Brexit news live – UK SLAPS DOWN gloating EU over claim Boris will cave on trade talks after Dominic Cummings' exit

UK negotiators have slapped down the EU over claims Boris Johnson will cave on trade deal talks following Dominic Cummings' exit.

Gloating EU officials claim the rumoured imminent departure of the PM's top advisor proves the UK is ready to accept a "compromise" with the bloc and agree to a watered-down Brexit deal.

But Britain's chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost slapped down the claims, ordering the EU to "get real" and insisting he wouldn't budge on the "fundamental principles" of our stance despite the deadline looming.

The Brexit transition period is due to end on December 31 and any UK-EU trade deal will have to be negotiated, ratified and in place by then to ensure a smooth transition on January 1.

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

 

  • Jon Rogers

    COVID VACCINE COULD BE DELAYED BY BREXIT, DEPUTY FIRST MINISTER CLAIMS

    Disruption to medical supplies and potential coronavirus vaccines as a result of Brexit cannot be ruled out, Scotland's Deputy First Minister has said.

    John Swinney said there was “anxiety” about the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.

    On Thursday, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he is “confident” a no-deal Brexit will not delay supplies and stressed that contingency measures were also in place.

    The Pfizer vaccine, which the drugs company announced is 90% successful at preventing Covid-19, is being manufactured in Belgium.

  • Shayma Bakht

    GERMAN MEP DEMANDS A “CLEAR IDEA” AND “LEADERSHIP” FROM BORIS ON BREXIT

    With a talks on a free trade agreement – which have been continuing this week in London – due to “pause” over the weekend before resuming next week in Brussels, MEPs are getting concerned.

    German MEP Manfred Weber, the leader of the largest party in the European Parliament and a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, says Brexit negotiations are a “chaotic situation”.

    Weber said: “We don't have an idea what is really the line in Great Britain.

    “We need a clear idea from Boris Johnson now and I think it's now time for leadership”.

  • Shayma Bakht

    DOWNING STREET WORRIED TIME IS IN 'SHORT SUPPLY' TO SORT BREXIT DEAL

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman acknowledged time was “in short supply” if they were to get an agreement before the Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year.

    Talks on a free trade agreement – which have been continuing this week in London – are due to “pause” over the weekend before resuming next week in Brussels.

    While a number of deadlines have come and gone, there is increasing concern that if an agreement cannot be reached in the coming days it will be too late to implement before January 1.

  • Shayma Bakht

    DOWNING STREET SAYS CUMMINGS LEAVING WON'T MAKE BREXIT SOFT

    Downing Street has vehemently denied Dominic Cummings' exit would soften the UK's negotiating stance in post-Brexit trade negotiations with Brussels.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: “Absolutely not. That is simply false. The Government's position in relation to the future trade agreement negotiations is unchanged.”

  • Shayma Bakht

    KENT TO BECOME THE 'TOILET OF ENGLAND' BECAUSE OF BREXIT

    Campaigners warn Kent could become the “toilet of England” in less than eight weeks unless loos are provided for thousands of lorry drivers who could be held up in the county for hours by post-Brexit border checks.

    They say Kent’s main roads are already littered with bottles of urine and bags of excrement and the problem could become much worse after 31 December.

    Local Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Sole, while speaking to The Guardian, said: “I’m worried Kent is becoming the toilet of England, not the garden of England.”

  • Shayma Bakht

    EU DIPLOMATS SAY FURTHER BREXIT DELAY WILL MEAN DISASTER

    EU officials say delaying the deadline any more will make a deal before the end of the year almost impossible.

    One EU diplomat told Politico it would be disastrous.

    He said:“EU countries need time to scrutinize the text. The role of EU member states is more than just endorsing the deal.

    “If that's what the European Commission has in mind, it will be disastrous. This is a delicate and fragile process, which the U.K. doesn't seem to understand.”

  • Shayma Bakht

    EU WATCHDOG SAYS NOT TO WORRY ABOUT CROSS-BORDER INVESTMENT FUNDS

    The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) alarmed the global funds industry in August when it said that safeguards introduced ahead of Brexit on cross-border delegation of stock picking should be reinforced.

    The asset managers that select stocks and other assets for many of the funds listed in Dublin and Luxembourg are based in London, New York or Asia.

    ESMA Chair Steven Maijoor said: “We are very much in favour of delegation, we know it provides access to expertise that would otherwise not be available. It's part of the business model and we fully recognise that,” Maijoor said.

