The British people defied the forcefully expressed wishes of the political establishment and confounded the expectations of pollsters on this day four years ago when they voted by a margin of 52 to 48 to leave the European Union, but the country still faces the possibility of getting nothing more than a “Brexit in name only” stitch-up. Voting took place on June 23rd 2016 and the results came in through the early hours of the 24th. While even on-the-day exit polls predicted a remain victory, when the actual results started rolling in, it became clear this was not the case, with bellwethers like Sunderland and Nuneaton voting to leave. Having conceded defeat after seeing polling at 10pm of polling day, Brexit leader Nigel Farage was cautiously declaring victory by four am the following morning in his now-famous “dare to dream” speech. The surprise result — with polling in the runup to the vote overwhelmingly suggesting the government-supported position of remaining in the European Union would prevail in the vote — was followed by a four-year rearguard action by pro-Europe politicians from all parties in the UK Parliament.
BORIS Johnson announced a raft of lockdown changes as Brits can rejoice in seeing many businesses and services reopen. But the Prime Minister has warned that he will not hesitate to ‘reverse’ lockdown should there be a second wave, although admits there is currently no risk of it. Mr Johnson revealed the two-metre social distancing restriction will be reduced to ‘one metre plus’ from July 4 in England.
Boris Johnson tonight dramatically unwound the coronavirus lockdown to bring the country out of ‘hibernation’ – with a return for pubs, haircuts and weddings and family and friends getting the green light to meet up indoors for the first time in months. The PM said he wanted to ‘make life easier’ after an ‘incredibly tough time’ with bars, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers in England able to get back up and running from July 4 – dubbed ‘Super Saturday’. Taking the Downing Street briefing this evening, he announced that the social distancing rule is being halved to ‘one metre plus’ to free up thousands of business, with precautions such as face masks deployed to make sure the risks of transmission stay ‘broadly’ the same.
Boris Johnson yesterday began the process of freeing England from lockdown, declaring “our great national hibernation is coming to an end”. The bulk of the country’s hospitality, leisure and tourism industries will be able to restart from July 4 as the coronavirus infection rate continues to fall. Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas can open if they are deemed to be safe. To allow them to operate, Mr Johnson announced that the two-metre social distancing rule will be replaced by a new “one-metre plus” regime, insisting that mitigations such as face coverings gave a “broadly equivalent” protection at the shorter distance.
As the Prime Minister announced the beginning of the end of the nation’s hibernation on Tuesday, health leaders urged caution amid concerns of a second wave of coronavirus. As part of the biggest return of freedom since lockdown was enforced, families and friends will be able to mingle indoors and even go on holiday together from July 4. Pubs and restaurants will reopen and the two metre rule will be reduced to one metre. But health leaders have called for an urgent review to ensure Britain is properly prepared for the “real risk” of a renewed outbreak over winter.
Boris Johnson’s medical and science chiefs have both warned that Britain will continue to be plagued by coronavirus until next spring. Chief medical officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance appeared alongside the Prime Minister at today’s Downing Street briefing as Mr Johnson unveiled a relaxation of lockdown rules. The PM said he wanted to ‘make life easier’ after an ‘incredibly tough time’ with bars, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers in England able to get back up and running from July 4 – dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.
Health leaders are calling for an urgent review to determine whether the UK is properly prepared for the “real risk” of a second wave of coronavirus. In an open letter published in the British Medical Journal, ministers were warned that urgent action would be needed to prevent further loss of life. The presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Nursing, Physicians, and GPs all signed the letter. It comes after Boris Johnson announced sweeping changes to England’s lockdown. On Tuesday, the prime minister said pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers will be able to reopen from 4 July.
Health leaders are calling for an urgent review to ensure Britain is properly prepared for the “real risk” of a second wave of coronavirus. Ministers have been warned that urgent action is needed to prevent further loss of life and to protect the economy amid growing fears of a renewed outbreak in the winter. The appeal is backed by the presidents of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Surgeons, GPs and Nursing – as well as the chairman of the British Medical Association.
All children returning to school in September is “pure fantasy”, headteachers have said, warning that there will not be enough space in classrooms even with the new “one metre plus” rule. Unions told ministers that reducing social distancing from two metres to “one-metre plus” is not a “magic bullet”, urging them to come up with a strategy to reopen schools that is “based in reality”. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, on Tuesday announced that the public will be expected to observe “one-metre plus” from July 4. Mr Johnson told the Commons that formal childcare will restart over the summer, and that primary and secondary schools will reopen in September with “full attendance”.
