Brexit latest news: Talks restart today in Brussels – LIVE updates

BREXIT talks will restart today in Brussels, with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier due to host David Frost for dinner in the Berlaymont this evening.

This will be a returned favour from Barnier, who was treated to a fish dinner by Frost at Downing Street last Tuesday.

This comes as rules for Brits travelling in Europe will change from 2021, as the UK leaves the European Union's customs union and single market on New Year's Day 2021.

There is new advice for UK holiday-makers in Europe around passports, driving licenses, visas and health insurance.

Michael Gove has launched a £93million government advertising campaign called 'Let's Get Going' to prepare the UK for the end of the Brexit transition period.

Follow our live blog below for all the latest news and updates.

  • MOD IS 'FAILING' TO COME UP WITH £181BN KIT PLAN

    MPs have spoken of their exasperation at the 'continued failure' of the Ministry of Defence to produce a properly-funded plan to equip the armed forces with the ships, aircraft and weaponry they need.

    The Commons Public Accounts Committee said it is “lamentable” that ministers have still not taken the strategic decisions needed to set the £181billion equipment plan on a sustainable footing.

    Instead, it said, the MoD is stuck in a cycle of short-term decision-making – using additional funds to offset financial pressures – resulting in poor value for money for the taxpayer.

    According to the latest report by the National Audit Office, the rolling 10-year equipment plan is between £2.9billion and £13billion over budget – with the MoD having little idea how to make good the shortfall.

    Image: PA

  • NO DEAL WITH CHINA IF IT MEANS UK IS BOUND BY BEIJING, SAYS MP

    Tory MP Tom Tugendhat says the UK shouldn't accept a trade deal with China if it means Britain will be bound by Beijing.

    In an interview on Channel 4, Mr Tugendhat said: “We are absolutely not willing to do it on those terms.

    “This is because those terms mean that the UK loses its ability to act as an independent nation.

    “We would effectively be accepting dominance from Beijing.

    “I see no point in taking back control from Brussels only to hand it to Beijing.”

  • EX-MEP SLAMS 'DAYLIGHT ROBBERY' AGREEMENTS

    Former Brexit Party and Tory MEP John Longworth says Theresa May signed the UK up to a range of 'expensive' obligations with the EU.

    In an article published in Politico, Mr Longworth called on Boris Johnson to abandon the “toxic” Withdrawal Agreement if Brussels continue to halt trade talks. 

    “According to new analysis from the Centre for Brexit Policy, our obligations during the transition period, our continued involvement in the European Investment Bank and other charges under the Brexit deal could have us paying in excess of £180billion to the EU in the coming years,” he said.

    “This is daylight robbery.”

    And he said Mrs May saw Brexit as an “exercise in damage limitation” – and didn't ever “embrace it as an opportunity”.

    Image: PA

  • GOVERNMENT REAFFIRMS PLANS TO LEAVE EU BY END OF YEAR

    The Government has hit back after the SNP called for it to rule out a “Brexit power grab on Scotland” by extending the Brexit transition period.

    Ian Blackford, SNP Westminster leader, said that Tory plans represent the “biggest threat to devolution” since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999.

    You'll find details of that in posts below.

    “The transition period ends on December 31 2020, which is enshrined in law,” a Government spokesman said this morning.

    “The UK Government was elected on a clear manifesto commitment that the transition period would end this year.

    “Extending the transition period would only exacerbate uncertainty for businesses and citizens in Scotland, Wales and across the UK.

    “An extension would have bound us into future EU legislation, without us having any say in designing it to make sure it suits the interests of people in Scotland and Wales.”

  • BREXIT 'COULD SEE SERIOUS CRIMINALS ESCAPING'

    Serious wanted criminals could escape after being stopped by police if officers are left without powers similar to the European Arrest Warrant next year, MPs heard yesterday.

    Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin told the Committee on the Future Relationship with the EU that a situation could arise where an officer stopped someone wanted for a serious crime but had no power to arrest them on the spot.

    Police officers can currently arrest a suspect who is subject to a European Arrest Warrant, but if access to the measure is lost next year, they would be dependent instead on Interpol Red Notices, which have no power of arrest.

    Mr Martin, who is the National Police Chiefs Council UK law enforcement lead for Brexit, said the worst case could see a criminal flee while police applied for a warrant for their arrest.

  • CHINA'S RETALIATION WILL BE 'SOUND AND FURY – BUT NOT MUCH MORE'

    More from that interview with Robert Hannigan.

    He's warned there's “no doubt” China would “express its displeasure” over the UK's decision to remove Huawei from its 5G network.

    Asked what retaliation the UK might face over the move, he said: “Chinese cyber attacks, or China-based cyber attacks, go on all the time, and we've seen some discussion of that during the pandemic – attacks on academic institutions and medical research facilities. “So this isn't new.

    “No doubt China will want to express its displeasure, but there's particular reason to think that will be in cyberspace.

    “I think there will be a lot of sound and fury, it may not amount to that much in the end.”

  • 'WE ALLOWED CHINA TO BECOME THE MONOPOLY SUPPLIER'

    One of the big stories today is the UK's decision to ban Huawei – and the effect it could have on our future trade relationships with China and the US.

    And this morning, former GCHQ director Robert Hannigan said the issues around the company are a historical “failure of industrial policy in the West”.

    He told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: “We allowed China basically to become the monopoly supplier effectively of the best in 5G and we ceded that territory.

    “My worry is that this is one particular tactical issue.

    “What about all the other technology that China is investing heavily in – artificial intelligence, robotics – and will be world-leading in many respects?

    “We need a sensible discussion in the West about, what do we really care about? What do we want to protect? What do we need our western manufacturers to be investing in and how are we going to incentivise that?”

    Image: EPA

  • 'TORIES ARE TRAMPLING OVER SCOTLAND TO SATISFY TRUMP'

    More now on that last blog post.

    Speaking ahead of the Commons debate, Mr Blackford said: “Tory plans for a Brexit power grab on Scotland represent the biggest threat to devolution since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999.

    “The threat to our NHS, agriculture, environment and economy is growing by the day as Boris Johnson tramples over Scotland's interests to satisfy Donald Trump's trade deal demands.

    “The Tory government must rule out any attempt to roll back devolution, which the SNP will resist every step of the way, and put the economy first by extending the Brexit transition period.”

    Mr Blackford said that with just six months left until the transition period ends, little progress has been made and there is no good deal in sight.

    He said that all of the options being considered would inflict lasting damage on the economy and leave the UK “poorer and worse off”.

  • SCOTS PARTY WANTS UK GOVERNMENT TO RULE OUT 'BREXIT POWER GRAB'

    The SNP will call on the UK Government to rule out a “Brexit power grab on Scotland” as MPs debate the party's motion calling for an extension to the transition period.

    Ian Blackford, SNP Westminster leader, said that Tory plans represent the “biggest threat to devolution” since the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999.

    In the debate on Wednesday he will also call on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to accept the extension to the transition period on offer from the EU, and said that crashing out would be damaging at any time and “extremely reckless” in the middle of a global pandemic.

    Scottish Government analysis has found that ending the transition period in 2020 could remove £3 billion from the Scottish economy in just two years – on top of the impact of coronavirus.

  • 'WE'RE LOOKING FOR A GOOD US TRADE DEAL AFTER HUAWEI BAN'

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning spoke out about the Huawei decision – and said “people can try to claim credit” for the ban.

    Mr Hancock spoke after Donald Trump told a press conference: “I did this myself, for the most part.”

    He told Sky News: “We all know Donald Trump, don't we? But I think this is a sensible decision.

    “All sorts of people can try to claim credit for the decision but this was based on a technical assessment by the National Cyber Security Centre about how we can have the highest quality 5G systems in the future.”

    He called it a“sensible, balanced decision”,

    Asked about the post-Brexit trade negotiations with the White House, he said: “We are looking for a good US trade deal and working very closely on that, I think that's a very important consideration.”

    Image: Alamy

  • WHAT WILL HUAWEI DECISION MEAN FOR POST-BREXIT TRADE DEALS?

    The Huawei decision is likely to have big repercussions for the UK's relationship with China – and possibly America too.

    President Trump said in a press conference that no White House “has been tougher on China” than his administration, which the UK is trying to broker a post-Brexit trade deal with.

    “I talked many countries out of using it. If they want to do business with us, they can't use it,” he said.

    But China's ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming tweeted: “Disappointing and wrong decision by the UK on Huawei.

    “It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries.”

    Image: Reuters

  • TRUMP 'TAKES CREDIT' FOR HUAWEI DECISION

    Donald Trump has appeared to take credit for having “convinced many countries”, including the UK, not to use Huawei after Boris Johnson ordered a ban on the Chinese firm with the country's 5G network.

    The US president said, “I did this myself, for the most part”, as he spoke of having worked to pressure nations to not use Huawei, adding: “If they want to do business with us, they can't use it.”

    In a major U-turn provoking criticism from China, the Prime Minister ordered telecoms firms to remove Huawei equipment from the 5G network by 2027.

    The move, costing billions and delaying the deployment of 5G by up to three years, came after a Government-ordered review found the security of Huawei's equipment could not be guaranteed because of US sanctions.

