Brexit

Who said it wasn’t about punishing us for Brexit?  The EU shows its true colours, reports the Express.

BRITS going on holiday to Europe next year face hours of airport queues after the European Union rejected an offer to maintain fast lanes as part of the Brexit deal.
The European Commission has told member states visitors from the UK won’t be allowed to use passport e-gates from January 1. Britons will be forced to join long queues of arrivals from the rest of the world, including the US and China. And the European Tourism Association has warned it means just one plane arriving from the UK at popular destinations, such as Faro, Alicante or Tenerife, could take nearly five hours to pass through a single passport lane.
British negotiators had asked Brussels to let European countries carry on giving British holidaymakers the same preferential treatment as now.

EU

But in an exclusive report, the Sun suggests the UK’s hard line is paying off.

EMMANUEL Macron is ready to soften demands that Britain follows EU rules post-Brexit — as they could backfire on France.
In a major boost to Boris Johnson’s hopes of clinching a deal, the French president is said to be relaxing his stance, especially on state aid.
Any deal binding the UK to common standards works both ways, so No10 could hit France with lawsuits over its sky-high public spending.
Mr Macron also accepted he must compromise on his hardline fishing demands.
French ministers have sounded out industry groups over concessions they are prepared to accept on access to UK waters.

But whose fault is it that we don’t have a deal yet?  Breitbart reports that it’s down to both sides.

Brussels’ chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has claimed that it is the UK’s and the EU’s “common responsibility” to agree on a deal and stop a clean-break, no-deal Brexit.
Just last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had declared that negotiations with the EU had failed over the bloc’s intransigence on issues like anti-competition rules and fishing, and that the UK should prepare for a no deal.
However, Mr Johnson did not officially withdraw from trade talks, instead his proxies stating in the following days that negotiations could restart if Europe were willing to compromise. EU insiders interpreted the prime minister’s threat of no deal as mere bluster, with one saying that “if the UK would really not care about having a new deal, it would have left the table long ago”.

The Times reports a Frenchman’s claim that Boris is bluffing.

A French minister has dismissed Boris Johnson’s claim that Britain can “more than live with” a no-deal Brexit if trade, security and fishing talks with the European Union fail.
Clément Beaune, the French Europe minister who is a close associate of President Macron, poured scorn on the prime minister’s upbeat assessment that Britain could prosper without an EU deal. “If the British thought they could live with ‘the freedom’ of no deal outside of the EU — if it was so easy and so comfortable — they would have already left without a deal,” he told French BFM television on Thursday.

Fisheries

They’re worried about their own fishermen, reports the Express.

FIVE EU member states have banded together to call for the bloc’s fishermen to be protected under a trade deal with the UK, as Michel Barnier and David Frost meet in London for talks.
Ireland, France, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands will “remain united” in their position that coastal communities across the continent must be protected under any post-Brexit free trade deal. Boats from the five nations have benefitted massively from fishing in Britain’s rich waters and as trade talks enter the final phase leaders are wary of losing access.

And the bloc is now trying another tack, says the Express.

THE European Union has been accused of trying to “recreate” the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in post-Brexit trade talks with the UK.
Conservative MP David Jones warned Brussels will have to back down on its fishing demands and finally accept Britain is going to be an independent coastal state to reach a deal. The former Brexit minister hit out at the EU for trying to “recreate” the CFP – which British fishermen say has decimated their livelihoods.
Mr Jones, who is deputy chair of the influential European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs, told Express.co.uk: “They are going to have to drop demands, for example, of full access to British fishing waters.
“What they are trying to do is to recreate the CFP.
“It’s almost as if they haven’t actually accepted the fact we’ve left the EU.

Trade talks

Meanwhile, Liz Truss seems to be doing a great job around the world, says the Telegraph.

Britain’s new free trade deal with Japan has been credited with paving the way for a possible breakthrough in ongoing Brexit talks with Brussels.
“How fitting it is to be in the land of the Rising Sun to welcome in the dawn of a new era of free trade,” Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary, said after formally signing the UK’s first trade deal since Brexit.
The deal also played an influential role in unlocking the ongoing trade negotiations with the EU, which could be successfully concluded in as little as two to three weeks. “Level playing field” guarantees on issues such as subsidy law offered to Tokyo were more robust than the bare minimum on the negotiating table in Brussels, EU sources said.

Well, at least they’re still talking, says iNews.

Trade talks between Britain and the European Union will intensify over the weekend amid signs that the two sides are inching towards a deal. 
President Emmanuel Macron was reported to have prepared the French fishing industry to accept a cut in quotas from UK waters – the key issue hampering a post-Brexit trade agreement.
The Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney, said he believed a deal was “doable but difficult”. He said: “The pressure is on. We’re running out of time.”
After a hiatus of more than a week, negotiations led by Lord Frost, the Prime Minister’s chief negotiator, and Michel Barnier, his EU equivalent, resumed in London.

Immigration

Government is changing the rules on immigration, reports the Telegraph.

