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Boris Johnson sides with Carrie Symonds and overrules Liz Truss on tariffs on chlorinated chicken

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Boris Johnson has overruled Cabinet Minister Liz Truss in a crucial battle over the future of British farming – siding with his fiancee Carrie Symonds instead.

The Prime Minister last week vowed to stem a feared flood of sub-standard American products into the UK by insisting controversial foods such as hormone-fed beef and chlorinated chicken must be subject to high import tariffs.

His move – hailed last night as a significant victory in the battle to protect ‘higher-quality’ British farming as well as our traditional landscape – was a blow to International Trade Secretary Ms Truss, a staunch free marketer who is thought to have wanted duties reduced to nothing within a decade.

Crucial to Mr Johnson’s decision was the influence of Ms Symonds, a long-standing animal welfare campaigner who is understood to back plans to penalise US producers who raise animals in cruel conditions. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) has sided with his fiancee Carrie Symonds (left) and overruled Liz Truss by ordering tariffs on chlorinated chicken in the first round of Cabinet battle on trade

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) has sided with his fiancee Carrie Symonds (left) and overruled Liz Truss by ordering tariffs on chlorinated chicken in the first round of Cabinet battle on trade

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) has sided with his fiancee Carrie Symonds (left) and overruled Liz Truss by ordering tariffs on chlorinated chicken in the first round of Cabinet battle on trade 

She is a patron of The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and spoke last year at an event it hosted on the issue. 

Ms Symonds has also promoted the party’s policies on stopping the trade in ivory, installing CCTV in slaughterhouses, increasing sentences for animal cruelty and on recognising that animals feel suffering.

Her views helped inform Mr Johnson’s decision on tariffs at a special ministerial meeting last week. 

There he backed Environment Secretary George Eustice, who warned that unless high duties were imposed, cheaper, sub-standard American food would put British farmers out of business.

Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss (pictured is said to be ¿fuming¿ over the decision, with sources warning that the Trade Secretary ¿ whose free-market views have the backing of Chancellor Rishi Sunak ¿ could yet ¿sabotage¿ Mr Johnson¿s tough stance in post-Brexit trade talks with Washington

Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss (pictured is said to be ¿fuming¿ over the decision, with sources warning that the Trade Secretary ¿ whose free-market views have the backing of Chancellor Rishi Sunak ¿ could yet ¿sabotage¿ Mr Johnson¿s tough stance in post-Brexit trade talks with Washington

Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss (pictured is said to be ‘fuming’ over the decision, with sources warning that the Trade Secretary – whose free-market views have the backing of Chancellor Rishi Sunak – could yet ‘sabotage’ Mr Johnson’s tough stance in post-Brexit trade talks with Washington

Ms Truss is said to be ‘fuming’ over the decision, with sources warning that the Trade Secretary – whose free-market views have the backing of Chancellor Rishi Sunak – could yet ‘sabotage’ Mr Johnson’s tough stance in post-Brexit trade talks with Washington.

In any case, the Prime Minister still faces calls to prove he is serious about protecting British food standards, either by enshrining the pledge in legislation now going through Parliament or by a public declaration.

Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday on the facing page, former Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers says: ‘We must hold our Ministers’ feet to the fire to ensure they do stay firm and resolute.’ 

She welcomed the pledge on higher tariffs but said it would be better if US chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef remained banned.

The row, at special meeting of the ‘XS’ Cabinet sub-committee – the ‘exit strategy’ group to manage Brexit – comes two weeks after The Mail on Sunday launched its Save Our Family Farms campaign to highlight the threat to domestic food producers if a free trade deal with Washington opened the floodgates to inferior US produce.

It also comes after 18 Tory MPs, including Ms Villiers, rebelled and tried to amend the Agriculture Bill to add protections for British farmers against low-standard imports. 

Ministers’ horns have been locked in Cabinet over whether the price of securing a lucrative US trade deal should involve opening up the UK market to controversial US foodstuffs banned by the EU.

Ms Truss, MP for an East Anglian constituency with many farmers, is understood to believe British shoppers should have a ‘Brexit dividend’ of cheaper food and proposed a plan where tariffs on US products would be reduced to zero over a ten-year period to achieve that. 

Ms Symonds is a patron of The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and spoke last year at an event it hosted on the issue

Ms Symonds is a patron of The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and spoke last year at an event it hosted on the issue

Ms Symonds is a patron of The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation and spoke last year at an event it hosted on the issue

Sources said the Prime Minister’s insistence on a ‘dual tariff’ regime with high levies on unhealthy or cruelly-produced food would ‘make it uneconomical for US producers to export to Britain’.

