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Sun, 27 September 2020

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The Breakfast Briefing: Boris reopens zoos, NHS urged to act over 5G posts, ‘Blind eye’ warning on domestic abuse

The Breakfast Briefing: Boris reopens zoos, NHS urged to act over 5G posts, ‘Blind eye’ warning on domestic abuse

Boris Johnson will unveil the latest lockdown easing measures later today.

6 min read

Your essential morning guide to what’s moving in Westminster.

▸    Good morning...
     
...and welcome to the PoliticsHome Breakfast Briefing for Wednesday June 10.


▸    THE NEWSLIST
     
The big stories kicking off the political day

Safari parks and zoos in England will be allowed to reopen next week under new plans to ease lockdown restrictions, Boris Johnson is set to announce. Drive-in cinemas will also be given the green light to resume business as part of wider plans to reopen non-essential retail from 15 June, Downing Street has revealed. Mr Johnson is expected to announce the changes when he provides an update on the lockdown in England on Wednesday, saying outdoor attractions will be open to the public due to the low risk of transmission. But opposition MPs accused the Prime Minister of taking a "scatter-gun" approach to easing lockdown.
 
Exclusive: Senior MPs have called on the NHS to take action after it emerged that a surgeon working in London hospitals has been involved with the running of 5G conspiracy groups. A PoliticsHome investigation has identified a consultant plastic surgeon working for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust as a moderator of two groups involved in spreading disinformation about 5G technology to thousands of people. Conservative MP Giles Watling, who sits on the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, told PoliticsHome the posts were “incredibly serious”. A spokesperson for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are confident that his personal opinions on this matter do not impact his work as a plastic surgeon.”
 
Non-essential shops will be able to reopen in England next week in a bid to help high streets “spring back to life”, Alok Sharma has confirmed. “This is the latest step in the careful restarting of our economy and will enable high streets to spring back to life,” the Business Secretary said. All must carry out a Covid-specific risk assessment, put in place proper social distancing safety systems and display a sign to show they have done so.
 
The NSPCC has accused ministers of "turning a blind eye" towards children impacted by domestic abuse amid soaring numbers of reported cases. The children's charity said calls to their helpline had surged by almost a third since the start of the coronavirus lockdown as they urged the Government to strengthen support for children suffering from domestic violence. Shadow Domestic Abuse minister Jess Phillips told PoliticsHome the figures were a "shock but not a surprise".
 
Labour councils have announced they will look again at all the monuments in their areas after the statue of a slave owner was torn down during a Black Lives Matter protest. The party’s Local Government Association group said there was “overwhelming agreement” from civic leaders to “work with their local communities to review the appropriateness” of sculptures on public land and council property. Steve Reed, Labour's Shadow Communities Secretary said: “We welcome the decision by Labour councils to listen to their local communities to make sure monuments and statues on public land are appropriate and represent local people’s values.”
 
Leisure centres across the country could be forced to close their doors forever unless the Government comes up with an emergency support package, ministers have been warned. A fresh study by the District Councils’ Network (DCN), which represents 187 district councils across the country, forecast that council-run leisure centres could suffer a £305m hit as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. And it warned that many could be pushed out of business altogether by the dent to their finances. Leisure services in district council areas covered by the group saw a £45m plunge in their income in April alone, according to the group.


▸    THE DAY AHEAD
     
930: NEU general secretary Kevin Courtney at Education Committee session on Covid-19 in wake of yesterday's primary schools reopening u-turn
1030: Social Mobility Commission publishes latest report
1100: House of Lords sits, with Agriculture Bill second reading on the agenda amid row over food standards
1200: House of Commons: Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer set to clash at PMQs
1230: House of Commons: Urgent Question from Labour’s Chi Onwurah on wrongful convictions stemming from the Post Office horizon scandal
1230: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Covid-19 daily briefing
1400: Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy burnham holds latest coronavirus press conference
1500: Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield at Lords Public Services Committee session
1700: Daily Number 10 press conference expected


▸    QUOTABLE
     
“Rather than talking about reopening drive-in cinemas, the Prime Minister should bother himself with fixing the shambles that is his schools policy. It shows how skewed his priorities are."
 

Lib Dem education spokesperson Layla Moran is not impressed with the PM's latest lockdown easing move.


▸    FROM THE HOUSE LIVE
     
The latest insight and opinion from parliamentarians and PoliticsHome members
 

After coronavirus, we need a Green New Deal to deliver full employment fast
Liam Byrne MP


▸    THE MORNING MUST READS
     
Making headlines elsewhere...
 
The Sun: Boris Johnson vows to get long-haul flights back to save summer holidays
 
Sky News: Agriculture Bill reaches Lords with critics warning it could be 'catastrophic'
 
The Guardian: NHS hospital waiting lists could hit 10 million in England this year
 
Liverpool Echo: University will rename student halls named after former Prime Minister William Gladstone
 
Financial Times: Conservative doubts grow over candidate for London mayor
 
 

...plus our pick of the comment pages
 
Allison Pearson, The Telegraph: It is a national scandal that children will soon be able to go to Thorpe Park, but not to school
 
Theresa Griffin, Liz McInnes & Paula Sherriff, LabourList: We need a radical rethink about NHS and social care workers beyond their pay
 
Sarah Vine, The Daily Mail: I fear for Britain's future if we erase the past (good and bad)
 
Tamara Cohen, Sky News: Brexit — This month is a crucial moment if the UK and EU are to agree a trade deal
 
Ian McConnell, The Herald: High time for Tory attitude change as Brexit impasse fuels alarm
 



▸    GET IN TOUCH
     
Got a story, tip or comment for the news team? Contact news@politicshome.com
 
Want to get your organisation's message heard by key political decision-makers? Contact jeremy.hughes@dodsgroup.com
 
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