MICHEL Barnier has warned EU leaders to brace for a Brexit showdown with Boris Johnson to get talks over a trade deal with Britain back on track. The disheartened Frenchman urged them to lobby the Prime Minister to drop his negotiating red lines in a final bid to break the months of bitter deadlock. In a private briefing to European capitals, Mr Barnier explained his efforts to broker a free-trade agreement are on the verge of failure because he cannot convince his opposite number David Frost to move closer to the bloc’s demands for a regulatory level-playing field and access to Britain’s fishing waters for EU vessels. The Brussels bureaucrat told member state diplomats they should also be ready to re-evaluate his hardline negotiating guidelines if both sides cannot overcome their differences in the coming weeks. “Barnier is ringing capitals to update us on the lack of progress,” one EU official told Express.co.uk. “When leaders will be involved depends on how things develop across the next few weeks, but it’s difficult to be optimistic at the moment.”
DESPERATE Michel Barnier is urging EU leaders to personally lobby Boris Johnson to step in and save the Brexit talks from failure. The Brussels dealmaker fears the PM is unaware how badly the negotiations are going and wants capitals to spell out the situation to him directly. He has concluded talks with David Frost have now gone as far as they can and only an intervention by top politicians on both sides can unblock them. EU negotiators believe Mr Johnson is committed to a deal but others in No 10, including chief adviser Dominic Cummings, would prefer to leave without one.
The EU’s top negotiator has ‘rung round Europe leaders’ amid fears trade deal talks with the UK are on the brink of collapse. Michel Barnier is trying to get Boris Johnson to compromise and has asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron for support. It comes as Tory MPs warn the EU it must realise the UK is ‘under new management’ and will not cave in during Brexit talks ‘like Theresa May’. An EU insider told the Daily Express: ‘[Michel Barnier] thinks we’re coming to the end of the road.’
Downing Street has been warned that Boris Johnson has less than two weeks to save post-Brexit trade and security talks, according to senior European Union sources. Michel Barnier and David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, will hold emergency talks next week in an effort to save the negotiations, The Times understands. Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, told the government last week that negotiations will not move forward until Mr Frost explains what Britain’s future policy will be on industrial subsidies. In an angry response, the prime minister’s negotiator hit back, telling the French former European commissioner that Britain would not draw up such a key economic policy on a “timetable dictated to” by the EU.
EU citizens have launched a campaign for the government to give them physical proof of their right to remain in Britain after Brexit – amid fears that they could be locked out of homes, jobs and healthcare by technical problems. The Independent reported this week on how the Brexit settlement scheme’s “digital-only” design is already causing problems for EU nationals, some of whom are already being held up in airports and facing delays in moving house. But campaigners worry that the scheme’s flaws could have even more serious consequences, denying EU citizens living in Britain their rights to homes, jobs, and healthcare – all of which require them to prove their right to live in the UK.
FAMILIES will get a cut-price burger treat under a new trade deal with New Zealand. They will see the price of high-end wagyu beef fall by a third if agreement is reached. That would drive down the cost of two wagyu burgers by £1.50 to just £3 in supermarkets. Kiwi farmer Jason Ross said: “Our wagyu is the Rolls-Royce of beef. We would love to make it more widely available.” Imports from New Zealand are currently hit with a 20 per cent import tax set by the EU — and that could end after Brexit. But farming unions and some ministers want to keep tariffs high to try to prop up the UK market. Now, leading farmer Denis Lynn has urged Trade Secretary Liz Truss to stare down the protectionists.
Priti Patel was forced to abandon a deportation flight returning illegal Channel migrants to Spain on Thursday after human rights lawyers mounted last-minute legal actions. Sources said the Home Office had been hit by so many last-minute legal claims that it had no option but to pull the flight, which would have returned 23 illegal migrants who had reached the UK on small boats from France. It came as the Home Office was embroiled in a row with lawyers over a video it posted on attempts to remove migrants from the UK, in which it said current regulations are “allowing activist lawyers to delay and disrupt returns”.
Priti Patel was furious last night after legal challenges forced the Home Office to abort a planned charter flight carrying cross-Channel migrants to Spain. The ministry had aimed to remove 23 migrants yesterday morning after checks against EU databases found that they had passed through Spain on their route to Britain to claim asylum. Ms Patel’s department was thwarted on the same day that it became embroiled in a row over a Dad’s Army-style video it had promoted, attacking lawyers for taking such cases. It showed simplistic cartoons of aircraft flying out of Britain to the Continent.
