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As it happenedended1595869372

Boris Johnson news – live: PM condemns Wiley’s ‘abhorrent’ antisemitic remarks, as No 10 announces crackdown on junk food

Follow all the latest developments

Adam Forrest,Conrad Duncan
Monday 27 July 2020 18:02 BST
Boris Johnson says he 'struggles with his weight'

Boris Johnson has said he was “too fat” before his illness with coronavirus, as the prime minister announced moves to ban junk food ads before 9pm, end buy-one-get-one-free deals and put calorie numbers on restaurant menus.

Health experts have welcomed the campaign, but warned that chancellor Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative – which sees fast food outlets giving the public 50 per cent off meals during August – will undermine the weight loss drive.

It came as Mr Johnson's spokesperson said the prime minister believes rapper Wiley’s string of antisemitic tweets were “abhorrent” and thinks Twitter’s response was “not good enough”.


Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of political events in the UK and beyond.

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 08:19

PM to announce crackdown on junk food ads and deals

Boris Johnson – the man who once vowed to end the “nanny state” – will set out his anti-obesity plan today with a series of nanny-like interventions. The PM is expected to ban pre-watershed junk food ads and prohibit buy-one-get-one-free offers on sweets, crisps and chocolate.

The government will also urge GPs in England to prescribe cycling, and restaurants will have to publish the number of calories in their meals. “Covid-19 has given us all a wake-up call,” said a No 10 spokesperson.

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 08:25

‘I was too fat, says PM

Boris Johnson has released a new social media (starring Dilyn the dog), in which the shares his own battle with obesity.

“I’ve always wanted to lose weight for ages and ages … like many people I struggle with my weight – I go up and down,” he said in the clip.

Sharing his own efforts to get fit following his hospitalisation with coronavirus, he said: “I’m at least a stone down, I’m more than a stone down.”

“When I went into ICU when I was really ill, I was way overweight … I was too fat.”

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 08:30

MPs quit Twitter for 48 hours

If you notice some MPs going quiet on Twitter in the next couple of days, it’s because several of them are joining a 48-hour “walkout” to protest the company’s slow action to remove the splurge of antisemitic tweets posted by Wiley.

Home secretary Priti Patel said she has asked for a “full explanation” from both Twitter and Instagram about why the rapper’s “abhorrent” comments were allowed to remain on his accounts for 12 hours after they were posted.

Labour attacked the the government’s failure to introduce “desperately” needed legislation to force social media companies to crack down on accounts spreading abuse. Shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said it was clear that self-regulation “isn’t working”. The Met, meanwhile, is investigating Wiley’s online activities.

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 08:40

Labour demands support for workers facing holiday quarantine

Ministers have been accused of creating a sense of “panic and loss of control” due to the sudden decision to scrap an air bridge agreement with Spain.

Hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers now face a mandatory 14-day self-isolation after the UK government removed the country from its safe flight list with just a few hours’ notice on Saturday evening.

The travel industry – set to lose millions in revenue – reacted with fury to the unexpected move and questioned the rationale behind the decision.

Labour is calling for support for the hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers facing mandatory 14-day self-isolation on their return after the government removed Spain from its safe flight list (since there’s no guarantee employers will let them to work from home for two weeks).

Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow home secretary, also called on the government to ramp up the Covid-19 track, trace and isolate system “so as to avoid the need for the blunt tool of 14-day quarantine”.

“The latest decision-making process regarding Spain and the short notice for travellers has created a sense of panic and loss of control.”

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 08:57

Over-40s could be made to pay more tax to fund social care

Britain’s over-40s could be asked to pay more tax to fund the cost of elderly social care under plans reportedly under consideration by ministers.

The idea is among a series of proposals being examined by Boris Johnson, with people either compelled to take out insurance, pay more national insurance, or income tax once they hit the age ceiling.

Reports this morning indicate the prime minister’s new health and social care taskforce is drawing inspiration from Japan and Germany as it studies models for covering the expected £7bn soaring cost of care.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has all the details:

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 09:00

Other countries ‘under review’ following Spain quarantine, says minister

Health minister Helen Whately said so-called air bridges to other countries are constantly “under review” following the government’s decision to reimpose a blanket quarantine for arrivals from Spain.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “What we said throughout the time when we’ve put in place the policy on the travel corridors, the air bridges, is that we would need to keep those under review, that we would need to monitor the rates in other countries.

“That is exactly what we’ve done in Spain, so we are enacting the policy that we committed to doing. The rate was going up very rapidly in Spain and we had to take very rapid, decisive.  

“If we hadn’t taken that decisive action, I imagine you would be asking me, ‘Why are there delays, why haven’t we taken robust action?’.”

She said much the same thing on Sky News:

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 09:15

There are ‘smarter measures’ than quarantine, says Labour

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has urged the government to introduce “smarter measures” at the border rather than a blanket quarantine for those returning from Spain.

He told the BBC: “We certainly would be following the advice and introducing protective measures at the border if there are spikes in cases in other countries, absolutely.

“But there are two serious questions around this. The first is why we are still employing the ... blunt tool of the 14-day quarantining rather than smarter measures and secondly the chaotic nature of the decision-making which certainly hasn’t bred confidence in the government’s approach.”

He added: “I think you need a smarter set of quarantine measures at the airport. I’ve suggested this test, trace and isolate regime but you can also have temperature checking and other things - you look at a range of measures.”

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 09:24

‘Why is the chancellor discounting meals at Burger King?’

Health minister Helen Whately has been challenged on why chancellor Rishi Sunak included fast food venues in the 50 per cent off “eat out to help out” meal deal during August when the government is launching an anti-obesity drive.

“The chancellor and the government have taken measures to support the hospitality sector which we know has been very hit,” she told LBC radio.

Host Nick Ferrari said: “On one hand you’re making cheap McDonalds and Burger King and the next moment you’re telling everyone they’ve got to lose weight.”

Whately responded: “What we’re saying to the restaurants you mentioned, like Burger King and Nandos, is that they need to put the calories for the different meals on their menus.”

Ferrari added: “You don’t see the strange mixed message here?”

She replied: “I see the point you’re making.”

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 09:45

Prisoners effectively held in solitary confinement during pandemic, MPs told

UK prisoners detained during the coronavirus pandemic have been kept in conditions akin to social confinement for almost four months, MPs have been told.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) implemented harsh restrictions on the movement of inmates during the height of the nation’s outbreak. Twenty-three prisoners and 9 staff members eventually died after testing positive.

In an inquiry into the response of British prisons, NGOs have that conditions remain consistent with international definitions of solitary confinement – with some people only allowed out of their cells for half an hour a day.

MPs on the Commons’ justice committee have said they are concerned by the longevity of the measures, which have been in place for almost four months, and the lack of transition out of the restrictions.

Adam Forrest27 July 2020 10:00

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