Sunak steps in to save workers

“Millions of workers facing layoffs will have their wages paid by the government for at least three months in the latest multibillion-pound injection to stop the economy from collapsing. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, told companies that the state would pay 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500 a month for workers who would otherwise have been made redundant. Mr Sunak said that the measure, a key plank in the latest rescue that will cost the Treasury billions a month, meant that Britain’s economic response was “one of the most comprehensive in the world”. In addition to the “unlimited” wage-support scheme, the chancellor put another £7 billion into the welfare system. He said that it would be funded from borrowing.” – The Times

  • Chancellor launches unlimited rescue package for workers and businesses – Daily Telegraph
  • Life support plan could cost more than £10 billion – Daily Mail
  • UK government draws up plans to buy into airlines – FT


  • Charities call for government bailout to stop them collapsing – The Sun
  • Arts Council in talks to save theatres and galleries – FT


Matthew Parris: Crashing the economy will also cost lives

“Given what we already know, or surmise, might it be worth considering a more ruthlessly but more narrowly targeted drive to confine the most apparently at-risk (like me, I fear) for our own protection, rather than (as it seems) wreck the economy by confining almost everybody else? Are we going to do this all over again next time a mutant virus threatens the ever-increasing number of fragile elderly that modern medicine adds to our population? My mother is 93 and very frail. My father was kept alive for 15 years with heart operations and drugs. I wouldn’t wish to sacrifice a day of their lives but if we could design a way to keep grandparents safe without closing down the economy, then their many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would thank us and so, I think, would they.” – The Times

  • I’m among the vulnerable, but just don’t believe all lives are equal – John Humphreys, Daily Mail
  • Plan for the Government to pay wages will be worth it – Russell Lynch, Daily Telegraph
  • Chancellor’s jobs support programme takes Britain into new territory – Camilla Cavendish, FT
  • At last, Sunak has delivered a fitting response to coronavirus – Tom Kibasi, The Guardian
  • The Chancellor has made the right big gesture – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph


  • We pray historic bailout is enough to prevent ­tsunami of job losses – The Sun


One in five children can still go to school as government releases key worker list

“Boris Johnson’s plan to keep schools open for the children of vital workers risks descending into chaos after the list of eligible pupils turned out to be twice the size expected. Teachers began contacting parents yesterday to see if they qualified as key workers, meaning that their children could be sent to school on Monday. As schools shut their doors to most pupils yesterday afternoon, head teachers called for urgent clarification over how they should regulate the scheme. One said it was “wide open to abuse”. Head teachers must also ensure that they have enough staff to meet the government’s promise that children would be looked after over the Easter holidays.” – The Times

  • Oxbridge to replace summer exams with online assessments due to coronavirus – The Guardian
  • Teachers will grade own pupils for GCSE and A level as schools close – The Times

All pubs, clubs, restaurants and gyms nationwide will shut tonight…

“Pubs, restaurants and leisure centres across the whole of Britain will shut “as soon as possible” tonight amid the spiralling coronavirus crisis. Boris Johnson made the unprecedented announcement this evening ordering all venues to shut their doors as the Government tries to battle the outbreak. Cinemas, gyms, leisure centres and cafes will also close across Britain, in a desperate bid to save British lives as the death toll rose to 177 in the UK today. The extraordinary measure comes as a London hospital declared a “critical incident” over ICU bed shortages. Restaurants will still be allowed to do takeaways, but supermarkets are unlikely to be affected at this stage. It is unclear at this stage if outdoor leisure centres such as tennis courts and five-a-side pitches will be included.” – The Sun

  • Lockdown for a year is our best weapon against spread, say scientists – The Times
  • Hancock says coronavirus fight is a war as he warns young people are in danger too – The Sun
  • Grocery hoarders fail to respect elderly hours – The Times
  • Latest advice – HM Government


  • We risk a second and third wave if we ease virus restrictions too soon – The Times


  • Johnson had to get real about coronavirus despite loathing the nanny state – Simon Walters, Daily Mail

…as Davies heads rebellion against emergency powers

“Boris Johnson will face a rebellion next week over his plan to impose draconian emergency laws to tackle coronavirus that could be in place for more than two years. David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, is planning to table an amendment calling for the legislation to expire after a year. He said that the powers are so extensive that they need an “absolute, brick-wall stop”. The government had hoped to find cross-party consensus so that the legislation could pass through the Commons on Monday and Tuesday without a formal vote. However, Mr Davis has decided to table the amendment alongside senior Labour MPs who are concerned about the extent of the powers. Mr Davis, 71, forced a by-election in 2008 in protest at civil liberties being threatened.” – The Times

  • Johnson’s Coronavirus Bill plans could be watered down by own MPs – Daily Telegraph
  • Police to swoop on pubs and restaurants that refuse to close – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: We’re urged to revive the spirit of the Blitz. But the Britain of World War Two didn’t always pull together.

