Brexit latest: UK blows top at Australia as £17bn trade deal stalls – ‘Show us the money!’ | Politics | News
UAE: Liz Truss discusses post-Brexit trade deal
Dan Tehan, Australia’s trade minister, was given the go-ahead to meet Ms Truss face-to-face in London this week, despite strict Covid travel rules. It is hoped the two sides will make progress in the trade talks, with the UK putting significant pressure on Canberra to “show us the colour of their money“. THIS BLOG HAS NOW CLOSED. FOLLOW OUR LATEST UPDATES HERE.
Mr Tehan will arrive in London later today, ahead of two days of negotiations.
The UK is understood to be frustrated with the Australian officials’ hardline stance, as prior to his appointment in December talks were said to be making “really rapid progress”.
Sources in Ms Truss’ department have said Canberra needs to show “some serious movement on their side” to unblock then negotiations.
The trade official has been accused of being “slow to move on key UK asks”, including on sensitive areas in services, investment and business visas – particularly in legal services and management consultancy.
Australian officials said the trade of goods and services between the two countries was valued at £17bn in 2018-2019 – making the stalled talks a potentially expensive delay.
Liz Truss is preparing for a showdown with her Australian counterpart
These sectors are viewed as central to the UK economy’s recovery from the Covid pandemic.
Britain is also vying for reduced tariffs on Scotch whisky and cars, which are both currently levied at five percent.
A source close to Ms Truss told the Telegraph: “He is inexperienced compared to Liz. He needs to show that he can play at this level.
“Australia need to show us the colour of their money. They’re great friends of ours and talk a good game about free trade and wanting a deal, but they need to match those words with action.”
Ms Truss hopes in-person talks are the key to breaking the deadlock and finalising the deal.
She successfully used a similar tactic to clinch a trade agreement with Japan last year.
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6.00am update: Don’t blame Brexit! Irish premier warns of ‘very serious harm’ over NI Protocol battle
Micheál Martin has defended the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol, and warned people of “very serious harm” if Brexit continues to be weaponised.
The Taoiseach made the comments at his party’s annual 1916 commemoration at Arbour Hill Cemetery in Dublin yesterday.
Violence has broken out in Northern Ireland in recent weeks, with unionist gangs angered in part over the Irish Sea border implemented after Brexit.
5.10am update: Brexit data protection row brewing as EU bosses question UK ‘mass surveillance’
A fresh Brexit row is brewing over data protection with EU chiefs calling for Britain to make improvements before further information exchanges are agreed.
Brussels data protection officers insist they do not want to block the release of data transfers to the UK but warned they found what they described as Britain’s mass surveillance questionable.
The European Data Protection Committee (EDPC) said it still needed adjustments to the European Commission’s proposals for which companies and authorities are initially allowed to continue to transmit personal data from the EU to the UK for four years.
3.45am update: British logistics sector reaps benefits of unexpected Brexit boost as economy bounces back
Soaring demand for warehouse space and customs clearing services has seen a string of behind-the-scenes British firms reap an unexpected Brexit benefit.
Logistics companies which manage supply chains for high street brands such as Zara, Nike and Argos have all experienced a post-Brexit boost.
It comes as the sector was already making the most of an online shopping boom sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Boris orders Macron to intervene in French fishermen‘s revolt
2.45am update: Brexit: New study shows half of leavers were not ‘left behind’ supporters but ‘affluent’
New research has unpicked the stereotype that Brexit supporters are working-class “left behind” voters.
A report by UK in a Changing Europe shows that half of Brexiteers were actually comfortably well off.
The research highlights that they did not have expectations of huge economic gains but thought that leaving the EU would help address other issues in Britain.
1.30am update: Jeremy Corbyn appeal DISMISSED by judge – ex-Labour leader suffers huge court blow
Jeremy Corbyn has lost his appeal after being accused of defamation by blogger Richard Millett.
The Court of Appeal has turfed out the former Labour leader’s appeal. Mr Millett had successfully won a preliminary case against Mr Corbyn after the MP claimed the blogger was “disruptive and abusive” at a 2013 meeting featuring a Palestinian speaker.
12.20am update: Boris orders Macron to intervene in French fishermen‘s revolt
Boris Johnson has warned Emmanuel Macron to order unruly French fishermen to not blockade British exports to the Continent.
British officials have held talks with their French counterparts ahead of a protest by a group of trawlermen who are planning the outrageous revolt in ports near Calais.
