The President-elect’s closest circle of advisers seem to be selected on the basis of trust and experience.
Stephen Crabb: The UK has a huge role in global disease prevention. We must not step back from our commitments.
In this crucial time, we must continue to provide investment and leadership in this area, which is what British voters want.
Austerity era cuts have turned parts of the country outside the great cities into ‘deserts’, with no readily accessible support for millions of residents.
Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: Johnson stands on the brink of humiliation, but reaches for a recycled joke
Starmer, accused of being a total abstainer, drew blood by recalling how the PM had once run away to Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister fields questions from all sides about the practical and ethical issues surrounding the rollout.
As an old European Conservatives and Reformists hand, our columnist has centre-right connections in the EU, Europe, America – and worldwide.
One of the school’s teachers has been fired for making a video about differences between men and women.
Further details enclosed.
Many of those who voted with the Government yesterday fear that Johnson is simply making it up as he goes along.
The tellers for the Noes were Steve Baker and Robert Syms. 15 Labour MPs, 8 DUP ones and two independents also opposed the motion.
This book tells you more about the demographics of party members than anything you will hear from the usual commentators.
Peter Oborne: The remarkable Baroness Cox – loathed by Azerbaijan, loved in Armenia. And back there as war rages.
It is shameful that Britain has never acknowledged the Turkish genocide of more than a million Armenians just over a century ago.
John Bald: Churchill was right. Exams should enable people to show what they can do. Not find out what they can’t.
Questions need to be set on every topic in each syllabus – with schools allowed to direct pupils to the parts of the paper they have covered.
The Prime Minister opens today’s debate, makes his case for the tiering system and warns of the vulnerability of the NHS.
Ministers are indeed attempting to restore the power to call an election to the Prime Minister, using the Royal Prerogative – and shield it from the courts.
But there has been a shift in how they want to do it – away from Sweden, and towards an effective test-and-trace system.
Completing the regeneration of Longbridge would be a powerful example of Conservative policy actively “levelling up” the economy.
The proposals published today to make England the first country to end new cases of HIV fit within a Tory tradition of pragmatic health policy.
If Tory backbenchers feel like firing a shot across the Government’s bows this afternoon, we can scarcely blame them.
The Moggcast: Coming out of “an extraordinarily deep slump” is “not the time when you want to slap the economy down with higher taxes”
Plus: Our interviewee suggests that if a Brexit deal doesn’t come soon, MPs may have to sit on Christmas Day. Is he any good at singing?
Andrew Haldenby: The private sector has delivered in this crisis – creating the UK’s outstanding network of test centres
We have been so self-critical over NHS Test and Trace that we have failed to recognise an incredible public service achievement.
A tale of two cities. The Conservative Government has had smooth relations with Liverpool – less so with Manchester.
That part of England where the Tories are most hated has offered the greatest possible cooperation with Boris Johnson.
Coronavirus 1) Johnson hit by biggest rebel vote yet as tough tier rules passed
“Boris Johnson suffered his biggest backbench rebellion since the general election last night as more than 50 Tory MPs voted against the new tiered system of coronavirus restrictions. England returns to a toughened three-tier lockdown system after MPs voted by 291 to 78 in favour of the move, with Labour abstaining. Fifty-four Tory MPs voted against and ten abstained. The size of the rebellion was such that the government would have been easily defeated if all the opposition parties had voted against it. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, has said that he is prepared to work with Tory rebels to force the government to publish a secret dossier detailing the impact of the virus on the economy. In an article for The Times today he accuses the government of attempting to “suppress the evidence” and calls for “maximum transparency”.” – The Times
- MP Charles Walker warns that ‘you can’t compare the death of a baby or teenager with a 90-year-old’ as he rages against restrictions – Daily Mail
- UK Covid death toll passes 75,000 despite falling infections – The Times
- Care homes reopen to visitors – The Times
- Tory MPs rage against ‘unfair’ tier lockdown restrictions that deny ‘touch of loved ones’ – Daily Telegraph
- Johnson won the Covid tiers vote – but the Tory rebellion has left him wounded – Daily Telegraph
- ToryDiary: Trust
- MPS ETC: The 53 Conservative MPs who voted against the Government’s tiers plan
- WATCH: Johnson – “The virus has been contained but has not been eradicated.”
