Politics latest news: Tories surge to 10-point lead in polls after conference

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Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have surged into a 10 point lead against Labour, according to a poll taken in the week following the party conference season.

The Tories climbed two points with 41 per cent of respondents to a YouGov poll backing the Government in the event of a snap election, while Labour was flat on 31 per cent.

The Prime Minister’s personal ratings have also remained strong, with 31 per cent saying he was a better candidate, while Sir Keir Starmer slipped one point to 25 per cent. Some 41 per cent are not sure, however.

The poll follows a conference season in which a shadow minister resigned during the Labour leader’s attempts to tackle internal politics. Sir Keir gave a lengthy speech in which he sought to connect with the electorate by recalling his upbringing and setting out a swath of policy ideas.

Mr Johnson, conversely, delivered a gag-laden speech that contained just one policy announcement.

​​Follow the latest updates below.

02:58 PM

Following regulations is harming business, two-fifths of firms claim

Two out of five company directors say having to comply with Government regulations is having a negative impact on their business, according to a report.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) said its research suggested that issues dealing with regulations were only exceeded by those of the coronavirus pandemic and employment taxes.

Dr Roger Barker, the IoD's director of policy, said: "In order for business to play a meaningful role in building back better, it is essential for the Government to do a better job in shaping a more business-friendly regulatory framework.

"New business regulation must be more critically scrutinised in order to ensure that it is effective, proportionate and free from unintended consequences.

02:57 PM

Civil Service must 'acknowledge our weaknesses' says Cabinet Secretary

Simon Case has been the most senior civil service adviser to the Prime Minister since September last year - Reuters
Simon Case has been the most senior civil service adviser to the Prime Minister since September last year - Reuters

The Cabinet Secretary has pledged to overhaul the Civil Service and acknowledged it had assumed a "defensive crouch" position when faced with reform previously.

In what was his first public speech since becoming the most senior official in the country, Simon Case warned against missing the opportunity of embracing the skills brought into the Civil Service through the pandemic.

Harking back to the Second World War, he told the University of Newcastle: "After victory, we could have applied their specialist skills, their expertise and knowledge, to rebuild the country. Instead, they were encouraged to disperse."

Alongside the strengths of the Civil Service "we also need to acknowledge our weaknesses", including "cumbersome processes and siloed working" and "confusion at times about who was responsible for what".

There were also issues with "failing to work consistently well across national and local government, and missing the value of expertise on the ground, weaknesses in how we gather, handle and present data, and our longstanding lack of specialist scientific and technical knowledge".

02:53 PM

Trump smells 'of meat', Boris is a 'twit': Hillary Clinton's revenge novel is silly – and great fun

At one point Bellington (Boris Johnson) suggests to President Williams that they go out “to a pub and have a pie and a pint,” like a cartoon person.
At one point Bellington (Boris Johnson) suggests to President Williams that they go out “to a pub and have a pie and a pint,” like a cartoon person.

Five hundred pages is a lot to say I told you so, but we have at least established what Hillary Clinton did during the pandemic, writes Tanya Gold.

State of Terror is her revenge fantasy, and her revenge on Donald Trump, which is a shame because he will probably love it more than anyone else. This is a man who incited a coup for attention. He is probably reading it now - or having it read to him.

The novel isn’t gentle with President Dunn (Trump). He is a “Trojan horse” and “an empty vessel into which these men and women have poured their ambitions, their outrages, their hatreds and insecurities”. He smells “of meat”.

The novel opens with a series of bus bombings: one is outside Fortnum and Mason so the British reader will feel included and aggrieved. Boris Johnson is here too, as British Prime Minister Bellington whom Ellen thinks is “upper-class” (he isn’t) and a “twit” (he isn’t).

Read the rest of Tanya's review here.

02:43 PM

Resigning 'the honourable thing', says North Yorkshire crime commissioner

Philip Allott has said resigning is "the honourable thing" to do, after the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime Panel gave him a vote of no confidence in continuing in his role.

The commissioner, who has resigned after suggesting Sarah Everard should not have "submitted" to arrest by her killer, said his job had been rendered "exceptionally difficult, if it is possible at all", taking time away from victim support.

"Victims and the groups who support them need to be heard," he wrote in his resignation letter. "They cannot be heard if the airwaves are filled with discussion about my future.

"That is why I am doing the honourable thing and resigning as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner - to restore confidence in the office which I believe will be almost impossible for me to do, and to enable victims' voices to be heard clearly without the distraction of the continued furore which surrounds me."

02:37 PM

North Yorkshire commissioner apologises 'unreservedly' as he steps down

The North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner has tendered his resignation in an open letter to the chief executive of Selby District Council and police area returning officer.

Philip Allott said he apologised "unreservedly" for his remarks, adding "they do not reflect my views".

He said: "I misspoke and I am devastated at the effect that this has had on victims of crime and the groups that support them. I have tried to say this again and again but I recognise that what I have said has not always been heard as I intended."

See 3:34pm and 1:07pm for more

02:34 PM

North Yorkshire commissioner resigns over Sarah Everard row

Philip Allott has resigned as North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner after coming under fire for comments he made on the Sarah Everard murder, adding he wanted to "restore confidence in the office".

Earlier today he had refused to step down from his £74,400 role, despite widespread criticism for suggesting women should be more "streetwise" and that Ms Everard should not have "submitted" to arrest by her killer.

