Tory minister repeatedly refuses to apologise for government’s Covid-19 response
Eleven European countries have signed a declaration which criticises the UK over its “inappropriate” stance towards post-Brexit fishing arrangements.
The move comes after the government of Jersey announced in late September that only a small number of French vessels would be given fishing permits to work in its waters.
The Crown dependency added that 75 boats did not meet its criteria and would have to stop fishing off the island before the end of October.
At the time, Jean-Pierre Pont, who represents the Pas-de-Calais department for Emmanuel Macron’s party, La République En Marche, said the French fleet would be within its rights to block British ports or the Channel Tunnel in retaliation.
Annick Girardin, the French minister of the sea, said the 11 signatories of this week’s declaration wanted Britain to give European vessels fishing access under a “fair framework”.
Meanwhile, the Brexit minister Lord Frost continues his war of words with Brussels over the Northern Ireland protocol. He is giving a speech in Lisbon today in which he sets out his demands.
The Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney has accused him of deliberately trying to torpedo EU-UK relations by being unreasonable.
UK has a ‘somewhat fractious relationship with EU’ says Brexit minister
Brexit minister Lord Frost has said the UK has a “somewhat fractious relationship” with the EU following Brexit.
Delivering a speech in Lisbon, Lord Frost said: “And now, as we look at Europe from the UK, now that we’ve left the EU and its rules, the geopolitics of Britain’s position as an offshore island with particular allies, but global interests, come back to the forefront.
“Brexit has changed our international interests and hence will change our patterns of European relationships. Not necessarily fundamentally, but significantly.”
He said the UK would be “setting a different path on economic policy” because “Brexit means competition” and it was “a democratic project that’s bringing politics back home”.
“Fixing the very serious problem we have in the Northern Ireland Protocol is a prerequisite for getting to that better place,” he added.
Thomas Kingsley12 October 2021 15:42
One of the world’s largest shipping firms has said it has begun diverting ships from the UK due to a backlog of cargo caused by the HGV driver shortage.
The Financial Times reported that shipping giant Maersk has stopped deliveries to Felixstowe, the UK’s largest commercial port.
“We had to stop operations on a ship because there was nowhere to discharge the containers,” Maersk head of global ocean network, Lars Mikael Jensenhe said.
“Felixstowe is among the top two or three worst-hit terminals. We are having to deviate some of the bigger ships away from Felixstowe and relay some of the smaller ships for the cargo,” he added.
Thomas Kingsley12 October 2021 15:22
Labour leader says government must apolgise for Covid failings
Sir Keir Starmer has said Borish Johnson must apologise for the failings of the government’s coromavirus handling.
Speaking to broadcasters on a visit to a HGV training provider near Oldham, Greater Manchester, Sir Keir said: “The Prime Minister should take responsibility because the responsibility is his, and he should apologise.
“But I’d like to just start by acknowledging just how difficult a day this will be for the bereaved families learning what they will learn in this report, which is a damning indictment of the Government and the flaws and errors and failures of the Government running down the NHS before the pandemic, being far too slow to respond, with the price being paid by those bereaved families, chaotic track and trace.
“And I think the least the Prime Minister could do is address the families, apologise, and bring for the public inquiry just as quickly as possible.”
Thomas Kingsley12 October 2021 15:04
PM must be a statesman to make COP26 summit a success, Labour urges
Labour is urging the Prime Minister to treat crucial Cop26 climate talks seriously to prevent the event from becoming a “greenwash summit”.
In a speech on Wednesday, shadow business secretary Ed Miliband will set out the “undeniable and frightening maths” of emissions reductions that shows the world is miles away from where it needs to be ahead of the UN conference.
On the energy crisis, he will say: “Ministers are turning on each other when they should be turning outwards to engage with industry and take action by intervening. We can’t sit back and watch whole British industries go to the wall.”
Thomas Kingsley12 October 2021 14:45
Brexit protocol ‘not working’ says minister
Minister for the cabinet office Stephen Barclay said there was a “recognition on both sides that the protocol is not working”.
“I don’t see it as the EU giving in or one side giving in. I think there’s a recognition on both sides that the protocol needs to work for both communities in Northern Ireland,” Stephen Barclay told Sky News.
“The whole underpinning of the Good Friday Agreement, which both sides are deeply committed to, is based on the consent of both communities and I think there’s a recognition on both sides that the protocol is not working, and so what Lord Frost will be talking about is very sensible proposals that the British Government set out through our command paper as to how we can better ensure that the protocol is fit the for the purpose and sustainable in a long term way,” he added.
Thomas Kingsley12 October 2021 14:30
Businesses paying large bonuses may not be eligible for state-backed support
Firms paying large bonuses or dividends may not be eligible for state-backed financial support being considered to help businesses worst-affected by soaring energy prices, a minister has signalled.
Steve Barclay, the chief secretary to the Cabinet Office, told Times Radio that the government would need to examine “what is value for money and what is proportionate” when considering taxpayer support for the sector.
“Have they recently paid dividends? Are they paying big bonuses? We’ll need to understand the detail rather than just knee-jerk to a taxpayer response,” he added.
Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn has the full story below:
Thomas Kingsley12 October 2021 14:17
London Mayor calls on government to support firms hit by the energy crisis
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on the government to support businesses hard hit by the surge in gas prices.
“The Government needs to step in and help because actually if they don’t step in and help, many of these businesses will go bust and it’ll be more expensive for the Government to then be contributing towards benefits to those staff who lose their jobs,” Mr Khan told the PA news agency.
He added that companies were facing “the perfect storm” of rising bills just as they recover from the pandemic, where many “just kept their head above the water”.
Thomas Kingsley12 October 2021 14:04
Brexit deal was ‘not great but we could live with it’ Tory MP says
Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin said he voted for the PM’s Brexit deal because there was no alternative, telling BBC Newsnight that the deal wasn’t great but Britain “could live with it.”
The Tory MP for Harwich and North Essex added that the Brexit deal was signed “at a time when the government was incredibly weak and gripped by a constitutional crisis,” and that the EU had taken advantage of that.
Thomas Kingsley12 October 2021 13:43
Britons doubt Cop26 will produce significant results, poll finds
The majority of Britons do not believe the upcoming Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow will be a success, a poll has suggested.
In a blow to the government, the YouGov survey found that 62 per cent of British respondents think the talks are unlikely to lead to significant action being taken against climate change.
Of the seven nationalities polled, only Germans were more cynical about the conference than their British counterparts.
Rory Sullivan12 October 2021 13:25
Video: Dominic Cummings calls PM a ‘joke’ over Covid errors
The prime minister’s former adviser Dominic Cummings has laid into his old boss, calling him a “joke” over his handling of the pandemic.
Mr Cummings’ words come after a damning cross-party report into the government’s failings.
Dominic Cummings calls Boris Johnson a ‘joke’ following MP report into Covid errors
Rory Sullivan12 October 2021 13:14