Tag Archives: Gavin Williamson

Leicester’s local lockdown was triggered by Tory rush to reopen schools

Closed: Leicester has gone back into hard lockdown after the Tory decision to reopen schools gave it the highest Covid-19 spike in the UK.

What a silly gang of Tories!

Matt Hancock has had to humiliate himself – and his government – by admitting that the spike in Covid-19 cases that triggered a decision to put Leicester back in lockdown was a result of the Tory decision to reopen schools.

In their haste to get adults back to work by removing their need to stay at home and care for their children, the Tories have worsened the situation.

We should keep a close eye on Leicester’s death statistics, as any that happen as a result of this spike will be the responsibility of Boris Johnson, Gavin Williamson and Matt Hancock and they should be punished for them.

Here’s a BBC report:

Stricter lockdown measures have been announced in Leicester because of a rise in coronavirus cases in the city.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said non-essential shops will shut on Tuesday, and schools will close for most pupils on Thursday.

The loosening of restrictions for pubs and restaurants will also not be taking place in the city on Saturday.

Mr Hancock said Leicester accounted for “10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week”.

He said the decision to close non-essential retail was based on clinical advice, and added that “children had been particularly impacted” by the local outbreak.

Five Leicester schools have closed since the beginning of June because of the number of coronavirus cases.

Let’s add some flesh to those bare bones:

The comment about the Labour Right refers to the fact that Keir Starmer has withdrawn any opposition to the reopening of schools in England after sacking former shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey. Boris Johnson’s joyful response was to threaten to fine anybody who withholds their children from school when term starts in September.

Of course the restoration of the lockdown has given humorists an opportunity to take some more shots at Dominic Cummings – and quite right too – so we’re seeing lots of this sort of thing, especially after Boris Johnson threatened to take action against people trying to leave Leicester by road:

https://twitter.com/cmpd_date/status/1277865604217810945

Can anyone deny the validity of this assertion?

It all boils down to this:

Source: Leicester lockdown tightened as coronavirus cases rise – BBC News

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70 cases of Covid-19 after France reopened its schools but the Tories STILL protest that ours will be safe

Michael Gove, Amber Rudd and all the Tory apologists must be cringing at their comments over the weekend, with the latest news from France.

Our cousins across the Channel sent a third of their children back to school last week, with classes capped at 15 students in order to maintain social distancing and prevent Covid-19 infection.

It didn’t work:

Just one week after a third of French children went back to school in an easing of the coronavirus lockdown, there has been a worrying flare-up of about 70 Covid-19 cases linked to schools.

French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer sounded the alarm on Monday, telling French radio RTL that the return has put some children in new danger of contamination. He said the affected schools are being closed immediately. French media reported that seven schools in northern France were closed.

Mr Blanquer did not specify if the 70 cases of Covid-19 were among students or teachers.

Given that the incubation period for the virus is several days, people are “likely” to have been infected before the reopening of schools, he said.

Last week France recorded its first death of a child linked to Kawasaki disease, a mysterious inflammatory syndrome that some doctors say could be triggered by Covid-19.

The nine-year-old boy was one of 125 children in France currently with the syndrome.

Sure, people were “likely” to have been infected before the reopening of schools – but who knows how many people in the seven that had to be closed – teachers, pupils, and parents after the kids came home – have been infected as a result of the return?

Meanwhile, in the UK, the Tories are still (desperately) trying to convince us that when they reopen our schools at the beginning of June, our children, teachers and families won’t suffer the same fate. But they’ve provided absolutely no evidence to support these claims, that seem increasingly unrealistic.

Michael Gove talked a lot of nonsense on TV:

So did Amber Rudd:

She said:

They have to go back because we need to make sure that our children go back and that all the issues to do not just with education, but also with security, safety, mental health issues, safeguarding, those children need to go back to school.

Gibberish!

In the UK, fears are rising that the government is putting teachers and parents at risk of Covid-19, and children in peril of dying from the new syndrome similar to Kawasaki disease. Considering the situation in France, these are proving justified:

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson tried to claim that

children are at the heart of everything we do

and came a cropper – because some of us have long memories:

There will be no test, track and trace system for teachers and pupils:

Instead, they will have to self-isolate, along with anybody likely to be infected – as happened at this school in Colne:

No consideration has been given to the fact that infected children will share items including food with others:

Nor, it seems, has any been given to the facts of opening schools at this time:

What will happen?

