Wednesday morning news briefing: Welby's fears over 'rule of six'

Plus: Inflation falls sharply, PM may compromise over Brexit & Harry's birthday message misses Meghan out

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'Rule of six' is damaging, Justin Welby tells PM

The Archbishop of Canterbury today enters the "rule of six" debate. The Most Rev Justin Welby signals his deep concern over the Government's coronavirus restrictions and their impact on family life. Read his exclusive article for us urging ministers to stop controlling people's lives from Westminster and follow the clergy's centuries-old commitment to "localism" rather than "determining the daily details of our lives". Archbishop Welby's intervention follows mounting criticism of the ban on gatherings of seven or more amid fears it will "cancel Christmas" by outlawing family get-togethers. Read our simple guide to how the new law affects daily life - and how it could turn us into a nation of snitchers.

Meanwhile, children face being turned away from coronavirus testing centres after Matt Hancock introduced rationing. The Health Secretary said there would be "prioritisation" of tests for people with acute clinical needs - such as hospital patients - and those in social care. Yesterday, staff at a Covid testing site in London told the public they can jump the queue for a local swab by pretending they live 400 miles away in Aberdeen. The testing farce is also the focus of Matt's cartoon today.

Johnson may compromise over Brexit bill with rebels

Boris Johnson has signalled a possible compromise with Tory rebels after a minister suggested that elements of the Brexit legislation that triggered a revolt could be rewritten. The Prime Minister met senior MPs shortly before a vote on the Internal Market Bill and assured them that he would act on their concerns. Among them was Sir Bob Neill, who has tabled an amendment which seeks to bar the Government from breaching international law without Parliament's support. It comes amid growing optimism of a trade deal with Brussels despite the fallout. Today the president of the European Commission is expected to extend an olive branch by declaring that the EU still wants a trade deal with the UK.

Prince Harry's birthday message misses Meghan out

As the Duke of Sussex celebrated his 36th birthday yesterday, he may have reflected on how much has changed over the past year. But even from his new home in California, it seems controversy is still not far away. As the Royal family wished Harry "happy birthday" on social media, there was only one thing on some superfans' minds: where was a picture of the Duchess? Royal Correspondent Hannah Furness says fans of the Sussexes accused officials of slighting Meghan.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

 Also in the news: Today's other headlines

End to 'soft justice' | Killers jailed for life will no longer be allowed out halfway through their sentences under a crackdown on "soft" justice unveiled by Robert Buckland. Announcing the shake-up in this article, the Justice Secretary proposes criminals jailed for life should serve a minimum two thirds of their sentences in jail before being considered for parole. Read more from Home Affairs Editor Charles Hymas.  

Around the world: Hot on the trail in Egypt

Racing camels carrying young jockeys compete on a dirt track in Egypt's South Sinai desert, after the traditional sport was given the go-ahead to resume following a six-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic. View more striking world pictures in our daily gallery.

Camel racing is a traditional sport in many Arab countries Credit: KHALED DESOUKI/AFP

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice: Features and arts

  1. Property | The last truly affordable places to buy as a first home in London
  2. Boozy Britain Six writers share how lockdown changed their drinking
  3. Sloane Ranger style is back | Pussy bows, pearls and Barbour jackets are in fashion again

Business and money briefing

Chancellor's next move | Employers' National Insurance contributions and business rates could both be cut as Rishi Sunak considers "creative" ways to help companies beyond the end of the furlough scheme after almost 700,000 people lost their jobs between March and August. The Chancellor said he would "find ways of effectively helping people" next month. Political Editor Gordon Rayner explains what he is considering.

Sport briefing

Closing in on Bale | Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is trying to find a way of resigning Gareth Bale in a move that could see Real Madrid attempt to take Dele Alli. Matt Law and Sam Wallace say it would constitute the most eye-catching deal of the transfer window.  

 Tonight's dinner  

Lemon sole fillets with mussel tartare | Baked sole fillets teamed with mussels and punchy capers by Stephen HarrisRead on for the recipe.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

Inside story | Nvidia is refocusing its business on providing processors for artificial intelligence after getting its start in video game hardware. James Cook looks in detail at the $300billion US tech company buying the "crown jewel" of UK technology.