Government effort to focus on domestic agenda is thwarted by ‘divisive’ local lockdowns

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Announcements on housing and transport fail to shift attention from the “Great Divide” caused by local lockdowns.

After a shaky  start to the Conservative Party Conference (at least on the technological front), Monday will see Rishi Sunak speaking from the virtual podium.

Right now the chancellor can do no wrong, but he knows difficult decisions are coming, not least the problem of how to come back from the largest recession on record.

He is likely to anticipate this by reflecting on the tough trade-offs ahead, and how he will try to protect jobs in such challenging economic times. “Dishy Rishi” may not retain his popularity for long.

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                              Government effort to focus on domestic agenda is thwarted by 'divisive' local lockdowns

As for the prime minister, his message on Sunday was for people to act “fearlessly but with common sense”.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr he accepts many are “furious” with the government, but warned of a “bumpy” road to Christmas – and that “this is the only way to do it”.

As swathes of the country remain in local lockdowns, but with little evidence yet that heightened restrictions are working, the prime minister’s optimism doesn’t appear to be resonating as it once did.

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                              Government effort to focus on domestic agenda is thwarted by 'divisive' local lockdowns

Party members want to see “Bojo’s Mojo” return at his keynote speech on Tuesday. Without the theatre of a packed conference hall and applause from the party faithful, will he be able to prove the doubters wrong?

The last few days have brought announcements on housing, transport and immigration that the government hopes will resonate with the party and public alike.

They want to re-focus on the domestic agenda and what they’re doing to “level up” the country. But the “Great Divide” caused by local lockdowns is all anyone is talking about.

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