Coronavirus latest as MPs voting on Plan B; two Pfizer doses offer 70% protection against hospitalisation with Omicron; all countries to come off UK red list; Nicola Sturgeon announces new restrictions for Scotland; Chris Whitty warns there will be “significant” spike in hospitalisations.
That is all for our live coverage from tonight – we will back again with more COVID-19 updates tomorrow.
A “catastrophic” drop in attendance, advance ticket sales and spend per head has hit grassroots music venues, placing the entire sector at risk of permanent closures, a survey has warned.
Losses across the sector in this first week of Plan B restrictions hit nearly £2million, with 86% of grassroots music venues reporting negative impacts.
A survey of the sector conducted in the last 24 hours shows attendance at shows dropped by 23%, with over 140,000 ‘no shows’ from ticket holders.
Future income from ticket sales also declined by 27%.
The biggest causes of cancellations were a performer/member of the touring party testing positive for COVID-19 (35.6%), private hire bookings cancelled by the organiser (31.3%) and poor sales performance (23.6%).
Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director MVT said: “This is the busiest time of the year for grassroots music venues, representing more than 20% of their annual income being raised during the party season.
“Rapid declines in attendance at this time of year represent an exponential threat to the whole sector, and losses of this magnitude cannot be sustained without throwing hundreds of music venues into crisis mode and at risk of permanent closure.”
by Sam Coates, deputy political editor
When it came, Tuesday night’s rebellion infected every wing of the Conservative Party in the House of Commons.
The rebels included one former leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, while a second, Theresa May, missed the vote.
The chair of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, was in the opposition lobby, with all of the heft that comes with his position.
Read his full analysis of the night here:
A South African doctor has accused the Prime Minister of overreacting and creating “hysteria” around the Omicron coronavirus variant.
When Dr Angelique Coetzee is asked how many patients infected with Omicron she has seen with the most severe symptoms, she replies: “No one.”
Apart, that is, from a man with HIV who had pneumonia and comorbidities.
Read more here:
A leadership challenge against the Prime Minister has “got to be on the cards” in the new year, a senior Tory has warned.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 Committee, told Sky News he was “very surprised” by the size of the rebellion, adding it “shows quite a major division within the party”.
He said: “I think now the Prime Minister’s really got to think very carefully about how he’s going to reset his performance, to actually govern with a united party because we will know what happens to disunited parties.”
Asked whether there was now the prospect of a leadership challenge in the new year if the PM did not change his approach, Sir Geoffrey said: “I think that’s got to be on the cards. He’s got to realise that he’s got to change.”
Boris Johnson has suffered the biggest Conservative rebellion since the 2019 general election as almost 100 Tory MPs opposed the introduction of COVID certificates for nightclubs and large events in England.
Read more here:
We heard earlier from the Labour leader, who described a rebellion of Conservative MPs in the Commons tonight a “significant blow” for Boris Johnson.
You can watch his comments in full below.
Analysis by Ed Conway, economics and data editor
Our deputy political editor Sam Coates reported earlier as it was claimed the Tory rebellion was “underestimated” in a vote on COVID passes.
It is understood three votes were not counted electronically, potentially taking the total number of Tory rebels to 101.
This has been echoed by Conservative MP Steve Baker, who said it appears there were 99 Tory rebels, plus two tellers for the noes.
The MP for Wycombe said some Conservative votes had not been recorded and that he had already found two votes not on the division list.
He claimed on Twitter: “I believe the correct answer is 99 Conservative noes plus two tellers: 101 plus abstentions.”
The new measures approved in Parliament this evening have been welcomed by NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson.
He said: “These new restrictions should help slow the spread of the virus and help ease pressure on the NHS as we head into what is set is to be our most difficult ever winter.”
On face coverings, he said the requirement in more indoors settings is a “small price to pay as we seek to curb the spread of COVID-19”.
He added: “MPs also voted today to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for frontline health and care staff from April onwards to protect colleagues, patients and visitors from coronavirus.
“While there are inherent risks in introducing mandatory vaccinations, trusts are redoubling their efforts to increase voluntary take up efforts within their teams, having individual discussions with hesitant staff, and rolling out initiatives, such as education campaigns, to drive up vaccination rates.”