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Boris Johnson faces fight for political life: Tory MPs want NEW PM by Autumn

BORIS Johnson will have to fight for his political life if the Tories suffer disastrous local elections this week.

By JONATHAN WALKER – SUNDAY EXPRESS DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITORDAVID WILLIAMSON – SUNDAY EXPRESS DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR 05:01, Sun, May 1, 2022 | UPDATED: 12:22, Sun, May 1, 2022

Fear: Boris Johnson

Conservative foes of the Prime Minister want to see a leadership election with a new Prime Minister in place in time for the autumn party conference. Tories fear they will lose control of a raft of councils in London and that councillors across the country will be ousted from their seats. A poor result would likely lead to letters being sent to the 1922 Committee in an attempt to unseat him as leader, it was warned.

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Mr Johnson’s opponents in the party want him to face a confidence vote before recess starts on July 21 so a leadership election can be held and a new PM installed in time for the autumn party conference.

A bullish Mr Johnson defended the Tories’ record in local government and fired a new salvo in the so-called culture wars, saying: “The choice on May 5 is clear. Labour and Lib Dems who fritter away your council tax on deciding which statues to tear down or Conservatives, delivering value for money and delivering on your local priorities.”

Conservative hopes of avoiding disastrous results may well hinge on whether Mr Johnson can persuade Tory-leaning voters not to make a protest vote or sit the election out.

A Conservative MP warned: “It’s voter apathy that’s going to be the killer this time, it really is.”

Mr Johnson put the focus on street-level issues, saying: “The elections next Thursday matter. People are voting for councillors and councils who decide how often bins are collected, how many potholes are repaired and how much council tax is paid.”

He claimed “Conservative councils on average fix four times as many pestilent potholes as Labour councils” and said they “recycle more of your rubbish than Labour too”.

Conservative party chairman Oliver Dowden boasted that Tory councils charge the “lowest council tax in the country” and blasted rival parties, saying: “Woke lefties running Labour and Lib Dem councils obsess about changing street names while leaving councils like Labour-run Croydon bankrupt.”

Decisive: Sir Keir Starmer
Decisive: Sir Keir Starmer (Image: GETTY)

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “When Sunday Express readers go to the polls this week I hope they will elect hard working local Conservatives who have a proven record of managing money well, delivering high quality local services, and who support good local jobs.”

The raft of local elections taking place on Thursday are held against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, with both the Conservatives and Labour rocked by allegations of breaking Covid restrictions.

Labour last week admitted that Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, was at an event where Sir Keir Starmer was filmed drinking a beer.

Conservative MP Richard Holden has asked Durham Police to reconsider its assessment that no offence was committed during the April 30 event last year.

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson yesterday said Mr Holden should “know better than to waste police time on this nonsense”. Mr Holden accused Labour of hypocrisy for suggesting investigating concerns about Covid breaches is a waste of police time “when it’s all we’ve heard from them for months”.

Former Conservative chief whip Mark Harper, who called for Mr Johnson to step down after he received a fixed penalty notice for attending a birthday celebration in No 10, expects the council elections may be a “mixed bag” and “inconclusive” but said: “Before the summer recess, all my Conservative colleagues should have enough information to make a decision on who they want to lead us into the next general election.

“Do we stick with an uncertain course led by someone who is making good and decent Conservatives across the country defend the indefensible? Or do we get a new team in place to lead a revitalised Government, focused on Conservative priorities who will treat the electorate with respect?

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“We have a large majority, it’s time we started to use it properly to deal with the country’s challenges using Conservative principles.”

Another leading Conservative critic of Mr. Johnson said the “general view” now was that Mr. Johnson should face a confidence vote if councils are lost. They said a leadership contest over the summer with a new PM in place in time for the autumn conference was the “logical timetable”.

A Conservative MP warned that the Tories could face “annihilation” in London, the Home Counties and “Lib Dem-facing seats”.

However, they were wary of staging an election for a new leader, saying: “I think a leadership contest is by its nature at least a three-month contest. It’s going to be a massive distraction from some fairly big issues at the moment.

“I’m not sure the public will thank us at the end of it, when probably at least half of voters will be no happier with a new Prime Minister than they are with the old one.”

A further concern is that a raft of cabinet ministers would throw their hats into the ring and look “more focused on a leadership contest than on Ukraine, rebuilding the NHS or whatever else they are supposed to be doing”.

Another Conservative MP who represents a seat in the so-called “red wall” of former Labour constituencies acknowledged how the party mood could turn against the PM after a bad night.

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They said: “[When] MPs start having their own membership, activists, councillors, or maybe recently former councillors after next Thursday, on at them, I’m not sure how quickly the mood might turn. [I] think the emotional impact for people who have been working really hard to make gains or hold seats in some of these tougher areas and get trounced, that’s going to be very hard to swallow for some people.”

Conservative insiders are braced for attempts by Mr Johnson’s internal critics to oust him in the wake of bad results but are in no doubt that he will fight to stay.

A source said: “The PM is not going anywhere. He will fight on.”

However, a party insider did nothing to play down the scale of the challenge facing the Conservatives.

They said: “We are expecting it to be a tough night for us. We are 12 years into government…

“London is looking very tough for us. Places like Barnet and Wandsworth and Westminster are looking very, very difficult for us to hold.”

High profile victories in London will boost the spirits of Labour supporters but the party will look for signs that under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership it is winning back voters it lost in 2019. Failure to score major successes outside London could trigger renewed criticism about his strategy.

The Tory insider said: “We do expect [Labour] to do well in London and probably take some councils off us but the test will be how’s he doing in areas of the Midlands and the North that they lost in 2019.”

They said: “[When] MPs start having their own membership, activists, councillors, or maybe recently former councillors after next Thursday, on at them, I’m not sure how quickly the mood might turn. [I] think the emotional impact for people who have been working really hard to make gains or hold seats in some of these tougher areas and get trounced, that’s going to be very hard to swallow for some people.”

Conservative insiders are braced for attempts by Mr Johnson’s internal critics to oust him in the wake of bad results but are in no doubt that he will fight to stay.

A source said: “The PM is not going anywhere. He will fight on.”

However, a party insider did nothing to play down the scale of the challenge facing the Conservatives.

They said: “We are expecting it to be a tough night for us. We are 12 years into government…

“London is looking very tough for us. Places like Barnet and Wandsworth and Westminster are looking very, very difficult for us to hold.”

High profile victories in London will boost the spirits of Labour supporters but the party will look for signs that under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership it is winning back voters it lost in 2019. Failure to score major successes outside London could trigger renewed criticism about his strategy.

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The Tory insider said: “We do expect [Labour] to do well in London and probably take some councils off us but the test will be how’s he doing in areas of the Midlands and the North that they lost in 2019.”

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Comment by Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions

One month ago the Sunday Express helped us launch our campaign to boost the number of people getting Pension Credit. Thanks to its support we’ve seen an increase in the numbers visiting our online Pension Credit calculator.

But we’re not stopping tere. Pension Credit can be worth over £3,300 a year for those over State Pension age and on a low income. It also opens up access to other support.

Over the coming months we’ll be going all out to raise awareness of Pension Credit and showing how easy it is to claim. And we want Sunday Express readers to keep helping us too.

We are calling on everyone with retired family and friends to encourage them to check if they qualify and help them make a claim if they do.

With rising costs, it’s never been more important to make sure that people are receiving all the support they can get.

Boris JohnsonLabour PartyConservative Party Sir Keir Starmer

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Brexit poll: Boris dealt huge blow as more than HALF of UK adults want to REJOIN EU

BREXIT BRITAIN and Boris Johnson have been dealt a crushing blow after a bombshell poll revealed more than half of UK adults would vote to rejoin the European Union if another referendum was to take place.

By PAUL WITHERS17:09, Fri, Nov 12, 2021 | UPDATED: 17:09, Fri, Nov 12, 20211.2k

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The UK voted by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent to split from the bloc during the historic referendum in June 2016. Both sides signed an11th hour post-Brexit trade deal at the end of last year that put an end to the UK’s 47-year membership of the European Union – with the Prime Minister insisting Brexit Britain will flourish as a sovereign nation. But a significant poll from Savanta ComRes suggests the tide is quickly changing, with huge doubts now creeping into the minds of those that voted to leave the continental bloc.

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The survey of 2,231 UK adults from November 5-7 shows if another referendum was to take place, 53 percent of UK adults would vote to rejoin the EU.

This is up four points from when the polling firm asked the same question in June, when just under half (49 percent) said they would vote for the UK to once again become an EU member.

Significantly, just under half (47 percent) maintain they would not vote for the UK to rejoin the EU – down four points from the last survey five months ago.

Perhaps most notably is the result among those who voted Leave during the 2016 referendum 2016 – one in ten (10 percent) would now vote to rejoin, with a fifth (20 percent) of Conservative Party voters also voting to rejoin.SponsoredForge of Empires – Free Online GameIf You Are Above 30, You Need this Strategy Game. No Install.by Taboola

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Brexit news: The poll showed more than half of UK adults want to rejoin the EU 
(Image: GETTY)
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Brexit news: The poll showed a shift towards YUK adults wanting to rejoin the bloc (Image: GETTY)

From those who decided not to vote in the referendum more than five years ago, more than eight in ten (82 percent) said they would now vote to rejoin the EU.

Four in 10 (40 percent) of UK adults would support a referendum on whether to re-join the EU within the next five years, while just a third (34 percent) were against this idea.

Fifteen percent of Leave voters would support a referendum within this time frame, with 14 percent of Remainers saying they would oppose one.

Only eleven percent of Remainers and a fifth (20 percent) of Labour voters would vote to stay out of the EU in a referendum.

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Brexit news: The poll is a major boost for Remainers (Image: GETTY)

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The proportion who would now vote to re-join the EU in a referendum rises to more than three quarters (77 percent) of those aged 18-34 and eight in 10 (80 percent) of 2019 Labour Party supporters.

Support for holding such a referendum in the near future rises to nearly half (49 percent) of those in this younger age group and almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Labour voters.

A fifth (21 percent) of Conservative voters also say they would support this.

Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes, said the sharp rise in UK adults now wanting to join the EU shows a number of issues linked to Brexit over recent months are now starting to take their toll.

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Brexit news: The poll is a major blow to Brexit Britain (Image: GETTY)

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Brexit news: Boris Johnson has insisted the UK will flourish outside the EU (Image: GETTY)

He warned the high level of support among younger voters to rejoin the EU, as well as the high percentage who would now back a referendum, “indicates that the Brexit story isn’t going away any time soon”.

Mr. Hopkins said: “Five years on from the Brexit referendum, this polling suggests a country that is equally divided, but with the momentum shifting towards a majority who would now vote to re-join the EU.

“Indeed, a four point rise since June of those who say they would vote to become a member again is striking.

brexit moments
Brexit news: The five key moments that led to Brexit (Image: GETTY)

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“This indicates that issues such as disrupted supply chains and spats with fellow European leaders overfishing and vaccines may have cut through, although the results are still on a knife-edge.

Mr. Hopkins added: “While many feel like the issue is best put to bed, the high levels of support for re-joining amongst younger voters, as well as the significant proportion who would back having such a referendum in the first place, indicates that the Brexit story isn’t going away any time soon.

“And, if it were to happen, all eyes will be on those who did not vote in 2016 and younger voters who may have not had the opportunity to, who are both overwhelmingly in favour of the UK becoming a member again.”

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Brexit victory: EU’s power ‘crippled’ without London in ‘massive blow to Brussels’

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BREXIT has dealt a “massive blow” to the EU as London was crucial to its financial appeal, experts have said.

By Charlie Bradley Fri, Jun 4, 2021

Brexit minister Lord David Frost urged the City of London last month to “get on and do its own thing” as a deal for equivalence with the EU looks out of reach. UK financial firms lost their wide-ranging access to EU markets when the Brexit transition period ended on December 31 and now have to navigate a patchwork of regulations from individual member states. Former chancellor Lord Norman Lamont asked Lord Frost at a Lords committee meeting about progress on equivalence and added that “increasingly in the financial services sector people are not looking with great hope for equivalence”.

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Lord Frost said the EU was still mulling over documents of equivalence assessments sent by the UK almost a year ago.ADVERTISING

He added: “We’re still waiting for the EU to complete those processes.

“Obviously the City needs to get on and do its own thing pending that and increasingly that is what has happened.”

It appears the EU is also facing challenges, however, as Politico reported in December that Brexit has “crippled” Brussels’ soft power over financial rules.

