- The new lockdown restrictions in detail
- Coronavirus latest news: New restrictions on weddings, pubs and masks announced
- Camilla Tominey: Lurch towards lockdown leaves Boris Johnson stumped
- May says she cannot support Internal Market Bill despite PM's concessions
The Government does not want to send the UK into a new national lockdown but it "reserves the right" to do so if the public does not follow new coronavirus rules, Boris Johnson has said.
In a televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister warned that the virus had the potential to be deadly over the winter period if it could not be controlled and the rate of transmission suppressed.
Although the nation "pulled together in a spirit of national sacrifice and community", there have since been " too many opportunities for our invisible enemy to slip through undetected," he said.
It came as Mr Johnson announced a raft of new measures including 10pm curfews on pubs, table service only at bars and restaurants, harsher fines for breaking the rules and expanding the use of face coverings.
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has already introduced bans on people mixing households at home, but the wider UK is yet to follow.
Follow the latest updates below.
Boris Johnson's TV speech to the nation in full
You can read Boris Johnson's speech to the nation in full here.
Boris Johnson: There are great days ahead
Mr Johnson says that while "the fight against covid is by no means over...there are great days ahead."
He finishes: "But now is the time for us all to summon the discipline, and the resolve, and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through."
Spring will bring vaccine and testing, says PM
Mr Johnson says that while "our doctors and our medical advisers are rightly worried about the data now", they are "unanimous that things will be far better by the spring".
He says the country has "the hope of a vaccine", but also "mass testing so efficient that people will be able to be tested in minutes so they can do more of the things they love".
That, says Mr Johnson, is "the hope; the dream".
"It’s hard, but it’s attainable, and we are working as hard as we can to get there," he says.
Government could lock down UK nationally if rules are not followed - Johnson
Mr Johnson says a new national lockdown would "threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend".
It would also mean "renewed loneliness and confinement for the elderly and vulnerable, and ultimately it would threaten once again the education of our children," he says.
But - and this is a big but - the Government is "reserving the right" to do it anyway.
"If people don’t follow the rules we have set out, then we must reserve the right to go further," Mr Johnson says.
"We must take action now because a stitch in time saves nine; and this way we can keep people in work, we can keep our shops and our schools open, and we can keep our country moving forward while we work together to suppress the virus."
'Your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell'
Mr Johnson repeats an idea used by Chris Whitty in yesterday's briefing.
"To those who say we don’t need this stuff, and we should leave people to take their own risks, I say these risks are not our own," he says.
"Your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell."
He says the virus would rip through the elderly population if it was left to spread without more measures.
The new coronavirus measures
Mr Johnson lists the measures the Government is taking against the virus:
- early closing for pubs and bars
- table service only
- closing businesses that are not Covid secure
- expanding the use of face coverings
- new fines for those that fail to comply
- again asking office workers to work from home if they can
- enforcing the rule of six indoors and outdoors
PM: Biggest weapon against virus is 'common sense'
Mr Johnson says although the country "pulled together in a spirit of national sacrifice and community", there have since been " too many opportunities for our invisible enemy to slip through undetected".
"The virus has started to spread again in an exponential way. Infections are up, hospital admissions are climbing," he says.
He adds that " the single greatest weapon we bring to this fight is the common sense of the people themselves" and says the Government has new measures to fight the virus.
Boris Johnson: This is the biggest struggle of my lifetime
The PM is speaking now.
"Good evening, the struggle against Covid is the single biggest crisis the world has faced in my lifetime," he says.
"In less than a year this disease has killed almost a million people, and caused havoc to economies everywhere.
"Here in the UK we mourn every person we have lost, and we grieve with their families.
"And yet I am more certain than ever that this is a struggle that humanity will win, and we in this country will win – and to achieve what we must I want to talk to you directly tonight about the choices that we face – none of them easy – and why we must take action now.
"I know that we can succeed because we have succeeded before."
Boris Johnson is preparing to speak
The Prime Minister's video address is going out shortly. Watch it at the top of the blog.
Snap poll: Britain backs new coronavirus measures
A new snap poll shows 78 per cent of Brits back the lockdown measures brought in by the Government in a statement to Parliament this afternoon.
Just 17 per cent oppose the measures, but those aged 18- 24 almost twice as likely to resist than the nation as a whole
45 per cent of Brits believe that the changes do not go far enough, 32 per cent say they are about right and 13 per cent say they’ve gone too far.
BREAKING: Internal Market Bill passes committee stage
Boris Johnson's controversial Brexit legislation enabling the UK to break international law has cleared a major Commons hurdle after MPs backed a Government compromise.
Tory backbench pressure forced the Prime Minister to agree to amend the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill in order to give MPs a vote before the Government can use powers which would breach the Brexit divorce deal brokered with Brussels last year.
It has now passed the commitee stage, and will head back to the floor of the House for a third reading.
MPs vote on nationalist amendment
MPs are now voting on an amendment to Boris Johnson's Internal Market Bill that would not allow new powers to be given to Westminster without the consent of the devolved assemblies (see 16.54 for more on this).
Here is the amendment.
We're not expecting this one to pass.
Boris Johnson has 'overreacted' to disease, says Sir Desmond Swayne
Sir Desmond Swayne, David Cameron's former PPS, has accused Mr Johnson of causing more damage to health with lockdowns than the virus itself has.
"My contention remains, as I have said many times over the last months, that our over-reaction to the disease has done much more lasting economic damage, and, counter-intuitively, even more damage to our health than the disease itself," Sir Desmond wrote on his website.
"The current strategy merely kicks the can down the road. If the measures work and reduce the spread, the virus will simply reappear later.
"One day there may be a virus that threatens our whole way of life - but this isn't it, even if we are behaving as if it were."
Arlene Foster: We can avoid 'circuit breaker' if people follow the rules
Northern Ireland can avoid a "circuit break" lockdown if people adhere to the region's latest coronavirus restrictions, the First Minister has said.
Arlene Foster said she could not rule out the imposition of a two-week lockdown to halt the spread of the virus in the region, insisting it was in the public's hands to prevent it.
She insisted such a move would be at the extreme end of the further options the executive has open to it.
A so-called circuit break lockdown will be among the measures discussed by ministers at the next meeting of the powersharing executive on Thursday.
"I hope we don't have to get to a circuit breaker because it is quite a significant issue," said Mrs Foster.
Boris Johnson 'trashing' UK reputation, says Nandy
Lisa Nandy, the Shadow foreign secretary, has accused Boris Johnson of "trashing" the UK's global reputation at a time when it should be leading global efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The Prime Minister on Tuesday announced a series of new measures, including bringing in a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants, in a bid to stem the second wave of infections across England.
But Ms Nandy told Labour's "virtual" conference during a question and answer session after her speech that Mr Johnson's administration should be emulating Gordon Brown's approach during the global financial crisis in 2008.
Ms Nandy said that rather than step up to the challenge, the Conservative Party leader had instead damaged the country's standing with his UK Internal Market Bill that looks to override key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union in a move that could break international law if utilised.
Ms Nandy said: "The last Labour government, led by Gordon Brown, during the financial crisis brought the world together and helped people to understand that it was in every country's interest perhaps to give a little in order to gain a lot.
"That is what is missing right now and, with the US having stepped outside of that leadership role, there is a real need for countries like Britain and Germany to come together, to step forward together.
"But at precisely that moment, the British Government has chosen to trash our relationships around the world.
"And that is why Labour is determined that we will be participants and not just spectators in the battle that is to come and help to bring the world together."
What are the new Covid rules?
We're expecting an address from the Prime Minister tonight at 8pm on new coronavirus restrictions.
Among other things, he will say that pubs and restaurants must now close at 10pm, and people should continue to work from home.
Mr Johnson gave a speech in Parliament earlier today with much of the detail, but you can read our explainer here with everything you need to know.
Tory MP hits back at nationalists
Bim Afolami, a Tory backbencher, accused the SNP of only caring about "breaking up the United Kingdom.
He told the Commons: "Fundamentally, they (the SNP) care about one thing. They don't care about free trade across the United Kingdom, they don't care about prosperity for businesses, they just care about breaking up the United Kingdom.
"The reason why the Scottish nationalists dislike this Bill so much, and I have been wondering what is driving their animosity towards this Bill, the reason why is because they know that it can help bind the United Kingdom together.
