Published:

June 21 lockdown lifting ‘set to be delayed by fortnight’

“Britain’s roadmap for easing lockdown could be delayed by a fortnight with cabinet ministers increasingly pessimistic after a “downbeat” briefing from Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance. The delay would enable all over-50s to be fully vaccinated and leave sufficient time for jabs to take effect before restrictions are lifted. Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, and Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, yesterday gave a briefing to ministers on the latest data that was described as “fairly grim”. They emphasised concerns about the rate of transmission of new strains of coronavirus, such as the Indian variant, and that vaccinations did not provide 100 per cent protection. Millions of Britons remain unvaccinated.” – The Times

  • Cabinet sources suggest Ministers are split on the decision to go ahead – Daily Mail

Summer holidays abroad on hold, says Hancock

“Matt Hancock has warned Britons that summer holidays abroad are off for the “medium term” because of the need to protect domestic freedoms “at all costs”. The Health Secretary signalled that any significant expansion of the quarantine-free green list of holiday destinations has been put on hold until later in the summer because of the risk from new virus variants. His comments came as an estimated 30,000 Britons scrambled to return to the UK from Portugal in the face of flight price increases of hundreds of pounds and four-hour queues for pre-departure Covid tests.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Health Secretary said in Parliament than 25 to 29-year-olds will get jabs today – Daily Mail

>Today: Philip Davies MP in Comment: If a measure’s compulsory, there should be proof it’s necessary. Where’s the evidence for state-enforced mask-wearing?

Johnson presses G7 to sign climate ‘Marshall plan’

“Boris Johnson is to push G7 leaders to back a new climate change plan to help developing countries to decarbonise their economies and limit global warming. The prime minister wants to use the summit in Cornwall this week to get agreement from the world’s biggest economies to support large-scale renewable energy projects across Africa and parts of Asia. The proposal is modelled on the principles of the American Marshall plan that helped to rebuild Europe’s economies after the Second World War. It also emulates the so-called Belt and Road initiative that has provided strategic Chinese infrastructure investment to nearly 70 countries since 2013. Described by the prime minister as the “clean green initiative”, it is seen as crucial to getting the backing of developing countries for an ambitious commitment to limit global warming…” – The Times

  • He won’t mention UK’s ‘special relationship’ with US when he meets Biden – The Sun

Comment:

  • G7 tax deal tramples on the nation’s right to decide – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Ministers insist new watchdog will enhance UK workers’ rights

“A new workers’ rights watchdog will have powers to name and shame UK employers that underpay staff and to ensure that vulnerable workers do not have to go to court if they are denied holiday or statutory sick pay. The announcement on Tuesday confirms a previous commitment to merge three existing agencies responsible between them for tackling modern slavery, enforcing the minimum wage and protecting agency workers into a single body to improve the patchy enforcement of UK labour laws. The new body will pool intelligence, offer a single port of call for whistleblowers and give employers guidance on their obligations.” – FT

Prime Minister survives rebel move to prevent foreign aid cuts

“The UK government narrowly avoided a backbench rebellion over foreign aid on Monday, after the Speaker of the House of Commons refused an amendment that could have forced ministers to reinstate the budget for overseas spending after it was cut by almost a third last year. Over the weekend, more than 30 Conservative backbenchers including former prime minister Theresa May pledged to support an amendment to the Advanced Research and Invention Agency bill led by former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell.  The amendment could have forced the government to reinstate spending 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product on foreign aid from 2022, by enabling the new agency to make up the estimated £4bn cut by the Treasury.” – FT

  • Plot over foreign aid cash led by May ‘flops’ as Speaker refuses to push vote – The Sun
  • Hoyle demands vote on foreign aid cuts – The Times
  • Tory MP backs plan to slash foreign aid over ‘unprecedented’ Covid economic hit – Daily Express
  • Johnson likely to defy Tory rebels by ignoring order for vote on aid cuts – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Row over foreign aid shows what a vast upgrade Hoyle is on Bercow – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Closing British Council offices is a huge mistake – John Baron MP, Times Red Box

>Yesterday:

Wallace among ministers snared by constituency boundary proposals

“Ben Wallace is the most high-profile casualty of the biggest shake-up of parliamentary constituencies for a decade. The defence secretary’s Wyre Valley & Preston North constituency is due to be abolished as part of a rebalancing of representation towards London and the south of England. The North East, North West and Black Country all lose two seats each, while London gains two, the South East gains seven and the South West three, under detailed proposals from the Boundary Commission for England. More than 90 per cent of seats would see some changes in the plans, which will now be subject to consultation and adjustment for two years before they must come into effect.” – The Times

  • Officials announce biggest shake-up of boundaries in decades – Daily Mail

EU 1) Sefcovic says EU will react “swiftly, resolutely” if UK unilaterally extends grace period

