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Coronavirus 1) Holidays to Europe in doubt after Merkel’s ‘quarantine the British’ demand

“Angela Merkel on Wednesday night threatened to scupper hopes of foreign holidays in Europe this summer by demanding that EU countries introduce mandatory quarantine for travelling Britons. The German chancellor urged countries to introduce the quarantine for vaccinated Britons just as the UK Government is finally preparing to relax its rules for returning holidaymakers. Her intervention came ahead of a key meeting on Thursday at which Boris Johnson is expected to approve plans for fully vaccinated people to be able to travel to amber list countries later this summer and not be subject to quarantine when they return home. The Balearic Islands, Malta and some Caribbean islands could also be added to the green list.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Open holiday isles before Merkel slams the door, ministers urged – The Times
  • Government ‘wants to support foreign holidays’, says minister – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 2) Foul called on plan to let Euro 2020 VIPs into UK for Wembley games

“Plans to ease quarantine requirements for thousands of VIP football delegates seeking to enter the UK for games in the Euro 2020 football tournament have sparked outrage among politicians and travel industry figures. Senior officials are holding talks with Uefa, European football’s governing body, to allow around 2,000 foreign fans and 2,000 VIPs to attend the July 6 and 7 semi-finals and July 11 final on of the competition at London’s Wembley Stadium, according to people close to ongoing discussions. The UK government said on Tuesday that it had agreed a deal with Uefa to keep the final and semi-final of the continent-wide competition in the British capital as planned after days of negotiation over the issue.” – FT

  • Minister insists UEFA bosses won’t be allowed on a ‘tour of Britain’ – The Sun
  • England fans warned over £10,000 tickets for Germany showdown – The Times

Coronavirus 3)  Indoor mixing ban ‘will be axed on July 19’

“The Rule of Six will be scrapped on July 19 along with other Covid lockdown restrictions, reports say. Limits on indoor mixing will reportedly be dumped so people in England can enjoy Freedom Day in mixed groups. Social distancing, face masks and work-from-home guidance are also expected to be ditched. Insiders say Boris Johnson is adamant he will relax the restrictions next month, which will put rocket boosters under the ravaged hospitality industry. It comes after internal government assessments warned keeping even limited rules for longer would spell disaster for hundreds of thousands of jobs. But it is understood there is almost no chance the date will be brought forward to July 5 despite immense pressure from Tory MPs.” – Daily Mail

  • Brits ‘will be able to shed masks’ on freedom day – The Sun
  • Covid passports ‘would boost mass event attendance by 20 per cent’ – The Times
  • Cinemas and nightclubs may shut for good – The Sun

More:

  • London leaders push for Covid vaccine uptake as capital lags – FT
  • More than 2m adults in England ‘have had long Covid for over 12 weeks’ – The Guardian
  • Alas, poor Hancock… Queen voices pity – The Times

Gove rules out ‘foolish’ Scottish independence vote before election

“Michael Gove has said he “can’t see” Boris Johnson granting a new referendum on Scottish independence before the next general election. The Cabinet Office minister – who is responsible for countering the push for independence – said the prime minister’s focus was completely focused on recovery from the pandemic “for the lifetime of this parliament”. His comments – which are likely to infuriate the SNP – appear to go further than other ministers who have said this is the wrong time for another referendum. Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the next general election is not due until May 2024 – although Johnson is committed to repealing the act, which could allow him to go to the country before then.” – The Guardian

  • Johnson ‘is UK’s secret weapon in keeping the Union together’ – Interview, Daily Telegraph
  • Refusal to hold independence vote is sneering condescension, says Sturgeon – FT
  • Blow to First Minister as independent Scotland faces £14bn black hole without UK cash – Daily Express

More:

  • Brown: Union facing most dangerous moment of my lifetime – Daily Telegraph

Henry Hill: To save the Union ministers must be wise, not clever, with Scotland

“The UK Internal Market Act (Ukima) gives ministers vast powers to authorise spending on genuinely nationwide projects, but these powers go underused. Michael Gove proposes to scrap English Votes for English Laws, David Cameron’s answer to the West Lothian Question, without coming up with a better one. It’s the same with this week’s reports that the government might seek to enfranchise Scots in other parts of the country in the event of a second referendum on independence. On the one hand, it is “muscular unionism” inasmuch as it shows a willingness to face down howls of outrage from the SNP to secure a supposed advantage for the pro-UK side. On the other hand, it shows weakness, because it suggests that Boris Johnson’s commitment to refusing to grant a referendum is less iron-clad than he would have us believe.” – Times Red Box

  • A glib, meaningless song isn’t the way to inspire British patriotism in kids – Henry Hill, Daily Telegraph

EU close to agreeing Northern Ireland truce with UK on chilled meats

“The EU and UK are close to reaching a truce over checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea, in a move that would leave unresolved longer-term questions over the implementation of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.  The European Commission is expected to grant a three-month extension to a grace period before restrictions come into force on exports of chilled meat products from Britain to Northern Ireland, diplomats said.  Maros Sefcovic, EU Brexit commissioner, gave a relatively upbeat assessment of the prospects for a temporary understanding to be reached with London when he spoke to diplomats on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the meeting. The EU offer of an extension would be subject to broad conditions, including UK commitments to work towards longer-term, more sustainable solutions for trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and steps ensuring there are no threats to the single market.” – FT

  • Grease in our time – The Sun
  • DUP’s new leader strives to stabilise Province’s biggest party – FT
  • ‘Great opportunities for NI’ claims EU ambassador – Daily Express

More EU:

  • EU citizens in UK face 28-day notice if they miss settled status deadline – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Did Brexit cause the dysfunction of the past five years – or merely expose deeper weaknesses?

