Archive | Opinions

express_logo_christmas

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

express_logo_christmas
Reprint

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.

Trending

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!”

Promoted Story

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)

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

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)

Related articles

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.

DON’T MISS
‘Sore loser’ Lord Adonis blasted as he calls on UK to get back in EU [VIDEO]

Merkel backs Johnson’s Brexit deal as Germany gloats over EU27 unity [REVEALED]
How UK will have to negotiate with EVERY EU country in 2021 [INSIGHT]

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.

Related articles

Recommended Stories

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Features, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, Technology, TOURISM, Travel, UK - Brexit0 Comments

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 

more videos

RELATED ARTICLES

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

more videos

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. 

Read more:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9086051/Boris-Johnson-hails-historic-Canada-style-trade-deal-EU.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ico=taboola_feed_desktop_news

Share or comment on this article:

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

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Culture, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, TOURISM, UK - Brexit0 Comments

express_logo_christmas

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

express_logo_christmas
Reprint
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

Brexit
Brexit talks are ongoing today (Image: Express Newspapers )

Related articles

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:  
EU Parliament ABANDONS emergency Brexit vote after deadline missed [REVEAL]   
Michel Barnier sets NEW Brexit deadline – No deal looms [INSIGHT]  
Boris Johnson confronts Michel Barnier after EU chief sidelined [LATEST]

Trade deal

Boris Johnson said any trade deal should respect “UK sovereignty” (Image: Getty)

Related articles

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.

Related articles

Brexit NewsEuropean UnionMichel Barnier

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

Covid-WhatsApp-Image-2020-03-20-at-5.36.34-PM

14-day quarantine period required for all travelers to Montserrat

As the Government of Montserrat (GoM) continues its vigilance in attempting to keep the island COVID-19 (and any variant thereof) free after its demonstrated ignorance or its lacking of alertness at the beginning and before the pandemic announcement.

According to the following release of a decision, “in light of concerns regarding a new variant of COVID-19 which was recently discovered in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe,” GoM has decreed that all persons “traveling to Montserrat will be required to quarantine for 14 days…”

The release dated Wednesday, December 23, 2020, follows:

 –  As of 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020, all persons traveling to Montserrat will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

This decision was made in Cabinet this morning, in light of concerns regarding a new variant of COVID-19 which was recently discovered in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, and which Health Experts say can spread more quickly than prior strains of the virus. 

As a result, Cabinet has decided that, except for those classes of people who are specifically exempted under S.R.O 80 of 2020, all other individuals arriving in Montserrat must quarantine for the full 14 days, including those staying in Government approved quarantine facilities.

Those exempted from the quarantine requirement are: Non-Resident Technicians granted permission to travel to Montserrat; a member of the crew of an aircraft or ship; and a person who has been granted permission by the Minister of Health to enter Montserrat for the purpose of aiding with preparations for a disaster or after a disaster.

Individuals traveling to Montserrat are reminded that a negative PCR COVID-19 Test and pre-travel registration are still required prior to entering Montserrat.  The PCR COVID-19 Test must be undertaken no earlier than seven days prior to entering Montserrat.

Members of the public are also urged to continue practicing the recommended health and safety precautionary measures, to include wearing a face covering, social distancing, and sanitisation.

As the Government of Montserrat (GoM) continues its vigilance in attempting to keep the island COVID-19 (and any variant thereof) free after its demonstrated ignorance or its lacking of alertness at the beginning and before the pandemic announcement.

According to the following release of a decision, “in light of concerns regarding a new variant of COVID-19 which was recently discovered in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe,” GoM has decreed that all persons “traveling to Montserrat will be required to quarantine for 14 days,”

The release dated Wednesday, December 23, 2020, follows:

 –  As of 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020, all persons traveling to Montserrat will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

This decision was made in Cabinet this morning, in light of concerns regarding a new variant of COVID-19 which was recently discovered in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, and which Health Experts say can spread more quickly than prior strains of the virus. 

As a result, Cabinet has decided that, except for those classes of people who are specifically exempted under S.R.O 80 of 2020, all other individuals arriving in Montserrat must quarantine for the full 14 days, including those staying in Government approved quarantine facilities.

Those exempted from the quarantine requirement are: Non-Resident Technicians granted permission to travel to Montserrat; a member of the crew of an aircraft or ship; and a person who has been granted permission by the Minister of Health to enter Montserrat for the purpose of aiding with preparations for a disaster or after a disaster.

