Withdrawal agreement

Express
A MAJOR new report has warned that Boris Johnson needs to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU or jeopardise Britain’s hard won freedom from Brussels control. The 100-page analysis by the Centre for Brexit Policy (CBP) has warned that the deal mostly negotiated by Theresa May’s government contains “poison pills” which will undermine British sovereignty and could cost the country £165 billion. The document comes just a few weeks after Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator David Frost admitted that the government was trying to put right flaws in the Withdrawal Agreement which allowed the UK to have an orderly exit on January 31 this year. Mr Frost explained that there had not been enough time to renegotiate the whole agreement with the EU after Mr Johnson took over from Theresa May in order to get Brexit done. The CBP has agreed with his analysis and laid out a blueprint for the items which need to be resolved in the trade and security deal currently being negotiated. These include the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU citizens’ rights, the controversial £39 billion divorce payments, future financial liabilities, EU data protection laws, EU geographical indications of origin which are not reciprocal, and provisions relating to UK sovereign bases in countries like Cyprus. This is on top of resisting EU demands to be allowed to fish in British waters and to take control of British regulations through so-called “level playing field” provisions.

Immigration

Telegraph
Foreign criminals sentenced to more than a year in jail will be banned from Britain under new immigration rules. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, will on Monday set out details of the points-based system which will replace freedom of movement from January 1. The 130-page document will abolish the route into the UK for unskilled migrants and instead award points to applicants if they have skilled job offers, speak English and meet minimum salary thresholds. The new system will mean that EU citizens, including criminals, will be treated in the same way as migrants from the rest of the world with businesses expected to do more to recruit British workers and end their reliance on cheap foreign labour. And it will give the Government powers to exclude or deport any foreign criminal who has received a prison sentence of more than a year.

Times
Priti Patel and her French counterpart have signed an agreement to create a “joint intelligence cell” to tackle migrants crossing the Channel. The home secretary met Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, to discuss intelligence sharing. Yesterday the authorities in France prevented about 200 migrants from crossing the Dover Strait and the Home Office said that Britain intercepted almost as many. A search and rescue operation was launched as Border Force and agencies including the Coastguard and Kent police responded to several incidents off the British coast.

Sun
A NEW migrant smuggling hit squad has been set up by Britain and France after a surge in dinghies trying to cross the Channel. Priti Patel signed the agreement on Sunday in Calais amid growing alarm that criminals are resorting to ever more dangerous tactics. A staggering 200 illegal immigrants were caught trying to cross the treacherous waters on Sunday alone, sources said. Announcing the crackdown, the Home Secretary said the deadly scandal “simply cannot be allowed to go on”. She said: “Despite all of the action taken by law enforcement to date – intercepting the boats, making arrests, returning people to France and putting the criminals responsible behind bars – the numbers continue to increase.

Sky News
The government is to set out the UK’s future immigration and border policies today, as it aims to prepare the country for the end of the Brexit transition period. Home Secretary Priti Patel will say the country will be able to “welcome the best and brightest global talent” as she publishes a 130-page document detailing how the new points-based immigration system will operate. The announcement is expected to include a visa for foreign health professionals, but Labour says the proposals have been “rushed” and could cause “major problems” for the NHS and care sector.

Mail
Priti Patel last night told France to start towing boatloads of illegal migrants back to its shores – as numbers crossing the Channel to England surged to near-record levels. Up to 200 migrants were intercepted by Border Force patrols off the British coast yesterday in what is feared to be a new daily record. The crossings came as the Home Secretary met her new French counterpart Gerald Darmanin in Calais to push for fresh action to curb the ‘unacceptable’ daily crossings and tackle the ruthless people-smuggling gangs behind them. The two ministers agreed to establish a small joint intelligence unit based in Coquelles, near Calais, where UK Border Force and National Crime Agency officers will work alongside their French counterparts.

EU

Express
BREXITEERS have slapped down Guy Verhofstadt after he made a dig about Brexit in a Twitter post. The MEP shared an article which reported that the Government has bought a site off the M20 in Kent for a post-Brexit customs centre for the thousands of lorries that arrive in Dover from Calais every day. In his tweet, Mr Verhofstadt accused Boris Johnson of putting barriers to trade back up that Margaret Thatcher brought down and moaned that “progress can never be taken for granted”. The MEP said: “In 1988, Margaret Thatcher proudly declared that the barriers to trade in Europe were coming down. “In 2020, the same party is putting the barriers back up. Progress can never be taken for granted!”

Brexit transition

Express
THE SNP will formally urge Boris Johnson to accept an EU offer of a Brexit extension with less than six months to go until the end of the transition period. The Scottish Government has repeatedly called for the transition period to be extended with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon writing to Boris Johnson, warning “fundamental issues” still remained between the UK and EU negotiators. The party said they have concerns less than six months before the end of the Brexit transition period as recent talks reached a deadlock. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has repeated the bloc’s openness to an extension in a letter to leaders of smaller parties in Westminster, including the SNP, Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru after they contacted him about the talks.

