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UK Covid live: Nicola Sturgeon suggests Scotland easing delay as cases five times higher than early May UK Covid live: Nicola Sturgeon suggests Scotland easing delay as cases five times higher than early May
(32 minutes later)
Scottish first minister says lockdown end could be delayed by three weeksScottish first minister says lockdown end could be delayed by three weeks
A further relaxation of Covid controls across Scotland is likely to be pushed back by three weeks, Nicola Sturgeon has said, meaning that the next significant easing could coincide with England on 19 July after Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay on Monday.
Every adult in England will be able to book their first Covid-19 vaccination from the end of this week, the head of the NHS has disclosed.
Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, has suggested Britain will have to learn to live with Covid deaths at a certain level. (See 9.27am.)
The Metropolitan police have been described as “institutionally corrupt” and its commissioner, Cressida Dick, personally censured for obstruction by an independent inquiry set up to review the murder of the private detective Daniel Morgan.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has called for more information about protections for UK farmers in a new trade deal with Australia, as it emerged that some tariff-free protection periods will expire in as little as five years.
Gove has announced plans to make more civil servant posts open to external talent. All senior civil service jobs will advertised externally and new, flexible entry routes to the civil service will be developed. Gove announced the moves as part of a “Declaration on Government Reform” (pdf). Unveiling it in a speech, he said:
The deceit employed by Martin Bashir to land his sensational 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales has been branded “one of the biggest crimes in the history of broadcasting” by John Birt, the BBC’s director general at the time.
The home secretary and Downing Street have condemned an incident in which a senior BBC journalist was angrily confronted and pursued by anti-lockdown protesters as “appalling and distressing”.
That’s all from me for today. But our coronavirus coverage continues on our global live blog. It’s here.
The UK has recorded 7,673 new coronavirus cases and 10 further deaths, according to the latest update to the government’s dashboard. The total number of new cases over the past week is up 38.8% on the total for the previous week.The UK has recorded 7,673 new coronavirus cases and 10 further deaths, according to the latest update to the government’s dashboard. The total number of new cases over the past week is up 38.8% on the total for the previous week.
But today the weekly total for deaths is down 12.5% on the previous week. (Yesterday deaths were up 11.9% week on week, but this figure fluctuates considerably because daily deaths are at such a low level.)But today the weekly total for deaths is down 12.5% on the previous week. (Yesterday deaths were up 11.9% week on week, but this figure fluctuates considerably because daily deaths are at such a low level.)
Ivan McKee, trade minister in the Scottish government, says he was surprised to read so much about the trade deal with Australia this morning because a briefing with ministers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that was due to take place this morning was postponed supposedly because the agreement had not been finalised.Ivan McKee, trade minister in the Scottish government, says he was surprised to read so much about the trade deal with Australia this morning because a briefing with ministers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that was due to take place this morning was postponed supposedly because the agreement had not been finalised.
In its press release about the free trade deal with Australia, the UK government revealed almost nothing about how tariffs will be phased out for agricultural imports, beyond saying: “British farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, using tariff rate quotas and other safeguards.”In its press release about the free trade deal with Australia, the UK government revealed almost nothing about how tariffs will be phased out for agricultural imports, beyond saying: “British farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, using tariff rate quotas and other safeguards.”
But in its own news release about the deal, the Australian government gives full detail about the tariff-rate quotas that will protect British beef and sheep farmers. It says:But in its own news release about the deal, the Australian government gives full detail about the tariff-rate quotas that will protect British beef and sheep farmers. It says:
The Australian press release also says dairy tariffs will be eliminated over five years.The Australian press release also says dairy tariffs will be eliminated over five years.
Thirty million Britons have now had a second dose of vaccine, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has announced.Thirty million Britons have now had a second dose of vaccine, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has announced.
The latest figures show that 41,830,546 across the UK have now been vaccinated with a first dose (79.4% of adults), while 30,204,738 people have had both doses (57.3%).The latest figures show that 41,830,546 across the UK have now been vaccinated with a first dose (79.4% of adults), while 30,204,738 people have had both doses (57.3%).
Boris Johnson has posted a message on Twitter describing the way anti-lockdown protesters abused and threatened the BBC journalist Nicholas Watt yesterday (see 2.29pm) as “disgraceful”.Boris Johnson has posted a message on Twitter describing the way anti-lockdown protesters abused and threatened the BBC journalist Nicholas Watt yesterday (see 2.29pm) as “disgraceful”.
My colleague Ben Quinn has written up the story here.My colleague Ben Quinn has written up the story here.