Individuals traveling to Montserrat are reminded that a negative PCR COVID-19 Test and pre-travel registration are still required prior to entering Montserrat.  The PCR COVID-19 Test must be undertaken no earlier than seven days prior to entering Montserrat.

Members of the public are also urged to continue practicing the recommended health and safety precautionary measures, to include wearing a face covering, social distancing, and sanitisation.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Environment, Featured, Government Notices, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, TOURISM, Travel0 Comments

Joe-and-Jill-Biden-1

The USA finally, new President Joe Biden

Heralding in first woman of colour Vice President Kamala Harris

By Bennette Roach from reports

President and Vice President electJoe Biden and Kamala Harris

Besides not having the resources to publish a print copy of the newspaper, publishing the news of the result of the US 2020 Presidential election online was difficult. This was particularly so because of the uncertainty created by the outgoing president’s ability to bring reality to his threats whereby he promised he will not accept his loss at the polls.

Before going further and pulling quotes from 2016 we invite readers to follow this link where we headlined Donald Trump – new USA president: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/donald-trump-new-usa-president/

Joe Biden was elected president of the United States, after his projected victory in Pennsylvania took him over the winning line.

With all states projected, President-elect Biden has 306 electoral college votes and Donald Trump has 232. A candidate needs 270 or more to win.
Mr. Biden will become the 46th president in January, following the outcome of all legal challenges.

Joe Biden and wife Dr. Jill Biden

Even requested recounts in some areas, such as Georgia, where Mr. Biden had a lead of almost 15,000 votes did not change the outcome for the winners.

Kamala Harris, Vice President elect

Mr. Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, will make history as the first woman vice-president, as well as the first black and the first Asian American vice-president.

Continuing, And, so it was! Although President Donald Trump and his wild lawyers, republicans, and supporters, seemingly exhausted every means of reversing what the majority of the voters (via the electoral college) had overwhelmingly decided, today the US Supreme Court once again in a ruling denied their efforts.

Quickly, so sure was the people living the reality that Joe Biden was indeed the president-elect, with Trump’s White House officials afraid of Trump’s, call it anything, from ire, selfishness to wickedness and stupidity, based on all the reports, debunked where necessary, the processes leading up to the inauguration of the new president Joe Biden, four years ago Obamas Vice President, will be sworn in.

US Election 2020: Results and exit poll in maps and charts – BBC News

It cannot be news to anyone by now, who must have heard, read or seen the news on TV or online, certainly at www.themontserratreporter.com and our social media platforms, Facebook, etc. that history was made at the end of the long counting of the votes, caused by pandemic, with Kamala Harris as America’s first Black, Indian and female vice president.

Writer Andrew Naughtie of the Independent records, “Despite Donald Writer Andrew Naughtie of the Independent records, “Despite Donald Trump’s furious insistence to the contrary, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won the US election, far surpassing the 270 electoral votes needed to carry them to the White House.

Theirs is an unprecedented election victory in an unprecedented year. But Mrs. Harris, the California senator whose parents immigrated to America from Jamaica and India, will make a particular kind of history as the first woman, and the first person of color, to be elected as vice-president of the United States.”

Naughtie writes further about Harris: “The vice president-elect was born to an Indian mother, Shyamala Gopalan, and Jamaican father, Donald Harris, in 1964 and spent her early years in Berkeley, California.

After her early childhood in California, she moved to Canada when her mother took a job at McGill University in Montreal. She went on to attend Howard University in Washington, DC before returning to San Francisco for law school, passing the bar in 1990.

While her career as a prosecutor, district attorney, and state attorney general in California has drawn criticism from portions of the progressive left, her family background has thrilled many Black Americans and Indian-Americans – helping drive a massive fundraising haul for the ticket. 
She has also received a warm reception in her mother’s homeland. In the days before the election, residents of her ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram, in Tamil Nadu in India, prayed for her success.

Harris was the second black woman [not too long ago] to be elected to the senate after Illinois’s Carol Moseley Braun, who served one term in the 1990s.

Looking back, and on, everything about Trump’s presidency will be remembered, soon by all, was dishonest – wreaking Trumpism, cultism… Words now thrown around, but would not have if a little decency or willingness to do what he claims, upholding the American Constitution, all of which is only more evidence of those choice words.

