Efforts to avert a no-deal Brexit were in fresh crisis on Thursday as Downing Street admitted it does not know if EU negotiator Michel Barnier will turn up for face-to-face talks due to resume on Friday. Mr Barnier was expected in London in the evening, ahead of talks with Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator David Frost, with just 34 days to go to the deadline for a deal. But reports suggest that he has told Lord Frost that he will pull out of this weekend’s talks unless there is a major shift in negotiating stance from the UK. And today, Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson was unable to say whether the discussions would go ahead.
BREXIT demands made by the EU are “absurd” and can’t be agreed to, a Conservative Brexiteer has warned Express.co.uk, as talks near a climax. Brexit trade talks have reached a crucial moment as the deadline for the transition period at the end of December looms. EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned his counterpart David Frost that progress is needed to stop Brussels walking away, and demanded that the UK compromise on key issues to keep negotiations alive. One of these issues is fisheries. Mr Barnier wants EU vessels to be granted continued access to UK waters, telling Mr Frost and his team that without this Britain could be excluded from European markets.
HUNGARY and Poland remain on a collision course with Brussels after the leaders of both countries refused to back down on their threat to veto the EU’s budget in a move which would cause massive disruption. The news prompted one former German MEP to warn the bloc its current approach to resolving the crisis with threats amounted to blackmail – and was no way to resolve the situation. The European Union is currently investigating the nationalist governments of both countries, accusing each of undermining the independence of judiciaries and media, and had sought to attach conditions to the handout of EU cash.
BRUSSELS’ determination to punish Britain for Brexit has sparked uncertainty for the European Union’s bankers and fund managers. The European Commission, the bloc’s Brussels-based executive, has sparked “peak uncertainty” across the Continent’s financial services sector. Executives fear a political push to demonstrate a cost to Brexit, the unresolved trade talks and a push to diminish the City of London’s grip on the market has caused most of the problems. David Schwimmer, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, said: “This is the period of peak uncertainty.
Hopes of a Brexit breakthrough were raised last night as it emerged EU negotiators are looking at a compromise over the controversial issue of fishing rights. Michel Barnier, Brussels’ chief negotiator, will hold showdown talks with eight EU fisheries ministers tomorrow. Diplomats say they expect Mr Barnier to outline possible compromises for the Brexit trade talks. Mr Barnier is expected to tell the ministers that a concession in the row over future access to British waters is needed to get a deal over the line.
Brussels’ chief negotiator Michel Barnier has summoned fisheries ministers from EU nations, indicating that a major breakthrough in Brexit talks could be about to happen. The “urgent” meeting is reportedly taking place today. Future fisheries arrangements between the UK and EU have been one of the largest barriers to a post-Brexit trade deal. Time is running short for a deal to be struck, with the UK set to leave the EU’s single market and customs union on 31 December. The fact Barnier has set up a meeting with other EU nations about fisheries this late in talks may indicate that the basis of an agreement has been struck with the UK.
MICHEL Barnier will urge hardline EU fishing states to back a compromise Brexit deal during crunch talks today. The meeting was announced as insiders said the negotiations over the future relationship pact are “completely stuck”. But British officials insisted they wouldn’t cave in to demands for near-parity access for EU vessels to the country’s waters. Mr Barnier is expected to warn Ministers Downing Street is refusing to drop its demands for full control over UK fishing grounds and a significant boost in quota shares.
Brexit deal talks are over if Britain will not give in to the European Union’s demands, Brussels’ top man is claimed to have told UK negotiators, as the clock runs down in the final weeks until Britain is expected to finally and fully leave the bloc. While talks between the European power bloc and its erstwhile member have dragged on for years, they have been fundamentally hobbled from day one by the simple fact that both sides want outcomes so radically different; anything approaching accommodation would ultimately be a betrayal to their own interests.
JEREMY CORBYN is to start legal action against the Labour party following Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to suspend the party whip. Sir Keir reinstated the former leader back to the party but decided to withhold the whip until he apologises for comments made in regards to a report into Anti-Semitism allegations within Labour. Despite returning to the party, Mr Corbyn has not directly apologised for the claim that the report’s findings were overstated. Mr Corbyn’s lawyers lodged an application to the high court on Thursday evening.
Jeremy Corbyn will try to prove that his successor as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer went back on a private deal to readmit him to the party in a forthcoming legal case. The former leader will attempt to establish that staff from Sir Keir’s office attended private meetings where an agreement was discussed. Mr Corbyn was suspended from the party after claiming the scale of Labour anti-Semitism under his leadership was ‘dramatically overstated’. In the wake of the decision, he published a statement to ‘clarify’ his response to an Equality and Human Rights Commission report that found the party discriminated against Jewish people.
