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John McDonnell: Jeremy Corbyn Labour suspension ‘profoundly wrong’

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john mcdonnell jeremy corbyn labour suspension profoundly wrong

Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Jeremy Corbyn‘s suspension was ‘profoundly wrong’ and ‘must be reversed’.

He urged Labour members to remain in the party and said they had to acknowledge that anti-Semitism has ‘over time penetrated our party’. 

He told the virtual ‘Stand with Corbyn’ rally: ‘Numerically we know that the incidences of anti-Semitism may have been small but these things aren’t measured by numbers, but by the seriousness of the issue, by the effect that they can have.

‘The evidence shows that some people, yes, may have overestimated the numbers of party members involved – but that isn’t the issue. 

‘The stain of anti-Semitism is not measured by numbers, but by the appalling offensive nature and existence. And as Jeremy said time and time again, one anti-Semite in our party is too many.’

His comments came after current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was warned he faced ‘a hell of a row’ over his predecessor’s future in the Labour Party.   

Sir Keir insisted ‘there is no reason for a civil war in our party’ but admitted that his predecessor could be expelled from the party over comments downplaying the extent of anti-Semitism while he was in charge. 

Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Jeremy Corbyn's suspension was 'profoundly wrong' and 'must be reversed'. Pictured: Mr Corbyn on Thursday evening

Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Jeremy Corbyn's suspension was 'profoundly wrong' and 'must be reversed'. Pictured: Mr Corbyn on Thursday evening

Labour former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension was ‘profoundly wrong’ and ‘must be reversed’. Pictured: Mr Corbyn on Thursday evening

Allies of the hard Left icon warned that ‘Jeremy has an army behind him and a lot of legal funding’ while Unite the union boss Len McCluskey hit out at the decision and said ‘a split party will be doomed to defeat’. 

A war chest set up by supporters of Mr Corbyn in the summer when he faced a libel threat has seen tens of thousands of pounds more added to it since yesterday, and now stands at more than £360,000.

Mr McDonnell added at the virtual rally: ‘My appeal is not the launch of some civil war or for members to leave the party or to set up another party.

‘My appeal is for unity, for clarification that we are all on the same page when it comes to wanting to tackle anti-Semitism and the way that we do that is all of us, we stay in the party – this is our Labour Party.

‘Secondly, we have lifted the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn. 

‘Thirdly, let’s agree across the whole party to launch a programme of anti-racist campaigning and tackling anti-Semitism wherever it rears its head.’

Mr McDonnell, who was shadow chancellor under Mr Corbyn, also tweeted earlier: ‘Keir Starmer this morning has rightfully said he doesn’t want a civil war in the Labour Party.

‘Let’s be clear. Nobody does, but it seems we are drifting towards a hell of a row over use of language, misinterpretation, followed by overreaction.’ 

Former shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon, the Labour MP for East Leeds, told Friday’s virtual rally that a ‘civil war’ in the Labour Party ‘serves no-one but the Tory government’.

He said: ‘The priority for the whole Labour movement must be to force the Government to change track and to fight the racism and scapegoating of black and Jewish communities that I fear will soar across society as the economic crisis deepens.’

Mr Burgon went on: ‘Keir stood on a pledge of unity and I want to make an appeal to that pledge.

‘Unity means that the Labour Party remains a party of social democrats, socialists and trade unions. This attack on Jeremy will be rightly interpreted as an attempt to drive socialists out of the party.

‘That would weaken the movement as a whole.

Mr McDonnell urged Labour members to remain in the party and said they had to acknowledge that anti-Semitism has 'over time penetrated our party'. Pictured: Mr McDonnell with Mr Corbyn, Diane Abbot (left), Sir Keir Starmer (right) and Richard Burgon (far left) in 2018

Mr McDonnell urged Labour members to remain in the party and said they had to acknowledge that anti-Semitism has 'over time penetrated our party'. Pictured: Mr McDonnell with Mr Corbyn, Diane Abbot (left), Sir Keir Starmer (right) and Richard Burgon (far left) in 2018

Mr McDonnell urged Labour members to remain in the party and said they had to acknowledge that anti-Semitism has ‘over time penetrated our party’. Pictured: Mr McDonnell with Mr Corbyn, Diane Abbot (left), Sir Keir Starmer (right) and Richard Burgon (far left) in 2018

‘It will be an uphill fight for Keir to become prime minister, which is what I want to see, I want to see that Labour government.

