Newslinks for Sunday 16th May 2021

Covid-19: Push for one million jabs a day ‘to save summer’…

“The Government wants to vaccinate as many as one million people a day as part of a drive to beat the Indian variant of Covid-19 and save the British summer, The Telegraph can disclose. As a first step, ministers have told MPs they “safely” expect to increase daily doses from 500,000 to 800,000 within a fortnight, by drawing on a stockpile of 3.2 million doses. Government insiders hope this daily run-rate could be further increased, with the possibility of reaching a peak of around one million during some days over the summer. A further boost to the vaccination push could come this week when MHRA, the medicines regulator, is expected to give the green light for Johnson & Johnson’s single dose Janssen vaccine.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Indian Covid variant: 20,000 allowed to enter UK… – Sunday Times
  • …but early findings show vaccinated Brits ARE protected against it – Sun on Sunday
  • Pubs and restaurants will need more taxpayer support if June 21 opening is delayed – Sunday Telegraph
  • We are responding calmly, says Argar – The Observer

…as Sunak’s fraud squad recovering hundreds of thousands from Covid cheats…

“A fraud squad launched by Rishi Sunak is recovering hundreds of thousands of pounds from Covid business cheats. Investigators found furloughed staff were threatened with dismissal if they didn’t continue working, even if sick, resulting in £357,000 being returned from one firm. The suspect firm was identified by combing through data before a tip-off to the Taxpayer Protection Taskforce hotline. Thousands of probes have been launched by 1,250 HMRC staff into taxpayer-funded hand-outs such as the job retention scheme and Eat Out To Help Out. Hotel bosses were written to when analysis suggested an accounting error had been made but was ignored. The inquiry led to £68,000 being fed back into government coffers.” – Sun on Sunday

…and Hancock ‘helped Tory secure £180m PPE deal’

“Matt Hancock personally intervened to help a former Conservative minister secure a PPE deal worth £180 million, according to government emails. The health secretary assisted Brooks Newmark, the former civil society minister who resigned after sending sexually explicit photographs of himself to an undercover journalist he thought was a female party activist. Last May, Newmark, 63, teamed up with the owner of a dog food company who had set up a firm to broker PPE deals for international suppliers. His subsequent lobbying helped a Hong Kong business become the eighth-biggest recipient of PPE contracts during the pandemic, according to the National Audit Office. Zoe Ley, the dog food entrepreneur, was reported by BBC Panorama to have personally earned up to £1 million. Newmark does not deny being paid for his lobbying.” – Sunday Times

  • Patel accused of lobbying for ‘get-rich-quick’ £20m PPE deal – The Observer

More:

  • Tory MPs vow to stop Johnson being suspended from the House of Commons – Mail on Sunday
  • Lord Udny-Lister in £187m loan apology – Sunday Times
  • Cameron dropped from promoting children’s parliament due to reputational damage – Sunday Telegraph

Flexible rail tickets ‘won’t add value for travellers’

“Flexible season tickets to tempt people back on the railways next month will be no cheaper for many commuters than buying normal season tickets or paying for daily travel at full fare rates. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, is set to announce the launch of a new type of ticket for the era of hybrid working after June 21. Commuters will be offered a carnet of eight return journeys per month, with the option of buying more. It will be one of the most eye-catching initiatives to coincide with the return of the railways to state control almost 30 years after they were privatised, with a new taxpayer-funded organisation called Great British Railways. Track, timetables, ticketing and pricing will be run by Sir Peter Hendy, the chairman of Network Rail. He will be joined at the new arms-length body by Andrew Haines, his present chief executive.” – Sunday Times

  • Ministers to announce biggest shake-up of the railways since privatisation – Sunday Telegraph

Red Wall voters to replace ‘metropolitan bubbles’ on heritage boards, pledges Dowden

