TONY BLAIR is now resigned to not only Brexit but also to a prediction that negotiation will fail and the UK will exit the European Union with no deal. Mr Blair who is spending the coronavirus lockdown at his home has described his current thoughts on the Brexit process. The former Labour leader has campaigned to have a second referendum on Brexit, but now he is less hopeful of the UK securing any deal with the EU. The former Prime Minister now admits Brexit is a reality and the result will most likely be a no deal. Mr Blair said that no deal was “the most likely thing now”. He added that he had knowledge of the trajectory of negotiations from insider sources in Brussels.
A LEADING figure in the official Vote Leave campaign during the historic Brexit referendum in 2016 has broken his silence over his personal ordeal at the hands of Remainers who attempted to overturn Britain’s exit from the European Union. In March 2016, businessman and solicitor Alan Halsall was appointed by the Vote Leave board as the ‘responsible person’ – the individual legally responsible for the campaign. In the role – Mr Halsell who is listed on Companies House as one of three people with “significant control” of Vote Leave Ltd – would have the formal responsibility for reporting any donations, managing expenses and signing declarations to the Electoral Commission.
Boris Johnson will on Monday begin the search for a Brexiteer to run the Civil Service after its current head was ousted ahead of a wholesale reform of Whitehall. Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, will stand down in September after losing a power struggle with Mr Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. The civil service union responded by accusing Downing Street of spending months undermining Sir Mark with “corrosive and cowardly” anonymous briefings.
Sir Mark Sedwill, the UK’s most senior civil servant, has announced he will stand down in September, prompting anger from former colleagues who say he has been unfairly smeared by Boris Johnson’s aides over the government’s coronavirus failings and for supposedly blocking changes in Whitehall. After weeks of tense negotiations over his job, Sedwill said in a letter to the prime minister that he would quit as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service. His other role as national security adviser will be taken by Johnson’s chief Brexit adviser, David Frost. His departure will be seen as a victory for Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s most senior aide, who has had a tense relationship with Sedwill, and Michael Gove, the cabinet minister who is pushing through a restructuring of government departments.
The UK’s top civil servant, Sir Mark Sedwill, has confirmed he plans to stand down from the role in September. In a letter to Boris Johnson, he said it was the right time to go as the government moved to the next phase of its coronavirus recovery plan. His exit follows reports of tensions between him and senior members of Boris Johnson’s team.
Sir Mark Sedwill will step down as cabinet secretary and national security adviser as Boris Johnson seeks to bend the government machine to his will. Britain’s most senior civil servant announced his exit after rumours that he was being sidelined by the prime minister and his top adviser, Dominic Cummings. David Frost, Mr Johnson’s Brexit negotiator, will take over as national security adviser in September. A cabinet secretary will be chosen in a contest in which only past or present permanent secretaries will be considered.
As a career diplomat, David Frost developed a reputation for discretion and kept a relatively low profile. Under Boris Johnson’s premiership, he has risen to become one of the most powerful men in the country in the space of less than six months. Mr Frost, a special adviser, now holds the roles of both Britain’s chief negotiator with the EU and national security adviser, exerting huge influence across the whole of government. By giving Mr Frost a dual role, the government is sending Brussels a clear signal that it wants negotiations over with as soon as possible.
A young law graduate planning a private prosecution of Dominic Cummings over his notorious trip to County Durham has received legal advice that she has a “reasonable prospect” of securing conviction on two breaches of lockdown regulations. The preliminary advice from barristers Benjamin Douglas-Jones QC and Nathaniel Rudolf states that the decisions of Boris Johnson’s top aide to leave his home in London and travel to a cottage in the grounds of his parents’ home and later to drive to beauty spot Barnard Castle each amounted to prima facie offences.
Internet shoppers could be hit by a compulsory delivery charge as part of a campaign to cut congestion and toxic emissions, The Times has learnt. The government is considering a range of measures to reduce the damaging impact of the e-commerce boom, which has led to a rise in delivery vans on British roads. A report from the Department for Transport’s scientific advisers recommended a “mandatory charge”, similar to that imposed for plastic bags, on all Amazon-style consumer deliveries. It said that the introduction of free and next-day delivery deals had led to “unnecessary over-ordering”, with some people immediately sending back clothes they no longer wanted free of charge.
PRITI Patel has told European countries they have to do “much more” to stop asylum seekers reaching Britain. The Home Secretary hit out after a rise in the number of boats attempting to cross the Channel. Last week a group of migrants almost made it into British waters in a paddling pool, using road signs for oars. Ms Patel said British police are working with French counterparts to break up camps and patrol Normandy beaches.