James Wagstaffe wrote a week after the November 3 polling, “Bottom line: you must have specific and credible evidence before you can file a lawsuit. And no surprise that the judges hearing these cases almost uniformly have and will continue to say “show me” or you’re out of here.”

And, even then, when SCOTUS continued or expectedly ended the fraud and evidenceless claims, “The president further declared, in an all-caps tweet that “WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT!!!”

Early Follow-up: https://www.justsecurity.org/73367/trump-has-a-right-to-pursue-legal-challenges-to-election-but-not-without-the-facts/

Showing hope for ‘Democracy’, Americans by electing Joe Biden or removing Trump, Justice Security has presented this week articles mostly on issues (Constitutional some) affecting changes following ‘Trumpism’. https://www.justsecurity.org/73830/recap-of-recent-articles-on-just-security-dec-5-11/

US Election 2020: Results and exit poll in maps and charts – BBC News

Posted in Elections, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics0 Comments

Could this be the reason for abuse by offended parties?

Could this be the reason for abuse by offended parties?

December 6, 2019
Reprint – December 11, 2929

The electorate showed their expectations in the result

This Editorial is reprinted because of some strange comments directed at the Editor during following a press conference held in Seprember past. The comments were in response to an inquiry to which no direct response was given but a reference to an article/editorial in “November or just following the 2019 general elections.”
There is also reprinted a column article in an effort to discover if that might have been the offending article.
These are presented as as they were before and we contend that like almost always the opinions, analysis, and facts presented are intended as presented. We then challenge the offended party or parties to present to us after a second read exactly what they have found offensive, untrue or even disagreable.

There aren’t many who think of the seriousness, or of the importance of the election of men and women who will represent and lead them in the affairs of governing them and their land.

But when one reads the following from one of a series of articles which have appeared in TMR over the past several months, again it would take those interested in the seriousness and the reality of the men and women of whom this refers to understand that a general election is indeed a serious thing.

The few lines read: “…if our “permanent government” – the senior civil service – is “not fit for purpose” (as former Governor Carriere said in an unguarded, frank moment) then we are going to be hampered every step of the way by lack of capacity, foot-dragging, outright incompetence, and even corruption. And if many candidates for election are cut from the same roll of cloth,[1] that will only multiply the problem.

“For elections to work, we need to have a choice of credible, competent, good-character candidates with sound policy proposals, and if policies are to be implemented, our senior civil service will need drastic reforms led by Cabinet. We will have to fix the DfID-FCO side of the problem, too.“

This part of the problem is why, over the past several years, months and weeks, here at TMR we have looked at the needed Charter of Good Governance and Development Partnership MoU with the UK; which have actually been on the table for several years but were obviously road-blocked. Such agreements and such Resolutions of our Assembly would give us tools to drain the murky waters so beloved of swamp-dwelling chaos-dragons . . . that’s how they can lurk in ambush.

A capacity-building component would help us build a new generation of policy and political leadership. The creation of a priority transformational programme with agreed “catalytic” infrastructure-building projects supported by designated expediters and sound PRINCE2-style governance systems would then move us beyond the stop, study, start, stop, restudy pattern. For sure, without a protected seaport, without an improved airport, without fibre optic cable digital access and without developed geothermal energy, we are a poor investment and growth prospect.

We would like to offer that although towards the end of the PDM government’s term in office the Legislature was divided 5-4 just as the incoming MCAP government will experience, it is in many ways not the same as that experienced by the former MCAP government of 2009-2014. The Reuben T Meade’s government had three newcomers to his government to the six members at the beginning but ended up with two newbies as this government begins with. This government has four experienced parliamentarians in opposition.

The expectations for this new MCAP team can be reflected in the outcome of the election particularly that during this campaign there were some very key issues that were barely mentioned if at all. Good knowledge of all of which will be very vital to any future success or progress that this struggling island could enjoy.

We hope to take the lead in bringing these seriously to the fore in a brand new and hopefully challenging way as the early months of this new Legislature’s reign.

[1] TMR: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/we-need-a-new-politics-of-truth-soundness-and-national-consensus/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9066069/Woke-folk-beware-Freedom-speech-includes-right-offend-say-judges-landmark-ruling.html

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, De Ole Dawg, Editorial, Elections, International, Local, News, Opinions, Politics, Regional0 Comments

20190214_140728-new-1

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

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, De Ole Dawg, International, Local, News, Opinions, Politics, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

Sauce for de Goose...But, not for de Gander?

