Downing Street has snubbed a legal threat from the European Union over Boris Johnson‘s plans to tear up parts of the Brexit divorce deal. Brussels started legal proceedings against the UK at the start of October and gave Mr Johnson one month to formally respond. But Number 10 today confirmed it had not bothered to send a reply to the bloc, prompting the EU to warn it will now consider escalating the legal dispute. The growing row over the Withdrawal Agreement risks souring relations between the two sides as they try to strike a post-Brexit trade deal. The Brexit showdown with the EU was sparked by the publication earlier this year of the Government’s UK Internal Market Bill.
MICHEL Barnier is set to make a crucial Brexit announcement today after weeks of intensified trade talks with Britain. The Brussels diplomat is expected to update European capitals and senior members of the EU Parliament on the progress from the wrangling over a free-trade agreement. He has been locked in negotiations with UK counterpart Lord Frost since the process was resumed by Downing Street 10 days ago. The pair could then head back to London on Thursday in a bid to clinch an agreement ahead of the mid-November deadline. Both sides are said to still be working on overcoming the key sticking points – access to Britain’s fishing waters, future common standards and policing the final deal.
Brexit negotiators will break their silence on the progress of UK-EU trade talks on Wednesday as they update political leaders on the state of play. After 12 days of talks in London and Brussels, Michel Barnier and David Frost are taking a day out to brief their respective administrations – although they are not expected to produce “white smoke” at this point, according to insiders. EU envoy Mr Barnier will address representatives of all 27 member states, while Lord Frost meets Boris Johnson and other Cabinet ministers. The sessions are expected to be the clearest sign so far of whether or not a trade deal will be agreed this month.
The European Union and Britain have not yet found a deal on sharing access to fishing waters and markets to sell their catch after Britain ‘s transition period in the EU ends this year, the European Commission said on Tuesday. Fisheries, along with state aid rules for British companies and ways to solve future disputes between the 27-nation bloc and the Britain are the main stumbling blocs for a trade deal. “We have not yet found a solution on fisheries,” a Commission spokesman told a regular news briefing.
The UK and European Union have so far failed to reach agreements on the three most contentious issues in their ongoing trade talks, both sides said. The pair have not been able to reach agreements on fisheries, the so-called level playing field, and settling future disputes between Britain and the EU. The impasse comes despite almost two weeks of intensive talks in a last-ditch attempt to strike a deal for when Britain’s transition agreement with the bloc comes to an end on 31 December. Any deal to smooth billions of pounds of trade between the pair needs to be agreed by 15 November to give it time to be ratified by the EU before the transition period expires.
FREXIT campaigner Charles-Henri Gallois lashed out at the EU for trying to “punish” Brexit Britain during a scathing rant, as he predicted France would also leave the Brussels bloc. Generation Frexit director Charles-Henri Gallois has claimed France will also attempt to leave the European Union. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Gallois insisted the EU have been behaving irrationally to punish the UK and scare other nations. He claimed when France attempts to leave the bloc they will “play tough” unlike Theresa May’s Brexit strategy. Mr Gallois said: “To get Frexit you have to do the opposite of what Theresa May did with Brexit. “You have to play tough directly, a bit like how Boris Johnson has done.
The UK’s terrorism threat level has been raised to “severe” in advance of Thursday’s national lockdown and following the Paris, Nice and Vienna atrocities, as the Cabinet Office orders a review of local UK contingency plans to prepare hospitals for more seriously ill patients. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said the upgrading of the threat level from “substantial” was a “precautionary measure” after “horrific” terror attacks in Austria and France left eight people dead. The decision by the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) means an attack in the UK is now “highly likely”, although Ms Patel said there was no intelligence of any “specific threat” and the public should be “alert but not alarmed”.
The British government has confirmed that the nation’s terror threat has been increased from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’, following a string of violent Islamist incidents in France and the Islamist terror attack in Vienna, Austria, on Monday. Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (Jtac), an independent body which is part of MI5, changed the UK terror threat level on Tuesday. This means that a terror attack is considered “highly likely” rather than “likely”. Ms Patel said: “This is a precautionary measure and is not based on any specific threat. The public should continue to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.”
The UK’s terror threat level has been raised from “substantial” to “severe”, meaning an attack is now judged to be “highly likely”. The move follows Monday night’s attack in the Austrian capital Vienna, in which four people were killed. Last week, three people died after a knife attack in Nice, France, while teacher Samuel Paty was murdered in Paris last month. Home Secretary Priti Patel described the action as a “precautionary measure following the terrible incidents we’ve seen in France last week and the events we saw in Austria last night”. “The British public should be alert but not alarmed,” Ms Patel said, as she confirmed there would now be “more visible policing across the country”.
