Boris Johnson is trying to build relationships with figures in Joe Biden's team amid a growing expectation in the UK that Trump will lose next month.
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Black Lives Matter has hit back at a Conservative minister after she branded the movement as “anti-capitalist” and “political”, and claimed teachers who present the idea of white privilege as a fact to their students are breaking the law.Kemi Badenoch, the women and equalities minister, told MPs on Tuesday: “We do not want to see teachers teaching their pupils about white privilege and their inherited racial guilt.“And let me be clear, any school which teaches these elements of political race theory as fact, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is breaking the law.“But why does this issue mean so much to me? It is not just because I’m a first generation immigrant, it is because my daughter came home from school this month and said ‘we’re learning Black History Month because every other month is about white history’.“This is wrong and this is not what our children should be picking up. These are not the values I have taught her.”Badenoch also told MPs that a White Black Lives Matter protester called a Black armed police officer guarding Downing Street during this summer’s protests a “pet n*****”.She added that examples such as this are why the Conservatives “do not endorse that movement”.Responding to the general debate on Black History Month in the Commons, Badenoch said: “Some schools have decided to openly support the anti-capitalist Black Lives Matter group – often fully aware that they have the statutory duty to be politically impartial.“Black lives do matter, of course they do, but we know that the Black Lives Matter movement – capital B, L, M – is political.”Alex Kelbert, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter UK, told HuffPost UK: “Whether or not it is taught in schools, white privilege is real because racism is real.“Racism is real in our healthcare system, where black mothers are five times more likely to die during pregnancy.“Racism is real in our schools, where Black Caribbean pupils are nearly twice as likely to be excluded as white pupils.“Racism is real when we apply for a job, or try to rent a house or take home on average 21.7% less pay than our white counterparts.“BLM is proud to be political, but it is the Conservative party that is playing politics. They try to deny the racism we can see with our own eyes.“We will continue to fight this divisive politics through our organisation and alongside the wider movement.”Related... MI5 Chief Says Black Lives Matter Movement Shone Light On Racism Within The Agency How Boris Johnson's Vow To Tackle Race Inequality Stands A Year On BAME People Pleaded For Help During The Coronavirus Pandemic. This Is How They Were Let Down
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The Prime Minister’s plan is intended to help the UK meet its ambitious climate targets.
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Polls suggest that Joe Biden has a sustained lead over Trump with 23 days to go until the US election. The UK is keen to be on the winning side.
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Boris Johnson wasn’t lying at this week’s Conservative party conference when he said he’d “had enough” of Covid-19. You and us both, prime minister.The coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of ending soon. The knowledge that a second national lockdown is likely, that social distancing and masks may be our reality for months to come, and that Covid-19 cases continue to climb, (even as the race for a vaccine quickens pace), can feel pretty overwhelming.As one Twitter user wrote: “I’ve always *intellectually* known that the pandemic and the restrictions were going to go on for a long time, but I think it’s only this last week that it’s sunken in as a reality. I seem to be back to the lockdown listlessness and occasional panic of March/April.”It was April when we first asked HuffPost readers the question: how are you feeling? We wanted to know how the country was experiencing this crisis, the different stages of emotion, reaction and resilience to the pandemic. As HuffPost UK editor in chief, Jess Brammar, wrote at the time: “They will tell us a story just as important as the statistics and political rhetoric.”And you told us – in your hundreds – sharing your honest emotions that ranged from apathy to anger, and which varied day to day, week to week.Thank you to everyone who got in touch. Prompted by your responses, we’ve spoken to experts in fields from grief and anxiety, to work and financial wellbeing, seeking advice on dealing with the ongoing mental and physical toil of the pandemic – and we continue to do so, gathering those resources here.Now, ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, we’re once again inviting readers to use this Google form to share how you are feeling. When we first asked the question, we were six weeks into lockdown. Now, six months on and with tightened restrictions looming, some people are experiencing a strong sense of déjà vu. For many more, the precarity of work, finances, family or home life is having a serious impact on mental health.After a spring cooped up at home, “social bubbles” and summer’s lockdown easing offered some respite – even as the vulnerable continued to shield. Then came local lockdowns, the return to school and university, and the new rule of six. Now we’re in autumn and facing down the long winter. Lockdown fatigue, both emotional and – in the case of long Covid – physical, is rife. It’s a lot, which is why you can update us regularly or send a one-off message – whatever you feel comfortable sharing. We know the mental health toil is more serious for some than others. Good and bad days take us all by surprise. So, tell us, how are you feeling?Related... Your Self-Care Toolkit For Dealing With The Tough Months Ahead Racism Is A Mental Health Crisis. We Need To Support Each Other – Here’s How Here’s How To Cope With Lockdown Déjà Vu Useful websites and helplinesMind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email [email protected] Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.
