Brexit

Telegraph
Brexit negotiating teams are in the “final push” for a trade agreement with Britain, Michel Barnier told a meeting of EU Commissioners in Brussels on Wednesday.  Senior diplomats warned that EU governments would demand the European Commission launch emergency no deal plans if a trade accord was not struck by Friday.  There was a risk that could poison the ongoing negotiations in Brussels, one senior diplomat said, but, with six weeks to go before the end of the year  the EU had no choice but to start work on its no deal safety net.  The plans aim to mitigate the worst disruption to EU interests in sectors such as aviation and freight but fall far short of a “managed no deal”, which would involve consultation and consideration of British interests.

Express
BRUSSELS has warned the Brexit talks are entering their “final moments” with “substantial work to do”. European Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said the bloc is now in the “final push” to secure a trade and security agreement with Britain. He refused to comment on any pending deadlines, insisting the only remaining cut-off point is the end of the transition period on December 31. Mr Dombrovskis said: “Michel Barnier updated us on the state of play of Brexit negotiations.  “The negotiations are currently ongoing with great intensity because we are now in the final push to reach agreement and from the Commission side we continue to work with this aim to reach agreement although there are still important elements to be resolved.

EU

Mail
The EU was accused of making ‘idle threats’ tonight after City of London banks were warned that they need to move jobs and assets to the continent to continue trading post-Brexit. The European Central Bank (ECB) said today that UK-based financial institutions must not use the pandemic as an excuse to avoid relocation before the transition period. The ECB, which supervises the euro zone’s biggest banks, said that lenders operating in the bloc must move sufficient capital, staff and management expertise to ensure the sort of physical presence required for prudent risk management.

City AM
The European Central Bank (ECB) has said in no uncertain terms that it expects UK-based lenders to move staff and assets to the Eurozone if they want to keep serving the bloc’s clients after the Brexit transition period. The Bank, which regulates the Eurozone financial system, told banks they could not use coronavirus as an excuse, amid concerns that staff are reluctant to move out of the City of London and other parts of the UK during the pandemic.

Sun
EUROPEAN leaders will order up a raft of new emergency No Deal plans tomorrow after Emmanuel Macron vowed to defy No 10 over fishing.  The bloc’s 27 capitals are set to throw down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson and take a hard line in the hope of shocking him into late concessions.  And with negotiations stalled France is sticking to its guns over demands for access to UK waters that is almost as generous as it enjoys now. With talks heading down to the wire, gloomy diplomatic sources said there was “no reason for optimism” with the two sides “still quite far apart”.

Times
Europe’s leaders will demand today that the European Commission publish no-deal plans amid fears that Brexit negotiations are dragging on without businesses knowing what they need to prepare for in the worst scenario. Several European Union governments are growing frustrated that deadlines for trade, security and fishing talks are slipping, leaving little time to get ready if the negotiations fail to reach agreement.  The Netherlands, France, Belgium and other frontline countries are concerned that businesses and fishing communities will be hit by economic disruption without EU contingency measures to cushion the blow of no-deal.

Breitbart
Hungary’s leadership is standing by its decision to block the whole seven-year budget for the European Union over the inclusion of new powers which would, they claim, allow the political persecution of member states that don’t follow the Brussels globalist playbook on matters like mass migration. The Hungarian and Polish governments used their veto powers to block the seven-year Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) — in other words, the EU’s budget — on Monday, having failed to prevent new clauses and rules being inserted at earlier stages of the negotiation process.

Fisheries

Express
BREXIT could cause such severe disruption to European Union fleets that there would be “no fishing” anymore in British waters, according to a Belgian fisherman. Brexit negotiations have been stalling because of the unresolved issues of governance, state aid and fisheries, with the latter causing the most friction between the UK and the European Union. While the British Government has maintained strict regulation will have to be applied to cut down on access to EU vessels, Brussels has been pushing for the status quo to be maintained.

ITV News
The issue of fish is a sticking point in Brexit talks. From January 1, French fishermen may lose their access to British waters which would have a huge impact on their industry. Likewise, exports of UK-sourced fish to the rest of Europe could be affected. The EU has previously called the UK’s position on fishing “simply unacceptable”, while Britain’s chief negotiator has in the past accused the European Union of having “frozen” progress by refusing to budge on the issue. There are other stumbling blocks in negotiations, such as road haulage and state aid, but both sides have repeatedly said fishing is where some of the biggest gaps lie.

Yahoo News
With post-Brexit trade talks going down to the wire, French fishermen look set to pay the price of a “no deal” that will end nearly five decades of access to profitable British waters. Nearly 30 percent of French fishing is carried out within the UK’s maritime zone – but on 31 December, when Britain leaves the Common Fisheries Policy, EU fleets will no longer enjoy equal access to those fishing grounds. The absence of a trade deal will also be felt by the fishing industries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Ireland, who would have to redistribute their quotas in the event World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules take over.

Labour Party

Telegraph
His election was hailed as a decisive break from the Corbyn “project” and a return to winning ways.  However, seven months on from his elevation to the Labour leadership, Sir Keir Starmer’s  refusal to bring Jeremy Corbyn back in from the cold threatens to reignite the civil war that contributed to his predecessor’s undoing.  In withholding the whip from former leader Mr Corbyn, Sir Keir has sought to quell the fury of the Jewish community and convince the public that his commitment to “zero tolerance” of anti-Semitism is unflinching.

Independent
Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer faces anger in his party over his decision not to return the whip to his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn – with 28 MPs, almost one in seven of the parliamentary party, signing a letter demanding the former leader’s reinstatement. Sir Keir has been caught between the wishes of Mr Corbyn’s supporters in the parliamentary party and those opposed to the decision by Labour’s NEC to reinstate the Islington North MP as a member. Describing the former leader’s treatment as “persecution” Len McCluskey, whose Unite union is Labour’s biggest financial donor, told Starmer to “pull back from the brink”.

Morning Star
LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer sparked a furious backlash today after he blocked Jeremy Corbyn from sitting as a Labour MP despite his readmission as a party member. MPs, unions and left-wing Jewish groups expressed outrage at the move. Mr Corbyn was reinstated as a Labour member by the national executive committee (NEC) on Tuesday, three weeks after he was suspended over his response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report. Sir Keir said this morning that he would not restore the whip, meaning the former party leader will continue to sit as an independent MP and will not be part of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

Express
JEREMY CORBYN has been accused of creating a “home for anti-Semites” after Labour’s leader refused to restore his Parliamentary whip. The former Labour leader was suspended after he said the scale of anti-Semitism in the party was “overstated” following a damning report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told BBC Newsnight that Mr Corbyn has no place in the party.

Armed forces

Telegraph
Boris Johnson has promised “an end to the era of retreat” for Britain’s Armed Forces with a £24 billion spending increase that marks the biggest financial boost since the Cold War. The Prime Minister pledged to restore the Royal Navy to its position as Europe’s most powerful maritime force and will invest heavily in drones, cyber warfare and space programmes. Mr Johnson said he had made the decision “in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first”.

Express
BORIS JOHNSON will give the go-ahead to a British military rocket programme as part of the biggest investment in the Armed Forces since the end of the Cold War. In a Commons speech on Thursday, the Prime Minister will promise an extra £16.5billion for the country’s defence budget over the next four years. Part of the cash will set up a new Space Command to oversee the development of military satellites and other cutting-edge defence technology projects including the launch of the country’s first rocket into orbit.

ITV News
Boris Johnson will “end the era of retreat” when he unveils what is being billed as the biggest programme of investment in Britain’s armed forces since the end of the Cold War. The Prime Minister is set to lay out a four-year financial deal for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to “transform” the military, developing cutting-edge capabilities in the future battlefields of cyber and space. It will include the creation of an agency dedicated to artificial intelligence, and a “space command” capable of launching the UK’s first rocket by 2022.

Guardian
Boris Johnson has agreed a four-year £16.5bn surge in defence spending at a time when Britain’s public finances have been stretched by the pandemic and a day after it emerged that  billions of pounds could be cut from the foreign aid budget. Experts said the windfall represents the largest real-terms increase in the defence budget since Margaret Thatcher’s premiership and will be partly spent on a National Cyber Force of hackers and a new Space Command designed to protect orbiting satellites and launch its own rockets.

Times
Boris Johnson has pledged to end Britain’s “era of retreat” with the largest investment in the military since the Cold War and plans for a new space command and artificial intelligence agency. The prime minister will reveal a four-year funding settlement for the Ministry of Defence today, worth an additional £16.5 billion. This is aimed at transforming the armed forces and bolstering global influence. It will address a shortfall of up to £13 billion in the military’s existing ten-year equipment plan, while funding investment in a series of novel technologies and initiatives.

Sky News
Boris Johnson will announce the biggest investment in defence since the Cold War, saying the UK has a chance to end an “era of retreat” with a new space command, cyber force and artificial intelligence agency. The £16.5bn in extra money over four years is not enough to fill a funding gap in the military’s budget, but is far more than defence chiefs had thought they would receive, given financial constraints on the Treasury because of coronavirus.

Mail
Boris Johnson vowed to end the military’s ‘era of retreat’ last night with the largest investment in the armed forces for three decades. In a speech to the Commons today, the Prime Minister will promise to spend £16.5billion more on defence over four years. It is understood that the announcement comes after Mr Johnson overruled Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who wanted to give defence a 12-month increase worth just £1.9billion. The bigger settlement will be spent on a ‘space command’ that could launch Britain’s first rocket in 2022, research on ‘blue-skies’ projects and investment in a new Tempest fighter.

