UK-financed projects in Scotland will fly a Union flag as Boris Johnson battles independence drive

Boris Johnson wants the emblem to be included in the same way that European Union flags were included on infrastructure and other schemes paid for in whole or part via Brussels' cash.


Capturing era-defining events in fiction is notoriously tricky

The Guardian view on parliament's role: bring MPs back now | Editorial

Boris Johnson is actively avoiding scrutiny. The House of Commons must come back from recess to hold the government to better account

He enjoys an effective Commons majority of 87, but Boris Johnson has always preferred an absent parliament to one that is sitting. When he ousted Theresa May 13 months ago, parliament went straight into a recess which Mr Johnson then tried to extend by prorogation. When the coronavirus pandemic struck in March, parliament went into recess again, and remained absent for almost a month. While thousands of Britons died, and the economy ground almost to a halt, MPs were told to stay at home, while ministers governed by press conference.

Parliament last sat on Wednesday 22 July, more than three weeks ago. It is not scheduled to sit again until Tuesday 1 September, which is more than two weeks away. Yet there are exceptionally urgent issues now facing the country. These include the continuing public health emergency itself, the deepening economic recession, the rising tide of unemployment, the Brexit negotiations and, of course, the effects of Covid on the UK nations’ school and exam systems. A properly functioning parliamentary democracy should be addressing all of them. The UK’s is not. It is therefore not functioning properly.

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EU settlement scheme: Two million granted leave to remain

Lib Dems calls for successful applicants to be given official documents to avoid a "Windrush-style" scandal.

More than 3.8million EU citizens apply to stay in the UK after Brexit transition

Nationals from the bloc and their families must go through the Home Office's settlement scheme by June next year to carry on living and working in the country after the Brexit transition period.

Liz Truss urges US to lift trade tariffs on single malt spirits

US trade representative Robert Lighthizer ruled out additional taxes on gin and blended whisky, but duty on higher quality single malts will remain, to the fury of the industry in Scotland.

Scotch whisky makers rail against UK government inaction over US tariffs

Industry says UK is prioritising post-Brexit trade talks with Washington rather than fight 25% tariffs

The Scotch whisky industry has attacked the UK government for its “inexplicably slow” action against hefty tariffs imposed on whisky imports by the US government.

In an unusually critical statement, the Scotch Whisky Association accused UK ministers of prioritising post-Brexit trade talks with the US rather than fight against the 25% tariffs imposed on Scotch whisky and other goods by the US last October, in a dispute over European subsidies for the planemaker Airbus.

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New Zealand 'frustrated' over UK trade talks, says deputy PM

Deputy PM Winston Peters says the UK's EU membership has not left it "match fit" to strike a deal.

UK 'not match-fit' for post-Brexit trade talks, says New Zealand's deputy prime minister

Winston Peters says he is 'very frustrated with lack of progress in talks

Liz Truss’s post-Brexit stilton deal with Japan will not ‘make Britain grate again’ | Rick Burin

There’s nothing wrong with being proud of our national dishes, but focusing on cheese makes us look ridiculous

There are differing visions of Britain. You hear it in the way we talk about the second world war: the nation split into those who think we were fighting Nazis and those who think we were fighting Germans. Patriots have long looked at their country and cherrypicked the parts that appeal. To some, being British is about the armed forces and the royal family. To others, it is the BBC and the NHS. To Liz Truss, national identity seems to be largely about cheese.

In 2014, Truss, then environment secretary, gave a mesmerising address to the Conservative party conference that must rank as one of the slowest speeches in modern political history. If you watch the video, everyone in it seems to be on a time delay, despite the fact they’re in the same room. But it isn’t just the awkward pauses, it’s also the tone: Truss delivering her early punchlines with the dreamy, otherworldly air of Mr Burns from The Simpsons that time he turned radioactive and kept appearing in the woods. If you judge the quality of a speech by how confused the applause is, this one takes some beating.

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The Brexiteer pledge to 'take back control' of the UK's borders has been exposed as hollow

The supreme irony is that, despite all those Vote Leave promises, Brexit is making it harder to control UK borders

End of family reunion rule would mean more Channel crossings, say charities

UK urged to agree deal to replace EU’s Dublin regulation before Brexit transition period ends

People will continue to risk their lives crossing the Channel in small boats if the UK government does not strike an adequate family reunion deal before the Brexit transition period ends, humanitarian charities and leaders have warned.

EU legislation known as the Dublin regulation determines the member state responsible for handling an asylum application, with family unity being a primary consideration.

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The GDP figures look bad now – but with coronavirus and Brexit set to prove a dangerous mix our problems aren't over

The latest statistics describe a grim passage in our national life, but I am afraid there could be worse to come

Coronavirus: What is a recession and what will the likely economic impact be?

