Brexit tensions escalated again today (Monday) as France slammed Boris Johnson‘s ‘intransigent and unrealistic’ stance on trade talks. Europe minister Jean-Yves Le Drian delivered a stinging rebuke to the PM in a speech amid fears that negotiations are on the verge of collapse. The two sides are at odds over access to fishing waters and whether the UK should continue to obey EU rules, with the clock running down to get a deal in place for the end of the transition period in January. Mr Johnson has insisted he is ready to walk away from the table within weeks rather than compromise sovereignty. Michel Barnier is expected to travel to London this week ahead of the next round of talks in a bid to find a way through the bitter standoff. Speaking to French ambassadors in Paris alongside German counterpart Heiko Maas this morning, Mr Le Drian said: ‘Negotiations are not advancing due to the intransigent and frankly unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom.’
GERMANY and France said the ball is in Britain’s court to stop a no deal Brexit as the French Foreign Minister launched a scathing attack on the UK’s approach to negotiations. Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU are at deadlock despite a desire by both sides to secure a deal before the transition period runs out on December 31. Both sides have expressed they want to secure a deal but red lines have hindered progress. The EU has demanded the same access to British fishing waters which is a major red line for Boris Johnson and his team, who want to reclaim the UK sovereignty on such matters. In an extraordinary outburst from Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Foreign Minister claimed Britain’s “intransigent and unrealistic” attitude is to blame for the deadlock. Both sides have accused the other of posing unachievable demands. Of all the EU leaders Emmanuel Macron has taken the hardest stance with insiders saying the French President believes without a fisheries agreement there can be no trade deal.
The UK Government has said the European Union is making Brexit talks “unnecessarily difficult” after France accused the UK of deliberately stalling in negotiations. It comes as Britain and the bloc remain in a stalemate as they try to agree on future trade ties. UK-EU talks ended with little progress last week amid warnings of a no-deal Brexit if key issues are not settled within weeks. With just four months until the transition period ends, both sides have failed to resolve various sticking points, like fisheries and state aid policy. French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has now blamed Britain for the deadlock, saying talks are not advancing because of the “intransigent and unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom”. He told his country’s ambassadors that the bloc of 27 nations will not buckle under pressure from London.
THE UK is set to hold emergency talks with the EU on Tuesday following warnings that there is only a month left to strike a Brexit deal. EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, will travel to London for the last minute ‘informal’ talks with his UK counterpart David Frost. The discussions are expected to focus on the two issues which have so far stalled negotiations, fishing rights and state aid rules. But Mr Barnier has refused to open talks on the UK’s new fisheries proposals until the UK shifts on other issues.
Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator will hold emergency talks with his EU counterpart today amid warnings that there is just a month left to strike a deal. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will travel to London for the unscheduled talks with David Frost in a bid to break the deadlock. The ‘informal’ discussions are expected to focus on state aid rules and fishing rights, the two issues that have emerged as the biggest barriers to a deal. Formal negotiations will resume next week. A Whitehall source said that although the UK’s transition period from the EU is not due to finish until the end of the year, there is ‘realistically only a month’ to agree a deal in time for it to be ratified.
The European Union is refusing to discuss British proposals on a future fisheries treaty despite it being the most difficult element in trade and security talks that have stalled. David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator with the EU, and Michel Barnier will hold informal talks in London today in an attempt to revive negotiations as the prospect of a no-deal scenario looms at the end of this month. Mr Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator, has refused to discuss the proposals because of his “parallelism” policy: he will not hold talks on any issue until Britain has agreed significant concessions. The EU is blaming Britain’s failure to back down for the impasse.
MICHEL Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has refused to open discussions on Britain’s new fisheries proposals after France bashed the UK for having “unrealistic” demands. Britain is keen to move on and progress talks. However, Mr Barnier will not open up talks until the UK budges on other issues, it has emerged. The chief negotiator is insisting on “parallelism” – where multiple aspects on a range of issues must be agreed before moving forward. Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU are at deadlock despite a desire by both sides to secure a deal before the transition period runs out on December 31. Mr Barnier, is meeting David Frost, the UK’s lead negotiator, in London on Tuesday. The pair will be meeting outside of the scheduled negotiating timetable to discuss the stagnated talks.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, is refusing to open discussions on Britain’s new fisheries proposals until the UK budges on other issues, it has emerged. Mr Barnier, who is meeting David Frost, the UK’s lead negotiator, in London on Tuesday, is insisting on “parallelism” – where multiple aspects on a range of issues must be agreed before moving forward. Britain is keen to move on and progress talks, and the pair are meeting outside of the scheduled negotiating timetable to try to straighten out the stagnated talks with the official, eighth round resuming in London on Monday September 7. The UK had wanted a deal done at the end of July and Mr Barnier says an agreement has to be in place by the end of October for it to be ratified around Europe by the end of the year. Fisheries remains just one of the main sticking points, and if there is no deal by October, European fishermen will be completely excluded from British waters under international law, causing a devastating impact on their fishing communities.
A SCUFFLE erupted last night as a Bill on UK fishing rights after Brexit is set to be voted on at Westminster. The UK Government’s Fisheries Bill, which creates the powers for the UK to operate as an independent coastal state and manage its fish stocks sustainably outside the EU is currently in process. The Bill, which was passed through House of Lords on July 1 and now faces the scrutiny of the House of Commons, ends current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in British waters. If access to UK waters for foreign vessels is negotiated, Westminster says the Bill will also enable the Fisheries Administrations to ensure foreign vessels follow the same rules as British vessels. MPs are set to debate the Fisheries Bill in a second reading in the House of Commons today. But the SNP have threatened to vote against the Bill in an official boycott against the Tories and urged new Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and his five Westminster MPs to follow suit.
An Army drone previously used in Afghanistan is to fly over the English Channel to monitor migrant boats as the crisis continues. The Watchkeeper drone will be used to help tackle the dangerous crossings, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed. It is the first time the eye-in-the-sky war technology, which has been used by the Army in Afghanistan, will fly in the UK operationally. It comes as migrants continue to risk the dangerous seas in the Dover Strait, though bad weather has limited crossings recently. Other armed forces aircraft, including Atlas A-400M, Shadow R1 and P-8 Poseidon have also been authorised to help monitor Channel crossings. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy is considering deploying small patrol boats to the Channel to assist the Border Force.
Concern is mounting over a day of protest by far-right groups in Dover, the latest in a number of direct actions against asylum seekers who have recently arrived in the UK in small boats. Far-right organisers for various groups have said on social media they plan to “take Dover by force” by blocking roads and ferries. In January 2016 in Dover, a far-right demonstration against refugees and a counter-demonstration by anti-fascist campaigners resulted in a number of injuries and arrests. Dr Joe Mulhall, a senior researcher at Hope Not Hate, said: “Details about the event are currently confused, with different parts of the UK far-right scene planning concurrent events. Some are planning for people to block the streets around the port, while other more extreme elements are likely to take a confrontational approach.
A shocking video shows the moment ravers flouting lockdown confront riot police, bombarding them with bottles and other lobbed missiles. In the ugly clip, recorded at Thetford Forest in Norfolk, one person appears to rip a riot shield from a police officer, with others raising their middle fingers at officers in defiance. Bottles and cans are thrown at officers and Norfolk Police had to draft in help from other forces to shut down the event, Mirror Online reports. Luckily, no police officers were injured.
GCSE and A-level exams will be delayed next summer to give children the chance to catch up on lost lesson time, Gavin Williamson has indicated. The Education Secretary told The Telegraph he was studying plans for a “short delay” to public exams “with the aim of creating more teaching time”. Sources suggested exams could be pushed back to June and July, but would not cut into the scheduled summer holidays. Around four in 10 schools in England will reopen fully on Tuesday for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown in March, with the remainder opening by the start of next week.
Children in England are three months behind in their studies after lockdown, with boys and poor pupils worst hit, a teacher survey has suggested. The learning gap between rich and poor pupils has grown by almost half since schools closed in March, teachers said. With schools balancing education with social distancing, a quick catch-up is unlikely, the authors warned. The new term begins in England and Wales this week. Schools are already back in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Despite fears that the NHS may have to cope with a double whammy of coronavirus and flu this winter, millions of flu jabs may be delayed until close to Christmas, according to reports yesterday. The government is aiming for “the biggest flu vaccination programme in history” and has pledged to expand the programme to half the population. Healthy over-fifties will be among those offered a jab, along with pensioners, young children and people with underlying health conditions. Even though a second wave of the coronavirus is widely expected this autumn, along with an increase in flu,
FUEL duty could be increased by up to 5p by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. He is considering ending a ten-year freeze on the tax in his autumn Budget to help pay for Covid-19. The move would automatically add 2p a litre at the pumps, as the price would go up in line with inflation. But a Treasury source says it has plans for an extra 3p on top. Fed-up motorists urged the Chancellor to scrap plans for the tax hike. Critics said it would be “madness” to raise the cost of driving while the Government tries to coax people back to the office.
