Brexit news live: Latest EU vaccine row and Boris Johnson updates

Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheál Martin speaks to the press as he arrives at the EU headquarters’ Europa building in Brussels on 10 December, 2020, prior to a European Union summit. The premier has urged calm in the race to vaccinate populations around the world.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheál Martin speaks to the press as he arrives at the EU headquarters’ Europa building in Brussels on 10 December, 2020, prior to a European Union summit. The premier has urged calm in the race to vaccinate populations around the world.

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Irish premier Micheál Martin has called for calm in the race to roll out vaccination programs as the EU continues to face backlash over a short-lived decision to override the Brexit Deal on Northern Ireland as part of its effort to control vaccine exports.

“Overall, across Europe we all need to roll out the vaccination programme as effectively and efficiently as we can, so I would like if we can dial down the tone and work collegially is the best way to deal with this,” the Taoiseach said, speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

His comments came as the UK’s coronavirus vaccination programme continued to gather pace. 

In the midst of the rollout, a new poll has seen the Tories overtake Labour, with the Opinium poll for the Observer putting the Conservatives at 41 per cent compared to Labour’s 38 per cent.

Boris Johnson’s personal ratings have also seen a rise, with some 33 per cent of respondents saying he is the best pick for prime minister, up from 30 per cent.

1612105798

Scottish secretary says independence vote without Westminster backing would be illegal

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has warned that another independence referendum held without the permission of Westminster would be an illegal move.

His comments came after the SNP released an 11-point plan last week asserting that they would move towards holding another vote if a pro-independence majority of MSPs was returned in May’s Holyrood elections. 

Speaking during an interview with the BBC, Mr Jack said such a referendum would be illegal without express permission from Westminster. 

“I’m afraid the constitution is a reserved matter, it would be an illegal referendum,” he said. “Let’s be clear about that.”

The Scottish Secretary said it was “not the time” for another referendum on the matter, noting that senior members of the Yes campaign had said themselves the vote was “once in a generation”.

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 15:09

1612105339

Irish premier says he understands vaccination anxiety, but says ‘we will get there’

Irish Premier Micheál Martin has urged calm in the race to vaccinate populations around the world, asserting that while he understands the “anxiety” around rollout programs, “we will get there”. 

“Overall, across Europe we all need to roll out the vaccination programme as effectively and efficiently as we can, so I would like if we can dial down the tone and work collegially is the best way to deal with this,” he said. 

 Asked whether he would hope to see any UK surplus of the vaccine handed over to Ireland, he said: “The UK has a long way to go, we have a long way to go, Europe has long way to go.” 

“I think all of us have a collective responsibility to ensure that the developing world, and particularly frontline workers in the developing world, are vaccinated as well because this is a global situation,” he continued. 

“There’s very little point in the virus raging across developing countries while we vaccinate 100% here because that would mean more mutations. 

“We have a journey to go but I think we will get there if we can just calm down,” the Taoiseach said.

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 15:02

1612103184

Ministers warned to ease lockdown ‘very slowly, very cautiously’

Public Health England’s coronavirus strategy chief Dr Susan Hopkins has warned UK ministers to ease lockdown restrictions “very slowly” and “very cautiously”. 

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Dr Hopkins said on Sunday that easing measures slowly would allow the government to “clamp down quite fast” should cases start to increase again.

Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, Cabinet minister Liz Truss said she could not “make predictions” on whether social distancing measure will need to remain in place until at least towards the end of the year. 

“I don’t want to make predictions about the situation in the autumn, I think it’s far too far away,” she said.

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 14:26

1612101645

UK focused on collaboration with EU after vaccine row, Nadhim Zahawi

Britain is focused on promoting “collaboration” with the EU on vaccines, the country’s vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi has told the Sunday Telegraph, after the bloc walked back on a decision to override the Brexit deal on Northern Ireland as part of its efforts to control vaccine exports.

In an interview, Mr Zahawi told the newspaper that the UK had already gone “out of our way” to help Brussels with its vaccine supply issues and would continue to do so.

He said he believed that there should be a concerted effort right now to “protect the most vulnerable”. 

“I don’t think this is a Brexit issue,” he said. “This is about making sure that we protect the most vulnerable. It’s a race against death in many ways.”

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 14:00

1612099845

Government working on COVID recovery plan for economy: Report

The government is working on an economic recovery plan to help the country bounce back from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, a source told Reuters on Sunday.

