United Kingdom

Friday morning UK news briefing: Lib Dems take Tory stronghold

A true blue stronghold has turned yellow. The Conservatives suffered a humiliating by-election defeat early today as the Liberal Democrats scored a historic win in Chesham and Amersham. 

Sarah Green is the country's newest MP after winning the seat, which had been a Tory constituency since its creation in 1974. 

Major issues in the campaign included the HS2 rail line, which cuts through the area, and proposed planning reforms that sparked fears about building projects in the Chilterns. 

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said the result sent a "shockwave through British politics", by showing that the Blue Wall of Tory southern seats could be vulnerable. 

Follow the latest reaction in our liveblog.

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice

  1. 'Nothing worse than unpredictability' | Was Dominic Cummings unfit to lead from the start?
  2. Duke of Edinburgh's passions | Exhibitions give glimpse into Prince Philip's head and heart
  3. 'Looked at as if we were murderers' | Painful memories of Lancaster Bomber veterans

Business and money briefing

Staff shortage | Britain's supermarkets could be forced to buy pigs in blankets from foreign suppliers this Christmas as the UK's meat processing factories battle a severe shortage of workers. Industry experts warned that UK factories are operating with 10pc fewer staff than their capacity after the labour crisis spilled into manufacturing.

Sport briefing

US Open | Brooks Koepka took the advantage on the leaderboard over Bryson DeChambeau early today, but the latter reckoned he could claim the bragging rights in their increasingly petty spat after the first day at Torrey Pines. DeChambeau managed to "videobomb" Koepka on TV.

Tonight's dinner

Bavette steak with warm beans and green sauce | Serve this simple steak by Eleanor Steafel with lemon wedges and be sure to add your meat juices to the beans. View the recipe and try our Cookbook newsletter.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

BrewDog | Has a "toxic culture" pierced the craft-beer firm? Since bursting onto a UK beer scene in 2007, the brewery has built an evangelical following – until now, as Melissa Cole discovers.

If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here . For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.   

Scrap school Covid tests, says Oxford jab pioneer

Coronavirus testing in schools is hugely disruptive. Now experts have said it should be suspended, as it emerged that up to 60pc of "positive" tests a week are coming back negative when checked. Under plans to keep schools open, more than 50 million lateral flow tests have been carried out on youngsters, leading to thousands of pupils and their social bubbles being forced to self-isolate for 10 days. But an analysis of Test and Trace data by The Telegraph shows how the results of lateral flow tests taken in secondary schools compare to the gold-standard PCR version. Prof Sir Andrew Pollard, who led the Oxford vaccine programme, warned mass testing was leading to such huge disruption in schools that it might be worth vaccinating youngsters in order to stop the chaos. Read his full interview with Harry de Quetteville.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is opposed to the scale of working from home during the pandemic becoming permanent, well-placed government sources told Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith. The Prime Minister is said to be supportive of encouraging people to return to offices once it is safe to do so. Matt finds humour in home-working for today's cartoon.

England v Scotland: Southgate issues battle cry

Gareth Southgate has urged his players to seize the day as he prepares to switch his full-backs and send his team out on the front foot against Scotland tonight. Having beaten Croatia in England's first game of Euro 2020, the manager wants his team to clinch qualification from the group stage with a win at Wembley. Reece James and Luke Shaw are preparing to replace Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier in the full-back positions. See more expected line-up changes ahead of the 8pm game. It came as Southgate and England captain Harry Kane last night defended Coca-Cola's involvement in football after a player-led protest.

At a glance: Other coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Short-lived reign | Edwin Poots was forced to step down as leader of the DUP last night - only 20 days after he succeeded Arlene Foster. He faced a party revolt after deciding to nominate one of his ex-advisers as head of Northern Ireland's Stormont executive, choosing to push through Paul Givan's nomination before a majority of elected representatives rejected him in an internal party vote. Whitehall Editor Harry Yorke says the future of power-sharing in Northern Ireland is in jeopardy.

Around the world: Ahmedinejad refuses to vote

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not vote in today's presidential election in Iran and warned the outcome will produce a government without a popular mandate. The move by the ex-president, from 2005 to 2013, is a new blow to the credibility of the most restricted poll in the Islamic Republic's history. Read Senior Foreign Correspondent Roland Oliphant's report from Tehran and see a gallery of more world pictures.

Football news:

Messi will not train with Barca until he signs a contract
Juventus will sign Santos forward Caio Jorge. Salary-1.5 million euros plus bonuses
Allegri on Juve: Ronaldo is full of enthusiasm. Dybala has a muscle problem. Kulusevski should be added
Nedved about Locatelli: Juve considers its offer fair and good
Koeman on 3-0 with Stuttgart: A great game of Barca against a strong team. We are on the right track
Mkhitaryan wants to compete with Roma for the scudetto: There will be nothing left without trophies at the end of his career
Pavel Nedved: Ronaldo is a guarantee of goals, an exceptionally valuable player. Juve is betting on him