BREXIT boss David Frost has told Boris Johnson to expect a Brussels trade deal “early next week”, The Sun can reveal. Britain’s chief negotiator has pinpointed “a possible landing zone” as soon as next Tuesday. But talks could still collapse over fishing and red tape, with both sides urging the other to “get real”. The PM last night said he would not row back on his Brexit red lines amid claims Cabinet members are pushing for a climbdown. Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Alok Sharma have been accused of urging a compromise. That could bind Britain to Brussels rules forever and give the EU huge access to the UK’s fishing waters.
A Brexit trade deal could be done by next Tuesday, Britain’s chief negotiator has reportedly told the Prime Minister. David Frost is said to have told Boris Johnson that there is a ‘possible landing zone’ between Britain and the EU within the next seven days, according to the Sun. If the deal is struck, it will end almost a year of tough negotiations – led by Mr Frost and his counterpart Michel Barnier – over future trade between Britain and EU after Brexit. Though the UK officially left the EU on January 31, it will not leave the single market and customs union until December 31.
DAVID FROST, the UK’s chief negotiator for Brexit, has told Boris Johnson to get ready to agree on a deal next week as talks with Michel Barnier reach their conclusion. Mr Frost and Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, have been holding trade agreement talks in London as the Brexit deadline draws near. But the UK’s deal broker has told the Prime Minister he can expect the terms of trade deal by “early next week”. It comes after Mr Frost warned the EU that the Prime Minister’s former advisor Dominic Cummings’ departure “changes nothing” for the UK’s tactics in negotiations. Mr Frost has pointed to a “possible landing zone” for a Brexit deal according to The Sun.
Trade talks between Britain and the EU are on a knife-edge following a warning that there is still a “very, very wide gap” between the sides over the issue of fishing rights. As negotiations resumed in Brussels, Lord David Frost, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, said: “We’re working very hard to get a deal but there’s quite a lot to do.” Time has almost run out for the differences over EU trawlers’ future access to British waters, as well as state aid rules and oversight of any agreement, to be resolved. The two sides are now working on draft legal texts, but crucial sections of the document remain blank.
MICHEL BARNIER presented a PowerPoint slide that shows there is considerable misunderstanding about the deals available to Britain in Brexit negotiations, the former director of Special Projects at Vote Leave has claimed. This week, the UK and the EU’s negotiating teams are in Brussels for a crunch round of talks. The UK’s chief negotiator David Frost has already signalled that he will not be deviating from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “red lines” amid speculation that the departure of Dominic Cummings from Number 10 could herald concessions. He said there has been “some progress in a positive direction” but admitted there were still “significant” differences between the UK and EU on fishing and the level playing field.
EU member states Hungary and Poland have followed through on their threat to block the continental power bloc’s seven-year budget, after Brussels attempted to push it through with conditions the populist nations said were akin to “political enslavement”. European Union rules mean that many significant decisions — including whether to approve the bloc’s seven-yearly funding programmes — must be taken unanimously, with any single member state able to veto decisions. This safeguard was triggered on Monday by conservative-led Hungary and Poland, who blocked the progress of the €1.8 trillion (£1.6 trillion, $2.1 trillion) ‘Multiannual Financial Framework’ (MFF) as an attack on national sovereignty.
BRITONS are furious after the European Union issued an on-air ultimatum as chances of a no deal Brexit rise. With just weeks before the transition period comes to an end in December, Boris Johnson is pushing to secure a Brexit deal with the EU but a no deal outcome is seeming more likely. This week, Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney said the EU will not do a trade deal if the UK tries to restore the law-breaking Internal Market Bill clauses. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Coveney said: “If the British government is determined to continue with their Internal Market Bill, to reintroduce parts of that Bill that were removed by the House of Lords this week, then I think this is a deal that won’t be ratified by the EU.
THE BREXIT standoff between the UK and the EU could be solved if two separate deals – one solely focused on fishing – were negotiated instead of one. Currently, negotiators are in a race against time to secure a Brexit deal due to red lines – despite over 600 pages already being agreed. It looks increasingly likely fishing – as well as the level playing field and governance – could scupper an entire deal. But fishermen have argued the majority of details could be signed off now, allowing negotiators to fully focus on a fair fishing agreement. During a Holyrood evidence session, the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation claimed the situation was “very unbalanced in favour of the EU”.
Lockdown could carry on beyond December 2, Matt Hancock has admitted, saying it was “too early to know” whether the current restrictions have been effective. Even if the nationwide measures end on the scheduled date, a senior health chief warned that a “strengthened” tier system would be needed to replace it because the lowest tier had “very little effect”. It raises the prospect of the traditional family Christmas being effectively cancelled for millions of people as hospital admissions and the average number of daily deaths continue to climb. On Monday night, Tory MPs demanded a “clear route out of lockdown” during a virtual meeting with the Prime Minister, and Mr Johnson has been warned that he will face a revolt from dozens of backbenchers if he tries to extend it.
