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Brexit: Negotiators to enter ‘extra mile’ Brexit talks

Michel Barnier
The EU’s Michel Barnier is due to restart negotiations with the UK team on Monday.

Talks over a post-Brexit trade agreement will resume later, after the UK and EU agreed to “go the extra mile” in search of a breakthrough.

It comes after the two sides agreed that negotiations should continue beyond a self-imposed Sunday deadline.

PM Boris Johnson has warned the sides remain “very far apart” in key areas, but “where there’s life there’s hope”.

Time is fast running out to finalise an agreement before the UK’s Brexit transition ends in just over two weeks.

The decision to keep talking came after Mr Johnson discussed “major unresolved topics” with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday.

A new deadline for a decision has not been set – but the ultimate deadline comes on 31 December, when the UK stops following EU trading rules.

Without a trade deal in place by then, the two sides would begin trading on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms, meaning taxes – or tariffs – would be introduced, potentially raising the cost of imported goods such as food.

Fishing rights, “level playing field” rules on how far the UK should be able to diverge from EU laws, and how any agreement should be policed remain the major stumbling blocks.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier will resume talks with his UK counterpart Lord Frost later, after briefing ambassadors of EU member states.

According to an EU source, Mr. Barnier is believed to have told them talks over a level playing field remained hard, but were moving towards an agreement.

He is also said to have told them a wider deal could fall into place if a route towards an agreement on fishing rights can be identified.

Lord Frost
image captionLord Frost has said a deal is only possible if it “fully respects UK sovereignty”.

Ahead of the negotiators meeting in Brussels, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the UK was “not going to be walking away from these talks,” although the UK would not continue negotiations beyond the 31 December deadline.

However he added “quite significant progress” would be required in a number of areas for an agreement to be reached.

After speaking with the UK PM on Sunday, Mrs von der Leyen said it was “responsible at this point to go the extra mile,” despite a series of previously missed deadlines to reach a deal.

Mr. Johnson said “where there is life, there is hope”, and that the UK “certainly won’t be walking away from the talks”.

But he added: “I’ve got to repeat the most likely thing now is of course that we have to get ready for WTO terms.”

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves welcomed the continuation of the talks and said the worst outcome would be to “crash out with no deal whatsoever on 1 January”.

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The basics

  • Brexit happened but rules didn’t change at once: The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020, but leaders needed time to negotiate a deal for life afterwards – they got 11 months.
  • Talks are happening: The UK and the EU have until 31 December 2020 to agree a trade deal as well as other things, such as fishing rights.
  • If there is no deal: Border checks and taxes will be introduced for goods traveling between the UK and the EU. But deal or no deal, we will still see changes.

What happens next with Brexit?

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This new phase of the talks is expected to focus on how close the UK should stick to EU economic rules in the future.

The EU is determined to prevent the UK from gaining what it sees as an unfair advantage of having tariff-free access to its markets – not paying taxes on goods being bought and sold – while setting its own standards on products, employment rights, and business subsidies.

The EU is reported to have dropped the idea of a formal mechanism to ensure both sides keep up with each other’s standards and is now prepared to accept UK divergence – provided there are safeguards to prevent unfair competition.

Fishing rights is another major area of disagreement, with the EU warning that without access to UK waters for EU fleets, UK fishermen will no longer get special access to EU markets to sell their goods.

But the UK argues that what goes on in its own waters, and its wider business rules, should be under its control as a sovereign country.

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Analysis box by Katya Adler, Europe editor

What does it mean in Brexit trade deal terms “to go the extra mile”?

That’s the distance the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the European Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, have promised to travel over the next days.

But will the road take them to deal or no-deal? And who will compromise on what to get there?

EU contacts close to the talks say both sides are being constructive. They insist negotiations aren’t simply continuing because neither the EU nor the government want to be blamed in a no-deal scenario and prefer not to walk away first.

Remember: what’s said in front of the cameras is only part of the picture.

We aren’t behind the scenes in the negotiating room or on the closed calls between Mr. Johnson and Ms von der Leyen.

But however long these talks rumble on, ultimately neither the government nor the EU, will sign up to a deal if they can’t claim it as a victory.

