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US and UK send troops to help evacuate Afghan embassies

“The US and UK will send troops to help evacuate staff from their embassies in Kabul as the Taliban continued its rout of provincial capitals in Afghanistan following Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw American troops. The Pentagon said it would send 3,000 troops in the next 24-48 hours, including aircraft that could fly personnel out of the Afghan capital, and a back-up brigade of 3,500 soldiers to Kuwait in case the security situation deteriorates further. The State Department said it would pull out diplomats because of the threat posed by the Taliban advance, adding that only a small number of personnel would remain. “We are further reducing our footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation,” Ned Price, state department spokesperson, told reporters on Thursday. “We expect to draw down to a core diplomatic presence in Afghanistan in the coming weeks.”” – FT

  • Paras sent to rescue Britons in Afghanistan – The Times
  • British jihadis are smuggled in to Afghanistan to join Taliban in fight for control of the country – Daily Mail
  • Afghanistan likened to fall of Saigon as officials confirm Kandahar is taken – The Guardian
  • Lord Richards ‘ashamed’ by Afghanistan evacuation – Daily Express
  • Obama’s 2014 announcement that the war had been won was an ‘egregious deception and lie’ – Daily Mail

Six dead after Plymouth mass shooting

“Six people died in a mass shooting in Plymouth last night with armed police sent to lock down an area of the town where a gunman had been on the loose. The gunmnan was indentified this morning as Jake Davidson. People living locally said Davidson, 23, was employed at the aerospace, defence and nuclear engineering services company Babcock International. A young girl is feared to have been shot dead. Several other injured people were receiving treatment… The suspect was named locally on Thursday night as Jake Davison. According to Facebook, Davison is an American form Phoenix, Arizona, who works at the aerospace, defence and nuclear engineering services company Babcock International.” – The Times

  • Everything we know as police confirm six dead in Keyham – Daily Telegraph
  • Police say firearms incident in residential neighbourhood is not terror-related – FT

Patel expands workload to include security minister’s duties

“Priti Patel will take on the responsibilities of the vacant security minister’s brief permanently, The Times has learnt. The home secretary has been covering the role since James Brokenshire stepped back from the job to focus on his recovery from cancer. It had been expected that Boris Johnson would appoint a replacement this autumn because the role of security minister is normally a dedicated senior ministerial job in the Home Office. The vacancy was especially apparent on Wednesday after the arrest of a worker at the British embassy in Berlin on suspicion of spying for Russia. However, sources have told The Times that the prime minister has agreed to Patel’s wishes to cover the brief permanently. She is said to enjoy the intelligence side of her job.” – The Times

  • Home Secretary she ‘makes no apology’ for tough crackdown on foreign criminals – The Sun
  • Patel appoints ex-Taxpayers’ Alliance head as new aide – The Guardian

>Today: Donna Jones in Comment: Red tape is thwarting the efforts of the police to fight crime

‘Absolutely no return to austerity’, insists Sunak

“Rishi Sunak said on Thursday that there would be “absolutely no return to austerity” as he dismissed claims of tensions with Boris Johnson over future spending plans. The Chancellor said he was friends with the Prime Minister and the pair were “united” and in “lockstep” on how to bring about economic recovery. Mr Sunak also dismissed reports that Mr Johnson discussed demoting him, and declined three times to say whether he wanted to be Conservative Party leader one day. The comments came as the Chancellor gave a round of television interviews after it was announced that the UK economy grew at 4.8 per cent in the second quarter of this year. A recent poll of Tory members showed that Mr Sunak was the favourite to succeed Mr Johnson when the time comes, with one third of all respondents picking him as their desired next leader.” – Daily Telegraph

Truss wants to give British lawyers the freedom to practice in Australia

“British lawyers could practise in Australia without having to requalify under plans to slash red tape. Regulators are considering removing barriers to UK solicitors practising domestic law Down Under. The UK-Australia trade deal, agreed in June, enables Britons to provide UK and international legal services in Australia with their existing qualifications. But new provisions mean regulators could scrap the requirement for lawyers to sit up to 11 exams to requalify there. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the deal gives the industry ‘more certainty and support’… Almost £85 million worth of legal services were exported to Australia in 2019, and the industry in the UK contributes £22 billion to the economy.” – Daily Mail

  • Britain-Ireland freight falls 29% amid post-Brexit trade friction – FT
  • Brits left ‘in the dark’ on ‘brilliant new Brexit trade deals’ – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Rob Mutimer in Sponsored: Ministers must back British farmers over trade with China

