Johnson is going to fade a grilling in the Commons.
The only prime minister to be criminally charged, and the only one not to have the decency to resign after lying to Parliament.
Inspections at borders may be pushed back for fourth time amid fears food supplies from Europe could collapse.
Boris Johnson suggests fourth delay to import checks after warning over trade ‘collapse’
Boris Johnson has all but confirmed that Brexit import controls on goods from Europe due to take effect in July will be delayed for a fourth time.
Experts have warned of a “collapse” in trade if the checks are implemented on 1 July at a time of fast-rising prices and falling consumer confidence.
Now, Mr Johnson has sent a strong signal that he will postpone the introduction of “sanitary and phytosanitary” inspections on agrifood imports and plant products, declaring that he wants “minimal friction” at the UK’s borders with the EU.
The prime minister appeared to suggest that he believes the checks can be put off indefinitely until long-promised technological solutions are found.
While the EU was able to implement checks on UK exports entering the 27-bloc immediately when Brexit came into effect in January last year, Britain secured a “grace period” for imports from the continent, which has been repeatedly extended.
Brexit opportunities minister said UK could break agreement if it wanted.
EU says Brexit deal is ‘legal obligation which binds UK’ after Jacob Rees-Mogg comments
The European Commission has reminded the UK government that the Brexit deal is a "binding" legal obligation, after a senior Conservative minister said there was no need to stand by the agreement.
Jacob Rees-Mogg on Wednesday told a committee of MPs that it was "nonsense" that the UK had to stick to the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol, which the government negotiated and ratified as part of exiting the European Union.
On Friday a a spokesperson for the EU's executive hit back and told reporters in Brussels on Friday that "the withdrawal agreement, the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, are legal obligations to which the UK is bound".
Mr Rees-Mogg, who is Boris Johnson's minister for Brexit opportunities, had told a hearing of parliament's EU scrutiny committee: "A lot of commentary that says: ‘Well, we signed it and therefore surely we should accept it lock, stock and barrel.’ That’s absolute nonsense.
“We signed it on the basis that it would be reformed. And there comes a point at which you say: ‘Well, you haven’t reformed it and therefore we are reforming it ourselves.’ And the United Kingdom is much more important than any agreement that we have with any foreign power."
On Friday morning the Financial Times additionally reported that Boris Johnson is preparing to bring forward laws override parts of the Brexit agreement in UK statue.
The powers are expected to be included in the Queen's Speech next month and would likely spark a new political conflict with Brussels. Some unionists are annoyed that the protocol imposes frictions on trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland though polls show the agreement generally has popular support there.
Asked about the reports, a European Commission spokesperson told reporters in Brussels: "It will come as absolutely no surprise to that we have no comment on press reports or unnamed sources, or other comments. I think more generally, I can simply reiterate what we have said a number of times in this press room: that we are fully committed to working jointly with the UK government to find long-lasting solutions for Northern Ireland, to bring about long-lasting certainty and predictability for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.
Unions from both sides of the Atlantic accuse Boris Johnson’s government of failing to grasp importance of labour rights
Britain’s hopes of post-Brexit US trade deal ‘depend on workers’ rights’
Britain’s hopes of a favourable post-Brexit trade deal with the US risk being undermined by the government’s lack of engagement on workers’ rights, trade unions have warned.
As a second round of US-UK talks begins this week, union leaders from both countries said Washington would push for a “worker-centred approach to trade” to help unlock a deal.
Accusing Boris Johnson’s government of failing to grasp the importance of labour rights, the TUC and the AFL-CIO, the biggest union federations in the UK and the US, said a change of tack was urgently required.
It comes as ministers push to build new ties around the world after leaving the EU, with a US trade deal considered a prize target for the government as it attempts to demonstrate benefits of Brexit.
However, the US and UK union leaders said the British government had too often hurtled into deals with unsavoury regimes that had no respect for fundamental human and labour rights.
The government had promised a role for union representatives in powerful post-Brexit trade advisory groups, which are consulted on negotiations. However, the TUC warned its nominees for the posts had not yet been confirmed by ministers, meaning unions did not have a place at the table.
In a joint statement, the two groups representing more than 17 million workers, called on the US and UK governments to work together to protect employment standards.
Johnson is finding out that corruption, shady deals and lying to parliament, the public and his many ex wives can only get you so far.
There is a series of letters denouncing the met's decision to pause partygate fines during the elections as deeply corrupt and partisan.
He has broken the law, he has lied to parliament, he tried to stop an investigation into his lies to parliament.
He failed, and while **** eating cockroaches like conor burn can always be relied on for a sycophantic sound bite, many toys are seeing him as the liability he really is.
The real test will be the local elections in a few weeks' time, the tories will do badly, they are holding a lot of seats that were taken in a blue wave last time and they would have problems keeping hold of them anyway.
Party gate, the woeful handling of Brexit and high fuel bills will give them a bloody nose that could well unseat Johnson.
Research funding: dispute over Northern Ireland protocol puts associate membership of Horizon Europe scheme in doubt
Brexit row threatens £250m in UK research funding from EU
British universities are facing a brain drain as the row over Brexit in Northern Ireland threatens £250m in research funding from the EU, it has emerged.
