Politics

Brexit news – live: UK and EU seek ‘workable solutions’ to NI crisis, as £20m disruption fund announced


Priti Patel attacks Black Lives Matter protests as ‘dreadful’ and criticises ‘taking the knee’

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and EU Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic have pledged their commitment to “proper implementation” of the protocol in Northern Ireland following a “frank” talks in London.

The top officials are expected to hold a virtual meeting with Northern Irish business leaders next week in a bid to find “workable solutions” to Brexit disruption. However, DUP leader Arlene Foster has said Northern Ireland must be “freed” from the protocol and have unfettered trade.

It comes as home secretary Priti Patel criticised football stars who take the knee – and attacked last year’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations by describing them as “those dreadful protests”.

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Some Welsh fishing crews ‘not going to survive’

Welsh fisherman have been speaking about their fears the sector will be “devastated” by unmanageable changes brought in under the Brexit trade deal.

New rules mean dozens of French and Belgian fleets can now fish within six miles of the Welsh coastline until 2026.

The Welsh Fishermen’s Association said it was worried some of the 600 fishermen in the £39m sector in Wales were “not going to survive” the post-Brexit era.

Fisherman Barry Thomas, who said he voted Leave – told the BBC that Boris Johnson had “bottled” the trade deal agreement with the EU “at the last minute”.

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<p>Welsh fishing chiefs fear sector will be ‘devastated’</p>

Welsh fishing chiefs fear sector will be ‘devastated’

(PA)

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 11:52

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DUP were ‘cheerleaders’ for hard Brexit, says Labour MP

Labour MP Liz Kendall has little time for complaints about the protocol. She told ITV’s Peston that current problems are the “inevitable” consequence of the hard Brexit that Boris Johnson “championed” and the DUP were “cheerleaders” for.

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 11:37

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Northern Ireland council holds talks on border staffing

Leaders of a Northern Ireland council are to hold talks with trade unions amid the fallout from its controversial decision to pull staff from post-Brexit port checks.

East Antrim council’s decision to pull workers out of the facilities has been questioned after police went public last week to state there was no credible threat to staff.

DUP mayor Peter Johnson – who had referenced the unions when he highlighted security concerns – has now clarified that it was not the unions who raised the issue with the council.

Protocol arrangements have been opposed by some in Northern Ireland

(Getty Images)

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 11:29

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Sunak ‘plotting £6bn raid on personal tax allowances’

A stealth tax raid may be sneaked into next month’s budget, with the chancellor Rishi Sunak reportedly plotting to freeze personal income tax allowances.

The reported £6bn move cost the average family £250 per year by 2024-25.

Millions of people may be forced to pay more in tax under plans reported by The Telegraph, which said officials were looking into abandoning the planned increases for the two lower tax thresholds – the personal allowance and the basic rate.

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 11:20

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Cummings’ £800m pet project is ‘unfocused’, report warns

One of Dominic Cummings’ pet projects while he was still at No 10 – a science and research body which could cost up to £800m – are “unfocused”, according to a parliamentary report.

Plans for the organisation – modelled on the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – are still “a brand in search of a product” and need a clear purpose outlined by the government, said the report by the science and technology committee.

The Conservatives pledged in their election manifesto to invest millions in “a new agency for high-risk, high-payoff research, at arm’s length from government”. But MPs are not convinced the government has even properly articulated the need for such a body.

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 11:00

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Free us from the protocol, says DUP’s Arlene Foster

Trade problems in Northern Ireland need permanent solutions rather than “sticking plasters”, said DUP Arlene Foster – as she again attacked the protocol arrangements.

The first minister restated her demand for the protocol to be ditched after UK and EU officials enjoyed a “constructive” meeting and both reiterated their “full commitment” to the arrangements.

“Northern Ireland needs freed from the protocol,” Foster tweeted. “We must have unfettered trade between GB & NI … EU must recognise the absence of unionist support.”

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 10:40

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Young people more worried about Brexit than Covid

Young adults are more worried by the devastating economic impacts of Brexit than the coronavirus pandemic.

A new UCL survey shows more than two fifths of young adults – 45 per cent – report being “stressed” about the consequences of the UK’s disruptive exit from the EU.

Some 32 per cent of young people said they were stressed over the prospect of catching Covid, while only 22 per cent said they feared becoming seriously ill from the disease.

Almost one in ten people of all ages in England and Wales are “majorly stressed” about Brexit, according to the UCL Covid-19 Social Study.

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 10:33

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Priti Patel attacks Black Lives Matter protests

Priti Patel has criticised sports stars who ‘take the knee’ and attacked last year’s Black Lives Matter protests as “dreadful”.

Asked on LBC if she would ever adopt the gesture, the home secretary said: “No I would not. There are other ways in which people can express their opinions.”

Ms Patel also refused to express confidence in Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, saying she “does a lot of great work” – but that there were “questions’ about her.

At one point, she appeared to say she did not support protests at all, before clarifying she opposed the BLM demonstrations that swept the country last summer, saying: “Those protests were dreadful.”

Priti Patel attacks Black Lives Matter protests as ‘dreadful’ and criticises ‘taking the knee’

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 10:14

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What should our politicians wear?

Rawiri Waititi, member of the New Zealand parliament, has received global attention for not wearing a tie in the chamber – and being kicked out as a result.

Our associate editor Sean O’Grady has taken a look at changing norms in the UK, and what is and isn’t considered acceptable by our elected officials.

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 10:11

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‘We have some of the world’s strongest border measures’

Safeguarding minister Victoria Atkins has defended the UK’s decision only to introduce a hotel quarantine system nearly a year into the pandemic.

“We have some of the strongest border measures in the world and as of Monday, with the introduction of the red list set of countries, these measures will be even stronger.”

Giving little away on the timetable for lockdown easing, Atkins also said it is “up to Scotland” to decide where passengers landing in England but travelling on to the country should quarantine. “That will be for the Scottish government to work out.”

The minister said it is “reasonable” to allow travellers quarantining in hotels outside for a “gulp of fresh air” – despite an epidemiologist warning it is “risky”.

Adam Forrest12 February 2021 09:49



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