Town halls ‘to be given control of local war on virus’

“Mayors will be given more control over the coronavirus test-and-trace system as ministers try to secure their support for tough new local lockdown rules due to be announced tomorrow. In an admission that the national system is failing, ministers will empower town hall bosses to deploy an army of new local volunteers to knock on doors and ask people to self-isolate. With Covid-19 running rampant, they want local people to take charge of controlling the spread of the virus in the hope it will generate “community spirit” and “improve compliance”. – Sunday Times

  • Second wave of lockdowns ‘will divide the country’ – Sunday Times
  • Councils argue about where they sit in new tiers – Sunday Times
  • Millions to be told not to leave their local area – Sunday Telegraph
  • PM offers local leaders ‘cash for crackdowns’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Mayors in North call for greater financial support – FT
  • Cumbria’s ace test and tracers put Whitehall to shame – Sunday Times
  • Immunity shielding the South as infections soar in North – Sunday Times
  • Britain reaches virus ‘tipping point’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Virus death toll rises by 81 – Sun on Sunday
  • Government ‘considers lifting rule of six for Xmas’ – Sun on Sunday
  • Rose tells ministers to end farcical 10pm curfew – Mail on Sunday
  • Ferrier says Covid rule breach was ‘a blip’ – Sun on Sunday

Sunak warns ‘we must avoid lockdown to protect economy’

“Rishi Sunak cemented his position as the cabinet’s leading hawk today as he warned of the effect further lockdown measures could have on public spending and people’s health. As the prime minister prepares to introduce new measures in the north of England, his cabinet is divided between the hawks, who are seeking to ease restrictions in order to protect the economy, and the doves, who want to prioritise the nation’s health and favour tighter restrictions. Yet Sunak has given a stark warning of the possible impact of the latter course of action: “If we have a smaller economy in a few years, that’s less money for the NHS.” – Sunday Times


Hancock accused of breaking bar curfew and joking about test-and-trace failings

“Health Secretary Matt Hancock was last night accused of breaking his own Covid curfew by drinking in a Commons bar beyond 10pm – where he made a crass joke about the Government’s test and trace failings. Mr Hancock arrived at the bar just before a 9.40pm vote, ordered a glass of white wine and announced: ‘The drinks are on me – but Public Health England are in charge of the payment methodology so I will not be paying anything.’ His ill-conceived joke came after he had tried to explain to the Commons why the quango had lost nearly 16,000 positive coronavirus tests – a fiasco which Labour claimed had put ‘lives at risk’. – Mail on Sunday

‘Panicking No 10 dumps Trump and woos Biden’

“Ministers have been told to forge links with the White House frontrunner Joe Biden after “writing off” Donald Trump’s chances of re-election, amid fears that the UK could be left out in the cold if the former vice-president wins. Boris Johnson has been warned that Trump is on course for a landslide defeat with his Democratic opponents set to land a historic “triple whammy” by seizing control of the presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Private polling and computer models shown to No 10 last month put Biden’s chances of victory at more than 70%.” – Sunday Times

Johnson tells Macron he must compromise to save Brexit deal

“Boris Johnson has warned Emmanuel Macron that Brexit negotiators will need to bridge “significant gaps” within days, as Tory sources suggested the French president’s stance on fishing was standing in the way of a deal. In a telephone call on Saturday morning, the Prime Minister warned Mr Macron that “progress must be made” on fishing quotas and the EU’s demands for the UK to abide by a “level playing field” of rules, including on industrial subsidies. Lord Frost, Mr Johnson’s chief negotiator, is in the middle of a fortnight of intensive talks with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier as they attempt to avoid a no-deal outcome at the end of the transition period on December 31.” – Sunday Telegraph

PM ‘plans to give minister power to save controversial statues’

“Boris Johnson is to give a minister the power to veto the removal of statues, plaques, and memorials across the country, to help guard against campaigners and politicians “bullying” local officials into wiping out public heritage. The Government is preparing to change planning rules to allow Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, to take over formal applications relating to the dismantling of statues and other monuments, rather than the final decision resting with councils. The move would amount to the Government’s first legal intervention relating to recent cultural clashes that have led to museums, councils and universities facing pressure to remove statues, plaques and other objects linked to the country’s colonial past.” – Sunday Telegraph


‘I’ve always liked Starmer – I’m going to be his left-wing conscience’

“Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, might chafe against his portrayal in the tabloids as Red Len — menacing leftwinger, union hard man and scourge of business. But the 70-year-old can live with another side of his mythology: his status as the left’s great strategist. His office in Holborn, central London, is adorned with not one but two gleaming chess boards. In an intriguing gambit last week, McCluskey’s union cut its funding to Labour. The move by the former dock worker from Liverpool was designed to ensure that its new leader, Keir Starmer, thinks carefully as he shifts towards the political centre.” – Sunday Times

  • Starmer says Government “bobbing all over the place” in virus response – Observer
  • Parties neck-and-neck in latest polls – Observer

Lawson: Turkey’s game is lethal as Johnson well knows

“Try to imagine, if you can, Germany intervening militarily in a dispute between Israel and the Palestinians by sending mercenaries to fight against the Jewish state, using its fighter planes to down Israeli ones, and drones to bomb civilian areas. It is impossible to imagine, because modern Germany is profoundly conscious of its historical record and the associated moral responsibility… The exact opposite, in fact, of Turkey, where article 301 of the penal code makes it an offence to refer to the coldly planned and executed mass murder of its Armenian population in 1915 as “genocide”… And so President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sees only political gain in redirecting thousands of Turkey’s client jihadists from the Syrian civil war to fight alongside Azerbaijan’s army against Armenian forces”. – Sunday Times