MATT Hancock has warned England’s lockdown could be extended beyond December 2 – fuelling fears of a ruined Christmas. The Health Secretary said last night it was “too early to know” if the current Covid restrictions have worked. Mr Hancock hinted the next week will be crucial, as cases should start to fall if “lockdown is working”. He said: “It is too early for us to know what the number of cases will be, as we come to the end of the current lockdown. “At the moment most of the tests that we’re getting back and most of the positive cases are from around the time when the lockdown came in. “It’s too early to expect to see in the data the impact of the second lockdown, but we absolutely hope to be able to replace the national lockdown with a tiered system.”
Lockdown could effectively be extended in England next month, as a key government adviser warned a tougher tier system would be needed to curb the surge in coronavirus infections. Public Health England’s medical director Susan Hopkins said ministers would have to look at “strengthening” the three-tiered approach before the national shutdown ends on December 2. This could mean an indoor ban on socialising over winter. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Tuesday morning that lockdown would end, but that it was too early to say which tiers particular areas moved into, with the system still under review.
Families hoping to celebrate Christmas together were dealt a significant blow after government medical advisers warned tiered Covid-19 restrictions may have to be tightened from next month to control the spread of the disease. Ministers have refused to spell out what type of coronavirus measures will be in place in England once the nationwide lockdown comes to an end on 2 December. But Dr Susan Hopkins, a deputy director of Public Health England and medical adviser to NHS test and trace, said Tier 1 restrictions have had “little effect” in controlling the spread of the virus, while the effectiveness of Tier 2 rules had varied in different locations.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned it is ‘too early’ to know if coronavirus case numbers will have fallen enough to lift the England-wide lockdown on December 2. Mr Hancock said ‘most of’ the positive tests which are emerging across the country now likely originated before the national shutdown started. Health officials said yesterday afternoon that ‘if the lockdown is working’ then they should start to see case numbers start to fall ‘over the next week’. It comes as figures revealed how Britain’s second Covid wave appears to be flatlining, with just a small rise in infection numbers when compared to this time last week.
BRITS have been left furious after Health Secretary Matt Hancock was unable to give any assurances that the coronavirus lockdown restrictions will be lifted on December 2. The Health Secretary was questioned as to whether the lockdown would need to be extended in order to curb the spread of the virus during a Downing Street press conference. He said it was not yet the time to make a decision regarding the end of the current second lockdown. Mr Hancock said: “The answer is that it is too early for us to know what the number of cases will be as we come to the end of the current lockdown. “But what I would say is that at the moment most of the tests that we are getting back and most of the positive cases are from around the time that the lockdown came in.
Scientists and MPs are calling for urgent changes to Britain’s isolation rules, saying the confinement of Boris Johnson demonstrates the folly of the UK’s testing regime. A total of 12 MPs, including the Prime Minister, are now self-isolating after coming into contact with Ashfield MP Lee Anderson before he tested positive for coronavirus. Six of them, including Mr Johnson, came into contact with him during a meeting in Downing Street last week, and a further six came into contact with him elsewhere, including in Parliament. On Monday night, scientists said the situation showed the system was not “fit for purpose”, saying it would be far more sensible to offer rapid tests to those at risk of exposure.
A scientist in Nottingham has invented a face mask that is “more than 90% effective at killing coronavirus”. Dr Gareth Cave, who is a scientist and nanotechnology expert at Nottingham Trent University, is the genius behind the new face covering. How does the mask work? Instead of “trapping” the coronavirus the new masks kill it. The anti-viral face covering features a fluid-repellent outer layer which reduces the inhalation of droplets that carry Covid-19. There is also a copper lining embedded in the mask which releases ions which kill the virus if they come into contact with it. Tests have shown that the masks kills more than 90% of flu and coronavirus infections. When will the masks be available to the buy? Gareth says the new masks are due to go into production in Nottingham in late November and he hopes for them to be commercially available from December.