All 11 members of the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime panel gave him a vote of no confidence.

See 1:07pm for more

01:59 PM

Pig farmers poised for Government announcement on processing visas

The Government is poised to announce emergency visas for meat processing staff, in a bid to break the logjam at abattoirs.

Richard Benyon, the environment minister, had pledged to an "imminent" announcement, with suggestions it could be as early as today.

Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association, said: "We have heard of unconfirmed reports that the Government is set to issue a number of temporary visas to allow processors to employ foreign nationals in abattoirs to help with the processing of the backlog of pigs on UK farms.

"We have not had any official confirmation by Government on their plans so as yet we are unable to provide any comment."

01:42 PM

Kwasi Kwarteng: University Challenge winner short of answers to fuel and energy crises

The question now facing Boris Johnson is whether the 46-year-old Business Secretary is out of his depth - Reuters
The question now facing Boris Johnson is whether the 46-year-old Business Secretary is out of his depth - Reuters

Kwasi Kwarteng is a man under pressure. Still in the first year of his job as Business Secretary, he has become the Cabinet’s go-to fall guy for everything from the twin crises over fuel and gas to the wages row with business.

The Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week was used by some government figures to drip poison about Mr Kwarteng and his department. He was accused of being “asleep at the wheel” by some, while others put it about that he was “useless”.

His supporters, unsurprisingly, have suggested Mr Kwarteng was the victim of a whisper campaign by ministers trying to pass the buck for their own failings, like a clique of schoolboys ganging up on the new kid in class to get him into trouble.

The question now facing Boris Johnson, who decided to keep Mr Kwarteng in his post in last month’s reshuffle, is whether the 46-year-old is out of his depth, or whether the problem lies with the structure of his department itself.

Read our inside story about the man at the centre of our energy crisis.

01:34 PM

Insulate Britain vows to protest again if Boris Johnson does not respond in next 10 days

A member of Insulate Britain attempts to hand in a letter for Boris Johnson at Downing Street - PA
A member of Insulate Britain attempts to hand in a letter for Boris Johnson at Downing Street - PA

Insulate Britain has vowed to return to road protesting if Boris Johnson does not meet its demands to deliver "a meaningful or trustworthy statement" over improving the insulation in some British homes.

Biff Whipster, a retail worker from Canterbury who attempted to hand the letter in to Downing Street on Thursday, told the PA news agency: "We want to now give the Government a bit of breathing space so they don't feel under pressure.

"They can re-read what their own advisers have been telling them, read the science and basically come up with what's the best business case for Britain, which is to insulate our homes, create proper jobs, and reduce CO2 emissions. It's a win, win, win. There's no excuse not to do it.

"So we're saying, we've made our point, we've made our voices heard, let's have a 10-day pause and we will continue if there is not a meaningful statement or trustworthy statement from Mr Johnson about what actions he's taking. Then we will recommence blocking roads, blocking motorways and breaking court injunctions."

01:23 PM

Tory MPs urge end to EU's 'ferret blockade'

Andrew Bridgen said: "It is about time the EU performed a reverse ferret.” - Getty
Andrew Bridgen said: "It is about time the EU performed a reverse ferret.” - Getty

Britain and Brussels are set to clash over pet travel to Northern Ireland in Brexit talks, after Tory MPs demanded the EU drop its “ferret blockade” and grant British animals frictionless access to Northern Ireland .

Within its new proposals EU officials have offered nothing to ease cat, dog and ferret travel to the province, which follows some single market rules to prevent a hard Irish border.

“It is clearly unacceptable that you can't go with your dog from one part of your country to another,” said David Jones, deputy chairman of the European Research Group. “Northern Ireland is just as much a part of the UK as North Wales,” Mr Jones, who co-owns Samson, a Jack Russel, with his son.

“I would call this a ferret blockade,” said Andrew Bridgen MP, who owned a male muscalid, known as a hob, when he was 12. “This is vastly disproportionate and has nothing to do with animal health but all to do with causing as much disruption as possible in an attempt to separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.”

He added: “It is about time the EU performed a reverse ferret.”

01:13 PM

Have your say: Is 'naming and shaming' GPs the right approach?

Sajid Javid has announced new plans to name and shame GPs who do not offer sufficient face-to-face appointments, as part of a major NHS drive to improve access for patients.

The number of face-to-face GP appointments has fallen dramatically since the start of the pandemic and has failed to recover. The latest monthly data showed that only 58 per cent of appointments took place in surgeries – down from 80 per cent of all consultations before the Covid crisis.

But the Health Secretary's vow to give patients more "transparency" on local services has been met with widespread criticism from practitioners who argue that this is not the way to deal with the issue, with some suggesting it will exacerbate the problem by driving exhausted doctors and nurses out of the profession.

So is naming and shaming the right approach - or will it make things worse? Have your say in the poll below.

01:11 PM

'Sajid Javid was never scheduled to speak to GPs' conference'

Sajid Javid was never "scheduled" to speak to the Royal College of GPs' annual conference in Liverpool today, a Government source has said.

The Health Secretary has been accused of cancelling his appearance at the last minute after unveiling a new plan in which GPs will be named and shamed if they do not provide sufficient face-to-face appointments.