They have accused Downing Street of blocking their access to UK fishing grounds after the post-Brexit agreement with the EU entered into force.
The row is over an alleged refusal to issue special licences to French boats working out of Boulogne-sur-mer.
Melanie Kaidan takes over live reporting from Paul Withers.
8.30pm update: Eurozone haunted by ‘ghost bankruptcies’ as 200,000 firms at risk – alarm bells ring
The Eurozone is being haunted by “ghost bankruptcies”, with more than 200,000 firms across the European Union’s four biggest nations under threat when Covid financial lifelines stop, bombshell new research has warned.
Hundreds of billions of euros have been spent on support measures to help companies throughout the continent stay alive, thus limiting the number of bankruptcies over the past year.
During the third quarter of 2020 (July to September), bankruptcies fell by nearly a fifth compared to 12 months earlier.
But research from the Bank of America has set alarm bells ringing, with analysts warning the number of companies across Germany, France, Spain and Italy could plunge by up to three percent before the end of 2022 as they struggle for survival.
The report’s modelling uses Eurostat’s 2018 business population figures, and estimates 76,000 firms could collapse in Spain, as well as 59,000 in France, 57,000 in Italy and 27,000 in Germany.
Alessandro Infelise Zhou and Ruben Segura-Cayuela, who co-wrote the report, warned: “Reported bankruptcies may remain ‘ghosts’ for now, but longer-term economic scarring may be waiting for us just around the corner.”
6.40pm update: Oh dear, Macron! French fishermen condemned for threatening Brexit revolt over licence row
French fishermen have been condemned by their UK counterparts after threatening a revolt over being blocked from fishing in British waters.
Fishing chiefs in Boulogne-sur-Mer, just over an hour from the UK’s maritime border with the EU have complained as they are yet to be granted a licence to fish in the UK’s 12-mile zone.
Chiefs in the Hauts-de-France region of France which covers Boulogne-sur-Mer claim just 23 of the 110 regions boats are licenced to operate in the UK’s zone.
The local fishing industry was more than 70 percent dependent on British waters for artisanal fishing, and 96 percent for deep-sea fishing.
Fishermen in the region have threatened to stage a protest and accused the UK Government of U-turning on promises made in the UK-EU agreement to let the bloc’s boats access British fishing grounds.
The demonstration, expected to take place on Thursday and Friday, is currently being finalised by regional fishing and Union groups.
But Jimmy Buchan, chief executive of the Scottish Fishing Federation, said the actions would affect UK exports to the bloc and damage UK businesses.
Brexit latest: French fishermen have been condemned by their UK counterparts
5.11pm update: ‘Let down!’ Brexit fury as Scots fishermen demand more cash – fury at ‘appeasement’ plot
Scottish seafood processors have accused Holyrood and Westminster of ditching the sector in its hour of need post-Brexit.
In an attack on Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon, Jimmy Buchan, chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association, claimed the sector had been let down by the two leaders.
With fishermen experiencing issues due to the wave of EU checks, he claimed the support from the Government was not enough to keep the sector afloat.
The UK Government established the £23million financial support scheme for traders but despite the new money, Mr Buchan claimed it is only “partial” in addressing the industry’s need.
The fish and seafood sector has also been given a £100million fund to help businesses modernise fleets and process fish.
Considering the promises made to the industry throughout Brexit, Mr Buchan said not many had been delivered.
He also claimed the financial package was made to appease the sector rather than to aid its long-term future.
4.24pm update: Frexit demand after former EU Commissioner admits huge problem with Brussels reform
A French campaigner has demanded France leave the European Union after a former EU Commissioner admitted making key reforms to the bloc would require “shared consent which precisely does not exist”.
Pierre Moscovici, who served as European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs between 2014-19, made the claim during a Zoom conference.
The former French politician had previously claimed the EU needs “urgent modernisation” over its tax rules.
Currently, changes in EU tax policy require unanimity within the European Commission.
This allows any one EU member state to block policies they think could cause them hard.
Mr Moscovici wants this to be replaced with qualified majority voting, as is used for other policy areas.
This would allow the law to be changed if it has the support of at least 16 EU member states, representing at least 65 percent of the bloc’s population.
Jason Vanoni, who is campaigning for France to leave the EU with Generation Frexit, claimed this is the exact kind of reason why the country should leave the bloc.
