Brexit

The end is nigh, says the Telegraph.  Well, we can keep our fingers crossed.

The UK has rebuffed Brussels’ offer of intensified trade talks next week, telling the European Union’s chief negotiator there is “no basis for negotiations”.
The Prime Minister on Friday accused European leaders of having “abandoned the idea of a free trade deal” and told the country to “get ready” for a no-deal outcome in the negotiations after his October 15 deadline for reaching an agreement passed.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had responded to his media statement by vowing that the EU would carry on negotiating, suggesting talks next week in London would go ahead as planned.
But Lord Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, spoke with his counterpart Michel Barnier to tell him not to make the trip across the Channel next week.

Breitbart reports the message of ‘move on demands or don’t come’.

The rupture in the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union has escalated, with the British telling EU negotiator Michel Barnier not to bother coming to London next week if the bloc is unwilling to budge.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier indicated that Britain would begin preparing for an Australia-style relationship with the bloc after its informal “transition” membership of the bloc expires at the end of 2020, without a formal trade agreement.
This was due to the EU having made it clear that it was unwilling to countenance a deal that does not involve continued EU control over British fishing waters and British submission to so-called “level playing” rules which would prevent significant deviation from the EU’s regulatory regime, removing a commitment to “intensify” negotiations and indicating that it was entirely up to the British to propose compromises so talks could move forward.

A phone call made Barnier rethink his plans, reports the Express.

BORIS Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator has told Michel Barnier there is “no basis” for Brexit trade talks unless he dramatically changes his position.
In a phone call this afternoon, Lord Frost warned his EU counterpart wrangling over the future relationship pact won’t resume until the bloc agrees to discuss legal texts on a daily basis for the next two weeks. Their discussion comes after Boris Johnson walked out of the negotiations, leaving Brussels with one final opportunity to avoid a no-deal Brexit. A No10 spokesman said: “Lord Frost has spoken to Michel Bernier to update the EU on the Prime Minister’s statement.
“Lord Frost said that, as the PM had made clear, the European Council’s conclusions yesterday had left us without a basis to continue the trade talks without a fundamental change in the EU’s approach to these negotiations.

The bloc’s demands are unacceptable, says the Times.

Talks on a future trade deal are “over” and a round of negotiations in London next week has been cancelled after Boris Johnson called on Britain to prepare for a no-deal Brexit yesterday.
In a sharp escalation of rhetoric the prime minister’s spokesman accused EU leaders of seeking to impose a series of “unacceptable” demands after yesterday’s summit in Brussels.
He warned there was “no point” in Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, travelling to London on Monday to resume negotiations unless Europe fundamentally changed its position.
“The trade talks are over. The EU have effectively ended them by saying that they do not want to change their negotiating position,” the spokesman said.

And ‘no deal’ is getting closer, says the Mail.

Boris Johnson put the UK on high alert for a No Deal Brexit today as he accused the EU of ‘effectively ending’ trade negotiations.
The Prime Minister came close to washing his hands of the talks altogether, sending a stark message that the bloc will have to ‘come to us’ with concessions if any more progress is to be made.
Mr Johnson made clear Michel Barnier should only bother travelling to London next week if he has a ‘fundamental change of approach’, declaring the UK will now step up its preparations for ‘Australia-style’ WTO terms.
However, he stopped short of formally axing the next round of meetings – with EU officials gloating that despite the rhetoric he had dropped his own ‘hard’ deadline for getting an agreement.

There’s still a chance of a deal if the EU concedes, says the Sun.

EU trade talks are over and Britain must now prepare for a No Deal Brexit, Boris Johnson declared today.
The PM laid into the EU for refusing to take them seriously — and their chief negotiator Michel Barnier was told not to bother coming to London next week for more planned discussions.
But Mr Johnson left his door slightly ajar by saying he would come back to the negotiating table if there was a “fundamental change in approach” from Brussels.

The PM is pressuring the bloc, says iNews.

Boris Johnson has warned Britain to prepare for a no-deal break from the European Union as he moved to pressurise Brussels to give further ground in the complex and protracted negotiations over a free-trade deal.
In a move interpreted by European leaders as brinkmanship, the Prime Minister said he was pulling the plug on the negotiations unless there was a “fundamental change of approach” from Brussels and setting the country on course for leaving the transition period on 31 December without agreement.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, said his team would be in London from Monday from fresh talks, but Downing Street warned that was no point to their visit unless they were prepared to back down over their demand that the UK “makes all the moves”.

And it looks like the House of Lords is working against the government, says the Express.

A BREXIT battle erupted tonight after unelected peers in the House of Lords moaned that controversial trade legislation would “destabilise” devolution.
In a report published on Friday by the House of Lords Select Committee on the constitution, peers told Boris Johnson and his cabinet should listen to the SNP led administration at Holyrood and others over the Bill. The Scottish Government described the legislation as a “power grab” whilst counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland raised similar concerns.
Under the new legislation, goods and services sold in one part of the UK would have to be allowed to be sold in another.

