Coronavirus 1) Johnson “facing rebellion” over prospect of lockdown being extended

“Boris Johnson was facing a Tory rebellion last night over his new national lockdown. Many of his own MPs were outraged by the revelation that the restrictions could last much longer than the planned four weeks – and potentially even run into spring with a brief easing over Christmas. Some indicated they would oppose the measures that business chiefs fear will devastate an already fragile economy. ‘I will be voting against the new national lockdown on Wednesday when it comes before the House of Commons,’ said former Cabinet minister Esther McVey. ‘The ‘lockdown cure’ is causing more harm than Covid.’ Another Conservative MP said the fresh clampdown was ‘like a nightmare that we’ll never wake up from’. Yesterday health chiefs refused to release the dossier behind a prediction of 4,000 daily deaths that forced Mr Johnson to act on Saturday night.” – Daily Mail



Coronavirus 2) PM warns deaths could be “twice as bad” as spring

“Covid-19 deaths could be twice as high over the winter as they were in the first wave of the pandemic, PM Boris Johnson is expected to warn MPs later. In a Parliamentary statement he will say there is “no alternative” as he seeks to win support for the planned four-week lockdown across England. But Mr Johnson will explain he was “right to try every possible option” before ordering people to stay at home. Labour has said it will back the lockdown but criticised the delay.” – BBC

  • Whitty shares scientific reasons to be cheerful – The Times
  • Forecasts “are based on old statistics” – The Sun

Coronavirus 3) Brexit Party to relaunch as Reform UK to oppose lockdowns

“The Brexit Party is to be relaunched as an anti-lockdown party called Reform UK, Nigel Farage and Richard Tice will announce on Monday, in a move which could alarm libertarian Conservative MPs. In a joint article for Monday’s Telegraph, Mr Farage and Mr Tice declare that “lockdowns don’t work”, and say their new party will back a policy of “focused protection” from coronavirus only for the most vulnerable, to allow the rest of the population to develop herd immunity. The plans to change the name of the Brexit Party to Reform UK are subject to approval of the Electoral Commission. Papers were submitted to the regulator last week. Reform UK hopes to stand a slate of candidates at May’s elections – when the Tories are contesting thousands of shire seats, as well as policing and crime commissioner elections – and the next general election, expected by 2024.” – Daily Telegraph

  • It’s time to end the political consensus that there is no alternative to shutting people up in their homes – Nigel Farage and Richard Tice, Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 4) After almost a year to prepare, how come the NHS can’t cope?

“The figures were dire. Projections from Sage, which were shown to ministers, said present trajectories suggested that the NHS would be unable to accept any more patients by Christmas. If the NHS cancelled all non-urgent operations, capacity would be exceeded by early December, and if the government reduced non-Covid beds by half— which would involve sending seriously ill people home — capacity would still be “burnt through” across most of the country by Christmas week.” – The Times

  • Whitty shares scientific reasons to be cheerful – The Times

Coronavirus 5) Gove says schools will stay open

“A fight to keep classrooms open during lockdown was brewing last night after the biggest teaching union launched a campaign to shut them. Michael Gove said it was so important to keep schools open that Whitehall was willing to extend the national lockdown for the cause. But the National Education Union, which represents more than 450,000 teachers, is gaining increasing support…Cabinet Office minister Mr Gove told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘I do believe that we want to keep schools open and I believe that the measures that we are putting in place will enable us to do so.’ ” – Daily Mail

  • The teaching unions’ demand that schools should close betrays their narrow agenda – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 6) Brady denounces attack on human rights

“When Boris stands at a podium flanked by the brothers Grimm, to tell people when they are “allowed” to leave the house or go to work, we are expected to accept it as benign…Freedom, liberty, human rights. The words are cheap, but if we surrender them cheaply, the cost will be immense. We must take Covid seriously, but it is time to shift that burden from the Government and to take the responsibility on our own shoulders. Our parliament came into existence to protect the liberty of the citizen from arbitrary government. When MPs vote on Wednesday, they should remember that.” – Graham Brady, Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 7) Business leaders demand financial help

“Business leaders have called for more financial help from the government to support crisis-hit companies as ministers warned that the latest lockdown in England could last longer than four weeks. Carolyn Fairbairn, leader of the CBI employers’ organisation, on Sunday described the latest lockdown as a “body blow”, while Helen Dickinson of the British Retail Consortium said the new measures would cause “untold damage to the high street in the run-up to Christmas”. Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to face criticism from his own MPs when he sets out the details of the new curbs in a House of Commons statement on Monday — ahead of a Tory rebellion when they are put to a vote on Wednesday. He had been set to give a speech to the CBI annual conference on Monday but was expected to cancel the appearance to concentrate on his Commons address.” – Financial Times

  • Threat to funding of public services, Sunak warns Cabinet – Daily Telegraph
  • Chancellor offers hope for self-employed – The Times
  • Bailout for Transport for London – BBC
  • Furlough backlash amid Welsh firebreak snub claims – BBC

