Brexit

In an exclusive report, the Telegraph tells us that a billion-pound bill presented as we left the EU last January was paid without a fuss.

Britain quietly paid the billion-pound bill it was handed by Brussels on Brexit Day during EU trade negotiations, the Telegraph can reveal, as hopes that a deal can finally be done rise.
The European Commission sent the Government a demand for an extra £1.09 billion on top of its Budget payments to Brussels on January 31, the very day the UK legally left the EU.
Senior officials told EU ambassadors that a deal was “close” and “95 per cent” done on Friday, despite trade negotiations being thrown into disarray after a member of Michel Barnier’s team tested positive for coronavirus.
But both sides warn that crucial breakthroughs and painful compromises are still needed on the key issues of fishing, the level playing field guarantees and the deal’s enforcement.
“Why has the government surrendered an important bargaining chip?,” Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader, said. “Weakness never works with the EU.”
Tory backbenchers had called for the payment of the Brexit Day bill to be made conditional on the successful conclusion of trade negotiations.

And it seems Dishi Rishi has backed up his boss’ insistence that no deal is better than a bad deal, says the Express.

RISHI SUNAK has warned the UK will not take a deal “at any price” despite the impact caused by the coronavirus.
Despite the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic, Mr Sunak claimed the UK is ready to walk away from negotiations if a good deal cannot be agreed. Ahead of his Comprehensive Spending Review next week, the Chancellor also claimed the UK will not be bullied into a bad deal despite the impacts of the virus. The Chancellor warned if the two sides fail to agree a deal, it will be due to the EU’s failure to compromise.

EU

Meanwhile, even at this late stage, the bloc is making more demands, reports the Express.

MICHEL BARNIER has issued a stunning demand to negotiate fishing quotas every ten years, meaning the UK would remain shackled to the EU despite voting to leave the bloc.
The EU has now demanded fishing quotas be reviewed after ten years which will be tied to the overall agreement. This means the two sides could be set to clash over quotes in 2030 if Mr Barnier gets his wish. The UK had pushed for annual negotiations on fishing quotas like it has in place with Norway, now Britain is an independent coastal nation.
Ahead of any potential deal, civil servants in Whitehall are now preparing legislation in order for a deal to pass through the Commons and Lords as quickly as possible.

International trade

But the UK is continuing to make trade deals around the world, says the Telegraph.

A Canada-UK trade deal has been agreed for post-Brexit, as Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson commit to deepening their relationship over environmental issues.
Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary, on Saturday secured the agreement with “friend and ally” Canada in a move that is expected to pave the way for negotiations on a tailor-made deal between the two countries next year.
The environment, digital trade and women’s economic empowerment are some of the possible areas of collaboration in future discussions.

It’s a continuation of current terms, says BBC News.

The UK and Canada have agreed a deal to continue trading under the same terms as the current EU agreement after the Brexit transition period ends.
The government said it paved the way for negotiations to begin next year on a new comprehensive deal with Canada.
The PM and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau made the “agreement in principle” in a video call, the Department for International Trade said.
The agreement does not give any new benefits to businesses.
But it rolls over the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement reached by the EU and Canada after seven years of negotiations.

Boris claims it’s a fantastic deal, reports the Mail.

Boris Johnson today praised a ‘fantastic’ deal with Canada which allows Britain to continue trading with the North American nation under EU terms as negotiators rush to cement relations in preparation for life post-Brexit.
In a relief for businesses fearing high tariffs, the Government said the agreement paves the way for negotiations to begin next year for a new deal with Canada.
Under the terms of the agreement, the UK and Canada will continue trading under the terms as the current EU system after the Brexit transition period ends.

Wokery

The Mail claims some MPs are aiming to force the PM to fight political correctness.

Tory MPs are to demand that Boris Johnson launch a fightback against the politically correct ‘woke’ agenda of institutions including the BBC and the National Trust, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The Prime Minister will be urged to speak out for Britain’s ‘patriotic’ silent majority and take a stand against bids by ‘elitist bourgeois liberals’ to rewrite or denigrate the nation’s history.
More than 25 Tory MPs will write to Mr Johnson this week, warning him that ‘Britain’s heritage is under attack – ironically from those missioned to guard it’.

The group calls itself ‘Common Sense’, says the Express.

A POWERFUL group of Conservative MPs have written to Boris Johnson with a five-point plan to fight back against the “woke agenda” and stop “liberal elitists” in British institutions attacking the country’s history and heritage.
The Common Sense group of more than 50 Tory MPs has demanded that ministers use the planning bill to take on new powers to prevent councils and regional governments from pulling down or replacing statues.
Instead they want the decision made by the communities secretary, currently Robert Jenrick.

Lockdown

Will the lockdown end on December 2?  Maybe, says the Telegraph.