Johnson apologises to rape victims for ‘inadequacies’ of justice…

“Boris Johnson has apologised to rape victims over “inadequacies” in the criminal justice system that led to a sharp drop in the prosecution of sexual offences. The prime minister was challenged by Sir Keir Starmer in the House of Commons today over what the Labour leader described as record low convictions. During prime minister’s questions, Starmer said that “on the prime minister’s watch, rape prosecution convictions are at a record low, court backlogs are at a record high, victims are waiting longer for justice and criminals are getting away with it”. He added: “This wasn’t inevitable, it’s the cost of a decade of Conservative cuts, and even now the government isn’t showing the urgency and ambition that’s needed.”” – The Times

  • He’s accused of insulting them after Commons remarks – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Video: PMQs: “They jabber, we jab. They dither, we deliver. They vacillate, we vaccinate”.

…and is failing to match climate rhetoric with action

“Ministers have failed to develop coherent strategies for cutting emissions from the most polluting sectors of the economy, and are not matching their climate rhetoric with action, the UK government’s environmental adviser warned on Thursday. In a highly critical report on the government’s progress on delivering economy-wide emissions cuts, the Climate Change Committee said decarbonisation plans for key sectors, such as housing, had been repeatedly delayed, and that it was “hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the past 12 months”. John Gummer, also known as Lord Deben, chair of the CCC, said: “Almost all things that should have happened have either been delayed or . . . haven’t hit the mark.”” – FT

  • Government attacked over green failures before Cop26 climate summit – The Times

You won’t stop our ships, defiant Britain tells Putin

“Britain has vowed that it “will not be impeded” from sailing in waters off Crimea after a military confrontation in which Russia claimed to have fired warning shots at a Royal Navy warship. Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, told The Times that “the Royal Navy will always uphold the international law of the sea and will not be impeded on innocent passage” following Russia’s claims to have fired at a destroyer, HMS Defender, while it was sailing in the Black Sea off Crimea. The Russian ministry of defence accused the warship of entering Russia’s territorial waters and said it had opened fire from a coastguard patrol ship before dropping four bombs in its path from a warplane. Britain denied Moscow’s account of the incident. “No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path,” a spokeswoman said.” – The Times

  • Our relations with Moscow hit new low after clash with warship – Daily Mail
  • Read the dramatic Mail eyewitness report – Daily Mail

More:

  • MoD’s poor practices blamed for project cost overruns and delays – FT

Comment:

  • Putin’s provocations of Britain will backfire disastrously – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
  • Western powers have failed as nation builders – Max Hastings, The Times

Exams in England to be adjusted next year to ‘ensure fairness’

“GCSEs and A-Levels next year will be adjusted to make up for the disruption to student learning in England during the pandemic, said the UK education secretary.  Gavin Williamson confirmed government officials were considering “mitigating measures” to grade exams in 2022, after they were cancelled this summer for the second year in a row owing to the coronavirus crisis. The adjustments, to ensure pupils whose learning has been interrupted by the continued lockdowns are fairly graded, will be “similar” to modifications planned for this year, Williamson told MPs at an education select committee on Wednesday. The education secretary said he “very much hoped and intended for exams to go ahead in 2022” and that action was needed “to ensure fairness” for pupils whose learning had been halted by the pandemic.” – FT

  • Sports days can go ahead this summer but only with class bubbles and caps on spectators – The Sun

More:

  • Williamson mocked over One Britain, One Nation song… – The Guardian
  • …but Johnson sings its praises – The Times

Comment:

  • Levelling up must start with our sinking schools – Will Tanner, The Times

Ministers will push to privatise Channel 4 in TV shake-up

“Channel 4’s four decades as a publicly owned broadcaster could be about to come to an end, with ministers pushing ahead with controversial plans to sell the channel as part of a shake-up that could transform the landscape of British television. The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, confirmed that he would hold a swift consultation on proposed privatisation, in a move that would mark the end of an era in British broadcasting and would radically alter how one of the UK’s leading public service television networks operates. The broadcaster – home to shows such as the Great British Bake Off, It’s A Sin and Channel 4 News – is editorially independent but has been owned by the state since it was created by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1982.” – The Guardian

  • Streaming giants may be in the running to buy it – The Times

More media:

  • Junk food giants will be banned from advertising online… – The Times
  • …and before 9pm watershed – The Sun

Comment:

  • These new laws to police the internet are a censor’s charter – David Davis MP, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: The Online Safety Bill – ‘It’s a good example of the best intentions leading to the worst outcomes’

Galloway: Burnham more electable than ‘catatonic’ Starmer

“Andy Burnham should replace Sir Keir Starmer if Labour is to have any chance of becoming electable again, George Galloway has said. Mr Galloway, a former MP who was expelled from Labour and is now running against the party in the forthcoming Batley and Spen by-election, said Sir Keir was a “catatonic, desiccated calculating machine” and Mr Burnham would be a better opposition leader. The latest research shows Mr Galloway has the support of just six per cent of the Batley and Spen constituency ahead of the vote on July 1, but he insists pollsters have underestimated his backing and points to better odds from bookmakers. His campaign has centred on the failings of Labour in Batley and Spen, with campaign organisers erecting posters that show Mr Galloway and the slogan “Starmer Out”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Batley free speech rally ‘banned by town’s Labour council’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Should Conservatives want Labour to win the Batley and Spen by-election?

News in Brief:

  • The latest Smiley myth: it’s not the jabs, it’s just ‘seasonality’ – Christopher Snowdon, CapX
  • The house mafia: the scandal of new builds – Liam Halligan, The Spectator
  • Older workers will harm younger colleagues by working from home forever – Andrew Carter, CityAM
  • Why Labour won’t win back Britain – Will Lloyd, UnHerd
  • Activism works – Rob Jessel, The Critic