London lockdown: Sadiq Khan outlines COVID restrictions -but WON'T block households mixing

Early reports have indicated that Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to implement a curfew of 10pm for pubs and bars from tomorrow. London mayor Sadiq Khan insisted that more needed to be done in the capital to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading following a surge in cases across the country. While on Sky News he claimed he had devised a plan with local council leaders and experts to curb the spread of coronavirus. He added that he wanted the Government to implement his suggestions as soon as possible. 

The Sky News host said: “I don’t get how this curbs the spread.

“You are talking about more people wearing masks in more settings and maybe knocking a few hours off bars and restaurants.

“Is there anything else you have come up with on this plan?”

Mr Khan replied: “There is a whole package of measures, I think there is a total of 15 measures from funerals to weddings.” 

More to follow…



IDS outlines crucial clause in Brexit deal to allow PM's latest move in Commons showdown

The former leader of the Conservative Party eloquently explained how an important clause of the Brexit bill passed by Parliament enables the Government to question Brussels’ interpretation of the withdrawal agreement signed by both parties. Mr Duncan Smith outlined how the state aid rule which should apply to Northern Ireland only, according to the withdrawal agreement, is now being interpreted by the EU as referring to the whole of the UK. 

Addressing the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Tory Brexiteer said: “I wonder if my Honourable friend recalls that in the Act that gave effect to the withdrawal agreement, it is quite clear in clause 38 that the Government did reserve to itself the right to make clarifications under the sovereignty clause.

“Now, given that is the case and given that when the protocol was signed the Government recognised that the state aid rules would apply to Northern Ireland, this extension to the rest of Great Britain is an interpretation by the European Union.

“The Government is quite within its rights to dispute that interpretation and use clause 38 to explain that they don’t agree with that and will not implement such an agreement.”

More to follow…



Brussels exposed: Iain Duncan Smith outlines new ace up PM's sleeve as Brexit talks spiral

Speaking to Ian Dale on LBC radio, the former Tory leader claimed Brexit talks will eventually expose Brussels’ weakest point of contention. Sir Iain argued this is London’s power over financial services and the importance of eurobonds to be based in the UK to prevent a further collapse of the eurozone. He explained: “The reality is, what is the UK saying they want? They just want what Canada has – a free trade deal with the European Union.

“The European Union has point-blank refused to discuss financial services.

“They don’t want to do that because they want to take back control of the eurobond market.

“But here’s the interesting thing: the only reason why the European Union and the eurozone is not in even deeper trouble is because the eurobond market is in London governed by London’s very powerful regulatory arrangements.

“The moment it moves, it becomes open season.

READ MORE: We WILL walk away! George Eustice sends Brussels into a panic 

“They are in debt for such a lot of money because Italy, Spain, Portugal, all these countries have been borrowing money on what they call sovereign bonds.

“But they’re not sovereign bonds because they’re not backed by the central bank and that’s the problem.

“So it’s a complete chaotic mess and that’s going to be eventually exposed.”

Britain’s tortuous divorce from the European Union veered into fresh crisis on Monday after London threatened to undermine the exit agreement unless free trade terms are agreed by next month.

In yet another twist to the four-year saga since Britain voted narrowly to quit the bloc, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Government was reportedly planning new legislation to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement it signed in January.

That could potentially jeopardise the whole treaty and create frictions in British-ruled Northern Ireland where special arrangements had been made to avoid a hard border with Ireland to the south that could be detrimental to a peace agreement.

Sections of the proposed internal market bill are expected to “eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement” in areas including state aid and Northern Ireland customs, the Financial Times newspaper said, citing three people familiar with the plans.

EU diplomats were aghast, cautioning that such a step – leaked on the eve of new talks in London – would tarnish Britain’s global prestige and heighten chances of a tumultuous final disentangling from the bloc on December 31.

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The report was neither confirmed nor denied by Britain.

A government spokeswoman said it would work to resolve outstanding disagreements about Northern Ireland with the EU but was considering fall back options.

“We will always reserve the right to act in the best interests of Northern Ireland and the UK’s internal market,” she said.

“Our top priority is to preserve the huge gains from the peace process and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as well as protecting Northern Ireland’s place in our United Kingdom.”

Sterling fell against the dollar and euro.



