Johnson ‘puts faith in vaccine and ‘swab in the gob’ tests to wash away Tory rebellion’…

“Of all Boris Johnson’s statements on Covid-19 last week, it was one not broadcast to the public that was most revealing. Addressing 1,400 Treasury officials in a Microsoft Teams chat on Thursday, Johnson praised civil servants for their response. “If a meteor strikes I know the Treasury will have an answer to it,” he said. As the second wave of the virus hits, some ministers feel the meteor has already struck — but to many MPs, the government’s health response has been less assured than its economic plans. “I know if the Treasury was around millions of years ago that they would save the dinosaurs by getting them to eat each other to help out,” Johnson joked. When the first wave struck in March, the government sought to foster a culture of “we’re all in this together”.” – Sunday Times

  • ‘Big mouth’ scientists are losing the trust of Ministers – Mail on Sunday
  • Hospitals cancel operations as Covid surge accelerates – Sunday Times
  • Director of ‘secretive’ scientific body placing cities into lockdown accused of hypocrisy – Sunday Telegraph
  • Hope for Covid vaccine at New Year – Sunday Times

…as Tory grandees demand Covid exit strategy…

“Tory grandees are demanding that Boris Johnson urgently sets out an exit strategy from “a constant cycle of lockdowns”, as an influential expert on public opinion warned the Prime Minister risked appearing “blasé” about the lives of ordinary people. Senior Conservatives expressed growing anger at the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, amid mounting concern that swathes of the country are heading for further restrictions this week. On Saturday, Julian Jessop, an independent economist, said that another lockdown could result in a fresh hit to GDP of at least 5 per cent. Lord Lamont, the former Chancellor, warned that repeatedly imposing draconian restrictions and then lifting them is “deeply damaging to business and is not really a strategy”.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • They demand ‘clear end date’ for local lockdowns and a strategy to get life back to normal – Mail on Sunday
  • Hunt ‘puts the boot into Boris’ – Mail on Sunday


  • How can we follow the science when the scientists haven’t the foggiest? – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Number 10 must forget the polls to grasp the shift in public opinion – James Frayne, Sunday Telegraph
  • I’m yet to meet anyone who plans to obey the ban on meeting friends and family – Lord Sumption, Mail on Sunday


  • Powerful voices now argue for a more nuanced and less painful way of learning to live with the virus – Mail on Sunday
  • This time, Johnson needs an exit strategy out of lockdown – Sunday Telegraph


…and Sunak will do ‘all in his power to help hard-hit firms survive another lockdown’…

“Rishi Sunak is poised to update his financial aid package amid fears new lockdown rules will put thousands out of work. The Chancellor has told aides he will do all in his power to help hard-hit businesses survive the pandemic. He is under pressure to extend support for pubs and restaurants. Labour says thousands of pubs face ­closure, with 14,000 in the two high-risk tiers. Many of them do not qualify for an emergency grant. The coronavirus job retention scheme ends at the end of this month and without new grants, pubs that are barely one-third full say they face ruin. Senior Tories joined the chorus of anger over the creeping lockdown map last night — warning of needless redundancies and bankruptcies. Five Essex MPs wrote to Boris Johnson urging him to act to avoid “permanent economic damage”.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Burnham blames Sunak for being ‘the problem’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Burnham ‘slammed for attacking North-South divide whilst owning £500k London pad’ – Sun on Sunday


  • Metro mayors have power enough to whip up anger, but the blame always devolves to No 10 – Robert Colvile, Sunday Times

…as Harding says test and trace ‘was never a silver bullet’

“The state has spent £12bn on test and trace, more than the budgets of many departments, but the scheme remains under assault from all sides. Even the government’s scientific advisers have joined the chorus of criticism. Sage, the advisory group, believes it has had a “marginal impact on transmission”, according to minutes published on Monday and dated September 21. Since then, Boris Johnson has introduced harsh lockdown measures to suppress the so-called second wave: test and trace cannot do the job alone. New figures from Tussell, the data provider, show the government has accounted for just £4bn of its £12bn budget so far. The lingering question, then, is whether the money was well spent, and whether it could have had greater impact.” – Sunday Times

  • Police get access to people told to self-isolate by NHS test and trace – The Observer

Gove now ‘accepts the case’ for a no‑deal Brexit…

“Michael Gove today warns Brussels that Britain is “well prepared” for a no-deal Brexit and will brave the “turbulence” to go it alone, because the EU has refused to give any ground. In a stark intervention from the cabinet minister in charge of no-deal preparations, Gove makes clear that he has sidelined his well-publicised concerns and is now preparing to trade on World Trade Organisation terms. In an article for The Sunday Times, Gove accuses Brussels of reneging on a pledge, after talks broke down last week, to agree a deal along the lines of that given to Canada. “That’s what the EU said it would offer us,” he writes. “But it now seems that the EU won’t take yes for an answer. What’s good enough for British Columbia is too good for the British people. Gove says no deal is “not my preferred destination” and admits “there will be turbulence en route”.” – Sunday Times

  • UK-EU relations ‘will be in deep freeze for years after trade talks collapse’ – Sun on Sunday


  • Macron ‘using Brexit talks to boost standing in France’ – Sunday Telegraph
  • Cameron ‘furious’ over criticism of his handling of Brexit in new book – Sunday Times


  • Johnson should not be blamed for pulling the plug on Brexit talks – Sun on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: The EU trade talks. Whether there’s a deal or not, we will be out of transition soon. Ministers should be ready to make the most of it.

