Trade 

Express
BRITAIN needs to take on China to win over important new markets in Africa as part of the Brexit dividend, a new report has claimed.
In a hard hitting report the Independent Business Network (IBN) chaired by John Longworth has challenged Boris Johnson and international trade secretary Liz Truss to create new gold standard trade deals and give African countries preferential treatment to win over the fastest growing markets in the world. The IBN report shows that the sub Saharan region, home to 18 of the world’s 50 fastest growing economies, offers huge economic growth for Britain if it can maximise its links through the Commonwealth and historic ties. The report notes that the region’s growing young population, booming economy and expanding consumer class offers mutual trade opportunities for an independent Britain.
From 2000 to 2018 the region’s GDP grew from $9.7b to $1.7 trillion. 
However, the IBN has warned that aggressive neo colonialism by China threatens British prosperity and could prevent important trade deals.
On top of that it warns that the UK’s presence in the area is waning and now lags behind key competitor economies in the European Union. 
According to the report, research by the WTO and UN Statistical Commission found that from 2000 to 2018 the UK’s percentage share of the total value of goods imported into the region plummeted from 7.05 per cent to 2.54 per cent. 

EU 

Express
RIGHT-WING MEPs have poured cold water on the EU’s ambitious vision for the future, warning eurocrats they risk exacerbating deep divisions within the bloc.
And Raffaele Fitto, co-chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) groups, also took a swipe at “federalists” whom he said retained ambitions to creating a “European superstate”. The Conference on the Future of Europe, which was the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, is intended to provide a “roadmap” for the EU with the help of widespread consultations with its citizens.
Mr Fitto, fellow co-chairman Ryszard Legutko, and conservative party leaders Jarosław Kaczyński (PiS, Poland), Giorgia Meloni (FdI, Italy) and Santiago Abascal Conde (Vox, Spain), met in Warsaw yesterday to discuss the project.
Specifically, they pledged to defend the idea of a Europe of Nations free from “unnecessary bureaucracy and further transfers of sovereignty to Brussels”, an ECR statement issued today explained.
They also announced plans for further talks, with the possibility of a joint declaration spelling out their position. 

Vaccine 

Telegraph
NHS staff would be legally required to have a Covid vaccine under plans to crack down on transmission of the virus within hospitals.
As the Government also prepares to press ahead with plans to oblige care home workers to be vaccinated, ministers are understood to believe that changing the law to apply the requirement to doctors and nurses as well would “save lives”.
Under the plans, having a Covid vaccine would become a condition of employment by the NHS, although the obligation could be targeted at staff deemed to be at the greatest risk of exposure to the virus. 
Ministers are said to be “keen” on the unprecedented proposals, which were discussed by senior government figures last week and this weekend.
By the end of this week, it is expected that almost half of all adults in England will have had  their second dose of a vaccine. More than half of people in their 30s have been jabbed in just over a fortnight, and those in their 20s are expected to be called for their vaccinations from this week. 

Virus 

Times
British agents now believe it is “feasible” that the global pandemic began with a coronavirus leak from a Chinese research laboratory.
In a significant sharpening of tension with Beijing, they are investigating a possible leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which Beijing angrily insists was not the source of the virus that has caused more than 3.5 million deaths and is still raging globally.
They do so as controversy grows about the alleged silencing of scientists who wanted an investigation of the lab-leak theory. 

Care homes 

Telegraph
Matt Hancock was facing new questions over the spread of Covid to care homes on Saturday night as it emerged that guidance from his department ordered hospitals to discharge patients without any mention of a need to test them first.
Instructions issued by the Department of Health and NHS on March 19 last year stated that “discharge home today should be the default pathway” in order to free up beds for the sickest Covid patients.
The instructions were issued shortly after Mr Hancock told Boris Johnson that he would ensure that tests were undertaken on patients being discharged to care homes.
However, the document did not ask hospitals to carry out tests on patients to ensure they were Covid-free before discharging them.
Last week – denying claims by Dominic Cummings that he promised that all patients would be tested before being discharged to care homes – Mr Hancock insisted he had simply committed to “delivering that testing … when we could do it” on the basis that the Government was unable to carry out sufficient numbers of tests at the time. 

Times
Matt Hancock was warned about the dangers of discharging hospital patients into care homes without testing them for Covid but failed to act, it has emerged.
The health secretary is at the centre of a political row after Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser, accused him of lying to the prime minister about care home testing at the height of the pandemic.
Last night it was revealed Hancock was sent an email on March 26 from social care leaders specifically warning him that care homes were being “pressured” to take patients who had not been tested and had symptoms of coronavirus.
In the leaked email, Lisa Lenton, chairwoman at the time of the Care Provider Alliance, which brings together the ten national associations. 

Sun
BORIS Johnson fired a four-letter rant at Matt Hancock for misleading him over the care home testing fiasco.
The PM flew into a rage after returning from his own Covid battle to find elderly residents had been released from hospital still infected.
He yelled at the Health Secretary: “What a f***ing mess.”
Cabinet members were so shocked by the failure some are said to have urged him to fire Mr Hancock.
The angry exchange was revealed after former No10 adviser Dominic Cummings claimed the disastrous handling of the pandemic had cost tens of thousands of lives.
He claimed the Health Secretary should have been fired for 15 to 20 different things,  including lying.
A source said last night three ministers called for Mr Hancock to go. But the PM is said to have replied: “It would be intolerable to sack my health secretary in the middle of a pandemic.”
Mr Johnson learned of the testing blunder after his stay in an intensive care unit with the virus.
He discovered Mr Hancock had sent thousands back to care homes even though they could spread it. 

