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PM rejects suggestion of Cummings inquiry

By JULIAN SHEA in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-05-28 09:14
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves his house in London, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 27, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told a parliamentary committee an inquiry into the behavior of his senior advisor Dominic Cummings during the novel coronavirus pandemic is not a good use of time.

驻马店股票配资公司Johnson's closest aide has been at the center of a storm after Cummings broke government lockdown rules while the public was urged to stick to them. Johnson has reaffirmed his support for Cummings, despite criticism from across the political spectrum, including more than 40 of his own Conservative Party members of Parliament calling for Cummings to be sacked.

Yvette Cooper, Labour MP and committee member, put Johnson on the spot by saying: "You have a choice between protecting Dominic Cummings and the national interest."

But Johnson rejected demands for an investigation.

"Quite frankly, I am not certain right now that an inquiry into that matter is an efficient use of time," he said. "The country is going through a horrendously difficult time …what we need to do is focus on getting the message right then... move on and to get on with how we are going to sort out coronavirus."

Johnson also announced that a test and trace system that will start in England on Thursday "will change people's lives".

驻马店股票配资公司According to figures released on Wednesday, so far there have been 37,460 deaths in the United Kingdom as a result of the outbreak. For the fifth day, there was no figure on the number of tests carried out.

驻马店股票配资公司The furlough program, which sees the government covering the wages of employees temporarily laid off during the crisis, is now paying 8.4 million workers, the Treasury has revealed.

The program has been extended until October but Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has said the government will ask employers to "start sharing" its cost from August.

In a bid to revive the economy, non-essential shops can reopen from June 15 but many major chains seem reluctant, and doubts have been raised as to how much public desire there will be to return to the shops after isolation.

驻马店股票配资公司"It is fine saying the stores can open, but are we going to have the appetite to go back?" retail analyst Catherine Shuttleworth told the BBC.

"Shopping is a social, fun experience a lot of the time and social distancing takes that away. It's going to be a very different way of shopping from what we're used to."

驻马店股票配资公司Elsewhere, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced an 8-billion-euro ($8.8 billion) plan to revive the nation's car industry, focusing on electric vehicle technology.

Grants of up to 7,000 euros will be available to individual purchasers to encourage them to buy green technology cars. In return for state support, the country's two main manufacturers, Renault and Groupe PSA, will concentrate production in France.

"We need a motivational goal-make France Europe's top producer of clean vehicles by bringing output to more than 1 million electric and hybrid cars per year over the next five years," said Macron.

驻马店股票配资公司France currently has 400,000 vehicles available for sale because of the slump in sales caused by lockdown.

"Our fellow citizens need to buy more vehicles, and in particular clean ones. Not in two, five or 10 years-now," he added.

驻马店股票配资公司European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has urged European Union nations to "walk that road together" after unveiling a 750-billion-euro recovery fund. The initiative could cause dissent as it involves sharing the burden of debt for a crisis that has affected some countries more than others.

驻马店股票配资公司"This is about all of us, and it is way bigger than any of us-this is Europe's moment," she said.

驻马店股票配资公司"We either all go it alone, leaving countries, regions and people behind and accepting a union of haves and have-nots-or we walk that road together, we take that leap forward, we pave a strong path for our people and for the next generation."

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