Ursula von der Leyen today warned hopes of the EU and UK agreeing a trade deal are fading with every passing day as tensions remain high over Boris Johnson’s plans to tear up parts of the Brexit divorce deal.
The President of the European Commission hit out at the Prime Minister’s proposals to override the Withdrawal Agreement as she said the accord struck last year ‘cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded or dis-applied’.
The EU has given Mr Johnson until the end of the month to withdraw his plans, with Brussels warning that a failure to do so risks the total collapse of trade talks.
‘With every day that passes, the chances of a timely agreement do start to fade,’ Ms von der Leyen told the European Parliament this morning.
Her comments came amid claims that Michel Barnier, the EU’s top negotiator, said Mr Johnson had sparked the Brexit row in order to distract from the Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
He made the comments at a private meeting of European ambassadors on Monday this week, according to Politico.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland today hinted the Government could strike a compromise with Tory rebels over the PM’s Brexit plans.
Ministers have admitted the proposals would break international law, sparking a revolt by Conservative backbenchers.
The rebels want Parliament to have the ability to veto any move by Mr Johnson to depart from the divorce deal – a so-called ‘parliamentary lock’.
Mr Buckland said this morning he believed the original plans could be made ‘acceptable to all Conservative colleagues’ in a sign that ministers are willing to shift on the issue to win over their Tory critics.
His comments came as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab prepares to meet US Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington today to assuage her Brexit concerns.
Ms Pelosi said last week there would be ‘absolutely no chance’ of Congress passing an American trade deal with the UK if the PM’s Brexit plans ‘imperilled’ the Good Friday Agreement.
Meanwhile, a group of four senior US congressmen have written to Mr Johnson to express a similar sentiment as they urged him to ‘abandon’ any proposals which could undermine the peace process.
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, today warned hopes of the EU striking a trade deal with the UK are fading
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland today hinted the Government could compromise on its Brexit plans to win over Tory rebels
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is in Washington today for talks with US counterpart Mike Pompeo and US Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Brexit expected to feature heavily
Ms Pelosi warned last week there will be no US/UK trade deal if the Government’s Brexit plans jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement
What does the UK Internal Market Bill do, and how do rebels want to amend it?
Former minister Bob Neill has tabled a key amendment to the Bill
The UK Internal Market Bill is intended to be a ‘safety net’ in case the EU tries to impose an ‘extreme’ interpretation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
If Brussels refused to list the UK as a ‘third country’, there would effectively be a blockade on food exports going from the mainland to Northern Ireland.
In response, the legislation would give ministers powers to override key parts of the divorce terms – bypassing a joint committee that is means to thrash out key issues such as over customs.
However, critics complain that the move would breach international law – something Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted last week was the case.
The PM insisted Parliament would get a vote if he ever want to invoke the unusual powers – designed to prevent Brussels from ‘blockading’ food exports to NI. But in fact it appears any vote would be ‘affirmative’ – held after the action had been implemented.
Rebels are gathering behind an amendment from former minister Bob Neill, proposing a ‘Parliamentary lock’ so MPs would need to approve overriding the Withdrawal Agreement before it happens.
A potential way of buying off some rebels would be to offer a less stringent lock, limiting the scope of ministers to deploy the controversial measures in the Bill while keeping the weapon in the arsenal if the EU refused to budge.
One MP involved in the mutiny told MailOnline that the government did not need to remove the clauses from the legislation altogether, and part of the frustration was that other options, such as the dispute mechanisms in the WA, had not been exhausted.
‘I don’t think anyone should seriously doubt the need to prepare for these circumstances,’ the MP said. ‘They might only need a caveat saying these clauses would only come into effect after the final ruling of the arbitration panel.’
The Government sparked a furious row with the EU after it published its UK Internal Market Bill last week.
The legislation will enable the UK to unilaterally make decisions on key issues, like customs arrangements between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland, contained within the Withdrawal Agreement.
Brussels is adamant that the decisions must be made by a joint committee made up of people from both sides – as set out in the treaty.
