FOUR years ago Britain voted to leave the EU. Brexiteers were told throughout the referendum campaign that quitting the trade bloc would have catastrophic consequences. But did any of these Project Fear claims turn out to be true? When David Cameron returned from Brussels in February 2016 with a renegotiated deal with the EU, a bitter and nasty referendum campaign jumped into action. In the months that followed in the lead up to the historic June 23 vote, both sides made a number of questionable claims to back up their position. So extreme were some of the predictions made by advocates of the pro-Remain campaign, Britain Stronger in Europe, that warnings were dubbed “Project Fear”. Politicians from parties of all colours – and even leaders from around the world – made claims about how leaving the EU would negatively impact the UK. Their claims ranged from warning of a devastating recession as soon as the nation voted to leave, to claiming the break-up of the UK was inevitable. At one point, then-Prime Minister David Cameron even declared war could break out.
SENIOR ministers will today move to outlaw any chance of Nicola Sturgeon exploiting Brexit to impose customs checks at the Scottish border. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and Business Secretary Alok Sharma will unveil proposals to ensure the whole UK remains covered by a single market for trade following the end of the country’s transition out of the EU on December 31. The plan is designed to close a loophole that could open up once Britain quits the EU’s single market that could allow trade barriers to be imposed in some parts of the country. Ministers are understood to be concerned that nationalist politicians of the devolved assemblies in Scotland or Wales could attempt to undermine the Union by imposing tariffs or even blockading English goods.
BORIS Johnson will today set out plans to bring home up to 160 powers from Brussels, sparking a major dust up with Nicola Sturgeon. The PM will hand control over all policies previously set by the EU to Westminster in the UK’s biggest internal shake up for decades. But the move has sparked fury from the SNP which wanted to seize ownership of key laws for the Scottish parliament. No 10 insisted the devolved administrations will keep all their current powers under the reform and gain new ones in many areas.
The UK government has unveiled its blueprint for policing trade between different parts of the country after the post-Brexit transition period ends. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to be handed powers in areas such as air quality and animal welfare currently regulated at EU level. But in a bid to protect cross-border trade, they will have to recognise standards drawn up elsewhere in the UK. The SNP says the plan would “strip power” from the Scottish Parliament. Since leaving the EU in January, the UK has continued to follow the bloc’s customs and single market rules as part of a transition period due to end in December.
Boris Johnson’s government is on collision course with Edinburgh and Cardiff after releasing proposals for a post-Brexit settlement which have been denounced by the Scottish National Party as a Westminster power grab. The plans contained in a government white paper include the creation of an independent body to “monitor and analyse” regulations passed in the four nations of the UK to ensure that they do not diverge in a way which would create barriers to trade. The SNP’s leader in Westminster warned on Wednesday that the creation of an “unelected, unaccountable” organisation to pass judgment on the decisions of the Scottish parliament would not be accepted.
The government faces a row after promising new powers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland under plans for Brexit. Measures that were previously regulated by the EU will return to the UK on January 1 after the transition period expires. Responsibilities in 160 policy areas – including animal welfare, public procurement rules and environmental regulations – will now go to one or more of the devolved administrations. But the way the Government is handling the return of powers from Brussels has already provoked a row with Nicola Sturgeon’s administration in Scotland after it was revealed Whitehall will control state aid.
Britain publishes plans on Thursday to keep trade flowing freely between its constituent nations when regulatory powers are reclaimed from the European Union at the end of the year and redistributed to devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. While it was part of the EU, Britain abided by the bloc’s rules in areas like agriculture, the environment, consumer protection and employment rights. Now that Britain has left, those powers will be repatriated to the UK. Some will remain with the central government in London, others will be distributed to the devolved nations. Thursday’s plan will outline who gets what and how they are overseen.
BRUSSELS has been dragged into a bogus accounting scandal after it was claimed climate change spending had been overblown by at least €25billion. The European Court of Auditors has questioned the European Commission’s claims about its climate-change programmes. It was found the European Union’s powerful executive had substantially overestimated the amount it spent on preventing global warming though the use of clever-accounting. Farmers have been handed cash subsidies which have been counted as agriculture-based spending aimed at climate protection by the Commission.
European liberals have demanded that Brussels “stop funding” countries in the EU which stand up to globalism. The Renew Europe Group, the successor to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) in the EU Parliament, blasted “ignorant” and “arrogant” populist governments in eastern and central European nations, who “do not wish to be bothered by [Brussels’] ‘cultural Marxism’”. Head of the open borders-backing, so-called ‘centrist’ parliamentary grouping, Dacian Cioloș launched an attack on European right-wingers following a conference at which heads of state promised to defend the continent against mass immigration and other challenges.
