COCKY Michel Barnier today dismissed Boris Johnson’s threat to walk away without a Brexit deal – dismissively wishing him: “Good luck!” The EU dealmaker ramped up the row with No 10 over fishing and state-aid rules ahead of next week’s make-or-break round in London. He told the PM he’ll have to agree to a fudge on subsidies that could threaten his levelling up agenda and anger “blue wall” Tory MPs. And he warned British negotiators we can take back control of our waters, but not the fish living in them. The Frenchman delivered the outburst after a day of “difficult” talks with David Frost in London yesterday. He condemned No 10 for using EU fishermen as a “bargaining chip” in the negotiations and said it had made no effort to compromise. A deal won’t be done without an agreement on fishing, he insisted. And he demanded “reassurances” the UK won’t use its new regulatory freedom to “distort competition with us in the future”. But in a combative speech he himself dismissed a raft of British proposals on farming, aviation, road haulage, the car industry, steel, and energy.
MICHEL BARNIER has reacted sarcastically to Boris Johnson’s threat of a no deal Brexit, again accusing the UK for not engaging constructively in trade talks and warning time is running out to strike an agreement before the end of October. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said there will be a “huge difference” between a deal and no deal outcome, warning “there is no reason to underestimate the consequences for many people, many sectors of a no deal”. Mr Barnier said at an event organised by an Irish think tank following the meeting with UK counterpart David Frost in London: “Sometimes I listen to people from the UK speaking of the chance of no deal. Good luck! Good luck!
Michel Barnier has wished Britain “good luck” with surviving a no deal Brexit after accusing the UK of holding European Union fishermen hostage in the deadlocked trade talks. The EU’s chief negotiator said Britain had shown no willingness to compromise over fishing rights and warned that unless the UK caved there would be no trade deal with the EU. “Obviously the UK will recover the full sovereignty of their waters. No doubt. No question. But it is another thing, another story, speaking about the fish which are inside those waters,” he said before next week’s round of negotiations in London.
Brussels will reject a free trade agreement with Britain and trigger a no-deal end to the transition period unless Boris Johnson gives “credible guarantees” on subsidies and standards, Michel Barnier warned today. In a combative speech before a critical round of negotiations in London next week, the European Union’s negotiator pinned the blame for deadlock on the British. He dismissed Downing Street threats to walk away without a Brexit deal and mocked suggestions that Britain would shrug off a no-deal outcome at the end of the transition period this year.
Britain is still not engaging constructively in Brexit talks with less than two months to go before both sides want to strike an agreement, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. Speaking at a think tank in Dublin via video-link Michel Barnier said a meeting this week with his British counterpart had not resulted in any progress. “I came back from London this morning. We did not see any change in the position of the UK. I am worried and I am disappointed,” Mr Barnier said following his meeting with David Frost.
MICHEL Barnier was accused of painting a “misleading caricature” of Britain’s Brexit position during a combative speech which threatened to derail trade talks. The Brussels negotiator insisted Boris Johnson would have to cave and allow unlimited access for European fishermen to British coastal waters if there is to be a deal. He also blew several Downing Street proposals on aviation, road haulage and the car industry out of the water after a fractious meeting with the Prime Minister’s Brexit envoy in London.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said he is “worried and disappointed” over the UK’s approach to the talks, fuelling fears that the UK will leave the bloc in January without a deal. He said there was no breakthrough at a meeting on Tuesday with the UK’s negotiator, David Frost. “We didn’t see any change in the position of the UK, which is why I expressed publicly what I say, that I am worried and I am disappointed because, frankly speaking, we have moved, [and] shown in many issues real openness in the past months,” Barnier told the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.
Britain must engage now with EU demands on guarantees of fair competition, fisheries and solving disputes in order to seal a deal on new trade ties by a “strict deadline” of end-October, the EU Brexit negotiator said on Wednesday. Michel Barnier said London has so far not shown enough flexibility and creativity on these. But he believed a deal on a new relationship to replace decades of close-knit cooperation after Brexit from 2021 was still possible, if difficult. “On all these issues the UK side continues to disappoint,” Barnier told a seminar
THE Brexit Fisheries Bill has been making its way through Parliament, and is a key piece of legislation for the UK post-Brexit. What’s in the Brexit Fisheries Bill? MPs have been encouraged to back a flagship Brexit legislation which will implement controls on foreign vessels seeking to access UK fishing waters. The SNP have attempted to block any further amendments to the bill until the outcome of the Brexit trade negotiations is known. Brexit negotiations are still ongoing, but both sides have been in deadlock for some time over key areas of the post Brexit relationship between the UK and the EU.
EUROPEAN leaders have given the green light for thousands of MEPs and eurocrats to travel from Brussels to Strasbourg next week – despite the region being on Belgium’s orange zone, which indicates a high number of coronavirus infections. The European Parliament usually switches between Brussels and Strasbourg each month, which involves transporting thousands of documents and eurocrats on a 600mile round trip and has been heavily ridiculed as a “travelling circus”. The move was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the past six months the European Parliament has operated exclusively out of Brussels, but a plenary will be held in the French city next week.
Senior Government officials will face a grilling by MPs on Thursday over record numbers of migrants crossing the Channel to reach the UK. At least 409 people reached British shores in a rush of small boats on Wednesday, a new single-day record. It brings the total number of migrants who have crossed the sea to the UK in 2020 to more than 5,600, analysis by the PA news agency shows. The increasing number of arrivals has led to an inquiry by the Home Affairs Select Committee, who will hear from Home Office and National Crime Agency leaders on immigration enforcement measures on Thursday morning.
A record number of migrants crossed the Channel yesterday as a study revealed that the government’s hostile environment policy was failing to combat illegal immigration. At least 409 asylum seekers took advantage of calm seas to reach Britain despite repeated pledges by Priti Patel, the home secretary, to tackle the issue. More than 5,000 have arrived this year, with the numbers showing no sign of abating. Aerial drones have been used and there have been suggestions that the navy could be deployed or an Australian-style “push back” system adopted.
A record-breaking 409 migrants made it across the Channel today with eight dinghies managing to dodge Border Force entirely. A total of 30 boats are believed to have made the crossing, the first setting off in the early hours of Wednesday, amid ‘absolute mayhem’ in the world’s busiest shipping lane. Astonishing photographs showed groups of migrants wading through the surf and staggering up the sand before collapsing on the rocks, exhausted after the perilous journey. At least eight dinghies dodged Border Force boats to make it to the Kent coast unchecked.
More than 400 illegal migrants crossed the Channel to reach Britain in a new record, as ministers revealed nearly 1,000 have been identified for deportation. It is 100 more than the previous record of 300 as around 27 boats, some carrying children and toddlers, on Wednesday reached UK territorial waters despite the French preventing a further 100 leaving their beaches. It followed 145 migrants who reached the UK in 18 boats on Tuesday.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has reassured recently-elected Tory MPs there will not be a “horror show of tax rises with no end in sight”, as the government deals with the costs of coronavirus. He urged the 2019 Conservative intake to show trust to overcome the “short-term challenges” the party faces. Some MPs have expressed fears U-turns are hurting the government’s standing. Mr Sunak accidentally revealed the wording of his statement while holding his notes outside 11 Downing Street. The Conservative Party, which won an 80-seat majority at December’s general election, has seen its opinion poll lead over Labour cut in recent weeks.
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have prepared Conservative MPs for tax rises to fund the coronavirus response, with the Prime Minister warning: “It’s about to get tougher.” The Chancellor claimed there would not be a “horror show of tax rises with no end in sight” but both he and Mr Johnson made clear there would be some increases for taxpayers to fund the coronavirus bailout. Both men addressed the 100 Tory MPs elected in 2019 after growing concern that their constituents would be hit hardest by any tax rises in the Chancellor’s November Budget.
Energy bill payers could be forced to fund low-carbon gas power plants that generate little electricity in new plans to help the UK meet its net zero targets. Customers would be charged under Government proposals meant to help ensure that private developers build power stations with carbon capture units attached. As part of an upgraded, cleaner grid, some plants would be started up when there is not enough wind or sunshine to power renewable energy sources – meaning they could spend days sitting idle. The proposed “availability payments” would most likely be levied on bills and would come on top of other variable fees to encourage the use of power plants with carbon capture ahead of those without.
Back to work
Britain’s roads and railways were still almost empty today as the drive to get workers back to offices following the summer holidays stalled again. While some London Underground trains were beginning to look busier during rush hour this morning, hardly anyone was to be seen arriving at major terminals in the capital including Waterloo and Paddington. Commuters travelling into London on train lines such as Great Western Railway and Southeastern also tweeted photographs of near-empty carriages, while pictures of the M40 during rush hour also showed very light traffic.
Boris Johnson’s drive to get workers back to the office has been postponed amid warnings that the Government’s own social distancing guidelines prevent firms from getting all of their staff back to their desks. A public information campaign encouraging people to return to their workplaces was originally scheduled to begin on Friday, but it will not now begin until next week at the earliest. It came after a senior Bank of England official warned that Covid-safe guidelines meant offices could not be used with the usual “intensity”, meaning companies were missing out on the “efficiency, collaboration and creativity” that comes with office working.
