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Coronavirus 1) Trump “resting comfortably” after being taken to hospital

“The White House has insisted that Donald Trump was taken to hospital on Friday as a “precaution” after the US President was infected with coronavirus. Mr Trump, who along with wife Melania has tested positive for Covid-19, was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland, for a “few days”, his press secretary said. It comes as a source told CNN that Mr Trump had a fever and was “struggling to breathe”. The White House physician said the President was “fatigued but in good spirits” and “doing very well”. Dr Sean Conley said Mr Trump was “not requiring any supplemental oxygen” and that his medical team had “elected to initiate Remdesivir therapy” On Friday evening Mr Trump walked unaided from the White House to a waiting helicopter before being flown to the hospital.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Most unpredictable Presidential election – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson sends supportive text messages – The Sun
  • Eric Trump calls his father a “true warrior” – The Times
  • President “plans TV address to prove he’s fine” – Daily Mail
  • Debate of the deputies becomes most important in decades – The Times
  • Trump’s recovery is imperative for the free world – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: What will Trump’s illness mean for the US election?

Coronavirus 2) Hopes grow for vaccine by Easter

“A mass roll-out of a coronavirus vaccine could be completed in as little as three months, raising the prospect of every adult in the country receiving a jab as early as Easter, The Times has learnt. Scientists working on the Oxford vaccine hope it could be approved by regulators before the start of next year, with some health officials estimating that every adult could receive a dose within six months. Government sources involved in making and distributing the vaccines told The Times that they expected a full programme, which would exclude children, could take six months or less after approval, and would probably be significantly quicker.” – The Times

  • Councils given five minutes’ notice of local lockdown confirmation – The Guardian
  • Threat to cancel Halloween – Daily Mail
  • Ministries at war – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 3) Parris: The BBC is not telling us the truth

“This week my radio tells me that there’s “early evidence” that the new rule of six may be working because (the BBC reports) a survey suggests the rate of infection may be slowing. I see. So if the spread is slowing that’s reported as an argument for lockdown, is it? And if the spread were accelerating, would that be reported as an argument against lockdown? No. It would be reported as an argument for more lockdown. “The science” has come up with a hypothesis that can never be falsified by any future event. Honestly, we might as well be ducking witches.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

  • Everybody got “complacent” says the PM – BBC
  • ‘Strongman’ Government is destroying democracy – Jonathan Sumption, Daily Telegraph

Conservative Conference 1) Johnson pledges to boost home ownership by easing mortgage deposit requirements

“Boris Johnson has promised to create “Generation Buy” with low-deposit mortgages to help get young people onto the housing ladder. The Prime Minister said he would “fix” the problem of unaffordable deposits that has caused millions of people to put their dreams of home ownership on hold. Mr Johnson told The Telegraph ahead of the virtual Conservative Party conference that he was determined to press ahead with a “massive domestic agenda” and deliver on manifesto promises, despite the coronavirus crisis…More than two million people who are comfortably able to afford mortgage repayments are locked out of the housing market because they cannot save up for deposits, which typically run to 15 or 20 per cent of a property’s value. Mr Johnson has asked ministers to work up plans for encouraging long-term fixed-rate mortgages with five per cent deposits.” – Interview with Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

  • Tories need to turn Generation Rent into Generation Buy – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • Worried Tories pining for “Old Boris” – Iain Watson, BBC

Conservative Conference 2) New headquarters to open in Leeds

“The Conservative Party is set to open a new headquarters in Leeds, it has been revealed, with the aim of being “at the heart of the blue wall”. Party co-chairman Amanda Milling will unveil the plans at the Conservative Party Conference on Saturday, with the new Yorkshire base set to open next year. Ms Milling, who worked in Leeds before she became an MP, will open the conference and is expected to say: “We are determined to show our commitment to the blue wall seats.”..Readers of the website ConservativeHome were asked for their suggestions on the location of the headquarters, either in the Midlands or North of England, which had good train links and was “well placed in political terms”.” – Yorkshire Post

  • War chest offered to Red Wall MPs – Daily Telegraph
  • Factory worker’s daughter with roots on radical left has Johnson’s ear – The Times
  • Cuts in Universal Credit “will hit families in Red Wall seats” – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Today’s ConservativeHome online fringe event line-up: Barclay, Buckland, Ford, Glen, Afolami and Courts

Conservative Conference 3) Patel to pledge to fix “broken” asylum system

“Priti Patel will tell the Conservative party conference this weekend that the asylum system is broken as official figures suggest that just one in 70 cross-channel migrants has been deported. The Home Office disclosed that only 76 migrants have been deported from the UK since April. Over the same period 5,330 have made the crossing. On Thursday a deportation flight took off with one person, a Sudanese man, on board after 29 asylum seekers were taken off because of last-minute legal challenges. They included 18 who made applications to remain on the basis of their human rights and six who made claims citing modern slavery. The home secretary is expected to unveil details of a “fair borders bill”, which is due to be introduced once the Brexit transition period has ended.” – The Times