The Government is set to bring prisons out of lockdown with 2,000 temporary “Nightingale cells” and plans to test half of all prison officers and a quarter of inmates within weeks. For the past three months, most prisoners have effectively been held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day to prevent the spread of Covid-19. A total of 23 inmates have died from the virus, although officials initially feared a much worse toll. Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has now ordered prisons in England and Wales to start reopening as the national lockdown continues to ease.
Britain is on a “knife edge” and likely to see an increase in coronavirus cases by July, a Government adviser has warned. Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he was concerned that there will soon be a surge of new infections caused by lockdown restrictions being eased towards the end of May. “I would predict, I would guess, that we will start to see a few increases in cases towards the end of June or the first week of July, and the continued lifting of restrictions and people deciding to take things into their own hands and go about life as normal,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
England’s battle against coronavirus is in a “precarious” state, with an increase in cases likely over the coming weeks, a member of the prime minister’s Sage advisory group has warned. Sir Jeremy Farrar’s comments came as home secretary Priti Patel denounced as “unacceptable” the large gatherings at a number of street parties that have erupted into violence in recent days. Ms Patel urged people going out to beaches and parks or protest demonstrations to observe social distancing rules and keep to groups of six or fewer.
Scientists have warned that the country remains “on a knife edge” and should observe “constant vigilance” to prevent a second wave of coronavirus cases as lockdown measures are eased. Sir Jeremy Farrar, one of a group of scientists and experts who are advising the government during the pandemic, admitted he is “worried” about a possible spike in infections ahead of the reopening of pubs, restaurants and hairdressers next month.
The coronavirus outbreak in Britain is “on a knife edge” and cases are likely to increase over the weeks to come, a senior government adviser has warned. Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he was worried about a spike in infections even before the further easing of restrictions that is planned for next weekend. He told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC yesterday: “In truth the restrictions started to be lifted towards the end of May, the beginning of June, around that bank holiday.
A wave of coronavirus infections in Leicester could see the UK’s first local lockdown brought in within days. Four mobile testing units have been deployed to the city in recent weeks and thousands of home testing kits have been made available. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is “examining” the legislation needed for a shutdown after the city reported 658 new cases in the fortnight to June 16, the Sunday Times reports.
A surge in coronavirus cases in Leicester could see the first local lockdown enforced within days. Dozens of patients have been admitted to hospital, sparking emergency crisis plans for the area. There were reportedly new infections at a Sainsbury’s and a sandwich factory, and five schools have now been shut. The Sunday Times said the Government was preparing to impose the lockdown ‘within days’ after a flare-up in the city.
CORONAVIRUS testers swooped on Leicester today as it was feared a flare-up could see the first local lockdown imposed within days. A surge in Leicester concerns senior government figures so much plans are in place for possible new restrictions. The Department of Health said people in Leciester should practice social distancing and get tested immediately if they have symptoms.
The Prime Minister will announce a spending blitz next week as he looks to “ready” the country for the “thunderclap of economic consequences” caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Laying out his vision for the country’s revival, Boris Johnson will use a speech on Tuesday to announce the creation of a taskforce charged with fast-tracking the building of schools, hospitals, roads and even prisons as the UK bids to find a way out of the downturn.
Boris Johnson has pledged a £1 billion cash injection to schools in England which will see construction work start on the first 50 projects as soon as September 2021. It comes as the Prime Minister will attempt to kick-start the economy after Covid-19 with a decade-long schools rebuilding plan. He is expected to announce a spending blitz during a speech on Tuesday as he lays the groundwork for the UK to spend its way out of the coronavirus downturn by undertaking a vast building programme.
BORIS Johnson has put a massive school rebuilding programme at the heart of his grand plan to get Britain back on its feet after the pandemic. No 10 will plough billions into the ambitious decade-long project to overhaul ageing classrooms up and down the country. Much of the cash will go to schools in the Midlands and the North as part of his pledge to level up our neglected towns and cities. The announcement is a major plank in the PM’s plan to turbocharge the economy with massive infrastructure investments, dubbed “Project Speed”.
Boris Johnson has promised to spend billions of pounds to rescue the economy as he warned the country faces the looming “thunderclap of economic consequences” of Covid-19. The prime minister tweeted: “We want to build our way back to health. “If covid was a lightning flash, we’re about to have the thunderclap of the economic consequences. We’re going to be ready.”
A government pledge to build new prisons has been criticised as “putting profit over human dignity” after the Ministry of Justice heralded the scheme as being designed to boost the nation’s economy. The MoJ announced four new sites would be built across England in the next six years amid a drive to fulfil a Conservative manifesto pledge to develop 10,000 new prison places. However, the department faced accusations of using state punishment as a means of boosting the nation’s financial wellbeing after announcing the measure was designed to “help local economies”, and “support the construction industry to invest and innovate” in a post to Twitter.
