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Coronavirus 1) Government’s ‘secret Covid dossier revealed’…on day of crucial vote

“The government has drawn up a secret dossier detailing the impact of coronavirus on the economy, with a dozen sectors rated “red” and facing significant job cuts and revenue losses, The Times has been told. The Covid-19 sectoral impacts dashboard, which is prepared by officials from across Whitehall and frequently updated, gives “granular” detail on the effect of coronavirus on nearly 40 areas of the economy. Among the sectors with a red rating are aerospace, the automotive industry, retail, hospitality and tourism, arts and heritage, maritime, including ferries and cruises, and sport.” – The Times

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Coronavirus 2) PM faces big Tory revolt over new tiers

“Boris Johnson faces a humiliating Tory revolt over his new tiers system on Tuesday after he was accused of refusing to publish any forecast of the impact it will have on the economy. Scores of backbenchers are expected to rebel when the tiers are put to a vote, saying they were not being given the full picture and were being asked to back “a pig in a poke”. On Monday night, Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, announced that he would tell his MPs to abstain in the vote, meaning the size of the Tory rebellion will be thrown into even sharper focus. Although the tiers – which come into force on Wednesday – are still expected to be approved by Parliament, the absence of Labour votes will hugely diminish the winning margin and draw attention to the split in the Tory ranks.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson to announce extra funding for pubs – Daily Telegraph
  • Impact assessment fails to quell Tory revolt fears – FT
  • PM at mercy of rebels – Daily Mail
  • And Johnson faces 100-strong revolt after ‘cut-and-paste’ report published – The Sun
  • Restrictions could be eased for worst-hit areas – The Times
  • People without vaccine could be turned away from bars and restaurants – Daily Mail
  • Wales heads for another lockdown – Daily Mail
  • Covid tiers impact assessment: What it does – and doesn’t – say – Daily Telegraph
  • Councils told to hand out shopping vouchers to boost test take-up – The Times
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Coronavirus 3) Watchdog calls on Government to provide evidence for PPE contracts

“Ministers need to provide evidence for why multi-million pound contracts for personal protective equipment went to certain suppliers in order to prevent “indefinite” public suspicion, the head of the UK’s public spending watchdog has warned. The government spent billions of pounds during the spring on PPE to address an urgent shortage in the NHS and elsewhere, abandoning the usual competitive procurement in favour of buying gowns, masks and gloves in haste from many small companies. Since then, however, it has emerged that many of the companies receiving huge contracts had no background in PPE, while some turned out to have links to the Conservative party.” – FT

Coronavirus 4) Hancock under pressure to explain £30m test tube work for ex-neighbour

“There is mounting pressure on Matt Hancock to explain how his former neighbour was awarded about £30m-worth of work making test tubes for Covid test samples as questions arose about the safety certification of the products. A Guardian investigation revealed last week that Alex Bourne, who used to run a pub in Hancock’s village, and had no previous experience in medical supplies, has for about six months been manufacturing tens of millions of plastic vials for Covid test kits. However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed his products only “recently” gained certification. Bourne first contacted Hancock to offer his services during the pandemic via WhatsApp in March.” – The Guardian

Brexit 1) UK gives in on Brexit red line, Barnier tells MEPs

“Johnson has agreed to keep Britain tied to European human rights rules in order to strike a trade and security deal with Brussels. Michel Barnier claimed the Prime Minister has accepted that future police and judicial co-operation must be underpinned by the European Convention of Human Rights. The Brussels diplomat said this has paved the way to finalising terms on a deal that will make it easier for Britain to extradite terrorists and share criminal data with the bloc. An agreement has been on the verge of completion for longer than a month since Lord Frost first signalled the UK would soften its stance.” – Daily Express

Brexit 2) William Hague: No Deal is far more likely than anyone is prepared to admit

“It has been a widespread assumption in recent months that there is bound to be agreement on free trade between the UK and the European Union before the transition period ends and Brexit takes full effect one month from now. Yet it seems more likely that such a happy outcome will require something additional, in the form of talks at the highest level between Boris Johnson and EU leaders, and that some fresh decisions will be required to make a deal attainable. Otherwise, it is still possible that January 1 will come round with no framework for cooperation and trade in place at all.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Merkel says EU countries impatient over lack of talks progress – Daily Telegraph
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Johnson takes first step towards election power

“Boris Johnson will start to claw back the power to call an election today with a warning to judges to keep out of decisions to bring parliaments to a close. Legislation repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FTPA) is published today, with ministers seeking to restore the power to go to the country conferred by royal prerogative, according to senior government sources. Mr Johnson included a promise to scrap the FTPA in the Conservatives’ manifesto in last December’s election, called after a six-month Brexit stalemate in a hung parliament he could not dissolve.” – The Times

Green’s retail empire collapses into administration

“Sir Philip Green’s stricken retail empire crashed into administration on Monday evening, leaving thousands of pension savers at risk of a brutal hit to their retirement income and putting 13,000 jobs at risk. Administrators at Deloitte were formally appointed after last-ditch efforts to save the business failed in the most high-profile corporate collapse to hit the British high street since Covid-19 struck. Experts warned that an estimated 10,000 savers could lose up to a fifth of their income if Arcadia’s pension scheme is forced into an industry lifeboat as a result of a funding shortfall.” – Daily Telegraph

  • JD Sports tipped to pull out of Debenhams talks – The Guardian
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