Families’ anger at ‘amnesty’ for suspects in Troubles killings

“Families of loved ones who died during the Troubles have threatened to legally challenge the government over its plans to bring in an “amnesty” and potentially end inquests and civil claims. Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, yesterday unveiled his plans for a statute of limitations which will bring to an end the prosecutions of soldiers and terrorists up until the 1998 Good Friday agreement or shortly afterwards. He said it was “not a position we take lightly” but that he believed the current model was not working. Criminal investigations which have already reached the courts will continue. His proposals — to be outlined in legislation which will be put before parliament in the autumn — were condemned by all sides in Northern Ireland and also by victims’ groups who said it was a betrayal and amounted to a “de facto amnesty”.” – The Times

  • Ending prosecutions linked to the Troubles will allow Ulster to move forward, says Johnson – Daily Express
  • IRA victims brand an amnesty for republican killers ‘obscene’ – The Sun
  • Plan could end up in courts as Dublin refuses to give backing – Daily Telegraph

Sunak to put ministers on notice of a tough spending round

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to warn ministers to prepare for a tough spending settlement for the rest of the parliament, as he seeks to rein in a £300bn deficit at a time of huge post-Covid pressures on public services. Sunak wants ministers running government departments to work over the summer to identify savings as well as spending priorities, while he tries to find more money for the NHS, schools, courts and promised reforms to social care, according to people briefed on his plan. The chancellor aims to set out the ground rules for his autumn comprehensive spending review, which is expected to outline budget totals for Whitehall departments for the last three years of the parliament, in a letter to ministers next week, although the timetable could slip.” – FT

  • 77 MPs and peers urge Chancellor to extend furlough for travel sector – Daily Mail

>Today: Stephen Booth’s column: Five years of the International Trade Department. How it’s done. And what happens next.

Food strategy review urges world’s first taxes on sugar and salt

“A UK government-commissioned review has called for the world’s first taxes on sugar and salt going into food production, to break what it calls the “junk food cycle”, and a 30 per cent cut in meat consumption. The second of two reports produced by Henry Dimbleby, chair of the National Food Strategy and co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, said the food we eat is “doing terrible damage to our planet and to our health”. It said that traditional policy prescriptions such as encouraging exercise and better labelling of food were having negligible effects on consumer behaviour. Dimbleby’s team, which included the chief executive of takeaway chain Greggs and the former boss of supermarket Sainsbury’s among its advisers, proposed a tax of £3/kg on the wholesale cost of sugar and £6/kg on salt destined for the food production and catering industries.” – FT

  • Bonkers sugar and salt tax to cost each household £172 extra a year – The Sun
  • Average cost of tax could reach  about £60 a person – Daily Mail


  • From AI farming to fake meat, it’s a revolution in British food – The Times
  • School meals, cooking culture and farm tech – The Guardian

Cars and flights to be hit with green taxes

“New green taxes on motoring and flying are likely to be introduced as part of proposals to reduce Britain’s transport emissions, the Government has suggested. Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, unveiled his transport decarbonisation plan on Wednesday, pledging that every vehicle on the roads would be zero emission within decades. The document says further “carbon pricing” for flights could be introduced and suggests new motoring taxes could offset the anticipated loss of fuel duty from electric vehicles. It adds that the Government will need to ensure that “revenue from motoring taxes keeps pace” with the switch to electric vehicles “to ensure we can continue to fund the first-class public services and infrastructure that people and families across the UK expect”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Berry quits as Green party leader in dispute over trans rights – The Guardian

Johnson hits back at Tory critics who think he’s too focused on Red Wall seats he won in 2019

“Boris Johnson will today confront those Tory critics who believe he is too focused on the North. The Prime Minister will try to cool tempers within his party amid claims he cares only about the Red Wall seats he won in 2019. In the wake of last month’s by-election defeat in a southern Tory stronghold, Mr Johnson will launch a passionate defence of his “levelling up” agenda. It comes as there are calls from his own MPs not to forget more traditional Conservative areas down South. And there was new pressure on the PM last night after polling showed his government was hit by its worst ratings since last October… Mr Johnson insisted that plans to spend more in the North were “not robbing Peter to pay Paul — it’s not zero sum, it’s win win”.” – The Sun

  • Levelling up isn’t a downer for south, insists Prime Minister – The Times
  • Towns trouser cash as billions earmarked for ‘levelling up’ in UK – The Guardian

