning to scrap quarantine-free holidays for British travellers.” – The Times

  • New ‘watchlist’ leaves foreign holidays in limbo – Daily Telegraph
  • Test and Trace “is still a shambles” – Daily Mail
  • Travel advice merely adds to the chaos – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • It’s a shambles – Leader, The Sun
  • Ministers fear rush for second doses could put strain on supplies – The Guardian

>Yesterday: WATCH: ‘People shouldn’t expect huge changes’ to green list today, Eustice tells GB News

Coronavirus 2) Nelson: We should be free to travel abroad

“We’re edging towards an Aussie-rules system of freedom at home but restrictions abroad – but, unlike the Australians, we have succeeded in vaccinating those at risk. The Prime Minister is steeling himself to press ahead with a July 19 reopening, even if cases are still surging. He’s ready to make the difficult argument that vaccines have broken the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths. But when it comes to travel, the drawbridge remains up – due to reasons that are not being properly explained. In meetings, Hancock argues – in effect – that we need to be careful about going abroad because you never know what you might pick up. There’s not much more to it than that.” – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

  • Britain’s obsession with an NHS ‘free at the point of delivery’ is fatuous and costly – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 3) Sunak and Eustice to cease wearing masks as soon as legal requirement ends

“Rishi Sunak has said he will stop wearing a face mask “as soon as possible”. The Chancellor was the second Cabinet minister to hail the end of the legal requirement to wear face coverings after George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, said he was looking forward to the moment. Laws requiring the wearing of masks in certain settings are set to be lifted on July 19, although guidance urging people to wear them is likely to remain.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 4) Judge calls for public inquiry to begin now

“A public inquiry into Covid should be launched immediately, a senior retired judge has said with a warning that if it does not report back for four or five years “it ceases to form a useful function”. Sir Robert Owen, who chaired the public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko and was counsel to the inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove rail disaster, has urged Downing Street to move quickly to appoint a chair who can start establishing a panel and arrange the disclosure of documents. Boris Johnson has said the “right moment” for the inquiry to begin would be “in the spring of next year”, sparking anger from the bereaved.” – The Guardian

  • Lockdown “led to lower birth rate and increase in divorce” – Daily Mail

Johnson: Navy defending our values in Russia dispute

“A Royal Navy warship was “sticking up for our values” in an incident with Russian forces in disputed waters around Crimea, Boris Johnson has said. The prime minister said the UK does not recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea and was pursuing freedom of navigation in international waters. Mr Johnson denied UK relations with Russia were at an all-time low. He refused to be drawn on whether he had personally authorised the HMS Defender voyage.” – BBC

Bank of England keeps down interest rates and predicts inflations rise will be “transitory”

“The Bank of England has sought to calm fears about inflation, which is expected to exceed 3 per cent in coming months, saying the surge in prices was “transitory” and should not affect monetary policy. The central bank’s message came after data last week showed inflation rising much faster than it had previously forecast as the economy rebounded more strongly than expected. The BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee signalled that it would wait for inflation to subside rather than take action as it stuck with its exceptionally loose policy approach.” – Financial Times

  • The welfare state is a debt timebomb that threatens to sink Britain – Ryan Bourne, Daily Telegraph

Patel to tighten rules on political comments by police officers

“Police officers face having their ability to comment on government policy constrained under plans being drawn up by Priti Patel. The home secretary is concerned about officers, especially senior ones, commenting on politics, The Times has been told. She has instructed officials to work on ways to draw a “brighter line” between policing and policymaking. While Patel’s allies insist that she does not want to stop police officers voicing opinions, she is said to believe it is too often unclear that the government sets policy, not the police. The plans are set to be included in a consultation on updates to the Policing Protocol Order of 2011, which will be launched by ministers this year.” – The Times

