Brexit

How are the negotiations going?  The Mail reports ‘the tide is turning’.

Hopes of the UK and EU agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal have increased after Brussels said ‘the tide is turning’ and Downing Street welcomed recent ‘useful exchanges’ with the bloc.
Talks between the two sides have been deadlocked for months because of disagreements on key issues.
But there are now signs of progress being made with less than 100 days left until the end of the transition period.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s top negotiator, returned to Brussels from London this morning after another round of informal negotiations broke up without a major breakthrough.
However, hopes of a deal being struck are now higher than they have been for months ahead of formal talks resuming in Brussels next week.

The Telegraph is also optimistic.

The “tide may be turning” in the Brexit negotiations after the UK signalled its commitment to sealing a free trade deal with the EU, Brussels sources said on Friday.
However, EU diplomats warned that the bloc would never sign up to a trade agreement while there was “a gun on the negotiating table” in the form of the Internal Market Bill.
EU and UK negotiators meet in Brussels next week for what is seen as a crucial round of talks, if a mid-October deadline to finalise the agreement and avoid no deal is to be hit.
Negotiations were thrown into disarray by the Government’s Internal Market Bill, which overrides parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. Brussels accuses the UK of breaking international law and warned that the trade talks were at stake.

The Express claims a ‘showdown’ is approaching.

BRUSSELS hopes to pave the way for a showdown with Boris Johnson in an attempt to clinch a last-minute Brexit pact as his no deal deadline looms.
EU officials are preparing the groundwork for a meeting between Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and the Prime Minister if progress is made during next week’s formal round of post-Brexit talks.
And he could even be invited to a summit of EU leaders to help get negotiations over the line. But Lord Frost, the Prime Minister’s Brexit envoy, has told the EU’s Michel Barnier must be more realistic for a deal to be done.
With hopes for a deal growing in Brussels, the bloc is planning how to clinch an agreement before Mr Johnson’s October 15 deadline – when EU leaders are set to meet in the Belgian capital to discuss Brexit.
EU diplomats said Lord Frost and Mr Barnier’s meetings next week will be “pivotal” if a deal is to be reached before the cut-off point.

But the Sun reports the potential of heading for a no-deal.

EU chiefs will switch focus to No Deal planning if there is no breakthrough in next week’s last-ditch talks.
Brussels sources said the upcoming negotiations are make or break amid a renewed sense of optimism a last-minute trade pact can be clinched.
And PM Boris Johnson secured another major boost as No 10 confirmed Eurocrats have backed down from threats of a food blockade on Northern Ireland.
Diplomats said there is a “rather positive spirit” in the talks despite the row over the PM’s plan to rip up parts of last year’s Brexit deal.
But they now want to hear “more sophisticated messages” from him on how that can be translated into a compromise deal before a crunch October 15 summit.

And the Guardian is also pessimistic.

Brussels has sought to puncture an outbreak of optimism over an imminent Brexit deal, amid fears Boris Johnson has not secured the backing of key advisers and his party for the compromises needed in the final stretch of negotiations.
With the UK government yet to offer a way forward on the most contentious issues, and trust in Downing Street at a low ebb, senior EU officials treated with scepticism reports that the UK could see a way to secure a deal.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, told ministers from the 27 member states this week that there was “a more open atmosphere at the negotiating table”, according to diplomatic sources in Brussels. But he had also emphasised that “substantial differences of opinion remain, particularly on a level playing field” – the issue of state aid to businesses.

One of the bloc’s chiefs has criticised the UK, reports the Independent.

European Union leader Charles Michel used the virtual pulpit of the U.N. General Assembly on Friday to lash out at Britain for its threats to renege on parts of the withdrawal treaty it signed with the EU and warned that the 27-nation bloc won’t back down in the final weeks of acrimonious talks on a free-trade deal.
Michel made unmistakable references to the United Kingdom when he said that “respect for treaties, a basic principle of international law, comes to be considered optional even by those who, until recently, were its historical guarantors.”

And the Express reports his warning.

EUROPEAN Council chief Charles Michel issued a Brexit warning to Britain that Brussels would not sell off access to its single market ahead of a crunch round of trade talks.
The EU’s most senior official vowed to “better protect” the bloc’s single market in a speech to the United Nation’s General Assembly. Mr Michel said: “Access to our large market — the second-largest economic zone in the world, and the first in terms of international trade — will no longer be sold off. “From now on, we will better enforce the level playing field, in a market open to those who respect its standards. Whether they leave our Union or want to move closer to it.”

Migrants

The Morning Star reports the prospect of immunity for a security firm.

PRIVATE security firm G4S could get immunity from prosecution for any crimes that its representatives admit to when giving evidence to an inquiry into alleged abuse at a detention centre for migrants.
The attorney-general today requested “wide-ranging” legal requests known as “undertakings” so evidence given by witnesses during the course of the inquiry would not be used against them in criminal proceedings.
The company used to run Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, where mistreatment of detainees was uncovered by a BBC Panorama investigation in 2017.

