Good Christmas morning.
DRIVING THE SLEIGH
MERRY CHRISTMAS: There is a frankly unacceptable quantity of stories for a Christmas morning, however you’ll need to scroll down a bit additional for that. Since it’s been a stinker of a 12 months, Playbook thought he’d ask a few of these whose names crop up most on this e-mail how they managed to get through the final 12 months. Here’s your Westminster information to surviving lockdowns, tiers and all the remaining from a few of Playbook’s readers. In the meantime, have an excellent Christmas Day and let’s hope, as somebody as soon as virtually mentioned, that 2021 actually is a improbable 12 months for Britain.
Boris Johnson, prime minister: “Carrie and I have been getting through lockdown by going on walks with Dilyn and spending weekends reading to Wilf.”
Keir Starmer, Labour chief: “It sounds obvious but it is my family who have helped me through this year — and one of the very few upsides of lockdown has been being able to spend more time with the kids. One of the moments that stands out to me was a brilliant care home I visited in Letchworth over the summer. During the first wave, the staff stuck by their residents throughout and even turned down the opportunity to leave and work elsewhere. It’s those extraordinary acts of selflessness and determination that have been so inspiring throughout 2020 — and it is what will take us through another challenging year ahead.”
Nigella Lawson, Christmas hero: “I’m not sure how I’d have got through this year without having a book to write. It kept me company, and gave me a happy focus. I felt — and feel — extraordinarily lucky to have work, when everything was so dismal on that front for most of my friends, and so, so many other people out there. Perhaps odder was that I took up (online) weight-training: it got me up in the mornings and kept me (relatively) sane!”
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Rishi Sunak, chancellor: “A chunk of home made cake every single day at 4 p.m. (thanks Lisa!)”
Sophy Ridge, Sky News presenter: “The one thing that has got me through 2020 is parks — I genuinely don’t know how I would have coped without them. The return of football also helped — even if watching my team Sheffield Wednesday hasn’t exactly done much to cheer me up lately.”
Anneliese Dodds, shadow chancellor: “At the start, PE with Joe. No really. Although by the end it was only the adults doing it and the kids laughing at us. Latterly, realising it’s possible to run in the dark without breaking any limbs (so far). And as always, Dance Anthems on Saturday afternoons.”
Michael Gove, Cabinet Office minister: “Tea, toast, Marmite and Take That on Spotify.”
Matt Hancock, well being secretary: “The thing that’s kept me going is support from members of the public and the ties that some have kept sending in. I like pink!”
Janine Gibson, FT assistant editor: “The equal parts true-and-tragic answer is that one of my oldest friends started a Zoom bridge game. From scraping around to make a four at the beginning, at our peak we played 10 hours a week and last Sunday had nine people on at once. Basically, we’re building back bridge. Wait, you’re not putting this in Playbook are you Alex?”
Ed Miliband, shadow enterprise and power secretary: “Outdoor cold water swimming has been a revelation of 2020. I shall hopefully be doing it on my birthday (Christmas Eve) and Christmas Day.”
Liz Truss, worldwide commerce secretary: “Deliveroo of Bleecker burger, and espresso during long trade negotiation video conferences and phone calls. With red wine to unwind.”
Sajid Javid, former chancellor: “Only getting dressed from the waist up.”
Kate McCann, Sky News political correspondent: “Kittens! Not being a cat person I was a bit shocked when a stray had her babies in my garden during the first lockdown, but as well as a few sleepless nights and lots of cleaning up she also gave me something to keep me going through 2020 — two new furry buddies who make staying home much more fun.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, chief of the House of Commons: “Lockdown was considerably helped by the Downton Abbey cocktail book which my children gave me for Christmas last year. Helena and I, not the children, dutifully worked our way through it.”
Emily Thornberry, shadow worldwide commerce secretary: “Gin, cycling and compulsive decluttering most evenings and weekends. And just burying myself in constituency and departmental work during the days. I’ve been a complete pest to the civil servants in the Department of Trade with PQs, letters and FOI requests, but I did send them Christmas chocolates to apologise.”
