Published:

MPs vote to approve international aid cut

“Britain’s overseas aid budget will not rise until borrowing is brought under control, after Tory rebels failed in their attempt to force ministers to bring back the 0.7 per cent target next year. The government won a vote in the Commons by 333 to 298 to indefinitely delay reversing the £4 billion international development cuts, despite opposition from a string of prominent Tory rebels, including Theresa May. Only 24 Tory MPs voted against the move after Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, put forward a compromise deal to win round waverers. Damian Green, a former deputy prime minister, claimed that some rebels were bought off with the offer of government jobs. The aid decision was opposed by all five living former prime ministers: May, Sir John Major, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Ruth Davidson, former leader of the Scottish Tories, called it a “bloody disgrace”.” – The Times

  • Sir John Major hits out at Government for cutting foreign aid – Daily Telegraph

Political sketches:

>Yesterday:

UK inflation rises sharply to 2.5 per cent

“Britain’s inflation rate rose sharply in June, far exceeding expectations and adding to pressure on the Bank of England to take the rise in prices more seriously. Measured by the consumer price index, the annual rate of inflation hit 2.5 per cent in June, rising from a rate of 2.1 per cent in May, the highest since August 2018. Higher commodity prices contributed to the increase through rising costs at petrol pumps, but the causes of the increase in inflation in June were widespread with only healthcare services acting as an anchor on the rate. Second-hand car prices were singled out by the Office for National Statistics as a driver of inflation this year, as in the US, with buyers seeking used cars as an alternative to new, while car production has been severely hit by the global shortage of semiconductors.” – FT

Coronavirus 1) Young and unjabbed patients flooding hospitals, senior doctor warns

“Intensive care staff are finding it tough to see younger people on their wards who could have been vaccinated, a senior doctor has told The Times. There has been a rise in Covid-19 admissions at hospitals across the country, particularly among under-50s who are less likely to be fully vaccinated, such as pregnant women and patients without pre-existing conditions. The comments came as the government’s chief modeller said that Britain should prepare for six weeks of hospitalisations of more than 2,000 per day. Dr Daniele Bryden, vice-dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, said that patients coming into intensive care were now younger than in either of the first two waves and largely either unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.” – The Times

  • Million Covid jab appointments after Macron gets tough – The Times

Comment:

Coronavirus 2) Vaccine passport firm says system could be ‘redeployed’ as a national ID card…

“One of the companies involved in the Covid-19 vaccine passport has said that the system could be “redeployed” as a national ID card, amid concerns over “mission creep”. As Boris Johnson urged nightclubs and venues with large crowds to adopt Covid-19 certification as a condition of entry, MPs and campaigners warned that the system was “intrusive” and raised the possibility of discrimination. Concerns were raised that people will be forced to share sensitive information to participate in normal, everday life, particularly as the Government has reserved “the right to mandate certification” at a later date. Fears have been fuelled by the fact that the £250,000 contract to provide the cloud software for the certification system was handed to Entrust, an American IT firm which has previously been involved in rolling out national ID systems in Albania, Ghana and Malaysia.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Fall in vaccine uptake means passport policy designed as a threat has become a reality – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 3)… as nightclubs reject plan to check vaccine passports

“Nightclubs and cinemas have hit back at the government over plans to introduce coronavirus passports and said that they will not require them as long as the scheme remains voluntary. Two of the biggest nightclub chains in England, Rekom UK and Tokyo Industries, said that they would reopen next week without checking customers’ Covid-19 vaccination or test status. Nightclubs and large events are being urged to ask people to demonstrate they have had two doses of the vaccine, a negative test or recent recovery from the virus on their NHS Covid-19 app as a requirement for entry. Boris Johnson said at a press conference on Monday that it was “a matter of social responsibility”. Peter Marks, chief executive of Rekom UK, said yesterday that its 42 venues would reopen next week “at full capacity and without any requirement for a negative Covid test, something we believe would create a barrier to both customer enjoyment and getting the industry back on its feet”.” – The Times 

  • Ministers “secretly take part in ‘get out of jail free’ Covid trial to avoid self-isolation” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 4) UK travellers with Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine barred from holidays

