Newslinks for Monday 2nd August 2021

Tories revolt over amber watchlist crackdown on holidays

“Tory backbenchers and the travel industry have criticised “inexplicably complicated” government plans to warn holidaymakers against visiting popular destinations such as Spain. Ministers are in discussions about creating a new amber watchlist of countries that are at risk of moving to the government’s travel red list with little warning. Spain would be put on the new list under the plans. Such a move would be likely to cause an exodus of up to a million British tourists who are on holiday there now. There are fears that Greece and Italy could also be included. Polling for The Times revealed that the public were in favour of greater travel freedoms. Some 50 per cent of those surveyed by YouGov said they backed the decision to allow double-jabbed travellers from the United States and EU to come to the UK without quarantining from today, compared with 37 per cent who opposed it.” – The Times

Newspapers pick up on ConservativeHome’s Cabinet League Table – ‘Conservatives back Sunak as Johnson’s popularity slides’

“Boris Johnson’s rating among Conservative Party members has plummeted by nearly 36 points in four weeks, while Rishi Sunak has emerged as the most popular candidate to succeed him. The prime minister is now the fifth-most unpopular cabinet minister among the Tory grassroots, according to a survey published yesterday by the Conservative Home website. Johnson’s net satisfaction rating is at 3.4, barely in positive territory and just above Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, who had a rating of 1.3. In a separate survey by the website a third of respondents said Sunak should succeed Johnson. No other contender gained more than 12 per cent of the vote.” – The Times

  • Tory rebels force Johnson into climbdown on planning: Reforms could be watered down amid fears almost 100 Government MPs could vote against them – Daily Mail
  • Sunak mulls suspension of triple lock on state pension – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Paul Goodman: Sunak is popular but is he the next Tory leader?

“He may fall to earth, resign, implode or be overtaken by events. But Rishi Sunak is well placed to succeed Boris Johnson — at least if a poll of Tory activists for the website I edit, Conservative Home, gives as reliable a steer for the future as it has done in the past. Asked for the first time since the last election who should succeed Johnson as party leader, almost a third of them plumped for the chancellor. No other contender won more than 12 per cent of the vote. At least seven in ten of these Conservative members have backed Sunak’s response to Covid-19 in each monthly survey since the pandemic began. That will be the main reason why he has topped this new poll — together perhaps with a sense that most of the leading alternatives have already had a shot at the leadership.” – The Times

Coronavirus 1) Free coffee and cinema tickets could be new incentives to beat Covid vaccine hesitancy in youngsters

“Young people could be offered a free latte or cinema ticket in return for having the Covid jab under plans being discussed by ministers. The Government yesterday announced commercial tie-ups that will see firms like Deliveroo and Uber offer discounted takeaways and taxi rides to people who sign up for vaccination. A Government source said that further deals were expected in the coming days with cinema chains, coffee franchises and high street restaurants potentially involved. However ministers have ruled out offering cash bribes as seen in the United States where newly-vaccinated citizens are to be offered $100 in cash, equal to £72.” – Daily Mail

  • ‘Vaccine passports aren’t British’: Rees-Mogg blasts plan to bring in Covid jab certification and insists it should only be considered for nightclubs – Daily Mail
  • No traces of Covid in train stations and carriages, study finds – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Extortionate’ Covid travel test providers face axe – The Times

Comment:

Coronavirus 2) 250,000 viable jobs at risk as furlough scheme winds down

“Hundreds of thousands of viable jobs will be put at risk when the furlough scheme ends as workers in industries where voluntary restrictions persist lose the support, analysis by the New Economics Foundation suggests. Employers must now pay 20 per cent of the wages covered by furlough, up to a maximum of £625 a month, to admit staff to the scheme as the staged withdrawal continues. Furlough is due to be removed completely from the start of October. The foundation, a think tank, said that yesterday’s changes would threaten 250,000 jobs as the 20 per cent contribution “will not be cost-effective” for some employers.” – The Times

  • Half of Britons cut back on socialising to avoid pingdemic – The Times
  • Bin lorry drivers are offered £3k bonuses as pingdemic wreaks havoc: Councils eye extra cash for refuse collectors in bid to clear backlog of rubbish – Daily Mail
  • Two days in the office ‘will be the new normal’: Working from home for three days a week will replace traditional set-up after Covid lockdowns – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 3) Rollout of booster shots for 32 million starts next month

“Booster jabs are to be offered to 32 million people as early as next month to protect the most vulnerable before winter, it was reported last night. Up to 2,000 pharmacies will run the programme so that the NHS can focus on the 5.3 million patients caught in a backlog of treatments. Ministers aim to deliver an average of almost 2.5 million third doses a week, starting from September, The Daily Telegraph reported. The highest number of doses in one day so far was 873,784 on March 20 this year. Adults aged 50 and over, as well as those who are immunosuppressed, will be offered the extra doses from as early as Monday September 6, which could allow for the programme to be completed by early December.” – The Times

  • Drug firms raised Covid jab prices as EU struggled to meet vaccine targets – The Times

Comment:

Prosecutions for violent crime fall to lowest level in a decade

“The proportion of people charged with violent crime has fallen to the lowest level in ten years, official figures show. Last year only 6.8 per cent of reported crimes involving violence led to a suspect being charged. The Home Office statistics, which run to March, showed that more than nine out of ten of all recorded crimes did not lead to a charge. Of the 1.7 million violent offences reported last year, only 139,805 led to charges and there were 238,000 cases in which no suspect was identified. The proportion of offences that closed because of difficulties with the evidence rose to 40 per cent from 35 in the previous year.” – The Times