UNIONS are STILL refusing to support pupils going back to school – and say a new ‘one-metre plus’ social distancing rule isn’t a ‘magic bullet’. Boris Johnson today revealed the strict two-metre rule will be relaxed on July 4 in a bid to kick-start the economy. It’ll be replaced with a ‘one-metre plus’ distance, which allows Brits to get closer to one another – but only with ‘mitigations’ like masks in place. And the Prime Minister said education will begin in September with “full attendance” across both primary and secondary schools. But the chief of a school leaders’ union has hit out at the plans – and says it’s “pure fantasy” for the PM to say all children will be accommodated in the autumn.
Sunlight can kill the coronavirus in just 30 minutes, according to a study that comes as the UK gears up for its hottest week of the year. Virologists found powerful ultraviolet (UV) light could destroy 90 per cent of Covid-19 that had been coughed or sneezed onto a surface in just half an hour. Separate studies have claimed the sun can also almost completely wipe out parts of the virus lingering in the air in just six minutes. The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 – called SARS-CoV-2 – is covered in a protective casing that degrades under the warmth of the body when it infects someone.
A shaggy-haired Boris Johnson has revealed hairdressers will be allowed to reopen from July 4. The Prime Minister told the House of Commons stylists can take customers providing they use appropriate precautions such as wearing visors. But clients could face a three-month waiting list for a trim and some businesses said they will reopen at midnight to help clear the huge backlog. Appointments are already full for the first two weeks of July, with one London hairdresser preparing to work through a 2,000-strong queue. Mr Johnson said: ‘Almost as eagerly awaited as a pint will be a haircut, particularly by me, Mr Speaker.
SHAGGY-haired Brits will be able to get a professional haircut from July 4 after weeks of DIY disasters, Boris Johnson announced today. The Prime Minister said that hairdressers and barber shops can reopen with appropriate measures in place to keep staff and clients safe. The PM said today: “We will reopen hairdressers with appropriate precautions including the use of visors “We also intend to allow some other close contact services such as nail bars to reopen as soon as we are confident they can open in a Covid secure way.”
The chief medical officer for England has told people not to get closer than two metres without being “incredibly serious” about precautions and doctors said that masks should be worn outside. Chris Whitty said people should stay two metres apart whenever they could and make sure they used mitigations such as masks, screens and facing away from each other if forced to be closer. Professor Whitty rowed back from suggestions that the two-metre rule would have to stay in place for the length of the pandemic, but said it should still be adhered to if possible.
Boris Johnson has rejected demands for an urgent independent inquiry into his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. The prime minister was challenged to call an inquiry by Liberal Democrat acting leader Ed Davey, but insisted it would not currently be “a good use of official time”. The clash came as MPs debated the prime minister’s dramatic relaxation of lockdown measures in England from 4 July. The changes, which allow pubs, restaurants and cafes to reopen and cut the two-metre social distancing rule to “one-metre plus”, were given a rapturous reception in the House of Commons by Tory MPs who queued up to invite the PM to visit venues in their constituencies.
Testing everyone for coronavirus every week could drive out the coronavirus without a second wave or another lockdown, according to scientists. Researchers led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said routine testing, contact tracing and household isolation could stop Covid-19 ‘quite quickly’. They said Britain should do a single-city trial of the system to see whether it could bring down new infections and deaths faster than the current situation. Applied nationwide, the policy would require 10million tests to be done every day – there are currently an average of 166,000 – and it could cost £1billion per month.
THERE are now so few Brits with Covid-19 it is impossible to test a vaccine here, an expert says. Prof Sarah Gilbert, of the University of Oxford, is trialling her potential jab abroad where infection rates are higher. A sufficient number of vaccinated volunteers have to be exposed to the virus to see if the injection protects them. But they are unlikely to encounter the bug in the UK because fewer than one in 1,700 have it. Prof Gilbert told a House of Lords committee: “We had the lockdown, which fortunately reduced transmission — not so fortunate for those of us trying to develop vaccines in the UK.”
White Lives Matter
Police investigating a Burnley football fan who chartered a plane and flew a ‘White Lives Matter’ banner above the Etihad stadium say no crime was committed. Jake Hepple, from Colne, near Burnley, claimed responsibility for last night’s pre-match stunt and wrote on Facebook: ‘I’d like to take this time to apologise… to absolutely f***ing nobody!’ The Suicide Squad, a group of far-right Burnley fans, are believed to have crowdfunded the flight and its message ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’, which flew over the stadium just after Manchester City and Burnley FC players had taken the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lancashire police have said their investigation into the flying of a “White Lives Matter” banner over a football match on Monday has found “no criminal offences”, despite the act causing outrage among top sporting celebrities. The force released a statement Tuesday afternoon, which followed them announcing an investigation into a single-engine aircraft dragging a message banner over a football match between Burnley and Manchester which read “White Lives Matter Burnley!”. Noting they had discovered no criminal offences to pursue, Lancashire police Chief Superintendent Russ Procter was quoted as saying in the statement: “Today Lancashire Constabulary has been in liaison with Greater Manchester Police, the Aviation Authority and the Crown Prosecution Service regards the ‘White Lives Matter’ banner that was flown over the Etihad Stadium last night.
