Good morning. With MPs due to vote tomorrow on the three-tier coronavirus restrictions for England due to come into force when the lockdown ends on Wednesday, Downing Street is continuing its efforts to contain the revolt planned by Tory lockdown-sceptics in the Covid Recovery Group who have been angered to discover that their constituencies, unexpectedly, are in tiers 3 or 2.
On Saturday night Johnson wrote a letter to all MPs offering a string of concessions relating to parliamentary scrutiny of the rules, including a hint that some areas could be moved into a lower tier just before Christmas. Last night he wrote a letter to the CRG appealing for “unity”. And today the government is due to publish a cost-benefit analysis of the health, economic and social impact of the restrictions – a key CRG demand.
George Eustice, the environment secretary, told Sky News this morning that up to 100 MPs had concerns, but that the government wanted to assure them that it had a “clear route” back towards normality. He said:
The chief whip, obviously, will be talking to those MPs who have got concerns. I’ve seen suggestions that there could be up to 100 or so people that have got concerns. I think there is great frustration with the emergency measures that we have had to take to deal with this pandemic.
We haven’t taken them lightly. We have had to take these to get the virus under control. What we need to show to those MPs and to the country at large is that we have got a clear route towards fixing this problem and turning the corner.
Here is the agenda for the day.
12pm: Downing Street is due to hold its daily lobby briefing.
12.15pm: Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, holds a briefing where he is expected to announce changes to coronavirus restrictions.
12.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, holds her regular coronavirus briefing.
3.30pm: Sturgeon delivers her speech to the SNP conference.
At some point today the UK government is also due to publishes its cost-benefit analysis of economic, health and social impact of the three-tier lockdown restrictions for England. Boris Johnson has also got a visit to north Wales.
And, for about the fourth time this month, the UK-EU trade talks enter what is being billed as the final, make-or-break week that will determine whether a deal is struck etc etc.
Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
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