The government source said the finance ministry and cabinet office have been working on a plan after the Sunday Times reported that the government would put forward a long-term blueprint that is expected to outline plans for high state spending over the span of a decade.

The Sunday Times also reported that finance minister Rishi Sunak would use his 3 March budget to extend government relief, including the UK’s furlough job protection scheme and business support loans. 

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 13:30

1612098345

UK could have ‘1948 moment’ in recovering from pandemic, Jeremy Hunt says

The UK could have a “1948 moment” in recovering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, Jeremy Hunt has said.  

Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge programme, the Conservative former health secretary suggested the crisis could eventually provide an opportunity for the country to reform in a way similar to Clement Attlee’s Labour government after the Second World War.

The MP for South West Surrey also suggested that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer posed a major threat to his party.

“I think he’s (Sir Keir) a very serious threat, a much bigger threat than we’ve had for many years, indeed since Tony Blair, I would definitely say that, yes,” he said.

“On the other hand, this could be a very exciting period for this country and if you look at what is, I think, generally recognised as the most successful Labour government since the war, the Attlee government, they were running the country in a period after a great crisis, the second World War,” he said.

“They showed enormous imagination in the setting-up of the NHS in 1948. I think we could turn this into a 1948 moment for the country as we come out of this crisis by completely reforming the social care system, giving it a proper 10-year plan, sorting out the workforce issues in the NHS, getting our cancer survival rates to the levels of France and Germany,” Mr Hunt continued.

“I think sometimes there are opportunities in these terrible crises and if we grasp those opportunities, Boris Johnson really can show the country that we are the party of the NHS, which is something I know he very much wants to do,” he said.

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 13:05

1612096593

DUP leader Nigel Dodds says EU let its ‘mask slip’ with vaccine blunder

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has accused the EU of letting its “mask slip” after the bloc moved to override part of the Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland in a bid to control shipments of coronavirus vaccine doses. 

“I think that the mask slipped on Friday night because the EU and others had been lecturing everybody…that there could never be under any circumstances whatsoever any kind of hard border on the island of Ireland, and that to do anything to override any of the Protocol provisions would be an anathema, and then in one fell swoop on Friday night it did both of those things,” Mr Dodds told the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme. 

“Never mind the fact that it was aimed at vaccines, which is aimed at helping people overcome this terrible Covid pandemic,” he said.

“I think that what what the EU has now effectively done is set a precedent that has said that in circumstances where their single market is in danger and there’s a potential threat, then the provisions of Article 16 can be triggered and, indeed, in their statement withdrawing Article 16 now, they made it clear that they reserve the right to use it and other instruments going forward,” he said.

The DUP deputy leader also said he believed the moment represented an “opportunity” for the British government to “look at what the problems are between Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. 

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 12:36

1612094600

Blair says there’s a ‘very strong case’ for moving teachers up vaccine priority list

Tony Blair has said there is a “very strong case” for moving teachers up higher on the vaccine priority list. 

Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, the former prime minister said there is a “a very strong case for vaccinating teachers in order to get the schools back”.

Mr Blair suggested that all teachers could even be vaccinated within a matter of days.

“I think that is a reasonable thing to do in these circumstances if it helps allow you to get the schools back sooner and if you combine it with testing, which we should do again,” he said. “If you combine it with then you could probably get the schools back.”

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 12:03

1612093043

Irish PM Micheál Martin says ‘there are a lot of lessons to be learnt’ after EU vaccine blunder

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin has said “there are a lot of lessons to be learnt” following the EU’s short-lived decision to override the Brexit Deal on Northern Ireland as part of an effort to control vaccine exports. 

Speaking with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, the Taoiseach said many had been “blindsided” by the decision, which Brussels walked back on late on Friday after facing widespread backlash. 

While Mr Martin said the decision came as a surprise,  he said he did not believe it was an “act of hostility”. 

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 11:37

1612090007

Hundreds of thousands expected to leave Hong Kong for UK under visa program

Britain’s new visa scheme for Hong Kongers launches today, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to leave the city state for the UK under the program. 

Millions of HK residents are being offered a path to citizenship in the UK under the scheme, which was announced in the wake of Beijing imposing a controversial national security law on the city last year.

The British government anticipates that at least around 300,000 of the 2.9 million residents of Hong Kong with British National (Overseas) status and 2.3 million dependents eligible to apply for the scheme will take advantage over the next five years. 

Chantal Da Silva31 January 2021 10:46

Source link

Add a Comment