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Cummings discussed ousting PM after election

“Dominic Cummings has revealed that he held talks about ousting Boris Johnson within weeks of his landslide victory in the 2019 general election because he realised the prime minister’s fiancée wanted “rid of us”. The former adviser claimed that Carrie Symonds, who married Johnson in May, wanted to “pull the strings” and appoint “complete clowns” to key roles. Downing Street rejected the claim and said political appointments were “entirely made” by the prime minister. In an interview broadcast by the BBC last night, Cummings said: “Before even mid-January we were having meetings in No 10 saying it’s clear that Carrie wants rid of all of us.” – The Times

Comment
>Yesterday:

Johnson urged to widen ‘pingdemic’ exemptions

“Boris Johnson is being warned by cabinet ministers to exempt more people from the “pingdemic”, or face a wave of supermarket, Post Office and restaurant closures. The Prime Minister has announced an exemption that allows “critical” workers to avoid self-isolation after contact with someone with Covid-19, and instead go into work after a negative test. But there are growing concerns within his own government that he has not gone far enough, given scores of major industries are unlikely to benefit from the scheme. One cabinet minister told The Telegraph that binmen and other public service jobs should be included in the exemption, saying they understood people’s “frustration” with the rules.” – Daily Telegraph

Comment
>Yesterday:

Patel under fire for ‘handing’ French £54m to stop migrant Channel crossings…

“The UK has reached a deal to hand French authorities an eye-watering £54million to help tackle the rising number of migrants crossing the Channel. Home Secretary Priti Patel and France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin sealed the agreement to crack down on the illegal crossings. More than 8,000 migrants have succeeded in making the dangerous trip so far this year.” – Daily Express

…and UK sets collision course with EU over plans to redraw Brexit deal

“In a move that officials called a “wholesale change of approach”, Lord David Frost, Cabinet Office minister, will outline a strategy that seeks to eliminate most of the checks on the Irish Sea trade border that came into force in January. And in a warning that Britain could suspend the Northern Ireland protocol in its Brexit deal with the EU if the bloc does not give way, Frost will claim the UK is already within its rights to activate the Article 16 override clause in the agreement.” – FT

Social care reform ‘on ice’ til autumn

“Boris Johnson has delayed plans to overhaul social care funding until the autumn despite reaching an agreement with senior ministers to fund it by raising national insurance. The prime minister is expected to announce plans to increase payments by 1 percentage point, a penny in the pound, for employers and employees to raise £10 billion a year. An analysis for The Times found that the rise would add £16,000 to a worker’s tax bill over the course of their career and is likely to disproportionately affect temporary staff and low earners. Tory MPs were divided over the move, with several privately supportive.” – The Times

  • PM puts social care reform on hold – The Sun
  • Social care reform delayed – FT
Comment

Harassing women in street to be a crime under Patel plans

“Street harassment such as wolf-whistling could become a specific crime under government plans to protect women and girls. Priti Patel, the home secretary, has pledged to consider the case for a new offence to capture incidents such as when men target women with sexually graphic or lewd comments in the street. The move is designed to boost women’s confidence to report sexual harassment in public places to the police after a government “call for evidence” consultation found that the majority of women and girls did not feel safe on the streets.” – The Times

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Duncan Smith says he is being targeted by China

“The former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith claims he is being targeted by the Chinese state because of his membership of a group warning of Beijing’s growing influence. Duncan Smith said he was facing a “direct threat” from the Chinese government as he tabled an urgent question in parliament in response to the government’s disclosure yesterday of a state-sponsored hack by Beijing. “I understand there is intelligence from the Five Eyes sources that there is now a very active and direct threat from the Chinese government aimed directly at the co-chairs of the international Interparliamentary Alliance on China,” he said.” – The Times

Labour’s cash crisis: ‘We don’t have any money’

“The Labour Party plans to cut up to a quarter of its staff after finding itself in a dire financial situation brought on by a mass exodus of members and a slew of anti-Semitism cases. David Evans, Labour’s general secretary, met with its ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) on Tuesday to present the outcome of his major structural review of the party, including a recommendation that up to 90 people are made redundant. Labour has apologised to its staff but says that the cuts are required to keep the party afloat and able to fight the next general election, which many believe could come next year. Staff have been offered voluntary redundancy with a severance package of three weeks’ pay for each year they have worked there.” – Daily Telegraph

Peers banned from bars for missing bullying training

“The House of Lords has been accused of treating two peers like “recalcitrant schoolboys” after they were banned from parliament’s bars and restaurants because they refused to attend anti-bullying and sexual harassment workshops. Lord Kalms, 89, and Lord Willoughby de Broke, 82, have been barred from parliament’s bars, libraries and restaurants because they failed to complete their mandatory “Valuing Everyone” training. It is the first time peers have been penalised over the courses. A spokesman for the House of Lords suggested the move would protect staff by “minimising” contact in social spaces on the parliamentary estate.” – The Times

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