The Breakfast Briefing: Boris Johnson to unveil lockdown plan, Sajid Javid doubts recovery PLUS coping without party conference
Pubs are set to reopen — with strict social distancing rules in place. (PA)
Good morning and welcome to the PoliticsHome Breakfast Briefing for Tuesday, June 23.
▸ THE NEWSLIST
The big stories kicking off the political day
Boris Johnson is expected to confirm on Tuesday that cinemas, pubs, museums and galleries in England will be allowed to reopen from July 4. The Prime Minister is set to press ahead with easing the coronavirus lockdown as he announces that the two-metre rule aimed at halting the spread of the virus will be ditched in favour of a less stringent social distancing restriction. And he is expected to spell out how restaurants and hairdressers, which have been shut since March, can all safely reopen on the same date. Mr Johnson will consult his top ministers on the plans in a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning before making a statement to the Commons at 12:30pm. The PM is also widely expected to announce an expansion of the “social bubbles” plan which has allowed some limited contact between people living in different households.
The former Chancellor Sajid Javid is urging his successor Rishi Sunak to focus on growth not austerity when the UK comes out of the coronavirus pandemic. He has written a blueprint for how the country could bounce back from the current crisis — a recovery which he said would be derailed by tax rises or spending cuts. The report, written with the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, suggests it is increasingly unlikely the UK will see a 'V-shaped' recovery. Mr Javid says the need to maintain social distancing and the depth of the hit to consumer and business confidence over the past few months will make that virtually impossible. The MP for Bromsgrove, who served in five Cabinet roles for three different Prime Ministers, said: “If we want to secure the strongest possible recovery, it’s essential that no stone is left unturned.“
Restrictions for people in the coronavirus 'shielding' group are set to be eased from early July, Matt Hancock has confirmed. The Health Secretary said that falling infection rates in the community meant it was now safe to relax some restrictions for the 2.2m people in England deemed "clinically extremely vulnerable" from 6 July with further easing to come in August. The group, which includes cancer patients, organ transplant recipients and those with serious lung diseases, had been asked to take extra steps to protect themselves during the pandemic, including remaining in their homes at all times. But Mr Hancock said the group would be given the green light to take part in some of the lockdown easing measures which have already been announced, including the ability to meet up in groups of up to six people outdoors or forming 'support bubbles' with other households from early July.
Six select committee chairs have written to the Prime Minister urging him to use the coronavirus economic recovery plan as a chance to slash carbon emissions. The chairs of the Commons Business, Environmental Audit, Housing, Science, Transport and Treasury committees say there is “unanimous cross-party support” for meeting the Government’s net-zero pledge. And they say the Covid-19 crisis shows the public has can “respond positively and responsibly when they understand the risks posed to them by an invisible threat that demands collective action”. Their call comes after members of the UK’s Climate Assembly, whose 108 members were chosen to be representative of the general population, overwhelmingly backed a motion saying the Government should put green initiatives at the heart of their plans to rebuild the economy.
The threat from “lone actor” terror attacks is growing, Priti Patel has warned, in the wake of the Reading stabbings which left three people dead. The Home Secretary praised efforts of the emergency services who rushed to the scene in Forbury Gardens on Saturday evening, describing police who apprehended the suspect as "heroes". "These officers, a few of whom were student officers, ran towards danger to help those in need without a second thought," she told the Commons in a statement. "They showed courage, bravery and selflessness way beyond their years. They are the very best of us."
▸ THE DAY AHEAD
09:00: The work of Ofcom - Ofcom chief executive Melanie Dawes at
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee
09:30: Deaths registered in England and Wales - weekly Office for National Statistics publication
09:30: Social care funding and workforce - Care England Chief Executive at Health and Social Care Committee
10:00: Progress of the negotiations on the UK's Future Relationship with the EU - border experts at Committee on the Future Relationship
11:00: Parliament holds a minute’s silence to remember those killed in the Reading terror attack
11:00: Scientists from the Oxford and Imperial coronavirus vaccine projects at the House of Lords science and technology committee
11:00: House of Lords - corporate insolvency bill
11:30: House of Commons: Health and Social Care Qs
12:30: Boris Johnson Commons statement on the next phase of lockdown
THEN: Home Office Commons statement on Windrush. Motion on establishment of Independent Expert Panel to consider cases raised under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme
12:30: Coronavirus in Scotland - Nicola Sturgeon daily briefing
13:45: Coronavirus: The impact on prison, probation and court systems - Robert Buckland at Justice committee session
17:00: UK government - daily coronavirus briefing
“I think ultimately it will mean they’ll lose their momentum – no pun intended – on trying to keep hold of some control over the party, because they won’t be there en masse.” — One Labour insider predicts the cancelling of the party’s traditional autumn conference might loosen the hold of the Corbyn faithful.
▸ FROM THE HOUSE LIVE
The latest insight and opinion from parliamentarians and PoliticsHome members
No car-crash interviews, bad sandwiches or warm wine: what political insiders really think about the cancellation of party conference
Revealed: the inside story of the explosive BBC Newsnight report into bullying and harassment in Westminster
Operation CONNECT is making a real difference to the RAF community during the pandemic
If MPs debate sanctions, the new bullying and harassment process will be fundamentally undermined
Dr Hannah White
A £20 a week increase in social security support will give families with children the lifeline they need
Ian Blackford MP
New plans to tackle Westminster bullying and harassment will deter people like me from speaking out
Emily Commander, former Commons clerk
No Recourse to Public Funds has long stoked division and hostility — now it’s leaving families destitute in a pandemic
Neil Coyle MP
▸ THE MORNING MUST READS
Making headlines elsewhere...
The Times: I’ll take axe to planning laws, says Cummings
Financial Times: Japan rushes UK to agree first post-Brexit trade deal
The Telegraph: Pubs allowed to turn car parks into beer gardens under plans to bolster hospitality industry
...plus our pick of the comment pages
Jess Phillips, The Independent: A man has been sentenced for threatening to kill me – abuse of MPs is getting worse but I don’t want to shy away from my job
Paul Goodman, The Times: There’s method in Boris Johnson’s madness
Andrea Thompson, The Telegraph: Being mixed race has allowed me to experience two realities - and observe the stark differences in each
Polly Toynbee, The Guardian: Keir Starmer has sought Labour unity, but he will soon have to challenge the Corbyn legacy
Halima Begum, LabourList: Why the DfID and FCO merger is a mistake
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