Tim Shipman, Sunday Times political editor: “Barbera d’Alba and never having to put in writing about Brexit each bloody week. And my daughter, now 22 months, who jogs my memory every single day that there are extra necessary issues than politics — like hiding my bank cards or unrolling rest room paper.”
Angela Rayner, deputy Labour chief: “A well-stocked spirits cupboard, a worryingly expensive takeaway habit and the knowledge that our NHS is the greatest institution in the world and our NHS and social care staff are the very best people on Earth.”
Allegra Stratton, Downing Street press secretary: “Sudoku and the piano. You can’t doomscroll while doing either of them. And both turn out to be just about possible with a small child on your lap. The other thing is tapestry: I now sew while watching the 10 p.m. news. Essentially — I’ve got through 2020 by using my hands differently.”
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London: “Walking my dog Luna on Tooting Common, playing five-a-side with my mates (when it was allowed!), the return of the Premier League and Liverpool’s promising start to their title defence have all helped me to get through 2020. But above all else, I’ve drawn strength this year from the kindness, compassion and courage of fellow Londoners who have refused to walk by on the other side and instead gone above and beyond to save lives and care for the most vulnerable in our communities. Their selfless actions are rays of light helping our city and our country through a very dark time, and giving us all hope of a brighter future.”
Steve Swinford, soon-to-be Times political editor: “Our three-year-old daughter Cora who was completely and wonderfully oblivious to the pandemic. Memories of lockdown include fielding calls from a Cabinet minister in the park during her toilet training and her shouting at the TV downstairs when she saw me asking questions during press conferences. Being three seems to me about as glorious as it gets and she has proved an amazing tonic in such a difficult year.”
Robert Peston, ITV political editor: “My bicycle — and the fantastic individuals I like.”
Priti Patel, dwelling secretary: “Showing the perpetrators of crime that they have nowhere to hide and joining our police on early morning raids — reminding the criminals that we’re coming after them. Supporting our front line and watching them keeping us safe has been humbling. They are real heroes.”
Harry Cole, Sun political editor: “Learning to drive is the one New Year’s decision I’ve ever stored and through many lockdowns and canceled checks I lastly got there. Third time fortunate … And in the future the DVSA would possibly really ship me a licence.”
Andrew Neil, chairman of the Spectator: “Ms Molly, Mr Junior and Iris Bailey (aka Scrubber) helped us more than anything through lockdowns. Our two retrievers and our little rescue dog from the streets of Bucharest were our constant companions, made sure our house was always a home and gave us no excuse not to take long walks. To begin with they relished our company too — but I suspect they’re now a little bit bored with us. Especially Iris Bailey.”
Ben Nunn, Keir Starmer’s director of communications: “I’ve got through 2020 thanks to my dog, beer and Nando’s deliveries.”
Pippa Crerar, Mirror political editor: “I’ve become as partial to Zoom drinks, long walks and chatting to the neighbours as the next person. We even got ourselves lockdown pets. But it’s work and family that have really kept me going. Journalism has never felt as important as it has this year. And while, like everyone, we’ve had some bleak days, there’s nothing like kids to help you see the brighter side of life. Happy Christmas!”
Lucia Hodgson, Ministry of Defense SpAd (whose final day was yesterday): “The thought of future adventures and a lockdown 2.0 cat.”
Jim Pickard, FT chief political correspondent: “I went from the occasional half-arsed run pre-lockdown to regular rapid stress-busting runs along the River Thames, sometimes in the dark, although the joy was sometimes punctured by having to stop to take lengthy phone calls from rigorous news editors.”
David Lammy, shadow justice secretary: “My 6-year-old daughter and my new cavachon puppy Silver. Six is just the perfect, cutest, most loving age and a puppy can’t help but make you smile. Between them they have made lockdown more joyous and wondrous for my wife and I!”
Alberto Nardelli, Bloomberg’s Europe correspondent-at-large: “Guanciale. The king of ingredients. No problem can’t be solved by a decent carbonara. No cream. Egg yolk raw.”
