THE QUEEN LEADS TRIBUTES TO CAPTAIN SIR TOM MOORE
From the Daily Mail: The Queen led tribute to NHS hero Captain Sir Tom Moore who raised £33 million for the NHS and has died at the age of 100. The Queen sent a private message of condolence to the veteran’s family after news of death broke today. In a statement, Buckingham Palace tweeted: ‘A Buckingham Palace spokesman: ‘Her Majesty very much enjoyed meeting Cpt Sir Tom and his family at Windsor last year. Her thoughts, and those of the Royal Family are with them, recognising the inspiration he provided for the whole nation and others across the world.’
LORD DIGBY JONES SAVAGES STURGEON
The Daily Express reports that Lord Digby Jones claimed Scotland is becoming a more like a one-party state” under the SNP when referring to the sacking of SNP MP Joanna Cherry from her frontbench role in Westminster, Ms Cherry, an Edinburgh MP, who was the SNP spokeswoman on home affairs and justice, was removed in a reshuffle by the leader of the SNP in Westminster, Ian Blackford. In a statement given yesterday, Ms Cherry said: “Despite hard work, results and a strong reputation I’ve been sacked today from the SNP frontbench. Ms Cherry has been involved in an ongoing row within the SNP over the decision by the Scottish Government to reform the Gender Recognition Act.
STURGEON’S INDEPENDENCE PLAN TORN APART
From the Daily Express: Andrew Neil tore apart Nicola Sturgeon’s independence plan, as the former BBC presenter claimed it could push Scotland into a “recession”.Support for independence continues to grow, according to polling, after 20 consecutive surveys found a Yes vote would come out on top. This has coincided with the Scottish National Party looking poised for a dominant display in the year’s Holyrood elections. ‘Britain Elects’ polling projects the SNP, led by First Minister Nichola Sturgeon will win 53 percent of the vote. This shows a 32 point lead over their nearest rivals – the Scottish Conservatives – while Scottish Labour also looks set to struggle following Richard Leonard’s resignation.
CHILDREN SHOULD BE VACCINATED AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
According to the Daily Mail Ministers should consider vaccinating children against coronavirus to protect them from getting ‘long Covid’, top scientists said today. Dr Anthony Costello, a paediatrician and member of Independent SAGE, warned experts are still baffled by the long-term complications of the disease, which is not thought to pose an immediate threat to youngsters. He described children as a ‘very special risk area’ because there was a chance they may face effects that last for decades even if they don’t get sick to begin with. Children are not currently on No10’s vaccine priority list because the jabs approved are only proven to block symptomatic illness and severe bouts of the disease that may prove fatal, neither of which seem to affect under-18s. Youngsters barely get ill and statisticians have calculated they face a greater risk of being hit by lightning than dying of Covid.
LABOUR URGED TO WAVE THE FLAG
The Guardian reports: a leaked labour party strategy document says that Labour must make “use of the [union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly” as part of a radical rebranding to help it win back the trust of disillusioned voters, according to a leaked internal strategy presentation. The presentation, which has been seen and heard by the Guardian, is aimed at what the party calls “foundation seats”, a new term for the “red wall” constituencies that handed Boris Johnson a landslide in 2019, and other seats it fears could also turn blue. It will be seen as a marker of how concerned Labour is about its electoral position. It reveals that voters could not describe what or who Labour stands for. While the Labour leader, Keir Starmer is rated by voters as the party’s biggest positive driver, concerns were voiced about him “sitting on the fence”.
UNEXPECTED BREXIT CONTROLS
The Guardian reports: the UK government is to seek the lifting of unexpected Brexit controls in Northern Ireland including checks on pets crossing the Irish Sea and a ban on British soil entering the region in potted plants from English garden suppliers. The Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove said he would be writing to the European commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič on Tuesday, seeking urgent action on Brexit checks that were affecting the “daily life” of people in Northern Ireland. The EU rules on soil and pets are designed to prevent diseases from entering the Republic of Ireland. The original Brexit plan was to draw up a list of goods “at risk” of going over the border but this did not materialise because of rows between negotiators and time constraints.
JEFF BEZOS STANDING DOWN
The Independent reports: Jeff Bezos is to step down as the chief executive officer of Amazon the company has announced. The billionaire will be replaced by Amazon CEO Andy Jassy sometime in the third quarter of this year. Mr Bezos, 57, told employees in a letter that he now wanted to concentrate on the “Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, and The Washington Post.” Mr Bezos, who is the world’s richest man on the Forbes Real Time Billionaires list with a personal wealth of $196.5bn, will transition to executive chairman of the Amazon board. He has been CEO of the company since he founded it as an online book seller in 1995 and oversaw its spectacular growth as a $1.7 trillion global retailer.
NOT LIKED BY BACK SEAT DRIVERS
The SUN reports: All new cars sold in the UK could be fitted with a special gadget to stop drivers speeding from next year. Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology will alert drivers when they exceed the speed limit by using traffic-sign recognition cameras and GPS data to determine the speed limit on a road.It will then automatically limit the engine power and a vehicle’s speed if the driver does not slow down themselves. The new rules were provisionally agreed by the EU, but it is expected to also apply in the UK – despite BREXIT. A total of 1,752 people were killed in reported road traffic accidents in Britain in 2019, similar to the level seen since 2012. Campaigners have welcomed the news, saying it will save thousands of lives.The Department for Transport says they are not adopting it yet but a decision will be made in the near future.
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
From the Guardian: George Osborne, the former chancellor who orchestrated the austerity drive after the financial crisis, is dropping his portfolio career to become a full-time banker. Osborne announced on Monday that he is giving up nearly all his current jobs to become a partner at the investment bank Robey Warshaw. The former Conservative MP is currently editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard and the chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. He is also paid £650,000 a year for working one day a week as an adviser to the fund manager Black Rock. It is unclear how much Osborne will be paid at Robey Warshaw, which has advised on some of the largest UK takeovers since it launched in 2013. However, filings at Companies House show that the highest paid partner at Robey Warshaw collected £10m in 2020 and £27.8m in 2019.
NO GERMAN TOWELS ON THE BEACH THIS SUMMER
From the Telegraph: British holidaymakers can look forward to having the beaches of southern Europe to themselves this summer – without a German towel in sight – thanks to the European Union vaccine fiasco. A leading German economist writing in Spiegel magazine wrote that Germany will be stuck at home when other countries can travel again”.
LOOKS LIKE A STAYCATION AGAIN THIS SUMMER
The SUN writes that holiday companies are predicting a sell-out summer of staycations after bookings surged. Breaks in the peak summer months are selling out as Brits look to lock in a break, encouraged by Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s hope for a happy and free Great British summer. Nearly half of all holidays sold were for the peak summer months of July and August, while nearly a quarter were for staycation getaways in Cornwall and Devon.
‘My London News’ writes: A Valentine’s Day ‘love sausage’ on sale at Marks & Spencer has left shoppers gobsmacked and jokingly asking for a name change. While this February 14 may not be quite like it has been in previous years, retailers have still been ramping up their efforts to churn out limited edition products. The High Street giant is well known for its family-friendly food products, but this one might not be something you’d get out in front of the grandparents. In their section called ‘Food of Love’, the worldwide chain laid out some romantic food items and recipes to wow your significant other. The ‘love sausage’ sent shoppers into fits of giggles, probably taking them back to their school days, and one shopper even left a review on the website. The reviewer said: “Looks good, but rename this, please… can’t stop laughing.”