Jeremy Corbyn supporters across the country face suspension from the Labour Party under a new crackdown that bans local discussions about the former leader’s reinstatement as a Labour MP. In a letter to all local party chairs, MPs and MSPs, general secretary David Evans warned that any motions about Keir Starmer’s decision to withhold the parliamentary whip from Corbyn would be ruled “out of order”. Any “expressions of solidarity” with Corbyn would also fall foul of tough new guidance, which strengthens existing rules that prevent discussion of ongoing disciplinary cases.
Tens of millions of people face tougher coronavirus restrictions until well into January after indoor socialising was banned across 99 per cent of England yesterday. Boris Johnson defended the stricter tier system as the only way to avert a third national lockdown, promising that with regular reviews “your tier is not your destiny. Every area has the means of escape.” Privately, however, government sources played down hopes that areas would move down the tiers before the impact of the Christmas loosening became clear, which is unlikely to be until mid-January.
BORIS JOHNSON was accused of giving London special treatment today as details emerged that it would be spared the toughest Tier 3 controls when lockdown ends next week. Nearly 99 per cent of people in England will be under Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions from December 2, with restrictions being reviewed every 14 days. Just 1.27 per cent of people will be under Tier 1. More than 32 million people will enter Tier 2, said Downing Street, while around two fifths of the population — more than 23m people — will be under Tier 3, a substantial increase compared to October.
Tough new restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic will cover 99% of England’s population from next week, with government scientists warning that there is little prospect of any real changes for possibly months to come. On a sobering day that provoked fury from some MPs, the prime minister apologised for the heartache and frustration the sweeping measures would cause to up 55 million people placed in the highest two tiers, but warned that this was not the time for “taking our foot off the throat of the beast”. In a Downing Street press briefing, the chief medical officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, underlined the size of the challenge still facing the country when he urged people to be cautious during the coming temporary relaxation of restrictions over Christmas.
Boris Johnson is facing a Tory rebellion after the Government’s “authoritarian” and “unfair” new tier system left more than 34 million people facing tougher restrictions than before the national lockdown. MPs were described as being “in open revolt” after 99 per cent of England’s population was placed in the highest tiers, two and three, with only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly placed in the lowest Tier 1. The Prime Minister defended the measures, saying they were necessary to prevent a “New Year national lockdown”.
Conservative MPs have called on the government to publish more evidence to justify areas of England being put into the higher tiers of Covid restrictions when the lockdown ends next week. Several of them have criticised the introduction of the stricter measures. No 10 said on Thursday that most of England would go into the two highest tiers when lockdown ends on 2 December. The Covid Recovery Group, made up of Tory backbenchers, said it was “authoritarianism at work”. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the move was “necessary to protect the NHS and keep the virus under control”.
Boris Johnson will need the support of opposition MPs to get his coronavirus rules through the Commons next week unless he can quell a growing Tory rebellion. Conservative MPs representing regions placed in the highest tiers joined well-known Tory lockdown sceptics in opposing the new system yesterday. Many said they would make a final decision on whether to support the government after the publication of data before a vote expected on Tuesday. On November 4, 33 Tory MPs voted against the lockdown in England, just seven short of half of Mr Johnson’s majority of 80.
BORIS JOHNSON has been the target of anger from Tory MPs over the rollout of England’s revamped tier system, which sees the country divided between three different tiers. Conservative MPs from across the country have voiced their disquiet over the new tier system, which sees counties grouped in to restrictions despite varying coronavirus case data. Only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly will exit lockdown into tier one restrictions, with around 99 percent of the population thrown into strict measures. Mr Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have stressed the tougher restrictions across the country are necessary to avoid a third national lockdown, as the second is set to end on December 2.
Boris Johnson was at war with his own MPs last night over virus curbs that could keep 99 per cent of the country in ‘virtual lockdown‘ until spring. The Prime Minister faced a mutiny by up to 70 Tory MPs after unveiling details of tough regional restrictions that will leave Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly as the only areas where people can socialise indoors. Senior Tories warned the Prime Minister would face the ‘biggest revolt of this Parliament’ when the plan is put to a Commons vote next week. Hospitality chiefs said three-quarters of pubs and restaurants would be made ‘unviable’ by the draconian rules which will leave 32 million people in Tier Two and 23 million in Tier Three.
Lockdowns won’t end until anticipated vaccines “come to our aid” in the future and the country can expect a “hard winter”, the Prime Minister has said, as the government’s science advisor warned it is quite possible the coronavirus will simply mutate to outperform vaccinations. Speaking at the Downing Street press conference hours after the details of the new post-lockdown-lockdown were revealed to the country, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made clear to the nation that there was no reasonable hope of lockdown ending soon, saying merely that there was “reason to hope” that spring would see an end of “this era of restrictions”.
