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Parents in England could be fined if they don’t send their children back to school in September

The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, said parents could be fined if they do not send their children back to school after their scheduled restart in England in September.

He told LBC:

It is going to be compulsory for children to return back to school unless there’s a very good reason, or a local spike where there have had to be local lockdowns.

We do have to get back into compulsory education as part of that, obviously fines sit alongside that.

Unless there is a good reason for the absence then we will be looking at the fact that we would be imposing fines on families if they are not sending their children back.

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Starmer has been doing the media rounds this morning. He urged the government to reintroduce a July budget as part of its “duty” to the people who have lost their jobs amid the pandemic.

Speaking on Sky News, he said:

I am concerned that there should be a July budget because we’re living through a health crisis, we’ve got an economic crisis coming right up alongside it, and we’re likely to see unemployment the like of which we’ve haven’t seen for a generation.

And I think the government should be putting forward a budget in July setting out precisely how it’s going to ensure that as many jobs are preserved as possible.

Any budget in July has to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs. If we go to two or three million people unemployed, that’s going to be so damaging for so many families and for our economy.

Starmer said he would bring infrastructure projects forward in the budget, extend the furlough scheme to save jobs in the most hard-hit industries like the hospitality sector, and create a “future jobs fund” to help those made unemployed get back into the workforce “as quickly as possible”.

He stood by his decision to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey from her role as shadow education secretary last week.

When I took over as leader of the Labour party, I said I would root out antisemitism, and I’ve been judged by my actions, not by my words.

I took the decision I did on Thursday and it was the right decision.

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8.36am BST

Keir Starmer said issue of trans rights had become a ‘political football’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “absolutely right” for the shadow environment minister Lloyd Russell-Moyle to apologise for the comments he made about JK Rowling in a row about trans rights.

The leader of the opposition said the issue of trans rights had become a “political football”. He told Good Morning Britain:

Trans rights are human rights, the legislation we’ve got doesn’t go far enough.

We ought to have a cross-party consensus about looking at it to see whether it can be developed.

What concerns me here is the whole issue has become a political football, there must be a space for a mature discussion about how we improve the rights of the trans community.

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8.23am BST

Johnson says now it’s not the right moment to hold an inquiry into what the government has done wrong during the pandemic. He praises the rapid building of Nightingale hospitals and the furloughing scheme as important successes during the crisis.

As for NHS workers not being given PPE, Johnson said: “Of course I take responsibility.”

And that’s it.

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8.20am BST

Johnson calls coronavirus a ‘disaster’

When asked why he didn’t sack Dominic Cummings, Johnson says coronavirus has been a “disaster”, adding it “has been an absolute nightmare for the country” but says there is now the opportunity to change and build something better.

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When asked why he felt the need to press ups, and he said he noticed stories in the newspapers that he was “waif-like”, describing it completely “nonsense”.

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8.18am BST

Johnson says UK needs to address obesity

Johnson says the UK is significantly fatter than other European countries and admits it is issue. “It’s something we need to address.”

When asked if he is now in favour of the sugar tax, Johnson said the arguments needs to be listened to carefully. “I think it matters and I don’t think politicians can treat it as irrelevant. It does matter.”

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Johnson said his illness with coronavirus gave him a deep and loving admiration for the NHS, but is conscious that thousands of people weren’t lucky.

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Johnson said infection rates were very slowly coming down and said the thing to look at were hospital admissions, death numbers, which are “much, much lower than a few weeks ago”.

He said the crucial thing was that the country was ready to deal with local flare ups. “You got to empower local authorities to crack down on it properly.”

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Johnson said this was the beginning of a mass investment programme in schools. He added that he wanted the public to understand that schools were safe and called on teaching unions to deliver that message.

You can’t tackle inequality if kids aren’t back in school. They need to be there, in the classroom and we have a plan to do that.

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8.11am BST

Johnson has praised the work Sedwill has done for the country. “He came in a very difficult time … He has seen the government through all sorts of very tough stuff.”

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Johnson said this was a moment for a “Rooseveltian” approach to the UK economy.

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When asked how he will pay for mass investment in infrastructure, Johnson said you can’t go back to “what people called austerity”, adding: “I think that will be a mistake.”

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8.08am BST

Boris Johnson gives interview

Boris Johnson is now on Times Radio’s breakfast show.

He sayspeople feel that it will be tough to come through the coronavirus pandemic; millions have been furloughed and the UK has lost a large chunk of its GDP. But he insists the UK will come out of the crisis.

We can’t just step back. What we will be doing in the next few months is doubling down on our initial agenda, which was all about investment … To bring the country together.

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7.51am BST

Morning, welcome to the UK politics liveblog. My name is Aamna and I’ll be helming the liveblog until Andrew Sparrow takes over later this morning.

Sir Mark Sedwill, the UK’s most senior civil servant, has announced he will stand down in September. He leaves after weeks of tension over the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and his supposed opposition to reform in Whitehall. Sedwill, who has been criticised in off-the-record briefings to newspapers, wrote to Boris Johnson saying he would stand down as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service in September.

Sedwill’s departure will be seen as a victory for the prime minister’s top aide, Dominic Cummings, who has clashed with Sedwill in a struggle for power in Whitehall. Lord Kerslake, a former head of the civil service, said Sedwill had been unfairly smeared by Johnson’s aides and that his treatment was “unacceptable”.

The Guardian’s political correspondent Kate Proctor has an analysis piece on what Sedwill’s resignation means for Brexit.

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, will be doing an interview with Times Radio, which launches today. Johnson is expected to be on at 8.10am.

As the country eases out of lockdown, Johnson is trying to bring the focus back on his domestic agenda. He committed to giving schools in England a £1bn rebuilding programme to give children a “world-class education” after months out of the classroom, and pledges help for the economy to bounce back from the coronavirus crisis.

For comments, questions, and tips, you can email me (aamna.mohdin@theguardian.com) or reach me on Twitter

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