Good morning. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, has been doing the tradition post-budget morning interview round and, in a sign perhaps of the seriousness of the crisis facing the economy, No 10 has lifted its usual ban and let him speak to the Today programme.
The first topic to come up, of course, was President Trump’s shock decision last night to announce a 30-day ban on people from most EU countries (but not the UK) from travelling to the US.
Criticising American presidents in public does not come easily to UK government ministers, particularly Conservative ones working for Boris Johnson, but Sunak could not avoid saying he thought Trump’s plan was a bad idea. He told the Today programme:
With regard to flight bans, we are always guided by the science as we make our decisions here. The advice we are getting is that there isn’t evidence that interventions like closing borders or travel bans are going to have a material effect on the spread of the infection. That is why we have taken the decisions we have.
In another BBC interview he was more direct. “We haven’t believed that that’s the right thing to do, the evidence here doesn’t support that,” he said.
I will post more from his interviews shortly.
Here is the agenda for the day.
10am: Lord Hall, the BBC director general, and Sir David Clementi, its chairman, give evidence to the Commons culture committee.
1pm: The Institute for Fiscal Studies holds a briefing on the budget.
1.15pm: Boris Johnson chairs a meeting of Cobra, the government’s emergency committee, to discuss Cobra.
We’re also due to get an announcement from Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, on plans to reform planning laws.
I will be covering Westminster coronavirus developments, but our main coronavirus coverage is on a separate coronavirus outbreak live blog. As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary when I wrap up.
You can read all the latest Guardian politics articles here. Here is the Politico Europe roundup of this morning’s political news. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top 10 must-reads.
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