Dacre and Moore tipped for top jobs in TV

“Boris Johnson is ushering in a revolution at the top of British broadcasting by offering two of the top jobs in television 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, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph and biographer of Margaret Thatcher, who has condemned the criminalisation of those who refuse to pay the licence fee, has been asked by the prime minister to take up the post of BBC chairman.” – Sunday Times

  • Actor Laurence Fox launches political party to fight the culture wars – Sunday Telegraph
  • Hiring Dacre and Moore could be kill or cure for the BBC – Sunday Times

Coronavirus 1) Sunak’s opposition ‘killed the idea’ of a ‘fortnight firewall’ lockdown…

“To his enemies, he is a stubborn politician who never changes his mind or apologises for his previous statements. But behind the scenes, the coronavirus has forced Boris Johnson to rethink one of his most cherished beliefs. As the prime minister concluded that he would have to impose new restrictions to contain Covid-19, he revealed that his great hero was no longer the mayor of Amity in the film Jaws, who kept the beaches open despite the presence of a great white shark offshore. Confronted about his notorious stance in the past few days, Johnson replied: “I did write that article, but the mayor of Amity was only dealing with one shark that had attacked one or two of his constituents.” – Sunday Times

  • Johnson was forced to mediate between the Chancellor and the ‘pro-lockdown lobby led by’ Hancock and Gove – Mail of Sunday
  • Tottenham in north London risks being the country’s worst-hit area for unemployment — across all classes – Sunday Times
  • Baroness Greengross: ‘Elderly prefer death to a family‑free Christmas’ – Sunday Times

Coronavirus 2)… as growing number of MPs rally around Brady’s amendment

“Boris Johnson is preparing to effectively dare rebels to vote down his entire package of Covid-19 measures this week if the Commons Speaker blocks a vote designed to give MPs a say on new restrictions. A growing number of MPs are rallying around an amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, which would force a vote on future social restrictions before they are imposed. With some 60 Conservatives preparing to back the move, Mr Johnson would face his first parliamentary defeat since his landslide election win if opposition parties also vote against the Government en masse.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Tory donors attack virus curbs – Sunday Times
  • Churches vow to defy any new lockdown measures – Sunday Times
  • Labour secures three-point lead over the Conservatives – The Observer

Coronavirus 3) Steve Baker – Parliament must take back control of Covid laws

“To prevent harm, liberty is routinely constrained. Even great heroes of liberal thought such as Friedrich Hayek teach that fundamental liberties can be suspended to preserve freedom in the long run. So I acquiesced in the fast passage of the Coronavirus Act in the grave situation of the time. Ministers evidently required broad powers to respond swiftly and efficiently to the reasonable worst case scenario we faced. Today, 100 Acts of Parliament have enabled 242 statutory instruments related to the disease. Rapid, repeat amendment and revocation have been commonplace. According to The Telegraph, coronavirus rules controlling how people live their lives have changed almost 200 times since March.” – Sunday Telegraph


Coronavirus 4) Flaw stops millions putting test results into Covid app

“Millions of people are unable to use the government’s flagship coronavirus tracing app after five key flaws emerged within days of its launch. The NHS Covid-19 app was finally made available for download on Thursday, five months after its creation was announced by Matt Hancock, the health secretary. He had previously insisted the app would be a vital tool in defeating Covid-19, boasting it would “hunt down and isolate the virus so it’s unable to reproduce”. Almost £11m was spent on an earlier version abandoned in June. Yet the new app has already received a flood of complaints from frustrated users and a series of failings is severely limiting its effectiveness.” – Sunday Times

  • Hancock banks on saliva tests for Operation Moonshot lift‑off – Sunday Times

Coronavirus 5) NHS creates ‘Covid-free’ hospitals to stop winter waiting lists soaring

“When the pandemic struck in March, breast surgeon Rebecca Lewis was one of thousands of NHS staff redeployed to help tackle the crisis. While the enormous redirection of resources paid off – the NHS did not collapse – it had serious consequences for patients with other illnesses. Until her redeployment, Lewis had been saving the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer. Her surgical team, with other members also diverted to different roles, was left depleted. Its operating list fell from 30 patients a week to three a fortnight.” – Sunday Times

  • Councils pay care homes double the local weekly fee to take Covid hospital patients amid fears deadly mistakes made at the start of the pandemic will be repeated – Mail on Sunday

Coronavirus 6) Locked down students should receive refunds on their university fees, says Halfon

“A senior Conservative figure has called for students locked down or forced to self-isolate because of Covid-19 outbreaks to receive refunds on their university fees. Thousands more students will need to be subjected to lockdowns and self-isolation to protect the wider population from Covid-19 outbreaks, disease control experts have warned. It comes as further student accommodation blocks were locked down and universities warned that they would expel those who did not follow coronavirus restrictions. As many as 3,000 students across seven British universities have already been confined to their flats after coronavirus outbreaks.” – Daily Telegraph

Centre for Policy Studies – Government’s ‘Online Harms Bill’ will ‘threaten freedom and democracy’

“New laws to ban ‘harmful’ words from the internet are unworkable and will ‘stifle’ freedom of speech, an influential report has found. Ministers’ plans to force blanket regulation on online companies and websites to protect people will not work, according to a new report by think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies. Instead they will ‘seriously threaten freedom, privacy, competitiveness and the UK’s reputation for democratic accountability’, the report said. The Government published its White Paper on the subject last year and is preparing to introduce a new Online Harms Bill.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Teachers are told not to push tomboys to change their gender just because of the way they like to dress or play – Mail on Sunday

Brexit talks to enter the ‘final stage’ this week

“Britain and Brussels are set to enter final-stage Brexit trade talks within a week after both sides made key concessions. If the ninth round of talks, which will begin on Tuesday, go well then Lord Frost, the UK negotiator, and his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, will hope to enter the “tunnel”, where the final details will be hammered out in total secrecy, at the end of this week. The expectation is that this would then lead to two weeks of secret discussions and a final agreement to be put in place just after the next EU summit in Brussels in mid-October.” – Sunday Times

Bricks in northern ‘blue wall’ loosen as Tories fumble virus and recession bites

“In that historic election night in December, the country watched as Labour’s “red wall” crumbled and 43 seats in its northern heartlands fell to the Tories. Nine months later, the swathe of newly inked blue across the electoral map is beginning to look less solid. I visited several of those battleground seats during the short 2019 campaign, and last week I returned to retrace my steps. On these same streets last winter there was conviction and genuine strength of feeling about politics. Now people are less sure. The two prime forces that toppled the wall — Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership — are no longer the wrecking balls they were.” – Sunday Times

Allegra Stratton leads race to become No 10 press spokesperson

“Candidates to front Downing Street’s new press conferences underwent an “ordeal by fire” interview on Friday in a bid to find the new face of the government. The frontrunner is Allegra Stratton, currently director of communications to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and who has been a political journalist for ITV, the BBC and The Guardian. It is understood that Boris Johnson has already signalled that he would be happy to see her take up the post. The five contenders were quizzed by three of Johnson’s top spin doctors — Lee Cain, James Slack and Helen Bower-Easton — in the pillared room at No 10.” – Sunday Times

News in brief: