Boris

Express
A PARTYGATE inquiry which could lead to Boris Johnson being thrown out of Parliament has been condemned as “a stitch up”.
One serving Government Minister said the investigation threatened the right of MPs to speak freely. They said: “The Prime Minister’s resignation is a sideshow to what is really happening.” It follows a ruling by the House of Commons Privileges Committee, chaired by senior Labour MP Harriet Harman, that Mr Johnson could be found guilty of misleading the House of Commons even if he made a genuine mistake.
The Committee is to decide whether Mr Johnson committed “contempt of the House of Commons” by saying last year that he believed no lockdown rules were broken in 10 Downing Street. The Metropolitan Police later issued the Prime Minister, his wife Carrie Johnson and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak with fines for attending a birthday celebration in June 2020.
Previously, it was thought the Committee would consider whether Mr Johnson “deliberately” or “knowingly” misled Parliament. But it has published a report which states: “Intention is not necessary for a contempt to be committed”.
Supporters of the Prime Minister say the Committee’s approach would muzzle free speech and debate in Parliament. And some Conservative MPs are particularly suspicious of the role of Ms Harman, a former Labour Deputy Leader who also served as acting leader of the party on two occasions.
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant, a former Minister, said: “This is a plan for a total stitch up, though I should not be surprised with Harriet Harman being the committee’s chairman.

Europe

Express
EMMANUEL MACRON is facing an economic nightmare after inflation in France surged once more, with prices forecast to continue rising.
Millions of French households are being hit hard by the horrific cost of living crisis and soaring price rises sweeping throughout Europe and inflicting hardship on some of the continent’s biggest economies. But the situation worsened in France with inflation jumping again in July, up to 6.1 percent from 5.8 percent in June, according to the Paris-based National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE).
The French national statistics office attributed this rise to “an acceleration in the prices of services in connection with the summer period, food and – to a lesser extent – manufactured goods”.
On an annual basis, food prices skyrocketed by 6.7 percent compared to 5.8 percent a month earlier.
The prices of manufactured goods are on the rise at 2.7 percent over a year against 2.5 percent previously, while prices for services jumped from 3.3 percent to 3.9 percent year-on-year.
But in one positive sign, energy price fell “sharply” in July – now only 28.7 percent higher than a year earlier compared with 33.1 percent in June.

Express
THE European Union has been repeatedly warning the brutal sanctions against Russia for the war in Ukraine are inflicting more damage on Europe amid fears the continent could crash to its biggest financial crisis ever.
Brussels has responded fiercely to Vladimir Putin‘s war plan by smashing Russia with a raft of sanctions aimed at crippling the warring country’s economy and totally derailing its war efforts. But Putin has remained undeterred by this all so far, and there are now fears he could soon wage his own political war against the European Union as part of a vicious revenge plot. Hundreds of millions of Europeans face a bitterly cold winter and have been urged to ration gas as the possibility of Putin completely cutting off supplies into the continent.
The EU has claimed the move is “politically motivated”, with gas supplies running into Europe from Russia via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline quickly plummeting to just a fifth of its capacity.

WFH

Telegraph
More Home Office civil servants are working from home than before the Government’s post-Covid crackdown, new data have revealed.
Just half of desks in the Westminster headquarters of the Home Office were occupied in the last week of last month, compared with 61 per cent in February.
On average, 46 per cent of desks have been occupied in that time, despite calls from Jacob Rees-Mogg for civil servants to return to their offices after the pandemic.
The Cabinet Office minister has also threatened departments with eviction if they did not use the desk space available to them by bringing staff back to work.
A Whitehall source said the Home Office had been “dreadful” at returning to work after Covid.
Priti Patel’s department is one of three ministries that had a lower occupancy rate in the latest figures than in February.
The others, the Cabinet Office and Department for International Trade, were operating at more than 80 per cent capacity before the crackdown on working from home began.

Mail
Even more of the Home Office‘s civil servants are working from home than before Jacob Rees-Mogg‘s crackdown on remote working culture.
An average of 46 per cent of of the desks in the Whitehall base were occupied in the last week of June, down from 61 per cent in February.
This is despite the efforts of Jacob Rees-Mogg to pry them from their spare rooms and kitchen tables.
Mr Rees-Mogg’s attempts to end WFH have so far included conducting spot head counts in offices at Whitehall and leaving notes on empty desks in a move which was branded insulting by unions.
The note, printed on government paper with Mr Rees-Mogg’s title, was left at empty desks and read ‘I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon.’

