BRUSSELS must move further before Brexit trade talks can resume, Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator today warned. Lord Frost insisted there was still “no basis” for new negotiations despite Michel Barnier’s offer to intensify the negotiations and work on a legal text setting out the terms of a deal. Downing street said talks between the pair were “constructive” but insisted there must be a “fundamental change” in approach from the European Union. A No 10 spokesman said: “The UK has noted the EU’s proposal to genuinely intensify talks, which is what would be expected at this stage in a negotiation. “However, the UK continues to believe there is no basis to resume talks unless there is a fundamental change of approach from the EU. “This means an EU approach consistent with trying to find an agreement between sovereign equals and with acceptance that movement needs to come from the EU side as well as the UK. “The two teams agreed to remain in close touch.”
British “firmness” with Brussels over Brexit is “bearing fruit” Michael Gove claimed on Monday after Michel Barnier conceded to UK conditions for restarting trade negotiations. The Government insists it will only return to the negotiating table if Mr Barnier admits that the EU, as well as Britain, must compromise to get the deal done. The EU’s chief negotiator said he was ready to intensify trade talks across all subjects and on the basis of common legal texts after discussions with David Frost, the UK’s top Brexit official, on Monday. “There’s been a constructive move on the part of the EU and I welcome that,” Mr Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, told MPs in the Commons. “I prefer to look forward in optimism rather than necessarily to look back in anger.”
MICHEL Barnier mounted a major climbdown in a desperate bid to salvage the post-Brexit trade talks. The European Union’s chief negotiator said he was prepared to finally begin work on a joint legal text after months of dithering. His move was seen as a major concession by the bloc, which has so far refused to discuss the 500-page trade deal until Boris Johnson offered surrendered in the rows over future fishing opportunities and state aid controls. Brussels insiders said Mr Barnier was given permission amid fears any prolonged delays in the wrangling over an EU-UK trade deal would see both sides run out of time.
Downing Street and the EU moved a step closer to resuming formal Brexit talks yesterday after Brussels made a concession to try to break the four-day impasse. Michel Barnier told his counterpart, Lord Frost, in a phone call that the EU was willing to “intensify talks in London this week, on all subjects and based on legal texts”. Brussels’ refusal to begin work on a joint legal text of a deal before all areas had been agreed in principle had been one of two sticking points that led Boris Johnson to call off the negotiations on Friday.
Boris Johnson has knocked back the EU’s offer to restart Brexit trade talks, saying the olive branch from Brussels did not provide a “basis to resume talks”. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said today that Brussels was willing to “intensify” trade talks and provide legal texts in a bid to get the UK back to the negotiating table, after Johnson walked away on Friday. Barnier’s comments came after a phone call today with the UK’s chief negotiator Lord David Frost. A statement released by Downing Street said the conversation had been “constructive”, but there had not been enough assurances by Barnier to restart talks.
Downing Street has refused to restart Brexit deal negotiations despite Michael Gove performing a U-turn at the dispatch box in which he praised a “constructive move” by the EU minutes after declaring the talks “effectively ended”. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, seemingly agreed to all the government’s demands for the resumption of Brexit talks in pursuit of a deal – sending a tweet just as Gove was making a statement in the Commons castigating the bloc. A No 10 spokesman said the prime minister had noted the EU’s offer to “intensify” the talks during a call between Barnier and his British counterpart on Monday but insisted there remained no basis yet to resume the negotiation.
Michel Barnier tonight scrambled to salvage Brexit trade talks after the UK warned it is serious about walking away unless the EU shows more flexibility. The bloc’s negotiator appeared to make significant concessions by saying he is ready for ‘intensified talks’ – and crucially that they can start thrashing out legal texts in the most difficult areas. The message came after Boris Johnson told Mr Barnier not to bother coming to London for discussions this week unless he was willing to give ground. However, Downing Street insisted this evening that the move did not go far enough, and the PM would still not allow formal negotiations to resume – although the two sides will stay ‘in close touch’. The PM voiced fury after an EU summit last week declined to change the negotiating mandate. But Mr Barnier tweeted this afternoon that he had informed UK counterpart Lord Frost that ‘the EU remains available to intensify talks in London this week, on all subjects, and based on legal texts’ and was awaiting reaction from London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected calls by the EU’s negotiator to “intensify” trade talks unless Brussels compromises. Last week’s talks ended in some acrimony after London accused Brussels of rowing back on an October 3rd commitment to “intensify” negotiations, with the prime minister determining that talks had failed and the UK would trade with the EU on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms at the end of the transition period on January 1st. Number 10 also told Brussels on Friday that there was no point in sending its negotiator Michel Barnier to London if the bloc is unwilling to budge on its demands. While the government’s rhetoric appeared to soften over the weekend — with Michael Gove saying that the door to negotiations was still “ajar” in hopes of a Canada-style trade deal — the senior minister told the House of Commons on Monday that the EU had refused to intensify talks “and would not engage on all the outstanding issues”.