‘Keir shouldn’t have that fight with one hand tied behind his back. The way forward is clear: readmit Jeremy and unite to take the fight to the Tories.’

Labour former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said it was ‘vital’ that Jeremy Corbyn is reinstated to the party as she warned that his suspension would ‘not help us win the next election’.

She told the ‘Stand with Corbyn’ rally: ‘There have been historic failures in the way that racism – including anti-Semitism – has been handled by the party.

‘The priority right now for everyone in our party is to come together and successfully improve the way that Labour handles racism and anti-Semitism.

‘Of course, I want to see all the recommendations in the EHRC report implemented, as does Jeremy.’

She said she was ‘shocked and saddened’ by and ‘completely opposed’ to Mr Corbyn’s suspension, warning it would threaten Labour’s chances.

‘It is, of course, awful for him… for his family, his friends and his allies, and it is very worrying for the entire left. But it is most damaging to the prospect of a Labour government.

‘There is a truism in British politics that divided parties do not win elections, and divisions like we are seeing now will not help us win the next election.’

Ms Abbott, earlier shared an online petition on Twitter calling for Labour to ‘reinstate’ him after his suspension.

She said: ‘Really important that you sign this petition to Reinstate Jeremy Corbyn. He has always stood with us. We must stand with him #IStandWithJeremyCorbyn.’

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Allies of the former Labour leader including John McDonnell and Diane Abbott have spoken out in his defence

Allies of the former Labour leader including John McDonnell and Diane Abbott have spoken out in his defence

Allies of the former Labour leader including John McDonnell and Diane Abbott have spoken out in his defence

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35050350 8898305 image m 23 1604078698288

Sir Keir Starmer said this morning that Jeremy Corbyn could ultimately be expelled from the Labour Party over the anti-Semitism row

The charges against Labour in damning 130-page report

  • Labour breached the Equality Act 2010 by committing ‘unlawful harassment’ in two of the complaints investigated.  They included ‘using antisemitic tropes and suggesting that complaints of antisemitism were fake or smears’.
  • One of the cases involved Ken Livingstone, who in 2016 defended MP Naz Shah over claims of anti-Semitism by claiming there was a smear campaign by ‘the Israel lobby’ to undermine and disrupt Mr Corbyn’s leadership. He later resigned from the Labour Party after being suspended.
  • A further 18 cases were ‘borderline’, involving local councillors, local election candidates and Constituency Labour Party (CLP) officials. 
  • Analysis of 70 anti-Semitism complaint files found 23 incidences of ‘political interference’ by Mr Corbyn’s office and others. This included ‘clear examples of interference at various stages throughout the complaint handling process, including in decisions on whether to investigate and whether to suspend’ party members. 
  • The party’s complaints process was ‘inconsistent, poor, and lacking in transparency’. 
  • In cases where a complaint of anti-Semitism was upheld, it was ‘difficult to draw conclusions on whether the sanctions applied were fair and consistent’. 
  • Recommendations made by the watchdog include commissioning an independent process to handle anti-Semitism complaints and acknowledging the effect political interference has had and implementing clear rules to stop it happening again. 

 

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An investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found Labour was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.

But Mr Corbyn rejected some of the equality watchdog’s findings and claimed the issue had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ by his critics. 

That prompted him to be suspended from the party pending investigation and Sir Keir warned this morning that the probe could result in his predecessor being kicked out of Labour for good. 

Labour will now conduct a formal investigation into the comments made yesterday by Mr Corbyn.

In a bid for unity following the decision to suspend him, Mr Corbyn urged Labour members to ‘stay’ and fight internally against any shift to the centre ground.

But the battle lines were drawn as allies openly warned of a potential split, activists relinquished their memberships and Momentum – a campaigning arm of the party during the Islington North MP’s five-year reign – announced there will be a virtual Stand with Corbyn rally on Friday evening.

Encouraging social media followers to join the rally, Momentum posted: ‘The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn by the Labour Party leadership is a naked attack on the left that undermines the fight against anti-Semitism and makes a mockery of Keir Starmer’s pledge to unite the party.’

Sir Keir was pushed on whether that probe could end with the former leader being expelled. 