Firms blast ministers over Covid rules ‘mess’

“Facemasks are expected to be worn in shops and at work and table service should remain in bars, the government said yesterday in a move that provoked a backlash. The guidance issued by ministers was stronger than expected by businesses, which said they were being left in legal limbo. They have five days to decide how to implement the rules, which were described as “mixed messages” and a “real mess”. Sainsbury’s became the biggest retailer to ask customers to keep wearing masks. Signs and announcements in its branches will reinforce the message. The bookshop chain Waterstones, which has more than 280 shops across Britain, also said it would ask customers to keep wearing masks.” – The Times

  • Six English mayors call for mandatory masks on public transport – FT
  • Restaurants, pubs and bars urged to consider using Covid passports – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Welsh rules apply’, Drakeford warns – Daily Express
  • Delta variant sparks worker shortage across UK business – FT


  • Thousands of ministers and officials are ‘escaping self-isolation rules’ – Daily Mail
  • Rising Covid cases delay plans to ease contact-tracing app ‘pingdemic’ – The Times
  • Firm with ties to Hancock given ‘VIP treatment’, emails suggest – The Guardian
  • NHS will text 650,000 Brits urging them to get their second Covid jab early – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Robert Halfon’s column: We need more groups like Us for Them, one of the few campaigners for pupils’ rights during lockdown

Britain will deal with Taliban if they share power in Afghanistan, reveals Defence Secretary

“Britain  will deal with the Taliban if they share power in Afghanistan, the Defence Secretary has revealed. Ben Wallace said the militants, who have seized half the country as the UK and US withdraw, were “part of the solution at the moment”. He said Britain was ready to treat the insurgents “like other governments around the world,” if they stuck to “international norms”. The Taliban were Britain’s enemies during 20 years of war – 457 UK soldiers died fighting them. Thousands suffered life-changing injuries and mental scarring. Mr Wallace acknowledged that some may question the US-brokered peace deal.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Tobias Ellwood in Comment: We’ve left Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the West – once again

Football’s online racists to be banned from attending matches

“Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that the UK government would expand football banning orders to cover online racism following torrents of abuse directed at members of England’s team in recent days. The prime minister and his government have been on the back foot since Sunday’s Euro 2020 final between England and Italy, when some black members of Gareth Southgate’s team were subjected to racist attacks on social media. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour opposition leader, accused Johnson of “giving racism the green light” by failing to condemn England fans who booed their own players earlier in the tournament for taking the knee in a protest against racism.” – FT

  • MPs’ spat delays safer social media use – The Times


  • Conservative culture war is fight for a new establishment – Robert Shrimsley, FT

>Today: ToryDiary: In the contest between Patel and Tyrone Mings, will there really be “only one winner”?


Sturgeon ‘misled’ Scottish Parliament over Trump money laundering probe, court told

“Nicola Sturgeon “misled” the Scottish Parliament when she said her Government couldn’t launch a money laundering probe against Donald Trump, a court has heard. The Court of Session heard how the SNP administration was asked last year to investigate how the Trump Organisation managed to pay for golf course developments in Scotland. Advocate Aidan O’Neill QC, who represents international human rights group Avaaz, told judge Lord Sandison on Wednesday that Ms Sturgeon didn’t understand the law on a form of investigation called unexplained wealth orders, which is what her Government was told it could use to investigate Mr Trump’s finances. The hearing concerns how Mr Trump obtained the funding for the Menie golf course in Aberdeenshire and the Turnberry resort in Ayrshire.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Rees-Mogg taunts SNP with Shetland Island independence threat – Daily Express

BBC’s political channel facing cuts as broadcaster makes savings

“The BBC’s dedicated political channel is facing significant cuts as the corporation seeks to make £1bn in savings to the overall BBC budget by March 2022. According to people with knowledge of the plans, BBC Parliament will scale back its programming from the autumn including ending its rolling coverage of UK political party conferences for the first time since the 1960s. Staffing levels at the channel, which was launched in 1998, are set to be cut to single figures while nearly all original programming will come to an end, the people said.” – FT

News in Brief:

  • Nanny Boris: the PM’s alarming flight from liberalism – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator
  • A proper return to clubbing must be part of the new normal – Henry Hill, CapX
  • South Africa is on the brink – Brian Pottinger, UnHerd
  • The lengths people will go to appear tolerant are getting out of hand – Ellen Pasternack, The Critic