"That is why they hate it and that is why I support it, and that is why this minister and this government is putting it forward."
Nationalists worry UKIM would see more powers held in Westminster
An interesting feature of the debate happening in Parliament this evening is the Internal Market Bill's effect on devolved legislatures.
Nationalist parties say the bill would reserve additional powers in Westminster, removing them from devolved assemblies.
Liz Saville Roberts, the Plaid Cymru Westminster leader, has tabled an amendment by her party and some other opposition members that "would seek to rectify the anti-democratic nature of this shabby Bill by giving the devolved legislatures the opportunity to hold a vote on the Bill before its provisions would become law".
The amendment, she said, would also particularly ensure that "no additional powers were reserved to Westminster through this Bill unless the devolved legislatures of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland gave their explicit consent".
Lords defeat Government on pesticides bill
The Government has been defeated by peers demanding a ban on the use of pesticides near homes and public buildings or spaces, such as schools and hospitals.
The House of Lords voted by 276 to 228, majority 48, for a cross-party amendment to the Agriculture Bill.
The change requires the Secretary of State to outlaw the use of chemicals close to the public, aimed at protecting human health.
The Government had argued there was already a "robust" regulatory system in place governing the use of pesticides to prevent harm to people and warned the measure could hamper efforts to combat invasive species, such as Japanese knotweed, close to properties.
Sir Graham Brady sticks to guns on rebel amendment over coronavirus powers
Sir Graham Brady has said he will continue with his amendment to curb ministerial powers, despite Boris Johnson's prpomise to allow MPs would be able to question the Government's scientific advisers "more regularly" and get greater access to data on their constituencies.
Earlier this week Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, criticised ministers for having "got into the habit of ruling by decree".
Despite Mr Johnson's pledge, the veteran Tory said he would continue with his plan to table an amendment requiring the Government to put any new restrictions to a vote of MPs ahead of a renewal of the Coronavirus Act.
Sir Graham welcomed the commitment to greater scrutiny but said he will continue with his amendment unless MPs are guaranteed votes on major measures.
"With the Government using emergency powers to introduce draconian restrictions on personal liberty, family life and economic freedom, proper parliamentary approval by means of debate and vote is essential. I hope that the Government will accept this but if not, I will seek to amend the relevant motion," he told the PA news agency.
Mitt Romney paves the way for Donald Trump to nominate Supreme Court justice
Senator Mitt Romney has said he would consider Donald Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court, despite the impending election.
A statement from the former presidential candidate, a fierce critic of Trump, was hotly awaited, after two moderate Republican senators said a vote on replacing the late liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should not proceed before the November 3 election.
That means Senate Majority Mitch McConnell now has the votes he needs to move forward with President Trump's choice to replace the late Democrat judge.
Romney tweeted: "I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications."
My statement regarding the current Supreme Court vacancy: pic.twitter.com/6YO0dPWWXc— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) September 22, 2020
Watch: New rules 'devastating for trade' says UK Hospitality CEO
Boris Johnson's move to impose a 10pm curfew on hospitality will "decimate" trade and put more jobs at risk, the boss of Hospitality UK has said.
Kate Nicholls said the new rules will be 'devastating' for an already struggling hospitality industry and called for support for firms and individuals until next April at least.
Watch what she had to say in the video below.
Sadiq Khan and Boris Johnson had 'constructive' meeting over 'unique needs' for London
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Boris Johnson discussed the worsening situation for coronavirus in the capital this morning.
A spokesman for Mr Khan said: "Sadiq had a constructive telephone call with the PM this morning.
"They discussed the rapidly worsening situation in London, including increasing ICU admission rates, and the need to go further now to prevent a disastrous full lockdown in future including mandatory face coverings for hospitality workers and more widespread wearing of face coverings.
"It is clear that London has unique needs and challenges and additional measures need to be examined which are suitable for the capital.
"Sadiq and the PM agreed to speak more regularly."
Army will 'not be on the streets', Police Federation boss says
The army will not be "on the streets, helping the police to enforce Covid regulations, the national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales has said.
The Prime Minister earlier today confirmed that the military would be on standby to help support police, although Downing Street later clarified this would focus on "backfilling" in offices and on guarding duties.
In statement issued to further clarify this, John Apter said:"Since the start of this pandemic, police and military have been working together on logistics.
"This has and continues to work well; but the announcement from the Prime Minister has been seized by some as a suggestion that the military will be on streets helping the police to enforce Covid regulations. This is not what policing has asked for, and not what it needs."
Mr Apter also urged for more details on the additional funding Mr Johnson referenced during his statement to the Commons.
"More funding for policing this pandemic is much needed," he said. "The service needs all the help it can get as financial pressures on forces are increasing day-by-day - but today's announcement lacked any detail. We will wait for that before we celebrate too much."
Confirmed: Bake Off relaunch pushed back by Boris Johnson
Channel 4 has confirmed the new series of The Great British Bake Off will begin at 8.15pm tonight, 15 minutes later than scheduled, to make space for Boris Johnson's televised address on new coronavirus restrictions.
We reported this was on the cards this morning (11:14am).
Have your say on: The work-from-home shift
Just a few weeks ago Boris Johnson was exhorting people to get back to work, with sources telling this paper that employees who did not go back to the office would be making themselves at risk of redundancy.
It was also a Government target that 80 per cent of civil servants return to Whitehall by the end of this month.
However this afternoon the Prime Minister confirmed this was no longer the case, urging people to work from home where possible, unless it is required by their job, or affects their mental health and wellbeing.
Ministers such as Michael Gove have insisted it is different to the original advice, because jobs that require a physical presence are not being prohibited.
But is this another U-turn, and sign of chaos in the corridors of power, or is it just a case of reacting to the situation as it changes? Have your say in the poll below.
Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots to 'stick with this'
Nicola Sturgeon has said that changes to coronavirus restrictions in Scotland "will not be welcome" as she urged people to "stick with this".
Addressing MSPs in Holyrood, the First Minister said: "Inevitably, some will think they go too far and others that they don't go far enough.
"But we have tried to get the balance right - and to act urgently and in a substantial and preventative way now to try to get the situation under control quickly.
"We judge that this will give us the best chance of avoiding tougher or longer-lasting measures later.
"But I know that doesn't make this any easier.
"Many people, me included, will find not being able to have family and friends in our own homes really difficult - especially as the weather gets colder."
Scotland still 'actively considering' October half-term circuit break, says Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon is "actively keeping the idea of a circuit brea under review", she has told MSPs.
The First Minister said people should think of the October half-term, during which the putative mini-lockdown would take place, as an opportunity to reduce social interaction, particularly indoors, and urged people not to book overseas travel during that time.
People who were shielding have been told to follow the guidance for the rest of the population "with great care", but they are not being asked to return to shielding.
"All of us acting together is a better way to keep you safe," she says.
Children under 12 still exempt from Scotland's rule of six, Nicola Sturgeon says
Children under the age of six will still be exempt from Scotland's rule of six, although Scots will not be able to meet in other people's homes from Wednesday, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Those living alone will be able to for extended households, couples not living together, those who need childcare and tradespeople will be exempt from the measures, the First Minister said.
The changes only impact meeting in people's homes, with regulations for outdoor and public indoor meetings remaining the same.
Children under 12 will be exempt from the limit of six people from two households when meeting outside and those between 12 and 18 will be able to meet a limit of six others from six households outdoors.
Addressing teenagers specifically, the First Minister said: "I know how miserable this is for you and you have been so patient.
"We are trying to give you as much flexibility as we can. In return, please work with us and do your best to stick to the rules, for everyone's sake."
Scotland cannot shut pubs because we cannot borrow more to support jobs, Nicola Sturgeon says
Nicola Sturgeon has implied that the reason she is not shutting pubs is because she cannot extend the furlough scheme without support from the UK Treasury.
The curfew, with pubs and restaurants shutting at 10pm, comes into force from Friday.
Ms Sturgeon said that the Scottish Government was seeking to strike a balance between reducing the spread of the virus and safeguarding jobs in the industry, saying if she was free to borrow more she might have prolonged the jobs retention scheme.
She said: "This decision today means we can reduce the amount of time people are able to spend in licensed premises, thereby curtailing the spread of the virus while still allowing businesses to trade and provide jobs."
"This is the best balance for now."
