Published:

Johnson threatens to tear up Brexit deal to avoid chaos in Northern Ireland

“Boris Johnson is threatening to tear up the Brexit deal to prevent food shortages and riots in the streets in Northern Ireland. The PM said the EU is ruining businesses and risking peace by imposing petty checks on the Irish Sea border. He warned Brussels the Brexit deal is “failing to deliver” and needs “significant changes”. He published a blueprint that would scrap most checks and replace them with an ‘honesty box’ approach. This would see the EU trust companies that said their goods were only going to Northern Ireland, and therefore should be exempted from EU customs checks. Britain also wants UK goods to be sold in NI even if they depart from EU standards, and for EU courts to be booted out of ruling on trade rows.” – The Sun

  • M&S warns it is already cutting Christmas range over fears of export problems – Daily Mail
  • Frost finally loses patience as he issues EU ultimatum – Daily Express
  • London’s five proposals – FT

Response:

Lord Frost: We can do better for Northern Ireland

“Over the past few months I have spoken to representatives of Northern Ireland’s political parties, business community, civil society groups as well as people from many other walks of life about how the Northern Ireland protocol is working. Overwhelmingly they want stability, they want everyday lives to continue undisrupted and they want to be confident that the peace process and the Belfast (Good Friday) agreement will not be undermined. Unfortunately all this is in question in Northern Ireland — and precisely because of the way the protocol is operating. Its rigid implementation has severely disrupted trade; adversely affected consumers; hit businesses in Northern Ireland and Great Britain; and contributed to political instability.” – The Times

  • Johnson has made a Brexit offer the EU can only refuse – Philip Stephens, FT

>Today: ToryDiary: The Northern Ireland Protocol’s ‘serious societal difficulties’

Fears over shortages as supermarkets hit by ‘pingdemic’

“Supermarkets apologised for empty shelves in stores yesterday amid warnings that the “pingdemic” was putting a strain on supply chains. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose all said they were facing problems, blaming factors including a growing number of staff and delivery drivers being forced to isolate after coming into contact with someone with Covid-19. Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, which represents supermarkets, said: “The ongoing ‘pingdemic’ is putting increasing pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain opening hours and keep shelves stocked. Government needs to act fast.” Ministers confirmed yesterday that supermarket workers were unlikely to be granted an exemption from isolating if they came into contact with someone who had the coronavirus.” – The Times

  • Supply chains ‘starting to fail’ – Daily Telegraph
  • BP petrol stations and Iceland stores are the first to be shut – Daily Mail
  • Johnson to replace Hands Face Space with new slogan despite pingdemic chaos – The Sun
  • Starmer is struck by the pingdemic – Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

Is England starting to ignore Test and Trace?

“Test and Trace may already be struggling to keep up with England’s third Covid wave before it has even peaked, MailOnline analysis revealed today. Official figures show the proportion of infected patients who are not being tracked down has doubled since the start of June, when cases began to spiral. Experts said the same trend was seen as the second wave began to take off, when performance dipped slightly in line with a ferocious surge in infections. But others warned it may be a sign people are starting to revolt against Test and Trace amid the ‘pingdemic’ chaos that has engulfed the country, which has seen pubs forced to close, trains cancelled and supermarkets left with empty shelves.” – Daily Mail

Javid vows Covid rules won’t last ‘a day longer than necessary’

“Sajid Javid has vowed he doesn’t want the remaining Covid rules to last “a day longer than necessary”. But the isolating Health Secretary, who tested positive for the virus last week despite being double jabbed, admitted there will be no big bang ending to the pandemic as we learn to live with the virus. Mr Javid also said his experience dealing with the pandemic has been “rather more personal than I would have wanted.” In an article for The Spectator today he joked: “Testing positive for Covid-19 definitely wasn’t in the 100-day plan” and revealed he’s even had to isolate from his own wife on their wedding anniversary. But he stressed that “curtailing people’s precious liberties, as vital as it has been, is never something that’s come easily to me” as a Conservative.” – The Sun

  • Zahawi to give update as fears grow freedom will be scrapped – Daily Express
  • Atkins says key workers will be exempt – The Sun
  • Hotel quarantine bills could rise by £500 to curb trips to red list countries… – Daily Telegraph
  • …as Javid is urged to let double-jabbed Brits fly to France without having to quarantine – Daily Mail

More:

  • Labour opposes Johnson’s plans for Covid vaccine passports – The Times
  • Making people show proof of Covid jabs for access to venues ‘costly and impractical’ – Daily Telegraph

Swinney’s misleading Covid graphic reported to UK Statistics Authority

“The SNP’s John Swinney has been reported to the UK Statistics Authority for his use of misleading Covid information by the Scottish Conservatives. The Deputy First Minister was accused of spreading “fake news” and endangering public health by Annie Wells, the Tories Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health. The latest political furore in Scotland was triggered after Mr Swinney posted a tweet on Monday about face masks. The tweet contained a face mask graphic along with unsubstantiated claims about their effectiveness in preventing the spread of the virus. One such assertion maintained that a person with Covid could not transmit the virus to another person just six feet away, if both were wearing masks.” – Daily Express

