Withdrawal agreement

It’s not over yet, reports the Telegraph.

He may have succeeded in ditching the Irish backstop and getting his Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament against all the odds. But as Boris Johnson prepares to redraw the Brexit battlelines with the EU as negotiations resume later this month, he once again faces the prospect of a backbench rebellion over the deal he struck with Brussels last October.
Although senior Brexiteers endorsed the treaty when faced with a remainer rebellion that threatened to reverse the referendum result, there is mounting disquiet among leave MPs that the agreement still isn’t worth the paper it is written on.
As with Theresa May’s original deal, Tory members of the European Research Group (ERG) who universally endorsed the Prime Minister’s replacement plan in January are now voicing serious concerns about its similarities to its predecessor.

Illegal immigrants

Just how much are we to pay the French to keep migrants on their side of the Channel?  The Telegraph reports their latest demand.

France is demanding that British taxpayers pay tens of millions of pounds to stem the flow of thousands of migrants who are being smuggled into the UK by criminal gangs from the Continent.
Royal Navy boats and spotter planes could also be deployed in the English Channel as early as this week as the Government steps up efforts to stem the record number of migrants being smuggled into the UK.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, and Ben Wallace, the Defence secretary are working on a joint plan to deploy naval vessels, drones and even spy planes, to stop the migrants making landfall on the south coast of England, senior Government figures told The Telegraph.
Under a plan to be presented to the French government in Paris on Tuesday, Royal Navy and Border Force vessels will pick up the migrants and their dinghies and take them directly to Dunkirk in northern France.

The Times reports a description of the demand.

France is demanding about £30m from Britain before it starts dealing properly with migrants crossing the English Channel — a move likened by a Westminster source to “demanding money with menaces”.
Priti Patel, the home secretary, is refusing to hand over the funds unless the UK has a say in how they are spent. Officials accused Paris of trying to “milk” the UK as the number risking their lives to come to Britain soars.

The Express highlights the gangs who are thought to be behind the immigration.

FRANCE is demanding Britain pays tens of millions to curb illegal immigration brought into the country by smuggling gangs from the Continent.
Britain could also deploy Royal Navy boats and spotter aircraft in the English Channel as early as this week in an attempt to stop the flow of migrants making their way into the UK. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, and Ben Wallace, the Defence secretary, have joined forces to create a strategy to distribute naval vessels, drones and even spy aircraft to curb smuggling attempts on the south coast of England.

The Independent outlines another measure to stop the influx.

Plans to send royal navy warships to block migrants from crossing the Channel are being stepped up, despite warnings they will drown and threats of legal action.
Priti Patel put in a formal request to the Ministry of Defence for help – even after an official there branded the crackdown “completely potty” – ignoring a growing backlash.
She also appointed a former royal marine as her “clandestine Channel threat commander”, paving the way for interceptions and the turning back of boats, in a defiant statement of intent.

But the Guardian reports the ‘alarm’ over the Home Secretary’s plans.

Alarm is growing over UK proposals to introduce hardline measures to discourage refugees and illegal migrants from seeking sanctuary after the Ministry of Defence confirmed it was considering a Home Office request to deploy navy vessels in the Dover Straits.
It comes after the immigration minister, Chris Philp, called for migrants caught crossing the Channel to be fingerprinted and face “real consequences”, before a meeting next week with his French counterparts.

Breitbart outlines the latest statistics.

The Home Office has formally requested support from the Ministry of Defence to handle the increasing flow of illegal boat migrants after dozens more made it across the English Channel on Saturday.
Thursday saw a daily record of 235 illegal incursions onto British territory, and Friday saw a further 130.
Recent media reports suggest the Conservative government is considering an Australian-style “push back” policy, which would forcibly return migrant and trafficker boats back to France. On Saturday, however, faced with the continuing stream of illegal aliens, the government department in charge of security and immigration was forced to reach out to the MoD for help.

The Mirror gives us a profile of the man who has been brought in to help.

Priti Patel has hired a leading crimebuster to tackle migrant boats flooding over the Channel.
Ex-National Crime Agency bigwig Dan O’Mahoney will have the new role of Clandestine Channel Threat Commander.
Home Secretary Patel was left stunned when a record 202 migrants crossed from France in 20 boats on Thursday.

The Sun claims illegal immigrants could be housed in prisons.

HOME Office officials are said to be drawing up plans to house migrants in prisons – as France demands £30million to help stop the record numbers entering Britain.
At least five prisons could be “restructured” to offer short term accommodation for the influx of migrants crossing the Channel, it’s reported.
Around 4,000 migrants have crossed the Channel this year – more than double the 1,892 who crossed during the whole of 2019.
They included 235 arrivals on Thursday – a record for a single day – 130 arrivals on Friday, and dozens on Saturday.

The Mail has been to France to see the latest shanty town.