Scottish restrictions may not be in place for full six months, says Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon has said the measures she is introducing for Scotland will "not necessarily [be] in place for six months".
It was the hope that "by acting early" restrictions would be in place for a "shorter period than would be the case if we waited later to act".
They will be reviewed in three weeks, she says.
The restrictions include a re-emphasis on working from home, saying if necessary they will make it a legal requirement for businesses to allow their staff to do so.
She calls on people to make a "renewed effort" to follow hygiene and social distancing measures.
Ms Sturgeon also confirms a new package of support for people who are self-isolating, alongside an awareness campaign for why it is so important. This is the £500 for people on low incomes that Matt Hancock set out yesterday.
Scotland must face 'tough' restrictions on households, Nicola Sturgeon says
Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that a hospitality curfew will be imposed inline with England, but "this on its own will not be sufficient to bring the R-rate down".
She says authorities must act quickly and decisively, and will also place limits on household gatherings in a bid to break the chain of transmission.
The First Minister said it was a case of priorities, saying it is "not possible to do everything" and have had to decide "what matters most to us". The top priority is saving lives, but schools are "vital to the health, wellbeing and future prospects" of all young people.
Non-Covid treatment must also be able to take place throughout the winter, and lastly jobs and livelihoods must also be protected.
That means restrictions must be imposed "in other aspects of our lives", she explains. They can be more targeted than was possible before, although they will be "tough".
"They do not represent a full scale lockdown of the sort we saw in March," she says.
Nicola Sturgeon warns against complacency amid rising coronavirus cases
Scotland's First Minister has warned against complacency as coronavirus cases are on the rise - but said she believes restrictions could be lifted before six months are up.
Addressing MSPs, Nicola Sturgeon said cases were rising "faster than we can be comfortable with", saying there was an increase among the older population now.
"We cannot and must not be complacent", she told Holyrood.
"That's why action to bring it back under control is necessary - and to bring the R number down again, the action we take now must go beyond the step we announced almost two weeks ago to restrict indoor and outdoor gatherings to six people from two households."
Further 28 Covid deaths recorded in English hospitals
A further 28 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 29,785.
Patients were aged between 56 and 92 years old. All but two patients had known underlying health conditions.
Date of death ranges from 31 March to 21 September 2020, with the majority on or after 18 September.
The North East and Yorkshire was the worst affected region, with eight deaths recorded, followed by North West, where there were seven. The Midlands recorded six deaths, while London had four. There were two deaths in the South West, one in the East of England, while there were no additional deaths recorded in the South West.
Boris Johnson warns it will be 'tough for months' but pledges 'vast improvement' by spring
It will be "tough... for months to come" but by spring next year "things will be vastly, vastly improved", Boris Johnson has said.
Wrapping up his appearance in the Commons, the Prime Minister said: "I think we have every chance if we follow this package of measures of driving the R down, of keeping our economy moving, keeping education going."
He added that "science is helping us every day", pointing to breakthroughs in treatments and "the prospect of a vaccine".
Mr Johnson said: "By next spring things will be vastly, vastly improved. I am not going to deny things are going to be tough for our country and our people for months to come, but we will get through it, and we will get through it well, particularly if we follow the package announced today."
People should go into work for 'job, mental health or wellbeing', says Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has said people should continue going in to work if it is important for their job, mental health or wellbeing.
Stephen Crabb, the former work and pensions secretary, told the Commons: "While working from home has been great for many - for senior managers living in larger properties with nice gardens - that hasn't been the experience for a great many others living in cramped, overcrowded accommodation."
The Conservative MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire asked if the Prime Minister could "recognise that there will be dismay today amongst those people for whom the return to Covid-secure workplaces has been so important for mental, physical, social wellbeing and it feels like it'll be a long six months for them having to work back in their own homes?"
Mr Johnson replied: "Where people must go into work for their job, for their mental health, wellbeing or whatever it happens to be, then of course they should do so.
"What we're saying is you should work from home if you can."
Boris Johnson offers hope for quicker release from restrictions in areas with lower rates
Boris Johnson has signalled a chink of light for those people living in areas with lower coronavirus rates, suggesting they could be released from the new restrictions earlier than the six month period he outlined in his statement.
Huw Merriman, the Conservative MP for Bexhill and Battle, said: "Can I ask the Prime Minister, he said that palpable progress will need to be made if this is not to last six months in terms of his new measures, can I ask him to consider whether those areas that have lower rates will be freed from these restrictions perhaps earlier if progress is made across the nation?"
Mr Johnson replied: "Of course, and that is why we're confiding our hopes and our confidence in a local, a regional approach rather than a blanket one-size-fits-all national approach.
"And we hope that those areas that are complying with the rules and those people, those many, many people who are complying with the rules, will be able to see the opportunity that he describes."
Prime Minister challenged over 'perilous situation' for sports
Boris Johnson was challenged by former sports minister Tracey Crouch over the "perilous situation" that sports are in under restrictions.
The MP for Chatham and Ayleford said: "Sport and all it directly and indirectly involves cannot continue to face these kind of losses. So given today's announcement which pauses the return of spectators, will the PM elaborate on his comments regarding a financial support package to ensure that it isn't left decimated after the pandemic."
Mr Johnson said: "(She) is absolutely right to draw attention to the huge importance of sport to our national economy and to our well being and that's why [Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden] is now working flat out with the Premier League and others to identify ways in which we can keep these clubs going, we can support sport at all levels throughout the pandemic and one of the things that we're not doing, as she will appreciate today, is we're not stopping outdoor physical exercise, we're not stopping team sports outside.
"We want that to continue, but that's why it's vital that we enforce the package of measures that we have outlined today."
Boris Johnson claims Test and Trace has 'little or nothing to do with coronavirus spread'
Boris Johnson has claimed that Test and Trace has " little or nothing to do with the spread and transmission of the disease", despite ministers previously stressing how important it was for bringing coronavirus under control.
Stephen Timms, a Labour MP and former minister, noted that with children back at school "coughs and colds have spread rapidly amongst them since", asking when schools would have access to sufficient tests to avoid school closures.
In response the Prime Minister said the shortage was because "in many cases, we've seen a rise in the demand for tests because people are, reasonably, unable to distinguish between the symptoms of Covid or a seasonal cough or cold."
Challenged on the same problem by Labour MP Stephanie Peacock, however, Mr Johnson claimed: "Testing and tracing has very little or nothing to do with the spread and transmission of the disease.
“The spread and the transmission of the disease is caused by contact between human beings and all the things that we’re trying to minimise."
Boris Johnson rebuffs 'hypocrisy' claims
SNP MP for Livingstone Hannah Bardell has raised the Internal Market Bill, suggesting there is "hypocrisy" in asking the public to follow the law while ministers break it.
She said: "There is a wee whiff of hypocrisy as the Prime Minister and his Cabinet bring in new measures to combat Covid 19, the Prime Minister needs to tell us how he expects citizens across the UK to follow his rules and laws when he and his Government are openly admitting that they're willing to break international law and treaties themselves."
But Boris Johnson gave her short shrift, saying: "I think everybody in this House wants to see the people of this country and to help the people of this country to obey the law of the land and to get the virus down, and that is the objective of this Government."
Boris Johnson slaps down Corbynista MP over Test and Trace accusations
Back in the Commons, Zarah Sultana has accused the Government of outsourcing Test and Trace to "friends and family members of Tory members, lining their pockets while taking the public for a ride".
The Corbynista MP draw groans as she called on Government to end "the scandal" of outsourcing and bring the contracts into public hands.
Boris Johnson says she "grossly undermining" the huge effort of the Test and Trace teams, who he thanks.
Furlough successor needed 'desperately urgently', says CBI boss Carolyn Fairbairn
The Government must bring forward a successor to the furlough scheme "desperately urgently", the boss of the Confederation of British Industry has said.
Director general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn told the BBC: "It is now desperately urgent to have a successor scheme to the furlough scheme.
"It has been a huge success. It has saved thousands and thousands of jobs but there is a cliff-edge looming. And, now, with today's announcement that is more urgent than ever.
"We are calling for the Treasury to announce a successor scheme very quickly. It should be more targeted. It doesn't need to be quite as generous. But, if we are going to protect jobs... in the medium-term it needs to be brought in within days or weeks.
"This is now desperately urgent."
UK's rising coronavirus rate because 'our country is a freedom-loving country', says Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has claimed that the UK's rising coronavirus rate could be because it is "a freedom-loving country".
