Happy New Year! This is Charlie Cooper with you for yet another day. Alex is again Monday.
DRIVING THE DAY
WELCOME TO 2021: If you went to mattress early (and who may blame you?) it seems London did have a fireworks show in spite of everything (only one you would solely watch from dwelling.) The sound and light-weight present over the Thames (by the Dome, downriver from its ordinary central location) featured a large NHS signal within the sky, a light-weight projection of Captain Tom Moore and the voice of David Attenborough interesting to us to make 2021 the yr we “turn things around” for all times on Earth, whereas a large house turtle swam via the sky — which was fairly cool. The Hogmanay drone mild shows over Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands weren’t dangerous both.
TRANSITIONED: Yes, it really occurred and Big Ben bonged and every part. As of 11 p.m. final evening, the transition interval is over, the U.Ok. is out of the European single market and customs union and its de jure standing as a non-EU state is now very a lot de facto.
Plus ça change: To mark the beginning of the yr and the start of the U.Ok.’s post-Brexit period, Boris Johnson reverted to sort and wrote an article within the Daily Telegraph (previous habits die onerous in spite of everything.) “So welcome to 2021,” the PM writes. “You’ve just woken up, you’ve poked your head out of the duvet, and you have realised that in some key respects the world is still in the same wretched state it was last year. We are still fighting the devilish virus. We still have large parts of the country in some sort of lockdown because the new variant is spreading at worrying speed.” However, he factors to “two big things that suddenly went right” on the finish of 2020 (the vaccine approvals and the Brexit deal) as important causes for renewed Johnsonian boosterism in 2021.
State + market = vaccine: There are some fascinating nuggets within the piece, not least Johnson’s acknowledgement of the “lesson” from the general public/non-public success story of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. “In the genesis of that vaccine there is a lesson for this country and our way ahead, because it is a brilliant collaboration: between state activism and free market capitalism. That vaccine would not exist without government intervention,” Johnson writes. Which may elevate a couple of eyebrows among the many extra free market-loving of Tory MPs.
COVID restoration: Johnson additionally acknowledges the “bitter economic consequences” of the pandemic will likely be imply individuals “will continue to lose” jobs this yr, “through absolutely no fault of their own” and pledges that job-protection measures will proceed. Beyond that, he foresees “the creation of hundreds of thousands of high-skill, high wage jobs that will last for a generation; and though state activism may be necessary, it is almost always the private sector, and private initiative and enterprise, that is actually creating those jobs.” Brexit “freedoms” will likely be used to “regulate differently or better” the place crucial, he says.
Bonne année Boris! Emmanuel Macron additionally referenced Brexit in his new yr message final evening, insisting that the the U.Ok. would stay “our friend and ally” (aww) but in addition that Brexit was the results of “many lies and false promises” (oh.) You sense Johnson’s determination to revive the “cake and eat it” analogy (which has an extended historical past of winding up EU leaders) may need been seen. In the Telegraph piece, the PM acknowledges it could be “unduly provocative” to name the Christmas Eve commerce deal “a cake-ist treaty.” But he provides: “it is certainly from the patisserie department.”
“KEEP THE LIGHT ON”: Nicola Sturgeon in the meantime, marked the tip of the transition interval by tweeting: “Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on.” Writing for POLITICO right this moment, the Scottish first minister says Scotland is “committed to a legal, constitutional route to becoming an independent state” and makes her case for EU accession. “As an independent member of the European Union, Scotland would be a partner and a bridge-builder — not just a bridge to building a stronger economy and fairer society, but a bridge to aid understanding between the EU and U.K,” Sturgeon writes. “We have been inside the European Union family of nations for nearly 50 years. We didn’t want to leave and we hope to join you again soon as an equal partner as we face the opportunities and challenges of the future together.” Make no mistake, the way forward for the U.Ok. will likely be one of many defining tales of 2021.
Other finish of TP responses: Nigel Farage, ever gracious in victory, complained about individuals who laughed at him 25 years in the past … The U.Ok.’s chief negotiator David Frost stated the U.Ok. “just become a fully independent country again — deciding our own affairs for ourselves” … and EU spokesman Sebastian Fischer delivered a cheeky Douglas Adams reference.