ONS says economy contracted by record 20.4 per cent in second quarter

Britons told to begin paperwork in September if they plan to travel with pets in 2021

Pet Passports will become invalid when the Brexit transition period ends in December

Brexit: UK-Japan trade deal 'consensus' crumbles over Stilton

Negotiations hit snag as trade secretary Liz Truss insists on preferential treatment for Britain's blue cheese makers

Love of Stilton drives wedge between UK and Japan in post-Brexit trade talks

Consensus crumbles after Liz Truss reportedly sought to make the cheese a part of negotiations

Having promised to rush through a post-Brexit trade deal, Japan and Britain made significant progress only to discover that the fate of Stilton has driven a wedge between them.

During recent talks in London, international trade secretary Liz Truss and the Japanese foreign minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, reached a “substantial” preliminary agreement on trade, promising to conclude a preliminary deal by the end of this month.

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Boris Johnson's Cabinet is 'the worst in 36 years', says Sir Nicholas Soames 

Former MP Nicholas Soames - grandson of the wartime PM - delivered a damning verdict saying he regarded many senior ministers as 'very average'.

Britain doesn't have a government, it has a permanent campaigning machine | Alan Finlayson

Under Johnson and Cummings, No 10 is fixated on opinion polls and gimmicky announcements

The government’s frenetic campaign to “save our summer” has suspended the normal rules of the silly season. Amid the many confusing and shifting statements about the lockdown, No 10 has announced: a “strategy” to reduce obesity; “plans” for a “cycling and walking revolution”; a “bonfire” of planning laws; and, more ominously, the establishment of a panel to reassess judicial limits to state power.

You might have even missed the start of an online consultation on flood risk management in Carlisle, the £450,000 spent repairing a flood wall in Hereford, or chancellor Rishi Sunak’s visit to Stokesley, North Yorkshire, to learn about flood alleviation. Meanwhile, 127 employers were given awards for supporting the armed forces, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced £589m to “kickstart rail upgrades across the north”, plans for “congestion-busting” near Swindon were “unveiled” and a monument to the battle at Gallipoli restored.

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Brexit: Boris Johnson's promise of lucrative trade deals in trouble, study warns

PM vowed to 'take back control' – but dithering has handed advantage to countries on other side of the table, Institute for Government says

The Guardian view on Brexit bureaucracy: tied up in red tape | Editorial

Businesses already struggling with the fallout from Covid-19 will be forced to deal with a mountain of new bureaucracy in the middle of a deep recession

The government did not quite achieve the Brexit breakthrough it was seeking on Friday, when there was hope that a fast-tracked trade agreement with Japan might be reached. But it seems likely that a deal, essentially replicating one signed by the EU and Japan last year, will be done by the end of the month. Some kind of morale booster for Britain’s battered and bruised businesses would certainly be welcome.

As the clock runs down to the end of the transition period on 31 December, ministers are no longer bothering to offer the false hope of a relatively frictionless trade agreement with the EU. Even a Canada-style free trade deal will mean a vast infrastructure of compliance and checks: permits for lorry drivers to enter Kent, huge customs clearance centres and tracking apps are all in the mix. The government estimates that, from 2021, there will be over 400m extra customs checks a year on goods going to and from the EU.

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UK to plunge into deepest slump on record with worst fall in GDP among G7

Official measure to be declared this week as coronavirus lockdown shrinks GDP by 21% in second quarter

Britain’s economy will be officially declared in recession this week for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, as the coronavirus outbreak plunges the country into the deepest slump on record.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday are expected to show gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell in the three months to June by 21%.

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No-deal Brexit would relegate UK to 'minor leagues', says former WTO boss

Pascal Lamy, who was director general of the WTO, between 2005 and 2013, said there was a stark choice for the UK between 'minor' and 'great' trade relations with the country's largest trading partner

Tate & Lyle: Brexit-backing firm that donated to Tories set to save £73m from trade change

Company denies 'sweet deal' that will import sugar cane from countries with lower employment and environmental standards

What do you do when, as much as you loathe the idea of Brexit, you happen to love this grey and rainy little island?

If you'll allow me to quote Theresa May for the first and last time – I'm just not ready to give up on the 'country I love'

In today’s Whitehall farce, Boris Johnson doesn’t wear the trousers

Dominic Cummings’s trust-breaking trip to Barnard Castle has become this government’s Black Wednesday moment

For many years, the phrase “Whitehall farce” denoted long-running comedies at the Whitehall theatre, a stone’s throw (or two) from Downing Street and assorted government departments. One of my favourite stories is of the time my friend the economist Lord Peston – father of the broadcaster Robert – returned unexpectedly to the office he shared with Lord Rix, once a star of Whitehall farces, and expressed his embarrassment at the sight of Rix changing for dinner with his trousers down. “No need to be so shocked, Maurice,” said Rix: “In the old days people used to pay to see me like this.”

