Brexit

Has Boris blinked first?  The Mail reports:

Boris Johnson is ready to accept EU tariffs on some British goods in a bid to break the deadlock in EU trade talks.
The latest round broke up yesterday with both sides saying there had been no significant progress.
But UK sources said the Prime Minister’s chief negotiator David Frost had made a significant new offer.
Under the plan, the UK would accept tariffs on a small number of goods in return for Brussels dropping its demand that Britain continue to follow EU rules.

The offer could unlock the trade talks, says the Mirror.

The UK could accept putting tariffs on some goods traded with the EU after Brexit, sources said today.
The proposal could be used to unlock trade talks which ended in a fourth round of deadlock today.
But it could raise the prices of some everyday products traded with the EU, which are currently tariff-free until the end of December.
And it would be a major departure from previous promises by Boris Johnson.

But there would have to be some commensurate concessions, says the Telegraph.

Britain is willing to move away from a zero tariff trade deal with Brussels, it emerged yesterday as Michel Barnier suggested a last minute agreement could be struck in October.
UK negotiators told Brussels they would accept some tariffs in return for the bloc dropping its demands for level playing field guarantees during the fourth round of negotiations.
“We floated that. It fell slightly on stony ground at the moment but it is still in there in the discussions,” a senior UK negotiating official said.

The EU says it will not move on fisheries, says Breitbart.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has accused the UK of backtracking from pledges it made in the Political Declaration, signalling that Brussels would not budge on its demands on fishing and regulatory alignment.
The fourth round of post-Brexit trade negotiations concluded on Friday, with Mr Barnier telling media during a press conference, effectively, that the British government has not moved on its pledges to the British people to regain control of the United Kingdom’s fishing waters, regulations, and laws.
The EU demands continued access to Britain’s territorial fishing waters, with the Common Fisheries Policy currently allowing EU trawlers to land approximately 60 per cent of the fish caught in the waters around the United Kingdom while British fishermen go bust.

The Guardian reports the possibility that the block will make a concession.

Michel Barnier has signalled that he is ready to drop the EU’s most contentious demand that its rules limiting government subsidies to businesses are inserted into British law after another week of stuttering negotiations over a future trade and security deal.
In a move immediately welcomed in Downing Street, the bloc’s chief negotiator declined to publicly back the EU’s opening demand that the UK incorporate Brussels’ state aid rules into its domestic legislation.

‘No deal’ is still on the cards, says the Independent.

Fears of a no-deal in Brexit trade talks have heightened as another round finished without progress and Brussels accused the UK of backtracking on its promises.
Business groups and unions on the British side of the channel warned negotiators to “buckle down” and said a disorderly Brexit could mean we “potentially face a bigger challenge to the food supply chain” than coronavirus.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday that talks could not “go on like this forever” while his UK counterpart David Frost admitted that progress required both sides “intensify and accelerate our work”.

Huffington Post reports no progress.

Brexit negotiations have again broken up without significant progress and with a frustrated EU accusing the UK of “backtracking” on previous commitments.
Brussels chief negotiator Michel Barnier claimed British negotiators “continue to backtrack” on the political declaration Boris Johnson agreed alongside the withdrawal agreement which set out the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU.
But a senior UK negotiating source said the declaration only set the “parameters” of the negotiations on a long-term trade deal and “doesn’t require everything in it to be agreed”.

Our negotiator has warned the EU, says the Express.

DAVID FROST has sent a warning shot to the EU as the fourth round of talks between Britain and the EU on a post-Brexit trade deal came to an end today (Friday) amid little sign of progress.
David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator, said the UK was “reaching the limits of what we can achieve” in a thinly-veiled warning of a no deal Brexit. But he said the tone of the talks with the EU had been “positive” and that if further progress was to be made the two sides needed to “intensify and accelerate” their work rate.

The Mirror reports that the talks could drag on.

The UK’s Brexit trade talks with Brussels look doomed to drag on through the summer after a fourth round ended in bitter deadlock.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier accused Boris Johnson of “backtracking” on his own pledges and fumed: “I don’t think we can go on like this forever.”
UK chief negotiator David Frost said “positive” negotiations would continue but admitted: “Progress remains limited”.

EU

The bloc has demanded financial help from the UK to recover from Coronavirus, says the Sun.

BORIS Johnson is refusing to stump up a £270million bill demanded by the EU to pay for its coronavirus recovery.
The PM has sparked a row with Brussels by insisting the sum must be cut down – risking further souring the trade talks.
Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen unveiled a £2.7billion fund in April to help the bloc’s economies weather the pandemic.
The cash will come out of this year’s budget, meaning Britain is liable to pay a share under the terms of the Brexit deal.

And Breitbart reports a demand that the UK must give up its sovereignty.

