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Biden 1) US president ‘ordered rebuke of government over Brexit customs row’

“President Biden ordered US officials to issue Boris Johnson with an extraordinary diplomatic rebuke for imperilling the Northern Ireland peace process over Brexit, The Times can reveal. Yael Lempert, America’s most senior diplomat in Britain, told Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, at a meeting that the government was “inflaming” tensions in Ireland and Europe with its opposition to checks at ports in the province. In a move without recent precedent, Lempert said she had been told to take the step of issuing London with a demarche, a formal diplomatic reprimand seldom exchanged between allies. The emergence of the memo comes before the first meeting between Biden and Johnson today and follows the failure yesterday of talks between Frost and Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s vice-president.” – The Times

  • Risk to Good Friday agreement ‘will not be welcomed by the US’ – The Guardian

More:

  • UK’s ‘economic and territorial integrity’ must be protected, says Prime Minister – Daily Express
  • EU threatens Britain with trade war after Johnson ‘vows to ignore its sausage blockade’ – The Sun
  • Talks on Northern Ireland appear close to collapse on eve of G7 – The Guardian
  • Protocol issues ‘well known’ to Boris before signing Brexit deal says former DUP official – Daily Express

Comment:

  • EU intransigence threatens the Good Friday agreement – David Trimble, The Times
  • The Protocol isn’t a just law – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: “You broke it, you own it” applies both ways. As Biden, the EU and Ireland’s Government risk finding out.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Northern Ireland: its peace or the Protocol? Is that really the choice the EU is willing to make?

Biden 2) He and Johnson set to focus on China in new UK-US accord…

“Boris Johnson and Joe Biden will on Thursday attempt to bury their differences by signing a 21st century “Atlantic charter”, committing Britain and the US to working together to tackle global challenges including the rise of an authoritarian China. At their first face-to-face meeting, the UK prime minister and US president are expected to announce a task force charged with reopening transatlantic travel and agree in principle a deal to jointly develop technology, including artificial intelligence. But the meeting in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit is set to also involve tensions: Biden will urge Johnson to work with the EU to end the stand-off over post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.” – FT

  • Tory MPs urge Boris Johnson to push Modi at G7 over treatment of UK firms – FT

Biden 3) …and pledge to restart air travel

“Boris Johnson and Joe Biden will on Thursday pledge to restart air travel between their countries as soon as possible as world leaders gather in Cornwall seeking to get people flying again. In their first ever face-to-face meeting, the UK and US leaders will announce a new joint travel task force in a concerted effort to see the return of transatlantic tourism. The Telegraph understands the task force will report back with recommendations next month, offering the hope of US holidays later this summer being salvaged. Currently people in Britain who are not US residents are not allowed to travel to America, barring a few exemptions, under a ban Washington imposed at the start of the pandemic.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Airline bosses pen letter to Sunak urging him to launch new rescue package – Daily Mail
  • More international travel could screw up end of lockdown, Shapps warns – The Times

>Today: Anthony Browne MP in Comment: Net zero. Our politics is focused on the second word. We should think more about how to achieve the first.

Boris Johnson: G7 summit is a chance to show the world our values – openness, freedom, democracy

“We can already be proud of what we have done. It was the deal done between the British government, Oxford scientists and AstraZeneca that ensured this vaccine is now being distributed at cost around the world. As a direct result, 95 per cent of the vaccines distributed by Covax, the global vaccine alliance, are AstraZeneca — and we intend to go further. At Carbis Bay, the G7 will pledge to distribute vaccines to inoculate the world by the end of next year, with millions coming from surplus UK stocks. We will begin the framing of a new global treaty on pandemic preparedness so the world is never caught out in the same way again. And we will go further in strengthening the political and economic ties between us, relaunching the G7 as a means of expressing the values that unite us: openness, freedom, democracy and free trade.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister to ask G7 leaders for a billion vaccines for world’s poorest – The Sun
  • Biden administration will buy 500 million doses to donate – Daily Mail

Government ‘to allow unlimited people at weddings’ even if full Freedom Day unlocking needs to be delayed

