BREXIT trade talks with Brussels will restart tomorrow, and ahead of the crunch negotiations the UK has vowed not to agree to any alignment on EU rules, including fishing rights. Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiating team has vowed to stand firm in the latest round of trade talks, which will resume in Brussels tomorrow. The UK team will not accept any deal that “constrains” Britain to the EU’s rules and infringes sovereignty, a source has revealed. As part of the UK’s tough approach, negotiators will stand firm on banning EU fishing boats from having unlimited access to British waters. The source said: “We remain committed to working hard to find the outlines of a balanced agreement. “We have been repeatedly clear that we are looking for a deal with, at its core, a free trade agreement similar to the one the EU already has with Canada – that is, an agreement based on existing precedents. “But what we cannot have is a form of relationship which requires alignment or one that constrains us to the EU’s rules.
The UK has vowed not to agree to any alignment on EU rules as Brexit talks resume in Brussels tomorrow. A source close to British negotiators said it would not accept any deal that ‘constrains’ the UK to the EU’s rules and infringes sovereignty. They reiterated that the UK was still seeking a free trade deal with the EU, similar to its agreement with Canada. The source said: ‘We remain committed to working hard to find the outlines of a balanced agreement. ‘We have been repeatedly clear that we are looking for a deal with, at its core, a free trade agreement similar to the one the EU already has with Canada – that is, an agreement based on existing precedents. ‘But what we cannot have is a form of relationship which requires alignment or one that constrains us to the EU’s rules.
BREXIT will not harm Britain’s standing the world – and the nation remains an attractive place to invest, the new boss of Tata Steel has said. Natarajan Chandrasekaran insists leaving the EU has not damaged Britain’s standing – although he was wary about the threat of any new tariffs on his businesses. He added: “I think what you look for in running big businesses is stability, it’s not that every policy you end up liking. “In the last three to four years, Brexit dealings have had a lot of twists and turns, but the world has not been a stable place for the last four years.”
A ROW erupted last night over Holyrood’s plans to stay tied to the EU after Scotland’s top law body warned Scotland’s Brexit Bill could create deep political rifts in British politics. Holyrood is conducting a consultation on the SNP UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill which will provide for continuity of EU provision that would otherwise be lost with Brexit. But the Faculty of Advocates warned that the bill would “contribute to policy divergence from the rest of the UK.”
Nicola Sturgeon is facing questions over claims that some hospital patients who tested positive for coronavirus were then discharged into care homes. At least five health boards have been accused of knowingly transferring patients with Covid-19 into care homes in March, around the time lockdown was first imposed in Scotland. According to the Sunday Post’s investigation, at least 37 potentially infectious people were discharged into care homes after testing positive for the virus in Ayrshire hospitals.
The Home Office has announced a formal review after migrants seeking asylum were mistakenly placed in a hotel in a rural part of Priti Patel’s Witham constituency. Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, revealed on Twitter that migrants had been put up in a hotel in the village of Rivenhall, Essex. He posted a video of himself visiting the hotel. “Home secretary Priti Patel has been most critical of the crisis in the Channel. So why is her local hotel in Witham housing illegal migrants? She is taking her constituents and all of us for a ride.”
The UN Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have told the UK not to use the navy to repel illegal boat migrants coming from France, claiming that Britain can cope with the constant stream of new arrivals because numbers are “low”. More than 4,500 illegals have crossed the English Channel and landed on Britain’s shores in the first eight months of 2020 — more than double the 1,890 who arrived in the whole of 2019.
Judges have condemned France for its ‘degrading and inhumane’ treatment of refugees in a scathing landmark ruling. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said the French authorities ‘had failed in their duties’ to support those who applied for asylum in the country, leaving them to sleep rough on the streets for months in ‘constant fear of being attacked or robbed’. Its criticism came after three asylum-seekers accused the French government of failing to uphold its own domestic law which requires the state to provide basic necessities such as food and shelter while refugees await a decision on their asylum application.
TRAFFICKING gangs are offering desperate migrants gold, silver or bronze package deals to cross the Channel in small boats. Fixers sell the differently priced packages by touting for business in a Calais camp of about 1,000 migrants. Their gold package means a bigger boat with fewer people in better conditions and costs up to £10,000, a Sun investigation reveals. It takes into account weather conditions, how successful previous trips have been — and includes life jackets. Silver is £3,000 to £5,000 with not quite as good conditions on a lesser-quality boat. Bronze is a more cramped boat, often one that has been stolen.
The Royal Navy was called in to help Border Force to tackle the increase in cross-Channel migrants as more arrived yesterday. A specialist team is to provide help with the planning and logistics of daily operations but sources at the Ministry of Defence insisted that Border Force staff would remain in the front line of efforts to counter crossings and assist migrants on dinghies. A Whitehall source said that there was no intention “at this point” to deploy naval vessels to deal with the steady stream of migrants making the 21-mile trip from France to the UK.
The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, on Sunday evening faced being undermined as it emerged key figures at the exam regulator want the Government to U-turn and award students their predicted grades. The Telegraph can reveal that members of the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) board now want to ditch their own algorithm, which has been controversially used to calculate results for A-levels and GCSEs this year. Mr Williamson has repeatedly defended the algorithm as the fairest possible way to calculate students’ grades after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus and said there will be “no U-turn, no change”.
GAVIN Williamson has been warned he must act fast to avoid being dragged down by the row over the downgrading of hundreds of thousands of A Level results – or his party will face the wrath of those who voted Tory for the first time in December. Robert Oulds, director of the Bruges Group think tank, said Mr Williamson, who has offered an apology to young people up and down England, was fighting for his job – and said it was now critical for him to make amends.
GCSE students in Northern Ireland are to be awarded grades predicted by their teachers, Stormont’s Education Minister has announced. Just days before the results are published on Thursday, Peter Weir has scrapped a plan that would have had grades calculated using a mathematical model that took into account the past performance of schools. The major policy shift comes amid a raging controversy in Northern Ireland about the system used to allocate A-level grades.
Boris Johnson has been warned by Conservative MPs that they will go on the warpath unless he tackles the “unfairness” of England’s A-level grading system. The threat of rebellion came as the problems surrounding the exams deepened at the weekend. Ofqual, the exams regulator, issued advice on lodging appeals that contradicted the government’s position, only to withdraw it hours later. The confusion, and an apparent lack of leadership, was criticised by students, parents and teachers, some of whom took part in demonstrations yesterday.
Boris Johnson was last night facing calls to delay this week’s GCSE results as the exam fiasco worsened. He is facing growing anger from his own party over the ‘huge mess’ surrounding the A-level results of millions of teenagers. Lord Baker, who introduced the GCSE system, said Thursday’s results announcement should be delayed by two weeks to allow the grades to be revised. It is feared that millions of pupils could see their scores downgraded by a government algorithm used to allocate marks after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus.
Senior Conservative MPs are calling on Boris Johnson to consider delaying the publication of this week’s GCSE results until the problems with A-levels have been resolved. The prime minister is under pressure to intervene to end the deepening A-levels crisis in England, amid growing anger among pupils, teachers and MPs, including from his own party. The same controversial algorithm that was used to determine last Thursday’s A-level results is being used to dish out GCSE grades this week, sparking fears that millions of pupils could see their marks downgraded, after the coronavirus outbreak cancelled exams.
The head of Ofqual, the quango which drew up the controversial system for downgrading A-level results, led a study last year which warned that algorithms had the potential to cause ‘real harm’. Reliance on algorithms – using computers to make decisions rather than humans – could be dangerous when they are making ‘important decisions about people’s lives’, it said. The study was carried out by the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI), which is run by Roger Taylor, who is also chairman of Ofqual.
Ministers are being urged to consider postponing the publication of GCSE results this week as Gavin Williamson faces pressure to abandon the heavily-criticised A-level grading system. It comes as discontent grows in Tory ranks at the exam regulator, with the chair of the Education Select Committee hitting out at the “unacceptable” decision to drop guidance for appeals – just hours after it was published at the weekend. The fiasco over A-levels could escalate further on Thursday as millions of teenagers receive their GCSE grades.
Boris Johnson is facing calls to take charge of the growing A-levels “chaos” amid mounting anger among pupils, teachers and MPs. Furious students marched on Westminster to demand the resignation of the education secretary, after another setback for those who feel their exam results were unfairly downgraded. There was also disbelief at Westminster after guidance for children in England seeking to appeal against their grades being marked down was suddenly withdrawn without explanation.
Ofqual could face claims that the A-level algorithm at the centre of the exams row breached data protection rules, experts predict. Lawyers told The Times that EU general data protection rules brought into British law two years ago include a right to object to automated decision-making. It is one of several legal avenues that experts believe could be pursued by teenagers and their families who consider their grades unfair. Article 22 of the EU rules, which were incorporated into UK law by the Data Protection Act 2018, covers decisions based on algorithms and individual profiling.
Hundreds of thousands of GCSE pupils are braced for heartache this week when they receive their grades, in the wake of the A-level results scandal. Furious teenagers yesterday demonstrated in Westminster after the exam system was plunged into chaos when two in five A-level marks were lowered. And England’s Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was urged by a Tory predecessor to delay this Thursday’s GCSE results amid fears pupils face the same “unfair” fate. About 700,000 teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should receive their marks.
Exam chiefs want the government to U-turn and award A-level students with their predicted grades, it has been claimed. According to reports, some members of the Ofqual board want to ditch the system for “moderating” the predicted grades awarded by teachers so results are standardised across the country. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has consistently argued moderation was essential to prevent “rampant grade inflation” after actual exams were cancelled amid the coronavirus crisis, insisting there can be no reversal.
Former presidents of the Oxford University Student Union have published a letter urging the university to admit all A-Level offer holders, as St Edmund’s College became the fourth college to honour offers irrespective of results. The letter signed by 15 former presidents said that coronavirus had caused “unprecedented disruption” to the education of many young students and called for the university to make this year’s offers unconditional.
The Government today issued an appeal for human guinea pigs for a coronavirus vaccine. More than 100,000 people have signed up for Covid-19 inoculation trials – but ministers want more volunteers. They particularly need over-65s, people who are black, Asian and from ethnic minorities, and frontline health and social care workers. The Government’s Vaccines Taskforce chairwoman Kate Bingham said: “Protecting those at risk is the only way we will end this pandemic. “That’s why we are working as quickly as possible to run clinical studies on the most promising vaccines to see whether they offer protection against Covid-19, whilst adhering to the UK’s strict safety and regulatory processes – and we need people throughout the UK to sign up to the registry to help us achieve this.”
Britain on Monday urged elderly people and volunteers from Black and Asian minority groups to sign up to a COVID-19 vaccine trial registry to boost efforts to find a working vaccine against the disease that offers protection against higher risk groups. No COVID-19 vaccine candidate has yet been proven effective against the disease, but around 20 are in clinical trials. Over 100,000 people have volunteered to take part in vaccine trials, Britain’s business ministry said, but more volunteers are needed to make sure candidate shots work for everyone.
HUNDREDS of people have packed inside a giant gazebo for an illegal rave in locked-down Manchester. Cops were pelted with missiles at the party in Gorton on Saturday night – one of two raves broken up by cops in Greater Manchester over the weekend. Footage of the rave was shared on Snapchat, showing youngsters packed together despite strict lockdown laws in the area. Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling of Greater Manchester Police said they were investigating videos of the party. “Quite frankly, it is beyond comprehension and I am incredibly disappointed that people feel they can gather in this way – blatantly flouting the rules,” he said. “I can honestly say that in 30 years of policing I have never seen anything quite as outrageous as this behaviour. It is appalling.”
A deputy chief constable has expressed utter disbelief at an illegal street party which saw police pelted with missiles as they tried to break up the event. Greater Manchester Police said officers were forced to call for significant back-up in the Gorton area of Manchester as they dealt with large gatherings for the second night running. GMP’s Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling said he was “incredibly disappointed” – adding that such blatant flouting of the rules was “beyond comprehension”.
SHOCKING drone images show more than 200 revellers at an illegal rave in Birmingham. The illegal gatherings come as coronavirus cases in the city have rocketed from 13.8 per 100,000 people to 28.1. It’s the second week in a row partygoers have flouted social distancing rules to attend the events. West Midlands Police busted the huge DJ-led block party in Hampton Street in the city centre on Friday night. The pictures show Covidiots partying hard into the early hours of Saturday.
Two teenagers were stabbed at an illegal rave attended by around 600 people on Saturday night. Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward to help with their crime investigation after the two youths were found injured and bleeding when cops attended the scene in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, to shut the huge party down. The teenagers have not been named and their exact ages have not been revealed – however one received stab wounds to the head and the other had stab wounds to the hand.
VIOLENCE erupted at an illegal rave attended by 600 revellers yesterday. Police called in reinforcements when they saw the initial 200-strong crowd growing at the unlicensed event. And when fighting broke out they moved in to close it down. At least two people suffered knife injuries and went to hospital. But their wounds were not thought to be life-threatening. Police think more were injured but left without reporting their wounds. The rave in Borehamwood, Herts, had kicked off at midnight. No arrests were thought to have been made.
A senior oncologist has described cancer care as an unfolding disaster after research found that 250,000 patients were not referred to hospital for urgent checks owing to delays at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Five-year survival rates are expected to fall after the study, due to be published this week, found that GPs made 339,242 urgent cancer referrals in England between April and June, down from 594,060 in the same period last year.
BRITS are now less likely to survive some major cancers than 15 years ago because of Covid-19. Many patients have the same risk of dying from the disease as in the early 2000s, when outcomes were significantly poorer, a major analysis suggests. Experts warn delays in picking up and treating cases will trigger tens of thousands of extra cancer fatalities over the next year. Three million Brits have already missed out on screening since it was, in effect, put on hold in March, meaning 7,200 early cases have not been spotted.