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JMC-OTs-family-photo-for-media-release-1

Policy paper UK-Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-overseas-territories-joint-ministerial-council-november-2020-communique/uk-overseas-terrirtories-joint-ministerial-council-2020-communique

Communiqué: Published 27 November 2020

Governor’s Office describes: OTs familyMontserrat Premier (c) top row

Contents

  1. The Minister for the Overseas Territories (OTs), Minister for European Neighbourhood and Americas, elected leaders, and representatives of the Overseas Territories met virtually as the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) from 23 – 26 November 2020. Ministerial colleagues from across the UK Government, including the Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and the Department for Transport also participated.
  2. Ministers, Territory leaders, and elected representatives were also pleased to welcome Children’s Commissioners for England and Jersey, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, and senior officials representing the UK Government.
  3. Ministers, Territory leaders, and elected representatives gave particular thanks to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales for his message of support. They also thanked the UK Prime Minister for addressing the Conference and welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to intensifying the partnership between the Territories and the UK Government.
  4. The JMC is the highest forum for political dialogue and consultation between the UK and elected leaders and representatives of the OTs for the purposes of providing leadership and promoting cooperation in areas of mutual interest. It provides a forum for the exchange of views on political and constitutional issues between the governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK Government; to promote the security and good governance of the Territories and their sustainable economic and social development; and to agree priorities, develop plans and review implementation.
  5. We continue to share a vision for the Territories as vibrant and flourishing communities, proudly retaining aspects of British identity and generating wider opportunities for their people.

1. Self determination

  1. The principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, as enshrined in the UN Charter, applies to the peoples of the Overseas Territories. We reaffirmed the importance of promoting the right of self-determination for the peoples of the Territories, something which is a collective responsibility of all parts of the UK Government. We committed to explore ways in which the Overseas Territories can maintain international support in countering hostile sovereignty claims. For those Territories with permanent populations who wish it, the UK will continue to support requests for the removal of the Territory from the United Nations list of non-self-governing Territories.

2. COVID-19 and the global health crisis

  1. The UK Government recognised the significant global impact and shared challenges of COVID-19, and congratulated the Territories on their handling of the response to the pandemic so far. The Territories thanked the UK for its outstanding support received both at the Ministerial and official level throughout the pandemic. The UK and Territories had worked together closely to tackle COVID-19 and this had underlined their strong links based on partnership, shared values, and mutual respect. The UK Government reaffirmed its continued support to the Territories during the pandemic and committed to supplying the Territories with COVID-19 vaccines. The UK and Territories shared information about challenges and successes around COVID-19 and committed to continue to work collaboratively to combat health crises, both now and in the future.

3. Economic resilience

  1. The UK is committed to supporting the Overseas Territories in building successful and resilient economies, and promoting the development and the wellbeing of its inhabitants. We recognise that although all are unique, the Overseas Territories, as small and open island economies, are particularly vulnerable to external shocks. Clear economic development plans, underpinned by strong public financial management, can help to create diverse and resilient economies in which people, businesses, and governments can look ahead to the future with confidence. The UK will support the Overseas Territories to increase their economic resilience through technical support and encouraging best practices in financial management.

The UK remains committed to meeting the reasonable assistance needs of Territories where financial self-sufficiency is not possible, as a first call on the aid budget. The UK will also consult the Overseas Territories on support programmes for the next financial year. In times of crisis, the UK stands ready to support the Overseas Territories, as happened following the hurricanes in 2017 and during the COVID-19 crisis. As a first step, the UK will look to the Overseas Territories to make full use of their financial resources to address their needs and will consider further requests for financial support on a case-by-case basis.

4. Exit from the European Union (EU) and trade

  1. The UK Government acknowledges that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will impact on the Overseas Territories, particularly in the areas of eligibility for and access to funding, and trade.
  1. The UK Government has and continues to represent the interests of the Overseas Territories in the UK-EU negotiations, in particular on trade and funding programmes. The UK Government will also continue to engage meaningfully with the Territories and take their interests into account when negotiating new trading relationships with other partners around the world
  2. The UK Government will, in consultation with Territory Governments, take their interests and needs into account when designing future funding streams, programmes, and policies to promote the sustainable economic development of the Territories.
  3. The Territories’ links with the Commonwealth and United Nations will continue to be important. The UK is committed to strengthening these links. The UK also welcomes initiatives to develop links with regional organisations and with Territories and countries neighbouring the Overseas Territories.
  4. The UK Government and the UK’s devolved administrations confirm that students from the Overseas Territories will continue to be eligible for Home Student fee rates on the same basis as now, based on three years’ ordinary residence in an Overseas Territory or the UK.

5. Mental health

  1. The UK Government and the Overseas Territories re-affirmed their commitment to addressing mental health, recognising that “there is no health without mental health”. The importance of raising the awareness and understanding of mental health in our communities was discussed along with tackling the stigma that persists around mental health. We recognise that mental health affects all stages of life and that experiences in childhood can affect mental health in adulthood. It was also recognised that there is already work being done in this area in most OTs. Support from the UK is being provided through Public Health England and the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF). The United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) will host a webinar on mental health in December 2020 for Territory and UK leaders and experts. It will provide an opportunity to have an open discussion on priority issues around stigma, mental health systems, and awareness campaigns. Overseas Territories and the UK committed to continuing the work to strengthen mental health systems to improve the lives of people with mental health problems, including children and young people, those with severe mental illness, and those in the criminal justice system.