The European Research Council (ERC) has written to 98 scientists and academics who were recently approved for €172m (£145m) in grants telling them that if the UK’s associate membership of the €80bn Horizon Europe programme is not ratified they will not be eligible to draw down the money.
Scientists have said they are now scrambling to find alternate EU institutions to host the funding, with some already turning down the ERC money and hoping the UK government’s promise of replacement cash will be delivered.
But they say in either case it is “devastating” as the ERC is considered one of the most prestigious programmes in the world.
Getting an ERC grant is “a badge of honour for any researcher and a signal of world-class leading research” that is a big draw for talent from the US and elsewhere, said Ethan Ilzetzki, an associate professor in economics at the London School of Economics.
“Higher education institutions on the continent are salivating at the prospect of poaching this talent … higher education will be hurt for years to come if this isn’t resolved,” he said.
Northern Ireland’s Lady Chief Justice Dame Siobhan Keegan has granted leave to appeal against a ruling that the post-Brexit trading arrangement is lawful.
The case will now be considered by Supreme Court justices, although no date has yet been set.
Unionists regard the protocol, which sees checks on goods arriving into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, as a border in the Irish Sea.
The legal case has been taken in the name of TUV leader Jim Allister, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib and Baroness Kate Hoey among others. A separate challenge is being taken by a loyalist pastor, Clifford Peeples.
LSE finds one-third decline in trading relationships under Boris Johnson’s deal – which has hit small firms hardest.
Brexit has devastated UK exports to smaller EU countries, study says
Brexit red tape means the UK has “stopped selling” many products to smaller EU countries, according to alarming new evidence of the impact on trade.
It highlights a “steep decline” in the number of trading relationships Britain has with its most important market – which fell by nearly one-third after Boris Johnson’s trade deal came into effect.
Smaller firms attempting to export have been hit by red tape and costs at the border, with the biggest problems in trade with firms in smaller EU countries, the research has has found.
Thomas Prayer, a co-author of the research, called the decline “remarkable”, saying: “It appears the UK simply stopped selling a lot of products to smaller countries in the EU.”
The findings, from the LSE Centre for Economic Performance, will be seen as further worrying evidence of the price being paid by exporters for leaving the EU single market and customs union.
The Treasury watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, has warned that UK trade has “missed out” on much of the post-Covid recovery in global trade enjoyed by other G7 economies.
The LSE team analysed changes in trade patterns for 1,200 traded product lines, in what it said was the most comprehensive study to date of the effects of Brexit on UK-EU trade.
Thomas Sampson, co-author and associate professor of economics at LSE, said the analysis exposed the hidden impacts of increasing the red tape burden – even as overall exports to EU recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
“There’s quite a lot of evidence that future growth in trade comes from firms that are small today,” he told the Financial Times.
“If you kill off those exporting relationships it may lead to lower future export growth.”
William Bain, head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce said: “Inevitably it is smaller firms which don’t have the money, time or logistical capacity to set up within the EU which are being hardest hit.”
And Martin McTague, chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, called for further help with increased paperwork, saying: “Small business must be at the centre of free trade agreements.”
The study echoes evidence from business groups that many smaller firms are quitting exporting altogether, in the face of customs barriers, VAT and regulatory red tape.
It finds the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is not severely hampering exports by large firms – “or at least not yet”.
The OBR has estimated that total UK imports and exports will be 15 per cent lower over the medium term than if Britain had remained part of the EU.
Thinktank finds ‘clear and robust impact’ of Brexit on rising food prices, adding to cost of living crisis.
Post-Brexit trade barriers increase price of food imported from EU
The thinktank UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE) said trade barriers introduced after leaving the EU had led to a 6% increase in UK food prices between December 2019 and September 2021, adding to the rising financial pressure for households.
The report found products with a higher EU import share, such as fresh pork, tomatoes and jams, were worse-affected than items where UK imports were more commonly sourced from the rest of the world, such as tuna and exotic fruits like pineapple.
There are a ‘lack of things to talk about‘, ex-negotiator argues – one day after collapse in trading links revealed.
David Frost claims Brexit has gone ‘remarkably smoothly’ amid rising food costs and falling trade
The negotiator of Boris Johnson’s trade deal – who quit the government last year – claimed there are “lack of things to talk about”, other than the controversy over the Irish Sea trade border it created.
“Occasionally, another issue like fishing or touring performers gets a look in,” he told an event about the future of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“But, generally, it’s actually quite remarkable how smoothly the total reordering of this country’s relations has gone.”
Speaking to the Policy Exchange think-tank, Lord Frost admitted the government had forced through the Protocol while planning to “sort out the necessary detail with the EU later”.
He repeated his call for it to be torn up – by invoking Article 16, to suspend parts of the treaty if necessary – as the government plots new legislation in next month’s Queen’s Speech.
The peer also dismissed warnings that rewriting it unilaterally would damage the UK, because it would be breaking international law, claiming “the Protocol is different” because it was “imposed under duress”.