Fending off further criticism for the NHS Test and Trace system, the Prime Minister said there was an "important difference" between our country and others because "our country is a freedom loving country".
He told MPs: "It is very difficult to ask the British population, uniformly to obey... guidelines as is necessary."
During his pause one backbencher shouted out "the law", which Mr Johnson ignored.
Army will be used to 'backfill' for police in offices, Downing Street says
The decision to deploy the army is to "help free up the police", the Prime Minister's spokesman has said.
Further to Boris Johnson's statement to the Commons, his spokesman explained that military personnel would be used for "backfilling certain duties" such as office roles and "guarding protected sites, so police officers can be out enforcing the virus response".
He explained: To further free up the police to have a greater presence on our streets they will have the option to draw on military support, where required, using tried and tested mechanisms.... This is not about providing any additional powers to the military, or them replacing the police in enforcement roles, and they will not be handing out fines. It is about freeing up more police officers."
Boris Johnson warned that lockdown will 'destroy jobs and personal wellbeing'
Former Treasury minister Mel Stride has said lockdowns "destroy jobs and also personal wellbeing", urging Boris Johnson to listen to officials and businesses who warn about the impact further restrictions will have on the country as a whole.
The Treasury Select Committee chairman said: "And the fact the lockdowns have damaged our national economy means that in the years ahead a smaller economy will probably have serious impacts on the health of millions of people up and down our country."
Mr Stride added in the Commons: "Yes, we should listen very carefully to the epidemiologists but we must also listen very carefully to the Treasury, to businesses and to economists too."
The Prime Minister replied: "My Right hon friend is spot on. That's why we have to take action now to avoid the risk of having to take more drastic action later on that would do greater economic damage, and that is the key point of what we're doing today."
Boris Johnson: Law-abiding people feel let down by minority not obeying rules
A former minister has raised the "concern of constituents" who have followed the rules while people "at protests, at street parties" have had no action taken against them.
Andrew Percy, the Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole, said there was anger because "we will now suffer as a result of these further measures", although stressed he supported the new measures and called for support for small brewers.
The Prime Minister replied: "He speaks eloquently for his constituents and those who feel let down by the minority who are not obeying the rules.
"That's why we're outlining this programme of tough enforcement today."
He added Chancellor Rishi Sunak will examine his request on small brewers.
One person's 'harmless cough' is another person's 'death knell', says Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has warned that someone's "harmless cough" can be another person's "death knell".
Conservative Nick Fletcher, MP for Don Valley, said "blanket restrictions are affecting all people of all ages, immaterial of the actual risk posed to them".
He continued: "Could the Government therefore not ask individuals to carry out a personal Covid risk assessment. The results of which could determine whether someone needs to shield or can go about their daily lives?
"This will help boost the economy while protecting the vulnerable. After all, many people's lives are being affected tremendously by these restrictions, especially the young, who as we all know - are only young once."
Mr Johnson replied: "Well (Mr Fletcher) really puts his finger on the heart of the problem of the dilemma, because of course the tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic is that people who are not badly affected themselves can nonetheless pass it on unwittingly to older or more vulnerable people.
"So your harmless cough can be someone else's death knell unfortunately, and that is why we have to apply the restrictions that we do."
Government not matching 'draconian' restrictions with financial support, says NI leader
Northern Ireland's deputy first minister has said the Government is not matching "draconian" restrictions with suitable support for those who cannot work.
Briefing reporters at Stormont after a Cobra meeting with the Prime Minister, Michelle O'Neill said people needed "hope that we are not going backwards into where we were before."
The Sinn Fein leader added: "I think it is a confusing message that you are moving towards opening up a sector, but the pub sector is the only part of that entire hospitality sector that has not opened.
"You have to be reasonable about that, 30,000 jobs are impacted by that sector not being opened."
She said there was a difference between a regulated setting with good hygiene measures in place and people's own homes, where they feel more relaxed and are less likely to wash their hands.
"I accept that is a slightly conflicting messages there but we would only be moving forward if the science and health advice say that we can."
Boris Johnson promises to look further at mental health provision
Rehman Chishi, who last week resigned as special envoy over the Internal Market Bill, thanks Boris Johnson for "all his hard work in keeping us all safe".
He then turns to the issue of mental health, saying there are "real concerns" about a reduction in services for those with severe problems.
Mr Johnson says he will study this matter closely, and emphasises the extra funding that has gone into mental health.
If R-rate and hospital admissions fall, restrictions will be reviewed, says Boris Johnson
Greg Clark praises the Prime Minister for acting on precaution rather than waiting for cases to rise further, and asks Boris Johnson what the criteria will be for releasing restrictions such as the rule of six.
Mr Johnson says there are several important data, but the R-rate and hospital admissions are key ones.
If the British public "can do what they did before" then the situation will be reviewed, he adds.
Jeremy Hunt and Ed Davey challenge PM on testing
Jeremy Hunt, the chairman of the Health Committee, then asks about testing, noting that schools get "a quota" of 10 tests every few weeks.
He asks what they should do "when they are trying so hard to do the right thing".
Boris Johnson says testing has increased and that school pupils have low infection rates.
"But I am not going to hide it fro him... the way to defeat this virus is to massively increase testing," he adds, stressing he is "proud" of NHS Test and Trace.
But again, no detailed answer to the question.
Ed Davey, the Lib em leader, asks him to apologise for "gross incompetence" on the testing system, which Mr Johnson does not respond to, telling him the Government's "plan" is to keep the economy going while controlling the virus.
Boris Johnson gives non-committal response to furlough request
Boris Johnson responds to Ian Blackford, saying he agrees with a great deal of his comments.
"Our objective is to keep businesses going and the economy moving as much as we can," he says.
"Of course we will continue to support people," he adds, pointing to the vast Barnett consequentials - money given to devolved administrations - given out during the pandemic.
Ian Blackford demands furlough U-turn
Dame Cheryl Gillan, Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham, asks the PM how he will unite the country around these measures, particularly given the six month timeframe.
Boris Johnson simply replies that MPs will be given time to debate them next week.
Ian Blackford, SNP's Westminster leader, then takes his turn. He says the right actions are taken now "there is nothing inevitable" about the spread of the virus and it can be brought under control.
In return for the sacrifices that citizens are being asked to make, they should be given support, he adds. Mr Blackford calls on the Prime Minister to extend the furlough scheme, which other countries have done.
"We all know U-turns and mixed messaging have come to define this Government," he adds. "It is now time to change his mind on furlough as well."
Boris Johnson pledges to 'continue to put our arms around people of country'
Responding Boris Johnson says Labour's support "seems to come and go", which prompts a few jeers from the opposition benches.
He defends the testing operation, and says Sir Keir Starmer should "pay tribute" to those working in the system. He claims Sir Keir paid tribute to the local lockdowns, which is not quite accurate.
Turning to financial support, Mr Johnson says "we will continue to put our arms around the people of this country", but gives no detail.
He also asks the Labour leader to tell people that "this is a balanced response to the crisis that we face", and that the Government is "keeping the vast majority of the economy going" as well as schools.
"That is absolutely vital for the Right Hon gentleman to understand," he adds.
Labour will support Government on lockdown but 'it must lead', says Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer has made the journey back from Doncaster in time for Boris Johnson's statement, and he responds by saying the picture that was painted yesterday is "stark".
He says it is "right" that the PM has imposed further restrictions and Labour supports them. "The national interest lies in clear communication and cross-party support," he says.
Sir Keir then says families will be anxious, worrying about their jobs, their loved ones and whether they will spend Christmas with them. But they are also concerned about the Government's competence.
He says people have been "openly challenged" by the PM for not returning to the office. He notes that curfews in other parts of the country appear to have had little impact on rates and ask him if the national curfew does not work, when further measures will be required.
He asks what emergency financial support will be made available to those who need it saying that was "a big gap". Sir Keir asks the PM to accept withdrawing the furlough scheme at this point was a mistake.
The Labour leader then turns to testing, saying the Government "didn't listen, they pretended there wasn't a problem and now the testing system isn't working just when we need it".
Boris Johnson promises MPs greater scrutiny of data
Boris Johnson says he knows "all of this will have profound consequences" for the country and MPs will be given the chance to scrutinise everything, and will be given greater access to scientists.
They will also be able to have daily calls with Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt.
