Steve Baker resigns as chair of the European Research Group as he celebrates Brexit victory
Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, helped shape the ERG into a fearsome campaign group which defeated Theresa May's proposed deal with Brussels and ultimately forced her from office.
Labour leadership candidates clash over Brexit at Guardian hustings – video
Keir Starmer came under fire from Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy over Labour’s Brexit position, both arguing that it contributed to the party’s landslide defeat in December. Speaking at the Guardian-hosted hustings in Manchester Long-Bailey said that discussions were too focused on Westminster. Nandy described Labour’s approach as tone deaf. Starmer admitted Brexit was a factor but said multiple issues came up on the doorstep including antisemitism and a lack of trust in Corbyn. The ballot for the contest opened this week and the results are due to be announced at a special conference on 4 AprilContinue reading...
Johnson warns EU he'll NEVER surrender Britain's fishing waters as it threatens to sink trade deal
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that without a deal on fish 'there won't be any agreement at all'. These included an insistence that fishing boats should retain their existing quotas.
Johnson unveils major review of foreign and defence policy
Key issues will be resetting UK’s relationships with allies and developing cyber capabilities
Boris Johnson has unveiled a post-Brexit review of foreign and defence policy in an attempt by an emboldened Downing Street to determine Britain’s national security strategy for the next five years.
The six-month exercise is another step in the prime minister’s assertion of control following the controversial cabinet reshuffle, and comes amid growing cyber threats and uncertainty about the UK’s place in the world.Continue reading...
Man United execs must stop gloating over web traffic and trim the debt
IAN HERBERT: Manchester United's top executives seem to have an unquenchable obsession with how much web traffic the club generates. Meanwhile, the club has a huge debt.
Downing Street rejects EU's 'onerous' opening trade offer
Brussels offering UK worse deal than those offered to US, Canada and Japan, says No 10
No 10 has accused the EU of trying to give the UK a worse trade deal than those offered to the US, Canada and Japan, as the two sides clashed ahead of crucial talks that are scheduled to take just 40 days.
With the opening round of talks due to start on Monday, Downing Street publicly rejected the EU’s opening offer for a trade deal and said it did not recognise the need for a “level playing field” for competition.Continue reading...
Boris Johnson warned failure to fulfill Irish border commitments will 'significantly damage' Brexit trade deal chances
Delivering on promises of controls on goods is 'test of good faith' for prime minister, Ireland warns
Brexit: Michel Barnier warns Boris Johnson that Brussels will not accept trade deal 'at any price'
EU negotiator warns London against 'backtracking' on commitments in withdrawal agreement
EU's 9 most controversial Brexit trade deal demands - and why they'll start a fight
Brussels chiefs today published their "negotiating directives" - a 46-page mandate for a trade deal with the UK after Brexit. We've looked at 9 of the biggest sticking points as we face 10 months of frantic debate
Why chlorinated chicken is centre of the table in UK-EU talks
Battle over food standards is a symbol of broader conflicts between the US and Europe
Chlorinated chicken has become totemic once again in talks between the UK and the EU about their post-Brexit relationship, thanks to the EU inserting a new clause into its negotiating mandate. The clause will require the UK to maintain a ban on poultry treated with disinfectant if it wants a trade deal with its nearest neighbours.
The US allows its industrial meat producers to wash their birds in chlorine or other disinfecting acid solutions after slaughter to kill the food-poisoning bugs they often carry, having been contaminated by chicken faeces during processing. Persuading British negotiators to drop the ban and accept US food standards is a high priority for the US in a trade deal with the UK.Continue reading...
On behalf of all ‘future historians’, leave us out of your Brexit rants | Charlotte Lydia Riley
We’re constantly being invoked to shore up people’s opinions on Brexit. Here’s what we really think about it (at the moment)
Historians of the future will not judge us kindly. Historians of the future will vindicate us. (Historians of the future can feel their ears burning.) In the context of the debate around Brexit, and the past few years of turbulent political developments around the world, it feels like future historians have never been more present.
The appeal to the future historian is a common trope in times of crisis. The historian of the future is pictured as a horrified figure, peering back at the madness of contemporary life. So, people claim that the future historian will be baffled, or alarmed, or confused by what is going on right now. Historians of the future, who are rational adults, will not understand why we behave in the ridiculous ways that we do. This functions as a sort of gentle chiding, a call for us to be more sensible.Continue reading...