    Here's the story on that decision.

    Image: Getty

  • UK FIRMS FACE 'SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES IN BOOSTING LONG TERM POST-BREXIT EXPORTS, WARNS FINANCIAL WATCHDOG

    UK firms face “significant challenges” in boosting post-Brexit exports in the long term, a financial watchdog has said.

    A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of the National Audit Office (NAO) said the Department for International Trade (DIT) had made a good start in overseas efforts but needed to work more closely with the credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), to keep up momentum.

    Head of the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Meg Hillier, said the DIT was concerned about securing “quick wins” and needed to make sure it supported small firms as well as big ones.

  • BREXITEERS HIT OUT AT GUY VERHOFSTADT FOR MOCKING TWEET

    Brexiteers hit out on Twitter against Guy Verhofstadt for a mocking tweet against Brexit.

    The Belgian MEP shared an article reporting that British businesses trading with Europe will face a red tape bill of £7bn a year, saying: “I don't remember seeing this on the side of a bus.”

    Brexiteers hit back with one commenting: “It'll be worth every penny not to be trapped in the sinking eu.”

    Another wrote: “Start worrying about Poland and Italy leaving the EU.”

    A third said: “Still hoping for a u turn Guy.”

  • SHALE GAS TANKER HEADS TO GRANGEMOUTH AMID CONCEN OVER POST-BREXIT BORDER CONTROLS

    This photo shows the shale gas tanker J S Ineos Inspiration in the Firth of Forth en route to Grangemouth, as concerns arise over the effect on EU and international trade of the UK Government's proposals on post-Brexit border controls.

    It was captured in Dalgety Bay, Scotland

    Image: Getty

  • FARAGE WELCOMES GOVERNMENT IMMIGRATION PLAN BUT WARNS IT IS 'ALL ABOUT THE IMPLEMENTATION'

    Nigel Farage welcomed the government's new immigration plan but warned it is “all about the implementation.”

    The former Brexit Party MEP told Talk Radio's Julia Hartley-Brewer this morning: “I have been saying for 20 years we should have a non-discriminatory immigration system, namely that we treat people equally regardless of what part of the world they come from.

    “[…] In terms of the big ticket stuff it all sounds absolutely terrific. The difficulty with this government is implementation.

    “There is a danger that if you open up to the world but you set the criteria too low that you might find that you have got back control of your immigration policy but the numbers go up and not down.”

    He added: “We have got to be flexible and adaptable to this.”

    It comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel unveiled new plans for a points-based immigration system when freedom of movement ends in January.

    A row erupted as it emerged care workers would not qualify for a fast-tracked visa.

    Read the story here.

  • UK CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR TO INTENSIFY TRADE TALKS WITH EU TO REACH DEAL

    Britain's chief European negotiator is set to intensify trade negotiations with the EU to reach a free-trade agreement.

    David Frost will push Brussels for an “outline” of a free-trade agreement when he meets with EU counterpart Michel Barnier tomorrow.

    It will aim to end months of bitter wrangling to finally secure a Brexit deal by the end of the summer amid fears the bloc is still dragging its feet.

    They will meet in Brussels at the European Commission’s Berlamont headquarters as part of the transformed timetable for post-Brexit talks.

    It will be the third meeting in as many weeks with discussions taking place between Wednesday and Friday.

    British negotiators are hoping to overcome “significant differences” with the bloc to finally deliver a breakthrough.

    Mr Frost could even table a brand-new trade proposal containing a list of “political trade-offs” needed to reach an agreement, European sources have claimed.

    Image: AP

  • MORE PHOTOS SHOW THE SITE FOR THE PLANNED LORRY PARK

    More photos have shown the site at the centre of a Brexit row after the government reportedly plans for it to become a lorry park.

    The Department for Transport is understood to be in the process of buying the 27-acre site near Ashford, Kent as it gears up to leave the EU at the end of the year.

    Image: PA

    Image: PA

  • IRELAND'S TANAISTE SEES BREXIT DEAL BUT MIGHT NOT BE UNTIL DECEMBER

    Britain is likely to agree a new trade deal with the European Union – but it may not come until December, Ireland's Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said.

    It would mean the agreement would come just weeks before the UK's EU exit transition ends.

    Mr Varadkar told parliament: “I think there will be a deal, but I think the deal will come late in the day. Maybe as late as October, November or December. And that's why once again we have to prepare for the risk of a no-trade-agreement Brexit.”

    He said he was hopeful the final deal would be “manageable rather than detrimental” for the Irish economy.

    Mr Varadkar was Ireland's Taoiseach until last month when Michael Martin assumed office.