A study led by British researchers has found only the second drug proven to save the lives of seriously ill coronavirus patients. Hydrocortisone, a cheap and widely available steroid, was shown to cut the risk of death for those critically ill by about 20 per cent. The results suggest that for every 12 people who were given the medicine, a life was saved. Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer for England, is expected to urge NHS intensive care specialists to take note of the results and the World Health Organisation will update its guidelines. Hydrocortisone will cost between £2 and £4 a patient a day.
A £5 drug which cuts the risk of dying from Covid-19 by a fifth is to be instantly rolled out across the NHS. The cheap steroids were found to have remarkable results when tested on critically ill patients, including those in 88 NHS hospitals. An international team of researchers analysed seven trials involving three different types of anti-inflammatory corticosteroids. The study, which was coordinated by the World Health Organisation and analysed by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) at the University of Bristol, looked at patient mortality in a 28-day period after treatment.
The Government is injecting half a billion pounds into trials of rapid coronavirus tests in a bid to boost its lagging turnaround times for results. Pilots in Salford and Southampton of devices that scour saliva for signs of the virus will benefit from the funding package. And a Hampshire trial of a more conventional swab test that can produce a diagnosis in 30 minutes will also receive a cash boost from the Department of Health. Ministers are hoping to speed up the approval of the quick diagnostic tools to help reduce the length of time potential patients wait to hear back about results.
Weekly Covid-19 testing for everyone is to be piloted, in the hope it can get Britain back to “a more normal way of life”. Offices, shops, schools and stations will begin offering “on the spot” tests, as part of a £500 million trial aiming to restore activity in Britain’s “ghost towns”. The pilots will be tried first in parts of the north west with high levels of the virus, and in a number of schools in the south. If successful, schemes will be rolled out across the whole population, with businesses expected to contribute towards the costs. The plans aims to achieve a massive expansion in testing capacity before winter, in a bid to prevent spikes in Covid-19, and allow workplaces to function more normally.
A new £500 million funding package will support trials of a 20-minute coronavirus test and efforts to explore the benefits of repeatedly testing people for the disease, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced. Existing trials in Southampton and Hampshire, using a no-swab saliva test and a rapid 20-minute test, will also be expanded through the new funding. And money will also go towards launching a new community-wide repeat population testing trial in Salford, Greater Manchester.
THE Government is injecting £500million into mass-testing trials which will deliver coronavirus results in 20 minutes. In a drive to get Britain back to work, the new projects will help deliver routine testing for public sector workers, school children, office workers and shoppers. And the quick results time will allow people who test positive to self-isolate faster and return to work immediately if they are negative. Boris Johnson said yesterday that the trials could “end the need for social distancing” if they are rolled out in workplaces across the UK.
Regular coronavirus checks on schoolchildren, shoppers and commuters will be piloted as part of a £500 million effort to use mass testing to get Britain back to normal. Weekly testing of teachers will also be trialled as part of preparations for routine checks on millions of people with no symptoms. Spit tests that avoid the need for uncomfortable swabs will be used after preliminary findings suggested that they were just as good as standard tests. A 20-minute test technology that gives results on the spot will also be studied further as ministers plan for a world in which regular testing becomes a part of everyday life.
Tests for antibodies may be dramatically underestimating the proportion of people who have been infected with the coronavirus, scientists said. The claim, made in The BMJ, implies that it is possible some parts of the country are far closer to herd immunity than had been thought. However, the scientists who wrote the editorial cautioned that they could not put a figure on how far out the estimates were. According to seroprevalence studies, which look for the presence of coronavirus antibodies, 5 per cent of people in the UK and 17 per cent in London have been infected.
Patients dying at home from causes other than Covid-19 are fuelling excess deaths across the UK, official figures show. The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows more than 6,700 extra deaths in homes across the UK in the past two months – of which just 203 involved coronavirus. The statistics show deaths from other causes are soaring, amid concern that millions of patients went untreated for killer diseases during lockdown. Among those under 65, the number of deaths caused by high blood pressure is up by one third, with the same rise seen in deaths caused by cardiac arrhythmias.
The BBC has bowed to political pressure to reinstate a sung performance of Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory at the Last Night of the Proms. The corporation had found itself at the centre of a political storm after briefing that it was considering dropping both songs from the event because of their perceived association with colonialism and slavery. The prime minister criticised the BBC and said it was time “we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our traditions, and about our culture”.
Deflated members of the woke brigade have branded Land of Hope and Glory and Rule, Britannia! ‘jingoistic claptrap’ as they slammed the BBC’s U-turn which will now see both anthems sung at the Proms. More than 100,000 people signed MailOnline’s petition urging the BBC to overturn the hugely controversial decision to have no singing during the songs at the Royal Albert Hall in West London on September 12. The broadcaster had announced on Monday last week that the anthems would feature as ‘new orchestral versions’ in this year’s concert, following concerns raised over their perceived historical links with colonialism and slavery.