Published:

Johnson urged to host four-way summit to save Christmas

“Boris Johnson is under pressure to host a four-way crunch summit to save Christmas amid fears that people will break the rules anyway to see their family. Leaders have demanded the PM bring the four nations of the UK together to come up with a new blueprint to allow people to spend the holiday period with their loved ones. It came as a minister said the rule of six was likely to stay in place by Christmas. And gloomy modelling from the Government’s scientific advisers warned that everywhere could be under Tier 3 rules – meaning no mixing of households – by the end of the year, effectively cancelling Christmas. Sir Patrick Vallance is said to be calling for more action to tackle the cases ahead of the festive season. But the PM has repeatedly ruled out so-called ‘circuit breaker’ lockdowns for the whole country to close down again, saying they wouldn’t work.” – The Sun

  • Increased spread of Covid-19 sparks calls for new restrictions – The Times
  • Tory MPs urge Government to rethink ‘heavy-handed’ approach – The Sun
  • Don’t lock Britain down again, plead business chiefs, MPs and medics – Daily Mail

More:

  • Britain’s death toll ‘could hit 85,000 in second Covid wave’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Scientists hope for coronavirus vaccine by Christmas – The Times
  • National lockdown similar to those in Europe needed to curb spread, warns government adviser – Daily Telegraph
  • Students face having to isolate twice at Christmas – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Why we should “have enough of experts” – the SAGE advisers and Great Barrington signatories

>Yesterday:

France goes into second lockdown…

“France will go back into a national lockdown for almost five weeks from Friday, President Emmanuel Macron has announced. French residents will not be allowed to leave their home except for essential reasons, such as work, exercise or food shopping. Schools will remain open but travel between regions will now be banned. Bars and restaurants will also close, as will all non-essential businesses. The new measures will be reviewed on December 1. Elsewhere, Angela Merkel’s government reached a deal with local authorities in all 16 federal states to impose a partial lockdown from November 2. The lockdown will see all bars and restaurants closed until at least November 30, while shops may remain open provided they meet a new condition of a maximum of one person per ten square metres in order to respect social distancing.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Macron says COVID second wave will be ‘worse than first’ – Daily Mail

…as Germany enters month of tight Covid restrictions

“Germany is to go into a month-long “lockdown-lite”, with bars, gyms, theatres and concert halls forced to close, and private gatherings restricted to a maximum of ten people or two households, Angela Merkel has announced. From Monday restaurants will be ordered to shut except to offer takeaway and delivery services, hotels will be banned from offering rooms to tourists and the government will issue an official warning against making unnecessary journeys. The restrictions are an 11th-hour attempt to establish some control over the infection rate, which has nearly doubled in the past week. “It’s absolutely clear that we need to act — and act now,” Mrs Merkel said. “If the infections keep going at this speed, we will arrive at the limits of our health system’s capacity within weeks.” Under the new nationwide rules beauty salons, swimming pools, massage parlours and tattoo studios will be ordered to close but schools and daycare centres can stay open.” – The Times

  • Travel latest news: Germany faces quarantine – Daily Telegraph
  • Anti-lockdown protests continue across Europe – Daily Mail

A tenth of England’s population ‘could be tested for Covid-19 every week’

“Up to 10% of England’s population could be tested for coronavirus every week after government officials asked local health chiefs to deploy 30-minute saliva kits in an acceleration of Boris Johnson’s controversial “Operation Moonshot” mass screening plan. In a letter seen by the Guardian, NHS test and trace claims it is embarking on an “important new front in our fight against coronavirus” and asks all directors of public health to sign up to receive rapid-result test kits for up to a tenth of their populations every week, to contain outbreaks and preserve freedoms. If delivered, it could result in a huge increase in national testing – up to 5m tests weekly from the current rate of about 300,000 so-called PCR tests a day, carried out by swabbing the nose and throat. But local health leaders raised serious concerns over the logistical challenge and cost of rolling out the tests and tracing the contacts of those who test positive. It came as UK coronavirus deaths surpassed 300 for the second day in a row, with 24,701 more cases and more than 9,500 people in hospital.” – The Guardian

  • No data to show if test and trace slows Covid spread – The Times

Editorial:

  • The Government should acknowledge where it has under-delivered – The Times

Sunak to lay out fresh spending plans and economic update next month

“Rishi Sunak will lay out his spending plans for the next year on November 25, he confirmed today. The Chancellor will set out a one-year spending review rather than a three-year one, as a result of the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic. It means Boris Johnson will have put his plan for a post-Covid vision for the UK on hold. In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference last month, the PM vowed to see off the “alien invader” of coronavirus and “build Britain back better” with mass spending on infrastructure projects around the country. He laid out plans for a green energy revolution, to help young people get on the housing ladder and fix ailing social care system during his time in No10. But the Comprehensive Spending Review – which is usually a multi-year spending plan where the Chancellor doles out budgets for each Whitehall department has been cut down to just one year.” – The Sun

  • More than 500,000 UK companies in financial distress as support ends – FT

Comment:

  • The left despises no one more than an Indian Tory – Nirpal Dhaliwal, The Times

>Yesterday: Philippa Stroud in Comment: The Coalition stopped officially measuring poverty – which left its successor unsightedover free schools meals

Majority of Britons ‘unclear on post-Brexit rules’

