BRITONS have reacted with fury after the UK was accused of making “fanciful demands” in post-Brexit trade talks with the EU. The UK and the EU made little progress in the latest round of negotiations on a free trade agreement ahead of the end of 2020 deadline. Alistair Jones, Associate Politics Professor at De Montfort University, criticised Britain’s approach in expecting Brussels to “bow down” to “fanciful demands”. The claim prompted an angry reaction on the Daily Express Facebook page. One reader commented: “Why can’t they accept we’re not taking any more of their dictating to us – we are a free country and won’t accept it any more.”
GUY Verhofstadt has triggered a backlash on Twitter after goading Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings over his lockdown trip to Durham – with one user asking him: “What has any of this to do with you?” Mr Verhofstadt, who was the European Parliament’s Brexit representative, has been a persistent critic of both Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and of the Prime Minister himself, stirred things up by tweeting a cartoon from the Sunday Times, in which the Prime Minister says: “I can’t sack Dominic Cummings until he tells me to”.
Dominic Cummings last night insisted he had no regrets over his behaviour during lockdown and had done nothing wrong by driving 260 miles to stay on his parents’ farm. In an extraordinary hour-long press conference, Boris Johnson’s chief adviser refused to apologise for taking his wife and son to Durham and repeatedly said he had not broken any rules. He said he knew British people “hate the idea of unfairness”, adding: “I believe I made the right judgment but I can understand that others may disagree with that.”
Dominic Cummings is facing fresh questions about his explanation in response to allegations that he broke lockdown rules while suffering from coronavirus. Boris Johnson’s controversial adviser defiantly says he has no regrets about travelling from London to Durham and did not offer to resign or even consider quitting. But critics are challenging his claim that a day trip from his parents’ home near Durham to Barnard Castle, a popular tourist attraction with a 12th century castle, was to test his eyesight.
Rebellious Conservative MPs are piling pressure on Downing Street to remove Dominic Cummings – after the controversial press conference over his 260-mile trip to Durham. Mr Cummings, 48, faced an hour-long live television grilling tonight where he attempted to mount a defence of his decision to drive from London to County Durham with his son and Covid-carrying wife. The top Government aide admitted he took his wife Mary Wakefield and four-year-old son north to his family’s farm at the end of March, when she was suffering from coronavirus symptoms.
Dominic Cummings has defended himself against allegations that he repeatedly broke lockdown rules in a detailed account delivered without apology. In an extraordinary hour-long press conference in the rose garden at Downing Street, the prime minister’s most senior aide insisted that he had no regrets and added that he was within the rules when he drove almost 260 miles to his parents’ property as the pandemic was at its most ferocious.
A defiant Dominic Cummings said he did not regret driving 260 miles during lockdown and that he still believed his journey was “reasonable” as he broke his silence to fight for his political career. During an extraordinary press conference in the rose garden of Downing Street, Mr Cummings also admitted what appeared to be second clear breach of the rules when he said he had taken a 30 mile trip to a beauty spot while in County Durham.
The crisis that has engulfed the government over Dominic Cummings’ conduct continued to rage unabated after an unprecedented press conference in which the prime minister’s chief aide repeatedly refused to resign or apologise for breaking lockdown rules. After an outpouring of public anger rattled No 10, he attempted to explain why he drove 264 miles from London to his parents’ estate in Durham despite suspecting that both he and his wife had coronavirus.
At least 20 Tory MPs have called for Dominic Cummings to quit as Boris Johnson’s chief aide over his flouting of lockdown rules. Mr Cummings is under pressure to resign after the Mirror revealed he, his wife and child had travelled 260 miles from his London home – while his wife had coronavirus symptoms – to stay in a house owned by his parents in Durham. The government claimed Mr Cummings and his family isolated for 14 days while relatives brought him supplies.
Boris Johnson repeated his message that Dominic Cummings had made the correct decision in driving to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown. Following Mr Cummings’ press conference earlier on Monday, Mr Johnson repeatedly referred questions on the topic of his chief adviser to what was said in the Downing Street rose garden. The prime minister said of the controversy involving his chief adviser: “Yes of course I do regret the confusion and the anger and the pain that people feel.”
Over in Dublin the Irish Taoiseach has been pictured on Sunday evening enjoying the sunshine in Phoenix Park, away from home following the relaxing of the rules to allow people to meet friends outdoors, so long as social distancing was maintained. Varadkar’s people explained away how he was over the 5 kilometre limit for travel, claiming he was not living at his usual residence. Official sources claim the Taoiseach chose to stay at the Steward’s Lodge park residence in the park, because it has an office with “secure connections” for video conferencing which allows him to work from there. Convenient.
