A LAST-DITCH plot from Remainer ministers to delay the transition period and subsequently Brexit by a further two years has been brutally destroyed in three points by a leading political think tank. Last week, the European Union‘s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier wrote to UK opposition party leaders to say Brussels is open to the idea of an extension to the transition period by up to two years. But this was immediately slapped down by both Boris Johnson and Mr Barnier’s UK counterpart David Frost, who continue to insist a trade deal is signed before the end of the transition period on December 31. A group of Remain ministers, led by Liberal Democrat acting co-leader Sir Ed Davey, are trying to squeeze a Bill through Parliament in a last-ditch and desperate attempt to delay Brexit by up to two years. The second reading of this Bill is due to take place on June 12. But a new report from the Centre for Brexit Policy has destroyed the plot from Remainers to delay the UK’s departure from the EU even further.
Britain is expected to signal compromise on fisheries and “level playing field” trade rules if the European Union backs off from its “maximalist” demands on regulatory alignment and fishing access, according to senior Brussels sources. Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator for the EU, has told European ambassadors that he believes the UK government wants progress over the next few weeks. David Frost, the prime minister’s negotiator, is keen to counter the perception that negotiations are deadlocked and that a free trade deal with the EU cannot be done this year.
BRITAIN could clash with the EU over a new proposed extradition treaty as trade talks resume this week. The terms of the new treaty will be discussed during a crunch round of trade talks with Brussels set to start today. The UK will request its courts hold more powers to decline EU extradition petitions than under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system it must exit at the end of the year.
Michel Barnier is refusing to negotiate with the UK on the future trading relationship until the UK agrees to the EU’s idea of a ‘level playing field’. One of the key issues concerning the EU is ‘dumping’. It is worried that the UK will become a super-competitive, de-regulated ‘Singapore-on-Thames’ that undercuts the prices of products produced in the EU, in the same way that China does. However, the opposite is the case. It is the nineteen EU member states operating a single currency, the euro, in the Eurozone (EZ), that are dumping their goods onto world markets ‒ in particular the UK ‒ because the euro is a structurally undervalued currency.
British and EU negotiators are set to clash over the terms of a new extradition treaty during a crunch round of trade talks with Brussels, which start on Tuesday. The UK will demand its judges have greater powers to refuse EU extradition requests than under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system it must leave at the end of the year. Warrants could be dismissed if there had not yet been a decision to charge or try the wanted suspect to prevent long periods of pre-trial detention, under the British plan, or if the UK courts think the cost of an arrest outweighs the seriousness of the offence.
REMAINERS have ramped up their anti-Brexit rhetoric once again ahead of the final round of negotiations between the UK and EU. The Best for Britain group issued a report which warns the North West and Midlands will be severely exposed to a double economic hit from Brexit and coronavirus if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said: “This report, which maps the impact of both shocks, definitively rebuts any speculation that the impact of leaving the transition period could be masked by the coronavirus recession.
European Union and British negotiators will face each other screen-to-screen as the latest round of Brexit talks get under way on Tuesday. During this four-day round, the most time has been allocated to one of the toughest issues: fishing rights. Fishing is a drop in the ocean of the UK economy (just 0.12% of economic output) but has become one of the most intractable issues of the Brexit talks. The reasons boil down to history, geography and politics. More than 100 categories of fish straddle EU-UK waters.
THE UK is to enter its fourth round of Brexit negotiations with the EU on June 2, which will continue until Friday, June 5. Express.co.uk has the full schedule of talks set out for this week. The last round of talks which took place ended with the EU and UK deeply divided regarding the issue of fishing. Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, ruled out giving European boats access to UK waters in return for better conditions for British financial services in the EU’s single market.
President Trump last night declared that he would send in the US military where states were unwilling to deploy the National Guard in sufficient strength to restore peace after a week of unrest. In a hastily arranged statement at the White House, Mr Trump vowed to bring an immediate end to the “riots and lawlessness” that have spread across the United States. “I will fight to protect you. I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters,” Mr Trump said, as police and the National Guard pushed back demonstrators from a park near the White House using tear gas.
President Donald Trump on Monday declared himself “the president of law and order” and threatened to deploy the United States military to American cities to quell a rise of violent protests. While he addressed the nation in the White House’s idyllic Rose Garden, a series of military police and law enforcement clashed with protesters at Lafayette Park. Mr Trump said he would mobilise “thousands and thousands” of soldiers to keep the peace if governors did not use the National Guard to shut down the protests.
