I will make this country the Saudi Arabia of green energy, Johnson vows

“Boris Johnson is to announce £160 million of investment in ports and factories as he pledges that offshore wind will produce enough electricity to power every home in a decade. Promising to make Britain the “Saudi Arabia of wind”, the prime minister will vow to upgrade facilities along the east coast of England as well as Scotland and Wales to ensure that the next generation of wind turbines are made in the UK. In a speech to be given to the Conservative Party conference today, he says: “You heard me right. Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle — the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands.” – The Times

  • Johnson heralds UK green investment to meet climate targets – FT
  • Wind farms to power every home in Britain in 10 years – Daily Mail
  • PM to unveil plans for wind power – The Guardian
  • ‘Complete shambles’ as Conservative conference hit by tech glitches – The Times

Coronavirus 1) Dozens of Tories prepare to rebel against 10pm curfew

“Boris Johnson’s 10pm coronavirus curfew for pubs, restaurants and bars could be thrown out after it emerged that dozens of Tory MPs are prepared to vote against the measure on Wednesday night. The rebel Conservatives, due to meet at lunchtime on Tuesday to plot their next steps, have been emboldened by comments from the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, questioning the measure. Tory backbenchers have also been encouraged by Labour’s refusal to say whether it will support the curfew until it has seen the scientific evidence that underlies it. A Labour decision on how to whip the vote is not expected until Wednesday. There were rumours in Westminster on Monday that Government whips might even pull the curfew vote on Tuesday in order to allow more time to work on bringing the rebels to heel.” – Daily Telegraph

  • PM facing backbench revolts over virus limits – The Times
  • Rebel Tories to discuss joining forces with Labour – Daily Mail
  • Commons rebellions expected over curfew and rule of six – The Guardian
  • We were sacrificed for sake of London, northern leaders say – The Times

Coronavirus 2) Malfunctioning phones hit efforts to trace 40,000 contacts

“Contact tracers’ phone lines crashed as they scrambled to reach tens of thousands of potentially infectious people missed because of an IT blunder. A computing malfunction caused phones to fail yesterday as tracers tried to clear the backlog of an estimated 40,000 contacts of coronavirus cases, only half of whom had been identified by yesterday morning. Almost 16,000 infectious people were missed because of an error caused by systems reliant on a 13-year-old version of Microsoft Excel, and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, could not say when their contacts would be reached.” – The Times

  • Thousands of ‘missing’ cases add to Manchester’s uphill Covid battle – Manchester Evening News
  • Sturgeon to meet advisers over further restrictions – BBC News
  • Scotland ‘to start two-week circuit breaker lockdown on Friday’ – The Sun
  • Welsh threaten to quarantine risky UK visitors – The Times

Coronavirus 3) Don’t be scared of Covid, Trump tells the US as he leaves hospital

“President Trump returned to the White House last night where he climbed the steps of the south portico and took off his mask in a dramatic gesture to underline his message to Americans not to be afraid of the coronavirus. Although still suffering from the virus and likely to be infectious for another week, Mr Trump, 74, insisted on being discharged after three nights in the Walter Reed medical centre, claiming that he was “better” and “maybe immune”. However, he appeared to gulp for air several times after reaching the White House balcony and medical experts warned that the powerful steroid he is taking may be masking symptoms.” – The Times


Coronavirus 4) Sunak prepares Britain for tax rises amid crisis

“Rishi Sunak has warned that Britain faces tax rises to help pay for the cost of the coronavirus crisis as he said that the government has a “sacred responsibility” to balance the books for future generations. The chancellor told the Conservative Party conference that the government could not “simply borrow our way out of any hole” and said there were “hard choices” ahead. He suggested the public would accept the case for tax rises given the scale of public expenditure this year and said that the government would need to break some of its manifesto pledges given the “once in a century” nature of the crisis.” – The Times

  • Chancellor warns of ‘hard choices’ – FT

Wallace: Johnson is an optimist but he will need to deliver bad news

“The black hole that we all fell into sometime in March makes it hard to think as far back as last year’s Conservative Party conference. The upheaval of the past 12 months makes it even more difficult to compare the Prime Minister’s first speech as party leader to the one he must make tomorrow. He must address a nation and a party beset by the unforeseen disaster which has made 2020 a year we would all rather forget. This truly is a challenge without a clear route of escape – a set of events that may prove politically insurmountable. What’s more, it is a grinding, months-long barrage of bad news that clings like a cold fog as people begin to consider the possibility of being ordered to lock down for the winter.” – the i

Labour leader 1) Opposition MPs set to rebel over Starmer’s stance on MI5 informants

“Under Keir Starmer, abstention is back in fashion. But as the Overseas Operations Bill showed a fortnight ago, some Labour MPs are growing impatient with orders to abstain. A trio of shadow PPSs were sacked for voting against the bill’s second reading, and they were baffled why the party had not opposed the legislation. The bill seeks to put into law for the first time an exemption that will allow undercover informants working for the police and MI5 to commit crimes. Campaigners have long called for this shadowy practice to be put on a statutory footing, but as long as proper safeguards can be put in place to explicitly exclude murder, torture or sexual violence.” – Huffington Post

Labour leader 2) Starmer rated ahead of Johnson on competence

“Voters most commonly think of Boris Johnson as “incompetent” and “out of his depth” while they consider Sir Keir Starmer “principled” and “sensible”, polling has suggested. A survey by Lord Ashcroft, the pollster and Tory peer, suggested that the prime minister was most frequently associated with negative traits while the Labour leader was generally well thought of. Asked to choose three traits from a long list to apply to Mr Johnson, respondents most often opted for “incompetent” and “out of his depth”, although about one in five said he “stands up for Britain”. Other adjectives frequently associated with the prime minister were “dishonest,” “indecisive” and “out of touch”. – The Times


And finally, Chancellor’s exercise bike puts him on the fast track

“Rishi Sunak has revealed that he works out on a £1,750 exercise bike and also takes high-intensity gym classes to keep fit. The chancellor said that he liked to use a Peloton, go on his treadmill or take a gym class before work. The “smart” bikes have a 22in screen that enable people to take part in live-streamed video classes from home. Speaking to businesses at the Conservative Party conference, Mr Sunak was asked how he likes to start his day. He said: “I check my phone, do a news scan, then depending on how energetic I’m feeling I’ll either do treadmill, Peloton or some gym class. I do that, see my kids and then generally I’m at my desk at 7.45am.” – The Times

News in Brief