The economy

Mail
Rishi Sunak will deliver a ‘scary’ economic forecast in next week’s spending review, it was reported last night. The Chancellor’s plans, to be revealed in Parliament on Wednesday, will rely on predictions showing the devastating effect of coronavirus.  The Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to forecast that the pandemic will still be weighing on the economy in 2024. By this point, it will have cost as much as 3 per cent of national income – £60billion in today’s prices. An ally of the Chancellor said the forecasts were ‘going to be quite scary’ compared with those drawn up in March.

Mirror
The UK is facing the worst hit to its economy in more than 300 years due to coronavirus, with fears the effects will last until 2024. Reports claim the Government’s forthcoming Spending Review will reveal the UK’s economy will contract by almost 11% in 2020, the worst annual performance for more than three centuries. The pandemic has reaped huge damage on the economies of countries around the world as businesses are forced to shut and people stay at home to curb the spread of the deadly disease.

Lockdown

Mail
Boris Johnson was facing a growing Tory rebellion over lockdown last night, as MPs warned a relaxation of the rules could not be ‘just for Christmas’. The Prime Minister is due to announce plans next week for a fresh series of restrictions, which would come into force on December 2 when the national lockdown expires. But ministers are divided on how far to go in relaxing the restrictions amid fears that the virus could quickly spiral out of control again. Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock are said to be pushing for just a limited easing of the rules.

Vaccine

Telegraph
The University of Oxford coronavirus vaccine produces a strong immune response in older adults, the latest trial results show, in another boost in the fight against Covid-19. The ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 vaccine has been shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56-69 and people over 70. Phase two data, published in The Lancet, suggests one of the groups most vulnerable to serious illness and death from Covid-19 could build immunity, researchers say. Phase three trials of the vaccine are ongoing, with early efficacy readings possible in the coming weeks.

Evening Standard
The Covid vaccine being made by Oxford university is safe and works well in older adults most likely to become seriously ill or die from the virus, its creators revealed today. In another major boost for hopes of bringing the pandemic to heel, they said the preliminary results for the UK’s main vaccine hope were “encouraging”. The Government has ordered 100,000 doses of the Oxford jab – the biggest proportion of the 355m doses of a portfolio of vaccines it has bought. The phase 2 results, which focus on safety and were published this morning in The Lancet medical journal, gave data on 560 healthy adults, including 240 over the age of 70.

BBC News
The Oxford coronavirus vaccine shows a strong immune response in adults in their 60s and 70s, raising hopes that it can protect age groups most at risk from the virus. Researchers say the Lancet phase two findings, based on 560 healthy adult volunteers, are “encouraging”. They are also testing whether the vaccine stops people developing Covid-19 in larger, phase three trials. Early results from this crucial stage are expected in the coming weeks.

Guardian
The NHS is bringing together an army of retired doctors, health visitors and physiotherapists to embark on the country’s biggest ever mass vaccination programme, the Guardian has learned. The extraordinary effort in England will also include district nurses and high street chemists alongside GPs in the drive to immunise 22 million vulnerable adults, followed by the rest of the population. NHS documents seen by the Guardian show the rollout will rely in part on “inexperienced staff” who will have undergone two hours of online training before starting work.

Sun
UP to 2.5 million Brits are in line to get Covid-19 jabs by Christmas — in the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history. They will be immunised at record speed by the health service, supported by an army of 30,000 volunteers. And hopes are rising that the roll-out will start within two weeks. Further data from US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which revealed its vaccine breakthrough last week, shows its jab offers 95 per cent protection — and it is said to work just as well in older people. Last week the figure was 90 per cent.

Express
A CORONAVIRUS vaccine candidate developed by AstraZeneca Plc and Oxford University produced a strong immune response in older adults, researchers have said, offering hope it may protect some of those deemed most vulnerable to the disease. The results of the mid-stage trials were published in The Lancet medical journal on Thursday, suggesting that those aged over 70 – who carry a higher risk if succumbing to COVID-19 – could build robust immunity to the virus, according to researchers. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate is among the front-runners in the global race for a jab.

Mail
Britain’s drug regulator today revealed it is now waiting on Pfizer to send over the full results of its final Covid-19 vaccine trial after the pharmaceutical giant claimed it was safe, 95 per cent effective and works in older people who are most at risk of dying from the disease. The US company, most famous for making Viagra, announced it would submit the necessary data to regulators in America and the UK ‘within days’, bolstering hopes that Britain could embark on its major Army-backed operation to vaccinate millions of people from as soon as December 1.

Breitbart
The majority of Conservative Party voters and a plurality of Britons as a whole are in favour of making the Chinese coronavirus vaccines mandatory, a poll from YouGov has suggested. The survey found that by a margin of 54 per cent to 33 per cent, Conservatives in the UK are in favour of forced coronavirus vaccinations. The poll also said that the country as a whole is in favour of the draconian measure, by a margin of 49 to 34 per cent. The support for compulsory vaccinations was less prevalent amongst Labour Party voters, with 37 per cent opposed to the idea compared to 46 per cent in support.

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