But a DHSC source told the Telegraph: "We had never said we were doing this. Ministers get invited to lots of conferences and aren’t able to attend all of them.

"The Health Secretary has been spending his time getting this package together and this morning has been meeting with GPs on the frontline. It is incorrect to say it was ever scheduled."

Mr Javid has visited one GP surgery and there are no plans for further visits today, however the source stressed his diary was booked up for the rest of day.

12:56 PM

Britain has 'no God-given right' to rule the waves, peer tells minister

Britain has "no God-given right" to rule the waves and we should stop "strutting our importance" across the world, a peer has claimed.

Lord Singh of Wimbledon said such an attitude belongs to the 19th century and only increases the risk of "serious conflict" in the present day. Money earmarked for military ships should instead be diverted to fund social care, the independent crossbench peer added.

Lord Singh said: "The less money we spend on ships, the more we have to spend on social care. Would the minister agree that despite what we hear on the Last Night of the Proms, Britain has no God-given right to rule the waves?"

But defence minister Baroness Goldie said the Government had a "fundamental democratic responsibility to keep this nation secure and safe", as she defended the recent investment in shipbuilding.

12:45 PM

Winter will be 'exceptionally difficult', warns Prof Whitty

This winter is going to be "exceptionally difficult" for the NHS, England's chief medical officer has warned, as he admitted "there are certainly some quite significant things we got wrong at the beginning of Covid".

Professor Chris Whitty told delegates at the annual conference of the Royal College of GPs to prepare for tough months ahead for the health service as it battles Covid-19, flu, other viruses and the usual winter problems such as trips and falls.

He said: "In terms of where Covid will go over the winter -well I think the winter as a whole- I regret to say, is going to be exceptionally difficult for the NHS.

"That is irrespective of whether we have a relatively low but non trivial amount of Covid, or whether we actually have a further surge in the winter," he added.

"We're only two to three doubling times away from a really quite serious pressure on the NHS," he added. "The margin of error is quite small."

12:32 PM

Insulate Britain should 'call off reckless campaign forever', says Transport Secretary

Grant Shapps has told Insulate Britain protesters to "call off their reckless campaign forever", after the climate group announced a temporary suspension (see 11:52am for more).

The Transport Secretary attacked the activists for their "downright dangerous & counterproductive" campaign.

12:20 PM

'All of these shortages were predicted': Starmer attacks Government over lack of planning

Sir Keir Starmer has said the Government should have put in place plans to address the supply chain shortages months ago.

Speaking during a visit to a Sheffield steel plant, the Labour leader said: "What we needed here is a plan that was crafted months ago to deal with these problems.

"We have seen it with fuel drivers, we have seen it with delivery drivers and with abattoirs and other sectors. All of these shortages were predicted.

"People will look at pictures of Felixstowe which has got containers that are much unable to move and scratch their heads and say 'Why is there not a plan to get us through this?'.

"At the moment the Government is sitting back and saying this is somebody else's problem."

12:15 PM

Starmer: Government risks 'long-term job losses' over energy crisis

The Government risks "short-term energy prices leading to long-term job losses" without action to support Britain's steel industry, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

Speaking during a visit to a steel plant in Sheffield the Labour leader said it would be "unforgivable" if a short-term spike in energy prices led to long-term job losses.

"We can't allow that short-term problem to lead to job losses. That would be completely wrong," he said. "What the steel sector needs is support and action from the Government. What we have got is a Government that is missing in action.

"It is not having discussions that it should be with the sector. It is not doing what is necessary to save the jobs that are at risk. They have put the 'out of office' sign up. That is not acceptable.

"If we have short-term energy prices leading to long-term job losses that is unforgivable by the Government."

12:07 PM

Police commissioner refuses to step down over Sarah Everard comments

A police commissioner whose comments following the murder of Sarah Everard caused a national outcry has received a vote of no confidence from local politicians.

Philip Allott refused to step down from his £74,400 role, despite widespread criticism for suggesting women should be more "streetwise" and that Ms Everard should not have "submitted" to arrest by her killer.

All 11 members of the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime panel gave him a vote of no confidence.

Councillor Tim Grogan said Mr Allott's comments were "unforgivable, at best naive, crass even, at worst wrong-headed, misguided". He added: "I believe your position is unsustainable."

Panel chairman Carl Les added: "Only you can judge the damage done, only you can resign. We cannot make you, we can only make recommendations, and there is a frustration in that. But I think you should consider your position now."

Martin Walker, a retired district judge and independent member of the panel, told him: "You have no credibility."

11:56 AM

European Commission is 'in solution mode', says Irish premier

The European Commission "is in solution mode", Irish premier Micheal Martin has said.

Speaking the day after Maros Sefcovic had set out a series of new proposals aimed at resolving the Northern Ireland Protocol issues, the Taoiseach said he European Union had proved how "open and willing" it is to finding a solution.

As well as consulting with the Irish government and politicians and "people on the ground in Northern Ireland", Mr Sefcovic has "managed to bring through the Commission, which is not an easy task in itself because there would be countervailing forces there", Mr Martin said.

"There are very significant advances, on SPS which would reduce checks by about 80 per cent, and also in terms of customs checks and in respect the medicines, and in building stakeholder engagement for people in Northern Ireland," he added. "It demonstrates that the European Commission is in solution mode."