EU

The German chancellor has issued a warning to Mini-Manny, reports the Express.

ANGELA Merkel has fired a direct warning shot to Emmanuel Macron, ordering the Frenchman to drop his hardline fisheries demands or risk a no-deal Brexit.
The German Chancellor said France, and other European Union nations, would lose access to British waters if Britain quits the transition period without an agreement. She told a news conference: “The topic of fish isn’t the only topic which still needs to be tackled and if we can’t find an agreement with Great Britain then there will be no agreement about access to British fishing grounds, you also have to keep that in mind.” Mr Macron has become increasingly isolated in his attempt to secure the same level of access to Britain’s waters for European vessels after the end of the year.

Breitbart claims the little Frenchman insists the UK must surrender.

French President Emmanuel Macron has told the UK to surrender on continued fishing rights in British waters or prepare to leave without a deal. While Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that the UK should prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
Amongst the several issues holding up progress on a deal, it is the dispute over fishing that has come to a head in negotiations between London and Brussels, with countries like France set to lose out by the UK regaining control over her territorial waters.
“Under no condition can our fishermen be sacrificed during Brexit,” Mr Macron said on Thursday at the Brussels summit, according to The Times. “If conditions aren’t met, it’s possible we don’t have an agreement. We are ready for that. If there are no good terms found at the end of the discussion, we are ready for a no-deal,” he added.
Mr Macron further laid claim to British waters as being ‘European’, saying: “We didn’t choose Brexit. It’s the British people’s choice. So protecting the access of our fishermen to British waters, finding a good compromise for our fishermen — and I’m talking about all European countries concerned including France — is an important point in this discussion, for us.”

But the bloc’s negotiator has been given new instructions, reports the Express.

MICHEL BARNIER has been granted “necessary flexibility” to strike a trade deal with the UK before time runs out – increasing the likelihood of a EU climb-down.
Michel Barnier has been given the “necessary flexibility” to continue with Brexit negotiations, according to Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin. The national leader was giving his assessment of the first day of summit meetings between the European Council. The EU group had claimed not enough progress had been made for an agreement.
Mr Martin told the press: “Yesterday I think we had a very comprehensive and extensive range of discussions, commencing of course with the discussions on Brexit.
“Our conclusions, I think, represented and reflected a very constructive discussion.
“We received a very good assessment of the current state of negotiations from our chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

The Express explains the reason behind the French demands.

EMMANUEL MACRON is playing hardball with the UK over fisheries due to catastrophic polling in France, which shows his popularity plunging and a growing French perception that the UK has the upper hand in the Brexit talks.
Emmanuel Macron is under “huge pressure” not to give into the UK on fisheries, following catastrophic domestic polling on his performance as French leader. Sky News’ deputy political editor Sam Coates analysed recent polling which showed French President’s popularity plunging among voters in France. A recent YouGov poll also showed France was the only nation in the EU where a greater proportion believe Britain to have the upper hand in the negotiations.

Frexit

And it could be curtains for one of the senior countries in the bloc, reports the Express.

FREXIT champion Charles-Henri Gallois warned the EU France will be leaving the bloc after the UK makes a success of Brexit.
Generation Frexit director Charles-Henri Gallois insisted France could be leaving the EU soon. During an interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Gallois claimed the sovereignist movement will continue to grow in France if the UK has a successful Brexit future. He added he hopes for a referendum on the topic as multiple leave supporters could then subdivide into smaller groups to achieve the same goal.
Mr Gallois said: “I think Frexit is likely to happen first because I don’t think the European Union will serve us that much.
“I don’t think Brexit will help all the eurocrats across the continent.
“If Brexit is a success, as I am sure that it will be, it will give ideas to other people and countries to leave the suppressing political structure.”

‘Circuit breaker’

To the dreaded virus and it looks like teachers want an extended half-term holiday, reports the Sun.

THE UK’s biggest teachers’ union has backed a ‘circuit breaker’ coronavirus lockdown and called for an extended two-week half term.
The intervention by the National Education Union (NEU) comes amid mounting pressure on Boris Johnson from Labour, the NHS and the Government’s scientific advisers to reintroduce national measures.
The NFU says the emergency measure is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus – calling for schools and colleges across England to close for two weeks for the October half term, rather than one.

The Telegraph also reports the teachers’ suggestions.

Britain’s biggest teachers’ union has backed a “circuit-breaker” lockdown  and called for secondary schools and colleges to be closed for an extended two-week half-term.
The intervention by the National Education Union (NEU) comes amid sustained pressure on Boris Johnson from Labour, Government scientific advisers and the NHS for the reintroduction of draconian nationwide restrictions.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, the Prime Minister said he wanted to avoid such measures, but “cannot rule anything out“.

The call is led by the Labour leader, says the Mail.

