Daily political briefing today
The UK appears “desperate” in its attempts to strike free trade deals after Brexit, an expert has warned.
David Henig, co-founder of the UK Trade Forum, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that a deal with Australia will set a precedent for future deals with other major agricultural exporters like New Zealand and the United States.
He suggested it was not “the smartest move” for the UK to set its own deadline for a deal to be reached, as it gives Australia a strong negotiating position.
It comes as the UK wants to confirm a deal with Australia at the time of the G7 summit on June 11.
“We are desperate to get these deals – this is the way this government works. We have to hope that they will be the right deals and balance all the different interests, ”said Mr. Henig.
His comments follow a bitter dispute within the government over whether to grant Australian beef and lamb duty-free access to the UK market. Environment Minister George Eustice and Cabinet Minister Michael Gove are reportedly against the move, while Commerce Secretary Liz Truss and Brexit Minister David Frost are in favor.
SNP Ian Blackford on Wednesday accused Boris Johnson of betraying British farmers and throwing them “under the Brexit bus”.
Great British Railways: What powers will the new public body have?
The government wants to fix the country’s rail system because it’s “just too complicated,” Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said earlier today.
Ministers hope to improve services through the creation of Great British Railways (GBR), a new public rail operator.
But what are the powers of the GBR and will it work?
Joe sommerlad has all the answers:
Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 1:15 PM
Transport secretary says taking charge of all trains by a public body “ is not a renationalization ”
In a statement in the House of Commons, Grant Shapps told MPs: “This is not a renationalization, which this government continues to believe in the failure of the railways, but rather a simplification. .
“As Great British Railways takes the lead role in coordinating the entire network, our plan will see greater involvement of the private sector.
“Private companies will be hired to operate the trains and services, and tariffs will be set by Great British Railways.
“But it will work more like the London buses and the London Overground – provided by private companies but labeled as a single national service.”
Shadow Transportation Secretary Jim McMahon said: “While I welcome the measures to increase public ownership and control of the railways, as you would expect, it does not go far enough in this current plan.
“I believe there is a lot of evidence that shows that more comprehensive public ownership rather than a concessional model would better serve the state, the public and long-term investment.”
Samuel osborneMay 20, 2021 12:52 PM
Former MP violated Parliament’s policy on sexual misconduct, independent committee says
Former MP Mike Hill broke Parliament’s policy on sexual misconduct, an independent committee concluded.
The Independent Panel of Experts (IEP) said Mr Hill, who resigned as MP for Hartlepool in March, would have faced significant punishment had he not resigned.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle deprived Mr Hill of his right to a parliamentary pass as a former MP.
Sir Stephen Irwin, President of the IEP said: “The subcommittee took a very serious view of his conduct, and had he remained a Member of Parliament, a significant sanction would have been considered.
“In light of his resignation, however, the subcommittee concluded that no sanction available met the facts of this case and the specific circumstances of the defendant. They therefore neither imposed nor recommended a sanction.”
Former Labor MP Mr Hill is also facing an employment tribunal case, a decision due towards the end of June.
Samuel osborneMay 20, 2021 12:22 PM
UK failed to secure desired Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, says Frost
The Prime Minister’s chief Brexit negotiator admitted that the UK did not get the deal it wanted for Northern Ireland.
David Frost’s comments to The spectator paint a different picture of Boris Johnson’s assurances in November 2019 that Northern Ireland ‘has a lot of stuff’.
Rory sullivan20 May 2021 12:00
Starmer should leave if Labor loses next by-election, says Abbott
For those who missed the previous post on this, Diane Abbott said Keir Starmer would have to leave if Labor lost the Batley and Spen by-election.
Meanwhile, fellow left-winger Rebecca Long-Bailey has said a loss will require ‘serious discussions’ about her future.
Here is our political editor Andrew Woodcock with all the details:
Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 11:43 AM
Civil servants with the ‘right accent’ get the best jobs, reports show
People from under-represented backgrounds struggle to climb the top ranks of the public service because the system favors people with the “right accent,” according to a new report.
A study by the Social Mobility Commission revealed that 72% of senior civil servants came from privileged backgrounds.
Steven Cooper, Acting Co-Chair of the Committee on Social Mobility, said: “Civil servants from disadvantaged backgrounds are significantly under-represented in the organization, and even if they ‘come in’ they can struggle to ‘ get along ”.”
The report suggests that “the right accent and ‘studied neutrality’” have helped people advance in the public service.
Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 11:25 AM
Patel expands quarantine enforcement controls
The government said there would be 10,000 home checks every day to make sure returning vacationers don’t violate quarantine rules.
Interior Minister Priti Patel said people “will not be left unchecked” once enforcement capacity is strengthened.
“Significant resources have been put in place – millions of pounds – in terms of monitoring people tracking around their tests and making sure they stay home. It has been stepped up, ”she said.
Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 11:05 am
Government’s pilot mass events program ‘positive results’, minister says
The government’s pilot mass events program has produced “positive results” so far, said Oliver Dowden.
The Culture Secretary told the House of Commons he was “delighted” that venues such as the National Gallery and the English National Ballet have reopened.
However, he stressed that these and other institutions can only return to normal after the next step in easing the lockdown, the viability of which is being investigated by the Events Research Program.
“And I can tell the House that we have had positive results from these drivers at events such as the Brits, the FA Cup Final and Crucible and these will inform our approach to the reopening in Stage 4. “said Mr. Dowden.
Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 10:45 AM
Foster criticizes protocol and praises Brexit
Speaking outside Downing Street on Wednesday, Arlene Foster welcomed Brexit while condemning the Northern Ireland protocol.
On her last trip to London as Prime Minister, she said: “I think you have to separate Brexit and protocol.
“The protocol is hurting Northern Ireland.
“Of course, I believe in Brexit because I believe that we had to leave the European Union and all the strict rules that were there, to allow us to be more flexible, to allow us to have a place in the world.
“But if the UK is to have a new place in the world, Northern Ireland has to be part of it and right now, because of the protocol, we are not.”
Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 10:25 AM
Free trade deal with Australia could ‘decimate’ UK agriculture, warns Labor
A zero-tariff trade deal with Australia could “decimate” the British agricultural industry, the Labor Party has said.
Opposition parties united to oppose the proposal, with shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry asking why the government would want to undermine the industry just to “prove a political point.”
She said Sky News: “I don’t think there is a country all over the world that will make a deal saying, ‘Well, yeah, that can decimate our agricultural industry, but we have to make a deal in order to prove a political point’. “
“Why would we want to undermine our agricultural industry? We have high standards in our country when it comes to animal welfare and food production, and we don’t want that to be compromised by cheap imports of food that is not produced to the same standards ”, a- she added.
Rory sullivanMay 20, 2021 10:07 AM