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.

PM tells families to isolate before meeting at Christmas

You can almost hear Tiny Tim proclaiming: “God bless us, every one!” Boris Johnson is determined to push ahead with plans to allow families to meet this Christmas, but will urge people to self-isolate before joining up with other households, The Telegraph understands. The Government is expected to issue stronger guidance about what people can do over the festive period in the coming days, but stop short of changing the rules which say three households can meet for five days from December 23 to 27. It comes after a day of speculation over the Christmas relaxation plans following a sharp rise in infections which forced London and parts of the south east into Tier 3. A rare joint editorial by two leading medical journals argued that allowing households to mix is a “rash decision”.

Yet with millions of families having made plans since the relaxation was announced last month, Judith Woods outlines why cancelling Christmas was unthinkableCamilla Tominey quotes Mr Johnson’s own words at him, agreeing “Tis the season to be jolly careful”… that you don’t make rash promisesMichael Deacon reckons he knows the real reasoning behind the Government’s decision to hold firm, while Matt nods to the awkward decision about who makes your Christmas bubble.

MPs may vote for potential Brexit trade deal next week

MPs have been primed to vote for a possible Brexit trade deal at the beginning of next week as hopes rise of a breakthrough in Brussels. Senior Government sources have confirmed that Boris Johnson is preparing to push back the Christmas recess should he secure an agreement with the EU by the weekend. Plans being studied by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Commons leader, involve MPs and peers being asked to sit for several days over the festive season. Read the key dates left before the transition period ends on December 31. Martin Howe analyses why Britain cannot afford to yield ground on the “level playing field”.

Brian Conley blasts London theatre shutdown

It should have been a celebratory curtain call on opening night. But when Brian Conley took to the stage after performing in the West End production of A Christmas Carol, it was in the knowledge that the show was to close the next day. The musical is the casualty of moving London into Tier 3, devastating theatre-going once again. Conley, 59, who stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, gave an impassioned speech to the Dominion Theatre audience on behalf of everyone in the production, expressing frustration that the show could no longer go on. Read what he said.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Train tickets | Rail fares are set to rise above inflation, the Government has announced, but the increase will be delayed until March so season ticket holders can renew at last year’s prices. Read on for details.

Around the world: Top Republicans yield to Biden win

Wednesday morning news briefing: Self-isolate before Christmas, Boris Johnson tells families

Joe Biden supports Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff ahead of their January 5 runoff elections

Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters

The most senior Republican in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, has congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory and called him the “president-elect” for the first time, breaking with Donald Trump. Mr McConnell, the Senate leader, made the acknowledgement the day after the electoral college formalised Mr Biden’s win by voting him in as the next president. Read on for details and view more world pictures.

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice: Features and arts

  1. Families torn apart | ‘I’m taking Mum out of her care home for Christmas’
  2. Festive style winners | Women leading the way, from Carole Middleton to the Queen
  3. Wonder Woman 1984, review | Superhero spectacle to save cinemas – if more were open

Business and money briefing

Chinese influence | Britain’s Big Four accountants have employed more than 2,000 members of the Chinese Communist Party, including at least one partner in every firm. At least 400 KPMG staff had CCP membership in 2016, documents seen by The Telegraph show – with one partner praised by a Chinese state website for “making the red gene take root”.

Sport briefing

Man City 1-1 West Brom | Slaven Bilic is set to be sacked by West Bromwich Albion today, as the club take action in a bid to salvage their season. Bilic will be the first Premier League managerial casualty of the season despite his side’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City last night. His departure would only be the second this calendar year. Mike McGrath analyses why this is the least bloody year for Premier League sackings.

Tonight’s dinner  

Beetroot and apple with caraway, sour cream and hot-paprika butter | A colourful vegetarian dish that is perfect for Christmas dinner. Read on for the recipe and, for more ideas, try our Cookbook newsletter.

And finally… for this morning’s downtime

Are Meghan’s ‘super’ lattes super? | The Duchess of Sussex has invested in a coffee “wellness” startup that claims to sell “brain-boosting, mood-lifting, mind-clearing medicinals” but what exactly is so super about a superlatte, and why does Meghan think we should be drinking them? Luke Mintz asked the experts.

Read original article here.