People who refuse a Covid-19 vaccine are "selfish" and putting lives at risk, Michael Gove has said.
The Cabinet Office minister warned that refuseniks may be barred from a host of events in the coming months, such as Premier League football matches and nightclubs.
Currently more than 70pc of UK adults are fully vaccinated and 88pc have had a first dose, but uptake has stalled in recent weeks with up to a third of 18 to 29-year-olds not yet jabbed.
Yet Mr Gove’s comments come as a senior Conservative MP warned Boris Johnson’s vaccine passport plans could spark the first Tory party split in nearly 200 years.
Earlier, Professor Neil Ferguson – whose modelling led to the first lockdown last year – said the worst of the pandemic could be behind us by late September.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund backed Britain’s recovery as it delivered a major growth upgrade and said the UK’s world-leading vaccination drive would protect the economy against super-contagious Covid variants.
The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook predicted the UK economy would advance 7pc this year, the fastest pace since the Second World War which is only likely to be equalled by the US among advanced nations.
It comes as Australia’s former prime minister has warned that the country’s vaccine rollout has been a "colossal failure" due to the significant shortfall in jabs amid widespread lockdowns.
Anti-social offenders to be put in ‘chain gangs’, says PM
Highly visible "chain gangs" will act as a deterrent to people getting involved in anti-social behaviour, Boris Johnson has said. Speaking from Surrey Police HQ, the Prime Minister said he believed lockdown had "driven some anti-social behaviour and we need to deal with it", which would be addressed with action such as sobriety tags, named neighbourhood officers and other measures. Read why Mr Johnson said offenders should be "visibly paying your debt to society". His appearance with the media was his first after 10 days of self-isolation and came as rain was bucketing down. Yet Michael Deacon sketches how the Prime Minister was trying to prove he is not a Tory wet. Meanwhile, the policing minister has insisted the police pay freeze was a "tough decision" but was necessary because of current economic difficulties.
Olympic Briefing: Biles pulls out as GB wins bronze
There was high drama in the Gymnastics Hall as Simone Biles, the most successful US gymnast of all time, pulled out of the artistic women’s final after completing just one of the competition’s four apparatus. She later tearfully described how she pulled out of the USA team because "doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me". In a final twist of the competition, Team GB, who had qualified in sixth place, snatched a bronze medal, the nation’s first in Olympic team gymnastics since 1928. Elsewhere, it was not to be for Britain in the team dressage, where Germany are simply the best. The team secured a bronze medal. Japan’s face of the games Naomi Osaka suffered a shock exit in the tennis. Get the latest with our Olympic Briefing newsletter and view the medal table. It might not be of interest to Nicola Sturgeon and other senior Scottish nationalists, who have been criticised for failing to publicly support Team GB’s Olympians or congratulate to English athletes.
Also in the news: Today’s other headlines
Sex abuse inquiry | Children in care were used by Lambeth Council to score points against the Thatcher government in a "toxic game", the official sex abuse inquiry has found. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse report concluded council staff "put vulnerable children in the path" of sex offenders, who infiltrated children’s homes and foster care, with "devastating, life-long consequences". Read how employees in the south London borough treated children as if they were "worthless".
- ‘Extreme threat’ | Deadly explosion at German chemical complex
- ‘Early onset’ | Number of dementia sufferers set to triple in 30 years
- Heart health | Wine a day can cut death risk, study shows
- ‘As big as apricots’ | Car windscreens smashed by hailstones – video
- ‘Hill of rubble’ | New Marble Arch Mound already giving refunds
Around the world: Guilty under national security laws
A Hong Kong court convicted a man of terrorism and inciting secession today in the first trial conducted under the territory’s controversial national security law imposed by China to stamp out dissent. The watershed ruling lays down a new marker in the city’s changing legal landscape and confirms that certain political slogans are now outlawed in the international finance hub. Read on for details of the charges against 24-year-old former waiter Tong Ying-kit.
‘It’s harsh to say racism is a working-class problem’
Credit: Geoff Pugh/Great Northern Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel
Tom Davis, the star of BBC One’s geezer-ish sitcom King Gary, talks to Chris Harvey about drag acts, working-class representation – and towering over the comedy world
Read the full interview
Comment and analysis
- Simon Heffer | Unesco is a politicised, anti-British basket case
- Jeremy Warner | Reopening gamble may pay off – with little data
- Charles Moore | Illegal boat arrivals erode trust in democracy
- Ross Clark | Time for the unions to wake up and smell the coffee
- Thom Gibbs | Olympic stars’ F-bombs are antidote to football’s cliches
Business and money briefing
Buy your Christmas presents now | Christmas shopping risks being ruined by a shortage of lorry drivers caused by Covid restrictions and the migration of foreign staff, a senior manager at one of Britain’s biggest logistics companies has warned. Read on for details.
- Bank of England | Boost retirement age to aid recovery, says official
- Long-term care bond | ‘The worst investment I ever made’
- On top of markets | Live stocks and shares updates 24 hours a day
Lions tour | Scrum-half Conor Murray has been handed a surprise start for the crucial Lions second Test against South Africa as head coach Warren Gatland makes four changes to his squad. Charlie Morgan analyses the thinking behind Gatland’s three huge selection calls.
- Kieran Trippier | Man Utd bid hinges on sale of Pogba or Lingard
- Wayne Rooney | Training ground tackle left Derby midfielder injured
- Sir Geoffrey Boycott | I like the Hundred – the Test game can learn
Three things for tonight
- Watch | A Country Life for Half the Price with Kate Humble
- Plan | 20 unusual things to do with the children in summer holidays
- Play | Telegraph Puzzles featuring today’s Crossword and Sudoku
And finally… for this evening’s downtime
Masters of marrying flavours | The £5,000 price tag is eye-watering but the world of Japanese whisky is rarely snobbish. Tom Sandham reveals how to enjoy its balanced beauty properly.
If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here . For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing – on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.