More than 40 Tory backbenchers back rebel bid to force vote on future lockdown measures

“Dozens of Conservative backbenchers have backed a bid by rebels to force Boris Johnson to put all future lockdown measures to a vote of MPs. In all, 42 Tory MPs backed an amendment tabled by the 1922 Committee chairman, Sir Graham Brady to require a new Parliament vote “as soon as reasonably practicable” on new powers. The scale of the rebellion – almost certain to grow over the next few days – means the rebels are presently just one MP short of overhauling the Government’s working majority of 85, taking into account Sinn Fein MPs who do not vote, the Speaker and the deputy Speaker. The MPs are hoping that the amendment will be voted on next Wednesday when the Government, by law, has to ask Parliament to approve its powers every six months.” – Daily Telegraph

  • MPs move to require vote on future Covid restrictions – The Guardian
  • We love freedom as well, Italian president tells Johnson – The Times
  • Johnson spoke with Sweden’s anti-lockdown mastermind before announcing new measures – The Sun


  • Government needs us all on side for Covid vaccine… but will we still trust it? – Dan Wootton, The Sun
  • This cure is worse than the disease – Dr John Lee, Daily Mail
  • The Government is floundering within a disaster of its own making – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: We all want our city and town centres to return to normal. But that isn’t possible at present – so we must get used to it.


Job fears as Sunak ‘scales back rescue plan’

“Britain is facing a wave of redundancies after Rishi Sunak said that the government was no longer willing to subsidise the wages of people in jobs that would not otherwise exist. The chancellor confirmed it was time for the economy to “move forward” as he announced that ministers would now provide support only for viable jobs. He said it would be “fundamentally wrong” to extend the furlough scheme, which has paid 80 per cent of workers’ wages, amid concerns that it is propping up roles that would otherwise have been scrapped. The government will instead cover up to a fifth of the wages of people who go back to work on a part-time basis as part of a support package for businesses. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think tank said that the new measures were “significantly less generous” than the furloughing scheme and that as many as two million people could lose their jobs by the end of the year.” – The Times

  • He sets up ‘moment of truth’ for UK jobs market – FT
  • Chancellor praised for ‘bravery’, but warned of a bleak midwinter – The Times
  • Sunak admits £5billion to keep economy afloat won’t stop mass job losses – The Sun
  • Wolfson warns Britain’s economy risks ‘becoming hooked’ on government handouts – Daily Mail
  • Never has the Prime Minister been more conspicuous by his absence – Daily Telegraph


  • So just how on earth do we pay the bill? – Ruth Sunderland, Daily Mail
  • Sunak makes a big bet on the power of creative destruction – Matthew Lynn, Daily Telegraph
  • The hedge fund chancellor isn’t afraid to trade – Ed Conway, The Times
  • Jobs plan reduces the immediate risk, but it’s flawed – Nils Pratley, The Guardian
  • The day Sunak ripped up the truce in Downing Street? – Simon Walters, Daily Mail


  • German-style plan strikes the right balance on supporting viable jobs – The Times
  • A sticking-plaster on a bullethole – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Sunak said yesterday that “our lives can no longer be put on hold”. But that’s just what Johnson’s ready to do if he thinks it necessary.


Health Secretary unable to throw light on Government’s rules over couples

“Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, was unable to explain on Thursday whether couples living apart could have sex, as he was asked to define the Government’s rule that they must be in an “established relationship”. The confusion arose after, in a bid to curtail the spread of coronavirus, the Government urged people not to engage in casual sex and to only have sexual relations in an “established relationship”. However, when asked live on air to define what constitutes an “established relationship” Mr Hancock, 41, was unable to give an answer… Earlier this week updated guidance stipulated: “People in an established relationship do not need to socially distance” and that those in the early stages of a relationship “should take particular care to follow the guidance on social distancing”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Millions of phones too old for tracing app – The Times
  • Transport boss urges ministers to get people back on trains and buses – The Guardian
  • Britons face virtual worldwide quarantine – Daily Telegraph
  • Only one in five with symptoms self-isolates – The Times
  • Morrisons becomes first large supermarket to reinstate Covid rationing – The Guardian


  • Thousands of UK students isolating as university cases rise – FT
  • Uni students could be banned from going home for Christmas – The Sun
  • Twelve universities set up their own Covid testing – Daily Mail


  • There is no real mechanism for No 10 to challenge Sage – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Raghib Ali in Comment: Covid-19. The pluses and minuses of the Government’s new plan – and why there should be no more lockdowns.