Brexit latest: Frexit campaigners are pushing for France to leave the EU
3.28pm update: Boris sets up policy delivery unit that will have ‘great deal of authority’
The Prime Minister is establishing a new unit aimed at delivering on his policies, underlying his focus on meeting promises made to non-traditional Conservative voters at the general election in 2019.
This new unit will be led by Emily Lawson, who headed up England’s Covid vaccination rollout. It will be a small team that will include data specialists and auditors.
During that election, Mr Johnson won over voters who had never voted for the Tories by promising to deliver Brexit quickly and also to “level up” Britain to bring investment to less well off towns.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I can confirm that the prime minister has decided to establish a new central delivery function within government to be called the Number 10 delivery unit.
“This new unit will be small and will have a great deal of authority. It will ensure we have the strongest possible approach to support the successful delivery of the government’s agenda.
“They (the team members) will be working across government and within Number 10 to make sure we are meeting our delivery targets and ensure that everyone is focused on those key policy goals.”
3.11pm update: Number 10 hits back over claim Government opposition to Super League linked to Brexit
Downing Street has rejected a suggestion from the chairman of Italian football club Juventus and a vice-chairman of the Super League that the UK Government’s opposition to the plan was linked to Brexit.
Andrea Agnelli told Reuters if the controversial breakaway competition had threatened the English Premier League it “would have seen that as an attack to Brexit and their political scheme”.
But Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “I would reject that.
“The Prime Minister was very clear on why it was right for the Government to step in and take action that contributed to these clubs stepping back from this proposal, which was the importance of football at the heart of communities up and down the country.”
Brexit latest: Boris Johnson has sert up a policy delivery unit
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Emily Ferguson.
2.50pm update: It’s YOUR fault, Leo! Former diplomat obliterates Leo Varadkar for Ireland’s Brexit blunder
Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s former Taoiseach, is ultimately to blame for the country’s post-Brexit woes as a result of his “miscalculation” that the EU would come on top, a former Irish ambassador has said.
Ray Bassett said Ireland was now “paying the price” for siding with the bloc, suggesting reality had finally begun to bite.
The former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas was speaking during a week when Brussels ordered Irish fishing crews to weigh all catches in port in a reversal of a previous policy, citing incidents of under-reporting.
Eurosceptic Mr Bassett, who outlined his various concerns in his book Ireland and the EU Post Brexit, said the episode was the latest example of the way in which the bloc was running roughshod over Dublin.
Mr Bassett told Express.co.uk: “Leo gambled that Brexit would be reversed and in concert with the Remainers in London and Brussels, he did everything he could to thwart the UK’s exit. The Irish establishment was 100 percent convinced that Juncker and his friends would prevail.
“This was bolstered by the Irish media who acted as an echo chamber for Leo throughout the negotiations. Also Leo believed that the anti-Brexit press in the UK was providing accurate readings of public sentiment in the UK. Leo felt that the British establishment would be grateful for his efforts after Brexit had been defeated.”
2.11pm update: Desperate French fishermen face ruin as boats blocked from UK waters -‘We can’t go there!’
French fishermen are facing financial ruin because Brexit has left them unable to plunder UK waters.
They blasted British officials for not dishing out permits as they try to guard the UK’s precious stocks from overfishing – a problem which has blighted French waters. French fishermen have claimed they are facing financial ruin if they continue to be blocked from the UK’s rich fishing grounds.
Christophe Lomel, who has been a fisherman in France for 38 years, told RTL: “I have been going to sea for 38 years, and I have always been fishing in these waters, just like all of my colleagues from Boulogne.
“Unfortunately, the British are turning a deaf ear. We’ve been waiting since 1st January.
“Now, we are supposed to go there, but we can’t go there, it’s a cohabitation in the same zone, which makes it very complicated.”
Leo Varadkar discusses shared sovereignty and Brexit
1.30pm update: Officials downplay criticise of Australian minister ahead of trade talks
Trade minister Liz Truss has a good relationship with her Australian counterpart, Dan Tehan, a British official said on Wednesday, playing down reports the official was inexperienced and stalling the talks.
Asked about the report, a British trade department official said the comments were “over the top” and that while Britain was concerned at the pace of talks, they hoped significant progress could be made during Tehan’s visit.
“The Australians are really, really close mates of ours and there’s a lot of mutual respect between Liz and Dan,” the official said. “Dan’s been around the block and is pretty experienced so he will know not to read too much into it.”
