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Sadiq Khan demands to know Boris Johnson’s coronavirus ‘game plan’

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sadiq khan demands to know boris johnsons coronavirus game plan

Sadiq Khan today demanded to know Boris Johnson‘s coronavirus ‘game plan’ as he slammed plans for an M25 lockdown. 

The London Mayor complained that he had been shut out of Cobra crisis meetings and snubbed by the PM since mid-May.

He voiced fury that there had been no discussion of contingency proposals to put the capital – or other major cities – in quarantine, effectively sealing them off.

Mr Khan has also risked the wrath of ministers by repeating his threat of £110million in police cuts unless the government offers London another massive bailout. 

Mr Johnson has ‘war gamed’ possible options as fears mount over a second peak in the disease. 

Measures considered include lockdown-like conditions for London, with the M25 acting as a barrier around the capital. 

Downing Street said the government’s ‘Contain’ strategy set out that restrictions can be imposed on transport links ‘if there is an area that is particularly badly affected’. The PM’s spokesman stressed any location could be subject to similar curbs.

Official figures show the worst-hit area of the capital is currently Hackney and the City of London, with 19.4 cases diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31. It is a lower rate than that of seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control growing outbreaks.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan complained that he had been shut out of Cobra crisis meetings and been snubbed by the PM since mid-May

London Mayor Sadiq Khan complained that he had been shut out of Cobra crisis meetings and been snubbed by the PM since mid-May

A map of London shows the weekly infection rates — how many cases were diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31 — across the capital's 32 boroughs. For comparison, the highest rate in London is in Hackney and the City of London (19.4), making it the fifteenth worst-hit area of England and behind seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control soaring coronavirus cases. Green arrows show if the infection rate in the borough has decreased in the pat week, while red arrows show the opposite. Yellow line means no change

A map of London shows the weekly infection rates — how many cases were diagnosed for every 100,000 people between July 25 and 31 — across the capital’s 32 boroughs. For comparison, the highest rate in London is in Hackney and the City of London (19.4), making it the fifteenth worst-hit area of England and behind seven of ten boroughs in Greater Manchester, which was last week hit by tough new lockdown measures to control soaring coronavirus cases. Green arrows show if the infection rate in the borough has decreased in the pat week, while red arrows show the opposite. Yellow line means no change

Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit last month) has 'war gamed' possible options as fears mount over a second peak in the disease

Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit last month) has ‘war gamed’ possible options as fears mount over a second peak in the disease

Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Khan said the first he heard of plans for a quarantine ring around the capital was when he read Sunday newspapers.

He said the plan, which suggests closing London down and sealing it off from the M25 inwards, had not been discussed with himself, the 32 council leaders or any other local leaders.

‘You have seen the chaos in Greater Manchester, in parts of Yorkshire, Lancashire and previously in parts of Leicester from confused communication from the Government,’ he said.

‘It is really important, and this is not a party political point, that the Conservative Government, the Labour mayor and all of us put aside party differences and work together for the greater good.’ 

Mr Khan said he had not spoken to Mr Johnson since May 10, and it was ‘not good enough’ to hold discussions with individual ministers who only know what is happening in their portfolio.

He said ‘the Prime Minister knows what is going on in all the departments and must be in charge of the detail’.

Mr Khan said he ‘desperately need to know what the game plan is’ should the number of infections increase.

He predicted there would be ‘more difficulty’ closing down geographical areas – such as if the virus was spreading between several boroughs – rather than shutting down an institution.

‘I think we would be ready to have a lockdown of institutions – so if we had, God forbid, an increase to do with a factory or at a school or an individual place of worship – we think we would have good plans with the councils to close buildings,’ he said.

‘We are served by four airports and the Eurostar, so if they (the Government) talked to me and talked to London leaders, we could explain some of the complexities and work through them.

‘None of this insurmountable. but let’s work together.’

The daily number of infections in the UK appears to have plateaued and could be rising again

The daily number of infections in the UK appears to have plateaued and could be rising again

In a letter to Tory mayoral rival Shaun Bailey yesterday, Mr Khan warned that London is facing ‘the perfect storm of increased costs incurred in responding to the crisis, combined with a huge reduction in our revenue’. 

‘As a result, unless the Government takes urgent action, further cuts of £110million will need to be made to policing in London at the worst possible time, just when there is a real risk of violent crime rising as lockdown is eased. Essential preventative services, like youth clubs and mental health support, are also at risk,’ he wrote.

But Mr Bailey shot back: ‘Sadiq Khan wants to take the politics out of policing. And he’s right.

‘The only problem is his track record. Sadiq Khan has played politics with the police from day one. And now he wants to defund the police, something I refuse to even discuss.

‘Instead of taking a symbolic and meaningless pay cut, the Mayor should cut waste from City Hall.’ 

