Johnson is forced to Rethink his Reset – as a Covid case in Downing Street requires him to self-isolate

“There were concerns that Covid-19 had returned to Downing Street as the result of a 35-minute meeting between the prime minister and a group of Tory MPs at No 10, one of whom subsequently tested positive for the virus. Johnson was pictured standing next to Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, inside Downing Street on Thursday. The men appear to be less than 2 metres apart and neither is wearing a mask. Officials insisted Downing Street was a Covid-secure workplace but said NHS Test and Trace had said factors including the length of the meeting meant Johnson should self-isolate as a precaution. The PM will have held meetings with several other figures since Thursday, including his aides Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain”. – The Guardian

  • PM told to self-isolate after contact with Covid MP – The Times
  • Blow to Johnson plans for reboot as he is forced to self-isolate – FT
  • Self-isolation order overshadows agenda ‘reset’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson ‘bursting with antibodies’ – The Guardian
  • New ‘mega labs’ to speed up testing – BBC News
  • Labour criticises lobbyist’s involvement in Covid strategy calls – The Guardian

Reset won’t forget the North, PM to insist

“Boris Johnson will attempt to reassure restless Conservative MPs that he remains committed to the party’s new northern heartlands despite plans for a political “reset” after the departure of Dominic Cummings, his chief adviser, from Downing Street. Before he was told to self-isolate, the prime minister and his aides were preparing a series of announcements over the coming days on education, skills and the environment in an attempt to seize back the political agenda after a week of destabilising infighting. Last night a government source said they still hoped to make the announcements, even if Mr Johnson would have to make them from the Downing Street flat.” – The Times


ConHome columnist takes new policy role

“In an attempt to reassure MPs, Mr Johnson is to appoint the backbench MP Neil O’Brien as chairman of a new policy board in No 10. Mr O’Brien, who led the government’s northern powerhouse initiative under George Osborne, is expected to work alongside Munira Mirza, Mr Johnson’s policy chief, to develop fresh ideas to promote economic growth and fulfil the government’s 2050 carbon neutral agenda. The scale of government investment is a source of tension with the chancellor.” – The Times


Northern Tory MPs demand ‘more flat caps and less top hats’

“Boris Johnson will aim to reset his premiership today with a pledge to northern Tory MPs that he will not abandon them in favour of a more metropolitan agenda. The Prime Minister will tell Tory MPs who helped propel him to victory in last year’s election that he will ‘never veer off the course’ that won him an 80-strong majority. This afternoon he will meet the newly formed Northern Research Group (NRG), before unveiling his ten-point point plan to tackle climate change later in the week, and then finalising details of the Spending Review that will be announced by the Chancellor next Wednesday. Allies of the Prime Minister last night said he would assure the northern MPs that levelling up the country is his ‘personal’ ambition and they will not be abandoned.” – Daily Mail

  • Northern football clubs urge No10 to sort bailout or risk losing historic teams – The Sun

PM ‘leaves door open for Cain return’

“Boris Johnson left open the door for a return to Downing Street of his controversial communications chief Lee Cain. In an address to Mr Cain’s colleagues after his departure on Friday night the prime minister is understood to have told them that “the commissar will be back”. In private the prime minister suggested to Mr Cain that he could return to Downing Street within a year while he spoke of “getting the band together” along with Dominic Cummings before the next election. However, amid a bitter briefing war that continued over the weekend, talk of a return may be premature. Allies of Mr Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, were particularly incensed at personal insults, believed to be from associates of the two men, over the weekend describing her as “Princess Nut Nuts”. – The Times

  • PM ‘left door open’ for Cain and Cummings to return – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson ‘said his partner would be angry if ex-BBC journalist wasn’t given job’ – Daily Mail
  • ‘Symonds won’t get any enhanced role’, says Downing Street – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson looks to rebuild less abrasive Downing St operation – FT
  • No-one cleared in ‘chatty rat’ leak inquiry, say Government sources – Daily Telegraph

Grieve: Yes, Cummings has gone. But he wasn’t the only problem at No 10

“As they exit No 10 Dominic Cummings and his associates will leave behind a seemingly contradictory legacy. On the one hand, their unscrupulous campaigning skills helped deliver the outcome of the 2016 referendum on the EU and the scale of Boris Johnson’s victory in the general election in 2019. On the other, their astonishing capacity to generate destructive mayhem left much debris at the heart of government. The two, of course, went together, as could be seen during the political crisis over prorogation last year. The No 10 press operation was turned into a lie factory spewing out factual untruths about the government’s intentions and smears against anyone trying to stand in its way.” – The Guardian


Brexit red lines ‘still in place’ as crunch Brexit talks open

“Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator warned yesterday that he was not prepared to compromise on his core principles to get a Brexit deal over the line. In a message before talks this week, Lord Frost said that the UK’s red lines had not changed and that any settlement had to be “compatible with our sovereignty” and take back control of “our laws, our trade and our waters”. “That has been our consistent position from the start and I will not be changing it,” he wrote on Twitter. His comments follow speculation in Brussels that the departure of Dominic Cummings could result in a more emollient British stance. But sources said that Lord Frost’s remarks were also aimed at those in government determined to avoid a no-deal outcome.” – The Times

  • ‘We may not succeed’, says UK’s chief Brexit negotiator – Daily Telegraph
  • Ireland warns of crunch moment in negotiations – FT

Chancellor considers new charges for road users

“Rishi Sunak is considering plans to charge motorists for using Britain’s roads amid concerns over a £40 billion tax shortfall created by the switch to electric cars. A Treasury paper on a new national road pricing scheme has been presented to the chancellor. The government will announce this week that a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, which forms part of the prime minister’s ten-point plan on climate change, will be brought forward to 2030. Downing Street wants to seize the initiative after days of damaging briefings between allies of Boris Johnson’s former adviser Dominic Cummings and his fiancée, Carrie Symonds.” – The Times

  • Petrol and diesel car sales to be banned from 2030 – FT

No 10 ‘retreats on housing formula in face of revolt’

“Downing Street is to overhaul a controversial new planning formula that would have resulted in thousands of new homes being imposed on Tory shire constituencies. The climbdown by Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, follows the threat of a backbench revolt over the plans. Mr Jenrick is to announce proposals to “rebalance” new home building targets away from suburban and rural areas in the south to more urban areas in the north and Midlands. Government sources claimed that the change was part of the government’s drive to “level up” and “build back better” by regenerating town centres rather than develop green sites.” – The Times


Blair-era tycoon backer donates to Labour again

“A property tycoon who funnelled donations to Tony Blair’s Labour via his builder and secretary has resumed his support for the party, as Sir Keir Starmer seeks to reduce its financial reliance on trade unions. David Abrahams, a reclusive millionaire property developer in Newcastle, found himself at the centre of a scandal in 2007 after it was revealed that he had been secretly giving money to Labour via intermediaries. The businessman was investigated by police after donating nearly £700,000 to Mr Blair’s party through his builder, his secretary and others. No charges were brought and Mr Abrahams was cleared, but Labour’s general secretary at the time, Peter Watt, resigned over the affair.” – The Times

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