Boris Johnson defends trip to Bristol vaccine centre
Pressure is mounting on the government to explain why families are receiving measly free school meal packages after pictures were shared online by exasperated parents.
Campaigners, including Marcus Rashford, and MPs from both main parties have criticised the parcels — with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer calling them woefully inadequate — and demanded answers over funding after parents estimated the food provided to cost far less than the £30 allocated.
Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak warned the UK economy will “get worse before it gets better” as the latest round of coronavirus restrictions will lead to more job losses and difficulties for businesses.
“Even with the significant economic support we’ve provided, over 800,000 people have lost their job since February,” the chancellor told MPs as he laid out the government’s latest support measures in the House of Commons, “and while the new national restrictions are necessary to control the spread of the virus, they will have a further significant economic impact.”
Met Police chief says Boris Johnson’s bike ride did not break law
Dame Cressida Dick has said Boris Johnson did not break the law when he cycled in a park seven miles from Downing Street over the weekend.
The Metropolitan Police commissioner said people should stay close to home when exercising but when asked about the prime minister’s trip she said: “What I can say is that it is not against the law. I think that’s implicit.”
Asked what she thought “local” meant with regards to exercise, Dame Cressida added: “For me, a reasonable interpretation of that is that if you can … go for your exercise from your front door and come back to your front door.
“That’s my view of local. It is complicated. I understand that.”
Liam James12 January 2021 11:10
Leisure sector needs more government support, says gym boss
Gym boss Rebecca Passmore has told MPs the health and leisure sector needs more financial support from the government.
Ms Passmore, the UK managing director for PureGym, told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee: “Gyms are an essential community asset – there is a huge health dividend which they bestow through maintaining strong physical and mental health.
“What we are looking for as a sector is specific, targeted support that will make an impact to operators, particularly the smaller operators who aren’t as stable as us as a business.”
Liam James12 January 2021 10:54
Jack Monroe shares more shocking free school meals pictures
Foodwriter Jack Monroe, who has relied on foodbanks to feed her family in the past, has been posting several pictures of free school meal parcels shared with her by parents.
The anti-poverty campaigner also pointed out that the food provided does not satisfy the government’s legislated school lunch requirements, which established minimum daily portions of each key food group and came into force in 2015.
Liam James12 January 2021 10:37
Government criticised over ‘offensively meagre’ Free School Meals parcels
The government is facing building pressure over the measly free school meal parcels being handed out to families around the country.
Footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford led the criticism last night while ever more Labour MPs are lining up behind leader Sir Keir Starmer in asking the government to explain where the money allocated for the provision of meals was going. Conservative MP Damian Collins also asked private supplier Chartwells to give a breakdown of how the £30 per family was being used.
Our reporter Tom Batchelor has the full story:
Liam James12 January 2021 10:19
The Independent Daily Cartoon
Liam James12 January 2021 10:07
‘Welcome to the Brexit, sir’
Border officials have been confiscating sandwiches and other foodstuffs from drivers arriving in the Netherlands from the UK after Brexit, Adam Forrest reports.
A Dutch TV clip showed a driver had his ham sandwiches taken away by border officials as he arrived – with one border guard joking: “Welcome to the Brexit, sir.”
One driver coming off the ferry from Britain with ham sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil was heard pleading with the border guard: “Can you take the meat and leave me the bread?”
The official replied: “No, everything will be confiscated – welcome to the Brexit, sir. I’m sorry.”
Read the full report here:
Liam James12 January 2021 09:58
Minister says government relying on ‘common sense’ after Boris Johnson criticised
Policing minister Kit Malthouse has been doing the rounds this morning, taking questions on BBC, ITV and Times Radio over Boris Johnson’s now apparently local cycle trip seven miles away from home.
Asked on BBC Breakfast whether a seven mile trip could be considered “local”, Mr Malthouse replied: “It depends where you are. Obviously seven miles will be local in different areas and in different times.
“I understand that this is a sort of scotch egg moment where people are searching for the loopholes and the problems in the law, unfortunately we can’t legislate for every single dynamic of human existence.”
He offered another definition of “local” to Times Radio when asked: “’Local’ means you can get there under your own steam.”
On ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the minister, who also worked under Boris Johnson when he was London mayor, said the government was relying on people having “common sense” when following lockdown rules.
Liam James12 January 2021 09:45
Investigate Nicola Sturgeon over Salmond inquiry, MSPs urge
A cross-party group of MSPs has called on Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy to investigate whether Scotland’s first minister failed to disclose knowledge regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against her predecessor Alex Salmond.
Mr Salmond claimed Ms Sturgeon broke the ministerial code by misleading parliament over when she learned of the sexual harassment claims against him.
Four members of the committee examining the Scottish government’s handling of the claims wrote to John Swinney, the deputy first minister, saying Mr Salmond’s claim would mean Ms Sturgeon misled parliament on several ocassions if proved true.
When challenged over her account of events at a press briefing on Monday, Ms Sturgeon said: “I do not consider I misled Parliament but of course that is for others to judge.”
Liam James12 January 2021 09:19
Government to investigate ‘woefully inadequate’ free school meals
Children’s minister Vicky Ford has promised to investigate after images of scant free school meal parcels were shared online.
Questions had been raised over the funding of the shceme after Twitter user Roadside Mum shared a picture of a package containing barely enough food for a few days lunch which was intended to provide meals for 10 days in place of a £30 voucher. The user estimated the food, provided by private company Chartwells, cost around £5.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, along with his deputy Angela Rayner, called on the government to explain where the money intended for the scheme was going.
Liam James12 January 2021 09:02
Raab plans clampdown on Uighur-linked imports
Dominic Raab is set to announce new measures targeting imports linked to the forced labour of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xianjiang province.
Measures expected to be unveiled by the foreign secretary when he appears in the Commons later today include expanding the Modern Slavery Act, new criteria obliging firms to ensure their supply chain is clean of forced labour and heavier fines for those that do not comply.
Ministers are also reportedly looking to impose tougher export controls on goods and technology that could assist repression in China.
Liam James12 January 2021 08:40