A FURIOUS MEP has warned Angela Merkel and the EU leadership against ignoring the message of Brexit, after the German Chancellor pushed ahead with plans to ramp up “European federalism”. Angela Merkel and the Brussels leadership have failed to learn anything from Brexit, according to a prominent MEP Gerolf Annemans. The right-wing Belgian MEP told the European Parliament that the German Chancellor will exploit her country’s position as president of the European Union to “accelerate” EU integration. He urged EU leaders to pay attention to Brexit, claiming that “the citizens of the EU” are overwhelming against “more Europe’. A tweet accompanying footage of his speech read: “With Merkel’s presidency of the EU, European federalism will increase, no matter if the Brexit has taken place!”
EU MEMBER-STATES like Sweden are revolting against Brussels’ plan to protect itself from the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit crisis at this weekend’s summit. Brussels has demanded EU countries fund a €5 billion Brexit reserve fund to protect countries most at risk of economic turmoil after the UK leaves the bloc. However, according to RTE, Sweden has voiced fierce opposition to the plans at the European Union summit in Brussels this weekend. Europe Editor Tony Connelly said that EU member-states are furious at the additional funding demand because “Brexit has nothing to do with the pandemic”.
European leaders were struggling last night to save a €750 billion coronavirus rescue fund after three days of deadlock in Brussels that pitted north against south and east against west. Wide differences remained at the first face-to-face summit for five months. The Dutch were leading five “frugal” allies demanding tougher terms for handing billions in loans and outright grants to Italy, Spain and Greece, the southern nations that they regard as inveterate profligates with their state finances. As the sun dipped behind the council building in Brussels, Xavier Bettel, the Luxembourg prime minister, said that after seven years of European summits, “I have never seen positions as diametrically opposed as this”.
Brussels has blocked the UK from introducing tough new import controls to protect oaks and other favourite trees and shrubs from a devastating plant disease. In April, the government announced a ban on the import of coffee plants and myrtle leaf milkwort, a popular indoor plant, and strict new rules on olive, rosemary, lavender, almond and oleander which can carry Xylella fastidiosa, a disease that has wreaked havoc on the continent. It has already wiped out olive groves in southern Italy, but it can also attack 520 species of popular British plants.
BORIS JOHNSON will have the power to “strike down” Scotland if it attempts to defy the UK’s post-Brexit laws, an expert has revealed. The warning comes as Westminster and Holyrood are on track for the biggest constitutional showdown since the EU referendum as Nicola Sturgeon’s government threaten to block a major post-Brexit law over accusations of a “power grab”. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party (SNP) have warned they are prepared to stand in the way of an internal bill, which would give the UK Government the power to set food and environmental standards following the nation’s exit from the bloc.
China’s ambassador to the UK gave a brazen defence of his country’s human rights record on Sunday, insisting the Uighur people live in “peaceful and harmonious coexistence with other ethnic groups”, as he was confronted with footage of shackled prisoners being herded on to trains in Xinjiang. As the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, prepared to give a statement on Hong Kong on Monday, in which he is expected to suspend extradition arrangements with the territory, Liu Xiaoming flatly denied claims of abuses by Beijing.
China’s ambassador to the UK repeatedly denied human rights violations against Uighur Muslims – despite being shown shocking video of detainees. He also denied there was a “massive” campaign of forced sterilisation of the minority group, but said he “cannot rule out single cases.” A year-old video, which appears to show hundreds of Uighur Muslims bound, blindfolded and lined up on their knees waiting to be pushed onto trains in Xinjiang province, has circulated online in recent days.
Britain will shelve its extradition treaty with Hong Kong today as the government faces mounting pressure to toughen its stance towards China. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, will tell the Commons that the agreement will be suspended in response to a draconian security law imposed on the former British colony that jeopardises its judicial independence. Yesterday he accused China of “egregious” human rights violations. Canada and Australia have already scrapped their extradition treaties with Hong Kong and the United States is considering a similar move.
China has warned it will deliver a “resolute response” to any move by Britain to sanction officials involved in the alleged human rights abuses against the country’s Uighur population. Amid growing tensions with Beijing, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Chinese officials of committing “gross, egregious” abuses in the northwestern Xinjiang province. Mr Raab said he would also be updating MPs on Monday on the government’s response to the imposition by the Chinese government of a draconian new national security law on Hong Kong.
Dominic Raab is expected to suspend the UK’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong on Monday amid growing tensions with Beijing, The Daily Telegraph understands. According to multiple Whitehall insiders, the Foreign Secretary is set to tell MPs that the arrangement will be temporarily halted following the imposition of the new national security law by Beijing last month. He is likely to stop short of tearing up the agreement altogether, with senior Government sources suggesting the option will be held in reserve as a “final lever to pull” should China continue to breach its international commitments.