Misspent youth: Meanwhile an overjoyed Iain Duncan Smith informed the BBC: “I simply want I used to be 21 once more, frankly, as a result of my goodness what prospects lie forward of us for younger individuals now: to be on the market buccaneering, buying and selling, dominating the world once more.” 21-year-olds, do tell us about all of your buccaneering and world domination plans for the yr forward.
**A message from Barclays: From Cumbria to Daventry, Aberdeen to Wolverhampton, we’re offering funding and assist to assist native companies via the pandemic. Learn extra at #BackingtheUK**
NEW YEAR, SAME PANDEMIC
HOSPITALS UNDER PRESSURE: But whereas we get up in a distinct period of relations with the EU, the COVID state of affairs this morning is grimly acquainted. The papers are nonetheless stuffed with deeply regarding experiences from throughout the nation of the extraordinary strain hospitals are below, amid the surge in COVID instances pushed by the brand new variant. On Thursday the U.Ok. recorded one other 55,892 instances and 964 deaths. Several papers choose up on an inner message to employees on the Royal London Hospital, from Wednesday, saying it’s now in “disaster medicine mode” (ITV’s story right here) whereas the Guardian’s Sarah Boseley interviews Marcel Levi, an acute drugs physician and chief government of University College London Hospitals, the place “whole floors are having to be dismantled and rebuilt to the standards required for intensive care wards.”
CMOs on new vaccine plan: Meanwhile, the U.Ok.’s 4 chief medical officers final evening wrote to medical colleagues throughout the nation explaining the choice to focus the vaccine rollout on giving the primary dose to as many individuals as doable. The plan, outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunizations (JCVI) has been met with skepticism in some quarters and complaints that deliberate follow-up jabs for round a million individuals who have already had their first jab will now have to be postponed.
Vaccine scarcity threat: The CMOs clarify that the plan is predicated on the present restricted availability of vaccine doses and the necessity to rapidly begin getting on high of excessive charges of COVID within the weak inhabitants. “We have to ensure that we maximise the number of eligible people who receive the vaccine,” they write. “Currently the main barrier to this is vaccine availability, a global issue, and this will remain the case for several months and, importantly, through the critical winter period … Vaccine shortage is a reality that cannot be wished away.” Full letter right here.
First dose safety: The CMOs additionally say they’re “confident,” based mostly on publicly obtainable knowledge and knowledge obtainable to the JCVI, “that the first dose of either Pfizer or AZ vaccine provides substantial protection within 2-3 weeks of vaccination for clinical disease, and in particular severe COVID disease.” Around 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca jab will likely be obtainable to be used subsequent week — nevertheless it’s removed from clear for the time being how quickly the federal government’s hope of having the ability to vaccinate two million individuals per week could be achieved.
BACK TO BREXIT
LAST NIGHT IN DOVER: Despite the introduction of latest checks on items at 11 p.m. issues had been, erm, just about nice. Which is definitely what was anticipated. It may very well be the case that any disruption doesn’t materialize for a couple of days but because the yr begins with a financial institution vacation and a weekend, and lots of companies delay motion of products to wait and see how the brand new checks settle in. The Times experiences that ferry operators and Eurotunnel are “expecting about only 800 lorry crossings today, well below the usual 10,000 a day.” Of course, it may transpire that every part continues to go utterly easily because the month progresses — however that will be counter to the present expectations of most trade specialists.
Nothing to see right here: The first customs checks on the Eurotunnel went easily, in accordance to the corporate. The BBC quotes spokesman John Keefe: “It all went fine, everything’s running just as it was before 11pm. It’s very, very quiet, there are very few trucks around, as we predicted.” The FT experiences that authorities officers count on “the real test” to come on Monday.
And on the Irish Sea border? John Campbell for the BBC experiences that the primary freight arriving in Northern Ireland below new preparations is anticipated this afternoon, though right here too, firms aren’t anticipating important volumes of visitors within the first few days.