Brexit news:
London remains a sticking point (Image: getty)
Brexit news:
The City of London was crucial for the EU (Image: getty)

Simon Gleeson, a lawyer specialising in international capital markets at British firm Clifford Chance, said that when Hong Kong and Singapore both adopted EU-compliant market regulations, they were interested primarily in London.

He told Politico: “If you look at it from their perspective, it was clear they wanted access to London.

“The question now will be, will they really care about access to Frankfurt and Paris enough to change their rules in the future?”

He added that “Brexit is a massive blow to the EU’s extraterritorial ambitions, especially in financial regulation”.

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Johnson and VDL during trade talks (Image: getty)

The EU has not granted the UK equivalence – something the bloc is using as a “soft power tool” according to Michael McKee, a partner specialised in financial regulation at law firm DLA Piper.

He also said that the EU wants to exert pressure on smaller countries, but is not less competitive without the UK.

Mr. McKee continued: “Particularly with smaller countries it’s easier for the EU to exert pressure to change their laws.

“The EU without the UK is nowhere near as large and developed a financial market. In some respects, the UK is better placed to take on Europe competitively.”

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Professor Iain Begg of the London School of Economics has told Express.co.uk that, while money is being “sucked” out of London into EU capitals, there isn’t need for major concern just yet.

He said: “It is certainly the case that jobs are to not just Amsterdam but also Paris and Frankfurt and Dublin has been a major winner too.

“That’s financial activity that needs to be inside the eurozone being sucked away from London, at the same time the City is reinventing itself and looking at where it has markets globally.

“As yet, I don’t think there is any clear indication that the City is a loser from Brexit, but it may be that some European centres are marginal winners. If the trickle turns into a flow then we can say this is something damaging for the British economy.”

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EU could slap sanctions on UK in border row ‘the UK is playing poker’

THE EU could threaten the UK with sanctions or a closed border over a fierce grace-period extension row.

European law professor Francesco Rizzuto warned the EU could be forced to react to Britain if the grace period goes on for too long. The UK unilaterally decided to extend a grace period in border regulations to allow easier trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. However, by doing this the EU has insisted the UK has breached the Brexit deal and threatened legal action.

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https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1408599/EU-news-Brexit-grace-period-extension-Northern-Ireland-border-latest-vn?utm_source=express_newsletter&utm_campaign=politics_morning_newsletter2&utm_medium=email&jwsource=cl

While speaking on RT with Bill Dod, Professor Rizzuto argued the EU could implement tough checks at the Northern Ireland and Ireland border.

Mr. Dod said: “What can the EU do?

“There is talk of slapping sanctions on the UK?”

Mr. Rizzuto replied: “Well, I suppose it could end up in that sort of situation but then it would be pretty pointless.

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EU to threaten UK with new checks if Boris fails to stand down on grace period extension (Image: GETTY)

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The EU could threaten the EU with sanctions or a closed border over a fierce grace-period extension row. (Image: GETTY)

“I think the UK is playing a game of poker here.

“This is because quite clearly if the UK unilaterally continues with this extension, of course, the UK is arguing circumstances but if it pushes for this six months, eight months or 10 months it will force the EU to do something at the border.

“This will be done to stop what the EU is afraid of, to stop goods coming into the EU by the backdoor.”

Former Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost on Wednesday insisted the UK Government was committed to defending Britain against the EU. 

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EU news: While speaking on RT with Bill Dod, Professor Rizzuto argued the EU could implement tough checks at the Northern Ireland and Ireland border. (Image: GETTY)

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Lord Frost said: “These measures are lawful and consistent with the progressive and good faith interpretation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.”

Lord Frost was supported by Lord Caine who insisted the EU was behaving hysterically. 

He said: “Does my noble friend agree that the somewhat hysterical reaction of the EU demonstrates yet again their one-sided inability to recognize legitimate unionist concerns and to see the Belfast agreement through?

“This is an agreement that their intransigence now threatens to undermine.

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EU news: Former Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost on Wednesday insisted the UK Government was committed to defending Britain against the EU. (Image: PTV)

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“Can the noble friend assure me he will robustly defend any legal action brought by the EU and that this unionist Government will take whatever measures are necessary to guarantee Northern Ireland’s place as an integral part of the UK internal market?”

Lord Frost replied: “We will, of course, consider very carefully any legal process launched by the EU. We will defend our position vigorously.

“The protocol is explicit in respecting the territorial integrity of the UK and we will ensure that is sustained.”

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Three England areas with massive week-on-week Covid infection spikes – see full list

In today’s update of the latest Covid-19 case rates for every local authority area in England, 98% have seen cases rise while three are highlighted as having seen infections more double and even triple

By Ian JonesJoseph Wilkes Reporter – 5 JAN 2021

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/three-england-areas-massive-week-23267328

Three areas in England have seen their coronavirus case rates double and even triple week-on-week.

In the latest case rate figures out today from Public Health England, 98% of England is shown to have seen a rise in case rates.

Of the 315 local areas in England, 310 have seen a rise and just five (2%) have seen a fall.

In today’s update of the latest Covid-19 case rates for every local authority area in England, the rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

The areas recording the biggest week-on-week jumps are Carlisle (up from 349.7 to 932.1 with 1,013 new cases); Rushmoor in Hampshire (up from 657.5 to 1,229.4 with 1,163 new cases); and the Isle of Wight (up from 215.8 to 785.8, with 1,114 new cases).

The percentage testing positive in the community for the new variant in English regions
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Barking & Dagenham in London continues to have

Barking & Dagenham in London continues to have the highest rate in England, with 3,216 new cases recorded in the seven days to January 1 – the equivalent of 1,510.5 cases per 100,000 people.

Scroll through the list below to see where your area ranks in the latest figures

This is up from 976.5 in the seven days to December 25.

Thurrock in Essex has the second-highest rate, up from 1,217.2 to 1,471.8, with 2,566 new cases.

Castle Point, also in Essex, is in third place, where the rate has increased from 1,083.3 to 1,419.6 with 1,283 new cases.

Shoppers on the High Street in Newport, Isle of Wight, as the island begins to be hit as hard as anywhere by the pandemic (Image: PA)
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The latest figures come as England begins its third national lockdown as daily recorded coronavirus cases smashing previous records, exceeding 60,000 in today’s release from the Department of Health and exceeding 50,000 eight days in a row.

And today, a further 830 people died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.

With the new mutant coronavirus strain now said to be ripping through areas outside of England’s southeast, the government’s top medical advisor Chris Whitty today warned hospitalisations across England were “rising very rapidly and, of course, we are still in the middle of winter”.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Professor Whitty said there would “inevitably” be an increase in deaths in January.

Aldershot town centre in Rushmoor (Image: Aldershot News and Mail)

He added that one in 50 people being estimated to have coronavirus across the UK in the days following Christmas is “really quite a large number indeed”.

Highlighting recent infection figures, Boris Johnson said: “It was clear that we got to a situation where Tier 4 on its own couldn’t be relied upon to get the virus under control and that’s without really going the whole way and asking people to stay at home and, sadly, to close schools as well.

“That’s why we took the step that we did.”

Here is the list in full.

Carlisle city centre picture in June (Image: Stuart Walker / SWNS)

The figures, for the seven days to January 1, are based on tests carried out in laboratories (pillar one of the Government’s testing programme) and in the wider community (pillar two).
The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Data for the most recent four days (January 2-5) has been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

The list is based on Public Health England data published on January 5 on the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.

The list in full

Here is the list in full. From left to right, it reads: name of local authority; rate of new cases in the seven days to January 1; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to January 1; rate of new cases in the seven days to December 25; number (in brackets) of new cases recorded in the seven days to December 25.

