Published:

Johnson warned homes plan is turning off Tory voters after Chesham & Amersham by-election loss

“Cabinet ministers are urging Boris Johnson to rethink planning reforms that have been blamed in part for the Conservatives’ worst by-election defeat in seven years. The Liberal Democrats overturned a Tory majority of 16,000 in Chesham & Amersham to win a seat that had only ever elected a Conservative MP with a swing of 25 percentage points. Johnson attributed the “disappointing” result to “particular circumstances” in the constituency, a reference to local opposition to the HS2 rail line. Senior party members, including cabinet ministers, have warned the prime minister that he risks alienating many southern Tory voters unless he softens new planning rules that were “weaponised” by the Liberal Democrats during the campaign.” – The Times

  • Get back to traditional Tory values, Cabinet warns Johnson – Daily Telegraph
  • Lib Dem surge could snatch 23 prime seats from the Tories after Chesham & Amersham win – The Times

Analysis:

  • Chesham & Amersham by-election: Furious Tory MPs stage an inquest by WhatsApp – The Times

Matthew Parris: Tories need to start caring about the blue wall

“I did wonder whether the late councillor Mona Gillan, my political guardian angel, might have allowed herself a quiet smile. As the result of Thursday’s by-election in Chesham & Amersham came in, I was thinking of the mother of the late MP for the seat, Dame Cheryl Gillan. Mona made me an MP. She was a leading member of the West Derbyshire Conservative association in 1978, when the party needed a new parliamentary candidate for this ultra-safe north Midlands seat. I had applied, 29 years old and burning with ambition to be an MP. Her beloved Cheryl, her only child and of fond memory to me, had no such thoughts. Without Mona (whom I’d never met) I’d never have made it. She championed me from the start.” – The Times

>Today:

Coronavirus 1) Scramble to move restriction goalposts for football

“Boris Johnson has said “sensible accommodations” can be made to ensure foreign fans can attend the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley without having to quarantine. Ministers have scrambled to find a way of exempting thousands of VIPs, officials and foreign fans from the need to quarantine after Uefa drew up contingency plans to move the final stages of the tournament to Budapest. A final decision has not been made, but The Times understands that the government is preparing to offer special treatment for those travelling from overseas for the matches. All foreign VIPs, Uefa officials, politicians and sponsors would be placed in strict “bubbles” that would require them to stay in the same hotel close to Wembley Stadium, travel together to the game and not attend other venues.” – The Times

  • Italy reimposes quarantine on British travellers amid Delta Covid variant surge – The Guardian

Coronavirus 2) We demand our freedom, rebel Tories tell PM amid ‘incredibly strong case’ for scrapping Covid-19 curbs two weeks early

“Boris Johnson said yesterday he is ‘very confident’ the remaining Covid curbs will be lifted as planned next month – but Tory MPs urged him to go faster. The Prime Minister said the data ‘continues to indicate’ that his July 19 terminus date, when all legal limits on social contact are set to be scrapped, will go ahead. But Tory backbenchers demanded that the Prime Minister speed up the lifting of restrictions after the Mail revealed yesterday that lockdown could end a fortnight early if the coronavirus data continues to improve. A two-week ‘review point’ demanded by Mr Johnson will now be a ‘genuine review of the data’ which could lead to Freedom Day being brought forward to July 5.” – Daily Mail

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber backs down over threat to reopen theatres at full capacity – Daily Telegraph
  • Health at risk as patients struggle for face-to-face GP appointments – The Times
  • Buzzing bars and parks as New York bounces back after Covid lockdown – The Times
  • Avoid ten days in isolation if you’ve had double Covid vaccine – The Times
  • Williamson tells parents ‘we need you and your children to carry on testing’ amid row amid row over ‘hugely disruptive’ school swabs and false positive fears – Daily Mail
  • Crown court backlog of cases doubles despite £40m bailout – The Times

Comment:

Coronavirus 3) Malthouse says ministers are looking at making it easier to work from home

“Ministers have no plans to make it compulsory for workers to return to their regular place of work full-time, a senior minister confirmed today. Policing minister Kit Malthouse said that decisions on whether working from home could continue after the end of lockdown were matters for employers and their staff to negotiate. Proposals for a legal right to flexible working have sparked fears employers will be blocked from insisting staff attending offices unless they can prove it is essential. However the idea of splitting the week between the home and the office has proved popular with the public. The Government will consult on the plan – originally pledged in the 2019 Tory manifesto – over the summer ahead of possible legislation later this year.” – Daily Mail

  • Switch to working from home could cost the Treasury £32 billion a year as high earners take their laptops and move abroad, study shows – Daily Mail
  • Workers must be given right to do jobs from home, says Labour – The Guardian
  • English councils refuse six in 10 requests for Covid self-isolation pay – The Guardian

