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Good morning. The Commons has been recalled for today – the second recall during the Christmas/new year recess – and we will get a statement from Boris Johnson on coronavirus, and a debate and vote on the new lockdown. (It has already come into force, but votes on regulations like these ones passed by secondary legislation are often retrospective.) At the start of December 55 Conservative MPs rebelled when Johnson asked them to back the three-tier restriction system (remember that?) that he was introducing for England. But today we are expecting only minimum opposition; the Covid Recovery Group, which represents anti-lockdown or lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs, has gone mysteriously quiet; it’s remarkable what a one in 50 infection rate and record hospitalisation figures can do to change the terms of the national debate.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly death figures for England and Wales.
11am: Prof Ian Young, Northern Ireland’s chief scientific adviser, holds a briefing at Stormont.
11.30am: Boris Johnson makes a statement to MPs about coronavirus.
12.15pm: The Scottish government is expected to hold its daily coronavirus briefing.
12.15pm: Dr Andrew Goodall, chief executive of NHS Wales, and Dr Frank Atherton, chief medical officer for Wales, speak at a Welsh government coronavirus briefing.
1pm: Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, makes a statement to MPs about schools in England.
1.30pm: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.
2pm: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, opens a Commons debate on the coronavirus regulations. MPs will vote at 7pm.
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.
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
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