Barking and Dagenham, 1510.5, (3216), 976.5, (2079)
Thurrock, 1471.8, (2566), 1217.2, (2122)
Castle Point, 1419.6, (1283), 1083.3, (979)
Redbridge, 1416.0, (4322), 1072.3, (3273)
Epping Forest, 1381.3, (1819), 1297.8, (1709)
Broxbourne, 1355.9, (1319), 1071.1, (1042)
Brentwood, 1352.9, (1042), 1342.5, (1034)
Harlow, 1341.5, (1168), 949.8, (827)
Newham, 1290.7, (4558), 913.8, (3227)
Havering, 1247.9, (3239), 1111.9, (2886)
Rushmoor, 1229.4, (1163), 657.5, (622)
Dartford, 1215.7, (1369), 895.2, (1008)
Gravesham, 1198.8, (1282), 883.7, (945)
Enfield, 1197.1, (3996), 970.4, (3239)
Bexley, 1197.0, (2972), 1025.8, (2547)
Basildon, 1192.8, (2233), 985.0, (1844)
Tower Hamlets, 1166.5, (3788), 935.2, (3037)
Southend-on-Sea, 1136.4, (2081), 974.2, (1784)
Braintree, 1124.5, (1716), 780.5, (1191)
Medway, 1106.1, (3081), 862.3, (2402)
Waltham Forest, 1105.1, (3061), 874.1, (2421)
Sutton, 1090.9, (2251), 748.7, (1545)
Bromley, 1089.0, (3619), 843.1, (2802)
Hounslow, 1086.1, (2949), 713.4, (1937)
Rochford, 1072.5, (937), 948.9, (829)
Chelmsford, 1058.4, (1888), 811.7, (1448)
Greenwich, 1026.6, (2956), 711.9, (2050)
Merton, 1024.5, (2116), 777.5, (1606)
Hertsmere, 1021.7, (1072), 896.9, (941)
Haringey, 1012.1, (2719), 805.5, (2164)
Slough, 1011.8, (1513), 654.0, (978)
South Bucks, 1008.0, (706), 673.9, (472)
Croydon, 1006.7, (3893), 787.4, (3045)
Barnet, 1001.8, (3966), 746.7, (2956)
Watford, 995.1, (961), 793.1, (766)
Maldon, 985.7, (640), 670.0, (435)
Brent, 977.3, (3223), 646.5, (2132)
Hillingdon, 954.1, (2928), 755.4, (2318)
Three Rivers, 951.5, (888), 794.0, (741)
Harrow, 942.4, (2367), 731.0, (1836)
Lewisham, 935.1, (2860), 706.6, (2161)
Carlisle, 932.1, (1013), 349.7, (380)
Milton Keynes, 923.3, (2488), 782.7, (2109)
Crawley, 914.5, (1028), 470.6, (529)
Ealing, 906.9, (3100), 628.4, (2148)
Spelthorne, 890.4, (889), 640.0, (639)
Southwark, 880.4, (2807), 688.5, (2195)
Hackney and City of London, 878.8, (2556), 760.9, (2213)
Hastings, 860.1, (797), 941.1, (872)
Uttlesford, 852.3, (778), 539.0, (492)
Lambeth, 840.4, (2740), 701.5, (2287)
Bracknell Forest, 839.7, (1029), 536.1, (657)
Epsom and Ewell, 835.9, (674), 626.3, (505)
Tendring, 835.8, (1225), 345.2, (506)
Kingston upon Thames, 833.2, (1479), 596.6, (1059)
Maidstone, 831.7, (1429), 679.8, (1168)
Reigate and Banstead, 824.9, (1227), 521.7, (776)
Tandridge, 822.7, (725), 625.2, (551)
Ashford, 822.1, (1069), 742.9, (966)
Bedford, 815.4, (1413), 612.3, (1061)
Colchester, 815.1, (1587), 363.1, (707)
Surrey Heath, 808.5, (722), 491.6, (439)
Stevenage, 808.2, (710), 512.3, (450)
Welwyn Hatfield, 786.7, (968), 489.3, (602)
Isle of Wight, 785.8, (1114), 215.8, (306)
Swale, 784.9, (1178), 665.6, (999)
Sevenoaks, 781.0, (943), 667.5, (806)
Folkestone and Hythe, 777.0, (878), 620.4, (701)
Burnley, 773.7, (688), 478.0, (425)
Wolverhampton, 772.3, (2034), 419.6, (1105)
Eastbourne, 772.1, (801), 473.3, (491)
Elmbridge, 769.8, (1053), 592.9, (811)
Tonbridge and Malling, 762.8, (1008), 616.7, (815)
Wandsworth, 760.4, (2507), 688.9, (2271)
Cherwell, 756.1, (1138), 431.9, (650)
Islington, 751.4, (1822), 604.6, (1466)
Hartlepool, 749.5, (702), 388.6, (364)
St Albans, 745.7, (1107), 541.6, (804)
Woking, 740.1, (746), 518.9, (523)
Hart, 724.2, (703), 309.0, (300)
East Hertfordshire, 723.2, (1083), 542.2, (812)
Hammersmith and Fulham, 721.1, (1335), 593.1, (1098)
Arun, 715.4, (1150), 305.4, (491)
Windsor and Maidenhead, 715.2, (1083), 493.3, (747)
Luton, 708.7, (1510), 498.0, (1061)
Halton, 694.7, (899), 200.1, (259)
Northampton, 693.6, (1558), 370.9, (833)
Dacorum, 691.4, (1070), 511.1, (791)
Eden, 681.7, (363), 460.1, (245)
Sandwell, 678.9, (2230), 343.4, (1128)
Waverley, 676.8, (855), 331.7, (419)
Rother, 674.4, (648), 625.5, (601)
Havant, 666.3, (841), 456.3, (576)
Thanet, 661.6, (939), 489.0, (694)
Wycombe, 660.2, (1153), 448.9, (784)
Richmond upon Thames, 656.0, (1299), 597.9, (1184)
Runnymede, 652.0, (583), 437.2, (391)
Camden, 640.3, (1729), 489.6, (1322)
Wealden, 637.3, (1029), 398.8, (644)
Lewes, 632.3, (653), 397.0, (410)
Brighton and Hove, 628.1, (1827), 314.2, (914)
Central Bedfordshire, 625.0, (1804), 468.4, (1352)
Kensington and Chelsea, 621.3, (970), 486.1, (759)
Worthing, 619.5, (685), 261.4, (289)
Walsall, 619.3, (1768), 301.6, (861)
Portsmouth, 617.9, (1328), 420.2, (903)
Aylesbury Vale, 617.7, (1232), 507.9, (1013)
Southampton, 613.0, (1548), 319.6, (807)
Wirral, 606.5, (1965), 213.9, (693)
Pendle, 603.6, (556), 393.0, (362)
Knowsley, 597.2, (901), 184.9, (279)
Reading, 595.3, (963), 436.4, (706)
Blackburn with Darwen, 593.2, (888), 328.0, (491)
Mid Sussex, 592.6, (895), 354.9, (536)
Corby, 588.5, (425), 203.6, (147)
Ipswich, 585.8, (802), 278.3, (381)
Guildford, 581.9, (867), 416.1, (620)
Adur, 581.6, (374), 332.8, (214)
Wokingham, 575.6, (985), 401.5, (687)
Warrington, 569.5, (1196), 254.3, (534)
Babergh, 566.1, (521), 334.7, (308)
Birmingham, 560.5, (6400), 319.8, (3651)
Dudley, 560.3, (1802), 288.6, (928)
Mole Valley, 559.3, (488), 408.0, (356)
South Northamptonshire, 558.8, (528), 358.8, (339)
Dover, 556.2, (657), 545.2, (644)
South Staffordshire, 553.2, (622), 287.3, (323)
Ribble Valley, 551.8, (336), 321.9, (196)
Great Yarmouth, 551.7, (548), 213.4, (212)
Westminster, 549.9, (1437), 487.9, (1275)
Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole, 547.9, (2166), 217.3, (859)
South Oxfordshire, 538.5, (765), 300.6, (427)
Canterbury, 535.1, (885), 529.6, (876)
East Staffordshire, 532.8, (638), 323.2, (387)
Horsham, 531.3, (764), 241.3, (347)
Ashfield, 530.0, (678), 251.7, (322)
Chiltern, 527.5, (506), 370.1, (355)
Sefton, 524.9, (1451), 178.4, (493)
Swindon, 523.4, (1163), 239.0, (531)
Oadby and Wigston, 520.9, (297), 349.0, (199)
Cannock Chase, 520.0, (524), 281.9, (284)
Fareham, 519.6, (604), 265.8, (309)
Hyndburn, 519.5, (421), 259.1, (210)
Tunbridge Wells, 518.0, (615), 471.7, (560)
Daventry, 510.8, (439), 264.1, (227)
Cambridge, 508.0, (634), 266.0, (332)
Derby, 508.0, (1307), 251.8, (648)
Cheshire West and Chester, 507.8, (1742), 254.8, (874)
Huntingdonshire, 500.1, (890), 206.8, (368)
South Norfolk, 499.0, (703), 261.9, (369)
Broadland, 497.8, (651), 283.7, (371)
York, 496.6, (1046), 236.4, (498)
South Tyneside, 495.4, (748), 225.2, (340)
Eastleigh, 494.8, (661), 219.3, (293)
Gloucester, 494.1, (638), 272.6, (352)
Liverpool, 492.1, (2451), 195.6, (974)
Bromsgrove, 491.6, (491), 279.3, (279)
Amber Valley, 490.8, (629), 326.2, (418)
North Hertfordshire, 482.1, (644), 340.6, (455)
Sedgemoor, 479.8, (591), 273.6, (337)
Sunderland, 478.6, (1329), 195.9, (544)
Winchester, 478.1, (597), 252.3, (315)
Norwich, 474.5, (667), 276.0, (388)
Peterborough, 469.2, (949), 367.4, (743)
Oxford, 469.0, (715), 341.1, (520)
Middlesbrough, 465.3, (656), 224.9, (317)
Richmondshire, 465.3, (250), 180.5, (97)
Test Valley, 461.3, (582), 230.7, (291)
South Cambridgeshire, 458.2, (729), 232.0, (369)
Solihull, 456.6, (988), 254.2, (550)
Rugby, 456.2, (497), 284.6, (310)
King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, 454.5, (688), 257.6, (390)
Breckland, 454.4, (636), 231.5, (324)
Nuneaton and Bedworth, 454.3, (590), 260.2, (338)
Chichester, 450.8, (546), 221.3, (268)
Leicester, 450.3, (1595), 297.0, (1052)
Worcester, 449.5, (455), 181.8, (184)
Allerdale, 449.1, (439), 181.1, (177)
County Durham, 448.4, (2377), 250.7, (1329)
Somerset West and Taunton, 446.8, (693), 242.4, (376)
East Cambridgeshire, 443.0, (398), 220.4, (198)
Redditch, 438.7, (374), 211.1, (180)
Harborough, 438.1, (411), 227.1, (213)
Cheshire East, 429.8, (1651), 227.8, (875)
Wellingborough, 427.8, (341), 269.7, (215)
Coventry, 419.6, (1559), 242.8, (902)
Lichfield, 416.2, (436), 248.2, (260)
East Hampshire, 414.5, (507), 273.1, (334)
Mansfield, 414.4, (453), 246.1, (269)
South Kesteven, 412.9, (588), 309.6, (441)
Wyre Forest, 409.7, (415), 188.6, (191)
Basingstoke and Deane, 408.3, (721), 255.4, (451)
West Suffolk, 408.3, (731), 232.9, (417)
Kettering, 407.8, (415), 218.1, (222)
West Berkshire, 403.9, (640), 322.5, (511)
Gateshead, 403.9, (816), 249.9, (505)
West Oxfordshire, 403.1, (446), 227.8, (252)
Fenland, 402.6, (410), 181.6, (185)
Darlington, 401.7, (429), 239.7, (256)
North Warwickshire, 401.4, (262), 174.7, (114)
Gosport, 400.8, (340), 200.4, (170)
Forest of Dean, 395.2, (343), 223.5, (194)
Stockton-on-Tees, 393.2, (776), 226.5, (447)
St. Helens, 390.4, (705), 187.2, (338)
Gedling, 387.6, (457), 246.0, (290)
Vale of White Horse, 387.5, (527), 250.7, (341)
East Suffolk, 383.6, (957), 166.0, (414)
West Lancashire, 383.2, (438), 205.6, (235)
North Norfolk, 381.5, (400), 213.7, (224)
South Gloucestershire, 381.3, (1087), 174.0, (496)
Hambleton, 381.0, (349), 248.9, (228)
Mid Suffolk, 380.2, (395), 173.3, (180)
South Derbyshire, 378.5, (406), 248.9, (267)
Stafford, 377.3, (518), 254.2, (349)
Craven, 374.5, (214), 131.3, (75)
Bristol, 373.1, (1729), 176.3, (817)
Tamworth, 372.9, (286), 186.5, (143)
Blaby, 370.3, (376), 230.5, (234)
Trafford, 364.0, (864), 233.8, (555)
Bolsover, 361.2, (291), 206.1, (166)
North Somerset, 359.4, (773), 198.6, (427)
Nottingham, 359.0, (1195), 202.5, (674)
Rossendale, 358.1, (256), 207.0, (148)
Wigan, 354.8, (1166), 182.3, (599)
Bury, 353.9, (676), 234.6, (448)
Warwick, 353.4, (508), 219.1, (315)
Scarborough, 351.2, (382), 212.4, (231)
Stockport, 350.3, (1028), 212.0, (622)
Lincoln, 349.4, (347), 348.4, (346)
Northumberland, 345.2, (1113), 193.5, (624)
Wychavon, 342.3, (443), 214.8, (278)
East Northamptonshire, 341.7, (323), 223.2, (211)
Erewash, 338.9, (391), 169.0, (195)
Selby, 338.8, (307), 150.1, (136)
Lancaster, 336.9, (492), 208.8, (305)
North East Derbyshire, 336.1, (341), 184.3, (187)
North West Leicestershire, 335.9, (348), 200.8, (208)
Wyre, 335.4, (376), 166.8, (187)
Stoke-on-Trent, 335.1, (859), 248.1, (636)
Barrow-in-Furness, 332.6, (223), 95.5, (64)


Broxtowe, 331.5, (378), 176.3, (201)
Telford and Wrekin, 328.6, (591), 141.2, (254)
Doncaster, 327.0, (1020), 202.6, (632)
Manchester, 325.2, (1798), 184.9, (1022)
Rushcliffe, 324.7, (387), 204.7, (244)
South Ribble, 324.0, (359), 165.2, (183)
Stratford-on-Avon, 322.1, (419), 180.6, (235)
New Forest, 321.5, (579), 149.4, (269)
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, 319.5, (1827), 96.9, (554)
Preston, 316.5, (453), 213.8, (306)
Ryedale, 314.2, (174), 153.5, (85)
Redcar and Cleveland, 312.8, (429), 116.7, (160)
Rochdale, 312.5, (695), 206.8, (460)
Hull, 309.5, (804), 227.9, (592)
Bath and North East Somerset, 308.4, (596), 149.5, (289)
Herefordshire, 308.1, (594), 182.1, (351)
Chorley, 304.5, (360), 218.2, (258)
North Kesteven, 301.1, (352), 255.7, (299)
Bassetlaw, 299.7, (352), 221.4, (260)
Melton, 298.8, (153), 228.5, (117)
Harrogate, 298.4, (480), 115.6, (186)
Salford, 298.3, (772), 197.8, (512)
Newcastle-under-Lyme, 297.4, (385), 213.2, (276)
Newark and Sherwood, 297.3, (364), 200.9, (246)
Oldham, 291.8, (692), 180.5, (428)
Charnwood, 290.6, (540), 207.2, (385)
Hinckley and Bosworth, 289.9, (328), 213.0, (241)
Leeds, 288.9, (2291), 182.8, (1450)
Shropshire, 288.7, (933), 98.7, (319)
Tameside, 287.0, (650), 168.2, (381)
Barnsley, 286.0, (706), 189.6, (468)
Rotherham, 284.1, (754), 197.4, (524)
Wiltshire, 283.2, (1416), 150.4, (752)
Tewkesbury, 283.1, (269), 175.8, (167)
Dorset, 281.9, (1067), 120.7, (457)
Cotswold, 281.5, (253), 198.1, (178)
Copeland, 275.7, (188), 80.7, (55)
South Holland, 273.6, (260), 204.2, (194)
South Lakeland, 273.1, (287), 163.7, (172)
Calderdale, 270.5, (572), 167.4, (354)
Wakefield, 267.0, (930), 167.7, (584)
South Somerset, 263.2, (443), 165.1, (278)
Mendip, 262.1, (303), 178.2, (206)
Blackpool, 261.8, (365), 162.1, (226)
Chesterfield, 260.2, (273), 157.3, (165)
Bolton, 260.1, (748), 157.2, (452)
Stroud, 258.4, (310), 190.9, (229)
Fylde, 256.3, (207), 153.5, (124)
Staffordshire Moorlands, 253.0, (249), 224.5, (221)
Cheltenham, 248.5, (289), 145.3, (169)
High Peak, 248.2, (230), 136.0, (126)
North Tyneside, 247.7, (515), 158.7, (330)
West Lindsey, 246.7, (236), 269.7, (258)

Kirklees, 243.8, (1072), 162.6, (715)
Rutland, 242.9, (97), 185.3, (74)
Sheffield, 239.7, (1402), 165.3, (967)
Boston, 238.0, (167), 295.0, (207)
Malvern Hills, 233.8, (184), 118.2, (93)
Bradford, 232.3, (1254), 169.9, (917)
North Lincolnshire, 228.1, (393), 156.1, (269)
Exeter, 226.8, (298), 140.8, (185)
Derbyshire Dales, 225.4, (163), 150.7, (109)
Mid Devon, 222.3, (183), 126.4, (104)
East Riding of Yorkshire, 220.1, (751), 162.4, (554)
Newcastle upon Tyne, 215.0, (651), 132.1, (400)
Plymouth, 206.0, (540), 174.7, (458)
East Lindsey, 175.0, (248), 112.2, (159)
South Hams, 172.4, (150), 90.8, (79)
East Devon, 168.2, (246), 138.1, (202)
North East Lincolnshire, 168.0, (268), 102.8, (164)
Teignbridge, 155.8, (209), 128.2, (172)
North Devon, 131.8, (128), 141.0, (137)
West Devon, 130.8, (73), 206.1, (115)
Torbay, 121.8, (166), 56.5, (77)
Torridge, 112.8, (77), 86.4, (59)

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

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Boris Johnson update: When is Boris giving his next Covid lockdown announcement?