‘Lobbying concerns’ after Lord Goldsmith adopts views of conservation campaigner

“Lord Goldsmith, the environment minister, told the country’s zoos that their educational role had “largely been eclipsed”, after being lobbied on the subject by the conservative donor who now employs Carrie Johnson. Conservationist Damian Aspinall sent Lord Goldsmith a controversial paper he had written on the function of zoos in April last year, copied to officials at Number 10 and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Entitled “Zooality check: the great zoo con”, it argued that zoos should be phased out of existence, and that Sir David Attenborough documentaries are “far more” effective tools than zoos in educating people about conservation. It also stated that elephants were “wholly unsuitable for captivity”. It is understood that the minister sent the document to his private office after receiving it.” – Daily Telegraph

  • After eight months government finally to name fast-tracked PPE firms – The Times

NHS waiting lists will keep rising, Javid warned

“England’s record-high NHS waiting list will only continue to rise in the wake of the Covid crisis, the Health Secretary warned today. Sajid Javid said at least 7million people who ‘ordinarily would have come forward’ for medical treatment stayed away during the pandemic. Health chiefs now want those patients to ‘come back’ but accept it will cause a huge increase in demand that will cause waiting lists to rise. Data released by NHS England today revealed 5.45million patients were waiting for routine treatment in June. It was the highest-ever figure since official records began in 2007. Doctors also warned the backlog, exacerbated by the pandemic, could double in the next year.  This is despite the health service getting close to returning to pre-pandemic levels of activity, while juggling coronavirus pressures. Analysts say the mixture has left some hospitals are ‘busier than ever’.” – Daily Mail

  • Record 5.45m are on hospital waiting lists as backlog grows – The Times
  • England’s health service squeezed by summer demand – FT
  • Britain’s daily Covid cases jump by ten per cent in a week – Daily Mail
  • Pingdemic eases for a second week as Covid cases fall – The Times

>Today: Dave Evans in Local Government: We need a Department for Social Care to give the issue the focus it needs

Sturgeon urges Johnson to ‘reassess’ North Sea oil project

“Nicola Sturgeon has asked Boris Johnson to consider halting a controversial North Sea oil project, as Scotland’s first minister said the UK fossil fuel industry should not be allowed to continue as if it was “business as usual” given the severity of the climate crisis. In a letter sent to the UK prime minister on Thursday, Sturgeon urged his government to “reassess” oil and gas licences that have already been issued. She also called for a review of proposed projects, including the Cambo scheme, one of the largest undeveloped fields in UK waters. The intervention by the leader of the governing Scottish National party is significant, given the oil and gas industry is a major employer in the country and Scotland relies on the sector for more than 10 per cent of its gross domestic product. Oil and gas revenues were also a big part of the SNP’s economic case for Scottish independence ahead of the failed 2014 referendum.” – FT

  • First Minister ‘hiding behind PM’ on Cambo oilfield, say climate groups – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: After years of kowtowing, it’s hard to believe the SNP/Green deal might be in trouble

Henry Hill: Was it really necessary for Scotland to have a separate vaccine passport scheme for the SNP to screw up?

“But the question is surely this: was it really necessary for Scotland to have its own, separate system? Especially when the documents in question are used for foreign travel? We already got a foretaste of the sort of chaos that could result when the Scottish Government insisted on setting up its own contact tracing system. Of course, Dido Harding scarcely covered herself with glory, but at least one UK system would have been able to track people all over the country. Instead, Scots visiting other parts of Britain couldn’t be traced by their app, and Brits visiting Scotland couldn’t be traced by London’s. It would surely be much easier for Westminster to take charge of collaborating with foreign governments to make sure that these systems are built to work with each other, rather than leaving it to the Scottish Government.” – Daily Telegraph

Forcing people to return to offices is wrongheaded, says Starmer

“Ministers, civil service leaders and employers are “wrongheaded” to be trying to make people come back to the office against their will, and should not be standing in the way of progress around working from home, Keir Starmer has said. Speaking to the Guardian, the Labour leader said it was wrong for people to be forced back into offices when it was the government that had asked them to work from home in the first place, especially if they were being threatened with pay cuts or the loss of London weighting from their salaries. He said that this “misses a deeper understanding of what the pandemic has done to change our society”, as the move to more flexibility had been one of the few good things to have come out of the last 18 months.” – The Guardian

  • His standing with the public is lower than Miliband’s was – The Sun
  • McCluskey: Labour could sink under Starmer – The Times

More:

  • Leftie unions demand permanent furlough scheme to help Britain weather future crises – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • The West’s retreat from Afghanistan is bolstering Russia and China – Roberto White, CapX
  • A Suez moment is passing almost unremarked in Britain – James Kirkup, The Spectator
  • Science journals have been corrupted by China – Ian Birrell, UnHerd
  • Vaccine passports could lead to years of oppression – Patrick Fagan, The Critic