THE SNP has held talks with EU diplomats after Boris Johnson said the UK should be prepared for a “no deal Brexit”. Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader held informal discussions with EU diplomats as the Scottish Government became increasingly frustrated over Boris Johnson’s handling of negotiations. But Downing Street said the European Union would have to change its stance for negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal to resume. Brussels’ chief negotiator Michel Barnier and the Prime Minister’s Europe adviser Lord Frost were speaking on Monday afternoon with the trade talks in limbo following the lack of progress made at last week’s summit of EU leaders.
EU FISHERMEN fear the “next nail in the coffin” as British negotiators threaten to walk away from post-Brexit trade talks. EU fishermen are facing yet more bad news this week, as Brussels decides the annual fishing quotas for 2021. Next year’s quotas are set to be severely restricted, prompting fears among European trawlers. Every year in mid-October the EU determines the catch quotas for the coming year. Tonight the EU agriculture ministers will negotiate the Baltic Sea catch quotas for 2021. The EU Commission has proposed significant changes, which has been met with firm resistance from EU fishermen. The changes, based on scientific reports published at the end of August, would see huge changes to quotas on cod and herring.
Ministers have given Manchester leaders until 12pm today to reach an agreement on the city entering Tier 3 coronavirus lockdown, and say the government will ‘intervene’ if local leaders do not agree to impose the economy-crippling restrictions by the deadline. Up to 10 million people now face living under the toughest measures this week after talks on whether the region should enter the ‘very high risk’ Tier 3 ended in deadlock again yesterday. In a statement released tonight, Robert Jenrick said that he had written to local leaders giving them until midday today to reach an agreement on the introduction of Tier 3 curbs – and if they do not the Prime Minister will be forced to ‘intervene’. The Communities Secretary blamed Andy Burnham for the ‘deteriorating public health situation’ in Greater Manchester and warned the Government would ‘take action urgently’.
BORIS Johnson has given leaders in the North until MIDDAY or he will FORCE Greater Manchester into a Tier 3 lockdown. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick delivered the dramatic ultimatum after tense talks between the warring signs again ended in deadlock. Labour Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has refused to sign up to the Tier 3 measures without more cash for furloughed workers. And leaders have argued that by spending £14million on shielding the most vulnerable instead the government would avoid the need for a Tier 3 lockdown. But Downing Street warned the region’s hospitals will be overwhelmed by a Covid surge in less than a month unless the draconian restrictions are imposed.
Manchester MPs and city leaders urged Boris Johnson to introduce shielding for the elderly and vulnerable in the region instead of bringing in new lockdown restrictions. The Prime Minister is expected to announce on Tuesday that Greater Manchester will be placed into the highest tier of Covid measures, with or without the consent of its leaders. On Monday night, Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, said local leaders have until noon on Tuesday to reach an agreement on restrictions or be forced to comply with a Tier 3 lockdown. Mr Jenrick said: “There are now more Covid-19 patients in Greater Manchester hospitals than in the whole of the South-West and South-East combined.
Local leaders in Greater Manchester have been given until midday on Tuesday to reach an agreement on the introduction of Tier 3 restrictions. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said if an agreement is not reached by then it was “a matter for the prime minister”. Tier 3 restrictions, which are currently in place in Liverpool City Region and Lancashire, ban people from meeting indoors, in any hospitality venue or private garden and all pubs and restaurants are required to close. In a statement, Mr Jenrick said “local leaders have been so far unwilling to take the action that is required to get this situation under control.”
Millions more people across the North of England face being plunged into the top Tier 3 lockdown this week, Matt Hancock revealed this afternoon. The Health Secretary said talks would take place with local leaders in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, the North East and Teesside after deals were agreed for Liverpool and Lancashire. But it came amid a continued stand-off with Greater Manchester. Ministers have sent an ultimatum to the area’s Labour mayor, Andy Burnham, and mutinous MPs that they must do a deal on today – or face being forced into the tougher curbs as early as tomorrow.
MORE than 21million Brits are set to fall under tougher lockdown rules within weeks. A third of the country faces the highest Tier 3 restrictions or “circuit-breaker” closures. Today, three million people in Wales were told they will be under a two-week “fire-breaker” from Friday evening. And Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned swathes of South and West Yorkshire — including Sheffield and Leeds — could be placed in Tier 3 this week. Chunks of the North East and Nottinghamshire were put on a similar timetable.
The government’s message at the height of the pandemic to “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” frightened off patients from seeking medical help, resulting in admissions for non-coronavirus-related cases to fall by up to 90 per cent, according to a report. Patients were believed to have either been frightened of catching the virus or concerned that they would be a burden on their own taxpayer-funded National Health Service. As a result, conditions were not treated when they should have been, says the healthcare analyst firm, Dr Foster. The report, seen by The Telegraph, revealed that admissions for prostate cancer, the number one cause of cancer for men, fell by nearly two-thirds (64 per cent). Bowel cancer, the second biggest cancer killer in the UK, saw more than a third (39 per cent) fewer admissions. Cervical (32 per cent) and breast (30 per cent) cancers also saw a drop by nearly one-third.