6. Children

  1. We discussed the progress that has been made by Territories in relation to child safeguarding. We acknowledged that we cannot be complacent and that there is always more that can be done to ensure that children can grow up in an environment where they can be free from harm, flourish and meet their potential. We therefore re-affirmed our previous commitments to the highest standards of protection for children and a zero-tolerance approach to abuse. We heard from the Children’s Commissioners for England and Jersey about their roles in speaking up for children, influencing policy, assisting Governments and promoting children’s rights. We committed to consider exploring whether a Children’s Commissioner function or similar role might be appropriate for each Territory.

7. Domestic abuse

  1. We noted the increased incidence of domestic abuse globally, and the damaging effects both for individuals and for society. We acknowledged that tackling domestic abuse requires a holistic approach, including law enforcement, education, and medical professionals, and the criminal justice system. We spoke about the importance of challenging negative attitudes and behaviours and ensuring that victims are able to access the services that they need, when they need them. We heard about initiatives which our Territories are taking in this regard. We committed to identify opportunities and to take measures to tackle domestic abuse and to strengthen our system-wide response.

8. Prisons

  1. The Overseas Territories and UK recognise the unique context and needs of prisons in the Territories. We discussed shared challenges on prison reform and opportunities to work together for common objectives. The OTs and UK are committed to ensuring Territory prisons are safe, decent, and secure places of rehabilitation, compliant with human rights obligations that reduce reoffending and contribute to the security of local communities. Through the Ministry of Justice, the UK will continue to support Territories by providing expertise, project support, and by facilitating a network of experts across the Territories to support the development of tailored Territory prison standards.

9. Border security

  1. We noted the challenges faced globally, including in some Territories, of rising levels of illegal migration and border security issues and the subsequent impacts on society. We welcomed the ongoing work by the UK Government, through the new CSSF funded Border Security Programme, to help build capacity and capability in these areas. We discussed opportunities to build upon cross/multi-agency working to enhance cooperation and increase capability within the Territories. We committed to sharing best practices and lessons learned. We reaffirmed our shared interest in combating threats to our borders by working in partnership across the Territories and with the UK Government.

10. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Instruments and Implementation (III) Code

  1. The UK reiterated that the representation of the UK and Overseas Territories in the international maritime arena is undertaken as a single entity by the UK on behalf of all and compliance with conventions is a shared collective responsibility.
  2. We recognise that a well-administered maritime infrastructure minimises the risks of a maritime incident in territorial seas and an up-to-date legislative framework provides the legal authority and enforcement powers to pursue the polluter to recover the high-level costs associated with such incidents. We continue to maintain our outstanding reputation for clean clear waters and promote our tourism with confidence. A successful III Code audit outcome will lay the foundations for future opportunities for the Territories through Blue Economies, for the Red Ensign Group to become a global leader on solutions for alternative marine technologies, and to share its expertise with others to drive forward improvements worldwide.
  3. The UK welcomed the ongoing commitment by the Territories to achieving III Code compliance and noted the investment in people and projects so far, whilst recognising the individual challenges. The UK reiterated its continued commitment to assisting the Territories through technical support and capacity building.

11. Environment/COP 26

  1. The Overseas Territories are the custodians of internationally important habitats, with rich and varied biodiversity, from Antarctica to the tropical oceans. Climate change and biodiversity loss has had, and will have, profound impacts on our natural environments, on our economies, and on our societies. Together we must act to tackle climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
  2. As coastal and island communities, our economies rely upon healthy and abundant marine environments. This year, Tristan da Cunha has put in place a vast marine protection zone, supported by the Blue Belt programme which now protects over 4 million square kilometers of ocean around the Territories. Building on the good work already undertaken, we will continue to enhance protection for our environments, both marine and terrestrial. The UK Government will meaningfully engage with the Overseas Territories to achieve local objectives that contribute to global targets for the environment, consistent with Sustainable Development Goals. Commitments to environmental funding such as Darwin Plus will support joint objectives to preserve the wonderful array of biodiversity across the Territories for generations to come, and to be an example to other communities in responding to the global biodiversity emergency.
  3. The Overseas Territories and the UK Government also pledged to work together to secure agreement on ambitious action to tackle climate change on a global scale at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. By the time of the COP26 Summit, each government endeavours to communicate a territory-led plan for climate change adaptation and mitigation, which contributes towards global carbon emission reductions. The UK Government and Overseas Territories will continue to work together closely in the lead up to COP26, to ensure the Overseas Territories’ interests are represented. As the host of COP26, the UK Government endeavours to offer the Overseas Territories opportunities to showcase their environmental initiatives at the summit, including in areas such as transitioning to renewable sources of energy and disposal of waste. For both biodiversity and climate change actions, the UK Government commits to provide the Overseas Territories with technical and financial assistance where this is required.
  4. The UK Government and Overseas Territories welcomed the opportunity to come together as a Joint Ministerial council as a virtual forum and the opportunity this afforded all to have frank and open discussions on areas of mutual interest. We reiterated our commitment to deepening our unique partnership and looked forward to meeting together in person when the opportunity allows.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, Court, COVID-19, Crime, Featured, Features, General, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, Security, UK - Brexit0 Comments

