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Holidays to France are back on as Johnson removes it from ‘amber plus’ list

“Summer holidays to France are back on, as Boris Johnson said Britons “yearn to go abroad this year”. In a significant reopening of foreign travel from this weekend, France is to be removed from the “amber plus” list, ending the requirement for fully jabbed holidaymakers to quarantine on their return to England. Seven countries, including Germany, Austria and Slovenia, will be added to the green list, while India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which includes Dubai, will become two of the first countries to be removed from the red list, opening them up to quarantine-free travel for Britons who have had both doses of the vaccine. Speaking on a visit to Scotland on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said: “I know how important holidays are to people. People think about them, they save up for them, people yearn to go abroad this year. I totally get that.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Boost for summer getaways as France, India and Dubai trips escape quarantine – The Times
  • Government returns to simpler ‘traffic light’ entry system after fall in Beta variant cases – FT
  • Holiday chaos as UK travel watchlist under threat – Daily Express
  • Cost of hotel isolation is set to rocket – Daily Mail
  • Sunak joins the latest Tory trend for a summer staycation – The Times

16 and 17 year olds will not need parental consent to get Covid vaccines

“Sixteen and 17-year-olds won’t need parental consent to get Covid vaccines, No10’s top scientists revealed today as they hinted children as young as 12 could be offered jabs later this year. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended the 1.4million youngsters should be offered Pfizer jabs, marking a dramatic U-turn on guidance the same panel issued two weeks ago. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the NHS would dish out invites ‘as soon as possible’, with the goal of getting the oldest teenagers protected before they return to classrooms in September. Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, said there was ‘no time to waste’ and that there was ‘plentiful’ supply of the vaccines. He also laid the groundwork for ministers to expand the inoculation drive to all over-12s in the near future, saying that the JCVI would ‘continually review’ the evidence.” – Daily Mail

  • Just one in five civil servants has returned to work in the office since Covid lockdowns were lifted – Daily Mail
  • Nationalist Covid easing plans a ‘shambles’ over claims people cannot drink in pubs while standing up – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Andrea Leadsom in Comment: Flexible work will benefit both businesses and their employees

>Yesterday: Russell George in Comment: Vaccine passports are a raid on our civil liberties. Conservatives will fight against them in Wales.

Johnson and Starmer give Sturgeon a wide berth in Scotland

“Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday described Boris Johnson’s decision to snub her invitation to discuss the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic during a two-day tour of Scotland as a “bit odd”. Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader who was also visiting Scotland, both attempted to keep their distance from the Scottish National party leader and first minister who poses a significant political threat to both of them. Johnson, who visited a police college near Falkirk — some 30 miles from Sturgeon’s Bute House residence in Edinburgh — said he hoped to meet the first minister “soon”. But with the future of the UK union under threat from Sturgeon’s push for another independence referendum, his advisers want Johnson’s visits to Scotland to become more routine and an expression that he remains prime minister of the entire country.” – FT

  • Starmer rules out coalition deal with SNP to hand him the keys to No10 – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Starmer could help Ulster and the Union by reviving the old NI Labour Party – Henry Hill, News Letter
  • Labour leader can’t duck the fight for the Union – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Francois – ‘We need to work together to persuade the people of Scotland that we’re better together’

Tory rebels vow to fight 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars

“Tory rebels have vowed to fight the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars. Thirteen MPs urged the Government to think again or face public fury. The Fair Fuel all-party parliamentary group today calls on ministers to publish a full-cost analysis of what it will mean for the economy to go electric, and how they will slash emissions. They also demand a new road user advisory group, an air quality watchdog, and for the Government to look into how fuel catalysts can cut pollution from existing cars… In a survey of more than 50,000 road users, seven in ten called for ministers to U-turn on the car ban. Four in five said Brits were not properly consulted, and four in ten petrol and diesel drivers would be less likely to vote Tory over the plans.” – The Sun

  • Labour calls for ‘hard-edged’ end date for oil and gas exploration – The Guardian
  • Summit ‘too big’ to happen in person, warns climate change negotiator – The Sun
  • Labour leader says Prime Minister’s lack of ambition risks failure of COP26 – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Emily Carver’s column: If the public face of COP26 won’t buy an electric car, don’t expect the nation to be on board with Net Zero

Johnson and Sunak urge UK pensions to back riskier investments

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will urge UK pension schemes to back Britain’s “entrepreneurial spirit” with billions of pounds of savers’ funds to fuel the economy’s post-pandemic recovery in a message to investment bosses… Citing the success of long-term investment programmes by Australian and Canadian pension schemes, Sunak and Johnson will say that British pensioners are missing out on “better retirements” after investors focused too heavily on the returns from stock market listed companies. In a letter to institutions that one critic said was little more than “hot air”, the pair will say that they would prefer UK investors to broaden their horizons and direct more of their savings towards more high risk research projects and new startups to support the government’s “levelling up” agenda and “UK assets that require longer-duration investments”.” – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Having my phone stolen was bad. But the bureaucracy that followed was almost worse.