Sitting cross-legged outside makeshift shelters, the men pore excitedly over tide charts, trying to plot the most favourable time to cross the English Channel.
The new Jungle camp in Calais, a scrubby field near the main hospital, is a kind of tented waiting room.
So few made it to Britain from the infamous old encampment, which closed in 2016, that it became synonymous with despair.
But this shanty town resonates with hope and anticipation. It is possible to get across, newcomers are told.

Lockdown

In an exclusive report, the Mirror claims we could be heading for another lockdown.

Britain could be heading for full lockdown again by the end of the month.
And the PM must act NOW to prevent it, a former government chief scientific adviser warns today.
Sir David King said: “We need a proper test and trace system by September. Otherwise full school opening will put us right back.”
Sir David says we are “nowhere near” the safe reopening of schools.

The Mail says the test and trace system is a disaster.

Britain could be hit with another full lockdown unless Boris Johnson sorts out the country’s test and trace ‘disaster’, a former top government advisor has warned.
Sir David King urged the Prime Minister to ‘get it right’ in August ahead of schools reopening – or face a second wave of coronavirus infections that would paralyse the economy and risk thousands more deaths.
There were 758 new coronavirus infections today, down 13 cases from last Saturday and the locked-down North West has seen no hospital deaths in the past 24 hours.

Scotland

Questions have arisen over the number of cases north of the border, says the Telegraph.

Nicola Sturgeon spent much of July telling anyone who would listen that the prevalence of coronavirus in England was “five times” higher than in Scotland.
The figure was deployed to justify her refusal to rule out effectively closing the border by imposing quarantine on travellers from England, and her highly controversial move to set her a Scotland-only policy on air bridges, which airports warned put livelihoods at risk.
The day after she first made the claim, masked nationalists in hazmat suits descended on the border near Berwick-upon-Tweed, shouting abuse at English “plague carriers”.

Wee Burney insists there’s a link between the virus and hospitality, reports the Independent.

Nicola Sturgeon has said it is “clear” there is a common link between coronavirus outbreaks across the world and hospitality, as she announced the Scottish government would make it mandatory for pubs and other social venues to collect customers’ details.
The Scottish first minister also used a Covid-19 briefing to outline that face coverings will become mandatory in libraries, museums and places of worship from Saturday. She said individuals who choose to wear visors must also do so with another type of face covering.

And the Mirror reports her ‘furious’ retort at suggestions she’s not committed to the country’s independence.

NICOLA STURGEON has furiously hit back at critics who questioned her commitment to the Scottish independent cause, branding their claims “bonkers”.
Scotland’s First Minister rebuke came as she confirmed her intention to stand in next year’s Holyrood election. She also said she would serve another full term if elected in the 2021 vote for the Scottish Parliament. Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with BBC Scotland Ms Sturgeon reaffirmed the Scottish National Party’s “strength” with independence also gaining favour in recent opinion polls.
Ms Sturgeon said there should be no question about her dedication to the independence campaign.

Education

The Prime Minister has said parents should send their children back to school next month says the Times.

Boris Johnson is to urge parents to send their children back to school, warning that keeping them at home is a far greater threat to their wellbeing than the coronavirus.
The prime minister has ordered a PR campaign to ensure that schools reopen on time in September after being presented with evidence that personal and social “harm” to children is more persuasive to parents than fears about pupils falling behind academically.

Sky News reports the PM’s call for parents to return their children to school.

Boris Johnson says it is a “national priority” and a “moral duty” to get all pupils back in class next month, raising the prospect of closing shops, pubs and restaurants in local lockdowns to allow schools to stay open.
In a newspaper article, the prime minister writes that “social justice demands” that classrooms are full again, and says education is crucial for children’s welfare and future – especially the most disadvantaged.
He warns of the “spiralling economic costs” of parents and carers being unable to work, adding: “Keeping our schools closed a moment longer than absolutely necessary is socially intolerable, economically unsustainable and morally indefensible.”

The Sun reports an exclusive suggestion that it’s the teaching unions which are not doing as they’re told.

A TEACHERS’ union is accused of sabotaging the reopening of schools with a “nit-picking” list of 200 safety demands.
Militant leaders urged staff to raise objections with heads if they cannot tick all the boxes.
Members of the 450,000-strong National Education Union have been told to “escalate” their action if any of their concerns are not addressed.
But senior MPs branded the 25-page document a “wreckers’ charter” aimed at blocking the return to school next month.
The union has drawn up its “workplace checklist” to help local reps challenge headteachers over back-to-school preparations.

The Mail has picked up the suggestion.

Boris Johnson today throws down the gauntlet to union leaders blocking the return of pupils to classrooms by insisting the country has a ‘moral duty’ to reopen schools next month.
In an exclusive article for The Mail on Sunday, the Prime Minister declares that a resumption of normal teaching is now his ‘national priority’.
The rallying cry will further crank up the political pressure over the issue, which is fast becoming a totemic test of the Government’s ability to reboot the economy and move the country safely out of lockdown.
Mr Johnson writes: ‘Now that we know enough to reopen schools to all pupils safely, we have a moral duty to do so.’

‘The science’ says virus transmission in youngsters is rare, reports the Times.

