Coronavirus 1) 16,000 cases had been unreported due to technical error

“Tens of thousands of Britons have been ‘put at risk’ by a computer glitch that meant thousands of new cases were missed from the government’s coronavirus infection figures and were delayed in being passed on to NHS Track and Trace, according to reports. Public Health England last night admitted nearly 16,000 cases had been missed off its dashboard system in the space of a week – most of them in the past few days. The agency said in a statement that all those missing cases had been informed that they had the virus, as normal.” – Daily Mail


Coronavirus 2) Criminals given shorter sentences

“Criminals including paedophiles, violent offenders and drug dealers are avoiding jail or having sentences reduced because coronavirus has led to a “harsh regime” in prisons. Judges have been handing down shorter sentences since April when the Court of Appeal ruled that the effect of coronavirus measures, such as prolonged cell confinement and visitor restrictions, could be taken into account in the sentencing of a man who sexually abused a schoolgirl. Since then criminals have routinely had their sentences reduced. Last Friday a gang of Romanian burglars who carried out 12 raids and targeted irreplaceable antiquarian books were given 10 per cent discounts on their sentences.” – The Times

Coronavirus 3) Sunak vows to resist second lockdown

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak defended his Eat Out To Help Out scheme today — and revealed his frustration at the 10pm pub curfew. In an exclusive interview with The Sun, he bit back at claims that the popular cut-price meals deal fuel-led a second wave of coronavirus….he warned that a further lockdown would cripple not just the economy but society, too. Cementing his position as the leading hawk in the Cabinet against tougher clampdowns, Mr Sunak pleaded for ministers to strive for a return to normality in the face of the virus….Mr Sunak’s interview came ahead of his speech to the virtual Conservative Party conference. He will blast Labour as being “nowhere in this crisis” and suggest they “don’t really understand the country they want to govern”.” – The Sun 

  • Chancellor to launch jobs drive – Daily Mail
  • Lower taxes like it’s 1993, top economists tell the Chancellor – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Javid floats a zero based spending review as economy day opens at the Tory conference

Coronavirus 4) Vaccinating all of UK ‘not going to happen’, says task force head

“Less than half the UK population can expect to be vaccinated against coronavirus, the head of the government’s vaccine task force has said in an attempt to clear up the public’s “misguided” perception of the programme’s aim. Kate Bingham told the Financial Times that vaccinating everyone in the country was “not going to happen”, adding: “We just need to vaccinate everyone at risk.”…Ms Bingham said the government was aiming to vaccinate about 30m people, compared with a UK population of about 67m, if a successful vaccine against Covid-19 was found.” – Financial Times

  • Lord Bethell promises tests people can do at home under Operation Moonshot – The Sun

Coronavirus 5) Coffey predicts there will not be a return to mass unemployment

“The UK’s welfare system is prepared for a million-strong surge in the number of people claiming jobless benefits this winter, as the tapering of government wage support forces employers to take tough choices, according to the minister responsible for its smooth running. Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, told the Financial Times that catastrophic job losses were not inevitable when the furlough scheme ended this month. Its successor — which will be far less generous to employers — was “well-targeted on starting to get companies to make choices”, she said, adding it was not yet clear whether they would opt for “fundamental restructuring” or keeping staff levels more stable, as they had after the last recession following the 2008 financial crisis. But while insisting that the UK would not see a return to a Thatcherite era of mass unemployment, Ms Coffey acknowledged that many lower-paid workers were in the line of fire, as employers appeared to be holding on to higher-skilled staff who were harder to replace.” – Financial Times

Coronavirus 6) Prepare for a tough winter, warns Johnson

“Boris Johnson denied bungling coronavirus lockdowns as he warned there is no guarantee the situation will improve by Christmas. The PM admitted people were ‘furious’ with him over the 10pm pubs curfew, the Rule of Six, and chaotic local curbs, but defended his handling of the crisis amid growing disquiet on his own benches. As the virtual Tory conference gets underway, Mr Johnson urged the public to be ‘fearless but use common sense’ to help manage the outbreak without destroying the economy. He said he was working ‘flat out’ and hoped that ‘in the course of the next few weeks and months the scientific equation will change’ and that would allow a ‘different approach’. But in an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, he cautioned that the restrictions could drag into 2021.” – Daily Mail

  • This BBC interview showed just how much the PM has changed – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • The dilemmas are clear for all to see – Leader, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: WATCH: Johnson – “I know people are furious with me”

Hancock: Brexit will mean less delay for new treatments

“Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed Britain will join forces with the best medical regulators in the world to speed up medicine licensing. The international team will focus on authorising innovative cancer treatments swiftly and safely. Britain will be free of European Union medical red tape from January 1. Mr Hancock said: “This means that one of the benefits of Brexit will be faster access to life-saving treatments on the NHS.” Britain is currently bound by European Medicines Agency (EMA) rules but stops being a member of the organisation when Brexit transition arrangements end in December. The government has informally joined Project Orbis, set up to allow medical regulators to work together to fasttrack treatments, and will officially become a member from January 1.” – Daily Express

>Yesterday: WATCH: Northern Ireland Secretary denies he was “thrown under a bus” over breaking international law claims

Patel pledges reforms to “indefensible” asylum system

“Priti Patel vowed to fix Britain’s broken asylum system yesterday as she blasted Labour and lawyers for blocking changes. In a speech to the virtual Tory conference, the Home Secretary said her reforms planned for January will be the “biggest overhaul of our asylum system in decades”…In a blistering speech Ms Patel told Tory conference: “As for those defending the broken system – the traffickers, the do gooders, the leftie lawyers, the Labour Party – they are defending the indefensible. And that is something I will never do.” Ms Patel added that she doesn’t care if her reforms “means being unpopular on Twitter”.” – The Sun

>Today: David Simmonds on Local Government: After six months of disruption, refugee resettlement must not be forgotten

>Yesterday: WATCH: Patel – “Our asylum system is fundamentally broken. We have a responsibility to act.”

