Rob Merrick, The Independent

Rob Merrick

The Independent

United Kingdom

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Recent articles by Rob:

Too early for coronavirus inquiry as we are only 'halfway' through crisis, outgoing Cabinet Secretary warns

An inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic should be delayed until next year, the outgoing cabinet secretary has suggested – arguing we may only be “halfway” through. → Read More

Fairness of elections at risk as government refuses to find millions of missing voters, report warns

The fairness of elections is at risk because of the government’s refusal to take steps to find millions of missing voters, a parliamentary report is warning. Young people, those who move home frequently, and people from ethnic minority backgrounds are most likely to be disenfranchised because of huge gaps in electoral rolls, it finds. → Read More

Rishi Sunak under fire over £1bn energy-efficiency plan after Tory manifesto pledged nine times as much

Rishi Sunak has been accused of watering down a Conservative manifesto pledge with a £1bn programme to plug energy-leaking buildings — after the party promised £9.2bn would be spent. The cash — part of the chancellor’s “mini-budget”, being unveiled this week — is also a fraction of the tens of billions being spent on a green recovery in Germany and France, campaigners warned. → Read More

Boris Johnson blames care home owners for deaths from coronavirus

Boris Johnson is under fire after appearing to blame care home owners for the huge death toll from coronavirus in their properties. “We discovered too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have,” the prime minister claimed – after being asked about the reasons for almost 20,000 fatalities. → Read More

Hundreds of schools still waiting for new buildings a decade after Gove axed rebuilding scheme

Hundreds of ageing schools where rebuilding schemes were axed by Michael Gove in hugely-controversial cuts exactly a decade ago are still waiting for new buildings. A total of 715 schemes bit the dust when the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme was scrapped in July 2010 – in what the former education secretary now describes as “a fiasco”. → Read More

Domestic Abuse Bill: Glaring holes mean women will still have no escape route from violence, campaigners say

“Glaring holes” in the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill mean many women will still have no escape route from violence or being killed, campaigners are warning, ahead of crucial votes next week. Ministers are being urged to make urgent changes to the legislation – championed by Theresa May – when it returns to the Commons next week, to give proper protection from partners or → Read More

Brexit: Cars produced in Japan to be stamped ‘Made in Britain’ under Boris Johnson’s plans

Products from Japan or South Korea would be stamped “Made in Britain”, under Boris Johnson’s plan to save the domestic car industry after Brexit. → Read More

‘Act Now’: Boris Johnson warned workers to be made jobless by coronavirus cannot get retraining

No retraining is available to give workers facing unemployment because of the pandemic a “lifeline” back into new jobs, a study warns today. A £3bn government pot for skills announced last year has yet to be allocated – even as the UK faces a feared jobless count of 4.5 million by the end of the year, it says. → Read More

'There is another way': Boris Johnson pleads with Israel not to illegally annex more of West Bank

Boris Johnson has issued a last-gasp plea to Israel to pull back from illegally annexing much of the West Bank, warning it will fail to deliver “justice” for Palestinians. → Read More

Coronavirus outbreaks will take more lives because local health chiefs lack vital data, doctors warn

Lives will be lost in fresh outbreaks of coronavirus because local health chiefs are being starved of the data they need, doctors’ leaders are warning. The British Medical Association (BMA) has hit out at the failure to provide local leaders with the addresses and workplaces of people becoming infected – preventing them from taking swift action. → Read More

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson says we must also 'clap for bankers who make our NHS possible'

Boris Johnson urged the public to “clap for bankers” as he appeared to rule out tax hikes on the rich to pay for the economic crash sparked by coronavirus. Seeking to calm Conservative fears about an infrastructure spending splurge, the prime minister insisted he was committed to “free market enterprise”. → Read More

Empty shops to be requisitioned as new homes, Boris Johnson announces

Empty shops will be quickly converted into new homes as pandemic restrictions take their toll on struggling High Streets, through a planning rules bonfire. Developers will be able to demolish and rebuild redundant buildings for housing without a normal planning application, Boris Johnson has announced. However, the prime minister has ignored calls for a huge spending boost to → Read More

Coronavirus: Anger as Boris Johnson's £5bn infrastructure spending boost lacks vital environmental measures

Boris Johnson has angered green campaigners after a £5bn infrastructure spending boost lacked new measures to achieve his legal duty of net zero carbon emissions. Vowing to “build back better” as the UK emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister will announce cash for hospital maintenance, court upgrades, high street rescues and – controversially – road upgrades. → Read More

Coronavirus: UK on course for further 30,000 deaths unless Boris Johnson changes approach, Independent Sage warns

The UK is on course for another 30,000 deaths by the first anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic unless Boris Johnson changes strategy, independent experts are warning. A sharp drop in infections has already stalled, they say – with Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, having suggested they could stay at around 3,000 a day for nine more months, they argued. → Read More

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson asks Germany for help to rescue UK's contact-tracing app

Boris Johnson has turned to Germany for help to rescue the UK’s troubled plans for a contact-tracing app to curb coronavirus – despite claiming it’s technology does not work properly. → Read More

Final bid to force Boris Johnson to let child refugees reunite with relatives in UK

A last-gasp bid to force Boris Johnson to allow desperate child refugees to reunite with relatives in the UK will be made in the Commons next week. The prime minister prompted fury earlier this year, when he ordered Tory MPs to overturn a commitment to negotiate with the EU to reach agreement on the children’s fate. → Read More

Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests 'the weather' is to blame for UK’s sky-high coronavirus death toll

Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested “the weather” is to blame for the UK’s sky-high death toll from coronavirus, in the latest extraordinary explanation given. The Commons leader also pointed to “the practices of individual cultures and societies” – although he did not expand on the thesis. → Read More

Colleges will 'go bankrupt' unless government delivers emergency help, leaders warn

Colleges face a £2bn income loss next year and some will “go bankrupt” unless the government delivers emergency help, their leaders have warned. The black hole has opened up after colleges were closed down when the coronavirus pandemic struck in March – with the majority of apprentices now on furlough. → Read More

Coronavirus: Pub-goers at risk of infection when venues reopen, warns ex-chief scientific adviser

Drinkers and diners will be at risk of catching coronavirus when pubs and restaurants reopen next month, a former chief scientific adviser is warning. The level of new infections – currently 1,000 per day – is still too high to safely relax restrictions indoors as Boris Johnson is poised to announce, David King said. → Read More

Two households will be able to meet inside, government expected to announce

The ban on people from different households meeting together indoors is likely to be eased, as Boris Johnson also reopens cinemas, museums and art galleries. Families and friends would be able to visit each other’s homes, provided they stick to social distancing rules – with no hugging – but it is unclear if they would be allowed to stay overnight. → Read More