Tories demand Johnson ‘find the money from the back of the sofa’ for school catch-up

“Boris Johnson is facing a Tory revolt against his ‘half-hearted’ schools catch-up plans today after his  education tsar quit in disgust at a lack of funding. Education Committee chairman Robert Halfon and former immigration minister Caroline Nokes were among those who urged the Prime Minister to look again at funding to help children left behind by pandemic-induced school closures. They spoke out after Sir Kevan Collins resigned following the announcement of a £1.4billion package – a tenth of the cash he said was needed. Sir Kevan said he had ‘no option’ but to quit as he accused the Prime Minister of taking a ‘half-hearted approach’ that risks failing hundreds of thousands of children.” – Daily Mail

  • Tory group demands rethink on recovery plan for English schools – The Guardian
  • Sunak feared schools catch-up funding would become permanent – FT
  • Prime Minister ‘on potential collision course with race disparities commission’ over cash – Daily Telegraph
  • Ofsted chief tells schools not to give pupils extended summer break – Daily Mail

More schools:

  • SNP orders overhaul of Scotland’s education system following storm of criticism – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour flags concern over outsourcing of England catch-up tuition – The Guardian


  • Catch-up schooling should be a recovery priority – FT

Anthony Seldon: Longer days can help bridge the gap with independent schools

“A longer school day was advocated this week by Gavin Williamson, the education secretary. Let’s hope the fact that the suggestion came from him does not stop it being taken seriously because it’s a very good idea. A longer school day is a startling difference between the independent and state sectors in Britain. It is a much better solution than a longer school year. “Let’s cut back on those long holidays” is a frequent cry from those who think that pesky teachers and children spend far too long on holiday and not enough time at school. But those who see a longer school year as the panacea lack clear evidence to support their claim. They ignore too the inconvenient fact that the independent sector enjoys five or six weeks more school holiday a year than the state sector.” – The Times

  • Tories want to end the university boom years – James Forsyth, The Times

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: The Education Recovery Plan. Williamson has very little capital to expend. Will it be Marcus Rashford to the rescue?

Government faces revolt by Tory MPs over planned aid budget cut

Shield“Boris Johnson is facing a revolt by senior Tory MPs over his plan to cut overseas aid, in an ambush that comes just days before he hosts a G7 summit focused on the developing world. The MPs, led by former Tory international development secretary Andrew Mitchell, want to reverse the prime minister’s plan to axe about £4bn from the aid budget, a move that breaks a Conservative manifesto commitment. Former Tory defence minister Tobias Ellwood said on Thursday he was “cautiously confident” that up to 45 Tory rebels could oppose the move, potentially enough to defeat the government in a vote next Monday. Ellwood told the BBC’s Today programme that Britain should be “an exemplar”. The defence select committee chair said: “Here we are hosting a summit to address these issues but choosing to cut the aid budget.”” – FT

Furlough could be extended beyond September, hints Gove

“Furlough could be extended beyond September, Michael Gove hinted today ahead of a crunch summit with UK leaders. The Cabinet Minister said the Government is “open minded” about continuing to pay part of people’s wages into the autumn. More than £64billion has been splurged on preventing a jobs bloodbath during lockdown, with 11.5million workers helped so far. Today the Office for National Statistics revealed the number of people still on furlough is at its lowest this year as the economy slowly unlocks. The Treasury today reaffirmed its intention to end the scheme at the end of September. But Nicola Sturgeon is agitating for Westminster to continue bankrolling the mammoth jobs bailout.” – The Sun

  • Work from home advice could continue beyond June 21 – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon accused of hiding behind ‘Scottish exceptionalism’ over pandemic mistakes – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. Johnson’s rating for handling Covid remains at a stable high.