Labour

Mail
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer‘s position is facing a revolt from union barons who are threatening to withhold election funding if Britain’s new Prime Minister calls a snap election,  Mail+ reveals.
Either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will be anointed Prime Minister on September 5 and some observers believe they may try to call a General Election to consolidate their authority.
However, Keir Starmer’s stance on the summer rail strikes has inflamed a growing civil war in the party after he sacked Ilford South MP Sam Tarry – the partner of his deputy Angela Rayner  – after Mr Tarry joined striking rail workers on a union picket line last week.
The strike row has already widened the gulf between Sir Keir and Ms Rayner, who is popular with Left-wing MPs.
It comes as Mr Tarry took fresh aim at the Labour leader as he said ‘dozens and dozens’ of Labour MPs want to follow his lead and join picket lines to show their support for strikers.

Sun
UNION barons will not bankroll Labour in a snap General Election — seriously damaging Sir Keir Starmer’s bid for power.
The paymasters staged an effective party coup last night following the sacking of frontbencher Sam Tarry after he joined a picket line.
Several union chiefs told MPs they will cut their cash supply unless Sir Keir fully backs them in their dispute over pay and conditions.
A source said: “The unions will turn off the taps when it comes to funding the party if the new PM calls a quick election.
“They need clear direction from Keir that he is on their side if he wants the cash to flow. The leader should see this week as a seminal moment.”
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “There’s no point giving money to a party that is basically sticking two fingers up to workers. It’s almost like an abusive relationship.”

Racism

Independent
Racism among police has been “taken out of canteens and put on WhatsApp”, a leading officer has warned after “vile” messages exchanged by officers were exposed in court.
Andy George, president of the National Black Police Association, said racism had not gone away in the past 20 years but had simply been pushed underground.
Speaking to The Independent, he asked: “How many times can we say it’s a few bad apples, we’ve dealt with them, things are great? There’s a wholesale systemic issue with culture.”
Fresh concerns have been sparked by evidence heard in the trial of three current and former Metropolitan Police officers, over jokes about rape, domestic violence, Muslims and racial minorities in a WhatsApp group containing Wayne Couzens.
It follows a watchdog report that exposed racism and misogyny at Charing Cross police station and the sacking of another officer who was found to have used a racial slur in messages to a colleague who photographed the bodies of two murdered Black women.
Messages were discovered showing officers calling ethnically diverse areas of London “s***holes” and “filthy”, with one saying he “felt like a spot on a domino”. Other messages appeared to joke about the prospect of leaving Muslims to die in a terrorist bombing.

Drought

Guardian
A national hosepipe ban should be implemented as a national priority along with compulsory water metering across the UK by the end of the decade.
That is the key message that infrastructure advisers have given the government as the nation braces itself for a drought that is threatening major disruption to the nation. Failure to act now would leave Britain facing a future of queueing for emergency bottled water “from the back of lorries”.
The government was warned four years ago by the National Infrastructure Committee (NIC) that considerable new investment would have to be made in the nation’s water supply equipment by the 2030s. Although some improvements have been made by water firms, nearly 3billion litres of water is still lost every day.
Plugging these leaks will require an investment of around £20bn, Sir John Armitt, chair of the committee, told the Observer this weekend. Failure to invest now will mean, he added, that more than twice as much will have to be spent on distributing bottled water to UK residents by lorry as increasingly frequent droughts grip the nation.
“You have to pay for it, one way or another,” he said. “That could be investing in new reservoirs or moving water around the country, as well as stopping leaks.” Water metering is considered by the industry as the best tool for cutting water use – the UK has the highest usage in Europe. It is estimated that water meters have been installed in only about half of households in England and Wales, but these customers use 33 litres a day less than the national average, of 141 litres a day.

Mirror
Brits could be fined up to £1,000 after the first hosepipe ban of the year comes into force following the recent heatwave and one of the driest starts to the year on record.
Southern Water is to impose the temporary use ban on its customers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from Friday, August 5.
This will mean hosepipes cannot be used to water gardens or clean cars, and ornamental ponds and swimming pools must not be filled.
Any customers who use their hosepipes in these areas could face a potential fine of up to £1,000, affecting around 17 million people.
The restriction is the first to be put in place in the region since 2012, although the company stressed there is “no direct risk to customer water supply”.
It’s after the UK recently recorded its hottest day on record with temperatures hitting above 40C for the first time ever.
The scorching weather led to a number of wildfires across the country with many families left homeless, firefighters rushed to hospital with injuries and livelihoods lost as grass fields became tinder boxes.

Star
A hosepipe ban is set to take effect in parts of the UK as water companies worry over the record-breaking heatwave hitting the UK.
For those living in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, hosepipe bans are set to come into force after the UK received its hottest and driest days on record.
Southern Water has said the uncanny weather threatens the sustainability and survival of wildlife habitats of the River Test and River Itchen.
A Temporary Use Ban (TUB) is being introduced for Southern Water customers of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on August 5, the first time since 2012 the restriction has been enforced.
Despite the hosepipe ban, Southern Water is insisting there is no direct risk to the water supply of its customers.
Extremely hot weather and a reduced rainfall, as well as an increased demand has left water levels significantly lower than previous years.
A blisteringly hot few days for the UK saw temperatures reach as high as 40C, with rare heat warnings given out by the MET Office, which warned of extreme heat.