Brexit fisheries WARNING: Expert outlines what PM must do to retake British waters from EU

The UK’s rich fishing waters have remained one of the main areas of divergence so far during Brexit talks. Mr Johnson has promised to take back control of the UK’s waters but speaking to Express.co.uk, former Conservative MEP and academic research director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Syed Kamall revealed the one major concession to the EU he may need to make in order to reclaim British waters. 

He said: “The UK fleet may not be able to land 100 percent of fish in the UK Exclusive Economic Zone so the UK would probably have to offer permits to non-UK fishing fleets while cooperating with the EU and countries such as Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands to manage stocks.

UK boats currently land less than 50 percent of fish caught in the UK Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“Some analysts have suggested that walking away could raise the value of UK fish landings by 50-60 percent and would outweigh the impact of EU tariffs on UK fish exports to the EU.”

While within the EU, the UK was part of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which allowed states to share access to waters within the exclusive economic zone. 

Due to the UK’s large coastal area, this has allowed some EU fleets to exploit British waters.

The UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost has insisted Britain must have a deal similar to that of Norway whereby fish quotas and access are agreed on a yearly basis. 

If the UK were to agree a similar deal, Britain would then be able to determine which fishing vessels are allowed into the Exclusive Economic Zone. 

According to EU statistics, the north east Atlantic – which includes UK waters-  accounts for 75.5 percent of landed fish in 2018.

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Next week, Mr Barnier will meet with his counterpart for emergency talks in order to try and salvage Brexit negotiations. 

Following the last round of negotiations earlier this month, Mr Barnier warned the UK was now wasting time.

He also warned neither side has made progress on the state of fisheries or state aid.

Like the sovereignty of fisheries, state aid has remained a key area of divergence and represents the level of Government support for companies. 

Mr Barnier has insisted the two sides must have a level playing field on the matter or it could make the UK a more desirable destination for organisations. 

The negotiator said after the latest talks: “Too often this week it felt as if we were going backwards more than forwards. 

“Given the short time left, what I said in London in July remains true.

“Today at this stage, an agreement between the UK and the European Union seems unlikely.

“I simply do not understand why we are wasting valuable time.”



Kim Jong-un dead? Expert outlines CLUES that would confirm North Korean leader's death

Chang Song-min, a former aide to Kim Dae-jung, the late President of South Korea, started the speculation after saying he believed the 36-year-old was in a coma. Roy Calley, a journalist who has visited the Hermit State on a number of occasions, subsequently told Express.co.uk he believed Kim was already dead.

However, Dr Jim Hoare, a former Foreign Office official who is now a research analyst specialising in China, Japan and Korea at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, does not believe the reports are accurate.

Dr Hoare told Express.co.uk he had detected none of the things which he would associate with such a momentous event.

He explained: “Being an former aide to Kim Dae-jung does not make you an expert on the North or privy to special knowledge necessarily.

On the morning on December 19, famous North Korean news anchor Ri Chun-hee, who also announced the death of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il’s father and Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, in 1994, confirmed Kim Jong-il had died of a massive heart attack.

Afterwards, the head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service questioned the official version of events, citing surveillance footage which suggested Kim’s personal train, on which he was said to have died, had not moved over the course of the weekend in question.

After the confirmation of his death, Kim Jong-il’s embalmed body lay in state in a glass coffin at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace for 11 days.

Numerous pictures still available on the internet show massed ranks of people grieving.

The US-backed NK News newspaper claimed anyone failing to participate in organised mourning sessions, or who did not seem genuinely sorrowful, was sentenced to at least six months in a labour camp.

As for what would happen after Kim’s death – and who would take over – details remain unclear.

With reference to Kim’s 32-year-old sister report published on the 38 North website earlier this year, written by Chris Steinitz, Ken Gause and Elizabeth Yang, said: “The systematic rise and positioning of Kim Yo-jong signals the development of a continuity of governance plan, although the details of this plan remain unclear.

It might be that she was being groomed as his successor, or alternatively would plays a prominent leadership role, perhaps as some sort of regent.

The authors added: “What is clear is that by virtue of the responsibilities her brother has granted her, she will have a seat at the table and is likely to be the person responsible for protecting the Kim family equities.”



Matt Hancock outlines UK's 'biggest challenge' in fighting COVID-19 as pandemic not over

Almost three quarters of people infected with coronavirus have no symptoms, according to the latest ONS study. Asymptomatic transmission has been stressed as a very important part of why the Test, Track and Trace system is so essential. Health Secretary Matt Hancock admitted to BBC Breakfast that this was the “biggest challenge” in the fight against COVID-19 and assured that the tracing system was working properly.

