Prime Minister to offer Manchester’s leaders £100m to accept Tier 3 and break deadlock…

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson will offer Manchester’s leaders up to £100 million on Monday to accept Tier-3 coronavirus restrictions or risk having them imposed against their will. Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, described talks with Downing Street on Sunday as “constructive”, increasing speculation he might be ready to do a deal. The Prime Minister wants to avoid imposing Tier-3 status on Manchester without local consent, and Government sources said talks with its leaders could take “days”. Ministers believe if the situation in Manchester continues to worsen, Mr Burnham will come under increasing pressure locally to accept tighter measures for the sake of public health. Mr Johnson has said he will intervene to impose Tier-3 status if there is no agreement.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Greater Manchester risks running out of hospital beds, leak reveals – The Guardian
  • Labour would shut down the UK again and again over the winter, says shadow Cabinet Officer minister, Rachel Reeves – Daily Mail

… as Tory MPs locked in furious ‘blue on blue’ row over tougher Covid restrictions

“Tensions between the north and south were laid bare both in public and via an internal party WhatsApp group, in which northern MPs accused the signatories of throwing them “under a bus” in order to curry favour with Number 10. In a series of testy exchanges, one redwall MP branded their colleagues “absolute pillocks”, adding that the controversy had made Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham during lockdown look like a “storm in a teacup”…Organised by Jerome Mayhew, the MP for Broadland, the letter called on Mr Burnham to “engage” with the Government’s regional approach in order to spare other areas the “pain” of tougher blanket restrictions.” – Daily Telegraph



Trevor Phillips: Burnham exposes the sorry state we’re in

“The stand off between the mayor of Greater Manchester and the prime minister is a vindication of one of Tony Blair’s apparent failures: big city mayoralties. You may not agree with Andy Burnham’s dogged refusal to fall into line with either Downing Street or his own party leadership but there is something admirable in his determination to speak up for his city. This is not a partisan point; the same could be said of Andy Street in the West Midlands and Ben Houchen on Teesside. From this group of leaders (diverse except for the unwelcome fact that they are all men), we are hearing voices lost to the national conversation pretty much since Joseph Chamberlain pioneered slum clearance, safe water and gas and cut the death rate in Birmingham’s Corporation Street by 60 per cent in the late 1870s.” – The Times


Coronavirus 1) ‘Protect the NHS’ message led to 90 per cent drop in hospital admissions

“The devastating cost of efforts to “protect the NHS” in the pandemic has been exposed by a new analysis of 200 health conditions which reveals hospital admissions for plummeted by up to 90 per cent. The major report shows that consultations for the most common cancers fell by up to two thirds during lockdown, while heart-attack checks reduced by almost half. Experts said the findings were “staggering” and could mean thousands of extra deaths. They warned that the situation must not be repeated during the second wave of the pandemic, as hospitals come under growing pressure, with operations being cancelled. During lockdown, the Government urged the public to “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Fears for surgery as ‘slow-burn’ second wave hits hospitals – The Times
  • NHS faces ‘catastrophic shortage’ of senior doctors – The Times

Coronavirus 2) Police shy away from punishing face mask rule breakers

“Three quarters of police forces have not issued a single fine to people refusing to wear facemasks. Besides British Transport Police, the nine forces that have issued fines have given only a few, according to figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). In the three months to September 21, only 18 fines have been issued for large gatherings that are in breach of coronavirus restrictions. Since the start of the pandemic, forces have fined as few as five people per 100,000 of the population for breaking coronavirus rules. The soft-touch approach to enforcement will raise concerns given that police are being asked to oversee the public’s adherence to restrictions in high-infection areas.” – The Times

  • Fines for not isolating may stop people getting tested – The Times

Coronavirus 3) UK could get 40 million Covid vaccine jabs by New Year as Pfizer begins roll-out

“Forty million coronavirus vaccines could be heading to the UK in the next two and a half months, it has emerged, after US multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer revealed it had started the manufacturing process. The pharmaceutical giant, which already has “hundreds of thousands” of doses ready at its Belgian production plant, is committed to delivering 100 million in 2020, of which 40 per cent are earmarked for Britain. The two-dose vaccine could potentially enable 20 million British patients to be inoculated before the New Year. However, rolling out such a vaccine to the public is subject to it being signed-off as safe and effective by regulators. The logistics of getting sufficient doses to the front line also pose a challenge.” – Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – The new testing plan that Johnson believes will help him control the virus – and win back the support of Conservative MPs

Gove 1) National circuit breaker would be unfair, says Gove

“A national “circuit breaker” lockdown was ruled out by the government yesterday after Labour said that several might be needed and each could last longer than three weeks. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, left the door open for a regional variant of the policy, however, by criticising it only for imposing blanket restrictions on areas where infection rates were lower. He said that resisting tough measures in the name of the economy was a “false argument” because businesses would suffer if the virus was not brought under control. Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said it was “never too late” for a circuit breaker, which he argued was needed across the country.” – The Times


Gove 2) The door remains ‘ajar’ for post-Brexit trade deal with EU

“The door to a trade deal with the EU remains “ajar” Michael Gove has said, as he and Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator prepare for talks with their counterparts on Monday. Mr Gove said the EU had “drawn stumps” on a deal by insisting that any further compromises must come from Britain, but the two sides will continue talking this week. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has cancelled a planned trip to London on Monday, but he and his counterpart Lord Frost are expected to speak by telephone today. Meanwhile, Mr Gove will hold face to face talks in London with Maros Sefcovic, who co-chairs the EU-UK joint committee dedicated to solving outstanding problems with the EU Withdrawal Agreement.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Archbishops decry ‘disastrous’ Brexit bill – The Times

Shapps admits too many new cycle lanes are ‘unused’ leaving streets ‘backed up’ with traffic

“Grant Shapps has hit out at ‘unused’ cycle lanes clogging up traffic – blaming some town halls for misusing special funds for ‘green’ transport. The Transport Secretary declared he was ‘not prepared to tolerate’ badly designed road closures that led to traffic being ‘backed up’.  He also vented his fury at new cycle lanes that impose ‘sweeping changes’ to entire communities. Last month, pictures taken around the country showed cycle lanes lying empty or nearly empty while traffic squeezed past on narrowed streets. Research conducted by MailOnline in London, where Transport for London is leading its own £33million scheme, showed that on Park Lane, in Mayfair, only 21 cyclists used the cycle lane as 400 cars battled past.” – Daily Mail

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