Express

Lords inflict defeat on Boris’ Brexit plans as plot to ditch EU state aid rules HALTED

BORIS JOHNSON has suffered a humiliating Brexit defeat as the House of Lords backed a Labour motion urging a delay to the dumping of EU state aid rules.

By LAURA O’CALLAGHAN | UPDATED: 12:35, Thu, Dec 3, 2020

Brexit: House of Lords ‘out to thwart’ process says Redwood

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Peers backed the regret motion by 278 votes to 258 in a ballot in the upper chamber on Wednesday evening. The vote marks an embarrassing defeat for the Government over a move to ditch EU state aid rules in the absence of an agreed new post-Brexit subsidy regime for the UK.ADVERTISING

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The vote comes just four weeks from the end of the Brexit transition period.

Ministers had argued with the ending of the period, Brussels would no longer have any jurisdiction in the UK and so “makes no sense to leave these rules on our statute book”.

Fierce criticism in the Lords came about in response to a Government regulation, which would see the UK from January 1 follow World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on subsidies and other international commitments agreed in free trade agreements, with the option to legislate for a home-grown system.

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The House of Lords has inflicted a blow to Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan (Image: GETTY)
Brexit news house of lords
One peer called the proposed move a ‘typical Brexit act’ (Image: GETTY)

The rumblings came after a Lords watchdog raised concerns over the plan to revoke the EU’s rules on state aid.

The group said the planned move appeared to be a shift from the previous Government’s position which had sought continuity.

The Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee also questioned the use of a ministerial order, known as a statutory instrument, to introduce the changes in policy on such important issues rather than primary legislation.

READ MORE: Brexit LIVE: Michel Barnier’s ‘huge miscalculation’ – no deal panic

Brexit news house of lords
An anti-Brexit campaigner calls for the transition period to be extended (Image: GETTY)

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In a statement, the Lords select committee said: “We take the view that this is neither a welcome nor acceptable use of secondary legislation.”

The vote comes amid intense post-Brexit trade talks between Michel Barnier and Lord Frost in London. 

With just weeks to go until the Brexit transition period deadline, both sides are battling it out to secure a free trade deal. 

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boris johnson
The Prime Minister suffered a humiliating defeat in the Lords (Image: GETTY)
Brexit news house of lords
Boris Johnson suffered the defeat in the upper chamber on Wednesday night (Image: GETTY)

Labour frontbencher Lord Stevenson of Balmacara said the WTO rules the Government is seeking to usher in are “widely discredited”.

He said: “We have no sense of where the Government wants to take their policy on state aid other than it cannot be the same as it has been under the EU.

“Removing a well-understood policy framework that has been in place for half a century and replacing it with a reliance on WTO rules, which are widely discredited seems a perverse way of making policy, even if the Government need more time before deciding what to do.”

britain's consitution
Britain’s constitution explained (Image: EXPRESS)

david frost
The vote in the Lords comes as Lord Frost holds talks with Michel Barnier (Image: GETTY)

He went on to argue there was a “powerful case” for delaying No10’s planned move.

He added: “This pause for reflection is what this regret motion in my name would achieve.”

Labour’s Lord Liddle, a former Europe adviser to Tony Blair, insisted the WTO rules did not amount to a “credible state aid regime”.

BARNIER
Michel Barnier pictured heading to Brexit trade talks in London (Image: GETTY)

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He summed up the Government’s rush to replace the EU’s regulations as a “typical Brexit act”.

Lord Liddle said: “It is a typical Brexit act taking a leap into the unknown without a clue of what actually you’re trying to achieve.”

But support for Mr. Johnson’s plan came from former Brexit Party MEP Baroness Fox of Buckley.

She called on the Government to “get rid of state aid rules as quickly as possible”.

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abc-NEWS

UK says Brexit trade talks with EU are in their ‘last week’

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TMR: What will be the outcome? It is coming down to the wire and there is still no certainty! Was this discussed at the just concluded JMC virtual meetings?

