Good Monday morning. This is Emilio Casalicchio. Alex shall be again tomorrow and taking you all over to Christmas.
DRIVING THE DAY
BRITAIN ADRIFT: Boris Johnson will chair an emergency COBR assembly right this moment after his warnings a couple of super-spreading coronavirus pressure left Britain minimize off from Europe. More than a dozen EU international locations (plus others together with Canada, Turkey and Switzerland) have introduced journey restrictions of some kind on the U.Okay., starting from elevated testing and quarantine measures to flight bans and border closures. The greatest blow got here when France sealed its borders to British vacationers and hauliers for an preliminary 48 hours from 11 p.m. final night time. It means folks and pushed items from the U.Okay. can not enter France through air, sea or the Channel Tunnel within the essential run-up to Christmas. The effort to keep away from imports of the brand new corona pressure leaves Britain in an efficient Tier 4 — minimize off from the remainder of the Continent and informed to “stay at home.”
First learn this: The POLITICO staff in Brussels has a full report about what restrictions EU international locations have imposed.
Brexit comes early: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps final night time urged vacationers and hauliers to keep away from Kent ports or different routes to France for worry of carnage on the roads. The huge Brexit automobile park in Ashford continues to be to be completed — as is different infrastructure to help border chaos at the tip of the transition interval — so this might find yourself worse even than Michael Gove’s worst-case state of affairs for Brexit. “Tomorrow there will be around 6,000 lorries bound for Dover and Folkestone,” mentioned ITV Business Editor Joel Hills final night time. “Tuesday is an even busier day.” Fresh meals sure for the Continent could possibly be beginning to rot in vans as you learn this. Imports are additionally anticipated to grind to a halt as drivers keep away from getting into Britain for worry of changing into trapped. In brief, issues aren’t going too nicely.
Hair-tearing: Freight representatives and enterprise teams engaged in a spot of meltdown final night time. Rod McKenzie from the Road Haulage Association mentioned the closures have been a “hammer blow.” Ian Wright, boss of the Food and Drink Federation, mentioned the suspension “has the potential to cause serious disruption to U.K. Christmas fresh food supplies.” Alex Veitch from Logistics UK urged buyers to not panic purchase (good luck with that). Operation Stack (the one the place lorries get parked on the facet of the M20) received underway in a single day.
Now hear this: Shapps was drafted onto the morning broadcast spherical amid the chaos inside authorities late final night time and is touring the studios now.
What in regards to the vaccines? The authorities insists coronavirus vaccines will nonetheless be imported to Britain underneath its Brexit contingency plans if the sh*t really hits the fan. The subsequent batch of jabs is just not set to reach within the subsequent two days, in accordance with the Telegraph, however a navy airlift operation could possibly be triggered if the border blockade is prolonged.
LIFE COMES AT YOU FAST: The political fallout for Johnson is gaining tempo. COVID Recovery Group honcho Mark Harper final night time mentioned the border chaos was one more reason to recall parliament to permit the impression of the brand new coronavirus pressure to be debated. Former Minister Tim Loughton additionally known as for a recall on the Westminster Hour final night time.
Labour strain: Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Rachel Reeves demanded Johnson “urgently explain what he is doing to get a grip on the situation” in a bid to reassure the general public that provides to the NHS, supermarkets and producers shall be safeguarded. Playbook hears she has reached out on to her counterpart Michael Gove with a suggestion to work collectively on what measures to place in place. She may battle to get a response although. “Upstairs in his study, my husband sits ashen-faced on yet another interminable Cabinet Zoom call,” his spouse Sarah Vine writes.
The Brexit angle: Nigel Farage final night time mentioned EU leaders have been being “thugs and bullies” with the border blockades in a bid to pressure the U.Okay. to “sign a bad deal” on Brexit. “If this is the heavy hand of EU negotiation the time has come to say go to hell,” he texted Playbook.
The different Brexit angle: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Johnson to increase the Brexit transition interval to keep away from the pandemic border chaos colliding with Brexit border chaos. Bit of a protracted shot, however value a attempt.
