Trump gives video message to say he is “much better” as he takes experimental drugs

“Donald Trump is entrusting his recovery from Covid-19 to an experimental drug amid claims that his “vital signs” were impaired by the virus and his recovery hangs in the balance. There were conflicting messages about the president’s condition last night. While his doctor said he was “doing very well”, the White House chief of staff described the previous 24 hours as “very concerning”. Later Trump released a video from his hospital room in which he said he felt “much better” and hoped to be “back soon”. In a four-minute Twitter clip, Trump, looking peaky, said he “wasn’t feeling so well” when he arrived in hospital and that the next few days would be crucial in his fight against the coronavirus.” – Sunday Times

  • How have the luvvies got away with wishing death on him? – Madeline Grant, Sunday Telegraph
  • Conspiracy theories fill void – Sunday Times
  • An assassin never stopped US democracy. Nor should a virus – Leader, Sunday Times
  • In the midst of a crisis, America can fall back on ordered liberty – Leader, Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: WATCH: Trump offers thanks for “tremendous support”

ConHome at Party Conference 1) The Observer reports ConHome’s survey on Johnson’s fallen popularity….

“Boris Johnson’s reputation among Conservative members has plunged to a record low, it has emerged, as the party enters its annual conference facing accusations of a “chumocracy” at the top of government. With Tory MPs restless over the government’s performance, which has seen it lose a huge poll lead over Labour since the start of the pandemic, the prime minister has recorded his first ever negative satisfaction rating among a survey of Tory members on the ConservativeHome website. He recorded the second-lowest score of any cabinet member, with only education secretary Gavin Williamson performing worse.” – The Observer

  • Johnson’s ex-wives say his womanising mirrors his father’s – Tom Bower, Mail on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: As housing day opens at the Conservative conference, our survey finds Party members split on Johnson’s planning reforms

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

ConHome at Party Conference 2) …and the Telegraph picks Charlotte Gill’s interview with Barclay

“The Government will make an announcement about airport testing “in the coming days”, a Treasury minister has said in the first key moment of the Conservative party conference today. Steve Barclay, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye airport testing was a “key priority” adding that Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, to make an announcement on this “in the coming days”. The aviation industry has long called for airport testing to be introduced as a way of reducing the amount of time people will have to spend in quarantine after arriving in the UK from one of the many counties on the red list.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Today on the ConservativeHome online fringe: Truss on trade, Donelan on universities, Zahawi on the digital revolution

>Yesterday: WATCH: Barclay on airports, Covid-19, the spending round, the EU negotiation – and delivering on the manifesto

Conservative Conference 1) Patel to deny asylum to those entering illegally

“Migrants who board boats to cross the Channel or come to Britain via other illegal routes will be routinely denied asylum under new laws to be unveiled today by Priti Patel, the home secretary. In a major shake-up of asylum rules, the government plans a two-tier system where migrants are treated differently if they pay criminal gangs to help them come to Britain. Patel says it is “morally indefensible” that people paying traffickers “elbow” aside genuine asylum seekers. The home secretary will unveil a six-point plan that will be outlined in a “fair borders bill” to be published next year.” – Sunday Times

  • I’ll sink smugglers and throw a life ring to the needy – Priti Patel interview, Sunday Times
  • Civil servants warn against prison ships – The Observer
  • Plans are truly humane – Jill Kirby, Sunday Telegraph
  • She must defeat the battle dinghy-chasing lawyers – Leader, The Sun on Sunday

Conservative Conference 2) Ross: The Union can not be an afterthought

“Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has called on his party to end the “defeatism and disinterest” regarding the country’s future in the UK. Mr Ross said both an SNP majority in the 2021 election and Scottish independence “is not inevitable”. He also used a speech at the UK party conference to challenge attitudes of members south of the border. Mr Ross’ comments come in the wake of polls showing a majority of Scots are now in favour of independence. The Moray MP, who is seeking to win a Holyrood seat in May after becoming leader in August, used his conference address to insist the union cannot be an “afterthought”.” – BBC

  • British fishermen unprepared to take full advantage of extra quota when UK reclaims its waters – Sunday Telegraph

Conservative Conference 3) Technical glitches disrupt Gove’s “fireside chat”

“Activists and observers were temporarily unable to log into the virtual Tory party conference on Saturday. The problem occurred while the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, took part in a so-called “fireside chat”. It was unclear how many people were able to tune in. People and organisations who had paid for virtual stalls in the exhibition hall reportedly received messages from the Conservatives on Saturday afternoon saying: “Dear exhibitor, we are currently having some technical issues therefore you may not experience the full functionality of the stand or the platform at the moment. We are working extremely hard on getting that back up and running as soon as possible.”..The glitch was fixed after about 30 minutes.” – The Observer

  • It’s virtual conference, and the Tories are giving themselves a big slap on the back — but for what? – Camilla Long, Sunday Times

Conservative Conference 4) Agnew: Civil service is overloaded with “urban metropolitan thinkers”

“The civil service is “broken” and suffering from a “desperate shortage of practical skills”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s minister for Whitehall reform has declared. In the clearest public signal of intent yet of the Government’s plans for a radical overhaul the system, Lord Agnew described Whitehall as “the most overcentralised bureaucracy in the Western world”, in which the “overwhelming majority” of civil servants were “urban metropolitan thinkers”. His intervention came as Michael Gove, who oversees Lord Agnew’s work at the Cabinet Office, warned that too many Government jobs were based in Whitehall, adding: “I think we need some of the big Government departments and the big decision makers not in London but closer to where the action is in the North West, the West Midlands, Teesside and Tyneside.” – Sunday Telegraph