I think we’ll see a concentrated campaign by the Tories and their puppets in the press, to persuade the public that there is no harm in sending their children back to school at the start of June – and that anybody saying otherwise is a fool at best, and an enemy of the people at worst:

Will it work?

Well…

And the Tories?

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Here’s why schools should stay closed and why anyone saying otherwise may have a political agenda

School: even in exam conditions, teachers will struggle to keep pupils two metres apart.

Perhaps you think it’s not a big deal.

Ever since Boris Johnson announced that he wants schools to reopen at the beginning of June, the idea has become a raging controversy.

He didn’t say that scientists support this notion – for a very good reason, it seems:

Let’s have a look at the article, from Schoolsweek:

The Department for Education’s chief scientific adviser admitted he has not assessed whether guidance on reopening schools is effective, adding the current advice is “draft” and “will be developed”.

Appearing in front of the Parliamentary science and technology committee today, Osama Rahman also admitted the DfE had done no modelling on the impact on transmission rates of starting to reopen schools after the May half term break.

During a hearing that left some MPs visibly bemused, Rahman also suggested the government guidance issued yesterday on safety is a “draft”, and will be reissued after further consultation with Public Health England.

He also said the decision to reopen schools was made by cabinet, not the DfE.

Asked about the transmission rate among children during the hearing, Rahman said the evidence is mixed, and there’s a “low degree of confidence in evidence they might transmit it less”.

SNP education spokesperson Carol Monaghan then asked for clarification. Was it true that “we’re putting together hundreds of potential vectors that can then go and transmit. Is that correct?”

Mr Rahman’s response – “Possibly, depending on school sizes” – may have contributed to Ms Monaghan’s conclusion that, as a former teacher, she “did not think the profession will be satisfied or put at ease with what they are hearing”.

Asked what scientific evidence base underpinned the decision to reopen schools to pupils in reception, year 1 and year 6, and what modelling had been done, Mr Rahman said the Department for Education had not done any modelling at all.

He was unable to provide any proof that any scientific evidence had contributed to the decision to seek the reopening of schools at the beginning of June. He believed the Cabinet had made that decision, following advice from SAGE – albeit filtered through Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Rahman also admitted he had made no assessment on how effectively actions proposed by the government for schools to reopen safely can be implemented.

Perhaps it is unsurprising, given this background, that education unions united to declare that they would only support the reopening of schools “when it is safe to do so”:

The statement says:

“We all want schools to re-open, but that should only happen when it is safe to do so. The government is showing a lack of understanding about the dangers of the spread of coronavirus within schools, and outwards from schools to parents, sibling and relatives, and to the wider community.

“Uniquely, it appears, school staff will not be protected by social distancing rules. 15 children in a class, combined with their very young age, means that classrooms of 4 and 5-year olds could become sources of Covid-19 transmission and spread.  While we know that children generally have mild symptoms, we do not know enough about whether they can transmit the disease to adults. We do not think that the government should be posing this level of risk to our society.

“We call on the government to step back from the 1st June and work with us to create the conditions for a safe return to schools based on the principles and tests we have set out.”

The principles and tests include:

  • Safety and welfare of pupils and staff as the paramount principle
  • No increase in pupil numbers until full rollout of a national test and trace scheme
  • A national Covid-19 education taskforce with government, unions and education stakeholders to agree statutory guidance for safe reopening of schools
  • Consideration of the specific needs of vulnerable students and families facing economic disadvantage
  • Additional resources for enhanced school cleaning, PPE and risk assessments
  • Local autonomy to close schools where testing indicates clusters of new covid-19 cases

Doesn’t that seem reasonable? Not to Gavin Williamson!

He said: “Sometimes scaremongering and making people fear is really unfair, and not a welcome pressure that is to be placed on families, children and teachers alike.”

Amazingly, he has had support from a Labour MP – Barry Sheerman:

Fortunately, this chap faced an instant backlash:

So it seems we are being asked to believe the unions are scaremongering, despite the evidence from Mr Rahman that shows they aren’t.

What do you think?

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Ex-defence secretary attacks May’s Brexit talks with Labour – and it’s not just sour grapes

Cassandra: Gavin Williamson.

This is a reasonable argument – easily discredited because of the source.