…as Holyrood and Westminster ‘urged to end constitutional Brexit trade row’

“The country’s leading business organisations have called for “co-operation and compromise” from political leaders north and south of the Border to deliver “frictionless and barrier free” trade when Brexit comes into effect in just two-and-a-half months. The Scottish Government fears the UK Internal Market Bill is a “power grab” on Holyrood powers and will mean that Westminster can legislate in areas which traditionally fall within the remit of the Scottish Parliament such as agricultural and environmental standards. It will also allow Westminster to spend directly in areas such as roads infrastructure and university research, which is under control of Holyrood as part of the devolution arrangement.” – Scotland on Sunday

  • Indyref fever is Covid’s side effect in Scotland – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • The Prime Minister must not resign himself to the Union’s demise – Jeremy Warner, Sunday Telegraph
  • We need a new way to run a truly United Kingdom – Gordon Brown, The Observer

Michael Gove: Why we’re not giving in to the EU

“We had hoped to conclude a Canada-style free trade agreement (FTA) before then, but as things stand, that will not happen, and the EU’s decisions at last week’s summit have, in effect, ended those trade talks. It will require a fundamental change in attitude, policy and politics from the EU to get things back on track. Unfortunately, they want us to sign up to restrictions that would undermine the independence the British people voted for. The EU want to keep us in their tractor beam. It’s independent life, Jim, but not as we know it. Even though we were a member state for 45 years, we are asking for no more than other countries with which the EU does business. The terms on which Canada and the EU waive tariffs on each other’s goods is all we seek. That’s what the EU said it would offer us — but at the eleventh hour it seems the bloc won’t take yes for an answer.” – Sunday Times

  • Johnson isn’t bluffing: if we don’t get a trade deal like Canada’s then it’s sod EU – Iain Duncan Smith, Sun on Sunday

Patel mulls plan to ‘rein in’ judges using human rights laws to block deportations…

“Judges will be told what constitutes “inhuman or degrading treatment”, under plans being considered by Priti Patel to curb the use of human rights laws to block deportations. The Home Office is drawing up a legal definition intended to restrict the ability of judges to make “subjective” decisions about the conditions potential deportees would face in foreign countries. Under the plans, the Government’s Fair Borders Bill would define “inhuman” or “degrading”, in cases in which foreign criminals or failed asylum seekers say they would suffer from such treatment if they were deported to a foreign country. Article Three of the European Convention on Human Rights states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Senior Tories say the clause derived from horrors perpetrated by the Nazis during the Second World War, and has since been interpreted too widely by judges, and abused by those seeking to avoid deportation from the UK.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Government to bombard migrants with Facebook ads telling them to abandon Channel crossings – Sun on Sunday

…as Mercer vows to protect troops from legal witch-hunts

“Veterans minister Johnny Mercer has vowed to make it his “personal mission” to protect troops from legal witch-hunts. He said he will carry the can if any troops are disadvantaged by new rules deadlines on civil claims going through Parliament. Some critics have claimed the new laws will protect the Ministry of Defence and not soldiers because they place a six-year time limit on bringing an action. But Mr Mercer, a former commando officer, hit back: “The vast majority of relevant claims against the MoD are already brought within the time limits… Mr Mercer said that it was important to “match our thoughts and words with actions” as we begin the countdown to Remembrance day.” – Sun on Sunday

Shapps admits new cycle lanes are leaving roads ‘backed up’ with traffic

“The Transport Secretary has admitted too many cycle lanes are being left “unused” with traffic “backed up” as a result of his green transport revolution, The Telegraph can reveal. In a strongly worded letter sent to councils, Grant Shapps has warned he is “not prepared to tolerate” badly designed road closures and new cycle lanes which are imposing “sweeping changes” to entire communities. And in a move that will infuriate cycling and green campaigners, he has declared the Government is not anti-car, explaining: “No one should be in doubt about our support for motorists.” Mr Shapps announced a £250 million Emergency Active Travel Fund in May intended to promote walking and cycling as the country emerged from lockdown. Councils were invited to apply for the cash by drawing up projects intended to entice people away from their cars and take more active forms of travel.” – Sunday Telegraph