BREXITEER Michael Gove launched a scathing attack on the European Union over the UK’s post-Brexit fishing rights, warning the Brussels bloc once again that the UK is ready to walk away “come what may” to regain control of its waters. Speaking at the Blue Collar Conservatism Conference, the Cabinet Minister said there is “no way” the UK will ever back down on fishing in the Brexit negotiations. He explained how he felt the issue was “personal” for him as he warned the UK is prepared to walk away without a deal at the end of the year. Mr Gove said: “There’s no way that we are going to back down on fishing. “My dad ran a fishing business; that business went to the wall in the 1980s as a result of the EU and their Common Fisheries Policy. So it’s personal for me.
Michael Gove insisted a trade deal with the EU was still possible last night – even as Brussels began legal proceedings against the UK. Mr Gove said that with mutual ‘goodwill’ an agreement could be reached ahead of the Prime Minister’s deadline of mid-October. The EU had given Britain until last night to ditch the controversial elements of the Internal Markets Bill – legislation that threatens to override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, the Bill remained unchanged and MPs voted decisively this week to back it.
BREXITEER Ann Widdecombe argued the EU would come back to the UK to strike a trade deal even if Britain ends the transition period on WTO rules at the end of the year. Former Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe insisted the EU would be desperate to trade with the UK on favourable terms. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Ms Widdecombe said the EU would come back to the negotiating table even after the UK cut ties with the bloc under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
THE EU has launched legal proceedings against the UK for breaking the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, but a law professor has pointed out the legal action could be rendered meaningless. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed the bloc will start legal action against Boris Johnson’s move to override parts of the Brexit deal reached with the EU last year. The EU chief said a “letter of formal notification” would be sent to the UK, giving the Government a month to respond. She condemned the Government’s Internal Market Bill, which outlines the changes to the Brexit deal, and said it breaches “good faith”.
The European Union began legal action yesterday against Britain for breaches of the Brexit withdrawal treaty’s clauses on Northern Ireland. Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, said that the EU had “invited our British friends” to withdraw elements of the internal market bill by the end of September. “This draft bill is by its very nature a breach of the obligation of good faith, laid down in the withdrawal agreement,” she said. “The problematic provisions have not been removed. This is the first step in a legal procedure.”
The EU Commission has announced plans to take the UK to court over controversial plans to break international law. Ursula Von Der Leyen said that Brussels was beginning infringement actions against the UK over breaches of the “good faith” clauses of the Withdrawal Agreement struck by Boris Johnson. But Mr Johnson has signalled he could tear up elements of that agreement relating to Northern Ireland in the UK Internal Market Bill, which cleared the Commons this week. Ministers have admitted that the plan would breach international law – sending shockwaves through the UK’s negotiations with Brussels.
The European Commission had launched legal proceedings against the UK over the government’s plan to break the Brexit withdrawal agreement. Boris Johnson signed the treaty at the start of the year, but the government this month said it would pass legislation that could override part of what was agreed, breaking international law. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement in Brussels on Thursday that “infringement” proceedings would begin immediately, starting with a formal notice asking for the UK to provide an explanation.
The EU has launched legal action against the UK after Boris Johnson failed to respond to Brussels’ demand that he drop legislation that would overwrite the withdrawal agreement and break international law. Ursula von der Leyen, the European commission president, announced that the UK had been put on formal notice over the internal market bill tabled by the prime minister last month. Meanwhile, EU officials downplayed hopes that ongoing trade and security talks were closing in on solutions to the most contentious issues.
The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced she is launching legal action against the UK over the terms of the Internal Market Bill. Her complaint is that that clauses in the Bill breach the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) between Britain and the EU. These clauses, which have now passed through the House of Commons as part of the Bill and await consideration by the House of Lords, confer powers on the Government to issue regulations which would over-ride parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol which is attached to and legally forms part of the WA.
BORIS Johnson shrugged off a threat of legal action from Brussels over plans to rip up key parts of his Brexit divorce deal. The EU has accused Britain of acting in bad faith and began the process of suing over the PM’s move to rewrite last year’s Withdrawal Agreement. If found to be in breach of EU rules the UK could face a bill running into the hundreds of millions — but such action could take years to pursue. The legal threat comes after No10 ignored a midnight deadline set by Brussels to ditch controversial clauses from the Government’s Internal Market Bill that would overwrite parts of the 2019 deal.
STUNG INTO ACTION, Ursula Van der Leyen and the EU Commission have moved too early in threatening the UK with legal action. Before the end of the transition how can the EU know whether it is the EU or the UK that has failed to implement the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) in good faith? We should also ask ourselves two basic questions: how can debating something in a democratic parliament be a breach of a treaty? and how can the prevention of such discussion be consistent with UN rights to self-determination?