Well, the lockdown may have closed theatres, but the Whitehall farce is alive and well, and has been taking place at least twice daily in Downing Street. We are undergoing the worst economic depression in memory – some believe in history – and we have as a prime minister a man who is all at sea and so dependent on his key adviser, Dominic Cummings, that he could not bring himself to sack him even though Cummings made a laughing stock of the government’s entire lockdown policy with his trip to Barnard Castle “to test his eyesight”.

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Brexit backers Tate & Lyle set to gain £73m from end of EU trade tariffs

Greenpeace investigators say the firm, which also donated to the Conservatives, will be sole beneficiary of rule changes on importing raw cane sugar

A company that backed Brexit and has donated to the Conservatives is in line to save £73m as the only direct beneficiary of a post-Brexit trade reform.

Under plans that will come into force at the end of the year, the government has confirmed that companies will be able to import 260,000 tonnes of raw sugar cane from anywhere in the world, tariff-free.

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Britons living in the EU could keep freedom of movement rights

British nationals living in countries - including France and Spain - could be allowed to move to another EU country if they choose to under plans being considered by the European commission.

UK and Japan look to seal trade deal within month

The two sides say the "major elements" of a post-Brexit agreement are in place after productive talks.

Nigel Farage is not a 'patriot'. He is a man who lacks compassion – and provides me with a much-needed laugh

His followers applaud him for hounding fellow human beings. A true patriot, someone who respects their homeland, would never see a child suffer on it

Rishi Sunak goes into battle for the union as he plays up UK government Covid support for Scotland

He was the latest minister to head north of the border in recent weeks as Boris Johnson attempts to cut off support for Nicola Sturgeon and independence in the wake of Brexit and coronavirus.

Brexit: UK government pledges £355m to cushion Northern Ireland businesses

Support package unveiled to help firms with bureaucracy of moving goods across Irish Sea

The UK government has announced a £355m package to cushion Northern Ireland businesses from the costs of trading with the rest of the UK because of Brexit.

Michael Gove, the cabinet office minister, said on Friday £200m would be spent on a trader support service (TSS) to help firms handle new bureaucracy to move goods across the Irish Sea, turning the government into a de facto customs agent for traders.

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Brexit forces government to spend £350million on bureaucracy in Northern Ireland

The spending is needed because Northern Ireland will remain in alignment with EU rules on goods - effectively creating a border in the Irish Sea from 2021

Brexit: Government pledges £355m to ease GB-NI trade

Ministers are setting up a new service to help businesses which want to import goods after 1 January.

Brexiteer, 73, sent Anna Soubry 'remember Jo Cox' email

Keith Willard, from Essex, sent the message in August last year to then-MP Anna Soubry - a former Conservative MP for Broxtowe, Notts, who later led independent party Change UK.

Brexit: Germany's foreign minister says Boris Johnson must be more 'realistic and pragmatic' if he wants a trade deal

Flagging trade talks have seen little progress

Brexit: Germany's foreign minister says Boris Johnson must be more 'realistic and pragmatic' if he wants a trade deal

Flagging trade talks have seen little progress

Brexit: Germany's foreign minister says Boris Johnson must be more 'realistic and pragmatic' if he wants a trade deal

Flagging trade talks have seen little progress

Brexit: Germany's foreign minister says Boris Johnson must be more 'realistic and pragmatic' if he wants a trade deal

Flagging trade talks have seen little progress

Brexit: Germany's foreign minister says Boris Johnson must be more 'realistic and pragmatic' if he wants trade deal

Flagging trade talks have just a few months left to strike an agreement

Heavily-pregnant woman and young children are among migrants to land on Kent beach

The group of around 16 refugees including 10 young children and a heavily pregnant woman landed on Dungeness beach in Kent around 8.30am.

Germany demands UK is more 'realistic and pragmatic' in Brexit trade talks

Berlin's Europe minister Michael Roth said he was 'disappointed' with the UK's tough stance amid rising fears that the negotiations could fail.

STEPHEN GLOVER: Why isn't there outrage about Boris's own Lavender List of Lords? 

STEPHEN GLOVER: I wonder whether a phrase will enter the English language as a result of Boris Johnson doling out a life peerage to his younger brother Jo.

If schools aren't given proper coronavirus protection, the classroom is no place for teachers or students

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Putin's man in London says 'mud-slinging' means our relationship with Moscow is 'close to frozen'

In his first major newspaper interview since his appointment last year, Vladimir Putin's ambassador Andrei Kelin (pictured) denied claims that his nation had interfered in British politics.

EU dismisses Iain Duncan Smith's demand to reduce Brexit costs

Iain Duncan Smith says the withdrawal agrement negotiated by Boris Johnson

Brexit referendum 'sparked rise in Britons migrating to the EU'

Flows from the UK to countries in the bloc have risen 30 per cent since the referendum, with researchers suggesting around half of that increase was driven by the decision to cut ties.