‘They have done the nation proud’: Johnson pays tribute to Gareth Southgate and his squad after watching England’s Euros defeat from the Wembley stands

“Boris Johnson issued a message of commiseration and congratulations to England’s national football team following its devastating loss to Italy on Sunday. ‘That was a heartbreaking result to end #Euro2020 but Gareth Southgate and his England squad played like heroes,’ the prime minister wrote in an Instagram story. ‘They have done the nation proud and deserve great credit.’ England lost the final on penalties, extending the side’s ’55 years of hurt’ without a major trophy win. Johnson attended the match with his wife Carrie and was seeing clapping from the stands wearing an England strip over a collared shirt. He was also seen posing for pictures with Novak Djokovic, who claimed his sixth Wimbledon men’s singles title earlier on Sunday, and actor Tom Cruise.” – Daily Mail

  • Penalty curse denies England their Euro 2020 dream – The Times


  • More popular than Churchill, Gareth Southgate has world at his feet – The Times

Nick Timothy: It’s absurd to project personal political ideals onto the England team

“While most of the country has enjoyed a glorious summer of football, politicians, pundits and the most pompous of tweeters have pondered the political significance of the remarkable performances of the England team. Perhaps this should not be surprising. Politicians rarely see a bandwagon without leaping on board, and there is no musician-bearing vehicle more tempting than a popular England team drawing in 30 million television viewers. During Euro ’96, Tony Blair felt the hand of history on his shoulder and declared, “Labour’s coming home.” In 1966, Harold Wilson quipped, “Have you noticed we only win the World Cup under a Labour government?” It is no surprise, then, that the Prime Minister has attended matches wearing an England shirt, and posed for photographs standing on a giant cross of St George. But in our divided times, Boris’s support has sent his opponents into spasms of fury. “This England team aren’t playing for the Tories’ version of the country”, screamed a headline in The Observer.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 1) PM offers freedom day with health warning

“Boris Johnson will urge people today not to return to life as normal after July 19 unless they want to risk restrictions being reimposed. As he confirms that all remaining limits on social contact will be lifted in England a week today, the prime minister will emphasise that “caution is absolutely vital” in the face of rising infections. Wales is to review its restrictions on Thursday and Scotland is due to lift some restrictions on July 19 and most on August 9. Senior scientific advisers urged people yesterday to continue to work from home over the summer and not to be “overenthusiastic about social contact” because of the risk of thousands of hospital admissions a day.” – The Times

  • Fears of four-hour airport queues when Covid-19 restrictions lift – The Times
  • Flu jab may help against Covid-19 – The Times
  • Average household is £7,800 richer after pandemic – The Times

Coronavirus 2) Britons urged to keep wearing facemasks in enclosed spaces

“Mask wearing will be “expected” in enclosed spaces such as busy trains in government guidance to be issued tomorrow. Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, said that Boris Johnson would publish guidance for how to behave once all restrictions are lifted in a week’s time, insisting that it was “important that we remain cautious”. He said it was “possible” that hospitalisations could reach 3,000 a day, close to January levels. But Labour is warning that dropping laws requiring masks is a “recipe for confusion” that risks public confrontations over people’s personal choices. Zahawi said that vaccination had “severely weakened” the link between infections and hospitalisations, as he refused to repeat Johnson’s insistence last week that it had been “severed”, a statement that infuriated many scientists.” – The Times

  • Britons ‘expected’ to work from home and wear masks after July 19 – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 3) 12 countries including Italy and Germany on course to join quarantine-free green list

“Twelve countries including Italy, Germany and Bulgaria are on course to join the quarantine-free green list this week and open up travel to unvaccinated holidaymakers, according to an analysis of official data. The 12 countries meet the green list criteria used by government scientists to determine if countries’ infection rates, the testing capability, vaccination levels and risk from variants are low enough to justify inclusion. The 12 also include Canada, Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Taiwan and would bring the total of countries on the green list to 39, according to the analysis by Robert Boyle, a former BA strategist whose predictions have been accurate previously.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Spread of Delta variant triggers US surge – The Times

Coronavirus 4) Spread of Delta variant casts shadow over Europe’s economic rebound

“The rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant is causing economists to worry that Europe’s brightening economic outlook risks being undermined by rising infection levels and the reintroduction of travel and social restrictions. The lifting of most lockdown measures across the region in recent months has led to a surge in business activity, retail spending and household confidence, prompting many economists to upgrade their forecasts for European growth. However, those assumptions are being thrown into doubt now that the highly infectious Delta variant already accounts for the majority of new cases in many European countries and is driving infection rates up to their highest level for months.” – FT

Javid 1) Health Secretary told 13 million Covid cases may lengthen NHS backlog…

“NHS chiefs are braced for nine million patients on waiting lists by the end of the year while the health secretary has warned that it could go as high as 13 million. Sajid Javid said that the figure had “focused my mind” on a backlog of routine care that would be one of his main priorities. Senior doctors warned, however, that the decision to lift all restrictions meant that clearing the cases would become harder as hospitals had to treat more Covid-19 patients. NHS England insists that it is ahead of schedule on shifting the backlog. The service promised last week to pay hospitals 20 per cent extra if they exceeded pre-pandemic levels of routine treatment.” – The Times

Javid 2) … as he hints tax rise could pay for long-awaited social care plan and says he won’t let ‘ideology’ stand in the way of a ‘sustainable settlement’

