Boris Johnson was last night defiant in the face of EU “bully boy tactics” on Brexit. Tensions have flared after Eurocrats lashed out ahead of crunch talks tomorrow. EU negotiator Michel Barnier claimed the UK is not sticking to its negotiating commitments and slammed the country’s vote to leave. But government sources said the Prime Minister would not back down in the face of the EU “bully boy tactics” and insisted the bloc needs to “evolve” its position. Brussels was also accused of breaking its Brexit promises over fishing rights. Negotiations face collapse unless the EU makes compromises, it was warned. Brexiteers dismissed the bloc’s sabre-rattling as a sign of desperation.
Brexit trade talks cannot go on for ever and will need to conclude before the autumn, Britain has warned the EU. Ahead of the next crunch round of talks this week, sources close to the negotiations said that the EU had accepted that the UK would not budge on its red lines. It came as EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned Boris Johnson not to backslide on his promises. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr Barnier issued an ultimatum, saying there would not be an ‘agreement at any cost’. He said: ‘We remember very clearly the text which we negotiated with Boris Johnson. And we just want to see that complied with. To the letter… And if that doesn’t happen, there will be no agreement.’
BRITAIN has accused Brussels of breaking its Brexit promises after tensions flared ahead of crunch talks on Tuesday. Negotiations face collapse unless the EU makes compromises over fishing and red tape, it was warned. Sources close to the talks hit back after Eurocrat Michel Barnier claimed the UK is not sticking to its side of the deal. The negotiator claimed the UK has taken “two steps back, three steps back” from its original negotiating commitments. And he trashed the country’s vote to quit the bloc, saying it was a “lose-lose” for both sides. But a source close to the negotiations said Brussels was continuing push for an overarching deal on future relations that includes an agreement on fishing rights, despite signing up to negotiating terms that clearly set out that a separate agreement on fish should be in force in July.
EU dealmaker Michel Barnier expects the UK to make a big push to break the deadlock over Brexit this week. His team have told envoys from 27 member states that No10 will press hard for progress to avoid the impression that talks are failing. And Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost is set to warn him that it is now or never for a deal. UK officials do not want to end up with talks resurrected next year if no agreement is struck over the next few months.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, threatened that if the United Kingdom does not capitulate to “more realistic demands” then the EU will forgo further negotiations in favour of a no-deal Brexit. The French eurocrat accused Britain of “cherry-picking” in Brexit negotiations. “It needs to be more realistic. Because we will not accept cherry-picking. Nor will we accept an agreement which would go to the detriment and the integrity of the Single Market,” Barnier said in an interview with The Times.
The UK faces a no-deal Brexit unless Boris Johnson keeps the promises he made when securing the withdrawal agreement, the EU’s chief negotiator has warned. Michel Barnier accused the prime minister of trying to back away from the written commitments in the political declaration signed with the European Commission. He declared there would be no trade deal unless the text he negotiated was complied with “to the letter” – and claimed that Britain had more to lose from the failure of the talks.
Uncertainty and lack of time before the end of Brexit transition poses a “potent threat” to prosperity and stability in Northern Ireland, a report has warned. Businesses in Great Britain could decide it is economically unviable to continue operations across the Irish Sea unless flexibility is shown in the EU negotiations, a House of Lords committee warned. The country will have to follow EU rules on agriculture and manufactured goods, ensuring access to its single market and keeping the border with the Republic of Ireland free-flowing in a key concession maintaining a decades-old peace.
The National Crime Agency hopes to turn illegal immigrants into whistleblowers against traffickers by offering them the possibility of improving their chances of staying in the UK. The approach is aimed at achieving more arrests and convictions. Rob Richardson, head of the NCA slavery and human trafficking unit, said that prosecutions were difficult to secure unless victims went on the record. In return for helping the police, they could have any potential immigration offences handled more sensitively, Mr Richardson said.
A United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report has revealed that as many as 650,000 migrants are currently waiting in Libya, ready to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. The report notes that the Chinese coronavirus pandemic could have a major impact on mass migration, but the outbreak has also made such movements increasingly difficult to predict. “The global crisis caused by the pandemic is unprecedented and it is difficult to predict its impact on human trafficking and migrant smuggling,” the report stated, adding that the severe economic consequences of prolonged lockdowns could fuel a surge of migration from various countries, Il Giornale reports.
Children will need to attend classes over the summer to stop them falling behind, the Children’s Commissioner has said as parents on Monday start to send pupils back to school. Anne Longfield has urged ministers to set up summer camps for the most vulnerable students during July and August to help them catch up on the school work they have missed during lockdown. The Telegraph understands that ministers are considering summer camps for disadvantaged children as well as a “catch up premium” – where schools are given extra funding to spend on initiatives for vulnerable pupils.