Germany’s Europe Minister has said the UK has shown insufficient realism about what can be achieved in Brexit talks. Michael Roth was speaking before a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers on Wednesday where he admitted the talks would be a major topic of European Union business from September Roth, who will act as chair since Germany holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said: “There has been a shortage of realism on the British side.” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned the UK last month it needed to obey EU principles in order to achieve a Brexit “future relationship” deal.
Imposing lockdown restrictions earlier has been linked to greater reductions in new coronavirus cases, a study has found. The research, published in the BMJ on Wednesday, also found that physical distancing measures, such as closing schools, workplaces and public transport, and restricting mass gatherings, were associated with a “meaningful reduction” in new Covid-19 cases. Based on data gathered from 149 countries and regions, the study found that on average the implementation of any physical distancing measure was associated with an overall reduction in Covid-19 incidence of 13 per cent.
BLACKBURN with Darwen Council has enforced a limit on the number of people allowed to visit a household in an effort to avoid a Leicester-style coronavirus lockdown. The move is among new measures introduced to curb the spread of infection in the Lancashire authority amidst a worrying spike in covid-19 cases. The measures were announced yesterday by the council’s director of public health Dominic Harrison. The restrictions include a limit of two people from the same household allowed to visit another home. And as part of the new rules, residents are being told to wear cloth face coverings in all enclosed public spaces, including workplaces, libraries, museums, health centres and hair and beauty salons.
Hopes for a successful Covid-19 vaccine have been boosted after two leading groups achieved positive early results. In a phase-one trial involving about 1,000 British volunteers, a University of Oxford vaccine appears to have stimulated the desired response from the immune system, The Times understands. The subjects are understood to have shown encouraging levels of neutralising antibodies, thought to be important in protecting against viral infection, and there were no serious side-effects. The results also indicated that another aspect of the immune system, known as T-cells, was mobilised.
Hopes for a working Covid-19 vaccine are growing as two projects in the UK and US have reported promising results in their early experiments. Teams from Oxford University and the American pharmaceutical company Moderna have both revealed people in their studies are showing signs of immunity. Each has been working on separate experimental jabs for months to try to protect millions of people from catching the coronavirus in future. Oxford scientists have already said they are ’80 per cent’ confident they can have their jab available by September.
A VACCINE developed by Oxford University scientists may offer a “double defence” against Covid-19, it has been reported. Phase one of the human trials into the potentially-life saving jab have shown that it generates an immune response against the killer coronavirus. A senior source told the Telegraph that blood samples taken from UK volunteers showed the vaccine caused the body to produce both antibodies and “killer T-cells”. Another source said the presence of both has been described as a “double defence” against the respiratory disease. T-cells, known as “memory” cells, are made in response to an infection and, unlike antibodies, remain long afterwards.
Oxford scientists believe they have made a breakthrough in their quest for a Covid-19 vaccine after discovering that the jab triggers a response that may offer a “double defence” against the virus. Phase I human trials of the world-leading Oxford vaccine have shown that it generates an immune response against the disease, the Telegraph has learned. Blood samples taken from a group of UK volunteers given a dose of the vaccine showed that it stimulated the body to produce both antibodies and “killer T-cells“, a senior source said.
Around 50,000 people are coming into the UK per day, Priti Patel has said – but could not give an estimate for how many might have coronavirus. The Home Secretary revealed the figures as she was grilled by MPs on the government’s quarantine arrangements. Ms Patel and her officials were repeatedly pressed by chair Yvette Cooper over whether they had any details of numbers of cases being imported into the UK. The Cabinet minister revealed that 50,000 people per day are now arriving in the UK ‘across all modes of transport’.
Priti Patel has risked inflaming a row with France by wrongly telling MPs that its authorities do not intercept migrant boats at sea. The home secretary said that “appalling” numbers of people were attempting the journey across the English Channel, amid record numbers of crossings since the start of this year. “I’ve had some very difficult discussions with my French counterpart, even looking at interceptions at sea because currently the French authorities are not intercepting boats at sea,” she told the Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
The Royal Navy has been testing the use of nets to stop migrants in the Channel, Priti Patel revealed yesterday. Military ships worked with UK Border Force in May and June, trying out tactics to deploy against small boats crossing from France. The Home Secretary made the disclosure as she blamed Paris for failing to get to grips with the migrant crisis. More than 2,750 illegals are thought to have reached the UK across the Channel this year, including a yet to be confirmed 90 who landed at Dover yesterday.
Labour is poised to make a formal apology to antisemitism whistleblowers as part of a settlement designed to draw a line under allegations made during the Jeremy Corbyn era, the Guardian has learned. The whistleblowers sued the party for defamation in the wake of a BBC Panorama investigation last year. No final settlement has been reached but sources said an agreement was imminent, prompting anger from Corbyn allies who accused the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, of capitulating. Seven of the eight whistleblowers – all former Labour staffers – who featured in the documentary instructed the prominent media lawyer Mark Lewis to take action against the party.