  • Sturgeon warns vaccine passports raise ‘sensitive ethical’ concerns – Daily Mail

NHS pay award prompts anger from healthcare workers

“NHS workers will be awarded a pay rise of 3 per cent, triple the amount first proposed after the government faced a wave of criticism for undervaluing those who have struggled through the rigours of the pandemic. Health secretary Sajid Javid said the pay bump, to be backdated to April this year, was offered to health service staff despite a wider public-sector pay freeze “in recognition of their extraordinary efforts” during the Covid pandemic, which has left nearly half a million Britons in need of hospital care. But unions have expressed dismay that the deal still fails to keep pace with the predicted level of inflation, representing a cut in real terms. The Royal College of Nursing made clear that industrial action remained on the table.” – FT

  • Hoyle ‘on warpath’ over NHS pay rise announcement – Daily Express

Comment:

  • A social care tax raid won’t work and will divide Britain – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail

Johnson is forced to put off announcing social care reforms after he could not agree with leading ministers

“Boris Johnson has been forced to put off announcing his social care reforms until the autumn after he failed to reach agreement with leading ministers. He was understood be considering a 1p-in-the-pound increase in National Insurance (NI) contributions to fund his long-awaited plans. But critics said such a plan would hit the low-paid and would spare even well-off pensioners – including those still working – from having to contribute anything to the cost of the new care system. The plans are understood to include measures to integrate the NHS better with the local-authority-run social care system, to ensure elderly people are properly cared for. There will also be reforms to ensure better training.” – Daily Mail

  • NHS pay rise ‘likely to come out of social care tax’ – The Times
  • Starmer attacks ‘jobs tax’ for social care – The Times

Cummings allies deny plot to oust Boris Johnson

“Dominic Cummings’s allies have cast doubt on his claims that there was a plot to remove the prime minister within days of the general election and accused him of going too far in an hour-long BBC interview. The former senior adviser revealed that he held discussions about ousting Boris Johnson within days of his landslide victory in the 2019 general election because he realised the prime minister’s fiancée wanted “rid of us”. Cummings claimed that Carrie Johnson, then Symonds, wanted to “pull the strings” and appoint “complete clowns” to key roles in Downing Street. No 10 said that political appointments were “entirely made” by the prime minister. But privately Cummings also came under fire from his own supporters, who were baffled both by his claims and his approach to the interview.” – The Times

  • Who plotted with whom in his Dirty ‘Few Dozen’? – Daily Telegraph
  • Cummings accuses ‘interfering’ Carrie of ‘trying to appoint clowns to key positions’ – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Brutal, disloyal and obsessive… Dom seems hellbent on destroying his former boss – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail
  • Johnson’s instincts led him to complacency – David Aaronovitch, The Times

Johnson’s levelling up plan lacks definition and planning, say MPs

“Boris Johnson’s plan to “level up” depressed areas of the UK to close the gap with London and the south-east risks becoming an “everything and nothing policy” that lacks definition, coordination and planning, according to an all-party group of MPs. In a report on progress towards boosting regional health and economic activity, MPs said the government needed to come forward with coherent proposals with more detail about the outcomes communities could expect from a levelling-up agenda and how success will be measured. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) committee said that while it understood the pressure on ministers during the pandemic, it was alarmed at the slow progress towards developing the economic policy, raising “concerns that the levelling up agenda will fail to deliver meaningful change for people across the country”.” – The Guardian

  • MPs fear second wave of homes on trading estates – The Times
  • Liverpool loses World Heritage status over redevelopment concerns – FT

Comment:

  • Proving ‘levelling up’ is a hollow slogan should be Labour’s mission – Liam Byrne, Times Red Box

>Yesterday:

Tory MPs suspended for trying to influence judge in Elphicke case

“Several Conservative MPs will be temporarily suspended from the Commons and told to apologise after being found to have tried to influence a judge presiding over the trial of a former colleague for sexual assault. The one-day ban from parliament was handed down by the standards committee to backbenchers Sir Roger Gale, Theresa Villiers and Natalie Elphicke – the then partner of Charlie Elphicke, who was given two years in prison after being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault. Two other Tory MPs – Adam Holloway and Bob Stewart – were ordered to make a statement apologising for their behaviour in the chamber, with all five found to have threatened to undermine public trust in the independence of the judicial system. The politicians sent a letter to senior judges in November 2020 before a hearing on the release of pre-sentencing character references for Charlie Elphicke.” – The Guardian

Home Office 1) Journalists could face up to 14 years in prison for stories embarrassing the Government

