Cox leads Tory rebellion over internal market bill…

“Boris Johnson’s former attorney-general has accused him of doing “unconscionable” damage to Britain’s international reputation in a devastating attack on the prime minister’s plans to tear up parts of the Brexit treaty with the EU. In an intervention that will heighten unease among Conservative MPs before a week of votes on the government’s UK Internal Market Bill, Geoffrey Cox said that he could not support efforts to overwrite the withdrawal agreement in the Commons. Mr Cox, 60, who was sacked from the cabinet by Mr Johnson in February, concluded that he could not support the bill after several days of intense talks with the prime minister and Downing Street advisers, saying that Mr Johnson risked undermining “the standing and reputation of Britain in the world” by breaching international law.” – The Times

  • Buckland threatens to quit over Brexit divorce deal – Daily Telegraph
  • Up to 30 Tory MPs expected to back the amendment – The Guardian
  • Car makers across UK and EU urge politicians to secure Brexit trade deal to avoid ‘catastrophic’ losses – Daily Mail


…as he writes: “Honour rests on keeping our word”

“When the Queen’s minister gives his word, on her behalf, it should be axiomatic that he will keep it, even if the consequences are unpalatable. By doing so he pledges the faith, honour and credit of this nation and it diminishes the standing and reputation of Britain in the world if it should be seen to be otherwise. No British minister should solemnly undertake to observe treaty obligations with his fingers crossed behind his back. The withdrawal agreement and its attendant Northern Ireland protocol represent treaty obligations of this country to which the government, in which I had the honour to serve as attorney-general, gave its solemn and binding word.” – The Times


Frost and Barnier accuse each other of misleading the public in social media row

“The UK and EU chief negotiators have been embroiled in a clash of words on social media, with each side publicly accusing each other of misleading the public on issues relating to the Northern Ireland border. Michel Barnier dismissed the Government’s claim that the Northern Ireland Protocol could be used to break up the UK and insisted that Brussels was not refusing to grant Britain third party status. Instead he claimed that the EU wanted to “know in full what a country’s rules are” before changing its status, saying the “same objective process applies to all listed countries”. However, the UK’s leading official Lord Frost hit back on Twitter”. – Daily Telegraph

  • Frost urges EU to reconsider Northern Ireland ‘blockade’ – The Times

Coronavirus 1) Act fast or lose control within days, expert warns No 10

“Britain may be only a few days from losing control of coronavirus infections, a scientific adviser to the government has warned. Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said that a “very sharp” increase in cases meant that immediate action was needed as the nation faced a “dangerous” moment. Measures making it illegal to socialise in groups of more than six came into force at midnight last night, although legislation implementing the rules was delayed until hours before. Insiders blamed wrangling over a list of exemptions for the hold-up as police and councils waited to be given the details of new laws.” – The Times

  • Brits will get criminal records if they breach “rule of six” guidelines – The Sun
  • National curfew “is the obvious next step” if numbers keep rising, says senior government source – Daily Telegraph
  • “Rule of six” is “catastrophic” and may push British public over the edge, say Oxford scientists – Daily Telegraph
  • Care homes fear end of Coronavirus self-isolation support fund – The Times
  • Experts are quietly optimistic that the uptick in cases will not trigger a major increase in deaths – Daily Telegraph
  • Israel becomes the first country to lockdown for a second time – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 2) Millions will get tailored advice on staying safe as coronavirus rates increase

“More than four million people will receive specific advice on minimising their risk of contracting the coronavirus should infection rates continue to rise. The most vulnerable will be asked to stay at home, in effect restarting the shielding programme that was paused at the beginning of August. Others could be advised to reduce their social contacts as rising infection rates among younger people pose a threat to older generations. Ministers are working on a refined version of the policy in which millions more could be deemed in need of specific warnings. Age, gender, weight and underlying health conditions will determine who receives official letters advising them how to minimise the risks of infection.” – The Times