Britain today (Monday) announced 121 more coronavirus deaths across all settings, taking the official death toll to almost 37,000 as sun-worshippers descended on parks and beaches to enjoy the 79F heatwave. It marks the lowest Monday death toll since the UK’s draconian lockdown was enforced on March 23 (74 deaths). For comparison, 160 fatalities were announced last Monday and 118 were recorded yesterday. But officials warn that death numbers released on Sundays and Mondays are usually significantly smaller due to a delay in processing fatalities over the weekend.
THE UK death toll from the coronavirus has today risen by 121 in all settings, reaching a total of 36,914. It marks the second-lowest rise since lockdown measures began in March. However, the figures are likely to represent a lag in reporting over the bank holiday weekend and are likely to increase during the working week. The Department of Health and Social Care also confirmed that 73, 726 tests had been carried out on May 24, with 1,625 positive cases recorded.
The Home Office has approached the Australian border force chief credited with helping end its crisis over migrant sea crossings. Chris Philp, the immigration minister, is understood to have contacted Roman Quaedvlieg, former head of Australian border force, to consult him over the country’s Operation Sovereign Borders which saw its patrol force turn back migrants on boats and return them to their port of origin. In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Quaedvlieg said Britain needed to introduce similar measures if it wanted to “significantly reduce” the number of migrants crossing the Channel to Britain.
Voice of Europe
Roughly 400 North African migrants illegally disembarked on Sunday afternoon on the beach of Palma di Montechiar in Sicily. A mass landing of this size hasn’t occurred in Italy for years. After being dropped off a few meters from the beach by the mother ship, the migrants dispersed into small groups and attempted to blend in with the normal population. Some were seen walking along the highway while others ran to the countryside area, La Stampa reports.
Councils told secondary schools on Monday that they do not have to reopen to students on June 15, going against Boris Johnson’s wishes. On Sunday, Mr Johnson announced that Year 10 and 12 students would receive some contact time with teachers before the summer holidays in order to help them prepare for GCSE and A-level exams in the next academic year. But councils have repeated their opposition to Whitehall imposing start dates on schools in their areas, warning that students could be put at risk if they are brought back to the classroom too soon.
The former boss of Ofsted has said school summer holidays should be scrapped to help pupils catch up and prevent a ‘lost generation’ of children. Michael Wilshaw said children being taken out of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic has been a great tragedy. He believes the priority for educators as the lockdown eases across Britain should be helping pupils to stay up to speed. And that could even mean getting rid of the summer holidays that have become a mainstay in the school calendar.
TEACHERS have called on schools to ignore the “failed” Prime Minister and only reopen when they are sure it is safe. The call today from National Education Union joint general secretary Mary Bousted came after a weekend in which embattled PM Boris Johnson — on the ropes over the lockdown breach by his top adviser Dominic Cummings — insisted that he would begin a wider reopening of schools on June 1 despite fears over safety. Councils, schools and unions have urged the government to follow scientific advice and delay school openings that could revive the spread of the coronavirus.
Councils have told secondary schools that they do not have to reopen on June 15 – despite Boris Johnson‘s plans for students to return. Reception, year one and year six classes will be the first to return to primary schools on June 1, with secondary schools to provide ‘some contact’ from June 15, the Prime Minister announced on Sunday. He added that Year 10 and 12 students would get some contact time with teachers before the summer holidays so they would be better prepared for crucial GCSE and A-level exams in the following academic year.
SUMMER holidays should be cancelled to help vulnerable kids catch up, the former Ofsted boss has claimed. Sir Michael Wilshaw said schools could stay open through the holidays and at weekends to get children back up to speed. The former schools boss urged ministers to go over the heads of hardline teaching unions and tell parents directly that it is safe for classes to reopen. Sir Michael said the education lockdown could create a “lost generation of youngsters”. He added: “And it is a great tragedy because our education system has made huge progress over the last few years and the results published last year show that.
A gene that raises people’s risk of dementia may also make them twice as likely to suffer from the coronavirus, a study has found. Other than diabetes, dementia is the most common “co-morbidity” associated with severe coronavirus infections — present in almost one fifth of people who die with the virus. It has not been clear whether this is because dementia exacerbates the infection, whether the increased rate is just a consequence of it affecting the elderly more, or whether, for instance, it is a reflection of the disproportionate severity of care home outbreaks.
Boris Johnson has announced that non-essential retail will begin to re-open from the start of June. Open markets and car dealerships will open from June 1 if they follow safety guidance, while other non-essential shops like department stores will re-open from June 15. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces, the Prime Minister said. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing, he added.
Boris Johnson has urged shoppers to go out and spend next month to help revive the economy, as he announced that outdoor markets and car showrooms across England can reopen from 1 June and all other non-essential retail – including high street shops, department stores and shopping centres – from 15 June. Speaking at the daily 10 Downing Street coronavirus briefing, the prime minister said the moves were “careful and deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country” and would be dependent on meeting the government’s five tests for gaining control over the disease.