England’s national lockdown will end on Dec 2 but be replaced by a new harsher three-tier system, Boris Johnson will announce on Monday.
More areas will be placed into the higher tiers than before the lockdown after warnings from Sage scientists that the previous levels of restrictions were not strong enough and a tougher regional approach was needed.
The Telegraph can also reveal that everywhere from factories and offices to towns and cities will be blitzed with mass testing if cases start to rise, under plans to be set out this week.

The Express calls it a parliamentary showdown.

BORIS Johnson is facing a major showdown this week with scores of Tory backbenchers threatening to rebel against new coronavirus restrictions.
The Prime Minister will on Monday confirm that the second lockdown will end on December 2 – but will be replaced by toughened up “tier” measures. His replacement Winter Covid Plan will be “difficult”, ministers admit, with one source saying: “This will not be a normal festive period.” These plans, which MPs can vote on this coming Thursday, would see the country return to a tougher version of the controversial three-tier system, with more areas in the highest category.

At least it looks like the pub curfew will be eased, says the Mail.

Boris Johnson is to give Britain a pre-Christmas boost by scrapping the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.
The Mail on Sunday understands that the Prime Minister intends to extend opening hours until 11pm when the second national lockdown ends on December 2. While last orders will still be called at 10pm, people will get an extra hour to finish drinks and meals.
As well as helping the hospitality sector, the plan – expected to be accepted in a crunch Cabinet meeting this evening – will help prevent crowds congregating on the streets at kicking-out time.

But the Mirror gets all sensationalist.

Christmas as we know it is OFF, Boris Johnson will declare on Monday.
Pubs and shops are set to stay shut in Covid-hit areas and scientists warn celebrations must be scaled back.
Boris will turn into the Grinch and will warn the nation: “This will not be a normal festive period.”
He will say the second lockdown is lifted on December 2 – replaced by a three-tier system tougher than the previous ones.
Just how many people can get together should become clearer on Monday in Mr Johnson’s statement to Parliament and later in a TV address.

‘Winter plan’

After December 2, there will still be a strict regime of restrictions says the Telegraph.

Boris Johnson’s plans for a new toughened three-tiered system to replace the national lockdown next week is under threat after 70 Conservative MPs threatened to veto the plans in Parliament.
The Tory MPs on Saturday wrote to the Prime Minister saying they could not support further new restrictions if the Government does not publish an economic analysis of the impact of the restrictions.
Mr Johnson will tell the House of Commons on Monday that he will end the lockdown in England next week and replace it with three new toughened-up tiers which will vary depending on the prevalence of the virus locally.

It’ll still be tough, reports BBC News.

A tougher three-tiered system of local restrictions will come into force in England when the lockdown ends on 2 December, Downing Street has said.
Boris Johnson is expected to set out his plan – including details of how families can see different households at Christmas – to MPs on Monday.
More areas are set to be placed into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control, No 10 said.
And some tiers will be strengthened to safeguard lockdown progress.
It is not yet clear exactly how restrictions could change – but it is understood the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants will be extended.

iNews also has the story.

England will enter an enhanced three-tiered system of local restrictions when the national lockdown ends on 2 December, Downing Street has announced.
Boris Johnson is expected to detail his plan for winter, which includes information on how families can see their loved ones at Christmas, to MPs on Monday.
The “Covid winter plan” is expected to place more areas into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control to ensure further restrictions are not needed, No 10 said.
While some local measures will be the same as those in the previous system, some tiers will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made during the national lockdown.

We’ll get the details tomorrow, says the Guardian.

England will enter a strengthened three-tiered system of local restrictions when the national lockdown ends on 2 December, Downing Street has said. Boris Johnson is expected to detail his plan for winter, which includes details on how families can see their loved ones at Christmas, to MPs on Monday.
The “Covid winter plan” is expected to place more areas into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control to ensure further restrictions are not needed, No 10 said. And while some local measures will be the same as those in the previous system, some tiers will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made during the national lockdown.

More areas will be put into the higher tiers, says Huffington Post.

England will enter a strengthened three-tiered system of local restrictions when the national lockdown ends on December 2, Downing Street has said.
Boris Johnson is expected to detail his plan for winter, which includes details on how families can see their loved ones at Christmas, to MPs on Monday.
The “Covid winter plan” is expected to place more areas into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control to ensure further restrictions are not needed, No 10 said.

The restrictions will be done by region, says the Sun.

BORIS Johnson was last night poised to bring in tough new curbs as he finalises his Covid Winter Plan.
England will be told to expect a strengthened set of regional restrictions when the country leaves lockdown on December 2 as No 10 fears the virus “could quickly run out of control again”.
Documents will also be published in the next 24 hours with warnings from government advisers that the previous tiers regime was too weak.
A source told The Sun on Sunday: “The going is going to get tough — get ready for tiers on steroids.”

Freedom pass

But in an exclusive report, the Telegraph claims there’s a possibility of getting back to normal.

