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Latest Politics news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice
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1. Tory anger at Dominic Cummings grows as 61 MPs defy Boris Johnson01:15[−]

MPs break ranks to criticise PM’s chief of staff, with 44 calling for him to quit or be sacked

More than 60 Conservative MPs have continued to defy Boris Johnson’s calls to “move on” from the Dominic Cummings crisis as a senior minister broke ranks to accuse the aide of inconsistencies in his account of his behaviour during lockdown.

The intervention of Penny Mordaunt deepened the turmoil within government following revelations by the Guardian and Daily Mirror that Cummings had travelled 260 miles to his family estate in Durham with his wife suffering coronavirus symptoms.

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2. The 'super-driven' ex-TalkTalk chief behind England's track-and-trace schemeСр, 27 мая[−]

With UK’s route out of lockdown dependent on success, Dido Harding faces a huge challenge

The ex-TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding is facing one of the biggest moments in her eventful career, as she leads the government’s new track-and-trace programme upon which the country’s path out of lockdown depends.

Lady Harding, 52, the chair of NHS Improvement, was brought in to shoulder the responsibility of this significant new strategy, personally risking the fallout if it does not go to plan.

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3. Hancock: it is public's 'civic duty' to follow test-and-trace instructions in EnglandСр, 27 мая[−]

Government will enforce compliance if advice to stay at home for 14 days fails, says health secretary

Matt Hancock exhorted the public to do their “civic duty” and stay at home when instructed, as he launched a new test and trace system in the face of warnings from council leaders that they lack the data or powers to make local lockdowns work.

Employing Churchillian language, the health secretary called on every individual to do their bit, and warned that if they failed, the government would enforce compliance.

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4. Faced with questions from MPs, Boris Johnson was like a blundering schoolboy | Martin KettleСр, 27 мая[−]

His appearance at the Commons liaison committee saw him way out of his depth – on Dominic Cummings and everything else

Boris Johnson signed off this afternoon by telling the Commons liaison committee how much he had enjoyed his first meeting with them. If that’s true, then either I’m a Dutchman or Johnson has a weird way of having fun. No wonder he has managed to go almost a year before attending Westminster’s most prestigious committee. He came determined to say nothing new about Dominic Cummings and more or less managed it, though it came at a cost. On the wider issues of his government’s response to the pandemic, he mostly flannelled. Some of the questioners, notably Greg Clark, Stephen Timms, Robert Halfon and Darren Jones, beat him all ends up. Yvette Cooper delivered some icy remarks that should send shivers down his spine. Leadership Winston Churchill style it most definitely was not. Billy Bunter in the headmaster’s study kept coming to mind.

Johnson said he had spent a lot of time preparing for the meeting. It felt like a wasted effort. To expect the grasp of detail normally expected of a modern leader was and is hopeless. Issue after issue had to be parked, with promises of written replies later. Because he knew he had to be on his best behaviour in front of the assembled select committee chairs, there was less recourse to the irrelevant analogies and verbal folderols that Johnson often hides behind. The contrast with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May – all of whom were consistently across the detail and submitted more often to attending the committee – was a painful one.

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5. England's coronavirus tracing plan 'beset by conflict and confusion'Ср, 27 мая[−]

Scheme marked by alienation of local public health officials and cursory training at contact tracing centres

It was meant to be the system that would allow the country to emerge confidently from lockdown. But the development of the NHS tracing system has been characterised by missteps, conflict and frustration behind the scenes.

At the heart of the difficulties have been tensions between central government and local public health officials, or as one insider complained: “There has been control freakery from start to finish by the NHS and the Department of Health.”

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6. Steve Bell on England's track-and-trace strategy – cartoonСр, 27 мая[−]
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7. The Guardian view on Johnson and Cummings: cynical bluster | EditorialСр, 27 мая[−]

In continuing to defend his chief adviser, the prime minister is placing his own priorities above the national interest

It has become a commonplace to observe that Boris Johnson does not welcome close scrutiny of his decisions and actions. During his premiership, the depth of his antipathy to normal procedures of parliamentary accountability has been repeatedly demonstrated. Even in the midst of a pandemic, the prime minister has remained elusive. Until the crisis over his chief adviser’s flouting of lockdown rules engulfed the government, Mr Johnson had presented only two of the daily Downing Street press conferences since late April.

This unwillingness to engage would have made Wednesday’s interrogation by the House of Commons liaison committee a significant and revealing moment, even before the recent revelations that Dominic Cummings broke the government’s own lockdown rules. The liaison body is the only MPs’ committee with the right to question the prime minister, but it had been trying in vain to exercise it since the autumn. After repeated cancellations, Mr Johnson belatedly agreed to turn up after the Brexiter luminary, Sir Bernard Jenkin, was appointed as chair last month.

