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Unlike her boss, vice president Kamala Harris has had a “rather lacklustre” first 100 days, says Josie Ensor in The Daily Telegraph. Joe Biden delegated the “hot-button issue” of migrants at the Mexican border to her, but Republicans say she’s ignoring it. On Twitter, they put her face on a milk carton under the word “missing”.
Her silence on India also jars, says Sujatha Shenoy in The Independent. She invoked her Indian heritage when campaigning and her election was a “source of pride” to Indian Americans like me. But as Covid overwhelmed the Indian healthcare system, the UK, France, Russia and Saudi Arabia all announced aid programmes before the US. Harris’s absence was notable. “Identities, however, are not things that can be donned or discarded at will.”
Is Cummings the source of all No 10’s woes?
There’s a “Westminster guessing game” afoot over Boris Johnson’s alleged “No more f***ing lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands” comment, says Harry Lambert in the New Statesman. One source briefed it to the Daily Mail, while ITV’s Robert Peston says two others confirmed it to him. Peston’s pair could be Dominic Cummings and his No 10 ally Lee Cain, both of whom have “a clear motive to leak damaging stories” about Johnson after being forced out of their jobs last year. Peston says his sources didn’t brief the Mail, but “it would be hard to put much faith” in a denial from Cummings. Which means there may be only two sources in total, not three – and two sources with a strong interest in co-ordinating their story.
What the Mail story may have “quietly confirmed” is that Cummings was responsible for the leak last year that revealed infighting in Downing Street. The Mail, which broke the story, attributed it to “Treasury sources”, but could these Treasury sources in fact have been Cummings? It’s significant because the leak led to Chancellor Sajid Javid resigning after being asked to fire his special advisers. If it was Cummings, then he “has been playing Johnson for far longer than he may realise”.
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In a contribution to Carrie Symonds’s controversial redecoration of the Downing Street flat, Boris Johnson has bought a painting depicting the couple, their son, Wilfred, and Dilyn the dog at Chequers, says Andrew Levy in the Mail. Artist Mary Casserley sent the PM’s office a card of the work on spec and Johnson paid £425 for it, saying it was “terrific”.