Johnson interview: second lockdown is “like a nuclear deterrent”

“Yes. I mean, look, I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I certainly don’t want to use it.  And nor do I think we will be in that position again. It’s not just that we’re getting much better at spotting the disease and isolating it locally, but we understand far more which groups it affects, how it works, how it’s transmitted, so the possibility of different types of segmentation, of enhanced shielding for particular groups, is now there.” – Sunday Telegraph

Other main points from interview: the Government is –

  • “Looking at” the “odd and perverse” situation of someone being entitled to legal aid despite having their citizenship revoked.
  • Understood to be considering depriving convicted terrorists of legal aid if they leave the country to fight alongside a terror group and then attempt to return
  • Reviewing the “pricing mechanisms” of university courses, in a move that could see reductions in the cost of science and engineering degrees, with higher fees for some arts subjects
  • Examining whether the judicial review process goes “too far” after judges allowed to return to the UK to fight a legal case.

The Prime Minister also –

  • Says he wants the UK to “excel” in producing its own 5G and state-of-the-art broadband technology as Huawei, the Chinese firm, is phased out of the country’s new mobile network
  • All but rules out new sugar taxes
  • Suggests that he wants more “confidence and belief” from the civil service.
    Sunday Telegraph

– – –

  • A year of Johnson as Prime Minister: “Courtiers let it be known that if Johnson fell into a coma or died, the cabinet would have to vote on a successor. There could be no suggestion of the monarch just taking soundings and inviting Raab to Buckingham Palace.” – Sunday Times
  • Rift between Government and scientists over Prime Minister’s “back to work” call – Sun on Sunday
  • Track and trace only identifying a third of the people it needs to find claim – Sunday Telegraph
  • Hancock “set to give guidelines details to local authorities” – Observer
  • Ministers mull memorial to Coronavirus dead – Sun on Sunday
  • New guidelines confusion – Mail on Sunday
  • Universities face income fall of up to 30% if the Chinese market is closed off – Sunday Times
  • Free flu jab extension for this winter – Mail on Sunday
  • Botham refuses to comment on peerage claims – Observer
  • Bullying allegations against civil servant tipped to become first female Cabinet Secretary – Mail on Sunday
  • Shapps is first Cabinet Minister to say that he will take a holiday abroad – Observer

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Labour tries to dodge Begum view. Conservative divides over her return

Challenged on Sir Keir’s previous remarks, Labour last night insisted: ‘We will not be welcoming the prospect of anyone returning to this country who wish us harm.’…There have been signs of a split among Tory MPs on the issue.  Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned that allowing Begum back would ‘create a national security risk’.  But last night, Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, asked: ‘Are we safer with her behind bars in the UK or languishing in a rickety, militia-run, poorly guarded refugee camp with thousands of hardliners who are now escaping in numbers and running fresh radicalisation programmes?’” – Mail on Sunday

  • ConHome columnist Holden attacks Starmer over backing Begum’s return – Sun on Sunday
  • British Muslim leader facing the death penalty in Bangladesh sues Patel after she shared report on Twitter linking him to war crimes – Mail on Sunday
  • Former top Labour official could sue party over ‘false’ claims in leaked report into its handling of anti-Semitism complaints – Mail on Sunday
  • Starmer’s inner circle – Sunday Times

Russia electoral interference report to be published this week

“The Russia report by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) is expected to raise concerns about Moscow’s interference in aspects of Scottish politics, including the long-running campaign for independence. The development comes just days after Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, revealed that Russian “actors” were highly likely to have interfered in December’s general election…The report, which is being published more than a year after it was completed in March 2019, is also expected to find that Russian interference may have affected the Brexit referendum in June 2016, but the effect was “unquantifiable”.” – Sunday Times

  • Russia’s ambassador denies Covid-19 hacking claims – Observer
  • Lewis “lobbied Johnson for security committee job” – Mail on Sunday
  • TikTok shelves move to Britain after Huawei ban – Sun on Sunday
  • RAF accused of wasting money on ‘outdated’ F-35 warplanes – Sunday Telegraph
  • EU row over no deal crisis fund plan – Sunday Express

Raab Magnitsky sanctions expansion plan

“Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, is drawing up plans to add a “corruption regime” to the so-called Magnitsky sanctions, which were introduced earlier this month. The disclosure follows concerns that the list of those being targeted by the new sanctions omits many individuals whose assets have been frozen under equivalent laws in place in the US and Canada.  MPs and peers have stated that the version introduced as part of the UK’s post-Brexit sanctions regime, fails to cover corrupt individuals who prop the human rights abusers that it does target.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Harry Dunn’s mother urges Johnson to raise her son’s case at Pompeo meeting – Observer

Rob Colvile: The Conservatives are in danger of gifting Scotland to Sturgeon

“But the broader problem for those who love the UK, in all its messy glory, is that Scotland is a five or six-party system, but increasingly a one-party state. Just as Sturgeon is the dominant figure in politics, especially with Ruth Davidson having quit the field, so the SNP is dominant institutionally…Time is also on Sturgeon’s side. The Union is most popular among the old, and least among the young. If there were a rerun of the referendum, Davidson is the only realistic candidate to lead it: beyond her, and the increasingly silver-haired figures of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling, the unionist cupboard is alarmingly bare.” – Sunday Times

  • The People’s Government will build a better Britain – Michael Gove, Sun on Sunday
  • This whack-a-mole Government – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • New Hong Kong could fire UK’s recovery – Liam Halligan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Britain can lead the world into transforming water into fuel – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Face masks turn us into voiceless submissives – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • The Conservatives risk gifting Sturgeon Scotland – Rob Colvile, Sunday Times
  • Johnson will seek to destroy you if you don’t love him – Nick Cohen, Observer
  • Brutal reality buffets the PM’s ambitions for global trade – Sunday Times Editorial
  • Johnson must coax a wary public back to work – Sun on Sunday Editorial
  • PM must combine a more precise Covid fight with his reform agenda – Sunday Telegraph
  • Sturgeon has called for her fractured party to unite in advance of next year’s Holyrood election – Scotsman

John Gray: Mao’s cultural revolution returns to cancel freethinking dissidents

“This hounding of people is strikingly reminiscent of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which convulsed communist China from 1966-1976 and wrecked much of what remained of the country’s ancient civilisation. The only way someone accused of thought-crime could escape punishment was through public confession, ‘re-education’ and abject apology in so-called ‘struggle sessions’, in which they were humiliated and tormented by their accusers. Tragically, the woke movement has reinvented this vile ritual, with teachers, journalists, professors and others seeking to hang on to their jobs by desperately begging forgiveness.” – Mail on Sunday

  • China banks on the decline and fall of the West – Matthew Syed, Sunday Times
  • The Marxist drive to cover up our past – Andrew Roberts, Sunday Telegraph
  • US cancel culture puts ours in the shade – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • Freedom of speech is under threat and we must fight back – Leo McKinstry, Sunday Express
  • The Guardian’s Steve Bell is the latest victim of the woke clampdown on free speech – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph
  • ONS row over Black Lives Matter – Mail on Sunday