Ashcroft: Polling shows mid-term blues – but voters are more forgiving than the media

“The Covid crisis has not just derailed the ‘levelling up’ agenda and overshadowed the sunny optimism that was Mr Johnson’s hallmark until the pandemic struck: in political terms it has given the Conservatives a premature case of the mid-term blues. Many voters on all sides take a much more forgiving view of the Government’s handling of the crisis than the media coverage might suggest. As I found in my latest research, people spontaneously praise the furlough schemes and the speedy creation of the Nightingale hospitals. Even critics admit that Ministers are doing their level best with no precedent to help guide their decisions. In my poll, the proportion saying the Government had done a reasonable job in difficult circumstances matched those who thought its handling had made things worse.” – Lord Ashcroft, Mail on Sunday

  • Majority of Tory voters believe Boris Johnson should curb European human rights laws – Sunday Telegraph
  • The greatest power we have is to refuse to vote for people who insult us – Peter Hitchen, Mail on Sunday

Coronavirus 1) Stricter rules on protests being considered

“Protest marches will be limited to six people in areas with high Covid infection rates under tough new rules being considered by ministers. The change would mean mass demos such as those organised by Extinction Rebellion activists would be banned in some areas. Health chiefs are drawing up a new alert system with three threat levels to simplify the local lockdown laws. Those in the top or “red” tier – in areas with much higher rates than the rest of the country – would face much stricter rules.” – The Sun on Sunday

  • The case for lockdowns is littered with dangerous logical fallacies – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • UK announces more than 10,000 new cases for first time – BBC
  • Gove insists the crackdown is working – Interview with Michael Gove, Mail on Sunday

Coronavirus 2) Dowden’s plan to save football

“He admits he is not exactly the biggest football fan in the Cabinet. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden feels more at home watching cricket — and usually on the telly. But he is the man tasked with saving our national game from the Covid crisis. And Mr Dowden has vowed to throw his heart and soul into keeping every club afloat, while getting fans back into grounds soon. He has drawn up a masterplan to reopen Premier League stadiums quickly once infection levels go down — and he believes there is “every chance” that will be quite soon. When it happens, he is unlikely to be in the stands cheering on a team. But he is as passionate as any die-hard fan about the return of match days and the survival of lower-league clubs.” – The Sun on Sunday

Coronavirus 3) Brady: The public need to feel they’ve got a say over the rules

“Do lockdowns really work? What about the wider cost to our health? How can we mitigate the sense of fear still blighting the lives of so many? These are important questions and I would like to see them starting to cut through, not just in newspapers or on the internet, but in the House of Commons….by excluding others from the way decisions are made, senior Ministers have made their job harder, not easier. Parliamentary scrutiny may be inconvenient, but it is also essential for good decision-making. It is through debate and questioning that assumptions are tested.” – Sir Graham Brady, Mail on Sunday

Truss warns EU it will have to raise food standards

“The EU has been warned that it will have to meet Britain’s high food standards to be allowed to sell in the UK after the end of transition. The warning from international trade secretary Liz Truss came as new concerns over EU standards have been highlighted by meat inspectors. They have warned that a decision by Brussels to downgrade inspections of pork could allow tuberculosis into the food chain. Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Express, Ms Truss also agreed that critics of US food standards trying to block a free trade deal with America are guilty of “double standards” by ignoring dubious practices in the EU.” – Sunday Express

Moore “rules himself out of running” for BBC

“Boris Johnson’s top choice to become the next chairman of the BBC has ruled himself out of the role. Lord Moore, the former editor of The Daily Telegraph and biographer of Margaret Thatcher, had been asked by the prime minister to take up the post as part of a revolution at the top of British broadcasting. However, it is understood that Moore, who is one of the BBC’s most outspoken critics, has decided against even applying, for personal reasons. We reported last week that Moore’s appointment was “virtually a done deal” after six weeks of wrangling over pay and conditions.” – Sunday Times

  • Moore knows nothing of TV, hates the BBC. Ideal man for the job – Nick Cohen, The Observer
  • Electoral Commission Chairman is being forced to stand down – Sunday Telegraph

Lawson: The real unfair pay gap is the burden on the private sector

“Conventional wisdom would have it that the private sector is where you’d want to go if your aim in life was to maximise your financial welfare. That is certainly true at the top, and especially the very top. But as the ONS’s head-spinning “regression analysis” shows, for more typical employees at most levels of skill and qualifications, it’s more profitable to be paid by the taxpayer. The overall public sector raw premium, as of 2019, was, according to the ONS, 7%. In other words — and, I stress, on average — you’d have been 7% a year better off doing a job of equivalent demands in the public sector than in the private sector. This is especially surprising because job security is also much stronger in the state sector (notwithstanding the recent experiences of a few civil service permanent secretaries under Boris Johnson).” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

News in brief

  • Why the EU can’t sue the UK – Steven Barrett, The Spectator
  • Will GB News change the British media? – Noel Yaxley, The Article
  • What’s on today at Conservative conference – The Spectator
  • Queen’s Speech “to include legislation to ban the import of hunting trophies” – Independent