Telegraph
Millions of Britons whose passports are due to expire in the next year are being urged to apply for a new one now, as part of a stepping up of efforts to prepare for the end of the Brexit transition period. Holidaymakers travelling to popular European destinations from Jan 1 will be required to have six months validity on their travel documents, which is likely to cause a stampede of renewals at UK passport offices. It’s estimated that some five million UK citizens have passports which are valid for less than a year, meaning they should act now in order to travel in the new year. Those who do not renew in time will “not be able to travel to most EU countries” as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Times
Britons will be told today that travelling to the Continent will be a different experience next year as ministers try to prepare the nation for a post-Brexit future. The government is launching an information campaign with warnings about passports, travel insurance, mobile phone charges and travelling with pets. The initiative, “The UK’s new start: let’s get going”, features guidance for visiting the EU from January 1. Much of the information is aimed at raising awareness of higher costs, with travel insurance premiums expected to rise once eligibility for free healthcare in EU countries ends.

Guardian
Ministers are urging people to take out comprehensive travel insurance if they are heading abroad from January as they announce plans to plough £700m into a new border strategy. From Monday a new marketing campaign to get the public prepared for life after the Brexit transition period will include TV, radio and digital adverts. Advice for people in Northern Ireland is set to follow in a few weeks’ time as negotiations with the EU continue. As well as reminding people about insurance and checking passports are in date, the adverts will also be targeted at businesses exporting to or importing from the EU, reminding them to get an economic operators registration and identification number, or to register with the relevant customs authority.

ITV News
British holidaymakers will be given guidance on travel insurance and taking their pets abroad as part of a new public information campaign ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period. “The UK’s new start: let’s get going” adverts will be launched by the Government on Monday on television, radio and online, with information also sent to people via text message. It is hoped the campaign will help businesses and individuals prepare for the end of the transition period on December 31 when the UK leaves the single market and customs union. Adverts will carry a “Check, Change, Go” strapline and direct people and businesses to a checker tool on the Government’s website to show them what next steps they need to take.

Independent
Britons will be warned about the risks from new travel rules, higher roaming charges and border chaos for traders when Brexit is completed, as a new information campaign is launched. Ministers have chosen the slogan “The UK’s new start: let’s get going” for the adverts that will run on television, radio and the internet, as well as in text messages to be sent out. A strapline reading “Check, Change, Go” will direct people and businesses to a website for detailed advice on steps to take – with full departure from the EU looming on 31 December.

Treatment

Times
Scientists are preparing to begin trials of an antibody treatment that could be used to protect older people from the coronavirus. The hope is that a three-minute infusion of antibodies could ward off infection for up to six months. It could be an option where a more conventional vaccine is unsuitable, including for people whose natural defences are compromised by immunosuppressant drugs or chemotherapy. It could also be used to boost the immune systems of older people who are at a heightened risk.  The treatment is being developed by Astrazeneca, the Cambridge-based drugmaker, which is also partnering Oxford University on a separate effort to create a vaccine.

Independent
Enough vaccine doses are being made for everybody in the UK in “the first half of next year”, says the head of the team at Imperial College – if trials are successful. Professor Robin Shattock warned there is still no guarantee that its fast-track research will produce an inoculation with immunity against coronavirus. But he said: “Assuming funding is there to purchase, we could have that vaccine rolled out across the UK in the first half of next year.”

Local lockdown

Telegraph
More than 100 outbreaks of coronavirus are happening each week, Matt Hancock has revealed, as it emerged door-to-door testing will increasingly be used to contain localised infections. Writing for The Telegraph, the Health Secretary said many outbreaks are being dealt with “swiftly and silently”, through small lockdowns and new testing regimes such as portable walk-in centres. A farm in Herefordshire became the first such business in the country to go into lockdown on Sunday, after 73 workers tested positive for Covid-19, leading to concerns over further outbreaks happening as seasonal workers gather for harvest time.

Sun
POLICE are guarding a coronavirus-ravaged farm where 73 workers have been struck down by the killer bug. The outbreak in Mathon, Herefordshire, is being closely monitored by PHE Midlands, with 200 workers now forced to isolate in mobile homes on site. The mass testing was carried out after some workers – many of whom are from eastern Europe – showed symptoms sparking the largest outbreak of its kind in the UK since the pandemic began. Pictures from the site in Herefordshire near Mathon, Worcestershire, show police officers wearing protective face masks while guarding the gates at both the entrance and the exit.

