Curfews for restaurants and pubs to tackle virus…

“Pubs and restaurants around the country face early closing times to slow coronavirus infections, with London’s public health chief warning of a “local curfew” in the capital. The prime minister is looking for targeted ways to control the epidemic, which is spreading fastest among the young and risks running out of control. Hospitality businesses in hotspots are expected to be ordered to shut by 10pm. A further 3,991 cases were confirmed yesterday, 50 per cent higher than a week ago, and Boris Johnson warned that a rise in deaths would follow. He said a second total lockdown would be “completely wrong” and disastrous for the economy. Addressing senior backbenchers on the Commons liaison committee, he admitted that Britain did not have enough testing capacity and acknowledged the “frustration” of people struggling to get checked.” – The Times

  • Office staff ‘face work from home order if coronavirus cases keep rising’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Business warns testing failures risk crippling the UK economy – FT
  • Second lockdown would be ‘disastrous’ for the economy, Johnson warns – Daily Telegraph
  • Tough love is the only way to ‘save Christmas’, says the Prime Minister – The Sun


  • Northern needs will test Conservative unity – Sebastian Payne, FT

>Today: Keith Prince in Local Government: Londoners will not return to their previous travel arrangements. Whatever the Mayor might want.

>Yesterday: Simon Thomas in Sponsored: Curfews would be economically disastrous for casinos; the Government must have a rethink

…as Johnson rows back on Patel’s comments about snitching on neighbours…

“Boris Johnson has railed against “sneak” culture – urging Brits not to snitch on their neighbours unless they are having “Animal House parties” with “hot tubs and so forth”. The Home Secretary and junior ministers sparked a major backlash on Monday by demanding people grass their friends and neighbours for breaking the Rule of Six. But the Prime Minister says we should step in first and talk to rulebreakers before reporting them to the authorities… The policing minister Kit Malthouse said this week he would dial 111 if he saw his neighbours breaking the rules. Asked if he would grass his Downing Street neighbour if he saw the Chancellor breaking the rules in their shared garden, the PM quipped Rishi was too well behaved.” – The Sun

…and Buckland says schoolchildren should be next in line for tests

“Schoolchildren and their parents should be next in line for Covid-19 tests after the NHS and social care, the UK justice secretary, Robert Buckland, has suggested, as he admitted the government was facing “real challenges” in its testing programme. Buckland’s comments came as a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said ministers would need to “dramatically” increase coronavirus testing to cope with demand during winter. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Tuesday that problems with the system could take weeks to resolve as he announced, in effect, rationing of tests with priority for acute clinical care followed by social care… Downing Street faces renewed pressure over its handling of the crisis, amid widespread complaints that people have been unable to access tests – with some even turning up at A&E in a desperate bid to be tested.” – The Guardian

  • Covid testing chief Dido Harding faces grilling from MPs as system teeters – Daily Mail
  • New £546million winter rescue package to fight off Covid-19 in care homes – The Sun
  • ‘Schools are closing and hospitals are buckling’ in testing crisis – The Times
  • MPs demand answers for failure of virus test programme – FT
  • NHS 111 will be the new ‘front door’ to A&E to cut crowding during Covid – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Plan A for schools is in danger of breaking down. So we need a Plan B for schools – online.


Allister Heath: Johnson has six months left to save his premiership

“There are two kinds of prime minister: those who successfully mould and make history, shifting their country’s path forever, and those who are buffeted by events and crises, too weak and disorganised to attempt anything other than survival. Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair belonged to the former category; Sir Anthony Eden, John Major and Theresa May to the latter. How will historians judge Boris Johnson? His supporters know that he has it in himself to reach for greatness, but even they are starting to panic as the Government’s failures continue to mount. The collapse of the Covid testing system at the first sighting of a second wave has been bitterly disappointing, and the skirmish over the internal market mishandled. Why didn’t the Government start off by arguing that the EU was negotiating in bad faith? Why didn’t Brandon Lewis simply explain that all self-respecting countries put their internal integrity first? What was the point of it all, if Johnson is now climbing down?” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Prime Minister’s erratic style will cost him dear – Iain Martin, The Times
  • Why do power-hungry ministers still treat us like children? – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Test and trace is a fiasco because this government hates the public sector – Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian
  • Covid libertarians are a danger to us all – David Aaronovitch, The Times

Internal Market Bill 1) Prime Minister reaches deal with rebels

“Boris Johnson reached a compromise with Tory rebels on Wednesday night by agreeing to give them a final say on overriding the Brexit divorce deal – but it came too late to prevent one of his senior law officers from resigning. Officials had hoped to persuade senior legal adviser Lord Keen to change his mind after he tendered his resignation on Wednesday morning. However, his position was unchanged after Mr Johnson promised to impose “extra parliamentary scrutiny” on the controversial Internal Market Bill by accepting an amendment similar to one from senior backbencher Sir Bob Neill… Meanwhile, Tory rebels said they had forged the “main outline” of their deal during a “constructive” meeting with Mr Johnson ahead of the initial Commons vote on Monday night (watch the result being declared in the video below).” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson backs down in row over internal market bill – FT

>Today: David Skelton in Comment: Brexit can unleash a new era of reindustrialisation. But only if we are free from state aid laws.