But the Government argues its new proposals are necessary in order to protect the integrity of the UK should the two sides be unable to agree terms.
Tory rebels have put forward an amendment to the legislation which would create a ‘parliamentary lock’ on any attempt by the Government to try to depart from the Brexit divorce deal.
A vote on the amendment is scheduled to take place next Tuesday but Mr Buckland today suggested the Government could move on the issue in order to stop the rebellion.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think that the issue is this. We want to make sure that if we hit a situation where we have this sort of dislocation, this sort of crisis if you like, that we can act swiftly to bring in to power the necessary regulations.
‘I think that whilst actually we have got parliamentary procedures to allow secondary legislation to come into force with debate and scrutiny, we have got to get the balance right.
‘We want to make sure that we are fleet of foot when it comes to the crunch but at the same time to make sure that MPs have their say.
‘That is what the Prime Minister wants, that is what he said in parliament and I am sure we will find a way to do that in a manner that is acceptable to all Conservative colleagues.’
Mr Buckland also stressed the provisions within the UK Internal Market Bill which would allow Britain to override the Withdrawal Agreement and breach international law would only be used if the EU breached its Brexit obligations first.
He told Sky News: ‘If we reach that stage, the reason for it is because we judge that sadly, despite everybody’s best efforts, the EU is in a position where we think they are actually breaching their obligations to us.’
He said the controversial powers were effectively a ‘break glass in case of emergency provision’ and would only be used in the event that other arbitration mechanisms failed to resolve disagreements between the UK and EU.
He did not deny that he has held talks with Tory rebel leader Bob Neill, the chairman of the Justice Select Committee.
‘I don’t think it would be right of me to start talking about private conversations,’ he said.
The tone of Mr Buckland’s comments is in stark contrast to Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis’s blunt admission last week that the Government’s plans will ‘break international law in a very specific and limited way’.
Mr Lewis joined Mr Buckland in hinting there could be a compromise as he gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee this morning.
He said debate on the Bill is ‘ongoing’ and it would be ‘wrong of me to presuppose what the outcome will be’.
Mr Lewis refused to guarantee the Government would abide by decisions made by a UK/EU arbitration panel on disputes as he said it was ‘dangerous’ to get into ‘hypotheticals’.
What happens next in the Brexit process?
The UK formally left the EU on January 31 this year.
However, the two sides moved seamlessly into a status quo transition period lasting until December 31.
This time was set aside to allow Brussels and Britain to hammer out the terms of their future relationship.
Trade talks started in March and the eighth round of formal negotiations is due to get underway in London tomorrow.
However, talks are at a standstill amid disagreements on fishing rights and whether the UK will sign up to Brussels’ rules and regulations.
Downing Street has said it does not want talks to drag into the autumn while the EU wants a deal done by the of October in order to give member states enough time to ratify it before the end of the transition period.
Given the time constraints and the lack of progress being made both sides now view a deal by the end of the year as unlikely.
The Northern Ireland Secretary also dismissed claims made by Lord Keen of Elie, the Advocate General for Scotland, that Mr Lewis had ‘answered the wrong question’ last week when he said the Bill does break international law.
Mr Lewis told the Committee: ‘I have spoken to Lord Keen and I have to say… looking at the specific question my honourable friend asked me last week, he agrees the answer I gave was the correct answer.’
It came as Mr Raab tries to assuage concerns in the US over the Government’s Brexit proposals.
The Foreign Secretary is due to meet with Ms Pelosi as well as his counterpart Mike Pompeo.
Last week Ms Pelosi warned the UK there would be no trade deal with Washington if Britain undermined the Good Friday Agreement.
She said: ‘If the UK violates that international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be absolutely no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress.’
Meanwhile, four senior US congressmen, led by chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel, have written to Mr Johnson urging the Government to respect its open border and peace process with Northern Ireland.
The letter, which was also signed by Mr Engel’s fellow Democrats Richard Neal and William Keating as well as Republican Peter King, urged the PM to ‘abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement’.