11:51 AM

Chris Whitty: Pendulum has swung too far in favour of remote appointments

England's chief medical officer has said "the pendulum" has swung too far towards remote GP appointments, amid a row over Sajid Javid's plans to name and shame surgeries who do not offer enough in-person sessions.

Prof Chris Whitty said the NHS should have been doing more remote consultations than it was pre-pandemic, but now the balance should "come back to a point that isn't quite out where it wasn't in the middle of Covid, nor is it where it was in August 2019".

He added: "I don't think it's settled at the right point yet and the right point, in a sense, is where you optimise what works best for patients and what works best for the medical provision that is there.

The profession must strike the right balance "also recognising that, for many patients, a telemedicine solution is a better solution," he noted.

The issue should not be allowed to be "driven by a public discourse", though it is "quite reasonable" for politicians to make comment on it.

11:34 AM

Government's job is 'to provide whatever support we can', says Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid speaks outside a GP in Forest Hill, south east London, following the announcement of his controversial new plan - PA
Sajid Javid speaks outside a GP in Forest Hill, south east London, following the announcement of his controversial new plan - PA

Sajid Javid said he recognised the pressure services across the NHS were facing due to the pandemic.

"It's a big challenge throughout the NHS and it's our job as Government to provide whatever support we can," he told broadcasters.

The Health Secretary pledged to help local authority areas which have been ruled as areas of enduring transmission.

"Where there are areas that are coming under extra pressure, we will give them extra support, whether it's through testing or other means," he said.

11:30 AM

DUP: Brussels' protocol proposals 'fall short of what is needed'

Proposals put forward by Brussels to resolve issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol "fall short of what is needed", the leader of the DUP has said.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he had held a "useful and honest" discussion with Maros Sefcovic, this morning after the European Commission's vice president unveiled his opening gambit for addressing some post-Brexit problems.

"I welcomed the change of heart in Brussels with the decision to renegotiate," Sir Jeffrey said. "For so long we were told the Protocol could not be reopened but the persistent pressing of our case has paid dividends.

"I also explained why the proposals fall short of what is needed. These negotiations must not be a missed opportunity. There is a window to get this right. To get a deal which can allow Northern Ireland to, once again, get moving forward."

The unionist reiterated his call for "a sustainable solution which removes the Irish Sea border and restores our place within the United Kingdom.”

11:24 AM

Sajid Javid: We need more people to go to medical schools

Sajid Javid fist bumps Dr Clementine Olenga-Disashi this morning - PA
Sajid Javid fist bumps Dr Clementine Olenga-Disashi this morning - PA

Britain "absolutely" needs more GPs, Sajid Javid has said, amid criticism that his new plan to publish league tables will drive more doctors out of the profession.

The Health Secretary said: "We need more clinicians across the board.

"The Government has been focused on trying to get that number up. Over the last couple of years it's gone up by some 1,200 in terms of full-time, equivalent GPs," he told broadcasters.

"It's not enough, we need to do more, I absolutely recognise that and I want to work even more closely with the profession to see how we can do that. But also, it's about getting more people into medical schools."

11:12 AM

Plan to name and shame GPs came after consultation with practitioners, Sajid Javid says

Sajid Javid has insisted the winter package and his plan to name and shame GPs came from direct consultation between himself and officials with the British Medical Association, the Royal College of GPs and GPs working on the frontline.

"It has been great to talk to them and hear from them, as I have today just that this practice, about the difference this package can make," he told broadcasters.

"What I've heard in that consultation is that they need more support, and rightly so, there's a huge amount of demand on our fantastic GPS.

"How we can help with that is providing the financial support, getting rid of some of this red tape and helping to shift some of that demand to other more sensible places."

11:06 AM

Sajid Javid shrugs off criticism to insist new package will 'really help'

The Health Secretary has insisted that his new package will "really help" the number of locum doctors needed in surgeries across the UK.

Fending off criticism from GPs over the plan unveiled this morning, Sajid Javid told broadcasters: "What I've heard today here at Vale Medical Centre is that it can do just that.

"Over the pandemic, I don't think people will be surprised to hear that the cost per hour of locums has risen generally, and this package will help to cover that. It will also help to hire in further support and clinical support, including from nurses, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and others.

"All of this, I think, taken together can make a real difference."

11:01 AM

Allister Heath: Anti-Brexit Macron has turned France into a hostile state

Relations between France and Britain, Europe’s two greatest nations, the country of my birth and the country of my home, are at a multi-generational low, writes Allister Heath.

The situation is far worse than almost anybody realises, a heart-breaking state of affairs which will make it even harder to successfully renegotiate the Northern Irish protocol.

Ministers believe that Lord Frost will not be merely negotiating with Maroš Šefčovič, the EU representative, but also with the French, viewed as the main supporters of a hard line. One minister goes as far as to claim that France was motivated solely by anti-British and anti-Brexit sentiment, and doesn’t care about the “integrity of the single market” or the fate of the people of Ireland.

Read more from Allister here.

10:52 AM

Insulate Britain to pause disruption for a week

Climate group Insulate Britain has announced it will suspend its "campaign of civil resistance" until October 25 ahead of the Cop26 summit.

The group, which has caused chaos on some of Britain's biggest roads, has written to Boris Johnson, urging him to "do the right thing, so we can be secure in the knowledge that our Government did everything it could to protect and defend our country".