Gavin Williamson was ousted as Defence Secretary after it was alleged that he leaked concerns about national security about Huawei’s contract to help build the UK’s 5G communications network.

He has made it clear that he does not accept the claims about him, and that he considers himself to be a scapegoat for someone else.

So now he has criticised Theresa May’s attempt to build a consensus Brexit deal with Labour, it is easy to dismiss his argument as an attempt to get back at his former boss.

That’s a bad idea because it is a perfectly valid criticism.

True, Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t really need to “divide, disrupt and frustrate” the Conservatives – they’re doing very well at that themselves.

But Labour’s idea of Brexit is far from the Tory vision, so there is no reason to believe that the two parties can come to any lasting mutual agreement.

Mr Williamson, by playing the “Cassandra” role – the oracle who predicts disaster to people who won’t listen – is lining himself up to say “I told you so” if the talks fall apart.

Then he’ll be able to present himself as the clever one – who saw it coming and tried to prevent it.

It’s good positioning, with a leadership campaign on the way, don’t you think?

Gavin Williamson has attacked Theresa May as “naive” and warned that her Brexit talks with Labour are a “grave mistake”.

The former defence secretary, who was sacked over a leak of National Security Council talks on Huawei, said the talks were “destined to fail”.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he said: “Even if Labour do a deal, break bread with the prime minister and announce that both parties have reached an agreement, it can only ever end in tears.

“The Labour Party does not exist to help the Conservative Party. Jeremy Corbyn will do all he can to divide, disrupt and frustrate the Conservatives in the hope of bringing down the government.

“His goal, and he has made no secret of it, is to bring about a general election.”

Source: Brexit: Theresa May’s ‘naive’ talks with Labour a grave mistake, says Gavin Williamson | The Independent

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Williamson sacked as defence secretary over Huawei leak – but was it really him?

Tight-lipped: But will Gavin Williamson have something explosive to say about Theresa May’s decision to fire him as Defence Secretary?

Theresa May has sacked Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary, saying she has “lost confidence in his ability to serve in the role of defence secretary and as a member of her cabinet”.

It appears he is to take responsibility for an embarrassing leak from the National Security Council, stating that Huawei is to take a contract to help provide the UK’s 5G network, despite concerns over spyware funnelling information to the Chinese government.

But was he really to blame?

Mr Williamson himself is on the record as swearing on his children’s life that he had nothing to do with the leak.

But it seems an inquiry run by Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill has found that he was responsible for the leak, which has angered the United States government, which has banned Huawei from government networks and pressurised the UK to do the same.

Alternatively, some have suggested that the US is simply protecting its interests, saying Huawei provides better service than American firms.

According to The Independent, Mr Williamson is said to believe his firing was “politically motivated”.

He may now face prosecution and the loss of his Parliamentary seat if a by-election is triggered.

According to The Independent:

In a damning letter to Mr Williamson, she wrote that “no other credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified”.

Ms May said the leak inquiry had “been conducted fairly, with the full co-operation of other NSC attendees”.

“They have all answered questions, engaged properly, provided as much information as possible to assist with the investigation, and encouraged their staff to do the same,” she wrote, adding: “Your conduct has not been of the same standard as others.”

Ms May continued: “In our meeting this evening, I put to you the latest information from the investigation, which provides compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure. No other credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified.

“It is vital that I have full confidence in the members of my cabinet and of the National Security Council. The gravity of this issue alone, and its ramifications for the operation of the NSC and the UK’s national interest, warrants the serious steps we have taken, and an equally serious response.”

And now she says she considers the matter closed. Is she protesting too much?

Source: Gavin Williamson sacked: Theresa May fires defence secretary over Huawei leak | The Independent


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Gavin Williamson used to know details of every Tory’s intimate affairs. What about his own?

Lawyers for Gavin Williamson have refused to answer questions from the Guardian over his departure from the firm [Image: Vianney Le Caer/Rex/Shutterstock].

Theresa May’s reluctance to support Gavin Williamson’s story about his departure from a previous employer after an affair speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

The timing couldn’t be worse, as a Tory employee in Scotland just got the sack for a sexual assault on a fellow worker in his own previous job. In light of this, Mr Williamson cannot afford any doubt over his own behaviour.

But that is exactly what he has created.