Sauce for de Goose…But, not for de Gander?

Part 107 – 06/2020 (Contribution)

BRADES, Montserrat, December 14, 2020 –  In Britain, the Bird served at table for Christmas Day was often a Goose, not a Turkey. The male Goose (the Gander), of course, can be cooked up just as nicely, and it makes sense to use the same sauce. That’s where the saying comes from. Here in the Caribbean, we might note that the same knife used for a sheep can be used for a goat too; and both can be used to make our national dish, Goat Water.

Those of us who have monitored political commentary for the past few years will of course immediately spot the point. For years, members of our present Government hammered away at the last Government, week by week, even accusing it of “bamboozling” the Budget.  That’s another way of saying, fraud; a pretty serious charge.  Meanwhile, we are yet to hear a sound, detailed explanation for the nineteen ($19) million dollar reduction in the hole in the budget, but that was dealt with by TMR last time.

What we need to look at today is the reaction of the new government to, much milder criticism than what it dished out, week by week, year by year, when somebody else was in the hot seat. For, there has been talk of threats to shut down a popular call-in show which has become a place where various members of the public have aired their displeasure with the new government and its handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Admittedly, could be a difficult challenge.

Even more interesting was the sudden rediscovery by members of the public that indeed, the UK has confirmed that the reasonable assistance needs of Overseas Territories have a first call on the UK Development budget. That, used to be laughed to scorn, and the counter-point that sixty percent [60%] of salaries of members of the legislature and civil servants came from the UK, honouring that commitment, was typically sidestepped.

Perhaps, we can learn from how it feels when the shoe is on the other foot. (This saying likely comes from the 1700s where the fashion was to have both shoes looking the same, so after a time, one needed to swop over which foot one put a given shoe on, lest it becomes misshapen. Ouch! We have long since learned that it is a better idea to have left foot and right foot shoes.)

In an oddly related development, the UK’s now-former Development Minister in the newly fused FCDO – DfID is no more – resigned due to the Government’s declared intent to cut the 0.7 percent development aid target to 0.5 percent[1]:

Elizabeth Sugg, who was minister for overseas territories and sustainable development and special envoy for girls’ education — a priority area of government development policy — said she “cannot support or defend” the decision to lower the aid budget to 0.5% of GNI.

In her resignation letter, she wrote: “I believe it is fundamentally wrong to abandon our commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on development. This promise should be kept in the tough times as well as the good … 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 crises.” [Devex dot com]

As Devex continued, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, “pledged to return to spending 0.7% on aid ‘when the fiscal situation allows.’ ” 

It added that “prime ministers, secretaries of state, and backbench Conservative MPs were among those who kicked back against the government’s decision, saying it was a breach of the party’s commitments — maintaining the 0.7% spending target was a Conservative manifesto pledge — and would undermine the U.K.’s international position. ”

Indeed, former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, who resigned when he lost the Brexit referendum, said “[the 0.7 percent pledge] said something great about Britain . . . we were actually going to do something about [global challenges], we were going to lead, we were going to show the rest of the world . . .  and I think it’s sad we’re standing back from that.”

In short, there is some seriousness about the development aid pledge. 

Similarly, when the “poverty reduction” criterion is given an exception for OT’s in Section 2 of the UK International Development Act, 2002,[2]  it sets up what was pledged ten years later on p. 13 of the 2012 FCO White Paper on OT’s[3]:

“The UK Government’s fundamental responsibility and objective are to ensure the security and good governance of the Territories and their peoples. This responsibility flows from international law including the Charter of the United Nations. It also flows from our shared history and political commitment to the wellbeing of all British nationals. This requires us, among other things, to promote the political, economic, social, and educational advancement of the people of the Territories, to ensure their just treatment and their protection against abuses, and to develop self-government and free political institutions in the Territories. The reasonable assistance needs of the Territories are a first call on the UK’s international development budget.

This is actually a longstanding pledge and is a key plank for our development aid negotiations. Especially, as we are not generally eligible for aid from other donor agencies. Under UN Charter, Article 73, the UK is our main development aid partner.  This is a key point for any future Premier to bear in mind.