DRIVERS’ DEAL: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps yesterday introduced a take care of all 27 EU international locations to acknowledge U.Ok driving licences with out the necessity for a global drivers’ allow. His tweet got here lower than 5 hours earlier than the tip of the transition interval, however higher late than by no means and all that.
We’re (not) occurring a European tour: But whereas there’s excellent news on driving licences, there’s nonetheless no motion on one other fairly drastic Brexit deal snag: the large quantity of latest pink tape for British musicians when touring Europe. From right this moment — and in contrast to many different exempt professions — musicians will now want work permits. Regulations differ country-to-country and successfully imply they’ll want a allow for every EU nation they go to. There can even doubtless be issues for assist crews, with new haulage laws that will imply a truck stuffed with tour gear is just allowed to make a most of three stops within the EU (so not a lot of a tour.) A parliamentary petition on the permits situation has already handed 200,000 signatures and will likely be debated when MPs return.
Not very international Britain: UK Music chief government and former spad Jamie Njoku-Goodwin is main the cost to get the foundations modified. “The U.Ok. music trade is a key nationwide asset that contributes £5.8 billion to the financial system yearly and generates £2.9 billion exports. Just as importantly, it’s an enormous generator of British gentle energy and one of the crucial efficient methods we increase our international repute as a nation,” he informed Playbook. “Post Brexit, we should be doing everything we can to help our world-leading musical talent tour abroad and fly the flag for Britain. But there is a real risk that additional costs and red tape will deter many musicians from touring in Europe — which would be a huge loss to our country.”
GIBRALTAR DEAL: Another last-minute deal on Thursday, between Spain and the U.Ok., will imply the 2 sides keep away from a tough border in Gibraltar this morning. Under the phrases of the deal, POLITICO’s Cristina Gallardo experiences, Gibraltar will likely be a part of the Schengen passport-free space with the sponsorship of Spain. Boris Johnson welcomed the deal, including the U.Ok. was “totally committed to the protection of the interests of Gibraltar and its British sovereignty.”
**A message from Barclays: From Leicester to Stoke, Shrewsbury to Sheffield, we’re facilitating 1000’s of loans to assist native companies via the pandemic. Learn extra at #BackingtheUK**
TODAY IN WESTMINSTER
PARLIAMENT: Back on January 11.
POLICY GUIDE 2021
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE NEW YEAR: In the run up to Christmas, Playbook requested House of Commons choose committee chairs what they suppose would be the defining points on their patch this yr. On Wednesday we ran responses from the chairs of the science and tech, protection, work and pensions, Northern Ireland and CMS committees. We had meant to run extra yesterday however there was simply an excessive amount of information. So right here’s a bumper version from the opposite chairs who received again to us …
Health and social care — Jeremy Hunt: “For the NHS, getting through the winter months is the priority. The success of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out will be pivotal, not just in health but for us all. The joint inquiry between health and social care and science and technology committees will continue to question and learn from the handling of the pandemic as it unfolds. Look out for our report on key lessons later in the year. I hope this will be the year the social care sector gets the funding and reform it so desperately needs, that we see long-term workforce projections for the NHS, and we continue to improve our maternity safety record.”
Treasury — Mel Stride: “The Treasury has numerous challenges that the committee will examine in the New Year. How will it manage the continued pressure of coronavirus? How will it support the recovery in terms of investment, jobs and corporate indebtedness? And what can it do to help those who have fallen through the gaps of Government support? The Budget on March 3 could provide signals for how the Chancellor will start to tackle the deficit. And then there’s Brexit. Will the Treasury support those sectors especially impacted? And how will HMRC cope with a new customs regime?”
Justice — Bob Neill: “The Ministry of Justice is going to have to maintain its vigilance next year to keep our staff, prisoners and probation service users as safe as possible from the pandemic. The virus hit prisons that were already in a state of crisis due to overcrowding and a backlog of repairs. … Everyone should redouble their guard against this terrible disease … As we go into the New Year, there are still over a half a million cases outstanding in the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts – that’s nearly 20 percent higher than the figure pre-COVID. We’ve been impressed with the way court staff have taken to working remotely, using technology to speed things along in some cases. But more research is needed on how ordinary people – including defendants and witnesses – cope with this technology. Fair hearings need everyone to fully understand what is going on. The number of outstanding cases needs to come down, but we also need to keep a close eye on the fairness of all trials in these unusual times.”