A HOME Office flight bound for Spain to return illegal Channel migrants had to be abandoned on Thursday morning after being bogged down in legal action, The Sun can reveal. 23 illegal migrants who had arrived on small boats were due to be deported but were successfully removed from the flight on legal technicalities. Home Secretary Priti Patel is understood to be “furious” at the latest attempt to stop Britain clamping down on dangerous migrant crossings in the English Channel. A Whitehall source said “there was 100 per cent legal attrition rate on the flight due to unprecedented and organised casework barriers sprung on the government by three law firms.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel’s bid to report 23 cross-Channel migrants to Spain has failed after the deportation flight was cancelled due to a last minute legal challenge. The plane was scheduled to leave the UK on Thursday morning, but had to be scrapped while the appeals are considered. The Home Office accused such legal claims of typically being ‘baseless and entirely without merit’. The ministry had aimed to remove 23 migrants yesterday morning after checks on EU databases found they passed through Spain on their way to the UK, as reported by The Times. The comments come as the department was forced to abandon using a Dad’s Army-style video where it accused ‘activist lawyers’ of trying to disrupt the asylum system.
The British Home Office has managed to deport a small group of illegal migrants despite a hunger strike by detainees at Brook House. Two small groups of six migrants each were removed to France and Germany, with another 15 being removed in the last week, according to the BBC — but these numbers are dwarfed by the more than 5,000 known to have crossed the English Channel illegally in small boats since the beginning of 2020. Even this figure almost certainly underestimates the true scale of the Channel crisis, however, as the British authorities have been refusing disclose the number of supposed child migrants who migrants who have been crossing — even though it has been admitted that at least a quarter of these are really adults. It also fails to account for migrants who land undetected, or who reach Britain via more “traditional” cross-Channel routes — i.e. hiding in lorries and other vehicles, stowing away in ferries, or breaking into the Eurotunnel.
The Scottish National party has accused the government of endangering the 300-year-old Acts of Union between England and Scotland by launching an inquiry into the role of judicial reviews that could lead to changes in Scottish law. Joanna Cherry QC, the party’s justice and home affairs spokesperson, has written to the justice secretary, Robert Buckland QC, pointing out that “Scotland’s system of civil justice is a devolved matter” and “therefore the preserve of the Scottish parliament”. Her intervention follows the announcement in July that the government has established “an independent review of administrative law” that will examine the role of judicial review challenges in the courts
NHS surgeons are only working at around 50 per cent capacity, the president of their Royal College has revealed, despite record waiting times for crucial operations. Official figures show that more than 50,000 people have waited a year for treatment – up from 1,117 a year ago. It comes amid concern about a surge in positive Covid cases, with daily records showing 1,522 cases, up from 1,048 the day before. However, weekly figures show the first decline for six weeks, despite rises in the numbers being tested. The vast majority of NHS surgery and other routine treatment was stopped for months during lockdown. But medics said efforts to restore services are moving too slowly, with some likening their hospitals to “the Mary Celeste” because so many patients were being kept away.
NHS surgeons are only working at around 50 per cent capacity as patients face record waiting times for operations, a top doc has claimed. It comes as figures show more than 50,000 people have waited a year for NHS treatment as the service feels the pinch during the coronavirus pandemic. Professor Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, warned the NHS is struggling to restore services amid virus prevention rules, reports The Telegraph. He said surgeons are now only able to cope with around half their normal workload due to restrictive new procedures they have to follow. The waiting list of people who have face more than a year before routine operations has skyrocketed to 50,971 patients from 1,117 a year ago. It is an increase of more than 4,000 per cent – and it has been blamed on the pandemic.
Covid-19 death tolls at individual care homes are being kept secret by regulators in part to protect providers’ commercial interests before a possible second coronavirus surge, the Guardian can reveal. England’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Care Inspectorate in Scotland are refusing to make public which homes or providers recorded the most fatalities amid fears it could undermine the UK’s care system, which relies on private operators. In response to freedom of information requests, the regulators said they were worried that the supply of beds and standards of care could be threatened if customers left badly affected operators. The CQC and Care Inspectorate share home-by-home data with their respective governments – but both refused to make it public.
Matt Hancock today insisted it will be up to schools to make sure supply teachers do not unwittingly spread coronavirus if they teach lessons at different locations. Concerns have been raised about the prospect of supply teachers working in more than one school and the risk of them carrying the virus from one institution to another. The situation has drawn comparisons to what happened in care homes at the start of the pandemic when agency workers did shifts at multiple facilities. The Health Secretary said this morning that a strict adherence to social distancing would minimise the risk of the disease spreading. Tens of thousands of supply teachers work across the UK and Mr Hancock was asked this morning what protections the Government is putting in place to guard against the risk potentially posed by staff moving between schools.