Shield“Voters in “Red Wall” seats will replace “people from metropolitan bubbles” on the boards of Britain’s museums and heritage bodies to stop them bowing to pressure from “woke” activists over contested history. Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, said on Saturday that he wants people from the North and the Midlands to join the management of top cultural organisations and give them “the courage to stand up against the political fads and noisy movements of the moment”. Separately Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, said he will amend regulations so that buildings used by the public have separate ladies and gents lavatories, in a blow for campaigners who want more gender-neutral facilities. In an article for The Telegraph, Mr Dowden said he will take “not a Maoist approach but a ‘moreist approach’ to our heritage”.” – Sunday Telegrah

  • University fees to fall, but arts degrees may suffer – Sunday Times

Oliver Dowden: We won’t allow Britain’s history to be cancelled

“And as national institutions, heritage organisations should take into account the views of the entire nation: the people for whom they were set up, and whose taxes pay for them. That’s why I want to make sure the boards of these bodies are genuinely diverse and not solely governed by people from metropolitan bubbles. I want a grandparent in Hartlepool or Harwich to feel as represented by their decisions as a millennial in Islington. None of this means preserving our history in aspic. History is a dynamic, living subject, and it’s right that we reassess and reinterpret events as our understanding evolves. But any account of the past should start from a commitment to telling a balanced, nuanced and academically rigorous story – one that doesn’t automatically start from a position of guilt and shame or the denigration of this country’s past.” – Sunday Telegraph

Northern Ireland Protocol ‘dead in the water’, senior ally of Johnson says

“The Northern Ireland Protocol is “dead in the water”, a senior ally of Boris Johnson has said as the Government gave the European Union two months to make the system work. Ministers are increasingly worried about the way that the European Union is enforcing checks when goods move from Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fears among senior figures that unless the EU eases checks in time for when the marching season reaches its peak on July 12, tensions could flare. A Government source said: “The marching season is a date whereby you would want to have a material improvement in what is happening. “We need a bit of movement by then because that is when we risk seeing the kind of disruption and the protests that we had recently.”” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Prime Minister ‘could rip up UK’s post-Brexit agreement with the EU’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Frost orders EU to budge as demands ‘make no sense’ – Sunday Express

Comment:

  • Brussels must stop point scoring and work with us to protect the peace – Lord Frost, Mail on Sunday

Labour falls 13 points behind Tories…

“Labour has fallen 13 points behind the Tories following a botched reshuffle and a by-election defeat, a poll revealed last night. The survey also reveals Boris Johnson hit 40 per cent when voters were asked who would be the best PM taking a 17 point lead over Sir Keir Starmer. A third of Labour supporters who took part in the research by Opinium thought he should resign from the post he has held for just over a year. He faced a huge backlash when he sacked deputy leader Angela Rayner from her party chair role only later to give her several new roles. He also took responsibility for losing the Red Wall Hartlepool seat. But he faces major discontent if he fails to win the upcoming Batley and Spen, West Yorkshire by-election.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Starmer’s top aide is considering legal action over a ‘false’ claim that she is banned from his home – Mail on Sunday
  • Corbynista Momentum launches new ‘political education’ plan as it plots socialist takeover – Sunday Express

…as poll ‘proves wokery lost Labour ‘red wall’ seats’

“Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is out of touch with public opinion on woke issues, a Mail on Sunday poll has found. The survey revealed that the party was overwhelmingly associated with support for politically correct issues – such as pulling down statues of historical figures – that are not backed by voters. The figures will add to concerns among Labour strategists that the party’s metropolitan image is alienating its working-class base, particularly among its former supporters in the North. Sir Keir’s position is under pressure following a poor set of local election results along its former heartland of Red Wall seats this month and the loss of the Hartlepool by-election to the Conservatives for the first time since 1974.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Burnham: Labour’s red wall seats would have been safer under me – The Observer

Comment:

  • Less of the backstory, Rayner, it’s beginning to wear a bit thin – Barbara Ellen, The Observer

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Author: Conservative Home


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