Boris Johnson faces angry backlash from farmers after dismissing post-Brexit food fears as 'mumbo jumbo'
Prime minister told that allowing in 'food which would be illegal to produce here would not only be morally bankrupt, it would be the work of the insane'
Brexit: 'Keep your promises', Germany tells Johnson, amid EU fears UK backtracking on its pledges - live news
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including the EU agreeing its negotiating mandate for the post-Brexit trade talks with the UK, and the Guardian’s Labour leadership hustings in Manchester
Although the EU and the UK are trying to negotiate a trade deal, they have already signed one Brexit treaty already - the withdrawal agreement, which included provisions for Northern Ireland to stay in the single market. This was problematic for the Tories because it effectively puts a customs border down the Irish Sea.
At the weekend the Sunday Times (paywall) reported that Boris Johnson intends to “get around” this agreement by interpreting it in a way that would minimise or remove the need for any checks on goods. Yesterday No 10 dismissed this report, saying the government would abide by its obligations. But Downing Street also said that the government has not asked “any ports to prepare for new checks or controls between GB/NI” - even thought the EU says the Northern Ireland protocol (the section of the withdrawal agreement covering NI customs rules) does require new checks.
My message is crystal clear to our friends in London - keep your promises, based on the protocol.
The political declaration is key for us. It’s the basis for further negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom and there are no doubts that we remain committed to the political declaration.
At the general affairs council in Brussels Helen McEntee, the Irish Europe minister, and Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, have just arrived. They say they have come from a meeting with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator.
Coveney says the EU is doing what it has always done in the Brexit process - staying united, and sticking to deadlines.Continue reading...
USA tops list of the world's most diplomatically influential countries, with Britain third
America ranked top in a new survey looking at 'soft power' - a country's ability to influence others without using military or economic might - followed by Germany and the UK, researchers found.
EU ministers play hardball as they sign off negotiating plan
EU ministers are gathering to sign off the bloc's negotiating plan, dismissing the prospect of a Canada-style package, and playing hardball on issues such as fishing and the Elgin Marbles.
EU demands UK keeps chlorinated chicken ban to get trade deal
Exclusive: clause in negotiating mandate for Michel Barnier will create hurdle to US-UK deal
The EU will demand the UK maintains a ban on chlorinated chicken as the price for a trade agreement with Brussels, in a move that protects European meat exports and creates an obstacle to a deal with Donald Trump.
On the recommendation of France, a clause has been inserted into the EU’s negotiating mandate to insist that both sides maintain “health and product sanitary quality in the food and agriculture sector”, according to a copy leaked to the Guardian.Continue reading...
Brexit: EU set to agree UK trade talks mandate
Ministers from the EU will meet in Brussels later to finalise their red lines for talks with the UK.
IAN BIRRELL: Yes, Sir Humphrey must be tamed. But I fear No 10's hostile approach may yet backfire
IAN BIRRELL: Johnson has a big majority while Labour remains in disarray. Nigel Hawthorne, pictured above, played Sir Humphrey Appleby in political comedy Yes Minister.
RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: It's Finger Lickin' Chlorine Chicken!
RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Environment Secretary George Eustice insists that the Government has no plans to lower food standards now we have left the EU.
Farmers pile pressure on UK government over chlorinated chicken
Calls for food standards to be enshrined in law to avoid post-Brexit ‘betrayal’ of consumers
Farmers have hit back at suggestions the government will allow imports of chlorinated chicken and other low-standard farm produce in trade talks with the US, escalating the row over post-Brexit food standards.
Minette Batters, the president of the National Farmers’ Union, will call for rules on minimum standards for imports to be enshrined in law, and insist that other countries must trade with the UK “on our terms”, rather than seek to water down food rules.Continue reading...
Labour accuses Priti Patel of 'dog whistle politics' over demand that migrants must speak English
The Home Secretary rode roughshod over businesses demands for greater flexibility after Brexit, saying the Government would not allow 'endless exemptions' to tough new rules.
The Guardian view on Eurovision 2020: don’t blame the public | Editorial
Handing control of Britain’s entry this year to a record label is a daringly anti-democratic response to years of abject failure
Asked why Britain struggles so badly at the Eurovision song contest, Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus made it sound simple in a recent interview. It was, he said, a question of finding “the right songwriters”.
Yes indeed. But what might seem straightforward for Mr Ulvaeus has become horribly complicated for the United Kingdom, which has underperformed in the competition to a startling degree for more than 20 years. Britain’s last victory came in 1997, with Love, Shine a Light by Katrina and the Waves. Years of failure and sometimes outright humiliation followed, most famously in 2003, when Jemini finished last with no points at all. Last year Michael Rice fared little better, scoring a miserable 11 points and also finishing at the bottom of the pile.Continue reading...
No-deal Brexit threat returns as UK and EU harden up positions on future trade deal
Diplomats in Brussels agree mandate for talks due to start next week
Prince William and Kate Middleton will tour Ireland for the first time in March
Prince William, 37 and Kate Middleton, 38, will make their first visit to Ireland between Tuesday 3 and Thursday 5 March and will visit Dublin, County Meath, and County Kildare during that time.
