Boris Johnson meets President Zelensky in Kyiv
The British government’s bid to scrap parts of the post-Brexit trade deal on Northern Ireland amounts to “economic vandalism”, Irish prime minister Micheál Martin said.
Mr Martin said on Sunday that a new British law to change part of the Brexit deal was “unilateralism of the worst kind” and urged the Boris Johnson government to resume talks.
London has proposed scrapping some checks on goods from the rest of the UK arriving in Northern Ireland and challenged the role of the European Court of Justice to decide on parts of the post-Brexit deal.
“We fully accept that there are legitimate issues around the operation of the protocol and we believe that with serious sustained negotiations between the EU and the UK government those issues could be resolved,” he said.
He argued that the legislation would damage the province’s economy by introducing a dual regulatory regime that could increase costs to business. “If this bill is enacted, I think we’re in a very serious situation,” he said.
“What now needs to happen is really substantive negotiations between the British government and the EU.”
PM accused of ‘Putinesque’ politics by ex-Northern Ireland secretary
Boris Johnson has been accused of engaging in “Putinesque” tactics by using the Northern Ireland protocol to cause issues with Brussel – despite the EU’s willingness to compromise.
In an article for The Guardian, Peter Hain, former Northern Ireland secretary, wrote that the Bill is “dog-whistling to Johnson’s base by triggering a humongous row with the old villain Brussels because that worked so well in the 2016 Brexit referendum. And keep that going – if at all possible – all the way to the next general election.”
It comes as Micheál Martin, the Irish taoiseach, told BBC’s Sunday Morning program that the protocol represented “uniltaeralism of the worst kind”.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 10:13
Former PMs urge government to increase spending on infectious diseases after Covid setbacks
Two former British prime ministers have urged the government to increase spending on tackling Aids, tuberculosis and malaria, after the pandemic reversed recent gains that have been made in eradicating the three diseases.
In a letter signed by 13 other former government leaders, Gordon Brown and David Cameron said that progress against the diseases – which collectively 2.8 million in 2020 – was in danger of being “lost” as a result of the failure to mount a proper response post-Covid.
Our senior news correspondent Samuel Lovett has more:
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 10:00
Pay will not rise in line with inflation for public sector workers, Simon Clarke says
The chief secretary to the Treasury said public sector workers ‘pay will not rise in line with inflation in order to prevent “a repeat of the 1970s”.
Simon Clarke told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In the current landscape of inflation at 9% bordering 10%, it is not a sustainable expectation that inflation can be matched in payoff.
“That’s not something that’s going to be seen across, frankly, the private sector as well as the public sector.
“We cannot get into a world where we are chasing inflation expectations in that way because that is the surest way I can think of to bake in a repeat of the 1970s, which this Government is determined to prevent.”
Mr Clarke was asked about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s assertion earlier this year that Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey’s plea for wage restraint was not the Government’s position.
He replied: “What a spokesperson has said is for them. I’m clear that the reality is that we are trying to manage the inflation difficulties that this economy and indeed the wider West is facing.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 09:20
Nadine Dorries welcomes FINA ruling on transgender athletes
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has urged other sports to follow the example of swimming’s world governing body FINA and bar transgender athletes who have gone through puberty from competing in women’s events.
FINA announced the decision after an extraordinary congress in Budapest, adding that it will look to set up an open competition category in which athletes can compete irrespective of their sex or gender identity.
Dorries welcomed the move and indicated she is already in the process of bringing together leaders of other sports with a view to establishing similar parameters across the board, Mark Stanforth writes.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 08:55
Labor’s shadow transport secretary ‘completely supports’ FINA’s decision to ban transgender athletes from women’s races
Labor’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said sports governing bodies are “right” to make decisions on a “case by case basis” regarding transgender athletes competing in women’s elite races.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 08:42
Rail strikes ‘likely to go ahead’, as minister rejects calls to end boycott of talks
Ministers are under fire over their boycott of the talks, a senior Conservative MP joining Labor and the Trades Union Congress in calling for the government to get around the negotiating table.
But Simon Clarke insisted it was up to “the employers” to conduct the talks – despite the railways being effectively state run since the franchising system was abandoned when Covid struck, Rob Merrick writes.
Keep up with the latest on the train strikes here.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 08:29
Government’s £37bn package ‘offsets’ pressure from higher energy bills, Simon Clarke says
Simon Clarke MP has said the £37bn package “more or less offsets entirely the extra pressure of energy bills this year on a typical home”.
Speaking to LBC this morning, the chief secretary to the Treasury said the support package for 1 in 3 UK homes on a means-tested benefit, that’s worth £1,200 this year, adding that it is a “very subtantial state package of support”.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 08:14
Treasury’s chief secretary rules out double-digit pay settlement for public-sector workers
The chief secretary to the Treasury has effectively ruled out a double-digit pay settlement for public-sector workers in line with inflation.
Asked about demands for pay increases in the context of the looming rail strike, Simon Clarke told Kay Burley on Sky News: “Public-sector pay discipline really matters here.
“We have an inflation problem in this country … if we don’t want that problem to either intensify or prolong itself, then we need to be sensible around pay awards.
“If we give awards which are above inflation in this landscape, then we are in a really difficult place in terms of bringing down inflation, which in turn is obviously driving the cost of living.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 08:04
Simon Clarke MP calls for collective responsibility to cope with inflation
Chief secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke has called for everyone to “show collective society-wide responsibility” in the face of soaring inflation.
“We cannot have inflation-busting pay increases,” he told Sky News.
“The government is trying in good faith to manage what is a very difficult balancing act between making sure that people get the pay awards they deserve … this has to be set against the wider responsibility I have, the government has, to the public finances to make sure they are sustainable.”
Mr Clarke said the independent public-sector pay review bodies process is determining pay for people employed by the Government.
“I’m not going to pre-empt the results of the individual pay review bodies but I think it is unlikely that they will match the headline rate of inflation at the rates we’re now seeing.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 07:54
Chief secretary to treasury says £37bn package will ‘substantially’ help cost of living pressures
When probed if the government is “tone deaf” on the cost of living crisis, Simon Clarke MP said “absolutely not,” pointing to the £37bn package of support which he said will “substantially help” with the current financial pressures.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain20 June 2022 07:41