THE GOVERNMENT has vowed to take action against illegal French fishermen at the conclusion of the EU transition period. Boris Johnson‘s official spokesperson has said the Government will ensure the UK’s “status as an independent coastal state is properly respected” from next year. When quizzed how Britain will prevent illegal fishing in UK waters, the Downing Street official said: “We will ensure whatever agreement we reach with the EU on fishing rights, or indeed if we are unable to reach one, we will make sure our status as an independent coastal state is properly respected.”
BORIS Johnson has vowed to use Brexit to rip up “inflexible and rigid” laws that stop Britain returning illegal immigrants quickly. The PM says the EU’s Dublin Regulations are “abused by both migrants and their lawyers”. He vowed to forge new return arrangements with neighbouring countries when we are completely free from Brussels law next year. Currently, Britain is legally obliged to ensure asylum applications are examined and considered, even when migrants have come from a safe country such as France.
Boris Johnson is planning to use Brexit to tear up the UK’s international obligations to make it easier to send back migrants to France. The Prime Minister condemned the Channel crossings as “dangerous and criminal” amid an escalating war of words between Britain and France over the issue. Downing Street said the UK’s departure from the EU would allow the country to cut loose from the Dublin Regulations which place time limits on returns and, it is claimed, are open to abuse by those without a right to remain.
The UK needs to consider changes to asylum laws to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel, Boris Johnson has said. The prime minister said it was currently “very, very difficult” to legally return people who arrive in the UK from France using small boats. More than 4,000 people have successfully crossed English Channel this way so far this year. It comes as a group of Tory MPs has called for tougher action on crossings. Speaking on Monday, Mr Johnson pledged to work with the French authorities to discourage people from making the “dangerous” journey across the channel.
NEW laws to make it easier to deport refugees who cross the Channel illegally could frustrate international law, campaigners warned today. Prime Minister Boris Johnson branded the Channel crossings “a very bad and stupid and dangerous and criminal thing to do” and said he was looking to change the current legal framework that makes it “very very difficult then to send them away again.” His official spokesman said Brexit would allow Britain to change rules currently bound by “inflexible and rigid” Dublin Regulations, saying time limits on returns were being “abused” by migrants and their lawyers.
Priti Patel will today demand French co-operation in a massive new ‘blockade’ of the Channel to crack down on the migrant crisis. The Home Secretary will refuse to hand over any more taxpayers’ money to fund operations on French soil unless Emmanuel Macron’s government steps up action on illegal crossings. The French will also be expected to accept deportations of larger numbers of migrants who cross illegally, as well as failed asylum seekers, as part of a potential £30million deal. In proposals being outlined at a summit in Paris with Home Office minister Chris Philp this morning, it is understood the UK will set out how it hopes migrant boats can be barred from crossing the strait.
Plans to send royal navy warships to block migrants from crossing the Channel are being stepped up, despite warnings they will drown and threats of legal action. Priti Patel put in a formal request to the Ministry of Defence for help – even after an official there branded the crackdown “completely potty” – ignoring a growing backlash. She also appointed a former royal marine as her “clandestine Channel threat commander”, paving the way for interceptions and the turning back of boats, in a defiant statement of intent.
British ships could be deployed to block small boats trying to enter the UK’s waters under plans to stem the number of migrants crossing the Channel. Ministers are considering using 42m-long Border Force cutters to stop boats from reaching Britain’s territorial waters. The French authorities would then be contacted to intercept them, with a focus on intelligence sharing. The government has moved away from a more aggressive Australian-style “push-back” approach, which would have involved Royal Navy and Border Force vessels intercepting boats as they left French waters.
Boris Johnson has pledged to create new laws to tackle migrants crossing the English Channel once the Brexit transition period comes to an end, as the RAF deployed an aircraft to assist Border Force for the first time. The Prime Minister conceded that it was “very, very difficult” to return migrants who arrive in the UK from France via the Channel and said the UK would need to “look at the legal framework that we have” that allows such a situation to develop.
Britain will today seek to lay the foundations for a deal with France to take back more migrants who illegally cross the Channel. Chris Philp, the immigration minister, will meet his counterpart in Paris as he seeks to secure an agreement to send more asylum seekers back to France. According to official figures, nine migrants were sent back to France last year under the Dublin regulation, a European Union law. More than 4,000 migrants seeking to claim asylum have already reached England this year.
RUTHLESS people-smugglers are offering “kids go free” deals on perilous small-boat Channel crossings. They tell migrant parents they do not have to pay to carry babies and toddlers — and offer them further cut-price deals to take older children. The gangmasters’ latest tactic to attract desperate families mean vessels are even more crammed when sailing to our shores from Calais. In some cases the price to cross, which can be up to £5,000, has dropped to £500.
Fears are mounting of a ‘bonfire of jobs’ amid warnings a third of firms are planning to lay off staff this autumn. Shock research found huge numbers of companies expect to axe roles in the third quarter of the year as coronavirus hammers the economy. Many of the cuts are set to come from hospitality businesses such as hotels, restaurants and cafes, as well as shops that were already on the brink before the pandemic. The hit emerged in a survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) with recruiter the Adecco Group.
Serious security failings at one of the ‘Nightingale’ courts created to deal with the huge coronavirus backlog of cases have been exposed. Ten special sites have been set up by Justice Secretary Robert Buckland in an effort to start dealing with more than half a million cases. However, members of the public have been able to enter the makeshift courtrooms without any security checks. The Nightingale court in London – the first of its kind to hear criminal cases – carried out security searches on visitors when they first arrived, but later waved them through without checking their bags.
Three different daily Covid-19 death tolls are to be published after a compromise between ministers and scientists. The one favoured by ministers is likely to show a big reduction in daily deaths, bringing it close to single figures rather than the dozens usually reported on weekdays. Public Health England (PHE) is due to publish within days a review ordered by Matt Hancock, the health secretary, last month into the existing system of reporting virus deaths. He acted after it was pointed out that official daily figures included anyone who had died after a positive coronavirus test, whatever their cause of death and however long ago any test occurred.
The UK’s official coronavirus daily death count could be scrapped following an investigation into Public Health England’s method of counting the toll, it has been claimed. The conclusions of the probe, ordered by Health Secretary Matt Hancock after it emerged officials were “exaggerating” virus deaths, are expected this week, the Telegraph reports. One recommendation could be to move to a weekly official death toll instead, a government source told the newspaper.
Test & trace
NHS Test and Trace staff are successfully reaching only one contact each a month, new analysis reveals. A report by the Independent Sage group of scientists criticised the new centralised system for its “fundamentally wrong design”, which they say sees thousands of operatives “sitting at home, many doing almost nothing for weeks on end”. The group said the army of up to 25,000 staff had reached 51,524 close contacts of people who tested positive for coronavirus between the end of May and the end of July.
People who fail to respond to phone calls from the NHS Test and Trace unit face being visited on their doorstep by council workers as thousands of call handlers are about to lose their jobs. A third of the call centre staff are to be laid off and the rest deployed regionally to work with councils, in an acknowledgement that the system has not been fighting local outbreaks effectively. Councils have been promised they will be given the details of contacts who do not answer the phone after several local authorities said that their teams did much better by knocking on doors.
The number of NHS contact tracers will be reduced by a third while the rest are set to be redeployed locally as the government appears to acknowledge that the national system, described as “world beating”, is not fit for purpose. In an overhaul of the Test and Trace programme, the Department for Health and Social Care said it would cut the number of national contact tracers from 18,000 to 12,000 by 24 August – in two weeks’ time. It follows intense criticism over the reach of the national centralised service, which was set up an awarded to private companies, and its failure to tap into local knowledge to tackle outbreaks of the coronavirus in England.
Students who fail to achieve their predicted A-level grades will have their university places held open for them while they appeal, under plans to be outlined by the Government. Pupils who are awarded unfair grades must have a “safety net” to ensure that their university plans are not ruined, the higher education minister has told vice-Chancellors. On Thursday some 730,000 students will receive grades that are largely based on statistical modelling as well as the rank order of their class drawn up by teachers.
Universities have been urged by the UK government to be flexible in their admissions ahead of A-level results day this week. The eleventh hour move is in response to claims that the university places of thousands of pupils in England are in peril amid exam chaos. Experts have warned that pupils whose marks are downgraded by computer face missing out on university places while exam boards sift through a flood of appeals. Universities minister Michelle Donelan has written to vice-chancellors asking them, where possible, to hold places for students who appeal until they receive the outcome.
Secondary school pupils are likely to transmit coronavirus as easily as adults, according to official research used by ministers to argue that it is safe for all children to return to class next month. Scientists at Public Health England (PHE) believe that tougher rules are likely to be needed for older children, despite finding that primary pupils do not seem to pass the virus to each other. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, said yesterday that a study being conducted by PHE of thousands of pupils who returned to schools in June showed that there was little risk in government plans for all children to be back in the classroom for the new academic year next month.
Secondary school pupils are as likely to transmit coronavirus as adults, official research appears to show – as scientists now call for routine Covid tests for children and teachers when classes restart. Public Health England (PHE) found that primary school pupils do not appear to pass the virus to each other – but its researchers say that stricter rules could be needed for older schoolchildren. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said PHE findings due to be published later this year showed there was little risk from the Government’s plans to reopen schools in England in September.