Also, what Article 73 of the UN Charter[4] – which the UK here acknowledges as having legal force – actually says is that the UK is to “ensure” political, economic, social, and educational advancement and is to “promote” constructive measures of development. All of this, was always only a few clicks away on the Internet. There is no excuse for the dismissive rhetoric and ridicule for several years; rhetoric that now stands in the way of acknowledging that this is the way forward to sound relief and stimulus to break out of Covid-19 stagnation.

(A year later, we can also see why the UN Article 73, Committee of Twenty-Four decolonisation visit that was fought for so hard by the previous government was absolutely pivotal. But due to much the same ill-advised rhetoric, it was dismissed by too many of our political voices. What a difference a year makes!)

Let us see how we can work to find a good way forward.

Yes, it is clear that sauce for the Goose is sauce for the Gander, too.


[1] See, https://www.devex.com/news/uk-minister-resigns-as-senior-conservative-mps-condemn-end-to-0-7-aid-budget-98643

[2] See, https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/1/part/1

[3] See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/32952/ot-wp-0612.pdf

[4] See, https://legal.un.org/repertory/art73.shtml

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, De Ole Dawg, International, Local, News, Politics0 Comments

image-6

Ministers mull ‘Tier 4’ crackdown after Christmas with commuting banned, non-essential shops shut and schools closed an extra week – after Boris Johnson plunged 38 million into Tier 3 AND warned No Deal is ‘very likely’

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

Friday, Dec 18 2020

6 AM 11°C 9 AM 11°C 5-Day Forecast

  • Tier Three restrictions extended yesterday, plunging 38 million people into the new year under the toughest curbs
  • Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in Tier 3 tomorrow along with Manchester and the North East
  • Experts fear decisions will not be enough to avert more draconian measures due to Covid surging in England
  • It comes as Boris Johnson warned a No Deal Brexit is ‘very likely’ if the EU does not budge overfishing rules 

By James Robinson for MailOnline and Jason Groves And Claire Ellicott For The Daily Mail and James Tapsfield Political Editor For Mailonline and Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline

Ministers are mulling over a ‘Tier 4’ crackdown after Christmas, with commuting banned, non-essential shops shut and schools closed an extra week, as officials search for new plans to keep Covid case numbers under control.

Tier Three restrictions were extended yesterday so that two thirds of homes in England ¿ and 38million people ¿ can now expect to go into the new year under the toughest curbs. Pictured: Boris Johnson yesterday speaking with Ursula von der Leyen
Pictured: Boris Johnson yesterday speaking with Ursula von der Leyen. Tier Three restrictions were extended yesterday so that two-thirds of homes in England – and 38 million people – can now expect to go into the new year under the toughest curbs.

As Boris Johnson last night gave the green light to plunge large swathes of England’s Home Counties into Tier 3 – bringing the number of people living under the toughest restrictions to 38 million – Government officials revealed even tougher measures could be on the way. 

The areas of southern England will join London in the highest tier tomorrow, while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases. 

Tory MP Rob Butler said yesterday’s tier moves heralded ‘the bleakest of midwinters, especially for hospitality businesses’.

His comments came as Prime Minister last night warned a No Deal Brexit is ‘very likely’ unless the EU gives ground on trade talks. 

Despite yesterday’s announcement of increasing restrictions on large parts of the country, experts fear the decisions will not be enough to avert more draconian measures because Covid is surging nationally.   

A Whitehall official told the Times: ‘There is a case for going further than Tier 3 and it is getting stronger.

‘[That could mean] closure of non-essential retail, stay-at-home orders. That would have to be actively considered in conversation with the local authority.’

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has previously endorsed a ‘Tier 4’ as a way of tightening restrictions in order to control the virus.

Wales meanwhile is going into another lockdown on December 28 and Northern Ireland last night backed plans for a six-week shutdown starting on Boxing Day.

Scottish leaders said that tougher virus restrictions after Christmas – including a lockdown – were a ‘possibility’. 

