Brexit

Were the threats just a ploy?  The Telegraph muses.

It was only a week ago that Boris Johnson declared the Brexit trade talks over, and said the UK would “embrace” WTO terms.
Just days later, both sides were back around the table. The resumption of talks followed a series of carefully choreographed moves which saw the European Union meet British conditions to restart the negotiations.
Many in Brussels have suggested that they never believed Boris Johnson was serious when he threatened a no deal Brexit.
The EU is, after all, used to fiery summit walkouts during tense negotiations, which traditionally happen just before a deal is done. It clears the atmosphere and rolls the pitch for concessions.

The famed Withdrawal Agreement has again been called into question in the Express.

A NEW report has claimed that Britain will have worse trading terms with the EU than Australia without a deal because of the pitfalls in the Withdrawal Agreement.
The paper by the Centre for Brexit Policy has questioned Boris Johnson’s claim that the UK will go to “Australia rules” on World Trade Organisation terms if a deal is not struck with the EU. It comes after talks reopened between Britain’s Lord Frost and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in a last-ditch effort to come to an agreement. The report backed by senior Brexiteers including Tory MPs in the European Research Group is adding to the pressure to repeal the Withdrawal Agreement if the EU refuses to come to reasonable terms.

The French negotiator seems to have backed down, reports the Telegraph.

Michel Barnier is preparing to extend post-Brexit talks in London for a further three days, amid cautious optimism on both sides over the revived negotiations.
The EU’s chief negotiator is understood to have signalled that his team will remain in the UK until Wednesday, scrapping previous arrangements to return to Brussels on Sunday.
On Thursday, UK negotiators would then travel to Brussels for further talks, with UK and EU sources effectively setting Halloween, next Saturday, as a deadline to decide whether the two sides will be able to reach a deal.
The decision to extend the London talks came after EU and UK sources suggested that both sides had made concessions to enable progress in the discussions.

The City of London could be punished by the EU, says the Express.

THE EUROPEAN Union is poised to offer Japan better access to its markets than the UK – prompting City supremo Catherine McGuinness to claim Britain’s financial services industry was being “neglected” during EU-UK trade talks.
However, Robert Oulds, director of pro-Brexit think tank the Bruges Group, has said the bloc’s “childish” attempts to punish the City of London were doomed to fail – and any such move would result in the EU’s  financial system rapidly running out of money. Ms McGuinness, head of the City of London Corporation’s policy and resources committee, has said the deals which Japan has secured with both the EU and UK were a “model” which needed to be replicated elsewhere.

Trade deal

The bloc is still trying to make demands of the UK, says the Express.

BORIS JOHNSON has been handed a Brexit trade deal warning as the deadline for the end of the transition period looms closer.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier arrived in London on Thursday for last minute negotiations. This came after Mr Johnson lifted the block on talks after the October deadline came and went.
There are only two weeks left before it would be impossible to get a deal in place by the end of the transition period in December.
But now, Wokingham MP John Redwood has issued a warning to the Prime Minister not to sign Britain back up to the European Union.
He tweeted: “We voted to leave the single market and customs union.
“The government must not negotiate us back into these damaging arrangements.”

Fisheries

European trawlermen are threatening action says the Sun.

FRENCH fishermen may provide a surprise boost to Boris Johnson’s chances of a Brexit deal by threatening “absolute chaos” if Britain leaves without one.
They insisted that Emmanuel Macron soften his demands so they can access UK waters.
The French President has said he will walk away without a trade agreement unless the PM drops demands for the UK to have full sovereignty.
But French trawlermen said that would decimate their industry, which is worth £750million a year.

The little Napoleon is still making big threats, reports the Telegraph.

Emmanuel Macron has vowed to scupper any Brexit deal that “sacrifices” French fishermen, but faces a growing swell of pressure from Germany and other EU states to accept less access to British waters.
The French president’s hard line on fishing rights is one of the last remaining obstacles to an agreement. But with just a year and a half to go before national elections, being seen as the defender of France’s coastal communities could prove a valuable campaign asset for Mr Macron.
Battling the British over fisheries could help him shed the “president of the rich” label his critics have given him. Gilets Jaunes protesters vilify Mr Macron as indifferent to the concerns of rural communities, caring only for the metropolitan elites.

Immigration

Small boats are still bringing illegals across the Channel, says the Telegraph.

A total of 19 people have been arrested in the past two weeks in connection with people smuggling across the English Channel.
The Home Office said the arrests came as French authorities also stopped more than 650 people from making the dangerous crossing.
But despite adverse weather conditions, UK Border Force dealt with another four incidents on Friday leading to the detention of 33 migrants.
More than 7,400 people have crossed the Channel illegally in small boats and reached the UK this year.
Dan O’Mahoney, clandestine Channel threat commander, said: “We are taking action at every step of these dangerous and illegally facilitated journeys to make this route unviable.

Deaths

The number of people dying from Covid-19 is dropping, reports the Sun.