The terrorism threat in the UK has been upgraded to severe in the aftermath of the terror attack in Vienna overnight and a string of violent incidents in France, the government has announced. The decision by the independent Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (Jtac) means the terror risk is back at its second highest level, meaning that an attack is judged to be “highly likely” – where previously it was simply deemed “likely”. The home secretary, Priti Patel, said: “The British people should be alert but not alarmed. This is a precautionary measure following the horrific events of the last week in France and last night in Austria and is not based on a specific threat.”
The security services have raised Britain’s terrorism threat level to severe — meaning that an attack is highly likely — after suspected Islamist murders in France and Austria. More officers will be seen on Britain’s streets in the coming days, the national head of counterterrorism policing promised, as new Covid-19 restrictions come into force in England tomorrow. The change means the threat is now at its second highest level. It follows the murders of four people by a marauding gunman in Vienna on Monday night, a triple killing in a church in Nice last week and the beheading of a school teacher in Paris last month.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden both dug in for a long and potentially titanic battle for the White House in the early hours of Tuesday morning – with the president accusing Democrats of trying to ‘steal the election.’ Biden was first to speak, just after midnight, saying ‘it ain’t over till every vote is counted,’ in an address from Wilmington, Delaware. Trump tweeted immediately to accuse Biden of fraud and say he was ‘winning BIG’ and would make his own statement. Trump’s accusation that Biden was trying to ‘steal the election’ was flagged almost immediately by Twitter as ‘misleading.’ ‘Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed!’ he tweeted from the White House residence – spelling polls incorrectly, but making clear that the battle will be over late-arriving mail-in ballots.
DONALD Trump sensationally claimed he “frankly won” the race to the White House and vowed he “won’t stand for” Joe Biden winning the election. In dramatic TV address, the President appeared to claim victory and railed against ‘major voter fraud’ despite no evidence to support the claim and not all of the ballots even being counted. Speaking early this morning, the president said: “I thank the American people for their tremendous support. “A very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people and we won’t stand for it… The results tonight have been phenomenal.”
DONALD TRUMP has already declared victory in the US Presidential election, even though the full votes have not yet been counted. Donald Trump has claimed victory of the US election, while legitimate votes are still being counted across the US. The incumbent President said: “As far as I am concerned we already have won.” He added: “We were getting ready to win this election, frankly we did win this election.” Mr Trump made the comments despite incomplete results from several battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia. Mr Trump also claimed, without evidence, there is a “fraud on the American nation” and said he will go to the Supreme Court to get vote counting stopped.
MPs will vote later on the government’s month-long lockdown in England, amid growing unease among Conservatives about the economic and social impact. The restrictions will come into force just after midnight if approved, and will last until 2 December. Pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will have to close. England’s chief medical officer said “economically and socially destructive” lockdowns are the only practical option to stem the spread of Covid-19. Prof Chris Whitty said that would remain the case until a vaccine and better drugs become available. A number of Conservative MPs have criticised the nationwide lockdown.
MPs are to vote on a new four-week coronavirus lockdown for England amid warnings the NHS will be overwhelmed with thousands more deaths unless action is taken. With Labour backing the new restrictions, which are due to come into force on Thursday, the Government is expected comfortably to win Wednesday’s Commons vote. Nevertheless Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a revolt by some Tory backbenchers angry at the impact on civil liberties and the economic damage the measures will cause. It is thought about 15 Conservative MPs could defy the whips and vote against the new controls – although the parliamentary arithmetic means their rebellion is likely to be largely symbolic.
A high-profile proposal to avoid lockdown by letting the coronavirus run wild in the young and healthy while shielding the most vulnerable is dangerously flawed and operationally impractical, according to England’s chief medical officer. Prof Chris Whitty told MPs on the science and technology committee that the Great Barrington declaration, put forward by three scientists at Oxford, Harvard and Stanford universities, would lead to a very large number of deaths and was unlikely to achieve such widespread immunity that the epidemic would fizzle out naturally. Speaking at the hearing with Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Whitty said he expected the month-long lockdown for England that Boris Johnson announced at the weekend to have the desired effect of bringing the R value below 1 across the country, causing the number of cases to fall.
HOSPITAL intensive care capacity is no busier than normal for the majority of trusts, leaked NHS documents reveal. Capacity is tracking as normal with the number of beds available that would be expected at this time of year – even without the need to use the extra Nightingale capacity, raising doubts that a four-week national lockdown is required. An NHS source told the Telegraph: “As you can see, our current position in October is exactly where we have been in the last five years.” The new data shows that even in the peak in April, critical care beds were never more than 80 per cent full. Following the closure of the Nightingale hospitals, there is still 15 per cent capacity across the country – which is fairly normal for this time of year.
