Home visits banned for millions in north of England

“Lockdown restrictions were tightened last night for four million people across large parts of northern England after a rise in the number of coronavirus cases. The government announced that people from different households would be barred from meeting indoors in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire. The move comes after a rise in cases in northern England, which ministers believe has been caused by people failing to observe social-distancing rules. The restrictions apply to all indoor gatherings, including pubs and restaurants, with immediate effect. However there was confusion about whether people could still meet indoors within their support bubbles.” – The Times

  • Hancock says ‘we are prepared to take action’ after Manchester – Daily Express
  • Leicester mayor condemns Government over lockdown confusion – The Times
  • ‘New low for the Government’s communications’ – Daily Mail


  • Self-isolation for Covid-19 symptoms extended to ten days across UK – FT
  • How concerned should we be about a coronavirus resurgence? – Daily Telegraph
  • Fewer than half now know what the rules are – Daily Mail
  • Anti-lockdown campaign raises £230,000 – The Times


  • When did easing pressure on the NHS change to stopping anyone catching it? – Janet Street-Porter, Daily Mail
  • Quarantine sledgehammer is crushing far more than just Covid – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph


  • Targeted lockdown is the right approach – The Sun

>Today: Chandra Kanneganti in Comment: The Coronavirus challenges I’ve seen as a doctor and a councillor

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: There is more than a hint of moral coercion in the way ministers have addressed us in the name of the NHS

Scotland 1) Carlaw ‘ousted to make way for Cummings critic’ Ross

“Ruth Davidson is poised to take centre stage for the Scottish Conservatives again after Jackson Carlaw was forced out as party leader. Less than six months since he took charge Mr Carlaw, 61, said in a statement that he had reached the “simple if painful conclusion” that he was not the best person to guide the Tories through the coronavirus crisis and into the Holyrood election next May. It is understood that he was pressured to quit by senior figures in the Scottish party who are backing Douglas Ross, 37, the former Scotland Office minister, to be his replacement. Mr Ross left the government in May over Dominic Cummings’s 260-mile drive to Durham during the lockdown.” – The Times


  • Carlaw is a good man, but comparisons with Davidson did him no favours – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Carlaw resigns. Counter-intuitively, the Scottish Tories may need a proper leadership contest.

Scotland 2) Sturgeon rebuked by statistics watchdog over ‘dodgy’ claims about UK virus rate differences

“Scotland’s First Minister repeatedly claimed earlier this month that the prevalence of the virus was “five times” higher in England, and opponents said she had deployed the figure “to suggest her policy was working better than elsewhere in the UK”. She also used the statistic to justify her controversial refusal to rule out imposing quarantine on visitors crossing the border into Scotland and taking a different approach to Boris Johnson on air bridges. But in an intervention described by her critics as “damning”, Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation at the Office for Statistics Regulation, said that the “uncaveated” comparison should never have been made as it was not backed up by sound data.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson reprimanded for child poverty statistics misuse – FT

More SNP:

  • Nationalist split as Cherry attacks ‘obsession’ with Brexit – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: If Gove and Johnson want to save Britain, they’re going to have to use the word ‘Britain’

Hancock ‘hails Zoom medicine’ as GPs go online

“Matt Hancock has hailed a new era of “Zoom medicine” in which patients consult their doctor by video-link or phone rather than face to face. The health secretary said there must be “a compelling reason” to see a doctor in person as he called for the NHS to learn lessons from the pandemic. In a speech to the Royal College of Physicians yesterday Mr Hancock said the health service must keep some of the operational changes that were introduced to cope with the pandemic. There must be a drive for “bureaucracy-busting” in the NHS, he said. Ministers believe that remote consultations will lead to a better service for those who need face-to-face care by freeing up doctors’ time.” – The Times

  • Philp is latest minister to isolate – The Sun

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: My end of term report on the Cabinet. Part Two.

