Monday evening news briefing: ‘Snitch on’ rule-of-six flouters, says minister

A woman out walking in Bolton as the 'rule of six' came into force - Phil Noble/Reuters
A woman out walking in Bolton as the ‘rule of six’ came into force – Phil Noble/Reuters

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Snitch on people breaking ‘rule of six’, says minister

The public should report their neighbours to the police if they host gatherings of more than six people, a minister has said as new restrictions to contain Covid-19 come into force. The so-called ‘rule of six’ now legally limits social gatherings to six people both indoors and outdoors in England and Scotland, but indoors only in Wales. Kit Malthouse, the policing minister, said “the option is open” to members of the public to phone the police non-emergency number to report concerns about neighbours breaking the rules. Britain’s largest police force, the Metropolitan Police, said in a statement today that officers would be patrolling public spaces to disperse large groups. However, guidance on how officers should enforce the new law has not yet been issued to forces. Here is a guide to what you can and can’t do from today.

The knock on effects of the rule of six policy are already being felt in the travel sector, which had seen many people turn to the UK for their holidays after quarantine was imposed on countries such as Spain, France and Portugal. Hotels, tour operators and campsites face more cancellations after an already tumultuous year for the industry. Our travel liveblog has the latest, while Hazel Plush analyses how the Government’s latest policy is devastating the UK’s travel industry – again.

PM leads Brexit bill debate as Cameron airs concerns

Boris Johnson has been parachuted in for this evening’s debate on the controversial new Brexit bill, in a bid to head off a Tory rebellion after a minister admitted it would break international law. The Prime Minister’s last-minute addition comes after David Cameron became the latest former premier to express concern about the controversial new bill, saying he has “misgivings”. Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti even resigned as a Government special envoy over it. However, it is not Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer standing opposite Mr Johnson. He is self-isolating after a member of his household showed “possible symptoms of the coronavirus”. Despite the potential Tory rebellion, Ben Habib and Jonathan Saxty set out why Mr Johnson should go one step further and ditch the wholly wretched Brexit deal altogether.

Fury at ‘colonial’ depictions in The Singapore Grip

The ITV period drama The Singapore Grip, based on JG Farrell’s 1978 novel, got underway last night. Set at the time of the Japanese invasion in 1942, it so far seems reasonably good on historical accuracy but perhaps less convincing as a drama. However, it is not its artistic merit which has seen it provoke the ire of the woke crowd. The programme has been attacked by representatives of British writers of East Asian descent for being too “colonial”. Simon Heffer analyses why complaints that the show is “racist” are madness and how its satirical tone was hardly subtle.

At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Migrants seen running away | A rubber dinghy packed with migrants has been spotted landing on a beach in Kent after crossing the Channel. About 10 people were crammed on board the small boat as it was pictured approaching the shingle beach this morning. Read more.

Around the world: The new man set to lead Japan

Twice a day for more than seven years, he has conducted tight-lipped televised press briefings that have earned him the nickname Teppeki – aka The Iron Wall. Now, Yoshihide Suga, chief cabinet secretary and top government spokesman, appears on track to step into the prime minister’s shoes after winning a decisive victory in the vote to lead the ruling LDP party, following Shinzo Abe’s shock resignation. Danielle Demetriou reveals how Mr Suga, who has relatively humble origins, has defied Japan’s notoriously hierarchical political system.

Monday interview

The very last of The Few

John Hemingway
John Hemingway

On the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, RAF fighter pilot John Hemingway, the only surviving pilot of the Battle of Britain, talks exclusively to Joe Shute about his unwanted honour – and his recollections of moments of extreme stress and sorrow.

Read the full interview

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice: Features and arts

  1. Picture perfect | Heart-wrenching, surprising snapshots of lives in lockdown

  2. Marriage Diaries | Covid has made my partner rich – and I’m not sure our love will survive

  3. Sorry Schofe | The celebrity wines that are actually worth your money

Business and money briefing

Unpaid debts | A businessman who promised caravan enthusiasts a “guaranteed return” on their holiday sites could be forced into bankruptcy after leaving investors millions of pounds out of pocket. Read on for details as Deloitte is called in to handle the fallout from the collapse of upmarket holiday park operator Dream Lodge.

Sport briefing

Mike Ashley set to sue Premier League | Mike Ashley, the Newcastle United owner, has hired lawyers to pursue a legal case against the Premier League following the collapse of a proposed takeover by the Saudi Arabian led consortium. Read details of the unprecedented step.

Tonight’s TV  

Inside the Bomb Squad, Channel 4, 8pm | This week focuses on explosives found in a tower block in Manchester and a grenade in a Buckinghamshire estate. Read on for more.

And finally… for this evening’s downtime

Inside the mind of a serial killer | When the police interviewed the 37-year-old Dennis Nilsen in February 1983, after discovering dismembered body parts in his north London flat, what shocked them the most was his matter-of-fact demeanour. For years Brian Masters was Nilsen’s sole confidante. He reveals to Mick Brown what really happened during his time with the killer.