Net migration targets have been abandoned by the Government as it ditches the £35,800 salary cap for migrants to be allowed to settle in the UK.
The new rules for Boris Johnson’s points-based immigration system demolish the last vestiges of Theresa May’s attempts to reduce net migration to tens of thousands.
Skilled migrants will no longer be required to earn £35,800 to be able to settle in the UK but the cap will instead be lowered to £25,600 under the rules, which were quietly slipped out on Thursday and take effect on December 1.

When is a child not a child?  When they’re an adult, says the Mail.

Legal claims from refugees and migrants accused of lying about their age are costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The cases arise when lawyers challenge age checks by social workers who judge ‘child’ migrants to be adults. Cases can drag on for as long as three years.
A Daily Mail investigation reveals that Kent County Council alone has paid out over £300,000 on 25 cases in the past four years.
Of 75 migrants given age checks in 2018 and 2019, 31 were judged to be adults.
The highest assessed age was 25.

Rebellion

The Mail reports growing resistance to the Covid lockdowns.

Dramatic evidence of a growing revolt against the coronavirus lockdowns emerged last night.
The public think the rules won’t work, they will break the law if necessary to see their loved ones and believe it is time to ‘get Britain back to normal’.
These are among the key findings from focus groups that suggest traditional opinion polls have failed to spot a decisive change in attitudes toward the pandemic.
One leading pollster believes Britain could be witnessing a repeat of what happened in the 2015 election and the EU referendum.

House-arrest is provoking outrage, says Yahoo News.

Debate rages on every television screen and newspaper front page about the fairness or unfairness of lockdowns and semi-lockdowns. The finger of blame for the failure to stop the spread of coronavirus is increasingly pointed at the chief of NHS Test and Trace, Baroness Harding, and at the health minister Lord Bethell, serial blunderers referred to derisively by senior civil servants as “Laurel and Hardy”.
But putting the focus on the failure of the £12bn Test, Trace and Isolate (TTI) system misses a more important point that makes the furore over the new restrictions largely irrelevant. People are rightly outraged by the revelation that a myriad of private sector consultants, without experience of public health and paid up to £7,000 a day, should have orchestrated this fiasco, but their anger is a diversion from a more significant development.

Christmas

And the festive season might be cancelled, reports the Express.

STRICT coronavirus restrictions may continue into the Christmas period according to a warning from a senior Government minister.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “hopeful” that certain family life aspects could be “back to normal” by the festive season. However the government appears reluctant to give any assurance to this end.
Stephen Barclay, chief secretary to the Treasury, told BBC Radio 4 yesterday the British public has been putting a “huge effort” into getting the number of daily infections down, calling it a “common cause we are all working to”.

It’s not going to be a normal Christmas, says the Sun.

A NORMAL Christmas this year is “wishing thinking in the extreme” a Government scientific adviser has said.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the SAGE committee, said “radical action” would need to be taken to stop the rise in coronavirus cases.
Prof Edmunds said: “The only way that we can have a relatively safe and normal Christmas is if we take radical action now to reduce incidence – at the very least in high incidence areas – and keep the incidence low across the country by implementing a package of measures to reduce social contacts.

Welsh restrictions

In the principality, the rules got tougher today, reports the Telegraph.

Children’s toys and clothes have been deemed “non-essential” and banned from sale in shops by the Welsh government, as the country entered a second national lockdown at 6pm on Friday.
Hundreds of businesses across the country have been ordered to shut, and those which can remain open told to sell only “essential” items, in a move described by Conservatives as “control freakery gone mad.”
Electrical goods, clothes, toys, furniture, bedding and products for the garden have been cordoned off or removed from superstores, but groceries, batteries, rubber gloves, light bulbs and alcohol are allowed to be sold.

Two and a half weeks of lockdown, says ITV News.

Wales has entered a 17-day lockdown as the First Minister says “we are in this together” in an attempt to protect the country’s NHS from being overwhelmed by coronavirus.
The Welsh Government has said the “sharp and deep” lockdown, brought in to coincide with half-term holidays, could be enough to avoid a longer and “much more damaging national lockdown” in the months ahead.
Under the measures, which will last 17 days until November 9, people have be asked to stay at home and to leave only for a limited number of reasons, including exercise, buying essential supplies, or to seek or provide care.

And police will be asked to enforce the lockdown, says the Mail.

Police last night revealed extraordinary plans to patrol the Anglo-Welsh border to stop families from crossing over for a half-term holiday as Wales is plunged into a two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown.
Drivers were seen crossing the border on the A494 at Queensferry and on the A5445 between Chester and Wrexham in a breach of new Covid-19 restrictions preventing motorists from crossing the 160-mile long border.
Officers will prevent caravans sneaking into England from Wales and deter Welsh motorists defying First Minister Mark Drakeford’s ‘power-mad’ orders from making ‘non-essential’ journeys.