Conservative Conference 4) Chance to reconnect with the grassroots

“The Conservative Party conference this weekend provides an opportunity for Mr Johnson to reconnect with the Tory grassroots and his MPs, albeit virtually. A survey by Conservative Home, a right-wing blog, found that fewer than one in three party members believes Mr Johnson is dealing with coronavirus well. In May the figure was 72 per cent. The conference is being staged in a studio in Canary Wharf, east London, with Mr Johnson expected to give a “forward-looking” speech as he presents his vision of life after coronavirus.” – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Our Cabinet League Table. The Prime Minister falls into negative territory.

PM announces 40 new hospitals

“Boris Johnson has revealed the list of 40 new hospitals to be built with a £3billion boost to the NHS. The massive new scheme is part of the PM’s agenda to “level up” the country after months of battling the coronavirus crisis. The list of hospitals getting extra money only actually includes five entirely new hospitals, with many being rebuilt or having upgrades and fresh departments added on.” – The Sun

Sunak plans to revamp Work Programme

“Ministers are designing a new support package to help millions of unemployed Brits get back into work after the Covid crisis. Rishi Sunak said the Department for Work and Pensions was looking at launching a new version of its Work Programme, which was deployed in 2011 to deal with mass unemployment triggered by the last recession. The flagship welfare-to-work scheme trained up unemployed Brits to get them off benefits and back into jobs.” – The Sun

  • The advisers who propel Team Rishi – The Times

“Last ditch” Brexit talks as Merkel warns differences remain

“Boris Johnson and the EU are preparing to kick off an intensified period of Brexit trade talks in a last-ditch effort to overcome stubborn disagreements on fishing rights and state aid. German chancellor Angela Merkel said talks were entering “a decisive phase” after a week in which negotiators narrowed the range of problems but warned of divergences that could still sink the discussions. “It will emerge in the next few days if we can make progress or not,” she said on Friday. “As long as we’re continuing to negotiate, I’m confident. But I have no breakthrough to report.” But in a sign that a push was under way to find common ground, Ms Merkel said it was clear Britain wanted “more freedoms than just continuing to follow the rules of the single market”, adding: “We have to respect that. We have to find the appropriate response.” – Financial Times

Bailey pledges to cut Congestion Charge

“When I’m mayor (he says it with confidence, as if it’s a foregone conclusion) I’ll cut the congestion charge, so it’s back to what it was before the recent rises. ‘When I worked here running my youth and community projects, the charge had such a ripple effect on poor communities, not the ones saying: “Let’s have more cycle lanes.” ’ ‘There are carers who don’t have money for new, less-polluting cars; there are people who need their car to go to their mosque or church, to collect elderly people; to keep families together. One local church has called the Congestion Charge a worship tax. And Sadiq Khan is virtue-signalling about carbon emissions from his ivory tower. He doesn’t realise that people are hanging by a thread.” – Interview with Shaun Bailey, Daily Mail

Ferrier investigated by the police

“The Metropolitan Police have announced that they are investigating MP Margaret Ferrier for breaching coronavirus laws. Ms Ferrier issued an apology on Thursday evening as she revealed she was tested for coronavirus on Saturday after developing symptoms, but then took a train to Parliament on Monday when she should have been self-isolating…Instead of self-isolating, she took a train back to Scotland on Tuesday. The Met Police have said that an investigation is under way into reported breaches of the Health Protection Regulations 2020. They added that following consultation with Police Scotland, officers from the Met, working with British Transport Police, are conducting an investigation into potential offences.” – The Scotsman

Fox says “cash rolling in” for his new party

“Reclaim has been backed so far by a single £5million donation from Jeremy Hosking, a Brexiteer former Conservative donor, who approached him about fronting up the new party in the summer. Fox says more cash is rolling in. The party – which has three members of staff – is now fully funded for the next five years and weighing up dozens of candidates to stand in next May’s Scottish elections, as well as the local elections in England ahead of the 2024 general election.” – Interview with Laurence Fox, Daily Telegraph

  • New British TV channels take up arms in a war against woke – Patience Wheatcroft, Financial Times

News in brief

  • Johnson turns up pressure on EU for a deal – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • What will the future railway look like? – John Redwood
  • Nigel Farage rides again – Gawain Towler, The Critic
  • Is Critical Race Theory racist? – Helen Pluckrose, Unherd
  • One small victory in the gender war – Caroline ffiske, Conservative Woman

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