Hospital intensive care is no busier than normal for the majority of trusts, leaked documents have shown, raising more questions about whether a second national lockdown is justifiable. An update from the NHS Secondary Uses Services (SUS), seen by The Telegraph, shows that capacity is tracking as normal in October with the usual numbers of beds available that would be expected at this time of year, even without extra surge capacity. An NHS source said: “As you can see, our current position in October is exactly where we have been over the last five years.”
Signs that the second wave of coronavirus could be at a turning point began to make an appearance today as the UK recorded a 12.5 per cent decrease in the number of people testing positive. The Department of Health figures, which initially were delayed in their release, saw a further 20,018 people test positive for the virus today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases during the pandemic to 1,073,882. Meanwhile fatalities rose by 8.17 per cent from last Tuesday after it was announced that another 395 people had died from the virus today – bringing the total death toll to 47,250. The latest death figure marks a rise from yesterday when 136 deaths were recorded in Britain and are also higher than last Tuesday when the number of deaths reached 367.
A coronavirus vaccine could be rolled out for the over-85s and front-line workers in as little as four weeks, reports suggest. Plans are being drawn up for the long-awaited jab to be administered by GPs, teams visiting care homes and at-scale delivery centres at the start of December, if one is approved. Multiple sources told GP publication Pulse there are two vaccines earmarked for use, including one that requires two shots and needs to be stored at 70C (158F). NHS England has yet to confirm the reports but Government sources told MailOnline they have heard health service is preparing themselves to be on stand-by to deliver the vaccine in December.
Moonshot tests of millions will fail unless the 14-day quarantine period for contacts is relaxed because people are ignoring the ‘ridiculous’ rule, Government advisors have warned. Contacts of coronavirus sufferers are currently expected to self-isolate for two weeks, with rule-breakers facing a hefty £10,000 fine. But one senior figure advising the Government told The Times ‘compliance is really low’ as they warned the test and trace programme was dead. The Government last night revealed every resident of Liverpool will be offered a Covid test, in the first major step for Operation Moonshot – the scheme that the Government hopes will help it get on top of the crisis by the spring.
Boris Johnson’s drive to use mass so-called moonshot testing to control the spread of Covid-19 will fail unless stringent quarantine rules are relaxed, senior government advisers have warned. Ministers have been told that plans to use millions of 15-minute tests to screen large parts of the population for asymptomatic Covid-19 risks being undermined by the existing test and trace system. In particular they have been told that the “ridiculous” policy requiring the contacts of people known to have infections to self-isolate for two weeks or face a £10,000 fine risks undermining public acceptance of the mass testing initiative.
Hospital acquired infections
Almost half of all coronavirus patients in some hospitals are likely to have caught it while being treated there, new figures have revealed. The data shows that there has been a doubling in hospital patients getting infected with the virus after admission in the last month. NHS figures show 18 per cent of hospital patients with coronavirus across the country are thought to have become infected after they were admitted to a ward. This is up from nine per cent in just one month. The figures include people who have tested positive at least seven days after being admitted. Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS trust in Surrey recorded 44.6 per cent of infections in patients after admission, while University Hospitals Dorset NHS foundation trust recorded 44.4 per cent.
ALMOST half of coronavirus patients in some NHS hospitals are likely to have caught the bug there, shocking data shows. In the last month, there has been a doubling in the proportion of patients with the virus thought to have been infected after they were admitted to hospital. Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was “indefensible” that all hospitals are still not doing weekly testing of staff, despite the spread of the virus within hospitals. Nationwide, around 18 per cent of hospital patients with Covid-19 are thought to have become infected after they were admitted to a ward.
Six NHS hospital staff have been sent home after falling ill with Covid-19 when they breached government rules by not wearing a mask when sharing lifts to and from work. The six were told not to come into work by the University Hospitals of North Midlands trust, which is already having to deliver services with almost 600 personnel off work because of the illness. Staff at the trust, which runs the Royal Stoke and Stafford County hospitals, were told about the incident in an email last week from Dr John Oxtoby, the trust’s medical director. The trust refused to say what roles the six perform at what is one of the NHS’s biggest, or at which hospital they work.
War heroes will be forced to stand outside in the cold on Remembrance Sunday rather than attend traditional church services, under the new national lockdown rules. A draft law enforcing the lockdown, which is set to be approved by MPs Wednesday afternoon and comes into force just after midnight, makes it illegal for veterans to attend Remembrance Sunday services in churches and instead requires them to stand outside to pay their respects. Any veteran who tries to go into a church on Remembrance Sunday risks a £200 fine, which can increase up to £6,000 for every repeat offence.