Johnson ‘threatens Lords reform’ after peerages for Tory party donors blocked…

“Boris Johnson is understood to be furious after he was blocked from giving peerages to some of the Conservative Party’s financial backers, and is threatening to reform the House of Lords in retaliation. The Prime Minister is said to be “very frustrated, angry and upset” after a Lords watchdog refused to sign off peerages for some of his business supporters this summer. Instead, the list – which has been ready to publish for a number of days – will largely consist of political backers, with a second list of financial supporters, including businessmen Johnny Leavesley and Peter Cruddas, due to be published in the autumn. The House of Lords Appointments Commission is said to have raised objections after the Lords Speaker, Lord Fowler, expressed concerns about the size of the Second Chamber, which is set to surge above 800 after the appointments.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Peers urge cut to Universal Credit wait – The Sun

…as he praises new police numbers

“Boris Johnson hailed the highest increase in police officer numbers in almost two decades after figures revealed more than 4,000 have already been recruited this year. Police forces have signed up almost a quarter of the 20,000 the PM promised to deliver in his flagship election pledge. Some 4,336 officers were hired in the first eight months of the Government’s recruitment drive from a whopping 89,950 applications to join the police. It takes the overall headcount of officers in England and Wales to 133,131, according to Home Office figures released yesterday.” – The Sun

  • Officer strength highest since 2012 – The Times

Conservatives ‘face questions’ over handling of allegations against Elphicke

“The Conservative Party is facing serious questions over its handling of allegations against Charlie Elphicke after his conviction yesterday for three sex attacks. The then MP for Dover had the party whip suspended – meaning he was effectively kicked out of the party – in November 2017 following claims of sexual assault, almost a year after he was first reported to his party. But Elphicke controversially had the whip restored in December 2018, ahead of a crucial confidence vote in the then Prime Minister Theresa May, while he was being investigated by police. Mrs May was facing what was expected to be a knife-edge vote tabled by hardline Brexit Conservatives angry at her withdrawal policy. The move to bring him back into the fold during Mrs May’s tenure has been described as ‘appalling’ by Anna Soubry, who was a Tory MP at the time.” – Daily Mail

  • Ex-MP ‘faces prison and divorce’ after sex assaults conviction – The Times
  • Wife and Dover MP dumps him on Twitter – Daily Mail


  • ‘Evasive’ ex-minister loses bid to keep £20 million divorce battle secret – Daily Telegraph

Iain Dale: Downing Street’s new spokesperson job is the ultimate poisoned chalice

“No one in their right mind, and certainly no one at the top of their game, would apply for this job given the conditions they would have to operate under. It is the ultimate poisoned chalice – and I say that as someone who’s being quoted as one of the favourites to land it. If you’re of a betting persuasion I’d advise you to save your money. The advantage of being 58 years old is that I have enough self-knowledge to know that I’d both hate it and, perhaps more importantly, be useless at it. So why is No 10 breaking decades of parliamentary lobby tradition and insisting on these briefings being on the record? Simples. It fits into their narrative of going over the heads of political journalists and straight into people’s living rooms.” – Daily Telegraph

China fires warning shot to UK over ‘cold war’

“China has warned the UK not to allow “cold war warriors” to “kidnap” cordial relations between Beijing and Britain, firing a new salvo in the ongoing diplomatic row between the two countries. Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador in London, said disagreements over Beijing’s imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong, as well as the UK’s ban on using Huawei in its 5G mobile networks, had “seriously poisoned the atmosphere” in Sino-British relations. “China and the UK should have enough wisdom and capability to manage and deal with these differences, rather than allowing anti-China forces and cold war warriors to kidnap China-UK relations,” he told reporters on Thursday, urging Britain to exercise its independence and avoid being coerced by the US into taking a “hostile” stance against Beijing.” – FT

  • Passport veto as Beijing says UK has poisoned relations – The Times

Labour Party in ‘humiliating data breach’

“The Labour Party is the latest in a number of organisation to have their data breached following a cyber-attack on cloud computing provider Blackbaud. Hackers are believed to have accessed information about thousands of party donors over a period of several years. The Party are understood to have been first informed of the breach on July 16 and will be informing all of those impacted by the attack later this week. Inside sources told ITV News they believe personal and confidential information about donors, including analysis that was run by the party about their personal views, is likely to have been accessed. They also said that all donors, including those who donated less than £7,500 and therefore did not have to declare their donation to the Electoral Commission, are likely to have had their data breached.” – Daily Express

  • Opposition ‘slaps down union demands’ to put kids in face masks – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Johnson’s Union strategy is a high-stakes gamble – Michael Kenny and Jack Sheldon, CapX
  • Carlaw’s successor and the fight to save the Union – Stephen Daisley, The Spectator
  • New spokesman for the Prime Minister could be a breath of fresh air – Robert Fox, Reaction
  • France’s African forever war – John Lewis-Stempel, UnHerd
  • What the NHS can learn from the world’s cheapest hospitals – Matteo Baccaglini, 1828