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Controversial ‘self-identity’ gender plan set to be axed after government U-turn on policy  

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controversial self identity gender plan set to be axed after government u turn on policy

Plans to allow people to ‘self-identify’ as a different gender will be formally dropped this week after they sparked controversy.

Ministers have decided to scrap proposals to permit gender on birth certificates being changed without a medical diagnosis.

Instead, it is believed the cost of changing gender as it currently stands will be made cheaper. 

Equalities Minister Liz Truss, pictured, will this week publish the Government’s new stance on the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. Proposals to alter the legislation were sent out for consultation in 2018. But plans to allow people to change the gender on their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis have been dropped. The Government says it believes the current legislation is 'sufficient' to support people's right to change their sex.

Equalities Minister Liz Truss, pictured, will this week publish the Government’s new stance on the 2004 Gender Recognition Act. Proposals to alter the legislation were sent out for consultation in 2018. But plans to allow people to change the gender on their birth certificate without a medical diagnosis have been dropped. The Government says it believes the current legislation is ‘sufficient’ to support people’s right to change their sex.

The proposals to alter the 2004 Gender Recognition Act were sent out for consultation in 2018. 

Liz Truss, the equalities minister, will this week publish the Government’s new stance on the policy.

But a Government source told the Sunday Times: ‘We think that the current legislation, which supports people’s rights to change their sex, is sufficient.’

At the moment, those wishing to change sex have to pay £140 and apply to a panel for a gender recognition certificate.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling is in the spotlight again because her new book, Troubled Blood, features a 'transvestite serial killer'. Rowling has come under fire in the past for making transphobic remarks on Twitter. Transgender activists have described Rowling as a 'TERF', a derisive acronym for 'trans-exclusionary radical feminist'.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling is in the spotlight again because her new book, Troubled Blood, features a ‘transvestite serial killer’. Rowling has come under fire in the past for making transphobic remarks on Twitter. Transgender activists have described Rowling as a ‘TERF’, a derisive acronym for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’.

They have to supply two reports stating they have suffered from gender dysphoria, which normally come from their GP and another doctor or psychologist. 

Tory MPs claimed Boris Johnson developed cold feet about scrapping the reforms after being influenced by his fiancée Carrie Symonds.

Trans rights activists have said failing to liberalise the law would be a ‘Section 28 moment’, referring to a 1988 ban on councils and schools ‘promoting homosexuality’. 

It comes after author JK Rowling was accused of transphobia after tweeting her opinions about the importance of biological sex. 

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ANDREW PIERCE: How Tory jail cuts hacked off David Cameron’s top aide

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andrew pierce how tory jail cuts hacked off david camerons top aide

Few Tory luminaries, it appears, had more harrowing personal experiences of the coalition government’s austerity measures than David Cameron‘s former Downing Street communications director Andy Coulson.

The ex-News of the World editor, who was jailed for 18 months in 2014 for presiding over an epidemic of phone hacking at his newspaper a decade earlier, has discussed the experience in an interview with the Crisis What Crisis? podcast, which he usually presents.

He described his grim journey in a prison van from the Old Bailey to the Category A Belmarsh jail in South-East London: ‘The building is out of central casting: enormous American-style prison walls, massive gates, you’re in no doubt you’re going to prison.’ 

Coulson, 52, who now runs a crisis management firm, added that he spent most of the time in his cell. ‘You would be allowed out for an hour and then do another 23 hours.’

Andy Coulson, the ex-News of the World editor, has discussed the experience in an interview with the Crisis What Crisis? podcast

Andy Coulson, the ex-News of the World editor, has discussed the experience in an interview with the Crisis What Crisis? podcast

But the most poignant recollection came when Coulson asked why he was not in an open prison, the normal category for someone convicted of his type of crime. A warder replied: ‘Tory cuts, Andy.’

 Bojo as PM is ‘stranger than fiction’

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One-time New Labour cheerleader Robert Harris — author of best-selling thrillers such as Fatherland and Enigma — also wrote a thinly disguised attack on Tony Blair entitled The Ghost, which was turned into a film starring Pierce Brosnan.

Asked by the New Statesman if he would subject Boris Johnson to the same literary treatment, Harris said: ‘It’s a cliche but when the politicians have become such extraordinary figures, fiction withers and dies in the face of them . . . 

‘If I tried to write a novel in which Donald Trump became president, and carried on the way he has, or where Johnson would be PM, everyone would say, ‘No. This doesn’t obey plausible rules.’ ‘

 KINNOCK kicks the loony left

That hammer of the Left Lord Kinnock can’t believe the Militant tendency returned to hijack Labour under Jeremy Corbyn in the form of Momentum. ‘I thought I’d killed them off,’ says the former Labour leader. ‘They did go away for 30 years and came back not one bloody millisecond wiser.’ Which aspect of the Trot revival does he have most contempt for? ‘The superficiality and use of slogans in place of real policies. The manifesto was packed with promises . . . People still believe in the spirit of Christmas but not in the Tooth Fairy.’ For once he’s right. 