Malthouse announces all burglars released from jail are to be fitted with GPS tags so they can be tracked 24/7

“All burglars released from jail are to be fitted with GPS tags so they can be tracked 24/7, the policing minister has revealed. Kit Malthouse said he wanted all freed burglars tagged so police forces could check every burglary in their area against the movements of the criminals to see if they could be suspects. He said a change in the law through a statutory instrument would mean probation and police could request and enforce the tagging as a condition of the freed burglar’s licence so they could be tracked every minute of the day to within feet. Refusal to wear the tag would breach their licence, returning them to prison.” – Daily Telegraph

Timothy: We need to know about long term plans

“From “Get Brexit Done” to “Stay At Home”, the three‑word slogan has been a recurring feature of Boris Johnson’s premiership. And sure enough, as the Tories begin their virtual conference this week, “Build Back Better” is the call that rallies the troops. The slogan has none of the drama of the promise to bring about Brexit, and lacks the urgency of the warning to the public to help halt the spread of Covid-19. “Build Back Better” is in fact a tacit confession that events have conspired to severely disrupt the Government’s domestic policy programme.” – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph

Con Home at Party Conference 1) Truss: US trade deal won’t make obesity worse

“A trade deal with America will not mean Hershey bar adverts on the sides of buses, Liz Truss has said, as she promised the Government would not compromise on the UK’s obesity fight. The Trade Secretary hit back at suggestions that a trade deal with the United States might fuel Britain’s obesity crisis, as she pledged not to pass the buck on getting the nation’s diet under control. Her comments came after Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon Restaurants, the healthy fast food chain, cited an incident where he claimed that the Mexico-US trade deal resulted in the increased “consumption of sugary foods”. He said that this was because “they were exposed to the advertising budgets of the American corporations”. “Do a deal with America and suddenly Hershey’s posters are on every bus and every bus stop,” he warned a fringe zoom event at Sunday’s Conservative Party Conference.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK-US trade deal will not lead to surge in junk food ads – City AM

>Yesterday: WATCH: Truss, Minette Batters and Henry Dimbleby debate trade deals, farming, the environment, consumers, freedom – and values

Con Home at Party Conference 2) The Guardian picks up Truss’s clash with Government adviser Dimbleby at ConHome’s joint event with the NFU yesterday

“The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has called on the UK government to make a legal commitment to ban chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef from supermarket shelves. In advance of new agriculture legislation, the NFU president, Minette Batters, said she was not demanding that imported chickens should luxuriate in “10ft-high straw beds” but that the UK’s high standards of animal welfare should be imposed on imports. “We’ve had so much talk about chlorinated chicken. The thing is, if we don’t put a marker in the sand, if government doesn’t put a red line down in the agricultural bill, that allows secondary legislation on any day of the week effectively to change it. You have to put that marker down and say: ‘No, you know, we’re going to stick by our word today,’” she said. In an exchange with the international trade secretary, Liz Truss, at the Conservative party conference, Batters called on the government to support the Curry amendment to the agriculture bill, which returns to the House of Commons on 12 October.” – The Guardian

  • Daily Mail follows up on testing air passengers comments from our fringe meeting – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Today on the ConservativeHome online fringe: Wallace, Sharma, Scully, Davison and more

Foges: Next year the Tories should choose a new Leader

“With four years to go before the next election the government needs to find a way of shedding this dull skin. With a difficult winter ahead, now is not the time to contemplate change — but the Conservative Party must seek renewal in the spring or summer of next year…Johnson must recognise that 2021 is the time to leave the stage. It is hugely tempting for prime ministers to carry on and on in the hope that “something will turn up” to rescue their waning popularity; Gordon Brown and Theresa May clung on in the belief that they would somehow prove the British people wrong, like gamblers who won’t be dragged from the roulette table because at the next spin of the wheel all will come good. It never comes good.” – Clare Foges, The Times

  • Get this Party started – Leader, The Times

“Mixed messages” on Trump’s health

“US President Donald Trump remains under scrutiny as he stays in hospital for Covid-19 treatment. There is scepticism over the prospect – raised by doctors earlier – that he could leave on Monday as questions continue over the seriousness of his illness. His oxygen level dipped twice and he received a steroid treatment. On Sunday, he made a surprise public appearance in a drive-past to greet supporters, drawing criticism.”More than 205,000 Americans are dead. We need leadership. Not photo ops,” tweeted Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the Democrats in the US House of Representatives.” –  BBC

News in brief

  • Biden can smell victory in his battle against Trump – Daniel DePetris, The Spectator
  • The blame game over the EU – John Redwood
  • Mendelssohn in the condemned cell – Bernard Carpenter, Conservative Woman
  • Amnesty demands immediate inquiry into care home residents ‘abandoned to die’ – Independent
  • No, long-term fixed-rate mortgages are not a recipe for a British subprime crisis – Robert Colvile, CapX