“Brussels will start a trade war with Britain if Boris Johnson overrides the Brexit treaty so that Northern Irish shops can keep selling British sausages, a vice-president of the European Commission has warned. In an article for The Telegraph – published below – Maros Sefcovic said the EU would react “swiftly, firmly and resolutely” if Britain unilaterally extended the grace period in the Northern Ireland Protocol, which expires at the end of June. Britain has already unilaterally extended grace periods – on supermarket goods and parcels – earlier this year.  The Telegraph understands that ministers are now considering, as a last resort, another unilateral extension for chilled meats, including sausages and mince. Any such action would enrage the EU, which hit the UK with legal action after the move on supermarket goods.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brussels ‘will start trade war’ if Johnson overrides Brexit treaty – The Sun
  • EU ‘compromises on Northern Ireland’ – The Times
  • Irish and French insist bloc has ‘consistently proposed new solutions’ to fix protocol – FT
  • EU launched legal action and accused Britain of violating international law – Daily Mail
  • Stop Brexit ‘blame game’, Northern Ireland business leaders tell UK and EU – The Guardian
  • EU savaged over ‘nonsensical’ rules banning sausage sales to Ulster – Daily Express

EU 2) Maroš Šefčovič: The UK and EU must sing from the same hymn sheet

“Here, I arrive with three clear messages. My colleagues and I in the EU have a strong commitment to the people of Northern Ireland to ensure that the peace, stability and prosperity that they have enjoyed over the last 20 years are maintained. This commitment is longstanding and runs deep in the European Union, which is at heart a peace project itself. The Protocol is the best solution to the unique situation of the island of Ireland following Brexit – and specifically, to the challenges created by the type of Brexit that the current UK government chose. The Protocol is the only solution we found to protect the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in all its parts. Through countless hours of intense, line-by-line negotiation, we managed to do what at times seemed impossible – to protect the hard-earned gains of the peace process and maintain an invisible border on the island of Ireland.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Realism from all sides is needed over Northern Ireland – FT

EU 3) UK failing to deport ‘inadmissible’ migrants because EU countries will not take them

“No migrants have been deported to safe countries in a new crackdown on “inadmissible” asylum claims because EU governments including France will not accept them, Home Office figures show. The disclosure came as Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said the British public was “absolutely fed up” with the surging numbers of illegal migrants crossing the Channel to claim asylum in the UK. Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, also spoke by phone on Monday about the “concerning rise” in Channel crossings by migrants and the need for both countries to “deter [them] from attempting this perilous journey”, Downing Street disclosed.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Public are fed up with migrants arriving in small boats, says Patel – The Times

Williamson ‘attacks schools’ amid criticism of education catch-up plan

“The education secretary has accused schools of cutting short lunch breaks and sending children home early as he came under sustained fire from opposition MPs angry about the government’s “disappointing” education recovery package. In a tricky hour-long defence of the additional £1.4bn catch-up funding offer, which caused uproar when it was announced last week, Williamson attempted to placate his critics promising that more was to come including a review of the length of the school day to maximise on catch-up. But in an attempt to deflect criticism, he told MPs in a statement to the Commons that schools already have the power to set their hours, and questioned whether it was justifiable that some children were sent home at 2.45pm when others remain in classes far longer.” – The Guardian

  • Teachers criticise lack of wellbeing support in Covid catch-up plans – The Times
  • Blair defends target of sending 50% to university – The Times

Comment:

  • Education needs investment and a ten-year plan – Andrew Adonis, The Times

>Today: Ryan Bourne’s column: School catch-up for the disadvantaged? Of course. But for all pupils? Not really. The Treasury has a point.

Johnson ‘backs England players taking the knee at Euros’ following Tory backlash

“Boris Johnson backed England players taking the knee despite Tory MPs rounding on the stars over the “political gesture.” The PM stood behind Gareth Southgate’s squad as they continue their protest against racism before every kick-off despite being booed by fans at Euros warm up games. It puts him at odds with some members of his party who see the ‘woke’ gesture as a symbol of far-left political movements. A No10 spokesman called on England fans to be “respectful” adding: “He fully respects the right of those who do choose to peacefully protest to make their feelings known.” Three Lions stars have committed to taking the knee to support the Black Lives Matter movement, despite anger from some supports and Red Wall Tory MPs – with one comparing it to a Nazi salute.” – The Sun

  • But refuses to condemn fans booing it too – The Guardian

Comment:

  • The gambling industry has infiltrated every corner of modern football – Ruth Davidson, Daily Mail
  • ECB has gone over the top by suspending Robinson and should think again – Oliver Dowden MP, Twitter

>Today: ToryDiary: Football – and taking a knee. If the boos and cheers get louder, Johnson and Dowden will need a plan.

>Yesterday: Scott Benton MP in Comment: It’s time for England’s football team to stop taking the knee

News in Brief:

  • Could ‘Ukima Unionism’ see off the forces of separatism? – Henry Hill, CapX
  • The narcissistic fall of France – Michel Houellebecq, UnHerd
  • How New Labour made Johnson – Anthony Broxton, The Critic
  • The German takeover of the EU is accelerating – Matthew Lynn, The Spectator