G7 close to deal on levies for global tech companies, Sunak says

“The world’s largest economies are close to finalising a deal to reform global taxation, Rishi Sunak said, which would force internet giants such as Amazon and Google to pay more tax in the UK. The chancellor is due to chair a meeting of G7 finance ministers today to look at the details of an agreement that would set a minimum global rate of corporation tax for the first time. The Biden administration is pushing for its implementation to discourage American companies from offshoring their operations to reduce their tax bill. The US is offering a deal under which the world’s 100 biggest and most profitable firms would be forced to pay more of their tax in the countries in which they do business.” – The Times

>Yesterday: Nicky Morgan and Damian Collins MP in Comment: Ministers must make Britain’s world-leading tech sector a top priority

Government ‘First Homes’ plan offers half-price properties to first-time buyers

“First-time buyers in England could get a home for up to half price after the Government launched a new affordable housing scheme. The scheme is known as First Homes, and the first properties built under it went on the market in the East Midlands market town of Bolsover today. With house prices having surged by nearly 11 per cent in the past year, property experts say there could be an influx of demand for the homes. However, research by estate agent Savills has suggested that buying a typical two-bed flat under the scheme would still be unaffordable for 88 per cent of households in the capital, and 68 per cent in some areas of the South East. The properties are built and marketed by house builders in the same way as any other new build, but must be sold with at least a 30 per cent discount on their market value.” – Daily Mail

  • Key workers deserve helping hand on to housing ladder – Robert Jenrick, Times Red Box

Britain close to signing trade deal with Norway

“The UK is on the cusp of signing a trade deal with Norway and other members of the European Economic Area, with a formal announcement expected as soon as Friday. Norway, whose biggest trading partner is the UK, thanks to sales of North Sea gas, has been particularly worried about protecting its small but politically vital agriculture sector from the threat of cheap British beef and cheese in an election year. Before its formal exit from the EU in January, the UK signed a continuity trading agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein that covered goods. Negotiations for a comprehensive free trade deal have taken place throughout 2021. One UK government insider confirmed that an agreement was “almost done” that would improve trading terms with the members of the EEA, and would be announced “within the next 24 to 48 hours”.” – FT


UK ‘must align with EU’ to ease Northern Ireland border checks, says Irish foreign minister

“The UK must align itself with EU rules to escape many of the customs checks on British goods exported to Northern Ireland, the Irish foreign minister said on Thursday. Writing in the The Telegraph, Simon Coveney said following Brussels’s rules on food safety and animal health would make post-Brexit trade between Northern Ireland and Britain “as light as possible”. “The EU side is open to making it work,” Mr Coveney said ahead of negotiations next week over the Northern Ireland Protocol. “The years of Brexit negotiations and campaigning are over. Now is the moment for real political leadership.” Lord Frost, the Cabinet minister handling talks with the EU, has ruled out any alignment.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Dublin tells London to do as it says or face legal action – Daily Express


  • UK and EU agree deal on fishing rights – FT


Cruddas gave Tories £500,000 days after taking seat in Lords

“A Tory donor gave £500,000 to the party three days after he was admitted to the House of Lords against the advice of the appointments committee. Electoral Commission records show that the Conservatives received their biggest donation in the first three months of this year from Lord Cruddas. Boris Johnson rejected the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission and gave Cruddas a peerage in December. In 2012 he quit as the party’s co-treasurer after he offered undercover reporters from The Sunday Times access to David Cameron, the prime minister, in exchange for a £250,000 donation. The Court of Appeal criticised Cruddas’s conduct and found in favour of the newspaper on allegations that he had offered access to Cameron and other senior politicians. It found that his actions were “unacceptable, inappropriate and wrong”, although it upheld aspects of a libel.” – The Times

Unite union reported to police over cash for ‘plot to oust anti-Corbyn MPs’

“A Labour MP has reported the party’s biggest union donor to the police over allegations that it did not declare its spending on a campaign to oust opponents of Jeremy Corbyn. Emails obtained by The Times show that activists and officials in Unite discussed plans to remove “right wingers” including Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader at the time, from West Midlands seats in February and March 2018. Unite activists said in correspondence to Howard Beckett, the union’s assistant general secretary, that they expected to be paid for organising against Labour MPs through Thompsons, a firm of solicitors. If undisclosed, any such arrangement could potentially breach the legal requirement for trade unions to declare their spending on political causes.” – The Times

  • Unions must offer positive message to attract private sector workers – Mike Clancy, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Starmer’s interview. The Labour leader showed his real self, and ideological inclinations – but will it boost the party’s success?

News in Brief:

  • Why banning tobacco could actually be a boon for smokers – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Britain needs a cigarette – David Hockney, UnHerd
  • The SNP’s latest separation blueprint is pure project fantasy – John Ferry, The Spectator
  • Are the Houses of Parliament set for the flames? – David Scullion, The Critic
  • Delaying reopening won’t stop parties, but it will gift the profits to criminals – Henry Hill, UnHerd