THE EU is understood to have demanded a review on any post-Brexit trade agreements with the UK as negotiations continue to stall over fishing arrangements. Britain and Brussels are said to be “still miles apart on fishing” as the transition deadline looms alarmingly close on December 31. Talks are not expected to resume in person this week after the UK’s negotiator David Frost faced another hurdle last week due to a coronavirus outbreak in EU’s chief negotiation Michel Barnier’s team. The UK has now offered a “review clause” on any fishing agreement after three to five years in a bid to appease the EU. But the bloc is said to want this to happen in 10 to 15 years instead. A source said: “They still don’t get it. “They are still demanding basically 80 percent of the access they have now to UK waters and are sticking to that demand.”
The UK and EU are battling over bratwurst, burgers and other meat products as a potential trade ban looms ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period. Last-minute talks are underway to avoid a two-way embargo on uncooked prepared meat products which EU regulations state cannot be imported into the bloc unless frozen to minus 18C. If an agreement is not reached, Irish sausages and German bratwurst could disappear from the shelves of British supermarkets early next year. Under current rules such products, as well as others including mince, would not be allowed to enter Northern Ireland from Great Britain from January 1.
There have been cod wars and scallop wars but never a sausage war — until now. Brexit negotiators are engaged in a stand-off over the future of the banger as the prospect grows of a trade ban at the end of the year. The dispute could result in Irish sausages being taken off British supermarket shelves and German bratwurst being turned back at Calais. It has also led to the delicious irony of British trade negotiators telling Brussels that they intend to use the EU’s own rules to exact revenge on European producers. The saga has more than a touch of the Yes Minister sketch in which Jim Hacker fought off an attempt by Brussels to ban the British sausage.
BRITAIN has vowed to fight back against an attempt by stubborn Brussels bureaucrats to impose a blockade on British sausages and burgers being sent to Northern Ireland after Brexit. Eurocrats are insisting exports of dozens of fresh meat products to the province must be banned due to the bloc’s red tape. But in last-minute crisis talks, British officials have refused to give in to demands that would see supplies of much-loved foods being cut off to the region. A UK Government spokesman said: “We will ensure that there is no ban on trade in sausages from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.
MICHAEL Gove has lashed out at the EU’s refusal to budge in trade talks as he warned the bloc must be willing to move on its demands. Elsewhere, JPMorgan has raised its odds of a Brexit trade deal to 80 percent, up from two-thirds, as negotiators from Britain and the European Union try to clinch an accord. With a week to go until the deadline to reach an agreement, Brexit talks are expected to go “down to the wire” this week as Brussels look set to compromise on Boris’s Johnson’s demands for fishing rights. JPMorgan said in a note to clients this afternoon: “Since the summer we have put the odds of a deal at about two-thirds, and no-deal at a third.”
Joe Biden said on Tuesday night that he did not want to see a guarded border in Ireland. The US president-elect said he had discussed the matter with Boris Johnson and other European leaders. Asked what his message to Brexit negotiators was, Mr Biden said: “We do not want a guarded border. We want to make sure. We’ve worked too long to get Ireland worked out. “And I talked with the British prime minister, I talked with the Taoiseach, I talked with others, I talked to the French. “The idea of having a border north and south once again being closed is just not right, we’ve just got to keep the border open.”
Joe Biden has fired a Brexit warning shot at Boris Johnson and stressed the importance of keeping the Irish border open as the end of the transition period looms. He said it had taken a lot of hard work to reach a settlement on the island of Ireland, ending decades of conflict. The UK government has threatened to overrule the Brexit withdrawal agreement, which committed to both the EU and UK having a say on trade rules between Britain and Northern Ireland. Without that commitment, Britain could unilaterally decide what fees or checks are put on goods arriving in Belfast from London.
President-elect Joe Biden has said he does not want to see a guarded border between Ireland and the UK. Mr Biden stressed the importance of protecting Northern Ireland’s peace deal in the Brexit process in a call with Boris Johnson this month after he won the US election. Mr Johnson’s government is seeking a trade deal with the European Union but says it is willing to leave without one. That could complicate the situation at the sensitive Northern Irish border with Ireland – the UK’s only land border with the EU. Mr Biden told journalists in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday that the border must be open. ‘We do not want a guarded border,’ he said.
PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden has opened up about the important of maintaining an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic when the Brexit transition period ends at the close of this year. Speaking to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, Mr Biden said: “We do not want a guarded border. “We want to make sure we work too hard to get Ireland worked out. “I’ve talked with the British prime minister; I’ve talked with the Taoiseach; I’ve talked with others and I’ve talked with the French. “The idea of having the border north and south once again being closed, it’s just not right.
