Michael Gove compares Brexit problems to turbulence on takeoff of an airplane
The UK’s relationship with the EU since the end of the Brexit transition period has been “more than bumpy”, the country’s top Brexit negotiator has admitted.
Speaking on Tuesday to the Lords European Union committee, David Frost said there have been “niggling” border issues, including a ban on exporting live shellfish to the bloc.
He blamed the turbulence on the EU, saying it needed to adjust “to the existence of a genuinely independent actor in their neighbourhood”.
Critics, however, have noted that much of the trade disruption in the last six weeks has been caused by the type of Brexit the government wanted.
Elsewhere, Joanna Cherry, who was recently removed from the SNP’s frontbench at Westminster after being criticised for her stance on transgender issues, said the turmoil in her party was “unprecedented”.
Writing in the New Statesman, she accused a small number of her colleagues of engaging in “performative histrionics redolent of the Salem witch trials”.
‘Too soon’ to book a holiday, says transport secretary
Grant Shapps has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “people shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – not domestically or internationally”.
He said it was “too soon” to do so because it was unclear how quickly coronavirus cases and deaths will decline.
The transport secretary added that Boris Johnson will give more details about lifting lockdown in a speech on 22 February.
Anna Soubry, the former Conservative MP, tweeted that this was yet more “mixed messaging” from the government, after health secretary Matt Hancock said he had a booked a summer holiday to Cornwall.
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 10:10
Workers risked lives because of inadequate PPE stockpile, report finds
Frontline workers and their family’s lives were put at risk because of the UK’s inadequate stockpile of personal protective equipment at the beginning of the pandemic, a Commons committee has said in a new report.
Meg Hillier, the Labour MP who chairs the public accounts committee, said: “We’re at a dangerous new phase of the pandemic, in our third national lockdown, with no defined end in sight. The government needs to acknowledge the errors and be better prepared.”
Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin has more:
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 09:50
Grant Shapps reveals his father is in hospital with Covid-19
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has revealed that his father has been in a coronavirus ward for the past few months.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme, the minister said: “Coronavirus that gets everybody, got my Dad. We’re all very worried.”
He added that hospitals are still under “immense pressure” and praised NHS staff for all their work.
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 09:27
Hotel quarantine policy ‘far too little, far too late’, says Labour
Labour has condemned the government’s delay in introducing hotel quarantine for people travelling from “red-list” countries, a measure it says does not do enough to protect the UK from new coronavirus variants.
Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, tweeted on Wednesday that ministers have “left our country wide open to people bringing in Covid and new variants for a full year”.
She added that the new policy “is far too little, far too late”.
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 09:12
In today’s political round-up, Adam Forrest looks ahead to PMQs, community secretary Robert Jenrick’s speech on cladding and talks between the UK and the EU on Thursday.
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 08:51
Former attorney general criticises government over 10-year jail sentences for people hiding ‘red-zone’ trips
The government’s announcement that people who conceal trips to “high-risk” countries could face up to 10 years in prison has caused a public backlash.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said those lying on their passenger locator form could be fined £10,000 or be jailed for up to a decade.
Commenting on the measures, former attorney general Dominic Grieve said: “Ten years is entirely disproportionate.
“But this is a regulatory offence and no regulatory offence I can think of this type attracts a 10-year maximum sentence. The reality is no-one would get such a sentence anyway. The courts are simply not going to impose it,” he added.
Ashley Cowburn has more details:
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 08:36
‘Very blokey mentality’ dominates government, senior Tory MP says
Caroline Nokes, a former immigration minister, has criticised the government for its “very blokey mentality”, compounded by the number of ministers who were educated at single-sex schools.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, the chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee said: “I think it’s still a very blokey mentality at the very top. I don’t think that we’re done many favours by the predominance of single-sex education round the cabinet table.”
Ms Nokes added that there were some “serious questions about the calibre of the women” chosen for top government posts.
Our women’s correspondent Maya Oppenheim reports:
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 08:21
SNP in ‘unprecedented’ turmoil, warns Cherry
Joanna Cherry, who was recently removed from the SNP’s frontbench at Westminster, has struck out at problems within her party.
She was sacked following criticism of her stance on transgender issues.
Writing in the New Statesman, she wrote: “The turmoil in the SNP is unprecedented, but I’m comforted by the knowledge that the party is bigger than any individual, and we are strong enough to withstand this”
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 08:07
First weeks of Brexit bumpier than anticipated, says Frost
Relations between the UK and the EU have been “more than bumpy”, Boris Johnson’s chief Brexit negotiator has said.
David Frost cited the vaccine row and trade disruption in Northern Ireland as examples of friction in the past six weeks.
“I think the EU is still adjusting somewhat – as we thought they might – to the existence of a genuinely independent actor in their neighbourhood,” he told a Lords committee on Tuesday.
Talks between Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic will take place in London on Thursday in an attempt to iron our recent difficulties.
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 07:53
Morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling UK politics coverage.
Rory Sullivan10 February 2021 07:47