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The transparent face mask that puts a smile on everyone’s face is finally here!

BORIS JOHNSON is expected to potentially announce Tier 5 lockdown restrictions this week, but when is the Prime Minister due to give his next Covid lockdown announcement?

By Kaisha Langton – Dec 29, 2020

Vaccine: Robert Jenrick addresses government’s ‘priority’

Boris Johnson update: The PM
Boris Johnson update: Tier 5 restrictions could be rolled out across the UK (Image: GETTY)

Boris Johnson has been warned by leading scientists that stricter measures are required to bring the rampantly rising rate of coronavirus under control. A new “Tier 5” lockdown is being considered for regions of England in a bid to tackle the steep increase in Covid cases. But when exactly is the Prime Minister expected to give his next Covid lockdown announcement?

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Tier 5 restrictions could be rolled out across large parts of England in the coming days as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise.ADVERTISING

Hospitals and ambulance services across the UK are coming under increasing pressure as the new coronavirus variant fuels a rise in infections according to health experts.

Saturday was described as one of London Ambulance Service’s busiest in history amid the rapid spread of a new variant.

On Sunday, 30,501 new infections and 316 deaths were confirmed in the UK.

In addition, there were 21,286 people in hospitals with coronavirus across the UK on December 22, which is the last day for which data is available, according to official government figures.

Each area of England has been placed into one of four tiers depending on the rate of transmission of Covid-19 in each area.

As of Saturday, December 26, almost 18 people are now living under Tier 4 rules.

The following areas were moved into Tier 4 as of 12.01 a.m. GMT on Boxing Day:

  • Sussex
  • Oxfordshire
  • Suffolk
  • Norfolk
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Parts of Essex, which were not already in Tier 4
  • Waverley in Surrey
  • Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton, but excluding the New Forest.
Boris Johnson update: Tiers

Boris Johnson update: England’s four-tier system currently in force across the country (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)

Leading scientists have warned the Prime Minister that stricter measures are needed to curb the rising rates of Covid-19.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) told Mr. Johnson due to the new variant, the R-rate would surge above 1 in January.

A senior Whitehall source warned England could see tighter restrictions in the coming days as cases continue to soar.

The source added new measures, “adding another level onto Tier 4, so like a Tier 5.”

They said: “We are ruling nothing out, the new strain is of serious concern. Tier 4 appears to not be strong enough.”

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Boris Johnson update: Almost 18m people went into Tier 4 on Boxing Day (Image: GETTY)

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Hospitals across Wales, Scotland, and England are facing increased pressure as a result of rising numbers of coronavirus infections. The president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Dr. Katherine Henderson said there was a “great deal of difficulty” getting patients into wards.

She told BBC Breakfast: “The chances are that we will cope, but we cope at a cost – the cost is not doing what we had hoped, which is being able to keep non-Covid activities going.

“It is always challenging in winter, nobody would say that it wasn’t, but at the moment the level of patient need is incredibly high.”

Boris Johnson update: The PM

Boris Johnson update: Hospitals across the country are facing increased pressure as a result of rising rates of Covid (Image: GETTY)

When is Boris Johnson giving his next Covid lockdown announcement?

The Government is due to review the lockdown tiers on Wednesday, December 30.

Therefore, a Government minister, potentially Mr. Jonhson, is likely to address the nation about these measures during a Covid lockdown briefing at that time.

Almost 18 million people were put into Tier 4 on Boxing Day, but officials state several more regions in England could be placed under tougher restrictions in the coming days.

Tier 5 lockdown rules have never been openly discussed by the Government, however, experts claim the restrictions would be equivalent to those seen during the first lockdown in March.

At that time, schools were forced to close and children were instead taught by their parents or online.

A number of backbenchers are understood to have urged Boris Johnson to him to keep schools open in the event of another national lockdown.

READ MORE: EU SHAME MACRON: France attacked by bloc for going against Brussels

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Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has refused to rule out tougher measures including all of England being placed in Tier 4.

He told BBC Breakfast: “We review which tiers parts of the country should be in on the basis of scientific evidence.”

Mr. Gove added: “It is our intention to make sure we can get children back to school as early as possible.

“We are talking to teachers and headteachers in order to make sure we can deliver effectively. But we all know that there are trade-offs.

“As a country, we have decided – and I think this is the right thing to do – that we prioritise children returning to school.

“But we have a new strain and it is also the case that we have also had, albeit in a very limited way, Christmas mixing, so we do have to remain vigilant.”

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UK heading for post-Brexit BOOM after signing 62 new trade deals worth £900 billion

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BRITAIN is heading for a post-Brexit boom after securing trade deals worth a staggering £900 billion.

By Martyn Brown, Senior Political Correspondent Tue, Dec 29, 2020

Boris Johnson: Brexit deal is ‘glad tidings of great joy’

https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1377528/brexit-news-UK-EU-trade-deal-latest-boris-johnson-trade-deal-US-canada-australia-liz-truss?utm_source=express_newsletter&utm_campaign=politics_newsletter2&utm_medium=email&jwsource=cl

The colossal figure comes as Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a new £18.6 billion tie-up with Turkey, meaning the UK now has new agreements in place with 62 countries around the world. And there are multi-billion free trade deals with America, Canada, and Australia in the pipeline for 2021. Together they could boost the UK economy by at least £100 billion over the coming decade, according to analysts.

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Writing in the Daily Express, former Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, says that the UK’s ability to secure its own trading agreements, free from EU interference, means that the “sunlit uplands” are on the horizon.

She says Boris Johnson’s “phenomenal” £660 billion trade deal with Brussels is the “catalyst for the UK to redefine our place in the world”.

“Let us seize the opportunities that our new position brings,” she says. Let’s use this as a positive push for our post-COVID recovery. The Roaring Twenties can now truly begin!”

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With just three days to go until the Brexit transition period ends Boris Johnson yesterday (Mon) hailed a “new starting point” for the UK’s relationship with the EU.

 Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a new £18.6 billion tie-up with Turkey

Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off a new £18.6 billion tie-up with Turkey (Image: EXPRESS)

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In a call with European Council president Charles Michel, the Prime Minister welcomed the agreement as a fresh start “between sovereign equals”.

“We looked forward to the formal ratification of the agreement and to working together on shared priorities, such as tackling climate change,” the prime minister added.

It came after ambassadors representing the 27 EU member states unanimously approved the trade deal, which was secured on Christmas Eve just days before the 31 December deadline.

The approval means the trade deal can take effect provisionally, though the European Parliament will formally vote on it in January.

READ MORE: Brexit rebellion: DUP to vote AGAINST Boris trade deal

There are multi-billion free trade deals with America, Canada and Australia in the pipeline for 2021

There are multi-billion free trade deals with America, Canada, and Australia in the pipeline for 2021 (Image: GETTY)

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MPs will be recalled to parliament to vote on the agreement tomorrow (Wed) and currently, only 10 Tories are expected to rebel.

But Tory grandee Lord Heseltine has urged MPs and peers to abstain from the vote, warning the deal would inflict “lasting damage” on the UK. Labour has also criticised what it described as a “thin” deal.

However, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said his party will support it, meaning it is expected to be approved and come into force on 1 January.

The agreement with Turkey, which will be formally signed later this week, will provide a major boost for the British car industry, manufacturing, and steel industries and lays the groundwork for an enhanced relationship in the future.

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Boris Johnson secured a trade deal with the EU on Christmas Eve

Boris Johnson secured a trade deal with the EU on Christmas Eve (Image: GETTY)

Ms. Truss and her team have now agreed to trade deals with 62 countries, alongside the new EU deal – accounting for around £885 billion of UK trade.

More deals with Albania, Cameroon, and Ghana could be agreed in the coming days.

Announcing the deal the International Trade Secretary said: “We now look forward to working with Turkey towards an ambitious tailor-made trade agreement in the near future, as we aim to open new global markets for great British businesses, drive economic growth and improve people’s lives across both countries.

“It will provide certainty for thousands of jobs across the UK in the manufacturing, automotive and steel industries.”

The deal with the EU came just before the UK's transition period ended

The deal with the EU came just before the UK’s transition period ended (Image: GETTY)

The UK is Turkey’s second-biggest export market but Ankara’s customs union with the EU meant that a free trade agreement could not be finalised until a Brexit deal was in place. That raised fears among Turkish producers of white goods, cars, and textiles that their products could face hefty import tariffs and UK border delays if Britain crashed out of the 27-member bloc.

The deal seeks to replicate the trading terms that currently exist between the UK and Turkey, with tariff-free trade on all non-agricultural goods, according to British officials.

The UK has also agreed to roll over the preferential tariffs that Turkey enjoys on some agricultural products under its customs union with the EU.

It follows hot on the heels of a bumper £17.6 billion tie-up with Singapore that will help Britain become a major tech-hub.

Another £15 billion deal was signed with Japan, paving the way thousands of new jobs

Another £15 billion deal was signed with Japan, paving the way for thousands of new jobs (Image: EXPRESS)

Another £15 billion deal was signed with Japan, paving the way for thousands of new jobs. Crucially it gives Britain a foot in the door to joining a wider 11-nation trade deal, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Once fully operational it will account for around 14 percent of global GDP and is worth more than £112 billion.

Boris Johnson has promised Britain will “prosper mightily” outside the EU and Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week said that the new trade deal secured with the EU will usher in a “new era for global Britain”. 

Brexiteer John Redwood, who has indicated he will support the deal in tomorrow’s (Wed) vote, said the opportunities for Britain outside the EU are huge.

The EU had expressed its reluctance to back down to the UK's fishing demands

The EU had expressed its reluctance to back down to the UK’s fishing demands (Image: GETTY)

And he questioned the so-called “economic boost” of being in the bloc, suggesting there was only 1.66 percent per year since 1993.

“If we look at the 28 years 1993 to 2020 when we were in the single market and customs union, total growth was 59 percent. 

“That was an annual growth rate of just 1.66 percent.”

Richard Tice, Chairman of Reform/The Brexit Party, yesterday (Mon) questioned some elements of the UK/EU deal but described it as “a giant leap forward”. 

“We are once again a free, sovereign, independent United Kingdom,” he said.

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MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

Brexit deal is DONE: Boris Johnson SEALS historic Brexit deal with EU as UK claims to have won TWICE as many concessions as Brussels and von der Leyen laments ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’

MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

Thursday, Dec 24, 2020 3 P.M.

  • Boris Johnson has finally confirmed that a post-Brexit trade deal has been agreed with the European Union
  • Downing Street insists the pact will ‘take back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and fishing waters’ 
  • The PM and Ursula von der Leyen are understood to have held regular secret phone calls in the last 48 hours
  • Briefing wars about who has won are already ramping up as sides prepare to sell the agreement to their voters

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline and David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent

Boris Johnson today declared that a Brexit deal has been done after four years of desperate wrangling – with a furious propaganda war already underway.

The PM has made history by sealing future trade terms to avert a chaotic split when the transition period ends on January 1, after Lord Frost and Michel Barnier thrashed out a 2,000-page text.

Downing Street said the agreement was ‘fantastic news’ – with Mr. Johnson now set to hold a press conference. 


What happens next? 

After a Brexit deal text was finalised, the next step is ratification by both sides – and there is not much time before the end of the transition period on January 1. 

Next week 

MPs will need to pass legislation putting the deal on the statute book 

With Christmas Day tomorrow, this is likely to happen next week. The Commons will be recalled from its festive break and potentially consider all the stages of a Bill in one day.