Heathrow is to offer passengers £80 pre-departure Covid tests to help get the struggling flight industry off the ground. The news came as it was also revealed that the UK’s post-travel quarantine time could be halved to seven days by December 1 with a ramping up in testing. Speaking to the Airlines 2050 industry summit yesterday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said rapid daily tests could even lead to the end of quarantine altogether. New facilities in Terminals 2 and 5 will offer swab tests to travellers flying to countries that require evidence of a negative test – with results available in 20 minutes. Italy and Hong Kong are among a growing number of places which require arrivals to present a negative test certificate either before take-off or soon after landing.
Passengers will undergo a one-hour coronavirus test before flying out of Britain under plans to open up international air travel. Rapid tests will be introduced from today at Heathrow to allow travellers to enter countries where a negative Covid-19 result is required to avoid being quarantined. The system will initially be available for those going to Hong Kong and Italy, which permit quick pre-flight tests as evidence that passengers are free of the virus. They will be required to book a test in advance at a cost of £80. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said yesterday that the government was also in talks with the United States over a trial of pre-departure tests between the two countries.
A vaccine is unlikely to eradicate coronavirus, with the disease instead likely to become endemic in Britain, Sir Patrick Vallance has warned. The Government’s chief scientific adviser said the “notion of eliminating Covid is not right”, adding that people would have to learn to live with the virus. Speaking at the joint committee on national security strategy, Sir Patrick said that even if a vaccine was available by the spring it would not wipe out the virus entirely. “I mean, it is worth reflecting that there’s only one human disease that’s been truly eradicated, and that’s from the highly effective vaccine to smallpox, so it’s a very difficult thing to do,” he told MPs and peers.
Coronavirus will probably never disappear and a vaccine won’t stop it completely, according to Sir Patrick Vallance. The chief scientific adviser, speaking to members of the House of Lords today, said he thought the virus will one day become like flu and cause outbreaks each year. He said ministers and experts should stop ‘over-promising’ and be realistic about the prospects of a vaccine and the likely timeline of one. It is not likely that a jab will be completed before spring, Sir Patrick said, echoing his earlier warnings and those of his colleague Professor Chris Whitty that the Covid-19 fight will be a long one.
THE Government’s chief scientific adviser has warned a Covid vaccine may never eradicate the virus completely. Sir Patrick Vallance said that only one disease – smallpox – had ever been completely eradicated by a vaccine as he moved to try and manage expectations over the nationwide roll-out of a Covid jab. Giving evidence to the joint Commons and Lords National Security Strategy Committee, he said a vaccine may be ready for widespread community use by the spring and that doses may be available to some people before that. But Sir Vallance said he thought it was “unlikely” that a jab would be widely available before then. He said in the future, treating Covid-19 may become more like seasonal flu.
Coronavirus infections are now falling in some of England’s biggest cities, figures show – despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock threatening tonight to put many of them into the harshest lockdown bracket. Official data shows Nottingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester are among the cities where cases have started to fall after a surge at the end of September, when thousands of students and staff poured back into universities. Infection rates in all four cities have been steadily decreasing for several days, suggesting they are on a consistent downward trend rather than a temporary dip. Yet Mr Hancock warned tonight that large parts of the North of England are headed towards a ‘Tier Three’ lockdown. Speaking in the House of Commons, the health secretary confirmed that talks had begun with local leaders in South and West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, the North East and Teesside about joining Liverpool and Lancashire in the tightest level of lockdown.
A bug-like drone that can withstand winds of 40 knots has been unveiled by the Defence Secretary as part of a new strategy to put technology at the heart of the battlefield. The tiny bug nano drone, which at 191 grams can travel at 80 kilometres per hour and conduct surveillance as well as carry different payloads, was displayed at Salisbury Plain as part of the Ministry of Defence’s pledge to show how technology and defence can integrate for a stronger Armed Forces. Ben Wallace said that the future for defence was about “converting scientific and technological genius into the heart of defence capability, accelerating that journey from laboratory to battlefield and placing transformational technologies into the hands of those who need them most”.
Futuristic tiny ‘bug’ drones – and robots equipped with cameras – will be deployed by British tanks to penetrate enemy territory in future as the Defence Secretary warns the UK is in a ‘very real race’ for the best battlefield technology. The sci-fi-style Army kit under development was shown off on Salisbury Plain yesterday. Its Challenger 2 tanks or Warrior armoured vehicles will launch the remote-controlled unmanned devices. They include ‘The Bug’, which can track moving vehicles, fly at 50mph and blow open doors with explosives. Meanwhile, an X3 robot ground vehicle can confront enemies instead of troops.