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“Teachers could be forced to tell schools they are planning to strike to avoid a repeat of yesterday’s nationwide disruption. Ministers are urgently examining whether to tighten the law to close a loophole that prevents headteachers from knowing which staff are taking part in industrial action. Tens of thousands of teachers who are members of the National Education Union (NEU) left their posts and joined picket lines yesterday. In a general strike in all but name – dubbed ‘Walkout Wednesday’ – they joined 100,000 civil servants, 70,000 university staff and thousands of train drivers and Border Force officers in staging industrial action.” – Daily Mail
>Today: ToryDiary: Yes, the teachers have a case for striking. But it isn’t half as good as they think it is.
“Job coaches are set to be stationed at GP surgeries under plans being drawn up by the Government to get unemployed over-50s back to work. Ministers are understood to be considering the proposal as they strive to plug record gaps in Britain’s labour force and boost the economy. Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, has pledged to slash the tally of nine million people who are neither in work nor looking for a job. The UK is the only major developed country to have suffered a sustained rise in economic inactivity since the start of the pandemic. Experts have warned the trend, driven by a surge in early retirement and long-term sickness, is undermining efforts to rebuild the economy.” – Daily Telegraph
>Today: Sanjoy Sen in Comment: Principles for Net Zero. Go big on big stuff, recognise what’s achievable, ditch lectures, create opportunities.
“Rishi Sunak today promises his law to stop small boat crossings will be unveiled in weeks — as he hits 100 days in office. The PM reaches the landmark with a pledge that illegal migrants will be detained and deported instead of put up in 4-star hotels. And he said his agenda should not be judged on results now but before next year’s expected election. The PM will be interviewed by Piers Morgan on TalkTV when he is set to hit back at Labour claims his short tenure has been dogged by scandal and sleaze. After the turmoil of Boris Johnson’s ousting and the 49-day Liz Truss disaster, he will say matters have steadied.” – The Sun
>Yesterday: Suella Braverman MP in Comment: We will rid the police of those who are not fit to wear the uniform
“My final promise is to stop the boats. The scenes of people crossing the channel in dangerous conditions are truly shocking. Britain will always welcome those fleeing war, famine or brutal regimes abroad. But many illegal migrants start their journey in perfectly safe countries. And they travel through safe countries to get here. That is unfair on those who come here legally. Unfair on those with a genuine asylum claim. And above all, unfair on the British people who play by the rules… We are doing whatever it takes to fix this… In the coming weeks, our new Stop The Boats Bill will change the law to send a message loud and clear.” – The Sun
>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Is Sunak a politician?
“Dominic Raab has declared he has never sworn or shouted in a meeting after it was claimed he roared “bullshit” in response to a senior official’s briefing he disagreed with. As officials made further claims of poor behaviour from the deputy prime minister, his allies launched a fightback, suggesting that civil servants were trying to force him out. The investigation into Raab is now understood to be focusing on whether he knew the effect his behaviour was having on staff, a judgment that could be crucial to the justice secretary’s political future. Adam Tolley KC, who is leading the investigation into bullying claims, is attempting to decide if Raab deliberately pilloried staff or was oblivious to how his officials were reacting.” – The Times
“The Conservative chairmanship has been drained of its power and no longer appeals to big names in the party, senior Tories believe. Priti Patel, the former home secretary, is pushing for the role to be restored to its former prestige because she is said to fear that only “lightweight careerists” would accept it in its current form. A source close to Ms Patel, who is popular with the Tory grassroots, said accepting the job would make sense to her only if she was given the capacity to “actually make an impact”. The source said bringing her back into the fray would be a “shrewd move” to unite the party but she considers the chairmanship “too weak” to achieve the changes she feels necessary.” – Daily Telegraph
“Rishi Sunak is considering a trip to visit Joe Biden in the US as talks between the UK and EU over the Northern Ireland protocol intensify. The prime minister’s officials are drawing up plans for him to travel to Washington in the coming weeks to discuss a range of topics, including Ukraine, economic security and technology. Northern Ireland will also be high on the agenda though, as British officials engage in a flurry of diplomacy aimed at finalising an agreement with Brussels over the post-Brexit Irish border arrangement. Biden had been expected to travel to the UK around Good Friday in April, but only if an agreement was in place by then.” – The Guardian
“Ben Wallace’s argument that the Armed Forces have been “hollowed out” is disingenuous, a fellow government minister has claimed. Johnny Mercer, the veterans’ affairs minister, made the comments after the Defence Secretary told the Commons on Monday he was “happy to say that we have hollowed out and underfunded” the military. Mr Wallace made his comments in response to points made by John Healey, the shadow defence secretary, who said it was since the Tories took power that “the serious hollowing out has happened”. The Labour MP stated that when his party left government in 2010, the British Army stood at more than 100,000 full-time troops and 2.5 per cent of GDP was spent on defence.” – Daily Telegraph
>Yesterday: Yuan Yi Zhu in International: How modern Canadian governments trashed their nation’s proud martial tradition
“Officials at the government’s spending watchdog are examining the controversial decision to provide £220,000 of taxpayers’ money to fund Boris Johnson’s legal defence for the inquiry into his Partygate denials. The National Audit Office (NAO) has yet to decide whether to mount a formal investigation, but one of its directors is planning to speak to the Cabinet Office about it. On top of the six-figure budget already established, sources have also indicated more money could be set aside to cover the former prime minister’s legal advice, given the privileges committee’s investigation could drag on into next month. The revelations came as Johnson issued a fresh defence of his actions as PM during lockdown, insisting: “I thought what we were doing was within the rules.”” – The Guardian
“Conservative MPs have reacted with fury that the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) could force the National Lottery to pay out £600 million from the Community Fund to an Italian company because it failed to get the rights to the competition. The row is seen as the latest evidence that Britain needs to end the ECHR jurisdiction in Britain before Brexit can be completed. Express.co.uk has learnt a letter to Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan has been sent by 10 Conservative MPs demanding she intervenes in the legal challenge by Italian-owned International Game Technology (IGT).” – Daily Express