Related video: ‘Frustrating’ lack of flexibility from EU over protocol, says Northern Ireland secretary
Threats from the UK government to override elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol “have gone down really badly” with the EU, Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney has said.
Speaking during a visit to Belfast, Mr Coveney said: “We don’t believe that the way forward in terms of solving outstanding issues can be done unilaterally by either side.
He added: “The briefing that we have seen of the British media coming from foreign secretary (Liz) Truss and others has gone down really badly across the European Union who believe that the Commission has been showing a willingness to compromise, wants ongoing technical discussion to work out solutions and common ground.
“What they are hearing and seeing from London is a rejection of that approach, towards a breach of international law and setting aside elements of a treaty which the British Government was central to putting in place with the EU.
“That hasn’t gone down well and I hope that decision makers in Westminster will reflect on that.”
Johnson tells EU there is no need for ‘drama’
Boris Johnson has told the European Union there is no need for “drama” as he doubled down on hints he could override elements of his post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.
The prime minister said on Wednesday that the Good Friday Agreement is more important than the Northern Ireland Protocol, as he dismissed suggestions of any possible escalatory response from the EU as “crazy”.
He said the protocol fails to command support from unionists in the region, adding “we need to sort it out”, despite warnings from Joe Biden’s White House and European leaders not to single-handedly meddle with the agreement he brokered.
Katy Clifton11 May 2022 18:57
‘Maximum energy effort’ to help cost of living crisis
Boris Johnson vowed to deploy the “maximum energy effort” to help alleviate the cost-of-living crisis, promising more support “in the months ahead”.
In a press conference in Finland, he said: “We will have the maximum energy effort, ingenuity, to help the British people through them and everybody knows how tough it can be right now
“But we’re gonna get through just as we got through Covid.
“And you know all the money we’re already spending, there will be more of course, there will be more support in the months ahead as things continue to tough with the increase in the energy prices.”
Katy Clifton11 May 2022 18:11
UK and Finland deal will see each other ‘come to one another’s aid’
The UK deal signed with Finland will see each other “always come to one another’s aid”, the Prime Minister has said.
Speaking at a press conference in Helsinki alongside Finnish president Sauli Niinisto, Boris Johnson said: “The security declaration, the solemn declaration we have signed today, ensures that our two nations can intensify our partnership and take it to unparalleled heights, both latitudinal and metaphorical .
“From the high north, to the Baltics and beyond, our armed forces will train, operate and exercise together, marrying our defense and security capabilities and formalizing a pledge that we will always come to one another’s aid.
“Because this is not a short-term stop gap, Sauli.
“This is not a short-term stop gap as you consider Nato membership, but an enduring assurance between two nations, an assurance that brings us ever closer as we face the challenges of today, the threats of tomorrow, side by side.”
Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 17:52
UK-Finland security pact reflects ‘extreme difficulty of the times we are in’
Boris Johnson said a “solemn declaration” between the UK and Finland reflects the “extreme difficulty of the times we are in” ahead of signing a historic security pact with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.
The prime minister was greeted by Mr Niinisto at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, with dozens of onlookers watching from across street as the two leaders shook hands outside the residence.
He arrived in the Finnish capital at around 4pm UK time after signing a parallel agreement with Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson in Harpsund, her country retreat, where he said the UK would help to defend the country against any military attack.
Sitting across a dining table from Mr Niinisto ahead of their bilateral meeting, Mr Johnson said: “I think the solemn declaration we’ve agreed is very useful between us and we value it very highly and I think that it reflects the extreme difficulty of the times that we are in and the consequences of the aggression we have seen”.
Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 17:42
Johnson urges EU to avoid NI ‘drama’
Boris Johnson urged the EU not to create any “drama” over the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.
In an interview in Sweden, Mr Johnson told BBC News: “Let’s face it, we’re talking about really in the scheme of things, a very, very small part of the whole European economy and I think 0.4% of the value of the whole of the EU economy in Northern Ireland.
“I didn’t think there’s any need for drama. This is something that just needs to be fixed.”
Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 17:37
Tory MP food bank comments ‘insulting’ – TUC
The Trade Unions Congress (TUC) has criticized Conservative MP Lee Anderson’s food banks comments, describing them as “insulting”.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Many people who use foodbanks are in work. These remarks are insulting and show how out of touch Conservative MPs and ministers are with the cost of living emergency.
“While the Government sits on its hands, families across Britain are being pushed to the brink by soaring bills and prices.
“Rather than being condescending, Conservative politicians should be putting pressure on the Chancellor to call an emergency budget.”
Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 17:25
‘No excuse not to ban foie gras and fur’, says Labor MP
Labour’s Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) said there was “no excuse now that we have left the EU for not acting to ban imports” of foie gras and fur.
Querying the absence of such legislation from the Queen’s Speech, she said: “There are quite a few measures missing…that I’d have hoped would be included, including the animals abroad bill and trophy hunting as well of course.
“Given that we long ago accepted that the production of foie gras and fur in this country was inhumane, it should be prohibited, there is no excuse now that we have left the EU for not acting to ban imports too.
