GEORGE EUSTICE has threatened to fight the EU over fishing trawlers if Brexit trade talks collapse. Crucial Brexit negotiations are set to come to an end this month, two months before the transition period is over. But fishing remains one of the key sticking points to a deal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised not bow to the demands which would allow EU trawlers to maintain permanent access to British waters. And now, environment secretary George Eustice has said minister have put in place a “five-fold increase in our enforcement capacity” in preparation for a potential stand-off with EU trawlermen. When asked if Britain would defend its waters, he said: “Yes, we are. “And in fact, the main lesson of the Cod War was it’s much easier to protect your waters against access from overseas vessels than it is to try to defend a notion of an historic access that’s no longer available to us.”
FRENCH PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron is being pressured by Brussels and other EU leaders to make a humiliating compromise on fisheries, with both sides of negotiators seeing Mr Macron as “the elephant in the room”. Emmanuel Macron is being pressured to give way to the UK on fisheries, in what would be a humiliating climbdown for the French President. Thomas Kielinger, former London correspondent for Germany’s Die Welt, said that Mr Macron had become “the elephant in the room”. It is understood that Mr Macron’s refusal to back down on his fishing demands is one of the biggest obstacles to a Brexit deal.
Boris Johnson has said a Brexit deal is “there to be done” but insisted that Britain could prosper without one despite a “tough winter” of coronavirus restrictions ahead. Asked what would happen if the UK and EU failed to strike a trade deal by the end of the transition period in December, the prime minister said: “We can more than live with it.” Speaking to BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on the second day of the Tory conference, he said he hoped the EU would agree to the Canada-style free trade agreement Britain had asked for: “I see no reason why we shouldn’t get those sorts of terms.”
Boris Johnson’s flagship post-Brexit immigration bill is facing the prospect of multiple defeats in the House of Lords, as peers demand greater safeguards for EU children in care and unaccompanied refugees. It comes after Priti Patel, the home secretary, branded the asylum system “broken” and promised the Conservative virtual conference a thoroughgoing overhaul to speed up the processing of cases and allow more “immediate” returns of people with no claim to refuge. On Monday, the upper chamber is expected to cast a series of votes on protections for EU nationals – not included in government’s immigration legislation – after the Brexit transition period expires in December 2020.
Priti Patel lashed out at “leftie lawyers” and “do-gooders” opposing reform of the asylum system as she vowed to push through “the biggest overhaul in decades”. The home secretary said she would introduce laws next year to make the system “fairer and firmer” and promised to “accelerate our operational response to illegal migration”. “No doubt those who are well rehearsed in how to play and profit from the broken system will lecture us on their grand theories about human rights,” she said at the virtual Conservative Party conference in an attack understood to be aimed at people-smugglers and human rights lawyers. “Those defending the broken system — the traffickers, the do-gooders, the leftie lawyers, the Labour Party — they are defending the indefensible.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel has pledged to fix the “fundamentally broken” asylum system in the UK to make it “firm and fair”. Speaking at the Conservative Party conference, she promised to introduce legislation next year for the “biggest overhaul” of the system in “decades”. And she said those against her plans were “defending the indefensible”. It comes after it emerged this week that the UK considered sending asylum seekers to an island in the Atlantic. Ms Patel said changes “would take time” and she would “accelerate the UK’s operational response” to the issue in the meantime.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has launched an attack on human rights “do-gooders” and “lefty lawyers” who she claimed were united with people-traffickers in wanting to prevent reform of the UK’s “broken” asylum system. In a speech to the Conservative Party’s virtual conference, Ms Patel unveiled plans for the biggest overhaul in a generation of the asylum system, to prevent illegal migrants from making “endless” appeals against removal and allow immediate expulsion of those with no claim to refugee status. But her broadside at those defending migrants was branded “absurd” by one immigration barrister, who said lawyers had been calling for reform of the system for decades.
Priti Patel has attacked the “do-gooders” and “leftie lawyers” who play and profit from the UK’s “broken” asylum system at the expense of the most vulnerable. Reaffirming her plans to shake up asylum, the Home Secretary turned on those opposing her proposed reform for lecturing the Government with “their grand theories about human rights” and “defending the indefensible.” Speaking at the Tories’ virtual autumn conference, she said she was prepared to face down her critics on social media over the plans singling out Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former official spokesman, who had mocked her accent.
Nobody who loses their job in the Covid pandemic will be “left without hope”, Rishi Sunak has pledged as he prepares to address the Conservative Party Conference today. The Chancellor said he would make sure “fresh opportunities” are given to everyone who is out of work, as he launches a £238 million scheme to help the medium-term unemployed. He is expected to use his conference speech to set out how he intends to turn around the economy, and in particular how to solve the jobs crisis that could see a record number of people unemployed. Treasury sources hinted yesterday that his speech will be light on new policies, but if he strays beyond his economic remit in his speech, Mr Sunak will risk accusations that he is trying to upstage the Prime Minister, who speaks on Tuesday. It is understood that the Chancellor may end the fuel duty freeze and raise taxes for the self-employed.