Britain is set to tear up its extradition agreement with Hong Kong today as Dominic Raab warns the country must be ‘very careful’ in its dealings with China. In a move that will further escalate tensions, the Foreign Secretary is expected to announce that the Government will no longer hand over suspects to the former British colony. It follows Beijing’s imposition of a repressive security law in the territory that effectively outlaws public protest.
The UK government is set to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in response to China’s imposition of a tough new national security law, according to reports. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab is expected to make a statement in the House of Commons on Monday confirming the move, which would infuriate Beijing. On Sunday, he hinted he was preparing further measures as he accused China of committing “gross, egregious human rights abuses” against the Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang province.
THE BBC has been accused of “systematic failure” to comply with its charter obligations to impartiality over 20 years in a major complaint lodged with Ofcom. Broadcasting monitoring group News-watch has prepared the complaint in a week where BBC’s director of editorial policy David Jordan admitted BBC journalists have “overstepped the mark” on Twitter. He told the House of Lords digital and communications committee that this meant “We have had issues, for example, about tracking the rise of Eurosceptism. Across the BBC, did we do that adequately? No, we didn’t.” Former BBC news producer David Keighley, who now heads up News-watch, has made a series of historic complaints over the BBC’s bias in favour of pro-EU voices.
A medieval knights’ chamber will serve as one of ten makeshift “Nightingale courts” as ministers desperately try to clear the backlog of criminal cases. Emergency measures have been forced on the Ministry of Justice because the lockdown had made an existing logjam of cases in magistrates’ and crown courts worse. Court officials say that the backlog runs to 550,000 cases, including 41,000 in crown courts. Robert Buckland, QC, the justice secretary, has also been striking commercial deals with landlords for temporary courtrooms to hear civil, family and some non-custodial criminal cases.
TEN “Nightingale Courts” are being launched to help clear the backlog of criminal cases that has built up during the coronavirus pandemic. A whopping 354 murder cases and 1,159 rape cases were waiting to be dealt with in crown courts by the end of March, figures revealed. The temporary courts are the latest effort by the Government to ensure that justice is not derailed by the Covid-19 crisis. Venues for the courts include the Ministry of Justice’s headquarters in London, the Knights’ Chamber at Peterborough Cathedral and Middlesbrough Town Hall. The courts will hear civil and family cases as well as noncustodial crime cases.
Lifting lockdown restrictions has not led to a spike in coronavirus cases, the UK’s national statistician has said, but he issued a warning for autumn as the PM insisted he does not want a second national shutdown. Professor Sir Ian Diamond, head of the Office for National Statistics, told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday an increase in infections depended on “how the population works”. He said he had not noticed any uptick in coronavirus since measures were eased, adding: “The message has been quite consistent in that we must be alert and we must be socially distanced and if we are really super careful and if we are able to follow all the rules it does seem to me that we should expect there to be a relative flatline at the moment.
The UK has not yet seen a second spike in coronavirus cases since lockdown was eased, the UK’s National Statistician has said. Professor Sir Ian Diamond said there had been a ‘relative flatline’ in the number of people infected. When asked if he had expected to see an increase as lockdown was lifted he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that it depended on ‘how the population works’. He added: ‘The message has been quite consistent in that we must be alert and we must be socially distanced and if we are really super careful and if we are able to follow all the rules it does seem to me that we should expect there to be a relative flatline at the moment.
More than 200,000 people could die from the impact of lockdown and protecting the NHS, an official government report shows. As national restrictions were imposed, experts from the Department of Health, the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the government’s Actuary Department and the Home Office forecast the collateral damage from delays to healthcare and the effects of recession arising from the pandemic response. It estimated that in a reasonable worst case scenario, around 50,000 people would die from coronavirus in the first six months of the pandemic, with mitigation measures in place.
More than 200,000 people could die because of delays in healthcare and other economic and social effects all caused by lockdown, a government report has warned. The great majority of the deaths – 185,000 – are attributed to an extended wait for treatment in the longer term. But up to 25,000 deaths would have come in the first six months because of healthcare delays, according to experts at the Department of Health and Social Care, Office for National Statistics, Government Actuary’s Department and Home Office.
Test and trace
The government has admitted its contact tracing programme is unlawful in a legal letter which confirms it has been running in breach of data protection laws since it was launched in May. Confirmation the programme failed to adhere to privacy regulations comes as Sky News can reveal that contractors working for NHS Test and Trace have been told they may be fired following reports of dozens of staff sharing patients’ confidential data on social media.
HUNDREDS of protesters gathered in Hyde Park this afternoon to demonstrate against the wearing of face masks. Face masks will become compulsory in shops from July 24 – and anyone who fails to wear one can be hit with a £100 fine. Activists brandished signs reading “I will not be masked, tested, tracked” and “no mask” as they gathered for the ‘Keep Britain Free’ march today. The group claim the government acted “illegally” by putting the country into lockdown and are opposed to a Covid-19 vaccination. One man was photographed wearing a white t-shirt that said: “Save human rights, no to 5G, no to vaccinations”, while another woman had the words “question everything” written on the front of her top.