A German official has said that the UK must surrender sovereignty if the country wants to strike a trade deal with the European Union.
Germany will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, a council of EU member-states’ ministers, in July and the country’s ambassador to the bloc is already lining up Germany as a key player in crunch negotiations between Brussels and London.

Lockdown

Back to the pandemic, and the Telegraph reports the possibility of local lockdowns.

Regional lockdowns could be imminent, the Health Secretary has said after modelling suggested the rate of coronavirus infection is increasing in some parts of the country.
A report by Public Health England and Cambridge University estimated that the ‘R’ rate appeared to have risen in all regions and was close to or above one in the north-west and south-west. If the rate rises above one, that means the infection is spreading exponentially.

The Mail also has the story.

Matt Hancock tonight raised the prospect of North West and South West England going back into full coronavirus lockdown to combat local surges in coronavirus infection.
Both regions have seen their crucial R rate rise above 1, the benchmark for avoiding another crisis.
Separate estimates produced by experts at Public Health England and Cambridge University today suggested this figure, the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects, is above the danger level.

Quarantine

The prospect of travellers into the UK having to isolate for 14 days is under question, says the Times.

The government is facing multiple legal challenges over its decision to quarantine all arrivals in the UK amid warnings that the “irrational” policy will be catastrophic for the economy.
British Airways’ parent company confirmed yesterday that it was seeking to block the introduction of the policy, which will take effect from Monday.
Willie Walsh, the chief executive of International Airlines Group, said it was likely that other airlines would also bring legal challenges against the measures, which will require all arrivals to self-isolate for two weeks, with the possibility of £1,000 fines for those who flout the rules.

The Evening Standard calls it a ‘furore’.

The furore over a 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals grew today as a Cabinet minister admitted it may be partially ditched as other European countries were closing their doors to millions of British summer holidaymakers.
The controversial quarantine measure is due to come into force next Monday but Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis signalled that it could be swiftly scaled back in the face of widespread opposition from Tory and other MPs.

Infections

Just how many people are being infected?  The Mail has one answer:

Scientists have found more evidence that ‘superspreader’ events are the main driving force behind the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Preliminary research from Hong Kong found that around 20 per cent of COVID-19 sufferers are highly infectious, and responsible for 80 per cent of all transmissions.
However, 70 per cent of people infected with the virus do not pass it on to anyone else.
This suggests the vast majority of infections are occurring via the same people and events.

The Times has a different view.

Coronavirus infections have more than halved, with only one person in a thousand infected in England, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.
In the first clear sign that cases are going down, the average number of people in England with Covid-19 on any given day has decreased from 130,000, reported a week ago on May 28, to 53,000.
The ONS said there were about 5,600 new infections per day, down from about 8,000 reported last week. It estimated that an average of one in 1,000 people were infected during the two weeks to May 30, compared with 2.4 in 1,000 a week earlier.

The Mail calls it a mystery.

The number of people catching the coronavirus each day in England remains a mystery as official estimates continue to reveal wildly varying statistics.
A project run by Public Health England and the University of Cambridge today predicted that 16,700 new infections are cropping up each day.
But the Office for National Statistics, which calculates a weekly measure, suggests that only 5,570 people are catching the virus on a daily basis, on average.

Is the virus accelerating or diminishing?  Sky News reports regional variations.

The R value – a key measure of how much coronavirus is spreading – is around the crucial figure of one in the North West and South West of England, according to new estimates.
Public Health England (PHE) on Friday gave a regional breakdown of the COVID-19 transmission number, or R value.
Their estimates, calculated in conjunction with Cambridge University’s MRC Biostatistics Unit, showed it was “probable” the R value was below one in all regions of England, with the exception of the North West and South West.

The economy

The government has started drawing up plans to get us out of this mess says the Mail.

Boris Johnson is drawing up a ‘Great Recovery Bill’ to slash red tape and help get the economy moving again, and ministers have been told to submit ideas for reforms that would allow firms to adapt to the upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Government officials are also being asked to find ways of ensuring essential services can operate while social distancing remains in place.
The plans could include enabling shops to stay open all day on a Sunday by suspending Sunday trading laws for a year, according to The Times.

Masks

The wearing of masks in public places is now obligatory, says the Mail.

Face coverings will become compulsory in hospitals for all staff, visitors and outpatients from June 15, Matt Hancock revealed today.
Medical and other staff will have to wear surgical masks at all times, the Health Secretary announced tonight.
Visitors and outpatients attending appointments will not be allowed in without wearing the sort of face coverings that can be made at home, he also told tonight’s Downing Street press conference.

The Independent quotes the WHO.

The World Health Organisation has updated its coronavirus  guidance in response to recent research to say everyone should wear face coverings in public where there is a risk of virus transmission.
The change came as Matt Hancock, the health secretary, announced all hospital visitors would have to wear face coverings from 15 June and urged the public to not attend upcoming George Floyd protests due to concerns about the potential for large gatherings to spread Covid-19.

