Brexit: Johnson says achieving trade deal with EU looking ‘very, very difficult at the moment’ – politics live | Politics

Good morning. As my colleague Jessica Murray reports, Margaret Keenan, 90, became the first non-trial patient in the world to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as the UK’s vaccination programme started to roll out.

It’s a proper landmark moment, and “a turning point in this pandemic”, as Prof Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director told the Today programme. He explained:


This is the way out of it, the beginning of the end. It’s not going to happen tomorrow, it’s not going to happen next week or next month.

We still need to socially distance, we need to follow all those restrictions in place. But in 2021 vaccination programmes will mean we can get back to normality.

But ministers have been keen to stress that this does not mean people can abandon the restrictions now. And, in a separate interview, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said that when the government reviews the tier restrictions for England next week, some areas could even find themselves moving up to a tougher tier. When asked if it was possible that restrictions could get tougher next week, Hancock replied:


Well, that’s right. What I’d say is that this is an incredibly important moment on the march out of this pandemic, but we’ve still got a long march to go this winter.

And people need to keep respecting the rules and try to live in a way that, if you have the virus, infects as few people as possible.

And we are seeing rising number of numbers of cases, in parts of Essex, parts of Kent and parts of London in particular, and we’ve got to keep this under control.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Boris Johnson chairs cabinet.

9.30am: The ONS publishes its latest weekly death figures for England and Wales.

12pm: Downing Street is expected to hold its daily lobby briefing.

12pm: The Department for Education publishes its latest pupil attendance figures.

12.30pm: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, answers a Commons urgent question about the vaccine roll-out.

After 2pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, gives a statement to the Scottish parliament updating the coronavirus restrictions for Scotland.

After 2pm: MPs begin a debate on resolutions relating to the taxation (post-transition period) bill.

2.15pm: Robert Buckland, the justice secretary, gives evidence to the Commons justice committee about the government’s constitution, democracy and rights commission.

2.30pm: George Eustice, the environment secretary, gives evidence to the Commons environment committee.

Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, like Brexit, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.

Here is our global coronavirus live blog.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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