What occurs subsequent: EU leaders are set to satisfy once more at 11 a.m. Brussels time this morning to debate a collective strategy to the U.Okay. and its new coronavirus pressure. According to German newspaper Bild, an EU-wide ban on flights could possibly be imposed between tonight and January 6. Crisis conferences are taking place this morning in Whitehall and strain will little question construct for Johnson to talk publicly in some kind after the COBR assembly. Expectations final night time have been that it might happen within the afternoon, however issues sounded fairly movable.
Big check: Johnson arrange a winter threats disaster hub within the Cabinet Office to anticipate and deal with simply this type of factor. Wonder the way it’s doing.
THE NEW STRAIN: All that is taking place as a result of Downing Street was so spooked by the fast-spreading new pressure of the virus, it scrambled to impose extreme lockdown measures on London and the south east, spooking different nations in flip. The authorities on Sunday printed the minutes from the NERVTAG advisory panel that set hares operating. The doc mentioned the pressure could possibly be 70 p.c extra transmissible and might need elevated the R quantity by between 0.4 and 0.9 — although the scientists had simply “moderate confidence” within the findings.
What it means: In the Times, Science Editor Tom Whipple units out in stark phrases what the findings imply if borne out. “It is now injections, or infections,” he writes in a front-page piece, explaining that the primary U.Okay. lockdown couldn’t have pressured the R charge of the brand new pressure under 1. “Before, this was a siege. Now, it is a race. We have to inject people faster than it infects people.” No surprise Health Secretary Matt Hancock recommended to Sophy Ridge on Sunday that Tier 4 measures might stay in place till the vaccine is rolled out.
But however however: Scientists are nonetheless racing to show the brand new pressure is just not immune to the vaccines, the Telegraph notes. 🤞🤞🤞
Pressure on Sunak: With extra lockdowns comes the inevitable clamor for extra enterprise assist. Sure sufficient, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds final night time known as on her counterpart Rishi Sunak to “come out of hiding” and pump additional cash into hard-hit companies. “When he was giving out taxpayer-funded meals during the summer you couldn’t move without seeing him,” a Labour official informed Playbook. “But now tough decisions need to be taken he’s nowhere to be seen.” A Treasury official identified that companies pressured to shut have furlough out there to them and entry to grants value £3,000.
ELSEWHERE, IN CORONA: The Institute for Government has a brand new report out which is withering on elements of the pandemic dealing with thus far. It notes scientists weren’t consulted about insurance policies akin to Eat Out to Help Out, (which was branded “epidemiologically illiterate,”) and dubs ministerial decision-making “chaotic.” It suggests a taste of what the eventual public inquiry into the pandemic response may appear like: ie not one thing to learn to the youngsters at bedtime.
Don’t be freaked out, however … the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which is tasked with serving to sort out the coronavirus, has inked a contract to watch the actions and habits of greater than a 3rd of the U.Okay. grownup inhabitants through their mobiles. The £630,000 settlement, unearthed by means of the Tussell authorities procurement database, was signed with O2 proprietor Telefonica U.Okay. and runs for a yr from the tip of September.
ICYMI: It’s official: Chris Whitty is extra in style than Britney Spears. Oh, and Downing Street confirmed Boris Johnson will observe his personal Tier 4 guidelines and stay in No. 10 for Christmas.
YESTERDAY’S UK STATS: 35,928 new circumstances, ⬆️ 8,876 on yesterday and ⬆️ 17,481 on the earlier Sunday … 326 deaths, ⬇️ 208 on yesterday and ⬆️ 182 on the earlier Sunday.
**A message from Hitachi Rail and Bombardier Transportation: Britain’s two main prepare builders, with factories within the North East and the Midlands are working in partnership to design and construct a brand new era of very high-speed trains. Let’s construct again higher. Find out extra**
TODAY IN WESTMINSTER
BIG STARMER SPEECH: Labour chief Keir Starmer will this morning pledge to go all-out on devolution if he wins the subsequent election. In a giant speech pitching foremost to Scottish voters forward of Holyrood elections within the spring, Starmer will announce plans to launch a constitutional fee in 2021, with enter from former PM Gordon Brown, to contemplate “how power, wealth and opportunity can be devolved to the most local level.” Labour has a mountain to climb in Scotland, which shall be essential for its reelection hopes. But a Starmer aide insisted the ambition on devolution goes additional than Scotland and can absorb mayoral zones and extra native communities throughout the U.Okay. The tackle shall be livestreamed right here simply after 11 a.m.