The letter adds: "Insulate Britain would like to take this opportunity to profoundly acknowledge the disruption caused over the past five weeks.

"We cannot imagine undertaking such acts in normal circumstances. But the dire reality of our situation has to be faced."

10:48 AM

Sajid Javid's GP plan attacked as doctors complain of 'malicious criticism'

Sajid Javid's plan to name and shame GPs has sparked anger at the Royal College of GPs' annual conference, after the Health Secretary cancelled his keynote address at the last minute.

Professor Martin Marshall, the head of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) described the "malicious criticism" of medics from some politicians as the worst "abuse" in his 30-plus career, saying it was "demoralising and indefensible".

He added: "The so-called support package for general practice in England announced this morning is most definitely not the answer to the challenges that we face... Calling today's announcement a missed opportunity would be the understatement of the century."

Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, told delegates the issue of face-to-face appointments had "got rather more heat than it needs".

He told GPs they were "outstanding", adding: "I'm massively admiring of what all you have done, and continue to do, in the biggest public health challenge in our professional careers."

10:34 AM

Jeremy Hunt attacks Government's 'sticking plaster' GP plan

Jeremy Hunt has said the Government's £250m winter package is not enough to "turn the tide" on improving GP services, saying "sticking plaster after sticking plaster will no longer cut it".

The former health secretary said while his successor Sajid Javid was "right to address crisis in this sector" it would not address the shortages of doctors and nurses, noting the number of people retiring was outstripping new entrants to the field.

"As someone who tried & failed to get 5000 more GPs into the system, I don’t think this package will turn the tide," Mr Hunt said. "This is a burnt-out workforce running on empty because of a massive mismatch between supply and demand. The only thing that will convince them not to continue retiring or opting for part-time hours in droves is a clear plan to end the unsustainable pressure they face."

He called for a big recruitment drive instead of "sticking plaster after sticking plaster", warning: "Unless we fix workforce planning in the NHS for the long term, the future will be bleak and the number of face to face GP appointments will go down not up."

10:28 AM

Brussels will remain 'principled' on ECJ oversight, says MEP

A senior MEP has said the Northern Ireland Protocol is the only solution to the problems caused by "the very hard form of Brexit the UK chose".

David McCallister, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said Brussels wanted to be "pragmatic and flexible" but any solution must be found within the protocol.

"The protocol is not the problem, the protocol is part of the solution of the problem, he said. "The problem is Brexit - especially the very hard form of Brexit the UK chose."

Northern Ireland is "more or less part of the Single Market", which means it will fall under the ECJ, he added, saying: "We are principled here."

Watch his statement in full below.

10:12 AM

Delay to business rate reform 'astonishing', says Labour

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaking to shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves as they travel by train to Sheffield - PA
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaking to shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves as they travel by train to Sheffield - PA

Delaying plans to overhaul Britain's business rates system is "astonishing", Rachel Reeves has said.

Responding to The Telegraph's exclusive story this morning Labour's shadow chancellor said: "How much longer will the Conservatives shut out our businesses who are a crucial part of our recovery and our economy?

Ms Reeves reiterated her pledge - made during the Labour Party conference - to scrap business rates "and replace them with a new form of business taxation fit for the 21st century".

Read more on that story here.

10:00 AM

Have your say: Is 'naming and shaming' GPs the right approach?

Sajid Javid has announced new plans to name and shame GPs who do not offer sufficient face-to-face appointments, as part of a major NHS drive to improve access for patients.

The number of face-to-face GP appointments has fallen dramatically since the start of the pandemic and has failed to recover. The latest monthly data showed that only 58 per cent of appointments took place in surgeries – down from 80 per cent of all consultations before the Covid crisis.

But the Health Secretary's vow to give patients more "transparency" on local services has been met with widespread criticism from practitioners who argue that this is not the way to deal with the issue, with some suggesting it will exacerbate the problem by driving exhausted doctors and nurses out of the profession.

So is naming and shaming the right approach - or will it make things worse? Have your say in the poll below.

09:46 AM

Sajid Javid arrives at London GP after cancelling conference speech

Sajid Javid had been expected to speak at the Royal College of GPs annual conference - Getty
Sajid Javid had been expected to speak at the Royal College of GPs annual conference - Getty

Sajid Javid has arrived at a doctor's surgery in south-east London to speak to GPs following the publication of the Government's blueprint for improving access to GP appointments for patients.

Health Secretary was greeted by Dr Jaideep Israel, principal GP of The Vale Medical Centre in Forest Hill, before he headed into the practice.

09:32 AM

Night Tube to restart ahead of Christmas

The Night Tube will return in time for the busy Christmas period, after being suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic, Transport for London has announced.

Services on the Central and Victoria lines will run throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays from Saturday 27 November.

The move comes amid pressure for TfL to restart services following concerns over the safety of women and girls.

Sadiq Khan said: “The reason why I was so keen to be the first Mayor in London’s history to start the Night Tube in 2016 and to restart it now, after the Covid pause, is because I know how important this is to London’s thriving night-time economy, to London’s recovery and to the confidence and safety of everyone travelling home at night, particularly women and girls.

"I am determined to make our city as safe as possible for all Londoners."