Donald Trump has described himself as the “president of law and order” as he threatened to deploy the military if state governors did not halt ongoing violent protests across the United States. Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump said: “First, we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now. “Today I have recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets.
DONALD Trump has threatened to deploy the military to combat the nationwide protests in response to George Floyd’s death. Speaking from the Rose Garden on Monday, Trump said he’d put “thousands” of troops on the streets to “solve the problem” of rioting – a speech made while protesters were being forcibly removed from near the White House. “America is founded on the rule of law,” Trump said, adding: “If malice or violence reigns, then none of us are free.”
The George Floyd protests took a global turn over the weekend as Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists took to the streets of London to ‘stand up to racism’ and to celebrate the riots engulfing the United States, which they claim is a signal that “the West is falling”. In a Breitbart News Network exclusive video, thousands of protesters were filmed gathering in Central London on Sunday, in open defiance of the national coronavirus restrictions. In stark contrast to the arrests of peaceful anti-lockdown protesters in Hyde Park the day before, the Metropolitan Police took no actions to stop the left-wing demonstration that lasted well into the evening and spanned several miles of the city.
House of Commons
The government was preparing yesterday to retreat from its insistence that MPs must be physically present at Westminster to debate and vote. MPs from all parties complained about plans for members to file through the chamber in a distanced queue to register their vote. Writing for The Times Red Box, Harriet Harman, one of the Labour MPs who helped to win proxy votes for new parents, said: “It’s outrageous to confront MPs with the choice that they either risk their health or fail to speak up for those who elected them.”
Senior Conservatives have joined a revolt against the government ordering MPs to return to Westminster to vote, despite failing to propose a safe and viable method for doing so. Seven Tory chairs of committees are demanding that ministers retain remote participation and voting for vulnerable MPs, to prevent them being disenfranchised – while the rest face queuing for a kilometre through Westminster, to keep them apart. The controversy will come to a head on Tuesday, when Jacob Rees-Mogg attempts to ram through the return of physical voting, which was abandoned when the pandemic struck in March.
MPs will return to parliament in person today, despite a growing rebellion over plans for voting to take place in queues up to a kilometre long. For several weeks, MPs have been able to vote electronically and join debates by video link, under virtual House of Commons arrangements, which have now come to an end. Only 50 MPs can sit in the Commons while maintaining a two-metre distance from each other; but ministers insist all MPs who can safely return must now do so. If the government’s plans are agreed this afternoon, MPs would have to travel to Westminster to debate and vote in person while following social distancing rules.
MPs “disenfranchised” by the government’s order to return to parliament would be able to sue on grounds of sex, age and disability discrimination in any other workplace, according to new legal advice. Parliamentarians vulnerable to coronavirus – pregnant women, the over-70s, those with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or who suffer underlying health conditions – will lose out under the drive to return to work in person, a briefing note by Thomsons Solicitors warns.
Ministers are working on plans to replace quarantine for arrivals to the UK amid signs the troubled policy could be phased out within weeks of being brought in. The “unworkable” plan could be largely superseded by so-called air bridges by the end of June, with officials working behind the scenes to strike multiple deals with foreign countries to make them exempt. Under the new rules all UK arrivals will be asked to stay at home for 14 days to stop the spread of coronavirus and could be fined £1,000 if they fail to stick to the rules.
Tens of thousands of new arrivals to the UK will be able to go food shopping, change accommodation and use public transport from airports during a 14-day quarantine imposed to prevent a second wave of coronavirus, under draft plans to be laid before parliament. The Guardian understands that about a fifth of people are expected to receive a spot-check to ensure that they are staying at the address or addresses they have provided to the authorities, but enforcement of the quarantine will be limited.
The government is looking at ways to relax the 14-day quarantine rule for people entering the UK over the coming months, BBC Newsnight has learnt. From Monday, most people arriving by plane, ferry or train – including UK nationals – must self-isolate. But some MPs and businesses have expressed concern at the plan, warning it will damage the travel industry. One government source told Newsnight that ministers were looking at ways around the coronavirus quarantine.
MPs and experts urged the Government to rethink its 14-day quarantine for anyone flying into Britain — to avoid killing off the travel industry. The call came as it was revealed on one day last week just 23 passengers used Gatwick Airport. It usually handles 45,000 people a day. Tory MP Henry Smith, whose Crawley constituency covers Gatwick, said the tiny numbers showed the scale of the problem — and made a rapid rethink on 14-day quarantine essential.