The package is virtually guaranteed to be approved, as Boris Johnson has an 80-strong majority and Labour has indicated it will at least abstain – if not support the deal. 

Monday? 

Meanwhile, Brussels will short-cut its own processes, with the EU Council of member states expected to grant ‘provisional’ implementation before the deadline, rather than the European Parliament approving it in advance.

This has angered many MEPs, as they will be under massive pressure to sign off the deal if it has already come into effect.

January 1

The new trade terms – or WTO terms if something has gone wrong with the deal – come into effect.  

A senior No10 source said: ‘Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal.

‘We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade, and our fishing waters.

‘The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that have ever been achieved with the EU.’

Ursula von der Leyen told her own briefing in Brussels that the terms were ‘balanced’. ‘We have finally found an agreement. It was a long and winding road but we’ve got a good deal to show for it,’ she said.

She said the EU had protected its single market and achieved ‘five-and-a-half years of predictability for our fishing communities and strong tools to incentivise’ for access to continue afterward. 

Ms von der Leyen said her overriding feeling was relief. ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow,’ she added.

Referencing one of his mantras from the talks, Mr. Barnier said: ‘The clock is no longer ticking.’ 

No10 said the terms meant the UK will not be in the ‘lunar pull of the EU’. ‘We are not bound by EU rules, there is no role for the European Court of Justice and all of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved,’ the source said. 

‘It means that we will have full political and economic independence on 1st January, 2021.’ 

The confirmation had been repeatedly put back as the sides argue ‘fish by fish’ over the rules, with Ireland warning of a ‘hitch’, even though UK sources insisted there are ‘no major issues’.  

But the battle to sell the package to voters and Tory MPs is in full swing, as Mr. Johnson rings round restive backbenchers.

An internal government assessment insisted that the UK ‘won’ on 43 percent of the major issues in the £660billion package, compared to 17 percent where the EU came out on top. 

There will be zero-tariff, zero-quota access to the EU single market – and Mr. Johnson has maintained the ability to diverge from Brussels standards, with no role for the European Court of Justice. 

The document boasts that concessions were secured on rules of origin for goods, customs streamlining, and ‘trusted trader’ schemes, while the financial services sector has been ‘insulated’.  

A deal will also avoid huge disruption on top of the coronavirus crisis. 

However, the UK looks to have given ground on fishing rights, and secured little succour for the services sector.

For its part, France has started boasting that Mr. Johnson made ‘huge concessions’ on fishing in the last stages as the mutant coronavirus variant underlined the vulnerability of UK borders.     

The challenge the PM faces was underlined as Tory Brexiteers vowed to put together a ‘Star Chamber’ of experts to scrutinize the documents over Christmas.

MailOnline understands that Mr. Johnson was ‘very straightforward’ and did not try to give a ‘hard sell’ in his call with senior MPs.

One MP said subject to seeing the full text the outline was ‘what we hoped’. ‘Maybe it will be a happier Christmas after all,’ they suggested.  

Nigel Farage accused Mr. Johnson of ‘dropping the ball’, although he also stressed that it was ‘progress’ and the Brexit ‘war is over’. There are fears that political ‘landmines’ in the text will inevitably be uncovered. 

The FTSE 100 rose 20 points to 6,516 – 0.3 percent – on opening amid optimism about a deal. The pound had already gained around 0.6 percent against the dollar, and 0.4 percent against the euro overnight.   

Boris Johnson (pictured speaking to Ursula von der Leyen by video link today) said the UK could now take advantages of the benefits of Brexit

Boris Johnson (pictured speaking to Ursula von der Leyen by video link today) said the UK could now take advantages of the benefits of Brexit

Ursula von der Leyen told her own briefing in Brussels (right) that the terms were ‘fair and balanced’

In more evidence that Mr Johnson is bracing to sell a deal to voters, a leaked internal government document claims that the UK 'won' on 43 per cent of the major issues - compared to 17 per cent where the EU came out on top

In more evidence that Mr. Johnson is bracing to sell a deal to voters, a leaked internal government document claims that the UK ‘won’ on 43 percent of the major issues – compared to 17 percent where the EU came out on top

Some experts cast doubt on the assessments in the UK document, pointing out that many of the 'wins' for the EU were in the crucial services sector of the economy. There is no deep provision for financial services from January 1

Some experts cast doubt on the assessments in the UK document, pointing out that many of the ‘wins’ for the EU were in the crucial services sector of the economy. There is no deep provision for financial services from January 1

+21

The UK government assessment said it had 'insulated financial services from cross-retaliation' in disputes about other areas of the agreement

The UK government assessment said it had ‘insulated financial services from cross-retaliation’ in disputes about other areas of the agreement

Nigel Farage was condemning the post-Brexit trade deal before it had even been announced this evening

Nigel Farage was condemning the post-Brexit trade deal before it had even been announced this evening 

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What were the sticking points in Brexit talks? 

FISHING

The UK insisted throughout that it would take back control of its coastal waters from the end of the transition period.

But the EU was demanding its fleets maintain previous levels of access – with Emmanuel Macron under particular pressure from the French fishing industry.   

Initially, the UK said it wanted to reclaim 80 percent of the EU quotas from January 1.

However, Brussels suggested that only 18 percent should be restored.

The two sides are thought to have found a ‘landing zone’ that includes a figure between those and a transition period.

If reports are right that the UK is reclaiming just 25 percent of the EU’s fishing quota, phased in over five and a half years, that would look to be closer to the EU position.

However, Downing Street will insist that means the UK can be catching two-thirds of fish in our waters by the year 2026.

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD 

The EU insisted the UK should commit to ‘level playing field’ provisions, guaranteeing that it will not undercut businesses with lower environmental standards and regulations.

State aid has emerged as a particular issue, especially as coronavirus makes swathes of the economy unviable. 

But the UK said it must regain sovereign powers to decide on rules, even though it has no plans to lower standards or warp competition by subsidising the private sector. 

It appeared this area was close to resolution before France reportedly laid down a series of extra conditions including huge punishments for breaking the rules.

Although the UK is happy with ‘non-regression’ – meaning current standards are accepted as a baseline – it took issue with swingeing unilateral penalties and complained the proposals were ‘asymmetrical’ as the EU would be freer to prop up industries. 

GOVERNANCE

The enforcement of any deal, and who decides whether rules are broken, has been one of the flashpoints from the start.

Breaking free of the European Court of Justice was among the biggest demands of Brexiteers from the referendum. 

But the EU was pushing to keep control of the governance, as well as insisting on tough fines and punitive tariffs for breaches.

The situation was inflamed by the row over the UK’s Internal Market Bill, which gave ministers the power to override the previous Brexit divorce terms to prevent blockages between Britain and Northern Ireland.

The resolution of that spat is thought to have been critical in hammering out a wider trade deal. 

Hopes had been growing all yesterday after it was claimed the difference between Lord Frost and Mr. Barnier had come down to fish worth the equivalent of a Premier League footballer’s transfer fee.

But the final touches required more input from the political leadership of Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen. 

As the propaganda war gets underway, an internal UK government document laid out 65 key issues during the talks – and claimed that Lord Frost had won on 28 of them.

By contrast, the EU was said to have come out on top in just 11. 

The remaining 26 were classified as ‘mutual compromises’ – including the critical area of fishing rights. 

Notably, the assessment states that the package delivers ‘on all the objectives set out by Vote Leave’. 

A senior Tory source told MailOnline the document, leaked to the Guido Fawkes blog, was authentic. However, it is understood Cabinet ministers have not been shown it yet.

However, some experts cast doubt on the assessments, pointing out that many of the ‘wins’ for the EU were in the crucial services sector of the economy. There is no deep provision for financial services from January 1.   

JPMorgan said it looked like the EU had secured a deal retaining nearly all of its advantages from trade with the UK, but with the ability to use regulations to ‘cherry-pick’ among sectors where Britain previously had advantages – such as services. 

Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney said there appeared to be ‘some sort of last-minute hitch’ in the talks – although he said he expected it to be overcome.

Mr. Coveney told RTE Radio the delay related to a section of a fisheries agreement.

‘I had hoped to be talking to you this morning in parallel with big announcements happening in both London and Brussels, but we still expect those later on today,’ he said. 

Brexiteers have already been voicing caution about the terms before they are announced.

Although Labour has already indicated it will not block any agreement – meaning it is effectively guaranteed to pass through Parliament – having to rely on Keir Starmer would be hugely damaging for Mr. Johnson. 

The Tory Eurosceptic ERG group chairman Mark Francois and vice-chair David Jones said: ‘Assuming a deal between the UK and the EU is officially confirmed tonight, the ERG will tomorrow reconvene the panel of legal experts, chaired by Sir Bill Cash, to examine the details and legal text.’ 

Senior Tory MP Bernard Jenkin added: ‘Amid the expectation of an EU-UK agreement, ERG MPs will want to wait until we have seen a legal text and we understand what it means if our opinion is to have any credibility.’ 

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage did not wait for the terms to emerge, accusing the UK side of ‘dropping the ball’.

‘It sounds like the British team has dropped the ball before the line. No wonder they want a Christmas Eve announcement to hide the fisheries sell-out,’ he tweeted. 

But one No10 aide told Politico that the UK had secured a good deal on fishing. ‘Even before the end of the transition period we will take back control of 130,000 tonnes a year, enough to stretch to the South Pole and back,’ they said. 

‘After that, we can fish and eat every damn fish in our waters.’ 

Climate minister Lord Goldsmith – a close ally of Mr. Johnson and strong Eurosceptic – warned that there is a ‘very large constituency of people who are absolutely longing to trash the deal – and will do so irrespective of its merits’. 

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds warned that the expected deal would still result in a ‘major negative impact’ on GDP.

She said: ‘Indications a deal is imminent mean many businesses are breathing a sigh of relief.

‘Yet early indications suggest this thin deal will have a major negative impact on GDP.

‘With key industries subject to substantial barriers, these are not the promised ‘exact same benefits’.’

Posting a photo of pizza boxes on Twitter last night, Mr. Mamer said: ‘Pizza has arrived… Is it Frutti di mare? Or Bismarck? Or good old 4 stagione? Suspense…’ 

Downing Street released images of Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen giving their final approval for the trade agreement

Downing Street released images of Mr. Johnson and Ms von der Leyen giving their final approval for the trade agreement

The Treasury’s OBR watchdog had warned that No Deal would inflict a further two percent hit on the already struggling economy.  

And Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey suggested the long-term harm to the economy would have been greater than from Covid-19. 

Mr. Johnson conceded that the initial phase of No Deal would be ‘difficult’ – but had insisted the UK would ‘prosper mightily’ whatever happened. 

Chairman of Barclays UK Sir Ian Cheshire said a trade deal with the EU would bring clarity to business.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘This was pure politics. It was always the last minute sort of rabbit from the hat.

‘And I’m very glad that it appears we can carry on with… our most important trading relationship.

‘And business can plan. I think that’s been the overriding issue for businesses over the last two years. They are occasionally accused of not being ready, and the question is – ready for what?

‘At least now we have got clarity and we can get on.’ 

Mr. Johnson’s decision to take personal charge of the negotiations at the weekend is believed to have been critical in breaking the deadlock.

‘He knew where his red lines were because he set them – he was completely across the detail,’ one source told the Mail. ‘When it was all over, von der Leyen asked ‘Do we have a deal?’ He replied simply ‘Yes’.’

A last-minute protest by French president Emmanuel Macron – long seen as the biggest obstacle to an agreement, with his demands on fishing rights – is regarded as the one remaining threat. 

The government assessment listed a series of UK wins - although some experts suggested they were rose-tinted

The government assessment listed a series of UK wins – although some experts suggested they were rose-tinted

Downing Street was bustling today as the world awaited confirmation of a post-Brexit trade agreement

Downing Street was bustling today as the world awaited confirmation of a post-Brexit trade agreement

Boris Johnson joined a virtual call with British Military personnel from around the globe last night to thank them for their services and to wish them a Merry Christmas

Boris Johnson joined a virtual call with British Military personnel from around the globe last night to thank them for their services and to wish them a Merry Christmas

Ms von der Leyen's spokesman posted a picture of his pizza dinner on Twitter, joking about the 'suspense' over whether it might be topped with seafood

Ms von der Leyen’s spokesman posted a picture of his pizza dinner on Twitter, joking about the ‘suspense’ over whether it might be topped with seafood

He then followed up his tweet by recommending Brexit-waters 'grab some sleep', with work continuing throughout the night

He then followed up his tweet by recommending Brexit-waters ‘grab some sleep’, with work continuing throughout the night

Below: A member of the British delegation loads a soup cauldron into a van outside the UK Mission to the EU in Brussels last night – while pizza was delivered to the EU commission building

A member of the British delegation loads a soup cauldron into a van outside the UK Mission to the EU in Brussels tonight
Pizza was delivered to the EU commission building
The Daily Mail
The Times
The Sun
The Mirror

News of the breakthrough was carried on all the front pages today – even though the final haggling is still going on

Shares and pound edge up amid Brexit deal hopes

The London stock market crept up today as investors were buoyed by the UK and European Union being on the threshold of striking a post-Brexit trade deal. 