Humanitarian groups and charities have reacted with fury to revelations that No 10 officials explored sending asylum seekers to offshore detention centres in Moldova, Morocco and south Atlantic islands, branding the move “morally bankrupt”. A source close to the Home Office told the Guardian that the prime minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, had become “obsessed with the Channel crossings” in the weeks before documents on the implications of the idea were produced in mid-September. “He’s annoyed that it’s always in the press and he thinks it goes down really badly with the red wall voters, which it does,” the source said.
Record numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the English Channel are “not a threat” to Britain, and could even be a boon for taxpayers, the United Nations (UN) has claimed. Speaking to the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday, representatives from the international body argued that Britain should open new channels that would allow many more low and no-skilled third world migrants to enter the country legally in order to deter individuals from paying people traffickers.
Britain has announced another 6,914 coronavirus cases as a wave of statistics today suggested the UK’s spike in infections is finally starting to slow down — but deaths continue to creep up. Department of Health figures show the number of daily infections is just 4.2 per cent higher this week than it was last Thursday, when 6,634 positive tests were added to the official count. Officials today also declared another 59 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 deaths, up 47.5 per cent on the 40 posted this time last week but down slightly on the 71 registered yesterday. For comparison, more than 1,000 people were dying each day during the darkest weeks of the first wave in April.
Ministers are set to hold talks next week over plans to introduce sweeping lockdown measures in the capital including a ban on household mixing, as new Covid-19 infections in London continue to rise. Further coronavirus restrictions are expected to be enforced city-wide to halt the spread of the virus by commuters across the capital, with ministers ready to enforce new measures as soon as next week. The fresh rules on social interaction are expected to be rolled out if current measures including the “rule of six” and a 10pm curfew on hospitality venues fail to quash the upward curve in infections.
Boris Johnson’s chilling warnings about the possibility of a fresh national lockdown were cast into doubt today as new figures showed the infection rate already appears to be slowing. In the strongest evidence yet that the Rule of Six and local lockdowns are working, results from the largest Covid-19 study in England found the R-rate fell from 1.7 to around 1.1 last month. But the director of the study, by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori, said the interim findings from 80,000 participants ‘reinforced the need for protective measures’ to help extinguish the virus. That the current restrictions seem to be stemming the spread will fuel the case of Cabinet hawks who are urging against a rush to an even tougher lockdown.
ONE in three Brits will be living in lockdown by tomorrow — as figures show infection rates are already plummeting. A study by Imperial College shows the R rate — how many people each case infects — has fallen from 1.7 to 1.1 in less than a month. The research is based on 84,610 swabs taken between September 18 and 26. The “rule of six” took effect nationwide on September 14, just four days before the study began. A nationwide curfew on pubs and restaurants kicked in on September 24, two days before the study ended. It raises the possibility that infection rates were already drastically falling before the lockdowns and curfew were introduced.
Tougher coronavirus restrictions are being imposed on four new areas – but one mayor says they are “damaging” and he will not accept them. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged residents in the Liverpool city region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough not to socially mix with those from other households – except in outdoor spaces like parks and outdoor hospitality settings. And he asked them to avoid “all but essential travel” – meaning people can still go to work and school. The changes will come into effect from 12:01am on Saturday.
Boris Johnson is facing a new rebellion from Tory MPs over the national 10pm curfew after he was accused of presiding over a “nanny state”. Rebels are discussing whether they can force a vote on the issue under rules that allow MPs retrospective debates about changes to regulations brought in by ministers. Some of the party’s most senior MPs urged Mr Johnson to look again at the rule that forces pubs and restaurants to close early, while a Parliamentary committee demanded to see the scientific evidence on which it was based.
The first signs of official dissent against local lockdown rules emerged as a third of the UK population came under extra restrictions. Andy Preston, the elected independent mayor of Middlesbrough, became the first authority figure to threaten to defy lockdown rules just as new restrictions were imposed on the town. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that people in Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, the Liverpool City Region and Warrington will be legally banned from meeting those from other households in hospitality settings like pubs as well as in private homes and gardens.
Boris Johnson is facing a coronavirus revolt in the north today as the elected mayor of Middlesbrough vowed to ‘defy’ new lockdown measures, accusing ministers of ‘ignorance’ after they brought in strict new measures for its population. Independent Andy Preston lashed out after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs the town, along with Liverpool, Hartlepool and Warrington would face the same curbs as the North East. In a video message Mr Preston said they went further than he and other local politicians had lobbied for, and in what is believed to be a first for a local politician, rejected the measures outlined in the Commons.