Stratton: Net-zero date too far away

“Boris Johnson’s spokeswoman for the UN climate conference in Glasgow this autumn said the government’s target of making the UK carbon neutral by 2050 was “too far away”. Allegra Stratton, who is the public face of Cop26 in October and November, said: “Every bit of society is moving in tandem towards net zero in 2050 but let’s be honest that’s too far away. Net zero is the glide path. “The science is clear . . . we have to be changing our carbon emissions right now so that we can stop the temperature increase by 2030.” The UK was the first leading economy in the world to sign the 2050 net zero target into law in 2019. Ministers have set two earlier targets, to achieve a 68 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2030 and a 78 per cent cut by 2035.” – The Times

Comment:

Number 10 ‘will not stand in the way’ of a second Scottish independence referendum if it is ‘settled will’ of voters, says Gove

“Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has said Westminster would not stand in the way of a second Scottish independence referendum if it is the ‘settled will’ of voters amid a decline in support for secession. London has repeatedly rejected demands from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for the powers necessary to hold another vote and split the UK, but Mr Gove – who is responsible for countering the push for independence – has now said if the public desire a second poll, ‘one would occur’. The Cabinet Office minister, who previously said Westminster had ruled out a second referendum before the 2024 General Election, told the Sunday Mail: ‘The principle that the people of Scotland, in the right circumstances, can ask that question again is there.” – Daily Mail

Social media giants fail to curb 90 per cent of antisemitism

“Nine out of ten antisemitic posts on Facebook and Twitter stay online despite being reported, a large-scale study has found. Holocaust denial, incitement of violence against Jews and other conspiracy theories remained even after they were flagged to moderators. The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) identified 714 antisemitic posts across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok and reported them to the sites. Researchers then checked back over six weeks. They found that 84 per cent had been allowed to stay online. On Facebook and Twitter, nine out of ten antisemitic posts were not deleted. Imran Ahmed, the chief executive of CCDH, a non-profit organisation, said the findings showed social media was a “safe space for racists to normalise their conspiracies and hateful rhetoric without fear of consequences”.” – The Times

Giant 3D printer can get HS2 back on track

“The HS2 rail line will be partially built using giant 3D printing technology under plans to cut costs, disruption and emissions. Reinforced concrete structures installed as part of the 225mph railway will be printed on site by a giant robotic arm to avoid the inconvenience of transporting precast slabs by road. In the first system of its kind in the UK, the mobile machine will squirt concrete laced with super-strong graphene through a nozzle, following a digital design pattern to create the structure from the bottom up. The technology will initially be used by HS2 contractors building tunnels on the route out of central London as part of a trial beginning in spring before possibly being employed elsewhere on the line. It could lead to a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions for the whole project, it is claimed.” – The Times

Commons writes off £70 million spent on temporary new home

“The House of Commons has written off £70 million of wasted work on a temporary chamber to rehouse MPs amid uncertainty about the future of plans to refurbish parliament. Peers, MPs and their staff have complained about sewage leaks, freezing temperatures and a damaged dispatch box over past months as hundreds of repair jobs have gone up to half a year without being resolved. In its annual report published last month, the Commons revealed that it had to write off £70.2 million of work on constructing a temporary chamber as a “constructive loss” amid “increased uncertainty” about restoration plans.MPs had been due to vacate the Houses of Parliament to allow work to take place.” – The Times

Labour tells ministers to reveal all ties with China

“Labour says that the government should carry out an audit of its relationship with Beijing after a series of controversies over Chinese investment. Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, called for “a complete audit” of the UK-China relationship to “call time” on friendly relations developed under David Cameron. Boris Johnson was warned last week that Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation could be at risk after it emerged that the government was trying to prevent China’s state-owned energy company building it. Ministers are considering alternatives to the involvement of China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) in the £20 billion Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk, including the government taking a stake.” – The Times

UK blames Iran for deadly ‘suicide drone’ attack on tanker

“Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, has directly blamed Iran and said the UK is working on a “concerted response” after a drone attack killed a British citizen on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman on Thursday night.  Earlier on Sunday Israel claimed they had intelligence that Iran was behind the attack. The two countries have been waging a long-running shadow war. “We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran. UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the MV MERCER STREET in international waters off Oman on 29 July using one or more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs),” Mr Raab said in a statement. “Iran must end such attacks, and vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law.” – Daily Telegraph

Prince Charles fears he’s collateral damage amid row over Tory ‘peddling access’

“Prince Charles believes he has become “collateral damage” amid infighting in the Conservative Party, it was reported last night. Sources said there were concerns that the future king was “being dragged into” a political row as the Tory party chairman, Ben Elliot, faces allegations of having sold ultra-wealthy clients access to the Prince of Wales, who is his uncle. It is viewed in Clarence House as a political story that the prince was being wrongly involved in, The Daily Telegraph said. Friends were said to have pointed out that Charles has a number of charitable interests and it was no surprise that he sought funds from wealthy benefactors. A member of the Conservative Party’s board told The Times they would be asking Elliot about claims that he profited from granting access to Charles, possibly at the next board meeting.” – The Times

News in brief:

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Author: Conservative Home


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