PORTUGAL has called for countries to be frozen out of the European Union to avoid a repeat of Britain’s departure from the bloc. Prime minister Antonio Costa proposed a two-speed Europe with member states supportive of free-spending and joint debt at its core. He said countries that reject the bloc’s values and principles of democratic and media freedom, as well as solidarity in times of crisis, should be shunned to the periphery. In a speech at the Catholic University in Lisbon, Mr Costa said there were EU states who want “common values” and others are simply members for economic gain. His proposal would see frugal countries – Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands – who rejected larger budget contributions turned into outcast members.
The clock might be running down on Brexit but the EU may now have a more serious problem on its hands. Last week, Hungary and Poland vetoed the bloc’s €1.8 trillion budget and recovery package, responding to plans for a new mechanism which would allow for the reduction of funds if member states violate ‘rule of law’ principles. Poland and Hungary claim this is a power grab, and that Brussels is trying to bully conservative eastern and central European states. The rule of law mechanism only requires a qualified majority to pass. However unanimous backing is required to allow the EU to raise funds to finance the recovery plan and budget.
France’s interior minister on Tuesday launched a probe following accusations of a “scandalous” use of excessive force in dispersing a camp pitched by homeless migrants in Paris. Gérald Darminin, who has a reputation for talking-tough, confessed that images of migrants being kicked and tripped by police as they fled Paris’ Place de la République were “shocking”. He said he had agreed to instantly refer the incident to the National Police Inspectorate General (IGPN), which investigates officers’ conduct. President Emmanuel Macron’s government is already facing furore from journalists, opposition politicians and rights groups over a new security bill they say erodes police accountability and reporting freedoms.
Boris Johnson’s three-home Christmas bubbles are a ‘recipe for regret’ that will ‘throw fuel on the Covid fire’ and spark a deadly third wave, a Sage scientist has warned. Director of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care Professor Andrew Hayward claimed the five days of festive freedom will ‘lead to increase transmission’, ‘hospitals being overrun and unnecessary deaths’. He admitted ‘you cannot ban’ the holiday but called for clearer messaging on the ‘dangers of social mixing’ and advised Britons to ‘wait that little bit longer’ and ‘be patient’. Three households will be allowed to form ‘Christmas bubbles’ over the festive period after politicians across the UK agreed to ease draconian curbs and give hard-pressed families respite from coronavirus rules.
THE whole of England could be placed into the top tiers after lockdown and leaving no one in Tier 1, it has been reported. It comes as Boris Johnson could be facing a “major revolt” within his party over the tier system that is seen as “lockdown by another name”. Whitehall sources have told The Daily Mail there are “very few” parts of the country would go into Tier 1, which is the only level that allows for indoor socialising with other households. One source said that at least 80 per cent of the country would be Tier 2 and 3 when they come into force on December 2. Another source told the paper it was “entirely possible that no one is in Tier One” by the time the latest figures are analysed by Matt Hancock and Chris Whitty tomorrow.
For the first time in five weeks, Liverpool is hopeful. Joe Anderson, the city’s Mayor, has seen a “dramatic shift” in Covid cases since Liverpool entered the toughest restrictions in the country on October 14. “We told the Government about the figures dropping dramatically across the region, Matt Hancock is aware of the decrease to 162 per 100,000 compared to 700 per 100,000 five weeks ago, so we are hopeful we will move to Tier 2,” Mr Anderson told The Telegraph. He said the lower figures, coupled with the fact that Liverpool will continue to conduct mass testing, “makes the case” for the city to move down a level. The crude understanding is that regions with high numbers of cases will face tighter measures, while those with fewer cases will have their restrictions relaxed.
Boris Johnson was facing a mounting backlash over his new Covid tiers last night – as it emerged the whole of England could be placed into the top two levels of restrictions. Ministers will decide tomorrow which areas of the country will be placed into each of the three tiers. But Whitehall sources told the Mail that ‘very few’ parts of the country would be placed in Tier One – the only level in which indoor socialising with other households will be allowed. One source said that at least 80 per cent of the country would be in the top two tiers when they come into force on December 2.
MODERNA’S new coronavirus vaccine will prevent those who take it from contracting the disease, but might not stop those same individuals from spreading the virus to others. The chief medical officer at Moderna, Tal Zaks, said the pharmaceutical company has no data to determine if their vaccine stops people from spreading the deadly pathogen. In trials, it was found the Moderna vaccine is 94.5 percent effective at stopping severe illness from coronavirus. Mr Zaks said vaccinated people can still be carriers and spreaders of the virus. Preventing transmission of the virus was not factored into the vaccine trials of both Pfizer and Moderna.