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Chief Scientific Officer Sir Patrick Vallance has £600,000 of shares in vaccine maker GSK
Sir Patrick Vallance has a £600,000 shareholding in a pharmaceuticals giant which is racing to develop a Covid vaccine for the Government, a report has revealed.
The Chief Scientific Adviser holds the deferred bonus of 43,111 shares in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from his time as president of the multinational company.
Sir Patrick has already sold more than £5 million in shares he received during his tenure from 2012 to 2018, when he was appointed by the Government.
Accounts seen by the Telegraph show that Sir Patrick held 404,201 GSK shares when he resigned, worth £6.1 million at today’s price.
Sir Patrick Vallance speaking to the nation on Monday night. He and Chris Whitty outlined why the Government was announcing a raft of new lockdown measures
Sir Patrick, who also chairs the Government’s expert panel on vaccines, predicted at a news conference this week that the first effective doses of a jab might become available on a limited basis by the end of this year.
GSK is one of more than 20 drugs companies around the world in the race to provide the cure for coronavirus – an achievement which would be colossally lucrative.
Sir Patrick’s former employer has deals with the British and US governments to supply them with Covid-19 vaccines, subject to terms in a final contract.
A senior Conservative MP and ex-Cabinet minister told The Telegraph that Sir Patrick should have declared his stake in GSK.
‘The policy of this Government is to try to suppress Covid at every opportunity until we get a vaccine,’ the MP said. ‘That makes it more likely that a vaccine will be prioritised by the Government and he happens to be holding shares in one of the leading companies that are developing it. It is a potential conflict of interest.
‘If he is making decisions on vaccines and advising the Government on them, then he either needs to divest himself of the shares or make a declaration every time he touches on the subject. In the Commons, every time MPs raise an issue in which there is a registered interest, they have to declare it. Every time he is talking about vaccines or on TV, he should put it on the table.’
The GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals headquarters in Brentford, west London
A government spokesman said that Sir Patrick holds a deferred share bonus which will mature in April but declined to comment on the size of the holding or its value.
‘Upon his appointment, appropriate steps were taken to manage the Government Chief Scientific Adviser’s (GCSA) interests in line with advice provided at the time,’ the spokesman said.
The Government’s spokesman added that while Sir Patrick chairs the Government’s expert panel on vaccines, he ‘has no input into contractual and commercial decisions on vaccine procurement,’ which are the province of ministers.
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Durham withdraws student’s offer after ‘abhorrent’ competition
Durham University has taken back its offer of a place to a prospective student following an investigation into ‘utterly abhorrent’ comments made in a freshers’ social media group.
The prestigious university was shaken by claims new students were planning a competition for ‘posh lads’ to have sex with the poorest girl on campus.
Group chats, believed to be for freshers who will be inducted from September 28, were exposed in Facebook group ‘Overheard at Durham Uni’ earlier this month.
One student had his place withdrawn while two other prospective male students ‘were not found to have fallen short’ of the university’s values, reported The Times.
One of the chats, believed to have around 60 members, discussed rape and whether or not members would ‘snitch’ on each other by sharing their messages.
A chat from the ‘Durham Boys Making All The Noise’ group also exposed plans for ‘posh lads’ to compete to sleep with the ‘poorest’ girl at the university.
Durham University was shaken by claims that new students planned a competition for ‘posh lads’ to have sex with the poorest girl on campus (pictured: the Gatehouse)
Horrified students drew university authorities’ attention to the leaked messages, demanding they ‘condemn this behaviour with action’.
Durham University launched an investigation and vowed to kick out the offending students, saying the ‘unacceptable’ chat ‘violated the values and behaviours that we uphold as a university community’.
Jeremy Cook, the pro-vice chancellor for colleges and student experience, said others who were investigated were pretending to be students to fraudulently sell tickets to non-existent freshers’ events.
He added: ‘If other comments of an abhorrent nature are found to be genuine and attributable we will take further action to ensure that those individuals have no place at Durham University.’
