Coronavirus 1) Sunak pledges there will be “no more lockdowns”

“Shops, pubs and restaurants must not shut again to deal with Covid, Rishi Sunak has said, as he insisted that vaccines meant there could be “no more lockdowns”. In an interview with The Times, the chancellor said there must not be a return to “significant economic restrictions” despite warnings from some health experts that the virus could overwhelm the NHS this winter. His comments are the strongest signal yet that the government intends to face down pressure to reimpose restrictions beyond those already laid out by Boris Johnson…Sunak said the vaccine scheme and booster jabs meant that Britain had moved into a new phase of controlling the virus that did not involve widespread economic disruption.” – The Times

  • Downing Street vaccines chief returns to speed up rollout – Daily Telegraph
  • No vaccine passport enforcement in all major Scottish cities – The Scotsman
  • Hundreds more pharmacies set to deliver vaccine booster jabs – Daily Telegraph
  • Health leaders accuse ministers of bungling rollout – Financial Times
  • Let’s do our bit to keep our freedoms – Leader, The Sun
  • Interview with Rishi Sunak – The Times

Coronavirus 2) Parris: We should be shamed into wearing masks

“I’m not personally convinced that wearing masks makes much difference to the virus’s spread. I keep an open mind and await the human challenge trials that alone could settle the question. But that’s just me, just my own doubts, doubts I must lay aside because I’m part of a much bigger society that does believe in masks. I must respect those beliefs, just as I would remove my shoes to enter a mosque even though I do not believe in Allah.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

  • Sage urge that working from home should continue – BBC
  • It’s not the public’s job to ‘save’ the NHS – Camilla Tominey, Daily Telegraph
  • Fewer choosing to wear masks or socially distance – BBC

Dorries “will force social media firms to stop abuse by anonymous accounts”

“Social media firms will be forced by law to stamp out abuse by anonymous online trolls, the Culture Secretary vows today. Nadine Dorries wants to toughen legislation so web giants have a duty to protect users from hate spewed by those hiding their identity. She will re-examine a new internet safety law to see how it can be hardened in the wake of the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess. Writing in the Daily Mail, Mrs Dorries sets out her position for the first time since she was promoted to the Cabinet in last month’s reshuffle.” – Daily Mail

  • Twitter says Online Safety Bill needs more clarity – BBC

Budget 1) £500 million to be spent on a network of “family hubs”

“Ministers are to fund a network of “family hubs” in England as part of a £500m package to support parents and children. The centres in 75 different areas will provide a “one-stop-shop” for support and advice, the government said. The funding, to be announced by the chancellor in Wednesday’s Budget, will also go towards breastfeeding advice and mental health services. Labour called the plans a “smokescreen” for failing to deliver for families.” – BBC

  • Chancellor to allocate £6.9 billion to English city regions for public transport – BBC
  • Hospitality leaders urge the Chancellor not to hike VAT rate – Daily Mail

Budget 2) Sports facilities to be given £700 million boost

“The Chancellor will unveil £700 million at next week’s Budget for 8,000 new sports pitches and sports clubhouses, The Sun can reveal. The cash will go towards hundreds of new pitches as well refurbishing tatty old ones to state of the art levels. Up to 300 youth facilities, which could include scout huts, youth centres and activity centres, will also be built or refurbished in the most deprived areas.” – The Sun

Budget 3) Air Passenger Duty “to be increased”

“Travellers to destinations including Australia, South Africa and Japan can expect to pay more to fly, as Rishi Sunak prepares to overhaul air passenger duty in next week’s budget to reflect the environmental damage wrought by long-haul flights. The chancellor is keen to burnish his green credentials after a week in which he was accused of failing to back Boris Johnson’s net-zero pledges with sufficient resources. It is understood that he will announce that a reform of the tax, mooted earlier this year, will go ahead, with a higher rate levied on the longest journeys. Air passenger duty (APD) is paid by airlines, who tend to pass much of the costs on to their customers. It is currently charged in two bands, to destinations under 2,000 miles and above 2,000 miles, with business class passengers paying more. The maximum levied per passenger is currently due to rise to £554 next April.” – The Guardian

  • UK prices are going to go up a lot – Christopher Snowden, Daily Express
  •  The chancellor must tread carefully and make difficult decisions – Bronwen Maddox, Financial Times
  • Taxing issues – Leader, The Times