But he conceded that abandoning it “will of course require domestic legislation”, setting up a clash with the House of Lords and Tory rebels in the Commons, if the government presses ahead.
Lord Frost also claimed the Protocol is “explicitly temporary”, despite it being an international agreement that the EU has insisted the UK must abide by.
And he argued it will be thrown out by the Stormont Assembly in a “consent” vote due in 2024, although that would not, by itself, end the legal obligations entered into.
Asked if he is responsible for the crisis: Lord Frost replied: “I think Unionist criticism is best directed at the EU and the Commission who put us in this position in the first place.”
He admitted the Protocol had “much earlier than we expected, and in ways we had not foreseen, started to come apart”.
The comments come despite Lord Frost disowning his own agreement for breaking a promise to spare touring musicians and other performers new punishing costs and red tape.
The UK government is set to announce a fourth delay to physical checks on fresh food imported from the EU amid industry reports that neither technology nor infrastructure resources were ready for the July start of the next phase of Brexit.
A survey of Britons on the European continent shows ‘deep transformations’, shame and disappointment.
‘Embarrassed to be British’: Brexit study reveals impact on UK citizens in EU
The first major study since Brexit of UK citizens living in the EU has revealed its profound impact on their lives, with many expressing serious concerns over their loss of free movement and voting rights – and a very different perception of Britain.
The survey, of 1,328 British nationals across the continent, showed that if “the public narrative suggests Brexit is done and dusted, it has brought deep transformations to the lives of British citizens in the EU and EEA”, the study’s co-lead, said. “The long tail of Brexit is evident in its continuing impacts both on the way they live their lives, and in its lasting significance for their sense of identity and belonging,” said Benson, a sociology professor at Lancaster University.
The survey, conducted between December 2021 and January 2022, a year after the end of the Brexit transition period, and part of a wider project by Lancaster and Birmingham universities, found 59% of respondents had lived in their country of residence for at least five years and most intended to stay.
But many were angered by their loss of free movement, meaning they can no longer move within the EU for work, or retire to another EU country, and especially worried about being unable to return to the UK with non-British family members in future.
Asked whether their past or future migration plans had been affected by Brexit, 27% of respondents said it had affected them a great deal, and 14% a lot. “Where does one even start?” was the response of one British citizen living in Belgium. “Loss of rights like freedom of movement around the EU and to the UK. With a wife who is an EU citizen, I had to decide whether to move to the relevant EU country or stay in the UK. Family now cannot move back to Britain. Uncertainty.”
Another said: “I moved to France in 2020 in order to protect my right to live and work in France post-Brexit. My migration is 100% a result of Brexit.”
Brexit, and the British government’s handling of the Covid pandemic, strongly affected 80% of respondents’ feelings towards the UK, with responses including “deep shame”, “disappointment”, “a **** show”, “embarrassed to be British”, “shambolic”, and “like watching a house on fire”.
Just over 30% still felt very or extremely emotionally attached to the UK, compared with 75% who said they felt a very or extreme emotional attachment to the EU, and 59% who felt the same in relation to their country of residence.
“For me, one of the most interesting things the survey reveals is this sense of disappointment, shame and anguish over Brexit and the pandemic – and a really quite pronounced expression of European identity,” Benson said.
About two-thirds had changed their legal status since 2016, acquiring residency or citizenship. But nearly half did not have the same status – and therefore the same migration and settlement rights – as some or all of their close family members.
This was a major or significant concern for a large majority of respondents, who said it was affecting their own and their children’s work, career and education, or would do so in the future.
“My wife is a Russian citizen,” said one respondent in Italy. “Her right to live and work depend upon my status under the withdrawal agreement. She fears a potential move to another EU country as her residency rights are totally dependent upon mine.”
Those who felt they may want or need to move back to the UK at some stage felt particularly affected, since non-British partners and other family members coming with them would now be subject to UK domestic immigration controls.
“I have a house in England,” said one respondent, who has lived in the Netherlands for 10 years. “I was going to retire there. It’s now being sold. My wife is Dutch. I do not think she could even relocate back to the UK – despite joint ownership of a house, having lived there for 15 years, being fluent in English and having two dual-nationality kids.”
The loss of EU voting rights was also a big concern, with 46% saying they could no longer vote in European elections or, in most cases, local elections in their country of residence. Roughly 42% were also unable to vote in the UK because they had lived abroad for more than 15 years, although this is expected to change.
“I have a house in England,” said one respondent, who has lived in the Netherlands for 10 years. “I was going to retire there. It’s now being sold. My wife is Dutch. I do not think she could even relocate back to the UK – despite joint ownership of a house, having lived there for 15 years, being fluent in English and having two dual-nationality kids.
That's terrible. What kind of a **** deal is that? And why would that be?
British nationals living in Spain won'tbe able to use their driving licences.
It's a complete **** up.
It certainly is! Could they get an International Driver's License? Why would anyone agree to that (Brexit team)?
It's in most (all) other EU-countries the same: you do not need an international driving permit to visit and drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein. But if you live and drive in an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you need to exchange your driving licence for a local one.