Friday evening UK news briefing: ‘Nothing to indicate’ more lockdowns needed, says Boris Johnson

No-one envies the ministers who have to manage the ongoing presence of Covid-19 in the UK this winter. 

Yet conflicts within the Government about its messages, for example on wearing masks, has made the task all the more difficult. 

Elliot Wilson says that to avoid a winter of chaos, ministers must take a stand over Covid messaging

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in Germany have risen by 70 per cent in a week amid signs that the country is following the UK into a winter Covid crisis.

Palace accused of not giving full picture on Queen

Also today, Buckingham Palace has been accused of allowing rumours about the Queen’s health to “thrive”, after it emerged she spent a night in hospital undergoing “preliminary” tests. 

The palace, which released a statement on Wednesday saying the Queen had “reluctantly accepted” medical advice to “rest”, was later forced to confirm Her Majesty had later been in hospital for nearly 24 hours, after it was leaked to a tabloid newspaper. 

Read how royal commentators raised questions over how the matter was dealt with, and their message

Camilla Tominey (who has a work-rate that would be the envy of the original Covid vaccine rollout) sets out why our hard-working Queen deserves a proper break.

Kuenssberg on Today ? So much for BBC ‘reform’

The other question on many people’s lips is who will be the BBC’s next political editor

Rumours abound that the corporation’s incumbent, Laura Kuenssberg, wants to leave the role she has had since 2015, and move into a presenter’s chair at Today. 

Meanwhile Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North American editor, is being repatriated after a seven-year stint, and his job has already been advertised internally. 

Robin Aitken highlights the issues faced with hiring their successors (note, though, that Kuenssberg’s departure is as yet unconfirmed) and why the real problem is the BBC’s lack of interest in shaking up its monoculture.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Kidnapper threatens US hostages

The boss of a notorious Haitian gang accused of kidnapping 17 members of a US-based missionary group last weekend is warning that the hostages will be killed if his demands are not met. “I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans,” gang leader Wilson Joseph said in a video posted on social media. Joseph also threatened Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Haiti’s national police chief as he spoke in front of the open coffins that apparently held several members of his gang who were recently killed. Read how widespread anger in Haiti over a weakening currency, double-digit inflation, soaring crime, and graft accusations lodged against public officials have sparked violent, sometimes deadly, protests.

Friday interview

Jorginho on having the last laugh on England

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