Boris Johnson Faces A Grilling Over Lockdown Row. Plus, 3 Other Things You Need To Know

The government has also said there will not be a review into lockdown fines for childcare-related travel.

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Boris Johnson is set to face a grilling from senior MPs as the row about Dominic Cummings’ decision to travel 260 miles during lockdown rages on for another day.

More than 30 MPs from the PM’s own benches have now called for Johnson’s senior adviser to resign.

According to the latest figures published by the Department of Health and Social Care, 37,048 people have died in the UK after contracting coronavirus and more than 265,000 have tested positive.

Here’s the latest:

Boris Johnson to face grilling from senior MPs

Number 10 special adviser Dominic Cummings
Number 10 special adviser Dominic Cummings
TOLGA AKMEN via Getty Images

Boris Johnson will appear in front of parliament’s Liaison Committee – the only committee that gets to question the PM – for the first time since he arrived in No. 10.

The cross-party group of senior MPs are expected to ask him about the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – as well as Cummings’ decision to travel 260 miles from London to Durham during the lockdown.

It comes amid a growing revolt in Johnson’s party, with at least 30 Tory MPs having now publicly called for the PM”s top aide to be sacked or to resign.

Boris Johnson will face a grilling from MPs at the Liaison Committee amid the Dominic Cummings row
Boris Johnson will face a grilling from MPs at the Liaison Committee amid the Dominic Cummings row

On Tuesday, government minister Douglas Ross quit in protest over the incident, saying he could not in “good faith” tell his constituents that Cummings – who helped to write lockdown rules – had followed the letter of the restrictions.

Meanwhile, a poll for the Daily Mail found that two-thirds of the public believe Cummings should resign over the incident, including 55% of Conservative voters.

Government backtracks on potential review into lockdown fines

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick leaves Downing Street
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick leaves Downing Street

The government has backtracked on a potential review into fines given to families travelling for childcare during the coronavirus lockdown.

On Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock said the Treasury would “look at” reversing penalties in such cases after the PM defended Dominic Cummings decision to travel to Durham during the lockdown over childcare concerns.

It came after he was challenged by Brighton’s reverend Martin Poole at the Downing Street briefing on coronavirus.

Hancock said: “I will have to talk to my Treasury colleagues before I can answer it in full and we will look at it.

He added the government would later “make an announcement from this podium” on what they decide.

But communities secretary Robert Jenrick said on Wednesday morning there would be no such review.

He told BBC’s Breakfast programme: “No, there isn’t going to be a formal review. It’s for the police to decide whether to impose fines under the law.

“They have the guidance that we’ve provided and the national police chiefs have provided their own guidance, which does give officers a degree of discretion to use their common sense, reflecting the fact that all of our circumstances are different and families, in particular, face particular challenges.

“They are encouraging their officers to engage in the first instance, to explain and to resort to fines only where absolutely necessary and in most cases that is what’s happened.”

Americas are the ‘new epicentre’ of the Covid-19 pandemic, WHO warns

The Americas have emerged as the new epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

It comes as a US study forecast a surge in deaths in Brazil and other Latin American countries through August.

More than 2.4 million cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the Americas, as well as 143,000 deaths.

Carissa Etienne, WHO director for the region, said that Latin America had passed Europe and the US in daily infections.

“Now is not the time for countries to ease restrictions,” Etienne, said.

As Brazil’s daily death rate became the world’s highest on Monday, a University of Washington study warned that the country’s total death toll could climb five-fold to 125,000 by early August.

Also of concern to WHO officials are accelerating outbreaks in Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

Mothers ‘taking on more childcare than fathers’ during lockdown

Kaan Sezer via Getty Images

Mothers have taken on more childcare and housework responsibilities than fathers with the same work arrangements during the Covid-19 lockdown, a study suggests.

In families where both the parents have paid work, mothers are spending more of their working hours trying to care for children, an analysis has found.

Mothers are also more likely to have quit or lost their job, or to have been furloughed, since the start of the lockdown, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report.

A sharp reduction in the time that mothers are spending dedicated to work amid the crisis could harm their careers and further increase the gender wage gap when lockdown is lifted, researchers warned.

The study, of more than 3,500 two-parent opposite-gender families, found that mothers are also far more likely to be interrupted during paid working hours with household responsibilities than fathers.

Mothers who have stopped paid work during lockdown, while their partner continues, do twice as much childcare and housework as their partner.

But in families where the father has stopped working, but the mother is still in paid work, men only share childcare and housework responsibilities equally with their partner.

But despite doing less childcare than mothers, fathers have nearly doubled the number of hours they spend on looking after their children during lockdown compared with 2014-2015, the study found.


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