Coronavirus 1) Ministers will do ‘whatever it takes’ to save Christmas

“Ministers are working on plans to save Christmas and are prepared to do “whatever it takes” to ensure that families are able to meet over the festive period, The Telegraph can disclose. Multiple sources say plans for up to three million coronavirus tests a day are in progress, and work on the roll-out of vaccines from the beginning of December is under way. If these measures are not in place in time, families may be able to isolate two weeks before Christmas to enable them to meet safely in groups larger than six. However, Department for Health sources urged a note of caution, saying nothing could be guaranteed at this stage.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Protests in France and Spain – Financial Times
  • London faces local lockdown – The Times
  • Khan urges ban on household visits in the capital – The Guardian
  • Academy chain boss calls for increase to pupil premium – BBC

>Today: Columnist David Gauke: Johnson’s Covid policy – and why it’s opening up a rift between him and his traditional Tory supporters

Coronavirus 2) Johnson to pledge £500m to global vaccine-sharing scheme

“The UK is to give £500m to a new global vaccine-sharing scheme designed to ensure treatments for Covid-19 are distributed fairly. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make the announcement in a speech to the United Nations general assembly. He will call on world leaders to overcome their differences as he sets out plans to prevent future global pandemics. He will also promise extra funding for the World Health Organization. Mr Johnson will tell foreign counterparts at the UN that the “notion of the international community looks tattered” after the Covid-19 crisis. He will call for states to “reach across borders and repair these ugly rifts”, as he announces a plan, developed with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Wellcome Trust, to help stop future pandemics.” – BBC

Coronavirus 3) Brady: Parliament isn’t a rubber stamp

“The fact is all governments find parliamentary scrutiny inconvenient. Once they are allowed to do it, they will easily get into the habit of governing by decree and this Government has done so with gusto. Ministers need to be reminded that Parliament isn’t an ornament or a rubber stamp: it is from Parliament that their powers are derived…On Wednesday, the Government will seek to renew the sweeping emergency powers that were introduced in March. If they accept my amendment requiring that those powers should only be exercised with prior parliamentary approval, they will show they understand that they can only govern by the consent of the people.” – Sir Graham Brady, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: MPsETC: The full list of 41 Conservative MPs backing Brady’s amendment on coronavirus regulations

Coronavirus 4) Lockdown could cause 75,000 deaths from other causes

“Nearly 75,000 people could die from non-Covid causes as a result of lockdown, according to a devastating official figures buried in a 188-page document. The startling research, presented to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), will further increase pressure on Boris Johnson to hold back on introducing further coronavirus restrictions. The document reveals 16,000 people died as a result of the chaos in hospitals and care homes in March and April alone. It estimates a further 26,000 will lose their lives within a year if people continue to stay away from A&E and the problems in social care persist.” – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 5) Wilson complains of “Stasi state”

“An MP who was photographed without a mask on the London Underground has complained that the public snooping on each other feels “like East Germany under the Stasi”. Sammy Wilson, the DUP MP for East Antrim, was pictured without a face covering on a Tube train on Thursday morning. Twitter users accused Mr Wilson of breaking Government guidelines just days after fines for travelling on the Underground without a mask increased to £200. But the MP would offer no excuse for his actions and said it was “sad that we have now become like East Germany under the Stasi where members of the public think it is acceptable to act as snoops”. “Whoever took the picture didn’t approach me or say anything to me which I suppose would have been the proper way to behave,” he added.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 6) A million more job losses forecast

“A further 1m people will lose their jobs by the end of the year, with chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new work support scheme failing to stop a wave of redundancies that will hit young and low-skilled workers the hardest, economists predicted on Friday. Mr Sunak said this week that he hoped the scheme would benefit large numbers of people by helping businesses that were “open and operating but with depressed demand” to keep employees in jobs on part-time hours after the furlough scheme ends next month. But economists warned that Mr Sunak’s new measures would not be enough to counteract the effect of new Covid-19 restrictions on economic activity, and that the wage subsidy would make no material difference to their estimates of the likely surge in unemployment.” – Financial Times

  • Nokes calls for more economic help for women – BBC
  • Lord Wolfdon warns to being “hooked on handouts” – Daily Mail
  • Sunak unites Tory MPs with ‘coherence and leadership’ – The Times
  • Scaremongering will damage the UK’s fragile economy – Camilla Cavendish, Financial Times

Coronavirus 7) Parris: Ministers should leave room for common sense

“On Covid-19 our masters have underestimated us and discounted the potential force of voluntary action shaped by private judgment. They’re in danger now of critically weakening these social bulwarks to public order by confounding us with a great skein of intrusive and overly specific instructions, leaving no margin for the application of common sense. Thus – elbowed aside by state fiat – does the national stock of common sense atrophy. The Swedish government trusted the people and the people returned the compliment. Our own, by distrusting us, barking at us and even blaming us, invites a sort of irritable and quibbling disregard. Unless ministers are careful, quibbling will turn to mutiny.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

Coronavirus 8) Sturgeon apologises to students

“Nicola Sturgeon has apologised to the hundreds of thousands of students banned from socialising at their universities. The Scottish First Minister admitted she had “got things wrong” amid a mounting backlash from furious students. She was quizzed about mistakes the government had made after university representatives accused Ms Sturgeon of trying to shift the blame to students….The president of NUS Scotland, Matt Crilly, condemned the announcement, saying that it showed “a complete disregard for students’ mental health and wellbeing”…The strict crackdown at Scottish universities means that students will not be allowed to socialise outside their households.” – Daily Express

