LORD FROST will today outline his plans to save the Brexit deal after months of friction with the EU over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Brexit minister will make an announcement on the House of Lords at the same time Brandon Lewis informs MPs of the Government’s plans in the Commons. Lord Frost had pledged to present his proposals to fix the problems caused by the Protocol before Parliament broke up for the summer on Thursday.
Officials have described the Protocol in its current form as “unworkable”.
Ministers have said they are willing to trigger Article 16 – the legal mechanism to suspend the Protocol – if the EU does not show more pragmatism on the implementation of the mechanism.
Last night No10 was remaining tight-lipped as to the contents of Lord Frost’s proposals.
However, it is not expected the Brexit minister will announce plans to end the Protocol.
A similar story can be read in BBC News
Boris Johnson has been forced to put off announcing his social care reforms until the autumn after he failed to reach agreement with leading ministers.
He was understood be considering a 1p-in-the-pound increase in National Insurance (NI) contributions to fund his long-awaited plans.
But critics said such a plan would hit the low-paid and would spare even well-off pensioners – including those still working – from having to contribute anything to the cost of the new care system.
The plans are understood to include measures to integrate the NHS better with the local-authority-run social care system, to ensure elderly people are properly cared for. There will also be reforms to ensure better training.
It had been hoped that Mr Johnson would be able to bring forward his proposals – first promised almost two years ago – this week, before Parliament rises for its summer recess.
A similar story can be read in the Times.
The Labour Party plans to cut up to a quarter of its staff after finding itself in a dire financial situation brought on by a mass exodus of members and a slew of anti-Semitism cases.
David Evans, Labour’s general secretary, met with its ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) on Tuesday to present the outcome of his major structural review of the party, including a recommendation that up to 90 people are made redundant.
Labour has apologised to its staff but says that the cuts are required to keep the party afloat and able to fight the next general election, which many believe could come next year.
Staff have been offered voluntary redundancy with a severance package of three weeks’ pay for each year they have worked there.
The website LabourList reported that Mr Evans told the NEC: “We don’t have any money”.
The party’s finances have deteriorated since Sir Keir Starmer took office as Labour leader, with members leaving in droves and officials fighting a string of costly legal battles and running investigations into members who have been accused of anti-Semitism.
Mounting public anger at the ‘pingdemic’ has led to a mass revolt against the NHS Covid app and self-isolation rules, a poll reveals today.
Nearly one in four people has deleted or switched off the app – and millions more say they will refuse to isolate if ‘pinged’.
The backlash has been fuelled by the row over Boris Johnson‘s initial attempt to avoid going into self-isolation after he was in contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who contracted the virus.
A total of 72 per cent of people say the Government’s Covid stance has been a ‘shambles’ in the past few days.
But despite worries that Mr Johnson may be relaxing the rules too quickly, the poll for the Daily Mail shows clear backing for his ‘if not now, when?’ approach to controlling the virus.
If Covid deaths remain low and most of those who need hospital treatment have not been vaccinated, voters are opposed to renewed curbs – unless there is a full-scale NHS crisis.
Conservative MPs believe Boris Johnson faces a major rebellion over Covid vaccine passports but could be supported by Labour, who were on Tuesday night wavering over whether to back them.
Tory MPs opposed to the plan for Covid passes to enter nightclubs and other crowded indoor venues said more than 40 Conservatives were prepared to defy the prime minister over civil liberties concerns, particularly as No 10 has refused to rule out extending the passes to pubs and other sectors.
The scale of the rebellion could put any vote on a knife-edge if opposition parties also oppose the idea, which was proposed by Johnson on Monday in an extraordinary U-turn hours after clubs were allowed to open in England for the first time in 16 months.
At least 42 Tory MPs have signed a cross-party Big Brother Watch declaration against “Covid status certification to deny individuals access to general services, businesses or jobs” in recent months. More MPs privately told the Guardian they were unlikely to back such a move, especially if it remained a vaccine-only pass that did not recognise a negative test result or evidence of antibodies.
The issue is likely to be raised on Wednesday at a meeting of the new 1922 Committee of backbenchers, which is now led by three sceptics of Covid passports. Nusrat Ghani and William Wragg were elected as new vice-chairs on Tuesday, joining the longtime chairman, Sir Graham Brady. On Tuesday some Tory MPs threatened to boycott the Conservative party conference in October over fears Covid passports would be required.
A leading member of a group of anti-lockdown Tory MPs has warned that the UK is “effectively moving to compulsory vaccination”, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a vaccine passport will be the condition of entry for large venues like nightclubs.
On Monday, the day touted as ‘Freedom Day’, Prime Minister Johnson announced: “By the end of September, when all over-18s will have had their chance to be doubled-jabbed, we’re planning to make full vaccination the condition for entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather. Proof of a negative test will no longer be enough.”
Faced with the prospect of Britain going down the route of introducing its first domestic vaccine passports, Mark Harper MP, the chairman of the Conservative lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group (CRG), said: “I have to say I don’t welcome the minister’s statement, particularly vaccine passports for crowded venues, which is effectively moving to compulsory vaccination.”