We are told that Mr Williamson attended a meeting to discuss his future at fireplace firm Elgin & Hall after a “flirtatious relationship” that he says amounted to a couple of kisses. It occurs to This Writer that, if those moments were consensual, it wasn’t a lot of the employer’s business.

If they weren’t, then a huge can of worms is open. That’s why the Guardian wants to know whether the woman involved in the affair reported Mr Williamson’s behaviour to her line manager, and the nature of the terms in which he left the company.

If there is anything dodgy about Mr Williamson’s past behaviour, then other Tories may feel justifiably aggrieved that he has been privy to the details of their own indiscretions.

Could he have gained high office by exploiting his knowledge of their behaviour – while hiding information about his own?

It’s an uncomfortable question – but one that Mrs May’s reticence forces us to ask.

Theresa May repeatedly declined to say she believed her defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, told her the truth about why he left a fireplace firm after a reported affair with a colleague.

Sources close to the company, which employed Williamson as a managing director, [said] he attended a meeting to discuss his future after colleagues became aware of his relationship with a junior member of staff.

The former chief whip, tipped as a possible prime minister, took the extraordinary step of giving an interview to the Daily Mail to talk about the “flirtatious relationship” he had with the woman when he was at Elgin & Hall, based in North Yorkshire.

Williamson told the Mail the fling “never went further” than sharing a kiss with the woman “a couple of times” and that it “stopped as suddenly as it had started”. It is understood he informed the Cabinet Office before deciding to speak to the newspaper.

Lawyers for Williamson have refused to answer questions … over whether the woman reported his behaviour to her line manager, the terms on which he departed and whether he received a payoff.

May, who was speaking to reporters during her trip to China, was asked whether she was confident Williamson had told her the whole truth about his departure from the firm. The prime minister declined to answer directly.

Source: Gavin Williamson: PM declines to back his account of ‘office affair’ | Politics | The Guardian


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This man is profiting hugely from the Tory sex scandals

Gavin Williamson: If anybody has benefited from the Tory sex scandal, it isn’t women – it’s him [Image: David Mirzoeff/PA].

Isn’t it ironic that former Conservative Chief Whip Gavin Williamson has been appointed as the new Defence Secretary after Sir Michael Fallon’s resignation?

You see, Mr Williamson is the man who, we’re told, compiled the weekly “Ins and Outs” reports on Tory MPs’ sexual offences. Sir Michael’s name was on the Tory sleaze spreadsheet apparently compiled by the whips’ office and it is now being alleged that further claims were made about his behaviour to minority prime minister Theresa May yesterday afternoon (November 1), right before the former Defence Secretary resigned.

It also looks very much like a case of life imitating House of Cards – not the US knock-off starring the now-disgraced (due to a sex scandal) Kevin Spacey, but the superior BBC version of the 1990s, in which fictional chief whip Francis Urquhart uses the sexual indiscretions of fellow MPs to climb the Parliamentary heirarchy, eventually becoming prime minister. And it is said that Mr Williamson has prime ministerial ambitions himself.

Already, Twitter is abuzz with information about him:

As I write this, some Tory is on the BBC News spewing tripe that Theresa May has been strong, having zero tolerance for the kind of behaviour that has triggered this minor reshuffle. It is ridiculous. Michael Fallon is just one of dozens of Tory MPs who stand accused, and she has done nothing about it at all. The allegations themselves merit suspension. Just look at the contrast with Labour:

The new Chief Whip is the former Deputy Chief Whip, Julian Smith (who?).

And the new Deputy Chief Whip is none other than Esther McVey.

That’s right – Fester McVile is in the whips’ office. This woman was ejected from the Wirral West constituency in the 2015 elections, in response to her abominable treatment of jobseekers, the sick and disabled as an employment minister. She spent a couple of years shoehorned into a cushy job as chair of the British Transport Police Authority before being parachuted into the Tatton constituency after George Osborne quit to become a newspaper editor (among multiple other jobs).

What a revolting development.

Meanwhile, the lashing of Sir Michael Fallon continues. People in his Sevenoaks constituency – and the usual commentators – are angry that he seems to think his behaviour fell short of the standards expected of a defence minister – but was fine for a constituency MP. They want to know why he hasn’t resigned from politics altogether:

https://twitter.com/JoyOfTheSNP/status/925831307334074368

But there’s no need to have any fears for the future of this particular Tory gold-digger. He’ll land on his feet, according to some:


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