Brexit 

Express
LORD David Frost has “no good reason” not to trigger Article 16 with the EU clearly hellbent on taking “revenge” on the UK for quitting the bloc, a Brexiteer has said.
Dr Timothy Bradshaw, a theological lecturer and Anglican clergyman as well as a regular contributor to the Conservative Woman website, was speaking the day after Lord Frost delivered a statement in the Upper House in which he called on the EU to renegotiate the Northern Ireland Protocol. However, the former UK Brexit negotiator nevertheless stopped short of triggering Article 16, the mechanism which would disapply it.
The bloc was quick to respond in the negative, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen telling Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a phone call there would be no such renegotiation.
Dr Bradshaw told Express.co.uk: “Lord Frost’s Command Paper has been immediately rejected by the EU and its usual playlist of supporters from Joe Biden, to Rutte, to Germans, the Irish, attacking the UK for seeking a reasonable outcome for Northern Ireland citizens, has again been switched on as usual.
“What this playlist of supporters of a fundamentalist implementation of harm to Northern Ireland never mentions is that Article 16 is part of what was signed up to, by the EU as well as the UK. 

Northern Ireland 

Express
BORIS JOHNSON confronted Ursula von der Leyen about the Northern Ireland Protocol in a phone call this morning (Thursday).
The Prime Minister phoned the European Commission President after Britain unveiled its proposals to change the Protocol’s implementation. In Parliament yesterday, Lord Frost and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis outline plans to cut bureaucratic red tape on goods crossing the Irish Sea and also remove the governance of the Protocol by EU institutions and the Court of Justice.
The series of suggestions put forward would equate to a full renegotiation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was agreed to as part of the 2019 Brexit withdrawal agreement.
Explaining the UK’s proposals to Ms von der Leyen, Mr Johnson said the Brexit mechanism was “unsustainable” in its current form given the impact it was having on the UK’s internal market.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister spoke to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, this morning.
“They discussed the UK’s Command Paper on the Northern Ireland Protocol published yesterday.  

Similar stories can be seen in the Times, Guardian, Breitbart,  

Illegal immigrants 

Telegraph
Smuggling gangs are negotiating “money back” guarantees to migrants on social media, as the numbers reaching the UK across the Channel passed 1,000 since Monday.
People traffickers are continuing to use platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok to promote their services despite demands by ministers and police chiefs for the social media firms to take down and bar such posts.
The adverts are available online for two or three days before being removed by the traffickers after they have filled their boats.
In one, on Facebook, a migrant going by the name of Abdelrahman AbdElshafy said he would pay for passage from Egypt but under a “warranty” that the money would not be handed over until he arrived.
Police sources confirmed such deals were negotiated, as well as partial down payments – with the full amount handed over on a successful crossing – three guaranteed attempts in return for a single cash payment, or a premium payment ensuring as many crossing bids as needed until successful. 

A similar story can be seen in the Express 

Gibraltar 

Breitbart
The European Union is trying to put Spain in charge of the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar’s borders in a Brexit side deal, which would include powers over issuing visas to British nationals.
The Boris Johnson administration allowed the EU to cut Gibraltar, a city on the tip of the Iberian peninsula which has been under British control since 1704 and voted against a return to Spanish sovereignty or shared sovereignty by margins of 99.64 per cent and 98.97 per cent in 1967 and 2002, respectively.
Gibraltar has therefore been in limbo since the United Kingdom broke with the European Union governance at the beginning of 2021, with Prime Minister Johnson having accepted that the British territory, which like the depressed Spanish region which surrounds it depends to a great extent on an open border for its economy, would be granted a good faith side deal down the line.
A new draft mandate from the European Commission setting out its negotiation goals for that side deal suggests this is not happening, however, with eurocrats apparently having decided to make it their mission to push Spanish attempts to gain a substantial level of control over Gibraltar by putting the Spanish authorities in charge of its borders.
“External border control and surveillance would take place at Gibraltar port, airport and waters carried out by Spain applying the relevant EU rules,” reads the Commission document, as quoted by El Pais.
“Spanish border guards would have all necessary powers to perform border controls and surveillance,” it adds.
This power would even extend to giving Spain the power to issue visas — or not — to British citizens who are not Gibraltar residents. 

Pingdemic 

Mail
The Government has announced 16 sectors from transport to police and food suppliers where double-vaccinated key staff will not have to isolate if pinged – but the scheme is only expected to help 10,000 people, despite a record 1.3million being sent alerts last week. 
Updated guidance said ‘in the small number of situations where the self-isolation of close contacts would result in serious disruption to critical services, a limited number of named workers may be able to leave self-isolation under specific controls for the purpose of undertaking critical work only’.
The policy only applies to named workers if their employer has received a letter from the relevant government department. ‘This is not a blanket exemption for all workers in a sector,’ the guidance said.
Only 10,000 people are expected to qualify for the scheme, reported The Times – a drop in the ocean compared to the 2.3million people, including children sent home from school, who were told to isolate last week and the 1.3million self-isolation alerts sent out across England over the seven-day period.
Ministers have also announced that priority testing sites will be set up at workplaces that supply food – 500 of which are set to be operational within the next week. 
The new process to allow critical workers to carry on with their jobs even if identified as a contact of a coronavirus case is intended to run until August 16, when a wider relaxation for fully vaccinated contacts is set to take effect. 
The Government, however, tonight faced mounting calls to immediately end quarantine for everyone who has had both doses of the vaccine. 

