Boris Johnson says legislative solution needed for NI protocol
Boris Johnson has gathered his cabinet as the government prepares to tear up the Northern Ireland protocol, despite warnings from Brussels that it will breach the UK’s international legal obligations and a plea from the Bank of England not to spark a damaging trade war with Europe.
After the meeting, Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, will announce to the House of Commons the government intends to bring legislation to unilaterally override the protocol.
Ms Truss held calls last night with Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, and European Commission vice-president, Maros Sefcovic in which she said she underlined the importance of upholding the Good Friday Agreement and re-establishing the Northern Ireland Executive.
The prime minister spent Monday in meetings with the leaders of Northern Ireland’s five main political parties, seeking to make progress on the impasse over the post-Brexit arrangement, with the Democratic Unionist Party refusing to enter a powersharing agreement while the protocol remains in place.
Mr Johnson said he wanted to “fix” the protocol rather than scrap it.
Government has ‘crucial duty’ to make Britain safe, says Boris Johnson
The government’s “crucial duty” is to make communities safe, Boris Johnson told a cabinet meeting this morning.
The prime minister hailed the latest police recruitment figures which showed 13,576 new officers had been recruited since the Conservatives made their 2019 manifesto promise to recruit 20,000.
“They are bringing down neighbourhood crime and that’s a great thing to see,” he said.
The prime minister also mentioned Project Adder, a Home Office initiative which seeks to reduce drug deaths by targeting dealers more forcefully and breaking supply chains.
He said: “We will take the criminals off the streets, stopping the deaths from knife crime and gun crime.”
Liam James17 May 2022 11:34
John Rentoul to host ‘Ask Me Anything’ about NI protocol
Join The Independent’s chief political commentator to look beyond the sabre-rattling of the past week and get to the root of Britain’s problems with the post-Brexit arrangement for Northern Ireland and the propsoed solutions:
Liam James17 May 2022 11:20
Poorest families yet to receive Rishi Sunak’s promised £150 for energy bills
Some of the poorest families in the country have yet to receive the £150 council tax rebate promised by chancellor Rishi Sunak to ease soaring energy bills, a leading charity has warned (Adam Forrest writes).
National Energy Action said many of the hardest-pressed people in England and Wales who do not pay their council tax via direct debit were still waiting for their payment.
Local authorities were expected to distribute the £150 rebate when the energy price cap was raised in April, but say they are struggling to pay the one-off sum to everyone.
“There are serious concerns that those with the greatest need will be least able to access the money,” said chief executive Adam Scorer.
Liam James17 May 2022 11:10
Reporter asks Johnson why he signed ‘bad’ Northern Ireland protocol
Boris Johnson has defended agreeing to the Northern Ireland protocol after being asked by a reporter why he “signed up to a deal this bad”.
The prime minister said he signed up on the condition it would protect the Good Friday Agreement and the UK internal market and hoped the EU “would not necessarily implement the deal in quite the way” it had.
Reporter asks Johnson why he signed ‘bad’ Northern Ireland Protocol
Liam James17 May 2022 10:51
EU wants to breach Brexit treaty, says NI secretary
The European Union’s desired implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol “breaches” the conditions of the Brexit treaty, according to Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis.
Britain last week formally rejected prosposals the EU laid out in October which aimed to reduce the difficulties Northern Ireland had encountered since the protocol took effect last year.
The bloc proposed changing customs arrangements to cut paperwork for goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, simplifying certification for certain goods in order to reduce checks, safeguarding medicine supplies and improving communication between relevant authorities on implementation of the protocol.
Discussing Britain’s intention to take unilateral action on the protocol, Mr Lewis told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “We agreed a protocol that says in its running paper very clearly its vision is: it won’t disturb people’s everyday lives and their communities, it will respect all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement, respect the UK internal market and state functions as well as the EU single market.
“The implementation the EU wants to put in place breaches four of those things straight off the bat, and that is just something that isn’t…