  • Firs Minister defends “common sense” restrictions – The Scotsman

>Today: ToryDiary: Alliance for Unity, the new movement which could give Galloway his next political life

Andrew Neil to leave the BBC

“Broadcaster Andrew Neil has paid tribute to the BBC after announcing he will be leaving after 25 years. The 71-year-old journalist is to become chairman of new TV channel GB News, which is due to launch early next year. He said he was leaving the BBC, where he has presented shows such as Daily Politics and helped front its election coverage, with a “heavy heart”. The BBC said he had “informed and entertained millions of viewers” over the years. Neil’s last appearance for the BBC will be in early November when he will help lead its coverage of the US presidential election. The former Sunday Times editor has been at the heart of the BBC’s political coverage for the best part of three decades.” – BBC

  • New channel has backing from Discovery – Financial Times
  • Mistreated to the point of humiliation – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

Tributes to murdered police officer

“A police officer who was less than two years from retirement was shot dead yesterday by a handcuffed suspect previously flagged to the Prevent extremism programme. Sergeant Matiu Ratana, 54, was shot in the chest at Croydon custody centre in south London as he began checks on the 23-year-old man who then shot himself in the neck with the revolver. He is the first officer to be killed by a suspect inside a police station…Boris Johnson said: “My deepest condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the police officer who was killed in Croydon. We owe a huge debt to those who risk their own lives to keep us safe.” – The Times

  • Line of Duty – Leader, The Times
  • Police deserve our respect and admiration – Leader, The Sun

EU to focus on “no-deal” planning if there is no progress in talks next week

“EU chiefs will switch focus to No Deal planning if there is no breakthrough in next week’s last-ditch talks. Brussels sources said the upcoming negotiations are make or break amid a renewed sense of optimism a last-minute trade pact can be clinched. And PM Boris Johnson secured another major boost as No 10 confirmed Eurocrats have backed down from threats of a food blockade on Northern Ireland. Diplomats said there is a “rather positive spirit” in the talks despite the row over the PM’s plan to rip up parts of last year’s Brexit deal. But they now want to hear “more sophisticated messages” from him on how that can be translated into a compromise deal before a crunch October 15 summit.” – The Sun

Government faces housing rebellion

“Boris Johnson faces a new rebellion by Conservative MPs over his plans to allow two-storey extensions to homes and tower blocks to go ahead without planning permission. Backbenchers fear that the legislation, which will go to a vote on Wednesday, will do “serious damage” to residential areas. Developers will also be allowed to convert empty high street shops into flats under the extension of permitted development rules. Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, said: “Allowing a free-for-all to plonk two storeys on top of flats or terrace homes would do serious damage to the quality of life in thousands of quiet residential streets across the country.”..The government is thought to be tailoring some safeguards before the matter comes to the vote but a former Cabinet minister predicted that there would be “more than enough” rebels to defeat it.” – The Times

Trump makes Supreme Court choice

“Donald Trump is planning to name Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the supreme court on Saturday, according to multiple reports. Ginsburg died last Friday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 87. The president has trailed a Saturday afternoon announcement of his third pick for the court, a choice that with Republican support in the Senate would tilt the nine-member panel 6-3 to the right. The New York Times, the Associated Press and CBS were among outlets on Friday citing anonymous sources in the administration and Congressional Republicans as saying the choice had been made, although CNN added a caveat. “All sources cautioned that until it is announced by the president, there is always the possibility that Trump makes a last-minute change,” the network said.” – The Guardian

  • The President’s plot against democracy – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

Bailey proposes loan scheme to help black cab drivers switch from diesel to electric

“Black cab drivers in diesel motors will get interest-free loans to buy electric if the Tories take control of London. City Hall would pay a tenth towards the zero-emission cars and install more charging points so they do not run out on the road.Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said the move would clean up the air and save drivers £115 a week in fuel. Cabbies are banned from buying new diesel black cabs. Only 3,500 have gone electric. It is thought the scheme could help another 15,000 do so.” – The Sun

  • New petrol and diesel cars could be banned within a decade – The Times

Moore: Starmer is a threat to the Tories

“People should pay more attention to Sir Keir Starmer. The last week in September is normally the week of the Labour Party conference, and so the media cluster there. This year, Covid-19 turned the conference into “Labour Connected”. It was virtual, so virtually no one got excited. Sir Keir spoke to an empty room in Doncaster, with nobody clapping. Yet what he said was definitely interesting. Although he did not use such old-fashioned words, what Sir Keir was offering was respectability and patriotism, the former removing any possible extremism from the latter. He is unthreatening Keir from Surrey, reassuringly middle-class, yet the first of his family to go to university. He even made play with his very un-socialist title. When he went to Buckingham Palace to be knighted, he recalled, his parents said it was “one of the proudest moments of their lives: to be there, with me”. Note that he emphasised his parents’ reaction, not his own.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Why the rise in Covid cases could soon flatten off – Ross Clark, The Spectator
  • The intellectual shabbiness of Judith Butler – Sam Leith, Unherd
  • Labour is still falling short in the “Red Wall” – Ben Walker, New Statesman
  • Patel challenged over remarks about travellers – Independent
  • The perils of confirmation bias – Harry Phibbs, The Article