Boris Johnson changes tone over handling of pandemic

Boris Johnson wearing a face mask Image copyright Getty Images

Boris Johnson doesn't tend to do remorse.

He is fond of looking on the bright side and moving forward. "Come on! Come on!" and "Fantastic, fantastic!" are the phrases you hear in public most frequently from his mouth.

Even some of his allies agree privately with his detractors that he is a politician for the good times, a spreader of cheer, rather than seeming like a statesman for a crisis.

That's one reason why the handling of this terrible epidemic has been a profound political challenge for this prime minister, beyond the enormous strain that coronavirus has put on the government machine and his own health.

He moved into No 10 a year ago today, taking charge of a country politically divided over Brexit, with protestors at the gate.

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Labour's agony over anti-Semitism far from over

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Media captionFormer Labour party staff respond to High Court ruling

Was the whistleblowers' day in court the end of Labour's agony over anti-Semitism?

Not for a moment. Jeremy Corbyn's response to Labour's total reversal and apology was to question the merits of settling at all, and that could prompt further legal action.

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Gaping holes in UK's handling of threat from Russia

David Cameron and Vladimir Putin Image copyright Reuters
Image caption David Cameron met Vladimir Putin in Moscow in September 2011

If you do not seek, you do not find.

Whether deliberate or deficient, the Intelligence and Security Committee's very long-awaited report outlines gaping holes in the UK's handling of the threat from Russia.

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Curious timing of Russian meddling claims

A Russia fan waves the Russian national flag as fans celebrate at the Red Square in Moscow Image copyright AFP

When you have picked your jaw up from the floor after the revelations hackers working for the Russian state are believed to have been trying to steal research into a vaccine that could combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus, it's worth knowing that attempts at interference do not stop there.

Those actions - described as "despicable" by the government - are believed to have targeted, not just UK scientists, but those from Canada and the US as well.

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What has happened to the report into Priti Patel?

Priti Patel Image copyright PA Media

"It was finished, but it has become unfinished" - welcome to what seems to be extremely tricky wrangling over the report into Home Secretary Priti Patel's alleged behaviour towards staff.

It is a long time now since I spent a very strange Saturday morning, standing in the pouring rain in North London, listening up close to the extraordinary resignation statement from the top official at her department, Sir Philip Rutnam.

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Coronavirus: Ministers shift the message on face coverings

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It seems after all that the ministers won't just be asking everyone to use their "common sense" or even just rely on manners to make people cover up.

After weeks of discussion about the relative benefits of covering your face when out and about, ministers are now to confirm on Tuesday that it will be mandatory to cover your face in shops in England - and, like in Scotland seven days ago, expect that change to be brought in in law.

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The government's priority is to act big and act fast

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Image caption Will the big cash injection save jobs?

You are reading this right - the Conservatives are arguing for spending tens of billions of public money without certain results, while the Labour Party is arguing for a much more precise use of taxpayers' pounds.

Of course, over decades, some Tory governments have been big spenders. And of course, Labour has always cared about spending public money wisely.

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Chancellor promises hope - but job fears will persist

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak Image copyright HoC

"No one will be left without hope."

That's quite the promise from the Chancellor at a time when fears are rising of a spike in unemployment.

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Will Sunak's moment show a radical response?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak Image copyright AFP

After "the grid" - the carefully planned build-up of government announcements that will reach its crescendo today - we have a good idea of Rishi Sunak's shopping list.

Extra cash for employers to take on trainees and apprentices, likely changes to stamp duty and perhaps cuts to VAT for some sectors.

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Hong Kong: What is behind the UK's citizenship offer?

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Opening the doors to the UK to as many as around 3 million people from Hong Kong is a big step.

No one in Westminster tonight would expect anything like that number will move here, to escape the increasingly fraught reality of life in Hong Kong. But the decision is important, and not just for those to whom the UK may now provide sanctuary.

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