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8. Boris Johnson's liaison committee appearance: what did we learn?Ср, 27 мая[−]

Prime minister refuses to order investigation of chief aide or discuss which media coverage has been ‘false’

Boris Johnson endured a long and sometimes difficult first appearance before the liaison committee of senior MPs. Here’s some of the things we learned:

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9. Former Tory donor's housing project 'unlawfully approved to avoid ?40m hit'Ср, 27 мая[−]

Ministry denies claims of bias in approval of Richard Desmond’s development one day before levy kicked in

The housing secretary knew that a billionaire former media tycoon had only 24 hours to have an east London property development approved before community charges were imposed that would have cost him over ?40m.

Robert Jenrick’s accepted that his approval of one-time Conservative-supporting billionaire Richard Desmond’s project at the Isle of Dogs was unlawful.

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10. Boris Johnson grilled by MPs over Dominic Cummings’ lockdown breachСр, 27 мая[−]

Prime minister again refuses to apologise for his adviser, saying it is time to ‘move on’

Boris Johnson has again refused to apologise for breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules by Dominic Cummings, telling a committee of senior MPs that political bickering was to blame for any confusion over distancing rules, rather than the actions of his chief adviser.

In an often fractious appearance before the Commons liaison committee, the prime minister declined to answer most questions about Cummings, saying repeatedly it was time to “move on”.

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11. Government accused of cronyism after ex-Tory MPs given tourism rolesСр, 27 мая[−]

Patrick McLoughlin and Nick de Bois appointed despite apparent lack of direct experience in sector

Two former Conservative MPs have been appointed to senior tourism jobs despite an apparent lack of direct experience in the sector, prompting accusations of cronyism within government.

Sir Patrick McLoughlin and Nick de Bois have been given roles at the British Tourist Authority and VisitEngland respectively, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said on Wednesday.

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12. How can any scientists stand by this government now? | Richard HortonСр, 27 мая[−]

The Cummings saga has made it plain that scientific advisers are shielding the government’s collapsing reputation on coronavirus

• Richard Horton is a doctor and edits the Lancet

Dominic Cummings predicted the events that have threatened both him and the government he serves. Writing on his blog in 2014, in an essay he called The Hollow Men, Cummings said: “The people at the apex of political power (elected and unelected) are far from the best people in the world in terms of goals, intelligence, ethics, or competence … No 10 will continue to hurtle from crisis to crisis with no priorities and no understanding of how to get things done … the media will continue obsessing on the new rather than the important, and the public will continue to fume with rage.”

Indeed, the public’s rage against Cummings, Boris Johnson and the prime minister’s lapdog cabinet seems to be growing day by day. The government’s goals, intelligence, ethics and competence are all under scrutiny and have been found wanting. Yet a cordon sanitaire has been placed around Cummings. He must be protected at all costs.

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13. With an ally in control of the party machine, Keir Starmer’s victory is complete | Sienna RodgersСр, 27 мая[−]

David Evans is not a compromise appointment for general secretary. But will he improve the party culture?

The appointment of David Evans as Labour’s general secretary represents another win for Keir Starmer. The leader was sticking his neck out when it was briefed to the press that he had a preferred candidate for the post – but the gamble has paid off. Jennie Formby, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, has been replaced by someone who is heavily praised by activists on the right of the party. The Labour left has been thoroughly defeated, and the end of Corbynism is complete.

When it first emerged that the leader’s office had a firm favourite for general secretary and his name was David Evans, most of the members on the left of Labour’s national executive committee – the ruling body that interviews and votes on the applicants – hadn’t heard of him. They were introduced to the former assistant general secretary by journalists who themselves knew him primarily as the author of a 1999 report. This report described local constituency parties as “dysfunctional” and argued for a “radical overhaul” of the party that could “empower modernising forces within the party and marginalise Old Labour”.

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14. Boris Johnson has faced down Tory rebellions before, but this one is different | Katy BallsСр, 27 мая[−]

The Dominic Cummings furore can’t be dismissed as Westminster bubble story. And No 10 has made it clear whose side they’re on

The split between Downing Street and Conservative MPs over Dominic Cummings can be summarised in a single message. After a bank holiday weekend made up of Tory MPs venting their fury both on social media and over WhatsApp, Conservative MP Danny Kruger wrote to fellow MPs on Tuesday in a bid to calm them. After sharing sympathy over complaints from constituents and multiple media reports, Johnson’s former political secretary laid out a political truth: “No 10 won’t budge, so calling for DC to go is basically declaring no confidence in PM.”

As someone who worked full time in Downing Street up until last year’s general election when he became an MP, Kruger is well placed to speak for how the government plans to style this out. Since Johnson entered No 10, bringing many Vote Leave staff with him, there has been an effort to centralise power and a shift away from paying much attention to the parliamentary party. Johnson showed with Brexit that he was happy to withdraw the whip from MPs who disagreed with him. Kruger’s suggestion to MPs was that No 10 plans to do the same now.

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15. Coronavirus wage subsidies costing UK Treasury ?22bnСр, 27 мая[−]

Third of workers receive subsidies and furlough scheme to remain in some form until October

A third of the British workforce is receiving wage subsidies at a cost of almost ?22bn to the Treasury, according to the latest government figures.

