Newslinks for Saturday 6th June 2020

Economy 1) Sunday trading restrictions “to be lifted”

“Sunday trading laws will be suspended for a year and cafés and pubs will be given fast-track approval to serve food and drink outside under plans to boost the economy. Downing Street is drawing up a package of measures in response to mounting concern that Britain will face mass unemployment as it emerges from the coronavirus lockdown. The government is preparing legislation that will enable larger supermarkets to open for more than six hours on Sundays. Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser, are said to be in favour of the move, which is also being pushed by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, and Alok Sharma, the business secretary. However, Mark Spencer, the chief whip, is concerned that it will be opposed by more traditionalist Conservative MPs and by Labour. David Cameron, as prime minister, attempted to abolish Sunday trading laws in 2016 but suffered one of his biggest defeats after 27 Tory MPs rebelled.” – The Times

  • Nervous ministers at odds with scientists – The Times

>Today:

Economy 2) Sunak’s “allies” dampen expectations of July “mini Budget”

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak is delaying his big stimulus package of tax cuts and spending commitments until the autumn, damping expectations of a summer Budget to kick-start the British economy. Mr Sunak, who has already spent £133bn mitigating the economic damage wrought by coronavirus, wants to wait until the problems facing the economy are clear before making irreversible spending commitments. The Treasury confirmed on Friday that he was still considering an economic update in July that could include a limited package of measures but it would fall far short of an emergency Budget. The department said: “We will be taking stock of the economic situation, and looking at if and where further support makes sense ahead of the more significant moments in the autumn.” There has been concern in the Treasury that the importance of a “summer statement” has been exaggerated by Number 10. “It is not a Budget or a mini-Budget,” said one ally of Mr Sunak, although the chancellor can be expected to bring forward announcements of capital projects it wants to invest in.” – Financial Times

Economy 2) A national insurance holiday for employers to boost jobs is being “considered”

“Boris Johnson is drawing up a ‘Great Recovery Bill’ to slash red tape and help get the economy moving again, and ministers have been told to submit ideas for reforms that would allow firms to adapt to the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic…The plans would be rolled together in a legislative agenda provisionally entitled the ‘Great Recovery Bill’. It will sit alongside a mini-budget, pencilled in for July, which is expected to include tax cuts to fuel consumer spending and business investment. Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who is under pressure to temporarily lower VAT and stamp duty, is considering a national insurance holiday for employers to boost jobs…Mr Johnson’s shake-up could include major reforms to the planning system to revive his ‘infrastructure revolution’, which has stalled during the lockdown. Ministers believe new housing, roads and broadband will be central to any recovery. ” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Warwick Lightfoot on Think Tanks: The Government must borrow more to boost the post-Coronavirus recovery

Coronavirus 1) Death toll passes 40,000

“The UK’s coronavirus death toll has passed more than 40,000, according to the latest government figures. A total of 40,261 people have died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for the virus, up 357 from Thursday. The UK is only the second country – after the US with 108,000 deaths – to pass the milestone.” – BBC

  • All hospital visitors and outpatients will now need to wear masks – The Sun
  • Number of coronavirus infections halves in seven days – The Times
  • Care home residents forced to pay extra – The Guardian
  • Stay away from demos urges the Health Secretary – The Times
  • Calls for local lockdowns – The Guardian
  • BA boss threatens legal action against coronavirus quarantine rules – The Times

>Yesterday: WATCH: The official UK death toll passes 40,000

Coronavirus 2) Jenrick extends ban on evictions for a further two months

“Millions of renters will be protected from eviction for another two months, ministers have announced. Robert Jenrick said he was extending the ban on landlords booting tenants out to create “certainty and security” during the lockdown. The Housing Secretary said the government is clear no one should be kicked out of their home as a result of coronavirus.” – The Sun

Coronavirus 3) Seely attended lockdown barbecue

“The Tory MP spearheading efforts to promote the Covid-19 contact-tracing app trial on the Isle of Wight appears to have broken lockdown rules at a barbecue also attended by the chairman of the Brexit party and political journalists, the Guardian has learned. Bob Seely went to the evening gathering hosted by the Spectator magazine’s deputy editor, Freddy Gray, in the village of Seaview on the island last month. Richard Tice, the Brexit party chairman, and his partner, the political journalist Isabel Oakeshott, were also there. Seely said he was unaware others would be present when he arrived for a meeting, and that at all times social distancing was followed.” – The Guardian

Coronavirus 4) Moore: China has questions to answer

“Putting this and other emerging work together, one can fairly say that China has scientifically well-founded questions to answer about the origin and nature of the virus. And fairly add that it has not been frank or honest so far. This is a matter not only of getting the history right, but also of life and death. Chinese concealment is hindering the search for a vaccine. If we did not expect such concealment, we do not understand the Chinese leadership.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Other coronavirus comment

  • We should give credit where it’s due – Sir Robbie Gibb, Daily Express
  • Lockdowns are a sledgehammer. We need a scalpel – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • We need to calm things down – Karol Sikora, Daily Express
  • Britain deserves an explanation for what has happened in care homes – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • There’s no room for mistakes – Rupert Beale, The Guardian
  • Government must treat us like grown-ups in its use of ‘the science’ – Sir Paul Nurse and Maurice Saatchi, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Tom Tugendhat on Comment: China. The five actions that the Government must take to defend our interests.