Conservative MP returns to the NHS

“A Tory MP is returning to the NHS as a nurse to help under-pressure hospitals in their fight against coronavirus. Maria Caulfield said ‘we desperately need people’ as she announced she would work as a nurse alongside her political role. She made the pledge after the government called on retired health professionals to offer support. The Government said letters are being sent to more than 65,000 retired medics in England and Wales asking them to return to the NHS… She said she was returning to nursing because ‘the NHS will be getting unprecedented numbers of patients needing care, but also because staff are liable to get sick themselves’.” – Daily Mail

  • Epidemic stretching NHS to its limit – Daily Telegraph
  • Hospital runs out of beds amid surge in infected patients – The Times
  • Bed cutting policy leaves NHS short of resources – FT
  • Cornwall fears influx of ‘out-of-towners’ will overwhelm NHS services – The Guardian


  • My 111 call centre is a pit of chaos – Nurse, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Amanda Milling MP in Comment: My message to Party activists. We can’t get busy seeking votes. But let’s do so helping neighbours.

Nandy demands Boris ‘agree’ with EU and delay Brexit over coronavirus

“Labour leader hopeful Lisa Nandy has said that Boris Johnson’s Government should extend the Brexit transition period because of the coronavirus. The MP for Wigan wrote in The Guardian that the coronavirus is a threat to the global economy and that the UK should “agree” with the EU and extend the Brexit transition period Ms Nandy is currently in the Labour leadership race along with Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey. She said that the Government must take a “long-term approach” to the coronavirus crisis and think about the future. The Labour leader underdog said that in this case “uncertainty must be minimised”, citing the financial crisis of 2008 as a vital lesson we must learn from… Ms Nandy’s main arguments for the delay include aiding British citizens who live abroad by allowing them free health care access for at least another year, and safeguarding the economy.” – Daily Express

  • Britain’s Brexit negotiator self isolating after showing symptoms of coronavirus – The Sun

Salmond jury retires to consider sexual assault verdicts

“Alex Salmond’s lawyer has told jurors at the former first minister’s trial that the entire sexual assault and attempted rape case is “murky” and “smells bad”. Gordon Jackson QC, Salmond’s defence advocate, told the jury of nine women and six men in Edinburgh they had to use their “rational minds” and acquit the former first minister of all 13 charges against him. In his closing speech to the jury on Friday, Jackson said a “scary” pattern had emerged with all the allegations, some of which dated back 12 years. There were no direct witnesses to the alleged assaults, which include a charge of attempted rape and one of intent to rape. Jackson apologised to the jury for saying earlier in the trial that some of the alleged offences were trivial, but said inconsistencies and contradictions cropped up repeatedly in the testimonies and evidence. And, he alleged, there were signs some of the charges were orchestrated.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Can Lewis really deliver equal and proper protection for veterans of the Northern Irish campaign?

MPs offer ‘evidence of Bercow’s bullying’ in bid to prevent peerage

“Ministers have offered to provide evidence of John Bercow’s “bullying” to the committee deciding his proposed peerage, The Telegraph has learned. A number of senior MPs are understood to have written to Lord Bew, Chairman of the Lords Appointments Commission, expressing concerns about Mr Bercow’s supposed nomination to the House of Lords… A number of Commons employees who have complained in the past about Mr Bercow’s behaviour are understood to have also sent submissions to Lord Bew. They are thought to include his former private secretary, Kate Emms, who was last week revealed to have been on the receiving end of her boss’s rage after his toothpaste was confiscated by airport security.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Why the Government changed tack on Covid-19 – Saloni Dattani, UnHerd
  • The rise of a very modern virus explained – Eliot Forster, Reaction
  • After the virus subsides, we need a radical rethink of risk – Dr Lee Rotherham, CapX
  • Why does the Government say ‘your NHS’ rather than ‘your country’? – Theodore Dalrymple, The Critic
  • The Guardian’s trans rights civil war rumbles on – Douglas Murray, The Spectator