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘There is a process that will now go through the governance and legal unit, there are a possible number of sanctions.’

Asked if one of the options is expulsion, Sir Keir replied: ‘Yes, people have been expelled from the Labour Party. There have been I think 827 cases since I became leader which is more than all of the cases in 2019 and in a third of those cases people have been expelled.

‘But it is not for me to say what process should be followed, that is for the General Secretary, or what sanction is in order.’ 

Sir Keir said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ by Mr Corbyn’s comments as he claimed the ex-leader was aware he would warn people against claiming anti-Semitism had been exaggerated. 

He said: ‘I’m deeply disappointed in that response from Jeremy Corbyn yesterday not least because I spoke to him the night before the report to set out how I intended to deal with it.

How Corbyn’s future could be decided?

Jeremy Corbyn’s future in the Labour party will be decided by fellow party members.

Under rules updated at the party conference last year, the National Executive Committee (NEC) now has the power to expel those found guilty of serious transgressions.

The NEC consists of elected representatives from across various wings of the party, including MPs, local constituency parties, trade unions and Welsh and Scottish Labour.

Cases can be heard by its anti-Semitism panel or its disputes panel.  

Mr Corbyn’s case will be investigated by Labour officials who prepare a report for the NEC, which then makes a decision. They are not bound by the report’s recommendations.

After the rule changes passed at the September 2019 conference, Labour’s figures show twice the number of people were expelled in two months than had been expelled during the whole of 2018. 

Previously expulsions could only be carried out by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NEC), which was charged with overseeing party discipline. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission report yesterday, which Labour has pledged to implement in full, heavily criticised its handling of complaints and punishment against those found to have been anti-Semitic.

One of its demands was that Labour, ‘in line with its commitment, and as soon as rule changes allow, commission an independent process to handle and determine anti-Semitism complaints’.

‘This should last until trust and confidence in the process is fully restored and should ensure that independent oversight and auditing are permanently embedded in the new process,’ it added.

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‘And from discussions yesterday morning I’m in no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn and his team knew exactly what I was going to say in my response about not only anti-Semitism but about the denial and the arguments about exaggeration and it’s just a factional fight.’ 

Sir Keir said he hoped the Labour Party would be able to ‘draw a line and move forward’ following the publication of the EHRC report. 

But he is facing a growing party split over the decision to suspend Mr Corbyn. 

Allies of Mr Corbyn told The Telegraph: ‘This was a disastrous miscalculation. It could now escalate. 

‘He doesn’t understand the scale of what is about to happen, and it’s going to get very difficult for him. Jeremy has an army behind him and a lot of legal funding.’

Ken Livingstone lashed out at ‘the establishment and old Blairite MPs’ today, accusing them of trying to kick Jeremy Corbyn out of Labour for telling the ‘truth’ about the party’s anti_Semitism problem.

The former London mayor told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was ‘all about getting rid of a socialist leader’.  

Mr Livingstone attacked the suspension today, saying: ‘It isn’t fair because what Jeremy said is true. 

‘We have not had a major problem with anti-Semitism in the party, we had a small number, somewhere between 250 and 300 members who tweeted something anti-Semitic.

‘Under Jeremy’s newly appointed general secretary they were kicked out of the party. He dealt with the problem really quickly.’

He added: ‘The establishment and the old Blairite MPs desperately want to get rid of Jeremy and this is one of the things they ramped up.  What is appalling about this is that it causes so much concern in the Jewish community.

‘It’s all about getting rid of a socialist leader.’

Meanwhile, Mr McCluskey, an ally of Mr Corbyn, said the decision to suspend him was an ‘act of grave injustice’ which could ‘create chaos within the party’ and put any chance of election success in jeopardy.

‘A split party will be doomed to defeat,’ he said.

Responding to Mr McCluskey’s comments, Sir Keir said he believed there is ‘no reason for a civil war’. 

He told Sky News: ‘What Len McCluskey is concerned about is that there shouldn’t be a split in the Labour Party and he is right about that.

‘I don’t want a split in the Labour Party. I stood as leader of the Labour Party on the basis that I would unite the party but also that I would tackle anti-Semitism.

‘I think both of those can be done. There is no reason for a civil war in our party but we are absolutely determined, I am absolutely determined to root out anti-Semitism.

‘I don’t want the words Labour Party and anti-Semitism in the same sentence again.’