First Covid vaccines will not be a silver bullet, scientists warn

“The first Covid-19 vaccine is unlikely to prevent people getting the disease and may only alleviate sufferers’ symptoms, scientists have warned ministers. Government scientific advisers are braced for the first vaccine that gains regulatory approval to be only partially effective and are considering how to explain to the country the need for caution as it is introduced. Boris Johnson has previously said countries need to “work together to build an impregnable shield around all our people and that can only be achieved by developing and mass-producing a vaccine”. Professor Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, does believes that science will eventually “ride to the rescue” but early inoculations are unlikely to protect everyone and the virus will continue to circulate.” – The Times

  • Be more upfront about sensitive shareholdings, civil servants urged – Daily Telegraph


  • It’s worth the risk of rushing ahead with vaccine trials – Jon Moulton, The Times

>Yesterday: Frances Lasok in Local Government: This pandemic has shown that the Conservatives need to focus on local communities

Number 10 rebukes Wallace for accusing Labour of pursuing ‘illegal wars’

“Number 10 has rebuked Ben Wallace for accusing Labour of pursuing “illegal wars” as they said the Defence Secretary was giving his “personal view”. During the second reading of the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill on Wednesday evening, Mr Wallace told the shadow defence secretary, John Healey, that it was “illegal wars” instigated by Labour that had caused the “mess” faced by British troops. “Much of the mess we are having to come and clean up today is because of your illegal wars, your events in the past and the way you have run the safety of our forces,” Mr Wallace said. However Downing Street said on Thursday that the Cabinet minister had expressed a “personal view” when he spoke.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Iraq veteran cleared over teenager’s death after 17-year ‘witch-hunt’ – The Times

France rejects UK ‘intimidation’ on post-Brexit deal

“France has dismissed this week’s dire British warnings about post-Brexit transport delays across the Channel as tactical posturing and warned that the EU would not yield to “intimidation” to reach an agreement on the future relationship between the two sides. “Of course the signals that have been sent in the past few days are damaging,” said France’s Europe minister Clément Beaune, portraying as a likely deal-breaker the draft UK law undermining key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement signed by Boris Johnson in January.  “Anything which disrupts, disturbs or increases tensions in the negotiations is regrettable and we won’t fall for a kind of intimidation at the European level,” Mr Beaune, a confidant of President Emmanuel Macron and co-architect of his Europe policy, told the Financial Times.” – FT

  • Fur sales to be banned when Britain leaves European law – The Times
  • Johnson ‘has got his mojo back and is not quitting after Brexit’, says ex-minister – Daily Telegraph
  • Braverman calls fellow female MP ’emotional’ during Brexit bill row – The Guardian



  • A Brexit deal is within touching distance – James Forsyth, The Times

Galloway’s anti-SNP campaign ‘surges in support’

“George Galloway’s campaign to rid Scotland of the SNP has gained a dramatic momentum in recent days, with tens of thousands of people signing a petition demanding Nicola Sturgeon resign. George Galloway has placed Nicola Sturgeon under huge pressure after making it his mission to rid Scotland of the SNP.  Mr Galloway, who is leading the bipartisan Alliance 4 Unity, outlined his plan to unite the pro-union parties in Scotland and defeat the SNP next May. Speaking to The Critic’s podcast, he said that Scotland was in urgent need of change, after “suffering very badly from business as usual”. He said that the Alliance 4 Unity’s goal is to persuade the three unionist parties – the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats – not to oppose each other at the ballot box. Mr Galloway explained that the future of the UK was at stake, with the SNP planning a new independence campaign if they win next May’s Holyrood elections.” – Daily Express

  • Covid has reduced Scottish independence to a basic question: Sturgeon or Johnson? – David Clegg, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: The challenges involved in reviving the ‘four-nation’ approach to Covid-19

Lord Ashcroft: I welcome the recognition of equality between the George and Victoria Crosses

“The Government, in consultation with the Queen, has ruled that the George Cross (GC) has parity with the Victoria Cross (VC) as the most prestigious bravery decorations awarded by the UK and the Commonwealth. The decision follows a year of high-level discussions ahead of the 80th anniversary of the GC’s creation today. Senior political sources tell me that a public announcement on this issue is “imminent”. The GC was instigated by a royal warrant from George VI on September 24 1940 at the height of the Blitz in order to recognise extreme valour beyond the battlefield… The ruling follows an approach from the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, which represents living VC and GC recipients, over its concerns that the public perception is that the GC is a lesser award than the VC.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • The true cost of coronavirus on our economy – Christopher Snowdon, The Spectator
  • Winter is coming: has the Chancellor done enough? – Julian Jessop, CapX
  • The art of Trump’s diplomatic deals – Leon Hadar, UnHerd
  • Ofcom is a menace to our freedom of speech – Andrew Tettenborn, The Critic
  • Rebellion, wokeness and other problems with young people – Eamon Butler, 1828