09:17 AM

Naming and shaming GPs gives power back to the patient, says Sajid Javid

Naming and shaming GPs who don't offer enough face-to-face appointments will give power back to the patient, Sajid Javid has said.

The Health Secretary defended the Government's decision to publish league tables for family doctors, saying providing "more data, more transparency" would help drive up standards at GP practices across the country, while the additional £250 million would provide support for GP practices.

"It is important that patients have this information because I want to see a levelling up of healthcare throughout the country. We do need to understand what the differences are in healthcare provision throughout the country," he told Sky News.

"This whole package today is about support. This is all about helping GPs so that they can do what they do best, which is seeing their patients," he said.

Challenged about the name and shame plans, he insisted: "I believe in choice - patients want to see their GPs and the vast majority of GPs say if you can help us increase capacity, that is what they want too."

09:13 AM

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Britain's Covid record is not the global horror story some wish to believe

Twenty months into Covid-19, the toll of excess deaths per capita is converging at surprisingly similar levels across large parts of Europe and the Western world, writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

The UK undoubtedly stumbled badly into the pandemic, with the wrong contingency plan, under the baneful watch of a Sage committee that thought it knew better than the Koreans or the Taiwanese.

Heads should have rolled when it became clear that the NHS itself was seeding the disease among the most vulnerable by discharging untested patients from hospitals into care homes – like hurling plague-ridden bodies over the wall at the Siege of Caffa, in the words of one cardiologist.

But are the health and science committees right in concluding that this country suffered a “significantly worse” outcome than global peers?

Read more from Ambrose here.

09:04 AM

Sajid Javid accused of being 'frit' as he cancels 'face-to-face appointment with GPs'

Sajid Javid has been accused of being "too frit" to defend his plan to name and shame GPs who don't offer enough face-to-face appointments, after he cancelled a planned speech before the annual Primary Care Conference.

Dr Zubaida Haque, a member of Independent Sage, said: "The unbelievable irony of Sajid Javid, Health Secretary (who has been carrying out a smear campaign against GPs in the media) FAILING to turn up for his first *face to face* appointment with GPs."

GP Alan Shirley said Mr Javid was "too frit to come and defend [the plan] in front of GPs, cancelling at the last minute", while Professor Devi Sridhar said she was "disappointed" he had pulled out.

Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, has offered to step into the breach.

08:53 AM

Hospital waiting lists reach record highs

The number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has risen to a new record high.

A total of 5.7 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of August 2021, according to figures from NHS England. This is the highest number since records began in August 2007.

The number of people having to wait more than 52 weeks to start treatment stood at 292,138 in August 2021, down slightly from 293,102 in the previous month, but more than double the number waiting a year earlier, in August 2020, which was 111,026.

Nearly 370,000 patients in England had been waiting more than six weeks for a key diagnostic test.

It comes as Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, vows to name and shame GPs who do not offer sufficient face-to-face appointments.

08:45 AM

Fuel shortage and price surge drives rise in home-working

One in six people are working from home because they cannot buy enough fuel for their daily commute, new research suggests.

A survey of almost 450 workers by HR firm Randstad found one in six said they cannot get to work unless they can use public transport, cycle or walk.

Around one in 20 also said they had gone to their office to avoid racking up a hefty gas bill at home amid rising heating costs.

08:41 AM

Brussels tells Government to 'do your homework' to make new Brexit proposals work

Maros Sefcovic has called on the UK Government to "do the homework, which is long overdue" if its proposals for resolving border controls issues are to work.

In an article for the Belfast Telegraph Lord Frost's opposite number at the European Commission insists Brussels has listened to their concerns, but stressed that the role of the ECJ has no impact on the people of Northern Ireland's daily life.

"To put it plainly: the protocol has no impact whatsoever on the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. This is made clear in the very first article of the protocol," he writes.

"For our proposals to work, however, the UK Government will have to do the homework which is long overdue – for instance, to ensure that permanent border control posts are up and running and that our officials have real-time access to the relevant UK databases."

A solution is possible but "not a given", Mr Sefcovic adds. "Effort will be required. But my attitude is: Let’s make it happen."

08:33 AM

Planet Normal: 'There will be more people screaming for more lockdowns'

The first major report into the UK’s early Covid-19 response is 144 pages long, but according to Telegraph columnists and hosts of the weekly Planet Normal podcast, Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan, it contains very little balance.

“There is this striking failure to weigh up any of the disadvantages of lockdown,” Pearson tells this week’s podcast, which you can listen to using the audio player above. “It's a complete given that this was what we should have done, but we should have done it earlier.”

The report is part of a movement that “accuses the Government always and everywhere of not locking down soon enough”, rather than carrying out a cost-benefit analysis of locking down, according to Halligan. “And there will be more people screaming for lockdowns going forward,” he warns.

Listen to the podcast in full above

08:26 AM

Stop 'shouting at each other across the Channel' over fishing rights, says Labour frontbencher

Emily Thornberry has called for "a bit of grown-up politics" in ongoing Brexit negotiations, as France gears up to new retaliatory measures over the Jersey fishing row.

Asked about further potential supply problems, stemming from disagreements over fishing licences, she told LBC: "We need to take the heat out of this and we need to make sure we are actually talking to each other and not shouting at each other across the Channel.

"All this talk of vetoes and blockades and wars and everything else is completely inappropriate; we need a bit of grown-up politics and a bit of pragmatism.