A chat from the ‘Durham Boys Making All The Noise’ group also exposes plans for ‘posh lads’ to compete to sleep with the ‘poorest’ girl at the university
Group chats, believed to be for freshers who will be inducted from September 28, were exposed in Facebook group ‘Overheard at Durham Uni’ earlier this month
The group chat includes messages such as ‘First rule about boys club… You don’t talk about boys club’ – followed by ‘Who tf leaks a lads chat fr’ and ‘I’m not a snitch so I’m not about to rat you out from the other group convo’.
Another message states: ‘But keep out of it like, everything we say should be taken with a pinch of salt, that’s what epitomises a lad or boy.’
The chat refers to ’10 lads who got fined and excluded from uni… For making sexist jokes’. A responding post states: ‘Time to go all Gestapo on this chat then ey’.
Sexism and rape is also discussed in the group chat, with one member writing: ‘Yh n aren’t Durham dead on it w sexism n all that since that lad from durham was accused of rape a few years ago’. A second member replies: ‘It’s called being a whore’.
A third adds: ‘Can’t get enough since girls don’t put out’.
In one discussion, a person wrote: ‘So many people get accused of rape. I’m always worried about it after.’ Another said: ‘I know maybe 15 girls who say they’ve been raped and not one taken to court. Or a police report.
‘And women will always believe women mostly.’
One member told The Tab Durham that he believed the chat was a ‘freshers’ chat for lads that was probably set up by freshers’ ticket companies’. ‘The purpose of the chat wasn’t to objectify women or any of that,’ he claimed. ‘Most of the chat was just lads getting to know each other with those ridiculous exceptions’.
The group chat includes messages such as ‘First rule about boys club… You don’t talk about boys club’ – followed by ‘Who tf leaks a lads chat fr’ and ‘I’m not a snitch so I’m not about to rat you out from the other group convo’
Durham University launched an investigation and vowed to kick out the offending students, saying the ‘unacceptable’ chat ‘violated the values and behaviours that we uphold as a university community’
But disgusted students decided to shame the ‘Durham Boys Making All The Noise’ members after obtaining screenshots of the message thread.
An accompanying post read: ‘As you can see their language is absolutely vile. Have also been talking about spiking girls drinks in freshers.
‘This is just awful behaviour and as a mother it scares me to death that boys who are only 18 are capable of being so disgusting towards women.
‘It’s well known that Durham has a bad rate of sexual assault let’s make sure we’re all tackling that and call those out when needed. Also lads competing to f*** the poorest fresher.
‘Absolutely breaks my heart that this type of stuff exists!!!!’
One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said they were ‘outraged’ by the content, adding: ‘It’s made girls say that they’re now scared to come to Durham Uni’.
Others told the university to take action, claiming: ‘I hope you’re aware that there’s a freshers ‘lads’ group chat with loads of boys discussing ways to use date rape drugs on girls, discussing them like objects and making plans to ‘s**g the poorest girl’.
Rugby international, 20, becomes the fourth Durham University student in three years to walk free despite sex assault claims after he gives woman a ‘heartfelt apology’ at start of his trial
An international rugby player has become the fourth Durham University student in three years to walk free from a court after being accused of a sex attack on a fellow undergraduate.
Christopher Twigg, 20, who has played for the Thailand team, was charged with sexual assault after he allegedly touched a female student following a rugby social night.
But prosecutors dropped the case after Twigg agreed to apologise to his victim, without admitting any guilt.
It follows a series of cases involving students at the university, two of whom had cases dropped.
‘Disgusting. Show us how much you condemn this behaviour with your actions. Show us how much you care about the safety of your students. Will you allow them on campus with their quite clear intent?’
At the time Mr Cook told MailOnline: ‘The university has been made aware of some utterly abhorrent comments on social media that we understand may have been posted by Durham students.
‘Durham University utterly condemns the content and behaviour demonstrated in these social media posts. This is entirely unacceptable and violates the values and behaviours that we uphold as a university community.
‘We instigated an immediate investigation by our student disciplinary team as soon as we were made aware of these social media posts.
