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28 June

In the headlines

Sajid Javid, who became Health Secretary after Matt Hancock’s resignation on Saturday, will update MPs about plans to lift lockdown restrictions today. There’s no chance “freedom day” will be brought forward to 5 July, says ITV’s Robert Peston, but Javid is more of a lockdown sceptic than his predecessor. He has already said his priority is to return to normal “as quickly as possible”. Hancock is likely to “submarine” – lie low – for a couple of months, a friend of his tells The Times. Labour activists campaigning ahead of Thursday’s Batley and Spen by-election have been pelted with eggs and kicked in the head. After being cancelled last summer, Wimbledon and Love Island return to our screens today. The start of the tennis was delayed by rain.

Comment of the day

Culture wars

We can’t just cancel history

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay about online cancel culture, It Is Obscene, was a “blast of delicious fire”, says Hadley Freeman in The Guardian. The Nigerian author’s point about virtue-signalling on social media was spot-on. Three years ago a trans-related piece I wrote “so outraged someone I knew that they lost the ability to tell me directly”, instead tweeting their disdain publicly. It looked like “someone burnishing their own brand”.



Cara Delevingne’s mansion in LA includes a secret “vagina tunnel” – a pink fabric passageway that you enter from her “games room” and leave via a fake washing-machine door. “I come in here to think, I come in here to create,” the model and actress tells Architectural Digest. “I feel inspired in the vagina tunnel.” The house also has a ball pit, a “stripper pole” and a £20,000 transparent piano. Delevingne uses a mini scooter to get between her bedroom and kitchen because she finds the floors “too hard’ to walk on. “What even is there to say about any of this,” says Camilla Long in The Sunday Times, “apart from: money eats your brain?”

Inside politics

Lockdown tensions were probably the reason Hancock was toppled, says Glen Owen in The Mail on Sunday. The footage of him kissing Gina Coladangelo was leaked by an anti-lockdown whistleblower in the Department of Health & Social Care, who approached lockdown sceptics on Instagram, claiming: “I have some very damning CCTV footage of someone that has been recently classed as completely f***ing hopeless.”


It’s the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party on Thursday, and, while there’s “a great deal to celebrate… there’s a great deal to be ashamed of as well”, said Nick Robinson on this morning’s Today programme. “Chairman Mao was a mass murderer.” I strongly disagree, says Henry Wang, president of the Beijing-based think tank Center for China and Globalisation. “There were some natural disasters.” Natural disasters? Tens of millions of people were killed, says Robinson. Well, Wang replies, Mao wasn’t “perfect”.


A university in Massachusetts has banned the word “picnic”, claiming the activity became associated with lynching in the American South. Brandeis University suggests “outdoor eating” instead. “Suits me,” says Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times. Outdoor eating means “sitting on the terrace of a nice restaurant with a chilled Chablis. It does not mean lugging a wicker hamper full of stale egg sandwiches and pork pies to a spot by the river that, unknown to the picnickers, is already the venue for the 2021 Wasp and Hornet International Conference and Garden Party.”

Love etc

Love Island contestant Chloe Burrows, 25, announced she’s “partial to a married man” in a trailer for the reality series, which starts tonight on ITV2. Burrows said it was “love at first sight” when she met her boss. This was news to his “horrified” daughter, says The Sun. She tweeted: “Dad’s PA has gone on Love Island and admitted having an affair. How’s your day?”


A Rembrandt painting has been discovered in a private collection in Rome after it fell off a wall, breaking the frame. The owners had no idea it was a Rembrandt until a restorer recognised its value. The small oil painting, Adoration of the Magi, is thought to have been painted circa 1633 in preparation for a series of engravings on the life of Christ.


Quoted 28-06

“England will have to improve if they are going to get better.” 

Steve McManaman on ESPN