Thursday morning news briefing: Sunak’s stark lockdown warning

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New lockdown would inflict terrible harm, says Sunak

He could not have been clearer. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned against “rushing to another lockdown” and made clear his opposition to a temporary national shutdown – known as a “circuit breaker” – because the country is facing an “economic emergency”. Ministers are bracing for an announcement of a two-week lockdown, which they expect to be made a week tomorrow if coronavirus infections continue to rise. The “blunt instrument” would “cause needless damage to parts of our country where virus rates are low”, Mr Sunak said. The Prime Minister is understood to be studying plans for a region by region lockdown in England. Nicola Sturgeon is examining a Wales-style travel ban between Scotland and northern England if Boris Johnson fails to act. This is what a “circuit breaker” would look like in practice and our Global Health Security team analyses the success of those in other nations. And, for some light relief, cartoonist Matt pokes fun at Sage scientists.

First, Mr Johnson wants to give his new three-tier system a chance to bring down infection rates. Greater Manchester is expected to be forced to join Liverpool in the highest tier today. Lancashire and the North East could follow soon despite threats of legal action from local leaders, with Government sources saying London could move into the middle tier by tomorrow. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is updating MPs at 11.30am. Follow live. And use our postcode search tool to check your area’s status.

PM demands round-the-clock Brexit talks

EU leaders are to take stock of the talks with the UK on a post-Brexit trade deal today, amid “frustration” in London at the slow progress. Boris Johnson will delay a decision on whether to quit negotiations until after the European Council summit ends tomorrow, as it became clear that his deadline would be missed today. He warned the EU had to agree to round-the-clock talks or he would carry out his no-deal threat. Read what impact that would have on daily life. With fishing rights a key sticking point, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard writes that French president Emmanuel Macron has overplayed his hand. Meanwhile, scallop wars have broken out again in the English Channel after French trawlers confronted British fishermen by firing flares and throwing frying pans.

Munchetty climbs BBC pay ladder at 5 Live

Naga Munchetty is to become one of the BBC’s highest-paid women after landing her own show on Radio 5 Live. She will succeed Emma Barnett as presenter of the mid-morning slot from January, when Barnett moves to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4. She will host the show from Monday-Wednesday and continue with her Thursday-Saturday job on BBC Breakfast. Her forthcoming pay rise will see her salary increase to more than £250,000 per year – making her the only woman of colour in the top 10 of female earners as the BBC strives to address diversity.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Inside story | Boris Johnson dismissed Theresa May as a “silly cow” after he blamed her for humiliating him over his controversial purchase of three water cannons while he was Mayor of London, a new book claims. Mr Johnson had agreed to buy the second-hand equipment with the consent of Mrs May, who was then Home Secretary, but she later told the Commons she had refused to license their use. According to The Gambler, a new biography of Mr Johnson by Tom Bower, the future PM saw the snub as a deliberate attempt to scupper his leadership ambitions.  

Around the world: Bangkok mass protest at regime

Thousands of Thai protesters broke through police lines to lay siege to the office of Prayuth Chanocha, the prime minister, demanding his resignation and the reform of the country’s powerful monarchy in their push for democratic change. Read Jack Taylor‘s dispatch from Bangkok and view our daily picture gallery for more striking world images.