Brussels is preparing to back down over a Brexit fishing deal and acknowledge for the first time that European fleets do not have an automatic right to fish in British waters. In a concession to help to unlock negotiations, Michel Barnier is understood to accept that the UK will have to be treated as an independent coastal state and have annual negotiations with the bloc over fishing quotas from next year. The EU’s chief negotiator told European diplomats that the compromise would have to wait until other parts of the deal were closer to being finalised.
THE European Union has finally accepted the UK will leave the bloc at the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020 following crunch talks with Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister met European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President David Sassoli by video conference to assess the progress made on a post-Brexit trade agreement. A statement from the European Commission confirmed both sides had noted the UK’s decision not to request an extension to the transition period beyond the end of this year, with Britain leaving on December 31. The statement said: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson met the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, on 15 June by videoconference to take stock of progress with the aim of agreeing actions to move forward in negotiations on the future relationship.
The EU Commission want Germany’s financial contribution to increase by a whopping 42%. That’s according to a report in Die Welt citing government calculations. It would mean the Germans paying an average of €13 billion per year more than they do currently. At the moment Germany contributes €31 billion per year, meaning this would amount to a 42% increase. Ouch. With the UK cash cow having left but those in Brussels wanting more money and ever greater power, finances will be the story to watch in the EU over the next few years. How much are European taxpayers willing to cough up before they too say enough is enough?
Boris Johnson has called on the three EU presidents to put a “tiger in the tank” of Brexit negotiations and said he sees “no reason” why a deal cannot be done in July. There was renewed optimism in London and Brussels about the prospects of finally breaking the deadlock over fishing, the level playing field guarantees and the European Court of Justice after the video call, which was held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. “I don’t think we are actually that far apart,” the Prime Minister said, “but what we need to see now is a bit of oomph in the negotiations.” “The faster we can do this, the better. We see no reason why you shouldn’t get that done in July,” the prime minister said after hour long talks with the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament.
Boris Johnson held talks with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in an attempt to revive negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal. No 10 said the prime minister urged the EU to reach an agreement “by the end of the summer”. It came as Mr Johnson announced he would set up a commission to consider “all aspects” of racial inequality. The review will also consider wider disparities such as issues facing “working class white boys at schools”, Downing Street has said. Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy claimed the idea was “written on the back of a fag packet” and said it was time for action.
The EU warned it will not accept a ‘pig in a poke’ deal today as Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen vowed to inject ‘momentum’ into agreeing future trade terms. After holding a virtual summit, the leaders confirmed that the transition period will end in December, and declared that talks will be ‘intensified’ in July in a desperate bid to break the deadlock. Mr Johnson said he believes there was a ‘very good’ chance of a settlement ‘provided we really focus now and get on and do it’. But he added that the process cannot be allowed to drag on into the autumn ‘as perhaps in Brussels they would like’.
Brexit talks require “new momentum” if negotiators are to succeed in striking a deal before transition ends, Boris Johnson and a trio of EU leaders have agreed today. Speaking after a high-level meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and other EU leaders, the Prime Minister told reporters there was “no reason” why a deal couldn’t be struck by next month. He said: “It’s very clear what we need to achieve, I don’t think we’re actually that far apart, but what we need now is to see a bit of oomph in the negotiations… the faster we can do this the better, we see no reason why you shouldn’t get that done in July.
Councils do not have the legal powers to enforce a “local lockdown” across a city, town or neighbourhood to prevent clusters of coronavirus cases spreading widely into the community, local authority leaders have warned. They called on ministers to urgently spell out what a local lockdown might mean in practical terms or risk a local outbreak spreading out of control, at a hearing of a parliamentary committee. Greg Fell, director of public health for Sheffield, said that while councils did have the power to act to control smaller outbreaks “in a school or a workplace or a care home” by, for example ordering them to close, that did not apply for larger areas.
UK scientists will start testing another potential coronavirus vaccine on humans this week. Imperial College London’s clinical trials will start with 300 people, to see whether their jab produces an effective immune response against Covid-19. The healthy participants, aged between 18 and 70, will all receive two doses of the vaccine over the coming weeks, and the hopes are that tests could then move on to 6,000 volunteers if they are successful. Rather than giving people a weakened form of the illness, the Imperial vaccine instead uses synthetic strands of genetic code based on the virus’ genetic material.