Marina Hyde, Guardian columnist: “The thing that got me through 2020 was being extremely lucky, and having an extremely enormous amount of things to write about.”
Emma Barnett, BBC broadcaster: “My colleagues — thank goodness for their warmth, wit and cleverness as we moved from only talking about Brexit to only talking COVID. Oh and tea. Gallons of it. While reading this indispensable email.”
Seb Payne, FT Whitehall correspondent: “Rediscovering photography. I’ve been using a film camera since the age of six, but fell out of the habit due to smartphones. This snap of Lord Hennessy in his garden is my favourite of the year. That and Australian wine. My wife Soph is something of a connoisseur so we’ve survived on a stream of home deliveries.”
TODAY IN WESTMINSTER
PARLIAMENT: Nope. But the Commons has been recalled to take a seat on Wednesday, December 30 for a vote on the federal government’s Brexit deal. And you possibly can guess European Research Group MPs will probably be sitting by their telephones ready to scrutinize the textual content when it will definitely drops.
NOW FOR THE SPROUTS: It was the press convention that felt prefer it was by no means going to return, however yesterday afternoon Boris Johnson hailed his Brexit commerce cope with the EU and advised Europe: “We will be your friend, your ally, your supporter and indeed — never let it be forgotten — your number one market.” POLITICO’s Anna Isaac has an especially helpful information to what we all know to date.
THE CALL: Playbook hears that in one of many many crunch calls between Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, the PM advised the European Commission president: “Viel hummer, kein hammer,” which is German for “a number of lobster, no hammer.” Apparently VDL at all times referred to the EU’s want for cross-retaliation tariffs throughout all sectors because the “hammer.” If you’re searching for a coloration piece and are lacking the papers, Bloomberg’s Ian Wishart, Alberto Nardelli and Tim Ross have loads of gear right here.
DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS? Everyone in London could be having Christmas Day off, however EU ambassadors are assembly this morning at 9:30 a.m. U.Okay. time to start to scrutinize the deal. POLITICO has all of the process-y element of the race to ratify right here.
LABOUR SPLIT NEXT WEEK: Labour chief Keir Starmer will inform his MPs to vote for the deal, which means it would sail through the Commons subsequent week. Addressing the extra hardcore Remainers in his occasion who don’t wish to vote for Brexit, Starmer mentioned: “There are some that argue Labour should be neutral on this issue. To abstain. I do not agree. Leadership is about taking the tough decisions in the national interest.” Several distinguished Labour frontbenchers are on resignation watch and will probably be contemplating their positions over their turkey at present.
HAPPY XMAS, WAR IS OVER: Downing Street insiders had been final evening expressing a good bit of reduction after Brexit Party/Reform UK chief Nigel Farage backed their deal and introduced: “The war is over.” The feeling is that with even Farage onside, any potential revolt from Tory hardliners will seemingly fizzle out. Yesterday there was speak of 20-odd Tory rebels at subsequent week’s vote. Some in authorities now anticipate it to be smaller than that.
TAKING BACK CONTROL? After four-and-a-half years of bitter wrangling, have the Brexiteers actually ended up with what they wished? POLITICO’s Emilio Casalicchio has this piece evaluating what Vote Leave promised and what they got.
SOME EARLY DETAIL: British college students won’t be able to review at European universities with an Erasmus+ grant from 2021 and neither will EU college students within the U.Okay., confirming a scoop a few weeks in the past from POLITICO’s Cristina Gallardo. There was additionally affirmation of a scoop from Vincent Manancourt on POLITICO Pro yesterday that the 2 sides had agreed a short lived information circulate deal.
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TODAY’S FRONT PAGES
NONE TODAY: Back Monday.
Westminster climate: Glorious Christmas Day climate in London, with solar all morning and solar and cloud within the afternoon.
️ Cold although — highs of 4C.
Travel: Don’t be foolish.
Happy birthday: Lib Dem appearing chief Ed Davey … Former Liverpool West Derby MP Stephen Twigg … Labour peer Willy Bach … Jesus … and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.
PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editors Paul Dallison and Kate Day and producer Ali Walker.
primarily based on website supplies www.politico.eu