Sunak reveals tier two rescue package…

“It was only on Tuesday afternoon that Boris Johnson refused to meet Andy Burnham’s demands for an extra £5 million to help Manchester through weeks of punishing tier three restrictions. So it was hardly surprising that the Labour mayor was on Thursday struggling to contain his disbelief, as the Chancellor Rishi Sunak rode to the rescue with a multi-billion pound rescue package to help firms through the winter months. Just 48 hours after talks between the Prime Minister and Greater Manchester collapsed, Mr Sunak rose to the dispatch box to unveil a fresh cash injection for those struggling to stay afloat under tier one and tier two restrictions. Worth an estimated £13bn over six months, Mr Sunak’s package included a revamped wage support scheme to help firms cling onto more workers part-time, as well as a new round of funding for the self-employed.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Chancellor steps up efforts to avert mass unemployment – FT
  • £2bn lost to criminals in furlough cash fraud – The Times
  • Treasury provides extra £13bn to keep businesses alive – Daily Telegraph
  • Up to £12bn to keep loss-making trains and buses running – The Times


…as ‘power mad’ Welsh First Minister orders supermarkets to sell only ‘essential goods’…

“Welsh supermarkets have been ordered to only sell ‘essential goods’ to customers during the country’s 17-day lockdown. First Minister Mark Drakeford will tell stores they are unable to sell items such as clothes to shoppers, and to prioritise other products deemed to be more important. It means a likely return to the scenes witnessed at the beginning of the pandemic when there were rows over the contents of people’s shopping trollies. Many retailers will be forced to shut during the ‘firebreak’ lockdown, when it begins on Friday at 6pm, but food shops, off-licences and pharmacies can stay open. Despite there being just hours before it comes into effect, the Welsh Government was unable to provide clarity tonight on what is defined as ‘essential’ nor how enforcement of the rules would look.” – Daily Mail

  • Drakeford has exposed Johnson’s lack of leadership – Nathan Yeowell, The Times

>Today: James Evans in Local Government: Welsh Conservatives need candidates who aren’t the “usual suspects” – we need genuine diversity

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Conservatives explore plans to buy off SNP with… yet more powers

…and Johnson admits test and trace system ‘needs to improve’

“Boris Johnson said England’s coronavirus test and trace system had to improve after it recorded its worst weekly performance since its launch in May, with testing turnround times soaring and the proportion of contacts of infected people reached falling to a record low. With the programme coming under increasing strain as infections rise, figures released by the government on Thursday for the week ending October 14 showed only a third of people received results from in-person tests the next day, down from two-thirds the week before. Only 15 per cent received their results within 24 hours, compared to 32.8 per cent the week before. Four-fifths of those who were transferred to the system were reached by contact tracers, up from 77 per cent the week before. But under 60 per cent of their identified contacts were reached, down from 63 per cent the week before and a new low for the programme.” – FT

  • Prime Minister criticises trace efforts amid warnings of 90,000 coronavirus cases a day… – The Times
  • …but he says tiers system is working to reduce the R rate – The Sun
  • Councils will get powers to shut pubs that break Covid rules – Daily Telegraph


  • Nightingale hospital reopens in Manchester – The Times
  • Home Office rejects easing of health recruitment rules – FT

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: The way the BBC and Sky News behave, you’d think we are the only country in the world with a second wave


Ministers to move north as part of civil service shake-up

“Ministers will be told to leave London and work in the “great northern cities” in one of the biggest shake-ups of the civil service ever attempted, Boris Johnson said. The prime minister pledged to move entire departments from Whitehall outside the capital to fulfil his pledge to “level up” the country. Under the plans about a quarter of the 92,000 civil servants who work in the capital would move to the regions by the end of the decade. The Treasury has announced plans to create an “economic campus” in the north and other departments, such as Work and Pensions and the Home Office, could also move. Speaking to northern business leaders, Mr Johnson said: “We will move departments of state, ministers, private offices and all, to great northern cities and regions that represent the future of this country.” … This year’s annual civil service headcount showed that about a fifth of civil servants work in London. There are 92,000 civil servants in the capital, with 56,000 in the northwest and 46,000 in Scotland.” – The Times

  • Government accused of being London-centric with Covid support – The Guardian


  • Civil service head ‘ever watchful’ of potential purge – FT

>Yesterday: Paul Howell in Comment: CCHQ North will only work if party members feel real ownership of it

Trade 1) Barnier says UK and EU have ‘huge common responsibility’ to avoid no deal