The recent data from multiple coronavirus vaccine trials has uplifted people around the world – as it was revealed multiple jabs showed high efficacy against the novel virus. Moderna, an American biotechnology company, announced its coronavirus vaccine was 94.5 per cent effective at protecting people from Covid-19. But the company’s top doctor has now warned this news doesn’t necessarily mean those who are vaccinated will be unable to transmit the virus to the unvaccinated. “They do not show that they prevent you from potentially carrying this virus transiently and infecting others,” Moderna Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks told Axios, adding the public should not “over-interpret the results” of the vaccine yet.
Care homes across the country have been preparing to inoculate their residents against Covid-19 with the hope family visits can resume as soon as possible. The government and the NHS has been gearing up to rollout vaccinations for Covid-19 across the country after a spate of successful trials raised hopes they could be ready before the new year. The rollout will present a significant logistical operation and the government has conceded it will be some time until everyone who needs one has got one. The government has prioritised the elderly and the most vulnerable to be the first people who get the vaccines. With the outbreaks and deaths in care homes being one of the worst consequences of the pandemic, many are already preparing for the incoming vaccines.
PRITI PATEL was “shockingly” undermined by Home Office officials, Nicky Morgan claimed as she warned of serious “culture problems” between mandarins and ministers. Priti Patel came under fire earlier this year after claims of bullying against her emerged following the resignation of top civil servant Sir Philip Rutnam. The Home Secretary clung to her job despite a report on the claims reporting the Tory frontbencher had been found to have broken the ministerial code while serving in three different departments. Former Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan defended Ms Patel as she alleged that members of the Civil Service had “shockingly” attempted to undermine the Home Secretary during a meeting between the two, Speaking to Westminster Hour, Baroness Morgan said: “The Prime Minister has obviously got confidence in Priti and has retained her.
Rishi Sunak will on Wednesday unveil a £4.3 billion New Deal-style package to get one million people back into work amid warnings that unemployment could continue rising until next summer. The Chancellor will promise that no one will be left “without hope or opportunity” after redundancies reached record levels. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the Treasury’s watchdog, is expected to predict that unemployment, currently at 4.8 per cent, could go as high as eight per cent by the summer – after the end of the furlough scheme – before it starts to fall. The OBR is also expected to forecast that the economy will have shrunk by 10 per cent by the end of this year – the worst performance in 300 years.
RISHI Sunak today unveils a £2.9billion plan to help unemployed Brits find work. The Chancellor, ahead of his Spending Review, insisted his “No 1 priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods” from the devastation of the Covid crisis. He will reveal a three-year programme — the Restart Scheme — to try to assist more than a million long-term unemployed. The concept is to give those who have been out of work for 12 months-plus regular intensive support to suit their circumstances. But the Treasury estimates the scheme could be successful for only around 300,000, though they claim this will make it worthwhile. That is just 70,000 more than would find work without the extra support, costing taxpayers around £42,000 for each job found.
Rishi Sunak is to acknowledge that the coronavirus pandemic will lead to a steep rise in long-term unemployment today when he announces a £4.3 billion package to help the jobless. The economic devastation will be made clear in a series of forecasts published by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) alongside the Whitehall spending round. The Resolution Foundation, a think tank, has suggested that the central forecast will show a permanent reduction in GDP of 3 per cent, equivalent to £1,000 a head. Government borrowing will be close to £400 billion this year as public spending jumps above 50 per cent of GDP, a level not seen since the Second World War, and the national debt reaches a 60-year high.
The foreign aid budget is to be slashed by £4billion a year, Rishi Sunak will announce today. Spending will fall to around £10billion next year for the first time in almost a decade as the Chancellor struggles to fill the black hole in the nation’s finances. Rather than making it a one-off cut, ministers will introduce legislation to allow spending to be kept at a reduced level for several years – or even permanently. The Daily Mail revealed earlier this month that Mr Sunak wanted to axe the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid as he battled with the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy. He will announce in his spending review this afternoon that the target enshrined in law will be lowered to 0.5 per cent in 2021, with the option of keeping it at this level thereafter.
Rishi Sunak is facing a growing Tory backlash over plans to trim back the foreign aid budget to help meet the rapidly growing bills for the coronavirus pandemic. He is widely expected to confirm plans to suspend temporarily the Government’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid in the spending review. It could be reduced to around 0.5 per cent, in a move that could save around £4bn next year. The 0.7 per cent target is legally binding –and was reiterated in the Tory manifesto – so the reduction would require new legislation to be passed by Parliament.
The traditional police caution, meted out by British bobbies since the 19th century, is facing the axe in a major shake-up of sentencing for minor offences. Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, is proposing that the simple one-off police officer’s caution should make way for out-of-court sanctions that require offenders to undergo rehabilitation or compensate their victim. His shake-up, which requires a change in the law, has been backed by police chiefs who want to move away from the “old framework of warnings and simple cautions” to a new system aimed at changing offenders’ behaviour by imposing conditions on it.