BORIS Johnson agreed to restart Brexit talks tonight after the European Union caved on his demands to compromise. Michel Barnier finally admitted defeat in his battle to keep Britain tied to Brussels in a last ditch bid to salvage the wrangling over a EU-UK future relationship pact. He agreed to travel to London tomorrow for showdown talks with UK counterpart Lord Frost and has declared a deal by mid-November is within reach. The pair agreed to meet after Mr Barnier reassured the Prime Minister’s chief negotiator of the concessions during an hour-long phone call this evening. The Brussels diplomat offered the Prime Minister an olive branch by stressing any future trade deal would respect Britain’s “sovereignty”. Downing Street welcomed the EU’s concessions and agreed to resume the wrangling over a Brexit deal.
BORIS Johnson has tonight agreed to restart the Brexit talks after Brussels caved into his demands for the EU to compromise. Michel Barnier will travel to London on Thursday to see David Frost and has declared a deal by mid-November is “within reach”. The reboot came after the bloc’s chief negotiator announced the crucial climbdown, completing a major negotiating victory for the PM. He talked around his British counterpart during a phone call this afternoon. Lord Frost said: “We have agreed that a basis for negotiations with the EU has been re-established.
Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and the EU will resume later this week after Downing Street accepted an olive branch from Michel Barnier. Number 10 said this afternoon Britain is now ‘ready to welcome the EU team to London to resume negotiations’ after almost a week of discussions being on hold amid a tense stand off. The Government said while ‘significant gaps remain’ between the two sides ‘in the most difficult areas’ it is willing ‘to see if it is possible to bridge them in intensive talks’. However, Number 10 also warned ‘it takes two to reach an agreement’ and it is ‘entirely possible that negotiations will not succeed’.
THE European Union is working on a “theatrical” new plan to force through a post-Brexit trade deal, with talks at an impasse. As the December 31 transition period deadline looms ever closer, officials in Brussels have drawn up a set of tactics to deliver a deal. According to senior EU officials, the bloc will allow Boris Johnson to claim victory over the bloc – even if he compromises. The posturing would allow Mr Johnson to placate critics in Westminster, who may have lashed out if the EU had indicated it had secured its own compromise. EU sources told Bloomberg Mr Johnson’s no-deal warning last Friday has not caused much alarm among the leaders of the 27 member states.
A Brexit trade deal could be done in a fortnight after the European Union caved to British conditions in a “significant” shift that led to negotiations being restarted in London on Thursday. Michel Barnier said the new free trade agreement “was in reach” and UK sources said it could be struck in “two to three weeks”. Both sides have agreed a schedule of daily, intensive talks up to the EU’s deadline at the end of this month. Lord Frost was convinced Brussels was bringing a “fundamental” change of approach to the stalled negotiations after Mr Barnier gave a conciliatory speech in the European Parliament in Brussels. “We have agreed that a basis for negotiations with the EU and Michel Barnier has been re-established,” Lord Frost, the UK’s top Brexit official, said as he rebooted trade talks.
GUY VERHOFSTADT has demanded that Britain “follows its commitments” to avoid a huge mess before trying to negotiate a Brexit trade deal. The senior Belgian MEP hit out at Britain for the proposal of the Internal Market Bill and claimed it would be a “huge mess”. Mr Verhofstadt called on the EU’s 27 member states to vote down any agreement with Britain if Downing Street refuses to amend its Internal Market Bill that allows ministers to rip up last year’s divorce deal. He said: “If there is an agreement, and 27 will have ratified it, and if they don’t follow their commitments it will be a huge mess. “After what happened with the Internal Market Bill, it’s in the interest of the European Union to foresee such a disposition in that final agreement.”
FRENCH MEP Nicolas Bay warned a no deal Brexit outcome would be “worse for the EU than the UK” as he blasted EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier for failing to come to an agreement on fisheries with Britain. The French MEP claimed the European Union’s position in the Brexit negotiations has been to “punish the British people” from the start. Mr Bay argued the European Commission is “still seeking to keep the UK on a short leash” and warned the Brussels’ negotiators’ attitude was “never going to work” towards reaching an agreement. The French eurosceptic said he was “very worried about fisheries” as he claimed Germany’s preparedness to compromise on the issue will result in either “weakness or no deal”.
BREXIT fishing plans have erupted in fury after Jersey’s External Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, refused to let the UK “take control” of its territorial waters. Senator Ian Gorst has been accused of issuing a “screw you” message to Britain after releasing a two-minute video where he said the UK Fisheries Bill would not extend to Jersey. It comes as the main stumbling blocks of Brexit negotiations remain fishing rights, the governance of any deal and the “level playing field” aimed at preventing unfair competition, which includes state subsidies.
