Brexit trade talks could enter their final stages this week after both sides made key concessions. If the latest round of discussions – which begin tomorrow – goes well, it is expected that negotiators will begin the process to finalise a deal. However, doubts still linger in Brussels, with EU leaders and diplomats accusing London of lacking ‘credible’ ideas to break the deadlock. Reports yesterday suggested that both the UK and Brussels are giving ground to avoid the double negative economic impact of coronavirus and No Deal at the end of the year. Lord Frost, the UK’s negotiator, and his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, are said to be preparing to finalise details by the end of this week.
BRUSSELS is offering an olive branch on state aid spending ahead of make-or-break trade talks. Boris Johnson fears the EU could abuse Brexit deal small print in the Irish border fix, tying his hands on business-boosting measures like tax breaks and cash injections. He enraged Eurocrats by introducing legislation rowing back on parts of the Withdrawal Agreement. But both sides have since looked to cool the row amid signs a solution can be thrashed out. With Michael Gove and negotiator David Frost heading across the Channel today for crunch talks, an EU source insisted the bloc is ready to agree to binding commitments.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove is heading to Brussels at the start of a week of talks about the UK’s future relationship with the European Union. Mr Gove will meet European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic to discuss implementation of the Brexit divorce deal. And on Tuesday formal negotiations will resume as the two sides attempt to agree a post-Brexit trade deal. Last week the UK said a lot of work remains before a deal can be reached. An EU spokesman said their chief negotiator Michel Barnier was neither optimistic nor pessimistic but determined to reach a deal.
BRITAIN is heading for a no deal Brexit, Irish Taoiseach, Micheál Martin has warned while dropping a major hint about how he is preparing for January, as the EU and UK hold talks this week. The UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost will meet with his counterpart, Michel Barnier, in order to thrash out a Brexit deal this week. With deadline fast-approaching to sign a free trade agreement, Ireland’s Prime Minister has dropped a huge hint the two are heading for a no deal Brexit. Although a Brexit deal could still be reached, Mr Martin revealed the Irish government was basing the national budget announcement in three weeks on a no deal Brexit.
Britain is on course for a no-deal Brexit with trade talks between the UK and EU unlikely to end in a deal, according to Ireland’s leader. Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the UK’s controversial Internal Market Bill had “eroded trust” between the two sides, with Europe no longer confident that Britain’s word can be relied upon. Speaking in an interview with i, to be broadcast on Monday as part of the Liberal Democrats’ online party conference, the Taoiseach also insisted that he would be able to forge a partnership with Boris Johnson despite his anger at moves to change the Withdrawal Agreement which was signed last year.
BORIS JOHNSON will today defy rebel Tory MPs by launching a massive new crackdown on lawbreakers who flout coronavirus quarantine rules. Police officers are to begin knocking on doors in areas with high infection rates to ensure people ordered into self-isolation are following obeying the law. NHS Track and Trace staff will also intensify calls to check whether those in quarantine are staying at home. And Cabinet ministers insist the Prime Minister is determined to press ahead with the crackdown to curb a second coronavirus wave despite complaints from rebel Tory MPs that many measures are “draconian.”
A Conservative rebel ringleader is “certain” his group have enough votes to compel the government to give MPs a greater say over coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, is among a group of around 40 Tory MPs bidding to alter legislation so as to allow the House of Commons to be able to debate and vote on new COVID-19 measures before they come into force. Calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to share “the burden of decision on these measures” with MPs, Mr Baker explained the effort is “all about MPs having a vote on the government’s policy before it comes into force and takes away people’s civil liberties”.
Tory rebels vowed to defeat Boris Johnson in the Commons this week to stop him from wielding ‘draconian’ Covid-19 restriction powers ‘without scrutiny’. More than 50 MPs have signed an amendment laid down by Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 committee, demanding votes before any future curbs on British ‘liberty’ are brought in. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are set to back the amendment, saying it is wrong that new laws are being brought in under emergency powers passed at the start of the pandemic.
Boris Johnson is facing “certain” defeat in a vote that would prevent him imposing fresh Covid-19 restrictions behind the backs of MPs, after opposition parties joined a Tory revolt. The prime minister is expected to be forced into another U-turn, as cross-party pressure grows to rip up draconian emergency laws that, one Conservative rebel said, mean “liberty dies”. Up to 60 Tory MPs are now backing the move, with the scales tipping against the government when Labour and the Liberal Democrats said they were poised to do the same.