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The 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants will remain in place after Keir Starmer said Labour would not vote against the coronavirus restriction next week.Scores of Tory rebels were threatening to defeat the government on the controversial policy – if they could secure Labour backing to oppose the measures on Tuesday.But Starmer said MPs were only getting a straight “take-it-or-leave-it” choice on the curfew and so Labour would not oppose the regulations because that would risk no restrictions being in place at all.He urged Boris Johnson to learn from Wales, where there is a 10pm deadline for selling alcohol but drinkers are given time to finish so they are not all kicked out of venues at the same time.In England there have been concerns that ordering venues to physically close at 10pm was leading to people all leaving at the same time and packing together on public transport, which could pose a higher risk of spreading Covid-19.The rule also means many pubs are forced to call last orders at 9.30pm, further reducing the time in which they can make money compared to establishments in Wales.There have also been concerns that the government has failed to provide scientific evidence for a 10pm curfew, which has not been discussed or modelled by its own Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).On Thursday, Starmer told broadcasters: “There’s growing concern about the 10pm curfew and lots of examples of everybody coming out of venues at the same time and causing a problem with the way people are exiting.“We need this reform, there’s a smarter way of doing this.”He went on: “The problem with the vote next week is it’s an up-down take-it-or-leave-it vote and therefore if you vote down the current  arrangements there won’t be any restrictions in place.“That’s not what we want so we won’t be down the  restrictions that are in place.“But we do say to the government – reform the 10pm rule, show us the evidence, do it in a much smarter way.”Related... Is Keir Starmer Ready To End His ‘Constructive Opposition’? 11pm Pub Closing Time In England Could Return, Ministers Believe MPs Will Not Get Chance To Scrap 10pm Curfew Until Next Week
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Scotland looks set to face more lockdown restrictions after Nicola Sturgeon announced she’s been given “very strong” advice from health experts that more needed to be done to control the pandemic.The first minister said while no “final decisions” had yet been made, she needed to act to control the “sharply rising rate of infection” across the country.An announcement is due to be made on Wednesday on what further measures will be taken.“In many ways this is is probably the most difficult decision point we have faced so far,” she said.Scotland is already under stricter restrictions than England, with household mixing having been banned from September 22.Sturgeon did not reveal what new restrictions would be imposed, but she did list what she would not do.Speaking at Tuesday’s press briefing, she said schools would remain open and people would not be told to stay in their homes as they were in March.“We are not proposing another lockdown at this stage, not even on a temporary basis,” she said.Professor Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College London expert who advised the UK government to impose the first lockdown, said that restrictions including closing bars and restaurants could be needed.“If we want to keep schools open we have to reduce contacts in other areas of society by more,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.It came as Boris Johnson told the Conservative Party conference there was no alternative to the coronavirus restrictions he has been forced to introduce as he promised to forge a new Britain “in the teeth of this pandemic”.In his speech, the prime minister promised there would be no social distancing measures in place by this time next year.Johnson said he had had “more than enough” of coronavirus, which he described as a “plague” and an “alien invader”. Related... MPs Will Not Get Chance To Scrap 10pm Curfew Until Next Week
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Boris Johnson has promised there will be no social distancing measures in place by this time next year.Delivering his Conservative conference speech to a near-empty room due to infection controls, the prime minister said he has had “more than enough” of coronavirus, which he described as a “plague” and an “alien invader”.But having previously said he hopes for “normality by November” this year, Johnson told the Tory faithful that at least next year’s autumn conference would be free of social distancing.“With the help of weekly and almost daily improvements in the medicine and the science, we will ensure that next time we meet it will be face-to-face and cheek-by-jowl,” he said."Your goverment is working night and day to repel this virus and we will succeed, just as this country has seen off every alien invader for the last thousand years"Boris Johnson thanks members for "zooming in" as he delivers his party conference speechhttps://t.co/I4rVU1oOGjpic.twitter.com/eLMBqWVEzV— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 6, 2020Johnson used his wide-ranging speech to set out a vision for the country in 2030, insisting that coronavirus must be a “trigger” for economic and social change on the scale of the “new Jerusalem” vision of the post-Second World War years.More immediately, the PM pledged to turn “generation rent into generation buy” with his plans for 95% mortgages for first-time buyers who would not otherwise be able to afford a deposit.And he insisted the government would proceed with plans to reform the “sclerotic” planning system, despite widespread Tory concerns about a so-called “mutant” algorithm determining where houses are built.Johnson said offshore wind would be powering every home in the country within 10 years, helped by a £160m investment to upgrade ports and factories for building turbines, insisting that “as Saudi Arabia is to oil, the UK is to wind”.The PM also hinted at the introduction of an insurance system to solve the social care crisis, quoting Churchill as he promised to bring “the magic of averages to the rescue of millions”.“It isn’t enough just to go back to normal, we have lost too much, we have mourned too many, we have been through too much hardship to settle back for the status quo ante, to think life can go on as it did before the plague,” the PM said.Amid Tory unease about his performance, Johnson sought again to dispel rumours that he is suffering from “long Covid”, following a bout with the virus that left him in intensive care.“I've read a lot of nonsense recently about how my own bout of Covid has somehow robbed me of my mojo”PM Boris Johnson calls the claims “self-evident drivel” and “propaganda you’d expect from people who don’t want the government to succeed” https://t.co/I4rVU1oOGjpic.twitter.com/VhwJmaGqgM— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 6, 2020“I have read a lot of nonsense recently about how my own bout of Covid has somehow robbed me of my mojo,” he said.“And, of course this is self-evident drivel.“The kind of seditious propaganda that you would expect from people who don’t want this government to succeed.“And I could refute these critics of my athletic abilities in any way that they want, arm wrestling, leg wrestling… you name it.“And yet I have to admit that the reason I had such a nasty experience with the disease is that although I was superficially in the pink of health when I caught it I had a very common underlying condition – my friends, I was too fat. And I have since lost 26 pounds.”Quoting 90s pop band M People, the PM went on: “And I am going to continue that diet because you have got to search for the hero inside yourself and hope that individual is considerably slimmer.”Responding, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “The British people needed to hear the prime minister set out how he and his government will get a grip of the crisis. Instead we got the usual bluster and no plan for the months ahead.”Related... Boris Johnson To Embrace Wind Power After Years Of Saying How Rubbish It Is MPs Will Not Get Chance To Scrap 10pm Curfew Until Next Week Covid-Infected Trump Takes Off Mask As He Returns To White House
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Priti Patel has been defeated in parliament as peers insisted she must restore protections for lone child refugees in Europe after the Brexit transition.The Lords, by a majority of 94, backed an amendment from Lord Dubs to ensure lone child refugees maintain their right to be reunited with family in the UK once the Brexit transition ends on December 31.The home secretary also faced a second defeat as peers insisted EU children in care are automatically given settled status in the UK.It was the second attempt by Dubs, who came to the UK as a child fleeing the Nazis on a kindertransport, to restore children’s family reunion rights. Boris Johnson had deleted the protections from his flagship Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020, which enacted his exit deal.Ministers have said the government is seeking to negotiate with the EU new arrangements for lone child refugees to be reunited with family in the UK.But peers fear that the EU is refusing to discuss the issue during the stalled talks on a post-Brexit relationship, and question why Johnson stripped the rights from his own legislation.It also comes after Patel warned of a crackdown on people seeking refugee status in the UK, including by floating ideas such as sending them 4,000 miles away to Ascension Island, or repelling dinghies crossing the Channel by somehow creating waves.Following the vote, Dubs said: “Families should be together.“The government defeat today demonstrates the strength of feeling that we should not abandon our humanity and compassion by removing the right of children to be reunited with relatives here in the UK. “I would now urge the government to put their own words into practice, by rethinking its policy and supporting this amendment when it comes before the Commons.”Dubs added: “The home secretary claimed on Sunday that the Conservative Party has a proud history of providing a safe haven to those in need.“This claim does not align with what we have seen in the House today, as the government is prepared to callously abandon these most vulnerable of people, leaving them at risk of exploitation of the worst kind.”Beth Gardiner-Smith, chief executive of Safe Passage International, said: “This defeat should be a wake-up call to the government that providing a safe and legal way for vulnerable refugee children from Europe to be reunited with their families is not only the moral thing to do, but the will of a cross-party collaboration across the House and local authorities.“Rather than spending time and energy on pie in the sky talk of magic wave machines or sinister internment camps on distant islands, the government should now support safe and legal routes and back this amendment when it come back to the House of Commons.“The home secretary said at the weekend that family and community are her guiding principles, accepting this amendment is her chance to prove it.”Vickie Hawkins, executive director of Medecins Sans Frontieres UK, said: “It has been deeply disheartening to have watched the UK government abdicate their responsibilities by attempting to close down some of the few existing routes to safety for refugees and asylum seekers within Europe.“This amendment gives the UK government a chance to take steps towards rectifying this: it is surely the bare minimum to ensure that safe routes to sanctuary in the UK stay open for unaccompanied children.“We sincerely hope that the UK government will show some humanity and accept this amendment.“Irrespective of the UK’s relationship with the EU, the government has an obligation to protect vulnerable people who have crossed borders seeking international protection.”The defeats set up a battle in the Commons over the immigration and social security coordination bill, where Patel must win two votes to delete Dubs’ amendments from the legislation.But Dubs’ amendments are likely to be thrown out by MPs, given Johnson has a Commons majority of 80 and any Tory rebellion is likely to be small, if there is one at all.Related... Opinion: Boris Johnson Made A Promise To Child Refugees. Now He Must Keep It Exclusive: Priti Patel 'Breaking The Law' By 'Detaining' Lone Children Who Cross The Channel Priti Patel Slams 'Do Gooders And Leftie Lawyers' Amid Criticism Of Asylum Plans
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Rishi Sunak has said he “definitely” does not want to be prime minister, having seen Boris Johnson deal with the job.Speaking at an InHouse communications fringe event during the Conservatives’ virtual conference, the chancellor said his role was “hard enough” and dismissed suggestions he wants to replace the PM.Sunak has been widely tipped as the frontrunner to take over from Johnson, whose performance during the coronavirus pandemic has worried Tory backbenchers amid falling poll ratings.But the chancellor praised Johnson’s response, claiming that “on the big calls” the PM “got it right”, despite the UK suffering more than 40,000 deaths – one of the worst rates in the world.When asked about leadership speculation, and whether he wanted to be prime minister, Sunak replied: “No, definitely not – seeing what the prime minister has to deal with, this is a job hard enough for me to do.“I think we are very fortunate. He and I personally are close.“We have a close personal friendship and that spreads through the teams, where there is an enormous amount of mutual trust between our teams.”Sunak also claimed a decade of austerity had helped the government deal with the huge economic impact of coronavirus.The chancellor said the divisive policy pursued by David Cameron was “absolutely the right thing to do” in response to the 2008 financial crisis, and meant the government was in a good position to respond to Covid-19.Boris Johnson has previously attempted to distance himself from austerity, stressing that it will “certainly not be part of our approach”.Having warned in his speech of “hard choices everywhere” to balance the public finances in the medium-term following huge spending on schemes like furlough, Sunak was asked whether he thought austerity was a “dirty word”.He replied: ”I feel it was absolutely the right thing to do to get what was an unsustainable borrowing situation under control and I very much support what the government at the time did.“It’s only because of those difficult decisions that had been made over the past decade that we entered this crisis in a position where I was able to respond at the scale we have.“If we’d come into this crisis already borrowing lots, that would have been much more difficult and would mean the long-term was much worse.“But going forward, both in our manifesto and in the comments the prime minister and I have made, what we are going to do is prioritise investment in public services – that’s something that people elected us to do, I think that’s what the country wants and expects at this moment in time, so that’s what we’ll do.”IN HOUSE https://t.co/0OPVjFhr1v— iNHouseComms (@iNHouseComms) October 5, 2020Earlier in his keynote speech, Sunak also made a point of praising Johnson’s much-criticised response to the pandemic.“I’ve seen up close the burden the prime minister carries,” he said.“We all know he has an ability to connect with people in a way few politicians manage.“It is a special and rare quality. “But what the commentators don’t see, the thing I see, is the concern and care he feels, every day, for the wellbeing of the people of our country.“Yes, it’s been difficult, challenges are part of the job. But on the big calls, in the big moments, Boris Johnson has got it right and we need that leadership.”Labour criticised Sunak for failing to set out any extra measures to support the ailing economy through the expected next six months of Covid restrictions.Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said: “The chancellor just spoke for 10 minutes, but he had nothing new to say.“No new targeted support for millions facing the furlough cliff edge. Nothing new for the self-employed. Nothing for those excluded so far.“He just blew his chance to get a grip on Britain’s jobs crisis.”Related... A Second National Lockdown Seems Inevitable. Here's What Stands In The Way Is ‘Sorry, Not Sorry’ The Johnson/Sunak Message Ahead Of A Grim Winter? Tory Voters Face £1,000 Hit From Rishi Sunak’s Planned Welfare Cuts
