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Hancock fights for job after breaking Covid rules in affair with aide

“Boris Johnson stood by Matt Hancock, his health secretary, last night amid mounting political and public pressure for him to resign after breaching social distancing rules during an affair with a senior aide. The prime minister said he retained full confidence in Hancock as footage emerged of him kissing Gina Coladangelo, a non-executive director at the Department for Health, in his office. A YouGov survey found that 49 per cent of voters believed Hancock should resign, with 25 per cent saying he should stay. One government source said he should do “the decent thing” and resign, describing Johnson’s decision to stand by him as a “failure of leadership”. Hancock apologised for his actions and Downing Street said that it “considers the matter closed” but declined to say whether Hancock had broken the law or breached the ministerial code.” – The Times

  • CCTV images suggest possible breaches of Covid guidance and ministerial code – FT
  • He’s backed by Johnson but as the questions pile up, will he survive? – The Sun
  • Bereaved Covid families have expressed their disgust at the scandal – Daily Mail
  • He faces sack if affair becomes ‘Barnard Castle moment’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Hancock scraps public visit – The Sun
  • Whistleblower claims relationship was talk of Department of Health – Daily Mail

Urgent investigation into who placed CCTV camera in Health Secretary’s office without his knowledge

“Matt Hancock was caught in a clinch with his aide by a CCTV camera installed in his office without his knowledge, it emerged on Friday night, as an urgent investigation was launched into the unprecedented security breach. The Telegraph understands Mr Hancock had no idea the camera existed when it captured him kissing adviser Gina Coladangelo, and government sources said it was “unheard of” for cameras to be installed in ministers’ offices. It raises the possibility that the camera was deliberately placed by someone with access to his office with the intention of catching the pair cheating on their spouses and breaking Covid rules. It is the first time a Cabinet minister has been filmed in their own office without their knowledge.” – Daily Telegraph

  • No 10 won’t launch inquiry into leaking of CCTV photo – The Guardian
  • Johnson faces growing pressure to launch a ‘cronyism’ probe into Hancock’s hiring of his close aide – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Hancock’s sin is hypocrisy not infidelity – Janice Turner, The Times
  • He voted to invade our privacy, yet now he asks that his be respected – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

>Today: ToryDiary: Hancock must explain in person why he should stay. Not vanish behind a statement made on paper.

Ministers hopeful for mass events after pilots are deemed ‘encouraging’

“Ministers are increasingly hopeful that mass events in England will be able to open without restrictions from July 19, after “encouraging” results from pilots across the country. The UK government’s Events Research Programme found that coronavirus transmission was no higher among attendees at nine large sports and entertainment gatherings in April and May than in the general population. But the music and theatre sectors hit out at plans for further pilots and urged the government to let them reopen after the eagerly awaited report showed that only 28 cases of Covid-19 were identified among the 58,000 participants in the gatherings either at the time of the event or in the following week.” – FT

  • Sunak says Freedom Day is ‘looking good’ for July 19 and he can’t wait to ditch masks – The Sun
  • Hunt: Freedom day will be a joyous moment – The Times

More:

  • Brits could get Covid boosters sent in the post, expert predicts – The Sun
  • Monday to Friday office culture won’t come back after Covid, says adviser – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Dr Sarah Ingham’s column: COIN against Covid. We have to live with the Taliban. And with the virus.

Prime Minister will finally put a cap on the cost of social care as he ‘orders Chancellor to find cash to help the elderly’

“Boris Johnson will place a cap on the cost of social care after facing down opposition from Rishi Sunak, the Mail can reveal today. Treasury sources said discussions about the solution to the social care crisis were now about ‘the details’ of how a cap would work, rather than the principle. The Chancellor is thought to have proposed a number of alternative, cheaper ideas for meeting the Conservative manifesto commitment to finding a long-term solution to the care crisis. But the Prime Minister has insisted on a version of the care cap first proposed by economist Andrew Dilnot a decade ago. The PM is said to refer to the proposals as ‘my plan’ for fixing a crisis he first pledged to tackle almost two years ago.” – Daily Mail

Paul Goodman: Johnson and Sunak are at odds on tax and spend

“The one that went most awry was Margaret Thatcher’s with Nigel Lawson in the 1980s, and it is perhaps this tortured partnership that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak’s most resembles. Unlike Sunak, Lawson was not the frontrunner to succeed the prime minister. Indeed, he seems never to have believed himself to be papabile. But like him, Lawson had a policy disagreement with his boss, to whom he had previously been indispensable. And Sunak’s difference with Johnson is even bigger. Lawson came to believe that the government’s economic policy should be steered by a new guiding star: not monetary policy, but sterling’s value — to which end he wanted Britain to join the Exchange Rate mechanism. That was central enough, but Johnson and Sunak are instinctively at odds on an even bigger fundamental: tax and spending.” – FT