Earlier I said that Priti Patel, the home secretary, told MPs that the government consulted Sir Brian Leveson about whether or not to go ahead with phase two of his inquiry into media conduct, and he agreed it was no longer appropriate.Earlier I said that Priti Patel, the home secretary, told MPs that the government consulted Sir Brian Leveson about whether or not to go ahead with phase two of his inquiry into media conduct, and he agreed it was no longer appropriate.
Phase two of the inquiry was supposed to consider the detail of allegations relating to phone-hacking and other misconduct by newspapers; phase one just considered newspaper behaviour in general, without really focusing on wrongdoing by individuals.Phase two of the inquiry was supposed to consider the detail of allegations relating to phone-hacking and other misconduct by newspapers; phase one just considered newspaper behaviour in general, without really focusing on wrongdoing by individuals.
In fact I was reporting the impression Patel gave, not her precise words. What she actually said was:In fact I was reporting the impression Patel gave, not her precise words. What she actually said was:
I’m sorry the earlier post (at 1.08pm) was not more accurate. I have corrected it now.I’m sorry the earlier post (at 1.08pm) was not more accurate. I have corrected it now.
In fact, Leveson did not support shelving part two of his inquiry. But this is not the first time that a minister has been not 100% forthcoming about Leveson’s stance on this. When Matt Hancock announced that part two of the inquiry was being abandoned when he was culture secretary in 2018, he was accused of misrepresenting Leveson’s view on the matter (see here and here).In fact, Leveson did not support shelving part two of his inquiry. But this is not the first time that a minister has been not 100% forthcoming about Leveson’s stance on this. When Matt Hancock announced that part two of the inquiry was being abandoned when he was culture secretary in 2018, he was accused of misrepresenting Leveson’s view on the matter (see here and here).
Sturgeon says the Scottish government will be announcing three other measures next week.Sturgeon says the Scottish government will be announcing three other measures next week.
She says, although there will probably be a three-week pause in easing restrictions, some minor changes might be allowed.She says, although there will probably be a three-week pause in easing restrictions, some minor changes might be allowed.
She says the Scottish government will publish a paper describing what life will look like as Scotland gets back towards normal, going beyond level 0.She says the Scottish government will publish a paper describing what life will look like as Scotland gets back towards normal, going beyond level 0.
(Even at level 0, some rules would remain. Most of Scotland is now at level 1 or level 2.)(Even at level 0, some rules would remain. Most of Scotland is now at level 1 or level 2.)
And the government will also publish its review of social distancing, she says.And the government will also publish its review of social distancing, she says.
She says the government is also making preparations to vaccinate 12- to 17-year-olds, if the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommends that.She says the government is also making preparations to vaccinate 12- to 17-year-olds, if the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommends that.
Sturgeon says, when the next three-week review of restrictions is announced next week, she is likely to announcing a pause in the lifting of restrictions.Sturgeon says, when the next three-week review of restrictions is announced next week, she is likely to announcing a pause in the lifting of restrictions.
Sturgeon says the Scottish government needs more evidence about the impact of the Delta variant.Sturgeon says the Scottish government needs more evidence about the impact of the Delta variant.
She advises MSPs to read the research about the Delta variant based on Scottish data published by the Lancet yesterday.She advises MSPs to read the research about the Delta variant based on Scottish data published by the Lancet yesterday.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is making a statement to MSPs about Covid.Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is making a statement to MSPs about Covid.
She says there will be no changes to Covid regulations in Scotland this week. The next three weekly review will be a week today, she says.She says there will be no changes to Covid regulations in Scotland this week. The next three weekly review will be a week today, she says.
And she reads out the latest figures.And she reads out the latest figures.
She says cases are now five times higher than they were in early May.She says cases are now five times higher than they were in early May.
Here are the main points from the Downing Street lobby briefing.Here are the main points from the Downing Street lobby briefing.
Downing Street condemned the conduct of the anti-lockdown protesters in London yesterday who harassed and threatened the BBC reporter Nicholas Watt. Asked about the treatment of Watt, Newsnight’s political editor, the PM’s spokesperson said:Downing Street condemned the conduct of the anti-lockdown protesters in London yesterday who harassed and threatened the BBC reporter Nicholas Watt. Asked about the treatment of Watt, Newsnight’s political editor, the PM’s spokesperson said:
Here is footage of the incident.Here is footage of the incident.
Labour has also condemned what happened to Watt. Jo Stevens, the shadow culture secretary, said:Labour has also condemned what happened to Watt. Jo Stevens, the shadow culture secretary, said:
The PM’s spokesperson said No 10 was taking the Speaker’s complaints about what happened yesterday very seriously. Asked about Johnson’s meeting with the Speaker to discuss this (see 2.16pm), the spokesperson said:The PM’s spokesperson said No 10 was taking the Speaker’s complaints about what happened yesterday very seriously. Asked about Johnson’s meeting with the Speaker to discuss this (see 2.16pm), the spokesperson said:
The spokesperson said Johnson still had confidence in Dame Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police.The spokesperson said Johnson still had confidence in Dame Cressida Dick, the commissioner of the Metropolitan police.