Britain’s foreign minister says there is only about a week left for the U.K. and the European Union to strike a post-Brexit trade deal, with fishing rights the major obstacle to agreement

By The Associated – 29 November 2020,

EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, centre, with his team as he walks to a conference centre in Westminster in London, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. Teams from Britain and the European Union are continuing face-to-face talks on a post-Brexit trade deal in t
The Associated PressEU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, centre, with his team as he walks to a conference centre in…

LONDON — Britain’s foreign minister said Sunday there is only about a week left for the U.K. and the European Union to strike a post-Brexit trade deal, with fishing rights the major obstacle to an agreement.

As talks continued between the two sides in London, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “I think we are into the last week or so of substantive negotiations.”

The U.K. left the EU early this year, but remained part of the 27-nation bloc’s economic embrace during an 11-month transition as the two sides tried to negotiate a new free-trade deal to take effect Jan. 1. Talks have already slipped past the mid-November date long set as a deadline for agreement to be reached if it is to be approved by lawmakers in Britain and the EU before year’s end.

Despite the stalemate, Raab told Sky News that “there’s a deal to be done.”

He said the two sides had made progress on “level playing field” issues — the standards the U.K. must meet to export into the EU.

The biggest hurdle appears to be fish, a small part of the economy with an outsized symbolic importance for Europe’s maritime nations. EU countries want their boats to be able to keep fishing in British waters, while the U.K. insists it must control access and quotas.

“On fisheries, there is a point of principle: As we leave the transition, we are an independent coastal state and we’ve got to be able to control our waters,” Raab said.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, who met through the weekend with U.K. counterpart David Frost, has said there are still “significant divergences.”

If there is no deal, New Year’s Day will bring huge disruption, with the overnight imposition of tariffs and other barriers to U.K.-EU trade. That will hurt both sides, but the burden will fall most heavily on Britain, which does almost half its trade with the EU.

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UK Family Of OTs Come Together On CORONAVIRUS, COP26 And The Economy

Premier Farrell middle in top rowUK family of Overseas Territories

FCDO Press Release: UK family of Overseas Territories come together on coronavirus, COP26, and the economy

The Joint Ministerial Council held virtually 23-26 November, has been a chance to celebrate the special partnership between the UK and the Overseas Territories (OTs).

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined elected leaders at the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC), and representatives from OTs and the UK held wide-ranging discussions on a number of topics, including economic issues, COVID-19 response, and recovery, protecting vulnerable groups and protecting the environment in both the run-up to and beyond COP26.

Leaders heard from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, ahead of discussions on the environment and COP26, showing the importance the UK puts on its relationship with the Overseas Territories and recognising their huge contribution to our biodiversity.

The UK outlined support for border security, prisons and criminal justice in the Overseas Territories.

At the conclusion of the JMC, UK Ministers and OT Leaders agreed a joint communique which can be found here.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, speaking at the opening of the JMC earlier this week said:

“The UK is absolutely committed to you, to your futures, and to our partnership.

“As we go forward and recover from this pandemic, we want to make sure that we build back greener and that we look after island economies that are so vulnerable to climate change.

“In spite of everything, of the difficulties we are going through, we remember that we are united by deep ties of kinship and friendship and history and values. We in the UK government are going to make sure we continue to intensify that partnership.”

Minister Morton, Minister responsible for Falklands and Gibraltar who chaired much of the Joint Ministerial Council, said:       

 “Our Overseas Territories are part of the UK family.  We take our responsibilities towards them extremely seriously, whether that means working with them to defend the OTs from threats, helping preserve the natural environment, or supporting OTs in times of crisis – as we have with COVID-19.  When we face global challenges we face them together”

The UK government remains committed to partnership with the Overseas Territories, and to working together so communities flourish as modern, prosperous, and strong democracies.

ENDS

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Express

Disaster for Boris as furious Tory rebels could BLOCK foreign aid spending cut

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REBEL Tories are plotting to block the Government’s bid to cut foreign aid spending from 0.7 percent of GDP a year to 0.5 percent, according to reports.

By Alex Shipman PUBLISHED: Thu, Nov 26, 2020 | UPDATED: Nov 26, 2020 114

Angry Conservative MPs, predominantly from the party’s liberal wing, are understood to be organising ahead of a vote in Parliament on the proposal. Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt and Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defense committee, have criticised the budget cut, which amounts to around £4bn less for aid spending.

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Mr. Hunt said: “To cut our aid budget by a third, in a year when millions more will fall into extreme poverty, will make not just them poorer but us poorer in the eyes of the world because people will worry that we are abandoning a noble idea that we in this country have done more to champion than anyone else.

Mr. Ellwood warned cutting the budget will “leave vacuums in some of the poorest parts of the world that will further poverty and instability”.

Andrew Mitchell, a former international development secretary, said the reduction in foreign aid “will be the cause of 100,000 preventable deaths, mainly among children”.

He added: “This is a choice I for one am not prepared to make and none of us in this house will be able to look our children in the eye and claim we did not know what we were voting for.”

Rishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the spending cut on Wednesday (Image: Getty)

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Jeremy Hunt is among MPs to criticise the move (Image: Getty)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the reduction in foreign aid on Wednesday.

He said the budget would be reduced to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product from 0.7 percent, prompting the resignation of Baroness Sugg, minister for sustainable development.

Mr. Sunak said: “During a domestic fiscal emergency, when we need to prioritise our limited resources on jobs and public services, sticking rigidly to spending 0.7 percent of our national income on overseas aid is difficult to justify to the British people, especially when we’re seeing the highest peacetime levels of borrowing on record.

“At a time of unprecedented crisis, the Government must make tough choices.”

READ MORE: Foreign aid budget cut was right thing to do, say Express readers (TMR: Not surprising from Montserrat)

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Andrew Mitchell also voiced disapproval of the cuts (Image: Getty) TMR: Visited Montserrat in 2011 with Sue Wardel and laid the ground-work for the eventual May 1, 2012, MOU with Montserrat

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The Government plans to increase the figure to 0.7% “when the fiscal situation allows”, Mr. Sunak said

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Baroness Sugg, who served as Number 10’s director of operations under David Cameron, described plans to abandon the 0.7 percent spend commitment as “fundamentally wrong”.

She wrote: “This promise should be kept in the tough times as well as the good.

“Given the link between our development spend and the health of our economy, the economic downturn has already led to significant cuts this year and I do not believe we should reduce our support further at a time of unprecedented global crisis.”

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Tobias Ellwood

Tobisa Ellwood said cuts will “leave vacuums in some of the poorest parts of the world” (Image: Getty)

The Archbishop of Canterbury made a rare political intervention branding the move “shameful and wrong”

The Archbishop of Canterbury branded the move “shameful and wrong” (Image: Getty)

Backbenchers Pauline Latham and Peter Bottomley have also criticised the move.

Miss Latham said it could cause “more child marriages, more instances of early childbirth, more FGM, more domestic violence”.

However other Tory MPs, including the Conservative Party deputy chair Lee Rowley, supported the move.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight he commented: “0.5% remains a substantial amount of money, supporting the poorest around the world and helping them to grow.”

Baroness Sugg resigns after announcement of cut to foreign aid

The Archbishop of Canterbury made a rare political intervention branding the move, “shameful and wrong”.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said: “The cut in the aid budget – made worse by no set date for restoration – is shameful and wrong. It’s contrary to numerous Government promises and its manifesto.

“I join others in urging MPs to reject it for the good of the poorest, and the UK’s own reputation and interest.”

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has described the cut as a “very sad moment” for Britain.

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Foreign aid backlash: Minister resigns after Boris announces major cut

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FOREIGN Office minister Baroness Liz Sugg has resigned over the Government’s plan to cut foreign aid.

By Steven Brown PUBLISHED: Wed, Nov 25, 2020 | UPDATED: 17:42, Wed, Nov 25, 2020 563

Christmas grinch caught during festive rampage

Baroness Liz Sugg has resigned from her junior ministerial role after the Government announced plans to abandon a Conservative manifesto commitment to fund the foreign aid budget. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced he would cut the budget from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent.

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In a lengthy letter to the Prime Minister, she said it was “fundamentally wrong” to abandon the commitment to spend 0.7 percent of “gross national income” on development. 

She wrote: “This promise should be kept in the tough times as well as the good.

“Given the link between our development spend and the health of our economy, the economic downturn has already led to significant cuts this year and I do not believe we should reduce our support further at a time of unprecedented global crisis.

“For me, as for many in our Party and the country, it is a source of great pride that the United Kingdom has been a development superpower and contributed so much to the world.

Baroness Liz Sugg resigns from Foreign Office

Baroness Liz Sugg resigns from Foreign Office (Image: Getty)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces foreign aid cut

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces foreign aid cut (Image: PA)

“Our support and leadership in development have saved and changed millions of lives.

“It has also been firmly in our national interest as we tackle global issues, such as the pandemic, climate change, and conflict.

“Cutting UK aid risks undermining your efforts to promote a Global Britain and will diminish our power to influence other nations to do what is right.

“I cannot support or defend this decision, it is therefore right that I tender my resignation.”

READ MORE: Well done, Boris! Brexiteer celebrates foreign aid cut – ‘Ignore them’

Boris thanks Baroness Sugg for her work

Boris thanks Baroness Sugg for her work (Image: Getty)

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “extremely grateful” for her service as a Government minister.

He wrote: “Your work has made a difference to millions of girls around the world, and will stand us in good stead for the Global Partnership for Education replenishment event next year.

“In addition, your leadership and rigor in the lead up to and during the Africa Investment Summit made it the enormous success it was.

“Your passion and commitment to your work have been clear to civil servants and ministerial colleagues, and I know that the FCDO will miss you.”

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on foreign aid

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on foreign aid (Image: Getty)

Her resignation comes after the Chancellor told the Commons the economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic meant “sticking rigidly to spending 0.7 percent of our national income on overseas aid is difficult to justify to the British people”.

Under legislation passed by former Prime Minister David Cameron, the UK is committed in law to spend 0.7 percent of gross national income on foreign aid every year.

Last month, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab insisted the foreign aid should be “anchored” to the UK national interest.

Speaking to The Times, Mr. Raab said: “It’s right to say that when you invest in large sums of money in order to pursue a sustainable partnership, there needs to be something anchored to the UK national interest.

Rishi Sunak cuts foreign aid budget

Rishi Sunak cuts foreign aid budget (Image: Downing Street)

“So, we’ll look at all of the areas, whether it’s trade, whether it’s the military assets that were deployed, and see how we can effectively synergise all of those strains with the aid money going in.

“They’re not siloed, they shouldn’t be, whether it’s pursuing our moral interest or our national interest.

“We think that’s the right thing to do.”

In July, it was revealed a staggering £71million of taxpayers’ money was given to Beijing in just one year, despite China having the second-largest economy in the world.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron

Former Prime Minister David Cameron (Image: Getty)

The staggering figure was buried in the Department for International Development’s annual report.

The report found the £71.6million payment to China was sent via a combination of direct British aid and a share of funding the UK gives to the likes of the United Nations and EU, who then distribute it.

Mr. Raab said £3billion would be cut from the aid budget next year, with the axe falling on countries such as China.

Baroness Sugg’s resignation comes after several high-profile civil servants and senior aides have left their position.

Earlier this month, Mr. Johnson’s most senior aide Dominic Cummings announced he was stepping down from his position just days after ally Lee Cain also resigned.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

Follow the money

The following are just a few excerpts of an article subscribed to TMR and which we will publish fully in the next issue.

by Capt Inspector John

As you have already more than likely suspected by now, there exists a global crime syndicate that has been controlling the global banking system, and by extension, everything on the planet, for a long time. Irrefutable proof can be found in the bad guys’ playbook ‘Pawns In The Game’, written by William Guy Carr, a Canadian naval flag officer.
You will discover everything that has happened since 1774 is covered in this playbook. We know the global crime syndicate has drawn on this playbook, and used the exact same plays, for centuries. Carr documents it comes with documents and eye witness testimony.
It is always about the money.

The global crime syndicate is controlled by the Rothchild central banks. The Rothchild central banks are closely associated with the Vatican crime syndicate. The Jesuits, the military arm of the Vatican, controls the Vatican. The Jesuits control the city of London. The city of London controls the United States, the freemasons, and the Crown Temple B.A.R.

Other major players of the global crime syndicate include the Khazarian Mafia, Illuminati, Council of 300, Council on Foreign Relations, and the Bilderbergers. Collectively, these entities control every penny on the planet.
So what has this all got to do with David Brandt? Let me explain.

First off I will confess my favorable bias toward David Brandt. I was very close friends for years with his ( now deceased) brother Randy, while we both lived in St Thomas. I met Mr. Brandt, his wife, and his daughter in St. Thomas. I found them all to be very nice, honest, salt of the earth type folks, with no pretensions.

When Randy passed away, I contacted Mr. Brandt to inform him of the details. Since I had no contact info on Mr. Brandt, I contacted the Montserrat Reporter for assistance in getting this info to Mr. Brandt. Within 15 minutes of my sending that email, Mr. Brandt called me. I am grateful to the Montserrat Reporter for their amazing assistance in this matter. That is the last time I spoke to Mr. Brandt.

When Mr. Brandt was in St Thomas I offered a proposal. So, at the end of HPRP, I had a large group of vetted, seasoned, hard-working, professional contractors. This was shortly after the volcano blew, and Montserrat was desperate for housing.

I proposed to Mr. Brandt that I could bring these contractors to Montserrat to rebuild. We would be self-sufficient and would require no government assistance of any kind. Not a penny.

Mr. Brandt liked the idea. Sadly, he was unable to get past the British corruption to make that happen.

Follow the money. FYI, I just read the Montserrat Reporter editorials going back to 2015. There is no difference about the type of corruption, and who controls it, in any country on the planet. It is exactly the same in England, and the U.S., as it is in Montserrat.

Why? Nothing happens without the involvement of banks. Mr. Brandt could not get past the global crime syndicate control of everything. And that everything controlled what aid may be given to Montserrat.