A million children in England – half of those who are expected to return when their classes reopen – are likely to stay at home on Monday rather than go back to school, as many parents, councils and teachers remain sceptical of the government’s assurances over their safety. Boris Johnson’s government has invested considerable political capital in opening classrooms to primary school pupils in three year groups – reception, year 1 and year 6 – leading to warnings by independent scientists that it is too soon to reopen while transmission and infection rates remain so high.
School governors want ministers to drop plans for all primary pupils in England to return before the summer holidays. The first wave of children is due back from Monday but the government wants all primary pupils in class for the last four weeks of term. This ambition piles pressure on schools “when actually it wouldn’t be safe”, said Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association.
Worried parents are expected to keep at least a million eligible primary pupils at home today as schools allow more children to go back to classes. That is around half of those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 who could return under lockdown easing – in a major blow to Boris Johnson ‘s hopes of getting back to normal before the summer break. And headteachers predicted more than one in five teachers will be forced to work from home due to health conditions, their age or having vulnerable family members.
Gavin Williamson has sought to reassure parents and teachers that the welfare of children and staff is at the heart of a plan to reopen schools today. Pupils in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are the first cohorts allowed to return, while providers such as nurseries catering for early years are also due to open their doors again this morning. Secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will begin to provide some contact time for pupils in a fortnight’s time.
Tories today slammed ‘hard-left’ unions opposing the reopening of schools amid claims a fifth of staff will stay off tomorrow (Monday). The National Education Union (NEU) was accused of ‘chasing headlines’ by resisting the ‘phased and cautious’ plans to get pupils back in the classroom. The row came as general secretary Mary Bousted dismissed the idea of making up for lost time during the summer holidays, saying her members had been working ‘flat out’ during lockdown and deserved a break.
GAVIN Williamson has urged parents to send their kids back to school on Monday to start fixing the damage to their education and wellbeing. Many pupils will be returning to classes in the morning after more than ten weeks off — but others will be held back amid safety fears. The Education Secretary told The Sun: “I know there will be some natural nervousness about sending more pupils into school today.
Three mothers are considering suing the Government over school closures – amid claims they may have breached children’s human rights and pupils are being ‘treated like they’re germs’. The women have also written to the Secretary of State Gavin Williamson to ask whether the ‘long term physical and mental welfare’ of pupils has been considered, and to raise concerns about social distancing.
The Government’s quarantine plans face a Tory revolt when they reach the Commons this week, as a senior MP warned it was the “wrong policy” that will damage the economy. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will on Tuesday lay the regulations in Parliament enacting the quarantine under which all international arrivals, including returning Britons, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. However, more than 20 Tory MPs including at least seven former ministers are demanding a rethink of the plans that are scheduled to come into force on June 8 and the introduction of “air bridges” with low-risk countries.
The quarantine about to be imposed on arrivals to Britain will “kill” the travel industry and have the same impact as the complete closure of the nation’s borders, ministers have been warned. Aviation leaders urged the government yesterday to rethink the plan, saying it was the equivalent of hanging up a “Britain is closed” sign. They warned that it would damage the economic recovery at a crucial time and cost thousands of jobs in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.
Churches should be allowed to open, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster has said as he questioned why the government had excluded religious worship from “key activities”. Cardinal Vincent Nichols asked what risk there was to “a person who sits quietly in a church which is being thoroughly cleaned, properly supervised and in which social distancing is maintained”.
Singing in religious buildings should not yet be allowed, the communities secretary has said. Robert Jenrick told the Downing Street press conference on Sunday he understood why some people might find it “strange” that shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants could reopen soon but places of worship could not. “I think the first logical step is probably to open places of worship for individual or private prayer,” he said. “I’m hopeful that the work that we’re doing with faith leaders will bear fruit, and that we’ll be able to see places of worship open in the coming weeks.”
Singing hymns could spread coronavirus, a minister suggested yesterday, as he defended the decision to keep churches closed. Speaking at the government’s daily briefing, Robert Jenrick said that when places of worship reopen, he does not want to see “what we’ve seen in some other countries where large gatherings in places of worship, particularly because of the demographic in some faiths, because of singing hymns and so on which can lead to exhalation, can create particular problems.”
Boris Johnson’s target to boost testing capacity to 200,000 has been met a day early, the government said, but senior Tories warned there is “no point” to it does not translate into actual tests. The Department of Health said capacity reached 205,634 on Saturday and would support the rollout of the NHS Test and Trace system. The number of tests actually carried out on Saturday was 115,725. Officials said the 200,000 figure includes the ability to do 40,000 antibody tests a day for NHS and social care workers.