He cautions against people believing that if they have avoided it so far they will do so now, saying this "complacency" would "jeopardise our futures" because it would require further "drastic action".
Latest restrictions likely to last six months, Boris Johnson warns
The Government will continue to take action to dampen down "local flare ups", says Boris Johnson.
People who have shielded in the past do not need to now, unless they are in local lockdown areas.
If these actions do not bring the R-rate below one, "we reserve the right to deploy greater fire power, with significantly greater restrictions," says the Prime Minister.
He adds he "fervently" hopes not to but will "only be able to avoid it" if people follow the rules.
These latest restrictions are likely to last for the next six months, he warns.
Rule of six will be 'tightened' to include indoor sports, Boris Johnson confirms
Boris Johnson sets out more detail about the changes to restrictions.
In retail, tourism and leisure, businesses could be fined or closed if they breach the rules, he says.
"Now is the time to tighten up the rule of six", he says. From Monday, weddings will be cut back to 15 for receptions, although up to 30 can attend funerals.
The rule of six is also extended to indoor sports, he says.
Large sporting events will not be reopened from October 1 as had been hoped previously, he says.
All rules will be enforced by tighter penalties, including the £10,000 fine, which will be applied to businesses as well as individuals.
Fines for not wearing a face mask will also be increased and there will be more police presence, with the option to draw on armed forces if necessary.
All four nations will take similar steps, he says.
Pubs must close at 10pm - not just have last orders - PM confirms
Boris Johnson tells MPs that yesterday the Covid Alert level was raised to four and "this is the moment to act".
If the reproduction rate is brought back below one, we can protect the NHS and public health as well as the economy, so we are working on the basis that "a stitch in time saves nine", he says, repeating a line that Michael Gove said many times this morning.
This is not a return to the lockdown of the spring, he adds, stressing schools and universities will stay open as will Covid-secure workplaces.
But office workers should now work from home if they can, he says. Parliament will be exempt, he adds.
From Thursday, all hospitality must offer table service only and close at 10pm - he clarifies that means closing "not just last orders".
And staff will then be expected to wear face masks.
UK at 'perilous' moment, Boris Johnson warns
Boris Johnson is now giving his statement to MPs. He says the Government must "act now to avoid graver consequences later on".
He praises the "common sense and fortitude" of British people who helped by "forming a human shield around the NHS".
"But we always knew that while we might have driven the virus into retreat, the prospect of a second wave was real," he adds, saying like other countries we have reached a "perilous" moment.
He points to the statements given by Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance yesterday that unchecked cases would reach 50,000 by the middle of next month. This is not just because of increased testing, he notes, adding that just eight per cent of the population has immunity.
The evidence suggests the virus is now spreading to older and more vulnerable people, he adds. And as "night follows day" that would lead to a rise in deaths.
Welsh Government gives nothing away in Cobra read-out
The Welsh Government has issued a read-out after today's Cobra meeting - but not given much away of what we should expect from Boris Johnson in a few minutes.
“The First Minister took part in a UK-wide COBRA meeting today, chaired by the Prime Minister, and attended by the First Ministers of Scotland and Northern Ireland and the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland," a spokesperson said.
“The meeting discussed a series of UK-wide actions in response to the increase in Covid19 transmission, some of which, such as the need for people to work from home wherever possible, are already in force in Wales. The First Minister will set out which further measures will be implemented in Wales later today.
“The First Minister also welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to having a regular and reliable rhythm to UK-wide decision making – with the devolved governments having a clear and important role in that process.”
Watch again: Sir Keir Starmer takes aim at Government over coronavirus response
Sir Keir Starmer has given a socially distanced keynote speech, which was brought forward several hours to avoid clashing with Boris Johnson's statement to MPs this afternoon.
The Labour leader took aim at the Government for its handling of the pandemic, as well as his predecessor's failure to win over voters.
Watch the key moments in the video below.
Michael Gove confirms work from home shift ahead of PM's speech to Commons
People will be told to start working from home again wherever possible, as part of a series of measures aimed at dampening down the spread of coronavirus, Michael Gove has confirmed.
The Cabinet Office minister told Sky News that there would be a "shift in emphasis", back towards telling people to work from home if they can. It will exclude people who have to be present in their workplaces, such as in retail or manufacturing, as long as they are Covid secure.
This also applies to civil servants, marking another policy U-turn as the Government backs away from the target of getting 80 per cent of civil servants back into Whitehall by the end of this month.
Mr Gove also confirmed there would be further measures announced by Boris Johnson during his Commons statement, which is expected around 12:30pm today. He will also be giving an address to the nation at 8pm.
Labour apologises after shadow minister calls Covid 'good crisis' party can exploit
Labour has been accused of "playing party politics" with coronavirus after a shadow minister described it as a "good crisis" the party can exploit.
Shadow education secretary Kate Green made the comments during a Labour Connected event on Sunday, political blogger Guido Fawkes reported.
Ms Green said: "I think we should use the opportunity... don't let a good crisis go to waste. We can really see now what happens when you under-resource schools, when you under-resource families and communities."
Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi called on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Ms Green to apologise and "stamp out this petty party politics point-scoring".
.That is the reality of the Labour Party. The mask slips. Playing party politics with Covid19. “Don’t let a good crises go to waste” is what they think and now admit. @Keir_Starmer & @KateGreenSU should apologise & stamp out this petty party politics point scoring.— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) September 22, 2020
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy told ITV's Good Morning Britain that Ms Green was "really upset about the way that that came across".
Ms Nandy added: "Let me apologise for the way that that's come across as well, because nobody thinks there's anything good about this crisis."
France to raises threat of legal action if UK Government presses ahead with new Brexit bill
France's Europe Minister has said that the EU has leverage over Britain if it pushes ahead with the Internal Market Bill, Brussels correspondent James Crisp repots.
Clement Beaune said that the bloc would "exclude no options", raising the possibility that Brussels could launch legal action against Britain, as well as dispute processes in the Withdrawal Agreement.
Such legal action could lead to hefty fines in the European Court of Justice. France is among those member states calling for the infringement proceedings to begin soon to heap pressure on MPs but is so far in a minority.
Meanwhile, it was reported in Spain's Economista, that the European Commission would work on the basis of no trade deal exit when preparing their Autumn economic forecasts for the bloc.
The Commission has been using the baseline of an unchanged economic relationship in its regular economic predictions but that is set to change, according to the newspaper, in a sign of the worsening of UK-EU relations.
Working from home will lead to 'overworking' again, expert warns
A return to working from home could see a rise in "over-working", with 60-hour weeks "the norm" in many cases, an expert has predicted.
Dr Christine Grant, deputy head of the school of psychological, social and behavioural science at Coventry University, said that sticking to the usual 37.5 hours a week was "quite unlikely" when people worked remotely, telling PA: "Lots of people I have surveyed go up to 60 hours easily, working 12-hour days - it's almost the norm."
A recent survey she carried out suggested "the biggest one issue is the overworking - the workload - and feeling there is no let-up."
Dr Grant added: "We thought we were getting back to a new way of working, a way we could potentially be together and connect with each other. We are going to have to try harder to keep those connections.
"Some people love it (home working) and have found this brilliant, others not so and want it all to end."
Owen Paterson pays tribute to wife Rose after coroner rules death by suicide
Former cabinet minister Owen Paterson has paid tribute to his wife's achievements in racing and the arts after a coroner ruled she took her own life.
An inquest in Shrewsbury was told Aintree racecourse chairwoman Rose Paterson had made internet searches related to suicide in the weeks before her death.
The inquest was told Mrs Paterson, 63, was found deceased in woodland near her home in the early hours of June 24.
In a statement issued after the inquest, North Shropshire MP Mr Paterson said: "The Coroner's verdict confirming that my wife Rose committed suicide by hanging is absolutely tragic for me, our family and all who knew her.
"We were married for 40 very happy years. Rose will be remembered as a devoted, loving wife, mother and grandmother, as well as a most successful professional in her varied careers in the arts, charity and racing.
"We are still a long way from beginning to come to terms with her death."
Momentum attacks Sir Keir Starmer's speech as 'missed opportunity'
Sajid Javid's former speechwriter might have liked Sir Keir Starmer's speech (10:51am) but it seems Momentum were unimpressed by the new centrist tone.
Andrew Scattergood, co-chairman of the grassroots group that helped support Jeremy Corbyn for much of his tenure, has damned it as "a missed opportunity to show substance".