THE daily number of coronavirus deaths in Britain has fallen with 174 people dying – but cases have risen with 23,012 more infections.
New figures released this afternoon show a total of 854,010 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK.
Deaths have fallen, with 174 reported to have died from the virus – 50 less than yesterday.
But cases have risen by 2,482 – up from yesterday’s figure of 20,530.
Today’s figure is still less than Wednesday’s biggest ever infection rise of 26,688.
Fresh data shows a total 141 new deaths were recorded in England, 16 in Wales, 11 in Scotland, and six in Northern Ireland.

Isolation

But there’s a potential lifeline for those who have been in contact with sufferers, says the Telegraph.

The 14-day isolation period for contacts of those infected with Covid-19 could be halved over fears about levels of compliance with the Test and Trace system, The Telegraph can disclose.
Officials on Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 taskforce are examining the case for cutting the fortnight period of isolation to between seven and ten days.
The disclosure comes amid rising concern among ministers and Tory backbenchers about the effectiveness of Test and Trace, with the Prime Minister said to have become “disillusioned” with official statistics provided by the service, after some were later proved to be incorrect.

BBC News echoes the report.

The two-week quarantine period for contacts of those who test positive for Covid-19 could be halved, amid criticism of NHS Test and Trace.
Writing in the Telegraph, Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin said a “vacuum of leadership in Test and Trace” was affecting compliance.
Ministers are considering reducing the period to either 10 or seven days.
The government said the daily 400,000 test capacity is bigger per head than France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Any change to self-isolation requirements would follow research by King’s College London, which suggested just 10.9% of those traced as contacts of someone with Covid-19 remained at home for the full quarantine period.

The change is said to be considered because people are simply not adhering to the rules, says the Times.

People who are told to stay indoors because a household member has coronavirus will soon have to self-isolate for as little as seven days after widespread refusal to comply with the current 14-day period.
Separately, City dealmakers, hedge fund managers and company bosses flying into the UK will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine period under plans to “promote global Britain”.
Boris Johnson has ordered Downing Street’s Covid unit to draw up rules, to come into force within two weeks, that will cut the isolation period to a maximum of 10 days, with one week the preferred period.

Wales

But the principality’s governing body is under pressure to scrap new strict rules, says iNews.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh Government will review “how the weekend has gone” after thousands signed a petition calling for the ban on non-essential items being sold in supermarkets to be lifted.
Mr Drakeford tweeted: “Thank you for all your efforts over the last 24 hours to stay at home. We know people are fed up.
“It’s not easy, but we all have a responsibility to stop the virus spreading.
“We’ll be reviewing how the weekend has gone with the supermarkets and making sure that common sense is applied.
“Supermarkets can sell anything that can be sold in any other type of shop that isn’t required to close.

Sky News describes the revolt as a ‘backlash’.

The Welsh government has said it will review its ban on supermarkets selling non-essential items following a widespread backlash.
The news came just hours before a man was charged with criminal damage and contravention of coronavirus regulations after an incident at a Tesco store in Bangor.
Gwilym Owen, 28, from Anglesey, will appear before magistrates in Caernarfon on 24 November.
Video on social media from Friday showed a person at the store pulling plastic sheeting from shelves.

Circuit breaker

The Mail quotes some more ‘experts’ in Scotland.

Experts have warned that two-week circuit breaker lockdowns ‘do not work’ as they point to Scotland’s extension of their coronavirus restrictions.
Nicola Sturgeon introduced a 16-day circuit-breaker which forced pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas across the central belt to close – impacting 3.4 million people – earlier this month.
The temporary measures, which had been set to end on October 25, also saw other venues across the country restricted to only operating indoors between 6am and 6pm and being banned from serving  alcohol inside.

Vaccine

The race to develop a vaccine has heated up, says the Mail.

Plans are being drawn up for frontline NHS staff to receive a coronavirus vaccine within weeks, as the Government moves to accelerate the timetable for a mass roll-out.
An email sent by an NHS Trust chief to his staff, seen by The Mail on Sunday, reveals the Health Service is preparing for a national vaccination programme before Christmas.
It can also be disclosed that the Government has introduced new laws that would allow the UK to bypass the EU approval process if a safe and effective jab is ready before the end of the post-Brexit transition period on December 31.

The Sun says NHS staff will be prioritised.

NHS staff are set to get a coronavirus vaccine within weeks as the Government prepares a mass roll-out before Christmas, according to reports.
An NHS Trust chief is said to have sent his staff an email which outlines how a national vaccination programme could start in “early December”.
Glen Burley, chief executive of George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Warwickshire, told staff that a “coronavirus vaccine should be available this year”, according to the Mail on Sunday.
He added that NHS staff are set to be “prioritised prior to Christmas”.
In his memo, he wrote: “Our Trust, alongside NHS organisations nationally, has been told to be prepared to start a Covid-19 staff vaccine programme in early December.

Social care

Care home inspectors have been hit by the virus, reports the Telegraph.