Mouthwash is able to kill COVID-19 within 30 seconds of exposure to it in a laboratory, a scientific study has found. The preliminary findings, which are yet to be peer reviewed, come ahead of a clinical trial investigating whether over-the-counter mouthwash can reduce the levels of coronavirus in a patient’s saliva. The research, which was conducted at Cardiff University, found that mouthwashes containing 0.07% of the ingredient cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) showed “promising signs” of reducing COVID-19. These findings support another recently published study which identified that CPC-based mouthwashes are effective in reducing the viral load of coronavirus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule out making a coronavirus vaccine mandatory, suggesting ministers could consider it if initial take up is lower than expected. On Monday he insisted the Government was not “proposing” compulsory vaccination, pointing out a number of people would be unable to take it for medical reasons. However, when asked whether he could rule it out in future, Mr Hancock said he had learned “not to rule things out” during the pandemic, adding: “We have to watch what happens and you have to make judgments accordingly.”
The Health Secretary refused to rule out making it compulsory to take a coronavirus vaccine if one becomes available. Matt Hancock’s comments came as US firm Moderna said its jab may be 94.5% effective against the illness. Downing Street insisted there were no plans to make vaccination mandatory but the Prime Minister’s official spokesman also declined to rule out compulsion. Mr Hancock told talkRadio: “I hope that a very large proportion of people will want to take the vaccine because it’s the right thing to do.” But he added: “We are not proposing at this stage to make it mandatory.”
Hopes that Britain could have several working Covid-19 vaccines within months have been boosted by a deal for five million doses of the most promising jab so far. Government scientific advisers are optimistic that other vaccines will also offer protection after the US company Moderna said that its jab was almost 95 per cent effective. A $125 million deal that secures Britain enough doses to inoculate 2.5 million people was finalised hours after early trial data also showed signs that the vaccine can protect people above 65 and that it stops severe illness. Although British officials have been talking to Moderna for months, reaching agreement with other companies that can manufacture more rapidly was prioritised in the hope of starting mass immunisation before the year’s
The care home death toll from the first wave of coronavirus may be 10,000 higher than previously reported, a study by the University of Manchester suggests. The first independent analysis of deaths in English care homes up to August found although the official count for the period is roughly 19,000, the actual total may be closer to 29,000. Researchers found there were a large number of non-Covid excess deaths in care homes in the period, and the vast majority appeared in the quarter of homes that had Covid-19 cases. It suggests the majority of excess deaths occurred at a time when regular testing was not being carried out in care homes, and many deaths that should have been attributed to the virus were listed as having a different cause.
Boris Johnson has plans to cut Britain’s foreign aid spend by £5billion as it looks to cover the £210bn cost of Covid-19. Britain sends 0.7 per cent of its gross national income out as foreign aid to support developing countries around the world. But it has drawn criticism in the past after the money was spent on India’s space programme and protecting pangolins in China. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be pushing for the proportion of foreign aid to be cut to 0.5 per cent, saving around £5billion. The Times says Mr Johnson backs the cut, but wants it to return to 0.7 per cent as soon as 2022. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told the paper: ‘We’ve talked about needing to make sure we get value for money for the UK taxpayer and that aid is spent efficiently.’ The Government spent £15bn on aid last year.
Boris Johnson is considering a temporary cut to Britain’s aid spending to help repair the nation’s Covid-ravaged public finances. Ministers have drawn up plans to reduce the proportion of Britain’s gross national income spent on aid from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent, saving billions, The Times has learnt. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, is pressing for the move to be announced in next week’s comprehensive spending review. His allies have insisted that cutting the aid budget is a political necessity at a time when spending on domestic areas will be limited as a result of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson risked sparking a major row with the Conservatives’ Scottish leader on Monday evening after he reportedly claimed that devolution had been a “disaster north of the border.” In comments immediately seized upon by First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon, the Prime Minister is said to have told a group of northern Conservative MPs he believed the way powers had been handed to Scotland had been “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake”. The remarks appeared to be a reference to the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 under the then Labour government, although Downing Street sources suggested Mr Johnson had been referring to the SNP rather than the actual process of devolution.
Politicians across the spectrum have reacted angrily after Boris Johnson dismissed devolution as “a disaster north of the border”. During a Zoom call with around 60 northern Conservative MPs on Monday evening, the prime minister described devolution as “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake”. While Downing Street later stressed that the remarks referred to Scottish National party mismanagement, Johnson’s comments will be seen as especially provocative with support for Scottish independence showing a sustained lead in polling throughout 2020, and ongoing frustration from both Scottish and Welsh governments at a lack of communication from Westminster during the coronavirus pandemic.
Devolution has been a ‘disaster’ and was the biggest mistake made by Tony Blair when he was PM, Boris Johnson told colleagues. The Prime Minister made the controversial comments in a Zoom call with MPs for northern England. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon immediately seized on the comments to make the case for independence. Sources close to Mr Johnson last night tried to limit the damage by insisting that he was referring to the fact devolution has been ‘used by separatists and nationalists to break up the UK’, but Downing Street did not deny the comments.