Raab urged caution over British warship’s route through Black Sea

“The foreign secretary warned the Ministry of Defence that sailing a warship near Crimea risked antagonising Russia and argued for a “less confident” route. Dominic Raab said that HMS Defender’s passage across the Black Sea could lead to a reaction from Moscow even though he did not believe the act in itself was provocative. Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, is understood to have advocated a more confrontational approach and argued that the warship should sail straight through the contested waters off Crimea as a “challenge” to Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. Boris Johnson took the final decision to navigate the waters and instructions were passed to HMS Defender on Monday, defence sources said.” – The Times

  • The absolute problem with human rights – Matthew Parris, The Times

Spain rejects Merkel’s bid to impose EU-wide quarantine for UK visitors

“Spain has firmly rejected Angela Merkel’s attempt to secure an EU-wide quarantine policy for British tourists, as UK holidaymakers rushed to book flights to new “green list” destinations, including the Spanish islands of Mallorca and Ibiza. The German chancellor fears that the Delta variant, which is dominant in the UK, could be spread across Europe by British tourists, especially now that Boris Johnson’s government is starting to allow UK citizens to travel again. “In our country, if you come from Great Britain, you have to go into quarantine — and that’s not the case in every European country, and that’s what I would like to see,” Merkel said on Thursday. But Spain has insisted that each EU country makes its own sovereign decision about who to admit, as is their legal right, and is desperate to see tourism reopen…” – FT

  • Travel rules could change at short notice, warns minister – The Guardian
  • Johnson takes fight for summer holidays to EU – The Times
  • Leave campaigners ‘surprised’ by decay in relations with EU, says Frost – The Guardian

Editorial:

  • Britons deserve a summer holiday – FT

Johnson’s new housing pledge at risk from hostile Tories

“Ministers are considering dropping plans for mandatory housebuilding targets after fierce resistance from Tory MPs. Boris Johnson has promised to build 300,000 homes a year to make housing more affordable for young people struggling to get on the property ladder. Conservative backbenchers in southern seats have reacted furiously to the planning reforms, with criticism mounting since the party’s defeat in the Chesham & Amersham by-election, where housing dominated the campaign. The government announced last year that it would make housebuilding targets binding in an effort to force reluctant councils to build more homes. However, there is a recognition in Whitehall that some local authorities face constraints that make it harder for them to accommodate more houses, and the plans are being reconsidered.” – The Times

Labour candidate in Batley and Spen by-election left ‘intimidated’ by anti-LGBT protester

“Kim Leadbeater, who is running for Labour in the by-election on July 1, said she had faced “abuse” on Friday by Shakeel Afsar, an activist who led protests against LGBT teaching outside schools in Birmingham. Videos posted by Mr Afsar on Instagram show him pursuing Ms Leadbeater along Purlwell Lane in Batley, next to one of the town’s mosques. He can be heard shouting: “Muslim parents don’t want their children to learn about LGBT indoctrination. Are you supporting those, Kim?” Ms Leadbeater, who is the sister of the murdered MP Jo Cox, later said she felt “extremely intimidated” by the incident, while Caroline Nokes, chairman of the women and equalities select committee, said abuse of politicians had increased.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Video on Twitter showed Leadbeater being confronted in the street – Daily Mail
  • By-election row as Labour claims mosque ‘intimidation’ – The Times
  • ‘Curtains for Keir!’ Starmer set for ‘humiliating’ by-election, claims Galloway – Daily Express

>Today: Book Reviews: Husain warns in his new book that British Muslims lead increasingly separate lives

>Yesterday: Iain Dale’s column: Starmer is right to appoint one of Blair’s former advisers. But if other MPs can’t see that, Labour are doomed.

Salmond blasts Sturgeon for doing ‘nothing at all’ to deliver independence vote

“Cabinet Officer minister Michael Gove, who is responsible for countering the push for Scottish independence, said he “can’t see” the Prime Minister granting a new referendum before the next general election in 2024. Mr Gove added that Boris Johnson’s is completely focused on recovery from the pandemic “for the lifetime of this parliament”. But Mr Salmond, Alba Part leader, has said it is “time to force the Scottish issue now” to deliver a second referendum rather than “have Michael Gove or Westminster dictating how Scotland is governed”… Mr Salmond’s party won only 1.7 percent of the list vote at Scotland’s parliamentary election earlier this year and failed to gain any MSPs. But he said Alba’s autumn conference in Greenock will be a key moment for the pro-independence campaign.” – Daily Express

News in Brief:

  • One rule for the elite, another for us – Kate Andrews, The Spectator
  • Why Labour won’t win back Britain – Will Lloyd, UnHerd
  • The decline of the quality press – David Selbourne, The Critic
  • How Tel Aviv boosted new homes by half – John Myers, CapX
  • De Wahls victory over Royal Academy ban shows that the bullies can be defeated – Jenny Hjul, Reaction