EMMANUEL Macron is demanding Britain thrashes out a new asylum pact with the EU during trade talks over fears Brexit will spark another Calais crisis. The French President has lobbied for a new clause in Michel Barnier’s mandate that links a deal on deportations to the wider future relationship. He fears the failure to secure an agreement would generate a “pull factor” for migrants trying to cross the Channel who will camp out on the French coast. As an EU member Britain was part of the Dublin Regulation, which allows countries to return asylum seekers back to where they arrived from. But the law ceases to apply when we leave the transition, meaning current cooperation will fall away unless a new deal is struck. A leaked draft of the bloc’s negotiating mandate, seen by The Sun, includes the fresh proposal for “cooperation regarding asylum policy”.
EU officials have threatened not to give Britain a trade deal unless they get full access to UK waters. Pierre Karleskind, the newly-elected chairman of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee ruled out accepting anything less than the current arrangements. The threat comes despite Boris Johnson already telling Brussels that Britain will become an independent coastal state at the end of the year. Speaking today, Mr Karleskind said: “First of all, we have to negotiate a new fisheries agreement with the United Kingdom before 1 July this year. “We request reciprocal access to waters, meaning the same situation as we have now – nothing more, nothing less.
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that the UK cannot have the same trading arrangements as Canada because Britain is a major economy on Europe’s doorstep and poses a competitive threat. Speaking to journalists outside of the European Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Barnier said the country “has a very particular proximity — a unique territorial and economic closeness — which is why it can’t be compared to Canada or South Korea or Japan”. For that reason, Eurocrats and EU leaders will only agree to a “partnership” that includes “in particular fishing” and “a level playing field”.
FRANCE has ordered the European Union to take a tough stance to ensure the UK continues to abide by EU rules following Brexit, an updated document revealed. A request by French President Emmanuel Macron for the UK to adhere to EU standards in any trade deal has now been added to the updated version of the draft Brexit negotiating mandate. The document strengthens plans for a “level playing field” between the UK and the bloc in relation to competition, the rule of law and the environment – which has already been rejected by Westminster.
The EU has been accused of exaggerating the scale of trade with Britain as it pushed back against Boris Johnson’s demands for a Canada-style trade deal. In a clash described as the war of the slides, No 10 published a graphic produced by the EU in 2017 which suggested that a Canada-style trade deal was the only one available. “What’s changed,” Downing Street tweeted. The EU argues that Britain is too big a trading partner and too close for the bloc to agree such a deal without guarantees that the UK will not undercut European standards.
The EU is waging “slide wars” against the UK to convince Boris Johnson it will refuse a tariff-free trade deal if he insists on the right to break its rules. A graph sets out why the UK – a powerful economy on its doorstep – will not be allowed to wriggle out of past commitments not required of Canada, South Korea, Japan and other distant countries. It shows how about 13 per cent of EU trade is with the UK, while just 2 per cent or less is with countries many thousands of kilometres away that enjoy favourable agreements with Brussels.
Downing Street was engaged in an extraordinary war of words with the EU on Wednesday night after Brussels warned Boris Johnson he would not get the Canada-style trade agreement he craves. A key aide to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said Brussels would not budge from its insistence on a ‘level playing field’ on environmental protections and workers’ rights. Stefaan De Rynck said this meant the EU would not agree to any trade deal giving the UK free rein to diverge from European standards, such as the one granted to Canada. But yesterday No10 pointed out Mr Barnier had previously said the UK could have exactly that type of Canada-style trade agreement.
A trade minister has accused Brussels of “posturing”, as Number 10 claimed EU negotiators had reneged on a promise of a Canada-style agreement. There is mounting frustration among the Prime Minister’s advisers over the EU’s insistence that Britain must sign up to more of its rules in order to get the trade agreement it wants. In an increasingly antagonistic stand off, Number 10 has pointed to previous comments by EU officials praising the Canada deal and the EU has hit back with accusations of “below the belt” tactics.
Downing Street’s hopes of a Canada-style trade deal with the EU have been dealt a further blow after a senior adviser to Brussels’ chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the bloc’s relationship with the North American country was a “different ball game”. As the two sides prepare for the start of negotiations next month, Stefaan De Rynck highlighted the UK’s proximity to Brussels compared with Canada as a key factor, as well as warning that the trade talks could get “rather difficult”.
BRITONS have shared their fury at the European Union demanding the UK hands over the Elgin Marbles back to Greece as part of a trade deal between Britain and the bloc. The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc was ready to offer an “ambitious partnership” with the UK post-Brexit. But he warned the UK would not be able to have the same trade deal with the EU as Canada. He said: “We remain ready to offer the UK an ambitious partnership. “A trade agreement that includes in particular fishing and includes a level playing field, with a country that has a very particular proximity – a unique territorial and economic closeness – which is why it can’t be compared to Canada or South Korea or Japan.”