County lines drug trafficking gangs have been grooming schoolchildren during lockdown, a charity has warned. As pupils prepare to return to school next week, charity workers said that children and young people are being excluded as a result of being criminally exploited and groomed. In fact, gangs are engineering exclusion from school as part of the exploitation. Evidence from casework at Just for Kids Law shows that a significant proportion of children have been excluded because they have been the victims of child criminal exploitation (CCE) and groomed into criminal activity.
Boris Johnson will launch a major drive to get Britain back to the office as ministers warn working from home will make people more “vulnerable” to being sacked. A publicity campaign to begin next week will extol the virtues of returning to the workplace, making the “emotional case” for mixing with colleagues and highlighting the benefits to mental health. It will also provide reassurance that “the workplace is a safe place”, while a new online tool will help people avoid the most crowded trains and buses. While the media blitz – to be launched at the end of next week once schools in England have reopened – will focus on the positives of returning to the office, ministers are already warning of the negatives of home working as part of a carrot and stick approach. They have sent out the message that bosses at struggling firms will find it easier to hand out P45s to people they never see than to colleagues who have been at their desks during the pandemic.
Boris Johnson is facing calls from senior Tory MPs to give a “clear and consistent message” that it is safe for people to go back to work, amid warnings of “devastating consequences” for town and city centres. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, opened a cabinet rift by saying that he cares more about how effectively officials in his department are working than whether they come into the office. His comments put him at odds with the prime minister, who has urged people to “go back to work if they can” and put pressure on employers to provide “Covid-secure” workplaces.
Workers will be encouraged to return to the office as part of a major media campaign to be launched by the government next week. The television and newspaper messages will promote the government’s aim to reduce the number of employees working from home amid fears that town and city centres are becoming ghost areas as workers stay away. A report in the Telegraph said the campaign would push the emotional and mental health benefits of mixing with colleagues but also said that ministers would warn that those working from home could be more vulnerable to being sacked.
BRITS will be warned to get back to work or risk losing their jobs – as Boris Johnson urges workers to return to their desks. A Government campaign to encourage people to leave their home set up is set to kick in after schools reopen next week. The push will include reassurance on the safety of offices and the emotional benefit of being with colleagues. But ministers are reportedly not going to shy away from the negative, as the PM worries empty offices will slow the country’s progress – warning workers are more vulnerable to being let go. A Government source told the Telegraph: “People need to understand that working from home isn’t the benign option it seems. “We need workers to be alert to what decisions their bosses may take in the weeks ahead.
Most Britons believe that the BBC is wrong to have Land of Hope and Glory and Rule, Britannia! performed without lyrics at the Last Night of the Proms, a poll has indicated. YouGov research for The Times has found that 55 per cent oppose the move. Sixteen per cent think that the instrumental compromise is right and 5 per cent believe that the songs should not be performed at all. The poll indicates the extent to which the corporation is out of step with the public on the issue, which has brought impassioned interventions this week, including from Boris Johnson. The BBC’s decision to perform the songs without lyrics came amid concerns about perceived links to colonialism and slavery.
More than half of Britons say the BBC is wrong to strip Rule, Britannia! of its lyrics for Last Night of the Proms, according to a new poll. A YouGov survey for The Times found that 55 percent of people oppose the BBC’s decision to remove the song’s lyrics. Sixteen per cent think the instrumental compromise is the best solution and 5 per cent think the songs should not be performed at all. The BBC Proms start on Friday amid raging controversy after the BBC announced that Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory would be played without lyrics at the iconic Last Night performance. The traditional songs, which some find controversial because of their perceived ties to imperialism, will still be played and the BBC has confirmed they will be sung in 2021.
The majority of Britons believe the BBC are wrong to remove the lyrics from Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory at the Last Night of the Proms, according to a poll. The survey shows more than half of people oppose the move, which comes amid claims that people are offended by the lyrics of the much-loved anthems – because they are ‘racist’. As it stands, the patriotic songs will be played by an orchestra only on September 12, supposedly because the lack of an audience will diminish their impact. God Save the Queen and Jerusalem will still be played in full at the event, led by Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevska, 35, which will take place without an audience and with limited performers.
Climate change protesters will target airports and impose roadblocks across the country this bank holiday weekend. In a series of protests beginning on Friday, Extinction Rebellion’s “regional rebellion” over four days will include demonstrations across the country, including in London, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff and Leeds. Due to the pandemic and its impact on travel, protesters will be taking action locally, targeting the aviation sector, banks, the fossil fuel industry and petrol stations. Larger-scale demonstrations are planned for London, Manchester and Cardiff on 1 September, coinciding with Parliament’s return. Protests expected this weekend include roadblocks, marches, sit-ins, bike rides and picnics, with campaigners emphasising “non-violent direct action”.