Monday briefing: PM could call in the troops over petrol crisis

Hello and welcome to the week ahead – I’m Warren Murray, let’s get the ball rolling.

Soldiers could be used to deliver fuel to petrol stations under an emergency plan expected to be considered by Boris Johnson and senior ministers today. Amid panic-buying and a shortage of drivers, BP admitted a third of its petrol stations had run out of the main two grades of fuel, while the Petrol Retailers Association of 5,500 independent outlets said 50% to 90% of its members had reported running out, and predicted that the rest would soon follow.

“Operation Escalin” would put hundreds of soldiers behind the wheel of a reserve fleet of 80 tankers. But it is understood that it would take up to three weeks to fully implement. The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, has admitted there were “some issues with supply chains” but insisted there was still “plenty of fuel at refineries and terminals”.

The developments have led to warnings about Christmas provisions. Kate Martin of the Traditional Farm-fresh Turkey Association said the UK could face a “national shortage” of turkeys in the run-up to December and it was “100% caused by a labour shortage” due to post-Brexit immigration rules. The British Retail Consortium also said moves to relax immigration rules to fix supply chain issues were “too little, too late” for Christmas. Jim McMahon, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said that if ministers did not do more, “shelves will continue to be bare, with medicines not delivered and Christmas ruined for the nation”.

Merkel werk winding down – The centre-left SPD has won Germany’s election by a slim margin, gaining 25.7% of the vote, according to the federal election agency. The tight race to produce a successor to chancellor Angela Merkel after 16 years in power saw her own party, the centre-right CDU, crash to a historic low of 24.1% in official preliminary results. It was tense overnight as the SPD and its chancellor candidate, Olaf Scholz, pulled ahead of the CDU and its candidate, Armin Laschet. Once full results are in, the parties will embark on “exploratory talks” to form a coalition government. The perennial Merkel will remain chancellor in the interim – it could yet be a lengthy process, with talks lasting three months in 2017.

Covid antibodies in breast milk – Breastfeeding women who have had Covid-19 continue to secrete specialised antibodies into their milk for up to 10 months, data suggests. Besides emphasising that breastfeeding may helping protect infants from Covid, researchers believe such antibodies could be extracted to treat people severely ill with the virus. The breast milk antibodies are different from those acquired through vaccination, researchers say – they stick to the lining of the respiratory and intestinal tracts, helping to neutralise viruses. Although young children are less at risk, approximately one in 10 infants under the age of one require significant hospital care if infected.

Labour conference – Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, is to outline today how she would scrap business rates and undertake the “biggest overhaul of business taxation in a generation”. Reeves said more frequent revaluations would ensure instant reductions in bills for businesses when property values fall. Reeves will also announce a review of existing tax reliefs, suggesting it would target reliefs on wealth such as income from buy-to-let properties.

“We will look at every single tax break. If it doesn’t deliver for the taxpayer or for the economy then we will scrap it.” The Labour conference on Sunday passed Keir Starmer’s rule changes to give MPs more sway over leadership elections after the trade union Unison gave its backing at the last minute. The changes will also make it harder for party members to deselect MPs.

‘Keep 1.5C alive’ – Pledges to the Glasgow climate summit in November will fall short of the halving of global emissions this decade needed to limit global heating to 1.5C, key players including the UN, UK hosts and others have privately admitted. However, Fiona Harvey writes that they insist the broader goal of “keeping 1.5C alive” remains in sight and world leaders meeting in Glasgow can produce a “Glasgow pact” aiming to avoid the worst climate chaos. The UK, the US and the EU have submitted NDCs – “nationally determined contributions” to cutting emissions – much stiffer than those proposed at the Paris climate summit in 2015. But the world’s biggest emitter, China, has yet to submit an NDC, and has only indicated that it will cause emissions to peak by 2030, which experts have said is not enough to hold the world to 1.5C.

The Pegasus project: The tragic story of Alaa Al-Siddiq has further exposed the extent of how powerful Pegasus spyware has been used against human rights activists even once they have fled their home country.

At 78, with three Baftas and a Palme d’Or under his belt, the director Mike Leigh still sees himself as an outsider. He talks about Hollywood’s obsession with big names, his determination to portray “real people” – and being accused of pretension.

It was a case of when and not if. By how many rather than how. The scale of United States dominance in the 43rd Ryder Cup was such that post-mortems about Pádraig Harrington’s European captaincy were well under way long before the event had even finished. What began on Friday morning as an opportunity for American redemption after recent Ryder Cup disappointments ended on Sunday afternoon with a record-breaking victory that doubles as an ominous statement of intent for the years ahead. Moeen Ali will announce his retirement from Test cricket on Monday morning having informed Joe Root, the England captain, and Chris Silverwood, the head coach and national selector, of this decision last week.

Nuno Espírito Santo admitted he got his starting personnel all wrong during a chastening 3-1 derby defeat at Arsenal. After eight games of the season, Manchester United are already in desperate-for-a-win territory as they prepare for the visit of Villarreal to Old Trafford on Wednesday. Leah Williamson put the cherry on top of a week in which she twice captained England by scoring Arsenal’s final goal in an emphatic 5-0 defeat of Manchester City to catapult the club to the top of the Women’s Super League. Eddie Jones’s first squad of the season gathered on Sunday, an intriguing 45-strong mix of experienced internationals and new faces hoping to make an instant impact on England’s head coach.

The “race for space” will keep driving up house prices in Britain by up to 3.5% a year between 2022 and 2024. The estate agent Hamptons also predicted that more homes will be sold in 2021 than in any year since 2007, after a record surge in activity this year as families sought larger homes after the pandemic. The FTSE100 will rise by around 0.7% this morning, according to futures trade, while the pound is worth $1.367 and €1.166.

Our Guardian splash today is “Petrol crisis: PM to rule on using army to deliver fuel”. The front page also carries a “significant development” in the killing of Sabina Nessa, with a new suspect arrested. He is the third man arrested over the killing.

The Metro renders the story of the day as “You’re just so fuelish – Shapps blames the truckers for manufacturing the petrol crisis” (and we punters come it for it too). Angela Rayner is shown dangling a cigarette – the Times has that picture as well and says the Labour deputy leader was “rebuked for calling senior Tories ‘scum’”. Its splash is “Army will be sent in to tackle fuel crisis”. The Telegraph’s headline is more or less the same while the i has “Ministers may deploy army” etc etc.

“Don’t blame driver crisis on Brexit” pleads the clearly-in-denial Express while the Mirror calls it “Petrol pump chaos” and a “Shambles”. The Mail has “Smart m-ways’ horrors exposed” as it leads on its own investigation that found “shocking technical failures” including safety cameras not working on roads where the hard shoulder is used as a traffic lane. And the Financial Times goes with “No 10 plans to cut graduate salary threshold for paying back loans”, saying students’ repayments would cut in sooner “to save the Treasury money and push more young people towards cheaper vocational education”.

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