Arlene Foster on the Irish sea border
Conservative MPs in the north of England have urged Rishi Sunak to set aside billions to fuel the region’s economy amid fears the pandemic will widen the gap between London and “left-behind” areas.
Jake Berry, chair of the Northern Research Group of more than 50 Tory MPs, said “we expect this government to invest in and back our economy so we can recover”, and did not rule out his group pushing their influence in the Commons if progress is not made on Boris Johnson’s promise to “level up” the regions.
Meanwhile, UK residents of Spain seeking to return to their homes were wrongly turned away by British Airways staff at Heathrow as they prepared to fly home. Britons attempting to reach the Netherlands have also been turned away since the Brexit transition phase ended.
Ports face first week of new post-Brexit system
All eyes will be on ports today as they face the first ordinary day of business under post-Brexit rules which came into effect on 31 December.
Ferry company DFDS said the number of lorries passing through the Port of Dover in the first two days of January had halved relative to the same period last year, according to the BBC.
Liam James4 January 2021 10:04
Former top Tory appeals to Starmer to build ‘progressive alliance’ for electoral reform
A former Conservative cabinet minister has issued an appeal to Sir Keir Starmer to lead a cross-party “progressive alliance” to drive through reform of the UK’s democratic system in the wake of Brexit, our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports.
Stephen Dorrell, who served in Margaret Thatcher’s administration and was health secretary under John Major, said the that the current first-past-the-post system has allowed “a small clique” around Boris Johnson to impose its will on the rest of the UK while disenfranchising millions of voters.
Liam James4 January 2021 09:45
ICYMI: Boris Johnson would lose seat and no party would win majority at election
The results of a large constituency-by-constituency poll were released on Sunday and showed what could happen if an election were held now.
The prime minister was found to be on course to lose his seat and the Conservatives their majority. Labour were not looking likely to sweep to power off the back of the Tories downfall however, with the poll putting them a few seats behind the ruling party.
Liam James4 January 2021 09:30
Tony Blair ‘would have backed’ Brexit deal
Former prime minister Tony Blair, who lent his weight to the campaign for a second referendum on Brexit, said he would have voted for Boris Johnson’s trade deal with the EU.
Asked if he would have backed the deal in an appearance on Times Radio, Mr Blair said: “I would have backed [Keir Starmer] on this. I mean, look, it’s a tactical question for the Labour party because the problem is … it’s open to your opponents to say that if you don’t back the deal, then you’re voting for no-deal.”
He continued: “Look, there was a case for abstaining and there was a case for … voting for it because the alternative’s no-deal.”
“I don’t think it particularly matters to the Labour party either way. I think what does matter is that we’re still in a position where we’re pointing out what the problems with this deal are.”
Liam James4 January 2021 09:11
Ministers prepare £100m package to expand UK fishing fleet
The government is preparing a £100m package to offer Britain’s fishing communities in light of Brexit.
The financial stimulus is being touted as a means of expanding the nation’s fishing fleet as the UK prepares to take on larger catch quotas during the five-and-a-half year transition period agreed with the EU.
A senior government source told The Times the idea of a fund for fishing had been discussed by Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak and the prime minister directly referenced the £100m in the House of Commons last Wednesday.
Liam James4 January 2021 08:53
British Airways denies boarding to UK residents of Spain
On the first weekend since the Brexit transition phase ended, UK residents of Spain seeking to return to their homes have been wrongly turned away by British Airways staff at Heathrow as they prepared to fly home, our travel correspondent Simon Calder reports.
With the ending of the transition, British passport holders are no longer granted automatic access to the European Union. In addition, Spain – in common with many other EU countries – is imposing tough rules to try to minimise the spread of coronavirus.
Only Spanish nationals and legal residents of Spain are allowed to board flights from the UK until 19 January.
Liam James4 January 2021 08:38
Northern Tories call for billions in “levelling up” funding
Conservative MPs in the north of England have urged Rishi Sunak to set aside billions to fuel the region’s economy amid fears the gulf between London and “left-behind” areas will grow in the wake of Covid-19.
Jake Berry, chair of the Northern Research Group of more than 50 Tory MPs, said “we expect this government to invest in and back our economy so we can recover.
Mr Berry acknowledged the UK is in a “very tricky financial position” but argued the best way to work out of the debt incurred during the pandemic would be to grow the economy, “so let’s get the north of England growing and firing on all cylinders”, he told The Telegraph.
“It will change the lives of people who live there, but would also make the job of running the Treasury and national debt a hell of a lot better,” the Lancashire MP said.
Mr Berry did not rule out the NRG working to become an influential voting bloc in the Commons if insufficient progress is made on Boris Johnson’s “levelling up” promise.
Liam James4 January 2021 08:24
Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of UK politics today
Liam James4 January 2021 08:08