Teachers were last night told that they will have to help mass test millions of secondary school pupils – while in other developments:

Pictured: A map of England’s tiers: Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in the highest tier tomorrow while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases.
  • Rishi Sunak extended until May the £5billion-a-month furlough scheme amid fears that tough virus restrictions could extend beyond Easter;
  • Fears of a third wave mounted as daily Covid cases jumped again to 35,383, although this included 11,000 from Wales which were not recorded earlier this month because of a computer glitch;
  • London emerged as the new Covid hotspot with 319.3 cases per 100,000 people in the week to December 13, up more than 50 percent from 199.9 in the previous week;
  • Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned that the combined impact of Covid and lockdowns would have a ‘substantial’ impact on health, education, and poverty for years;
  • Mr. Johnson warned that Brexit talks were now in a ‘serious situation’ following a phone call with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen – although fishing rights now seem to be the only major sticking point;
  • Priti Patel urged families to cancel Christmas plans that involve traveling long distances, as Labour called for the five-day festive amnesty to be axed altogether;
  • Matt Hancock said the situation in Kent had become so dire that everyone in the county should now ‘behave as if they have the virus and are trying not to pass it on to somebody else’;
  • Former minister Tobias Ellwood apologised after Downing Street criticised him for breaching Covid restrictions by speaking at a Christmas dinner attended by 27 people.

Read full click here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9065485/Boris-Johnson-warns-No-Deal-likely-plunging-38-million-Tier-3-lockdown-misery.html?ito=push-notification&ci=61134&si=21848963

And, BREXIT update: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9064869/Boris-Johnson-Ursula-von-der-Leyen-set-Brexit-call-tonight.html?ito=push-notification&ci=61071&si=21848963

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

Copy link

Brexit LIVE: Boris finds solution to major obstacle in talks – Brexiteers ‘will be happy’

THE UK is “heading towards” a Brexit deal with the EU that will make eurosceptics happy.

By Brian McGleenon

Copy link

Nigel Farage reveals his ‘fear’ over Brexit

The news of a possible breakthrough of the months-long deadlock came in the last hour. The BBC’s political editor Nicholas Watt tweeted: “Big buzz in the last hour among Tory MPs that the UK is heading towards a Brexit deal with the EU. Eurosceptics being reassured they will be happy.” Mr. Watt added: “Nothing confirmed yet and MPs saying: many a slip between cup and lip. But MPs being told the signal will come if and when Jacob Rees-Mogg announces that the commons will sit on Monday and Tuesday next week. That would come before any UK / EU announcement.”

Related articles

He also tweeted: “Interesting to see an informal cabinet push to reassure veteran Brexiteers. “They are being told their concerns have been addressed.

The news of a possible breakthrough of the months-long deadlock came in the last hour. The BBC’s political editor Nicholas Watt tweeted: “Big buzz in the last hour among Tory MPs that the UK is heading towards a Brexit deal with the EU. Eurosceptics being reassured they will be happy.” Mr. Watt added: “Nothing confirmed yet and MPs saying: many a slip between cup and lip. But MPs being told the signal will come if and when Jacob Rees-Mogg announces that the commons will sit on Monday and Tuesday next week. That would come before any UK / EU announcement.”

“Key issue is over the level playing field a mechanism in which EU and UK would observe common rules but in a way that would respect sovereignty.”

The UK is heading towards a deal with the EU a BBC correspondent has said
The UK is heading towards a deal with the EU a BBC correspondent has said (Image: GETTY)

This news comes after reports the two sides in negotiations have failed to agree to substantial elements of a deal this week, sparking anger in Brussels.

As it stands, the issues of fair competition, fisheries, and governance still remain the main areas of divergence between Michel Barnier and Lord David Frost.

However, other substantial elements within the deal, such as the Erasmus+ exchange programme have caused talks to stall.

Such is the chaos over the matter, one MEP compared negotiating with the UK to “climbing the Himalayas”. 

A member of the EU Parliament’s UK coordination group, Nathalie Loiseau, said: “We are far from an agreement.

“Nothing is impossible to a willing heart, but it’s like climbing the Himalaya from the northern side.”

Throughout talks, officials have expressed their concern over losing access to the valuable student exchange programme. 

Education and business leaders had stated the loss of the programme would remove £243 million a year in income and cause an estimated 17,000 students to miss out on studying abroad. 

In particular, students from less affluent backgrounds would be worst hit as they would be unable to fund their travel and expenses without the programme. 

Overall, the project receives £420million from EU students who study in the UK – after subtracting membership costs it drops to £243 million. 

Joe Fitzsimons, the head of education and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “Many employers deeply value the kind of international experience the Erasmus scheme helps foster.

“Given the benefits it can bring students and businesses, maintaining access to Erasmus and wider EU research and education partnerships has been a priority for the IoD from the off.”

