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Cop26 1) China deals fresh blow to hopes of climate deal

“China appeared to rebuff Boris Johnson’s pleas to do more on climate change last night as the head of the United Nations warned that the world was heading for catastrophe. The prime minister suggested failure to deal with global warming could lead to the decline of modern civilisation as he urged China and India to do more to cut carbon emissions. However, President Xi resisted his appeal before the Cop26 climate conference starting in Glasgow tomorrow. As he flew into Rome for a G20 summit, Johnson said failure to act “could consign our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren, to a life where there are not only huge movements of populations, huge migrations, but also shortages of food, shortages of water, conflict, caused by climate change.” He added: “There is absolutely no question this is a reality we must face up to.”” – The Times

  • Pope calls on world leaders to take radical action on climate change – The Times
  • Meat taxes will make British farmers go greener, says Eustice – Daily Telegraph
  • New £160m wind farms ‘can help strengthen the Union’ – Daily Telegraph

Interview:

  • Cop26 chief Sharma says he will be shepherd-in-chief at climate summit – The Times

Comment:

>Today:

Cop26 2) Police braced for ‘messy’ face-offs with protesters

““Messy” confrontations are expected at Cop26 as officers “physically engage” with activists trying to disrupt world leaders’ motorcades, the chief constable of Police Scotland has said. Iain Livingstone said that his officers would use “robust” policing to stop those intent on causing chaos during the conference, which starts tomorrow. Livingstone said at a briefing that world leaders and others involved in Cop26 would be moving around the city. “There may well be attempts to disrupt or to prevent some of those movements,” he said. “We are going to be doing everything we can to prevent that. “We will take robust measures. It is absolutely crucial that world leaders can attend so that the conference actually takes place. I am confident that we will be able to deal with whatever arises. But I am expecting challenges.”” – The Times

  • Extinction Rebellion will exploit Scottish legal loophole allowing them to ignore recent High Court injunctions and bring chaos to the climate change summit – Daily Mail

Douglas Murray: Weak Tories are taking us back to the seventies

“When Boris Johnson sailed into Downing Street in 2019 it was on a wave of optimism. After a decade of hung Parliaments and weak governments, here was a Conservative who then won a real majority and a real mandate. And not just a Conservative but a Conservative who the country seemed to love, an optimistic figure who promised brighter days. A man who was not just going to do what the electorate told the politicians to do in 2016 but who believed in the British future. Of course, all politicians end up being the creation of events, but still there is something especially bitter about the fact that Boris Johnson would appear to be leading Britain back to the 1970s. Because it increasingly feels like it is that un-missed decade that the present government is returning us to.” – Daily Telegraph

Sunak’s popularity suffers as budget cuts his pandemic premium

“Rishi Sunak’s popularity is declining as Britons brace for a year of financial hardship, polling suggests. While the chancellor remained generally popular the public was giving him less leeway than at the height of the pandemic. In a poll by YouGov conducted after the budget, 38 per cent believed Sunak was doing a good job as chancellor, compared with 26 per cent who thought he was doing a bad job, a net positive score of 12. When YouGov asked the same question in March, after his last budget, 55 per cent said Sunak was doing a good job and 16 per cent thought he was doing a bad job — a net positive rating of 39 points. Public confidence about the economy has also declined. Asked if the government was managing the economy well, 39 per cent said it was and 47 per cent said it was not. In March, 48 per cent said it was handling the economy well and 39 per cent disagreed.” – The Times

In depth:

  • Downing Street fault line runs  right through the Conservatives – The Times

French are breaking Brexit deal in fishing dispute, says Johnson

“Boris Johnson will do “whatever is necessary” to defend British interests in the row over fishing in the Channel and refused to rule out revoking licences for French boats. The prime minister said he was “puzzled” by the conduct of the French government after Paris threatened to ban all British boats from landing catches and impose more checks on lorries coming from the UK next week. Speaking on the flight to the G20 summit in Rome, where he will meet President Macron, Johnson said: “We fear that there may be a breach of the terms of the trading co-operation agreement implicit in what’s happening, in some of the things that are being said, and obviously we will stand by to take the appropriate action.”” – The Times

Comment:

Britain pushes Australia to buy its nuclear submarines instead of US rivals

“A Royal Navy submarine has visited Australia as Britain pitches to gazump the US and build Canberra a new underwater fleet to counter China in the Pacific. HMS Astute docked in Perth only weeks after Britain and America signed a security pact with Australia that would see the Asia-Pacific country purchase eight nuclear-powered submarines. The arrival of the 16,000 tonne hunter-killer vessel offers Britain a chance to push its case to build similar submarines against stiff American competition, analysts have said. Ben Wallace, Defence Secretary, said Australia was at the heart of Britain’s tilt to project more military power in the Pacific and the two navies “have enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship for over a hundred years”. The head of the Australian navy said the visit was “timely”. It marks the first time in a decade a British nuclear-powered submarine has docked in the country.” – Daily Telegraph

Sturgeon: Johnson avoids me due to a fragile male ego

“Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that Boris Johnson avoids meeting her because of his “fragile male ego”. Speaking to Vogue magazine, the first minister talked openly about her working relationship with the prime minister and said it was “odd” that he avoided being in the same room as her. Sturgeon, 51, said Johnson tended to delegate most of his interactions with the Scottish government to Michael Gove, the communities secretary, who retained responsibility for the Union after being moved from the Cabinet Office in a reshuffle. Asked why Johnson was so unwilling to meet her, she said: “Maybe it’s just a bit of a fragile male ego. He seems to have a disinclination to be, metaphorically speaking, in the same room as me. It’s odd.”” – The Times

