Wednesday evening news briefing: When should pupils be sent home from school?

Your evening guide: Headteachers write to Prime Minister over struggle to get tests and UK may make concessions on fishing for Brexit deal

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Schools unable to get Covid tests, headteachers tell PM

The testing chaos rumbles on. Nearly every school in the country is struggling to access tests for students and staff, headteachers have warned the Prime Minister. School leaders have written to Boris Johnson to tell of their "mounting concern" about delays in accessing test results and advice from public health officials as they urge him to take personal control of the situation. Their plea comes as the Prime Minister faced the Liaison Committee of MPs this afternoon, where he admitted "we don't have enough testing capacity now". He said there has been a massive increase, and pledged 500,000 tests a day by October as he issued a warning about a financially "disastrous" second lockdown. Yet he was challenged at the hearing by Greg Clark when he said groups of pupils should only be sent home if there had been a positive test, rather than someone just developing symptoms. Follow updates here. Mr Johnson may want to read Sophie Tweedale's story, where she reveals her son's school year has been sent home – and now she cannot get a test.

Earlier, Mr Johnson defended the Government's testing capacity for Covid-19 when he went toe-to-toe with Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner at Prime Minister's Questions. The Prime Minister said Ms Rayner, who was standing in for Sir Keir Starmer, who had been in self-isolation, is "right to express frustration" about the "massive demand" for tests which has increased hugely in the last few days. In fact, Emma Burnell suggests the Labour deputy may have found a surprising new fan in the PM, as she lost count of how many times Mr Johnson used the phrase "she's absolutely right" during his notably non-pugilistic answers.

UK may make fishing concession in bid for Brexit deal

Britain could cede control over fishing waters around the Channel Islands in an attempt to resolve a key dispute in Brexit negotiations with the European Union, it has been claimed. UK diplomats have reportedly floated the possibility of instating different fishing rights around the Channel Islands to the rest of the UK, allowing more access for French vessels. The potential concession comes as European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned that Brussels would never renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement in a major speech to European Parliament this morning. Her comments follow the admission the Government's Internal Market Bill would break international law by reneging on parts of the Brexit deal. Lord Keen, the Scottish advocate general and justice minister, has even offered his resignation over it. Yet it has emerged Boris Johnson is poised to strike a deal with Tory backbenchers, as the Government tries to head off a rebellion. Jason Reed reveals why the bill is just the start of a huge post-Brexit battle.

Barbados plans to remove Queen as head of state

Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic by November, 2021. A speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley quoted the Caribbean island nation's first premier Errol Barrow's warning against "loitering on colonial premises". If it proceeds with the plan, it would not be the first country to remove the Queen as its head of state. She has remained its constitutional monarch after it gained independence from Britain in 1966. Read more.

At a glance: Latest coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

'Right thing to do' | A British child caught up in the Islamic State conflict in Syria has been rescued from the country, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has announced. "Pleased we have been able to bring home a British child from Syria. As I have said previously, we assess each case carefully," Mr Raab said on Twitter this morning. Read what we know.

Around the world: Flooding fears as hurricane hits US

Hurricane Sally made landfall on Alabama's Gulf Coast this morning as a Category Two hurricane, after winds intensified overnight. Winds were clocked at 105mph, with the hurricane posing the risk of "catastrophic and life-threatening" flooding along portions of the north-central Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said. Click here for a satellite image of the storm, while over in Oregon, drone footage shows the devastation caused by wildfires which have raged across the US West Coast.

Wednesday interview

Why would any woman want to join the Garrick?

 

Emily Bendell Credit: Andrew Crowley

Meet Emily Bendell, the lingerie entrepreneur who wants to overturn the exclusive London club's historic men-only policy. She told Celia Walden why she wants to join

Read the full interview

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice: Features and arts

  1. The Nurse Ratched riddle | Why wasn't Louise Fletcher a bigger star?
  2. Survivor's story | 'I was abused by my violin teacher but felt bad about him being jailed'
  3. Optimists vs cynics | What your personality type says about your health

Business and money briefing

Inflation tumbles | Rishi Sunak's £500m-plus discount dining scheme for struggling pubs and restaurants has driven inflation to its lowest level for nearly five years. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme's 50pc off meals and soft drinks up to £10 per person pushed the Consumer Prices Index benchmark down to its weakest level since December 2015.

 

Sport briefing

Farewell to Formula One | A new chapter awaits Claire Williams after the wrench of overseeing the departure of the Williams family from F1 after 43 years. In an exclusive interview, the former Deputy Team Principal and daughter of founder Sir Frank Williams reveals how she has "run out of energy" in a sport that "takes a lot out of you".

Tonight's TV  

Lost at Sea: My Dad's Last Journey, Channel 4, 10pm | This beautiful, bittersweet film tells the story of Peter Bird, the last of the amateur adventurers, who vanished while trying to row the Pacific Ocean. Read on for more.

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Paying Apple every month | We are resigned to certain things taking cash out of our bank accounts every month. The gas bill, council tax, our rent or mortgage payments. In the not-too-distant future, expect another regular charge to start showing up on our bank statements: the Apple bill. James Titcomb reveals how the Apple One subscription bundle announced this week could be a precursor to bigger plans from the iPhone maker.