Newslinks for Tuesday 27th July 2021

Coronavirus 1) Compulsory vaccine passports ‘could spark first Tory Party split in nearly 200 years’

“Boris Johnson could spark the first split in the Tory Party in nearly 200 years if he brings in compulsory vaccine passports, a senior Conservative has warned. Former minister Steve Baker made the explosive prediction as football clubs, universities and raging MPs all hammered the plan. While senior scientists warned that “using the stick approach” could massively backfire and put youngsters off getting the jab. The PM has sparked uproar by threatening to make uni students get both jabs in order to attend lectures or stay in halls of residence. He is mulling the idea as a nuclear option to force the ‘missing 3 million’ of 18 to 29 year-olds who have not got their jab to get one. The radical plan – being pushed by Michael Gove – has sparked concern with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and his department who fear it may be open to legal challenge.” – The Sun

  • Tugendhat accuses Johnson of turning Britain into a ‘Beijing-style democracy’ – Daily Mail
  • Vaccine passports plan ‘railroaded through’ despite ministers’ concerns – Daily Telegraph
  • Universities balk at ‘Covid passports’ plan for English campuses – FT

Coronavirus 2) No 10 ‘cautious over declaring Covid turning point’ despite fall in cases

“Downing Street and scientists remained cautious about declaring a turning point in the outbreak on Monday night despite a huge drop in Covid case numbers for the sixth day in a row. No 10 said it was “encouraging” that infections had fallen to their lowest level in three weeks at 24,950 confirmed cases, with Boris Johnson taking the decision to allow more double-vaccinated key workers to avoid isolation with a daily testing programme. But the prime minister’s official spokesman said he still believed the UK was “not out of the woods yet” and highlighted the fact that the full impact of the 19 July unlocking has not yet been reflected in case numbers. Several Whitehall health sources said the government was still extremely cautious about the implications of the falling case data, which cannot yet be fully explained by scientists.” – The Guardian

  • Covid-19 cases fall again as pandemic starts retreat – The Times
  • ‘Vast numbers classed as being hospitalised by the virus’ when they were admitted with other ailments – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson warns ‘we’re not out of the woods yet’ – The Sun
  • Public must be ‘very careful’ and wait a few more weeks before celebrating fall in cases – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 3) Pingdemic is leading to panic buying, supermarket bosses warn ministers

“Downing Street has been warned that the “pingdemic” has led to panic buying and forced one in five workers at some supermarket chains to isolate, as calls mount for self-isolation rules to be relaxed before August 16. The Telegraph has learnt that, at a crunch meeting with supermarkets last week, ministers were told that the impact was hitting rural, tourist and coastal areas hardest. During the meeting on Thursday, chief executives in the food industry are understood to have highlighted that the Co-op’s absence rates nationally are now above 20 per cent as a result of staff being sick with Covid or self-isolating. Waitrose is also said to have warned that it had begun to see panic buying on the back of images of empty shelves caused by problems with deliveries and disruption to supply chains.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Soldiers and sailors ordered to turn off their Test and Trace apps as a record 5,200 are self-isolating – The Sun
  • Binmen, soldiers and prison workers added to list of key workers exempt – The Sun

Travel:

  • Brits jabbed abroad will be able to head home quarantine free at the end of the month – The Sun
  • UK to consider relaxing travel restrictions from EU and US – FT
  • No quarantine for Americans who enter the UK with a vaccine card – The Times

Comment:

  • England’s ‘pingdemic’ is a convenient distraction from the real problem – Stephen Reicher, The Guardian

Johnson gets tough on burglars with new stop-and-search powers

“Burglars and thieves will be tracked using electronic tags and restrictions on the use of police stop-and-search powers will be scrapped under plans to be announced by Boris Johnson today. The prime minister will use his first day after leaving quarantine to present a package of measures aimed at “beating crime” as he attempts to shift his premiership away from coronavirus. All burglars, robbers and thieves who have served a jail sentence of a year will automatically be fitted with a GPS tag on their release, allowing their movements to be tracked. Offenders will also be required to carry out unpaid work such as cleaning the streets and picking litter while they are on probation so they are “visibly and publicly making reparations for their crimes”.” – The Times

  • Patel promised to make ‘yobs pay back to the communities they’ve blighted’ – Daily Mail
  • MPs and campaigners alarmed at UK’s ‘discriminatory’ crime reduction plans – The Guardian

Priti Patel: The public want to see justice done… and offenders pay for crimes

“Crime destroys lives and ruins neighbourhoods. It leaves people afraid, bereft and bereaved. It must be confronted. Our Beating Crime Plan contains a range of measures to reduce crime and level up the country so that everyone has the security and confidence that comes from having a safe street and a safe home. From day one as Home Secretary, I’ve made it clear that I will back the police. We have already recruited nearly 9,000 extra police officers as part of our unprecedented recruitment drive to bring in 20,000. We’ll make sure that every community in the country has a named police contact – someone who knows your neighbourhood and can act on the challenges your community faces.” – Daily Mail

Johnson could rethink national insurance rise after Tory backlash…

“Boris Johnson could rethink plans for a national insurance rise to fund an overhaul of social care, after a significant backlash from cabinet ministers and Conservative MPs. At least five cabinet ministers are said to oppose plans for a 1% increase in national insurance, likely to be branded a health and social care levy, to tackle the NHS Covid backlog and long-term funding for a more generous social care package based on a cost cap. One cabinet minister said the prime minister was pushing back against what they saw as an attempt to bounce him into the tax rise, against the Tories’ manifesto pledge. Treasury sources denied they had briefed the plans. “The Treasury was trying to push the PM in a particular direction, and he’s put his foot down,” the cabinet minister said, suggesting there were more options still on the table.” – The Guardian