The official said the government was looking for movement from Australia on the services and investment sections of the deal and that while a breakthrough could allow an agreement in principle to be reached within days, it was more likely to take weeks to finalise the whole deal.
12.30pm update: British fisherman turns on Boris Johnson in extraordinary Brexit rant – patience wears out
A British fisherman has turned on Boris Johnson in an extraordinary rant over his Brexit trade deal.
Under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, much of the fish caught in British waters was taken by European boats.
It had been hoped Brexit would result in much of this being taken by British boats.
However, under the terms of Mr Johnson’s new EU trade deal over the next five and a half years, just 25 percent of the EU’s catch will be transferred to UK boats.
Speaking to Danish broadcaster DK, Ian Perkes, a fish exporter from Brixham in Devon, said “life has become very difficult” since Brexit.
He said: “Do you think I would have voted to leave if I’d known it was going to cost me another £80,000 a year? Of course not. Only a fool would have voted to go out, wouldn’t he, knowing that.
“We were lied to. We were told we are going to have free trade, we were not guaranteed we were going to get our 12-mile limit back, but we assumed with what we were reading and what we were being told that that would be a case.”
11.15am update: We warned you! EU-loving Ireland PUNISHED as fishermen hit – former diplomat turns on EU
The EU is hell-bent on destroying Ireland’s fishing industry with its latest rule changes, a former Irish diplomat has warned, while lambasting Micheal Martin’s Government for the “cringe-inducing meekness” of its response.
Mr Bassett, Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas, was speaking after the European Union confirmed it had revoked a concession that allowed Ireland’s fishermen whereby they could weigh catches away from the place of landing, such as in fish factories.
Instead, their hauls of fish must be weighed at or close to the piers where boats return from sea, with the EU seeking to justify its decision by citing a lack of confidence in the Irish monitoring system after supposed under-reporting.
No vessels from other EU countries will be subject to the rules, but instead will be permitted to weigh their catches when they return to their home ports, The Times reported.
10.15am update: Never rely on EU again! Boris learns lesson from VDL’s vaccine wars with latest Covid plan
Boris Johnson is looking to manufacture a new tablet to treat Covid in Britain after months of vaccine wars with the EU.
Last night the Prime Minister announced he had set up a taskforce to look at new ways to treat coronavirus. He said with fears of a third wave to hit the UK later this year, it was vital ministers prepared for a surge in cases.
The new antivirals taskforce is hoping to develop and manufacture a tablet or capsule that can be taken at home to help treat those infected with Covid, helping to limit infection spread.
The Prime Minister wants the new medicine ready by the autumn.
Officials say the taskforce will look at how to ensure the tablets are manufactured in the UK after threats from the EU.
9.15am update: ‘No morality left in Brussels!’ Britons furious as EU red tape threatens medicine supplies
EU bosses have come under fire after it emerged vital drug supplies to Northern Ireland could be disrupted by Brussels red tape.
British firms have already stopped supplying non-branded drugs to the region’s market because of the cost of post-Brexit bureaucracy.
And it threatens to limit the number of treatments available to people in Northern Ireland from the end of the year. The move, reported by Express.co.uk, has sparked a ferocious backlash online.
One furious reader said: “How can the wonderful EU elite leaders sleep at night? Do they not all have nightmares? How many deaths do they have on their hands, how much blood?
“When will the deceit and lies end and will they ever believe what they themselves say? How much longer will they try to punish GB when they are costing their own countries by so doing? There is no morality left in European politics. Who will ever trust any of them ever again?”
8.35am update: Boris Johnson rages at ‘absurd’ EU customs checks – PM vows action
Boris Johnson has renewed his threat to rip up parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol if the EU refuses to ease post-Brexit trade checks.
He warned he could trigger the nuclear option and suspend Article 16 of the arrangement if Brussels fails to back down.
The Prime Minister said his Government was working on “sandpapering” the Protocol, which governs Irish Sea trade post-Brexit, to address some of the concerns about trade disruption.
In an interview with BBC NI’s Spotlight programme, Mr Johnson said: “If we can’t make enough progress and if it looks as though the EU is going to be very, very dogmatic about it, and we continue to have absurd situations so you can’t bring in rose bushes with British soil into Northern Ireland, you can’t bring British sausages into Northern Ireland, then frankly I’m going to…we’ll have to take further steps.
“What we’re doing is removing the unnecessary protuberances and barriers that have grown up and we’re getting the barnacles off the thing and sandpapering it into shape.”