Politics

Brexit news – live: EU getting ‘impatient’ over negotiations says Merkel, as talks enter crunch week


Boris Johnson’s government and EU officials have resumed crucial talks in London aimed at forging a post-Brexit trade deal, in what has been billed as the last “major” opportunity to avoid a no-deal crash-out at the end of December.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier is said to be offering to give the UK back 15 to 18 per cent of the quota European fleets currently take from British waters, but No 10 is thought to want 80 per cent returned to the UK – and reportedly views Brussels’ position as “wholly unacceptable”.

It comes as Germany’s chancellor chancellor Angela Merkel said time was now running very short to reach a deal, and some EU member states are growing impatient. “A deal is in everyone’s interest,” she added.

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Government’s impact assessment on new restrictions criticised for offering little new information

Mel Stride, the Conservative chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, said the Government’s impact assessment on the effect of the new restrictions contained little new information.

“With little over 24 hours until MPs vote on the new tiered system, this rehashed document offers very little further in economic terms other than that which the OBR published last week,” he said in a statement.

“It’s frustrating that there is little here that sets out how the different tiers might impact on the specific sectors and regions across the country.

“Those looking for additional economic analysis of the new tiered system will struggle to find it in this document.”

Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 18:52

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Hospitality could refuse access to those who have not taken vaccine

Matt Hancock said ministers were “looking” at whether the hospitality sector could refuse access to those who have not taken up a Covid vaccine once it becomes available.

Health minister Nadhim Zahawi, in charge of the vaccine roll-out, has said hospitality and entertainment venues may insist on seeing proof that people have had one.

Mr Hancock told a press briefing: “For a long time now we’ve been looking at the questions that minister Zahawi was talking about and the question of what’s the impact on the individual in terms of what they can do. That’s what minister Zahawi was referring to.”

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But he added: “Firstly we do not plan to mandate the vaccine.

“We think that by encouraging the uptake of the vaccine we will get a very high proportion of people in this country to take up the the vaccine, because of course it protects you but it also helps to protect your loved ones and your community.”

Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 18:24

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Hospitality could refuse access to those who have not taken vaccine

Matt Hancock said ministers were “looking” at whether the hospitality sector could refuse access to those who have not taken up a Covid vaccine once it becomes available.

Health minister Nadhim Zahawi, in charge of the vaccine roll-out, has said hospitality and entertainment venues may insist on seeing proof that people have had one.

Mr Hancock told a press briefing: “For a long time now we’ve been looking at the questions that minister Zahawi was talking about and the question of what’s the impact on the individual in terms of what they can do. That’s what minister Zahawi was referring to.”

But he added: “Firstly we do not plan to mandate the vaccine.

“We think that by encouraging the uptake of the vaccine we will get a very high proportion of people in this country to take up the the vaccine, because of course it protects you but it also helps to protect your loved ones and your community.”

Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 18:24

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Army cannot be drafted in for Covid testing across country, warns General

The Army cannot be drafted in to Covid-19 testing across the country, a General has warned.

General Sir Gordon Messenger, head of operations for the government’s community testing programme, told a Downing Street press conference that the way the military helped with testing in Liverpool could not be replicated.

Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 17:47

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Pat Finucane: British government will not launch public inquiry into murder

The government has decided not to order a public inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane by loyalist paramilitaries in 1989, Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis said.

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Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 17:41

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Health secretary stresses need for tiered restrictions to return

Matt Hancock has stressed the need for tiered restrictions to return to England, saying that “while we can let up a little, we can’t afford to let up a lot”.

The health secretary told a Downing Street press conference that about one in three people have no symptoms at all but can still infect others, adding: “That is why even as we ease these national restrictions we’ve got to keep some restrictions in place.

“So while we can let up a little, we can’t afford to let up a lot.

“The success of our collective efforts means that from Wednesday everyone in England, even those in tier 3, can have some greater freedoms but we don’t have much headroom.”

He also pointed to the government’s impact assessment in needing the new tiered approach.

“It clearly demonstrates this action is necessary to avoid a much worse outcome – and we must be vigilant,” he said.

Mr Hancock said the “light of dawn is on the horizon” as he urged for resolve in fighting coronavirus.

He said: “The light of dawn is on the horizon, it’s the moment to stand firm until the morning so we can look back and see clearly that everything we gave and everything we did, it was not for nothing but so we could save lives and build back better for everyone.”

Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 17:24

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Every NHS and social care worker in Scotland to receive £500 ‘thank you’, Sturgeon announces

Nicola Sturgeon has announced every full time NHS and social care worker in Scotland will receive a £500 one-off “thank you” payment for extraordinary service during the pandemic, political correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports.

In a keynote speech to the SNP conference, the first minister said part-time staff will also receive a “proportionate share” which will be paid by the Scottish government within the current financial year.

Ms Sturgeon insisted there would be “no strings attached” to the payment, but urged Boris Johnson to intervene and ensure the Treasury makes the payment for NHS and social care workers in Scotland tax-free.

Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 17:02

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Sturgeon accuses Johnson of ‘turning democracy on its head’

Nicola Sturgeon has accused the Prime Minister of “turning democracy on its head”.

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Speaking to SNP members at their annual conference, Ms Sturgeon said, having “taken back control” from the EU, the UK government has now set its sights on Holyrood.

“Having – in their minds – taken control back from the EU, they now want to take it back from Scotland too,” the first minister said.

“Boris Johnson is using Brexit – which people in Scotland voted overwhelmingly against – to fundamentally undermine the Scottish parliament – which people in Scotland voted overwhelmingly for.

“That’s turning democracy on its head.”

Ms Sturgeon said the choice for Scotland is “pressing”, asking: “Are we prepared for our Scottish parliament to be undermined and dragged down by Westminster?

“Or will we decide to make our Scottish Parliament independent?”

Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 16:41

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England could go ‘round and round in circles’ under Boris Johnson’s new tiered system, Keir Starmer warns

England could be left going “round and round in circles” under Boris Johnson’s new tiered system for tackling coronavirus after the national lockdown, Sir Keir Starmer has warned.

Ahead of a crucial vote in the Commons on the measures on Tuesday, the Labour leader said his party would act in the “national interest”, but held back from committing to support the prime minister amid concern over economic support for areas in the north.

Political correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports:

Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 16:07

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Sturgeon sends message of unity to EU

Nicola Sturgeon has sent a message of unity to countries in the European Union as Brexit looms.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU at the end of next month, following the end of the transition period.

In her conference address to SNP members on Monday, the first minister told the EU: “You are – and always will be – part of who we are. You are not distant to us.

“To those of you who have come from other countries to live here in ours, thank you – please stay.

“To the other countries of the EU, Scotland wants to return. And we hope to do so soon, as an independent member state.”

Samuel Osborne30 November 2020 15:41



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