Now hear this: Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray is touring the published studios this morning to preview the speech. Expect questions on why Scots don’t like Scottish Labour chief Richard Leonard all that a lot … or at all.
IF YOU READ ONE THING TODAY: Campaigning footballer Marcus Rashford picked up a particular award at the Sports Personality of the Year occasion final night time. With attribute good timing, my POLITICO colleague Charlie Cooper has penned a must-read function about Rashford as a part of the POLITICO 28 collection, after the England star secured two authorities U-turns on funding free faculty meals. “In Downing Street, there is no doubt that Rashford is now a major figure in British public life whom they can’t afford to ignore again,” Charlie writes.
MEANWHILE, IN BREXIT: Talks proceed right this moment after the 2 sides failed to achieve a commerce deal by the European Parliament’s deadline of final night time. It was by no means going to occur: If the deadlines set by U.Okay. and EU negotiators are meaningless, MEPs had no hope. David McAllister, chair of the European Parliament’s Brexit coordination group, mentioned the missed deadline means MEPs will now not have time to scrutinize and approve a deal. That would imply an settlement must be carried out on a provisional foundation and endorsed by the Parliament later. The coordination group will meet at 9.45 a.m. Brussels time right this moment.
Status replace: The two sides are nonetheless caught on the identical two problems with subsidies and fish. “Talks remain difficult and significant differences remain,” a U.Okay. official mentioned final night time. In the Sun, Harry Cole and Nick Gutteridge have some good shade on U.Okay. negotiators fearing talks will plod on by means of Christmas. “Last night the knackered Brits were refueled on mince pies and mulled wine served up by the U.K. Ambassador Sir Tim Barrow as it dawned on them that talks could run through next week,” the pair write.
Weird Brexit upshot: “European companies may get better protection for their investments in the EU — by setting up shop in Britain,” my POLITICO colleague Jakob Hanke Vela writes for Brexit Transition, Trade, Competition and Industrial Policy and Financial Services Pros. “Businesses in countries such as Germany warn they could move part of their operations to the U.K. to benefit from stronger legal protections when investing in EU countries such as Hungary and Romania. They say it all comes down to trust — and they don’t trust courts in some countries to rule fairly.”
PARLIAMENT: In recess … for now.
But however however: Security Minister James Brokenshire seems earlier than the house affairs committee this morning for a grilling on future safety cooperation with the EU. Tune in right here from 1 p.m.
BEEB HAPPY: Boris Johnson has dumped plans to decriminalize non-payment of the BBC license charge, the Telegraph studies, in what shall be a reduction for the broadcaster. Is it one other signal Dominic Cummings has left the constructing?
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WANTED TO TALK ABOUT TODAY: Ministers are pledging an additional £310 million over the approaching years to sort out homelessness.
**Paris, on arrive. POLITICO is launching the Paris version of its flagship Playbook. The each day e-newsletter will publish on weekday mornings in French, lifting the curtain on the ability behind the scenes within the French capital with authentic information, sharp perception and contact of humor. Sign up right here.**
BEYOND THE M25
FROM WALES: Pressure is constructing between the federal government and the police in Wales after the nation was plunged into the very best stage of restrictions forward of Christmas, with simply two households allowed to combine on Christmas Day. Health Minister Vaughan Gething has mentioned he desires an “enforcement first” strategy. But the Welsh Police Federation mentioned officers have been “under immense pressure,” trying to stability compassion with legislation enforcement amid the chance of abuse and the virus itself. BBC Wales has extra.
FROM SCOTLAND: Police in Scotland have doubled patrols on the border with England after Nicola Sturgeon banned crossings except Scots have good excuses. “As our communities count on, the place officers encounter willful, persistent or flagrant breaches we are going to act decisively to implement the legislation,” mentioned Scottish Chief Constable Iain Livingstone. The Edinburgh Evening News has a write-up.
FROM BERLIN (AND MILAN): The U.Okay. is much from the only real European nation having a troublesome winter with the virus. “For months, Germans basked in the accolades they received for their handling of the pandemic,” POLITICO’s Matthew Karnitschnig writes. “Then November hit, and infection rates began to skyrocket.” But Matt writes that Germany has really fared higher than quite a few different EU nations, each when it comes to demise charges and the financial impression. Unlike Italy, as POLITICO’s Greta Privitera studies.