Volunteers are needed for a national trial that will investigate the use of an inhaled steroid as a treatment for coronavirus. The call for participants comes as the chief medical officer warned family members not to hug elderly relatives this Christmas. Budesonide will form part of the UK’s priority platform trial for Covid-19 treatments that can be taken at home. Led by the University of Oxford, the Principle (Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against Covid-19 In older peoPLE) trial is evaluating treatments that can help people aged over 50 recover more quickly from coronavirus and prevent the need for hospital admission.
A steroid in inhalers is being added to a key trial looking for drugs that prevent mild cases of Covid-19 in vulnerable people deteriorating to the point of hospitalisation. The drug, called budesonide, is the fourth therapeutic to feature in the Principle trial. Two antibiotics, called azithromycin and doxycycline, are also being investigated. Hydroxychloroquine, the controversial anti-malaria drug touted by Donald Trump, was originally part of Principle but was suspended in May. Budesonide has no known side effects associated with short-term use, is easy to manufacture and cheap, the researchers say, making it an ideal candidate.
A “game-changing” blood test that could detect more than 50 types of cancer is to be introduced by the NHS, the head of the health service has said. Charities said the move could “save lives on a vast scale” by detecting potentially lethal disease years before symptoms emerged. The new checks, which use a simple blood test, will be piloted with 165,000 patients in a deal struck by NHS England, funded by a US diagnostics company. Research has found the tests – which identify molecular changes – can detect types of disease that are difficult to diagnose early, such as ovarian, pancreatic and oesophageal cancers. Participants aged between 50 and 79 will be asked to have annual blood tests for three years.
A groundbreaking blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer is to be trialled in the NHS. In a world first, the Galleri test – dubbed the ‘holy grail’ for cancer – will be given to 165,000 patients next year. If successful, it will be rolled out to more than a million people within the next five years and could be routinely available within the decade. The test, made by US company Grail, works by looking for DNA released by tumours into the blood – crucially even before a patient has symptoms. Health officials believe it has the potential to save thousands of lives every year by flagging up cancer early, drastically improving survival chances.
A single blood test that can spot more than 50 types of cancer is being piloted on the NHS. The Galleri blood test will be given to 165,000 participants to identify molecular changes that indicate cancers that are difficult to diagnose early. These include cancers of the head and neck, ovarian, pancreatic, oesophageal and some blood cancers. If it is shown to identify cancers early in people without symptoms it will be rolled out to become routinely available. NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens said: “While the good news is that cancer survival is now at a record high, over a thousand people every day are newly diagnosed with cancer.
THE NHS is to roll out a “game-changing” test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer. The blood checks spot tumours years before a person is ill, significantly boosting survival chances. It paves the way for a universal NHS cancer screening programme — helping to save tens of thousands more lives each year. Health bosses are planning the world’s first major pilot of the Galleri tests, involving 165,000 Brits over three years. If successful, they will be trialled on one million, before being introduced for routine NHS use. US firm Grail is supplying the test — which works by pinpointing DNA that has broken free of a tumour — free for NHS trials.
Tory rebels have launched a major whipping operation in a bid to block a £4bn cut to foreign aid spending as the Government conceded it would need to pass legislation to force it through. A group of moderate MPs led by Andrew Mitchell, a former chief whip and international development secretary, are urging colleagues to vote down the reduction of the target when it is put to a vote in Parliament. It came as the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Thursday refused to commit to a “sunset clause” in the legislation which would limit the cut to overseas aid spending to just one-year.
CONSERVATIVE rebels will seek to block Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plans to cut the foreign aid spending by £4bn. A group of up to 60 Tory MPs are said to have initiated action to stop the cut going through. Former chief whip and international development secretary Andrew Mitchell is leading the efforts according to The Telegraph. Mr Mitchell and Tory rebels are calling on fellow MPs to vote down the cutback. Mr Mitchell accused Mr Raab of allowing “a dismal start to our G7 premiership”, starting in January.
Online tech giants should pay news providers for using their content under a ‘mandatory’ code, peers have demanded in a landmark new report. It paints a worrying picture of a ‘fundamental imbalance of power’ between news publishers and platforms. This comes as Government announced plans for a new competition regime designed to rein in the dominance of platforms such as Google and Facebook. Today’s Lords Communications Committee report recommends a ‘mandatory news bar-gaining code’ – based on an Australian model – be introduced into the Government’s Online Harms Bill.
The BBC’s news output has the lowest-ranked impartiality score of any British broadcaster, according to a survey of viewers. The corporation has fallen below Channel 5 for the first time. Ofcom asked audiences for each of the main channels whether they believed that the news programmes they watched were free of bias. The BBC scored just 58 per cent. Sky News was the highest-rated with 69 per cent, followed by Channel 4 (66 per cent), ITV (63 per cent) and Channel 5 (61 per cent).