Coronavirus 1) Hancock warns of extensive lockdowns

“England could face nationwide restrictions and very extensive local lockdowns in the event of a second wave of coronavirus this winter, the health secretary has warned. Matt Hancock said that under a “reasonable worst-case scenario” Britain could find itself contending with a surge in coronavirus and a bad outbreak of seasonal flu as people spent more time indoors. In an interview with The Times he said that a second wave of Covid-19 was “avoidable but it’s not easy” and that the return of children to schools next week presented challenges in stopping the spread.” – The Times

  • Health secretary says second wave is ‘serious threat’ – The Sun
  • Lockdown in North eased – FT
Return to work
  • Hancock homes in on getting us back to the office – The Times
  • Johnson faces collision with unions over ‘back to work’ drive – Daily Mail
  • Just 5% return to work in Sharma’s office – Daily Mail
  • Councils urged to play their part in saving city centres – Daily Mail
Return to school
  • Children will have to quarantine for two weeks if student in class gets virus – Daily Mail
  • Parents ‘will keep pupils away’ if there is a second lockdown – The Times
  • Johnson tells parents all pupils must go back to school – Daily Mail
  • Part-time schools ‘will cause chaos’ – Daily Mail
  • Bizarre rules in schools revealed – Daily Mail
  • Winter plans revealed in leaked Sage report – BBC News
  • Daily cases jump 24% as death rate creeps up – Daily Mail
  • Seventy one local authorities saw no deaths in July – Daily Mail
  • Backlog of cancer patients should clear within months, says Hancock – Daily Mail
  • Care homes offered higher payments to accept virus sufferers – Daily Mail
  • France sees ‘exponential rise’ in cases – BBC News

Coronavirus 2) Workers enticed back on trains with three-day season tickets

“Commuters will be offered three-day season tickets under plans being studied by ministers to get Britain back to the office. Rail firms believe the part-time tickets are the only way to entice home workers back on to trains to give them the flexibility of going to their workplace for a few days a week. An announcement on new types of ticketing could be made as soon as next month if, as expected, the Government extends the current emergency funding for the railways. Boris Johnson will launch a major new push next week to get people back to the office, and one of the major hurdles in his way is the financial burden of commuting.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories drive pressure to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 – The Times
  • Government to accelerate switch to electric cars – Daily Mail
  • Johnson’s proclaimed golden age of cycling suffers ‘bikelash’ – The Times

Coronavirus 3) Patel: Selfish behaviour this weekend will not derail progress we have made

“Over the bank holiday weekend, many people will rightly be looking forward to going out and seeing friends and family. And I would like to thank the vast majority of the public who continue to follow the rules we have put in place to control the spread of coronavirus. Thanks to your sacrifice and sense of duty, we can once again spend time with those we love and do the things we have missed. While we have made progress over the last few months, it is also essential that people remain alert and enjoy summer safely – the danger has not gone away. And sadly, there is still a small minority of inconsiderate individuals who show a blatant disregard for the safety of others.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 4) MPs call on Rees-Mogg to extend hybrid parliament

“MPs are calling on Jacob Rees-Mogg to extend the system that has allowed them to work from home, which is due to expire next week as the summer recess ends. Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Commons, has been keen for as many MPs as possible to return to Westminster, with the government hoping to “lead by example” in encouraging employees back to their workplaces. But opposition parties are demanding an extension of the “hybrid parliament” arrangements that allowed them to take part in proceedings by video-link, appearing on large screens in the Commons chamber. Ed Davey, the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Hybrid proceedings are still an absolute necessity.” – The Guardian

Grayling quits intelligence committee

“Chris Grayling has quit the Commons intelligence and security committee weeks after MPs blocked his attempt to become its chairman. The former transport secretary, who had been No 10’s handpicked candidate to lead the group, resigned last night in a letter to its chairman, Julian Lewis. The committee oversees MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. The government’s attempt to install Mr Grayling as chairman in July failed when Mr Lewis mounted his own campaign with the backing of the four non-Tory members. Mr Grayling is said to have seemed “disappointed” to have lost the chairmanship and shown little interest in the committee’s work subsequently. “He just wanted to be chair,” one source on the committee said. “When he wasn’t chair he obviously just started throwing his toys out of the pram. He had no interest in the subject at all, he hasn’t got any background in defence or intelligence matters.” – The Times

Planning algorithm may destroy suburbia, Tory MPs warn Johnson

“Boris Johnson has been warned by Tory MPs that an algorithm at the heart of his planning reforms risks “destroying suburbia” and “creating the slums of the future”. The prime minister held a video conference call on Wednesday with 17 Tory MPs from the greater London area about the government’s white paper on planning. He was joined by Mark Spencer, the chief whip, and Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary. The MPs, who included four serving ministers, were “unanimous” in raising concerns about the reforms, which will treble the number of homes built in London to 93,532 a year.” – The Times

  • Half of cabinet ministers could see houses built in their backyards – Daily Mail

Johnson ‘faces autumn of backbench discontent’

“When parliament returns next week, Boris Johnson will find himself facing a mutinous party. After a summer in which there have been more than half a dozen U-turns, including on exam results and masks, Conservative MPs are openly voicing their discontent. Huw Merriman, chairman of the transport select committee, told the Today programme on Radio 4 that the government needed to “get a grip”, and Marcus Fysh, the MP for Yeovil, described the reversal on masks as “utterly wrong”. Sir Charles Walker, vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, said: “I know that times are uncertain but these are the moments when government needs to show the greatest conviction in its actions.” – The Times

  • Johnson falling out of favour with voters, poll finds – The Times
  • Proms to begin with music by black composer – Daily Mail
  • Hall reveals plans to move BBC staff out of London – Daily Mail

Parris: Beware the no-deal spin

“The words “distracted,” “bluffing” and “Brexit” leapt from the sub-headline. My colleague on The Sunday Times, Tim Shipman, was writing last weekend about the state of Britain’s Brexit negotiations with Brussels. Ah, I thought, this would be about our government’s distracted state of mind, failing to understand that Brussels was not bluffing in their Brexit demands on trade. I was wrong. These key words stood in the opposite relation to each other from my assumption. It was the EU (the column argued), distracted by the Covid crisis, which was unable to accept that Britain was not bluffing about our readiness to leave with no deal (or the thinnest of deals) on trade. Europe, in other words, was underestimating our determination.” – The Times

News in Brief