Ofsted head warns against “militant” school activism

“The head of the schools watchdog in England has denounced a “militant” new brand of activism in school communities, which she warned was leading to confrontation within and outside the school gates and having a potentially limiting effect on education. Ofsted’s chief inspector, Amanda Spielman, raised concerns not only about recent parent and community protests, which have led to children having to cross picket lines to get to school, but also a rise in pupil activism on issues such as racism, climate change and recent developments in the Middle East. In some cases, she said, children and teachers were being subjected to abuse and even violence for being the wrong religion, race or ethnicity, and she said pupils should not be forced to support their peers’ campaigns for fear of being ostracised if they do not.” – The Guardian

  • Scottish government ‘losing its way’ on education as it refuses to clarify exam plans – Daily Telegraph
  • More than half of us think people are too easily offended, poll shows – Daily Mail
  • Science schools and R&D spending at forefront of UK innovation plans – Financial Times

Osborne to become chairman of the British Museum

“George Osborne has been appointed the next chair of the trustees of the British Museum, placing the former Conservative chancellor in one of the most prominent roles in UK culture.  Osborne will take over in October from Sir Richard Lambert, former editor of the Financial Times and ex-director of the CBI business lobby group, at the head of the board of trustees, who include prominent cultural figures such as Mary Beard and Grayson Perry. His appointment to Britain’s best known museum comes amid a push by the Conservative government to influence opinion at the senior levels of Britain’s cultural institutions.” – Financial Times

Junk food ban “won’t stop big brands advertising due to loophole”

“A new junk food advertising ban was on Thursday dismissed as “absurd” as it emerged that brands such as Coca Cola and Cadbury will still be able to advertise. Large fast food and confectionary brands with 250 or more employees will be banned from advertising products that are high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) online and before the 9pm television watershed by the end of next year. However, under an exemption to the new rules, fast food giants will still be allowed to advertise online and before the watershed providing these products are “not identifiable” in their campaigns.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Morgan Schondelmeier on Comment: The Government’s ban on junk food adverts before 9pm is regressive and infantilising

EU immigration to the UK underestimated by 1.6 million

“EU immigration to the UK was underestimated by more than 1.6 million between 2012-2020, it has emerged, after the ONS revised its methodology to produce new figures that dwarf previous estimates. Previous immigration figures were based on surveys contributing to a model known as Long Term International Migration (LTIM), which now appears to have wildly missed the mark. The new technique, called Rapid, is based on actual tax and benefits data instead, and “has the benefit of removing uncertainty”, said the ONS. It reveals that in many years of the last decade the number of EU migrants was more than, or close to, double previous estimates.” – Daily Telegraph

Drone attack on suspected Iranian nuclear production plant

“A drone attack on a suspected nuclear facility in Iran has caused substantial damage, it was claimed today, despite reports from Tehran that the “sabotage” attempt had been foiled. Overnight reports from Israel and America suggested that the strike on a suspected production plant for nuclear centrifuges involved one or more small rotor-powered drones, which were flown into the building from a short distance away. The factory near the city of Karaj, 30 miles northwest of Tehran, is said to produce aluminium blades for use in the country’s two uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow.” – The Times

Forsyth: Five years on UK-EU relations could be much improved

“It is easy to be fatalistic about UK-EU relations. Brexiteers can point to the fact that the EU has even fallen out with Switzerland as proof that Brussels struggles to play nicely with its neighbours. Eurocrats can say that the prickliness of Brexit Britain means that things are always going to be fractious. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The two sides can choose to understand each other a bit better and find a way to be good neighbours. Five years on, there’s still time to make Brexit the beginning of a new alliance and not, just, the end of an old one.” – James Forsyth, The Times

  • Merkel and Macron “humiliated” as EU leaders reject plan for meeting with Putin – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Columnist Henry Hill: Frost secures a stay of execution for British trade with Northern Ireland, but no sign of a pardon yet

News in brief

  • A home counties rebellion is brewing – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • ‘Plant mums’, planning and how to really help millennials ‘grow up’ – Henry Hill, CapX
  • If you think trans ideology doesn’t matter, read Helen Joyce – Caroline ffiske, The Article
  • Mrs May: My part in her downfall – Christopher Howarth, The Critic
  • The future of Bitcoin will be determined by China, not the West – Hamish McRae, Independent