Brexit news – live: Boris Johnson's bill a 'distraction' says EU, as MPs condemn 'prejudiced' Home Office

Donald Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland has warned Boris Johnson against creating a “hard border by accident” on the island of Ireland through breaching the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit treaty.

Meanwhile, the European Union said Boris Johnson’s plan to override the Brexit deal has distracted from negotiations over future trading arrangements.

Commenting towards the end of a week where the UK government’s controversial Internal Market Bill has dominated headlines, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the prime minister’s plan was an “unpleasant surprise” which had “distracted very strongly” from trade talks ahead of the looming Brexit deadline.


Labour Virtual Conference starting tomorrow

Labour’s first ever digital-only party conference will run from tomorrow until Wednesday, ahead of the Liberal Democrats next week and the Conservatives at the start of October.

Below are the timings for some of the events to look out for in coming days:

2:50pm – General secretary Jennie Formby speaks

3:30pm – Dawn Butler MP speaks

10:00am – Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford speaks

10:10am – Deputy leader Angela Rayner speaks

10:10am – Scottish leader Richard Leonard speaks

11:10am – Previous shadow chancellor John McDonnell speaks

2:15pm – Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry speaks

10:10am – Former shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey speaks

4:00pm – Leader’s speech from Sir Keir Starmer

Liam James18 September 2020 14:03


MPs welcome launch of Tessa Jowell foundation

Politcians from both main parties have welcomed the launch of the Tessa Jowell Foundation, which aims to improve brain cancer treatment in the UK.

Continuing the legacy of Tessa Jowell, a former secretary of state who herself died from a brain tumour, the foundation will “secure the delivery” of the late MPs mission to support those suffering from the illness.

Commenting on the launch and Jowell’s legacy, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Tessa was an inspiration. A true public servant, she strived throughout her life to make this country a better place for all.”

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said Jowell’s “impact on others and the legacy she left was achieved always with kindness, compassion and with great integrity”.

Tessa Jowell died aged 70 in May 2018 after a being diagnosed with brain cancer the previous year.

Liam James18 September 2020 13:48


Birthday wishes for late MP who oversaw Good Friday Agreement

Labour MP Rachel Reeves was among many to share birthday wishes for the late Mo Mowlam, who oversaw the Good Friday Agreement in her time as Tony Blair’s Northern Ireland secretary.

Mowlam, who remains a highly respected figure in Northern Ireland, passed away in 2005 after a head injury following a battle with brain cancer. She would have been 71 today.

Liam James18 September 2020 13:08


‘So now you give the Devil the benefit of the law!’ – Geoffrey Cox

Geoffrey Cox has refreshed his opposition to the government’s plan to break international law with the aid of ecclesiastical high-drama.

After leading the Tory rebellion against provisions in the Internal Market Bill — which would allow the UK to renege on sections of the EU Withdrawal Agreement — the former attorney general tweeted a scene from the 1966 film adaptation of Robert Bolt’s A Man of All Seasons where Sir Thomas More argues passionately for the rule of law to be upheld.

In the film, Sir Thomas More’s support for the rule of law eventually leads to his own execution. For Mr Cox, we will have to wait and see.

Liam James18 September 2020 12:43


Trump’s Northern Ireland envoy issues warning over border

Donald Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland has warned Boris Johnson against creating a “hard border by accident” on the island of Ireland with his plan to breach the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit treaty.

“The Trump administration, State Department and the US Congress would all be aligned in the desire to see the Good Friday Agreement preserved to see the lack of a border maintained,” Mr Mulvaney told the Financial Times on Friday.

The diplomat’s warning echoes those of many senior US politicians including Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, who have warned that the Good Friday Agreement must be respected if the UK is to have any hopes of securing a trade deal with Washington.

Liam James18 September 2020 12:22


Liam Fox through to second round in contest to become WTO boss

Former international trade secretary Liam Fox has made it through to the second round of votes in the contest to become the next director general of the World Trade Organisation.

Dr Fox will face off against seven other candidates from around the world in the selection process to replace the departed Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down on 31 August. 

The MP for North Somerset said the WTO “lacks political momentum at a time when most of the blockages in the global trading system are political”, adding that he wants to see disputes resolved in national capitals as well as Geneva, where the organisation is based.

He also pledged to ensure women account for at least half of the roles in his leadership team if selected. 

Liam James18 September 2020 11:55


Angela Rayner urges Johnson: Extend eviction ban

Angela Rayner has issued a plea to the prime minister to extend the ban on evictions for private renters ahead of its scheduled end on Sunday.

The deputy Labour leader joins numerous opposition MPs in calling for an extension to the ban, which housing charity Shelter warns will leave thousands facing homelessness if brought to an end.

Liam James18 September 2020 11:31


MPs to launch inquiry into Uighur exploitation by UK firms

A committee of MPs will launch an inquiry into whether UK businesses are exploiting the forced labour of Uighur Muslims in China.

Evidence will be heard by the Business, Energy and Industrial strategy committee later in the year on the extent to which UK firms engage with supply chains linked to forced labour camps in China’s Xinjiang region.

Committee member Nusrat Ghani, the Conservative MP for Wealden, said: “I am pleased the committee has agreed to my proposal to hold an evidence session on the vitally important topic of the use of forced labour in UK value chains.

“There are concerning accounts that many products sold in the UK can be traced back to forced labour at camps in China.

“I hope this inquiry will help to get a clearer picture of the extent of this problem and explore issues around businesses and the transparency of their value-chains and also what steps the government could take to ensure that businesses and consumers in the UK do not perpetuate the forced labour of Uighur.”

Liam James18 September 2020 11:01


US Democrat Ilhan Omar to address Labour activists

US congresswoman Ilhan Omar, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, is set to address activists at a Momentum-backed event held in tandem with Labour’s virtual party conference next week.

The Democratic representative will appear alongside former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott at The World Transformed festival, which has shifted its programme online due to the pandemic.

In the US, Ms Omar is widely known as part of the “squad” – a group of four progressive Democratic women elected to Congress in 2018. Fellow members include the influential New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Liam James18 September 2020 10:48


Inside Politics: What to look out for today

Here’s Adam Forrest with The Independent’s daily politics newsletter on what to expect from Westminster and beyond:

Liam James18 September 2020 10:12


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