The FTSE 100 index rose by 0.48 percent or 31 points to 6,527 in early trading this morning, while the pound was up 0.57 percent against the dollar at $1.3584. 

But gains on the markets were tempered by concerns over another new strain of Covid-19, with the UK implementing a travel ban on South Africa and millions more people set to be under the toughest coronavirus restrictions from Boxing Day.   

The pound has strengthened 1.4 percent versus the dollar since 1.30 pm yesterday when Reuters first quoted sources saying that a Brexit deal appeared imminent.

The currency is now heading back towards the two-and-a-half-year high of $1.3625 which was hit last week. Against the euro, the pound was up 0.54 percent at €1.1137. 

Mr. Macron, who faces elections in 2022, has been desperate to keep his powerful fishing industry onside.

His possible challenger in the polls, Marine Le Pen, of the far-Right National Rally, picked up large numbers of votes in 2017.

Tensions rose between London and Paris at the weekend when the French government decided to shut its borders for 48 hours after the emergence of a newer, more infectious strain of coronavirus.

Tory MPs and Downing Street aides speculated that Mr. Macron’s decision was, in part, a means of punishing Britain over its decision to leave the European Union.

But sources close to the French president, a sworn Europhile, angrily denied those suggestions in conversations with the Mail this week.

They said Mr. Johnson’s own dramatic messaging had triggered panic among European governments who simply wanted to stop the spread of the virus.

Diplomats in Brussels said Germany was most concerned about Britain trying to undercut and outcompete European firms after Brexit.

The EU will short-cut its own processes, with the Council of member states granting ‘provisional’ implementation before the deadline, rather than the European Parliament approving it in advance.

But EU leaders have to agree the deal unanimously. 

And the curtailed process has angered many MEPs, as they will be under massive pressure to rubber-stamp the deal if it has already come into effect.  

The agreement covers vast areas of the UK’s relationship with the EU, including trade, security, and travel. 

Despite hopes of confirmation coming last night, the EU and UK teams dug in for a lengthy shift, with pizzas being delivered to the Berlaymont HQ in Brussels. 

Ms von der Leyen’s spokesman Eric Mamer posted a picture of the takeaway on Twitter, joking about the ‘suspense’ over whether it was topped with seafood.   

Ministers hope the news will boost morale in what looks set to be the toughest of winters. The pound rose sharply yesterday on the back of mounting speculation that agreement was near.

The breakthrough came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that a surge of Covid cases would put much of the country under heavy restrictions, probably for months. 

In an emergency statement, he announced that another eight million people would be placed under Tier Four restrictions on Boxing Day. 

That will put the entire South East and much of East Anglia under virtual lockdown.

Mr. Hancock also revealed mounting concern about a new ‘super-strain’ of the virus which has reached the UK from South Africa. 

Government sources said the EU deal would see British fishermen able to land roughly two-thirds of fish in UK waters by the middle of the decade. 

UK gets ‘listed status’ to export animal products to EU – but seed potatoes are out 

Exports of meat, fish, and dairy products to the European Union will be able to continue beyond January 1 after the United Kingdom was granted ‘national listed status’.

The measure means live animals and products of animal origin can be supplied to the EU after Brussels confirmed the UK met health and biosecurity standards.

The EU has also agreed to the exports of many plants and plant products can continue being exported to the bloc and Northern Ireland.

But seed potatoes – an important Scottish export – will be banned, leading Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the ‘disastrous’ outcome.

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: ‘Third country listed status demonstrates our very high standards of biosecurity and animal health which we will continue to maintain after the end of the transition period.’

Businesses in the £5 billion animal export market will face some red tape in order to continue exporting, including the need for a health certificate.

While potatoes destined for European dinner plates can continue to be exported, those used as seed crops cannot be.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it will not be possible to export seed potatoes to the EU or Northern Ireland from January 1 but officials were working with the European Commission on the issue.

Ms Sturgeon said it was a ‘disastrous Brexit outcome for Scottish farmers’ and ‘like all other aspects of Brexit, foisted on Scotland against our will’.

But a senior Tory predicted the agreement would ‘land badly’ with Eurosceptic MPs. It is understood to involve the EU handing back only 25 percent of its share of quota from UK waters, with the cuts phased in over five and a half years.

MPs are set to be recalled to Parliament to vote the deal through in time for the end of the transition on December 31. The agreement came after days of frantic negotiation. 

Sources claim it was almost derailed when the EU proposed measures they say would have crippled Britain’s drive to become a world leader in electric cars.

‘We have got it to a place we are happy with,’ a source said. ‘It upholds all the principles we said we would not compromise on. Yes, we have made compromises in some areas, but we have not compromised on the fundamentals of taking back control.’

Another senior Tory said the deal would ensure ‘zero tariff, zero quota access to European markets’ alongside security co-operation. ‘There will be no European Court of Justice messing us around,’ the source said.

However, the Prime Minister is braced for accusations of betrayal from Eurosceptic Tories, some of whom had urged the PM to walk away rather than compromise.

The last push for a deal revolved around a compromise over the sensitive issue of fishing in UK waters, with reports suggesting that they could be down to catches worth £60million. 

To put that figure into context, it is considerably less than the £89million that took midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016, which remains the record transfer for a player moving to the top flight in England. 

Fishing rights were the most intractable part of the negotiations. Boris Johnson made clear that Britain would be an independent coastal state in charge of access to its own waters – with UK fishermen able to catch a far greater proportion of the available fish than their EU competitors.

Brussels had demanded unfettered access to Britain’s waters for a decade. The UK had offered a three-year transition period.

According to reports, the UK has ended up reclaiming 25 percent of the EU’s fishing quota – with changes phased in over five-and-a-half years.

Downing Street insists this will mean UK fleets catching two-thirds of the fish in domestic waters by 2026, but the compromise appears nearer the EU’s starting position.

Tory MP Robert Halfon joked that he would support a Brexit deal if it forced people to eat Christmas pudding every day

Tory MP Robert Halfon joked that he would support a Brexit deal if it forced people to eat Christmas pudding every day 

Angela Merkel is a key powerplayer in the EU
Emmanuel Macron (pictured taking a Cabinet meeting from coronavirus self-isolation) was seen as the biggest obstacle to a deal

Angela Merkel (pictured left) is a key powerplayer in the EU. Emmanuel Macron (pictured right taking a Cabinet meeting from coronavirus self-isolation) was seen as the biggest obstacle to a Brexit trade deal

Who is Ursula von der Leyen, the EU chief who was once tipped as Angela Merkel’s successor?

Ursula von der Leyen took over as President of the European Commission from Jean-Claude Juncker in December 2019. 

Since then, the start of her five-year term in office has been dominated by two issues: Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 62-year-old is a staunch defender of the EU project and has previously called for a ‘United States of Europe’ with its own army. 

She previously served as defence secretary in Germany and was once viewed as a potential successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The mother-of-seven has experienced a rapid political rise, only entering politics in her 40s. 

She has a medical degree and studied at the London School of Economics as well as Stanford in the US.

The qualified gynaecologist regularly emerged in opinion polls as one of Germany’s most popular politicians before she made the switch to Brussels. 

She is the daughter of Brussels-born Eurocrat Ernst Albrecht, a senior German politician who worked in the EU Commission in the 1950s. 

She revealed last year that she spent a year in London in the 1970s hiding from notorious German communist terrorists.

She spent 12 months in the ‘seething, international, colourful city’ to avoid the baader-Meinhof Gang, a hard-Left group that carried out a string of bomb attacks and assassinations. 

She came to London after attending university in the German city of Gottingen, with police advising her father, who was PM of Lower Saxony, to move her away. 

Exports of meat, fish, and dairy products to the EU will be able to continue beyond January 1 after the UK was granted ‘national listed status’.

The measure means live animals and products of animal origin can be supplied to the EU after Brussels confirmed the UK met health and biosecurity standards.

The EU has also agreed to the exports of many plants and plant products can continue being exported to the bloc and Northern Ireland.

But seed potatoes – an important Scottish export – will be banned, leading Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the ‘disastrous’ outcome.

UK chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: ‘Third country listed status demonstrates our very high standards of biosecurity and animal health which we will continue to maintain after the end of the transition period.’

Businesses in the £5billion animal export market will face some red tape in order to continue exporting, including the need for a health certificate.

While potatoes destined for European dinner plates can continue to be exported, those used as seed crops cannot be.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it will not be possible to export seed potatoes to the EU or Northern Ireland from January 1 but officials were working with the European Commission on the issue.

Ms. Sturgeon said it was a ‘disastrous Brexit outcome for Scottish farmers’ and ‘like all other aspects of Brexit, foisted on Scotland against our will’.

Crucially for the breakthrough, Ms von der Leyen is said to have established back channels to German Chancellor Angela Merkel – the EU’s powerbroker – and Mr. Macron

Diplomatic sources said Mr. Barnier had not even been aware of the content of secret talks between the Prime Minister and Mrs von der Leyen on Monday night – suggesting he had become increasingly sidelined in the final days of negotiations.

However, Mr. Barnier has insisted it is ‘normal’ that high-level politicians must make the final moves in such a negotiation. 

The Labour chair of the Commons Brexit Committee Hilary Benn said he has ‘no doubt’ Parliament will approve legislation for a deal if one is brokered before January 31.

The Remain-backing MP told BBC Breakfast: ‘The alternative is no-deal and that really doesn’t bear contemplation at all because of the damage it would do to the economy.

‘What any deal is going to do is to make the consequences of Brexit for business less bad than they would otherwise be.

‘Remember this is the first trade deal in history where one party has gone in knowing it will come out with worse arrangements than it went in with.’

He added: ‘I think not just over the next week but over the next few months, as Brexit actually happens… there are going to be big changes anyway from January 1 whether there is an agreement or not and regardless of what’s in the agreement…

‘Over time we will become more aware of what we can’t now do because we’ve taken it for granted.’

As the crunch point neared, French Europe minister Clement Beaune said a no-deal situation would be ‘catastrophic’ for the UK and suggested the EU should hold out.

‘We should not put ourselves, Europeans, under time pressure to finish by this hour or that day. Otherwise, we would be put ourselves in a situation to make bad concessions.’

But Mrs. von der Leyen is said to have leaned on Mr. Macron and the leaders of other coastal states to accept the deal.

Mr. Barnier told MEPs at a briefing earlier this week that a compromise on fishing would have to be decided by political leaders.

‘We haven’t reached an agreement on fisheries, despite the talks,’ he said. ‘There are subjects that I can’t resolve – only a few which are very political and very sensitive matters – but I can’t resolve them at my level.

‘It is normal at this stage that there are subjects that need to be dealt with by President von der Leyen at her level with Boris Johnson.’

The Prime Minister has admitted to allies that he has made significant compromises in recent days, including on fishing. 

But he warned that he would not go further without movement from the EU. 

Differences also needed to be bridged over state subsidies, where the EU was pushing demands which British negotiators describe as ‘unbalanced’. 

Brussels wanted the right to penalise the UK if it uses subsidies to enable British firms to undercut EU rivals. 

Reports claimed that the latest British offer on fishing would involve the EU sacrificing around 25 percent of its share of quota in UK waters over a five-year period.

It is a big compromise on Lord Frost’s original demand that the EU hand back 60 percent over three years. But it is much more than Mr. Barnier’s offer to hand back just 15 percent over ten years.

It would mean the UK keeping two-thirds of fish in its waters, and quotas are expected to be negotiated annually rather than over a longer period as Brussels had wanted. 

So what’s in Boris’s Brexit deal? PM gives ground to Brussels over UK fish but claims victory over competition rules and EU laws, with an agreement to maintain counter-terror and crime-fighting partnerships 

It’s the document the (political) world has been waiting for – and it’s feared to be no fewer than 2,000 pages long.

This morning EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart Lord Frost were still combing through the Brexit trade deal, line by line.  

