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The Breakfast Briefing: Tory anger as slave trader statue toppled, Boris eyes China crackdown PLUS Diane Abbott on welfare after Corbyn

The Breakfast Briefing: Tory anger as slave trader statue toppled, Boris eyes China crackdown PLUS Diane Abbott on welfare after Corbyn

People take a knee during a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Windrush Square, Brixton, south, London.

7 min read

▸    Good morning...
...and welcome to the PoliticsHome Breakfast Briefing for Monday June 8.
The big stories kicking off the political day

The Black Lives Matters protests have been “subverted by thuggery”, Boris Johnson has claimed, amid Conservative anger at the removal of a controversial statue of a slave trader in Bristol. The Prime Minister said protesters who clashed with police this weekend had overseen a “betrayal of the cause they purport to serve” - and warned they would be “held to account”. The comments came as Home Secretary Priti Patel branded demonstrators in Bristol who pulled down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston “utterly disgraceful”. But Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, said it was “important to listen to those who found the statue to represent an affront to humanity”.
The Government’s compulsory 14-day quarantine of all international arrivals to the UK is set to come into force on Monday — as airlines branded the measures “disproportionate and unfair”. From Monday, those travelling into the UK will be asked to self-isolate for two weeks, with the threat of £1,000 fines for people who do not comply. Three major airlines — British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair — and a host of travel operators have now launched legal action against the Government over the plan. In a statement issued on Sunday night on behalf of all three operators, a Ryanair spokesperson said it was challenging “a number of defective measures”.
Ministers are drafting in business leaders and top academics in a bid to help the UK weather the economic storm caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced the creation of five new “recovery roundtables” aimed at shoring up the economy amid warnings of a steep recession and a spike in unemployment. The five groups will look at the future of British industry, a green recovery, encouraging new businesses, boosting skills and apprenticeships, and attracting “high value investment” to the UK. The new taskforces were launched as it was reported that Boris Johnson is planning a major speech for July 6 focused on how Britain will recover from the crisis.
Boris Johnson is reportedly planning a crackdown on foreign takeovers that may pose a risk to the UK’s national security amid mounting Tory concern about the role of China. The Times reports that Number 10 is looking at legislation — backed up by criminal sanctions — that would compel British companies to report attempted takeovers that could raise security concerns. Under the proposals, directors who do not raise the flag could be jailed, disqualified or heavily fined. The reports come amid rising tensions between the UK and China over a clampdown on protesters in Hong Kong and the presence of Chinese firm Huawei in the UK’s 5G network.
Labour has accused the Government of being “too slow to act” as Matt Hancock said coronavirus tests had now been “delivered” to every care home serving the over-65s. The Government had set a target to test everyone in an over-65 setting by Saturday. Mr Hancock said last month: “We will test every resident and every member of staff in our elderly care homes in England between now and early June.” The Department of Health announced this weekend that the target to “offer test kits to every care home for over-65s by June 6” had now been met, with kits delivered to nearly 9,000 homes for the over-65s and those with dementia. And it said all care homes who need tests will have received them regardless of symptoms. But shadow care minister Liz Kendall accused the Government of shifting the goalposts.

What we're keeping an eye on

1230: Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy addresses a Reform think tank event on the Justice System after lockdown
1430: House of Lords returns under hybrid measures, allowing peers to participate both virtually and in person
1400: Prisons minister Lucy Frazer and HM Prison Service chief JO Farrar among witnesses at Joint Committee on Human Rights hearing on Covid-19
1400: The Department of Health and Social Care publishes its daily batch of coronavirus figures
1430: Home Office Questions in the House of Commons, followed by an emergency debate on the Conduct of House business during the pandemic. The Second reading of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill then takes place
1430: Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg is questioned by MPs on the Procedure Committee
1700: The latest government press conference is set to take place

"Universal benefits are not just fairer, they are simpler to administer. The “contributions” approach always means elaborate means testing and the increased possibility of people falling through the net." Former Labour frontbencher Diane Abbott wades into the row over Labour's post-Corbyn welfare stance in a piece for The House Live.

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Making headlines elsewhere...

The Sun: Brit holidaymakers will be able to travel freely across Europe from July without having to quarantine on their return

The Times: Pubs set for June 22 reopening in attempt to ‘save the summer’

ITV: BAME medical groups write to health secretary demanding urgent action to safeguard them from further coronavirus deaths

The Guardian: Coronavirus lockdown: charities raise alarm as thousands face poverty

Channel 4 News: ‘We have a statue of someone who made their money by throwing our people into water…and now he’s on the bottom of the water’ - Marvin Rees, elected Mayor of Bristol our pick of the comment pages

Samuel Williams, ConservativeHome: Taking the knee is an expression of extraordinary human evolution – of showing compassion, even if it comes at a cost to ourselves
John Harris, The Guardian: Millions of Britons are suffering right now as the economy tanks. Can you help?

Baroness Jones, Labour Lords: Towards a new common treasury: amending the Agriculture Bill to deliver food and farming policy fit for the next generation

Douglas Murray, The Spectator: What the response to London’s young graffiti cleaners reveals
Rachel Shabi, The Independent: The government’s disastrous coronavirus strategy has cost 40,000 lives. Keir Starmer, it’s time to stop playing Captain Sensible

Got a story, tip or comment for the news team? Contact [email protected]
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