Boris Johnson latest news: PM to hold Stormont talks as UK sets out Northern Ireland protocol plans

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Brussels won’t give in to blackmail over Northern Ireland protocol, warns EU

Boris Johnson will hold emergency talks with Northern Ireland’s political leaders in a bid to break the Stormont deadlock caused by disagreements over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

The government is also expected to set out plans that would allow ministers to unilaterally scrap part of the Brexit deals.

More details would be released “in the coming days”, said the prime minister in an editorial in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper, despite warnings that they could trigger a trade war with the European Union.

The move has prompted a furious row with the EU as Brussels warned that such unilateral action to walk away from a key plank of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would represent a clear breach of international law.

Ministers are engaged in a standoff with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol after the recent Assembly elections, with the DUP refusing to re-enter a devolved government in protest at the contentious arrangement which has created economic barriers between the region and the rest of the UK.

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Watch: Minister claims over better-paid jobs and cost-of-living crisis

Here is the clip from below:

Zoe Tidman16 May 2022 08:24

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Minister’s suggestion at how to cope with cost-of-living crisis

Britons struggling with the cost-of-living crisis should consider taking on more hours at work or moving to a better-paid job, a minister in Boris Johnson’s government has said.

Zoe Tidman16 May 2022 08:10

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Ex-Northern Ireland secretary calls for ‘political deal’ with EU

Julian Smith, the former Northern Ireland secretary, has called on the UK to form a “political deal” with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Asked his thoughts on the UK government overriding elements of the protocol, the Tory MP urged the EU to “go the extra mile” and be flexible over any negotiation.

“I think my view would be to try to delay, to give space now to looking at what the EU could do to solve those practical issues. Business supports the protocol but there are major technical issues,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

“I think we do need the EU and UK negotiators to spend some positive time in a locked room and come up with a deal, we need a political deal, we need a fudge.”

Zoe Tidman16 May 2022 08:02

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Energy price cap ‘could change twice as often’

Energy regulator Ofgem has revealed plans that, if implemented, would see the price cap on bills changed twice as often.

The watchdog said it might change the price cap to update every three months, rather than every six.

Ofgem said this will help customers when wholesale gas prices fall from current peaks by passing on savings to households more rapidly.

Zoe Tidman16 May 2022 07:32

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Priti Patel overrode legal advice in asylum cases, leading to record costs

Priti Patel has repeatedly overridden Home Office legal advice on immigration and asylum cases, adding to record costs for the taxpayer, The Independent can reveal.

The department spent £35.2m on legal bills for lost cases and paid out a further £9.3m to people wrongly held in immigration detention in 2020-21.

The figures stand at their highest level since the Conservatives came to power, having rocketed from £17.1m and £2.2m respectively in five years.

Home Office sources told The Independent that Ms Patel and other Home Office ministers had rejected legal advice in individual cases on numerous occasions.

Legal experts had shown clear instances where “immediately settling cases offered best value to the taxpayer, and set best precedent for presenting future cases to the courts”, a Home Office source said.

Read the details in this exclusive by our correspondents Anna Isaac and Lizzie Dearden:

Namita Singh16 May 2022 07:00

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Jeremy Hunt declines to call Boris Johnson an honest man

Former Conservative minister Jeremy Hunt has declined to say that Boris Johnson is an honest man in the wake of the Partygate scandal.

Mr Hunt was asked the question by Sophie Raworth on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme.

In response, he twice replied that “talking about personalities is not a helpful thing to do”, despite being told by Ms Raworth that it was a “simple question”.

On the issue of whether Mr Johnson was the best person for the job, Mr Hunt said: “I hope he can turn things around.”

He did say, however, that he thought that Tory MPs should support the prime minister “in the situation we are now in” with the war in Ukraine.

Whitehall editor Kate Devlin has the details:

Namita Singh16 May 2022 06:48

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Margaret Thatcher statue egged within hours of going up

Onlookers voiced their disapproval of the new memorial to the divisive former prime minister, with several motorists booing loudly as they drove past. One man shouted “Tear it down” while another said “This is no good for Grantham, is it?”

The £300,000 statue was lowered into place in the Lincolnshire town on Sunday, after plans to put it in Parliament Square in London were opposed because of fears it would be vandalised.

My colleague Liam James reports:

Namita Singh16 May 2022 06:35

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Post-Brexit financial ‘competitiveness’ could spark race to the bottom, warn experts

The UK’s post-Brexit focus on helping the financial sector could spark a harmful race to the bottom and undermine the government’s levelling up plans, a former minister and academics have warned.

In an open letter to the chancellor, the former business secretary Sir Vince Cable and other expressed scepticism about the new plans.

“We are writing to express our concern about proposals for the UK’s Financial Services Future Regulatory Framework (FRF) to give regulators statutory objectives to promote competitiveness after Brexit,” the letter reads.

Read more about the letter in this report:

Namita Singh16 May 2022 06:25

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Sturgeon to warn of ‘catastrophic’ consequences of failure on Cop commitments

Failure to meet the targets agreed at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow could have “catastophic” consequences, Nicola Sturgeon will warn.

Six months on from the global conference, the First Minister will speak about environmental issues as she addresses the Brookings Institution in Washington DC during a trip to the US.

She will stress that world leaders must prioritise an “approach to energy security that focusses on sustainability”, with measures to promote greater energy efficiency and need to move towards renewable and low-carbon power.

“Six months on from Cop26, the world looks very different but many of the challenges we faced then remain,” she will say.



As things stand, the world is on course to exceed both 1.5 degrees of global warming and the 2 degree threshold – and scientific consensus is overwhelming that this will be catastrophic.

Nicola Sturgeon

Namita Singh16 May 2022 06:14

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Priti Patel lifts restrictions on police stop-and-search powers

Priti Patel is lifting restrictions placed on police in the use of controversial stop-and-search powers as part of the government’s strategy to tackle violent crime.

The new measures will see officers able to stop people without suspicion in areas where serious violence “may” occur, rather than “will” occur, a loosening of the guidelines which the government claims will help prevent knife crime.

In a letter sent to police forces on Monday, the home secretary will set out how restrictions on section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which have limited when officers could use stop and search and have been in place since 2014, will be removed.

Ms Patel’s initial plan to remove restrictions placed on section 60 searches was met with criticism, leading her to backtrack on the plan, although she is now pressing ahead with it.

Namita Singh16 May 2022 06:01

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