“Two-thirds of Britons are unclear about how the UK’s relationship with the EU will change when the Brexit transition period ends, a survey found, as government concerns grow over the preparedness of UK businesses for the new era. Polling by YouGov found a high level of ignorance or confusion on the post-Brexit regime, ranging from travelling within Europe to the UK’s immigration system as well as trade and customs rules.  The survey of 1,778 participants, found that in seven separate areas more than 60 per cent of those polled said they were “not at all clear” on how policies would change from January 1. Just 13 per cent of people said they were “very clear” about the new rules affecting UK citizens studying in the EU. Meanwhile, 11 per cent said they were “fairly clear” on how the end of the transition period would affect pensions and benefits for UK citizens living in the EU.” – FT

  • Gove hits back at Wales over calls for UK to drop Brexit fishing demands – Daily Express
  • Labour challenges Truss over benefits to UK from Japan trade deal – FT

>Today:

Labour 1) Starmer faces new test over anti-Semitism as equalities watchdog gives verdict on Labour

“Sir Keir Starmer will on Thursday come under renewed pressure to take action against Jeremy Corbyn and his allies as Britain’s equalities watchdog publishes its long-awaited report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that the charity that helped trigger the 18-month investigation into Labour will demand that Sir Keir deal with a series of fresh complaints against his predecessor and other MPs. Writing to Sir Keir on Thursday morning, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) will urge him to demonstrate his commitment to stamping out anti-Jewish racism by holding the “individuals responsible” for the crisis “to account”. In the letter, seen by this newspaper, the CAA’s chief executive Gideon Falter confirms that it will be re-submitting existing complaints against Mr Corbyn as well as more than a dozen new ones against other serving and former Labour MPs.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Race watchdog to rule on claims Labour party discriminated against Jews – The Sun
  • Opposition braces for damning EHRC ruling – The Guardian
  • Labour is ‘not there yet’ on anti-Semitism, says former MP ahead of report – Daily Telegraph

Labour 2) MP and Corbyn ally ‘charged with housing fraud over council flat’

“A Labour MP and close Jeremy Corbyn ally has been charged with housing fraud. Apsana Begum, 30, entered Parliament at last December’s general election with a giant 28,904 majority in East London’s Poplar and Limehouse. But she has been accused of three offences relating to how she was given her council flat. She is due before magistrates on December 10. If convicted, Ms Begum could face a jail sentence and lose her Commons seat. We told last November she was facing a probe over the riverside flat she moved into after leaving her estranged husband’s home. Investigators wanted to know how she had leapt to the top of an 18,000-strong housing list so quickly despite having no children. At the time, Ms Begum denied any wrongdoing, claiming her housing situation was “in a state of flux” after her marriage breakdown.” – The Sun

Parliament could get legal powers to summon witnesses, MP says

“Parliament could soon be given legal powers to summon reluctant witnesses such as Dominic Cummings and Rupert Murdoch to answer questions from MPs, according to the chair of a Commons committee. Chris Bryant, who chairs the cross-party privileges committee, said a report due to be released this year would set out plans to compel witnesses to appear before MPs and hand over documents. Any such move could meet resistance from No 10, according to one informed source, and could anger some Tory backbenchers as some argue that the right to compel witnesses already exists in parliamentary rules. It follows several high-profile battles to drag potential witnesses including Mike Ashley, Philip Green and the Maxwell brothers to be questioned before House of Commons committees. Cummings, who is now Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, was ruled to be in contempt of parliament last year after failing to appear before MPs investigating fake news.” – The Guardian

Salmond calls for Sturgeon probe to be expanded

“Alex Salmond has called for the scope of an investigation into the conduct of Nicola Sturgeon to be widened, as a bitter rift between the pair escalated. In an email to James Hamilton, who is leading a probe into whether Ms Sturgeon broke the ministerial code, Mr Salmond asked whether the First Minister would be investigated for potentially misleading parliament and failing to act on legal advice. He said the remit given to Mr Hamilton by John Swinney, Ms Sturgeon’s deputy, placed a “surprising stress” on whether she meddled in an investigation into sexual harassment complaints against him. “It might even be suspected that this remit has been set up as a straw man to knock down,” Mr Salmond wrote, before asking whether “equal status” would be given to other potential breaches. Under the ministerial code, minsters who knowingly mislead parliament are expected to resign.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Official public health report increases pressure on SNP over high virus death rates – FT
  • Sturgeon’s ‘darkest day’ after coronavirus patients sent into care homes – Daily Express

Iain Martin: Our military can’t survive hand to mouth

“With Brexit finally happening in just nine weeks’ time it might be a good idea to develop some sort of plan for where we, as a country, might be heading outside the European Union. That was supposed to be the point of the government’s integrated review into security, defence, development and foreign policy: to present a plan for a post-Brexit, global Britain at a time when diplomacy and the global military landscape are being transformed by technology and new threats. The review was due to be published next month. Now it is unclear whether it will ever materialise. It was meant to be accompanied by a three-year spending settlement on defence, so that the armed forces could be modernised and equipped for the era of cyberwarfare. That’s off, according to the Treasury. In the wake of that decision an extraordinary stand-off has developed, with No 10 and the Ministry of Defence pitted against a Treasury that proposes a patched-together single-year settlement for defence that would almost certainly entail massive cuts.” – The Times

>Today:

News in Brief:

  • ‘Unionist unity’ is a poison pill for the United Kingdom – Henry Hill, Think Scotland
  • Why MPs should still get ‘subsidised’ food – Alys Denby, CapX
  • Macron is right to take on Erdoğan – Walter Ellis, Reaction
  • Why is the Anglo media portraying France as the villain? – Liam Duffy, UnHerd
  • Private education is under threat – Alexander Larman, The Critic

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