BREXIT fishing rows could lead to huge clashes with lives being lost, an MP warned amid stalling trade talks between the EU and the UK. Brexit talks are deadlocked once again as both Brussels and London refuse to budge on their respective demands. Fisheries has emerged as one of the bigger stumbling blocks, with the EU refusing to allow the UK access to European markets without access to British waters. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged that the UK will take sovereignty over its waters – meaning EU vessels could be cut off from Britain’s fishing grounds. France has warned Mr Johnson there will be “no new approach” coming from the EU as Brexit talks remain in limbo.
Foreigners with a criminal conviction in the past year could be banned from entering the UK under a post-Brexit immigration crackdown on overseas offenders. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has widened her planned UK ban on criminals jailed for more than a year to include people from both the EU and non-EU countries with less serious convictions. Under the changes to be laid before Parliament on Thursday, the UK will ditch the current “soft” EU rules that only allow immigration officials to ban anyone who poses “a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.”
Priti Patel today publishes tough new measures which will ban EU criminals entering Britain from January 1 and remove rough sleepers. Offenders will no longer get special treatment if they are EU nationals. However, the measures will partly rely on Britain retaining access to European criminal databases, on which a deal has yet to be reached. Existing EU rules mean Britain can only prevent EU criminals entering if they present a serious and current threat. The new measures will lower that hurdle.
Foreign rough sleepers face being deported from Britain under draconian immigration laws to be introduced when the Brexit transition period ends. Under the immigration rules to be laid before parliament and due to come into force on 1 January, rough sleeping will become grounds for refusal of, or cancellation of, permission to be in the UK. Charities described the move as a “huge step backwards”, which would prevent vulnerable people from asking for help. Home Office officials are said to be aware of the “sensitivity” of making rough sleepers liable for deportation.
Many more EU citizens with criminal records will be barred from entering the UK from January, the Home Office has said. People sentenced to more than a year in prison will be turned away, in line with other foreign nationals. Previously, officials had to show EU offenders presented a serious threat. But there are concerns a no-deal Brexit could make it harder to identify foreign criminals, BBC home editor Mark Easton said. With the UK in a transition period since it formally left the EU in January, an EU citizen can currently only be refused entry if they present a genuine, present and serious threat.
European citizens who have served more than a year in jail will face an automatic ban from entering Britain next year, Priti Patel said last night. From January 1 all EU citizens will face criminal records checks on entry into the country, even those coming to the UK on holiday. Anyone found to have been sentenced to a year or more in prison will face an automatic ban. People who have committed lesser crimes could still be denied entry depending on their individual case. This would include any EU citizen who has any criminal conviction in the past 12 months and anyone whose presence in the UK was considered “not conducive to the public good”.
TEACHERS have been told to stop sending entire year groups home “unnecessarily” if only one pupil tests positive for the Covid virus. The Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has warned education must not be sacrificed because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter being sent to MPs she said that just one pupil testing positive for the virus can send a school into “chaos”, with an entire year group being told to remain at home. She said there were huge discrepancies in the interpretation of the guidance handed out on how to deal with Covid cases in schools and it was impacting on children’s education.
With coronavirus cases rising and hospitals filling up, it might be tempting to worry that Britain is heading for a second wave as deadly as the first – but new data from intensive care units is telling an altogether different story. According to the most recent Intensive Care National Audit and Research Center report (Icnarc), the chance of surviving Covid for at least 28 days has risen from 61 per cent to 72 per cent between the two waves. The fall is seen across all ages, although the news is even better for the under-70s. For those aged between 50 and 69, the risk of death in intensive care has almost halved, dropping from around 38 per cent to just over 20 per cent.
Coronavirus will be around for “evermore” and is unlikely to be eradicated, a scientist advising the government on the pandemic has said. Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), also said the UK can expect tens of thousands of deaths from the second wave of coronavirus in what is a “bleak” situation. Britain, like other countries in Europe, is currently in the grip of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, with much of the country under local restrictions and more than 21,000 daily cases reported on Tuesday.
Top economists warned yesterday that the Government is ‘killing more people than it could possibly save’ through lockdowns. Giving evidence to the Treasury Committee, three experts urged Boris Johnson to rethink his approach. Two of them claimed blanket lockdowns have already caused more suffering than they mitigated – damaging the economy, mental health and job prospects. Gigi Foster, a professor at the University of New South Wales who has been advising Australian policy, said: ‘It’s very clear that the UK is killing many more people via lockdowns and suspended health services than it could possibly save from Covid.’
BRITAIN could soon be in a “reasonable position” due to its approach to coronavirus vaccine, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies revealed today. Speaking today, professor John Edmunds, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, stated the UK “could be in a reasonable” position in the coming months. With the second wave of the virus taking hold across the country, professor Edmunds stated a successful vaccine could soon put the UK in a better position. During a session of the Science and Technology and Health and Social Care Committee, professor Edmunds stated the Vaccine Taskforce had been smart to invest in six different possible drugs.
Coronavirus patients are much less likely to die now than in the early stages of the outbreak, according to a new study. Research at New York University showed a big drop in mortality among cases in hospital, seen in all demographics including older people and people with underlying health problems. The study appeared to indicate that after several months doctors are now much better at averting deaths in people they are treating for the disease. “We find that the death rate has gone down substantially,” said Leora Horwitz, one of the study’s authors.
Rishi Sunak will today launch a new rescue package to help firms hit by Covid restrictions retain their staff. The Chancellor will update MPs this morning on a package set to cost hundreds of millions of pounds to help firms in sectors such as hospitality, which have been badly hit by new restrictions this month. He is expected to extend grants and wage subsidies to firms in Tier Two areas such as London which are not legally forced to close – and so are not eligible for support – but have shut because remaining open is not commercially viable. Mr Sunak prepared to reach deeper into the Treasury’s coffers as figures showed the Government has borrowed more than a billion pounds every day during the pandemic.
RISHI Sunak will unveil a major new financial support package for businesses hit by the growing number of local lockdowns today. He is expected to target measures at pubs, bars, restaurants and their workers in areas under Tier 2 restrictions, which are classed as ‘High Alert’ Covid hotspots. There is currently a major gulf in financial support between Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas. Only companies in Tier 3 that are forced to close have access to the Job Support Scheme that sees the Government pay two thirds of their workers’ wages. But the state only pays 22 per cent of the wages of staff under the scheme in all other areas of the country – and they must be working at least a third of their normal hours.
Rishi Sunak is poised to announce extra help for pubs and restaurants struggling to survive in areas under Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions. The Chancellor is understood to be working on a compensation package for thousands of businesses whose trade is restricted by Government regulations after they complained of being left in limbo without support. While firms such as pubs in Tier 3 that are forced to close by law can access business grants and the two-thirds wage subsidy, those in the next tier down cannot because the law does not force them to close. It means hospitality venues across large areas of the country in which the 10pm curfew remains in force and indoor mixing between households is banned can only access the less generous part-time subsidy, which still requires them to contribute 55 per cent of wages.
The Government has so far been opposed to scrapping quarantine in favour of Covid-19 testing at UK airports, claiming that trials runs show that only seven per cent of coronavirus cases would be detected on arrival. But this figure is now being challenged by a group of health experts and data analysts who argue that a significant oversight is causing officials to wildly underestimate the effectiveness of airport testing. In assessing research compiled by Public Health England, which underpins the Government’s quarantine policy, health consultancy Edge Health and analytical firm Oxera have jointly concluded that the data is based on an assumption that anyone with detectable Covid symptoms pre-departure will not board their flight.
Staff will be banned from working in more than one care home in an attempt to halt the spread of coronavirus. The Telegraph understands the Government is drawing up legislation that will make it illegal for care homes to employ staff working at multiple sites. It follows concerns repeatedly expressed by Government scientists that outbreaks within the sector are “seeding” infections across whole communities, with agency workers singled out. But care home chiefs warned that the ban could backfire, forcing some homes to close entirely amid widespread staff shortages.
The English social care system urgently needs £7 billion a year to prevent a collapse as the pandemic pushes the sector further into a funding crisis, MPs have warned. The emergency boost would be a “starting point” to avoid a disaster and is not enough fully to address unmet need, according to a report by the Commons health and social care committee. If £7 billion were provided for social care it would help to avert a market collapse caused by providers prioritising people who can pay, it said. The sector will face further pressure from new legislation, reported last night, that will ban care homes from employing staff across multiple sites to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Care home costs should be capped at £46,000 in an overhaul of the social care system, which is currently “unfair, confusing and frightening”, the Commons health select committee has said. MPs called for £7 billion a year to be pumped into the sector immediately to stop the market from collapsing. The committee, chaired by the former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, urged ministers to take action on a crisis in social care. Successive Governments, including the current one, have promised reforms but failed to introduce them.
STATE pension payments must rise every year under triple lock rules. Today, official inflation figures have been released which confirms what the increase will be going forward. State pension payments rise every year by the highest of 2.5 percent, national earnings rates or inflation. These measures are taken throughout the year and today, official inflation figures were released and as such, state pensioners will know how their payments will increase going forward. Today, it was confirmed inflation (as measured by CPI) increased to 0.5 percent.