UK coronavirus live: PM would have saved thousands of lives with earlier lockdown, says Sage scientist | Politics

Welsh non-essential travel ban in November to cover flights from Cardiff airport too, says Drakeford


Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, has attacked over-centralisation by Westminster and called for English mayors and devolved administrations to be given seats in a reformed House of Lords.

In his first major speech since becoming Scottish Tory leader, Ross said there was mounting evidence “trust has broken down” between Boris Johnson’s government and the leaders of the UK’s nations and regions during the Covid crisis and the Brexit transition process.

That was largely driven by the prime minister’s centralisation of power and “winner takes all” attitude to Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic, Ross told the Tory-leaning think tank Policy Exchange in London.

“The Covid-19 crisis has put the structures for interaction between the UK government, devolved administrations and indeed the English mayoralties to the ultimate test,” Ross said. That had fuelled widespread discontent with Johnson’s government.

Trust has broken down and when it does we see time and time again popular opinion siding with their devolved representatives.

Ross hinted heavily that he sided with the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs who have warned Johnson his recent approach has exposed “deep structural and systemic disadvantage faced by our communities”.

His warnings to Johnson follow a surge in support for both the Scottish National party and for independence during the Covid crisis, putting Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader and first minister, on course for a majority in next May’s Holyrood election.

Welsh people told not to cross border into England without reasonable excuse in November

Sturgeon says Scotland could tighten restrictions soon if Treasury does not offer furlough flexibility

Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland could quickly move to a full lockdown to “stamp down harder” on the spread of Covid-19 by exploiting the opportunity offered by the new 80% furlough funding from the Treasury.

The first minister said that during a Cobra meeting hosted on Monday morning by Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, she and the Welsh and Northern Irish governments had pressed for much greater flexibility in the availability of furlough payments outside England.

She said she hoped the Treasury would confirm later today that the devolved administrations would be allowed to offer 80% furlough payments to employers even if they were not used in England.

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Tory leader, confirmed in a speech to the Tory-leaning Policy Exchange on Monday morning, he had also been lobbying the chancellor to offer that option to devolved governments.

If the Treasury did not do that, Sturgeon said, her government could decide to move very fast to impose level 4 restrictions across Scotland this week to use the time-limited opportunity to offer furlough over the next four weeks. She said:

We can’t rule out and should not rule out going to level 4 for all or parts of the country. We can’t put off vital decisions while we have a debate with the Treasury.

Sturgeon said stricter Scottish rules introduced from September appeared to be working with the surge in new cases starting to subside.

There were no new deaths overnight but the number of new cases fell overnight to 951. The numbers in hospital rose by 32 to 1,225 and by 12 in intensive care, up to 93.

Drakeford says rules for pubs reopening in Wales not yet finalised because of clash with English lockdown


Starmer’s speech to CBI – Summary


Drakeford announces Covid rules for Wales once its lockdown ends next week

Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, is giving a briefing now. The new national measures for Wales when the country’s “firebreak” lockdown ends next Monday include:

  • The need to maintain 2 metre social distancing and wear face masks in enclosed public places, including on public transport and taxis, will continue.
  • The requirement to work from home whenever possible will remain.
  • People should only meet with their ‘bubble’ in their own home and only two households will be able to form a ‘bubble’. If one person from either household develops symptoms, everyone should immediately self-isolate.
  • Up to 15 people can take part in an organised indoors activity and up to 30 in an organised activity outdoors, providing all social distancing, hand hygiene and other Covid safety measures are followed.
  • All premises, such as restaurants, cafes, pubs and gyms, closed during the firebreak, will be able to reopen. Following the announcement about the English lockdown, ministers are having ongoing discussions with the hospitality sector about the detailed rules for reopening. This includes about meeting in public indoor spaces.
  • As part of keeping our risks to a minimum, people should avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. There will be no legal restrictions on travel within Wales for residents, but international travel should be for essential reasons only.

In addition:

  • Churches and places of worship will resume services.
  • Local authority services will resume but based on local circumstances.
  • Community centres will be available for small groups to meet safely indoors in the winter months.


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Starmer condemns Johnson and Sunak’s leadership over Covid


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