“Boris Johnson is set to allow unlimited people at weddings, even if a full ‘Freedom Day’ needs to be delayed past June 21, it was claimed last night. The Prime Minister said yesterday that ‘everybody can see cases and hospitalisations are going up’ and hinted that the much-anticipated milestone could be pushed back because of the rapid spread of the Indian Covid variant. But plans are also being drawn up to relax certain curbs from later this month, regardless of the decision ministers will make on a complete unlocking of restrictions. This includes lifting the current 30-person limit on weddings and receptions, and allowing far greater crowds to attend ceremonies, bringing it in line with the Government’s policy on funerals.” – Daily Mail

  • Hancock ‘was warned of Covid care home risk in March 2020’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Dr Andrew Murrison MP in Comment: There can now be no question about the Government’s timeline for opening up. June 21 must stand.

MPs hope ‘use it or lose it’ approach could help slow build rate of developments

“Developers should face financial penalties if they fail to build new homes as promised, MPs will say today. Builders who do not start work on houses within 18 months of being given the green light would lose planning permission under the proposals. And after three years they would have to pay the full council tax rate on each unfinished property, the housing, communities and local government committee is set to recommend. The ‘use it or lose it’ approach could help tackle the problem of the slow build rate of new developments – with as many as one million plots lying empty despite planning permission being granted – and so relieve England’s desperate housing shortage… As well as encouraging greater use of small building firms and small sites, time limits for the completion of construction should be introduced.” – Daily Mail

Tory rebels plot new Commons revolt against foreign aid cuts

“Tory critics of the Government’s cut to the aid budget are plotting a fresh parliamentary ambush to try to reverse it, with proposals to hijack a forthcoming procurement bill. Rebel leader Andrew Mitchell, the former international aid secretary and ex-chief whip, is taking legal advice and examining a series of options to force ministers into a U-turn. He and his colleagues are understood to have alighted upon upcoming legislation to reform the way in which the Government awards contracts as a promising target for amendment. It comes after a bid led by Mr Mitchell to hijack legislation to create a scientific research funding body stalled earlier this week, as parliamentary clerks deemed aid expenditure to be outside the “scope” of the Bill.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Reverse cuts would slap a penny on income tax for every Brit, top Treasury boss warns – The Sun

Comment:

  • Unnecessary aid cut is the price of rebuilding Tory financial discipline – Robert Shrimsley, FT

Patel says police shouldn’t face ‘trial by social media’ and wants more bodycams for cops

“Cops should share body-cam footage to combat “high selective” trials by social media, according to Priti Patel. The Home Secretary told the Police Federation she wants forces to “be more proactive” in sending out their own clips during social media storms. She said she hoped clips would “highlight the good work of their officers” and “correct harmful misinformation circulating online.” It comes as Boris Johnson praised coppers hard work during the pandemic… The Home Secretary offered unwavering support to bobbies on the beat doing their hard work. She said: “It’s a cruel irony that while most crimes naturally fell during lockdown, violence and abuse directed at police officers increased.” Last year officers from the Met slammed Labour MP Dawn Butler who shared a clip of her being stopped by their officers.” – The Sun

  • Home Secretary renews call to arm all frontline police officers with tasers – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • New scheme will share the load of helping refugees – Priti Patel MP, The Times

Court rules UK acted unlawfully with contract to Cummings-linked firm

“The UK government acted unlawfully in awarding a £560,000 contract to a research firm with links to Dominic Cummings, former chief adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the High Court has ruled. The Cabinet Office, overseen by chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, awarded the contract to Public First, a policy and research company run by James Frayne and Rachel Wolf, in March 2020. The duo have links to Cummings, who left his role advising the prime minister last November, and connections to the Tory party. Frayne worked for Gove when he was education secretary while Wolf co-wrote the Conservative party’s 2019 general election manifesto.” – FT

  • He ‘defends award of £560,000 Covid deal to friends’ – The Times

News in Brief:

  • This Protocol is not democracy, and it isn’t Brexit – Owen Polley, CapX
  • We’re as ready for the third wave as we’ll ever be – Philip Thomas, The Spectator
  • The Royals must fight the culture war – Ed West, UnHerd
  • Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens need to work as one – Lewis Baston, The Critic