Coronavirus 1) Whitty and Vallance to give televised address at 11am

“Britain is in “the last chance saloon” to avoid tougher lockdown measures, Government sources have warned. Boris Johnson is expected to give Britain one final chance to prove it can follow the rules and suppress a second wave, as his chief medical officer warns on Monday that the nation has reached a “critical point in the pandemic”. Professor Chris Whitty will give a live televised broadcast to the nation alongside Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Advisor, warning the spread of the virus is “heading in the wrong direction” and that Britain faces a “very challenging winter period”. The Prime Minister is expected to threaten curfews on pubs and bans on households socialising if the public does not follow strict self-isolation and social distancing rules.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 2) Curbs will last for six months, No 10 warns…

“Britain faces a further six months of “very difficult” lockdown restrictions, Downing Street has warned, as Boris Johnson prepares the country for fresh measures to combat the latest increase in infections. The government’s chief scientific and medical officers will tell the public today that Britain is “heading in the wrong direction” and that we are at a “critical point in the pandemic”. Mr Johnson is expected to announce further lockdown measures in the coming days, with cabinet ministers split over how extensive these should be. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, is resisting a full shutdown of the hospitality sector, which was discussed in Downing Street on Friday. A senior government source said last night that all options were still “up in the air” before a meeting of the cabinet’s Covid strategy committee scheduled for tomorrow.” – The Times

  • ‘Punitive’ fines for failing to self-isolate could ‘undermine adherence’ to the rules, Sage member says – Daily Telegraph
  • Parliament surrendered role over Covid emergency laws, says Lady Hale – The Guardian
  • Boris Johnson accused of corrupting constitution over role for Lady Harding – The Times
  • BAME Britons still lack protection from Covid, says doctors’ chief – The Guardian
  • Collapse in air travel from US costs Britain £11bn, says Heathrow The Times

> Yesterday:

Coronavirus 3) … as Brady leads rebellion over renewal of emergency Covid laws

“Conservative MPs irked by the government’s sweeping lockdown measures are plotting a rebellion when emergency Covid legislation is renewed this month, led by the party grandee Sir Graham Brady. Many Tories have publicly expressed their frustration at aspects of the restrictions. Some are also concerned the emergency law passed six months ago leaves too much power in the hands of ministers. There is also irritation at policy being announced in late-night briefings to journalists instead of in the House of Commons. Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, recently threatened to run the health secretary, Matt Hancock, “ragged” if he persisted in making announcements to the press instead of MPs.” – The Guardian

Coronavirus 4) Care home screening results are taking up to 15 days to come back

“Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, the Daily Mail can reveal. Managers say the system is so ‘shambolic’ they fear further fatal outbreaks. With Health Secretary Matt Hancock warning that a virus ‘tipping point’ is approaching, the care bosses demanded a much quicker turnaround. The Mail spoke to 19 providers which together run 393 homes. Staff or residents tested positive at a third of the chains over the past fortnight and in most cases results came late. Nine said they had to throw away tests after couriers did not turn up on time. One had to ditch 250 swabs in a week.” – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 5) Pupils aren’t up to sitting exams next year, say teachers

“Questions surround next year’s GCSE and A-level exams after ministers, unions and private schools raised doubts that they would run as normal. Scotland is likely to cancel the equivalent of GCSEs — National 5 tests — but will press ahead with a scaled-back version of Highers, which are akin to A-levels, it was reported yesterday. The leader of a private school body told The Times that heads of elite schools doubted whether exams would take place next year due to the amount of schooling lost and fresh disruption from coronavirus testing problems. The biggest teaching union, the National Education Union, said it was time for a radical rethink of assessment otherwise next year’s exams would be a measure of disruption not attainment.” – The Times

  • Children’s Commissioner warns that progress on school reopenings risks being “thrown away” unless testing improves – The Sun

Dominic Lawson: Yes, these Covid-19 curbs on all our lives seem arbitrary, but they may just save the economy

“At the risk of startling readers, I can reveal that the Government does have a Covid strategy. That strategy is to ensure as little disruption to businesses and schools as possible, and to make our social lives take the entire strain of new measures to limit the spread of infection. This can lead to apparently bizarre consequences, illustrated by a letter that appeared in the Financial Times from a reader called Barrie Bain in East Sussex. In full, it read: ‘If I understand the UK Government’s rule of six correctly, it is illegal for seven children to feed ducks, but legal for 30 men to shoot ducks.’ Well, yes. But the fact is that game shooting is big business in parts of the rural economy, with a long tail of jobs dependent on it. Feeding birds in the park? Not so much. Sorry, children — but you can still gather en masse with your mates at school.” Daily Mail

> Today:

Interview: Fox hopes his world trade vision will be a hit

“Such are the eccentricities of the race to select the World Trade Organisation’s next head, where discussion behind closed doors takes precedence over the ballot box, that Liam Fox pitches it somewhere between Eurovision and a papal conclave. The UK finished last in last year’s song contest and the only pope from Britain, Adrian IV, died almost nine centuries ago. Eyebrows were raised in diplomatic circles this summer when the government launched an unexpected campaign to install Dr Fox into one of the highest economic offices on the global stage. Bookmakers might have deemed it a long shot, but the former cabinet minister has made it through the first round. After WTO officials quietly sounded out the 164 member states to gauge support for each of the candidates, three have withdrawn and five remain.” – The Times