More than half a million NHS staff and patients have been given Covid-19 antibody tests, which will now be rolled out to care homes. The Government has signed a deal with pharmaceutical giant Roche to supply up to 10m of the tests showing whether or not you have ever been infected with coronavirus. Ministers are working on plans to issue “health certificates” which could be used by people to prove they are immune to Covid-19 because they have already had the illness, but they will require further scientific research.
The two-metre rule has no basis in science, leading scientists say as the Government comes under increasing pressure to drop the measure. Writing for the Telegraph, Professors Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, from the University of Oxford, said there is little evidence to support the restriction and called for an end to the “formalised rules”. The University of Dundee also said there was no indication that distancing at two metres is safer than one metre. The intervention comes as two government ministers on Monday suggested that the rule is likely to be relaxed following a review commissioned by the Prime Minister.
A decision on the future of the two-metre rule will be “underpinned” by science, the foreign secretary has said, as Downing Street was warned “millions of people depend on this decision”. Some Conservative MPs – such as Imran Khan – have claimed 3.5 million jobs are at risk if the restrictions aren’t eased. Speaking at the latest coronavirus news briefing, Dominic Raab the restriction is “something that can be looked at” as the virus is brought under control.
A major review of the two-metre social distancing rule will be finished in the “coming weeks”, Downing Street confirmed today. The review launched after Boris Johnson came under pressure from pubs and his own MPs to cut the distance to a metre or 1.5 metres. Pubs warn they will go bust if the recommended gap between people to prevent coronavirus does not match that in other countries. Publicans will likely be angry at waiting weeks to discover what they’ll look like when they reopen. But others warn the review is still too soon.
BRITAIN avoiding a second wave of Covid would be “highly surprising”, according to a Government adviser. Immunologist Sir John Bell said the “real question” is how widespread the flare-up of infections will be, rather than if they will occur. Just 38 deaths from the bug were reported yesterday, the second lowest total since lockdown began. The fall in new infections and fatalities had led to a gradual easing of lockdown, with non-essential shops opening their doors yesterday. Sir John, regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, has advised ministers on Covid testing.
A DISTRAUGHT Primark worker has revealed what it was like during today’s reopening chaos, claiming there are still social distancing concerns. The employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the day as “hell” and said keeping customers two metres apart just wasn’t realistic. The worker told The Metro: “People were queuing from 3am. I know the people nearer the front camped out all night and apparently there’s already been near fights. “We have no new stock yet but that’ll come. It’s just how we left it before lockdown.”
Queues have formed at stores across England as thousands of non-essential shops pulled up their shutters for the first time since March. Customers are being encouraged to go out and spend but to “be sensible” in their approach, as the government seeks to begin reopening the economy “gradually and carefully”. In a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many shops will bring in more spacious floor plans, only allow in a limited number of customers at once and have hand sanitiser stations.
High streets were more than 50 per cent busier today than last week as shoppers took advantage of stores reopening to try to grab a bargain. Queues snaked around some of Britain’s best-known stores amid heavy discounting by retailers looking to get rid of stock that has built up during the lockdown. However, the total number of shoppers remained a third down on the same time last year, illustrating the scale of the challenge retailers face persuading shoppers to return.
SHOCKING new figures have revealed 600k Brits have already lost their jobs during lockdown with unemployment now set to hit three million. Experts fear the figures — the highest since the 1980s — will reveal the biggest drop in employment on record, laying bare the impact of the coronavirus lockdown. Early estimates from the Office for National Statistics suggest 163,000 people lost their jobs in May, on top of 449,000 the previous month. The ONS explained the numbers suggested a 2 per cent fall in paid employees since the country went into lockdown on March 23. It will pile pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to cut job taxes in a bid to deter employers laying off staff and encourage recruitment.
More than two million children have done virtually no schoolwork during the lockdown, a study has found. One in five pupils in the UK – equating to around 2.3 million children – either did no home learning at all or less than one hour a day, according to a new report by University College London’s Institute of Education. Researchers analysed the findings of a study in which over 4,500 British households were asked about their children’s schoolwork during the second half of April. They found that children spent an average of 2.5 hours each day doing schoolwork.
Two million children in the UK have done barely any schoolwork at home during the coronavirus lockdown, a shocking study found today as secondary school pupils with GCSE and A-level exams returned to classes. Around one in five pupils have carried out no schoolwork, or less than an hour a day, since schools closed partially in March. Meanwhile, only 17% of children put in more than four hours a day. The research, by UCL Institute of Education (IOE), is the latest worrying sign that disadvantaged youngsters are falling behind their peers during lockdown, particularly those from well-resourced private schools that have provided hours of online lessons.
