A NEW post-Brexit fisheries approach will see Westminster split new fishing quotas currently being negotiated with the EU between the devolved nations, Express.co.uk can reveal. Westminster has unveiled new proposals to split additional quota’s which No10 gained in the Brexit negotiations between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. New proposals revealed by DEFRA hope to strike a balance with fishermen with new provisions which will be obtained through the UK Government’s Fisheries Bill. The Fisheries Bill creates the powers for the UK to operate as an independent coastal state and manage its fish stocks sustainably outside the EU is currently in process. The Bill also ends current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in British waters. However, a deal with Brussels on fisheries is yet to be reached as crunch talks between UK and Brussels negotiators are ongoing
Environmental campaigners failed in their attempts to strengthen post-Brexit protections against over-fishing on Tuesday night, as the government rejected a series of amendments to the fisheries bill. Attempts to enshrine in law a commitment to keep fishing quotas within the sustainable limits advised by scientists failed, and an amendment aimed at banning supertrawlers from marine protected areas was also defeated by 331 votes to 197. The battle will now move to the House of Lords, where peers are expected to try to restore some measures on sustainability and destructive fishing practices. However, the government’s 80-strong majority means only minor tweaks are likely to be accepted.
Boris Johnson and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen will hold last minute Brexit talks today as the two sides try to salvage a last minute trade deal. The two have agreed to meet ahead of an EU summit on 15 October, with Johnson saying last week that he needs to see a deal is possible by this point or he will walk away from negotiations. The deadline for talks is currently the end of this month, with both sides saying businesses need time to prepare for the UK’s exit from the EU single market and customs union on 31 December. German chancellor Angela Merkel warned the EU today that it should be prepared for a potential no-deal scenario next year.
BORIS JOHNSON is set to hold last-minute Brexit talks with the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen as Prime Minister’s deadline looms. Brexit negotiations are expected to come an end in just two days on October 15 and while neither side appears to be able to come to any agreement, the Prime Minister is planning one last chance at crucial talks with the EU. The Prime Minister is set to hold a conference call on Wednesday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of the crucial Brexit deadline. Boris Johnson has spoken to both EU chiefs in recent days as the deadline he set for a trade deal to be agreed with the bloc approaches.
Angela Merkel has warned the European Union that it must be more realistic in accepting Britain’s negotiating position in fishing and trade talks ahead of tomorrow’s critical summit of leaders. The German chancellor said Brussels had to accept that any deal must be in the interests of the UK and the EU. Her comments came as British sources blamed EU divisions and sabre-rattling from France for the missing of a deadline to find agreement this week. Mrs Merkel, who holds the EU presidency, told a meeting of European mayors that a deal was “particularly urgent from the Irish perspective”. “We are going to continue to stand together in these withdrawal talks,” she said.
Angela Merkel warned the EU must get ready for UK trade negotiations to fail as Boris Johnson told ministers the UK should have “no fear” over a no deal Brexit if his October 15 deadline is missed on Thursday. The Prime Minister told his Cabinet he believed a deal could still be done by Thursday’s European Council summit in two days’ time but that was ruled out by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. Mr Johnson will speak to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, on Wednesday after being briefed on whether a free trade agreement is in sight by David Frost, his chief negotiator. Mrs Merkel said the EU wanted to secure the trade deal and appeared to urge other member states to compromise in a speech to a Brussels-based EU institution.
THE EU is plotting one final desperate power-grab over its fishing demands as 50 UK officials begin last-ditch trade talks before Thursday’s deadline. EU leaders are gearing up for the European Council summit in two days, the same date Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made clear the UK will walk away from talks if there is still no agreement after tomorrow’s last round of talks. The EU has refused to back down over future fishing arrangements, which has meant talks have failed to progress quickly between the bloc’s negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost. French European affairs minister Clement Beaune warned fishing must be part of any Brexit deal. He said the country would not accept a Brexit deal at any price, but wants a deal to be reached in the coming days, meaning the EU may compromise on an outline agreement in a bid to protect its access to UK waters.
The European Union’s top Brexit negotiator has rejected Boris Johnson’s Brexit deadline, set to expire this week, remarking of the seemingly endless rounds of deal talks “we still have time”. The comments from Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, come two days before a crunch deadline which PM Boris Johnson previously said would be the cut-off point for reaching an agreement. The 15th of October was a key date, the prime minister said, because it is the day of a European leaders’ summit, and if talks went any longer than that there would be no time for any potential deal to actually be agreed and ratified by European member states.