People are set to be given “freedom passes” to allow them to live as normal a life as possible as long as they have two negative coronavirus tests a week, under a plan to get the country back to normal next year.  
Under the scheme, which is still being developed by Whitehall officials, people could be given the passes as long as they can show they have been regularly tested for Covid-19.
People who are found to be Covid-free would be given a card, a letter or document that can be stored on their phone to show they can move around. Regular tests would be needed to ensure that they qualify for the certificates.

Mutation

The Times warns the virus could be mutating.

British scientists are monitoring 4,000 mutations of the coronavirus amid concern that new strains may resist vaccines and treatments.
Ministers are investing millions of pounds to study different types after learning that a vaccine could cause an explosion in mutations. This is a natural reaction as the virus tries to avoid extinction. Experts say some variations that try to fend off antibodies are already spreading across the country.
In her first interview as director of the Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium, a body set up to deliver fast genetic analysis of the virus to the NHS, Professor Sharon Peacock said it was vital to step up surveillance because many of the vaccines target the same spike protein on the virus surface.

NHS

Elsewhere, the chancellor has recognised that thousands of people have had their surgery postponed says the Sun.

CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a £3billion of funding to help the NHS tackle the surgery backlog caused by the coronavirus.
The package is expected to be announced as part of the government’s spending review on Wednesday.
Postponements of elective surgeries since the pandemic got underway in March have left more than three million people on NHS waiting lists.
The spending will also include a £500million package for mental health services.
It will be mostly targeted at specialist services for young people, including in schools, and support for NHS workers.

Sky News says he’ll announce the measures at the forthcoming spending review.

A £3bn package of new spending to support the NHS in recovering from the pandemic is expected to be announced by the chancellor at next week’s spending review.
The NHS will get £1bn to address backlogs by catching up on checks, scans and operations that were delayed by COVID-19.
Around £1.5bn will be used to ease existing pressures in the health service and £500m will help support mental health services.
Rishi Sunak, who will appear on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme from 8.30am, will pledge to tackle the backlog of adult mental health referrals.

It will need to be repaid though, says BBC News.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to announce an extra £3bn for the NHS – but has warned that people will soon see an “economic shock laid bare” as the country deals with the Covid pandemic.
The one-year funding will be pledged in the Spending Review on Wednesday.
However, Mr Sunak said that Covid’s impact on the economy must be paid for – and that high levels of borrowing cannot go on “indefinitely”.
Borrowing in October hit £22.3bn, with public sector debt now over £2trillion.
The Treasury said the £3bn package for the NHS would help tackle backlogs in the health service, with thousands of treatments and operations delayed because of the pandemic.

Tax

And that repayment could start in the spring, says the Mail.

Rishi Sunak has hinted that taxes could rise in the Spring as Britain attempts to balance the books following the coronavirus crisis.
The Chancellor is set to outline a £100billion plan for long-term infrastructure investment and a £3billion package of new spending to support the NHS in recovering from the pandemic.
But in an interview ahead of his spending review on Wednesday, he warned that Britain is experiencing an ‘economic shock’ that must be paid for somehow.
Mr Sunak has said some combination of spending cuts and tax rises are anticipated following the crisis but added it is a ‘question of timing’ while the economy is in difficulty.

The Times says we’re in for a shock.

Rishi Sunak today signals that taxes will have to begin rising next year, warning that Britain is experiencing “economic shock” and cannot keep borrowing money “indefinitely” at sky-high levels.
In a shot at Boris Johnson, who has backed high spending and opposed tax rises, the chancellor said that “by the spring” he must begin “returning to sustainable public finances”.
In an interview ahead of the government spending review this week, Sunak even joked about the prime minister, saying he would like to “take his credit card away”.

Home Office

The feisty lady at the top of the departmental tree is flexing her muscles again, says the Telegraph.

The top ranks of the civil servants at the Home Office are to be shaken up in the wake of claims of bullying by Priti Patel, with officials forced to work some weekends and be subject to performance reviews.
New rules are also being drawn up to allow the Home Secretary to personally quiz junior officials who have the most up-to-date knowledge about the work of her department, The Telegraph understands.
The changes have been agreed between Ms Patel and Matthew Rycroft, the department’s permanent secretary, in a bid to draw a line under the Whitehall probe into Ms Patel’s behaviour.

Education

And the education secretary is putting his foot down too, says the Telegraph.

Children should be taught to be “proud” of the country’s past, the Education Secretary has said. He added that the curriculum should also be “reflective” of Britain’s multicultural society.
Gavin Williamson said he is “incredibly interested” in looking at the school history curriculum and making sure it appeals to pupils from ethnic minorities.
“It is really important that the history taught in schools looks at the rich diversity and tapestry that has made our nation so great, and the important role that people from all backgrounds have played in our history,” he told The Telegraph.

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