“Sajid Javid hinted that a tax rise could pay for the long-awaited social care plan today as he insisted he wants a ‘sustainable settlement’. The Health Secretary said he will not let ‘ideology’ stand in the way of a solution, amid growing pressure for the government to lay out proposals. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are believed to be have been wrangling over the way forward on the policy. The Chancellor is thought to be insisting that the potential £10billion a year cost is covered by measures to raise revenues, rather than adding to the debt or cutting other spending. The UK’s national debt has soared above £2trillion since the pandemic hit, and there are huge demands on the public purse across different priorities.” – Daily Mail

UK government must ‘reform itself or fail’, commission reports

“An independent commission into the UK civil service has called for the roles of the most senior positions in each Whitehall department to be scrapped to improve the government’s performance. The Commission for Smart Government, an independent review set up and led by former Conservative minister Lord Nick Herbert, said on Monday the government “must reform itself or fail” after the coronavirus pandemic, proposing sweeping changes to recruitment and departmental structures. Its report argued that permanent secretaries should be replaced by a new chief executive role to give a “clear focus on strategy, execution and organisational effectiveness”, with a title that reflects a need for delivery and data-driven assessment instead of a more traditional courtier role.” – FT

National security review of golden visas for investors

“Thousands of “golden visas” given to oligarchs and wealthy foreigners are under review over potential risks to national security. All 6,312 of the Tier 1 investor residencies granted between June 2008 and April 2015 are being checked, amounting to nearly half of those issued. There are suspicions about the calibre of some of the residents welcomed in during that period, when there was a lack of rigorous checking on the source of applicants’ wealth. “Golden visas” were introduced by Labour in in 2008 response to the financial crisis, granting British residency in exchange for seven-figure investments. The initiative fuelled a property boom for wealthy Russians in Britain. In 2018 Theresa May, as prime minister, announced a review of golden visas.” – The Times

Williamson: ‘Cancel culture’ must not be allowed to damage free speech at universities

“”Cancel culture” risks jeopardising British universities’ global reputation as bastions of free speech, the Education Secretary has warned. Gavin Williamson accused vice-chancellors of “unwittingly” allowing “chilling” practices that curtail free speech to take hold on campuses. Writing in The Telegraph, he said that “time and time again” he hears of instances where lecturers have been silenced or even threatened with dismissal for airing views that some find offensive. Mr Williamson said that universities in the UK have a “long and golden reputation” for protecting free speech, but warned that while reputations are hard won, they can be far more easily lost.” – Daily Telegraph

Fight for genderless passport taken to the Supreme Court

“Britons should be allowed to state their gender as X on their passports instead of just male or female, the Supreme Court will hear today. Lawyers for Christie Elan-Cane, who identifies as non-gendered, will ask the court to declare that a ban on “X passports” is a breach of human rights. The legal challenge has gone to the top bench after two lower courts ruled that the government’s position was lawful. The Court of Appeal ruled last year that policy requiring British passports to have a male or female gender category did not breach Elan-Cane’s rights, supporting a High Court ruling in 2018. The judges did acknowledge that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) guaranteed a right to respect for non-gendered identity.” – The Times


Calls for inquiry into whether ministers misled Parliament over HS2 costs

“The former deputy chairman of Boris Johnson’s review of High Speed 2 is calling for an inquiry into whether ministers misled Parliament over the costs of the scheme. In a letter to Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, Lord Berkeley highlighted new evidence showing that Theresa May’s ministers were told in April 2019 that the line “could not be delivered to the current scope within the current schedule and budget”. Despite this, Nusrat Ghani, the then transport minister, later told the Commons that the project was “on track”, adding: “I stand here to state confidently that the budget is £55.7 billion.” The review commissioned by Mr Johnson later that year warned that the costs of the line could rise to £106 billion, and more recent independent estimates cited by Lord Berkeley suggest a figure as high as £142 billion.” – Daily Telegraph

Low-traffic zone fines make millions

“Drivers are being fined millions of pounds for entering low-traffic neighbourhoods because they fail to understand road signs, it is claimed. Campaigners have called on the government to overhaul rules on signage because existing warnings lack clarity, leaving tens of thousands of motorists with penalties of £130. Low-traffic neighbourhoods, where vehicle access is restricted or banned, have been expanded during the pandemic to promote walking and cycling. Figures suggest that motorists have paid 250,000 fines worth £14 million for driving in the zones in London over the past year. Hackney in east London has collected £2.7 million, with its analysis showing 82 per cent of those fined were from outside the borough, suggesting they were unfamiliar with the roads.” – The Times


Brussels set to delay digital levy plan after G20 backs tax deal

“Brussels is set to delay plans for its controversial digital levy until the autumn in an effort to boost the prospects of a global corporate tax reform deal. The move followed the endorsement by G20 finance ministers in Venice over the weekend of a landmark global tax deal reached by G7 nations last month to set a worldwide minimum rate and to overhaul taxing rights. The European Commission had come under intense pressure from US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen to shelve its digital tax proposal, according to people familiar with the discussions. Brussels was due to put forward its proposals for the digital levy this week, but had pushed them back to July 20. “The commission is reflecting on how to support the historic G20 deal. In that context we are considering a possible postponement to the autumn of the detailed proposal on the digital tax,” an official said.” – FT

Three peers face ban on Lords facilities after failing to take sexual harassment course

“Three peers face being banned from facilities in the House of Lords after failing to take a controversial sexual harassment course. Lord Kalms, the former Tory Party Treasurer, Lord James and Lord Willoughby de Broke are set to be barred from “dining and banqueting facilities”, the library and research facilities and meeting rooms that can be booked in advance. They will be allowed to communicate with staff only by email in order to limit “interactions with others in the parliamentary community until they have completed the training”. The two-hour “Valuing Everyone” course, aimed at stamping out sexual harassment and bullying, has faced criticism from both the Commons and the Lords and has been described as a waste of money.” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief: