PM offers concession to rebels with ‘localised’ tiers
Boris Johnson has promised MPs the tier system due to be introduced after the lockdown will be decided on a more “granular” basis from the mid-December review, as he tries to persuade them to back the vote this evening. The Prime Minister was interrupted several times before he could complete his statement in the Commons today, with MPs on both sides of the House concerned about districts with lower rates being placed into high tiers because of the regional approach. As many as 60 Tories are expected to vote against Mr Johnson, who also announced £1,000 will be given to each pub forced to remain closed by the new tiers. Despite the rebel bluster, the bill is expected to pass comfortably after Labour opted to abstain. Tom Harwood sets out why, by abstaining, Sir Keir Starmer has condemned his party to irrelevance. A further 603 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK total to 59,051. Click here to follow the result of tonight’s vote.
Meanwhile, Downing Street has defended the decision not to publish an analysis showing the impact of the pandemic on different sectors of the economy. Rishi Sunak was earlier given a grilling on why the secretive dossier has not been published, with the Government instead releasing an anodyne impact assessment yesterday. It all makes for a gloomy period in the run up to Christmas. Click here to search which tier you are due to be living under and Naomi Southwell reveals why, although it breaks her heart, she cannot justify going home this Christmas.
Debenhams to close as high street collapse continues
Debenhams is now set to close its doors, putting 12,000 jobs at risk, just hours after Sir Philip Green’s retail empire collapsed. The department store said it will eventually shut all 124 stores after selling remaining stock. The news is a further blow to the ailing high street after Arcadia plunged into administration, putting 13,000 jobs at risk. Our business liveblog has the latest while Angela Epstein laments that the high street will be a sadder place with the demise of our favourite aunty Debenhams. With posturing politicians promising to force Green to cover any shortfall in Arcadia’s pension scheme, here is how much he is really worth, while Ben Marlow sets out why salvation is still within the retail tycoon’s grasp. Simon Parker outlines why he is shocked at the state of Britain’s high streets – but says a solution can be found in Europe.
Prince Harry’s godmother Lady Celia Vestey dies
The Duke of Sussex’s godmother, Lady Celia Vestey, has died suddenly at the age of 71. The Duke has been in touch with her children and his thoughts are with her family, a source told the Telegraph. Lady Celia and her husband, Lord Samuel Vestey, were members of the Queen’s inner circle and keen horse racers. It comes as Buckingham Palace said the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will spend Christmas alone at Windsor.
At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines
Also in the news: Today’s other headlines
Pedestrians mowed down | At least four people have been killed and 15 others injured after they were hit by a car in a pedestrian zone in the Western German city of Trier. A 51-year-old man has been arrested but the driver’s motives remain unclear. Regional Premier Malu Dreyer said a baby was among those killed in a scene onlookers described as “awful”.
Around the world: Pop star law passed in South Korea
South Korea’s parliament has passed a new law to allow global pop stars to postpone their mandatory military service and avoid disrupting their careers at the height of their game. The bill passed by the National Assembly offers an exceptional temporary reprieve to celebrity boy bands like the seven-member BTS who sell out stadiums worldwide to perform for their many millions of fans and who have been widely praised for promoting South Korea’s reputation. Read on for details.
‘It’ll be too difficult to spend Christmas at home without Lynn’