  • Mental health must be at the heart of social care reform – Andrew Lewer, Times Red Box

…and Brits may be allowed more time to swap over dirty boilers in major row-back plot

“Brits would be allowed up to five more years to swap out their dirty boilers in a major row-back plotted by Boris Johnson. The PM is looking at pushing back a ban on sales of all new gas boilers by 2035 after a furious backlash over spiralling costs. The shift would give more time for new heat-pumps and hydrogen boilers to come down in price, and for businesses to pump extra cash into shifting people over gradually. Brits will be incentivised to buy an eco-friendly heat pump next time their boiler breaks down, but would be given extra time to buy one if they want to before the ban kicks in. That may mean that working boilers could have to be taken out before 2050 or Britain would be at risk of failing to hit Net Zero targets – something ministers are desperate to avoid.” – The Sun

EU’s protocol proposals don’t go far enough, says UK

“Britain has told the European Union that new proposals from Brussels aimed at resolving the standoff over the Northern Ireland Protocol do not go far enough. On Monday, the EU issued a paper which suggested that checks on over-the-counter medicines destined for Northern Ireland could be conducted by UK authorities. Brussels said this would require the UK to meet several conditions – including ensuring all drugs comply with European Medicines Agency standards and that all packets destined for Northern Ireland are labelled as such. However, a UK government spokesman said the proposal “remains the same as the one [the EU] sent to us in late June” and does not address outstanding “issues and concerns”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Unionists warn Boris Johnson could be caught ‘off-guard’ by support for Welsh independence – Daily Express

Comment:

  • If Britain wants to resolve the Northern Ireland protocol, this is not the way to do it – Anand Menon and Jill Rutter, The Guardian

France rejected plan for British warships pick up migrants and take them back to shore

“France rejected a request to have British warships pick up migrants in the Channel and take them back to shore. The French military gave a resounding “non” to the request by UK border officials. Last year, Border Force carried out exercises alongside the Royal Navy to show it was possible to pluck migrants out of the sea and return them to France safely. Home Secretary Priti Patel said at the time: “We want the French to work and collaborate with us on this.” It has now emerged the plan was flat-out rejected by Paris. Since then, two separate deals have been made, with Britain paying more than £70 million to help patrol French beaches. It comes as Home Office insiders said people smugglers are launching migrants in stormy weather.” – The Sun

  • UK been hindered by a French legal ruling that has prohibited the use of drones – Daily Mail
  • Small boats used by migrants to cross the Channel will be handed to British charities – The Sun

MPs demand nation register of home-schooled children

“An ‘unacceptable level of opaqueness has clouded elective home education’ for too long, the chairman of an influential Commons committee has said. Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who heads up the Commons Education Committee, has branded it ‘frankly astonishing’ the Government is only able to make a ‘best guess’ over the standard of education children who learn at home were receiving. And his committee has called for a national register to be established and more data to be collected to ensure all children out of school get a suitable education. A report from the group of MPs released on Tuesday detailed how the Association of Directors of Children’s Services projected that, as of October 2020, more than 75,000 children were being educated at home, an increase of 38 per cent from the previous year.” – Daily Mail

Labour pledges same rights for all workers from day one of jobs

“All workers from direct employees to those in the gig economy would be eligible for sick pay, holiday, parental leave and the minimum wage from day one of their jobs under new plans announced by Labour. The party said it would create a new definition of “worker” in law to make sure everyone in employment gets the same protections. Under the current system, there are qualifying periods for rights such as statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental leave and flexible working requests. Labour said all workers should get rights immediately, whether they were in direct employment or working in the so-called gig economy. The move would mean an extra 6 million people in insecure work having access to sick pay, potentially helping to solve the issue of some gig economy workers with Covid being reluctant to isolate because of worries about losing money.” – The Guardian

  • Starmer clashes with unions over stay-at-home staff – Daily Mail

More:

  • Shadow chancellor promises Labour will repair trade ties with EU – FT
  • Butler was right to call Johnson a liar, says Starmer – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Starmer is shrinking the Labour party – Tom Blackburn, The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • What the SNP’s missing referendum fund tells us – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Nationalists have blurred lines between party, ‘Yes movement’, and devolved state – Henry Hill, UnHerd
  • The Lancet, China and the origins of coronavirus – Stuart Richie, The Spectator
  • A new report is gratifyingly pro-freedom and pro-free speech – Andrew Tettenborn, The Critic

And finally… Cummings backs Britney Spears in her conservatorship court battle

“Dominic Cummings last night backed Britney Spears in her conservatorship court battle as he declared “free Britney”. The rogue ex No10 aide waded into the blockbuster case to urge the pop star’s lawyers to lobby American politicians to challenge the “shocking conservatorship laws”. His bizarre intervention comes after the singer, 39, told a court she is “depressed” and cries every day because she cannot have a baby or make any life decisions on her own. The millionaire songstress has been under the control of her father, Jamie, since 2008. The drastic step was taken after Britney suffered a very public breakdown… Weighing in behind the popstar, Mr Cummings urged American President Joe Biden and members of Congress to intervene and tear up the draconian laws which have left Britney a virtual prisoner.” – The Sun

  • He’s right: we deserve better leaders – Max Hastings, The Times

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Author: Conservative Home


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