A THREE-tier lockdown is planned for England which may include the closure of pubs and a ban on all social contact outside household groups. The draft traffic light-style plan will simplify the current network of localised restrictions which are currently in place in 25 percent of the UK. It also reveals the measures which could be imposed by Westminster as coronavirus cases skyrocket. The leaked document says the top Level Three would be “triggered in geographical areas or nationally when alert Level Two measures have not contained the spread of the virus, or where there has been a significant rise in transmission”.
Ministers are planning tough new ‘red alert’ lockdowns, with a leaked document revealing that all social contact outside homes could be banned under the most extreme part of a proposed ‘traffic-light-style’ system, according to reports. The new three-tier system plan includes an Alert Level Three with tough new restrictions – which almost parallel the complete lockdown measures imposed across the UK in March. These include closing all hospitality and leisure business and banning contact with anyone outside a person’s household, regardless of the setting.
A new three-tier lockdown system is being planned for England, with leaked government documents paving the way for potential harsher restrictions including the closure of pubs and a ban on all social contact outside of household groups. The draft traffic-light-style plan, seen by the Guardian, is designed to simplify the current patchwork of localised restrictions, which apply to about a quarter of the UK. It also reveals tougher measures that could be imposed by the government locally or nationally if Covid cases are not brought under control.
Tougher coronavirus restrictions could be imposed in England as part of a new three-tier lockdown if cases aren’t brought under control, according to reports. The closure of pubs and a ban on social contact outside household groups could be implemented locally or nationally to deal with soaring infections, now at a level higher than the first wave peak. The UK has now had 503,000 confirmed cases of the disease, with record daily increases over much of the last fortnight which have if anything been under reported due to a ‘counting error’ by Public Health England.
Until recently, anyone against the Government’s anti-Covid restrictions was viewed as a mad “lockdown sceptic”. But something has shifted. Amid new restrictions, respected scientists now openly challenge the orthodoxy, putting their heads above the parapet. And, as the economic fallout gets worse, more and more ordinary people – not least Planet Normal podcast listeners – are angrily questioning these latest lockdown measures. Having been imposed in March, “full lockdown” was eased in July – allowing the economy partially to recover. And last month, of course, children returned to school. But now we must all follow the “rule of six”, limiting social gatherings to half a dozen. And some local areas – particularly in the North East, North West and Midlands – are living with, or soon to face, even harsher rules.
Boris Johnson today denied bungling coronavirus lockdowns as he warned there is no guarantee the situation will improve by Christmas. The PM admitted people were ‘furious’ with him over the 10pm pubs curfew, the Rule of Six, and chaotic local curbs, but defended his handling of the crisis amid growing disquiet on his own benches. As the virtual Tory conference gets underway, Mr Johnson urged the public to be ‘fearless but use common sense’ to help manage the outbreak without destroying the economy. He said he was working ‘flat out’ and hoped that ‘in the course of the next few weeks and months the scientific equation will change’ and that would allow a ‘different approach’.
CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak defended his Eat Out To Help Out scheme today — and revealed his frustration at the 10pm pub curfew. In an exclusive interview with The Sun, he bit back at claims that the popular cut-price meals deal fuel-led a second wave of coronavirus. He insisted the scheme helped to save two million jobs and kick-start the economy. Mr Sunak, who is fighting for normality in the face of Covid, also branded the pub curfew “frustrating”. He said: “I don’t think it’s wrong for people to want to strive for normality and I don’t think it’s wrong for the Government to want that for people.” Batting away leadership talk, the Chancellor accepted his “Dishy Rishi” reputation makes him accessible to the public but insisted Boris Johnson was shouldering an “extraordinary burden” that would break most people.
Suffering a common cold could provide protection against contracting Covid, scientists believe. Experts at Yale University in the US have found that coming under attack from rhinovirus – the most frequent cause of common cold – jump-starts the body’s antiviral defences, equipping the immune system to ward off other viruses. They are now investigating whether it does the same against coronavirus. The body fights off rhinovirus by producing interferon. Previously scientists were not sure whether interferon produced in response to one virus would recognise another but the Yale study suggests exposure to rhinovirus created an immune response against flu, suggesting it would protect against other viruses.
The effects of “long Covid” could turn out to be a bigger public health problem than excess deaths, one of Britain’s leading experts has warned. Prof Tim Spector, the scientist behind Britain’s symptom-tracking app, warned that the virus behaves like an autoimmune disease in some sufferers, affecting multiple parts of the body. Those suffering with so-called “long Covid” have reported breathlessness, chronic fatigue and brain fog – months after initially falling ill with the virus. Prof Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, said their research had found that the effects of the virus lingered for a long time in significant numbers of people. Researchers from King’s College London and health-science company ZOE tracked data from more than 4 million people. They found that 1 in 10 sufferers had symptoms of “long Covid” for a month, with 1 in 50 still suffering at least three month later.