“Michel Barnier said Britain and the EU had a “a huge common responsibility” to avoid a no deal Brexit as he arrived in London for the first day of rebooted trade talks on Thursday. Number 10 warned that “significant gaps” remained between the two sides over fishing, “level playing field guarantees” and enforcement, and said it was “entirely possible that negotiations will not succeed”. EU diplomats in Brussels predicted that fishing would be the easiest of the three outstanding issues to solve in the intensive daily negotiations that will continue through the weekend and in Brussels next week. “I think it’s very important to be back at the table. Every day counts,” said Mr Barnier, who wore a blue facemask with an EU motif as he arrived. The EU has an end of October deal deadline, which could stretch to the first week of November.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Business experts plead with officials to protect UK’s powerhouse financial services industry – Daily Mail
  • Macron fisheries plot fails as fisherman concedes ‘we will not break law’ – Daily Express

Trade 2) Truss seals first big post-Brexit trade deal with Japan

“The UK has completed its first large post-Brexit trade deal after signing an agreement with Japan that will take effect from January 1. Liz Truss, the UK’s international trade secretary, signed the agreement with Toshimitsu Motegi, the Japanese foreign minister, in Tokyo on Friday. The pact, negotiated in just a few months over the summer, is seen by the UK government an important demonstration of its ability to reach new trade deals outside the EU. The new deal largely replicates the existing EU-Japan deal, but has an extra chapter on digital trade and lacks the quotas for agricultural exports such as cheese that Brussels wrested from Tokyo during years of talks. Instead, the deal allows the UK to use any agricultural quotas left over by the EU. British officials are confident there will be enough space in the quotas to maintain and increase the UK’s food exports to Japan.” – FT

  • She says trade deals can help ‘turbocharge’ the economy and create ‘Singapore-on-Tyne’ – Daily Telegraph

Morgan and Osborne ‘turn down chance to head BBC’

“Nicky Morgan and George Osborne have both ruled themselves out of the BBC chairmanship, leaving the way clear for Richard Sharp. The former investment banker at Goldman Sachs who now advises Rishi Sunak was revealed as a leading contender by The Times yesterday. His path to the powerful role has been smoothed by the decisions of Baroness Morgan of Cotes and Mr Osborne not to apply. The former culture secretary formally told Downing Street and the department for culture, media and sport last week that she did not want to enter the race. Mr Osborne, the former chancellor, has also decided not to put his name forward for the role. BBC figures were reluctant to express a public opinion on Mr Sharp yesterday, insisting the decision was one for government. However, sources said the former banker’s frontrunner status was unlikely to provoke David Dimbleby to run as a “protect the BBC” candidate…” – The Times

  • Sunak’s ex-Goldman Sachs boss emerges as next possible BBC chair – The Guardian


  • Davie wants programme makers to monitor ethnicity and disability of on-screen contributors – Daily Mail

>Today: Emily Carver in Comment: Under this Government, the state is rolling forward. But to be Conservative, it must roll it back.

Tory MP says his mum was called ‘scum’ after Rayner used the slur in Parliament

“A Tory MP has claimed his mum and staff were called “scum” after Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner used the slur in Parliament. Shaun Bailey condemned the abuse and told MPs it started after the incident which saw his party colleague Chris Clarkson insulted by Rayner. Mr Clarkson said the insult was hurled at him after he insinuated that members of the shadow front bench believe the Covid-19 pandemic is a “good crisis” to exploit… Mr Bailey asked Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg for a debate on the standards of conduct in the chamber, adding: “The language we use impacts people beyond us.” He suggested Ms Rayner should appear before MPs to apologise to them and “perhaps to my mum as well”.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Conservative MPs made a strong case against Labour’s free school meal plans in the Commons yesterday

Sajid Javid: Britain would be better off with Biden

“Trump has pursued a foreign policy that’s as alienating as it is unpredictable. Despite this, some in the UK fear what Trump losing the election could mean for our national interest. Biden’s opposition to Brexit has sparked concerns that if he wins the presidency it could sour the Special Relationship – and with it our prospects of a trade deal. These challenges are overstated. Britain’s relationship with the US is bigger than our respective leaders, and a Biden administration would quickly realise that Boris isn’t the British Trump some claim him to be. When it comes to policy, Biden will find he has more in common with the Johnson government than Trump ever did. He may not single us out for unique treatment, but in reality neither did Trump. In fact, when it comes to trade, foreign affairs, and moral leadership we might find Biden to be a far more dependable ally.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson has a way to build bridges – James Forsyth, The Times

>Today: Lord Ashcroft in International: “If you’re voting for Trump, you keep your mouth shut.” My American election focus groups in Georgia and Ohio.

News in Brief:

  • Trump’s Nato-bashing exposes the hollow myth of US ‘imperialism’ – Oliver Kamm, CapX
  • Scottish devolution has been tested to destruction – Stephen Daisley, The Spectator
  • What if Hunt had won? – James Kirkup, UnHerd
  • The left-wing bias of Wikipedia – Shuichi Tezuka and Linda Ashtear, The Critic
  • How Transport for London came to the brink of collapse – Mutaz Ahmed, Reaction