Guardian
Thousands of hospital patients were allowed to return to their care homes without a Covid test despite a direct plea to the government from major care providers not to allow the practice, the Observer has been told.
As the crisis began to unfold in early March 2020, providers held an emergency meeting with department of health officials in which they urged the government not to force them to accept untested residents. However, weeks later, official advice remained that tests were not mandatory and thousands of residents are thought to have returned to their homes without a negative Covid result.
The revelation will heap further pressure on the health secretary, Matt Hancock, who has admitted some care residents returned from hospital without a test. It comes after Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s former senior adviser, last week accused Hancock of  misleading the prime minister over the policy, during his unprecedented evidence in parliament.
Some 25,000 people were discharged to care homes between 17 March and 15 April, and there is widespread belief among social care workers and leaders that this allowed the virus to get into the homes. 

Carrie 

Mail
Boris Johnson married girlfriend Carrie Symonds in a secret ceremony yesterday morning, the Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Mr Johnson, 56, exchanged vows with Ms Symonds, 33, in Catholic Westminster Cathedral in front of a handful of close friends and family – becoming the first Prime Minister to marry in office since Lord Liverpool married Mary Chester in 1822.
It comes just six days after the couple – who became engaged on the Caribbean island of Mustique in December 2019 and have baby Wilfred, aged one – sent out save-the-date cards to guests telling them to keep Saturday, July 30, 2022 free for a marriage celebration.
Despite sending out the cards, the couple are understood to have been secretly planning the small ceremony for six months.
Under current Covid rules there is a limit of 30 guests at weddings – although the cap is expected to be lifted on June 21st – ‘freedom day’ – when most restrictions are set to be lifted. 
With Mr Johnson pegged to be back at work next week, it looks unlikely the couple – who will make their debut appearance as husband and wife at the G7 summit in June – will have a honeymoon.
One-year-old Wilfred attended the wedding, as did two official witnesses. Ms Symonds shared a picture of their son yesterday in a field of bluebells – which some speculated was a nod to the tradition of ‘something blue’.
Mr Johnson’s sibling’s Rachel, Jo and Leo Johnson are also understood to have attended, along with his father Stanley. 

Express
BORIS Johnson has married Carrie Symonds in a secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral, according to reports.
Mr Johnson tied the knot with Carrie in front of a group of friends and family earlier today, despite sending out invitations to guests telling them to save the date on Saturday, July 30, 2022. He is the first Prime Minister to marry in office since Lord Liverpool married Mary Chester in 1822. 
One witness said that the cathedral, which is catholic, went into lockdown for the short service.
They told The Sun: “It was closed for about half an hour and they all came out after.
“It’s not very often we have weddings here, and when they came out they were all bungled into a car.
“It looked like nobody wanted to see who it was.”
Another member of staff said: “Yes, there was a wedding. It was the Prime Minister. 
“Carrie looked beautiful. She had a long white dress with no veil. She looked made up. 
“He was extremely happy as you can imagine, he looked very smart, and was in a very dapper suit.
“She came down the aisle and he didn’t take his eyes off her. 

Trade ship 

Express
BORIS Johnson has unveiled ambitious plans for a new, £200million national ‘Brexit’ flagship to succeed the Royal Yacht Britannia with the aim of promoting the UK brand across the world, in line with the Prime Minister’s Global Britain vision.
The vessel will be used to host trade fairs, ministerial summits and diplomatic talks as the UK seeks to build links and boost exports following Brexit. It will be the first national flagship since Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997.
However, the new vessel will be a ship rather than a luxury yacht.
A name for the vessel has not been announced, although the Prime Minister is already facing pressure from campaigners and Tory MPs to call it after the Duke of Edinburgh, who played a role in designing Britannia.
The Government intends to build the ship in the UK, at a reported cost of up to £200 million.
Mr Johnson said: “This new national flagship will be the first vessel of its kind in the world, reflecting the UK’s burgeoning status as a great, independent maritime trading nation.
“Every aspect of the ship, from its build to the businesses it showcases on board, will represent and promote the best of British – a clear and powerful symbol of our commitment to be an active player on the world stage.”
The announcement of the vessel comes at the end of a difficult week for the Prime Minister, which has seen him savaged by former chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who claimed the Government was responsible for tens of thousands of needless deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Times
The successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia will be unveiled today as part of Boris Johnson’s mission to boost trade around the world.
The vessel, which is costing up to £200 million, will be used to host trade fairs, ministerial summits and diplomatic talks as the UK seeks to build links and boost exports following Brexit.
But the prime minister’s plan to honour the Duke of Edinburgh by naming the national flagship after him has been abandoned after the idea was greeted with coolness within royal circles.
A senior royal source said it was considered “too grand” a symbol for use by the monarchy in the modern age. “It is not something we have asked for,” the source added. 

Mail
Boris Johnson has announced a successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia to promote British trade on the world stage following Brexit.
The vessel will be used to host trade fairs, ministerial summits and diplomatic talks as the UK seeks to build links and boost exports following Brexit.
It will be the first national flagship since Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997, but the new vessel will be a ship rather than a luxury yacht.
A name for the vessel has not been announced, but the Prime Minister has faced pressure from campaigners and Tory MPs to name it after the Duke of Edinburgh, who played a role in designing Britannia. 
The old vessel is currently berthed in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Government intends to build the ship in the UK, at a reported cost of up to £200 million.
Mr Johnson said: ‘This new national flagship will be the first vessel of its kind in the world, reflecting the UK’s burgeoning status as a great, independent maritime trading nation.
‘Every aspect of the ship, from its build to the businesses it showcases on board, will represent and promote the best of British – a clear and powerful symbol of our commitment to be an active player on the world stage.’
The announcement of the vessel comes at the end of a difficult week for the Prime Minister, which has seen him savaged by former aide Dominic Cummings, who claimed the Government was responsible for tens of thousands of needless deaths during the coronavirus pandemic. 

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