Brexit news – live: EU says ‘trade deal at risk’ if protocol suspended as Ryanair to leave London stock market

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Brussels has warned the British government that the Brexit deal is at risk if Boris Johnson decides to suspend the Northern Ireland protocol.

Speaking at an event on Friday, EU Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic said the Brexit agreement is “intrinsically linked” to the protocol.

“One cannot exist without the other,” he said ahead of crunch talks in Brussels.

He added his gratitude for the UK’s recent “change in tone” on Brexit and expressed hope that “actions will follow the words”.

The ongoing row concerns trade friction between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the role of the European Court of Justice in the territory. Brexit minister Lord Frost will discuss these issues with Mr Sefcovic in the Belgian capital on Friday.

Elsewhere, Ryanair has confirmed that it will leave the London Stock Exchange next month, citing expenses caused by Brexit.

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Bertie Ahern urged to apologise for saying loyalists in ‘ghettos’ do not understand Brexit deal

Key Points

  • Brexit trade deal at risk if UK suspends protocol, EU warns

  • EU welcomes UK ‘change in tone’ over protocol

  • UK and EU must ‘knuckle down’ to resolve Brexit dispute, says Taoiseach

  • Northern leaders brand government rail plans as ‘betrayal of the north’

  • PM’s pledge to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 ‘unachievable’, warns watchdog

  • Javid questioned over health share options

UK and EU taking ‘constructive approach’ to Brexit disagreement, says Gove

12:59 , Rory Sullivan

Returning to Brexit once more, Micheal Gove is confident that the UK will not need to trigger Article 16.

Speaking in Cardiff, the housing minister said the EU and the British government were taking a “constructive approach” to a disagreement about the protocol.

“I do believe that there is a constructive approach that’s being taken by the commission and Lord Frost has signalled that while, of course, it’s always possible that Article 16 may require to be invoked, we’re confident that we’ll be able to make progress without it.”

Government working ‘extremely closely’ with French on Channel crossings

12:44 , Rory Sullivan

Downing Street has said the government is working “extremely closely” with French authorities to reduce the number of migrant boats crossing the Channel.

However, a No 10 spokesperson added that more needed to be done and that “shared solutions” were required.

“We are facing a global migration crisis choreographed by organised crime groups who put people on these boats to make these incredibly dangerous crossings,” they added.

‘Significant gaps’ remain between UK and EU on protocol, says Frost

12:28 , Rory Sullivan

Before his crunch talks with the EU commission vice president in Brussels, Lord Frost warned that “significant gaps” remain between the UK and the EU’s positions on the protocol.

Once again, he also reiterated the possibility that UK could trigger Article 16.

“Our preference is to see if we can find a negotiated way through this problem. If we can’t, Article 16 remains on the table,” he said.

“There are a number of issues that need to be fixed if we are going to resolve this problem. There are still really quite significant gaps between us.”

Lord Frost added that he didn’t expect a breakthrough today.

Brexit trade deal at risk if UK suspends protocol, EU warns

12:06 , Jon Stone

Brussels has warned the UK government that its Brexit trade deal is “intrinsically linked” to enforcing the Northern Ireland border protocol.

Ahead of crunch talks on Friday Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s Brexit chief said: “One cannot exist without the other”.

The comments raise the stakes because the UK has been threatening to suspend the Northern Ireland agreement, which it wants renegotiated on more favourable terms.

But Mr Sefcovic’s warning is a hint that Brussels and EU capitals might choose to suspend the separate trade deal between the UK and EU if Britain pulls the plug.

Brexit trade deal at risk if Boris Johnson suspends Irish border protocol, EU warns

Javid questioned over health share options

12:04 , Rory Sullivan

Labour has accused the health secretary Sajid Javid of breaching the ministerial code by holding share options in a US company that is involved in the health sector.

Mr Javid has “option for 666.7 common shares per month” in the AI firm C3.ai, which he worked for during his recent stint as a backbencher.

He is reportedly to have started to divest from the options, which are worth £45,000.

However, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has written to the prime minister about the issue, arguing it is a “clear conflict of interest and breach of the ministerial code”

“In September, the secretary of state’s department announced that the use of ‘artificial intelligence’ would shorten waiting lists in our NHS,” she added.

Can the government process asylum seekers abroad?

11:46 , Rory Sullivan

#icymi

In recent days, there has been speculation that migrants who arrive in England by boat could be sent to Albania for processing, a rumour vigorously denied by Albanian diplomats and politicians.

But could this process happen in a different country?

Sean O’Grady examines the issue:

Can the government really process asylum seekers in a third country?

More British troops to be sent to Poland-Belarusian border

11:28 , Rory Sullivan

More British soldiers will be sent to Poland to help with the situation on the Belarusian border, reports suggest.

This comes after 10 troops from the UK were deployed there last week.

Thousands of migrants are currently at the border between Poland and Belarus, with the Belarusian regime accused of “weaponising” vulnerable people in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the EU.

A total of 100 troops from the Royal Engineers will travel to Poland to help with their response to the crisis, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said Minsk is using the migrants as “pawns”.

Government ‘not prepared’ for pandemic, says National Audit Office

11:06 , Rory Sullivan

The government was “not prepared” for the coronavirus pandemic and must learn lessons from the “catastrophic” event, an independent parliamentary body has said.

Gareth Davies, from the National Audit Office, told Sky News: “So there was no plan for how to deal with school closures. There was no plan for employment support schemes. So, the furlough scheme had to be developed from scratch in just a very short number of weeks.

“So the question that rightly raises is, what is it about the way that the risk planning for these kinds of events was carried out that left us unprepared?”

Social media being ‘hijacked’ by left-wingers, claims culture secretary

10:43 , Rory Sullivan

Back in the UK, the culture secretary has complained that she cannot air her right wing views online without being challenged, writes Jon Stone.

Nadine Dorries claimed that social media platforms had been “hijacked” by left-wingers.

“I think we just need to tone down the condemnation and the judgement, and evaluate and engage a little bit more than we do. I think social media probably contributes a lot to this,” she told the BBC.

Stop criticising people on social media, culture secretary Nadine Dorries says

EU welcomes UK ‘change in tone’ over protocol

10:17 , Rory Sullivan

The EU has welcomed the British government’s “change in tone” ahead of continued talks on the Northern Ireland protocol.

Speaking on Friday morning, Maros Sefcovic, EU Commission vice president, said: “I notice and welcome a recent change in tone from the UK government and we hope that actions will follow the words.”

However, he warned London that the bloc would not “renegotiate the protocol”, as this would “put at risk the stability in Northern Ireland and it would be unnecessary because solutions are available within the framework of the protocol”.

Brexit minister Lord Frost will be in Brussels today for talks with Mr Sefcovic.

Solution to Brexit dispute possible if ‘UK plays its part’, says Sefcovic

09:53 , Rory Sullivan

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”.

Ryanair to delist from London Stock Exchange due to Brexit

09:50 , Rory Sullivan

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.”

Inside Politics

09:36 , Rory Sullivan

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:

Inside Politics: PM accused of ‘betraying’ north with rail plan

Bertie Ahern urged to apologise for saying loyalists in ‘ghettos’ do not understand Brexit deal

09:20 , Rory Sullivan

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:

Bertie Ahern urged to apologise for saying loyalists do not understand Brexit deal

Ministers to blame for ‘busted’ asylum system, says Starmer

08:59 , Rory Sullivan

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.”

UK and EU must ‘knuckle down’ to resolve protocol dispute, says Taoiseach

08:46 , Rory Sullivan

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.

Government has broken more than 60 promises, claims Labour

08:34 , Rory Sullivan

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.

PM’s pledge to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 ‘unachievable’, warns watchdog

08:14 , Rory Sullivan

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.

Boris Johnson’s pledge of 40 new hospitals by 2030 ‘unachievable’, watchdog warns

Furious leaders decry government rail plans as ‘betrayal of the north’

07:55 , Rory Sullivan

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.”

Furious northern leaders demand free vote on slashed rail plans

07:51 , Rory Sullivan

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.