He added: "If Starmer wants to appeal to working class voters, his pitch should be based on solidarity with the working class and defending their interests, not empty slogans and platitudes... Breaking your promises to your electorate is no way to win back trust. If Starmer wants to win this country’s confidence, he must show he’s a man of his word, not a careerist politician who’ll say what is needed to win power and then abandon his promises once he gets there."
Sir Keir has of course been an MP since 2015, while his predecessor was first elected back in 1983.
Keir Starmer taking the fight to Boris Johnson today is welcome, but after months of the leadership not commenting on policies, Keir Starmer’s speech was a missed opportunity to show substance. 1/6— Andrew Scattergood (@AJScattergood) September 22, 2020
Nicola Sturgeon cancels daily press conference
Nicola Sturgeon has been scooping Number 10 throughout lockdown, repeatedly announcing policy just a few hours before Boris Johnson. But not today.
The First Minister, who was including in this morning's Cobra meeting. has cancelled her usual 12:15pm press conference, which would have come just before the Prime Minister was due to speak in Parliament. Instead she will give an update to MSPs this afternoon.
For info: there will be no @scotgov briefing at 12.15pm today. Instead I will make a statement to @ScotParl at 2.20pm. And I will make a TV address - setting out the current position in Scotland - at 8.05pm on BBC.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) September 22, 2020
MPs should vote on 'principle, not details', says former minister
Stephen Hammond has said MPs should be able to vote on the "general principle" of coronavirus restrictions, but that the Government should be free to "react quickly" as the situation changes.
The former transport minister told Sky News: "What the issue here is the matter of principle. We can't be invovled in every detail, governments need to be able to react quickly but as this new potential strategy is going to be laid out there probably should be a vote on consent, not on every detail but that we agree on the principle."
He added: "There will be a chance for us all to look at what the PM says today."
However his colleagues had concerns about details such as what the rule of six means for primary school children and whether it would affect weddings.
Give public evidence if want consent on new lockdown, senior Tory MP says
The Government must ensure the public has the evidence for the next set of restrictions being imposed if it is to get consent, a senior backbencher has said.
Stephen Hammond, the former transport minister, told Sky News there was still "confusion" over the detail of some measures including the new pub curfew and its working from home guidance.
He added: "If you want consent, the British public want that knowledge, want to see the evidence for that decision."
Mr Hammond warned that we would "have to accept that we are six-to-nine months away from vaccine, and that we are probably going to have to live with this" but that other factors - such as the economy, and the mental health implications of a lockdown - must be addressed.
Channel 4 pushes back Bake Off start to make way for PM's address
Boris Johnson is clearly not a Bake Off fan because if he was, he might not have scheduled his address to the nation to clash with the return of the iconic series.
However rather than go toe-to-toe with the Prime Minister, it seems that Channel 4 is pushing back the start time of their show.
Bake Off will not clash with the PM’s statement.— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) September 22, 2020
If it airs at 8pm when Bake Off starts, it will be delayed until Boris has finished his address.
Have your say on: The work-from-home shift
Just a few weeks ago Boris Johnson was exhorting people to get back to work, with sources telling this paper that employees who did not go back to the office would be making themselves at risk of redundancy.
It was also a Government target that 80 per cent of civil servants return to Whitehall by the end of this month.
And yet this morning, Michael Gove announced that advice was changing, going back to the original position that people should work from home where they can.
He insisted it was not a case of "revisiting" the spring, stressing that people who must be present would be supported to, suggesting sectors such as non-essential retail, construction and manufacturing will not be disrupted as they were first time around.
But is this another U-turn, and sign of chaos in the corridors of power, or is it just a case of reacting to the situation as it changes? Have your say in the poll below.
Ministers urged to ensure new restrictions protect human rights
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has called on ministers to ensure new coronavirus restrictions are subject to review and are open to challenge to protect human rights.
Chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath raised concerns that residential care was not being sufficiently protected and that the stay-at-home message may have stopped some from getting health care.
"Blanket approaches may well have other consequences. The virus isn't going anywhere anytime soon and we have to make sure that our efforts to live free from coronavirus don't come at too high a price," she said.
"As more restrictions are considered, we're calling on the Government to make sure that protections are proportionate, measured, and rooted in science and the law.
"Any changes that restrict our rights must be flexible, with review and end points, and remain open to challenge.
"If we want to protect public health and save lives, then changes need to complement or enhance our human rights, not treat them as optional."
Sajid Javid's former speechwriter praises 'pitch perfect' Labour leader speech
Sir Keir Starmer's speech was a clear - and final - break with the past regime, not only reiterating his hardline stance on anti-Semitism but also uttering long-unheard praise of Tony Blair.
Among those to back the centrist call to arms, in which the country and its workers took centre stage, is Sajid Javid's former speechwriter Sam Coates, who described it as "pitch perfect".
Pitch perfect on what Labour needs to rebuild credibility on. Family, nation, security. https://t.co/vUQeVGDwtD— Samuel Coates (@samuelcoates) September 22, 2020
Camilla Tominey: Lurch towards lockdown leaves Boris Johnson on brink of being well and truly stumped
Just as Boris Johnson was about to come into bat, after careful preparation of the wicket, it soon became apparent that rain was about to stop play – not just for a few weeks, but for another six months.
Little wonder, then, that the Prime Minister left it to his night watchmen, Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, to confirm the news we had all been dreading: Christmas is officially cancelled.
How odd that lifelong libertarian and supposedly anti-establishment figure Mr Johnson should suddenly find himself in the same batting order as the scaremongering ranks of leftist academia.
Britain poised for 'rocky road' with England facing a 'largely national pandemic', ONS boss tells MPs
Britain is poised for a "rocky road", with coronavirus spread throughout the country, but it has much better data "on which to plot a route", MPs have been told.
Professor Sir Ian Diamond, national statistician for the Office of National Statistics, told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee: "My view, very strongly, is that we are about to enter a rocky road but we have much better information than we had for the first wave on which to plot a route."
As well as its infection survey of households, the ONS also has surveys running in communal establishments such as care homes and prisons and will soon have some for schools and universities. He added "it is not impossible that we will do airports and ports".
Sir Ian said that "unlike some other European countries, do have a pandemic which is largely nationwide."
He added: "My view is that at the moment we have a national - in England - largely national pandemic but one which is concentrated in urban areas."
Boris Johnson told to 'stop the games' on Brexit
Much of the focus today is on the new restrictions we are expecting to be announced by Boris Johnson this lunchtime.
But, of course, Brexit lingers over this with MPs due to vote after the final day of debate on the Internal Market Bill, ahead of the next meeting of the joint committee on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement on Monday.
The UK Government has been told to "stop the games" ahead of future talks.
Michael Roth, Germany’s Europe minister, said this morning: "We are really really disappointed about the results of the negotiations so far.
“Please, dear friends in London, stop the games. Time is running out. What we really need is a fair basis for further negotiations and we are ready for that.”
Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission vice president and Michael Gove’s opposite number, added: “The EU believes in calm, constructive cooperation through the channels created through the Withdrawal Agreement. We will not be renegotiating, but we are dedicated to its full and timely implementation – nothing more, nothing less."
Northern Ireland's leaders considering additional restrictions as new limits come into force
Northern Ireland's leaders are not ruling out a "circuit break"-style lockdown as the nation prepares for a new set of restrictions on domestic gatherings.
From 6pm tonight people in Northern Ireland will not be able to meet others from different households indoors, while gatherings in private gardens are limited to six people from no more than two households.
But Arlene Foster, First Minister, suggested a circuit break was still a possible next step. "I haven't ruled it out, I don't rule it out at all," she said.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill agreed, saying: "I think the notion of a potential circuit breaker has to be something that we absolutely have in the mix.
Ms O'Neill said replicating the 10pm curfew being introduced in England would also be "fair enough" to consider.
She told BBC Radio Ulster the region was facing a "more challenging" situation than it did at the start of the pandemic in March.
The deputy First Minister said Northern Ireland was looking at a "difficult number of months".
The pair have received briefings from Boris Johnson yesterday and are in the virtual Cobra meeting.
Rishi Sunak hails stamp duty holiday success
The Chancellor has hailed the success of his stamp duty holiday, after property sales rose 15.6 per cent last month.