Breitbart reports an influx of illegal migrants.

More migrants have arrived in the United Kingdom by boat in September than the whole of 2019, according to reports.
Tuesday’s landings of 393 illegal aliens on English shores made September hit a milestone in migrant arrivals that exceeded the whole of last year. So far in 2020, nearly 7,000 third world migrants have illegally crossed the English Channel from France into British territory on small boats. September 2nd saw the highest daily arrivals, with 416 illegals landing.
While reports vary as to whether last year saw 1,800 or 1,823 people arrive, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that for September 2020 alone there had been at least 1,880, with days still to go before the end of the month. According to government figures, 2018 only saw a combined 297 interceptions in British waters and landings on English beaches.

And the Times reports on a rumour.

It started as a rumour on Facebook two weeks ago. The Pembrokeshire village of Penally, population 800, was about to become host to 250 young male asylum seekers.
The news was met with shock in the seaside retreat, which is peppered with retirement bungalows and can only offer visitors a small shop, two pubs, two campsites and coastal walks to nearby Tenby.
The Welsh government said that no one had been warned or consulted by the Home Office about the use of a small military training camp on the edge of the village as accommodation for hundreds of 18 to 35-year-old men for up to 12 months while their asylum applications were considered.

Nightingale Courts

In an exclusive report, the Mirror reports on the failure of the ‘pop-up’ courts.

Tens of thousands of victims have been let down by ministers “dithering” over the introduction of temporary courts, Labour has claimed.
New data shows that the majority of so-called Nightingale Courts did not start hearing cases until late August, with usage as low as 70% in some temporary courts.
The backlog of crown court cases surged by more than 7,000 during the first five months of the pandemic to 46,467 serious criminal cases.
More than 517,000 cases are waiting to be dealt with by magistrates.

Deaths

Returning the virus, the Mail has an exclusive report on the potential deaths from other causes during lockdown.

Nearly 75,000 people could die from non-Covid causes as a result of lockdown, according to a devastating official figures buried in a 188-page document.
The startling research, presented to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), will further increase pressure on Boris Johnson to hold back on introducing further coronavirus restrictions.
The document reveals 16,000 people died as a result of the chaos in hospitals and care homes in March and April alone.
It estimates a further 26,000 will lose their lives within a year if people continue to stay away from A&E and the problems in social care persist.
And an additional 31,900 could die over the next five years as a result of missed cancer diagnoses, cancelled operations and the health impacts of a recession.

Testing

The Mail calls the testing system a ‘shambles’.

The coronavirus testing shambles is laid bare today with claims that the Government ignored offers of super-fast machines six months ago.
The while-you-wait gadgets could have been installed in care homes, schools, hospitals and businesses to quickly scan people for the virus and spare the British economy.
Instead, the Government launched a cumbersome £12billion system with patients forced to wait days or travel hundreds of miles – allowing the virus to spread and leading to draconian rules.

‘Rule of six’

Parliament will be given a vote on the new rules, says the Telegraph.

MPs will be given a vote on Boris Johnson’s controversial “rule of six” next month as Downing Street attempts to head off a full-scale Tory rebellion.
It signals the start of a potential climbdown by Number 10 in the row with backbenchers over ministers’ powers to bypass Parliament when they impose Covid-19 restrictions.
More than 40 Tories are prepared to vote against the Government next week to force it to give MPs the final say on new lockdown measures.
Parliament will be given a vote on the “rule of six” on October 6. If MPs vote against the rule, it will be abolished. But the rebels pointed out that, by law, they must be given a retrospective vote on the rule, so Number 10 was merely bringing the date forward and the move would not affect their campaign.

And the Independent claims the Prime Minister could lose the vote.

Boris Johnson is facing potential defeat over his power to impose future lockdown restrictions, after dozens of Tory MPs joined a rebel bid to make any new coronavirus measures subject to a vote in parliament.
Some 42 Tory MPs have added their names to an amendment tabled by Sir Graham Brady, the highly influential chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, to require a vote “as soon as reasonably practicable” on new powers.
The rebels are just one MP short of overturning the government’s working majority of 85 in the Commons, with more expected to join them ahead of a crucial debate on Wednesday.

London

The mayor of the capital city is calling for stricter measures, reports the Sun.

SADIQ Khan has called for a BAN on different households meeting up in London, after the capital was today been added to the national coronavirus “watch list”
The London Mayor said the city is at a “tipping point” after a spike in cases.
Mr Khan, who met with the PM earlier this week, told the Guardian: “One of the things that I said to the prime minister is: I think we should be following what’s happening around the country and stopping social mixing of households, and I say that with a heavy heart.”
He added: “When I spoke to the prime minister on Tuesday for the first time since May, he was surprised that I was saying there’s a problem in London, and that I was asking for additional measures.