More than 100 care home inspectors have reported Covid-19 symptoms or been forced to isolate, The Telegraph can reveal, as providers call for mandatory testing to “stop putting lives at risk”.
Last month, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was attacked by care home managers for its “bonkers” redeployment of inspectors.
The watchdog had suspended inspections for five months in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. However, in a U-turn, sanctioned by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and which sparked anger from care managers, the inspectors were redeployed – but without compulsory testing.

Army

Soldiers will be deployed on our streets reports the Mail.

The British Army are being drafted in to help enforce  coronavirus restrictions in Tier 3 areas as the UK continues to battle the second wave of the pandemic.
Five Army and Navy environmental health officers trained in ‘outbreak management’ were deployed in Liverpool on Friday.
They have been tasked with identifying clusters of local infections, helping control outbreaks and taking action against businesses failing to comply with the Covid-19 rules.
It is thought that further teams will be moved into other high-risk areas within the coming weeks.

The Telegraph reports they’ll be in ‘tier 3’ areas.

Army personnel are being drafted in to help with the response to Covid-19 in Tier 3 areas, following a new wave of requests for the military to assist with the “national effort” to combat a second peak of infections.
A team of military personnel were deployed to Liverpool on Friday, where they will help to identify local sources of infection and aid environmental health officers enforcing coronavirus rules.
Further teams are expected to be deployed to Tier 3 areas in the coming weeks, to carry out a range of tasks depending on the need in each location. As of Friday, the military was carrying out 32 tasks under the official military aid to the civil authorities (Maca) mechanism allowing the Government and local authorities to formally request assistance from the Armed Forces.

Food poverty

The campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford is gaining ground, says the Guardian.

Thousands of Britain’s top child-health specialists have joined forces to condemn the government for its refusal to fund free meals for disadvantaged children in England over the school holidays, amid a spreading grassroots campaign on the issue led by England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.
With a growing number of councils and businesses this weekend offering to provide free meals, more than 2,000 paediatricians across the UK have signed a letter expressing their shock at the decision. They state that ensuring children have enough to eat is one of the “most basic human responsibilities”.
The letter, co-ordinated by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and seen by the Observer, says: “Every day, we see the impact of hunger and malnutrition in our work as paediatricians. It is not unusual for us to care for children who don’t have enough to eat or who don’t have access to a substantial meal outside of what is provided in school.

The footballer claims the government is guilty of abuse, says iNews.

Marcus Rashford has condemned the ‘abuse’ of MPs and their families on social media after parliament voted not to extend free school meals over the half term.
The footballer, 22, successfully campaigned for free school meal vouchers to be given to kids over the summer holidays.
However, this time, Conservatives overwhelmingly voted against the measure under the believe that the Government has already given enough support by providing councils with £63m for families and increasing welfare support by £9.3bn during the pandemic.
The policy in England is a marked difference from the devolved nations of Scotland and Wales, where free school meals have been extended through to Easter.

And he has the support of many MPs says BBC News.

Pressure is mounting on the government to reverse its decision not to provide free school meals over the holidays in England.
Several Conservative MPs are opposing No 10’s stance, as Labour threatens to push for another Commons vote and some 2,000 doctors call for a U-turn.
It comes as the PM faces calls to meet with footballer Marcus Rashford to discuss his free school meals campaign.
The government has said it has increased welfare support.
Downing Street has also highlighted tens of millions of pounds in funding for councils to help vulnerable families during the pandemic.
But there is increasing criticism from within Tory ranks over the government’s decision to rule out extending meal vouchers for around 1.3 million vulnerable children in England to cover holidays.

Education

There is also pressure on the government to keep universities closed, says the Guardian.

The government is facing a legal battle with academics over its “unlawful” decision to reopen universities for face-to-face teaching last month.
The UK’s largest academic union is seeking a judicial review of the government’s decision to ignore advice from its own Sage committee of experts to move all non-essential university and college teaching online in September. In a pre-action letter, sent to the education secretary Gavin Williamson and shared with the Observer, the University and College Union (UCU) argues the government’s failure to direct universities to move to online teaching this term was unlawful, unfair, unjust and irrational.
On 21 September, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) advised the government to introduce immediate measures that would require universities and colleges to move all their teaching online “unless face-to-face teaching is absolutely essential”.

BC

There’s a growing movement to take money away from the Beeb, says the Telegraph.

A Tory-backed group has launched a campaign to ‘Defund the BBC’ by telling homeowners how to “legally cancel” their licence fee.
Tens of thousands of people are due to receive a leaflet which claims viewers who only watch ‘on demand’ programmes, apart from the BBC iPlayer, do not have to pay for a licence.
The document, called “The BBC is broken”, is emblazoned with the slogan: “You do not have to pay”, and claims the corporation has failed to keep up with the pace of new technology.
It adds: “Over recent years the BBC has cared less and less about its duty to provide impartial content that unifies and reflects the British people outside the M25.”
It adds that viewers can “legally cancel their licence fee now”, although does not go into detail about the legal aspects of their claim.

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