MPs raise concerns over safety measures at their homes and offices

“MPs have raised concerns that safety measures are taking more than a year to implement, blaming parliament’s spending watchdog, Ipsa, and security contractor for a “lottery” system. Fears have grown about the protections offered to MPs after the killing of the Conservative backbencher Sir David Amess at a constituency surgery this month. Despite receiving assurances over security assessments and equipment for their houses and offices, several MPs – all speaking anonymously – told the Guardian they have experienced long delays or inadequate equipment. Panic alarms, known as “lone worker devices”, were said to falter. One MP in north-west England said that when they put it in their bag the “SOS” button was held down, which is supposed to trigger someone checking on their safety – but they never received any such contact. An MP in south-west England said they tested their device several times after Amess’s killing. “I thought given the heightened situation we ought to see what’s going on, and literally nothing happened.”” – The Guardian

>Today:

Javid seeks business leader to oversee NHS

“A senior business executive will be brought in to oversee the NHS under government plans to ensure the health service uses extra cash to reform services. Sajid Javid, the health secretary, has launched a search for a senior private sector candidate to chair NHS England and ensure that health chiefs are held to account more rigorously over how they spend public money. Lord Prior of Brampton, a Tory peer and former health minister, is stepping down as NHS England chairman in the new year and Javid wants an external candidate to replace him to ensure that bosses make the changes needed to bring down record waiting lists. An outsider with private-sector experience in digital and data is understood to be Javid’s ideal candidate in order to ensure the NHS makes better use of modern technology to improve care.” – The Times

Comment:

  • We can’t go on filling the NHS money pit, Matthew Parris – The Times

Doctors plotting BMA coup to force strike

“Doctors are planning to take over the British Medical Association and force it to call for a strike. A splinter group is being launched this weekend and intends to install pro-strike members as candidates for the union’s regional elections and corral supporters to elect them. The move has been co-ordinated in an online message board and aims to force a pay increase. Members claim their pay has fallen by about 30 per cent during the past decade. Messages show doctors discussing the best way to explain strikes to the public, including presenting the pay issue as a way to attract better doctors. Tensions have been escalating over Sajid Javid’s proposals to force doctors to see more patients face to face but that was thought to have been addressed after GPs said that the government made concessions and removed proposals to publish league tables.” – Daily Telegraph

Covid cases at record high but vaccines cut death rate

“Covid-19 infections across the UK have reached the highest levels recorded since the pandemic began but vaccines have kept deaths down. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported an estimated 1.28 million infected people in the week ending October 22. That was about a 14 per cent increase on the previous week, exceeding the period in January, when 1.26 million infections were recorded. Vaccinations have had a dramatic effect on the number of cases leading to serious disease. The seven-day daily average for deaths is about 134, with about 9,000 Covid patients in hospital. At the peak of the second wave, nearly 40,000 Covid patients were in hospital and daily deaths reached almost 1,300. The latest figures were released as the government announced that the most vulnerable people will be offered booster jabs early in the latest effort to speed up protection before winter.” – The Times

Analysis:

  • Why a Covid booster vaccine for under-50s might not be needed – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

‘Menopause warriors’ win battle to cut cost of HRT

“Crowds of women gathered outside parliament to celebrate a drastic reduction in the cost of hormone replacement therapy prescriptions. It follows a tireless campaign by MPs and campaigners for more government support for women dealing with the menopause and its side effects. Television personalities including Davina McCall, Penny Lancaster and Mariella Frostrup joined the crowd cheering in Parliament Square when the news was announced. Ministers said the annual cost of prescription for HRT will be reduced by up to £205 and the health secretary has pledged to help break the menopause taboo. Women will now only have to pay for a prescription once a year, following a parliamentary bill put forward by the Labour MP Carolyn Harris to make HRT free in England. Maria Caulfield, health minister, said while the government “cannot” exempt the treatment from prescription charges entirely, the cost of repeat prescriptions would be significantly reduced.” – The Times

National Trust staff urged to back bosses in ‘war on woke’

“A National Trust director has called on staff to vote in support of bosses at a members meeting today on Saturday as she decried a “war on woke”. Charity executives were accused of being “desperate to protect their cosy fiefdom” after sending internal communications reminding employees to use their vote ahead of the AGM in Harrogate. On Friday, former staff told The Telegraph that the requests were a break with convention and said that, under earlier management regimes, employees were asked to give up their membership and not vote. Saturday’s meeting is predicted to be the Trust’s liveliest yet, with votes on trail hunting, the treatment of volunteers, a perceived lack of transparency about senior managers’ pay and concerns over a loss of curatorial expertise.” – Daily Telegraph

Queen advised to rest for two weeks

“The Queen has pulled out of one of the key events in her calendar and will rest for a further fortnight in an indication that doctors are taking her condition seriously. She will now no longer take part in the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on November 13. However, Buckingham Palace said it was still her “firm intention” to be present for the service at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. Buckingham Palace has refused to say what exactly is wrong with the Queen, 95, other than that she has been told to rest. It is understood there has been no change in her condition to prompt the decision, which was described as a “sensible precaution”. Instead it was part of the ongoing dialogue between the Queen and her medical advisers.” – The Times

News in brief: