Johnson Says Britons Are ‘Furious’ With Him: U.K. Tory Update

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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he knows people feel angry over the way his government has handled the pandemic, but warned that coronavirus will make for a “very tough” winter, with difficulties lasting through Christmas and beyond.

The U.K.’s Tories, in power for the past 10 years, are holding their annual conference online this year due to pandemic restrictions. Follow latest developments here.

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Key developments:

  • Johnson tells BBC Andrew Marr voters are angry, but winter will be tough with the virus
  • Johnson says he wants a Brexit trade deal but U.K. will prosper without one
  • PM says Eat Out to Help Out summer drive may have helped spread covid
  • Treasury Chief Secretary Steve Barclay said an announcement will be made on testing passengers at airports in the coming days

Johnson Warns of ‘Very Tough Winter’ (9:45 a.m.)

Johnson acknowledged public anger over the government’s handling of the pandemic, especially in areas subject to tight lockdown rules, but warned that the country faces some difficult months ahead.

“This could be a very tough winter for all of us,” he said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr program. “It’s going to be bumpy through to Christmas, it may even be bumpy beyond.”

Johnson conceded that the government’s encouragement for people to eat out over the summer may have helped to spread the virus, and also that its test and trace system needed to improve.

“Of course I’m frustrated with it,” he said of the government covid testing regime. “It’s not perfect, but it has made a huge difference to our ability to see where the virus is spreading.”

He said it is possible that there will be significant progress on a vaccine by December and that scientists told him the outlook for the pandemic will be radically different by next spring.

Johnson: U.K. Can ‘Live With’ No EU Deal (9:50 a.m.)

Johnson said a Brexit free trade deal with the EU is “there to be done” but warned of “difficult issues” that are yet to be fixed. Speaking to the BBC’s Marr, the premier said he had a good phonecall with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday, where the two sides agreed to intensify negotiations.

“I don’t want the Australian, WTO-type outcome particularly, but we can more than live with it,” he said. “We can prosper mightily under those circumstances.”

Tories Must ‘Do More’ to Keep Scotland (8:48 a.m.)

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross said his party needs to make a stronger case for why Scotland should stay in the U.K.

“I think we’ve had policy and feeling among U.K. government departments of devolving and forgetting. I want to change that mindset,” Ross told “Sophy Ridge on Sunday” on Sky News. “We need to do more to remember that Scotland has two governments.”

“The prime minister would accept that his government and successive governments haven’t made the case for strengthening the U.K.,” Ross said.

Read more: Boris Johnson’s Policies Have Bolstered Scotland’s Nationalists

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