    After Britain voted in 2016 to leave the EU, many asset management firms in the United Kingdom set up hubs in the bloc and ESMA issued guidance to ensure they didn't end up being “empty shells” that left most activity based in London.

    Under EU rules, the amount of activity delegated to managers outside the bloc should not exceed the amount of activity inside the bloc by a substantial margin.

    Mr. Maijoor said there is a need to define more precisely what substantial margin means.

  • Jon Rogers

    CUMMINGS TO STEP DOWN BY END OF YEAR

    Dominic Cummings, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's most powerful adviser, will step down by year-end, reducing the sway of Brexit hardliners as Johnson tries to recast his premiership after a series of coronavirus failures.

    Cummings, who masterminded the 2016 Brexit referendum vote and Johnson's 2019 landslide election win, told the BBC that he wanted to be largely redundant by the end of this year, once Britain has left informal membership of the EU.

    The exit of Johnson's presiding right hand man marks one of the most significant changes to the prime minister's inner circle to date: Cummings was cast by some as Johnson's “brain” – a figure who wielded pivotal influence.

    A committed Brexiteer, he was seen by European diplomats as a hardline influence on Johnson over Brexit.

  • Shayma Bakht

    BREXIT WON'T DELAY VACCINE IN THE UK

    Britain’s transport minister assures there would be no delays to the country receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from abroad even if the UK does not agree on adeal with the European Union by 2021.

    “Yes I can rule that out,” Transport Minister Grant Shapps said on Friday, when asked if the vaccine could be delayed due to customs checks or other difficulties, once the UK’s transition period with the EU ends on Jan. 1.

    “First of all we have done an immense amount of work on border readiness,” he told the BBC.

    “We’ve also signed a freight contract, which is upwards of 100 million pounds, to make sure we can get Category 1 goods in, which includes things like vaccines. So even if there are problems – which we very much hope there won’t be, and we plan for there not to be – we have a back up.”

  • Jon Rogers

    UK & EU PLAN TO DELAY RULES IN NORTHERN IRELAND

    The UK and EU are to hold talks for a “grace period” to allow retailers in Northern Ireland time to adapt once the transition period is over.

    Although Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously said the transition period would not be extended past the January 1 deadline no agreement has yet been reached.

    The grace period would mean food imports going to supermarkets and retailers across the UK will not be subject to extra costs and paperwork, RTE News has reported.

  • Mark Hodge

    BRAZIL TRADE DEAL

    Top trade experts for Brazil and the UK held a video meeting on Wednesday to discuss a possible post-Brexit bilateral deal.

    Roberto Fendt, of Brazil’s Economy Ministry, said: “We must explore the possibility of negotiating a trade agreement.”

    His statement came after a virtual meeting with the British trade minister, Liz Truss.

    The meeting addressed areas such as environmentally friendly and sustainable growth, multilateral and bilateral trade cooperation and access to each other’s markets.

    According to Brazil’s Economy Ministry, goods trade between the two countries totalled £4billion last year, with Brazil posting a £483million surplus.

  • Mark Hodge

    VACCINE ROLL OUT

    Covid vaccines could be flown into the UK to avoid potential disruption at the border when Britain leaves the EU at the end of 2020, the Health Secretary said.

    Matt Hancock said he was “confident” that a no-deal Brexit would not delay supplies, amid concern that the Belgian-made Pfizer vaccine could be impacted by the UK's exit from the single market.

    He told BBC Question Time: “We have a plan for the vaccine which is being manufactured in Belgium, and if necessary we can fly in order to avoid those problems… we've got a plan for all eventualities.”

    It comes after the head of British firm Croda International, which supplies a crucial ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine, warned that avoiding border disruption will be “a crucial step” in ensuring it is available to millions.

  • Mark Hodge

    DEAL OR NO DEAL

    Brexit talks will sail past this week's deadline for a deal as negotiators haggle over 600 pages of legal docs.

    Trade negotiations with Brussels look set to go to the wire with both sides unwilling to budge on issues such as fishing.

    Both sides privately admit this week’s target for a deal will be missed and crunch talks will have to continue into next week and even beyond.

    But the EU had previously set a date for the end of this week for a breakthrough after Boris Johnson’s deadline demand of last month was also ignored.