Similar stories can be seen in the Telegraph, Sun, Times, Evening Standard, ITV News 

Pay rises 

Mail
Ministers today dismissed strike threats over a 3 cent pay rise for the NHS – pointing out taxpayers have spent £350billion fighting the pandemic and other public sector workers are facing a freeze.
Unions have been raging about the increase for nurses and other staff, which will be backdated to April, demanding up to 15 per cent after  coronavirus heaped pressure on services. 
The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing are among the groups that have said they are looking at industrial action over the long-awaited settlement, which was trebled from an original offer of 1 per cent on the recommendation of a review body.
But in a round of interviews this morning Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng stressed that the NHS was being made a special case with the public finances in tatters. Police and teachers earning more than £24,000 will see no increase this year.
The announcements came after the private sector started to show signs of wage recovery, following 16 months in which workers have seen their incomes battered by furlough, pay freezes and redundancy.
Mr Kwarteng told Sky News: ‘The independent review has recommended a 3 per cent increase and the Government has decided that we’ll go with the independent review.
‘I think that’s entirely fair. Obviously we’d like it to be more but you’ve got to remember we spent £350billion to deal with the pandemic.
‘I think 3 per cent, which, after all, was what the independent review came up with, is a fair number.’
Those who will benefit from the health service pay boost include nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs, as well as domestic staff and other support workers.
They are being recognised for their ‘extraordinary efforts’ during an ‘unprecedented year’, the Department of Health and Social Care said. 

A similar story can be seen in the Telegraph,  

Education 

Mail
Daily testing of Covid contacts in schools drastically reduces staff and pupil absences without increasing infections, a study suggests.
The policy proved just as effective at preventing outbreaks as sending home an entire ‘bubble’ for ten days when someone tested positive.
Fewer than one close contact in 50 was infected under either regime, researchers from Oxford University say.
But daily testing was significantly less disruptive to children’s education and could reduce days lost to self-isolation by 39 per cent, the scientists said.  NHS Test and Trace said the study was ‘trailblazing’ for showing daily testing can safely keep pupils in class.
It comes after official figures showed a record 1.05million children were absent from school for Covid-related reasons last week.
The researchers analysed data on 201 secondary schools and colleges in England. From April to June, half of schools sent all contacts home for ten days and half allowed them to continue attending if they had a negative rapid test each day.
Dr David Eyre, who worked on the study, said: ‘Daily testing was able to identify most of the small number that do [test positive], which allowed them to safely isolate at home, while allowing the large majority of other students and staff to remain in school.’
Close contacts also took a PCR test on day two and seven following contact.  

Similar stories can be seen in the Telegraph, Guardian, Times, 

BBC 

Express
BBC bosses have been left with a £40million budget black hole after 260,000 over 75s continued to hold out against paying for a TV licence a year after being billed.
The corporation introduced the fee for older pensioners last August after 20 years of free viewing. Despite sending “threatening” letters demanding payments, it has been unable to force the refuseniks to hand over their cash. Silver Voices said many older people have stopped watching live television as they cannot afford to pay the licence fee.
Director Dennis Reed said: “The BBC is making huge losses as a result of its cruel policy to scrap free TV licences for the over 75s.
It has dropped hundreds of thousands of addresses out of its licensing database all together, and will find it impossible to claim licence fees retrospectively from those households it is still pursuing.
“The BBC is hamstrung by its reluctance to pursue the over-75s through the courts and yet its senior executives refuse to admit they made a monumental mistake.
“We have given up on the BBC to see sense, and are now calling on the Government to intervene to ensure free licences are restored.” 

Supermarket deliveries 

Telegraph
Supermarkets began cancelling home deliveries on Thursday as businesses across the country mounted a rebellion against the growing “pingdemic”.
Shoppers were told by supermarkets including Tesco that their orders could not be fulfilled due to the high number of staff pinged by the NHS Test and Trace app.
Senior Tories called for the Government to consider bringing in the Army to help get deliveries moving as shelves in some areas were empty of basic supplies including bottled water, vegetables and deodorant.
Industry leaders and the Government insisted there was still “plenty of food” in the supply chain, adding that there was no need for a repeat of the panic buying seen during the first wave of the Covid pandemic.
However, Tesco faced complaints from shoppers on Thursday that home deliveries had been cancelled by text only hours before the orders had been due to arrive.
One wrote on social media: “My 100-year-old dad’s Tesco delivery has been cancelled at the last minute due to insufficient manpower because too many Tesco staff have been pinged by the NHS app.” Another complained: “I’ve had a text saying my delivery for tonight has been cancelled due to ‘store issues’.” 

Similar stories can be seen in the Independent, Mirror, Times,  

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