"Stop the dogma, sort out some realistic answers to these problems."

08:14 AM

Lord Frost raises prospect of EU court compromise

Britain could compromise over the European Court of Justice's role in Northern Ireland after Lord Frost suggested he would enter negotiations with Brussels without "red lines".

Last night Government sources acknowledged the EU had "clearly" gone further than the UK had expected, with the two sides now expected to enter into intensive talks imminently.

"We were taken by surprise by the amount that the EU has moved," one Whitehall insider told The Telegraph. "We genuinely weren’t expecting movement of that sort."

They added the threat of the UK triggering Article 16 - enabling it to suspend parts of the protocol - would now be put off while the negotiations played out through to November.

"We are quite far away now from Article 16. It's still to play for."

Read more here.

08:06 AM

Emily Thornberry: It is 'appalling' that we play fast and loose with treaties

The Labour MP sighed when Dominic Cummings' comments were raised - PA
The Labour MP sighed when Dominic Cummings' comments were raised - PA

Shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry said it is "shameful" for the UK to start playing "fast and loose" with other countries in regard to international law.

The Labour MP sighed comments made by former Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings about the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement were put to her.

She told Sky News: "I think we step down as a country, we don't have the same international reputation, if our word isn't our bond.

"I think it's appalling that people would even think of representing our country as signing up to an agreement knowing that they weren't going to implement it - I think it's appalling."

08:02 AM

Sajid Javid defends his calls to prioritise economy in pandemic as backbench MP

Sajid Javid has defended his calls for more emphasis to be put on economic needs during the pandemic as a backbench MP.

The Health Secretary, who has apologised for " the loss that people have suffered and how they have been affected", told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he was not "in a position yet to go back and look at every decision that was made and how we can for that."

Asked if he thought he had been wrong to prioritise the economy, the former chancellor said: "No, I don't, based on the information that I have had and also from what I know. .. I was out of government when a lot of those crucial decisions were made. I was a humble backbencher."

Mr Javid admitted he has yet to read the report of the Commons Science and Health Committees into the pandemic in full.

"It is one report and I welcome the report. I haven't had the opportunity to study every word of the report. I will study it properly this weekend," he said.

07:57 AM

ECJ should be removed from protocol oversight over long term, minister suggests

Sajid Javid has signalled a willingness for the UK Government to consider a long-term approach to removing oversight of the ECJ from the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Health Secretary welcomed the restart of talks following Maros Sefcovic's presser last night, saying it was "important these discussions continue to see if sensible changes can be made".

Asked if the ECJ was a deal breaker, Javid again echoed comments by Dowden yesterday - stopping short of describing it as a red line. But he also implied it was something that could take place over a period of time - paving the way for a Swiss-style system to be brought in.

He said: "Looking forward there should not be a role for ECJ in any part of the UK - that includes Northern Ireland."

07:49 AM

Brexit deal has 'all kinds of holes' that must be filled after protocol

A Labour frontbencher has said there are "all kinds of holes" within the Brexit deal that must be grappled with after the Northern Ireland Protocol has been resolved.

Emily Thornberry, the shadow international trade secretary, told Sky News: "I'm glad to see that attempts are being made to make it more workable and I want to see that on both sides.

"I think once we have sorted out the issue of Northern Ireland, then there are all kinds of issues with our trade with the rest of Europe, all kinds of holes within the agreement."

She added: "I acknowledge that they are doing a good job in terms of continuing to negotiate. Let's make sure that they do actually agree something so they patch the holes in the agreement that they signed that wasn't really fit for purpose in the first place."

07:39 AM

Name and shame plan will drive more doctors away, says Lib Dem MP

The Government's plan to name and shame GPs who don't offer enough face-to-face appointments will drive "even more doctors away", the Liberal Democrats have said.

Munira Wilson, the health and social care spokesperson, said: "These changes are a sticking plaster which won't address the GP shortage crisis that is leaving patients struggling to get appointments.

"The Conservatives have already missed their own targets to recruit and train more GPs. Now they are coming up with plans to name and shame GPs, which risks driving even more doctors away from the profession.

"The government should focus on meeting their own target of hiring 6,000 more GPs, instead of attempting to shift the blame onto doctors for their own failings."

07:34 AM

Wales' First Minister attacks Lord Frost over 'hardlined speeches'

Mark Drakeford has criticised Lord Frost for making "hardlined speeches" about Brexit.

Following a meeting with Joao Vale de Almeida, the EU ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mr Drakeford said announcements by the Union show "practical attempts to deal with the problems" that have occurred at the Irish border.

The First Minister of Wales told Sky News: "I don't think it's helpful when UK ministers make hardlined speeches drawing red lines criticising the deal that they themselves had signed.

"So from a Welsh point of view, what we've always asked for is for people to be around the table, for people to be pragmatic, for people to be looking for where they can agree, rather than constantly setting out red lines about where they are not prepared to agree."

07:31 AM

Sajid Javid: There is no reason why London NYE fireworks can't go ahead

Sajid Javid has called on the Mayor of London to reconsider his decision to cancel the capital's NYE fireworks for the second year in a row.

Yesterday City Hall said it has been axed this year due to "uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic".

However, a spokesman for Sadiq Khan promised the New Year celebrations in the capital will still be "spectacular".

