The EU has said there is still “a genuine urgency” to resolve a dispute with the UK on the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, following talks between Lord Frost and Maros Sefcovic in Brussels on Friday.
Although the bloc acknowledged some “progress” was achieved in the discussions, it said the UK should accept its “big move” to reduce checks across the Irish Sea.
“We now need to press on and get this crucial issue across the line. This is a real test of political goodwill,” Brussels said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost stipulated that “significant change” was still needed regarding post-Brexit arrangements in the territory. He did not rule out London triggering Article 16 to achieve its purposes.
Both sides have clashed about the level of customs checks and the oversight role played by the European Court of Justice in the province.
Elsewhere, Ryanair has confirmed that it will leave the London Stock Exchange next month, citing expenses caused by Brexit.
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live politics coverage. Stay tuned as we bring you updates on the backlash to the government’s new rail plan as well as the latest from today’s Brexit talks in Brussels.
Furious leaders decry government rail plans as ‘betrayal of the north’
Furious leaders in the north of England have hit out at the government’s new rail strategy, saying it constitutes a “betrayal” of their regions.
The plans row back on the government’s promise to build two lines from Manchester to Leeds and from Birmingham to Yorkshire.
Responding to the decision, Jamie Driscoll, the North of Tyne mayor, said: “It really is the case that the government’s misjudged this, and misjudged the strength of feeling. Everybody in the north is getting a bargain-basement solution. It just doesn’t cut it.”
‘Everybody in the north is getting a bargain-basement solution’ says South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis
PM’s pledge to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 ‘unachievable', warns watchdog
Boris Johnson’s promises on new hospitals have come under increased scrutiny, after a watchdog warned that his plans were “unachievable”.
The verdict relates to the prime minister’s pledge to build 40 new hospitals by 2030.
The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) had given the idea an “amber/red” ranking, meaning its delivery was in doubt. Now, reports suggest the IPA has downgraded this forecast.
“We learn the government’s own Infrastructure and Projects Authority is warning the Tory promise to deliver 40 new hospitals is now ‘unachievable’,” said Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary.
‘Red’ rating means programme faces ‘major issues’ which ‘do not appear to be manageable or resolvable’
Government has broken more than 60 promises, claims Labour
The government has broken more than 60 pledges, including the recent decision to scrap some rail upgrades in northern England, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary has claimed.
The Labour frontbencher Louise Haigh said the promises were made across several manifestos and press releases.
UK and EU must ‘knuckle down’ to resolve protocol dispute, says Taoiseach
Turning to Brexit now, the Taoiseach has said the “mood music” in UK-EU talks has improved of late.
Micheal Martin told the BBC that he was encouraged about the progress that has been made recently.
He added that the UK and the EU should “knuckle down” to resolve outstanding issues concerning the Northern Ireland protocol.
The British government wants to see a reduction in trade friction from Great Britain to the territory, and wants to remove the oversight role of the European Court of Justice there.
Ministers to blame for ‘busted’ asylum system, says Starmer
The government is responsible for the failings of the UK’s “busted” asylum system, Keir Starmer has said.
The Labour leader told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that his “jaw dropped” when he heard home secretary Priti Patel heaping scorn on the current system.
“This government has been in power for 11 years. If the asylum system is busted it is busted under their watch,” he said.
“Asylum applications used to be dealt with in about six months many years ago. It now takes years. All of us MPs have constituents who have been waiting two years or more for their case even to be looked at.”
Bertie Ahern urged to apologise for saying loyalists in ‘ghettos’ do not understand Brexit deal
A former Taoiseach has been urged to apologise for claiming that loyalists in “ghettos” have “no clue” how the protocol worked.
On Thursday, Bertie Ahern, who was Taoiseach until 2008, suggested people in “east Belfast and the ghettos and the areas where you are likely to get trouble” criticised the agreement without properly understanding it.
Mr Ahern, who played a large role in the Good Friday Agreement peace process, made the comment at the Brexit Institute of Dublin City University yesterday.
In response, East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said the remarks were “demeaning and degrading” to his constituents.
Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:
Ex-Taoiseach’s comments are ‘demeaning and degrading’ says DUP MP for East Belfast
In our daily politics newsletter, Matt Mathers looks at the shelving of HS2 plans, today’s Brexit talks and the government’s asylum policies.
See here for more:
Some 20 million set for scaled back proposals as northern MPs and civic leaders accuse Johnson of not delivering on what he promised, writes Matt Mathers
Ryanair to delist from London Stock Exchange due to Brexit
Ryanair will remove itself from the London Stock Exchange, explaining that Brexit played a large role in the decision.
The airline will stop trading on the LSE on 17 December, after which it will only be listed on the Euronext Dublin exchange.
The company said: “Ryanair has decided to request the cancellation of London listing as the volume of trading of the shares on the London Stock Exchange does not justify the costs related to such listing and admission to trading, and so as to consolidate trading liquidity to one regulated market for the benefit of all shareholders.”
Solution to Brexit dispute possible if ‘UK plays its part’, says Sefcovic
The dispute over the Northern Ireland protocol can be solved “if the UK plays its part”, the vice president of the European Commission has said.
Speaking at a virtual conference run by the Brexit Institute of Dublin City University, Maros Sefcovic said the bloc was “attentive” to post-Brexit disruption in the territory.
“Our solutions can become reality if the UK plays its part,” he said, adding that any potential solutions would come “within the framework of the protocol”.
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