Burnley have insisted they will give out lifetime bans to any supporters found to be involved with the flying of a ‘white lives matter’ banner before their game at Manchester City on Monday night. After Burnley and City players took a knee prior to kick off in support of the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the world and sport, the banner in question was spotted above the Etihad, reading: ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’. It has caused outraged among the football community with many players and pundits slamming the stunt, and now Burnley have released a statement promising to come down hard on any fans found to be responsible.
British and EU negotiators have hit a new obstacle to securing a trade and security deal after clashing over €70bn of subsidies handed to European farmers by Brussels, the Guardian can reveal. The EU’s negotiating team led by Michel Barnier was accused in the latest round of talks of seeking to block the government from defending British farmers from cut-price European imports. The row centres on the EU’s demand for what it is claimed would be an unprecedented commitment not to retaliate through tariffs on European goods even where it could be potentially shown that British farmers are being unfairly undercut.
Japan has given Britain just six weeks to sign up to a post-Brexit trade deal or face disruption to its imports and exports. In the latest sign that the “swashbuckling” drive to sign deals with countries around the world is proving less than straightforward, the UK could lose favourable access to Japanese markets it enjoyed as part of EU membership if no agreement is signed. UK negotiators also face the prospect of being bounced into a deal on unfavourable terms, as countries like Japan seek to use the reopening of talks to gain further concessions against the UK.
The United Kingdom and Japan are seeking to forge a free trade agreement in six weeks in order to get it passed during the current parliament in Japan. Set to be one of the fastest-signed deals in trading history, the two parties are aiming for a conclusion by the end of July, two weeks after talks were launched. This would also be the first bilateral trade deal the UK has signed for some 40 years, since becoming a member of the European Union. “To avoid a gap in January, we must pass this in the autumn session of the Diet [the Japanese parliament],” Tokyo’s chief trade negotiator Hiroshi Matsuura told the Financial Times. “That means we must complete negotiations by the end of July.”
LORD PETER MANDELSON has been criticised for his bid to become the next leader of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with some saying the former Labour Cabinet minister “will do anything for power”. The peer today revealed his ambitious plans as Britain gears up for the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31. As trade talks with the European Union drag on with no breakthrough in sight, an exit on WTO terms is looking more likely. Lord Mandelson, who served as Tony Blair’s political fixer said the trade body was “broken” and he laid out his plan to bring about change.
PATIENTS with advanced cancer saw tumours vanish during trials of an “exciting” new drug. The cancer stopped growing in over half of those given the experimental treatment. Some even had their tumour shrink or disappear completely, the Institute of Cancer Research in London found. The study was designed to test the safety of berzosertib when taken for cancers including breast and bowel. It is unusual to see a clinical response to drugs at this stage. Nineteen volunteers with very advanced disease were given the pill alone and 21 with platinum chemotherapy. Doctors measured a response in 38 patients and found tumours stopped growing in 20 — 53 per cent. Among those who also had chemo, 71 per cent stabilised.
People who vandalise war memorials would face ten years in prison and an unlimited fine, under a new law being debated by MPs. The War Memorials Bill, introduced by Tory MP Jonathan Gullis today, would scrap the limit on fines and allow crown courts to hear cases on any desecration of monuments to war dead. Other crimes which command 10-year maximum sentences include the possession and sale of offensive weapons, cruelty to children and sexual assault. Mr Gullis told MPs: “The passage of time always presents the danger of dimmed collective recollections. Let us not forget the sacrifice and bravery of those who paid the ultimate price.
Bullying and harassment complaints against MPs will not be debated in the House of Commons after a controversial proposal was amended. MPs voted by 243 votes to 238, majority five, in favour of Labour former minister Chris Bryant’s amendment, which ruled out debating complaints against them in the chamber. Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg had tabled a motion to establish an independent expert panel to determine complaints of bullying or harassment under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS). Part of the motion would have enabled a constrained debate to take place, but it raised fears that complainants could be “re-victimised” if MPs were given the chance to speak about the case in public and stop victims coming forward.
MPs have voted down controversial proposals introduced by the leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, that would have allowed them to debate complaints about serious bullying and harassment. In an open letter seen by the Guardian, past and present parliamentary staff, union leaders, MPs and women’s groups had accused Rees-Mogg of undermining a new independent system designed to prevent bullying and sexual harassment in parliament, by allowing MPs to debate serious sanctions made by a new independent expert panel (IEP). But on Tuesday evening, an amendment tabled by Labour MP Chris Bryant, which ruled out debating complaints against MPs in the chamber, passed by five votes – to the delight of parliamentary staffers and campaigners.