MPs to vote through “no fault” divorce rules on Monday

“No fault ‘quickie’ divorces will be legal from as early as next month, as Boris Johnson faces a backlash for introducing the plans at a time when many marriages are under stress in the coronavirus lockdown. The reforms will be voted on in the House of Commons on Monday, but could be opposed by dozens of Conservative MPs amid concerns that the relaxation of marriage laws will lead to a spike in divorces. It comes after legal advice firm Co-op Legal Services revealed earlier this week that divorce inquiries had jumped by more than 40 per cent during the lockdown. A similar surge in divorce was recorded in China. The reforms would mean that a ‘no fault’ divorce could be granted to a couple after a wait of just six months rather than after a separation by agreement lasting two years.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Appallingly insensitive to the national mood – Michael Farmer, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Jake Scott on Comment: To defend the ‘Blue Wall’, Tory MPs must be prepared to defy the whip

Trade deal with the EU is still possible, claims Hancock

“A trade deal with the EU based on the UK’s “very reasonable” demands is still possible, cabinet minister Matt Hancock has said. The health secretary was speaking after the two sides admitted little progress had been made in the latest round. He said he “very much” hoped a no-deal outcome to the talks could be avoided if the two sides worked together. He was speaking after EU negotiator Michel Barnier accused the UK of “backtracking” on its commitments. The French official said differences remain in four key areas – fisheries, competition rules, governance and police cooperation.” – BBC

  • Johnson refuses to pay EU £270 million it’s demanding to pay for its coronavirus recovery – The Sun
  • Remainer plan to force delay torn apart – Daily Express
  • No more delays, urges CBI – Daily Mail
  • The Brexit drama returns, but a suitable ending has yet to be scripted – Camilla Cavendish, Financial Times

Field “set to become a peer”

“Veteran ex-Labour MP Frank Field is being lined up for a seat in the House of Lords after Jeremy Corbyn’s three candidates were blocked by the Lords watchdog. Mr Field, who quit the Labour Party in 2018 over anti-Semitism and left Parliament at last December’s general election, is set to take a seat in the Lords when a longlist of new peers is finally unveiled. The news will be an embarrassment for ex-Labour leader Mr Corbyn, who has seen his three candidates – Tom Watson, John Bercow and Carrie Murphy – blocked by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. The announcement of dozens of new mainly Conservative peers has been delayed by the election, the Brexit crisis and now the coronavirus pandemic.” – Daily Telegraph

Davie chosen as new Director General of the BBC

“The BBC has appointed Tim Davie as its next director-general, turning to an insider with private sector experience to help it navigate one of the most sensitive financial transitions in the public broadcaster’s near 100-year history.  Mr Davie is currently chief executive of BBC Studios, the corporation’s commercial arm and production hub, and briefly served as acting director-general in 2012 after the broadcaster was engulfed by the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal.” – Financial Times

Surprise fall in US unemployment boosts Trump

“President Trump, buoyed by a surprise jump in employment figures, said yesterday that his plan to address racial injustice in the US was a strong economy. He heralded an unexpected fall in unemployment as the start of a “rocket ship” comeback for America after the coronavirus crisis and widespread protests triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He risked offence, however, by claiming that the economic figures were also “a great day” for Mr Floyd.” – The Times

  • Teflon Don will go on and on – David Kay Johnston, Daily Mail

Parris: Johnson may not survive

“I’d be an idiot to predict that Johnson must fall before the next general election; but you’d be idiotic to rule it out. Guessing where, when and how is a mug’s game, but a general statement is possible. Once your credibility is shot and the voters have fallen out of love with you, you are vulnerable to the first rabbit-hole that breaks your stride. And if the PM trips and falls, he will already know that his marriage to the parliamentary Conservative Party was only ever one of convenience. They don’t like or trust him, and only chose him because they thought (rightly as it turned out) he could win a general election.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

News in brief

  • One in ten Brits may have had coronavirus – Ross Clark, The Spectator
  • The battle for the future of the internet needs you – Alex Krasodomski-Jones, CapX
  • A brief history of facial coverings – Daniel Johnson, The Article
  • Some questions on the virus – John Redwood
  • What Antifa and the alt-Right have in common – Mary Harrington, Unherd

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Author: Conservative Home


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