Unite the union boss Len McCluskey, an ally of Mr Corbyn, said 'a split party will be doomed to defeat' amid a growing Labour civil war

Unite the union boss Len McCluskey, an ally of Mr Corbyn, said 'a split party will be doomed to defeat' amid a growing Labour civil war

Unite the union boss Len McCluskey, an ally of Mr Corbyn, said ‘a split party will be doomed to defeat’ amid a growing Labour civil war

In an eventful day for Labour, reports surfaced that deputy leader Angela Rayner contacted Mr Corbyn and his team following his controversial statement yesterday and called for him to retract his ‘overstated’ comments.

It was his failure to withdraw the remarks that led to Labour suspending him as current leader Sir Keir sought to draw a dividing line between the party now and under Mr Corbyn’s tenure, which ended in April.

The Guardian reported that Mr Corbyn is understood to have spoken to Sir Keir ahead of the EHRC’s report publication on Wednesday evening and was reassured there was no plan to take action against him in light of its findings.

But the situation is understood to have changed after the 71-year-old released his statement, which was published only moments before Sir Keir told a press conference he would not tolerate anyone who denied the scale of the anti-Semitism crisis.

Labour stressed that the decision to suspend Mr Corbyn was taken by its General Secretary David Evans, but shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy confirmed Sir Keir was briefed beforehand and approved of the move.

Sir Keir told reporters: ‘I made it clear that we won’t tolerate anti-Semitism or the denial of anti-Semitism through the suggestion that it’s exaggerated or factional and that’s why I was disappointed in Jeremy Corbyn’s response, and that is why appropriate action has been taken, which I fully support.’   

The fallout came on what Sir Keir labelled a ‘day of shame’ for Labour after the EHRC found the party broke equality law over its handling of anti-Semitism complaints.

The EHRC investigation found evidence of ‘political interference’ by then leader Mr Corbyn’s office in the complaints process.

Interim chairwoman Caroline Waters said there had been ‘inexcusable’ failures which ‘appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle anti-Semitism rather than an inability to do so’.

The watchdog identified three breaches of the Equality Act relating to political interference in complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism cases, and harassment.

The party has been served with an unlawful act notice and has been given until December 10 to draft an action plan to implement the report’s recommendations. The notice is legally enforceable by the courts if not fulfilled.

‘What Jeremy said is true’: Shamed Ken Livingstone denies Labour has a ‘major problem’ with anti-Semitism 

Ken Livingstone lashed out at ‘the establishment and old Blairite MPs’ today, accusing them of trying to kick Jeremy Corbyn out of Labour for telling the ‘truth’ about the party’s anti_Semitism problem.

The former London mayor told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was ‘all about getting rid of a socialist leader’. 

The former London mayor (pictured today) told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was 'all about getting rid of a socialist leader'.

The former London mayor (pictured today) told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was 'all about getting rid of a socialist leader'.

The former London mayor (pictured today) told MailOnline that the decision to suspend the hard Left former party leader yesterday was not fair and was ‘all about getting rid of a socialist leader’.

His comments came as new Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer tries to see off a factional civil war over the action against Mr Corbyn, who claimed anti-Semitism had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ by his critics.

Mr Livingstone, 75, who was in charge of the Capital from 2000 to 2008, was also censured by the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which found he was guilty of ‘unlawful harassment’ of Jews in 2016.

A furious Sir Keir Starmer today said Jeremy Corbyn could be expelled from Labour over his response, but he faces a stand-off with Corbynista MPs and trade unionists who have vowed to fight the suspension.

Mr Livingstone attacked the suspension today, saying: ‘It isn’t fair because what Jeremy said is true.

‘We have not had a major problem with anti-Semitism in the party, we had a small number, somewhere between 250 and 300 members who tweeted something anti-Semitic.

‘Under Jeremy’s newly appointed general secretary they were kicked out of the party. He dealt with the problem really quickly.’

He added: The establishment and the old Blairite MPs desperately want to get rid of Jeremy and this is one of the things they ramped up.  What is appalling about this is that it causes so much concern in the Jewish community.

‘It’s all about getting rid of a socialist leader.’

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Brexit: Don’t let Britain become a permanent ‘client state’, MPs warn

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Die-hard Tories last night warned an under-fire Boris Johnson that the UK could become a permanent ‘client state’ of the EU if British negotiators cave in to Brussels on fishing rights and the ‘level playing field’. 