HMRC said that 1m employers had claimed ?15bn for 8.4 million furloughed employees under the coronavirus rescue scheme between 20 April and 24 May.

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16. Daily Star includes Dominic Cummings 'do whatever the hell you want' maskСр, 27 мая[−]

Newspaper pokes fun at coronavirus scandal involving Boris Johnson’s senior adviser

The Daily Star has printed a cut-out-and-keep Dominic Cummings mask on its front page with a pledge that it will allow the wearer to “do whatever the hell you want”, as part of the tabloid’s idiosyncratic response to the scandal involving the prime minister’s chief aide.

The Star – which tends to avoid politics stories and last year proudly declared itself a Brexit-free newspaper – told readers: “Can’t be arsed to stick to the rules like the rest of us? Simply wear this handy Dom face covering and you’ll get away with murder.”

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17. Boris Johnson has failed to protect the nation. Instead he's protecting one man | Aditya ChakraborttyСр, 27 мая[−]

He missed vital meetings on coronavirus, and was barely seen for weeks, but for Dominic Cummings he’s fought tooth and nail

If only Boris Johnson had acted as swiftly and forcefully on the pandemic as he has to save Dominic Cummings. No 10 has thrown everything into defending one man, while it has failed to protect 66 million other Britons.

Over February and early March, Johnson was scarcely to be seen, even as the coronavirus crept into the UK through our airports, our workplaces, our pubs and gyms. But in the past few days he has put himself front and centre, displaying a speed and decisiveness that contrasts shamefully with his previous lethal complacency.

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18. Anti-porn filters stop Dominic Cummings trending on TwitterСр, 27 мая[−]

Name of PM’s aide is blocked, which has led to variety of misspelt hashtags

Twitter’s anti-porn filters have blocked Dominic Cummings’ name from its list of trending topics despite Boris Johnson’s chief adviser dominating British political news for almost a week, the Guardian can reveal.

As a result of the filtering, trending topics over the past five days have instead included a variety of misspellings of his name, including #cummnings, #dominiccummigs and #sackcummimgs, as well as his first name on its own, the hashtag #sackdom, and the place names Durham, County Durham and Barnard Castle.

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19. UK MPs call for extra ?30bn to aid green recovery from Covid-19Ср, 27 мая[−]

Cross-party group calls for ‘faster, further, fairer’ action to tackle climate and nature crisis

The UK needs to invest an additional ?30bn a year in shovel-ready green projects to create jobs, energise the post-lockdown economy and put the country back on track to achieve its climate targets, a new cross-party commission recommends.

In the most detailed blueprint to date for a green recovery from Covid-19, it also advises the government to make an initial down payment of ?5bn into a national “just transition fund” that would support the regions likely to be worst affected by the shift away from fossil fuels.

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20. Parents free to relocate to seek childcare like Cummings did, says ministerСр, 27 мая[−]

Robert Jenrick says there will be no review of past fines for acting in similar way to PM’s aide

Everyone can drive across the country and relocate their households to seek childcare in the same way that Dominic Cummings did, a cabinet minister has said, but there will be no review of fines imposed on people who have done that before now.

Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, said people could do the same as Cummings, even though his actions have provoked uproar, with up to 40 Conservative MPs calling for him to resign and surveys showing most of the public think he was wrong.

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21. Andrzej Krauze on fallout from the pandemic – cartoonСр, 27 мая[−]

As Europe adjusts to the ‘new normal’, the dire consequences for economic, social and artistic life become clear

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22. Public health is about trust – something Cummings has wilfully ignored | Richard CokerСр, 27 мая[−]

If the public is no longer reassured by the government’s social distancing measures, I fear a second wave of coronavirus

Thirty-five years ago, when I was working as a newly qualified doctor, I extracted a sausage from a woman’s windpipe. She was, in the eyes of the ambulance crew who brought her in, probably beyond saving, possibly already dead. The woman had inhaled the sausage while laughing at a joke she’d been telling her family. I leant over her, used a laryngoscope to peer into her larynx, saw the sausage and extracted it. She took a big gasp, looked around in surprise, and after a short recovery, walked out of A&E. I felt a surge of pride. I was a proper doctor. I’d saved someone’s life. My mum understood what I did for a living.

After working as a clinician for many years, I became a public health researcher and worked on tuberculosis and emerging infectious diseases for about 25 years. I never got, with the same immediacy, the sense one gets from saving a life. But I suspect that through my research I’ve touched far more lives than I could ever have hoped to in clinical medicine – even if those lives remain anonymous, distant, opaque. In public health, the stakes of life and death are more distant – but no less impactful.

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23. Steve Bell on Dominic Cummings’ press conference — cartoonВт, 26 мая[−]
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24. Martin Rowson on Boris Johnson's defence of Dominic Cummings – cartoonПн, 25 мая[−]
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