Coronavirus 2) Iain Duncan Smith – No 10’s Christmas stitch-up is the real reason for months of draconian rules
“The Government’s decision to return the UK to a tier system far tougher than the one which preceded the nation-wide lockdown has baffled many. It is becoming increasingly clear from the results that the original tier system was working in flattening and then bringing down the R rate. Since then, the lockdown has accelerated that process and in England as a whole, the R rate is now just below 1 and falling. So why, despite this positive evidence, is the new tier system so tough? Parliament may have been given the chance to have its say on the issue of whether the new tier plan is fair, reasonable and necessary, but we have failed to have an honest debate about the real reasons behind the Government’s adoption of such a tough position. This has little to do with the R rate or even with the risk of hospitals being overwhelmed, a scenario for which the Government has produced no evidence.” – Daily Telegraph
- Boris Johnson must tell us the truth on impact of Covid pandemic, Keir Starmer – The Times
- Despite DeepMind’s great leap forward, the age of tech has been an age of stagnation, Harry de Quetteville – Daily Telegraph
- There’s trouble a-brewin’ for Boris Johnson, the frazzled bear with a sore head, Henry Deedes – Daily Mail
- Tiers, jeers… and a phrase that should never be heard in the Commons again, Michael Deacon – Daily Telegraph
- Served up with a packet of MP nuts, Quentin Letts – The Times
- The UK government must be honest with students – tests can miss coronavirus, Sian Taylor-Phillips – The Guardian
- This is no longer a health crisis, it’s a total economic catastrophe, Liam Halligan – Daily Telegraph
- The High Street bloodbath won’t stop us shopping till we drop, Sarah Vine – Daily Mail
- A Scotch egg is a glorious thing when done right, Eleanor Steafel – Daily Telegraph
- Nothing would fuel anti-vaxx madness more than insisting on ‘jab passports’, Laura Perrins – Daily Mail
- Can’t be led, won’t be led: Johnson’s backbench rebels are incapable of loyalty, Rafael Behr – The Guardian
Coronavirus 3) Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is approved by regulators for use in UK and could be rolled out across the country next week
“A Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK – paving the way for mass vaccination to start in just days. Officials said the vaccine will be made available ‘from next week’ as Health Secretary Matt Hancock declared ‘Help is on its way’. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman made the announcement just after 7am this morning as England left its second national lockdown. He said: ‘The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use.” – Daily Mail
- Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine wins licence for use in the UK – The Guardian
- Coronavirus vaccine will go on GP file but there’s ‘no passport plan’ – The Times
- Britain yet to receive single dose of Covid vaccine – The Times
- Doctors question why BAME communities are not on Covid vaccine priority list – The Times
Coronavirus 4) Ministers make a meal out of deciding if scotch eggs count as substantial meal for pubs
“Ministers have scrambled the government’s message on Scotch eggs with confusing messages on whether they count as a “substantial meal” for would-be drinkers in England. Michael Gove became the second cabinet member to wade into the debate yesterday by claiming that Scotch eggs were a starter before backtracking and saying they were definitely a substantial meal. The controversy began on Monday when George Eustice, the environment, food and rural affairs secretary, said that the eggs “probably would count” as a meal under new coronavirus rules in England. Pubs in Tier 2 areas can reopen today only if they serve customers a “table meal” with their drinks. Downing Street has refused to clarify the term but insisted that it was well understood in the hospitality industry because of licensing laws that allow 16 and 17-year olds to drink in such circumstances.” – The Times
Deportation critics hurt crime victims, says Patel
“Priti Patel has accused Labour MPs of “re-traumatising” victims of rape and other serious crimes after they demanded the government cancel a deportation flight to Jamaica. The flight, which was due to take off in the early hours today, had fewer than 20 convicted criminals on board. Originally 36 were due to leave but many did not travel after a succession of legal challenges this week. Campaigners attempting to halt the deportations appealed for lawyers yesterday to act for two men who they claimed would be at risk from flying because of their high blood pressure. The Movement for Justice said that six detainees had been given “last-minute” reprieves. One of the men, who was still scheduled to be deported, is a 57-year-old father of five who has not been convicted of any crime since his release from jail six years ago, they claim.” – The Times
Brexit 1) Barnier under pressure not to give too much away as Brexit talks go to the wire
“Michel Barnier will on Wednesday hold talks with EU ambassadors, amid growing disquiet from France that he is preparing to give too much away to Britain in the Brexit trade talks. The EU’s chief negotiator will give an online briefing to ambassadors in Brussels from London, where talks continue. It is aimed at reassuring the diplomats that he is not about to cave to British demands on fishing and other issues. The 7.30am meeting was called after France and other member states warned their European Commission negotiators to hold firm to their red lines in the endgame of trade negotiations with Britain.” – Daily Telegraph