Talks in Brussels were focused on the details of fishing rights but both sides have indicated a Christmas Eve deal will be announced, bringing an end to months of wrangling just a week before current trading arrangements expire.

Some feared it would never materialise. But the world could soon finally see the agreement – which will shape every aspect of Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

Analysis of the deal-in waiting by the UK Government suggests it ‘won’ in talks on 43 percent of the ‘key issues’ in the talks. It labels a further 40 percent at compromises for both sides, with just 17 percent down as ‘EU wins’.

Almost a year in the making, the deal has involved hundreds of officials working round the clock to agree its terms. So, what are the key areas – and what will we be signing up to?

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (third from left) and his British counterpart Lord Frost were still combing through the Brexit trade deal
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (third from left) and his British counterpart Lord Frost were still combing through the Brexit trade deal

FISHING

Last night it appeared that Britain had given ground on this major sticking point to get a deal done.

Fishing rights have been the most intractable part of the negotiations. Boris Johnson made clear that Britain would be an independent coastal state in charge of access to its own waters – with UK fishermen able to catch a far greater proportion of the available fish than their EU competitors.

Brussels had demanded unfettered access to Britain’s waters for a decade. The UK had offered a three-year transition period.

According to early reports, what we have ended up taking back is 25 percent of the EU’s fishing quota – with changes phased in over five-and-a-half years.

Downing Street says this will mean we are catching two-thirds of the fish in our waters by 2026 – but there is no doubt that this compromise appears nearer the EU’s starting position than ours, at least in the short term.

The Government document, seen by the Guido Fawkes website, insists that the situation is a mutual compromise – the UK gave ground on the size of the quotas, the EU gave ground on how long they have access for.

However, perhaps in a bid to save face, French sources suggested the situation was a win for the EU. A French government source said UK negotiators had made ‘huge concessions’ on fisheries.  

But the sides were still said to be arguing ‘fish by fish’ over the rules this morning, with Ireland warning of a ‘hitch’, even though UK sources insisted there are ‘no major issues’. 

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

Another bone of contention has been Brussels’ fear that Britain could take advantage of leaving the bloc by lowering standards to make its firms more competitive. 

The EU was also worried that the UK could give more financial help to its own firms. 

As a result, it demanded a ‘level playing field’ to avoid a race to the bottom on issues such as workers’ rights and environmental regulation. 

It also wanted Britain to continue to accept a slew of EU rules.

The UK said this would pose an ‘existential threat’ to its sovereignty. Britain said it would settle for No Deal rather than face being tied to EU rules after Brexit.

Last night it appeared that Britain had given ground on this major sticking point to get a deal done. Pictured: Boris Johnson with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the steps of No10 Downing Street earlier this year
Last night it appeared that Britain had given ground on this major sticking point to get a deal done. Pictured: Boris Johnson with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the steps of No10 Downing Street earlier this year

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9085263/UK-EU-haggling-fish-despite-deal-DONE.html#v-3703796533080378766

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In the end, both parties appear to have agreed a common baseline of regulations on some issues, below which neither side will plunge.

However, the EU has also been insisting that if one side raised standards and the other did not, the latter should be penalised if failure to keep up resulted in unfair competition.

Instead, it is likely the two sides have agreed an independent mechanism to resolve matters if one side diverges too far from common standards. This would ultimately make rulings on retaliatory tariffs in the event of a dispute.

The Government claims it ‘won’ five of the eight key sticking points in this part of negotiations, including EU law, the ability of the UK to set its own subsidy rates, competition, and tax rules.

OVERSIGHT

A related– and thorny – issue is that of the European Court of Justice. British sources indicated that the ECJ will have no say in the resolution of any rows.

This had been a key demand from Westminster, to avoid the erosion of British sovereignty.

Brussels conceded that it could not have the unilateral right to impose penalties on Britain – although it did push hard for a strong and independent arbitration system.

The EU had hoped to punish Britain for ‘breaking rules’ in one area by hitting back in another – allowing them to impose tariffs or taxes in an unrelated sector to inflict the most damage possible. 

TARIFFS

In the end, Britain and the EU appear to have agreed on a zero-tariff and zero-quota regime – a significant victory for Mr. Johnson. Trade with the EU, accounts for 43 percent of the UK’s exports and 51 percent of its imports.

Another bone of contention has been Brussels’ fear that Britain could take advantage of leaving the bloc by lowering standards to make its firms more competitive. Pictured: European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier

Another bone of contention has been Brussels’ fear that Britain could take advantage of leaving the bloc by lowering standards to make its firms more competitive.
Pictured: European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier

The prospect of No Deal – and trading with Brussels on World Trade Organization terms, as Australia does – prompted fears of massive extra costs for businesses, which would have been passed on to the public.

As talks reached the sharp end, ministers accepted that No Deal would lead to many staple food items costing more at the supermarket. 

Farmers warned however that they would still face non-tariff costs on exports.

Farmers’ Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts welcomed the EU’s formal listing of the UK as a ‘third country’ – a move which is essential in terms of allowing Welsh food exports to the EU.

‘However, our access to the EU market, which is the destination for three-quarters of Welsh food and drink exports, will still face significant barriers after December 31, with non-tariff barrier costs expected to rise by 4 percent to 8 percent,’ he said.

Mr. Roberts said the full text of an agreement would have to be scrutinised in order to assess the full impacts and benefits, and a number of concerns existed including in terms of seed potato exports.

‘Nevertheless, the Welsh farming industry, like others the length and breadth of Great Britain, will be celebrating Christmas having breathed a huge sigh of relief that a deal seems close to being agreed,’ he added. 

POLICING AND SECURITY

Sources say there has been some level of agreement on the key issue of security co-operation. 

Britain had wanted to maintain the same access to shared databases that it has now – only for the EU to claim this was not an option for non-members.  

Ultimately, the UK appears to have secured greater access than it would have received in a No Deal Brexit.

The UK Government document says the agreement ‘provides for fast and effective exchange of criminal records data between UK and EUMS through shared technical infrastructure (European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS)).’

There will also be a ‘fast and effective exchange of national DNA, fingerprint, and vehicle registration data’.

The UK also appears to have been given greater access to Europol than other non-EU countries because of its past contribution to the crime agency. There is also a fast-track agreement on extradition. 

HOLIDAYS AND HEALTHCARE

striking a deal means Britons will find it easier to travel to the continent than they would have if talks had failed.

It is also hoped that tourists will have access to hospital treatment when traveling abroad. 

The UK has argued that the European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC, should also continue to be valid after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31 – sparing tourists the ordeal of arranging their own insurance.

DOWN TO THE WIRE: TIMELINE OF THE BREXIT SAGA 

Boris Johnson and the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have agreed that a ‘firm decision’ about the future of Brexit negotiations should be made by Sunday.

As the clock ticks towards the deadline for agreement on a trade deal, here is a look at the key moments in the saga:

January 23, 2013 – Under intense pressure from many of his own MPs and with the rise of Ukip, prime minister David Cameron promises an in-out referendum on EU membership if the Conservatives win the 2015 general election.

May 7, 2015 – The Tories unexpectedly make sweeping gains over Ed Miliband’s Labour Party and secure a majority in the Commons. Mr. Cameron vows to deliver his manifesto pledge of an EU referendum.

June 23, 2016 – The UK votes to leave the EU in a shock result that sees 52% of the public support Brexit and Mr. Cameron quickly resigns as prime minister.

July 13, 2016 – Theresa May takes over as prime minister. Despite having backed Remain, she promises to ‘rise to the challenge’ of negotiating the UK’s exit.

November 10, 2016 – The High Court rules against the Government and says Parliament must hold a vote to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, the mechanism that begins the exit from the EU. Mrs. May says the ruling will not stop her from invoking the legislation by April 2017.

March 29, 2017 – Mrs. May triggers Article 50. European Council President Donald Tusk says it is not a happy occasion, telling a Brussels press conference his message to the UK is: ‘We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye.’

April 18, 2017 – Mrs May announces a snap general election to be held on June 8.

June 8, 2017 – There is humiliation for Mrs .as she loses her Commons majority after her election gamble backfires. She becomes head of a minority Conservative administration propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party.

September 22, 2017 – In a crucial Brexit speech in Florence, Mrs. May sends a message to EU leaders by saying: ‘We want to be your strongest friend and partner as the EU and UK thrive side by side.’ She says she is proposing an ‘implementation period’ of ‘around two years’ after Brexit when existing market access arrangements will apply.

March 19, 2018 – The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, says he and Brexit secretary David Davis have taken a ‘decisive step’ towards agreeing a joint legal text on the UK’s EU withdrawal but warns there are still outstanding issues relating to the Irish border.

July 6, 2018 – A crunch Cabinet meeting at Chequers agrees with Mrs. May’s new Brexit plans, including the creation of a new UK-EU free trade area for goods. But not all who attend are happy with the compromises.

July 8 and July 9, 2018 – Mr. Davis resigns from the Government in protest while the following day Boris Johnson quits as foreign secretary, claiming the plans mean ‘we are truly headed for the status of colony’ of the EU.

November 14, 2018 – In a statement outside 10 Downing Street after a five-hour Cabinet meeting, Mrs. May says that Cabinet has agreed the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

November 15, 2018 – Dominic Raab resigns as Brexit secretary, saying he ‘cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU’. Other resignations follow.

November 25, 2018 – The 27 EU leaders endorse the Brexit deal.

December 12, 2018 – Mrs May survives an attempt to oust her with a vote of no confidence as Tory MPs vote by 200 to 117 in the secret ballot in Westminster.

January 15, 2019 – MPs reject Mrs. May’s Brexit plans by an emphatic 432 to 202 in an historic vote which throws the future of her administration and the nature of the UK’s EU withdrawal into doubt.

March 20, 2019 – Mrs. May tells the House of Commons that she has written to Mr. Tusk to request an extension to Article 50 Brexit negotiations to June 30.

March 29, 2019 – MPs reject Mrs. May’s Withdrawal Agreement for a third time – by 286 votes to 344 – on the day the UK was due to leave the EU.

April 10, 2019 – The EU agrees a ‘flexible extension’ to Brexit until October 31. Mrs May says the ‘choices we now face are stark and the timetable is clear’.

May 23, 2019 – Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party comes out on top in the European elections, while the pro-EU Liberal Democrats also make gains.

May 24, 2019 – Mrs May announces she is standing down as Tory Party leader on June 7. She says: ‘It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.’

July 23, 2019 – Mr Johnson is elected as leader of the Conservative Party and becomes the UK’s new Prime Minister after defeating Jeremy Hunt.

August 20, 2019 – The new Prime Minister is rebuffed by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker after demanding major changes to Irish border arrangements in a new Brexit deal.

August 28, 2019 – The Queen is dragged into the Brexit row as Mr. Johnson requests the prorogation of Parliament from early September to mid-October.

September 4, 2019 – MPs vote to approve legislation aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit. Mr. Johnson orders a purge of rebel Tories who opposed the Government including former chancellors Philip Hammond and Sir Kenneth Clarke.

The Prime Minister attempts to trigger an early general election but fails to get the required support of two-thirds of MPs.

September 24, 2019 – The Supreme Court rules that the PM’s advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament until October 14 was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating Parliament.

October 2, 2019 – Mr Johnson puts forward his formal Brexit plan to the EU, revealing his blueprint to solve the Irish border issue.

October 10, 2019 – Mr Johnson and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar say they can see a ‘pathway to a deal’, in a joint statement after key talks at a luxury hotel in Cheshire.

October 17, 2019 – After intense negotiations, the Prime Minister announces the UK has reached a ‘great deal’ with the EU which ‘takes back control’ and means that ‘the UK can come out of the EU as one United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, together’.

October 19, 2019 – In the first Saturday sitting of the Commons in 37 years, Mr. Johnson seeks the support of MPs in a ‘meaningful vote’ on his new deal but instead they back an amendment forcing him to seek a delay.

October 22, 2019 – The Prime Minister mounts an attempt to fast-track his Brexit deal through Parliament but puts the plans on ice after MPs vote against his foreshortened timetable.

October 28, 2019 – EU leaders agree to a second Brexit ‘flex tension’ until January 31 unless Parliament ratifies the deal sooner.

October 29, 2019 – Mr. Johnson finally succeeds at the fourth attempt in winning Commons support for a general election on December 12.

December 12, 2019 – Having campaigned on a promise to ‘get Brexit done’, Mr Johnson secures a landslide win at the election and with an 80-seat majority.

January 8, 2020 – New European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen visits No 10 to warn Mr. Johnson the timetable for a post-Brexit trade deal is ‘very, very tight’. The Prime Minister is clear however there will be no extension to the transition period, which expires at the end of 2020.

