It is the strongest indication yet that the date for the relaxation of Covid restrictions could be put back. Matt Hancock said the Government is "absolutely open" to delaying the June 21 unlocking.
A two-week delay until July 5 has been under discussion by scientists and civil servants, but the Health Secretary confirmed that pushing back the next step in the roadmap was being considered.
We understand advice on masks, social distancing and working from home is unlikely to be removed on June 21, as concern remains over the Indian variant.
The Government has committed to announcing its plans on June 14, a week today. Home Affairs Editor Charles Hymas explains that the decision is understood to hinge on the impact of the Indian variant on hospitalisations.
Tory MPs reacted angrily to the announcement. Sir Desmond Swayne said ministers were "wasting the advantages afforded by the success of vaccinations".
The Government estimates 60 per cent of the adult population will have been fully vaccinated by June 21. But advisers are concerned this may not be enough. Search for vaccine rates by postcode.
Biden emphasises special relationship before G7 visit
Joe Biden has said he wants to strengthen the special relationship ahead of his arrival in London on his first visit as US president this week. He said he would use his meeting with Boris Johnson to "affirm the special relationship" and endorsed the Prime Minister’s G7 goals of tackling climate change and strengthening ties between democracies. Mr Biden also played up his Irish heritage and signalled he will not tolerate a Brexit trade deal that jeopardises the Good Friday Agreement. Mr Biden will meet Mr Johnson for bilateral talks on Thursday before both attend the G7 summit in Cornwall. Read what to expect when the president and first lady, Jill Biden, meet the Queen at Windsor Castle on Sunday.
Lilibet Diana: Family tributes in Baby Sussex’s name
The Duchess of Sussex has given birth to a daughter, named Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor after the Queen and the new baby’s grandmother. She will be known as Lili and becomes the Queen’s 11th great-grandchild. The new arrival will be eighth in line to the throne. Victoria Ward reports that Buckingham Palace aides appeared to have been caught on the hop by the announcement. Celia Walden imagines how the baby will be the wokest in all of Los Angeles.
At a glance: Coronavirus morning briefing
- ‘Crude assumptions’ | Covid modelling unreliable, NHS leaders warn
- Arise, Sir Chris? | Professor Whitty may have to wait for inquiry first
- Cheating | University students enlist private tutors to take exams
- Vaccines for children | Send jabs to developing world instead – expert
- Ready to mingle | Jabbed singles swipe rewards on dating apps
Also in the news: Today’s other headlines
‘Reinstate aid pledge’ | Tory rebels have urged the Government to reintroduce its 0.7pc foreign aid pledge next year or face defeat in the Commons. More than 40 MPs are understood to be prepared to back an amendment today that would require ministers to reverse their cut in the foreign aid budget to 0.5pc of national income. But they will support a delay in its reintroduction until the economy improves post-pandemic.
- D-Day anniversary | Bittersweet day for veterans – best pictures
- Migrant crisis | Bring in Army to help, says ex-Border Force boss
- Diversity ‘A-Z’ | NHS public ‘glossary of woke’ causes anger
- Revealed | Nation’s top ten towns and villages for community spirit
- TV Baftas review | ‘Brisk and breezy – lacking in sentimentality’
Around the world: Trump hits the campaign trail
Donald Trump has called on Republicans to back candidates loyal to him at next year’s midterm elections as he sought to re-enter the US political arena with his first rally since leaving office. He also demanded China pay the US £7 trillion in compensation for the pandemic as he exercised the fiery rhetoric that defined his presidency. Read more from David Millward in the US and see a gallery of more striking world pictures.
The former US president at the Republican rally in North Carolina
Credit: JONATHAN DRAKE /REUTERS
Comment and analysis
- Nick Timothy | Meritocracy cannot work without social solidarity
- Roger Bootle | It is right that China is excluded from the G7
- James Titcomb | Uber driver shortage shows business model holes
- John Timpson | Short meetings would solve Zoom fatigue
- Reader letters | Britain must be realistic about foreign aid
Business and money briefing
Staffing crisis | Labour shortages are spilling into the retail sector following a hiring crisis in hospitality that has upended the running of pubs, bars and restaurants. Shop workers have been hard to find, with one in three leaders struggling to fill roles. Bosses say Eastern European workers who went home when the pandemic hit have not returned.
- Shipbuilding | Navy ‘should double in size’ to help shipyards
- Investment tip | Agents would love Rightmove rival to triumph
- Alex | View today’s cartoon strip on the world of finance
Ban over Twitter posts | England fast bowler Ollie Robinson has been suspended from international cricket pending an investigation into racist and sexist tweets he wrote as a teenager. He took seven wickets against New Zealand at Lord’s, but has been dropped from the squad for the second Test. Read Sir Geoffrey Boycott’s verdict on the first Test.
- England 1 Romania 0 | Narrow victory in Euros warm-up
- F1 | Hamilton’s blunder shows he is feeling Verstappen heat
- Lions | Kyle Sinckler called up after injury to Andrew Porter
Trout fillets with herb butter, lettuce, peas and bacon | An unbeatable flavour combination by Diana Henry. View the recipe and try our Cookbook newsletter.
And finally… for this morning’s downtime
‘I missed Dad most of all when I was at his side’ | Lewy Body Dementia, the second most common form of the disease, slowly robbed Jane Sigaloff of the father she knew. She explains how patients of this heartbreaking disease are suffering in silence.
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