Scotland — Pete Wishart: “2021 is going to be a big year for Scotland. New immigration rules due to kick-in could have implications for Scottish university research funding. EU students may stay home when they have to pay international fees while questions remain over to what extent EU research funding will be replicated. Meanwhile, Scotland is also undergoing the biggest devolution of welfare powers in its history with the next tranche due next summer … Looking further ahead, Glasgow will host COP26 in November in what is likely to be a key moment in international efforts to combat climate change and will showcase the UK’s net-zero ambition. The thread running through each of these issues is the necessity for effective intergovernmental working.”
Environment, meals and rural affairs — Neil Parish: “We’ll have an eagle eye on the results of Brexit on our meals provide, atmosphere, and agricultural sectors. We want to guard towards our farmers shedding out to cheaper imports produced to decrease requirements than our personal, due to commerce offers or an absence of migrant labour to harvest British crops. And with COVID-19 bringing additional financial turbulence, we’ll proceed to push for motion to guarantee essentially the most weak have enough wholesome meals. Brexit additionally means the most important adjustments to our farming coverage in half a century. With a much bigger concentrate on defending the atmosphere, this may very well be an enormous alternative for nature and web zero, however the transition to the brand new system wants to work for landowners. Finally the current inquest into the tragic dying of Ella Kissi-Debrah is a stark reminder of how a lot nonetheless wants to be executed to sort out air air pollution by each nationwide and native governments.”
International commerce — Angus MacNeil: “On January 1, for the first time in nearly half-a-century, the U.K. becomes responsible for its own trade policy, including trade remedies and trade agreements. The U.K. will be continuing trade negotiations with various partners, amid the disruption caused by the pandemic and Brexit. It is worth noting though that these trade agreements are worth little in GDP terms compared with the EU Single Market “trade deal” that the U.Ok. , together with 27 others, loved for thus lengthy. Brexit may very well be eradicating 7.6 p.c of GDP development over the following 10 years and one of the best of the brand new U.Ok. commerce offers, the (doubtful) take care of USA is probably going to solely add 0.2 p.c … A key development to watch would be the extent to which the Government is partaking with companies, civil society and the devolved nations within the improvement and supply of its commerce coverage – in addition to with Parliament.”
Business, power and industrial technique — Darren Jones: “We will likely be taking a look at our financial restoration from COVID, and our post-Brexit future, in inspecting how we will construct a brand new, trendy Britain with a extra resilient, sustainable and productive financial system the place each nation and area shares the alternatives created by financial development. We’ll be main on scrutiny of the UK’s presidency of COP26 and taking a look at our route to reaching web zero. We’ll be partaking with enterprise on problems with COVID scarring, company governance, job creation and the way forward for audit and competitors coverage. And we’ll be pursuing topical points, from the pressured labor in provide chains to the Government’s buy of OneWeb.”
Education — Robert Halfon: “COVID has accelerated existing social injustices in education, especially the disparity between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers. Our Committee will continue to look at those left behind, addressing social injustice including the the lower attainment of disadvantaged white working class pupils, and the problems facing children with special educational needs. Prison education will also be a key inquiry of 2021. Our committee is focused on skills — how to rocket boost apprenticeships and adult learning and ensuring higher education is a ladder to skills, jobs and value for money … Priorities will be to examine an education route-map out of COVID and a real and sustainable long-term plan for education, based around social justice, skills, standards and support for the profession.”
Foreign affairs — Tom Tugendhat: “The lessons of the pandemic should shape the G7 and COP26, reminding us that interdependence is here to stay and that — from laboratory regulations to the environment — what happens abroad has an impact at home … In Glasgow this autumn, Britain has a chance to energise a global revolution towards a greener world. Targets are important but action now is vital. Reducing fossil fuels and supporting nations that can’t afford the change is where our efforts should be brought together … 2021 will be the year Britain is back on the world stage, convening nations to protect the systems and values that has brought about prosperity for the last 70 or so years, and shaping a world that can support future generations. This is a moment for the Foreign Office to show what’s best about Britain and offer it to the world.”
