Mike Harding on Boris

England to enter toughest Covid lockdown since March

England will enter its toughest nationwide lockdown since March, with schools closed and people allowed to leave home once a day for exercise for at least six weeks, Boris Johnson has announced as the numbers of people in hospital reach new highs.

All pupils will switch to remote learning until the February half-term, the prime minister said in an address to the nation, and GCSE and A-level exams are unlikely to go ahead as planned. All non-essential shops will be told to close.

Under the third national lockdown, people in England will be ordered to stay at home until at least 15 February and advised only to leave once a day for exercise. MPs are expected to vote the tough new measures into law from Wednesday, though businesses will be advised to close from Monday night [ . . . ]

Continue at THE GUARDIAN: England to enter toughest Covid lockdown since March

Scottish PM Nicola Sturgeon announces £500 one-off ‘thank you’ payment for NHS and care staff

Tory MPs hail Dominic Cummings’ departure and look for ‘reset’

Exit is chance to restore trust between No 10 and MPs, one senior backbencher says

Conservative MPs have hailed Dominic Cummings’ departure from Downing Street, saying they hope it could mark a change of approach in No 10.

Following the resignation of Lee Cain as Boris Johnson’s head of communications, Cummings denied he would immediately follow his close ally and fellow veteran of the Vote Leave campaign out of the door.

Cummings told the BBC that “rumours of me threatening to resign are invented”. However, he also said his “position hasn’t changed since my January blog”.

In the 2 January post, which announced the intention to hire data scientists and “assorted weirdos” to work inside No 10, Cummings said the recruitment drive was intended to “improve performance and make me much less important – and within a year largely redundant”.

One source confirmed Cummings’ departure, saying he had “started talking about it a couple of months ago”. They said: “I think it was always predictable that there would be a big bust-up and Dom would leave. He’s done that in most jobs he’s been in.” [ . . . ]

Source: Tory MPs hail Dominic Cummings’ departure and look for ‘reset’