Four-ovens Tory grilled on whether he'd eat acid-washed chicken after Brexit
James Brokenshire said he may well eat acid-washed chicken after the idea was floated by Environment Secretary George Eustice. But despite being roasted for his numerous ovens, he insisted: 'I'm not a food expert'
No 10: UK aim is to 'restore independence' from EU by end of year
Spokesman says objective is to end transition period by 1 January even if no deal has been struck
Britain’s main goal in trade talks with the EU will be to “restore economic and political independence from 1 January”, No 10 has said, as the government prepares to publish its negotiating aims on Thursday.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the “primary objective” was ending the transition period by the end of the year, regardless of whether a deal had been struck.Continue reading...
No-deal Brexit threat ramped up as No 10 says Boris Johnson will prioritise a clean break from EU
France warns the EU will not be 'blackmailed' by prime minister's self-imposed deadline for talks
France warns UK it will not be blackmailed into a risky EU trade deal
EU affairs minister says France will not sacrifice its economic future for swift post-Brexit deal
Boris Johnson has been warned that the French government will not be blackmailed into a trade deal that risks its long-term economic interests, as the EU prepared to further harden its negotiating position.
The prime minister’s decision to rule out an extension of the transition period after 31 December 2020 has put pressure on both parties to work swiftly on a deal or face huge extra costs on trade when the UK leaves the single market and customs union.Continue reading...
France accuses Boris Johnson of trying to BLACKMAIL the EU over trade
The French minister for Europe, Amelie de Montchalin, said the PM could not force the bloc to accept an agreement 'at any cost'.
Brexit: France says it will not sign up to bad trade deal with UK just to meet Johnson's deadline - live news
Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen
- Labour leadership poll opens as Starmer promises jobs to rivals
- Priti Patel bullying claims dismissed as ‘absolute nonsense’
- Starmer’s morning interviews - Summary
I’m at 9 Downing Street for the morning lobby briefing. It will be the first we’ve had for a week (No 10 don’t hold daily briefings during recess) and so there is quite a lot to cover.
The embargo arrangements for these briefings are a bit hit and miss, but I’m expecting the embargo to be lifted, and so I should be able to cover the proceedings live.
This is from Amélie de Montchalin, the French Europe minister. She is saying that France will not sign up to a bad trade deal with the UK just to meet Boris Johnson’s December 2020 deadline. (Johnson has set this deadline by ruling out an extension to the post-Brexit transition.)
Je serai à Bruxelles demain et à Londres vendredi avec un message #Brexit clair : ce n'est pas parce que Boris Johnson veut un accord coûte que coûte le 31/12 que nous signerons sous la pression du chantage ou du calendrier un mauvais accord pour les Français. #Les4V @France2tv pic.twitter.com/v9VU8zPyaE
France's Europe minister: "Just because Boris Johnson wants an agreement at any cost doesn't mean we will sign a bad deal for the French, under pressure of blackmail or the timetable."
France will not sacrifice, she says, French fishermen, farmers or companies. https://t.co/GCsIjx5VqO
EU ambassadors meeting this afternoon to have one last go at agreeing Michel Barnier's mandate, with France holding out for full dynamic alignment. Ministers expected to sign off text Tue.
EU diplomat expects agreement, which would enable negotiations to start next week.
Coronavirus: One-third of Britons will avoid travelling overseas if outbreak continues, poll finds
Consultancy firm estimates £17bn of holiday spending may be put on hold
Brexit: Business leaders urge Boris Johnson to avoid red tape as UK draws trade battle lines
Senior ministers expected to sign off on the UK's negotiating blueprint on Tuesday
Brexit: Sidestepping agreement on Northern Ireland could put trade deal with US at risk, Johnson warned
Ministers 'must not be allowed to sidestep their responsibilities,' says Sinn Fein MP
Ben Jennings on Boris Johnson's next vanity project – cartoon
The Guardian view on the Parthenon marbles: not just a Brexit sideshow | Editorial
A government that stresses the importance of national pride should understand Greek claims
Boris Johnson and his entourage are frequently accused of wishing to turn Britain into an insular, backward-looking place, obsessed with reliving past imperial glories. Their romantic counterclaim is that opting out of the European Union is a means of allowing Britain to regain control of its destiny. Pride restored, the country will be free to engage generously with the rest of the world. So what stance should this open, friendly and “global” Britain take towards renewed Greek demands for the restitution of the Parthenon marbles?