Two million children have done little or no schoolwork at home during lockdown, according to a report that lays bare the impact of school closures. The study by University College London (UCL) found that a fifth of the country’s ten million school children had done no work at home or less than an hour a day. A separate academic study found that about four million pupils had not had regular contact with teachers and that up to six million children had not returned the last assignment set.
Teachers have marked too generously in allocating GCSE and A-level grades this year, research suggests. Exams have been cancelled this summer and grades will instead be calculated by teachers, who must submit a ranked order of pupils for each subject. This will be moderated by exam boards and Ofqual, the exams regulator, which has warned that it could lower grades if schools suddenly do better than expected. The research organisation FFT Education Datalab asked schools to share their preliminary grades.
Oxford University students who feel the ‘traumatic effect of the brutality’ of George Floyd‘s death made them do worse in exams can apply for mitigating circumstances considerations. The announcement by vice-Chancellor professor Louise Richardson followed pressure from campaigners at the university who claim the horrific video of Floyd’s last moments had a lasting impact on black students.
Up to 300,000 children in Year 10 and Year 12 may miss out on school as headteachers say they do not expect to open to all eligible pupils today. Secondary schools are allowed to open today for students who are mid-way through their GCSE and A-level courses, with a quarter of pupils allowed to be in the building at any one time. But potentially hundreds of thousands of teenagers will be prevented from returning to the classroom by schools which are not allowing them back.
Black Lives Matter activists have named Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris, the man who oversaw allied bombing raids on Nazi Germany, on a list of statues they want pulled down, for being a ‘colonial warmonger in Rhodesia’. Commander in Chief of RAF Bomber Command, Sir Arthur was in charge of ‘area bombings’ – targeted raids on German cities that were typically highly populated and working class areas. Following the recent toppling of statues including Edward Colston in Bristol, and the defacing of Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square, English Heritage is understood to be speaking with Met Police about the safety of its monument to Sir Arthur in The Strand, London.
Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris has become the latest target of activists demanding statues are toppled, over his wartime “aerial bombardment”. English Heritage is liaising with the Metropolitan Police about the safety of the statue after anti-racism protestors targeted other public monuments in recent demonstrations. The Second World War officer, who pursued the Allied bombing of Nazi Germany, has a memorial outside the dedicated RAF church of St Clement Danes in London, which campaigners want to be reviewed and removed. A senior RAF source told the Telegraph: “There is no situation where vandalising a monument of someone who fought for and delivered our freedom, could ever be justified.”
Britain’s top police union has called on the government to ban protests, after weeks of Black Lives Matter demonstrations. However, the call to ban protests only came after ‘right-wing’ counter-protesters gathered in London over the weekend. The Police Federation of England and Wales decried the “mindless hooliganism” and “utterly shocking” violence of supposedly ‘far-right’ demonstrators, calling on Home Secretary Priti Patel to ban protests. The police union claimed that the gatherings should be banned in light of the Chinese coronavirus, despite failing to make a similar call in previous weeks while at-times quite violent protests by other groups were ongoing.
A new poll from Ipsos MORI today shows the remarkable progress made in Britain on the issue of race relations over the last decade-or-so. Unlike what the left would have you believe… Since 2006, the number of people who say to be “truly British you have to be White” now stands at only 3%, with the number of Brits strongly disagreeing rocketing from 55% to 84%. Similarly, the number of people who think it’s unlikely we’ll have an ethnic minority PM in the next 10-20 years has halved, from 42% in 2009 to 21% today. 37% say it’s very likely – an increase of 16%…
Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson has called on universities to “include people of colour” as he said racism is “bone-deep” in Britain and the US. The US Baptist minister and politician, who worked with Martin Luther King Jr, spoke out about racism on a Black Lives Matter (BLM) solidarity panel hosted by the National Education Union (NEU). His comments come after three weeks of global anti-racism demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African American, in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. Speaking on Monday, Mr Jackson said leading UK universities have an “obligation to include people of colour”.
Tens of thousands of innocent Britons will have their DNA placed on a controversial EU database. The Home Office has risked a privacy backlash after announcing it would share samples of those never charged with offences with European forces. Currently the UK only puts the swabs of those convicted of wrongdoing on the Prum system. But in future the DNA of crime suspects will be added – even if they have been cleared. It raises the prospect of a British citizen being wrongly caught up in an investigation because of a false match linking them to a serious crime overseas.