Mr Harper also suggested in comments reported by The Guardian that the government could fail to win support when the measures are voted on in parliament, saying: “I do however look forward to the debate and the vote in parliament when he will bring forward the evidence because I don’t think that is supported by the pilots that have taken place.”
The Liberal Democrats, who have been consistent in their opposition to vaccine passports, condemned the measures, with the party’s Home Affairs Spokesman Alistair Carmichael saying: “Vaccine passports are Covid ID cards: unworkable, expensive and divisive.”
PRITI PATEL’s plan to radically reshape Brexit Britain’s “broken” asylum system has been backed by MPs in the Commons.
MPs voted by 366 to 265 to adopt the Nationality and Borders Bill at its second reading. The Home Secretary believes the new legislation will help put a stop to migrants making the dangerous crossing across the English Channel from France on a daily basis.
Yesterday at least 430 people, including women and young children, made the journey, a new record for a single day.
More than 8,000 migrants are thought to have succeeded in crossing the Channel so far in 2021.
Migrants crossing the Channel this year has already nearly surpassed the total for the whole of 2020.
The Nationality and Borders Bill aims to make it fairer and easier for genuine asylum seekers to make applications abroad, crack down on criminal human trafficking networks and remove those from the UK with no right to be here.
Describing the system as “broken” as she opened the debate on the Bill in the Commons yesterday, Ms Patel said: “The British people have had enough of open borders and uncontrolled migration.
Priti Patel last night agreed to give France another £54million to stop the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel.
The Home Secretary signed the pledge after chaotic scenes emerged of a French navy vessel apparently ushering an overcrowded dinghy into British waters early yesterday.
It came as the number of people to have made the perilous journey this year hit 8,452 – surpassing the figure for the whole of 2020.
A record daily total of 430 landed in the UK after setting off from France in small boats on Monday – and 287 more arrived yesterday.
Miss Patel’s controversial agreement with French interior minister Gerald Darmanin will see policing numbers along the French coast more than double to 200 to cover a wider area.
There will also be an increased use of aerial surveillance, including drones. The two countries agreed to draw up a long-term plan for a ‘smart border’ using technology to identify where crossings are being attempted.
But the deal failed to impress critics, who accuse the French authorities of not doing enough to stop small boats leaving their territorial waters.
The number of illegal migrants entering European Union member states has increased by 59 per cent in the first six months of this year, as a new route has opened along the border with Belarus.
A report from the EU border agency Frontex has stated that in the first six months of 2021, there were 61,000 illegal crossings into the bloc, noting that much of the increase can be explained by countries easing Wuhan coronavirus travel restrictions.
The largest increase in illegal migration was seen in the Western Balkan route, where 18,600 migrants entered the EU illegally, a 92 per cent increase on the year before, Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports.
Frontex also estimates that the rise in migrant arrivals in Malta and Italy can be explained by the increase in people smuggling activity in the central Mediterranean.
Over the last few months, Italy has seen a surge in illegal migrant arrivals, both from independent migrant boats landing and migrant taxi NGOs vessels dropping off hundreds of migrants at a time.
Last week, the French-based NGO SOS Mediterranee demanded to drop off nearly 600 migrants in Sicily after arguing that their food supplies were running glow. Just days later, the Italian government allowed the ship to do so.
The Royal Air Force is to reinstate a Cold War training exercise amid the threat from Russian cruise missiles, the service’s chief has said.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston said he wants the RAF to re-learn skills not practised for 30 years, and that a series of ‘no-notice’ scatter drills called Exercise Agile Stance will be carried out.
The drills will see fighter jets given the order to disperse, meaning they leave their bases to land at civilian airfields or even on motorways. If the jets are spread out, the target for enemies is “harder”, said ACM Wigston.
Speaking to the Telegraph in Hawaii where he was visiting Pearl Harbor with the head of the US Pacific Fleet, ACM Wigston said fixed RAF bases would be as vulnerable to a surprise attack in any future conflict as US forces had been when the Japanese struck in December 1941.
“We’ll be re-learning how to disperse,” he said, adding if “the arsenal [of advanced cruise missiles] Putin has been bragging about” was moved to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad “we’d be in range”.
BRITAIN has vowed to fight for Gibraltar’s sovereignty after Brussels today demanded Spanish boots on the ground as the price for a post-Brexit trade deal.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused eurocrats of failing to respect an 11th-hour deal struck between the UK and Spain on New Year’s Eve over the region’s future. In a 26-page document, EU leaders called for a string of conditions on the British Overseas Territory. The European Commission – backed by Madrid – is demanding that EU border guards should be stationed at Gibraltar’s port, airport and waters to enforce the bloc’s rules.
Brussels is calling for Gibraltar to remain inside its single market, the Schengen free-travel area, as well as follow tax rates set by Madrid.
Under the plans, Spanish police would also be able to enter the British outpost unchallenged if they are in “hot pursuit” of a criminal.
The EU’s draft mandate states: “Surveillance would take place at Gibraltar port, airport and waters carried out by Spain applying the relevant EU rules.