January 9, 2020 – Mr. Johnson gets his Brexit deal through the Commons as the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill is given a third reading with a majority of 99.

January 31, 2020 – A clock projected on the walls of Downing Street counts down the moments to the UK’s departure from the EU at 11 pm.

March 2, 2020 – Mr. Barnier and Mr. Johnson’s chief EU adviser David Frost open formal talks in Brussels on Britain’s future relationship with the bloc, including a free trade agreement.

March 12, 2020 – The two sides announce they are suspending face-to-face talks due to the coronavirus pandemic and will explore the options for continuing the negotiations by video conferencing.

June 12, 2020 – Cabinet office minister Michael Gove formally tells the EU the UK will not sign up to an extension to the transition period, but he backtracks on plans to immediately introduce full border checks with the bloc on January 1.

September 10, 2020 – The European Commission threatens the UK with legal action after ministers announce plans for legislation enabling them to override provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland in breach of international law.

October 16, 2020 – Mr. Johnson says he is halting talks on a trade deal accusing EU leaders meeting for a summit in Brussels of seeking to impose ‘unacceptable’ demands.

November 7, 2020 – Mr. Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen agree to ‘redouble’ their efforts to get a deal while acknowledging that significant differences remain over fisheries and the so-called ‘level playing field’ for state aid rules.

December 4, 2020 – Lord Frost and Mr. Barnier announce in a joint statement the conditions for an agreement had still not been met and negotiations will be put on ‘pause’ to allow political leaders to take stock, with Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Von der Leyen to engage in emergency talks.

December 7, 2020 – In a key move to ease tensions, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and EU counterpart Maroš Šefčovič settle the row over the Withdrawal Agreement, meaning planned clauses that would have overridden the divorce terms are dropped.    

December 9, 2020 – Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Von der Leyen dine at the European Commission, with talks between the two leaders lasting around three hours.

They warned ‘very large gaps’ remain, but authorised further discussions between the negotiating teams, with a ‘firm decision’ due on Sunday.

December 10, 2020 – Ms von der Leyen pushes the button on the EU’s No Deal contingency plans. Mr. Johnson warns No Deal is now a strong possibility. 

December 11, 2020 – Mr. Johnson says No Deal is ‘very very likely’ and the most probable outcome from the standoff.

December 16, 2020 – At the last PMQs of the year, Mr Johnson insists the UK will ‘prosper mightily’ whatever the result of the talks.

December 17, 2020 – MPs are sent home for Christmas with a warning that they will be recalled if a Brexit deal needs to be passed into law before January 1. 

December 19, 2020 – Mr Johnson announces that a mutant version of coronavirus has been identified in the UK. A host of countries impose travel restrictions, with France saying no freight will be allowed in for 48 hours. It sparks fears over supermarket shortages, although Brexiteers complain it is partly strong arm tactics in the negotiations. 

11 p.m. December 31, 2020 – The Brexit transition period will end and the UK will be under new trade – or WTO – terms. 

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UK and EU ‘are haggling over every fish’ despite deal all-but DONE

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Ursula von der Leyen tells EU nations to prepare for urgent Brexit deal meeting TOMORROW

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EU MEMBER STATES have been told to be ready for a meeting tomorrow as a Brexit deal is said to be “imminent”.

By Richard Percival Wed, Dec 23, 2020

Brexit news
https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1375757/Brexit-news-Boris-Johnson-latest-Michel-Barnier-EU-trade-deal-talks-update-fishing
The European Commission has told member states to be ready for a meeting on Thursday (Image: GETTY)

With just days until the end of the transition period, the European Commission has told member states to be ready for a meeting on Thursday if a deal is finalised today. Negotiations between Lord Frost and Michel Barnier are ongoing in what is expected to be the final day of talks before Christmas. 

Trending meanwhile

The UK and the EU remain divided over competition and fishing as both sides attempt to secure a Brexit trade deal in time to avoid a split at the end of the transition period. 

Express.co.uk also understands European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Boris Johnson are expected to hold another call on a trade deal later today ahead of the crucial meeting.

Both politicians spoke on Monday in a bid to close the gaps on overfishing.

The coordination between both sides was a change of tone from Mr. Johnson after claiming that the most likely outcome is a failure to reach a deal, with the UK then relying on World Trade Organisation terms – meaning tariffs and quotas on trade with the EU.

Brexit talks

Lord Frost is currently undertaking Brexit talks with Michel Barnier (Image: Getty)

A Whitehall source close to the negotiations told Express.co.uk appeared to be “upbeat” today expressing hopes for a deal to be secured.

But they made clear “divisions” still remained and aspects remained “difficult.” 

“We are getting closer” the source concluded. 

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said he was “reasonably optimistic” that a late deal will be agreed upon before the current trading arrangements expire at the end of the month.

READ MORE: Boris could secure Brexit deal by TONIGHT

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Brexit talks are ongoing today (Image: Express Newspapers )

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Meanwhile, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator said they were making a “final push” to reach a deal and it was a “crucial moment”.

One EU diplomat said a deal was “pretty much there” whilst another stressed a deal was “imminent”. 

Irish Taoiseach Michel Martin raised the prospect of EU officials working on the text of a Brexit deal on Christmas Day if there was not a breakthrough by then.

Mr. Martin said EU leaders were on “standby” to endorse any agreement that might emerge from the intense negotiations between both sides.

DON’T MISS:  
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Michel Barnier sets NEW Brexit deadline – No deal looms [INSIGHT]  
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Boris Johnson said any trade deal should respect “UK sovereignty” (Image: Getty)

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He said: “If you had a breakthrough tonight or tomorrow officials in Europe could be working Christmas Day on the text.”

Mr. Martin stressed the talks were “all down to fish” and significant differences remained.

It is expected a deal, however, may not be ratified in time before the end of the transition period with EU member states expecting to approve a provisional application of any deal with effect from January 1st.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said he would recall the House of Commons to allow MPs to have a vote on any agreement before it came into force.

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MNI: Post-Election reflections and challenges, 2019MNI: Post-Election reflections and challenges, 2019

How will we best manage our development partnership with the post-Brexit UK and the upcoming UN Charter Article 73 C24 visit?

BRADES, Montserrat, Dec. 2, 2019 –  The November 18, 2019 elections are over, having delivered a five-seat majority to the leading opposition party, MCAP; led by Montserrat’s newly elected third Premier, Hon. Mr. Easton Taylor Farrell. Congratulations and best wishes for good success in leading Montserrat in the coming days, starting with the upcoming UN Decolonisation Committee visit under the UN Charter, Article 73; which is expected around the middle of this month.

We also note that, with a split opposition, the former administration PDM team is now the bulk of the opposition, three seats led by Hon Mr. Paul Lewis. Former Premier Romeo sits as the fourth opposition member, having been elected on an independent ticket. We wish the new opposition well too, not least because a good opposition that is credible as the potential next government is a key part of our democratic system.

That said, it is interesting to observe that there was a fall in turnout rate for the 2019 election as compared with the 2014 one: 2,410 of 3,858 registered voters [62.47%] as opposed to 2,747 of 3,866 [71.06%].

That is, while registered voters fell slightly [8 voters], the voter turnout fell by 337.

The total 2019 MCAP vote was 8,512 and the total, PDM – counting “seven plus one” – was 7,029. In 2014, MCAP had 8,193 votes and PDM had 11,591. The MCAP support grew by 319 and the PDM fell by 4,562. This election was more of a loss for the PDM than a triumph for MCAP.

However, as the margin of victory was one seat, for purposes of analysis, let us ponder the effect of just three hundred disaffected PDM supporters turning out and supporting their party. Where, the ninth past the post candidate in the actual 2019 election [Hon Mr. Hogan] garnered 873 votes. (In 2014, Hon Mr. Willock was 9th, with 1,117 votes.)

In our hypothetical “+300 PDM” Election 2019, for instance, Hon Mr. Lewis (with + 300 votes) would have had 1,551 votes. Hon Mr. Romeo (the “plus one”), would have had 1,360 votes. The “seven plus one” PDM vote total would also have shifted to 9,429.

More importantly, Mr. Hixon would have had 1,162 votes, switching the election to the other side.

Comparison: voting patterns 2014 (HT: Wikipedia)

The new 9th past the post would – for the moment – be Hon Mr. Kirnon, at 970 votes. But, if we add 300 votes to Mr. Emile Duberry, he would now have 998 votes, matching Hon Deputy Premier Dr. Samuel Joseph, so Mr. Kirnon would have been defeated.

That is, the election would have likely swung the other way, 5:4 or perhaps even 6:3.

(Recall, the “+300 PDM” model is only a hypothetical estimate to help us understand the actual election’s outcome.)

An obvious lesson from this comparison is that a party leadership “coup” six weeks before an election is not a well-advised electoral strategy. A slightly less obvious one is that allowing hostile messaging to dominate for years on end is also not a well-advised electoral strategy, especially when one’s party is obviously trending towards splits. Doubtless, our politicians, pundits, and public relations gurus have taken due note.

However, there is a further issue, one that carries such urgency that it needs to be put on the table now, for national discussion. Yes, even during the traditional new government honeymoon period.

For, in the next few weeks, we expect to see a UN Committee of 24 visit under the UN Charter, Article 73. However, skepticism on the relevance of the UN and similar skepticism on the UN Charter, Article 73 (thus the FCO commitment that the OT’s have a “first call” on the UK’s development budget) were a major part of MCAP’s messaging over the past several years and so such skepticism has become entrenched in much of popular opinion.
This is in a context where the UK is in a Brexit-dominated General Election. One, where newly incumbent Euro-skeptic Prime Minister the Hon Mr. Boris Johnson seems likely to handily win re-election. (Where, the previous UK Prime Minister, Hon Mrs. May, resigned several months before the election.)

Further to this, the UK press has shown for months, that Hon Mr. Johnson has pushed to reduce DfID to being a Department under FCO. For example, as a July 24, 2019, Guardian article reports, on becoming Prime Minister, Hon Mr. Boris Johnson:
. . . spoke of the “jostling sets of instincts in the human heart” – the instinct to earn money and look after your own family, set against that of looking after the poorest and neediest, and promoting the good of society as a whole. The Tory party has the “best instincts” to balance these desires, he said:

This balancing act will be tested soon after he moves into No 10 . . . . The UK’s £38bn defense budget is just 2.5 times greater than the £14bn aid budget.

After leaving his job as foreign secretary, Johnson spelled out his thinking over foreign aid, telling the Financial Times that if “Global Britain” is going to achieve its “full and massive potential” then we must bring back the Department for International Development (DfID) to the Foreign Office. “We can’t keep spending huge sums of British taxpayers’ money as though we were some independent Scandinavian NGO.”

The Guardian article adds, how:
In February, [Hon. Mr. Johnson] went further. Writing the foreword of a report by Bob Seely, a Tory member of the foreign affairs select committee, and James Rogers, a strategist at the Henry Jackson Society thinktank, he suggested aid should “do more to serve the political and commercial interests” of Britain.

That report “called for the closure of DfID as a separate department and argued the UK should be free to define its aid spending, unconstrained by criteria set by external organisations.” It went on to assert that DfID’s purpose “should be expanded from poverty reduction to include ‘the nation’s overall strategic goals’,” and that “the Foreign Office should incorporate both DfID and the trade department.” Which, is precisely what has been put on the table.

While, the UK cannot unilaterally redefine what Development Aid is [the OECD defines that], it is clear that there will be strong pressure to reduce UK aid from the 0.7% of national income target level that has been met since 2013/14 and which is actually mandated by current UK law. And, mixing in trade and strategic goals is likely to raise questions on the quality of aid offered under such a reduced budget. (Perhaps, too, it may be advisable for the UK to ponder that timely aid that addresses root causes of conflict is a lot cheaper and far less risky than major wars are.)

What this means for us, is that the importance of the UN Charter as a cornerstone of International Law since 1945 has suddenly shot up as the UK moves towards Brexit. In that context, Article 73 mandates that the UK is legally bound to “ensure [our political, social, educational and economic] advancement” and to “promote constructive measures of development” that are of particular value.

Especially, where £30 million under the CIPREG programme and another £14.4 million for the seaport under the UKCIF are on the table. And where these sums are programmed into existing projects, so that attempts to re-open the negotiations may well carry significant risks of further delay or even loss of funding. (Let us recall, that for years, sections of the UK press have decried £400+ million in cumulative aid to Montserrat as a “fiasco” and worse.)

[1] See UK Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jul/24/trade-foreign-aid-boris-johnson-dfid

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