On Monday, Mr. Barnier held talks with EU ambassadors to brief them on the current state of affairs before negotiations with Lord Forst reconvened. 

Although gaps still remain, he indicated the UK had backtracked on its demands thus sparking hope a deal could be agreed. 

A UK source later denied that, saying: “The inaccurate briefings from the EU side in recent days have made a difficult discussion even more challenging in the short period of time we have left.”

FOLLOW BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES:

There could be a build up of lorries on roads towards the UK's ports

There could be a build-up of lorries on roads towards the UK’s ports (Image: GETTY)

9.20 pm update: The UK has made plans to rival Singapore with a new post-Brexit shipping ‘tonnage tax’ regime

The UK wants London to rival Singapore as a hub for shipping companies to register their vessels.

The Government hopes to reforms the shipping industry’s so-called “tonnage tax” after January 1, 2021.

Changing the UK’s shipping tax and regulation regime could be worth £3.7bn to the economy over three years.

It could also create 2,500 high-quality jobs directly, and 25,000 in related companies.

Boris Johnson is hoping to deregulate shipping in the UK
Boris Johnson is hoping to deregulate shipping in the UK (Image: GETTY)

8.30 pm update: Robert Peston hints at ‘preparation for no-deal’ as MPs face extra Commons sittings

MPs are preparing for the prospect of having to work between Christmas and the New Year as a result of a possible no-deal Brexit, ITV’s Robert Peston has said.

Lawmakers were this week told to expect extra Commons sittings over the festive period in order for a Brexit trade deal to be passed. But Mr. Peston said the additional sittings could be used to conduct last-minute preparations for a hard Brexit.

6.50 pm update: A post-Brexit tax regulation bill has just been approved by the House Commons.

Pro-Brexit MPs raised concerns about UK sovereignty after the end of the transition period, this led to MP’s voting for a ‘Post-Transition Period’ tax bill.

The new Bill will introduce framework for customs duty charges on goods being imported into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

It also sets out customs duties on goods arriving in Great Britain from Northern Ireland.

6.20 pm update: German minister said a no-deal Brexit risks hundreds of jobs in the country’s fishing industry.

Germany’s fishing industry stands to suffer an almighty blow if the UK and the EU cannot agree to a free trade deal before the end of the Brexit transition period, a German minister has admitted.

6.00 pm update: ‘No reason to be excited’ about progress in today’s Brexit negotiations.

Earlier today it was suggested that negotiations had taken a step forward.

However, a source close to the UK negotiators said: “The position is the same, talks remain very difficult.”

The Downing Street source added: “We’re not close on this stuff yet. There’s a lot of outstanding details to go through, on other areas too, so there’s genuinely no reason to be excited about things today.”

5.12 pm update: The news of a deal with the EU has been dismissed as “total rubbish” by Downing Street, according to the Daily Mirror Political Editor.

Pippa Crerar Daily Mirror Political Editor tweeted: “Somebody at No 10 told me it’s “total rubbish” but then I guess they would, wouldn’t they?”

Sky News Europe Correspondent Adam Parsons tweeted: “I know Westminster is apparently talking about an imminent deal but I haven’t heard anyone say that among Brussels diplomats.”

5.05 pm update: EU hauliers warn they will cancel bookings to the UK after December 31.

The hauliers from the EU said they would ditch their orders destined for the UK because of the fear of queues of trucks miles long at the border.

One of Europe’s largest truck firms, Girteka Logistics, warned it could turn away deliveries to the UK if Brexit triggers chaos at the border.

4.55 pm update: The pound rockets as Boris Johnson secures huge Brexit breakthrough with EU.

The pound has jumped on the back of reports that a trade deal between the UK and the EU is imminent.

A tweet from Nicholas Watt suggested there was a “big buzz” among Conservative MPs about a possible deal on Tuesday afternoon that caused the pound to rise.

4.45 pm update: The BBC’s Nicholas Watt has also claimed that Brexiteers want a decent amount of time to examine the treaty bill.

He tweeted: “Brexiteers say they would need a decent amount of time to examine the treaty bill – legislation to enact any UK / EU deal. They need to examine it in the round and in minute detail. They want to see it by Thursday – and no later than Friday – if commons to consider it Monday and Tuesday.”

4.40 pm update: A new park for haulage is being built to take the pressure off Kent’s roads post-Brexit.

The new lorry park will not be fully operational when the transition period ends on 1 January.

The government has blamed wet weather for work falling behind schedule.

4.30 pm update: Italian Prime Minister Conte ‘cannot accept’ Brexit deal without a level playing field

Italy’s prime minister has said he will not accept a trade deal with the UK “without level playing field conditions.

The leaders of the bloc’s 27 member states remain united in their stance to secure a strong deal with Britain. But he said Brussels would not sign any agreement which does not include common rules and standards designed to prevent business on either side from undercutting firms.

Related articles

EU USED Sturgeon’s independence bid to ‘destabilise’ Brexit Britain

3.45 pm update: The UK has signed a £5bn trade deal with Mexico.

The deal is seen as a “stepping stone” to a huge 11-nation trading pact.

The deal will also be seen as a major boost to Boris Johnson’s plans for when the UK has fully cut ties with Brussels.

3.15 pm update: Member of House of Lords urges Boris Johnson to consider the devasting impact of a no-deal on the UK’s services industry.

The member of the House of Lords said the “EU is frankly irreplaceable” in terms of the sector’s trade. 

Nicholas Le Poer Trench said on Tuesday that “services are 80 percent of our GDP and our services trade with Europe makes up 51 percent of our services exports.

“As it stands, Europe is a hugely important market for services. The most important.”

2.26 pm update: ‘France throwing toys out the pram!’ Boris Johnson urged to STOP negotiating with Barnier

Boris Johnson has been urged to walk away from Brexit negotiations after Michel Barnier introduced a punishment clause which could see Britain slapped with trade sanctions if EU fishermen are banned from UK waters.

During a series of private Brussels briefings, the Frenchman accused Downing Street of ‘backtracking’ on its own proposals for a three-year transition period for fishing rights.

While addressing MEPs, Mr. Barnier said Britain would have to face a potential punishment clause with “consequences” for any future decisions to close its fishing grounds to EU vessels.

The Frenchman suggested economic sanctions – such as trade tariffs – could be introduced to counter any such moves by Downing Street.

But Britons have lashed out at Mr. Barnier’s proposed plans with many calling for the Prime Minister to end negotiations now. One reader said: “So Joker Barnier expects the UK to agree to be penalised by the EU unless we guarantee FREE access rights now and in the future.

“What does Barnier not understand about taking back full control and regaining our UK sovereignty?”

A second reader said: “So basically he wants to punish us for controlling our own waters under International law.

“This is not the EU negotiating, this is France throwing its toys out the pram.

“We should refuse to deal with Barnier.”

Hardest hit countries from a no deal Brexit

Hardest hit countries from a no-deal Brexit (Image: Express)

1.52 pm update: Negotiations making slow progress – Simon Coveney 

UK and EU officials have made slow progress this week during negotiations, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said today.

He told RTE: “I think what we’re seeing this week, having had a number of stalls in this process, is slow, but at the same time some, progress.

“My understanding is we’re making some progress in that area the level playing field.

“I think you can take it that because negotiating teams have gone really quiet here, that’s an indication to me that there is a serious if difficult negotiation continuing. I’m still hopeful that can result in a successful outcome agreement.”

1.19 pm update: Leaving without a deal most likely 

During a Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister stated leaving without a deal remains the most likely outcome from talks. 

Although he stated negotiations will continue, gaps still remain between the two sides. 

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “The Prime Minister opened Cabinet with an update on the ongoing negotiations with the EU.

“He re-emphasised the desire to reach a free trade agreement – but not at any cost – and reiterated that any agreement must respect the independence and sovereignty of the UK.

“The Prime Minister made clear that not being able to reach an agreement and ending the transition period on Australian-style terms remained the most likely outcome but committed to continuing to negotiate on the remaining areas of disagreement.”

Most powerful passports in the world unveiled – how strong is UK’s?

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

Please Support The Montserrat Reporter

This is bottom line for us! Unless we receive your support, our effort will not be able to continue. Whatever and however you can, please support The Montserrat Reporter in whatever amount you can (and whatever frequency) – and it only takes a minute.
Thank you

TMR print pages

East Caribbean Central Bank – Vacancy

East Caribbean Asset Management Corporation – Vacancy

Newsletter

Archives

FLOW - Back to School

https://indd.adobe.com/embed/2b4deb22-cf03-4509-9bbd-938c7e8ecc7d