“It just shows the warped priorities of this out-of-touch Government that it would rather give in to the demands of the pro-hunting lobby on its backbenches and actually some in the Cabinet as well, than enact one of the few genuinely popular promise it has made.
“And trophy hunting is just an example where very senior figures in the Conservative Party have spoken out about it, got lots of good publicity on this time and time again, but where is the legislation?”
Tom Ambrose11 May 2022 17:15
MP urges Sainsbury’s to shut car parks at night to stop car cruisers causing misery
A supermarket giant has been urged to lock its car parks at night to prevent car cruisers from causing “misery” for people living nearby.
Conservative MP James Sunderland appealed to Sainsbury’s to take steps to shut its parking areas when its stores are closed.
He said a recent car meet in the grounds of a Sainsbury’s in his Bracknell constituency, in Berkshire, resulted in residents “being assaulted”.
Mr Sunderland, speaking during day two of the Queen’s Speech debate, told the House of Commons: “Anti-social behavior needs stronger powers.
“We have a lot of it in Bracknell, and across the wider constituency and across the UK.
“I think we need a bit more in terms of dealing with anti-social behavior, in terms of police response, in terms of arrest at the scene.
“Anti-social driving is another feature locally.
“On Saturday evening at Birch Hill Sainsbury’s in Bracknell we had a big car meet.
“Fine, I love cars, I’m a motorsports fan, I chair the motorsports APPG (all-party parliamentary group), but activity like that needs to be managed and controlled.
“We had people spinning cars, donuts, tire smoke, huge noise.
“It got to the point where residents were being assaulted.
“I’d urge first of all Sainsbury’s to lock their car parks at night if the shops aren’t open. What an easy way of dealing with it.
“But also I’d urge Bracknell Forest Council, the Thames Valley police and crime commissioner, Thames Valley Police to deal more responsibly with these incidents because they just cause misery for all those concerned.
“We’ve got to cut down on speed, we’ve got to cut down anti-social driving, we’ve got to cut down on noise nuisance.
“It’s really, really important.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 16:20
SNP MP welcomes proposals to ban LGB conversion therapy, but flags concerns
SNP MP Joanna Cherry welcomed proposals to ban LGB conversion therapy, but said: “However, I am concerned that honorable members are coming under pressure to support a ban on what’s described as trans conversion therapy.”
The MP for Edinburgh South West said such calls ignore the evidence of some individuals and also the Cass Review, an interim report of gender identity services.
She said: “There is an exponential rise in the number of girls seeking to transition, and many of these girls will be same-sex attracted, and its important this possibility and other explanations for gender dysphoria such as autism are able to be explored in a respectful way with a qualified therapist before young women embark on a road to medicalization.
“Experiencing gender dysphoria in childhood or puberty doesn’t necessarily mean that you are trans.”
Ms Cherry added: “I think it’s really important that honorable members understand trans-inclusive means assuming all children who say that they are the opposite sex are transgender, and it also means insisting they don’t need psychotherapy (if) they say they don ‘t it.”
“I’m advocating for evidence-based policy making. Let’s wait for the outcome of the Cass report, and let’s not be influenced by those who want to criminalize therapists who simply want to do their job and act in their patients’ best interests,” she added.
Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 16:05
Tory MP says people use food banks because they cannot budget or cook properly
A Conservative MP has suggested people in the UK use food banks because they “cannot cook properly” and “cannot budget”.
Ashfield MP, Lee Anderson, invited “everybody” on the opposition benches in the House of Commons to visit a food bank in Ashfield, Notts, where, when people come for a food parcel, they now need to register for a “budgeting course” and a “cooking course”.
He claimed food bank users in his constituency are shown how to cook meals for “about 30 pence a day”.
When asked by a Labor MP if it should be necessary to have food banks in 21st century Britain, Mr Anderson said there is not “this massive use for food banks” in the UK, but “generation after generation who cannot cook properly” and “ cannot budget”.
SNP MP Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West), the subsequent speaker in the debate, told Mr Anderson people do not use food banks because they do not know how to cook, but because “we have poverty in this country at a scale that should shame his Government”.
Mr Anderson told MPs: “My invitation is to everybody on that side of the House, come to Ashfield and work with me for a day in my food bank and see the brilliant scheme we have got in place where when people come now, for a food parcel, they have to register for a budgeting course and a cooking course.
“And what we do in the food bank, we show them how to cook cheap and nutritious meals on a budget. We can make a meal for about 30 pence a day. And this is cooking from scratch.”
Intervening, Labor MP, Alex Cunningham (Stockton North), asked: “Should it be necessary to have food banks in 21st century Britain?”
Mr Anderson replied: “He makes a great point and this is exactly my point. So, I invite you personally to come to Ashfield, look at our food bank, how it works and I think you will see first hand that there’s not this massive use for food banks in this country but generation after generation who cannot cook properly, they can’t cook a meal from scratch. They cannot budget. The challenge is there. Come, come. I’ll offer anyone.”
Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 15:52