Higher-quality American products, such as organically-reared and free-range meat would be subject to lower tariffs.

Last night, the Government insisted there would be no compromise on UK food safety and animal welfare, saying that ‘all food coming into this country is required to meet the UK’s important standards’.

However, some MPs privately said that did not preclude relaxing any law in the future.

The Prime Minister last week vowed to stem a feared flood of sub-standard American products into the UK by insisting controversial foods such as hormone-fed beef and chlorinated chicken must be subject to high import tariffs

The Prime Minister last week vowed to stem a feared flood of sub-standard American products into the UK by insisting controversial foods such as hormone-fed beef and chlorinated chicken must be subject to high import tariffs

The Prime Minister last week vowed to stem a feared flood of sub-standard American products into the UK by insisting controversial foods such as hormone-fed beef and chlorinated chicken must be subject to high import tariffs

And in a joint letter to Tory MPs, Ms Truss and Mr Eustice sought to calm their fears by stating that the current ban on hormone-fed meat and chlorinated chicken would remain after the UK was fully outside EU, saying any change would have to be passed by Parliament.

Neil Parish, the Tory chairman of the Commons environment, food and rural affairs committee, last month told the BBC: ‘I trust George Eustice. Whether I trust Liz Truss in the same way I’m not sure…’

Last night, allies of Ms Truss hit out at what they see as attempts to ‘demonise’ her as somehow the champion of unsafe food. ‘This is complete rubbish,’ said one.

But one senior Minister who backs the ‘dual tariff’ plan said: ‘Our fear is that Liz Truss, a fanatical free marketeer, is so angry she will try to sabotage the trade talks by allowing the Americans to reject the tariff idea. 

So although Boris has intervened, this is just a battle won. The war is definitely not over.’

The National Farmers’ Union has described Mr Johnson’s decision as ‘a significant step forwards’, but it wants the tariff enforced by an independent commission.

Fresh attempts to protect British farmers are expected this week when the Agriculture Bill begins its passage through the Lords.

Tory peer and ex-Agriculture Minister Lord Deben (formerly John Gummer) suggested that Mr Johnson’s decision to allow imports of hormone-fed beef and chlorinated chicken, even with tariffs, would breach the Tories’ 2019 Election manifesto to uphold food and animal welfare standards in post-Brexit trade talks.

He said: ‘Do we really want to encourage the importation of meat which is produced in a way which is illegal in Britain?’

He also raised fears that once US hormone-produced beef is allowed in on a tariff basis, Ministers could reduce the levies in the future to the detriment of food quality and the livelihoods of British farmers.

A Deltapoll survey for this newspaper found last week that nearly three-quarters of respondents felt that maintaining UK welfare standards should be a higher priority than reaching a deal with Washington.

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High Street footfall ‘down by more than half on Super Saturday’

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The number of people visiting high streets across England on ‘Super Saturday’ was down by more than half on a year ago despite the reopening of pubs and restaurants. 

Official industry data suggests city and town centres got off to a relatively slow start after lockdown rules were further eased by the Government at the weekend. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is now facing growing pressure to set out a long term financial support package for shops and the hospitality sector to ensure struggling firms survive.

A group of 120 hospitality and tourism bosses have today written to the Government to ask for more help amid warnings the coronavirus crisis could cost companies more than £70 billion in lost income by the end of 2020. 

Meanwhile, a group of former Tory government advisers has urged Mr Sunak to effectively take a stake in coronavirus-hit businesses to stop them going under. 

The Chancellor will set out his plans for the UK economy in a mini-Budget on Wednesday.     

Rishi Sunak, pictured in 10 Downing Street on May 29, will set out a 'mini-Budget' on Wednesday this week

Rishi Sunak, pictured in 10 Downing Street on May 29, will set out a 'mini-Budget' on Wednesday this week

Rishi Sunak, pictured in 10 Downing Street on May 29, will set out a ‘mini-Budget’ on Wednesday this week

The Chancellor is under growing pressure to set out a long term support package for the high street after footfall numbers suggested people are being slow to return

The Chancellor is under growing pressure to set out a long term support package for the high street after footfall numbers suggested people are being slow to return

The Chancellor is under growing pressure to set out a long term support package for the high street after footfall numbers suggested people are being slow to return

Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were allowed to reopen across England on Saturday. 

And while there were photographs and video footage of packed streets in some parts of the country, data suggests that overall many people continued to stay away. 

Data released by Springboard, a company which looks at footfall and visitor data, and published by The Guardian suggested the number of people visiting high streets was down 56 per cent on Saturday when compared to the equivalent day last year.