A group of Conservative backbenchers urged the PM not to break the promises he made to Leave voters in last year’s General Election and the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union.

With the UK’s chances of striking a post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels teetering, Brexit radicals fear that Mr Johnson has reportedly agreed to defer repatriating up to half of the fishing quotas for several years. 

British officials hit out French President Emmanuel Macron, who they accused of pushing talks to the brink of collapse by pressuring EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier to take a hardline stance. 

The French President has also been pushing for French trawlers to maintain their access to UK waters, and is said to have demanded a 10-year transition to any reduction in EU fishing access – which No10 finds unacceptable. A senior government official told the Times the proposal is ‘not something that we can agree to or sell’.

Mr Barnier, who has been in London this week to try to hash out a deal, has also called for further concessions from the UK on state aid, with Mr Macron determined to protect French firms from British competition. 

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith called fishing a ‘totemic issue’ and said the UK needed to start with control over ‘100 per cent’. He also insisted that Britain be treated like Norway, which sets its own fishing quotas. 

Theresa Villiers, the former Environment Secretary, added that Britain could be ‘locked in as a client state’ if it did not secure regulatory autonomy, calling this the ‘main means’ by which the EU could ‘tie us into their laws’.    

Sir Iain told the Telegraph: ‘We have to be treated like Norway is treated. We’re not looking for an increase, we are looking for control. From there, we negotiate with other countries what access they get. It’s as simple as that.’

Mrs Villiers called the failure to secure regulatory autonomy the ‘main threat to getting Brexit done’. ‘There are level playing field agreements in the Canada deal and arbitration mechanisms that are acceptable. But on the other end of the spectrum we are locked in as a client state,’ she told the newspaper.

Some Brexiteers told Mr Johnson to walk away. Andrew Bridgen said: ‘I am very worried that the Prime Minister is about to sign up to something unacceptable. If Boris sells us out on Brexit then he is finished, and I think he knows that.’ But former Tory minister Tobias Ellwood said: ‘It would be a retrograde step for Global Britain.’  

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith called fishing a 'totemic issue' and said the UK needed to start with control over '100 per cent'. He also insisted that Britain be treated like Norway, which sets its own fishing quotas

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith called fishing a 'totemic issue' and said the UK needed to start with control over '100 per cent'. He also insisted that Britain be treated like Norway, which sets its own fishing quotas

Theresa Villiers, the former Environment Secretary, added that Britain could be 'locked in as a client state' if it did not secure regulatory autonomy, calling this the 'main means' by which the EU could 'tie us into their laws'

Theresa Villiers, the former Environment Secretary, added that Britain could be 'locked in as a client state' if it did not secure regulatory autonomy, calling this the 'main means' by which the EU could 'tie us into their laws'

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith called fishing a ‘totemic issue’ and said the UK needed to start with control over ‘100 per cent’. He also insisted that Britain be treated like Norway, which sets its own fishing quotas. Theresa Villiers, the former Environment Secretary, added that Britain could be ‘locked in as a client state’ if it did not secure regulatory autonomy, calling this the ‘main means’ by which the EU could ‘tie us into their laws’

Talks have also hit stalemate over fishing, where Mr Macron has been pushing for French trawlers to maintain their existing access to British waters. (Pictured, the PM and President Macron in London in June)

Talks have also hit stalemate over fishing, where Mr Macron has been pushing for French trawlers to maintain their existing access to British waters. (Pictured, the PM and President Macron in London in June)

Talks have also hit stalemate over fishing, where Mr Macron has been pushing for French trawlers to maintain their existing access to British waters. (Pictured, the PM and President Macron in London in June)

Barnier's telling tweet: Mr Barnier is expected to return to Brussels this morning to warn the negotiations are in peril

Barnier's telling tweet: Mr Barnier is expected to return to Brussels this morning to warn the negotiations are in peril

Barnier’s telling tweet: Mr Barnier is expected to return to Brussels this morning to warn the negotiations are in peril

Tensions were ratcheted up after France’s Europe minister, Charles Beaune, yesterday publicly announced that Paris would veto any post-Brexit trade deal that went against French interests. 