House of Commons
The Prime Minister has suggested Parliament could move to York while the Palace of Westminster undergoes a multi-billion pound refurbishment. In a letter, Boris Johnson says that locations outside London should be considered as a review is under way on how to handle the repair works at Parliament, which some estimates state could cost £6 billion. Mr Johnson wrote: ‘Costs should be kept to a minimum (ie no gold plating). We should also move as quickly as possible.’ The PM said that the case for both Houses staying in place should be considered but that other locations should be in the mix.
Boris Johnson has confirmed that Downing Street is thinking of setting up a “government hub” in York, telling officials drawing up restoration plans for the Palace of Westminster that they should consider the city if the Commons or Lords have to be moved. Restoration of the parliamentary estate, which is crumbling in many places and viewed as a significant fire risk, could cost an estimated £6bn, and the plans are still being debated. In a letter to David Goldstone and Sarah Johnson, the parliamentary officials in charge of the plans, Johnson said a review of the process should consider whether the Commons and Lords should stay in place during the works or decamp elsewhere.
Boris Johnson has confirmed that he is considering establishing a “government hub” in York, in a letter sent to officials overseeing the renovation of the long-decaying Palace of Westminster. An independent body is currently reviewing plans to temporarily move parliamentarians elsewhere during the multi-billion pound restoration project, after MPs voted in favour of a “full decant” of the Unesco World Heritage site in 2018 – approving proposals for a temporary debating chamber in Whitehall’s Richmond House.
China has infiltrated Britain more successfully than it has other European countries, an expert warned last night. Author Mareike Ohlberg, who has written about the underhand tactics of the country’s Communist Party, said attempts to groom leading figures in business and politics were at an advanced stage in the UK. Miss Ohlberg, whose book Hidden Hand has been serialised by the Daily Mail, said: ‘There has been a tremendous amount of work in getting elites over to the CCP side. ‘To me, the UK has always stood out for the very advanced stage of elite capture compared to other European countries.’
Britain should expect “public and painful” retaliation for its decision to force Chinese company Huawei out of its nascent 5G mobile network, Beijing warned on Wednesday. The news came as the US President, Donald Trump, appeared to take credit for having “convinced many countries” including the UK not to use Huawei after Boris Johnson banished it from the UK’s 5G network. The Telegraph understands that the Government is now considering making a statement to MPs next week setting out the Government’s views on Sino-British relations after the controversial decision. In a major about-turn, Mr Johnson this week ordered telecoms firms to remove Huawei equipment from the 5G network by 2027.
The UK’s decision to exclude Huawei from its 5G networks has “seriously damaged” trust between Britain and China, ambassador Liu Xiaoming has said. Answering questions following an online speech to the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, Mr Liu said the UK was acting like the “junior partner” to the US, after president Donald Trump claimed personal credit for persuading Boris Johnson to overturn an earlier decision to allow Huawei involvement in the telecoms network.
China has hit out at the UK’s decision to strip Huawei equipment from its 5G network, urging a “public and painful” revenge. In a scathing editorial in the Global Times – a tabloid published by China’s ruling Communist Party’s main newspaper, People’s Daily – the UK’s decision was blamed on “heavy pressure from Washington”. Boris Johnson on Tuesday ordered telecoms firms to strip equipment from the Chinese tech giant out of 5G networks by 2027. The move, which will delay the deployment of 5G technology by up to three years and add billions to the cost, came after the UK’s experts warned that highly restrictive US sanctions meant the security of Huawei’s equipment could not be guaranteed.
Beijing launched a furious attack on Downing Street’s decision to ban Huawei from Britain’s 5G network and accused the Government of acting as the “junior partner” to the US in fanning hostilities. In a dramatic escalation in tensions, the Chinese government warned the UK’s recent actions would “come at a cost” as No10 risked being further dragged into a bitter stand off between the US and China. Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming branded the decision to “simply dump” Huawei as “disheartening” and claimed it was due to pressure from the “China hawks and China-bashers”.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has lashed out after the United Kingdom’s decision to ban Huawei equipment from the nation’s 5G network, warning that British businesses may suffer consequences and that the move demonstrated that the UK is “America’s dupe”. After months of waffling and prevarication on the Huawei issue, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government announced on Tuesday that the UK will be banning new equipment from the Chinese tech firm from British 5G networks and that all components must be removed by 2027. The move followed increasing pressure from other Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance states (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States) over concerns about security risks posed by the company which is considered “effectively state-owned”.
Speed camera sites are being used to make money rather than prevent accidents, an official report revealed last night. The police watchdog says some locations are chosen because they are ‘good hunting grounds’ for fines. Safety camera partnerships – local bodies which operate speed traps – have even protected their revenues by stopping police officers using driver education as an alternative strategy. Motorists have long suspected they are cash cows – 2.3million speeding fines were handed out in 2018, potentially raking in around £230million. Campaigners said the findings were unacceptable because cameras should be about ‘saving lives and nothing more’.