Internal Market Bill 2) Biden tells UK the Belfast Agreement will not become a ‘casualty of Brexit’

“Joe Biden, the US Democratic presidential nominee, has said he would not allow the Good Friday Agreement to become a “casualty of Brexit” if he is elected president. Mr Biden waded into the issue as Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary, tried to reassure US politicians during a trip to Washington that Britain’s support for the peace accord with Northern Ireland was “absolute”. “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” tweeted the former vice-president, who is going up against President Donald Trump in November. He warned that any trade deal between the US and UK “must be contingent upon respect for the agreement and preventing the return of a hard border.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Leading Democrats say trading relationship is on the line… The Guardian
  • …but Pompeo says US-UK trade talks on track for ‘successful conclusion’ – FT

>Today: Stephen Booth’s column: Why the row about the Northern Ireland Protocol suggests that the EU’s position isn’t quite as strong as it likes to think

Internal Market Bill 3) Senior law officer resigns over Johnson’s Brexit bill

“Boris Johnson suffered another damaging resignation over his plans to override the UK’s Brexit treaty as Downing Street made fresh concessions to avoid a backbench revolt yesterday. In a withering resignation letter Lord Keen of Elie, the advocate-general for Scotland, said that he could no longer reconcile his obligations as a government law officer with the prime minister’s plans. He had attempted to identify a “respectable argument” to justify the government’s actions but it was “now clear that this will not meet your policy intentions”. He added: “In these circumstances I consider it my duty to tender my resignation.” Sources who had spoken to Lord Keen, one of three government law officers to rule that Mr Johnson’s proposal was potentially unlawful, said he had come close to resigning last week.” – The Times

  • A lawyer and advocate general unafraid of controversy – Daily Telegraph


  • Johnson’s Brexit plan will break the UK union – Philip Stephens, FT

Johnson slams ‘abusive’ Brussels for failing to act in good faith over Brexit deal

“Boris Johnson says the EU is being “abusive” to Britain and risking four decades of partnership. The Prime Minister, when asked if Brussels was acting in good faith, replied: “I don’t believe they are.” Mr Johnson told The Sun: “We assumed our EU friends and partners would want to negotiate in good faith. “We’ve been paid up members for 45 years.” His broadside came after a furious spat with the EU over new legislation that could let him overwrite parts of the divorce deal. After 30 Tory MPs refused to vote for the new law, No 10 cut a deal with the rebels to give the Commons a final say on whether to implement powers that would breach the international treaty. Despite branding his exit deal “oven ready” last year, Mr Johnson now says he must “ring-fence it to put in watertight bulkheads that will stop friends and partners making abusive or extreme interpretations of the provisions”.” – The Sun

  • Downing Street ‘claims Boris’ threat paid off as EU backs down on key UK demand’ – Daily Express
  • UK could ‘surrender control over Channel Islands’ fishing’ in bid to pass Brexit deal – Daily Telegraph

Downing Street to boost nuclear backing after reactor project collapses

“Boris Johnson is to hold a “nuclear summit” with Rishi Sunak and Alok Sharma to consider new subsidies after the collapse of a project to build two new reactors. The Japanese company Hitachi formally abandoned plans for new plants in Anglesey in north Wales and Oldbury, Gloucestershire, yesterday. It had paused the £30 billion project in January last year after failing to win more subsidies. Hitachi blamed the “severe” consequences of the pandemic for its decision to kill off the venture. The two plants were among six proposed to replace ageing reactors that are due to shut over the coming years. Only Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, is being built, with uncertainties on funding and concerns over the role of China undermining efforts to usher in a promised “new nuclear age”.” – The Times

Officials admit plan for tougher sentencing for worst offenders ‘will cost £385,000 per inmate’

“Hundreds more serious criminals will be locked up for longer at a cost of around £1billion. Sexual and violent offenders will serve at least two thirds of prison terms rather than half. Under the sentencing reforms announced yesterday, whole-life orders will extend to child killers and those aged 18 to 20 convicted of terrorist killings. This is on top of previously-announced plans for the removal of early release for those with terms of more than seven years. The sentencing white paper said these reforms could lead to 2,600 prisoners serving longer jail sentences by 2028. Last night the Ministry of Justice admitted this would cost around £1billion – £385,000 per offender. Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the changes would result in a ‘fairer system’ that better protects the public.” – Daily Mail

  • Civil servants warn that £500m sentencing reforms could worsen crisis – The Times

Davis demands to hear the evidence in torture review

“David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, has launched a legal challenge to be allowed into a secret court that will hear evidence of British involvement in torture and rendition. Mr Davis will argue that he should not be blocked from seeing material in the judicial review — which he is mounting against the government’s decision to drop plans for a judge-led inquiry into the UK’s alleged complicity in the abuse of detainees after 9/11. The High Court is set to hold closed sessions, in which a judge would hear from government lawyers alone. However, Mr Davis has urged the court that, given his history of handling sensitive material as a minister, he should have access to secret evidence on which the government will rely.” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Where’s Boris? – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator
  • Covid confusion is what happens when government tries to do everything – Aria Babu, CapX
  • This authoritarian government is out of control – Alastair Benn, Reaction
  • Confessions of a student Marxist – Tobias Phibbs, UnHerd
  • The need for a UK Secession Clarity Act – Jamie Blackett, The Critic