Some 2.4 million patients have missed out on cancer tests and treatments due to a backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic, charities have said. According to Cancer Research UK 2.1 million patients are awaiting screening appointments for breast, cervical and bowel cancer while a further 290,000 have not had referrals for tumours. It is also estimated that about 21,600 patients have had surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy postponed in the past nine weeks.
Almost 2.5million patients have missed out on vital cancer tests and treatment because of the pandemic. The NHS faces the shocking backlog of cases as it tries to return to normal – and also cope with new victims of the disease. Cancer Research UK says 2.1million patients are awaiting crucial screening for breast, cervical and bowel cancer. Another 290,000 have missed out on urgent referrals to confirm or rule out tumours. And at least 21,600 patients have had surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy postponed in the past nine weeks.
Boris Johnson has ‘changed his mind’ over the deal with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, according to a senior Government source. The company is to hold crunch talks with Downing Street this week following reports No 10 is seeking a way out of the deal to let Huawei build 35 per cent of the 5G network. The meeting with Sir Edward Lister, one of Mr Johnson’s senior aides, has been described as a ‘clarifying moment’ for the company.
Tom Watson, the former deputy Labour leader, is one of three people nominated by Jeremy Corbyn to have had their peerages blocked by the independent watchdog, The Independent has learnt. John Bercow, the former speaker of the House of Commons, and Karie Murphy, the former director of Mr Corbyn’s office, are also understood to have had their nominations refused. Mr Corbyn made the nominations before he stepped down as Labour leader, but it is understood that the party has been informed by the House of Lords Appointments Commission, which vets candidates for propriety, that they were “not agreed”.
TOM Watson has been blocked from receiving a peerage over his support for VIP paedo ring fantasist Carl Beech, it’s reported. The former Labour deputy leader is understood to be one of three people to have their nominations for peerages by Jeremy Corbyn blocked. Mr Watson was nominated by Mr Corbyn to be elevated to the House of Lords, according to The Independent. It is claimed he was rejected due to his role in the “paedo ring” witch hunt by encouraging Beech to take his false claims to cops.
Rebel pensioners who face being stripped of free TV licences are attempting to “gum up the works” to save their benefit. Some 3.7 million OAPs are due to lose the lifeline, worth £157.50 a year, from August 1. Curbs on entitlement were due to come into force today, but were delayed by two months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Older people’s groups are demanding a further stay of execution – and called on the Tories to honour a 2017 manifesto pledge to protect free TV licences for the over-75s.
Curfews were in place across 40 American cities last night and the National Guard was out in force alongside police in a dozen states to try to end the most widespread disorder triggered by racism since the 1960s. Hundreds were arrested on Saturday night amid wanton looting and clashes with the authorities, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds as vehicles burnt and shop windows were smashed.
Anti-racism protesters again took to the streets in cities across the United States to voice their fury at police brutality as the Trump administration branded the instigators of five nights of rioting domestic terrorists. Demonstrations continued as reports surfaced that Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.
Protests in London against the death of George Floyd resulted in 11 arrests today. Met Police initially said five people had been arrested, two for assaulting officers and three for breaching coronavirus measures. Those five people are aged between 17 and 25. The Met later confirmed that an additional six arrests had been made which “vary in offences from possession of an offensive weapon to assault on police, obstructing a public carriageway to breaches of Covid legislation”.
Thousands of people have gathered in London, Manchester and Cardiff to show solidarity with protesters in the US who are demonstrating following the death of a man during an arrest. At 1pm, those gathered knelt in tribute to George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis on Monday after a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes while arresting him. Those unable to attend the Black Lives Matter demonstration were urged to kneel in solidarity wherever they could.
The George Floyd unrest spreading across the United States has crossed the Atlantic to Great Britain, with thousands of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other activists taking to the streets of London with little apparent regard for the coronavirus regulations. Breitbart reporter and videographer Kurt Zindulka recorded activists at a variety of locations in Britain’s multicultural capital — led by Labour politician and prominent Trump critic Sadiq Khan — including the U.S. embassy, the gates protecting the Prime Minister’s official residence at 10 Downing Street, and Trafalgar Square.
HUNDREDS of anti-racists gathered in Trafalgar Square today to protest against the death of a black man restrained by police in the United States. The Black Lives Matter demonstration was organised after George Floyd was killed last week in Minneapolis by white police officers, who held him down while one pressed his knee into his neck as he cried: “I can’t breathe.” Chants of “say his name: George Floyd” and “black lives matter” came from the crowds.