Truss warns against dependence on China

“Britain must not become “dependent” on China and critical national infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants, should be built only with “like-minded” partners, the Foreign Secretary has warned. In an interview with The Telegraph, Liz Truss indicates Beijing-controlled companies should be excluded from contracts to build Sizewell C, saying joint work on sensitive projects should be done only with nations that have a “bond of trust” with the UK. The comments mark her out as one of the Cabinet’s more ardent China sceptics, coming just days after Boris Johnson said he was not a “Sinophobe” and would not “pitchfork away” Chinese investment.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to unveil new tech deals with India – The Sun
  • Interview with Liz Truss – Daily Telegraph
  • China is not a partner that shares our values – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Patel to give victims more time to report domestic abuse

“Home Secretary Priti Patel has backed calls to change the law to give victims of domestic abuse more time to report a crime, the BBC has been told. There is currently a six-month time limit for a charge to be brought against someone for common assault. But Ms Patel has agreed to extend the timeframe to up to two years. It comes after the BBC revealed 13,000 cases in England and Wales had been dropped in five years because the six month limit had been breached.” – BBC

Frank Field reveals he is close to death

“Ex-Labour MP Frank Field has announced his support for assisted dying and revealed that he is dying himself. Lady Meacher read out a statement from Lord Field in the House of Lords, where peers are debating a new bill to legalise terminally ill adults seeking assistance to end their lives. It said that he had recently spent time in a hospice and that he was not well enough to attend debates. Lord Field urged other members to back the bill in his absence.” – BBC

>Yesterday: Georgia L. Gilholy on Comment: Gordon Brown is right. Legalising euthanasia would spell disaster for the vulnerable.

Climate 1) “Tensions” between Sharma and Johnson

“With just over a week to go before Boris Johnson hosts the largest ever gathering of world leaders in Britain, tensions are rising and tempers fraying in Downing Street. The prime minister is said to be “irritated” by Alok Sharma, the man he appointed to chair the Cop26 conference in Glasgow — and the feeling appears to be mutual. Those around Johnson suggest that the “bookish” Sharma doesn’t grasp the politics of the meeting and how it could backfire domestically. Those around Sharma are frustrated at No 10 for hyping expectations around what the two weeks of negotiations will achieve.” – The Times

  • When it comes to net zero, the government has a concrete problem – Camilla Cavendish, Financial Times

Climate 2) Green Party propose landlord tax to fund help with energy bills

“Every household should be given £320 to help with “spiralling energy bills”, the Green Party of England and Wales have said at the start of their annual conference in Birmingham. In a speech, the party’s new leaders said the £9bn plan could be paid for with a windfall tax on all landlords of private rented properties. Co-leader Adrian Ramsay argued this could help people avoid fuel poverty. The policy announcement comes amid energy price rises.” – BBC

Climate 3) Moore: The public is waking up to the costs of the West’s unilateral eco-disarmament

“Nations which industrialised earlier are far readier to reduce carbon emissions than are developing nations, who fear being cheated of economic growth. Because the latter are growing so fast (China and India account for more than a third of all global carbon emissions), there will be no overall carbon reduction unless they “disarm”. They won’t. Indeed, as these rising nations become richer and more assertive, Western persuasiveness weakens. Even Barack Obama failed to achieve consensus at Copenhagen’s Cop15 in 2009. Neither his former vice-president, Joe Biden, nor Boris Johnson, has as much chance in Glasgow next week as he had then. The environmental equivalent of global multilateral disarmament is not happening. The unilateral disarmament of the West is.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Neil “could return to the BBC”

“The BBC director-general has held talks with Andrew Neil that could clear a path for the presenter’s return following his bruising ordeal at GB News. The Times understands that Tim Davie met Neil in the weeks after he dramatically quit GB News and the pair are said to have enjoyed a constructive conversation.” – The Times

  •  Sopel “is the favourite” to replace Kuenssberg as BBC Political Editor – Daily Mail
  • Kuenssberg’s successor “should be a Brexiteer” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • How Stonewall was exposed – Douglas Murray, Unherd
  • Rishi’s Budget wriggle room – Kate Andrews, The Spectator
  • Britain is slipping down the tax league table and that’s a real cause for concern – James Heywood, CapX
  • The paradox of free speech – Ben Cobley, The Critic
  • The politics of COP 26 – John Redwood