 Impressionist Rory Bremner has the measure of Downing Street. ‘Like storms,

Government U-turns are now so frequent we’re going to have to give them names,’ he says. Should the first one be Boris?

When Sir Keir Starmer closes Labour’s virtual three-day party conference tomorrow, organisers may reflect on their wisdom in choosing Babl Cloud to handle the tech. Its boss is Brexiteer Jonathan Grant, who once retweeted this by the Bruges Group: ‘The cold hard truth is that it’s Boris’s Brexit or not at all.’ A bit embarrassing for Starmer, who once pledged to put Brexit to a second referendum.

 Veteran singer-songwriter Van Morrison has released three absurd anti-lockdown protest songs. They bring to mind broadcaster Mark Ellen’s telling observation about the irascible singer: ‘There are two types of people in this world. Those who love Van Morrison. And those who’ve met Van Morrison.’

 If ‘frivolous’ demands for Covid tests really are responsible for the capacity shortfall, as one minister has suggested, the Government only has itself to blame. Its adverts are running with the message: ‘At the first sign of a cough, stay at home and get tested.’

 Former Chancellor Ken Clarke, 80, was showered with compliments when he took his seat in the House of Lords last week, but Tory MP Damian Green points out: ‘The great thing about all these (justified) Twitter tributes to Ken is that you absolutely know he won’t see any of them.’ Clarke famously never looks at social media.

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Former head of the Supreme Court Baroness Hale says Parliament ‘surrendered’ its powers

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former head of the supreme court baroness hale says parliament surrendered its powers

The supreme court’s first female president has said Parliament ‘surrendered’ its powers over to the Government amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Baroness Brenda Hale, who served as president at the UK’s highest court from 2017- 2020, criticised the draconian measures and ‘sweeping’ powers being enforced on the British public without the scrutiny of Parliament. 

Her comments come as the Government seeks to extend the emergency coronavirus powers for a further six months in an effort to control a second devastating wave of coronavirus.

Baroness Brenda Hale, who served as president at the UK's highest court from 2017- 2020, criticised 'sweeping' powers being enforced on the public without the scrutiny of Parliament

Baroness Brenda Hale, who served as president at the UK’s highest court from 2017- 2020, criticised ‘sweeping’ powers being enforced on the public without the scrutiny of Parliament

In an essay seen by The Guardian, the baroness wrote: ‘It is not surprising the police were as confused as the public as to what was law and what was not.’

Referencing the Prime Minister’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings, the former judge went on to describe how there was confusion among Government ministers themselves as to what the rules were. 

She continued: ‘A certain government adviser obviously did know what the regulations were and what they said.’

Baroness Hale also explained that Parliament ‘did surrender control to the government at a crucial time’ and urged ministers to now restore a ‘properly functioning constitution’.

She added: ‘My plea is that we get back to a properly functioning constitution as soon as we possibly can.’ 

The baroness’ calls come as senior Tories plan a parliamentary lock to prevent Boris Johnson having the final say on new lockdown measures after restrictions on the public’s freedom, such as the Rule of Six, were introduced without a debate in the Commons. 

Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, is planning to table an amendment that would force ministers to put any new measures to a vote first. 

This week it was revealed that Tories plan a parliamentary lock to prevent Boris Johnson having the final say on new lockdown measures

This week it was revealed that Tories plan a parliamentary lock to prevent Boris Johnson having the final say on new lockdown measures

Sir Graham Brady (pictured) is looking to force a vote by MPs on emergency coronavirus measures

Sir Graham Brady (pictured) is looking to force a vote by MPs on emergency coronavirus measures

The move comes as Boris Johnson announced that anyone in England who refuses to obey an order to self-isolate could face a fine of up to £10,000.

The Altrincham and Sale West MP told The Sunday Telegraph that he would take the opportunity to seek to amend the legislation when the Government comes to renew the emergency powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The move is likely to attract significant support from Conservative MPs unhappy at the extensive powers taken by ministers with little or no parliamentary scrutiny.

Sir Graham told the Telegraph: ‘In March, Parliament gave the Government sweeping emergency powers at a time when Parliament was about to go into recess and there was realistic concern that NHS care capacity might be overwhelmed by Covid-19.

‘We now know that the NHS coped well with the challenge of the virus and Parliament has been sitting largely since April. 

‘There is now no justification for ministers ruling by emergency powers without reference to normal democratic processes.’ 

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