Meanwhile, in London the number was down 75 per cent on a year ago. 

Hospitality and retail chiefs will be hoping that the number of people returning to the high street will steadily increase in the coming weeks. 

But they have made plain to Mr Sunak they will need some financial assistance long into the future in order to avoid mass closures and redundancies. 

The UK Hospitality industry body has estimated sales could end up down 56 per cent on last year, potentially slashing revenues by almost £74 billion. 

Meanwhile, half of businesses do not expect to reach break even until the end of next year. 

An open letter from hospitality bosses to the Government has called for tax bills to be deferred and for VAT to be slashed to give the sector a boost. 

The bosses said with the right support from ministers they could help create a wave of new jobs in the coming years. 

They wrote: ‘In the decade that followed the financial crisis hospitality consistently created around one in six new jobs thanks in part to the VAT cuts and investment in youth employment and training introduced in the immediate aftermath. We can do so again.’

It came as a group of former advisers to five Tory prime ministers and chancellors called for Mr Sunak to invest £30 billion in struggling firms.  

Economic advisers to George Osborne, David Cameron, Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Sajid Javid penned a new report for the Onward think tank. 

The former advisers suggested the money should be invested directly into high-growth companies through the British Business Bank, British Growth Fund and British Patient Capital to ensure firms can access capital.  

Meanwhile, union leaders have warned there could be a return to 1980s levels of mass unemployment unless Mr Sunak takes urgent action to support workers and businesses. 

Leaders of the TUC, Unite, Unison, GMB and Usdaw warned there is only a ‘very short window’ to prevent hundreds of thousands of workers from losing their jobs. 

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UFO investigator spots two white orbs in the Sky during a live BBC broadcast – on World UFO Day

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This is the moment two mysterious objects appeared in the sky above the Houses of Parliament during a live BBC broadcast, leaving a UFO expert baffled. 

Footage shows two glowing lights appearing above central London during a live BBC broadcast from Whitehall. 

They appear in the sky and circle a crane in the background of the clip before disappearing.   

They appeared during a live broadcast by political correspondent Jonathan Blake on the BBC News Channel last Thursday – which was World UFO Day. 

Two glowing lights appear above the Houses of Parliament during a live BBC broadcast by political correspondent Jonathan Blake

Two glowing lights appear above the Houses of Parliament during a live BBC broadcast by political correspondent Jonathan Blake

Two glowing lights appear above the Houses of Parliament during a live BBC broadcast by political correspondent Jonathan Blake

But he was oblivious to the strange objects behind him.  

Former detective and editor of UFO Truth Magazine Gary Heseltine, 60, managed to film the orbs on his iPhone as he watched TV at his home in Scholes, West Yorkshire. 

Some viewers suggested the lights could have been seagulls but Mr Heseltine said they moved too fast and were too big to be birds.   

Mr Heseltine said: ‘I was at home watching the BBC News Channel.

‘During a live broadcast with political correspondent Jonathan Blake I saw two white objects moving from right to left passing a big crane in the distance.

‘At first I thought birds but they were much too big in relation to the crane.

They appear in the sky and circle a crane in the background of the clip before disappearing. Some viewers suggested they could have been seagulls

They appear in the sky and circle a crane in the background of the clip before disappearing. Some viewers suggested they could have been seagulls

They appear in the sky and circle a crane in the background of the clip before disappearing. Some viewers suggested they could have been seagulls

‘Watch them after about 15 seconds in from the reporter’s head. They look odd to me and whilst I am no photographic expert, I have seen enough videos sent to me as the editor of UFO Truth Magazine to know when I’m looking at something strange.

‘Rarely do you get ‘live’ recordings from news channels. As the person who saw and recorded the clip, I find the sequence bizarre.

‘Some people have suggested it was a deliberate ‘joke’ by the BBC because it was World UFO Day but I don’t buy that idea at all on a serious news platform.

‘As far as I am concerned the sequence shows two anomalous objects that I can’t explain.’ 

Since 2002, Gary has collected and studied more than 500 police sightings dating back to 1901 involving around 1,000 officers.

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Beauty therapists claim governments decision not to open salons is ‘disrespectful and lazy’

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A beauty therapist has claimed the government’s decision not to open salons along with the rest of the hospitality industry is ‘disrespectful and lazy’.    

This Saturday saw bars, restaurants and hairdressers re-open for the first time in three months with strict new safety measures, however beauty salons and nail bars have been told they’re still unable to welcome clients. 