And the Times quotes the results of a poll.

Three quarters of people want face coverings made compulsory in shops, as polling shows that the government’s policy of insisting they are used on public transport is “as popular as David Attenborough”.
All hospital outpatients and visitors will also be required to wear face coverings, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, announced yesterday.
Ministers have left the door open for a further extension of compulsory covering of the nose and mouth, after coming under pressure to do so from the mayor of London and the British Medical Association.

If we all get used to wearing masks, the two-metre rule could be relaxed, says the Telegraph.

The mandatory face-coverings rule was extended on Friday as it emerged ministers could relax the two metre regulation if people get into the habit of wearing them in all public places.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, announced that all hospital visitors will be required to wear face coverings and all hospital workers must wear medical-grade face masks at all times from June 15.
It came after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made face coverings mandatory on all public transport from the same date.
On Friday, as the British Medical Association said face coverings should be compulsory anywhere social distancing is not possible and the World Health Organisation said they should be worn in shops, Whitehall sources did not rule out the possibility of telling the public to wear them in shops and other indoor spaces.

But if volunteers warn travellers about the regulations, the unions could get upset, says the Guardian.

Rail unions have threatened to strike over government plans for an “army” of volunteers at transport hubs to remind travellers to wear a face covering.
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, announced the policy of using volunteers without consultation according to the RMT union, which condemned moves to put unpaid workers in “safety critical roles”.
Face coverings will be mandatory on public transport in England from 15 June to help stop the transmission of coronavirus as more people go back to work, the government announced on Thursday.

Drive-ins

The US entertainment of drive-in movies could come to the UK, says the Times.

Drive-in cinemas are set to be all the rage this summer as the quintessentially American experience catches on with Britons looking to enjoy movies without putting their health at risk.
The Luna Drive In Cinema has screenings planned at Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle, Knebworth House and Allianz Park throughout next month, offering films such as Jurassic Park, The Goonies and Dirty Dancing. Several shows have already sold out.

Care homes

Care homes struggling with their finances are asking residents for more cash, reports the Times.

Care homes are asking some residents to pay a coronavirus surcharge of up to £150 a week to cover extra costs they have incurred because of the pandemic, Age UK has said.
The charity, Britain’s largest for older people, said it had been contacted by residents of care homes and their relatives saying they had been asked to pay “coronavirus bills” on top of their fees.

The Mail also reports the demands.

Thousands of vulnerable pensioners are having to pay more for care homes because of the pandemic.
Those who cover their own fees are being landed with extra ‘coronavirus bills’, according to research by Age UK.
The charity said they or their families are being asked to stump up around £125 a week for personal protective equipment and the cost of covering staff absences.

BAME

Civil serpents are trying to ‘re-educate’ their staff, says Guido.

Whitehall departments have been jumping on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon, making attempts to ‘re-educate’ civil service staff on racism in the UK. Today, DfE staff received an email from the internal ‘BME Network’ telling them to “listen, learn, support and speak up about the fight for racial equality not just in the US but in the UK as well”, attaching a document of cultural texts titled “DO BETTER”, recommending podcasts, literature, cinema, TV and music on race issues. Guido’s attention was caught by one of the official song recommendations: ‘F*ck Tha Police’…

The Guardian claims racial tension is on the rise.

A failure to tackle the disproportionate number of deaths of black, Asian and minority ethnic people from coronavirus risks fuelling simmering tensions over racial injustice in Britain, BAME MPs have warned.
They say the absence of practical measures to protect BAME people or any discussion of structural racism from the government-commissioned report this week on Covid-19 disparities makes a mockery of Matt Hancock’s statement in the Commons that “black lives matter”.
The Guardian attempted to contact more than 40 BAME MPs and peers, including every BAME Conservative MP. None of the Tories agreed to speak about the Public Health England (PHE) review.

Shopping

Shopping rules could be relaxed, says the Times.

Sunday trading laws will be suspended for a year and cafés and pubs will be given fast-track approval to serve food and drink outside under plans to boost the economy.
Downing Street is drawing up a package of measures in response to mounting concern that Britain will face mass unemployment as it emerges from the coronavirus lockdown.
The government is preparing legislation that will enable larger supermarkets to open for more than six hours on Sundays. Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser, are said to be in favour of the move, which is also being pushed by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, and Alok Sharma, the business secretary.

The Times also reports a rebellion.

Boris Johnson is facing a rebellion from scientific advisers who fear that re-opening shops in little more than a week risks a second lockdown by the end of summer.
Members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) estimate that further loosening of restrictions could lead to the reproduction rate of the virus, known as R, going above 1.
Two regions of the UK have already passed this threshold, at which case numbers begin to grow, according to modelling by Public Health England with the University of Cambridge.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email