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2 August

In the headlines

There’s a Cabinet rebellion brewing over the government’s “ruinous” travel plans, says Jason Groves in the Mail. The proposed “amber watchlist” for countries at risk of going on the quarantine red list is set to be scrapped after a fierce backlash from Tory MPs and the travel industry. Belarussian Olympic athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya is sheltering at the Polish embassy in Tokyo after refusing to return home, saying it was “not safe” and she feared being jailed for criticising her team’s officials. Two YouTube pranksters have duped anti-vaxxer Piers Corbyn (Jeremy Corbyn’s brother) into agreeing to end his criticism of the AstraZeneca jab in exchange for an envelope full of Monopoly money. The pair filmed a meeting in which they posed as pharmaceutical investors, offering Corbyn £10,000 in cash before swapping the envelopes when he was distracted.

Comment of the day


Data update

There were 1,339 drug deaths in Scotland last year, a “grievous tally” in a country of only 5.5 million, says Stephen Daisley in The Spectator. Having cut funding for drug and alcohol services by 53%, the SNP has panicked and is desperately trying to change course. 

Inside politics

Rishi Sunak is “flexing his muscles”, says Tim Shipman in The Sunday Times. The Chancellor has fired off a formal letter to the PM urging him to ease “draconian” restrictions on inbound foreign tourists. But he has his work cut out if he wants to succeed Boris Johnson, says Paul Goodman in The Times. It’s easy to be popular when you’re splashing the cash, less so when you’re delivering swingeing spending cuts, as Sunak must do soon. One senior backbencher dismisses him as “the Martini candidate” – the drinks brand’s “beautiful people” ads depicted people seeking cosmetic surgery “to become gorgeous enough” to sip Martini. Yet Sunak’s overseas aid cuts show that there’s “steel beneath the silk”. 


With 56% of Americans choosing to be cremated, the bereaved are often not sure what to do with their loved one’s ashes. Deathcare start-ups hope to change that, says The Hustle. Parting Stone will turn ashes into smooth stones for $695, Eterneva will make them into lab-grown diamonds for jewellery for $3,000 and Vinyly, a British firm, will press them into a record for £1,000. 


Quoted 02-08

“Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.

Oscar Wilde

Snapshot answer

It’s Eric Tucker, whose paintings are being sold for up to £14,000 each by a Mayfair gallery. The labourer and sometime gravedigger lived out his days in Warrington, Cheshire, and kept his art depicting northern English life private. More than 400 paintings were found in his terraced former council house after his death in 2018, and he has since been hailed as a “secret” Lowry. Tucker’s art now looks set to make more money than he earned in his entire life. 


Charlotte Worthington won Olympic gold for Britain in the women’s freestyle BMX event yesterday after landing a 360-degree backflip – she’s the first woman to do so in a competition. The 25-year-old took up the sport just five years ago. “It was incredible,” she said after her medal-winning run. “We’ve been trying to find that big banger trick and when we found it, we were, like, ‘I think this is the one’.”