Saturday morning UK news briefing: Today’s top headlines from The Telegraph

Welcome to your early morning news briefing from The Telegraph – a round-up of the top stories we are covering on Saturday. To receive twice-daily briefings by email, sign up to our Front Page newsletter for free.

1. Plan B restrictions to be scrapped as Boris Johnson plots fightback

Boris Johnson is set to lift Plan B Covid restrictions as he plots a leadership fightback in the wake of mounting allegations of lockdown-breaching parties.

Covid passports and work from home guidance are widely expected inside Whitehall to be lifted from Jan 26 for England, with an announcement as soon as this week, though some rules on face masks may remain. Read the full story.

2. Exclusive: Woman who ‘wrote government Covid rules’ held ‘boozy’ party during Christmas restrictions

The woman who led the Government unit tasked with drawing up Covid-19 restrictions was thrown a “boozy” leaving party during the Christmas lockdown, it can be disclosed.

“Dozens” of officials from Cabinet Office’s Covid-19 taskforce attended the event on Dec 17 2020, to mark the departure of Kate Josephs, the director-general at the time, The Telegraph has been told. Read the full story.

3. Princess Beatrice spared being dragged into Prince Andrew sexual abuse case

Princess Beatrice was on Friday night spared being formally dragged into her father’s sexual abuse case.

Sources close to the family had been braced for the 33-year-old to be called as a key witness, after the Duke of York alleged that he was with his daughter at a Pizza Express in Woking on the night at the centre of the claims against him. Read the full story.

4. MI5 outed Chinese spy over fears she was ‘grooming’ rising MPs

MI5 shut down the operations of a Chinese spy because they believed she was targeting a new generation of future British leaders after concluding her main Westminster contact was “yesterday’s man”.

Christine Ching Kui Lee, outed by MI5 as an agent of the Chinese Communist Party, was feared to be “grooming” prospective parliamentary candidates in order to give Beijing leverage in British politics. Read the full story.

5. Drop your Tsarist ambition to invade Ukraine or face sanctions, Ben Wallace warns Vladimir Putin

Ben Wallace has accused Vladimir Putin of Tsarist ambitions as he said there will be “severe economic sanctions” if Ukraine is invaded.

The Defence Secretary made his comments after high-stakes talks this week between Nato and Russia failed to find a solution to the Kremlin’s increasingly threatening behaviour towards its neighbour. Read the full story.

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