COVID lockdowns were thrown into chaos today after a mayor declared war on tough new restrictions – and vowed: “We will defy the government” despite asking for new measures just days ago. Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston fought back after Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the latest measures in a Commons address. A ban on different households meeting will be introduced after a spike in infections. It will be illegal to meet in settings, such as pubs and restaurants, in the Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Halton and Hartlepool. Incidence rates in Liverpool, St Helens, Knowsley, Halton and Warrington are above 170 per 100,000.
An elected mayor has vowed that his town will “defy” a local lockdown order, in an open show of defiance against Boris Johnson. A ban on mixing with other households indoors in Middlesbrough, to come into force at midnight on Friday, is “based on ignorance”, a furious Andy Preston alleged. “This measure has been introduced based on factual inaccuracies and a monstrous and frightening lack of communication, and ignorance,” the Independent mayor said, in a video message.
Hospitals have been ordered to ration prescriptions of the coronavirus “wonderdrug” Remdesivir after a shortage has left trusts without enough to go around. Doctors have been told they must only give the drug to early-stage coronavirus patients, not to people who have already been admitted to intensive care units and placed on a ventilator. An internal NHS memo says patients receiving the drug “should not be receiving ongoing mechanical ventilation” and prescriptions should be kept to five days because of a “supply disruption”.
Doctors have been told to start rationing a key drug used to treat serious cases of Covid-19 amid supply shortages and a rise in hospital admissions. In an alert sent out across the NHS, medics have been told to restrict the use of the American antiviral drug remdesivir to “those with the greatest capacity to benefit”. The move means that from now on the most seriously ill patients who are on mechanical ventilation will no longer be eligible to receive the drug, and treatment courses will be restricted to a maximum of five days.
Campaigners have threatened the government with legal action over new guidance that tells schools not to use resources from organisations that have expressed a desire to end capitalism. In a pre-action letter, the Coalition of Anti-Racist Educators (Care) and Black Educators Alliance (BEA) said the guidance would prevent teachers from using material from groups including Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion, limiting anti-racism teaching. In guidance issued last week for school leaders and teachers in England, the Department for Education (DfE) categorised anti-capitalism as an “extreme political stance” and equated it with opposition to freedom of speech, antisemitism and endorsement of illegal activity.
A level exams will be delayed by three weeks under plans being drawn up by ministers, The Telegraph has learned, after Number 10 refused to cave to demands for them to be shelved for another year. According to Whitehall and education insiders, Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, will next week confirm that the exam timetable will be extended to mid-July in order to help pupils catch up after four months of school closures. It comes after university vice-chancellors and the former Tory education secretary Lord Baker this week called for exams to be cancelled, warning that students do not have enough time to make up for the disruption caused by lockdown.
Ministers are using powers under the Coronavirus Act to require schools to offer pupils who are not in school the same lessons as those in class. Teaching unions reacted angrily to the move calling it a “grave error” which risks damaging the government’s relationship with the profession. It comes after official figures showed one in six secondaries in England were partially closed to some pupils. The government said it was formalising pupils’ rights to remote learning. It comes as huge swathes of the north-east and north-west of England are under stricter lockdown measures. Ministers have insisted that schools will only close as a last resort in the event of widespread virus spread.
Care homes across the UK are on the brink of closure due to a dramatic rise in empty beds during the Covid pandemic, ITV News can reveal. Figures we’ve obtained from 61 councils in England, Scotland and Wales show that across the country the number of vacancies has almost doubled in a year, rising by 88%.With responsibility for care devolved to local authorities, our data shows empty beds increasing across almost every council area, but homes in some parts of the country have suffered particularly acutely. In Liverpool, vacancies – or ‘voids’ as care homes refer to them – were up 395% in August compared with the same time last year.
Cancer checks, heart scans and blood tests are set to be carried out in hundreds of NHS ‘one stop shops’ on high streets across the country. The diagnostic hubs will allow patients to have vital checks close to their home – while ensuring hospitals are left clear for serious care. Empty shops in town centres and retail parks will be targeted for the scheme which will see 160 centres set up to deliver MRI and CT scans, X-rays, ultrasounds and blood tests. This will allow doctors to quickly diagnose conditions such as cancer, heart disease, strokes and breathing problems.
Boris Johnson has handed control of the delayed Crossrail project to London Mayor Sadiq Khan as crunch talks begin on a major bailout for the capital’s financially crippled transport network. The Prime Minister has passed responsibility for the £19bn project to Andy Byford, who as Transport for London commissioner reports to Mr Khan. The change removes influence from the Department for Transport, which was jointly responsible with TfL for the 73 mile link into central London from the west and east.