    The delay risks legal hell on both sides as both the British and EU Parliaments must ratify any deal in a process that can take weeks – before it comes into force on January 1, 2021.

  • Hana Carter

    JEREMY CORBYN ALLIES HIT OUT AT KEIR STARMER FOR BREXIT POLICY

    Jeremy Corbyn's senior allies have attacked Sir Keir Starmer, claiming he should issue a “full-throated apology” for backing a second Brexit referendum at last December's general election.

    Ian Lavery and former shadow cabinet member Jon Trickett, who were both sacked by Starmer when he became leader, claim the party's Brexit policy was 'disastrous'.

    “Labour got on the wrong side of the Brexit debate,” the MPs claim in their report “No Holding Back”, which was co-written by former MP Laura Smith.

    “People repeatedly claimed that Labour had become too southern and too middle class. We do not believe that Labour's problems in the so-called “red wall” areas began and ended with Brexit.

    “Leave voters were too often sneered at and Remain voters were led up the garden path with a position – of overturning the referendum result – that was never seriously achievable.

    “People who had supported Remain were sold a falsehood that not only could the result of the referendum be overturned, but that every version of Brexit was disastrous.

    “This discourse was relentlessly pursued by senior politicians despite there never being a realistic prospect of it happening.”

  • Hana Carter

    KENT COULD BECOME 'TOILET OF ENGLAND' CAMPAIGNER SAYS

    Kent could turn into the “toilet of England” if loos aren't provided for lorry drivers who could face queuing for hours by post-Brexit border checks, a campaigner has said.

    Phil Silkstone, a regional official for Unite who has campaigned on the issue of human waste on the A2, said: “It has got the potential to be disgusting.

    “I’m worried Kent is becoming the toilet of England, not the garden of England. And we’re all braced for it getting much much worse.”

  • Hana Carter

    HAULAGE BOSSES SLAM GOVT FOR FAILING TO PRODUCE BREXIT GUIDE

    Haulage bosses have slammed the government for failing to produce a Brexit handbook to help truck drivers prepare for Brexit.

    Early drafts of the handbook produced by the Department for Transport were rejected as “unusable”.

    A new draft is due on November 18 and the final version is not expected to be delivered until December 7, the Financial Times reports.

    Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said he had been left “speechless” by the failure to produce a guide, the Financial Times reports.

    He said: “It’s like there is a fog in every government department. There are so many questions being asked, that nobody can keep on top of all these things that are being raised.”

  • Hana Carter

    EU DIPLOMATS 'PESSIMISTIC' OVER BREXIT DEAL

    European Union diplomats are reportedly “pessimistic” over securing a trade deal with the UK, reports suggest.

    The BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler says one official told her: “Two weeks ago it seemed more positive. Now the only thing that’s moving is time.”

    In another Twitter message she wrote: “Suggestion by one diplomat that no deal might be useful “to clear the air” between U.K. and EU at this stage. Otherwise, he said, relations would be tense “from day one” after deal signed as both sides so far apart on common standards argument.”

    EU diplomats sounding pessimistic about EU-UK negotiations. “Two weeks ago it seemed more positive. Now the only thing that’s moving is time” according to one well-placed source brexit /1
    — Katya Adler (@BBCkatyaadler) November 12, 2020

  • Hana Carter

    PM AND TEAM ACCUSED OF FIGHTING LIKE RATS

    Boris Johnson and his team were accused of fighting “like rats in a sack” on the day the highest ever number of Covid cases was recorded.

    The Prime Minister is under pressure to bring in “someone with big boy pants” to get a grip of No10 after the dramatic resignation of his chief spin doctor Lee Cain in a bitter power struggle and rows between aides, MPs and his fiancé Carrie Symonds.

    And now Mr Johnson is under pressure from senior Tories to ease out his controversial guru Dominic Cummings after the former Vote Leave boss threatened to walk out in the Downing Street turf war.

    Former BBC and ITV journalist Allegra Stratton’s appointment to be the new face of No10 at daily White House style TV briefings had enraged Mr Cain, who was backed by fellow Brexiteer Mr Cummings in his demand for more powers.

    The row erupted after a fledgling plan to make Mr Cain the boss of all No10 staff as a compromise sparked a furious backlash from senior female aides including Ms Stratton who was backed by her pal Ms Symonds.