The boost, which came in response to the stamp duty holiday for all residential properties worth up to £500,000, helped protect nearly 750,000 jobs, with the Bank of England estimating a knock-on effect as people splurge on furniture, carpets or major appliances.
Rishi Sunak said: “Every home sold means more jobs protected – helping us to deliver on our plan for jobs.
“But this isn’t just about the housing market. Owners doing up their homes to sell and buyers reinvesting stamp duty savings to make their new house feel like a home are also firing up local businesses, supporting, creating and protecting jobs across the country.”
The holiday runs until March next year.
Seven in 10 coronavirus deaths from catching Covid before lockdown, ONS says
Seven in 10 deaths of working-age adults involving coronavirus between March 9 and June 30 were likely to be the result of an infection acquired before lockdown, new figures show.
There were 5,330 deaths involving Covid-19 of 20-64-year-olds in England and Wales during this period, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Of these, 72 per cent, or 3,839 deaths, occurred on or before April 25 and are considered likely to be as a result of an infection acquired before lockdown.
The ONS assumption is based on evidence that the maximum time from infection to symptom onset is 14 days, and there are around 20 days on average from symptom onset to death.
In pictures: Key ministers pictured before and after critical Cabinet
Boris Johnson's first major meeting this morning - with members of his Cabinet - has concluded and he is now chairing a Cobra meeting.
We will find out the details of that from 12:30pm today - but see if you can read the faces of some of his ministers.
It is widely known that there is disagreement among certain ministers on what the next steps should be.
Sir Keir Starmer urges voters to 'take another look at Labour'
Sir Keir Starmer then turns to social care, saying the sector is a "disgrace" to our nation, despite the Tories having a decade to sort it out.
He lists the last three prime ministers who promised to sort the issues, but have not, saying: "Let's hold them to that promise." Workers should get "at least" the living wage, he adds. And "those who have given so much" should be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
"I can see in my mind's eye the country I want us to be," the Labour leader says. It should be committed to a greener, cleaner and fairer society.
It should be an active force for good in the world, admired and respected,leading by example and tackling things like climate change. It should be good to grow up in and good to grow old. But he says it will remain a dream unless Labour can win back the trust of the people.
"Trust takes time, it starts with being a credible opposition, with taking the job seriously. That is what we will do.
"To those who have turned away from Labour: we hear you, never again will Labour take you for granted."
He urges them to "take another look at Labour".
Sir Keir Starmer puts the boot into Corbyn over election losses
The Labour leader puts the boot into his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn - although he doesn't name him.
"When you lose an election in a democracy, you deserve to," says Sir Keir Starmer. "You don’t look at the electorate and ask them: “what were you thinking?” You look at yourself and ask: “what were we doing?”
"The Labour Party has lost four general elections in a row. We’ve granted the Tories a decade of power."
He echoes his promise to " root out the antisemitism that has infected our party", saying: "We’re making progress - and we will root it out, once and for all. We’re becoming a competent, credible Opposition."
Sir Keir Starmer then returns to Covid, saying the Government "still hasn't done anything" about the racial and social inequalities that the disease "thrives on".
He says it is "a test of our compassion" how good this country is to grow old in. The gap between the best and worst families threatens to get even worse, and could leave a lasting legacy for a generation of children, he adds.
The failure to get tests means children are still missing out on education.
"It has to be a national mission to end the deep injustice that a child's future is determined by their postcode, not their ability," he says.
If the PM won't act, Labour will set up their own taskforce "because if levelling up is to mean anything, it must be to close the education gap", he says.
Labour leader confirms commitment to union - and praises Tony Blair
Sir Keir Starmer has affirmed his commitment to the United Kingdom, saying Labour must "stop the nationalists ripping the country by design and the Tories destroying it by neglect".
The Labour leader said for the opposition to "come out of the shadows" the party must "once again be the party of the whole United Kingdom".
"We must make the case much more persuasively than we have - we must stop the nationalists ripping country by design and the Tories destroying it by neglect".
Labour was the "party of the Good Friday Agreement", he said.
Sir Keir also praised Tony Blair's success, as one of "three of the post-war Labour winners".
The former prime minister - who is hated by vast swathes of the Labour left - "wanted to extend the new era of opportunity to everyone," Sir Keir says.
"In the 75 years since the historic victory of 1945 there have only been three Labour winners. I want to be the fourth."
Labour granting Tories a decade of power is a betrayal, says Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer highlights the "big difference between the Prime Minister and me", saying that: "while Boris Johnson was writing flippant columns about bendy bananas, I was defending victims and prosecuting terrorists.
He adds: "While he was being sacked by a newspaper for making up quotes, I was fighting for justice and the rule of law."
He then turns to Brexit, saying Boris Johnson has repeatedly promised to get a deal "so go on and get one".
If he fails, he will have "no one to blame but himself and he will have to own that failure," says the Labour leader.
He says he feels frustrated by the fact his team are "shadows", and says he must "look at ourselves and say 'what were you doing?'"
"We have granted the Conservatives a decade of power, he says, which is a betrayal of what we believe in to let this get on.
"That means we have to change and that is what we are doing."
Labour is becoming a "competent, credible opposition", he says, but that is not enough. You don't get permission to act unless the public trust you and there is still a lot to do.
Boris Johnson is 'just not up to the job', says Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer enthuses about Britain and the country's values, but says the Government is failing its people.
"Sadly we don't have a Government that has such high standards," he says, noting there is "so much" that the country can achieve. "It angers me that this Government is holding us back."
He details the failings, including PPE and schools chaos, as well as the "national scandal" of the "failure to protect care homes".
"It makes me angry that just when this country needs leadership we get serial incompetence," he says blasting the Cabinet chosen for loyalty.
"Nobody blames the Government for the existence of the virus" but the under-investment of the NHS and other public services is "all on them" he says.
"Crisis reveals character like nothing else and we have learned a lot about this Prime Minister... he is just not serious, he is just not up to the job," says Sir Keir, saying he tries either to "wish it away or lashes out".
Second lockdown down to 'Government failure, not act of God', says Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer thanks Labour staff who "moved a virtual heaven and earth" for organising the conference during the pandemic. He also thanks the party for making him leader, saying he never thought it was likely "to stand before you as the second leader called Keir".
He then gets serious, saying yesterday's warnings can't be ignored. He pledges to be constructive and support "reasonable" steps to protect lives.
But he says there is "nothing inevitable" about a second lockdown, saying it is "Government failure, not an act of God" and would damage the economy further.
"The Prime Minister has had months to prepare for this but instead of getting a grip, he lost control", he says, pointing to the problems in the testing system.
"We all need the Government to succeed," he adds. "This is the time for leadership."
Jewish former MP introduces Sir Keir Starmer for Labour conference speech
Sir Keir Starmer is about to speak, but ahead of him is Ruth Smeeth, the former MP who was abused and accused of being part of the "Israeli lobby" during his predecessor's time at the reins of the party.
She tells supporters the party has to be fixed, and that he has demonstrated that the party is under new management - arguing that the country does too.
"It has been difficult to be Jewish in the Labour party in recent years, she says. "Under Keir's new leadership I know the trauma of the last few years will begin to heal".
The new leader thanks her for exemplifying everything the party stands for.
What's on the agenda today?
Boris Johnson has got a busy day ahead of him. He is currently chairing a Cabinet meeting, where ministers will rubber stamp the latest set of restrictions (let's face it, they have already been decided). After that he will convene a Cobra with First Ministers - but not, it seems, London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
I understand @SadiqKhan is still on the naughty list for this morning's Cobra meeting, and that no explanation has been given— CatNeilan (@CatNeilan) September 22, 2020
The Prime Minister is due on his feet in the Commons from 12:30 today, where he will set out the package of measures to MPs. Michael Gove has been emphasising the need to set things out before "our representatives" first, following increasing complaints about his tendency towards national addresses.
We will get one of those too - but not until 8pm.
Today is also the last day of the committee stage for the UK Internal Market Bill, where we are likely to see some impassioned speeches about the importance of the rule of law - but no real numbers in the rebellion.
With everything that is happening today Sir Keir Starmer has had to bring his conference speech forward to 9am.
Wales welcomes UK Government's shift on working from home advice
Wales' health minister Vaughan Gething welcomed confirmation that the UK Government will begin urging people to work from home again.
