Coronavirus 1) Tories lash out against ‘Big Brother’ fines…

“Boris Johnson has been accused by Conservative MPs of ruling by decree after creating an array of coronavirus offences, including falsely reporting that someone must quarantine and pubs playing music too loudly. The new offences, which were not subject to consultation, also include penalties of £4,000 for “reckless” refusal to self-isolate, prompting comparisons with George Orwell’s 1984 from leading Tory rebels. In a further tightening of restrictions in the northeast, meeting people from other households in pubs and restaurants is illegal from tomorrow. Previously it was banned only in homes and gardens, while it is discouraged in other local lockdown areas.” – The Times

  • Police to crack down harder on those who flout coronavirus rules – Daily Telegraph
  • Red Wall revolt underway as new measures will stop friends meeting for a drink – Daily Mail
  • MPs may get votes to stem revolt on coronavirus emergency powers – The Times
  • Rebellion set to be thwarted despite rising anger – The Guardian
  • The Government has tried to “terrify the British people” with its use of Covid data, says one backbencher – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 2)…. as ministers are warned that the pub curfew is harmful

“Ministers have rejected calls for an urgent review of the 10pm curfew despite the police and government scientific advisers warning that it could be doing more harm than good. Downing Street defended the measure despite scenes at the weekend of large crowds gathering in city and town centres and packed public transport after closing time. Long queues were also seen outside off licences as people rushed to buy more alcohol. Boris Johnson’s official spokesman played down the scale of the problem and said that the 10pm closing time struck the “right balance” between virus control and allowing pubs and restaurants to trade.” – The Times

  • Mayors and businesses object to new restrictions in Paris – The Times

Coronavirus 3) Hunt: Can the golden age of democracy survive Covid?

“As foreign secretary, I travelled to nearly 30 countries and – contrary to the self-flagellation in the press over Brexit – was always struck by how much respect Britain is held in as a country. The hard-headed world of diplomacy can be pretty transactional, but I always sensed that our place at the global top table was about more than our economy – still in the top 10 – or our soft power. We earned our influence the hard way – through our decisive role, alongside America, in the construction of the post-1945 global order. Those 75 years have been a golden period that has nurtured more scientific and technological advances, eliminated more poverty and fostered more freedom than any other period in humanity”, Jeremy Hunt – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 4) Johnson to outline £2.5 billion scheme to help unemployed train and retrain

“Boris Johnson will use a speech to promise guaranteed opportunities for life-long learning as he looks to help create a jobs recovery after the pandemic. Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week, when unveiling his plan to support jobs after the furlough scheme is wound down next month, admitted not every job can be saved following the hit that Covid-19 has dealt the economy, with his focus turning to propping up ‘viable’ employment. But the Prime Minister will use a speech on Tuesday to outline his intention to create conditions for people to upskill at any stage of their life in a bid to help those made redundant to retrain for new positions.” – Daily Mail

  • Tax hikes or austerity needed to pay for Covid spending, warns IFS – Daily Telegraph
  • Free college courses to help adults gain skills – The Times

Coronavirus 5) Elderly facing winter flu vaccine shortage

“The flu vaccine is running short across parts of the UK, causing fears that pensioners could face delays in getting the jab. Surging demand caused by coronavirus has prompted high street pharmacies Boots and Lloyds to suspend bookings for those aged 65 and over, while the waiting list at some GP surgeries stands at several weeks. The shortages leave swathes of the most vulnerable in the population with no immediate prospect of an flu jab, despite a Government promise that they would be at the front of the queue. It follows the release of a Public Health England (PHE) study showing that the chance of death for coronavirus patients roughly doubles if they catch flu” – Daily Telegraph

  • Covid-19 test that gives results in minutes to be rolled out across the world – The Guardian
  • Global Coronavirus deaths pass 1m with no sign rate is slowing – The Guardian
  • Unpaid carers spent an extra 92 million hours looking after relatives with dementia since Covid-19 started – Daily Mail
  • Breast milk could stop Covid-19 spreading, researchers claim – The Times

Coronavirus 6) Several universities investigated over Covid-19 disruption amid growing calls for refunds

“Several universities are being investigated over concerns they are failing to provide a good quality education due to Covid-19, it emerged on Monday, as vice-chancellors were told they may have to partially refund students. The university watchdog the Office for Students said it would investigate any institution it believed had failed to uphold standards or where “quality is slipping for groups of students”.  A spokesman confirmed it was already investigating a number of universities after it was alerted to concerns over “teaching arrangements or other potential breaches of our regulatory conditions as a consequence of the pandemic.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Students could be told to isolate before going home for Christmas – The Times

Hopes of deal rise as EU says it is ready to work on legal agreement

“European negotiators have indicated for the first time that they are prepared to start writing a joint legal text of a trade agreement with the UK, before fresh talks begin today. In a potentially significant move Brussels is understood to have dropped its demand for the two sides to reach a broad agreement on all the outstanding areas of dispute before drafting a final agreement. In return the UK side is expected to engage in detailed discussions on post-Brexit fishing quotas and the government’s future subsidy policy, two of the biggest remaining sticking points.” – The Times

Cummings-inspired planning reforms will lead to ‘disastrous urbanisation’ warns ex-Cabinet minister

“New planning reforms would lead to a “disastrous urbanisation of the suburbs”, a former Conservative Cabinet minister has warned, with some areas forced to take the equivalent of several new towns each. New analysis shows that Tory seats around London, Nottingham and Leicester will be forced to take tens of thousands of additional new homes due to a “mutant planning algorithm” in new reforms. Many Tory MPs are up in arms over plans to use an algorithm which is being proposed to overhaul housing forecasts. A consultation on the plans closes on Thursday.” – Daily Telegraph


News in brief:

  • The row over Charles Moore and Paul Dacre exposes the entitlement of the institutional left – CapX
  • Is No. 10 about to move on the Brady amendment? Katy Balls – The Spectator
  • Under fire Number 10 strives to agree a deal with Covid Tory rebels, Mutaz Ahmed – Reaction
  • More than a third of young people have ‘lost hope’ over future aspirations due to Covid-19 pandemic – ITV
  • Joe Biden’s one chance to save America, Justin Webb – UnHerd