UK coronavirus news: Johnson faces backlash over ‘chaotic’ announcement of latest local lockdown | Politics

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Good morning. Boris Johnson is giving a major speech this morning and it’s a rare example of prime ministerial intervention not mainly focused on coronavirus. He is speaking about post-18 education, and he will say he’s “transforming the foundations of the skills system so that everyone has the chance to train and retrain”. It is the part of the “levelling up” agenda he wanted to be focusing on if it had not been for coronavirus.

There are details of the announcement here. And here is the Guardian’s write-up.

But he will be taking questions, and it won’t be long before he gets dragged back to Covid. This morning he is facing a strong backlash from council leaders in the north east over the way the new restrictions there were announced yesterday.

Last night Nick Forbes, the Labour leader of Newcastle city council, posted this on Twitter.

Nick Forbes

My statement tonight on the way that further restrictions for the North East have been announced today – no local involvement or warning, and no sign of the business support we desperately need to protect as many jobs as possible.

September 28, 2020

And this is what Martin Gannon, the Labour leader of Gateshead council, told the Today programme this morning.

It was announced in the House of Commons and we were not told beforehand that announcement was going to be made. However, we had had discussions last week that led us to believe that this was going to happen. We just weren’t pre-warned that it was actually going to happen. It didn’t help.

I got inundated with telephone calls and emails last night from people asking, ‘Can we do this, can we do that?’ and actually I didn’t have the precise wording of the regulations in front of us.

So it is a bit chaotic the way these things happen, Nick [Forbes] was quite right to be annoyed about that.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly death figures for England and Wales.

9.30am: The Commons health committee takes evidence from Prof Jacqueline Dunkley Bent, chief midwifery officer for NHS England, and others on the safety of maternity services in England.

11am: The former MI6 chief Sir John Scarlett speaks at a RUSI event on EU-UK security and intelligence co-operation after Brexit.

Morning: Boris Johnson gives a speech on adult skills. As my colleague Simon Murphy reports, he will announce that adults without A-levels are to be offered a free college course.

12.15pm: The Scottish government is expected to hold its daily coronavirus briefing.

After 12.30pm: Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, gives a statement to MPs on the return of students to university.

After 1.30pm: MPs start the final day of debate on the internal market bill.

3pm: Lord Heseltine, the former Conservative deputy PM, gives evidence to a Lords committee on employment and the coronavirus crisis.

Politics Live has been doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog for some time 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, like the PM’s speech, and where they seem more important and interesting, they will take precedence.

Here is our global coronavirus live blog.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK coronavirus news: Johnson faces backlash over ‘chaotic’ announcement of latest local lockdown | Politics

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