Brexit

Is ‘no deal’ a warning?  The Telegraph seems to think so.

Britain could be just seven days away from leaving the European Union without a trade deal, Downing Street warned on Saturday night.
In a candid assessment issued “at the start of what may be the final week of trade negotiations”, Number 10 warned that a “significant gap” still exists on fisheries, adding: “No deal is arguably underpriced.”
The comments mark a toughening of the UK’s position on the talks which have dragged on for months and have seen various deadlines missed.
The warning came despite fresh hope of cooperation between the UK and France when the two countries signed a new bi-lateral deal preventing Channel migrant crossings. Under the new deal, France agreed to double police beach patrols but continued to resist taking back arrivals.

The Express, normally a pro-Brexit publication, also calls Downing Street’s comment a ‘warning’.

DOWNING STREET sources have warned the UK could be a week away from trade talks with the EU breaking down.
The Government has reportedly cautioned that “no deal is arguably under-priced” and a “’significant gap’ still exists on fisheries”. According to The Telegraph, this assessment was issued “at the start of what may be the final week of trade negotiations” between the UK and the EU.
The comments suggest Britain is toughening its stance on the talks which have been drawn-out for months.

And the Mail claims the public is expecting a deal to be reached.

A No Deal Brexit is more likely than the public expects, a Government source told The Mail on Sunday last night.
‘A lot of people assume there is going to be a deal – but they need to realise we may not get there,’ said the source.
Face-to-face negotiations resumed yesterday after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier arrived in London, a week after one of his team tested positive for coronavirus.
It is understood that ‘significant gaps’ remain on several issues including fishing, with the British team keen to stress it will not ‘sell out’ Britain’s sovereignty to secure a deal.

But the PM has reiterated his insistence that there won’t be a sell-out, says the Express.

BORIS Johnson has vowed that there will be “no sell out” with Brussels to get a Brexit trade deal.
At the beginning of a week which Downing Street sources have described as “the last hurrah” in the talks with the EU, sources close to the Prime Minister have made it clear that there will be no prospect of abandoning the government’s key principles. There was a positive sign that deals can be done with Europe as Home Secretary Priti Patel pulled off an historic agreement to tackle illegal migrants crossing the English Channel.
But the firm words on Brexit means that the UK will not back down over EU demands to be allowed to continue to pillage British fishing waters or agree to so called “level playing field” demands which would leave British regulations governed by Brussels.

Fisheries

There are still a few sticking points, fisheries being one of them, says Breitbart.

Scottish fishermen have slammed the EU behaving “like the bully who steals your lunch every day and expects you to be grateful for the few crumbs he hands back” as it continues to push for control over Britain’s fisheries.
The European Economic Community, as the European Union then was, changed its rules to give Brussels control over national fishing waters shortly before the United Kingdom joined in the 1970s, bringing the richest fishing waters in western Europe with it.
The EU currently doles out more than half of those stocks to other EU member-states — Britain left the bloc at the beginning of 2020 but remains a member in all but name through the ongoing “transition” period — and has over the years overseen massive job losses in the British fishing industry, with thousands of British fishermen either driven out of business or paid to destroy their vessels.

EU

It seems the French negotiator has been taken down a peg or two, says the Sun.

BRUSSELS has been ordered to have a major rethink on fisheries to help unlock the Brexit deadlock.
UK negotiators are adamant top Eurocrat Michel Barnier’s current tactics don’t “cut it” — which undermine hopes of a trade deal.
Teams of officials will work away in a room dubbed The Cave, a basement in the Business Department, as the UK vows not to “sell out” our sovereignty.
Insiders claim this week may prove to be the final week of negotiations and walking away with no agreement is “underpriced”.
Officials say a significant gap still exists on fishing rights after Mr Barnier revealed he would return just 15 to 18 per cent of UK quotas in our own waters.

Barnier is even being dictated to by his own people, reports the Times.

The European Commission has begun to “lean on” its own Brexit negotiator to get a trade deal with Britain, raising hopes in Downing Street that a new agreement can be struck by Friday this week.
Senior government sources say Ursula von der Leyen, the commission president, is now being “quite helpful” and is “keen to unblock things”.
She has sent one of her most senior officials, Stephanie Riso, to assist Michel Barnier, the EU’s frontman. Riso was part of Barnier’s team during the Brussels negotiations with Theresa May’s government and is seen as someone who can help to find a solution.

And Breitbart tells us that the ECJ is still issuing edicts to EU countries.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has determined that Italy must pay for the dependents of migrants even if they do not live in the European Union.
EU judges stated that Italian legislation which allows Italians to claim benefits for dependents living abroad but which bars non-EU migrants from doing so was contrary to EU law. The court, therefore, ruled that non-EU citizens with residency permits or who are long-term residents are entitled to allowances for their families living outside of the bloc.

The Italians are revolting, reports the Express.