‘If these posts are found to be genuine and attributable, we will take action to ensure that those involved will have no place at Durham University.’
The university also told The Tab Durham: ‘Our students are regularly reminded to display positive and collegial conduct, an exercise responsibility and respect for others, particularly through their social media interactions.’
It comes after an international rugby player became the fourth Durham student in three years to walk free from a court after being accused of a sex attack.
Christopher Twigg, 20, who has played for Thailand, was charged with sexual assault after he allegedly touched a female student following a rugby social night.
But prosecutors dropped the case in January last year after Twigg agreed to apologise to his victim, without admitting any guilt.
Christopher Twigg, 20, was charged with sexual assault after he allegedly touched a female student following a rugby social night. But prosecutors dropped the case in January last year after Twigg agreed to apologise to his victim, without admitting any guilt
A Durham University student and rugby international was cleared of three sex attacks on a female undergraduate after giving her a ‘heartfelt apology’ instead of going to trial
It follows a series of cases involving students at the university, two of whom had cases dropped and was cleared.
In January 2016, Louis Richardson, the former secretary of the university’s Union Society, was accused of raping a woman when she was ‘crazy drunk’.
But he was cleared by a jury after less than three hours of deliberations and later told of the ’15 months of absolute hell’ he had been put through by the case.
In July that year, undergraduate George Worrall was facing three counts of rape, but just weeks before he was due to stand trial, the CPS decided not to proceed.
In that case, the CPS said that, following a review of the case, the prospect of a conviction appeared ‘very unlikely’ due to ‘inconsistencies of the victim’s account’.
The next year, student Alastair Cooke saw the rape case against him dropped. Jurors could not agree on a verdict in his trial and prosecutors decided not seek a retrial.
Mr Cooke, a third-year geology and geophysics student, was weeks away from an expected first class degree when he was arrested in 2015 on suspicion of raping a 23-year-old student in her home when she drunk.
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Britons enjoy one final late night out before Boris Johnson’s 10pm closing time comes into force
The Prime Minister has today ordered pubs and restaurants to stop serving at 10pm, considerably earlier than most establishments across the country.
And owners will be forced to kick customers out of their premises before the cut-off point or risk a fine.
The new measures, which also outlaw customers from ordering drinks at a bar, will come into full effect as of today.
But revellers took advantage of their last night of freedom as they stepped out in full force up and down the country.
Fun-seekers were spotted flouting social-distancing rules while mingling outside pubs and bars and even heavy rain in the north west of the UK didn’t stop partygoers from enjoying their last night out.
Brits were spotted in their masses heading out for one final late night on Wednesday just before Boris Johnson’s new coronavirus measures come into play. Pictured: Leeds
The Prime Minister has today ordered pubs and restaurants to stop serving at 10pm, considerably earlier than most establishments across the country. Pictured: London
And owners will be forced to kick customers out of their premises before the cut-off point or risk a fine. The new measures, which also outlaw customers from ordering drinks at a bar, will come into full effect as of today. Pictured: Middlesborough
But revellers took advantage of their last night of freedom as they stepped out in full force up and down the country. Pictured: Leeds
Women were seen sporting their glad rags while some men donned smart suits and others hooded sweatshirts to combat the downpour.
Some were seen desperately trying to protect their finery by holding jackets and blazers of their heads while others huddled together in large groups to stay out of the wet.
Revellers in Leeds, London and Middlesborough were seen taking full advantage of the last night of normal opening hours as they nursed drinks throughout the evening.
Mr Johnson’s measures will come into effect the day after 6,178 more cases of coronavirus were reported and health chiefs announced 37 more deaths.
