Good morning. Yesterday Boris Johnson announced the new three-tier framework for coronavirus restrictions in England from next week, and today we had been expecting a decision about how the rules will be relaxed over Christmas. The UK government has been negotiating this with the Scottish and Welsh governments, and the Northern Ireland assembly.
But the four nations of the UK do not yet seem to have reached consensus, and the government is saying we might have to wait another 48 hours. This is what Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, told the Today programme this morning when asked if the Christmas decision would come today. He replied:
No. I think what you’ll wait for is the tier system to come out, and an announcement about Christmas at the same time – unless it is the case that the four different parts of the United Kingdom, the devolved administrations, are ready to do that, in which case we’ll let people know as soon as possible.
Shapps said he thought the decision would come on Thursday, although he did not rule out an announcement before then. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister who has been negotiating with the devolved administrations, is due to hold further talks with them today.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly death figures for England and Wales. It is also publishing another report from its Covid infection survey, covering the characteristics of those infected.
11am: Matt Hancock, the health and social care secretary, gives evidence to the Commons science and health committees, who are holding a joint inquiry into lessons to be learned from coronavirus.
After 11am: Dame Sally Davies, the former chief medical officer for England, and Prof Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College London epidemiologist, speak at an Imperial College symposium on a post-Covid world.
12pm: The Department for Education publishes its latest pupil attendance figures.
12pm: Downing Street is expected to hold its daily lobby briefing.
After 2pm: Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, makes a statement to the Scottish parliament about coronavirus.
2.30pm: Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, gives evidence to the Commons defence committee.
Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
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