Breitbart
Public health officials are keeping the British people in the dark about the location of new coronavirus outbreaks to prevent “community tensions” and “hate crimes”. Members of the public “are not being given a full, accurate, picture of where coronavirus cases are — to protect people who test positive from possible hate attacks,” according to Jane Haynes, Politics & People Editor at BirminghamLive, following an interview with Dr Helen Carter, deputy director for Public Health England (PHE) in England’s West Midlands. “We have had some incredibly upset people who have spoken of neighbours not speaking to them, of communities not being supportive,” Dr Carter told the reporter.

Mail
Police are today guarding the exits of a vegetable farm which supplies a number of major supermarket chains after 73 staff working and living on the site in trailers tested positive for coronavirus. A total of 200 staff have been ordered to self-isolate after workers at A S Green And Co in Mathon, Herefordshire, tested positive for Covid-19 – which has caused the death of almost 45,000 people in the UK.  The workers are employed to carry out picking and packing work at the site, located to the south-west of Worcester and east of Hereford, while living in mobile homes on Rook Row Farm.

Sun
MORE than 100 local lockdowns are happening every week sparked by dozens of new outbreaks, Matt Hancock said. The Health Secretary said the localised spikes in Covid-19 are being dealt with “swiftly and silently” by shutting down areas and installing new testing regimes. Pubs, schools and businesses across the country have been hit by flare ups just days after reopening. It comes as a farm in Herefordshire was locked down yesterday after 73 workers tested positive for the bug and staff told to quarantine in mobile homes.

Times
The entire workforce of a farm in Herefordshire has been quarantined after 73 employees tested positive for coronavirus, leading to concern that a resurgence of cases is imminent. Local authorities told all 200 vegetable pickers and packers at the family-run farm AS Green and Co that they could not leave while widespread testing for staff is arranged. Herefordshire is said to be the first place in the UK to experience an outbreak of this kind, but health officials claim it was “not unexpected” given the close quarters working conditions and “global trend” of large food producers experiencing outbreaks.

Mail
More than 100 outbreaks of coronavirus are ‘swiftly and silently’ being dealt with every week across the UK, the Health Secretary has said. Matt Hancock revealed how flare-ups in schools, businesses and pubs across the country are consistently being handled with ‘local actions’, just nine days after many businesses reopened.  He stated that increased testing, some of which is being done door-to-door in infected areas, means officials can take a more targeted approach rather than imposing national measures.

999 staff attacks

Mirror
People who attack 999 workers could have their jail terms doubled to two years under plans outlined today. A consultation could lead to maximum sentences being lifted from 12 months for those convicted of attacking a police officer, firefighter, prison officer or paramedic. Announcing the study, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: “Being punched, kicked or spat at should never be part of the job for our valiant emergency workers who put their lives on the line to keep the public safe. “Now more than ever they must be able to do their extraordinary work without the fear of being attacked or assaulted, which is why we’re determined to look at how our laws can protect them further. “We will continue to do everything in our power to protect our police, prison officers, firefighters and paramedics, and ensure those who seek to harm them feel the full force of the law.”

BBC News
Plans to double the maximum jail term for criminals who assault emergency workers to two years are being considered by the government. Just two years ago, a previous law change doubled the maximum term from six months to 12 in England and Wales. Ministers have launched a consultation on the issue. Home Secretary Priti Patel said this sent a “clear and simple message” that “vile thugs” would not get away with such “appalling behaviour”. “Our police officers, firefighters and other emergency workers go above and beyond every single day – running towards danger to protect us all,” she said.

Sun
SICK criminals who assault a cop or paramedic face twice as long behind bars under new government plans. Ministers warned “vile thugs” will be hit “by the full force of the law” if they attack hero police and NHS staff. They are consulting on hiking the maximum sentence for attacks on emergency workers from 12 months to two years. It comes after horrific accounts of louts who have claimed they had Covid spitting at police officers. And dozens of cops were kicked and punched while policing the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Modern slavery

Times
At least 100,000 victims of modern slavery are being abused and exploited by traffickers and crime gangs in Britain, says a report published today. Victims are being controlled with alcohol and drugs or exploited in brothels and car washes, says the study. Others are in bonded labour and domestic servitude. The new figure on the scale of slavery is ten times higher than a Home Office assessment six years ago.  Even this is likely to be an underestimate because of the hidden nature of the crime, says today’s report by the Centre for Social Justice think tank and Justice and Care, an anti-slavery charity.

China

Mail
A leading figure in a Chinese group allegedly created to groom foreign elites has been pictured with five British prime ministers. Photographs uncovered by the Daily Mail show how Zhirong Hu has moved among the British Establishment. He has met Boris JohnsonTheresa MayDavid Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Mr Hu is a director of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, which is reportedly controlled by the country’s Communist Party. Academics say its mission is to groom ‘business, political and media leaders in countries around the world’. The claims are backed by a new book, Hidden Hand, whose serialisation continues in the Mail today.

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