BREXIT has appeared to spark those wishing to leave the EU in Italy into action, after a campaigner exclusively told Express.co.uk of a plot to see the country exit the bloc in less than two years.
EU leaders struck a deal on a huge coronavirus recovery package earlier this summer. The €750billion (£677billion) coronavirus fund will be used as loans and grants to the countries hit hardest by the virus, such as Italy and Spain. The remaining money represents the EU budget for the next seven years.

Migrants

There’s a deal, reports the Telegraph.

A new Anglo-French deal to prevent Channel migrant crossings was signed tonight, as France agreed to double police beach patrols but continued to resist taking back arrivals.
The four-point plan which includes a major expansion of surveillance by drones and CCTV along the 100 miles of France’s northern coastline aims to catch migrants before they leave French soil.
It follows a seven-fold increase in the number of migrants crossing the Channel this year with a record 8,500 reaching UK shores since January.

But it’ll cost us millions, says the Sun.

BRITAIN has signed a deal with France to halt the tide of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.
Home Secretary Priti Patel won a long-running battle to mount a joint crackdown on people-traffickers.
In a historic pact, her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin agreed to bolster patrols on beaches targeted by criminal gangs.
The number of officers guarding a 90-mile stretch of coastline will be doubled from this week.
And they will be backed by cutting-edge surveillance gear, including drones, radar, powerful binoculars and fixed cameras.

The French have promised to stop the migrants, says the Times.

The number of gendarmes patrolling French beaches will double as a result of an agreement reached by the home secretary and her French counterpart to prevent migrants crossing the Channel.
Priti Patel and the French interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, reaffirmed their commitment to blocking the route after the number of people making the dangerous crossing in small boats rocketed this year.
They signed an agreement yesterday that builds on the joint co-operation that they say has seen the proportion of crossings intercepted and prevented rise from 41% in 2019 to 60% in recent weeks.

And the Mail details how much we’ll have to pay.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has agreed to pay France £28 million to double the number of officers stopping migrants crossing the Channel.
The deal was signed during a virtual meeting between the Secretary of State and France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin yesterday with a pledge to make the route ‘completely unviable’ for people smuggling gangs.
Miss Patel has faced criticism for the Government’s failure to tackle a wave of migrants in small boats crossing from northern France. So far this year more than 8,500 migrants have landed in Britain, up from 1,850 in 2019.

Tiers

It’s not called ‘lockdown’ any more, but the new restrictions are not being welcomed in Parliament, says the Mail.

Boris Johnson today urges Britain not to ‘blow it’ in the battle against Covid-19 by flouting the rules of his controversial new three-tier system of restrictions.
The Prime Minister last night attempted to head off a revolt by up to 100 Tory MPs this week by offering a second vote on the tough localised curbs in January, and a ‘sunset clause’ so they automatically expire.
Meanwhile, he uses an exclusive article in today’s Mail on Sunday to plea for people not to ‘jump the fence now’ in a bid to reach ‘the sunlit upland pastures ahead’.

The Mail says it’ll be up to the Labour Party.

The fate of Boris Johnson’s tier system rests in Sir Keir Starmer’s hands, MPs said last night as they prepared to vote on it.
MPs in both main parties are said to be ‘up in arms’ over restrictions putting nearly all parts of the nation in the toughest two tiers.
Labour will decide tomorrow whether to oppose the Government’s plans after a meeting with its Chief Scientific Adviser and Chief Medical Officer.
Several senior Labour MPs are understood to be urging Sir Keir to whip the party against the system in Tuesday’s vote.

More ‘Project Fear’ from the Evening Standard.

Hospitals in England could be overwhelmed with Covid cases if MPs do not support the new tier system,  Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has warned.
The government faces a potential rebellion from some of its own MPs opposed to the system which starts on December 2, but Mr Gove said MPs need to “take responsibility” for tough decisions.
Some MPs argue the tiers are too broad and have demanded a more localised system. The chairman of the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, is among critics of the restrictions, accusing the Government of infringing people’s “fundamental human rights”.

Thanks to the Cabinet Minister, we should be very afraid, says Huffington Post.

Every hospital in England could be overwhelmed with coronavirus cases if new tier restrictions are not introduced, Michael Gove has warned, as he seeks to quell a Tory backbench rebellion over the measures.
The Cabinet Office minister urged MPs to “take responsibility for difficult decisions” to curb the spread of Covid-19, amid anger from some Conservatives that much of England will face stringent restrictions.
Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly will be under the lightest Tier 1 controls, while large swathes of the Midlands, North East and North West are in the most restrictive Tier 3.
In total, 99% of England will enter Tier 2 or 3, with tight restrictions on bars and restaurants and a ban on households mixing indoors when the four-week national lockdown lifts on Wednesday.

There’s a promise of an end to the restrictions next year, reports the Sun.

THE Covid Tiers system could end in February as Boris Johnson tries to head off a major rebellion from Tory MPs.
The PM has faced a blue wall of opposition to his plan to impose tough Tier 2 and 3 restrictions across 99 per cent of England when the national lockdown ends on Wednesday.
Up to 100 Tory backbenchers are threatening to rebel against the tier regime when it is voted on in Parliament on Tuesday.
The PM faces humiliation by having to rely on Labour to bring the measures into force.
But in a letter offering an olive branch to colleagues on Saturday evening, Mr Johnson said the regulations would contain a “sunset clause” – or expiry date – of February 3, with MPs given the chance to vote on whether to extend them beyond that date.