Post-Brexit Britain deepens ties with Southeast Asia

“Britain must reach out beyond its old “baseline alliances” in the West, Dominic Raab has declared, as the UK becomes the first new partner of the Southeast Asian bloc in 25 years. On Thursday morning, the Foreign Secretary will attend a virtual signing ceremony with the 10 nations that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), as Britain joins its “dialogue partner” club. The move forms the diplomatic pillar of a three-pronged foreign policy strategy in the region, which also involves bolstering security and trade ties. It is part of the UK’s wider tilt towards the Indo-Pacific, as the Government pursues a post-Brexit vision of “Global Britain”. In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Raab explained that membership of the club would offer Britain opportunities, as well as mitigate threats as the global “matrix of risk” evolves in the coming decades.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Raab signs Britain up to 10-nation trade club in major win after leaving EU – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Forget Brexit and build bridges with Europe – Iain Martin, The Times

Former Army head tells ‘disrespectful’ ministers to help Afghan interpreters

“The former head of the Army has accused ministers of “disrespect” in the Afghan interpreters row as he said the Government had dismissed the views of senior military personnel. General Lord Dannatt hit back at a letter signed by the Home and Defence Secretaries in which they said the UK had been at “the forefront of nations relocating people” since the US announced its withdrawal earlier this year. They insisted that it was “prioritising” those on the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy who were most at risk. However, Lord Dannatt told The Telegraph that the letter, which was written in response to more than 35 retired senior military commanders urging the Government to allow thousands more Afghans who worked with British forces to relocate to the UK, was “verging on the disrespectful”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Israel says military action is needed to stop further attacks by Iran – Daily Mail
  • ‘Butcher of Tehran’ should work with the West, says Raab – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: Just as in Hong Kong and Belarus, the UK has a duty to stand up for freedom in Tunisia

Patel touring Greece to try to find a solution to foreign migrant-smuggling gangs

“Embattled Priti Patel is on a fact finding mission in Greece to find out how they turn migrants boats to Turkey. The Home Secretary is touring islands and speaking to the Greek officials to break up the criminal gangs that end up smuggling migrants across the Channel. She met with Greek minister Michalis Chrysochoidis over concerns that upheaval in Afghanistan will spark a new wave of refugees heading towards the Med. Home Office insiders say people smugglers often sell packages to Britain to arrivals in Greece and are working to cut off the criminal gangs in the Med. It comes as Border Force is braced for a new influx of migrant Channel crossings from mid-August after going a week without any arrivals.” – The Sun

  • Number of boat migrants this year hits 10,000 – The Times
  • Migrants in taxpayer-funded hotels not having quarantine enforced – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: David Simmons in Comment: The Nationality and Borders Bill must ensure our immigration system is fir­­­­­m but fair

Tory chairman’s business partner ‘has secret role managing donors’

“The chairman of the Conservative Party is using his business partner in a secretive company to help manage party donors and arrange access to Boris Johnson. Ben Elliot is already under intense scrutiny over the overlap between his party and business roles as co-founder of Quintessentially, a luxury concierge business. Today it can be revealed that he is using his co-director in another company to conduct political activities. Jakob Widecki, his partner at Hod Hill, also holds a previously undisclosed role in Elliot’s team at Conservative headquarters. The Times has also learnt that Elliot uses his Quintessentially email address, rather than a Conservative account, for party business. Last week a Conservative donor claimed that Elliot had arranged for “elite” clients of his concierge company to meet the Prince of Wales. Elliot is a nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall.” – The Times

  • Labour questions link between Tory co-chair and Huawei PR firm – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan’s column: We should thank, not demonise, the patriots who donate to political parties

Cummings claims Johnson once offered him a peerage

“Dominic Cummings has said Boris Johnson once offered to make him a lord. But a Downing Street source insisted the claim was not true. Mr Cummings said the peerage offer was made at the height of the Downing Street civil war when he was ousted in November. He claimed: “The PM said it but then he almost immediately started laughing and realised that was not exactly the sort of thing that would buy me off.” The Prime Minister’s former aide also alleged Mr Johnson wanted to give wife Carrie a job promoting green issues around the world. He claimed the PM said: “We’ve got to find her a job with lots of foreign travel. Could we get the cabinet secretary to give her a job on COP26, travelling round with Kate Middleton?” An ally of the PM said Mr Cummings’ latest rant was “risible, like much of Dom’s recent output”.” – The Sun

  • Ex-aide: Carrie was driving Boris crackers – The Times
  • On Hancock: ‘if it ends with a sex scandal, fine by me’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Why is the SNP bringing the Greens into government? To spread the blame – Henry Hill, UnHerd
  • I’m plagued by worries of disaster’: an interview with Cummings – Lynn Barber, The Spectator
  • The Victoria Tower Gardens plot – Dorian Gerhold, The Critic
  • The Tories have abandoned its commitment to true conservation – Gerald Warner, Reaction
  • Why the best response to an over-active judiciary is an energetic government – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Sturgeon’s drugs shame – Ruth Davidson, UnHerd