“British holidaymakers are being barred from boarding flights after receiving an Indian-made version of the AstraZeneca vaccine that is not licensed in the EU. The Telegraph revealed this month that up to five million Britons had received the version of the jab without being told. There is nothing wrong with the vaccine, which has been authorised by the World Health Organisation, but it is yet to be approved by the European Medicines Agency and so is not accepted by the EU vaccine passport scheme. Although some European countries have individually agreed to accept the jab, The Telegraph can reveal that Malta, one of the few countries on the Government’s green list, will not. Steve and Glenda Hardy, 64 and 63, were turned back at Manchester Airport at 3.30am on Friday when they tried to board a flight to Malta, where they were set to visit their son, whom they have not seen for more than a year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca set to go back on amber list – just two weeks after going green – The Sun

Coronavirus 5) Allison Pearson – It’s our patriotic duty to live as freely and boldly as we can

“At a morose media briefing on Monday, the Prime Minister was asked if we could expect restrictions to return after we reach the end of the “irreversible” roadmap on July 19.  Boris replied that the Government would do whatever it takes to “keep people safe”. Which people does he have in mind exactly? Martin, a consultant who works in a maternity unit that cares for critically ill mothers and babies, writes to point out that “another awful consequence of the test and trace fiasco” is that the maternity units in his area are experiencing an acute shortage of midwives. “Kids isolating from school, mums having to stay home with them, constant pings, are leading to intense pressure on delivery suites.” It has now reached the absurd point, Martin reports, “when maternity units in the North West are seeking to either offload patients to neighbouring units or borrow midwives to try to remain open and safely care for women”.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 6) Masks to remain compulsory on London tube, buses and trains…

“Mask wearing will remain compulsory on the tube and other London transport services after next Monday, Transport for London is to announce, as national rail and bus operators in England said they would only request passengers follow government guidance. Unions and bus industry bodies attacked the government for its confused messaging over the changes from 19 July, when face coverings will no longer be mandatory, saying the changed rhetoric had left operators unable to plan and could put staff and services at risk. Airlines have already indicated that they will continue to demand passengers wear masks, and cross-Channel train service Eurostar has now said it will make mask-wearing a condition of carriage, from check-in at London St Pancras station.” – The Guardian

  • Sturgeon says wearing masks will remain mandatory “for some time to come” – The Times

Coronavirus 7)… But Rees-Mogg says he won’t wear one in ConservativeHome’s Moggcast…

“Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said he would not wear one in Parliament when the requirement is lifted. Mr Rees-Mogg said that people who have received both jabs of the vaccine have already done their ‘societal bit.’ ‘This morning I wandered around the palace of Westminster wearing a mask, and met almost nobody. In those circumstances I will not be wearing a mask – what would be the point?,’ he said while speaking on the Conservative Home Podcast. ‘If you’ve had both vaccines, your risk of transmitting the disease is slight. So in a way you’ve done your societal bit by having the vaccine, as much as by wearing a mask, which is why I think it’s sensibly individual choice.’ His comments come amid mass confusion among businesses about whether or not to enforce their own voluntary mask-wearing policies when restrictions are lifted on July 19.” – Daily Mail

…And The Telegraph also picks up this week’s interview

“Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed the BBC risks damaging its reputation if it appoints as a senior executive a journalist who has allegedly expressed  Left-wing views on social media. On Tuesday, Mr Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the Commons, claimed the potential hiring of Jess Brammar to lead the broadcaster’s news channels would damage the “whole perception of independence and impartiality at the BBC”. Wading into the row, he told the ConservativeHome Moggcast that the controversy highlighted that the BBC “really do damage themselves” and also appeared to contrast Brammar with Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, whom he said had built up a “political and professional reputation” for being “completely impartial”.” – Daily Telegraph

Football 1) Johnson tells tech giants to ‘Up your game’ on dealing with racist abuse after summoning them to Downing Street in wake of hate storm against England stars