So-called ‘Long Covid’ – which causes victims to suffer symptoms months after falling ill with the virus – could be a bigger public health problem than excess deaths, an academic has warned. It comes as a new report by King’s College London revealed that around 10 per cent of coronavirus patients who took part in its survey showed Long Covid symptoms such as breathlessness and chronic fatigue for a month after infection. As many as two per cent were still experiencing such symptoms after three months. In a report from Tony Blair Institute of Global Change, Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, warns Long Covid could become a bigger public health issue than excess deaths due to Covid-19.
The effects of “long Covid”, in which debilitating symptoms linger for weeks or months, could become a more serious public health problem than excess deaths caused by the disease, an academic has warned. Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, said that data gathered from four million patients via a smartphone app indicated that about one in 50 people who contracted the virus still had symptoms three months later. They reported breathlessness, chronic fatigue, muscle aches and an inability to concentrate, often long after initially falling ill with the virus.
Test & trace
More than 15,000 positive Covid cases have become “lost” in Britain’s tracking systems, resulting in long delays being passed on to Test and Trace handlers. It means that tens of thousands of people who should have been told to self-isolate after coming into close contact with an infected case are only now being contacted – in some cases 10 days after transmission occurred. The Government blamed “computer issues” for a blunder which saw the number of daily cases appear to double overnight, and has been accused of “shambolic” handling by Labour.
The UK recorded as many as 22,961 coronavirus cases last night because of a technical blunder that meant several thousand positive cases over the past two weeks went unrecorded. About 15,000 cases of coronavirus between September 25 and October 2 were not included in the daily reported cases because of a “technical difficulty” and had to be counted retrospectively. The majority of these cases occurred recently, according to Public Health England. The issue emerged the day after the NHS Test and Trace app was introduced on September 24.
Boris Johnson today confirmed locations for 32 of the 40 “new” hospitals he promised in the Tory manifesto. The Prime Minister’s notorious pledge hit the rocks last year when it emerged the projects included refurbishments of existing hospitals – and would take years to complete. Unveiling the list today, Mr Johnson boasted: “We are determined to build back better and deliver the biggest hospital building programme in a generation.” But the new list confirms more than half the projects are either rebuilding existing hospitals, replacing them, or building a hospital “at” a site that already exists.
Criminals including paedophiles, violent offenders and drug dealers are avoiding jail or having sentences reduced because coronavirus has led to a “harsh regime” in prisons. Judges have been handing down shorter sentences since April when the Court of Appeal ruled that the effect of coronavirus measures, such as prolonged cell confinement and visitor restrictions, could be taken into account in the sentencing of a man who sexually abused a schoolgirl.
Criminals including paedophiles and drug dealers are being handed a ‘Covid bonus’ of shorter sentences or avoiding jail entirely because coronavirus has led to difficult conditions in prisons. Since April, judges have been handing down shorter sentences after the Court of Appeal ruled that the impact of measures including prolonged cell confinement and restrictions on visitors to combat coronavirus could be taken into account when sentencing a man who had sexually abused a schoolgirl. According to The Times, criminals – including Romanian burglars and a criminal with 27 previous convictions – have had their sentences routinely reduced since then.
All burglars released from jail are to be fitted with GPS tags so they can be tracked 24/7, the policing minister has revealed. Kit Malthouse said he wanted all freed burglars tagged so police forces could check every burglary in their area against the movements of the criminals to see if they could be suspects. He said a change in the law through a statutory instrument would mean probation and police could request and enforce the tagging as a condition of the freed burglar’s licence so they could be tracked every minute of the day to within feet. Refusal to wear the tag would breach their licence, returning them to prison.
Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to commit the government to the eastern leg of HS2 amid warnings that the route is needed to address “decades of chronic underinvestment” in the railways. More than 50 MPs, peers, council leaders and business bosses have signed a letter to the prime minister urging him to sign off on the full delivery of the line between Birmingham and Leeds via the East Midlands. They say that certainty is needed to rebalance massive economic and social “disparity” between the east and west of the country, with public investment weighted towards towns and cities along the western spine of England.
MPs and local leaders from the midlands, Yorkshire and northeast England are urging Boris Johnson to commit to building the eastern leg of HS2, warning that it is needed to close the “inequality and disparity” between different parts of the UK. The section of planned rail line, running from Birmingham through the east midlands and southern Yorkshire to Leeds would dramatically cut journey times between major cities in the region and beyond, and provide more capacity for local services. But despite committing to other parts of the HS2 project, there is concern in regions set to benefit that the government could drop their part of the network at the last minute.