Andrew Pierce at Breakfast (LBC, 7 a.m.): Conservative MP Bill Cash (7.05) … Former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine (8.05) … Conservative MP and ERG deputy chair David Jones (8.50) … Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve (9.20).
Iain Dale (LBC, 10 a.m.): 2021 predictions with Labour MP and Mother of the House Harriet Harman … Conservative MP and Father of the House Peter Bottomley … Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage … Former Brexit Secretary David Davis … Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.
TODAY’S FRONT PAGES
(Click on the publication’s title to see its entrance web page.)
Daily Express: Our Future, Our Britain, Our Destiny
Daily Mail (not on-line): Million jabs executed, now get a transfer on
Daily Mirror: Here’s to smiling once more in 2021
Daily Star: Up Yours 2020!
i: Race is on between virus and vaccine
The Daily Telegraph: ‘Welcome to 2021 – and two reasons to hope for a much brighter future’
The Guardian: In disaster, with out fanfare, UK lastly ends the EU period
The Independent: Off the hook — or reduce adrift?
The Sun: Join Our Jabs Army
The Times: Johnson celebrates an ‘amazing’ future for UK
TODAY’S NEWS MAGS
The Economist: Britain’s place on this planet
THANK POD IT’S FRIDAY
Not many new editions about this New Year weekend… (Click on the hyperlinks to hear.)
Chopper’s Politics: The Telegraph’s Chris Hope has a double invoice, speaking to Tory coverage thinker George Freeman, former Government adviser Jason Stein and pollster Deborah Mattinson about their 2021 predictions … and Bill Cash and Mark Francois with their ideas on the Brexit commerce deal.
Newscast: The BBC group weighs up the implications of the Brexit commerce deal.
YOUR WEEKEND IN POLITICS
SUNDAY SHOWS: Andrew Marr: No company confirmed but. (BBC One, Sunday 9 a.m.).
G&T: Tom Newton Dunn and Gloria De Piero converse to immunologist and geneticist John Bell … SNP MP Richard Thompson is that this week’s New MP visitor … and Queen guitarist and badger defender Brian May joins for Personality Politics (Times Radio, Sunday 10 a.m.)
Sophy Ridge on Sunday: Is again on January 10.
Westminster Hour: Carolyn Quinn will likely be joined by (BBC Radio 4, Sunday 10 p.m.). Conservative MP for Newbury Laura Farris, Shadow Employment Minister Seema Malhotra, SNP MP for Ochil and South Perthshire John Nicolson and FT Political Editor George Parker.
Westminster climate: Cold, grey begin to 2021. Highs of three°C. ☁️☁️☁️
Birthdays: Shadow Foreign Office Minister Stephen Kinnock … President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde … BuzzFeed co-founder Jonah Peretti … Former Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Gareth Snell … Classics professor Mary Beard … Former Welsh minister Nick Bourne … Former U.Ok. ambassador to Russia Tony Brenton … POLITICO’s Director of Events Giulia Chiatante.
And celebrating over the weekend: On Saturday, former Shadow Foreign Office Minister Helen Goodman … Shadow Media Minister Chris Matheson … Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary Alex Chisholm … Welsh Tories Leader Paul Davies … Conservative peer Lucy Neville-Rolfe … Former U.Ok. Ambassador to Russia Andrew Wood … 5% Club Director General Penelope Lyttelton … Education journalist Fiona Millar … and on Sunday, crossbench peer and former Cabinet Secretary Robin Butler … Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie … Former International Development Secretary Rory Stewart … Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris … Labour peer David Brookman … Lib Dem peer Matthew Taylor … Labour peer and former Anti-Apartheid Movement Chairman Robert Hughes … Today program presenter Justin Webb.
PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editor Zoya Sheftalovich, reporter Andrew McDonald and producer Fiona Lally.
based mostly on website supplies www.politico.eu