Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines
Conservative hierarchy | No 10 needs to bring in a political "big beast" to improve decision-making, numerous Tory MPs believe, with the party having slipped behind Labour in opinion polls. Conservatives have told the Telegraph they believe the political operation needs strengthening after a number of high-profile missteps in recent weeks. Read who is the focus of their concerns, while Tom Harris warns them to calm down about Boris Johnson, as he is still going to win the next election.
- Sir David Amess | Pope praises MP at Westminster Cathedral mass
- Meredith Kercher | Killer ‘did not serve enough time in prison’
- Bus fire | At least 45 people killed after crash
Witchcraft | Don’t dismiss as mental health problems, police told
- Bombing tweet | Tory councillor pays damages to Jeremy Corbyn
The big story: T-cell jab’s ‘better immune response’
As Europe battles a fresh wave of Covid-19, forcing numerous countries to impose restrictions, this could be the good news the continent needs.
A new vaccine designed to specifically create T-cells against Covid produces a better immune response than the alternatives already in use, according to trial data.
The CoVac-1 jab has been developed and made by academics at the University of Tubingen, in Germany.
The cells form part of the immune response to protect people against infections and often work in tandem with antibodies.
However, while antibody levels often decline over time and need boosting, T-cells have the ability to stay in the bloodstream for several years. Read on for details on the trial.
T-cells form part of the immune response to protect people against infections, and often work in tandem with antibodies
With countries in the EU including Germany, the Netherlands and Austria beginning to reimpose lockdown restrictions, the UK appears to be coping with the return to relative normality.
Now the boss of AstraZeneca has said the reason why Britain is faring better than Europe when it comes to Covid could be as a result of his company’s vaccine.
Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, believes this could be due to the fact that so many older people were given the Oxford vaccine in Britain, whereas members of the EU banned the jab for its elderly populations.
With the AstraZeneca jab overwhelmingly used in the rest of the world, Jeremy Warner sets out how the company lost the vaccine battle in Europe and the US – but is now winning the war globally.
Britain outpaces eurozone
This comes as figures show Britain’s economy is outpacing the eurozone as supply shortages and Covid fears held back growth on the continent this month, even before the latest restrictions came into force in Austria.
Rising infections already appear to be affecting household spending patterns, hitting tourism and recreation spending, while supply problems dragged down car manufacturing, particularly important to countries such as Germany, for the third consecutive month.
Yet Britain also faces a forecast of economic headwinds, with traders wagering a £2bn bet on a plunge in the pound after the Bank of England failed to deliver on a widely expected interest rate rise earlier this month.
‘The most precious gift’
Despite resisting lockdowns, the UK will have some Covid restrictions this winter.
People have been urged to work from home if possible in Northern Ireland as part of plans to tackle rising Covid cases.
Ministers met today to sign off on a range of recommendations made by Health Minister Robin Swann, which also include minimising contacts and ventilating spaces.
Nicola Sturgeon has said the "most precious gift" that can be given this Christmas is to be vaccinated and tested before meeting loved ones.
Ms Sturgeon reiterated the advice that people take a lateral flow test before meeting or mixing with others, and urged people to continue working from home. Our liveblog has all the developments.
Comment and analysis
- Ben Marlow | How long can we live in fool’s paradise of easy money?
- Robin Aitken | The BBC no longer values the monarchy
- Charles Moore | The US won’t accept HRH President Meghan
- Michael Deacon | Is it time for the old to stop mocking the woke?
- James Corrigan | DeChambeau v Koepka is a farcical grudge match
Around the world: Biden releases oil in prices battle
Joe Biden has announced the release of 50 million barrels of national reserves of crude oil in an unprecedented coordinated move with other major nations. The unusual action is an attempt to tackle his sinking approval rating as soaring gasoline prices hit ordinary Americans, but also marks a challenge to the grip that major producers such as Russia and Saudi Arabia hold over the market. His struggling poll numbers, shown in this graph, have led some Democrats to wonder whether he might not seek another four-year term, although White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Mr Biden intends to run for re-election in 2024. It comes as Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old cleared of all charges over the shooting of three men in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year, is considering legal action against the President for "defaming" him over claims Mr Rittenhouse is a "white supremacist". Read on for details.
Why the Brits scrapping gendered awards isn’t woke nonsense – it’s common sense
Adele is predicted to be a clear winner at next year's Brit Awards
Neil McCormick sets out why getting rid of Best Male and Female categories doesn’t just reflect the way we listen to music, but also highlights the absurdity of all awards shows
Read the full article
Sport briefing: Zidane keen to take over at PSG
Paris Saint-Germain have been made aware that Zinedine Zidane is keen to take over as their head coach should Mauricio Pochettino leave for Manchester United. PSG are relaxed about the situation ahead of their Champions League game away to Manchester City, which should decide who tops their group, but would like to ascertain Pochettino’s intentions later this week. Jim White sets out why Manchester United cannot afford to waste six months with an interim manager – and says if Pochettino wants the job, they should give it to him. Meanwhile, James Ducker says forget the new manager – appointing Edwin van der Sar as CEO should be the club’s priority. Follow Manchester United’s tie against Villarreal in the Champions League here – plus Chelsea versus Juventus.
Business briefing: Bank moves to four-day week
A digital lender has become the first UK bank to move to a four-day week, marking the clearest sign yet of a permanent shift in working habits after the pandemic. Atom Bank, which has 430 employees and is based in Durham, introduced the policy after a majority of its staff backed the move. Meanwhile, Black Friday shoppers face falling for false bargains this week, as nine in 10 "deals" offer no discount compared to other times of the year. Read on for details. And the city where house prices will rise at the fastest rate in the country has been revealed.
Tonight starts now
The Great British Bake Off: The Final | In one of the most closely fought finals in years, the last three bakers (who, if you missed the nail-biting semi-final, might not be the three you were expecting) battle for the title with a carrot cake signature, a baffling Belgian bun technical, and a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party showstopper. Read tonight’s TV listings.
Three things for you
- Verse | How to should enter the 2021 Telegraph Poetry Competition
- Cinema | King Richard, review: Will Smith as Williams sisters’ father
- Fantasy Fund Manager | Sign up for 10 chances to win £15,000
And for this evening’s downtime….
‘I wasn’t allowed to see my wife for a year’ | When Tony Ward’s beloved wife, Sheila, who has dementia, moved into a care home in May 2019 he felt grateful that he could visit her every day. Then lockdown happened and those visits stopped. As part of the Telegraph’s Christmas Charity Appeal, Fiona Gibson hears how Alzheimer’s Society provided a lifeline in Mr Ward’s time of need.
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