Newslinks for Wednesday 23rd September

Johnson 1) Six months of restrictions needed to beat virus

“Boris Johnson last night urged the nation to summon discipline, resolve and a spirit of togetherness to meet a second wave of coronavirus this winter. He used a televised address to brace the country for “difficult months to come” with the risk of “many more deaths” as the virus was once again growing exponentially. The prime minister warned that he could not rule out a second national lockdown if people failed to follow the tougher restrictions that he had earlier announced in the Commons, and said that there “had been too many breaches” in recent months. The fresh rules include a 10pm curfew for bars and restaurants, which must operate table service only, and wider compulsory use of facemasks. There are also heavier fines for non-compliance.” – The Times

  • The PM’s speech in full; “Your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell” – The Times
  • House visits might need to be banned, says Whitty – The Times
  • Coronavirus pub curfew won’t be effective, science advisers fear – The Times
  • Covid restrictions ‘could mean elderly in care homes have no visitors for a year’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Government scientists’ 50,000 Covid infections graph based on few hundred cases – The Times
  • Support for Government response plummets amid Covid spike – but public are blamed for second wave – Daily Telegraph
  • Wales bans all alcohol sales after 10pm as part of Coronavirus crackdown – Daily Mail
  • Offices send staff home again in big blow to cities – The Times
  • ‘Third of NHS nurses’ thinking about quitting in the next year – The Times
  • Stockholm faces local restrictions after ‘worrying’ infection signs – Daily Telegraph


  • What are the new Coronavirus rules? – The Times
  • Is the UK heading for a second national lockdown? – Daily Telegraph
  • Whatever he does, PM faces backlash from those who think he has gone too far – or those who think he has not gone far enough, Camilla Tominey – Daily Telegraph
  • WATCH: “We reserve the right to deploy greater fire power, with significantly greater restrictions”, says Johnson
  • WATCH: “We are acting on the principle that a stitch in time saves nine.” The Prime Minister’s Coronavirus statement. Full text.

Johnson 2) Tory MPs and businesses criticise the Prime Minister

“Furious Tory MPs have turned on ‘authoritarian’ Boris Johnson as he ordered the British public to obey his draconian new coronavirus restrictions – or face an economically devastating second national lockdown. The panicking Prime Minister warned Britons last night they faced a long hard winter of police-enforced curbs on their freedom, saying the alternative was ‘many more families losing loved ones before their time’. In a dramatic televised address to the nation, Mr Johnson, flanked by a Union Jack, said he was ‘deeply, spiritually reluctant’ to make new ‘impositions, or infringe anyone’s freedom’ after unveiling new measures in the House of Commons.” – Daily Mail

  • UK economy faces gloomy fourth quarter – FT
  • Covid-19 cases ‘could only be doubling every 20 days’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Coronavirus: Too many restrictions or not enough? Experts fight it out online – The Times

Quentin Letts: Amiable, energetic and inescapably brutal

“Downing Street’s drawing room was all soft-focus behind him yet the content of the 8pm national televised address was brutal: hefty fines for dissenters, soldiers patrolling the streets, careless mild coughs becoming someone else’s “death knell”. All this from a spruced-up, slimmed-down, image-conscious Boris Johnson in powder-blue shirt and cosmetically shaded hands as he sat at a table of polished cherry, a Union Jack slung, slumped, to the right of the picture. He insisted that he was “deeply, spiritually reluctant” to boss us about. Spiritual: an unusual term. The tighter shutdown was necessary because “the iron laws of geometrical progression are shouting at us from the graphs”. As Quasimodo nearly said “the graphs, the graphs!” After the dodginess of one of those graphs we were shown by the medics on Monday, it was a wonder he mentioned the graphs.” – The Times

  • There is no liberty if we have to report neighbours over rule of six, Ann Widdecombe – Daily Express
  • Paying fines to the French brings out the Farage in me, Matthew Parris – The Times
  • Johnson appears to be utterly in thrall to his scientific advisers, no matter how tenuous their grasp of the harm they will inflict on jobs, Ruth Sunderland – Daily Mail
  • Londongrad still holds its charm for Putin’s friends, Con Coughlin – Daily Telegraph
  • A blind refusal to see sense: Why I signed a protest letter to Boris Johnson, Hugh Pennington – Daily Mail
  • The fight to succeed Merkel is hotting up, Roger Boyes – The Times
  • Nothing says ‘UK open for business’ like commandos on the streets, Henry Deedes – Daily Mail
  • Deliciously indiscreet Tory MP wife’s diary is a flappy-mouthed takedown of David Cameron’s government, Jane Moore – The Sun
  • Like a Thames whale, Boris Johnson has got stranded at Westminster, Marina Hyde – The Guardian
  • Deploying the military to police civilians is not how our liberal democracy works, Richard Dannatt – Daily Telegraph
  • I’m one of the legion of long-Covid sufferers, Alice Thomson – The Times
  • Boris Johnson has undercooked his Covid plan, Daniel Finkelstein – The Times
  • Nicola Sturgeon now playing the British Covid-19 game to share blame after surge in Scottish cases, Alan Cochrane – Daily Telegraph
  • Electric cars won’t solve our pollution problems – Britain needs a total transport rethink, George Monbiot – The Guardian
  • Robert Halfon’s Column: Johnson’s coming Party Conference needs to show voters that we’re on their side
  • Tory Diary: Presenting ConservativeHome’s online Party Conference fringe events
  • Darren Grimes’ column: Not even Charles Moore can save the BBC
  • Shaun Bailey in Local Government: We can’t let London grind to a halt

