Police to use ‘persuasion rather than punishment’ to enforce new rules…

“Police officers are to “persuade, cajole, negotiate and advise” the public to follow lockdown restrictions, as police leaders said they did not want to be forced to take more draconian measures. Hundreds of thousands of people continued to travel to work on Tuesday with the blessing of the government, as Downing Street said that construction work could carry on despite the restrictions on movement announced by the Prime Minister on Monday. This provoked a row with the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who said that more workers should be staying at home and insisted that the Tube – which was crowded during rush hour – could not run more services. From Thursday, new laws will give police the power to fine people caught outside their homes in groups of more than two.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The inside story of Johnson’s path to putting UK in lockdown – Daily Telegraph
  • Flout rules and risk a criminal record… – The Times
  • …and unlimited fines – Daily Telegraph
  • Gove tries to clarify confusion – The Guardian
  • Brits grapple with confusing new rules which cops ‘can’t enforce’… – The Sun
  • …and call 101 to ‘snitch on their neighbours’ – Daily Mail
  • Call for new laws as thugs ‘weaponise’ virus by spitting and coughing at police – Daily Telegraph
  • Builders and commuters make mockery of staying 2m apart – The Times


>Today: MPs Etc.: Coronavirus Count


…as Parliament prepares to rise early

“Parliament is set to go into recess tonight a week early – and with doubts over when it will return. Ministers have tabled a motion for the House to rise after emergency coronavirus legislation goes on the statute books. Although a date of April 21 has been pencilled in for a return, there has been mounting speculation that the pause on proceedings could go on for longer amid the continuing crisis. However, senior sources told MailOnline there is no question of Parliament being put out of action indefinitely. One said politicians would be back next month ‘if only to extend the recess’. They suggested sittings will be drastically scaled back with ‘only a few MPs attending’.” – Daily Mail

  • Baker laments ‘dystopian’ turn in British society – Daily Express
  • Gove warns people not to move house – The Sun


  • Khan under fire for cutting Tube services as lockdown descends into chaos – Daily Telegraph
  • He insists he can’t increase services ‘because one in five staff are ‘off sick’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Dr Luke Evans MP’s column: New in Parliament. A doctor on the Health Select Committee. And tasked with helping to lead locally.

Matthew Parris: Let’s not rush to bow at the state’s command

“The prime minister was persuasive on Monday and, applaud or doubt official strategy, we should co-operate. But be clear. We live under something called the rule of law. Neither government nor the prime minister can “order” anyone to do or refrain from doing anything, until an act of parliament confers such powers. Such an act is imminent but it’s disconcerting to notice the broadcast and news media jumping the gun and sliding at once into the vocabulary of command. Short of legislation the right words are “urge”, “advise”, “guide”. Some of my fellow citizens slip a little too eagerly into mental habits of servility to the state.” – The Times

  • Right now, the Government’s critics need to pipe down – Robbie Gibb, Daily Telegraph
  • Nudging people to do the right thing works – Daniel Finekstein, The Times
  • The first crisis Johnson has faced that can’t be played for laughs – Rafael Behr, The Guardian


  • Questions remain as to the advice that caused this action to be delayed – The Times

Freeman calls for a ‘COVID coalition’

“Senior Conservatives are questioning whether Boris Johnson will need a national unity government or emergency cross-party council to share responsibility for the coronavirus crisis if the situation worsens. George Freeman, a former minister in Johnson’s government, was the first to break cover to say a “Covid coalition” government may be “unavoidable” and some other Tory MPs privately believe the prime minister will need cross-party governing consensus if emergency measures are to continue for months… One argument circulating among some Tories is that Johnson may need to to share responsibility for decision-making with Labour and other opposition parties in order to survive the crisis… One Tory MP said there was a political argument that Johnson may be keen to “drag Labour in” so the public do not associate the crisis solely with the Conservatives, if the situation worsens.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Britain moves nearer to a full quarantine. Now watch for the moves to isolate Johnson.

Airline anger as Sunak says he won’t fly to industry’s rescue

“Aviation bosses have warned that Britain’s airports could be temporarily closed after ministers ruled out a comprehensive state bailout for the industry. The chancellor wrote to airlines and airports warning that there would be no sector-wide rescue to stop companies going bust as a result of the coronavirus. In the letter, Rishi Sunak acknowledged that the aviation industry was vital to economic recovery and for rescuing Britons stuck overseas. However, he said that further taxpayer support would only be possible once the sector had “exhausted other options” including raising cash from shareholders, investors and banks. Companies have been told to access funding announced last week, including monthly payments of up to £2,500 per employee temporarily laid off because of the crisis.” – The Times

  • Chancellor: ‘We won’t be able to save every business’ – FT
  • Brits urged to keep working to save the economy – The Sun
  • Economic crash could cost more lives than coronavirus, says expert – The Times


Jonathan Ford: The new wartime economy in the era of COVID-19

“The bigger challenge for the British government — and for all other countries currently reeling from the pandemic — is to make sure its demobilisation strategy is effective. Without that, its hopes of containing the virus will be in vain. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has announced far-reaching measures designed to underwrite the costs of keeping much of the workforce idle without leading to mass lay-offs… All told, these and other measures could place burdens on Britain’s finances that might approach the 1939-45 period, when budget deficits exceeded 20 per cent of Britain’s gross domestic product between 1941 and 1945, peaking at 26.7 per cent in 1942.” – FT

  • I hope we haven’t overreacted and wrecked my grandson’s future – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • Treat all workers fairly to aid the Covid-19 battle – Christopher Pissarides, FT


Hancock calls for ‘volunteer army’ to support the NHS…

“A quarter of a million people are being recruited for an NHS volunteer army as retired doctors and medical students are called up to help to run a 4,000-bed hospital in a London conference centre. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has issued a “your NHS needs you” appeal to those willing to look after 1.5 million vulnerable people being “shielded” from coronavirus. He is under pressure, however, to spell out when tests for the virus will be available for NHS staff, despite promising to “ramp up” existing labs and order 3.5 million commercial kits. Oxford University researchers said yesterday that half of Britain might have already contracted coronavirus since January and that testing was urgently needed to discover how many people had acquired immunity to it.” – The Times

  • Food service groups enlisted to assist the vulnerable – FT
  • ‘Game-changing’ indicator tells if you have recovered from coronavirus – The Times
  • UK sees biggest daily rise in coronavirus deaths with a further 87 – The Guardian
  • UK to add 35,000 NHS staff to fight COVID-19 – FT


…as Doctors threaten to quit NHS over shortage of protective kit…

“A massive NHS recruitment drive to help contain the coronavirus pandemic risks being undermined by the prospect of doctors quitting over fears of inadequate protective equipment, groups representing frontline staff say. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Tuesday that 11,788 retired NHS staff had agreed to come back to work to help tackle the crisis – and announced the creation of a new 250,000-strong corps of “NHS Volunteer Responders”, who would be asked to take essential supplies to the most vulnerable people being “shielded” at home. But as the crisis reaches what is expected to be its most dangerous period, doctors’ and nurses’ groups say their members are being expected to take unacceptable risks.” – The Guardian

  • Anger as only 5,000 medicians are tested  – The Times
  • Coronavirus may have infected half of UK population, Oxford study suggests – FT


  • Exhausted doctors and nurses need support, can you help? – The Sun

…and London deaths double every two days

“Madrid and London are facing worse coronavirus outbreaks than Lombardy in Italy with deaths doubling every two days – but New York’s mortality rate could be set to outpace them all. New analysis of the number of deaths shows the number of fatalities in certain cities is fast outstripping the average mortality rate for even the countries they are in. In London, deaths double every two days, a day faster than the average across Britain, the research by the Financial Times shows. The humanitarian cost of the pandemic continues to mount globally as more than 415,000 people have been infected with the deadly disease, and more than 18,000 have been killed.” – Daily Mail

  • Excel conference centre will be field hospital for 4,000 coronavirus patients – The Times
  • Fears London could run out of intensive care beds in days – Daily Telegraph
  • Military operation begins to supply NHS with ‘armour’ – The Times
  • Dyson draws up plan for ventilator – The Times


US congressional leaders agree on $2tn stimulus deal

“US lawmakers have struck a $2tn stimulus deal to provide economic relief to American taxpayers and businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic, in what stands to be the largest congressional bailout in US history. “At last, we have a deal,” said Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, after marathon negotiations that stretched into the early hours of Wednesday morning. “The Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic,” he said, calling the measure a “wartime level of investment into our nation”. The Kentucky Republican had been wrangling with Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s most senior Democrat, since Saturday over proposals for a stimulus packages that would include bailouts for large companies and means-tested “helicopter money” for US taxpayers.” – FT

  • FDA approves first US coronavirus treatment – Daily Mail
  • UN fears as Trump looks to end the coronavirus shutdown by Easter – The Times
  • Trump is right: Governments must consider the cost of fighting coronavirus – Daily Telegraph

Salmond was ‘set up by people in his own party’, allies claim

“A former deputy leader of the SNP has called sexual assault allegations against Alex Salmond the “dirtiest blow” he has seen delivered in his 60 years of political life. A former deputy leader of the SNP has said that Alex Salmond was “set up” on sexual assault allegations by people at the highest level of his own party. Jim Sillars, who served under Mr Salmond in the early 1990s before their friendship soured, said there was compelling evidence for his claim. On Monday at the High Court in Edinburgh Mr Salmond was cleared of 13 charges of sexual assault. His defence team argued that there had been collusion between some of the women who made complaints against the former first minister.” – The Times

  • Salmond allies say he plans to sue Scottish government – The Guardian
  • MP calls for probe into ‘conspiracy’ against former First Minister – FT
  • Sturgeon’s allies fear predecessor’s SNP reentry will be ‘automatic’ – Daily Telegraph


  • Salmond’s trial has deepened the faultlines in Scottish politics – Ruth Wishart, The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Salmond’s acquittal makes a bloody SNP civil war much more likely

News in Brief:

  • We must not let this crisis erode our basic liberties – Matthew Lesh, CapX
  • Coronavirus Bill demonstrates the value of sunset clauses – Henry Hill, Free Market Conservatives
  • Will the pandemic kill off libertarianism? – James Kirkup, UnHerd
  • France’s downward spiral of coronavirus repression – John Keiger, The Spectator
  • What happens when an emergency becomes normal? – Walter Ellis, UnHerd