One of the largest studies in the world on coronavirus in schools, carried out in 100 institutions in the UK, will confirm that “there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted” there, according to a leading scientist.
Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and a member of the government advisory group Sage, said: “A new study that has been done in UK schools confirms there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted in schools.

And in another aspect to education, an exclusive report in the Telegraph reports on this year’s exam results.

The head of the exam regulator has defended this year’s controversial A-level and GCSE grading system as he claims that allowing teachers’ predicted grades to go unchecked would have created “perpetual unfairness”.
Speaking out for the first time about the statistical model used to calculate students’ grades, the chairman of the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) insisted that this was the “fairest possible way” to award marks.

Infections

Fewer people are contracting Covid, says the Times.

The number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has fallen 96% since the peak of the pandemic, official data reveals.
Hospital staff are now treating just 700 coronavirus patients a day in England, compared to about 17,000 a day during the middle of April, according to NHS England.
Last week, some hospitals did not have a single coronavirus patient on their wards, with one top doctor suggesting that Britain is “almost reaching herd immunity”.

The Mail also has details of the stats.

Britain has recorded 758 new coronavirus infections today, down 13 cases from last Saturday and the locked-down North West has seen no hospital deaths in the past 24 hours.
And Britain’s coronavirus hospital death toll has reached 34,027 after 16 more deaths were announced. Another 15 deaths were recorded in England’s hospitals today while Wales reported one more death.
Scotland did not report any new deaths and Northern Ireland no longer releases updated figures on weekends.
The region with the highest number of deaths was the North East & Yorkshire with eight.

Vaccine

Would you consent to be vaccinated?  Not many would, says the Mail.

Just 53% of the UK population say they will either certainly or very likely get a coronavirus vaccine, as experts warn that ‘damaging’ misperceptions are putting lives at risk.
The damning figures come from a joint study by King’s College London and Ipsos Mori, based on 2,237 interviews with UK residents aged 16-75.
The results found there was a greater chance people will refuse a potential vaccine because of their beliefs, attitudes and values than because of concern over the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study found that just one in five (20%) will be fairly likely to have a coronavirus vaccine if one becomes available.
One in six (16%) said they are unlikely to or definitely will not have it.
More than a third (37%) of people who believe face masks are bad for people’s health say they are unlikely to or definitely will not get a vaccine.

Obesity

If there’s a second wave the community may be segregated according to people’s size says the Telegraph.

Obese people could be told to stay at home in coronavirus hotspots as part of a targeted approach to tackling a feared second wave of Covid-19 this autumn.
The Government is understood to be examining plans for a “more sophisticated model” for shielding to avoid mass lockdown if Covid-19 returns over the next few months.
One Cabinet minister described the plan as a “stiletto not a sledgehammer” approach to tackling outbreaks, with people who are especially vulnerable told to remain indoors.

NHS

Away from the virus, the Mail reports a huge hike in the compensation payments made by the service.

The NHS handed over record compensation of more than £1.4 billion last year – almost double the amount paid out five years ago.
The figure is revealed in the annual report and accounts of NHS Resolution, which acts as an in-house insurer for hospitals, GPs and other health services.
In the report, NHS Resolution chairman Ian Dilks lauded the organisation’s achievements but admitted: ‘The elephant in the room, even if in this case it is now being talked about, remains the cost of clinical negligence.’
Part of the reason for the rise was the inclusion of a new indemnity scheme for GPs, which added £40 million to the bill.
The annual report also shows there were a record number of clinical claims cases in which damages were paid out, rising ten per cent in a single year to 7,523.

And the Guardian reports on the protests by workers.

Thousands of NHS workers have protested across the UK calling for fair pay for NHS staff and true recognition of their work during the pandemic.
More than 30 marches were planned on Saturday as anger grows about an absence of action to match gestures such as weekly applause for healthcare workers.
Last month, the government announced a pay rise for NHS doctors but not nurses and other workers, in a move unions described as “the final straw” after real terms cuts of thousands of pounds to nurses pay since 2010 due to a failure to raise wages with inflation.

Labour Party

Could the last election have been sabotaged from within the party?  The Evening Standard reports:

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused party staff of costing them the 2017 election through deliberate sabotage, reports say.
It is believed that Mr Corbyn, former shadow chancellor John McDonnell and seven other former shadow ministers and aides have made a submission saying there is “overwhelming evidence” of sabotage from certain staff members in Labour’s headquarters.
According to the Guardian, the document suggests that it is not impossible that Jeremy Corbyn might now be in his third year as a Labour prime minister  “were it not for the unauthorised, unilateral action taken by a handful of senior party officials”.

Broadband

There’s money to upgrade rural broadband connections says BBC News.

The government is urging struggling rural broadband customers to apply for cash it has set aside to pay for ultra high-speed connections.
Digital Minister Matt Warman said £70m is “still there for the taking”.
The gigabit voucher scheme is part of the government’s election pledge to bring broadband speeds of up to 1,000Mbps to the whole country by 2025.
It says nearly half a million homes have been connected with the help of government subsidies.

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