Scottish PM Nicola Sturgeon announces £500 one-off ‘thank you’ payment for NHS and care staff

Tory MPs hail Dominic Cummings’ departure and look for ‘reset’

Exit is chance to restore trust between No 10 and MPs, one senior backbencher says

Conservative MPs have hailed Dominic Cummings’ departure from Downing Street, saying they hope it could mark a change of approach in No 10.

Following the resignation of Lee Cain as Boris Johnson’s head of communications, Cummings denied he would immediately follow his close ally and fellow veteran of the Vote Leave campaign out of the door.

Cummings told the BBC that “rumours of me threatening to resign are invented”. However, he also said his “position hasn’t changed since my January blog”.

In the 2 January post, which announced the intention to hire data scientists and “assorted weirdos” to work inside No 10, Cummings said the recruitment drive was intended to “improve performance and make me much less important – and within a year largely redundant”.

One source confirmed Cummings’ departure, saying he had “started talking about it a couple of months ago”. They said: “I think it was always predictable that there would be a big bust-up and Dom would leave. He’s done that in most jobs he’s been in.” [ . . . ]

Source: Tory MPs hail Dominic Cummings’ departure and look for ‘reset’

Boris Johnson faces Tory rebellions on Brexit and Covid rules

Dueling Schmegegges


Conservatives including former leaders criticise plan to override withdrawal deal

Boris Johnson is facing separate Conservative rebellions on Brexit and Covid-19 rules, as Tory MPs mobilise to undermine the controversial legislation that overrides the EU withdrawal agreement.

The tabling of an amendment by a former minister, Bob Neill, to the internal market bill in an effort to create a parliamentary veto on overriding the UK-EU divorce deal sets up a showdown next week on the bill’s second reading in the House of Commons.

Among other senior Conservative figures who have also come out strongly against the bill’s proposed powers is the former party leader Michael Howard, who said it was “a very sad day last week when the Northern Ireland secretary, Brandon Lewis, admitted that amending the UK’s Brexit deal with the EU will break international law”. The peer also said he would be “very surprised” if the bill got through the the House of Lords, where the Conservatives did not have a majority [ . . . ]

Continue at THE GUARDIAN: Boris Johnson faces Tory rebellions on Brexit and Covid rules

Boris Johnson says ‘I was too fat’ as he launches anti-obesity campaign

The British prime minister suggested a link between his weight and his susceptibility to covid-19.

LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested a link between his weight and his susceptibility to covid-19, as he launched a new government anti-obesity program on Monday that will see junk food advertising limited and restaurants and pubs required to post calories for food and drink.

The campaign began with newspaper editorials and a social media blitz that included a video showing Johnson fast-walking in slow-motion — in a white button-down shirt and blue slacks — accompanied by inspirational string music and his dog, Dilyn.

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‘Let’s not blow it,’ says Boris Johnson as English pubs reopen

PM gives Downing Street press conference as lockdown measures are eased again

Boris Johnson has implored people to behave responsibly and safely as England’s chief medical officer admitted Saturday’s easing of the lockdown left the country treading a narrow path with serious risks “on either side”.

In a press conference on the eve of changes that will allow restaurants, pubs and bars to reopen for the first time since March, the prime minister insisted “we are not out of the woods yet”.

“Let’s not blow it,” he said. Continue reading