Two teenagers have been charged with attacking police officers at an illegal rave in north London. Devonte Perkins and Brandon Elabor allegedly assaulted officers at the unlicensed music event on an estate in Finsbury Park on Friday. Scotland Yard said police were met with ‘hostility and violence’ and pelted with missiles including canisters, bottles and a bicycle, Scotland Yard said. Perkins, of Sibley Grove, Newham, was also charged with using threatening, abusive, insulting words or behaviour to cause fear of violence and was remanded in custody to appear before Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Hundreds of activists have descended on Hyde Park in central London to protest the wearing of face coverings, which will become compulsory in shops and supermarkets from Thursday. Demonstrators raised signs reading ‘I will not be masked, tested, tracked’ and ‘no mask’ as they gathered for the Keep Britain Free march from 1pm. The movement was founded by Simon Dolan, an aviation tycoon worth around £200million, who earlier this month lost a High Court bid to overturn the government’s lockdown rules. Launching the movement on July 6, the Essex-born entrepreneur said: ‘I believe in freedom of choice for all and the protection of personal liberties.
Thousands of people attended a rave at a disused Royal Air Force station in the United Kingdom, with police struggling to shut it down, according to officials. Hundreds of people gathered Saturday night at the former RAF Charmy Down airfield, some three miles outside the English city of Bath. Upwards of 3,000 people were in attendance at the height of activity, the BBC reported, with hundreds still there early Sunday morning. Pictures and video on Twitter showed partiers seemingly ignoring all coronavirus-safety regulations, including a lack of facial masks and social distancing.
Thousands of Leeds United fans packed into the city centre this afternoon, leaving little room for social distancing as they celebrated promotion to the Premier League after a 16 year absence. West Yorkshire Police was forced to arrest some fans as supporters packed close together, chanting songs and letting off flares in Millennium Square, following a 3-1 win over Derby County. The crowd gathered just a short walk from Leeds General Infirmary, where NHS staff have been battling the coronavirus pandemic for months.
An illegal car rally took place in Tameside, Greater Manchester on Sunday which caused traffic jams on nearby motorways. Police were called to an industrial estate in the town of Denton after hundreds of people brought their cars to the location just outside the M60 motorway. Alarming footage from the Sunday event shows large rows of cars being lined up near the industrial estate, with several members of the public not wearing face masks nor conforming to any sort of social distancing.
The Government has secured an agreement for 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed – and currently at phase two trials – by BioNTech and German firm Pfizer. There has also been an in-principle deal done for 60 million doses of a vaccine that is being developed by France’s Valneva. The figure of 90 million is in addition to the 100 million doses of vaccine that are being developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca. Meanwhile in Scotland, a cluster of coronavirus infections has been confirmed at an NHS Test and Trace call centre in North Lanarkshire.
THE UK has secured early access to 90 million coronavirus vaccine doses currently undergoing Phase 2 trials with pharmaceutical companies. A third of the Covid-19 treatments are being jointly developed by BioNTech and Pfizer – which is the first deal the two firms have signed with any government. The second deal for 60 million vaccine doses is with French company Valneva and includes an option to acquire a further 40 million if the vaccine is proved to be safe and effective. The clinical trials carried out by Valneva, which has a factory in Livingston, Scotland, are expected to be partly funded by the UK government.
Conservationists warn that Boris Johnson’s proposed planning laws could be a “deregulatory race to the bottom” with more changes due to the way that the impact on green areas is assessed. Eighteen charities, including the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Friends of the Earth, Woodland Trust and RSPB, have written to the prime minister to call for “locally accountable and democratic” planning rather than further deregulation. The letter says: “Further deregulation of the planning system would erode the foundations of any green and just recovery long before the first brick is laid.
Some nurseries are considering pulling out of offering 30 hours a week of free childcare for working parents because they say that they are having to operate the government scheme at a loss. Parents could lose subsidised childcare worth hundreds of pounds a month and may have to look for alternative nurseries, playgroups or childminders. The plan for 30 hours of free childcare a week, for qualifying parents of children aged three and four has been in operation since 2017. The main reason why many nurseries offered it was because they feared losing business but the pandemic, which forced them to shut or restrict capacity, has shifted the balance. Hundreds of nurseries may close.
Rebel pensioners could write cheques in Cornish in protest at plans to strip them of free TV licences. Outraged OAPs plan a “gum up the works” campaign to disrupt the system as the clock ticks down to them losing the benefit. Curbs due from August 1 will see an estimated 3.7 million over-75s have to pay £157.50-a-year to watch their favourite programmes. But the Silver Voices older people’s group is waging a revolt which could see a host of measures aimed at making it more difficult for officials to operate the licensing system. Moves could include writing cheques in Cornish or Gaelic, “forgetting” to date or sign cheques and making out cheques for amounts slightly higher or lower than the precise fee.