Boris Johnson has denied a claim made by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, that the UK imposed an “outright” ban on coronavirus vaccine exports.
The PM told MPs in the Commons today that “the UK has not blocked the export of a single Covid-19 vaccine dose” and that the country can be “proud of the support given to the international Covid response, including the £548 million donated to Covax”.
The accusation came on Tuesday in a newsletter, suggesting that the US and UK both imposed bans on the movement of jabs or vaccine components produced in the British territory.
Dominic Raab had already hit back to Michel on Tuesday evening, saying that “any references to a UK export ban or any restrictions on vaccines are completely false”.
This morning, the deputy ambassador of the EU to the UK, Nicole Mannion, attended a meeting at the request of the Foreign Office to discuss the issue of incorrect assertions in recent EU communications.
Boris Johnson pressed in PMQs over NHS pay rise
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has continued to interrogate the Prime Minister over NHS pay rises, claiming that accounting for inflation, the Government recommended pay rise would amount to a pay cut.
The leader of the opposition said planning to give the NHS “a 1% rise versus a 1.7% inflation rise”, was unfair considering former senior adviser Dominic Cummings’ £45,000 pay rise.
The Prime Minister has defended the Government’s plans by arguing that they are increasing pay for nurses and increasing investment for the NHS.
Health unions have criticised the recommended 1% pay rise, with one union calling for a 12.5% increase instead.
Too early to book a foreign holiday, says Shapps
The Transport secretary Grant Shapps has insisted it’s still too early to book summer holidays abroad and that people should wait until a government report is published in April.
Travel firms have reported a surge in bookings, although it’s currently illegal to go abroad for non-essential reasons.
According to current plans, people in England could be allowed to go on holiday abroad from the 17th of May at the earliest.
The possibility of summer holidays to Spain has been floated by the country’s tourism minister, Reyes Maroto, who said a vaccine passport scheme could be in place by the 19th of May.
Greece is also planning to welcome tourists from the 14th of May if they can prove they’ve had both doses of a vaccine.
Homeschooling affecting woman more than men
A new study has found more than half of women say their wellbeing has been negatively affected by homeschooling during the latest lockdown.
The Office for National Statistics says 67% of women and 52% of men taught a child at home in January and February.
The figures show that women spent more time on unpaid childcare and housework over the past year and were also more likely to be furloughed.
The ONS says there have been significantly different effects on mental health between men and women during the pandemic.