Boris Johnson still has confidence in the Metropolitan police commissioner following the publication of the Daniel Morgan report, according to Downing Street.Asked if the prime minister still had full confidence in Dame Cressida Dick during a Westminster briefing, his official spokesperson simply replied: “Yes.”Boris Johnson still has confidence in the Metropolitan police commissioner following the publication of the Daniel Morgan report, according to Downing Street.Asked if the prime minister still had full confidence in Dame Cressida Dick during a Westminster briefing, his official spokesperson simply replied: “Yes.”
Boris Johnson is due to meet Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, this afternoon to discuss Hoyle’s complaint about parliament being sidelined when No 10 announced the delay in easing lockdown restrictions, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, told MPs.Boris Johnson is due to meet Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, this afternoon to discuss Hoyle’s complaint about parliament being sidelined when No 10 announced the delay in easing lockdown restrictions, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, told MPs.
The National Farmers’ Union has now issued its response to the news the UK has concluded a free trade deal with Australia and, while the NFU is still expressing concerns, it is less hostile than it was in the statement issued last month. In her response Minette Batters, the NFU president, said:The National Farmers’ Union has now issued its response to the news the UK has concluded a free trade deal with Australia and, while the NFU is still expressing concerns, it is less hostile than it was in the statement issued last month. In her response Minette Batters, the NFU president, said:
Batters also said the formal announcement from the government did not mention animal welfare or environmental standards. “While the government has previously been keen to highlight how our free trade agreements will uphold our high standards of food production, there has always been a question mark over how this can be achieved while opening up our markets to food produced to different standards,” she said.Batters also said the formal announcement from the government did not mention animal welfare or environmental standards. “While the government has previously been keen to highlight how our free trade agreements will uphold our high standards of food production, there has always been a question mark over how this can be achieved while opening up our markets to food produced to different standards,” she said.
Speaking to the media earlier Boris Johnson said the deal would “adhere to the strongest possible standards for animal welfare”, adding that “that is what the British consumer is going to want”.Speaking to the media earlier Boris Johnson said the deal would “adhere to the strongest possible standards for animal welfare”, adding that “that is what the British consumer is going to want”.
And Scott Morrison, the Australian PM, said:And Scott Morrison, the Australian PM, said:
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has urged the government to speed the allocation of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the capital so that young people can get vaccinated there more quickly.Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has urged the government to speed the allocation of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the capital so that young people can get vaccinated there more quickly.
The brother of Daniel Morgan said the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, should “absolutely” be considering her position in light of the report into his murder. After the panel report found the Met was institutionally corrupt, Daniel’s brother Alastair was asked whether Dick should consider resigning. He responded: “Absolutely she should.”The brother of Daniel Morgan said the Met commissioner, Cressida Dick, should “absolutely” be considering her position in light of the report into his murder. After the panel report found the Met was institutionally corrupt, Daniel’s brother Alastair was asked whether Dick should consider resigning. He responded: “Absolutely she should.”
As PA Media reports, the family’s solicitor Raju Bhatt added:As PA Media reports, the family’s solicitor Raju Bhatt added:
Stuart McDonald (SNP) asks if Patel will make a statement about the implications of the report for the media. And he says the report backs the case for phase two of the Leveson inquiry to be allowed to go aheadStuart McDonald (SNP) asks if Patel will make a statement about the implications of the report for the media. And he says the report backs the case for phase two of the Leveson inquiry to be allowed to go ahead
Patel says the Leveson report made a series of recommendations about the relationship between the police and the media. She says the government consulted Sir Brian Leveson about whether or not to go ahead with phase two, and the government decided it was no longer appropriate.Patel says the Leveson report made a series of recommendations about the relationship between the police and the media. She says the government consulted Sir Brian Leveson about whether or not to go ahead with phase two, and the government decided it was no longer appropriate.
UPDATE: I have corrected the final sentence, which originally quoted Patel as saying the government consulted Leveson and he agreed part two was no longer appropriate. In fact she said:UPDATE: I have corrected the final sentence, which originally quoted Patel as saying the government consulted Leveson and he agreed part two was no longer appropriate. In fact she said:
Theresa May, the Conservative former PM who set up the panel when she was home secretary, says the report provides yet another example of “an organ of the state, whose job was to protect the public, prioritising the reputation of the institution over the delivery of justice”.Theresa May, the Conservative former PM who set up the panel when she was home secretary, says the report provides yet another example of “an organ of the state, whose job was to protect the public, prioritising the reputation of the institution over the delivery of justice”.