This morning the Health Secretary told LBC: "I can't understand why that can't happen. It's a mayor's decision and I hope he can reconsider it... I see no reason why it can't happen safely."

07:22 AM

Dominic Cummings causing 'real damage' to UK, says Mark Drakeford

Comments made by Dominic Cummings, the former chief adviser to the Prime Minister, "real damage" to the UK's reputation, the First Minister of Wales has said.

Mark Drakeford told Sky News: "A country that behaves in that way will never find partners in the rest of the world prepared to do serious business with them.

"When the UK puts its name to a treaty with other parts of the world, then it's absolutely incumbent on us to act in good faith with that agreement.

"The deep cynicism of the sort that you heard from Mr Cummings does real damage to the reputation of the United Kingdom and our ability in a post-Brexit world to strike agreements with countries elsewhere."

07:14 AM

Government acting as though Brexit deal 'was somebody else's responsibility', says Mark Drakeford

The First Minister of Wales has said he is "frankly baffled" by the comments the UK Government has made regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol and Brexit.

Mark Drakeford told Sky News: "It's a very important issue for Wales because our ports face the island of Ireland and trade through our ports is significantly down following Brexit.

"I am frankly baffled by some of the things we hear from the UK Government. The deal is the deal that they themselves signed up to.

"It is their deal, yet so often we hear UK Government ministers talk as though the deal was entirely somebody else's responsibility."

07:13 AM

'Of course I'm sorry' for Covid failings, says Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid has said he is "sorry" for the losses and suffering which have occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fellow Cabinet minister Steve Barclay refused multiple times to apologise after a damning report was published on Monday.

However the Health Secretary today told BBC Breakfast: "Of course I'm sorry.

"Obviously I am new in the role but on behalf of the Government I am sorry for, during the pandemic, anyone that suffered, especially anyone that lost a loved one, a mother, a dad, a brother, a sister, a friend. Of course I am sorry for that.

"Also all those people that may not have lost someone but they are still suffering - there are many people sadly suffering from long Covid, we still don't know the impact of that. Of course I am."

07:04 AM

MP Claudia Webbe could be jailed after conviction for harassing partner’s ex-girlfriend

Claudia Webbe arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court with her partner Lester Thomas  - Geoff Pugh
Claudia Webbe arrives at Westminster Magistrates Court with her partner Lester Thomas - Geoff Pugh

Claudia Webbe, the former Labour MP, has been warned she faces a possible prison sentence after being convicted of harassment over a series of threatening phone calls she made to a former girlfriend of her partner.

Webbe, who now sits as an independent for Leicester East, was found guilty of the charge after a court heard how she had threatened Michelle Merritt with acid and told her she would send naked pictures of her to her daughters.

The MP, who received character references from Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader, and fellow MP Dianne Abbott, had claimed her phone calls had merely been intended to warn Ms Merritt not to break Covid rules by meeting her boyfriend during lockdown.

However, Paul Goldspring, the chief magistrate, rejected her defence and warned her she faced a possible prison term when she is sentenced on November 4.

He said: “I do not find the defendant to be cogent, compelling and truthful in all aspects of her evidence... In short, I find Ms Webbe to be vague, incoherent and at times illogical, and ultimately I find her to be untruthful.”

06:55 AM

ECJ is 'referee of Single Market', says EU ambassador

The EU has gone to the limits of what it can do to resolve the problems of post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland, the bloc's ambassador to the UK has said.

Although previously Maros Sefcovic has said it was not a "take it or leave it" offer, Joao Vale de Almeida told BBC's Newsnight Brussels cannot go beyond what it has put on the table.

"Today we went to the limits of what we can do to address the problems of Northern Ireland because we care for Northern Ireland. These problems were caused by Brexit," he said.

"There is no single market without the European Court of Justice. It's the referee of the Single Market," he said.

06:53 AM

Santa Sunak: There will be a 'good amount of Christmas presents' this year

There will be a "good amount of Christmas presents available" this year despite supply chain issues, Rishi Sunak has said after a key meeting in Washington to deal with the issue.

The Chancellor sought to reassure Britons as people begin to think about shopping for Christmas, saying despite the challenges he was "confident there will be good provision of goods for everybody".

Mr Sunak chaired a meeting of finance ministers yesterday as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank convene in the US capital.

Hesaid: "Supply chain issues are being felt globally - and finance leaders from around the globe must collaborate to address our shared challenges.

"Today we have collectively agreed to work closely over the coming months - and together we will build a strong and resilient recovery."

06:45 AM

Brussels negotiators come to London for Brexit talks

Brussels negotiators have travelled to London promising to bend and break their own rules with new proposals to cool tensions over the implementation of Northern Ireland Protocol.

The talks, due to start on Thursday, could end months of post-Brexit bickering between the bloc and the British Government.

The four key ways the EU plans to reform the Protocol, which officials insist go "far beyond tinkering at the edges", include changes to customs, sanitary requirements, medicines and democratic oversight.

06:44 AM

Good Morning

The Government has today launched a new plan to 'name and shame' GPs who don't offer sufficient face-to-face appointments.

But are ministers right to target doctors after months of dealing with a pandemic? Sajid Javid this morning has praised those who have worked throughout the last 18 months - but will it wash?

Here is today's front page.

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