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PM defends Brexit plan after EU launches legal action

Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said government is ‘disappointed’ by EU move

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 15 June 2022 16:29 BST
Starmer says Boris Johnson thinks he’s ‘on Love Island’

Downing Street has defended the government’s plan to override parts of the Northern Ireland protocol after the EU confirmed that it is taking legal action over the UK’s proposed changes to the post-Brexit trading arrangements.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said the government “disappointed” in the EU’s decision to take the issue back through the courts.

“We will consider these documents carefully and respond formally in due course, however we are disappointed the EU has taken this legal action today,” the spokesman said.

“The EU’s proposed approach, which doesn’t differ from what they have said previously, would increase burdens on business and citizens and take us backwards from where we are currently.

“The infractions are related to the implementation of the protocol in our recently published Bill. It is difficult to see how scrapping grace periods and adding additional controls and checks would be the situation better.”


Thank you for following our live politics coverage. We are now closing this blog, goodbye.

Thomas Kingsley15 June 2022 07:30

London’s mayor to unveil £18m package to tackle violence against women

The London mayor will unveil a new £18m package today to combat the scourge of violence against women and girls in the city.

Sadiq Khan will announce the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAMG) strategy during his visit to Waltham Forest in north-east London.

The campaign will take a “holistic approach” to improve safety for women and girls across the city while improving services for victims and survivors, according to a statement issued ahead of the official announcement.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaking to the media outside City Hall in London about the cost-of-living crisis (PA)

The money from City Hall will aim to improve accountability for perpetrators of gender-based abuse and provide better education of men and boys about sexism.

“The epidemic of violence is a crisis which should shame us all which is why I’m uniting with partners across London to not only provide support to women and girls but to help educate and inform all Londoners, especially men, about the danger posed by misogynistic attitudes and behaviours,” said Mr Khan.

“As well as record investment in services for victims and survivors, I am also funding initiatives which address the behaviour of those at risk of offending or reoffending to help prevent them turning to violence,” he added.

Change will not happen overnight but I believe that together we can help to stop the men who wish to do women harm and drive forward a lasting change in our society’s culture so that women and girls can finally live their lives free from fear, harassment or abuse.

Sadiq Khan
Namita Singh15 June 2022 06:59

Lib Dems accuse Tories of wanting rail strike to ahead to keep its activist away from by-election

The Liberal Democrats have accused the government of “sitting on its hands” and letting a looming national rail strike go ahead – to keep their activists away from a crucial by-election.

In a letter to Grant Shapps Sarah Olney, the party’s transport secretary accused ministers of “playing games with people’s lives” to “help save” Boris Johnson.

The Conservatives are facing a crucial by-election test in Tiverton and Honiton after the resignation of Tory MP Neil Parish, who quit after admitting to watching pornography at work.

Despite a thumping 24,339 vote majority at the last election the party is worried about losing the seat to the Lib Dems, who believe they are now “neck and neck” amid disgust at Mr Johnson’s government.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:

Lib Dems claim Tories want rail strike to keep its activists away from by-election

By-election falls on date of rail strike and could cause logistical difficulties

Namita Singh15 June 2022 06:36

Explained: Will Nicola Sturgeon’s push for independence referendum be successful?

At first sight, it is difficult to understand why Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, is launching her latest campaign for a referendum on independence for Scotland right now, writes our associate editor Sean O’ Grady.

This is not because it is a bad time due to the state of Brexit, the war in Ukraine or the cost of living crisis, as her opponents suggest.

The SNP view, which is perfectly plausible, is that Scotland could make a better job of meeting these challenges if it were in charge of its own destiny, and not being governed, at least in some of the most important areas of policy, by a Conservative party that hasn’t won an election in Scotland since 1955.

Read this piece in Politics Explained to understand why has Sturgeon called for a poll now.

Analysis: Will Sturgeon’s push for a new independence referendum be successful?

There are three fundamental problems with indyref2, and none are new, writes Sean O’Grady

Namita Singh15 June 2022 06:17

Families of Britons detained abroad urged UK government to do more

The families of Britons detained abroad have accused the UK government of “lacking compassion” and “ignoring” them as they called on ministers to do more to release their loved ones.

A group gathered in Westminster on Tuesday to share their stories, while others - such as the daughter of imprisoned geologist Jim Fitton - joined with video messages.

All were calling for Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, to intervene to set their loved ones detained in various countries abroad free.

Zoe Tidman details some of the accounts in this report:

Families of Britons detained abroad urge UK government to do more

UK government accused of ‘lacking compassion’ and ‘ignoring’ families

Namita Singh15 June 2022 06:02

Airlines ordered to cancel summer flights to avoid holiday misery

Airlines have been ordered by the government to cancel flights for July and August now to “de-risk the summer” for tens of thousands of passengers.

The Department for Transport (DfT) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have warned carriers to trim schedules now to avoid the misery of flights cancelled at short notice.

In a joint letter to airlines, they say: “Cancellations at the earliest possibility to deliver a more robust schedule are better for consumers than late-notice on-the-day cancellations.”

Our travel correspondent Simon Calder reports:

Government orders airlines to cancel summer flights to curb chaos

‘Your schedules must be based on the resources you expect to have available’ – letter to carriers

Namita Singh15 June 2022 06:00

Border checks among the challenges for an independent Scotland, admits Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon admitted border customs checks would be needed with the rest of the UK as she promised to be “frank” about the challenges of an independent Scotland.

The First Minister said she would set out more detail on how trade would work between Scotland and the rest of the UK in future papers which will form her independence prospectus.

On Tuesday, she published the first of these papers, part of a series called “Building a New Scotland”.

My colleague Alastair Jamieson has the details:

Sturgeon admits border checks will be among post-independence ‘issues’

The First Minister said she would set out more detail on how trade would work post-independence.

Namita Singh15 June 2022 05:48

Bill to override the NI protocol ‘irresponsible’, slam US congressmen

Boris Johnson’s plans to tear up post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland have come under fierce attack from Washington, with senior congressmen on both sides of the US political divide warning the “irresponsible” move is a threat to peace in the province.

In a sternly-worded joint statement, a group of senior members of Congress urged the UK and EU to “continue negotiations in good faith to achieve durable solutions to post-Brexit trade challenges”.

“The introduction of legislation in the United Kingdom undermines the Northern Ireland protocol, threatens international law, and, most concerningly, could jeopardise the almost 25 years of peace established by the Good Friday Agreement,” they warned.

Andrew Woodcock and Andrew Feinberg report:

PM’s bid to tear up Northern Ireland deal endangers peace, US congressmen warn

Government’s legal justification for unilateral challenge to protocol branded ‘hopeless’

Namita Singh15 June 2022 05:43

Johnson to face PMQs amid mounting tension over NI protocol bill

Boris Johnson will face Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) for the first time since the introduction of the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill in the parliament earlier this week.

He has downplayed the changes in the bill as “not a big deal” even though Brussels threatened the UK with renewed legal action.

Mr Johnson also claimed to have told his ministers to “de-escalate” the rhetoric on Tuesday to prevent trade wars with EU.

Meanwhile, European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic hinted at further measures against UK, saying the unilateral action by the government had undermined the trust needed for the effective operation of its post- Brexit trade deals with Brussels.

Read the details in this report here:

Boris Johnson to face PMQs as tensions mount over Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

The Prime Minister has downplayed the changes in the bill, which has been criticised for tearing up parts of the Brexit agreement, as ‘no big deal’.

Namita Singh15 June 2022 05:30

Welcome to The Independent’s UK politics live blog for15 June 2022.

Namita Singh15 June 2022 05:02

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