  • 86 per cent of doctors expect second wave in next six months – The Guardian
  • NHS urges GPs to see patients in person – The Times
  • Let partners back in for births, urges MP – The Times

Firms get public data in Dominic Cummings tech drive…

“Private companies will get access to public data under a pilot scheme announced by the government to start Dominic Cummings’s unshackling of the tech industry. The National Data Strategy, published last week, says that “perceived and genuine” legislative barriers had prevented greater data sharing. The paper claimed that releasing anonymised data could aid research. It gave the example of court submissions being shared with researchers to establish patterns of repeat criminal behaviour. Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, speaking at London Tech Week alongside representatives from Facebook and Microsoft, said that data was one of the most valuable commodities in the world. “Forget oil,” he said. “The fuel of our modern economy . . . is data.”” – The Times

… as Chinese tech firm compiles database on tens of thousands of British figures

“A Chinese technology company has compiled a database on tens of thousands of British figures and their children and families for the use of the country’s intelligence agencies, The Telegraph can reveal. Files on senior UK politicians – including Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister – royals, religious leaders, military officers and their families are currently stored on a Chinese server as part of a massive worldwide intelligence collection operation by a private company that describes its mission as “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”. The data includes names, dates of birth, educational history, professional biographies, criminal convictions, social media accounts and other information scraped from the internet by computer software.” – Daily Telegraph

Patel wants to change the law to stop migrants who cross the Channel in boats from claiming asylum in Britain

“Migrants crossing the Channel in small boats could be banned from claiming asylum in Britain as part of plans to curb human rights laws. Home Office officials have been asked to consider a draconian clampdown on asylum rights in a bid to halt the flow of Channel migrants, which has reached record levels in recent weeks. Under one ‘nuclear option’, people could be banned from claiming asylum if they arrive in the UK from a safe country like France. Ministers are also looking at curbing the right of failed asylum seekers to fight deportation in the courts. Both moves would breach the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which is implemented in the UK via the Human Rights Act. A Government source last night insisted that ministers ‘remain committed to the ECHR’, but acknowledged they were looking at ‘how we implement it in our country’.” – Daily Mail

Lewis warns over defence cuts

“A review of foreign and defence policy must not use the pandemic to mask “ulterior motives” of achieving savings, the chairman of the intelligence and security committee has said. Julian Lewis said that the “reckless and irrational” timing of the integrated review during an economic crisis could be used to make “intolerable” cuts. Mr Lewis, who was ousted from the parliamentary Conservative Party after defying Boris Johnson to take over leadership of the committee, said that the timing was “strategically illiterate”. The MP for New Forest East previously chaired the defence select committee. He said that plans were likely to be “skewed in the short term” by the crisis.” – The Times

Species on the brink of extinction as Britain ‘is dodging its wildlife duty’

“The government is missing wildlife conservation targets and has published misleading assessments to mask its shortfalls, conservationists say. The RSPB will warn today that efforts to protect Britain’s wildlife have suffered a “lost decade” because of a failure to meet targets agreed in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The Aichi targets, adopted during a conference in Japan in 2010, called on governments to slow extinctions, guard habitats and boost conservation funds. According to the RSPB, claims by the government to be making progress on these aims are largely “disingenuous”.” – The Times

Angry mobs are hindering stop and search, say police

“A culture of outrage and “baying mobs” prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement is hindering officers who stop and search suspects , a senior Scotland Yard officer has told The Times. Chief Superintendent Roy Smith called for calm after he attended a 999 call and chose to detain and search the apparent victim, finding a large hunting knife. Mr Smith, area commander for northwest London, was leaving a community meeting when he volunteered to take the routine call. On arrival it appeared that a black teenager had been attacked but on speaking to him the officer had suspicions and detained him for a stop and search, at which point a gathered crowd grew hostile. “It was the usual stuff that we’re getting at the moment,” he said, explaining that he searched the teenager inside a nearby shop while the crowd shouted and said he could not breathe.” – The Times

News in brief: