British Brexit negotiators will tell the European Union that a new fisheries agreement cannot be part of a free trade deal with Brussels during divisive talks that risk derailing the delicate negotiations this week. The UK will rebuff EU demands that the fisheries agreement, which both sides pledged to do their best to seal by July, be subject to the same governance mechanism that would police and enforce commitments in the free trade agreement. The British position sets David Frost, the UK’s top Brexit official, on a collision course with Michel Barnier as three days of talks over continued access to British waters for the EU fleet begin on Tuesday (today). British officials have submitted a legal negotiating text setting out its vision for a Norway style fishing agreement with catch limits agreed on an annual basis. Michel Barnier accused the UK of wasting time after the last round of talks ended in bad-tempered frustration. “Our position on fish is reasonable and straightforward. We want a separate fisheries framework agreement which reflects our rights under international law and which provides for access and sharing opportunities based on the scientific principle of zonal attachment, with sustainability at its core,” a UK official said. The Norway-style agreement risks infuriating Mr Barnier, The EU negotiator has warned Brussels will not agree a free trade deal without a fisheries agreement.
BRITONS have reacted furiously to the prospect of the UK being bound by new EU laws if the Brexit transition period is extended. The UK and the EU will hold a third-round of talks this week before the crucial June summit, at which both sides must decide whether to prolong the transition period beyond December 31. Downing Street has always insisted the UK will not extend the deadline beyond the end of the year despite the coronavirus pandemic. Fears Britain could be bound by new EU rules and regulations were heightened at the weekend following talks between Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on the international response to the COVID-19 crisis.
ONE of Angela Merkel’s closest allies has launched a scathing attack on the UK over its refusal to extend the Brexit transition period, with Germany warning Britain it can not continue to move away from key points in the agreed political declaration. Britain and the European Union began post-Brexit talks on a free trade agreement in March after the country’s departure from the bloc was finally made official on January 31. But negotiations have already got off to a turbulent start, with significant distance separating the two sides on several key areas.
Malta’s ambassador to Finland has had to resign his post after saying that Germany’s Angela Merkel had “fulfilled Hitler’s dream” to “control Europe” on social media. “75 years ago we stopped Hitler,” wrote Michael Zammit Tabona in a Facebook post commemorating Victory in Europe Day. “Who will stop Angela Merkel? She has fulfilled Hitler’s dream! To control Europe,” he added. Malta, as a former Crown Colony of the British Empire, was the lynchpin of the Allied presence in the Mediterranean for much of the war, and its population was bestowed with a collective George Cross — which still adorns the national flag today — for the long siege it suffered at the hands of the Axis powers.
Billionaire philanthropist George Soros has predicted that coronavirus could bring about the end of the EU. Soros expressed his doubts about the institution’s survival as it is an ‘incomplete union’ and cited Germany‘s ruling on the European Central Bank as a cause for concern. The 89-year-old also posited that the global pandemic could bring an end to capitalism as we know it. In an interview with the Independent, Soros said: ‘I am particularly concerned about the survival of the EU because it is an incomplete union.’
Boris Johnson has published his plan to “give people hope” in the form of his long-awaited “road map” for getting Britain out of its coronavirus lockdown. Entitled “Our plan to rebuild”, the 51-page dossier sets out a three-phase strategy for gradually lifting the current restrictions. Mr Johnson says that, to save lives, “we must acknowledge that life will be different, at least for the foreseeable future”. In a stark admission, he says it is possible that a vaccine for coronavirus may never be found, meaning the UK is in for a “long haul” in the fight against the virus.
Boris Johnson on Monday night urged the public to “use good, solid British common sense” in interpreting his new lockdown rules after facing a host of questions and confusion over his strategy. The Prime Minister said he understood why some people were “perplexed” by the regulations as he was urged by members of the public to clarify the rules. He was asked to explain how it was “logical” for people to be able to mix in workplaces but not with family members, and how parents could possibly follow his “back-to-work” mantra if schools were still not open.
BORIS JOHNSON has said people over 70 must continue to isolate in their homes in what will be seen as a slap in the face by many elderly Britons hoping to gain some freedom from his lockdown review. Speaking in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister laid out new rules which allow unlimited exercise outdoors and mixing with one person from another household. But he said elderly men and women should not venture out just yet.
Boris Johnson has confirmed that the government’s furloughing scheme will continue to support low-paid workers as it is gradually wound down. The chancellor will today announce plans to cut the scheme from July while continuing to support the lowest-paid workers. He is expected to lower the £2,500 cap on monthly payments and cut the 80 per cent wage subsidy. Furloughed staff able to return to work on a part-time basis could have their wages “topped up” by the government.
The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has been urged to extend the coronavirus wage subsidy scheme until September to avoid spiralling job losses across Britain this summer. Against a backdrop of mounting pressure on the government to provide continued support as lockdown measures are gradually removed, the Resolution Foundation said the extension would cost the exchequer as much as £48bn but would prevent a fresh surge in unemployment. After Boris Johnson announced on Sunday his blueprint for the gradual lifting of restrictions, industry groups warned it was incomplete without urgent details about the job retention scheme.
The chancellor is expected to extend the government’s furlough scheme – currently paying 6.5 million laid off workers 80% of their earnings – from June to September. But Rishi Sunak is expected to cut the payments to 60% of earnings, although he will pledge to continue to top up the wage packets of laid off staff if they return to work part-time. The move, which the chancellor insists will avoid the “cliff-edge” cut-off of the scheme feared by Tory MPs and business leaders, is aimed at preventing an estimated 1.2 million redundancies.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to reveal the future of the government’s job retention scheme later, amid growing calls to extend it. Currently more than six million people are having up to 80% of their wages paid by the government while they are temporarily on leave from their jobs. Mr Sunak has previously warned the scheme, due to end in June, was not “sustainable” at its current rate.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will make a major announcement on the multi-billion-pound furlough scheme tomorrow (Tuesday), Boris Johnson has revealed amid reports some workers could receive taxpayer’s cash to cover wages until September. Mr Johnson confirmed in the Commons this afternoon that something was planned as he was grilled on the scheme’s future by MPs.
Labour and the unions have today been accused of ‘creating obstacles’ and ‘standing in the way’ of the private sector to prevent the lockdown easing as they claimed Boris Johnson has ‘declared a class war’. The Prime Minister has been accused of putting Britain’s working classes ‘in danger’ by ‘recklessly’ urging them to go back to work if they can’t work from home. Unite chief Len McCluskey has suggested that people should ignore the Prime Minister’s advice and stay at home or walk out of their workplace until the Government publishes full guidance for employers.
Relatives of elderly care home residents are threatening legal action against a council over plans to admit recovering COVID-19 patients into the property, which has so far been virus-free. Discharging the patients – possibly without confirmation of a negative test result after treatment – into the home could trigger a new outbreak, families warn. The plan to isolate them in the facility comes days after the Mail revealed how the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was investigating whether hospitals had broken the law by discharging patients into homes without telling them they had the virus.
Two of the UK’s biggest care home operators have reported falling death rates from Covid-19, raising hopes that outbreaks which have devastated some of the most vulnerable and elderly people may finally be abating. The number of residents who have recovered from the virus has now eclipsed the numbers of deaths from it across 220 care settings operated by MHA, the largest charitable provider of homes, which by Monday had recorded 359 deaths in total. It said fatalities peaked around 22 April and have fallen gradually since.
Passengers have been told to wear face coverings on public transport to prevent a further outbreak of coronavirus as Britain slowly emerges from the lockdown. Government guidance published yesterday recommended that all commuters should use non-medical face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distancing is impossible. The move comes amid fears that train, bus and London Underground services could be overwhelmed when businesses reopen their doors after seven weeks of lockdown.
The government set up a titanic struggle with London’s transport unions today as it vowed to get public transport services increased ‘as quickly as possible’ – despite militant union bosses’ vow to fight them with strike action. The battle in the capital is being mirrored across the country as union leaders insist they will not increase services unless their demands over social distancing measures and driver conditions are met. London’s RMT union today threatened to close the Tube entirely if its demands are not met – paralysing London and torpedoing hopes of an economic recovery – and said it is ‘considering its options’.
KEY workers voiced fears today about having to travel on busier trains after PM Boris Johnson “actively encouraged” those who cannot work from home to return to their jobs. Doctor James Wilson, 29, who works at West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth, said he was “very nervous” about how his commute will change over the coming weeks. “Based on what we have been seeing in London over the past few weeks about some people not following the rules, I am not sure they will follow the two-metre distancing rule when travelling,” he said.
The world may never develop a vaccine against Covid-19, the government’s chief scientific adviser said last night as he revealed estimates suggesting that at least 4 per cent of the population had already had the virus. Sir Patrick Vallance said that while he was encouraged by vaccine trials under way in Oxford and London one could never guarantee success. However, he emphasised that even without a vaccine he was hopeful that treatments would emerge to lessen the severity of the illness and reduce the number of people dying of it.
BORIS Johnson has revealed we may never find a coronavirus vaccine – as he warned of “large epidemic waves” in future. The Prime Minister today published a 50-page document setting out his plans to rebuild the country “for a life with Covid”. He said that the only long-term solution to ending the pandemic is a vaccine but stressed that this might never happen. Mr Johnson said: “While we hope for a breakthrough, hope is not a plan.
The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has said “there’s been great progress made” in producing a coronavirus vaccine. Scientists across the world are working on creating a vaccine, with optimism increasing that there will be one available in the future. Trials have already begun on workable vaccines but testing such items does take time in order to prove it works. “You can never guarantee there will be a vaccine, it’s a tough thing to do,” Sir Patrick said.
Work is accelerating on up to eight leading candidates for a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief said on Monday. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a UN Economic and Social Council video briefing the original thinking two months ago was that it may take 12 to 18 months for a vaccine. But he said an accelerated effort was under way, helped by 7.4 billion euros (£6.4 billion) pledged a week ago by leaders from 40 countries, organisations and banks for research, treatment and testing.
Young children face the daunting prospect of being sent to different schools than normal from next month as Boris Johnson plots a way to restart education after the coronavirus lockdown. The Government wants primary pupils back for at least a month before the summer break but social distancing rules mean sweeping changes, including a maximum 15 pupils per class and staggering start and finish times, are planned. Teaching unions last night branded the plans ‘reckless’ and demanded schools must stay closed until a raft of health and safety measures had been addressed – but were accused of ‘posturing’ and ‘spoiling for a fight’.
Boris Johnson has announced primary schools pupils in England in reception, year one and year six, will begin returning to school by 1 June at the earliest, if the rate of infection continues to fall. As he stuck with the vast majority of restrictions on public life for the time being, the prime minister said “step two” of the government’s potential relaxation of the lockdown involved the partial reopening of schools. It comes after the government reluctantly ordered the closure of schools, colleges and nurseries on 18 March.
Class sizes should be split in half with a 15 pupil limit and corridors should operate a “one way” system, the Government’s new coronavirus guidance for schools says. When primary schools begin their phased reopening next month, the beginning and end of the day will be staggered to avoid congestion at the gates, according to advice published on Monday by the Department for Education. Children will be expected to spend their break times and lunch with the other children in their class, to ensure that they are only mixing within their group of 15 pupils plus their teacher.
All primary school pupils will spend up to a month back in the classroom before the summer holidays under plans announced last night by the government. June 1 has been pencilled in as the return date for children in Reception, and Years One and Six, but ministers say that “if feasible” all primary-aged children should return later in the month. It means primary schools could be fully open as early as June 22.
TEACHERS have demanded children be “sprayed front and back with disinfectant” at the school gates – as they reacted with alarm to the PM’s announcement schools could reopen in three weeks. Last night, Boris Johnson said a phased reopening of schools in England could potentially begin from June 1, if transmission can be reduced. As he announced plans to gradually loosen the lockdown, the Prime Minister said by June 1 “we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year One and Year Six”.
Tourism bosses have urged people not to travel to UK destinations in light of the new Government advice. In a televised statement on Sunday, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, opened the door to people being able to drive for “unlimited” exercise, and it was later confirmed that a trip to the beach would be acceptable. Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, later said people could drive “as far as you like” within England as long as they maintained social distancing. But local tourism boards at some of the UK’s most popular destinations reacted with horror to the prospect of people from other parts of the country travelling to their areas.
The Premier League will ask the Government to reconsider their stance on football having to restart at neutral venues after being urged to do so by at least 12 of its clubs including Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. Telegraph Sport understands that opposition to having to play out the season at between eight and 10 neutral venues has grown and that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is expected to raise the subject when he meets with the Government later this week.
The Premier League could resume behind closed doors as early as June 1 after the Government gave the green light to restart the season. A 60-page roadmap was unveiled by the Government on Monday afternoon in which various protocols were outlined including the return of professional sport. And, as part of his plan to bring the UK out of lockdown, Boris Johnson has stated that sport will be permitted to be broadcast from behind closed doors from the start of next month at the earliest.
The Premier League will ask the government if clubs can play their remaining fixtures behind closed doors at their own grounds after insisting that all 20 would prefer home and away matches to the use of neutral venues. Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, also revealed at a video meeting of the 20 clubs yesterday that “curtailment” of the season was discussed for the first time, highlighting the continuing threat of Covid-19 despite a green light from ministers to press ahead with plans to resume the season, which has been suspended since March 13.