MPs who switch parties could be forced to fight by-elections under proposals being put forward in parliament by a Conservative MP this week. Anthony Mangnall wants legislation to trigger a recall petition automatically whenever an MP crosses the floor, with signatures from one in 10 constituents needed to force them to seek re-election. The MP will make his case in the Commons on Wednesday for a bill to extend recall provisions, which currently allow a petition only if MPs are jailed, suspended from parliament for 10 days or more or found guilty of expenses fraud.
A secret password protected Extinction Rebellion training video obtained by Guido shows the confidential tips given to environmental protesters by their swanky head office. Among them are to accuse police of “causing pain” to fellow activists when they are arrested, and crucially to not film arrests as the footage is more likely to incriminate the illegal protesters than show up the police for doing anything untoward.In the video trainer Vishal Chauhan told activists… “I might be filming something that contains incriminating evidence against either the person being arrested or other people that are there… prosecutors tend to use video evidence to prosecute… in terms of harm you could be incriminating them… if you do film make sure you do not release that film on social media”.
More than half of senior managers who drove to work before the coronavirus lockdown are still working from home, a new survey has revealed amid growing concerns for the UK economy. A poll conducted by the AA found that some 54 per cent of professionals and senior or middle managers remain working from home for all or some of the time. Meanwhile, four in 10 people (40 per cent) who normally commuted by car pre-pandemic are still working remotely. The numbers were published after experts warned continued working from home could cost the UK economy almost £500 billion over the next four years. The UK Government is increasingly concerned about struggling town and city centres. Ministers are encouraging more workers to return to their offices in order to deliver a boost to businesses in urban areas which are reliant on commuter footfall.
Boris Johnson is facing one of the toughest tests of his premiership as he attempts to persuade parents to send children back to school and workers to return to their offices. On the day MPs return to the Commons after the summer recess, schools in England and Wales are re-opening, with the government desperately hoping for a mass return to classrooms. Ministers believe getting children back to school is vital to end the widespread working from home which has turned city centres into ghost towns and led to massive job losses on the high street.
The government is backing away from suggestions of a mass return of workers to offices this week, with one cabinet minister acknowledging that employers will not have the capacity to accommodate all staff at their desks in a Covid-secure way. Boris Johnson has been accused of “bullying” workers after a senior government source was quoted as saying that staff who continue to work from home may be “vulnerable” to the sack. Senior Tory backbencher Robert Halfon insisted that it should be for employers not ministers to decide when it is safe for workers to return, warning that the Conservatives must not be seen to demand that “everyone must march from the suburbs to the cities in some sort of forced collectivisation”. But environment secretary George Eustice this morning indicated that a back-to-work publicity drive expected to kick off at the end of this week will focus instead on reassurance that workplaces are safe.
Government efforts to convince workers to return to the office unravelled yesterday after the Environment Secretary admitted he did not have a target for the number of staff he wants back in his department next month. George Eustice said he wanted to ensure “as many people as possible” return to work, but conceded that not everybody in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs would be able to safely. It comes as the Government is expected to launch a media blitz in regional newspapers and television to urge workers to return to the office amid fears within the Treasury of the impact the pandemic is having on town and city centres.
Every person has a target weight they must stay below or they risk getting type 2 diabetes, a study suggests. Researchers looking at half a million Britons said people appear to have a personal body mass index (BMI) threshold which triggers abnormal blood sugar levels. They claim millions of people could avoid developing diabetes if they kept their weight in a healthy range below that target. And for those who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the condition can be reversed entirely by aggressively reducing calories, the scientists say.
Thousands of people with type 2 diabetes are being enrolled into an NHS trial of ‘soups and shakes’ diet which has been proven to reverse the illness. A total of 5,000 patients in England have been signed up to trial the radical 12-month diet programme to slim them down and restore their health. Volunteers will be restricted to just 800 calories per day – a third of an adult man’s recommended daily intake and almost half of a woman’s. Their meals will be limited to blended shakes, bowls of soup and health bars for three months, before real, nutritious food is reintroduced for the remaining nine months. Type 2 diabetes is linked in most cases to being overweight or obese, not doing enough exercise and consuming too much sugar.
THOUSANDS of Brits are set to be given soup and meal replacement shakes as the NHS attempts to tackle type 2 diabetes. Over 5,000 patients in 10 areas across the country will be provided with the “very low calorie options” from today. The NHS has hailed the diet as a “life changing programme” and claims that such plans have been known to put type 2 diabetes in remission for people who have recently been diagnosed with the condition. Treatment for diabetes patients is believed to cost the NHS around £10billion a year.