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Government confirms all restrictions will end next week

‘To those who say why take this step now, I say if not now then when’

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BBC & Mika Baumeister / Unsplash

The government has just confirmed that all remaining Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted next week on July 19th.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid – who replaced Matt Hancock last month – says lifting restrictions on July 19th is the ‘most responsible decision we can take,’ though he did add that it is ‘not the end of the road’ but the ‘start of a new phase of continued caution while we live with the virus and we manage the risks.’

He said, as per the BBC: “We simply cannot eradicate this virus, whether we like it or not. It is not going away.”

Chatham House / Flickr

The health secretary went on to say the government has looked closely at the data ‘and we firmly believe this is the right time to get our nation closer to normal life.’

He said that England will definitely be moving to the next stage of the roadmap on July 19th, stating: “To those who say why take this step now, I say if not now then when.”

This comes just a week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson first announced that the original ‘freedom day’ on June 21st would be pushed back to July 19th.

Andrew Parsons / Flickr

In the announcement, he revealed that as of the 19th, people won’t be expected to work from home and that all businesses will be allowed to reopen, including nightclubs and music venues.

While no proof of a Covid test or vaccine will be required for entry to venues, Johnson explained that the virus will still be monitored through the track and trace app, and those who test positive will still have to self isolate.

However, while many rejoiced at the news, others are concerned that it could be too soon to lift restrictions – Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham today urged people to continue wearing face masks and following social distancing in public spaces and on public transport.

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Gary Neville ‘considering running for Manchester mayor’ after joining Labour party

The football pundit has officially joined the Labour party

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Gary Neville is reportedly eyeing up the position of Manchester mayor after joining the Labour party, a government official has claimed today.

The Manchester United legend, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Boris Johnson and the Conservative party, confirmed that he had joined the party on a BBC podcast this week.

He said: “I have joined in the last few days the Labour Party. That is purely for myself, I want to support Labour.

“I do believe we need a progressive Labour Party, but one that not just looks after what would be the left side of the party, it has to come towards the centre.”

And when asked whether his move could mean running for public office, he replied: “I don’t know at the moment.”

Culture secretary Lucy Powell has since confirmed that Neville has joined the party, saying he had discussed it with her ‘for a while’. She then added that he could potentially run as Labour’s Greater Manchester mayoral candidate in 2024.

Powell, who is also the MP for Manchester Central, said: “I personally think he’s more than capable of navigating – well, steaming – his way through the world of politics! Look forward to helping.”

Powell’s tweet was in response to a rumour from Jim Waterson, the media editor of The Guardian, who claims Neville is ‘not ruling out’ running to become the mayor of Greater Manchester.

Neville has previously expressed doubts about his abilities in the world of politics, however, saying in the podcast: “I say to myself sometimes I’m able to communicate, I know what I want, I have got a business mind, I can manage people in respect of businesses.

“But I just think I’d get eaten alive. I don’t know what Whitehall is like, Westminster is like.

“I can only imagine what you have to do there to survive and I don’t play the game, so how can I get in?”

Greater Manchester’s current mayor Andy Burnham is one of the most popular politicians in the country right now, and achieved landslide victories in the 2017 and 2021 mayoral elections.

Burnham worked as an MP between 2001 and 2017 and was a government minister under Gordon Brown, the most recent Labour PM to date.

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Number 10 apologises to the Queen for lockdown parties on eve of Prince Philip’s funeral

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@Number 10 / Flickr

Downing Street has said sorry to the Queen over the lockdown parties held on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral.

Number 10 apologised after new reports revealed there were two parties held at the address the day before the Queen was pictured alone at Philip’s funeral.

According to the prime minister’s spokesperson, it was ‘deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning’.

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They said: “It’s deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning, and No10 has apologised to the Palace.

“You’ve heard from the Prime Minister this week, he’s recognised No10 should be held to the highest standards and take responsibility for the things we did not get right.

“We have apologised to the Palace.”

According to the new reports, around thirty Downing Street staff held two parties the night before the Queen sat alone at Prince Philip’s socially-distanced funeral.

Advisors and civil servants have been accused of hosting a party and ‘drinking into the early hours’ of the morning of April 16th 2021, The Telegraph reports.

Eyewitnesses claim people at the party danced to music and went to the Co-op on the Strand ‘with a suitcase’ to stock up on wine.

No 10 Downing Street / Flickr

These eyewitnesses claim that some partygoers ‘worried there was too much wine spilling on the basement carpet’, while one person broke a child’s swing allegedly belonging to the prime minister’s son Wilf.

At the time, the rest of the country was under instructions to not socialise indoors with anyone but their own households, and to only meet others outdoors in groups of six or two households.

This comes as Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to resign after admitting to attending a Downing Street garden party in the first national lockdown in May 2020.

The Prime Minister said he went into the garden just after 6pm on May 20th 2020 to thank staff but ‘believed implicitly that this was a work event’.

 

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Downing Street staff ‘held two parties’ night before Queen sat alone at Prince Philip’s funeral

Reports claim staff danced to music and ‘went to Co-op for wine’

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Number 10 / Flickr

Around thirty Downing Street staff held two parties the night before the Queen sat alone at Prince Philip’s funeral, according to new reports.

Advisors and civil servants have been accused of hosting a party and ‘drinking into the early hours’ of the morning of April 16th 2021, just hours before Queen Elizabeth was forced to sit alone at the socially-distanced funeral of Prince Philip, The Telegraph reports.

Eyewitnesses claim people at the party danced to music and went to the Co-op on the Strand ‘with a suitcase’ to stock up on wine.

These eyewitnesses claim that some partygoers ‘worried there was too much wine spilling on the basement carpet’, while one person broke a child’s swing allegedly belonging to the prime minister’s son Wilf.

At the time, the rest of the country was under instructions to not socialise indoors with anyone but their own households, and to only meet others outdoors in groups of six or two households.

This comes as Boris Johnson is under increasing pressure to resign after admitting to attending a Downing Street garden party in the first national lockdown in May 2020.

The Prime Minister said he went into the garden just after 6pm on May 20th 2020 to thank staff but ‘believed implicitly that this was a work event’.

Number 10 / Flickr

He said: “With hindsight, I should have sent everyone back inside. I should have found some other way to thank them.

“I should have realised that even if it technically fell within the guidance, there would be millions who did not see it that way. I offer my heartfelt apologies.

“I know people up and down the country have made huge sacrifices and I understand the anger and rage they feel that people in Downing Street were not following those rules.

“I regret the way the event was handled and I wish we could have done things differently.”

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