Boris Johnson declared that most shops will reopen from June 15 as he urged people to go out and spend money to help the economy “bounce back”. The prime minister said that nearly all non-essential retailers could open if they followed social-distancing guidelines. It means that clothing stores, shoe, furniture and electronic shops and indoor markets can open their doors. However, hairdressers, beauticians, nail bars, restaurants and hotels must stay closed because the “risk of transmission is higher”. Car dealers and outdoor markets can reopen from next week.
High street shops have been given the green light to start reopening from next week by Boris Johnson, as he tries to ease lockdown restrictions amid a huge public row over his top adviser. The prime minister said outdoor markets and showrooms will be able to start trading again in England from 1 June – so long as they keep customers safe. Other non-essential retailers – including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets – can follow suit two weeks later, from 15 June.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined how Britain will emerge from lockdown from Monday, June 1. Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England are set to reopen next month once they are “Covid-19 secure” and can show customers will be kept safe. Johnson has said outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from June 1 if they can meet the guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. Other non-essential retail stores, such as those selling clothes and books, will be able to reopen from June 15.
CAR dealerships and outdoor markets are expected to be the next establishments to open again as part of plans to restart Britain. Boris Johnson is thought to be preparing to announce the easing of open-air activities from next month. This would include giving the go-ahead for outside market stalls, car sales centres and garden fetes. National Trust parks will also be told they can open again – but they won’t be allowed to host any indoor attractions. The Prime Minister has yet to make an official announcement on these plans.
Punters hoping to sink a pint in a pub from next month have had their hopes dashed as it was claimed bars and beer gardens could be closed until July. Ralph Findlay, chief executive of brewing giant Marston’s, which owns 1,400 premises, said any move to reopen establishments was at least five weeks off. It will come as a fresh blow to drinkers who were told by the government watering holes could be open from June 1. Premises have been allowed to operate takeaway services during the lockdown to try to keep businesses afloat.
PUBS have urged ministers to cut social distancing rules from two metres to one so they can open up. Boozers have been shut since lockdown began on March 23 but they hope to be part-open by July. Screens, one-way systems, apps for ordering a pint, socially distanced chairs and other safety tactics are all being explored. But some pubs are so tiny that if the two-metre rule stays it will keep them shut. And brewery chiefs say a one-metre rule would boost the number of pubs that could open by 120 per cent. They estimate that being closed on the sunny Bank Holiday weekend cost them sales of ten million pints — and two million more would have been downed had the FA Cup final been played as scheduled last Saturday.
A Labour MP fired from the shadow government by Jeremy Corbyn for calling out Pakistani-heritage rapists targeting white girls will help review a government report into the ethnic background of grooming gangs. Sarah Champion, MP for the rape gang-blighted town of Rotherham, Yorkshire, will help to review a government report into the “characteristics” of grooming gangs, which have repeatedly been found to be made up overwhelmingly of Muslim men, usually of Pakistani heritage victimising overwhelmingly non-Muslim girls, usually white working class.
Security officials have begun a new review of the risk posed by Huawei to the British telecoms network, after the Chinese company was banned from using American technology. The government confirmed yesterday that the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a branch of the intelligence agency GCHQ, is examining additional risks to Huawei products that may arise from the latest US sanctions. The Trump administration unveiled a plan this month to block global chip supplies to Huawei, the latest move in a concerted campaign against the company amid wider tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The Government is in urgent talks with Formula One to save this year’s British Grand Prix, with Silverstone officials prepared to delay hosting two races until late August as anxieties mount over strict UK quarantine regulations. While the Prime Minister has approved legislation that compels all incoming team personnel to self-isolate for 14 days after June 8, he is keen that a solution is found to restore the events as the premier spectacles of the country’s ravaged sporting summer. With the intervention of No10, the Silverstone double-header could yet go ahead on the preferred dates of July 26 and August 2, although track officials are offering to hold reserve dates throughout August if restrictions on those travelling to the UK are extended.
Thermal-imaging cameras, online pre-booked seats and sitting in your own “quadrant” of the ground with a “hard border”: welcome to the world of watching cricket in the future. A document, seen by Telegraph Sport, outlines the latest plans from Surrey, the country’s richest county club, about how it intends to reopen the Kia Oval with a capacity reduced from 25,000 to 6,000 to meet social distancing guidelines. The report, entitled Getting Members Back to the Kia Oval, has been written by the club’s Covid-19 officer and security director, Scott Carey, and will form the basis of Surrey’s future approach to hosting crowds again when Government restrictions are eased.