Europe is turning into a patchwork of rules and regulations as local, regional and national authorities grapple with the second wave of the pandemic. Bar closures and restrictions on social interactions are high on each country’s new rules but there are key differences in implementation. Everywhere, however, the political norms are being stretched. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is wrestling with the leaders of 16 federal states, each trying to protect their citizens, some by raising barriers against Covid-19 hotspots. In Spain, Madrid’s officials have accused the national government of breaking the law when it imposed a state of emergency on the capital. President Macron in France is forcing through new rules in defiance of politicians and citizens.
Boris Johnson will consider a “circuit breaker” lockdown if his tier system fails to work after Sir Keir Starmer increased the pressure on him by calling for new national restrictions. Government sources said the Prime Minister could order a two-week closure of pubs, restaurants and some other businesses if measures brought in on Wednesday in Covid hotspots do not reverse the spread of the virus. A decision will be taken toward the end of next week, ahead of the half-term holiday for state schools which begins on Oct 26 and would mark the start of any temporary lockdown. One option under consideration is for regional circuit breakers, which might be preferred by the Prime Minister after he likened a second national lockdown to a “nuclear deterrent”. One senior source said the chances of a circuit breaker were “at least 80 per cent”.
PM Boris Johnson was last night under increasing pressure to order a nationwide mini-lockdown – with a 60 per cent chance he will bring in the measure over half-term. Growing demands for a “circuit breaker” to tackle surging Covid cases came as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a shutdown of up to three weeks. Scientists claim this could save thousands of lives. The PM has so far rejected warnings from his medical advisers that a major reset is required. But there is a growing belief in his inner circle that the move is inevitable. One close Cabinet colleague said last night there is a 60 per cent chance he will bring in the measure over half-term, which begins for many a week on Friday. It comes as Northern Ireland looks set to plunge into a four-week circuit breaker lockdown with schools, pubs and restaurants all to close. Schools will close for half of the four-week period while restaurants and bars will only be able to offer takeaways.
A half-term “circuit breaker” lockdown would save thousands of lives by the end of the year, government scientific advisers have calculated as pressure grows for a two-week shutdown. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, called on Boris Johnson last night to implement such a “reset”, warning that without it Britain would “sleepwalk into a long and bleak winter”. Mr Johnson hardened his stance against it during a call with Tory MPs organised by the 1922 Committee of backbenchers, saying that it would not be right to impose the restrictions on areas where cases were still low. However, a paper by members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), obtained by The Times and due to be published today, challenges his position.
BORIS Johnson is considering a “short sharp” coronavirus lockdown of up to two weeks over much of England to coincide with the school half-term break, senior Tory insiders have told the Daily Express. The Prime Minister, while resisting pressure for a full national “circuit breaker” shut down of businesses, is pondering sweeping restrictions in areas with soaring infection rates to try to curb the second wave of the disease. Tory MPs expect him to order the closure of hospitality businesses and ban household mixing in many parts of the country. One well-connected Tory insider said: “Number 10 doesn’t like the idea of a blanket national lockdown but is planning targeted regional measures that would be pretty close to the circuit breaker idea.”
Boris Johnson is considering a ‘short, sharp’ circuit-breaking lockdown during half-term and ‘will order the closure of pubs, restaurants and some other firms next week’. Insiders said the PM could bring in the two-week shutdown if the new three-tier system fails to stem the spiralling infection rate. Any temporary move is likely to be unveiled by the end of next week before state schools head off on their break on October 26. The Government’s scientific advisory committee suggested that a two-week full lockdown with stay-at-home orders and school closures from October 25 could reduce deaths for the rest of 2020 from about 19,900 to 12,100, while hospital admissions would be cut from 132,400 to 66,500, according to the Times.
Conservative rebels fired a warning shot at the government as 42 MPs voted against stricter Covid-19 curbs, amid angry scenes in the Commons, where Matt Hancock criticised lockdown sceptics. Tory rebels organised a symbolic vote against one of six restrictions approved by MPs on Tuesday night. In total, 82 MPs including 23 Labour and 10 Lib Dems voted against the motion containing the 10pm hospitality curfew as well as other restrictions on public spaces and fines. The motion passed 299-82, with Labour formally abstaining. Chris Green MP, a junior frontbencher, resigned from the government on Tuesday night ahead of the vote in protest at the restrictions in his Bolton constituency. “I believe that the cure is worse than the disease,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “I believe there are better alternatives to the government’s approach.” Other rebels included the former cabinet minister David Davis, former minister Steve Baker, Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, and a number of 2019 new intake MPs from the so-called red wall of northern seats including Dehenna Davison and Imran Ahmad Khan.