A study on coronavirus transmission in 100 U.K. schools, described as one of the world’s largest, will confirm that there is “very little evidence” the disease is spreading in those institutions, a leading scientist reportedly proclaimed recently. Over the weekend, the Sunday Times quoted Professor Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and a member of a government advisory group, as saying: A new study that has been done in U.K. schools confirms there is very little evidence that the virus is transmitted in schools.
Ministers are under immense pressure over the botched handling of English A-level results after Scotland announced a dramatic U-turn and major research showed that high-achieving pupils from poorer backgrounds are likely to be hardest hit. The universities minister was writing urgently to vice-chancellors, asking them to be lenient with their offers and keep places open for pupils pursuing appeals amid fears that this year’s results will not truly reflect pupils’ abilities. Schools in England are braced for turmoil on Thursday when about 250,000 pupils are due to receive their A-level results following the cancellation of exams due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nicola Sturgeon has apologised to tens of thousands of pupils caught up in exam chaos in Scotland. The First Minister admitted that ministers “didn’t get this right” after 124,000 pupils had their predicted results downgraded following the cancellation of exams during the coronavirus pandemic. Pupils will not all be expected to appeal against their results, Ms Sturgeon said, in an attempt to curb the growing row over the issue, which disproportionately affected the poorest pupils. The Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA) rejected nearly 124,000 recommended grades from teachers using computer models after pupils were unable to sit exams due to coronavirus.
BORIS Johnson has launched a tubthumping defence of the “magical” United Kingdom ahead of his camping staycation north of the border. The Prime Minister branded the Union between Scotland and England “the greatest political partnership the world has ever seen”. And taking aim at Nationalists critics and Nicola Sturgeon, he said the UK is “admired and loved around the world”. As the SNP soar in the polls ahead of crunch Scottish Parliament elections next year that could pave the way to another referendum on Scottish independence, Mr Johnson warned it would be “such a shame to lose the power, the magic, of that union”.
Travellers arriving in Italy from high-risk countries should be forced to take a coronavirus test, a senior politician has demanded after dozens of infected Italian teenagers returned from overseas holidays. Nicola Zingaretti, the governor of Lazio, said that he was ordering the testing of all suspect arrivals at Fiumicino airport in Rome as infection rates surged in neighbouring European countries. Mr Zingaretti, head of the Democratic Party, which governs Italy with the Five Star party, urged testing at every other entry point in Italy claiming: “We must get back to living without dropping our guard.”
MORE than half a million British holidaymakers could be forced to scramble to get home over fears France, Holland and Malta could be added the UK’s quarantine list. Infections have risen in the last two weeks — putting holidays there in jeopardy. It comes as there are fears that France – where 500,000 Britons are currently on holiday – could be dropped from the list. The latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control show France has a rate of 26 cases per 100,000 people
Holidaymakers are facing chaos and uncertainty amid fears France, Holland, Switzerland, Poland and Malta could be added to the quarantine list within days. Amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases on the continent, Boris Johnson warned yesterday that ministers will ‘not hesitate’ to reintroduce quarantine ‘very rapidly’ if infections continue to rise. There are already fears that France – where 500,000 Britons are currently on holiday – could be re-added if infections continue to increase over the next two days. The scenario could trigger a frantic rush of passengers desperate to return home.
Spain has been plunged back into a coronavirus crisis as the soaring number of cases confirmed it to be the worst affected European country. Political leaders warned of economic devastation as medical chiefs said that the infection rates had quadrupled from 13.5 to 55.1 new cases a week per 100,000 people since mid July. This was roughly half the rate of infection at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in late March, when nearly 120 new cases per 100,000 people were being recorded each week.
Drive-through flu vaccination centres are to be set up in an attempt to stop a combined wave of winter bugs and coronavirus crippling the NHS. People will also be asked to get their jabs in GPs’ car parks as part of intensive winter preparations to avoid a crisis in overcrowded hospitals. Ministers set out plans last month to vaccinate more than 30 million people against flu to take the pressure off the health service in the winter, with more than half the population now eligible.
A SIMPLE jab will ease osteoarthritis and end the need for hip and knee replacements, researchers hope. Injections of adenosine have been found to spur the regrowth of up to 50 per cent of cartilage in rats and mice. It brings hope for millions of sufferers, who can only numb the pain caused by the condition but not reverse it. Researcher Prof Bruce Cronstein said: “People with osteoarthritis desperately need more treatment options with fewer side effects and our research advances that effort.” Some 8.5million Brits have painful joints from the condition and 200,000 have new hips or knees each year.