The EU’s trade commissioner has given Britain’s call for a Canada-style trading relationship a boost by assuring national parliaments that the Canadian deal has “legally binding and enforceable” rules on fair competition. The letter from Phil Hogan contradicts arguments made by Michel Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator, that a Canada-style deal would be unsuitable for Britain because its “level playing field” provisions cannot be properly enforced. The EU and Mr Barnier have insisted that any trade deal with Britain must include extra provisions to ensure “effective enforcement”, with sanctions, of “fair competition standards”.
Michel Barnier used to have the rule of the roost in the Brexit talks, confident in the knowledge that many politicians and pundits would help him pile pressure on the British by taking his public arguments – typically set out in natty infographics – as gospel. Whatever came from the EU’s chief negotiator would all too often be unquestioningly recited, with the most notorious example being his depiction of the types of future relationship that Brexit Britain could expect. The so-called “Barnier Staircase”, released during the opening salvos of the negotiations, suggested ineluctably that the UK could expect to hammer out a free trade agreement inspired by Canada or South Korea.
Billions of pounds of aid meant for the most dependent nations ends up in tax havens, a report by World Bank economists has concluded. The study, Elite Capture of Foreign Aid, tracked aid payments to 22 nations and found that as much as a sixth flowed into havens such as Switzerland. The “leakage” was worst in the most dependent countries, where aid accounts for as much as 3 per cent of GDP, according to the paper, published on Tuesday. The World Bank, the largest multilateral donor, issued a statement defending the research and its efforts to stamp out corruption.
Talented younger migrants could be permitted to enter Britain without a job offer under plans being considered by the Government to expand the country’s new points-based immigration system. Young applicants would score extra points over older migrants as part of a move to increase entry routes for highly skilled foreign workers who would otherwise be excluded by not having a job offer. Applicants could also gain points for past work experience, previous earnings and educational qualifications under the changes, expected to be introduced in 2022, a year after the launch of the points system on January 1, 2021.
Tightened immigration laws for the United Kingdom in the wake of Brexit could be a jobs boon for Australians as the new guidelines will favour native English speakers and skilled migrants. Prior to Brexit the UK had a ‘free movement’ immigration system which would see unskilled and non-English speaking migrants from European Union countries being granted visas to work in the UK. However the government has now announced a new ‘points based’ immigration system strongly based on Australian laws. The UK will prioritise access for high-skilled workers from around the world over ‘cheap unskilled labour’ from the European Union.
The Tory government has finally set out its plans for a points-based immigration system to come into force on January 1 2021. The radical shake-up will block millions of ‘low-skilled’ – well, low-paid – workers from coming to the UK. After Brexit people will have to earn over £25,600, have a job offer and speak English to a certain level in order to get a work visa. There will be some exceptions for people who earn £20,480 to £25,600 in shortage areas like the NHS. But the plans have prompted an outpouring of fury from businesses and council who warn sectors like social care face “disaster”.
Companies will need to train more British workers to fill vacancies when the new immigration system kicks in requiring foreign workers to have qualifications and the ability to speak English, Priti Patel, the home secretary, has said. In a round of television and radio interviews, she said 8 million people between the ages of 16 and 64 were “economically inactive” and could be given the skills to do jobs in sectors where there were shortages as a result of the new points-based system. Business groups from the CBI to the bodies representing the farming, hospitality and care work sectors have all raised the alarm about the new system, saying it will cause labour shortages.
Child sexual exploitation
Six men convicted of sexually exploiting young girls in Huddersfield have been jailed. The men “robbed their victims of their childhood and abused them in truly appalling ways”, police said. The two teenage victims were “systematically groomed and exploited” by the men who “viewed the girls as merely objects, to be used and abused at will”, according to prosecutors. Gul Riaz, 43, of Balmoral Avenue, Huddersfield, was found guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of indecent assault. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Billions of pounds will be needed from taxpayers to help the social care sector cope with the end of low-skilled migration, experts have predicted, Analysts said that paying more to compensate for the loss of EU staff would push a struggling system “over the edge”, with the frail, elderly, cancer patients and NHS suffering the most. Ministers have told bosses that they will have to pay their staff better. However, companies say they cannot afford it while councils pay so little for care, intensifying pressure on Boris Johnson to make good on his pledge to fix the elderly care system “once and for all”.