“Boris Johnson summoned tech giants to Downing Street last night and ordered them to ‘up their game’ over the racist trolling of England football stars. The Prime Minister gave the bosses of leading social media firms a dressing down, telling them they must take urgent action before the introduction of laws that could land them with huge fines. The foul abuse is often sent by cyber bullies hiding behind anonymous accounts. Mr Johnson was expected to tell the companies – which included Twitter, Facebook and TikTok – they must hand over the details of those found to have posted racist comments so the authorities can make an example of them. It comes as police continue to seek the trolls responsible for vile insults aimed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, the three England players who missed penalties in Sunday night’s Euro 2020 final defeat.” – Daily Mail

  • Racism is systemic in England, Runnymede Trust report to United Nations claims – The Times

Comment:

Football 2) 2030 World Cup bid in play thanks to strong stance on European Super League

“The UK and Ireland’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup still has strong European backing because of English fans’ opposition to the European Super League, The Times has learnt. A breakaway of top European football clubs, including five from the Premier League, collapsed within 48 hours in April after fury from English fans and threats of legislative consequences from Boris Johnson’s government. The European competition would have been a rival to Uefa’s principal club competition, the Champions League. Sources at Uefa, European football’s governing body, said the Super League row meant that England still had “credit in the bank” despite the security fiasco at Wembley on Sunday.” – Daily Telegraph

Football 3) Met chief in Euro 2020 Wembley row Dame Cressida Dick seeks new term

“Dame Cressida Dick wants to continue running Britain’s biggest police force despite the Wembley security scandal and a string of other controversies, The Times has learnt. The Metropolitan Police commissioner is expected to make an informal approach next month for an extension to her contract, which expires in April. She has indicated to a small number of political and policing figures that she hopes to remain in office. Yesterday the Met faced further criticism over security failures at Wembley Stadium which led to violence at the final of Euro 2020 on Sunday. The force was accused of failing to deploy enough officers and not creating a “ring of steel” around the venue to stop unticketed fans from gaining entry.” – The Times

  • Euro 2020 Wembley chaos blamed on Metropolitan Police failure to create ring of steel – The Times

Britain will work with Taliban if it behaves, says Defence Secretary

“The Government will work with the Taliban should they enter the government in Afghanistan, the Defence Secretary has said. After 20 years of war, the UK would accept their former enemies sharing power in Afghanistan, as long as certain international obligations are upheld, according to Ben Wallace. Speaking to The Telegraph in Washington, where he was visiting his opposite number in the Pentagon, Britain’s Defence Secretary said the Taliban would be unlikely to make the mistakes of the past. Instead, they would understand that if they granted terrorists safe havens from which to attack the West, they would be subject to overwhelming military action, similar to the months after the 9/11 attacks, which saw the group ejected from power.” – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

>Today:

Colum Eastwood identifies Bloody Sunday soldier under Commons rule

“An MP was branded “reckless and downright dangerous” for using parliamentary privilege to name a former soldier accused of murdering two men on Bloody Sunday after he had been granted anonymity by the courts. Colum Eastwood, the SDLP leader, identified Soldier F, who also faces five attempted murder charges, in a debate yesterday on the Armed Forces Bill. More than 1,000 investigations into deaths in the Troubles will be dropped next year under government plans. Eastwood said: “Almost 50 years ago, 14 unarmed civil rights marchers were murdered on the streets of Derry by the Parachute Regiment.” The Foyle MP then named Soldier F, made allegations against him, and added: “For 50 years he’s been granted anonymity. Now the government wants to give him an amnesty. None of the perpetrators involved in murder during our Troubles should be granted an amnesty.”” – The Times

Ban on polluting lorries pledged in Tories’ transport greenprint

“New diesel and petrol lorries will be banned in Britain by 2040, under a “greenprint” to decarbonise all types of transport by 2050. The British government’s long-awaited transport decarbonisation plan, finally published on 14 July, will include what is being billed as a “world-leading pledge” to end the sale of all new polluting vehicles and move towards net zero domestic aviation emissions by 2040. It will also include commitments to electrify the entire fleet of government cars and vans by 2027, and plans to create a net zero-emissions rail network by 2050. While the government said the plans were still subject to consultation, it said it proposed to phase out all polluting HGVs by 2040, and polluting lorries weighing under 26 tonnes by 2035. It would do so earlier if a faster transition seemed feasible.” – The Guardian