The clinically vulnerable will not have to automatically shield again, but they will be given new advice on what to do based on the Covid alert level in their area of England, the government has announced. The guidance will be tied to the new three-tier system of alert levels in England, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday. England has been divided into medium, high and very high alert levels – with the Liverpool City Region placed under the toughest measures. Shielding will not automatically be triggered by an area going into a ‘very high’ alert level, but it will be “an additional intervention”. The government will write to people in the highest risk areas if they advised to adopt formal shielding again.
Two world-leading virus experts have slammed Matt Hancock for ‘not having a basic understanding of infectious diseases’ after the Health Secretary said herd immunity is a ‘flawed goal’. Dr Martin Kulldorff and Dr Jay Bhattacharya wrote a reply to Mr Hancock’s scathing critique of their anti-lockdown petition the Great Barrington Declaration which argued that the best way to combat the virus is to let it spread in young people. Mr Hancock told the Commons that it is ‘not true’ that herd immunity can be achieved by enough people catching coronavirus and said it is ‘simply not possible’ to ‘segregate the old and the vulnerable’ to protect them. He also repeated his claim that thousands will die without tough coronavirus restrictions, telling MPs that the loss of life would be ‘too great to contemplate’. Mr Hancock said the declaration – which has been signed by more than 33,000 scientists and medics – was underpinned by two central claims, and both are emphatically false’.
Covid-19 may cause sudden and permanent hearing loss, experts have found, adding that such problems need early detection and urgent treatment. The coronavirus has been found to affect the body in myriad ways, from a loss of taste and smell to organ damage. Now doctors have reported fresh evidence that Covid could also affect hearing. Writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports, experts at University College London report the case of a 45-year-old man with asthma who was admitted to intensive care with Covid, ventilated, and given drugs including the antiviral remdesivir and intravenous steroids. A week after leaving intensive care he developed a ringing sound – tinnitus – and then hearing loss in his left ear. The team say none of the medications the man was given would be expected to cause damage to his hearing, while he had no problems with his ear canals or ear drums.
Facemasks and social distancing will be needed until next summer, the head of Oxford’s vaccine trial team said last night. Andrew Pollard warned strict rules would have to be followed even if global tests proved successful. He said the first jabs would probably not be available until next year – and then only for key groups such as frontline health workers. Professor Pollard said that he hoped the final trials could be completed by the end of this year but added: ‘Life won’t be back to normal until summer at the earliest. We may need masks until July. ‘If we end up with a vaccine that’s effective in preventing the disease, that is by far the best way to control the virus. But in the medium term, we’ll still need better treatments. When does life get back to normal? Even if we had enough vaccine for everyone, in my view it’s unlikely that we’re going to very rapidly be in a position where the physical distancing rules can be just dropped. ‘Until we’ve got a high level of immunity in the population so that we can stop the virus so most vulnerable people are immune, there is going to be a risk.
FACE masks and social distancing might be needed until next summer as the UK faces another nine months of restrictions, the head of Oxford University’s coronavirus vaccine team has said. Andrew Pollard – head of the Oxford Vaccine Group – has warned even if vaccine trials are completed at the end of this year, the jab might not be ready until well into 2021. Even then it would only be initially rolled out to key groups such as frontline NHS workers. Professor Pollard said the UK has no hope of returning to normality until mass immunisation is well underway, meaning restrictions will be needed until next summer. His warning comes as the Prime Minister is under pressure to bringing in a “circuit breaker” lockdown to tackle surging Covid cases over half-term. “Life won’t be back to normal until summer at the earliest. We may need masks until July,” Professor Pollard told an online seminar.
Conspiracy theories about coronavirus have convinced substantial numbers of people, figures show. Around one in eight believe the pandemic is part of a global effort to force people to have vaccinations. While one in 12 think the 5G mobile phone network may put people at greater risk of being infected with Covid. Researchers from the University of Cambridge surveyed people across the globe on their attitudes to misinformation. Among more than 2,000 Britons, around one in five said they would not get a jab for Covid and almost 16 per cent would not recommend vaccination to a vulnerable friend. The study was published in the Royal Society Open Science journal. Dr Sander van der Linden, co-author of the study and director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab, said: ‘Certain misinformation claims are consistently seen as reliable by substantial sections of the public. ‘We find a clear link between believing coronavirus conspiracies and hesitancy around any future vaccine.’
HS2 is running £800 million over budget six months after the project was “comprehensively reset” by the prime minister. A government report warned of new “cost pressures” caused in part by the hugely complex programme to clear land between London and Birmingham to make way for the first phase of the high-speed line. It said that “significant challenges” had been encountered along the 140-mile route, including the need to remove more asbestos from buildings than previously thought. Additional complications on the design of HS2’s southern terminus at Euston have also driven up anticipated costs, it emerged. The Department for Transport warned of potential delays to the project, pointing to the impact of coronavirus and the late completion of preparatory work by contractors.