    It comes as part of a historic coalition between Ireland's three main parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party – after none of them managed to win enough electoral support to have full control.

  • 'HANDS OFF DEVOLVED POWERS,' SLAMS SCOTTISH CONSTITUTION SECRETARY

    Scotland's Constitution Secretary warned the UK Government to “keep its hands off devolved powers” in a row over state aid regulations.

    Mike Russell said the best way to ensure Scotland has sufficient autonomy is for it to be an independent member of the EU.

    His comments come after the First Minister accused the UK Government of a “full-scale assault on devolution” over reports it will not allow Holyrood to control state aid.

    Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, the Constitution Secretary accused the UK Government of being involved in a regulatory “race to the bottom” to secure post-Brexit trade deals.

    He said: “The best way to solve this is for Scotland to be an independent member of the EU.

    “In the meantime, the best way to solve this is for the UK to get its hands off devolved powers and stop trying to undermine devolution.”

    Mr Russell said he would like to see state aid rules closely aligned to those of the EU, adding that he would not want the regulations to be put in the hands of the UK, for fear of them being lowered.

    He said: “If the current UK Government, which is determined on a race to the bottom, wishes to lower those standards, then I want to keep them high.

    “I would like them to keep them high – and the best way to do that would be to give up the nonsense of Brexit.

    “But if they're insisting on spending all this money utterly pointlessly to make us poorer… then my job is to defend the Scottish interest which says 'do not give these up, because that will lead to a very dangerous lowering of standards'.”

  • BRITS TO BE TRAINED TO PLUG GAP CAUSED BY FOREIGN CARERS BEING SHUT OUT OF FAST-TRACK VISA SCHEME

    Brits will be trained to plug a gap caused by foreign carers being shut out of a fast-track visa scheme.

    A points-based immigration system, announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel, offers a Health and Care visa route for health professionals to work in the UK.

    But care workers do not get paid enough to qualify as the rules require a job offer with a minimum salary of £20,480.

    The Government faced a backlash for excluding them as well as NHS cleaners and porters from the visa scheme, especially as there are 120,000 social care vacancies.

    The full story on this and how campaigners have slammed it as a "slap in the face" to those risking their lives in the pandemic is here.

  • PHOTOS SHOW SITE OF LORRY PARK PLANNED FOR KENT

    These new photos show the site at the heart of the row over reported plans for a new lorry park in Kent.

    The Department for Transport is understood to be in the process of buying the 27-acre site near Ashford as it gears up to leave the EU at the end of the year.

    Image: PA

  • BORDER CHECKS WILL BE IN PLACE BY JANUARY

    Michael Gove has said all systems for new border controls will be in place by the end of the Brexit transition period.

    He told MPs: “It is the case that the GVMS (Goods Vehicle Movement Service) is going to be in place, as all systems are, so that we can have a fully operational border.

    “It is of course the case that the additional infrastructure of the £705million we've announced will ensure that it is in place on time.

    “That additional infrastructure is there specifically in order to ensure that when vehicles arrive in Calais that they have passed through all the necessary checks and then they can proceed smoothly to market.”

    Here's the story on how it'll all work.

    Image: London News Pictures

  • GOVE DENIES PLANS FOR LORRY PARK IN KENT

    More on that 'Brexit lorry park' detailed in the last post – MP Damian Green says he opposes the plans because of how close the proposed site would be to new housing developments.

    But he said he would not be against using some of the site for border-related checks.

    “I accept they need to be done somewhere that is near to the motorway,” he added.

    “That won't affect local traffic, local air pollution and I think that's a much more acceptable proposal than a temporary park for thousands of lorries.”

    When Michael Gove was asked if the Government was buying a site in Kent to use as a lorry park by Andrew Marr on Sunday, he replied: “No. We've been exploring a variety of potential sites. It's not the intention to do that.”

  • PLANS FOR 'LORRY PARK' ARE SLAMMED BY MP

    A post-Brexit “lorry park” in Kent would be “devastating” for the environment and could affect access to a major hospital, opponents have said.

    The Department for Transport is understood to be in the process of buying a 27-acre site near Ashford as it gears up to leave the EU at the end of the year.

    But there are concerns the site could be used as a giant car park for thousands of lorries waiting to travel to the continent.

    The Government has been criticised for a lack of communication with residents, which the local MP said was due to it “scrabbling around” to find somewhere for lorry overflow.

    Damian Green MP says there were two separate proposals for the land – an “outbound temporary lorry park if the motorway gets completely clogged” and as a location for border-related checks.

    He said: “There has been no communication about this with local people until the last few days.”

    Image: London News Pictures

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