Fun-seekers were spotted flouting social-distancing rules while mingling outside pubs and bars and even heavy rain in the north west of the UK didn’t stop partygoers from enjoying their last night out. Pictured: London
Women were seen sporting their glad rags while some men donned smart suits and others hooded sweatshirts to combat the downpour. Pictured: Middlesborough
Some were seen desperately trying to protect their finery by holding jackets and blazers of their heads while others huddled together in large groups to stay out of the wet. Pictured: London
Revellers in Leeds, London and Middlesborough were seen taking full advantage of the last night of normal opening hours as they nursed drinks throughout the evening. Pictured: London
Mr Johnson’s measures will come into effect the day after 6,178 more cases of coronavirus were reported and health chiefs announced 37 more deaths. Pictured: London
Data shows that 4,501 new Covid-19 infections are now being recorded each day, on average, up from 3,286 last Wednesday. The UK yesterday became just the 14 country in the world to pass the milestone of 400,000 cases, after another 4,926 patients tested positive for the disease.
Police federation chiefs have blasted Boris Johnson’s new rules as ‘absurd’ and ‘a nonsense’ as small business owners say they will go bust if workers stay home again.
The Prime Minister faced fire from all sides as he U-turned on his push to reopen workplaces after just a few weeks to tell office staff to work from home if they can.
He was barbed for introducing new measures including a 10pm pub curfew and £200 fines for mask rule-breakers among new restrictions on social settings in England.
Revellers in Soho, London, were seen enjoying themselves at pubs and bars on Wednesday night before new measures come into affect today
People in Leeds were seen huddled together to stay protected from the heavy downpours that hit in areas of the north west
A group of women in Leeds stay huddled together while battling through the rain as they head on a night out before the Prime Minister’s new measures come into play
A woman uses her jacket to shield her hair from the heavy rain that hit areas of the north west such as Leeds
The PM also announced he is making the British Army available to help the police enforce stringent new coronavirus rules.
He said officers will now have the ‘option to draw on military support where required’ to free up staff so more can crackdown on rule-breakers as he revealed fines are being doubled to £200.
But Downing Street ruled out deploying soldiers on the streets, saying they would be used for ‘backfilling certain duties, such as office roles and guarding protected sites, so police can be out enforcing the virus response’.
Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Ken Marsh slammed the announcement as ‘a nonsense’ and National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said it ‘lacked any detail’.
Meanwhile Chief Executive of UKHospitality Kate Nicholls described the restrictions as ‘another crushing blow’ for many businesses.
Data shows that 4,501 new Covid-19 infections are now being recorded each day, on average, up from 3,286 last Wednesday. Pictured: Leeds
The UK yesterday became just the 14 country in the world to pass the milestone of 400,000 cases, after another 4,926 patients tested positive for the disease. Pictured: Leeds
A group of women use their jackets to protect themselves from the harsh weather conditions as they surge on with their night out before new measures come into place today
Two women run through the streets of Leeds to try and get out of the downpour of rain that struck areas of the north west last night
At the same time Tory MPs warned there must not be another ‘major lockdown’, saying the decision to ditch the back to work drive will cause ‘dismay’ among workers who live in ‘cramped, overcrowded accommodation’.
MP for Telford Lucy Allen even went as far to tweet ‘our collective health is not at risk’, flying in the face of the PM’s main message to the country.
Others also said their constituents would be furious at the new crackdown after they followed the rules only to have seen ‘people at protests, at street parties, not having action taken against them.
But Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned Mr Johnson his actions did not go far enough as she banned people from visiting each other in their own homes in a bid to slash to Covid-19 R rate north of the border
The unveiling of the Government’s latest coronavirus clampdown came as:
- Sir Keir Starmer used his first Labour conference speech as leader to warn that a second national lockdown would be a ‘sign of Government failure, not an act of God’ that would take an ‘immense toll’ on public health and the economy.
- Sir Keir also claimed the ‘incompetence’ of the Government is ‘is holding Britain back’ and that the ‘underfunding of the NHS’ and the ‘abandonment of social care’ by the Conservatives had meant the UK was not prepared for the pandemic.
- Julian Knight, the Tory chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee, said without a ‘route map’ for getting spectators back to sports events ‘we risk decimation of our sporting and cultural infrastructure’.
- Shares in some of Britain’s biggest pub chains felt the pinch following the announcement of the 10pm curfew as City Pub Group fell 6.6 per cent while Wetherspoons dropped 0.4 per cent.
- Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething welcomed the UK Government’s decision to revert back to working from home as he said it was ‘a welcome shift… that matches our position’.
- Tory peer Andrew Lloyd Webber warned that commercial theatre will not survive unless the Government ‘steps up to the plate’.
- Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the increase in coronavirus cases is ‘extremely difficult news for all of us and the whole country’ as he said the Bank ‘will do everying we can do… to support the businesses and people of this country’.
- The Government said that as of 9am on Tuesday there were a further 4,926 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, taking the total to 403,551.
Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman Mr Marsh warned the rules are ‘nonsense’ and ‘absurd’. He told MailOnline: ‘In terms of the enforcement, for us it’s really difficult. I mean I’m not a massive fan of Nicola Sturgeon but at least she’s calling the shots correctly.
‘Six months’ of curbs at a glance
- All pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be subject to a 10pm curfew from Thursday, with the PM adamant that premises must kick out all of their customers by the cut off point.
- The Hospitality sector will also be restricted to table service only as the Government outlawed drinkers making a trip to the bar.
- All retail workers and customers in indoor hospitality settings will be required to wear masks – except when they are seated to eat or drink.
- All workers who can work from home are now being encouraged to do so from tomorrow.
- Fines for breaking the rule of six and for failing to wear a face covering are increasing to £200 for a first offence.
- The police will now have the option of asking the military for support with soldiers potentially being drafted in to fulfil office roles and guard protected sites in order to allow officers more time to crackdown on rule-breakers.
- The number of people allowed to attend weddings in England is being slashed to 15 from Monday but the number of people allowed to attend a funeral will remain at 30.
- Plans for the partial return of sports fans to stadiums on October 1 has been paused.
- Rule of six exemptions are being tightened to ban indoor team sports like five-a-side-football matches.
‘If someone snitches and says Mr Big has got 20 people in his house, then what are we going to do? Sit outside his house all evening and wait for people to come out and count them or something?
‘That’s one address. We’re talking about millions of addresses. It’s just a nonsense. It’s absolutely absurd. Why can’t they put in place what is in Scotland I have no idea.
‘Why? Why is ours six, but Scotland’s is no one? It’s not right and it just makes it so difficult for my colleagues to enforce when you can make it so crystal clear so it’s not ambiguous, there’s no way around it, these are the rules, adhere to them.’
He added: ‘But you know when you’ve got the Home Secretary saying snitch on your neighbours, well good luck with that one Priti Patel. How are we supposed to enforce that?’
National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter added: ‘More funding for policing this pandemic is much needed.
‘The service needs all the help it can get, as financial pressures on Forces are increasing day-by-day – but today’s announcement lacked any detail. We will wait for that before we celebrate too much. Since the start of this pandemic police and military have been working together on logistics.
‘This has and continues to work well; but the announcement from the Prime Minister has been seized by some as a suggestion that the military will be on streets helping the police to enforce Covid regulations. This is not what policing has asked for and not what it needs.’
Mr Apter added: ‘This is an ever-changing situation and police officers will continue to do an incredible job at adapting quickly.
‘The vast majority of the public complied with the restrictions placed on them. These restrictions affect us all, but this is about keeping each other as safe as possible.
‘I would hope the public will carry on doing the right thing to help protect fellow citizens to minimise the spread of the virus.’
Public Health England data reveals that of the 729 outbreaks in the week to September 13, only five per cent occurred in food outlets such as restaurants and pubs
The fresh restrictions also sparked anger from the hospitality sector, with UKHospitality’s Ms Nicholls describing them as ‘another crushing blow’ for many businesses.
She said: ‘A hard close time is bad for business and bad for controlling the virus – we need to allow time for people to disperse over a longer period.
‘Table service has been widely adopted in some parts of the sector since reopening but it is not necessary across all businesses, such as coffee shops.
‘It is hard to understand how these measures are the solution to fighting the disease when Government data shows that just 5 per cent of infections out of the home are related to hospitality.’
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