  • Hana Carter

    DOWNING STREET FIRES BACK AT IRISH PM

    Downing Street has fired back at the Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin after he claimed the UK and EU failing to reach a trade agreement would be “very, very damaging all around”.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: “We have been working hard throughout to get a deal but we've always said that it needs to be a deal that fully respects UK sovereignty, and that's what we're continuing to pursue.

    “Right from the outset I don't think we've been seeking anything that the EU hasn't agreed to with other sovereign countries and we're working hard and are continuing to work hard, but it is the case that significant gaps remain.”

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    KENT COULD BECOME 'TOILET OF ENGLAND' BECAUSE OF LONG LORRY QUEUES

    Campaigners have warned Kent could become the “toilet of England” unless loos are provided for lorry drivers who could be held in the area for hours due to post-Brexit border checks.

    A regional official for Unite – which represents many lorry drivers – said it has “the potential to be disgusting”, The Guardian reports.

    Campaigners have already said the roads are littered with bottles of urine and bags of excrement – and fear this could get worse after December 31.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE BACKED BY MAJORITY IN TWO NEW POLLS

    Two new polls have found a majority of Scots in favour of independence – although one by a narrow margin.

    YouGov's latest research puts support for Scotland leaving the UK at 51%, with 49% wanting the country to remain in the union.

    A separate study by Panelbase for the Scot Goes Pop pro-independence website found when those who did not know were excluded, 56% of Scots back independence and 44% are opposed.

    SNP deputy leader Keith Brown said: “These are yet more significant polls for the SNP, which show voters across Scotland continue to place their trust in the party to deliver – in stark contrast to the Westminster Government, which is acting against Scotland's interests.”

  • Hana Carter

    ROGER GALE TELLS BORIS JOHNSON TO 'GET A GRIP' ON BREIXT AND COVID

    Senior Conservative backbencher Sir Roger Gale said the power struggle in Downing Street is a “distraction” from the coronavirus pandemic and post-Brexit trade negotiations, and told Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “get a grip on it”.

    The MP told the PA news agency: “The Government, and Downing Street particularly, should be concentrating all of its efforts on the pandemic and on the end game of Brexit, and frankly this is a distraction that cannot and should not be allowed to take place, and the Prime Minister has got to get a grip on it.

    “For my money Cummings is a liability and what the Prime Minister needs and deserves is a first-rate chief of staff who is a serious heavyweight, I think the expression currently in use is big boy pants.”

  • Hana Carter

    TRUDEAU CASTS DOUBT ON UK TIMINGS

    Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau has cast doubt over the UK securing a trade deal with his country by December 31.

    Mr Trudeau suggested that London doesn't have “the bandwidth” to get it done on time.

    Canada is the largest of 15 EU deals that Liz Truss has to roll over – with less than 50 days to go.

  • Hana Carter

    TWO WEEK EXTENSION

    Stormont deputy first minister Michelle O'Neill told the BBC's Newsline programme a two-week extension would potentially have brought them to the other side of Christmas before new measures had to be reintroduced.

    “We potentially are coming back to this situation again before Christmas.

    “This is not a position that any of us want to be in.”

    The Sinn Fein vice-president said Stormont chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride's advice was very clear and stark.

    “To do anything other than a two-week extension would cause excess death.

    “I in all good conscience could not support a proposal that falls short of that.”

    She said it was a “challenging” time for the Stormont Executive's five parties.

    “I am appalled at the actions of the DUP this week, to use a cross-community vote when they did not get their own way.”

  • Hana Carter

    BUSINESSES URGED TO 'GET PREPARED' LEAVING SINGLE MARKET

    Businesses have been urged to “get prepared” for leaving the EU's single market and customs union amid concerns the disruption could hamper efforts to tackle coronavirus.

    Cabinet minister Alok Sharma repeatedly failed to rule out that the supply of a coronavirus vaccine would not be affected by problems when the new arrangements come into force on January 1.

    The head of British firm Croda, which supplies a crucial ingredient in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine candidate, has warned that avoiding border disruption will be “a crucial step” in ensuring it is available to millions of people.

    Business Secretary Alok Sharma was questioned on the issue at a Downing Street press conference.

    “This is an issue… across many sectors but that is precisely why we have been investing hundreds of millions of pounds in terms of border infrastructure, and we've been investing in grants for customs intermediaries,” he said.

    “It's why we are making a very big effort to communicate with businesses to make sure that they are ready, so that they can get customs clearances done.

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