It’s a climb-down by the PM, says the Times.

Boris Johnson capitulated to Tory MPs last night, announcing that he would reform his new coronavirus crackdown before Christmas after threats by backbenchers to vote down the government’s plans.
In a sign of disarray in Downing Street, the prime minister wrote to MPs, signalling that millions of people who will be hit with the toughest restrictions this week will see them eased on December 19.
He announced that the new rules would be scrapped altogether in February unless MPs want them to continue — putting an end to claims that tough restrictions will continue until Easter.

And he’s been forced into the move because his MPs are rebelling, says the Telegraph.

The coronavirus tier system could end in just nine weeks, Boris Johnson told his MPs on Saturday night in an attempt to head off a major rebellion by furious Conservative MPs.
In a letter to Tory MPs, the Prime Minister said he would allow the House of Commons to vote on the new tiers in late January, saying the regulations “have a sunset of 3 February”.
The move, which could require a parliamentary vote to extend the restrictions by that date, will be seen as a major concession from the Prime Minister, after up to 100 Tory MPs threatened the biggest rebellion of Mr Johnson’s premiership, amid fears the regulations would last until Easter.

Christmas

In an exclusive report, the Mirror suggests isolation before Christmas might be a good idea.

Families should isolate for at least ten days before Christmas if they want to celebrate with elderly relatives in the five-day break on Covid-19 restrictions.
The warning was issued by former Government chief scientific adviser Sir David King because of alarming ­infection rates among children.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing his biggest rebellion yet with 100 Tory MPs threatening to vote against his strict new tiers system.
The new rules will place many areas under far tougher restrictions than they faced before the current four-week lockdown. Sir David said because Christmas is a ­“multi-generational time” it poses a “big risk” to those most vulnerable.

Anti-vax

Those disclaiming vaccinations are to be targeted by the army, says the Times.

The army has mobilised an elite “information warfare” unit renowned for assisting operations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban to counter online propaganda against vaccines, as Britain prepares to deliver its first injections within days.
The defence cultural specialist unit was launched in Afghanistan in 2010 and belongs to the army’s 77th Brigade. The secretive unit has often worked side-by-side with psychological operations teams.
Leaked documents reveal that its soldiers are already monitoring cyberspace for Covid-19 content and analysing how British citizens are being targeted online.

Tax

Tax rises could be postponed, claims the Telegraph.

Treasury ministers are hoping that a quick economic recovery in the middle of next year will mean that any consideration of significant tax rises can be delayed until 2022.
There has been speculation for months that personal taxes will start to increase in this spring’s Budget to start bringing down the deficit, which has surged during the pandemic.
However The Telegraph understands that senior Treasury ministers are keen to ensure the UK has gone past the worst of the pandemic before even considering tax rises.

The Mail also has the story.

Treasury ministers hope tax rises can be delayed until 2022 if the economy recovers quickly next year, it has been revealed.
Earlier this week Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to commit to the Tories’ triple tax lock – despite it being a key manifesto commitment.
But senior Treasury ministers are waiting until the UK is past the worst of the coronavirus pandemic before looking at tax rises, The Telegraph reported.
A source said former advisor Rupert Harrison’s comments that taxation measures won’t appear for another year were ‘interesting’.

GPs

But you still can’t see a doctor, says the Mail

The shutters are down, doors firmly locked. Laminated signs warn patients not to enter without an appointment.
In some cases, the lights have been switched off since March and the phones ring unanswered.
This is coronavirus Britain, where Mail on Sunday readers describe the difficulty of getting a GP appointment as being ‘like breaking into Fort Knox’.
Since our resident GP Dr Ellie Cannon first raised this issue a month ago, hundreds of readers have been in contact to complain that their local surgery has remained all but closed since the start of the pandemic – flying in the face of the official Government line that ‘the NHS is open for business’.

Education

Exams could be made easier, says the Telegraph.

Hundreds of thousands of GCSE students in England will be told their exam topics in advance and marked more generously under plans expected to be unveiled this week.
Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, could also announce that students who have had their teaching time heavily disrupted by coronavirus could also be given grades with asterisks to indicate to higher education colleges that they should look kindly on applicants.
It comes as universities began reducing entry requirements for undergraduate degree courses starting next year in recognition of the disruption to education caused by the pandemic.

And the Mail says they’ll be told the questions in advance.

GCSE and A-level pupils will be told what is on their exam papers in advance and will be ‘marked more generously’ next summer, it has been revealed.
According to plans expected to be unveiled by the Department for Education and the exams regulator, students whose teaching time was disrupted will be treated differently.
Some could be given grades with asterisks next to them to indicate to higher education colleges that they should look kindly on certain applicants.
Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of GCSE students are also expected be told their exam topics in advance.

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