DUP Westminster chief Jeffrey Donaldson set to replace ousted leader Edwin Poots

“The head of the DUP in Westminster Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is the overwhelming favourite to become the party’s leader after Edwin Poots was ousted. Poots was forced out after three weeks when he agreed to a deal with the government to restore the power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland. Donaldson supporters joined forces with hardliners, who had supported Poots, because of his decision to back a compromise that would lead to the government passing laws to give the Irish language equal status in Northern Ireland. Party sources said that Donaldson, who lost the election to replace Arlene Foster by two votes, was likely to replace him, possibly without a contest.” – The Times

>Today:

Brussels takes heat out of sausage trade war in Northern Ireland

“Brussels has signalled it could back down and avert a trade war with the UK as on Friday it welcomed the Government’s request for a three-month extension for British sausages to be sold in Northern Ireland. Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice president, told an audience in Bruges that he was “convinced there is still a window for productive political dialogue” before the ban on chilled meats comes into effect in July. His comments came 24 hours after it was confirmed that Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, had formally requested that the EU agree to extend the grace period to allow the trade to continue until Sept 30. Separately, Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, said he would be “urging” the EU to “respond with generosity” to the UK’s request for a three-month extension.” – Daily Telegraph

Truss interview: True equality is about bread and butter issues, not just taking the knee

“Liz Truss is the government’s great survivor. Having worked for three different Conservative prime ministers across four different departments, she is now firmly ensconced as trade secretary in an office in the Old Admiralty building that was once occupied by Ian Fleming. The longest-serving cabinet minister finds herself in the unfamiliar position of being tipped for promotion and as a potential rival for the future of the Tory leadership to Rishi Sunak. The days when she was subject to consistent speculation that she would face the sack, it would appear, are behind her. “Thanks for reminding me of that,” she says with a laugh. “I am extremely happy being the trade secretary. I have got a huge opportunity to reshape trade policy to be much more outward facing, optimistic and positive about Britain’s future. Who would not want that job?”” – The Times

Stop using terms ‘boy’ and ‘girl’, Stonewall tells teachers

Stonewall“Teachers should drop the terms boys and girls in favour of “learners”, and mix up the sexes in PE classes, Stonewall has told schools. The controversial LGBT charity is urging teachers to ditch all gendered language and gendered uniforms and suggests that children should compete against the opposite sex in sport. A series of guidance documents state that uniform policies should “give the option to wear a skirt as well as the option to wear trousers”. One of Stonewall’s guides said that its work in primary schools was funded by the Government Equalities Office. Stonewall advises school staff that they should: “Avoid dividing learners by gender, whether in the classroom (you could divide them by their favourite colour, month of birth or something else) or through uniform, sports activities or other aspects of school life.”” – Daily Telegraph

Rape cases taking nearly three years to come to court and reach a verdict

“Rape cases are taking nearly three years to come to court and reach a verdict, official figures reveal. Ministry of Justice data show the mean time between a rape offence being committed and its completion with a verdict in court was 1,081 days in the final quarter of 2019, the date for the most recent figures. The bulk of that time, some 775 days, or more than two years, was taken up with police investigation of the offence before prosecutors decided to charge the suspect. The disclosure is further evidence of the criminal justice system failing rape victims, for which ministers including Priti Patel and Robert Buckland apologised when they published their blueprint for reversing plummeting prosecution rates.” – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

Cummings brands Johnson a ‘clueless gaffe machine’ in latest attack

“Dominic Cummings has unleashed another bitter attack on Boris Johnson, describing his former boss as a “gaffe machine” who is “clueless” about policy and government. The prime minister’s former chief adviser made the comments as he defended the decision for Johnson to decline an interview by the then BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil during the 2019 general election. Johnson was criticised for refusing to be grilled by Neil, now the chairman of GB News, in contrast to Jeremy Corbyn, then the leader of the Labour Party. The prime minister initially told Andrew Marr he was “happy to be interviewed” by any interviewer “called Andrew” from the BBC, but ultimately he did not appear.” – The Times

Batley Grammar School teacher still in hiding after threats over Prophet cartoon

“A teacher who went into hiding because of protests and threats against him for showing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad has still not returned to his home or job. Last month an independent inquiry into the incident at Batley Grammar School, West Yorkshire, found that the teacher had not meant to cause offence when the image was shown in his religious studies lesson. The report commissioned by Batley Multi Academy Trust, which runs the school, said that the teacher, who was suspended in March, should be allowed to return to work. The trust confirmed that suspensions put in place while the investigation was under way had been lifted.” – The Times

Archbishop of Canterbury apologises over bishop’s ‘never trust a Tory’ comment

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted his “deep embarrassment” for the “absolutely unacceptable” behaviour of a bishop who told her congregants to “never trust a Tory”. In a letter to the Government, the Most Rev Justin Welby said he was “truly sorry” for the behaviour of Dr Joanna Penberthy, the Bishop of St David’s. He said it was “intolerable” to “be trolled in this way”. The letter, seen by The Telegraph, will heap further pressure on the bishop to quit. Her comments were also condemned by the senior bishop in Wales, who expressed regret for the “hurt it caused”. Dr Penberthy had posted on the social media platform in March “never, never, never trust a Tory” in response to another Twitter user who had alleged that the Conservatives were planning to abolish the Welsh Parliament or Senedd.” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief: