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Extra bank holiday being considered if England win Euros

“Boris Johnson is considering giving England a bank holiday if Gareth Southgate’s team beat Italy on Sunday, with July 19 one date under discussion. Talks about the right way to mark what would be just the second major tournament victory for the national team are at an early stage, but the prime minister yesterday held open the possibility of a ninth bank holiday this year. There could also be honours for the England manager and his captain, Harry Kane, with government figures expecting a knighthood for Southgate.” – The Times

  • Johnson poised to declare extra bank holiday if England win Euro 2020 – The Guardian
  • And PM ‘actively considering’ extra bank holiday – Daily Mail
>Today:

ToryDiary: Southgate and politics. That he’s good at football doesn’t mean that he’d be good at government.

Coronavirus 1) Vaccinated Brits race to book quarantine-free holidays

“Airlines reported a five-fold rise in bookings for foreign travel yesterday after the government approved quarantine-free holidays in amber countries in ten days’ time. Demand for seats soared after confirmation that fully vaccinated adults can travel to 140 destinations on the amber list from July 19 without isolating on their return to England. Holidaymakers have been told to expect long queues when checking in for their flight home. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said that government guidance against leisure travel in amber countries would be dropped. The Foreign Office also said that many amber countries such as France and Spain were now safe for UK tourists, allowing holidaymakers to take out travel insurance.” – The Times

Comment

Coronavirus 2) Ministers ‘rush to stop people deleting test and trace app’

“The controversial self- isolation system will be watered down within days, amid fears it will cripple the economy and public services this summer. Ministers have ordered an urgent review of the NHS app following concerns it is bringing the system into disrepute by ordering too many people to self-isolate. Sources told the Mail the app’s ‘sensitivity’ will be reduced to cut the numbers being asked to isolate unnecessarily. Figures yesterday revealed a record 50,000 a day were ordered to isolate by the app last week – more than half of the 85,000 told by the NHS to stay away from others.” – Daily Mail

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Sunak hints strongly at break with pensions ‘triple lock’

“The UK chancellor has given the strongest signal yet that he could suspend the flagship pensions “triple lock” this year, as he struggles to contain public spending pressures arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. Rishi Sunak could have to pledge as much as £4bn more on pensioners from next year if he sticks to the policy, further squeezing his ability to lessen the strains in areas such as hospitals, schools and courts. “We will approach these decisions with fairness in mind for pensioners and taxpayers,” he told the BBC’s Today programme on Thursday. He said the triple lock was government policy, but declined to say if it would be honoured this year.” – FT

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British troops could go back to Afghanistan, PM warns

“Boris Johnson has suggested Britain could return to Afghanistan to defend against overseas terrorist attacks, and insisted that he is not under any illusions about the “perils” facing the country Nato troops are leaving behind. General Sir Nick Carter, the head of the armed forces, said the situation was “pretty grim”, with almost half of Afghanistan’s rural districts in the hands of the Taliban. He said it was plausible that the state could collapse, leading to a return to the warlordism of the 1990s.” – The Times

Comment

Police commissioner reveals BLM ban in ConHome diary piece

“The police and crime commissioner for Leicestershire has said he has banned his staff from communicating with Black Lives Matter groups. In a diary-style article for Conservative Home, Rupert Matthews wrote that on his third day in office he told his staff not to have any contact with BLM. The subject had come up during an online staff meeting in which contact with activists from BLM was on the agenda. “Why are we meeting an organisation that wants to defund the police, has put police officers in hospital, and desecrated the cenotaph in London?” he wrote. He went on: “Come the meeting, I have a dozen or so faces looking at me from the Teams screen. ‘Any Other Business’. ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘As of now this organisation will have absolutely no contact at all with Black Lives Matter.’ – The Guardian

CPS ‘blows hole’ in Patel’s asylum seeker bill

“Priti Patel’s laws to crack down on asylum seekers crossing the Channel were dealt a blow yesterday when the Crown Prosecution Service said that it would no longer prosecute migrants. An agreement struck between police, prosecutors, the National Crime Agency, Border Force and the Home Office over cases involving “illegal entry” will also apply to those arriving by lorry. The CPS said that asylum seekers not involved in any criminal activity other than illegal entry should not be prosecuted because they could “usually be better dealt with by removal”. The fresh guidance came two days after Patel, the home secretary, unveiled the Nationality and Borders Bill, which will create an offence for asylum seekers intercepted in the Channel without authorisation to enter the UK.” – The Times

Final bill for Brexit is £40bn, as EU demands £2bn more than expected

“Britain’s final bill for leaving the EU is £40.8 billion, according to accounts filed in Brussels, a greater sum than previously forecast. Officials had estimated the final cost would be £39 billion – £1.8 billion less than the EU amount contained in the EU’s consolidated budget report for 2020. The final bill would have been higher, almost £43 billion, but Brussels owes the UK £1.8 billion for its share of fines imposed by the bloc before the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of last year. Ministers believed the final Brexit bill would be less than £39 billion because the numerous Brexit extensions meant that the total was decreased thanks to the UK’s contributions to the EU Budget.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK and Brussels clash over £40bn Brexit divorce bill – FT

PM urged to create own department…

“Boris Johnson is being advised to create a prime minister’s department to give Downing Street more power to enforce its writ across Whitehall. The proposal, from a cross-party commission that has the backing of the government, is due to be made in a report to be published on Monday. It will also call for the prime minister to be allowed to appoint ministers who are neither MPs nor peers, to bring in outside expertise to Whitehall. It also suggests that the Treasury be stripped of some of its power to control public spending. Under the plans, the chief secretary to the Treasury would become a minister in the new department, reporting to Johnson…The department would subsume many of the responsibilities of the Cabinet Office”. – The Times

Comment
  • It’s time to give No 10 real levers of power, James Forsyth – The Times

…as he is cleared of breaking rules over Mustique holiday

“Boris Johnson has been cleared of breaking parliamentary rules over a holiday to Mustique but was criticised for failing to offer an earlier explanation of who paid for the trip. The UK prime minister was investigated by the House of Commons’ Committee on Standards after he said the £15,000 holiday to the Caribbean island was paid for by David Ross, the founder of Carphone Warehouse. Johnson made the trip with his now wife Carrie in December 2019 following the last general election. Ross initially disputed that he had directly paid for the trip, but later clarified he had “facilitated” the holiday.” – FT

And finally, JRM mimics famous England World Cup song

“Jacob Rees-Mogg tried his hand at the John Barnes rap from World In Motion today as he joined ‘rejoicing’ at England’s semi-final victory. The House of Commons leader treated fellow MPs to his interpretation of the New Order classic from Italia 90 as football fever swept the nation. There was laughter in the chamber as Mr Rees-Mogg drawled his way through the lyrics – including assuring Speaker Lindsay Hoyle that ‘we ain’t no hooligans’. However, the Old Etonian did then balance his pop culture references by quoting Restoration literary critic John Dryden and Roman poet Virgil.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief