Monday morning UK news briefing: Matt Hancock’s jabs intervention

It is his first major policy intervention since leaving government. Former health secretary Matt Hancock says today that NHS workers should be legally required to get Covid vaccinations before the winter. 

He writes for The Telegraph to warn ministers against delaying mandatory jabs for nurses and doctors. It will increase pressure on the Government to announce that the law will be changed within weeks to require Covid jabs for the NHS’s 1.45 million staff in England. 

Ministers are widely expected to say that the requirement will be adopted in spring 2022 – too late to impact the Covid pressures expected in the next few months. 

Read Mr Hancock’s article as NHS industry bodies argue that pushing through the change in the coming weeks would risk a staff exodus.

A record number of Covid booster vaccinations were recorded in England on Saturday as the NHS braces for winter

Credit: PA

Meanwhile, the head of NHS Providers has insisted that there should be no need for more Covid lockdowns because the health service must learn to "live with" the virus.

Chris Hopson, whose organisation negotiates with the Department of Health on behalf of NHS trusts, said the pandemic would soon be considered only "endemic" – but warned that hospital bed occupancy was already at peak winter levels. 

As a record number of booster Covid vaccinations were recorded in England, holidaymakers face being locked out of winter ski destinations because the NHS app does not record the additional jabs. 

Travel chiefs warned that the omission could lead to holidaymakers seeking winter snow being denied access to countries which now require three shots.

PS: Scottish nightclubs are successfully evading the SNP’s vaccine passport rules by putting furniture on their dance floors, leading to claims that the scheme has descended into "a shambolic mess".

UK ready to scrap NI Protocol’s customs laws

Britain is prepared to trigger Article 16 and change laws to ditch customs checks required by the Northern Ireland Protocol before Christmas. In a move designed to show the EU that the UK is serious about altering the current trade arrangements, ministers are already working on legal changes to customs regulations. A decision from the UK on whether to use Article 16 will be taken at the end of November. The move is widely expected both in Brussels and London and would lead to a month of formal talks. But Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith understands that the UK plans to simultaneously lay secondary legislation before Parliament to slash customs checks and have the laws changed before Christmas.

Stepdaughter of IRA cheerleader cast in The Crown

It is a piece of casting that may raise eyebrows in the corridors of Buckingham Palace and beyond. The stepdaughter of Roy Greenslade, Fleet Street’s self-confessed cheerleader for the IRA, has been cast in The Crown as a scion of the Mountbatten family – whose members were murdered by the terrorist group in one of its most infamous atrocities. The choice of Natascha McElhone, 51, for the role of Countess Mountbatten led to questions over the appropriateness of The Crown’s casting for the fifth season of the award-winning series.

Today’s political cartoon

View today’s cartoon by Blower as he covers the row around university funding. Matt is away.

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Defence | A Russian spy ship has been pictured tracking the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier off the coast of Oman in a rare sighting. The vessel was seen in Muscat berthed alongside a Dutch frigate that has accompanied HMS Queen Elizabeth and other escort ships on the inaugural deployment of Britain’s new Carrier Strike Group. Thought to be the Kildin, a Russian Moma-class spy ship, the vessel is believed by Nato officials to have an electronic eavesdropping role. Defence and Security Editor Dominic Nicholls explains its likely intentions.

  • Australia | Briton killed in ‘joint’ tiger shark and great white attack
  • BBC | Tory favourites blocked from Corporation’s selection panel
  • Sleaze row | PM turned MPs into ‘cannon fodder’, say angry Tories
  • Cop26 | America resists UK call to end polluting car sales
  • Education | Universities told to look at ethical risks from donations

Around the world: Gig crush rapper has history

Travis Scott, the American rapper who was headlining a concert in Houston where eight people died in a crush, has twice been convicted for encouraging fans to jump security barriers and rush the stage at previous shows. US Correspondent Jamie Johnson reports that the 30-year-old is likely to face questions as to why he continued performing for 37 minutes after police and firefighters were called to a "mass casualty event" on Friday – despite screams of "stop the show" being heard.

An ambulance in the crowd during the music festival in Houston


Comment and analysis

  • Nick Timothy | Climate change must remain political issue for debate
  • Roger Bootle | Inflation is about to smack the Bank of England
  • Liam Halligan | Hydrogen, not Cop26, will get us to net zero
  • Jane Shilling | Old postcards’ riposte to those obsessed with future
  • Reader letters | Art of cancelling donors’ names but keeping cash

Editor’s choice

  • Memory loss | ‘I feared I had Alzheimer’s – so why did I wait a year to be diagnosed?’
  • Weight loss to increased immunity | Why getting cold this winter could be a health secret
  • Relationships | Seven dating tips from someone who did it ‘the Boomer way’
  • Sport briefing: Villa target Gerrard and Hasenhuttl

    Aston Villa are considering Steven Gerrard and Ralph Hasenhuttl to take over as their new manager, after sacking Dean Smith yesterday. Sam Wallace has exclusive details about the talks. Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp accused referee Craig Pawson and his Var officials of "hiding" over key decisions in Liverpool’s 3-2 defeat away to West Ham. And England rugby union captain Owen Farrell has rejoined the squad after his PCR test result for Covid-19 was determined to be a false positive.

    Business briefing: Electric car battery costs to rise

    Drivers making the switch to electric vehicles risk being forced to spend even more amid rising battery costs, experts have warned, in a challenge to Britain’s green ambitions. The cost of lithium battery cells is rising for the first time after years of decline, with strained supplies of the metal adding to increasing prices of other essential materials. Meanwhile, DIY investors have been urged to protect their portfolios from a green backlash against some of Britain’s largest companies.

    Tonight’s dinner

    Risotto Milanese | This is such an incredibly simple recipe – buttery risotto rice swimming in chicken stock peppered with saffron threads. Click here to view the recipe and for more, try our Cookbook newsletter.

    Your daily travel inspiration

    US opens its doors | America’s enormity is only matched by the range of experiences it has to offer. With it opening up to Britons today, Laura Chubb has 20 amazing trips to inspire your next adventure.

    And finally… for this morning’s downtime

    Hair transplants | Scientists have been testing new methods of hair transplantation, which could be more efficient and less invasive than current procedures. David Cox investigates if we are witnessing a new dawn for hair loss treatments.

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