My point, at all times, I derived from the facts, and discerned with my heart, that Mr. Brandt was deeply dedicated to the welfare of Montserrat, and its people. He did not ask anything for himself in my presence.

So! How is it, that in such a tiny place as Montserrat, that someone of the stature of David Brandt, could be charged with sexual misconduct 10 years ago, 5 years ago, and 1 year ago, and be incarcerated, and still have no trial, or conviction? Follow the money.

How is it possible to hide such crimes for so long in so small a place, by such a high profile figure? Follow the money.

I submit to you, that at the bottom of this story is pedophilia, human and child trafficking, aka white slavery. Why do I say this?

To be Continued

Posted in Columns, Court, Crime, General, International, Local, Police, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

UK Caribbean Deportations to Go Ahead

UK Caribbean Deportations to Go Ahead

St. Kitts-Nevis Observer

By snr-editor – February 10, 2020

Rishi Sunak

A senior minister has defended a plan to deport 50 people toJamaica despite widespread calls to halt the flight chartered by the Home Office.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak insisted today that those being forcibly removed had committed “very serious offences” and their deportations were “reasonable”.

It comes after more than 150 cross-party MPs and peers, including Jeremy Corbyn, wrote to Boris Johnson calling on him to stop tomorrow’s flight.

One man facing deportation is 30-year-old Reshawn Davis (pictured above).

He was convicted of robbery 10 years ago and served a two-month jail sentence for the offence.

Mr. Davis has lived in the UK since he was 11 and if deported tomorrow, would have to leave behind his British wife and daughter – he has said he is “terrified” at the thought of returning to Jamaica.

This is the second flight to Jamaica after the Windrush Scandal, when it emerged that dozens of people had been wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office.

In wake of the controversy, the government suspended charter flights as they could not guarantee that no wrongful deportations would take place.

The protest was organised by Nottingham East Labour MP Nadia Whittome, who warned that the government could repeat the mistakes of Windrush.

In the letter she said the deportation was intended to oust people who have been resident in the UK for decades and argued that deportations should be halted until a report into the Windrush controversy is released.

The MP said: “The fact is that many of the individuals in question have lived in the UK since they were children and at least 41 British children are now at risk of losing their fathers through this charter flight.

“The government risks repeating the mistakes of the Windrush scandal unless it cancels this flight and others like it until the Windrush Lessons Learned Review has been published and its recommendations implemented.”

But Mr Sunak said he believes the flight is “right” and the British public would expect foreign national offenders to be deported.

“What that plane is about is deporting foreign national criminals. Many of these people have committed crimes such as manslaughter, rape, other very serious offences,” he told Sky News.

Tajay Thompson came to the UK when he was five and has only visited Jamaica twice since

Another facing deportation to Jamaica is 23-year-old Tajay Thompson, who was convicted of a Class A drug offence as a teenager.

Mr. Thompson was brought to Britain as a five-year-old and lives with his mother and younger brother in south London, having only visited Jamaica twice on holidays since.

“I feel like I was born here. Jamaica is not my country,” he said.

“It’s not like I’m a rapist or a murderer, I’ve made a mistake when I was 17 and it’s now going to affect my whole life.”

Human Rights Appeal

An appeal has been renewed for Human Rights organisations worldwide to come to the aid of Caribbean immigrants who are the direct victims of the Windrush scandal.

Foreign Affairs Minister for Antigua and Barbuda EP Chet Greene echoed the call on Sunday on the Big Issues as the UK government gets ready to deport Caribbean nationals, some of whom arrived in the UK as children, and are parents of British children.

A flight, which is expected to depart the UK for Jamaica on Tuesday with approximately 60 deportees on board, is reportedly the second since the Windrush scandal erupted about two years ago.

“We are calling on all those rights organisations to come to the aid of the Caribbean people in the face of this wicked, very vindictive, very unlawful act on the part of the British government of deporting persons who have equity and stake in Britain,” Greene said.

The Windrush scandal erupted in 2018 when it came to light that some migrants from Commonwealth countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, who were encouraged to settle in the UK from the late 1940s to 1973, were being wrongly categorised as “illegal immigrants.”

News of the move sent shockwaves throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the Commonwealth, with many pundits raising alarm over the decision.

Posted in Court, Culture, Features, International, Legal, Local, News, Politics, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

Comparison-voting-patterns-2014-HT-Wikipedia-1

MNI: Post-Election reflections and challenges, 2019

November 29, 2019

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

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.

Comparison: voting patterns 2014 (HT: Wikipedia)

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.

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 much 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 defence 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, 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, the 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” are of particular value.

Especially, where £30 million under the CIPREG programme and another £14.4 million for the sea port 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.)

Posted in CARICOM, Columns, De Ole Dawg, Elections, Local, News, OECS, UK - Brexit0 Comments

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