The PM and Priti Patel
In the first story in the Daily Briefing today, we look at the growing speculation relating to Priti Patel. While there have been accusations of bullying levelled against the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, for a little while – no action has yet been taken. The Labour Party has described this failure of the PM to act as a “Prime Ministerial cover up”.
Specifically, the Home Secretary has been accused of “shouting and swearing” and “belittling people” by Philip Rutnam, the most senior civil servant in her department. In an attempt to support her, fellow ministers have come out and said that she is kind and works hard.
These complaints led to an independent report into the accusations, which was published earlier this week – with the report concluding that Priti Patel had in fact bullied civil servants. This obviously only increased pressure on the Prime Minister, leading Johnson to remark that he’d announce a decision later today. He made this decision around lunch-time – deciding not to sack the Home Secretary. This led to the head of the bullying inquiry to resign in protest.
This is a clear break from convention – as ministers are usually expected to resign if they are found to have breached the ministerial code. We will have to see if there is any further backlash.
More Travel Corridors
In the second story today, we stay in the UK to look at a topic that hasn’t been discussed for a while – travel corridors. For those of you who don’t know, or simply don’t remember, travel corridors are a way of people travelling abroad without having to self isolate upon their return. Those on the travel corridor list usually have low cases numbers, so that people who visit are unlikely to catch the disease and bring it back with them.
Over summer, many countries were added to this list, likely for two reasons. The first is that many were wanting to go on holiday, and the government likely tried to incentivise travel to safer countries. The second is that more of the countries in summer likely had a decreased number of coronavirus cases, owing to the fact that many more people were outdoors – where the virus doesn’t spread as easily.
However, as winter (and a second coronavirus wave) rolled around, fewer countries had this decreased level of infection – and therefore, fewer places were on the list.
The Telegraph has today pointed out that although 8 more countries were added to the list this week, only 1 can actually be visited by tourists. Namibia has been added, but as the flights there stop in countries that are not on the list, it cannot realistically be travelled to easily by tourists. Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Israel, the North Mariana Islands, the US Virgin Islands and Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba are all closed to tourists. That makes 6 of the 8 countries closed to tourists, 1 that still requires isolation upon return due to the flight path and only 1 that can actually be visited by tourists: Rwanda.
So, it appears like the changes to the travel corridors won’t help people that much, unless you’re planning a holiday to Rwanda.
A Bizarre Press Conference
In the final story today, we move to the US to look at the next act in the saga of the 2020 presidential election. Following a particularly controversial press conference at the four seasons total landscaping, former personal lawyer to President Trump, Rudy Guiliani has yet again caused quite a stir online.
While he again propagated unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud, this time saying that:
“The company counting our votes, with control over our votes, is owned by two Venuzeulans who are allies of Chavez, are present allies of Maduro with a company whose chairman is a close associate and business partner of George Soros. The biggest donor to the Democrat Party, the biggest donor to ANTIFA, and the biggest donor to Black Lives Matter. My goodness, what do we have to do to get you to give our people the truth!”
We’ll leave it up to you to interpret this speech. The other interesting thing about the conference was that while Guiliani was speaking, he was clearly quite warm and visibly sweaty. It seems like some of his hair dye started running down his face as he was talking – which wasn’t a good look for him and drew a lot of mockery online.
Let’s hope the next conference is a bit more successful!
For those of you who think the news is too long, be sure to check out Monday’s Daily Briefing.