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Black Lives Matter (BLM) is not a “force for good”, former chancellor Sajid Javid has said.Speaking at the Conservative Party conference on Monday morning, Javid said there was still “work to do” to tackle racism in the UK but criticised BLM.The killing of George Floyd in the US in May sparked global anti-racism protests, including in the UK.“I think the movement of people whether through demonstrating or other ways of fighting for racial justice, of course, that is important,” Javid said.But he added: “If may, I distinguish between the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for racial justice.“I’m not sympathetic to the actual organisation, Black Lives Matter.“I think it’s a sort of neo-Marxist organisation that wants to overthrow capitalism and get rid of the police.“I think the organisation itself is not a force for good.”Javid, who resigned from Boris Johnson’s cabinet in February, was speaking at an event hosted by ConHome.Priti Patel, the home secretary, also used her speech to Tory members on Sunday to criticise Black Lives Matter.She accused the group, along with Extinction Rebellion, of acting with “hooliganism and thuggery”.“It is not acceptable for mobs to tear down statues and cause criminal damage across our streets,” she said.“And it is not acceptable for thugs to assault our police officers, just for doing their job.”Patel also complained “do gooders” and “leftie lawyers” were trying to block her plans to change the UK’s asylum system.The Home Office was gripped by controversy last week amid reports officials were considering a number of proposals included deploying a wave machine to deter boats crossing the English Channel. Other plans were said to be sending migrants to a remote volcanic island in the Atlantic while claims were processed, something Labour’s Nick Thomas-Symonds called “inhumane, completely impractical and wildly expensive”. Related... Black Lives Matter Activists Explain Why They’re Marching The 7 Myths About Adoption You Shouldn't Believe
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The British public should live “fearlessly” but with “common sense” as the Covid-19 pandemic gathers momentum again this winter, Boris Johnson has said.  The PM also defended the much-criticised test and trace system, saying it was “not perfect” but “outstanding” compared to other countries’, and said chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, which has been blamed for a spike in infections, has saved thousands of jobs. Speaking to BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show as the virtual Conservative Party conference gets underway, the prime minister also answered Tory critics who claim the leader has lost his spark and may be battling so-called “long Covid”. “It’s not tittle tattle, it’s drivel,” he said, warning it would be seen as “totally inappropriate” to approach the pandemic with “buoyancy and elan” when lives were at stake. Pressed on his health, after he spent time in intensive care earlier this year, he said: “No, I had a nasty bout, no question.”Denying he had long Covid, which sees exhaustion continue for months, he said: “No, no, not in my case.” He added: “It is not tittle tattle, it is balderdash and nonsense.“I can tell you I’m fitter than several butchers’ dogs.”The PM also sounded the alarm that the run up to Christmas could mean further lockdown restrictions. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on local restrictions: "I know people are furious with me and they’re furious with the government but… it's going to continue to be bumpy through to Christmas. It may even be bumpy beyond"#Marr#Covid_19https://t.co/iUFQLFuY4Jpic.twitter.com/YVAKc3CzuW— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 4, 2020“I appreciate the fatigue that people are experiencing… but we have to work together, follow the guidance and get the virus down whilst keeping the economy moving,” he said. Presenter Andrew Marr then interrupted and said “people are exhausted, they’re furious,” before Johnson replied: “They’re furious at me and they’re furious for the government, but… I’ve got to tell you in all candour it’s going to continue to be bumpy through to Christmas, it may even be bumpy beyond.” He added the government was trying to strike a balance, adding: “What we want people to do is behave fearlessly but with common sense, to follow the guidance – whether national or local – get the virus down but allow us as a country to continue with our priorities.”Johnson said the UK would be in a different position in spring, but pressed on whether his government had “overpromised and under-delivered” during the pandemic, he said it was important to offer “hope”. He went on to say he does not “want to get people’s hopes up on the vaccine unnecessarily”.He said: “It’s possible that we will make significant progress on the vaccine this year.“I went to see the scientists at AstraZeneca in Oxford and those teams and they seem to be doing fantastically well.“But I don’t want to get people’s hopes up on the vaccine unnecessarily because I think there is a chance but it is not certain.”Asked about the Eat Out To Help Out scheme and claims that government was pressing people to return to the office earlier, Johnson said: “I think it was right to reopen the economy. I think if we hadn’t done that Andrew, if we hadn’t got things moving again in the summer, I mean we would be looking at many more hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.”Amid claims the Eat Out To Help Out meal voucher scheme had spread the virus, Johnson simply said it was “important” to keep jobs viable. He said: “I also think, I also think that it is important now, irrespective of whether Eat Out To Help Out you know, what the balance of there was, it unquestionably helped to protect many… there are two million jobs at least in the hospitality sector.“It was very important to keep those jobs going. Now, if it, insofar as that scheme may have helped to spread the virus, then obviously we need to counteract that and we need to counteract that with the discipline and the measures that we’re proposing.“I hope you understand the balance we’re trying to strike.”Related... Opinion: Let's Be Clear, Another National Lockdown Would Be Boris Johnson's Failure Boris Johnson Finally Apologises For NHS Test And Trace Failings
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Six million households face losing £1,040 a year if chancellor Rishi Sunak allows the coronavirus temporary boosts to welfare to expire as planned in April, a new analysis warns.The so-called “red wall” in the north, west Midlands and Wales, where the Tories took swathes of seats in its December election victory, will be worst hit by the £20 reduction in main UC and tax credit payments, with one-in-three working age households affected.The losses from the planned £8bn cut will be even higher in some of the seats that switched from Labour to Tory at the last election, according to the Resolution Foundation report, released on the eve of the Conservative virtual conference.Almost two-in-three households in Blackpool South would lose out, along with over forty per cent of households in seats such as Great Grimsby, Bolton North East, West Bromwich West and Dudley North.The plan to reverse this year’s pandemic-related benefit increase presents a major headache for Sunak, Boris Johnson and his backbenchers.It would also reduce the generosity of unemployment support down to its lowest real-terms level in three decades, and leave the poorest fifth of households facing a huge 7% income loss next year.Resolution Foundation chief executive Torsten Bell urged Sunak to follow George Osborne’s lead from 2015, noting the former chancellor scrapped tax credit cuts that would have caused a major overnight income loss for millions of households six months later.The difference is that Osborne’s cuts would have affected half as many people – 3.3m – and came against a backdrop of fast-rising employment.Sunak, however, is on course to cut benefits when unemployment could be high and rising, and when the economy needs a boost from the spending power of families.Bell said: “The £20-a-week boost to universal credit and tax credit this year has been a living standards lifeline for millions of families during the pandemic. “But allowing the policy to expire next year would be disaster not just for household incomes but for economic policy too as the chancellor seeks to secure a recovery next year. It would also be a blow aimed squarely at the ‘red wall’, with one-in-three working-age households on course to lose over £1,000 next year.“This policy is bad politics, bad economics and bad for living standards too. The chancellor should act swiftly to extend the boost to universal credit and tax credits beyond next spring.”A government spokesperson said: “We’ve invested an extra £9bn in our welfare system to help those most in need through the pandemic, including by increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by up to £20 a week, as well as introducing income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and additional support for renters.“The government will continue to do all it can to support the lowest paid families while focusing on helping people into work. This includes launching the Kickstart Scheme, a £2bn fund to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people.”Related... Starmer: Raising Taxes On Top 5% Earners Remains My 'Priority' Are Local Lockdowns Worsening The North-South Divide? Here's How To Keep Yourself Safe In Covid Hotspots
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The news that Donald and Melania Trump have Covid-19 and must self-isolate has halved the time the sitting president has to campaign before the election –which is in just 32 days.The couple have been forced to cancel all of their upcoming engagements in order to self-isolate. There is also some question over whether he will be prevented from attending the second presidential debate, set to take place on October 15 in Miami, Florida.But that might not be a bad thing for Trump.While there is no precedent for how a US election could play out amid a pandemic where the president is infected, there is precedent for something else: how the polls have reacted to world leaders who caught and recovered from coronavirus.We took a look at what changed.Boris JohnsonOn March 27, the British prime minister became the first major world leader confirmed to have tested positive for coronavirus. He was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital on April 5 and