Care for elderly and infirm people will be put at risk if the government presses ahead with plans to block entry to the UK for low-paid workers from the EU, leaders in the sector have warned. They say Britain will miss out on desperately needed staff unless the government changes the proposed salary threshold for immigrants post-Brexit and classifies care workers as skilled. Care workers can earn as little as £16,000, according to the National Association of Care and Support Workers (NACAS), well short of the £26,500 threshold under the immigration system the government plans to introduce next year.
Budget cuts to schools are having a serious impact on education, the head of Ofsted has said in her first intervention on funding cuts. Amanda Spielman said that specialist teachers were not being replaced, teaching assistants were taking lessons and curriculums had been cut to save money. She made her comments as one academy chain told teachers not to overfill kettles, to help to tackle a £1 million deficit. The David Ross Education Trust, which runs more than 30 schools, is stopping non-essential travel and will review whether to leave some vacancies unfilled to save money, according to a document seen by Tes.
Ofsted is concerned that schools could ‘squander’ the £14billion boost in education spending due to be outlined in next month’s Budget. Chief inspector of schools in England, Amanda Spielman said that funding can still be ‘squandered when it is plentiful’. ‘This means taxpayers’ money could be wasted for little benefit,’ she added. Her comments came in a removed blog post published on the Ofsted website Wednesday morning. The commentary had been intended not to be published until early next month, alongside research by the watchdog organisation on school funding.
STUDENTS in the Midlands have been warned that they will be punished if they refuse to cross picket lines ahead of the first day of strike action at universities across Britain on Thursday. The University of Leicester reportedly told students that those standing in solidarity with members of the University and College Union (UCU) will be recorded as absent for all of the classes missed as a result. A student at the university posted the message from the institution online, and it has since been shared widely.
Towns and villages already devastated by Storm Dennis are preparing for more flooding misery after the UK was hit by more torrential rain yesterday. Forecasters warned that a month’s worth of rain could fall over 24 hours in the worst-hit areas. It comes as Conservative MPs in flood-hit constituencies criticised the Government’s slow financial response to the crisis and urged Whitehall to make more money available for flood defences. Thousands of properties have been evacuated across England and Wales after the weekend weather chaos led to ‘unprecedented’ flooding.
Britons on the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship docked off the coast of Japan will be evacuated by plane on Friday, officials have confirmed. The evacuation flight for the 74 Britons quarantined on board the Diamond Princess will leave Tokyo on Friday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday evening. On their return they will be housed in Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral. British passengers have had to remain in quarantine until their evacuation flight was put in place, as a total of 621 cases of the virus were diagnosed on board.
BRITS trapped on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship have finally been allowed to disembark after weeks stuck in their cabins. But the Foreign Office has warned UK passengers who disembark the virus ravaged ship they may not be able to join the evacuation flight home. Brits have also been warned they face another two weeks of quarantine on their return. Only those who test negative and show no symptoms of the coronavirus will be allowed on the flight, it is believed. In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “We are planning an evacuation flight from Tokyo to the UK as soon as possible for Britons who are on the Diamond Princess.
Brits stuck on board a cruise ship quarantined in Japan amid coronavirus fears will return home on Friday – as two passengers on board have died from the virus. An evacuation flight for Britons will leave Tokyo on Friday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said. Mr Raab said information has been provided to those registered for the flight, but he urged “other British nationals still seeking to leave to contact us”. He added: “We will continue to support British nationals who wish to stay in Japan.”
From dentists to diggers, from Bond to Bicester Village, the wider impact of the coronavirus crisis is only now beginning to be felt. With parts of China, the world’s second largest economy, still effectively closed for business, industries across the world that rely on the country to manufacture their products or parts are being hit by shortages. Others are feeling the squeeze as Chinese consumers stop spending their cash both at home and abroad.
BRITAIN’S 37million drivers could face the first fuel duty rise in a decade next month. They may be targeted in the Budget as Boris Johnson’s all- powerful adviser Dominic Cummings eyes up a £4billion spending pot. He wants to end the fuel duty freeze, which has been in place since 2010 and saves drivers about £1.50 every time they fill up. The tax will probably go up by the rate of inflation, putting 2p on a litre of fuel. However, the rise might be delayed until next year.
Rail Minister and Lancashire MP Andrew Stephenson has been given his portfolio, taking on responsibility for HS2, on top of overseeing the Transpennine route and Northern Powerhouse Rail. The appointment comes following Boris’ commitment to get control of the project’s spiraling costs. Initially the Government estimated the cost of HS2 would be £32.7 billion – saying at the time it would bring £46.9 billion worth of benefits. The cost has now ballooned to at least £106 billion. Stephenson will have a job on his hands… Paul Maynard, whom Andrew Stephenson replaces, had “Aviation (including Heathrow expansion)” as one of the subjects within his portfolio.