New lockdown 1) A nightmare announcement for Halloween: Johnson proclaims a second lockdown.

“Boris Johnson announced a 27-day national lockdown for England last night amid fears that the NHS is at breaking point. The prime minister said the “tougher national measures” were needed to prevent several thousand people dying each day with a mortality rate exceeding the peak of the first wave in the spring. He said if parliament approved the measures on Wednesday, they would be introduced from just after midnight on Thursday and remain until at least December 2. The announcement came as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK hit a grim milestone. More than a million have been diagnosed since March, including 21,915 yesterday. The new curbs, similar to those enforced during the first seven-week lockdown in March, mean people will have to stay at home most of the time.” – Sunday Times

  • PM had no option – Sunday Times
  • New month-long lockdown ordered by PM – Sunday Telegraph
  • Second lockdown for England – FT
  • Johnson hits button on Covid ‘nuclear deterrent’ – FT
  • U-turn puts England under second lockdown – Observer
  • The moment Johnson lost his battle against another lockdown – Mail on Sunday
  • Johnson warned deaths could be double first wave – Sun on Sunday
  • Starmer says lockdown should start now – Mail on Sunday
  • Army brought in to help with tests – Mail on Sunday

New lockdown 2) The Sunday Telegraph: Government is wrong to put England into lockdown

“Here we go again. England is being locked down for a second time, as if we hadn’t learnt anything or made any progress since this dreadful virus burst on to the scene at the start of the year. It is a depressing and debilitating development, one that will plunge Britain even deeper into a double-dip recession, a mental health crisis and a social, personal and cultural abyss. The PM was clearly deeply reluctant to resort to such measures again, but the pressure from all sides must have been immense. Governments across the world have already panicked and imposed a lockdown, including the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Wales and, effectively, Scotland, too. Sage says we have passed its plausible worst-case scenario for infections, in which it assumes an extra 85,000 people will die.” – Sunday Telegraph

New lockdown 3) Duncan Smith: Sage believes its advice to be more like commandments written on stone

“The PM’s announcement of a month-long lockdown is a body blow to the British people. Just as the economy was picking up, even giving cause for optimism, we are now to impersonate the Grand Old Duke of York – giving in to the scientific advisers and marching England back into another nationwide lockdown. The way that the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has pressurised the Government into taking this decision has been unprecedented. Normally, advisers advise and ministers decide. Yet that system has broken down with Sage believing its advice to be more like commandments written on stone and its members publicly lecturing the Government over the airways when it disagrees. This is despite the fact that many of its recommendations have been hotly disputed by other reputable scientists.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Furious Tories threaten to block lockdown – Sun on Sunday
  • PM let himself be bounced into national lockdown far too soon, say Tory dissenters – Sunday Telegraph
  • MPs accuse PM of being ‘bounced’ into lockdown – Mail on Sunday

New lockdown 4) Leak inquiry ‘targets Hancock’

“Health Secretary Matt Hancock was at the centre of an extraordinary Government leak inquiry last night after the Prime Minister was forced to announce the second national lockdown two days earlier than planned. Downing Street officials were infuriated on Friday evening to read details of the lockdown in the first editions of the Saturday newspapers, just hours after the decision had been taken by the ‘quad’ of Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Michael Gove and Mr Hancock. It forced Mr Johnson to bring forward the announcement of the measure from Monday to yesterday, despite many details still being finalised. Multiple Government sources sought to pin the blame on Mr Hancock by accusing him of trying to ‘bump’ the Prime Minister into announcing the lockdown before he could have second thoughts. The Health Secretary strenuously denied the claims. Yesterday, Downing Street announced a formal inquiry.” – Mail on Sunday

Biography by Lord Ashcroft reveals Sunak ‘close to edge’

“That the coronavirus crisis has taken a toll on Sunak is without doubt. Indeed, so intensely did he work at the start of it that his staff became worried for his health. ‘The day before he announced the furlough scheme, one of our economic advisers put a sandwich on his desk and said ‘You must eat’, because he just wasn’t eating,’ says a Treasury source. ‘He was looking thin and faint.’ Another adviser says: ‘He has to be told almost every day to eat. Otherwise he’ll just work and work.’ An insider later revealed that Sunak sometimes goes without food deliberately, fasting on selected days from sunrise to sunset – not for religious reasons, but to ‘reset after the weekend’. ‘Rishi is feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders,’ said one colleague in early April. ‘He’s been working 18 hours a day for weeks. He’s physically and psychologically exhausted.” – Mail on Sunday

Blue Wall MPs ‘in talks to direct donor funds away from Tory HQ’

“The 50 northern MPs who called for a “clear road map” out of lockdown restrictions are setting up their own fighting fund to help retain Blue Wall seats facing a campaigning “onslaught” from Labour. Amid growing frustration with “inaction” from Conservative Party Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ), the Northern Research Group has been in talks with businesses seeking to pour funds into defending the constituencies won from Labour last year. Separately, some MPs from the 2019 intake are speaking directly to major donors about diverting donations directly to at-risk seats rather than channelling the funds through the Tories’ Westminster offices. The Blue Wall fund, run by a new NRG political committee, would further fracture the new Northern Research Group’s relations with the Tory leadership”. – Sunday Telegraph

Home Secretary ‘lobbied against affordable homes’

“Priti Patel has lobbied Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, twice this year to oppose new homes in Witham, her Essex constituency. The home secretary is the second senior minister to oppose developments as the government seeks to “build, build, build”. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, has sided against his local Tory-led council to oppose a small development in Surrey Heath. Patel, 48, has opposed at least four developments, which would have provided 141 affordable homes. The government is ending a consultation on reforms that would deprive local people of the ability to oppose planned developments, in a quest to build 300,000 homes a year.” – Sunday Times

I’m still hounded for being Jewish — and I know Corbyn is antisemitic’

“The release of the damning report into Labour Party antisemitism on Thursday brought everything back for Luciana Berger — it immediately triggered a fresh onslaught of racist abuse. The former MP for Liverpool Wavertree — who had joined the party as a student and was in effect hounded out of it by antisemitism — received a message online threatening that she “would pay” for the suspension of the former leader Jeremy Corbyn. During a Live Chat session run by the Corbyn-sympathising Novara Media, anonymous commentators dubbed her “a vile fifth columnist” and “the face of evil”. On Twitter she was called a “criminal”, “duplicitous” and a host of misogynistic slurs”. – Sunday Times

  • Hard-left activist group urges Corbynistas to stay in Labour – Sunday Telegraph

Newton Dunn: No President can afford to leave PM out in cold

“In two days — if the polls are accurate this time — in January, America will be under the charge of a new man: Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. That thought sparks deep fear among some Tory MPs. They worry that Trump’s affection for Boris Johnson, the prime minister he likes to call “Britain Trump”, will not be replicated by Biden. They are right. There is bad blood between the Biden and Johnson camps. The prime minister is expected to be punished for his closeness to Trump; his “part-Kenyan” attack on Barack Obama during the Brexit referendum campaign; his jibes about Hillary Clinton; and for Brexit itself, which Biden deems a big mistake.” – Sunday Times