Mr Macron, who faces re-election in 2022, has made lavish promises to French fishermen and is said to believe blocking a deal could bolster his popularity. Mr Beaune insisted Paris wanted a deal but added: ‘France is attached to the interests of its fishermen, is attached to the fair business conditions.

‘It’s also the case for our partners that if, if there were a deal that isn’t good, which in our evaluation doesn’t correspond to those interests, we will oppose it. Yes each country has a veto, so it’s possible.’  

A UK source said: ‘At the start of the week we saw Macron agitating with other EU capitals that they were giving away too much. Then you see Barnier bringing this back and the whole process goes backwards. 

‘I think everyone can join the dots. We want a deal but it has to be on the basis that we are a sovereign country again. Some people still seem to be struggling with the concept that we are going to be an independent country setting our own rules. If it stays like that there will be no deal.’ 

It comes as the two sides’ chief negotiators announced yesterday they were putting the talks on ‘pause’ to allow political leaders to take stock. In a joint statement following the latest round of negotiations in London, Lord Frost and Mr Barnier said the conditions for an agreement had still not been met.

Mr Johnson will hold talks with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen this afternoon to try to rescue the process. But Lord Frost is said to believe there is little prospect of striking a post-Brexit trade deal unless EU leaders rein in Mr Macron and ultimately persuade him to back down.  

Boris Johnson was locked in a stand-off with Emmanuel Macron last night as Brexit talks teetered on the brink. British officials claimed the French president had pressured European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier to take a hardline stance

Boris Johnson was locked in a stand-off with Emmanuel Macron last night as Brexit talks teetered on the brink. British officials claimed the French president had pressured European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier to take a hardline stance

Boris Johnson was locked in a stand-off with Emmanuel Macron last night as Brexit talks teetered on the brink. British officials claimed the French president had pressured European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier to take a hardline stance

Mr Johnson was ready to accept the inclusion of 'non-regression clauses' into the deal, which would have guaranteed no cuts to current standards on state aid subsidies, workers' rights and environmental standards

Mr Johnson was ready to accept the inclusion of 'non-regression clauses' into the deal, which would have guaranteed no cuts to current standards on state aid subsidies, workers' rights and environmental standards

Mr Macron, who faces re-election in 2022, has made lavish promises to French fishermen and is said to believe blocking a deal could bolster his popularity

Mr Macron, who faces re-election in 2022, has made lavish promises to French fishermen and is said to believe blocking a deal could bolster his popularity

Mr Johnson was ready to accept the inclusion of ‘non-regression clauses’ into the deal, which would have guaranteed no cuts to current standards on state aid subsidies, workers’ rights and environmental standards. Mr Macron, who faces re-election in 2022, has made lavish promises to French fishermen and is said to believe blocking a deal could bolster his popularity

Failure to strike an agreement would leave the two trading partners to deal with each other on World Trade Organisation terms from the start of next month. This would lead to the imposition of tariffs on a wide range of goods, including levies of at least 40 per cent on lamb and 10 per cent on cars. 

After months of circling round the same issues, they said ‘significant divergences’ remained over fisheries, the ‘level playing field’ rules on fair competition and the enforcement mechanism for any deal.

Mr Johnson was ready to accept the inclusion of ‘non-regression clauses’ into the deal, which would have guaranteed no cuts to current standards on state aid subsidies, workers’ rights and environmental standards.

But Mr Barnier then brought back earlier demands for a so-called ‘ratchet clause’ to make the UK follow future EU laws in these areas. Britain would be threatened with tariffs if standards fell below those in the EU.     

In a further complicating factor, the UK Government is bringing back to the Commons legislation enabling it to override elements of Mr Johnson’s ‘divorce’ settlement with Brussels in breach of international law.

On Monday, MPs will vote on whether to overturn amendments by the House of Lords which removed the provisions in the UK Internal Market Bill relating to the Irish border. 

MPs will then debate legislation which contains further similar provisions. The legislation has infuriated the EU and – if it is passed – could further sour the mood in the negotiations making a deal harder to reach.     