NHS

Telegraph
The NHS is to scale back plans for increased cancer testing in order to fund staff pay rises, with Britain’s leading expert warning that more cases could be missed.
Prof Sir Mike Richards said the plans – which will see money earmarked for cancer diagnostics diverted to cover pay increases – could damage services that were already “woefully” under-funded.
Writing for The Telegraph, the head of the UK national screening committee said it was right that NHS staff should be properly rewarded but funding for diagnostic capacity “must not be compromised” as a result.
Last week’s pay award of up to nine per cent comes as the health service battles record backlogs.
The Telegraph can reveal that the number of patients waiting at least two months for cancer treatment, despite being given an urgent referral, has doubled since the start of the pandemic.
Almost 27,000 patients with suspected cancer faced such waits by the end of May – up from around 13,000 in February 2020.

ITV News
Hospitals are so overwhelmed that patients are being forced to sleep on trolleys for days on end outside A&E departments, ITV News can reveal.
Our cameras were granted unprecedented access to the current crisis in the NHS, which is also causing dangerous delays to ambulance crews.
ITV’s Tonight programme spent two days filming with the North West Ambulance Service and Warrington Hospital.
Across the country, ambulance delays are at a record high. Patients having a stroke or heart attack are supposed to be reached within 18 minutes, but many are now waiting hours.
NHS England wanted to explain what is causing the delays, inviting us to film inside Accident and Emergency at Warrington Hospital.
There, we found long queues of patients along three corridors just outside the entrance, unable to be admitted to A&E due to a lack of beds.

Mail
Patients with a common yet debilitating heart condition are missing out on vital surgery that could ease their symptoms, and instead are being given medication that offers little chance of improvement, experts claim.
About 1.3 million Britons suffer from a ‘leaky’ mitral valve inside the heart, known as mitral valve regurgitation. The fault means blood can flow the wrong way through the organ and back towards the lungs, causing breathlessness, chest pain and extreme fatigue.
Over time, the heart is less able to supply blood to the rest of the body, ultimately leading to heart failure and death.
There is a new minimally invasive procedure that can fix the damage called transcatheter edge-to-edge repair. Yet NHS England refuses to fund the simple treatment in half of cases and says these patients should have open-heart surgery instead.
Now a group of the UK’s leading heart health experts is demanding change.

Evening Standard
Tens of thousands of NHS staff have been forced out of work each day in the last six months largely because of Covid, according to reports.
Some teams have been reportedly depleted by up to 50 percent, driven by Covid-induced absences, undermining efforts to tackle the backlog of patients needing to be treated and causing disruption.
According to data from employee wellbeing company GoodShape, shared with the Independent, 2,745,109 working days were lost between January and June because of Covid, costing the taxpayer £423m.
Over the same period in 2021, a total of 1,583,169 working days were lost, at a cost of £237m.
For NHS staff, around 547,664 periods of absence were recorded between January and June this year, according to the data.
This is a similar estimated number as for the whole of 2021.

Cladding

Times
Major developers are refusing to sign legally binding contracts to fix unsafe cladding imposed in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, in a move that risks derailing a £2 billion government strategy to protect leaseholders.
The Home Builders Federation (HBF), which represents some of the UK’s largest construction firms, has warned ministers that contracts issued in July are “impossible to sign” in their “current format” and go “well beyond” the pledges they agreed to earlier this year.
In a leaked letter sent to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Neil Jefferson, the managing director of HBF, added that the trade body had “significant concerns about the creeping scope, liability, and administration that is implied by the draft [contract]”.

War

Telegraph
The West and China could “miscalculate our way into nuclear war”, the UK’s national security adviser warned on Wednesday night.
Sir Stephen Lovegrove said Britain had “clear concerns” that Beijing was expanding and modernising its nuclear arsenal, adding that China’s “disdain” for arms control agreements was a “daunting prospect”.
In a hardening of the UK position, Sir Stephen warned that the world may no longer have the Cold War safeguards that prevented nuclear war with the USSR and raised the prospect of an “uncontrolled conflict” between China and the West.
He said the world was entering a “dangerous new age of proliferation”, with threats from genetic weapons, space-based systems and lasers.
“We should be honest – strategic stability is at risk,” Sir Stephen said in a speech at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “We need to start thinking about the new security order.”
It came as Liz Truss warned of the “malign influence” of China as she unveiled plans to build closer ties among the 56 “freedom-loving” Commonwealth nations.

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