Michael Gove told broadcasters this morning that the official guidance would be shifting back towards "support" for people to work from home if they can, but stressed it was not "revisiting" the guidance from spring, where many of those who could not do their jobs remotely - such as working in non-essential shops - had to stop working completely.
"The Welsh Government has continued to advise people to work from home if you can," Mr Gething tweeted.
"A welcome shift from the UK Government that matches our position."
Government is conscious of need for 'human contact' under new restrictions, Michael Gove says
Michael Gove has said the Government is conscious of the need for "human contact", as new restrictions come into being.
Boris Johnson is expected to set out the full details of the latest package of measures from around 12:30pm today.
Speaking ahead of that, the Cabinet Office minister said the Government was trying to strike a balance, saying: "We need to recognise that human beings thrive on human contact...
"Common sense would mean hosting a party for 20 or 30 would be in the words of [deputy chief medical officer] Jonathan Van Tam, tearing the pants out of it... the restrictions we are putting in place make it clear there are types of activity all of us should seek to restrict."
He added: "A balance has to be struck. Common sense dictates we all know as you indicated earlier there are types of social events that would be excessive and risky but other types we can support and allow.
"The balance we strike is one informed by science but also that takes into account human character," he said, adding that ministers want "families wherever possible to meet".
Michael Gove dodges question about how long latest lockdown will last
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove was unable to say how long the new coronavirus measures are expected to last.
"What we hope is we can take appropriate steps now, which mean that if we succeed in beating back the virus, then we will in the future be able to progressively relax them," he told BBC Breakfast.
"But what I can't do is predict with absolute certainty."
Pressed on whether it would be months or weeks, Mr Gove said: "It is the case, as Professor Vallance and Chris Whitty pointed out yesterday, that we're going to have a challenging next six months."
Rule of six to remain in place, Michael Gove confirms
The rule of six is staying, Michael Gove has said, telling the BBC that the further measures being announced today are "not in contrast to that".
The Cabinet Office minister declined to go into specifics about what other restrictions the Prime Minister will announce later today, saying it was important Boris Johnson did it in the Commons first, so he can be quizzed by MPs.
But he told the BBC's Today programme that the rule of six would remain in place as "one of a number of rules we have, and guidance we issue, to ensure we can reduce unnecessary additional social contact."
Mr Gove said: "There are some exemptions to rule of six but it is broadly understood and commands public confidence.
"One of the things about the rule of six is it is specifically designed to restrict social mixing.
"The interpretation of households was such that some people took it to mean extended families, so there was a greater degree of social mixing. The rule of six is clearer and better understood.
"The measures being announced today are not in contrast to that."
Government must put coronavirus restrictions to a vote, says Sir Bernard Jenkin
MPs should be allowed a vote on any further coronavirus restrictions, the chairman of the influential Liaison Committee has said.
Veteran Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The people running pubs, owning pubs, these people are in terrible strain.
"And the life line of the bounce back loans and the grants has kept these people, just about, their heads above water, and this will be a terrible blow to them."
But the "worst case" would be "another major lockdown", he added.
"That would be terrible for the economy and so anything that can avoid that risk, or mitigate that risk, seems to be justified," he added.
"Parliament should debate and vote on this," the Tory MP added. "Now we have got a functioning Parliament of sorts, which we couldn't have in the early stages of this crisis. The Government shouldn't fear any extra scrutiny. There should certainly be a vote."
Further restrictions could be imposed on household mixing, as reopening sporting events 'paused', Michael Gove hints
Michael Gove has hinted that the restrictions being announced by the Prime Minister today could include further restrictions on households.
Asked about comments made by Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, yesterday regarding breaking the chain of transmission through households, the Cabinet Office minister said: "The Prime Minister will be saying a little bit more later
"I can understand people want the maximum information at the earliest time possible, but it is important information like this is shared in the House of Commons, our representatives can question the Prime Minister and hold him to account
He echoed Whitty's comments that we would have "a challenging next six months" and said ministers would be cautious.
Asked about sporting events, he said a "mass reopening at this stage wouldn't be appropriate" because of the opportunities for "a huge amount of social mixing". Stadiums had been tipped for a staged reopening from October, but that programme has been "paused", he said.
Michael Gove defends Eat Out to Help Out
Michael Gove has defended the Chancellor's Eat Out to Help Out scheme, saying it was right at the time to support the hospitality sector, despite now having to impose restrictions on pubs and restaurants.
The Cabinet Office minister told BBC Breakfast it was a "welcome economic boost as well as a good thing for families".
He added: "It was right, hospitality continues although under restrictions."
But the latest evidence from France and Spain, where cases and deaths are increasing, was "something we wanted to avoid".
The steps taken now was a "recalibration which we hope and believe will be enough to check the spread of the virus".
"We are not going back to the measures of the spring... but we have to take account of the changes in our knowledge of the virus."
Government not 'revisiting' original workplace guidance, Michael Gove insists
Michael Gove has insisted the shift on workplace guidance is not a return to the Government's position at the start of the outbreak.
The Cabinet Office minister told BBC Breakfast that while people should work from home if they can, it was "very important that those people whose jobs require them to be in a specific workplace do so".
He added: "We are not revisiting the days of the beginning of our response to the virus, now there are steps that we have taken to make workplaces safe for everyone.
"Those steps have been taken in consultation with businesses and unions and workplaces are safer, but one of the risks is that social mixing overall contributes to the spread of the virus so the more we can restrain that the better."
He added: "If you can work from home that is something we support."
Hospitality curfew just one of a package of measures PM will announce, confirms Michael Gove
Michael Gove has stressed the 10pm curfew announced overnight is only one of a package of measures that will be announced today by the Prime Minister, as the Government seeks to control the spread of coronavirus.
The Cabinet Office minister told BBC Breakfast that the restrictions being placed on hospitality, which include enforcing table service only, would help to slow the spread of the virus, but that "other steps will be required as well".
He said: "There is evidence that the longer the venues stay open the greater degree of social mixing takes place. These restrictions are already in place in other parts of the country and the evidence accumulating so far suggests this does have a beneficial effect.
Asked if the 10pm curfew will go far enough, Mr Gove said: "It will make a difference, but there are other steps that will be required as well.
"The Prime Minister will be saying more to the Commons, right that he sets out whole package first [to MPs] before announcing it to the nation."
Government 'is not going to cancel Christmas', says Michael Gove
Michael Gove has insisted the Government is "not going to cancel Christmas", inviting Sky journalist Kay Burley to join him and his family on the day.
The Cabinet Office minister told Sky News: "We are not going to cancel Christmas... It's by taking steps now that we can be in the best possible position to allow people to enjoy time with their family on the most important time of the year."
He urged people to "work together in solidarity" to ensure that the virus was sufficiently controlled that celebrations could take place, adding that decisions being taken now were "not easy, and the consequences not happy", but the risk of not acting was greater.
Asked if he was going to be able to celebrate with more than his immediate family, Mr Gove added: "Kay, if you’re free on the day please come around."
'No raised voices' in Cabinet discussion about new restrictions, says Michael Gove
Michael Gove has stressed that Cabinet was in agreement on this, telling Sky there were "no raised voices" during discussions.
It is well known that ministers are split, as they were in the spring, between the “hawks” such as Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who wanted to protect the economy and the hospitality industry from a wider crackdown, over the “doves” like Matt Hancock who fear for the nation's health.
But this morning the Cabinet Office minister told Sky News: "By its very nature Cabinet and the Cabinet committees have discussions, but they are calm, evidence based and involve weighing up different options, testing evidence... then calmly and resolutely seeing what needs to be done."
He added: "By definition you will have robust discussions beforehand... but there are no raised voices in Cabinet. There are clear voices, which come together in consensus."
"We have an agreed position, one that is arrived at looking at the evidence."
Second shutdown begins as PM prepares to announce new restrictions
Boris Johnson will today announce national Covid-19 restrictions including early pub closing and a return to working from home as he starts to reverse the freedoms of recent months.
The Prime Minister will order all hospitality venues in England to close by 10pm from this Thursday after the coronavirus alert status was raised to the second-highest level for the first time since June.
In a televised address to the nation tonight, Mr Johnson will tell people to return to home working where it does not detrimentally affect businesses and re-state the need for mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing.
It comes after the Government's scientific advisers warned that coronavirus cases could increase to 50,000 per day by mid-October, with 200 or more deaths per day in November "if we don't change course".