Drinking establishments inside Parliament are exempt from the Government’s newly imposed 10pm curfew, it has been revealed. Facilities serving alcohol inside the Palace of Westminster are not required to abide by the coronavirus curfew which came into effect this week due to them being classified as a ‘workplace canteen’. It comes just a week after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on Covid-19, including imposing a 10pm curfew on all pubs, bars and restaurants in England. Despite the new measures, staff and visitors inside Parliament can still enter its handful of bars without being forced to leave at 10pm and are also not required to provide a name and contact number upon entry.
Parliament’s bars will not be subject to the 10pm curfew or have to gather customers’ details despite the imposition of tougher rules on pubs last Thursday, The Times has learnt. Facilities serving alcohol on the parliamentary estate are understood to be exempt from the earlier closing time on the basis that they fall under the description of “a workplace canteen”. The regulations announced by Boris Johnson last week state that “workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food”.
Police will impose heavy fines on anyone ignoring an instruction to stay home to curb the spread of Covid-19, the public is being warned, as a new law comes into force. The home secretary, Priti Patel, vowed to get tough, after a detailed study found that just 18 per cent of people who have developed coronavirus symptoms have been following the rules. The lack of compliance – amid surging infection rates – prompted the government to introduce the legal duty to self-isolate in England after a positive test, or if told to by the test-and-trace programme.
COVID symptoms include a high fever, a new cough, and loss of smell and taste – all of which require the UK public to get a free coronavirus test. But the two very first signs of COVID-19 infection have now been revealed – and it’s none of the ‘classic’ three. Should you consider self-isolating? COVID-19 is an infectious disease that has been confirmed in more than 30 million people across the world. If you develop any of the key coronavirus symptoms, you should get tested for the infection straight away.
Local lockdowns are not working to suppress the increase in coronavirus cases, analysis shows, with just one town managing to break free of restrictions, and most seeing instances continuing to rise. Around one in four Britons are experiencing extra curbs on their movements, with many no longer able to socialise with friends, enjoy nights out after 10pm, or meet with family members who do not live in their home. Some 48 towns, cities or districts are currently locked down, with a further six being given enhanced support, and 38 listed as areas of concern.
MINISTERS are preparing emergency plans to enforce a TOTAL social lockdown across parts of northern Britain and London to combat the coronavirus second wave, it has been reported. All pubs and restaurants would be ordered to shut for two weeks and different households banned from socialising indoors under the emergency plan. But with the country experiencing a crippling economic downturn, shops and factories as well as schools would remain open for business.
The government is reportedly looking at plans to ban all socialising across much of northern England and London to combat a second wave of coronavirus. Under the new lockdown measures being considered, all pubs, restaurants and bars across a wide area would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially to slow the spread. Meanwhile, millions more people would be banned from meeting friends and family who they don’t live with indoors.
A total social lockdown for London and parts of the North could be on the cards if Covid infection rates do not fall. Pubs, restaurants and bars would be forced to shut for at least two weeks and households would be banned from meeting each other in any indoor location under the new emergency plan. Offices at which employees can not work from home would be kept open, as well as schools.
Ministers are preparing to enforce a total social lockdown across much of northern Britain and potentially London to combat a spiralling second wave of coronavirus. Under the new emergency plan, all pubs, restaurants and bars would be ordered to shut for two weeks initially. Households would also be banned indefinitely from meeting each other in any indoor location where they were not already under the order. Schools would stay open as well as shops, factories and offices at which staff could not work from home.
Neighbours are being encouraged by the Government to report Covid sufferers who are not self-isolating to the police, on the day it becomes an offence punishable with a fine of up to £10,000. Police will also conduct spot checks in areas with high infection rates and in high-risk groups. The news comes amid concerns that people are becoming increasingly fatigued by lockdown measures and suggestions by Boris Johnson that the virus is spreading because people are not abiding by the rules. The new legal duty to self-isolate, which comes into force on Monday, covers anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus or has been contacted by NHS test and trace and told to stay at home.
New restrictions and toughened fines for failing to self-isolate come into force across parts of the UK on Monday. People across England now face a fine of up to £10,000 for breaking, the now legally required instruction, to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by the test and trace service. New fines for law breakers start at £1,000 and increase up to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches. Those who test positive for Covid-19 will also be fined if they knowingly provide false information about close contacts to the test and trace service.
A new, more robust chapter in English coronavirus regulations begins on Monday, with fines of up to £10,000 for people who refuse to self-isolate when asked, and enforcement including tip-offs from people who believe that others are breaching the rules. The changes come with the duty to self-isolate moving into law. It becomes a legal obligation if someone is told to do so by test-and-trace staff, but not for those simply using the Covid-19 phone app, which is anonymous.