“Journalists could face prison sentences of up to 14 years for stories that embarrass the Government under plans to reform the Official Secrets Act. Under a consultation run by Priti Patel’s Home Office, which closes later this week, reporters who handle leaked documents would not have a defence if charged under new laws designed to clamp down on foreign agents. The 1989 act is being updated to take into account the impact of the internet age, especially in the area of speedy data transfer. Human rights organisations and the Law Commission, which drew up the proposals, say there should be a ‘public interest defence’ included to prevent the prosecution of journalists who receive leaked documents.” – Daily Mail

  • Plan to target journalists is ‘oppressive’ – The Times

Comment:

  • Law change will treat journalists like spies – Sean O’Neill, The Times

Home Office 2) Patel accused of throwing good money after bad over Channel migrants

“Handing £55m to French authorities to clamp down on migrants crossing the Channel in small boats is “throwing good money after bad”, the home secretary has been told by a Conservative colleague as she was grilled by MPs. Priti Patel revealed late on Tuesday that she had agreed to pay the sum as part of a deal with the French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, to double the number of officers patrolling the French coast. The announcement came after 430 people arrived on British shores in small boats on Monday, a record for a single day. A further 287 reached the UK on Tuesday, bringing the total for the year to at least 8,452, according to official data compiled by PA Media. More people, including children, were seen arriving on Wednesday.” – The Guardian

  • Home Secretary defends paying French £54m more to halt migrants crossing Channel – The Times
  • France not stopping Channel migrants, despite getting £54 million to fight illegal crossings – Daily Telegraph

>Today: David Skelton in Comment: The new snobbery. How football fans and Brexit voters were demonised as racists.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Is racism in Britain increasing?

Home Office 3) Wolf whistling and catcalling could become crimes

“Wolf whistling and catcalling could be made a crime under government plans to outlaw ‘public sexual harassment’. A strategy to combat violence against women and girls unveiled today will pave the way for a specific offence of public sexual harassment, banning explicit sexual and abusive comments. Following the uproar sparked by the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard by Scotland Yard officer Wayne Couzens, the Home Secretary received 180,000 responses to a call for comments about crimes that disproportionately affect women. Today Priti Patel will unveil plans for a national police lead officer to combat violence against women and girls, ensuring offences such as indecent exposure – which Couzens was previously accused of – and street harassment are taken more seriously.” – Daily Mail

Gibb rubbishes calls to ‘decolonise the curriculum’

“Black kids should still be taught the works of “dead white men”, Education Minister Nick Gibb said yesterday. He rubbished calls to “decolonise the curriculum” – insisted it would do nothing to create a more equal society. And he said that it is important all pupils – whatever their colour or creed – get the same high standards of education. Delivering a speech over zoom to the Social Market Foundation, he said firebrand demands to purge subjects of classic texts penned by white people risk backfiring… Throwing open the doors to purging subjects because of the colour of the writers will not help in tackling racism today, he warned.” – The Sun

  • Teach ‘dead white men’ with pride, says schools minister – The Times

>Yesterday: Emily Carver’s column: The Government’s plan to make exams easier will be devastating for this country’s education system

Sunak has £30billion extra for spending or tax cuts next year thanks to strong UK recovery, says IFS think-tank

“The Treasury is on track to borrow £30billion less than Rishi Sunak predicted in March, according to  a respected think-tank, as UK debt piles up to a 60-year high. The Institute for Fiscal Studies predicts that government borrowing will amount to around  £204billion in 2021-2022, less than the £234billion estimated at the March Budget. The lower figure could give the Chancellor wriggle room for tax cuts or additional spending in the short term. But borrowing would still amount to 8.8 per cent of national income – the third highest level since the Second World War. And the IFS warned that he will be constrained as ‘scarring’ will leave the economy 3 per cent smaller by 2025 than it would have been without the pandemic.” – Daily Mail

Fraud trial begins for Labour MP

“A Labour MP conned a local authority out of £64,000 in benefits by ‘deliberately and dishonestly’ obtaining social house, after using her connections as a housing advisor to ‘jump the queue’, a court heard today. Apsana Begum, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse in east London, claimed she was living in ‘overcrowded conditions’ with her family when she was in a four bedroomed house with three other people, jurors were told. Snaresbrook Crown Court heard the 31-year-old was a former housing officer at a group working with the local council and because of this she ‘had a good understanding’ of the system. She successfully gained a social housing tenancy in under four months, rather than the average three-year wait, due to her claims, jurors were told.” – Daily Mail

  • Starmer begins purge of hard-left by expelling four ‘crank’ factions – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Cheer Labour’s purge of the hard left – Oliver Kamm, CapX
  • When the news no longer feels like the news – Ben Cobley, The Critic
  • Did scientists stifle the lab-leak theory? – Ian Birrell, UnHerd
  • Party time: the price of freedom – Kate Andrews, The Spectator