London-based facialist Teresa Tarmey, who has been forced to shut her salons in Knightsbridge, appeared on This Morning today along with beauty therapist Lindsay Nesbitt, from South Shields to discuss the decision. 

Teresa told that beauty is a ‘massive part of the economy’ which has been ‘left behind’, while Lindsay said that clients’ ‘mental health and confidence’ could be affected by not being able to see their beautician. 

London-based facialist Teresa Tarmey (pictured)  has claimed on This Morning today the government's decision not to open salons along with the rest of the hospitality industry is 'disrespectful and lazy'

London-based facialist Teresa Tarmey (pictured)  has claimed on This Morning today the government's decision not to open salons along with the rest of the hospitality industry is 'disrespectful and lazy'

London-based facialist Teresa Tarmey (pictured)  has claimed on This Morning today the government’s decision not to open salons along with the rest of the hospitality industry is ‘disrespectful and lazy’

Beauty therapist Lindsay Nesbitt, from South Shields, told that clients 'mental health and confidence' could be affected by not being able to see their beautician

Beauty therapist Lindsay Nesbitt, from South Shields, told that clients 'mental health and confidence' could be affected by not being able to see their beautician

Beauty therapist Lindsay Nesbitt, from South Shields, told that clients ‘mental health and confidence’ could be affected by not being able to see their beautician

‘It’s coming to crunch time now,’ said Teresa, ‘I’m in central London, which is a swanky area with high rent costs. I’ve had help with my wonderful landlord. 

‘But I feel for people who aren’t as lucky as me, who don’t have landlords willing to help. We’re an industry who have been left behind which is the most disappointing part.’ 

She went on: ‘It’s super disrespectful. Everyone is nervous and on edge wondering if we’re going to survive. It’s disrespectful it’s laziness.

‘They need to look at the sector, they’ve put us all in the same category. It’s a huge industry and a massive part of the economy. I think it’s just laziness.’ 

The beauty therapists appeared to discuss the government's decision not to re-open beauty salons along with bars, restaurants and hairdressers

The beauty therapists appeared to discuss the government's decision not to re-open beauty salons along with bars, restaurants and hairdressers

The beauty therapists appeared to discuss the government’s decision not to re-open beauty salons along with bars, restaurants and hairdressers 

Lindsay went on to argue that many clients, both male and female, will be affected by not being able to maintain their personal appearance. 

She said: ‘It’s impacting people’s mental health and confidence, because of the way their personal appearance is. 

‘I’ve had several messages over the last six weeks especially, people saying, “I don’t feel myself”. Maybe their husband hasn’t seen them without treatments.’ 

She added: ‘People are ringing, they’re messaging my personal Facebook account trying to get appointments.’ 

Teresa went on to argue that as beauty therapists working in close proximity to clients all the time, the importance of cleanliness has been 'drilled into them'

Teresa went on to argue that as beauty therapists working in close proximity to clients all the time, the importance of cleanliness has been 'drilled into them'

Teresa went on to argue that as beauty therapists working in close proximity to clients all the time, the importance of cleanliness has been ‘drilled into them’

The issue of re-opening salons was raised last week during PMQs in Parliament, and Lindsay told she found the video of Boris Johnson laughing while discussing the issue ‘absolutely infuriating’.  

She said: ‘That video absolutely infuriates me. They’re laughing, it’s people’s livelihood, it’s their career. 

‘We have a lot of people who rely on treatment, we have elderly people who live alone. They come for the chat, they like the atmosphere. It’s a lot of people it’s affecting.’   

Lindsay went on to argue that many clients, both male and female, will be affected by not being able to maintain their personal appearance

Lindsay went on to argue that many clients, both male and female, will be affected by not being able to maintain their personal appearance

Lindsay went on to argue that many clients, both male and female, will be affected by not being able to maintain their personal appearance

Lindsay told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield (both pictured) how elderly clients rely on their visits to the beauty salon

Lindsay told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield (both pictured) how elderly clients rely on their visits to the beauty salon

Lindsay told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield (both pictured) how elderly clients rely on their visits to the beauty salon

Teresa went on to argue that as beauty therapists working in close proximity to clients all the time, the importance of cleanliness has been ‘drilled into them’, claiming her salon is ‘geared up like a hospital.’

She told: ‘As beauty therapists, it’s drilled into us to be clean, of course, we have clean environments anyway. 

‘Me and my team all wear the masks, it’s natural for us to wear masks and sometimes gloves, and we have steriliser all over the clinic, everyday before the pandemic.

‘We’re pretty much like doctors, to be honest. We’re geared up like a hospital would be. We’re much safer than people going out on a Saturday night.’ 

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