>Yesterday: WATCH: Last-minute decisions are damaging business, says Phillipson

>Today: Andy Cook on Comment: To help reduce mass unemployment, back up Universal Credit with Universal Support

Coronavirus 8) Remembrance Sunday on hold adds to discontent

“Remembrance Sunday services will in effect be banned by England’s four-week lockdown, the health secretary told MPs yesterday. In a move that will intensify the Conservative backlash to new restrictions, Matt Hancock, speaking in a cross-party Zoom call, admitted that the usual local services at memorials would not take place. Outdoor socialising between more than two people is banned from Thursday, and Mr Hancock told MPs that only “short, focused” wreath-laying would be permitted….Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, fears a “continuing cycle of lockdowns” and is among those likely to rebel.” – The Times

  • Civil servants ban soldiers from honouring the Unknown Warrior – The Sun

Coronavirus 9) Timothy: The Government has no strategy

“A Government uncertain of its objective will unavoidably find itself uncertain in its policies. But without a successful test-and-trace scheme, and without mass daily testing, as soon as we started to live normally again, an increase in the reproduction rate became inevitable and so, too, did this lockdown. Now we face restrictions that will surely run beyond December 2 and in all likelihood well into next year. If we want to break the cycle, we need to change the game.” – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph

Other lockdown comment

  • Hard choices – Leader, The Times
  • R also stands for Recession, Redundancy and Ruin – Leader, The Sun
  • Lockdown’s a killer… worse than Covid could ever be – Professor Angus Dalgleish, Daily Mail
  • We must unite again to protect the NHS and save lives – Amanda Milling, The Times
  • There is no denying that there are hard days ahead of us – Robert Jenrick, Daily Telegraph
  • Forget about Christmas — brace yourselves for a miserable, jobless and bankrupt New Year – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • I now have an inkling of what it must be like to live in a dictatorship – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Dithering has doubled this lockdown. We will all pay the price – Tom Kibasi, The Guardian
  • What took him so long? – Leader, The Guardian
  • The country cannot afford an open-ended national lockdown – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • This is a boost for Sturgeon – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph
  • I hope the scientists have got their sums right  – Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Daily Mail

UK paid £15.8 billion to the EU last year

“Britain sent a staggering £15.8 billion to Brussels during the country’s final year of European Union membership, new figures have revealed. The latest data, published by the Office for National Statistics, showed the Government was forced to inject a gross payment of £304 million from taxpayers every week to the bloc’s financial coffers. The figure would have been £4.4 billion higher without the hard-fought rebate secured by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the EU’s Fontainebleau summit in 1984. Analysis in the ONS’ annual Pink Book publication showed £5.2 billion was returned to the UK last year under the EU’s spending plans, giving a net contribution of £10.6 billion.” – Daily Express

  • France optimistic of trade deal – The Sun
  • Labour urges UK trade secretary to end delays over Kenya and Ghana deals – The Guardian

Trump holds ten rallies in 48 hours as “polls tighten”

“Most 74-year-olds who a month ago were connected to oxygen as their vital signs wavered while battling Covid-19 would likely be sheltering in their own four walls right now. But Donald Trump, his political career hanging in the balance, braved temperatures hovering around freezing on Sunday during a frantic five-state dash to drive up support before the polls close…The Democratic nerves were sent through the roof on Saturday night when Iowa’s most trusted pollster Ann Selzer put Mr Trump seven points ahead in the state, which previously she had down as neck-and-neck.  That is the same margin Ms Selzer put Mr Trump ahead there just before the 2016 election.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Trump addresses supporters in Michigan – Daily Telegraph
  • A referendum on the President’s record – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph
  • Ivanka sent to win vital votes down on the farm – The Times
  • The tussle for Texas is as tight as bark on a tree – Henry Deedes, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: WATCH: Miliband – “For the Biden camp Brexit has reduced the influence of the UK”

Foges: Hate crime law is an attack on our liberties

“An Englishman’s home is his castle, a Scotsman’s home may soon be a sieve with forbidden conversations leaking out to the rozzers. The informants might be children, cousins, house guests. Imagine the scene: a fervently “progressive” new son-in-law comes over to spend his first Christmas Day with the family, only to be appalled by batty aunt Doris with her tutting about “coloured” people and her wondering aloud whether long hair on a young man automatically signifies that he is gay these days. The guest is appalled by such “hate speech”. Inspired by comrades on Twitter to #shopabigot, he reports Doris to the police.” – Clare Foges, The Times

  • Christian takes law chiefs to court over his beliefs – The Times

News in brief

  • The ten worst Covid decision-making failures – Prof Carl Heneghan & Tom Jefferson, The Spectator
  • Burnham backs school closures – Independent
  • If Boris is serious about Global Britain, he should create a Royal Overseas Regiment – Henry Hill, CapX
  • The economic damage of lockdown – John Redwood
  • After the anti-Semitism scandal, can Labour become a decent party again? – David Herman, The Article