Vaccine

Is this the exit strategy?  The Express reports:

CORONAVIRUS can be banished with a combination of vaccines, better testing and contact tracing, a top health expert has insisted.
Prof Hugh Pennington said it would be “an admission of failure” to assume the virus was here to stay.
His optimistic assessment came as it was revealed that a vaccine being worked on by Oxford scientists built a strong immunity to the disease.
Despite impressive progress in the hunt for a treatment, some experts have issued gloomy predictions that Covid-19 will become endemic in the UK and we must learn to live with it.

A vaccine being developed is looking good, reports the Evening Standard.

The Covid-19 vaccine spearheaded by Oxford University builds strong immunity to the virus, a study has found, in a boost to global vaccination hopes.
As the front-runner in the global rasce for a vaccine entered final Phase III clinical trials, researchers at  Bristol University carried out tests to check whether it was behaving as intended.
The Oxford vaccine, developed in partnership with Astrazeneca, is made by taking a common cold virus from chimpanzees and deleting about 20 per cent of the virus’s instructions.

Testing

In an exclusive report, the Sun says a quick spit test will be available soon.

A GAME-changing £5 Covid saliva test which gives results in 15 minutes is odds-on to be available before Christmas, it was claimed last night.
Officials say the rapid, on-the-spot swabs will help keep offices and schools open during the second wave.
A negative result may also allow restricted Brits back to the footie, pub or theatre, according to a well-placed government source.
They could even help ease strict shielding guidelines and let families visit relatives who have been isolated in care homes.
Field trials of several swabs have begun across England after passing strict checks at government labs.

Infections

The Mail has an exclusive report suggesting the virus is declining.

Almost half of local authorities in England saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week, according to an analysis of official data.
Sixty-nine out of 149 councils recorded a dip in their Covid-19 per population case rates in the seven-day spell that ended October 18. For comparison, only two saw a drop in infections in the week ending September 25.
Newcastle and Nottingham, which are both battling some of the largest Covid-19 outbreaks in England, saw some of the biggest plummets in infections. Liverpool also recorded a drop of 19.3 per cent, as Tier Three restrictions begin to take effect on transmissions in the city.

Deaths

But are people dying from flu, pneumonia or Covid?  The Telegraph reports:

The death rate from flu and pneumonia fell by nearly one third in September, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) saying people who would have ordinarily died around now may instead have lost their lives in the first coronavirus wave.
New monthly mortality figures from the ONS show that there were 2,535 fewer overall deaths in September compared to the five-year average – 34,400 compared to 36,935.
Although the number of coronavirus deaths continues to rise, with 690 registered in September, the overall death rate is tracking a little below what would be expected for this time of year.
Coronavirus registered deaths in September accounted for 1.7 per cent of deaths in England, making the virus the 19th most common cause of death.

Fraud

Watch out if you’re approached by someone claiming to be a Covid marshal, says the Mail.

Fake coronavirus marshals have been pretending to check for rule breaches and stealing from homes once they are let inside.
Police forces and Trading Standards warned fraudsters have been conning people by pretending they were told to enter people’s homes.
The tactic comes after con artists pretended to be healthcare workers offering bogus virus tests to get inside houses.
The marshals, called COVID-19 secure marshals, do not actually have any powers to enter people’s homes, enforce social distancing or issue fines.

Mutation

The virus is changing, says the Mail.

Scientific advisers have been warned that the  coronavirus is mutating and could become more infectious, according to SAGE papers published today.
The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) said the UK did not have the capability to research these mutations in depth and whether they would be harmful.
It’s one of a number of papers released by the Government today that give an insight into how scientists are steering the pandemic.
The idea was explored in a scientific report handed to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which then presents the findings to the Government to help inform public health policy.

And it’s killing patients quicker, reports the Sun.

COVID-19 is “mutating” and patients are dying quicker as the UK battles the second wave of the killer disease, new SAGE papers reveal.
The findings released today by the Government offer scientific insights into the pandemic which has killed 44,571 people in Britain.
One of the most startling admissions is that the coronavirus is mutating and may become more infectious.
The New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) believe most of these changes will be harmless and none so far have changed Covid’s severity.

Education

Some schools are being unfair on their pupils, says the Telegraph.

School children are being denied access to water and toilet facilities, made to sit in cold classrooms and eat lunch standing outside, ministers have been told.
The “basic welfare” of pupils is being overlooked by “overzealous” teachers who are taking measures which they believe will mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission, according to the parent campaign group Us For Them.
In a letter to the Education Secretary, schools minister and children’s minister, the group reported: “Some of the cases we are seeing are extreme and many involve alarming issues of child welfare and safeguarding.

National Trust

The NT could be heading off-course, the Telegraph reports.

The National Trust could face an official investigation by the charity regulator for straying from its “clear, simple purpose” to preserve historic buildings and treasures.
Speaking to The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast (which you can listen to on the audio player above), Baroness Stowell of Beeston, who chairs the Charity Commission, said it was “important” that the National Trust did not “lose sight” of what members expected, adding that it was right that it was facing questions.
The commission is examining whether the Trust has breached its charitable objects.

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