Sunak to extend business support loans as Covid-19 spread worsens

“Rishi Sunak is to extend the Treasury’s UK-wide programme of business support loans as ministers race to cushion the economy from what England’s chief medical officer will on Monday call “a very challenging winter”. Mr Sunak is this week expected to unveil plans to extend four loan schemes, which have already backed £53bn in lending to companies through government guarantees, in a sign that new national support measures are needed to avert widespread business collapses and mass job losses. The move to bolster businesses comes as the government weighs up whether to do more to counter the spread of Covid-19, including new national restrictions in England. Sadiq Khan, London mayor, on Sunday held talks with ministers on possible new restrictions in the capital.” – FT

Raab urged to extend legal protection for Hongkongers

“Dominic Raab is under pressure to extend consular and legal protections to British nationals in Hong Kong if they are arrested under Beijing’s new national security law. A cross-party group of MPs and peers is demanding a meeting with the foreign secretary over the issue, which they say threatens holders of British national (overseas) passports, who could be removed to China for trial and face life sentences under draconian laws passed in June. A letter to Mr Raab seen by The Times states: “As the Chinese government has stated its intention to prevent those under suspicion of violating the National Security Law from leaving Hong Kong, the extended residency rights and path to full citizenship for BN(O) passport holders offered by this government will do little to help those most at risk of arrest under the new law.” – The Times

Dozens of Tory MPs set to refuse unconscious bias training

“Up to 40 Conservative MPs are expected to say no to unconscious bias training intended to tackle racism in the Commons, accusing parliamentary authorities of “pandering to the woke agenda”. The Times revealed last month that the training, which has existed for parliamentary staff since 2016, was being piloted for MPs. It focuses on addressing prejudices people may have absorbed without knowing it. Tories in the European Research Group and “Common Sense Group” of right-leaning MPs said most of their colleagues would not take part. “I would really rather gouge my eyes out with a blunt stick than sit through that Marxist, snake oil crap,” said one. Tom Hunt, the MP for Ipswich, said: “Whoever is pushing this forward now is trying to pander to the woke agenda — I won’t be.”” – The Times

> Today:

Truss 1) Plan to rip up rules on assessing trade deals

“Liz Truss is ready to rip up the Trade Department’s rule books on assessing deals in a bid to improve how it measures the economic benefits of its post-Brexit “Global Britain” project.  The Trade Secretary has drafted in experts to overhaul the department’s models. Tony Venables, an economics professor at Oxford University, will lead a team including Graham Gudgin of Cambridge University, Swati Dhingra of the London School of Economics, Michael Plummer of John Hopkins University and Christine McDaniel of George Mason University. Their task will be to advise the chief economist of the Department for International Trade (DIT) on how to adapt its traditional “trade gravity” model, which gives weight to the proximity of trading partners, to focus more on trade in services, including digital and data.” – Daily Telegraph

Truss 2) Proposals to allow people to ‘self-identify’ as gender of choice is to be dropped this week in government U-turn

“Plans to allow people to ‘self-identify’ as a different gender will be formally dropped this week after they sparked controversy. Ministers have decided to scrap proposals to permit gender on birth certificates being changed without a medical diagnosis. Instead, it is believed the cost of changing gender as it currently stands will be made cheaper. The proposals to alter the 2004 Gender Recognition Act were sent out for consultation in 2018. Liz Truss, the equalities minister, will this week publish the Government’s new stance on the policy. But a Government source told the Sunday Times: ‘We think that the current legislation, which supports people’s rights to change their sex, is sufficient.’” – Daily Mail

Labour conference: Keir Starmer will fly flag for patriotism to win back working class

“Sir Keir Starmer will call on Labour to rediscover its patriotism and pride in Britain this week to woo the working-class “red wall” voters who backed Boris Johnson at the last election. The Labour leader is expected to use his first conference speech to make a clear distinction between his leadership and that of Jeremy Corbyn by affirming the party’s support for British “values” and what the country has achieved. His attempt to reposition Labour has already drawn criticism from left-wing unions, however, who warned him not to steer Labour away from a radical Corbynite agenda. In an interview with Times Radio before the party’s first virtual conference, Sir Keir sought to distance himself from previous policies, claiming the Covid-19 crisis meant the party “couldn’t return to business as usual”.”

Sales of eco-friendly cars overtake diesel

“Sales of green cars have jumped above diesels for the first time, bolstering claims that traditional fossil-fuel vehicles are in terminal decline. Official figures show that 33,000 pure electric and hybrid cars were registered between April and June, compared with 29,900 diesels. A fifth of cars registered were “alternative fuel” vehicles capable of being driven in zero-emissions mode. Car sales were heavily depressed by the pandemic in the second quarter of this year, with showrooms forced to close and purchases being delayed. The Department for Transport (DfT) said it was the first time that more alternative fuel cars than diesels were registered in a three-month period.” – The Times

  • Top one per cent emit double the carbon of poorest 50 per cent – The Times

News in brief: