Johnson denies claim he ‘stoked division’ by refusing to condemn fans who booed England taking the knee
Ursula von der Leyen’s trip comes as tensions continue to mount between both the UK and EU, as well as Northern and the Republic of Ireland, over the implementation of the Protocol – effectively a border in the Irish Sea.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Martin said he looked “forward to discussing with [Ms Von der Leyen] some important topics on the EU agenda including: Covid-19 and … the EU’s relations with the UK, including ongoing work to implement the Protocol”.
Meanwhile, UK ministers have been warned they risk undermining devolution if they go ahead with plans to set up new freeports in Scotland and Wales without the backing of devolved governments. Holyrood business minister Ivan McKee said the funding for the zones proposed by Westminster is “unfair and disadvantages ports in Scotland compared to their competitors in England”.
MPs call for UK government to tighten sanctions on Myanmar
A House of Commons committee is urging MPs to extend sanctions against the military regime in Myanmar, saying the UK should take the lead within the UN Security Council in seeking agreement on a binding arms embargo, while also pressing for an international arms embargo.
The Foreign Affairs Committee said the crisis triggered by the ousting of the country’s civilian leaders in a coup in February called for “swift, coordinated action” by the international community.
While MPs welcomed sanctions imposed by the government on individuals and companies linked to the Tatmadaw military junta, it urged ministers to go further with action to freeze the military’s revenue sources “on all possible fronts”.
Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat said: “Since the military coup d’etat in February, hundreds of people have been killed, thousands have disappeared, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. The military junta has inflicted deplorable violence and suffering on the people of Myanmar, and whilst there has been universal condemnation, little concrete action has been taken.
“The people of Myanmar have been deprived of democracy repeatedly and at the hands of a corrupt, power-hungry military. The UK must stand by all those, both within Myanmar and outside, fighting for the most basic of democratic rights.”
Sam Hancock16 July 2021 08:10
Post-Brexit freeports risk eroding devolution, warn Scotland and Wales
Scottish Government ministers have today made plain they will “challenge any attempts by the UK government to impose their [freeport] model in Scotland by legislating in devolved areas”, insisting such a move would be a “breach of the spirit of the devolution settlement”.
Holyrood minister Ivan McKee issued the warning at the same time as he and ministers from Wales demanded clarity on funding for freeports – special economic zones offering tax breaks and lower tariffs for businesses as a part of Boris Johnson’s “levelling up” agenda.
Both the Scottish and Welsh administrations said they fear being short-changed on this, when compared to the funding being made available for freeports in England.
However, a UK government source has already branded the claims from the Scottish government “nonsense”. They said: “Rather than work constructively with us on creating much needed jobs in Scotland, the Scottish government would rather waste time playing political games.”
Sam Hancock16 July 2021 08:05
Von der Leyen visits Dublin to discuss NI Protocol
Ursula von der Leyen is set to discuss the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol during her visit to Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, on Friday.
The president of the EU Commission will meet Irish premier Micheal Martin at the Technological University Dublin, Grangegorman, later.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Martin said: “I very much look forward to welcoming President von der Leyen.
“The EU has played an important role throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – in responding to the crisis, in rolling out vaccines, and in laying foundations for a strong economic recovery in Europe, driven by the digital and climate transformations.”
He added: “I also look forward to discussing with her some important topics on the EU agenda including: Covid-19 and how we can accelerate our efforts on vaccination; the EU’s relations with the UK, including ongoing work to implement the Protocol; and the package of measures the Commission announced this week to deliver the EU’s climate ambition.”
It comes just one day after the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, admitted it was “too much trouble” for smaller businesses to continue to trade with Northern Ireland as a result of the Protocol. He told a parliamentary inquiry yesterday that he had not fully foreseen the “chilling effect” of the new red tape, which has left smaller firms facing higher costs.
Sam Hancock16 July 2021 08:02
Hello, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of UK politics. Stay tuned as Brexit woes continue with Ursula von der Leyen visiting Dublin later today to discuss the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Sam Hancock16 July 2021 07:53