A close ally of Emmanuel Macron yesterday said he would veto any trade deal that went against French interests. But UK sources said the president did not respect Britain's independence and was trying to shield his nation's firms from competition. One insider warned there would be no deal unless Mr Macron backed down (Above, Macron in Paris)

A close ally of Emmanuel Macron yesterday said he would veto any trade deal that went against French interests. But UK sources said the president did not respect Britain's independence and was trying to shield his nation's firms from competition. One insider warned there would be no deal unless Mr Macron backed down (Above, Macron in Paris)

A close ally of Emmanuel Macron yesterday said he would veto any trade deal that went against French interests. But UK sources said the president did not respect Britain’s independence and was trying to shield his nation’s firms from competition. One insider warned there would be no deal unless Mr Macron backed down (Above, Macron in Paris)

Could France veto a deal? When is the deadline? Your Brexit questions answered

What are the sticking points?

There are three key sticking points, which have hardly changed in months. The first is the EU’s demand that Britain observe a ‘level playing field’ on issues such as state a id subsidies, workers’ rights and environmental protections to prevent it undercutting the EU.

The second is fishing, where Brussels has demanded that EU trawlers maintain their existing rights to fish in British waters. The third is agreeing a mechanism for resolving disputes that is fair to both sides.

How can they be resolved?

The EU is nervous that its businesses could be undercut by British firms freed from the dead hand of Brussels red tape.

Boris Johnson is adamant that he will not tie the UK to EU rules after Brexit. In a bid to strike a deal, the Prime Minister has indicated he will agree to maintain ‘level playing field’ standards at at least the level they are now. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, appeared to have agreed but, under pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron, demanded that Britain also agree to continue matching EU standards as they change in future. This is unacceptable to the PM, who believes that the ability to set our own rules is the right of any independent state and a key benefit of Brexit that could allow the UK to outcompete the EU.

On fishing, most EU countries except France accept they will get lower fishing quotas in UK waters. Cuts to EU quotas could be phased in over a few years, but the UK is unwilling to accept a Brussels proposal for a decade-long transition.

Any dispute mechanism will have to put the UK’s Supreme Court on an equal footing with the European Court of Justice for it to be acceptable to Tory MPs.

Will Tory Eurosceptics accept a deal?

Most Tory MPs will back a deal that allows the UK to take back control of its borders and laws. But if the PM compromises on key issues of independence, such as allowing a decisive role for the European Court of Justice, he could face a dangerous revolt. However, this is not likely to affect his chances of getting a deal through Parliament as Labour are expected to either back it or abstain.

Could France veto it?

Yes, all 27 member states have a veto. French Europe minister Clement Beaune warned yesterday that Mr Macron was ready to veto any deal not in France’s interests.

When is the final deadline?

The Brexit process has had innumerable ‘make or break’ weeks, but sources on both sides agree the process is now in the endgame. Negotiators had been targeting a deal by tomorrow night in order for the hundreds of pages of legal documents to be translated in time for a Brussels summit on Thursday. But the process could now slip into early next week.

What about the UK’s No Deal legislation?

MPs will vote on Monday to reinsert controversial clauses in the Internal Market Bill which override parts of last year’s Brexit deal relating to Northern Ireland. The measures could have been dropped if a deal had been struck but now look certain to go ahead.

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Ministers pledge £4million to plant thousands of trees to tackle climate change and reduce flooding 

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ministers pledge 4million to plant thousands of trees to tackle climate change and reduce flooding

The Mail’s campaign to plant thousands of trees across Britain receives a huge boost today as ministers pledge £3.9million to plant more trees in towns and along rivers to reduce the risk of flooding.

The funding will help Boris Johnson’s Government reach its target of planting 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of trees every year across the UK by 2025.

From the cash boost £2.5million will go towards planting in cities, towns and the countryside to tackle climate change and create new habitats for wildlife.

The funding will help Boris Johnson’s Government reach its target of planting 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of trees every year across the UK by 2025

The funding will help Boris Johnson’s Government reach its target of planting 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of trees every year across the UK by 2025

The funding will help Boris Johnson’s Government reach its target of planting 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of trees every year across the UK by 2025

And £1.4million will go to the Environment Agency to place 850,000 trees near rivers and watercourses to better protect homes and reduce flood risk.

Today’s announcement, which will help deliver tree planting on an ‘unprecedented scale’, comes at the end of National Tree Week.

The annual tree-planting drive has seen thousands of young trees, called whips, put into the ground up and down the country.