FROM WASHINGTON: Congressional leaders on Sunday clinched a COVID stimulus deal value $900 billion after days of hard-fought negotiations — however Americans must wait at least slightly longer to get much-needed reduction, the POLITICO U.S. staff studies. Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden seems set to get his coronavirus vaccine right this moment.
**A message from Hitachi Rail and Bombardier Transportation: Together we make use of 1000’s of individuals throughout the U.Okay., together with in County Durham, Derby and Crewe and our funding in a British-based provide chain helps many extra jobs nationwide. Our decade-long partnership has efficiently delivered Europe’s main high-speed prepare, the Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) 1000, and we are actually working collectively to design and construct a brand new era of very high-speed trains for a low-carbon future. By investing in new trains and infrastructure, we will construct again higher. Find out extra**
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps broadcast spherical: Sky News (7.05 a.m.) … LBC (7.50 a.m.) … Times Radio (8.50 a.m.).
Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray broadcast spherical: BBC Breakfast (6.50 a.m.) … TalkRADIO (7.05 a.m.) … GMB (7.30 a.m.) … Sky News (7.50 a.m.) … LBC Radio (8.05 a.m.) … Radio 4 Today program (8.30 a.m.) … Times Radio (8.50 a.m.).
Also on Sky News breakfast present (Sky News): Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Gina Radford (7.30 a.m.) … National Chair of The Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter (7.40 a.m.) … NERVTAG member Andrew Hayward (8.05 a.m.) … Former Chief Scientific Adviser David King (8.30 a.m.).
Also on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast (LBC): Former Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston (6.50 a.m.).
Also on Times Radio breakfast present: Kent County Council Roger Gough (7.20 a.m.) … Road Haulage Association Manager Rod McKenzie (8.07 a.m.) … NHS Providers boss Chris Hopson (8.45 a.m.).
Good Morning Scotland (BBC Radio Scotland): Deputy First Minister John Swinney (8.05 a.m.) … Scottish Conservative chief Douglas Ross (7.40 a.m.).
Reviewing the papers tonight: BBC News (10.40 p.m. and 11.30 p.m.): Trafalgar Strategy founder Giles Kenningham and journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Times Radio (10.30 p.m.): Former Conservative MP Justine Greening and former Labour MP Louise Ellman.
TODAY’S FRONT PAGES
(Click on the publication’s identify to see its entrance web page.)
Daily Express: Millions face lockdown distress for 2 lengthy months.
Daily Mail: The WORST Noël — and agony set to final months!
Daily Mirror: Sick man of Europe.
Daily Star: What a load of baubles.
Financial Times: Channel transport halted as EU international locations ban U.Okay. journey over COVID variant.
HuffPost UK: How Boris Johnson spent 9 months fully cocking up Christmas.
i: Europe imposes U.Okay. journey bans over new COVID pressure fears.
Metro: U.Okay. put into isolation by Europe.
POLITICO UK: Most EU international locations ban U.Okay. vacationers over new coronavirus pressure.
The Daily Telegraph: U.Okay. hit by virus journey ban throughout Europe.
The Guardian: Nations ban journey from U.Okay. as new pressure of virus takes maintain.
The Independent: Lockdown for months as virus now ‘uncontrolled.’
The Sun: French present No Merci.
The Times: Europe shuts door on Britain.
Westminster climate: 🌧️☁️☁️ Rain then clouds. Highs of 15C.
Twitter spat of the weekend: Chinese state media vs. Nigel Farage. Glorious. Farage bit again, after all.
Birthdays: French President Emmanuel Macron, who turns 43 … European Council President Charles Michel, who turns 45 … East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald … Former Shadow Justice Minister and now Times Radio host Gloria De Piero … New Statesman Political Correspondent Ailbhe Rea … U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin … Head of Sky News John Ryley … Pollster Robert Worcester … Labour peer and former General Secretary Ray Collins … and former Chinese President Hu Jintao.
PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editor Zoya Sheftalovich, reporter Andrew McDonald and producer Miriam Webber.