What does the ‘R’ number of coronavirus mean? – video explainer

The ‘R’ number of coronavirus is a figure that is being closely scrutinised as ministers decide when to end lockdown in the UK. Boris Johnson has said the country must keep the R rate below one in order to avoid the disaster of a second peak. But what does the R number mean and why is […]

Conference season: the winners and losers as party politics goes virtual

Douglas Ross was the one to watch, while Boris Johnson’s set-piece speech failed to inspire his own MPs Party conference season in 2020 may have meant online debates and live-streamed speeches instead of karaoke and warm white wine – but politics must go on, and it was still possible to discern a few winners and […]

What did Boris Johnson’s conference speech really mean?

The prime minister’s address was characteristically optimistic but many will say familiarly short on substance Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Boris Johnson’s speech at Conservative conference drew on a number of themes, and was as notable for what it did not talk about as what it did. Here were the main […]

UK workers: have you continued to work in the office during the coronavirus pandemic?

We would like to hear from people in the UK who are still working in the office According to a report by Alphawise research unit, nearly half of UK office staff had returned to work before Boris Johnson urged employees in England to work from home wherever possible on 22 September. We would like to […]

Coronavirus in the UK: what precautions are you taking?

We’d like to hear how readers are reacting to Boris Johnson’s announcement that new rules could be necessary for six months As the UK heads towards a winter with new but differing restrictions in the four nations, we would like to hear how people are preparing for the months ahead. Have you amended plans? Have […]

What are the new coronavirus rules in England?

See the key points from Boris Johnson’s announcement of more robust restrictions Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Boris Johnson has announced a series of new, more robust coronavirus restrictions to come into force across England in a speech to parliament, followed by a TV address on Tuesday evening. These are the […]

Sasha Swire: ‘British politics is totally amateur. That’s why it’s so sexy and toxic’

The cheesy habits of David Cameron, the loneliness of Boris Johnson, the strange rise of Gavin Williamson… Swire’s no-holds-barred Diary of an MP’s Wife is causing consternation among its subjects. Is she worried? In the kitchen of Chaffcombe Manor, her rambling Devonshire home, Sasha Swire, whose mischievously indiscreet political diaries are published this week, appears […]

Susie Lau: ‘The world has changed and so must fashion’

Covid-19 stopped fashion in its tracks: shows were cancelled, collections mothballed. Stuck at home, front row regular and fashion influencer Susie Lau started baking. Then she realised: a creative revolution was happening… Back in mid-March, I was in full-throttle fashion mode. I had just finished up the autumn/winter shows marathon, shuttling from New York to […]

‘Depressing, frustrating and shocking’: European press on UK Brexit move

Publications across EU condemn Boris Johnson’s plans to ‘disapply’ parts of withdrawal agreement Aghast European media have accused Boris Johnson of “denying reality”, “justifying the unjustifiable” and “trashing his country’s reputation” after the government unveiled Brexit plans that the EU believes breach international law. “A contract is a contract? Not for Boris Johnson,” wrote Germany’s […]

What is No 10’s ‘moonshot’ Covid testing plan and is it feasible?

Plan to provide rapid tests for 10 million people a day would be hugely costly – and the technology does not yet exist Boris Johnson pinning hopes on Covid testing ‘moonshot’ Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage They call it the “moonshot” – and it is as ambitious as any space adventure. […]

‘Freeing the truth’ – Extinction Rebellion activists on their week of action

From blockading printers to meditating outside Barclays, the climate crisis campaign has drawn a variety of participants Thousands of Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists and supporters have been staging “die-ins”, preventing copies of newspapers from being distributed and meditating outside banks over the past week in a series of actions aimed at highlighting the worsening ecological […]

Alan Partridge on his new podcast: ‘This is the real, raw, be-cardiganed me’

He’s back – sporting a post-lockdown haircut and hosting a new podcast. Britain’s No 1 raconteur talks about his new hat, driving a Vauxhall, and why Boris Johnson looks like the evil rabbit in Watership Down Turn right out of Norwich railway station, take the number 12 bus, change at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, […]

Boris Johnson’s in-tray: what are the key issues PM needs to address?

From coronavirus to Brexit, prime minister has several major problems to sort out Boris Johnson’s curtailed mini-holiday to Scotland could soon start to feel a distant memory, with MPs returning to parliament on Tuesday, and the prime minister facing an overflowing political in-tray. Here are some of the more immediate crises he must face in […]

The UK’s gathering Covid-19 autumn storm

Boris Johnson faces turmoil as Britain returns to work amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus and economic chaos Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage During the contest to select a new Tory leader last summer, many local Conservatives decided to vote for Boris Johnson over Jeremy Hunt – not because […]

Against the law: why judges are under attack, by the Secret Barrister

Branded ‘enemies of the people’ by the media and falsely accused of taking sides in Brexit by Conservative ministers, the judiciary is under threat – as is democracy Critics of the prime minister tend to deride him as inconsistent; a popularity obsessed, anthropomorphised Groucho Marx quote for whom fidelity to principle can never trump fidelity […]

‘The worst thing I did was set up my office in my living room’: how four company bosses are optimising remote working

When British businesses relocated from the office to the home, new working routines were hastily established, then gradually refined. How did bosses ensure they got the best from their staff and themselves? On 23 March, when prime minister Boris Johnson responded to the threat of Covid-19 by imposing lockdown measures and restricting travel to essential […]

What grades to award those blamed for England’s A-level and GCSE debacle?

No As or Bs for Gavin Williamson, Nick Gibb, Boris Johnson or Ofqual but the lowest mark goes to … The blame game for England’s exams fiasco has been raging across Whitehall since the government’s U-turn on Monday. So who is responsible? And what grades should they be awarded for their efforts? Continue reading…

Is Rishi Sunak, the people’s chancellor, about to lose his crown?

The furlough scheme and ‘eat out to help out’ have seen his popularity soar. But few ministers survive a recession unscathed When Sajid Javid was thrown out of No 11 in February 2020, few outside Westminster had even heard of his successor. Rishi Sunak had been an MP for less than five years, a minister […]

Couples in England: are you planning on getting married at the start of August?

We would like to hear from those who have to change their plans due to coronavirus guidance from the government With less than 24 hours notice, Boris Johnson has announced that the government is postponing the easing of lockdown measures which, from tomorrow, would have allowed couples getting married to have a reception with up […]

Return to work: a sector-by-sector look at the plans of England’s major employers

Companies can return to work from 1 August, but many employers are making their own plans Companies ready to defy Boris Johnson’s planned return to work Future shape of offices: proposals to make workplaces safe Major companies in England have been told that, from 1 August, they can discuss with workers whether it is safe […]

Future shape of offices: proposals to make workplaces safe

Antimicrobial paint and rounded corners among plans to beat threat of coronavirus Companies ready to defy Boris Johnson’s planned return to work England: sector-by-sector look at work plans of major employers Quarantine rooms, antimicrobial paint on the walls, and rounded corners in toilet cubicles are among the recommendations in a proposed building standard for reshaping […]

UK employers: will employees be returning to the workplace on 1 August?

With coronavirus restrictions easing, we would like to hear whether places of work will be reopening Boris Johnson has said from 1 August employers can decide whether staff can safely return to the office, and that people who are shielding will no longer be advised to stay at home. Whether you are reopening your workplace […]

The Clarence Tavern, London N16: ‘It feels ever so slightly like old times’ – restaurant review | Grace Dent on restaurants

We lingered over rhubarb bellinis, many extra plates of chips and the light slander of mutual enemies When The Clarence Tavern opened in early March – fresh lick of paint, restaurateurs of fine repute, interesting menu – it lasted four whole days before Boris Johnson told everyone to stop going to pubs. So they shut […]

Why ‘stronger than ever’ union is wishful thinking from Boris Johnson

It is not only pressure over Scottish independence that is exposing cracks in No 10’s claim The Downing Street press release previewing Boris Johnson’s visit to Scotland says the prime minister would be sending the message that the union was “stronger than ever”. This is, however, largely wishful thinking from No 10, with pressures being […]

‘Remember to smile with your eyes’: how to stay safe and look great in a face mask

Is it OK to tell someone else to wear one – and which style looks good on you? Over to the experts … • Twenty masks for all occasions Nearly six months after the coronavirus overturned our lives, the face mask has finally, unequivocally, arrived. Until now, it’s had an image problem, but that thinking […]

Five key areas Sunak must tackle to serve up economic recovery

With bad economic news coming hard on the heels of the ‘mini-budget’, we look at the issues the chancellor must address in time for autumn The direction of travel is set. After four months of lockdown, Boris Johnson last week announced fresh plans to get more companies to bring employees back to workplaces across England […]

England and Scotland retailers: share your thoughts on mandatory masks

We’d like to hear from retailers on the announcement that wearing face masks will be mandatory in shops in England from 24 July After mixed messages last week regarding the UK government’s stance on face masks, prime minister Boris Johnson is today set to announce the mandatory wearing of masks in shops in England. The […]

Labour supporters: How do you feel about Keir Starmer’s leadership?

We’d like to hear from Labour supporters about their thoughts on Keir Starmer’s leadership of the party after 100 days Monday will mark 100 days since Keir Starmer was elected leader of the Labour party. In an Observer poll today, 49% of all voters said Starmer had made them think more favourably about the Labour […]