Brexit 2) Border ‘catastrophe’ warning over lack of customs agents
“Ministers were accused of presiding over a potential “catastrophe” yesterday as it emerged that not enough customs agents had been trained to handle a surge in demand caused by Brexit. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, said yesterday that there had been a fourfold increase in private-sector capacity to process the customs forms that companies exporting to the EU must fill in after the end of the year. Official figures suggest, however, that this could result in up to 100 million consignments being sent across the border without the right paperwork or left waiting for the correct clearance. MPs warned that there was a “risk of serious disruption and delay” at Channel crossings at the end of this month even if a deal is struck with the EU.” – The Times
Travel 1) Ministers could ease rail fare hikes to help Christmas passengers as prices double
“Train fares have doubled for passengers looking to get home over the Christmas “bubble” period as ministers consider measures that could ease festive price rises. Demand has surged for tickets for the five days from December 23, when up to three households will be allowed to mix, causing prices to soar on many long-distance routes. The rises have prompted mounting calls for rail operators to suspend more expensive peak fares for the Christmas period to ease the hit on festive travellers. However, The Telegraph understands that a package of measures on Christmas travel due to be announced by the Government includes plans to increase services and carriages on busy routes, in turn releasing more cheaper tickets. Train fare prices are capped by the Government, but tickets are then sold by companies in batches with prices staggered up towards the cap.” – Daily Telegraph
Travel 2) Crossrail bailed out with £825m loan… and it could need more
“Crossrail has been handed a further £825 million in an attempt to complete the heavily delayed project, with warnings that more cash may be needed before it is opened. It was announced today that the Department for Transport had agreed a loan with the Greater London Authority to finish the east-west line through the capital. The move brings the cost of the project to almost £18.5 billion — about £4 billion more than the budget drawn up a decade ago. Ministers agreed to the loan after it emerged last month that the scheme could be mothballed without further funding. However, speaking today, Andy Byford, London’s transport commissioner, failed to rule out the possibility that more money will be needed before it is opened in the first half of 2022.” – The Times
Johnson ‘delayed action on toxic air’, Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah’s inquest told
“The delayed expansion of the capital’s low emission zone when Boris Johnson was mayor exposed poorer Londoners to more toxic pollutants, an inquest has been told. Philip Barlow, an assistant coroner for inner south London, is considering whether pollution caused the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, nine, in 2013. Ella lived near the South Circular in Lewisham, south London, and had seizures that required more than 30 hospital admissions in the three years before she died after a severe asthma attack. Yesterday Southwark coroner’s court was told that deprived communities — particularly from ethnic minorities — were likelier to live near busy roads.” – The Times
Landmark High Court ruling restricts puberty blockers for children
“Britain’s only NHS gender clinic for children has suspended referrals for hormone therapy after a ruling on the experimental use of puberty blockers. Judges at the High Court found it was “highly unlikely” that 13-year-olds, and “doubtful” that anyone aged 14 or 15, would understand the full implications of the hormone treatments, and therefore could not give informed consent. In almost all cases people who take puberty blockers go on to take cross-sex hormones, which may lead to life-changing consequences, such as loss of fertility and impaired sexual function. Keira Bell, 23, a woman who regrets starting puberty blockers at the age of 16, brought the legal action against the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which runs the country’s only gender identity development service (GIDS) for children.” – Daily Telegraph
News in brief:
- In vino veritas! Let’s stand up to China’s bullying by buying Australian wine, Benedict Rogers – CapX
- Can Macron save liberalism from itself? Aris Roussinos – UnHerd
- Leaving the EU’s destructive Common Agricultural Policy enables an unprecedented win for nature in post-Brexit Britain, Ben Goldsmith – Reaction
- Health warning for ‘The Crown’: This programme could ruin your history, Denis MacShane – The Article
- Beware the tyranny of a forced vaccination, Karen Harradine – The Conservative Woman
Coronavirus 1) Johnson hit by biggest rebel vote yet as tough tier rules passed “Boris Johnson suffered his biggest backbench… Read more »
Coronavirus 1) Government’s ‘secret Covid dossier revealed’…on day of crucial vote “The government has drawn up a secret dossier detailing… Read more »
Coronavirus 1) Extra cash for pubs and restaurants as Prime Minister tries to fend off Tory rebellion “Pubs and restaurants… Read more »
Johnson ‘backs down in face of Tory revolt’ – just a day after Gove said Covid tier measures were essential… Read more »
Gove issues stark warning to rebel MPs “Every hospital in England faces being overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases if MPs fail… Read more »