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Coronavirus 1) ‘Emergency lockdown plan to ban socialising’

“Ministers are preparing to enforce a total social lockdown across much of northern Britain and potentially London to combat a spiralling second wave of coronavirus. Under the new emergency plan, all pubs, restaurants and bars would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially. Households would also be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location where they were not already under the order. The social lockdown was among options presented to the cabinet’s Covid-19 strategy committee before last week’s new restrictions, which included a 10pm curfew on all hospitality venues. The Times has learnt that the group of six ministers, led by Boris Johnson, held them back, fearing a backlash from Tory MPs and sections of the public.” – The Times

  • Local lockdowns failing to slow the increase in cases – Daily Telegraph
  • Curbs may only be delaying third wave, says expert – The Times
  • More restrictions in Wales as Cardiff and Swansea in lockdown – WalesOnline
  • Government plans to shut pubs and restaurants for two weeks – Daily Mail
  • Pubs and restaurants in North and London could be shut – The Sun
  • Test and Trace still plagued by serious problems, say its staff – The Times
  • 10 million download NHS Covid app – The Times
  • Labour accuses Sunak of consigning 1m jobs ‘to the scrapheap’ – The Guardian
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>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 2) £10,000 fines introduced as Government faces rebellion by MPs

“Neighbours are being encouraged by the Government to report Covid sufferers who are not self-isolating to the police, on the day it becomes an offence punishable with a fine of up to £10,000. Like other coronavirus restrictions, it has not been subject to a vote in Parliament, and the Prime Minister has been warned that he faces “certain” defeat in Parliament this week if he refuses demands to give MPs more of a say. Up to 100 Tory MPs are now said to be ready to back a proposed amendment to the Coronavirus Act, tabled by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, which would force ministers to give Parliament a vote on future measures.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Defy Tory lockdown rebels and expect ‘certain’ defeat, Johnson warned – Daily Telegraph
  • Tory revolt over ‘draconian’ restrictions grows, as police ‘plan home checks’ – Daily Mail
  • Transgressors face heftier fines – FT
  • Government ponders plans for a ‘Neighbour Day’ bank holiday – Daily Telegraph
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>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 3) Dowden defends students’ university return

“The culture secretary has defended students going back to university in England after a union labelled the situation “shambolic”. Oliver Dowden told the Andrew Marr Show it was important students did not “give up a year of their life” by not going. Labour has called on the government to consider pausing the return after Covid outbreaks meant thousands of students had to isolate in their accommodation. A scientist who advises the government said the situation was “inevitable”. Mr Dowden said: “Young people have paid a huge price during this crisis and I think it is only fair to try and get them back – we have got clear guidelines for them to follow.” It comes as the UK recorded a further 5,693 cases and 17 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.” – BBC News

  • Senior Tories call for tuition refunds for university students – Daily Telegraph
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>Today:

BBC 1) Brexiteer ex-editors ‘scare off’ rivals for BBC and Ofcom jobs

“Officials are concerned that there will be too few applicants for the two top jobs in television after it emerged that Boris Johnson had offered the roles to outspoken critics of the BBC. Paul Dacre, the former editor of the Daily Mail, is the prime minister’s choice to become chairman of Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, replacing Lord Burns, who is due to leave before the end of the year. Lord Moore of Etchingham, the former editor of The Daily Telegraph, who has refused to pay the licence fee, has been asked by the prime minister to become BBC chairman. The Times was told of one potential applicant who was no longer interested in applying.” – The Times

  • Johnson ‘determined’ to politically rebalance quangos – Daily Telegraph
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BBC 2) TV licence fee evaders ‘will no longer face prison’

“Failure to buy a TV licence will be decriminalised and replaced with fines enforced in the civil courts and by bailiffs under government plans. Ministers are expected to announce the change as soon as next month with non-payment being treated as a “civil debt” in the same way it is for people who do not pay their utility bills. The BBC will be entitled to pursue non-payers through county courts and use bailiffs to collect fines. Failure to pay will also affect credit ratings. A government source said that decriminalising the licence fee was a “done deal” but added that there was a debate about how to replace it.” – The Times

Tory heartlands ‘will have to find space for 1.5m new homes’

“Communities in large parts of the Conservatives’ traditional heartlands will have to find space for 1.5 million new homes under a “mutant” planning algorithm being considered by the Government. The plans, reportedly the brainchild of Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings, will deliver an additional five million homes across England over the next 15 years, with nearly a third in rural counties. The five million target is two million more than the targets already set out in local plans that had been democratically agreed by local councils, according to analysis by the House of Commons library. Urban areas and communities largely in the north of England are largely let off the requirement for new homes, with shire counties hardest hit by the need for overbuilding, raising fears of a “concreting” over the South.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson commits to ‘restoring to nature’ 30 per cent of Britain by 2030 – Daily Telegraph
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MP claims Labour failed to stop intimidation

“Jeremy Corbyn and Sir Keir Starmer should “hang their heads in shame” after failing to act on allegations that an MP has been subjected to a campaign of bullying and intimidation, it is claimed. Supporters of Emma Lewell-Buck, the MP for South Shields since 2013, allege that a plot against her has been orchestrated by key figures in the Labour stronghold. She has asked for help from the national party but told The Times that she felt “utterly let down” by successive leaders. “I’ve been complaining to them almost since I was first elected but no effective action has been taken,” she said.” – The Times

>Today:

Barratt: How Sir Ed can kick-start a Lib Dem revival

“Conference speeches are one of the few times in a year that coverage is given to what the Liberal Democrat leader wants to say on their own terms. The fact the speech is broadcast also means there is no filter to that content – at least for those who do watch it in full! Which is not to say that all speeches go off without a hitch. I recall breaking out in a panic at the sight of an empty stage for Tim Farron’s inaugural leader’s speech. He had managed to miss his cue to go on. I was not alone — his spokesman remembers desperately kicking in a toilet door as he searched for his missing boss.” – The Times

  • Davey promises ‘to be the voice of carers’ – BBC News
>Yesterday:

And finally, Parliament’s bars exempt from curfew

“Parliament’s bars will not be subject to the 10pm curfew or have to gather customers’ details despite the imposition of tougher rules on pubs last Thursday, The Times has learnt. Facilities serving alcohol on the parliamentary estate are understood to be exempt from the earlier closing time on the basis that they fall under the description of “a workplace canteen”. The regulations announced by Boris Johnson last week state that “workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food”. Bar staff and customers in the Palace of Westminster will not be required to follow stricter rules on face coverings introduced for other licensed premises.” – The Times

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