The campaign has so far raised over half a million pounds for orchards to be planted in schools

The campaign has so far raised over half a million pounds for orchards to be planted in schools

The campaign has so far raised over half a million pounds for orchards to be planted in schools

Many are sponsored by the Daily Mail’s Be A Tree Angel campaign, which was launched last November in conjunction with the Tree Council with the aim to encourage people of all ages to plant as many trees as possible. 

The campaign has so far raised over half a million pounds for orchards to be planted in schools.

Children up and down the country began seeding this week, giving them the opportunity to learn more about the environment and leave a legacy for the next generation.

The Government’s ‘woodlands for water’ fund consists of 15 projects which will protect around 160km of river and help to reduce the risk of flooding to over 500 properties.

Trees have the ability to slow the flow of water, act as a buffer for agricultural pollution and improve water quality.

Projects include planting 30,168 trees in the Upper Thames and Cotswolds, 17,000 trees at ten sites across Devon and Cornwall and 17,687 over three locations in Shropshire.

Forestry minister Lord Goldsmith said: ‘We are going to have to break down the barriers to planting trees outside of woodlands if we are to deliver our ambitious tree planting commitments.

Trees are the backbone of our urban and rural environments, and increasing planting is an effective way both to tackle climate change and stem the appalling collapse of biodiversity.

‘These ambitious new initiatives will help deliver tree planting on an unprecedented scale. They will help to regenerate our urban areas, as well as our watercourses, and create a network of green corridors for both people and wildlife to thrive.’

The scheme is being led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Natural England and the Tree Council.

Emma Howard Boyd, chairman of the Environment Agency, said: ‘The projects chosen will provide invaluable benefits to communities and our environment – from reducing flood risk and protecting homes, to capturing carbon, improving water quality and encouraging biodiversity.’

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36467470 9020343 image a 250 1607127308748

While many hailed the announcement, some organisations said more needs to be done to meet tree-planting targets.

Darren Moorcroft, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: ‘We welcome the Government’s announcement to commit £3.9million to fund tree planting – it’s another step in the right direction but much more will need to be done to achieve its aim to create 30,000 hectares of trees per year to meet climate change targets.

‘Whilst this funding for more trees is a good start, funding is also needed to look after them in the long term.

‘This means local authorities being able to afford to have a woods and tree officer, the resources to develop a tree strategy and important practical things like the ability to assess their landholdings for areas to plant.’

It comes after Mr Johnson last month announced a further £40million towards the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which will go towards creating and retaining jobs in the environmental sector.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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It’s Alfred Hitch-Cat! Director makes his most unexpected cameo yet

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its alfred hitch cat director makes his most unexpected cameo yet

His unmistakeable profile would suddenly appear in his thrilling tales of mystery and suspense.

From peering out from a photograph in Dial M For Murder to winding a clock in Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock’s cameos became ever more inventive.

But surely even the master film director could not have conceived this twist. 

Look closely at the mysterious markings on this moggie and you will see the familiar jowls and long nose of the director

Look closely at the mysterious markings on this moggie and you will see the familiar jowls and long nose of the director

Look closely at the mysterious markings on this moggie and you will see the familiar jowls and long nose of the director

Look closely at the mysterious markings on this moggie and you will see the familiar jowls and long nose of the director.

Daisy’s owner Sam Horowitz, an accountant from Brooklyn, New York, posted the image on Twitter. 

Others quickly saw the uncanny resemblance to Hitchcock and the picture went viral, with 150,000 likes and counting.

The director also used his silhouette to great effect in the opening titles of Hitchcock Presents, his television series of mystery stories.

As for Daisy, after starring in an internet thriller she probably went to play with the birds. 

Others quickly saw the uncanny resemblance to Hitchcock and the picture went viral, with 150,000 likes and counting

Others quickly saw the uncanny resemblance to Hitchcock and the picture went viral, with 150,000 likes and counting

Others quickly saw the uncanny resemblance to Hitchcock and the picture went viral, with 150,000 likes and counting

From peering out from a photograph in Dial M For Murder to winding a clock in Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock’s cameos became ever more inventive. But surely even the master film director could not have conceived this twist

From peering out from a photograph in Dial M For Murder to winding a clock in Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock’s cameos became ever more inventive. But surely even the master film director could not have conceived this twist

From peering out from a photograph in Dial M For Murder to winding a clock in Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock’s cameos became ever more inventive. But surely even the master film director could not have conceived this twist

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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