Sunak weighs up German-style wage subsidies to replace furlough scheme

“The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is weighing up plans to replace the furlough scheme with German-style wage subsidies as part of a wider emergency support package to help businesses through a second wave of Covid-19. Sources from business and industry told the Guardian that the Treasury has been consulting on options for the end of the furlough scheme as concerns mount over increasing numbers of job losses, and as rising infections and tougher restrictions risk derailing Britain’s economic fightback from the pandemic. The sources said the Treasury had decided, at the eleventh hour, to delay an announcement timed for Wednesday that would have extended the availability of state-backed loan schemes for struggling companies.” – The Guardian

  • Bank of England boss calls for furlough ‘rethink’ – BBC

Internal market bill: No vote until days before no-deal Brexit

“Ministers are to delay the final stages of controversial legislation to rip up parts of Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement until just days before a potential no-deal Brexit. In a move being seen as an attempt to assuage European concerns, ministers have indicated that the internal markets bill may not be debated in the House of Lords until after a make or break summit with EU leaders in mid-October. The bill is then not expected to return to the Commons, after committee and report stages in the Lords, until December at the earliest. The legislation would give ministers the powers to unilaterally disregard parts of the withdrawal agreement on Northern Ireland that stipulate that the province must follow European customs and subsidy rules after Brexit.” – The Times

“A record number of migrants were expected to reach Britain yesterday after crossing the Channel in what many saw as the “last opportunity” to make the treacherous journey before wintery weather sets in. As many as 500 headed for Dover marina, where arrivals were forced to queue to be allowed onshore due to the volume of traffic. Lifeboats were sent out at 8am to collect people after Border Force vessels became full. At least 27 boats carrying people including young children and a double amputee had arrived at the marina by 10.30am. September has been a record month for migrant crossings, with at least 1,487 travelling across the world’s busiest shipping route.” – The Times

Starmer sides with Tony Blair and says Jeremy Corbyn ‘deserved’ to lose election

SIR Keir Starmer has sided with “winner” Tony Blair and banished Jeremy Corbyn to the shadows of history. A fiery party conference speech by the new Labour chief today infuriated Corbynistas by slamming those who “want to turn the clock back”. He savaged the party for deserting its heartlands and failing to tackle anti-Semitism. Sir Keir claimed Labour “deserved” to lose the election and declared: “It’s time to get serious about winning.” Making his first conference speech as leader in Doncaster — delivered in a near-empty room due to Covid — he said: “In the 75 years since the historic victory of 1945, there have only been three Labour winners. I want to be the fourth.” – The Sun

  • Keir Starmer is refusing to play Downing Street’s game. So far, it’s working, Rafael Behr – The Guardian
  • ToryDiary: Starmer’s speech: Confident, passionate – yet, will it prove his patriotism?

Dowden criticises National Trust’s decision to link Churchill’s home to slavery and colonialism

“The National Trust’s decision to link Sir Winston Churchill’s home to slavery and colonialism was heavily criticised by the Culture Secretary yesterday. Oliver Dowden said the charity’s portrayal of the war-time leader in its audit of its historic properties would ‘surprise and disappoint people’. He called on the Trust to focus its efforts on ‘preserving and protecting’ our heritage. Mr Dowden told the Daily Telegraph: ‘Churchill is one of Britain’s greatest heroes. He rallied the free world to defeat fascism. It will surprise and disappoint people that the National Trust appears to be making him a subject of criticism and controversy.’ The Trust had published an audit that claimed 93 of its properties – including the former homes of author Rudyard Kipling and historian Thomas Carlyle – were linked to slavery or colonialism.” – Daily Mail

  • The World Trade Organization is in urgent need of a reality check, Liam Fox – CapX
  • What is to become of the Lib Dem ‘cockroaches’? James Kirkup – UnHerd
  • Out of the shadows: audacious Starmer attacks Boris from the right, Mutaz Ahmed – Reaction
  • The death of the office, Jay Elwes – The Article
  • The case for full lockdown – Dr Chris Papadopoulos – The Spectator

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