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The Breakfast Briefing: Keir drama over Rebecca Long-Bailey sacking PLUS Matt Hancock threatens to shut down beaches

The Labour leader will face MPs on the left of his party after sacking Ms Long-Bailey. (PA)

6 min read

Good morning and welcome to the PoliticsHome Breakfast Briefing for Friday, June 26.

The big stories kicking off the political day
Keir Starmer is due to meet members of the Socialist Campaign Group on Friday amid a left-wing backlash over his decision to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey as shadow education secretary for sharing an article containing an “anti-semitic conspiracy theory”. The Labour leader will hold talks with the group, whose members have already denounced the decision to oust Ms Long-Bailey for linking to a discredited claim that Israel’s “secret service” taught US police to kneel on the neck of George Floyd. Sir Keir moved swiftly to sack the frontbencher and former leadership rival on Thursday after she endorsed the interview with actor Maxine Peake. Jewish organisations praised the move by the Labour leader, with the Jewish Labour Movement saying: “The culture of any organisation is determined by the values and behaviours of those who lead them.” But Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, said he stood in "solidarity" with Ms Long-Bailey and shared the article himself. Jon Lansman, the chair of influential left-wing campaign group Momentum and member of Labour's ruling National Executive Committee, branded the decision a "reckless over-reaction". Ms-Long Bailey told the Mirror Sir Keir would now have to work “very hard” to show he is not ready to “roll back” on promises made to those on the left of the party. 
Analysis: Labour’s uneasy truce ends in explosive fashion as Keir Starmer sacks Rebecca Long-Bailey — and piles pressure on Boris Johnson
Matt Hancock has threatened to close Britain’s beaches unless the public “respects the rules” as coasts were flocked with sun-seekers despite the coronavirus pandemic. The Health Secretary said while he was "reluctant" to order a shutdown, he was joined by the country’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty in calling on Brits to exercise caution amid a UK heatwave. Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council on Thursday declared a major incident and ordered an emergency response as thousands of people turned up to Bournemouth beach. Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood told constituents to “stay away” from the “full” beach, and warned of “gridlocked” roads as he said he had asked ministers to give local police extra support to enforce dispersal orders if needed. Prof Whitty said: “If we do not follow social distancing guidance then cases will rise again. Naturally people will want to enjoy the sun but we need to do so in a way that is safe for all.”
Ministers must do more to re-engage vulnerable children in education as schools remain shut because of the coronavirus pandemic, a new report has warned. According to the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), three in every five teachers reported that vulnerable pupils were less engaged than their classmates. And 75% claimed that a lack of pupil engagement in learning was one of their main challenges in supporting vulnerable pupils who were not attending school.
Two billion items of protective equipment have been delivered to frontline healthcare staff since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, ministers say. NHS and social care staff have received 341 million masks, 313 million aprons, four million gowns and 1.1 billion gloves, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), as frontline staff continue to treat patients suffering from the deadly illness. But health chiefs warned that the UK needed to learn lessons to avoid the "mess" of short supplies at the start of the pandemic.
The UK should have locked down, ordered the wearing of facemasks and set up a test and trace system earlier when the coronavirus pandemic hit, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. Boris Johnson's party leadership rival said "with hindsight" the government should have taken swifter action to implement measures to slow the spread of the virus "much earlier than we did"."But these were mistakes made by governments all over the world," he told Politico. “Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock were following advice they were getting from Sage...We were not the only country in the world to make those mistakes."

9.30: Office for National Statistics figures on Covid-19 related deaths by occupation
10:00: A new economic settlement: rebuilding the social contract - Reform event with ex-Downing Street chief of staff Nick Timothy and former Cabinet minister Caroline Flint
12:30: Welsh and Scottish governments hold coronavirus press conferences
13:00: G7 health ministers hold videoconference on Covid-19

“This is what a change in culture looks like. This is what zero tolerance looks like. This is what rebuilding trust with the Jewish community looks like.”
Labour MP Margaret Hodge heaps praise on Keir Starmer for sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey.

The latest insight and opinion from parliamentarians and PoliticsHome members
Operation CONNECT is making a real difference to the RAF community during the pandemic
Raytheon UK
Community organisations have a vital role to play in the coronavirus recovery
Karin Smyth MP
Has immigration policy contributed to excess BAME deaths from coronavirus?
Alexandra Ming, Dods Monitoring
The contract to produce passports must be returned to the UK
Liz Twist MP

▸    THE MORNING MUST READS: Making headlines elsewhere
The Daily Mail: Boris Johnson under pressure over Tory donor at centre of Robert Jenrick scandal after it emerged the pair spoke at a fundraising dinner
The Telegraph: Air bridges backlash: Pressure on Boris Johnson to extend plan to all EU countries
Sky News: Coronavirus: Driving lessons and tests to restart from July
The Times: ‘Nightingale’ courts will tackle backlog of half a million cases
Financial Times: Sunak to weigh consumers’ response to easing before completing stimulus plan  

▸    Our pick of the comment pages
Stephen Bush, New Statesman: Keir Starmer has sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey. What happens now?
Sienna Rodgers, LabourList: Keir Starmer decisively breaks with the Corbyn era
Paul Waugh, HuffPost: What Keir Starmer’s Sacking Of Rebecca Long-Bailey Tells Us About His Leadership
Editorial, Morning Star: Sacking Rebecca Long Bailey is an attack on the whole left
Joanna Williams, The Times: Millions are jobless but where are the protests?

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