A circuit-breaker lockdown backed by the Labour leader Keir Starmer would allow the Government to ‘get in control of the test, track and trace system’ and help control the pandemic, the UK’s largest teachers’ union has said.
The National Education Union (NEU) said the move, which would see secondary schools and colleges in England closed for two weeks at half-term, was urgently needed ‘to allow the system to work better’.
The calls come after the Labour leader demanded Britain be plunged into a nationwide ‘circuit-breaker’ as soon as possible as he accused the Prime Minister of losing control of the pandemic.

Full lockdown

And another total lockdown hasn’t been ruled out, says the Express.

BORIS JOHNSON has warned the Government “stands ready” to order more draconian restrictions if needed to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister insisted local measures are best for now but refused to rule out another nationwide lockdown. In a Downing Street press conference on Friday, Mr Johnson said: “Some have argued that we should introduce a national lockdown instead of targeted local action, and I disagree.
“Closing businesses in Cornwall, where transmission is low, will not cut transmission in Manchester.
“So while I can’t rule anything out, if at all possible I want to avoid another national lockdown, with the damaging health, economic and social effects it would have.”

London parties

Our capital city could be the source of further contagion, reports the Telegraph.

Police fought to enforce coronavirus laws in London last night as they faced defiance from both protesters and drinkers refusing to go home.
After being turfed out of pubs and bars at 10pm, crowds spilled on to the streets of Soho where an anti-lockdown rally, which counted Piers Corbyn among its ranks, was gathering.
Officers were forced to make arrests after encountering an alarming lack of compliance just hours before Covid restrictions were tightened even further as the capital was plunged into Tier 2.
Londoners are waking up this morning to more curbs on everyday life, with two households now banned from meeting indoors unless they have formed a support bubble.

But police are having to take a strong hand, says the Sun.

POLICE clashed with crowds of drinkers in London overnight – just hours before the capital was plunged into a Tier 2 coronavirus lockdown.
Swarms of revellers made the most of their final night of freedom as officers patrolled the streets for “dangerous and reckless” Covid breaches.
It came as nine million Londoners were plunged into a Tier Two lockdown at midnight, preventing households from sharing a pint in the pub from now on.
The Met Police ramped up patrols on the streets to break up boozy gatherings and desperately tried to send punters home at 10pm.

Test & trace

It’s just not working, claims the Telegraph.

It was sold to the country as a vital line of defence against Covid-19 – a state-of-the-art operation to stop the virus before it had a chance to spread.
Ministers promised that the new £12 billion NHS Test and Trace programme  would keep the virus at bay over the winter, allowing people to carry on their daily lives without fear of another lockdown.
“We have growing confidence that we will have a test, track and trace operation that will be world-beating and yes, it will be in place by June 1,” Boris Johnson said in May.
More than five months later, Covid cases are surging again, and this week the Government’s Sage committee issued its verdict – NHS Test and Trace is not working.

The Mail is more upbeat about testing.

Britain could be carrying out a million coronavirus tests per day by Christmas with results in just 15 minutes, a scientist working on the testing scheme has said.
The source, who was not named, revealed the government is buying new machines capable of processing 150,000 tests per day with the aim of trebling the current capacity of 300,000.
Separately, trials of pregnancy-style tests which could provide results in just 15 minutes will begin in northern hotspots from next week.
‘It’s going pretty well,’ the scientist told The Times. ‘They have really scaled up their capabilities. By Christmas we’ll be at a million a day, I think.
‘That seems perfectly possible.’

Mobile phones

Plans to stop phones being used while driving are outlined in the Times.

Motorists are to be banned from even touching their mobile phones while driving in a tightening of the law.
Ministers will announce plans today to ban handheld mobile phones at the wheel amid concerns that too many motorists continue to use them.
Under existing legislation, drivers can only be prosecuted when they make calls or send text messages and emails. Other activities such as filming, taking photos or scrolling through a playlist are not defined as “interactive communication”.

Motorists breaking the rules could be hit with a large fine, says the Sun.

MOTORISTS face a £200 fine if they are caught even TOUCHING their phones behind the wheel.
Currently a loophole in legislation allows drivers to escape any punishment for using their phone while driving if they are taking a photo, playing a game or scrolling through music.
But The Department of Transport is now working with Ministers on updating laws so that all phone functions are banned behind the wheel.
The only exceptions to this new law would be when drivers use their mobiles for contactless payments if a vehicle is stationary at a drive-thru takeaway.
It is thought that the legislation will be rolled out early next year, and hands-free video calls and streaming videos are already banned.

And a possible driving ban on top of a fine, says the Guardian.

Drivers who use hand-held phones in any way behind the wheel will face £200 fines and possible bans when changes in the law take account of smartphones.
While making calls or texting on a hand-held mobile while driving is already illegal, taking photos, scrolling through a playlist or even playing games on phones has not been outlawed until now – allowing drivers to escape charges when spotted with a phone.
The government will update the law to close the legal loophole, which currently defines the offence as only “interactive communication”.

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