Boris Johnson today pledges to spend tens of billions of pounds to save the British economy from disaster in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. In an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, the Prime Minister promises a building blitz of hospitals, schools, housing developments and ‘shovel-ready’ road and rail infrastructure projects, while an ‘opportunity guarantee’ will aim to save the jobs of workers who have lost out in the employment market.
Schools in England are being promised a £1bn rebuilding programme as Boris Johnson commits to giving children a “world-class education” after months out of the classroom, and pledges help for the economy to bounce back from the coronavirus crisis. The 10-year investment plan for upgrades and refurbishments comes ahead of the prime minister’s key speech on Tuesday in the Midlands, where he will set out how he thinks major infrastructure projects – including hospital and house building – will form part of his plan for the country’s economic revival.
Schools in England are set to benefit from a ten-year multi-billion pound rebuilding programme under plans announced by Boris Johnson. The prime minister will launch the first major rebuilding programme since 2014 with £1bn-worth of investment in 50 projects this year. Further details of the decade-long construction programme will be set out at the net spending review, with investment targeted at buildings in the worst condition. Downing Street also pledged “substantial” investment in the north and Midlands as part of Johnson’s “levelling up” agenda.
Some of England’s crumbling schools and colleges are to benefit from a 10-year rebuilding programme under plans to be set out by the prime minister today. Representing the first major rebuilding programme to be launched since 2014, schools will benefit from additional investment. Schools and colleges will also receive funding this year to refurbish buildings in order to continue raising standards across the country.
Boris Johnson will announce a £1 billion school-building programme today as he tries to reset the political agenda after the coronavirus crisis. The cash will pay for the first 50 projects of a ten-year investment, with a further £560 million for repairs and upgrades to schools next year. The spending will be aimed at schools in the worst condition. “Substantial” sums will be promised for those in the north and Midlands, Downing Street said last night. The first projects will start in September next year.
The Twitter-verified Black Lives Matter UK organisation has posted a “FREE PALESTINE” diatribe attacking “Israel’s settler colonial pursuits” and people allegedly being “gagged of the right to critique Zionism”. “As Israel moves forward with the annexation of the West Bank, and mainstream British politics is gagged of the right to critique Zionism, and Israel’s settler colonial pursuits, we loudly and clearly stand beside our Palestinian comrades,” the group declared, hailing their supposed brothers-in-struggle with terminology commonly if not exclusively used among the far left and unreconstructed communists — and adding an emphatic “FREE PALESTINE”.
The Black Lives Matter movement was accused by Jewish groups of the “spread of hatred” after its official Twitter account put out a series of messages about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a string of posts to its 60,000 followers, the account claimed that British politics had been “gagged of the right to critique Zionism”. Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said that it was an “antisemitic trope” that discussions concerning Israel were being stifled.
A petition to fire Cambridge professor Priyamvada Gopal, who was promoted after tweeting that “White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives”, has been removed by Change.org after receiving over 20,000 signatures. Professor Gopal posted her provocative “White Lives Don’t Matter. As white lives” message around the same time as Burnely Football Club supporter Jake Hepple had a banner reading “White Lives Matter Burnley!” flown over a match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, shortly after three white people were stabbed to death in Reading, England. Hepple was fired for the stunt, with Blackpool Airport and the local government authority which operates it also saying they were “outraged” by the banner and branding its message “offensive”.
CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak may give firms £3,000 for each apprentice they hire — to help fight growing youth unemployment. It would be paid directly to employers for each new recruit under the age of 25. The handout, described as “a bounty,” would mean firms got part of the cash when they take on a young worker and the remainder when the apprenticeship ends. Boris Johnson has said he will guarantee every young person an apprenticeship following the Covid-19 pandemic and wants small firms to lead the way in recruiting.
Business leaders have thrown their support behind a final applause for coronavirus workers on July 5. High-profile industry figures including Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, Director-General CBI, Dragons Dens star Peter Jones and HSBC boss Ian Stuart have signed an open letter in support of the ‘epic’ applause, described as the biggest ‘thank you’ the country has ever seen. Broadcasters will suspend normal transmissions at 5pm on Sunday as people across the country will clap not just the NHS but other key workers who have helped to keep services and community networks going throughout the crisis. Organised by the Together campaign group, the “epic” applause will coincide with the NHS’s 72nd birthday and comes after the Thursday night ‘Clap for Carers’ ended last month after 10 weeks.
BUSINESS leaders today back plans for the nation to unite behind a one-off doorstep clap to mark the NHS’s 72nd birthday. In an open letter they joined calls for July 5 to become a day of thanks. Dragons Den star Peter Jones is among the 55 bosses who have signed the letter that hails the sacrifices of NHS frontline staff during the coronavirus emergency. It reads: “These have been difficult times for us all and we have only survived because of them. But saying thanks is only the start.