Greece, with Italy’s backing, has inserted a pointed clause in the EU’s draft negotiating mandate for a trade deal with Britain. It calls for the return of “unlawfully removed cultural objects” to their place of origin. It does not mention the marbles by name, and the move is explicitly directed at illegal trade in antiquities in London auction houses. But assuming it remains in the formal mandate to be unveiled this week, it would clearly provide a platform for renewed pressure to be exerted on London.Continue reading...
David Davis says Huawei could devastate security co-operation with US
Pressure is now growing on the Prime Minister to reverse his decision to green light the Chinese tech giant to help build the communications grid.
David Davis warns slashing pension tax relief at the Budget would be a 'moral disgrace'
David Davis has warned Boris Johnson not to go ahead with a potential pension tax relief raid at the Budget as the former Cabinet minister said it would be a 'moral disgrace'.
Brexit: UK reneging on Northern Ireland pledges risks trade deals with US and EU
Concerns raised after reports negotiating team told to devise plans to ‘get around’ protocol in withdrawal agreement
Reneging on the special Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland will risk trade deals with both the EU and the US, experts have warned.
Concern has been raised after Boris Johnson’s Brexit negotiating team has reportedly been ordered to come up with plans to “get around” the Northern Ireland protocol in the withdrawal agreement which includes checks on goods and food going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.Continue reading...
George Eustice refuses to guarantee ban on chlorinated chicken
Environment secretary says there are ‘no plans’ to change law to clinch US trade deal
The environment secretary has refused to give a firm guarantee that the government will not allow chlorine-washed chicken to be imported into the UK as part of a trade deal with the US.
While stressing that chlorinated chicken was currently illegal in the UK, and that the government was committed to maintaining high standards, George Eustice’s declaration that the government had “no plans” to change the law was more equivocal than assurances given by his predecessor, who said the current law would stay.Continue reading...
Minister refuses to rule out chlorinated chicken from US in Brexit trade deal
It's currently illegal to sell chicken washed in chlorine - and while Environment Secretary George Eustice said there were "no plans to change that, he refused three times to rule it out
Brexit: Macron casts doubt on UK-EU trade agreement by end of year
'It's going to be tense,' says French president during visit to farm show in Paris
Without migrant workers, Boris Johnson's promises of new homes and HS2 will remain a fantasy
The PM's tub-thumping announcements will require a significant infrastructure recruitment drive – but with an immigration crackdown, where will these workers come from?
Environment Secretary George Eustice refuses to rule out importing US chlorinated chicken
Environment Secretary George Eustice today refused to categorically rule out chlorine-washed chicken being imported into the UK under a Brexit trade deal with the US.
US trade deal: Tory minister fails to confirm ban on import of chlorinated chicken
George Eustice deflects giving commitment and says what American producers 'use these days are lactic acid washes'
Johnson’s Brexit flunkey sums up all that’s wrong with his master’s trade fantasies | Will Hutton
David Frost should drag himself out of the 18th century and address our perilous future
Last week, an unelected special adviser delivered one of the most political and controversial speeches made by a British public official in recent times. It claimed, in justifying Brexit, that 19th-century political notions – the nation state with absolute sovereignty and wholesale independence of action – extended unchanged into the 21st century and were supported wholeheartedly in Britain. This betrayed a combination of ignorance, self-deception and vainglory that will ill serve our country.
David Frost, Britain’s lead Brexit trade negotiator, plainly had a rough time in an earlier incarnation in Brussels, drawing the conclusion that the EU is a clunky disaster – although generalising one’s own personal experience to inform your country’s negotiating stance is rarely a good guide to action. It must be congenial for the prime minister that his lead negotiator plainly thinks that his boss represents the acme of political genius. According to Frost, Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit combines an ability to read the runes of the British with putting into place the enduring philosophy of the 18th-century, high Tory politician Edmund Burke.Continue reading...
What’s the catch? British fishermen’s hopes and fears for Brexit deal
Fishing was a powerful factor in the case for leaving the EU. On the eve of crucial trade talks, the Observer finds optimism tempered by caution on the quays of Devon and Cornwall
Neil Watson was eight or nine when his dad took him out to sea for the first time. Soon he was earning his first pocket money by washing fish boxes on the quay at Brixham in south Devon. Three years after he started crewing, he got his skipper’s ticket and eventually he bought his own boat. For 30 years, he regularly spent seven days at sea followed by one night off, only stopping when his boat sank two years ago.
“I fished through good times and bad times. Fishing’s like riding a wave – one minute you’re up the top, and the next you’re down in the trough,” he said. Now Watson works at Brixham’s fish market, one of the largest in England, where £40m of fish was sold last year across the UK and Europe. A fisherman’s life is brutal, he said, but he badly misses the camaraderie.Continue reading...