Boris Johnson’s aim to have all primary-aged children return to school for a month before the summer holidays was dealt a blow yesterday when governors and head teachers said that it would be impossible to achieve. As schools started reopening their gates some year groups, Downing Street said that the government’s ambition to have the remaining children back by the start of next month was “under review”. Britain’s biggest head teachers’ union said that a full return before the summer would not be possible because many schools were too small for it to be completed safely.
English children in reception and years 1 and 6 returned to class this morning for the first time since schools were closed over two months ago. But it’s estimated that up to a million worried parents could be keeping their kids at home because they’re still worried about the spread of coronavirus. The Government has stressed that no fines are planned for parents who keep their kids at home.
The government may be forced to drop plans for all primary school pupils in England to spend at least a month in class before the start of the summer holidays, as headteachers welcoming back the first groups of pupils following lockdown warned that the idea was “ridiculous”. The initial phase of the government’s controversial reopening plans got off to a patchy start with many primary schools remaining closed to further pupils. For those that opened, attendance was as low as 40% in some, rising to 70% elsewhere.
About half of parents remain unconvinced that it is safe to send their children back to primary school, initial attendance figures suggest. Thousands of primaries reopened for the first time in ten weeks yesterday to pupils in reception, year 1 and year 6. However, early estimates from the Association of School and College Leaders, the head teachers’ union, suggested as few as 40 per cent took their places. Heads said that more needed to be done to build confidence among parents as it “remains low”.
Keeping two metres apart from someone with coronavirus is twice as effective as a one-metre gap, the first comprehensive review into social distancing has found. The international analysis of dozens of studies, prepared for the World Health Organisation, concluded that a one-metre distance left people at three per cent risk of contagion, but that the risk roughly halved at two metres. The review, published in The Lancet, could have major implications for tentative Government plans to ease the lockdown further.
Keeping just one metre apart slashes the risk of catching coronavirus by 80 per cent, a major study has revealed. The new research, funded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), will add to the clamour for Britain’s two-metre rule social distancing rule to be relaxed. Scientists found that people have just a 2.6 per cent chance of catching coronavirus if they stand one metre away from an infected patient. This means the disease would spread to fewer than three out of 100 people, whereas 13 out of 100 would catch the virus if no distancing rule was in place. The study found that standing two metres apart was slightly more effective at preventing transmission, reducing the risk to around 1.3 per cent, but that nothing can provide complete protection.
The risk of catching coronavirus from an infected person falls from 13 per cent at less than one metre to 3 per cent further away and halves with each extra metre, according to an overview of dozens of studies. The research comes after a government adviser called for a “green cross code for coronavirus” to replace the two-metre rule. Professor Robert West, of University College London, said that people must be helped to make their own decisions on risk based on a better understanding of how the virus is transmitted, rather than using a blanket rule.
Downing Street has issued an appeal to the public to maintain two-metre social distancing rules, amid widespread reports of crowded beaches and parks as restrictions are eased. Boris Johnson’s official spokesman insisted that the relaxation of lockdown coming into effect today was “very gradual and cautious” and rejected suggestions that the government was moving ahead of scientific advice. He confirmed that the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s Covid-19 alert level remains at 4 – meaning the virus is in general circulation, with transmission high or rising exponentially – but said it was “moving down towards” the safer level 3.
Coronavirus infection rates in England’s northern regions are now nearly double that in London, according to a new estimate. The figures, from King’s College London, suggest the daily rate of infection is sitting at around 11,000 across the UK, significantly higher than the 1,936 cases confirmed by Public Health England yesterday. There is substantial regional variation within the UK according to the figures, which are drawn from the COVID Symptom Study, an app to track coronavirus symptoms that has been downloaded by 3.7 million people.
Coronavirus infection rates in the north of England are now nearly twice as high as those in London, according to new research. Using figures from the Covid Symptom Study, which uses an app that has been downloaded by 3.7million people to track coronavirus infections, Kings College London researchers were able to estimate infection rates across the country. They found that the mid point of infections in London is 124 per million people, while in the North West it is 215 per million and in the North East and Yorkshire it is 225 per million, laying bare the regional differences in the spread of coronavirus.
CORONAVIRUS infection rates in the north of England are now nearly twice as high as in London, according to a new estimate. New figures from King’s College London also suggest the daily rate of infection is sitting at 11,000 per day – much higher than the figure of 1,936 confirmed by Public Health England. Experts took the figures from the Covid Symptom Study, which uses an app that has been downloaded by 3.7million people to track coronavirus infections. It estimates that while the mid point of the number of infections in London is 124 per million people, in the North West it is 215 per million and in the North East and Yorkshire it is 225 per million, reports the Telegraph.