The Guardian also reports the mayor’s call.

Household visits must soon be banned for London’s 9 million residents, Sadiq Khan has urged the prime minister, warning that a 43% fall in testing in the capital risks masking the severity of the virus’s spread.
The mayor of London spoke to the Guardian as the government announced the city had been placed on the “watchlist” of areas at risk from tougher restrictions. “It’s obviously bad news that London is an area of concern. But the good news is that finally the government will pull their finger out and give us additional support,” Khan said.
He said the number of Covid tests carried out each week in London had fallen 43% between mid-August and mid-September as other areas were prioritised, despite the period coinciding with schools, universities and offices starting to reopen.

The Times says the new restrictions are imminent.

London may be heading for a ban on households mixing and more than a million people in England and Wales are under new local lockdowns this weekend.
Ten million people in the capital have been warned that tougher restrictions are likely within weeks. Sadiq Khan, the mayor, called for mixing between households to be banned within days.
The city is “at a very worrying tipping point”, he said. “We’re seeing a sharp rise in 111 calls, hospital admissions and patients in intensive care units.”
A government source said that if rates did not stop rising “household mixing would be the next thing you go to. London might be two or three weeks behind the north. But next week we will look at the data again.”

Students

With universities going back, the virus seems to be spreading among students says the Times.

Seventeen-hundred students at Manchester Metropolitan University were told last night to self-isolate for 14 days after coronavirus outbreaks in halls of residence.
At other universities students face curfews or being banned from halls to curb parties and prevent the spread of the virus. Cases have been recorded at 20 universities and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said he could not rule out asking students to remain on campus over the Christmas break.
In Scotland hundreds of thousands of students have been banned from socialising in pubs and restaurants. Those who do have been warned that they could lose their place.

The Sun also reports the problems in Manchester.

THOUSANDS of students in Manchester have gone into quarantine after 127 coronavirus infections were recorded on campus – as a video showed freshers in the city throwing an illegal lockdown party.
Around 1,700 students in Manchester Metropolitan University’s Birley campus and Cambridge Halls have been told to self-isolate “with immediate effect”.
University officials have begged rowdy students to attend virtual freshers’ events and avoid big parties in a bid to prevent infections spiralling.
Public Health England and Manchester City Council said in a joint statement that a “local lockdown” would be imposed on the two halls after a “spike” was detected in accommodation blocks.

Christmas

Are we going to have a bleak Christmas?  The Telegraph reports the government is trying its best to avoid problems at the end of December.

Ministers are working on plans to save Christmas and are prepared to do “whatever it takes” to ensure that families are able to meet over the festive period, The Telegraph can disclose.
Multiple sources say plans for up to three million coronavirus tests a day are in progress, and work on  the roll-out of vaccines from the beginning of December is under way.
If these measures are not in place in time, families may be able to isolate two weeks before Christmas to enable them to meet safely in groups larger than six.

The Express also reports on the plans.

PLANS allow people to see their families over Christmas amid the coronavirus pandemic are being outlined according to reports.
Ministers are willing to do “whatever it takes” to enable people to enjoy the festivities with their loved ones according to The Telegraph. Various sources said up to three million people could be tested per day under the potential plans which would enable families to gather.
To allow such plans to take place, ministers are also pushing for the introduction of coronavirus vaccines from the beginning of December.

Travellers

The Home Secretary has been accused of racism, says the Independent.

Priti Patel has been accused of inciting racial hatred after branding Travellers “criminal and violent”, sparking demands for a public apology.
The home secretary also claimed a police officer had been “effectively murdered by a Traveller family” – apparently referring to the killing of PC Andrew Harper, who was dragged to his death behind a getaway car last August.
In fact, his teenage killers were cleared of murder and convicted of manslaughter. After the verdict, a senior police officer appealed for an end to the prejudice that made it acceptable to label the Travelling community “inherently criminal”.
Yet Ms Patel, in a Zoom meeting with Jewish leaders, said she was determined to stamp out the “criminality that takes place and that has happened through Traveller communities and unauthorised encampments”.

Motoring

The benefits of electric motoring are on the cards, says the Times.

Free parking and a VAT cut on electric cars are being considered by ministers as Boris Johnson prepares to ban the sale of new combustion engine models within a decade.
A report commissioned by the Department for Transport said that a series of “upfront incentives” were needed to drive up the sale of new electric vehicles.
The study said additional financial support to buy a battery-powered car was “one of the most effective and popular levers” the government could adopt.

Galileo

A sat-nav system may not be built, says the Telegraph.

A plan to replace the EU’s satellite navigation system with a post-Brexit UK equivalent is being scrapped by the Government amid reports Theresa May’s strategy for the technology was “unrealistic”.
Mrs May planned for the UK to have its own satellite network for GPS, replicating a US system and the Galileo network built by the EU.
The post-Brexit UK service, GNSS, has been mothballed after policymakers decided it was expensive and unnecessary.

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