Police will be undertaking self-isolation spot checks in high-risk areas based on “local intelligence” as strict new rules are imposed from today. New local lockdowns, further restrictions and tough new fines for failing to self-isolate are coming into force across parts of the UK. People across England will be legally required to self-isolate for 10 days from this week if they test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by the test and trace service. If they do not they risk being hit with new fines starting at £1,000 and increasing up to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
THE nationwide roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine could be delayed for TWO YEARS by the UK government’s calamitous handling of supply chain requirements, it has been reported. These key elements, needed to ensure everyone is immunised against the disease, are in short supply including glass vials to store the remedy. Other elements the country is struggling with are refrigerated lorries to transport the cure and pallets to pack it as well as PPE for medics who are administering it, claim sources in the logistics and medical sectors.
The mass rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK could be delayed for two years by the Government’s failure to get to grips with the supply chain requirements needed to ensure everyone can be immunised, experts claim. Elements vital to the success of the vaccination process are in short supply, including medical-grade glass vials to store the vaccine, refrigerated lorries and aircraft to transport it, PPE when administering it, and even pallets to pack the potential cure, according to those working in the logistics and medical sectors.
University students who face being locked down in their university halls with no face-to-face teaching should be given refunds, senior Conservatives have urged. George Freeman, a former transport minister, on Sunday joined a growing list of MPs calling for compensation for undergraduates whose learning has been disrupted by the pandemic. With more than 3,000 students across England and Scotland currently in self-isolation, Mr Freeman said he wanted every university to “look seriously” at giving students the choice of “reduced fees if they’re not getting the full experience.”
CORONAVIRUS infections are not rising as fast as the “nightmare projection” from the Government’s chief scientists, data has revealed. Last week, Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty painted a bleak picture with cases doubling every seven days. They said new confirmed cases could hit 50,000-a-day by October 13, adding it was not a “prediction”, but an example of what could happen. But new analysis has revealed new infections of coronavirus are not rising quite as quickly as the experts feared.
House of Lords
THE House of Lords must be reformed in order to justify the “incredible indulgence” of the political class that is being paid for by the UK taxpayer according to the CEO of the Electoral Reform Society. Darren Hughes told Express.co.uk that the building cost of the second chamber could only be justified if there were hundreds fewer peers that were democratically chosen and accountable to the UK public. He added that as long as the public is shut out from the second chamber the peers’ behaviour will remain unaccountable.
The traditionally Conservative heartlands will have to find space for 1.5million new homes under the Government’s ‘mutant’ planning algorithms. The plans will require tens of thousands of extra homes over the next 15 years to be built in rural counties like Kent, Surrey and Devon. Tory MPs who have been left unimpressed with the proposals have pinned the blame on a ‘mutant algorithm’. The initiative will see an additional five million homes built across England over the next 15 years, with nearly a third in rural counties.
Save the planet
An area the size of the Lake District and South Downs will be protected under an ambitious pledge to boost Britain’s natural beauty, as Boris Johnson is today set to sign a new United Nations (UN) pledge to help save the planet. At a speech set to be made later today at a UN event, the Prime Minster will warn that immediate action is needed to save wildlife and habitats which are disappearing at a ‘frightening rate’. He will add: ‘We cannot afford dither and delay because biodiversity loss is happening today. ‘Left unchecked, the consequences will be catastrophic for us all.
Another 1,500 square miles of countryside will be protected to “support the recovery of nature”, Downing Street announced tonight. Boris Johnson will promise to protect 30% of UK land by 2030 when he signs the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature at a virtual United Nations event on Monday. But the Prime Minister must strike deals with the devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to meet the vow.
An extra 400,000 hectares of English countryside will be protected to support the recovery of nature under plans to be announced by Boris Johnson. The prime minister will make the commitment at a virtual United Nations event later. He is joining a global pledge from 65 leaders to reverse losses in the natural world by the same date. National parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and other protected areas make up 26% of land in England.
Failure to buy a TV licence will be decriminalised and replaced with fines enforced in the civil courts and by bailiffs under government plans. Ministers are expected to announce the change as soon as next month with non-payment being treated as a “civil debt” in the same way it is for people who do not pay their utility bills. The BBC will be entitled to pursue non-payers through county courts and use bailiffs to collect fines. Failure to pay will also affect credit ratings.
A third of patients have avoided or delayed making a GP appointment in the last six months when they would previously have sought help, a Daily Mail poll reveals today. Nearly four in ten said they would put off trying to get a consultation even now because of coronavirus. The findings also show nearly two-thirds of those who needed a GP slot since April 1 were unable to get one face-to-face.