discharged a week later, after spending three nights in intensive care.A YouGov poll on the PM’s approval ratings suggested a clear surge of support from the public after news broke of his condition. When asked: “Do you think that Boris Johnson is doing well or badly as PM?”, 46% of those surveyed said they believed he was doing well before he was infected. That number jumped 20 points to 66% by April 13 – an all-time high in approval ratings, even though he had not done a single day’s work since the previous poll.Quick note. Johnson did experience a surge in favourability when he was ill but it’s worth remembering he was very very ill. I’d avoid snap judgements on this one - sorry if that’s boring. pic.twitter.com/MG8k4EZuEj— Keiran Pedley (@keiranpedley) October 2, 2020A poll conducted by Ipsos MORI showed similar results, reinforcing the idea that the country “rallied” around the PM as his symptoms worsened. By mid-April, the majority (51%) of Britons had a favourable opinion of Johnson, up 17 points from early March.  The same study also suggested support for Johnson translated to an increase in support for his party: 39% of the public had a favourable view of the Conservative Party, up compared to 32% a month before.But pollsters have been quick to note that the Conservatives had already been enjoying a strong lead well before Johnson fell sick. Opinium/Observer polls taken in April showed 55% of the public would vote for the Conservatives – almost exactly the same (54%) as in March.  No, Boris Johnson catching coronavirus did not prompt a surge of support for the government. The surge had already taken place by 23 March - 4 days before the PM announced he had COVID-19 https://t.co/DHPyOsnm6fpic.twitter.com/BVkastVkET— YouGov (@YouGov) October 2, 2020Similarly a YouGov survey taken just before Johnson was taken to hospital showed the Conservatives (52%) were already far ahead of Labour (28%). Two weeks later, that number stayed roughly the same (Conservatives 53%; Labour 32%). Jair BolsonaroThe Brazilian president first announced he had tested positive for Covid-19 on July 8, after months of publicly flouting public health guidelines and dismissing the virus as a “little flu”.Brazil has suffered tragically since the start of the pandemic and is the second-worst Covid-hit country in the world, with almost 145,000 deaths to date. But the polls seem to indicate that public support for Bolsonaro has only increased since July. A Datafolha poll taken in August found 37% of those surveyed viewed his government as great or good, compared to 32% in June – making it his highest approval rating since he first took office at the beginning of last year.Very few world leaders have tested positive for coronavirus, but the ones who have – Brazilian Pres. Jair Bolsonaro and British PM Boris Johnson, both right-wing populists like Trump – saw their approval ratings rise dramatically after testing positive: pic.twitter.com/wEuwj6pRn6— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) October 2, 2020Recent polls show his popularity has not wavered in the months since he first contracted the illness. Political pundits say the rise in his political favourability could be due to Bolsonaro’s quick and full recovery from coronavirus, which appeared to bolster his dismissals of the virus and helped strengthen his image as a “superhuman messiah”.Donald TrumpSo will the surge of public support seen in the case of Bolsonaro and – to a lesser extent – Boris Johnson also apply in the case of Donald Trump? Only last week did Trump tell Americans not to worry about Covid-19 because “it affects virtually nobody”. If he recovers, could Covid-19 win Donald Trump a second term in the White House?The problem is there just is no comparison that can be made between Trump and Johnson or Bolsonaro, according to Joe Twyman, co-founder of Deltapoll.“We just don’t know,” he tells HuffPost UK. “And anyone who’s making any conjecture is simply speculating.”The crucial difference here is timing – we are right in the heart of an election cycle in the US – Twyman explains. “We all know from years of looking at the polls that people answer questions around voting intention very differently when there actually is an election coming up at the moment,” he said.“There are very good and clear arguments for why it might have an impact in one way or the other – or why it might not have an impact at all, but the point is we just don’t know. “Anyone who claims to know what’s happening is either ignorant of how public opinion works, or using that for political reasons – or probably both.”There is something else to consider, however: the impact of stopping Trump from putting his foot in his mouth.The only national poll on American voting intentions to be conducted fully after the debate – by Change Research for CNBC – had Biden leading by 13 points, compared with nine points two weeks previously from the same pollster.If that’s a result of Trump’s debate performance, which saw him criticised for repeatedly interrupting both Biden and the moderator, as well as casting doubt on the validity of the election itself, then forcing him to stay out of the public eye could be good for him.Related... Piers Morgan Has Some Strong Words For Those 'Spewing Gleeful Joy' At Trump's Covid Diagnosis President Trump And First Lady Melania Trump Test Positive For Coronavirus The Trumps Have Coronavirus. Here’s What Happens Now
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