He said: “The biggest challenge we’ve got is finding people who don’t have symptoms and getting them tested.

“They don’t know they’ve got coronavirus but can still pass it on.

“So the message to the public is: if in doubt, get a test.

“If you think you might have coronavirus symptoms, a cough or a temperature or that loss of taste and smell then you really must get a test.”

READ MORE: UK ‘can’t afford’ second lockdown, says WHO…before second warning

More to follow…



US election shock: Donald Trump outlines key reason why he should 'redo' last four years

The US President was speaking at a campaign rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, when he claimed he should get “a redo of four years” as president. Mr Trump has coincided his campaigning with the Democratic virtual convention which began on Monday.

During his speech, Mr Trump said: “We’re going to win four more years. And then after that we’ll go for another four years, because they spied on my campaign.

“We should get a redo of four years.”

Mr Trump could have been referring to his previous allegations that Mr Obama’s administration had placed a spy in his 2016 presidential campaign for political purposes.

He first made the accusations in 2018 without providing evidence that his campaign was being spied on by the opposition.

During his rally speech, Mr Trump also made claims that the US’s coronavirus figures “are better than almost all countries”.

The US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths related to coronavirus in the world.

According to the Johns Hopkins University Tracker, the US has recorded a total of 5,435,908 COVID-19 cases.

The data also shows that there have been 170,458 coronavirus related deaths in the US since the start of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Donald Trump SNUB: WATCH Melania refuse to hold US President’s hand

Mr Trump also blasted his Democratic competitor Joe Biden for his time as Vice President under Mr Obama’s administration.

He said: “At the end of Joe Biden’s eight years as Vice President nearly 2million Americans of prime working age had dropped out of the workforce.

“Our factories were stolen. Our country was doing lousy. He lost nearly two hundred thousand manufacturing jobs.

“He was by the way a disaster on Swine Flu. He got a horrible rating in Gallup.”

Mr Trump also said that the only way he is going to lose the presidential election is “if the election is rigged”.

Mr Trump won Wisconsin in 2016, helping him secure his presidency.

During the speech in the state, he said: “I won’t forget you, just like you didn’t forget me in 2016.”

He added: “This has been an incredible experience getting to know you.

“I’ve been here a lot. We’ve been good for each other.

“We have to win the election. We can’t play games.”



US election shock: Donald Trump outlines key reason why he should 'redo' last four years

The US President was speaking at a campaign rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, when he claimed he should get “a redo of four years” as president. Mr Trump has coincided his campaigning with the Democratic virtual convention which began on Monday.

During his speech, Mr Trump said: “We’re going to win four more years. And then after that we’ll go for another four years, because they spied on my campaign.

“We should get a redo of four years.”

Mr Trump could have been referring to his previous allegations that Mr Obama’s administration had placed a spy in his 2016 presidential campaign for political purposes.

He first made the accusations in 2018 without providing evidence that his campaign was being spied on by the opposition.

During his rally speech, Mr Trump also made claims that the US’s coronavirus figures “are better than almost all countries”.

The US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths related to coronavirus in the world.

According to the Johns Hopkins University Tracker, the US has recorded a total of 5,435,908 COVID-19 cases.

The data also shows that there have been 170,458 coronavirus related deaths in the US since the start of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Donald Trump SNUB: WATCH Melania refuse to hold US President’s hand

Mr Trump also blasted his Democratic competitor Joe Biden for his time as Vice President under Mr Obama’s administration.

He said: “At the end of Joe Biden’s eight years as Vice President nearly 2million Americans of prime working age had dropped out of the workforce.

“Our factories were stolen. Our country was doing lousy. He lost nearly two hundred thousand manufacturing jobs.

“He was by the way a disaster on Swine Flu. He got a horrible rating in Gallup.”

Mr Trump also said that the only way he is going to lose the presidential election is “if the election is rigged”.

Mr Trump won Wisconsin in 2016, helping him secure his presidency.

During the speech in the state, he said: “I won’t forget you, just like you didn’t forget me in 2016.”

He added: “This has been an incredible experience getting to know you.

“I’ve been here a lot. We’ve been good for each other.

“We have to win the election. We can’t play games.”



EU Warning: Iain Dale outlines 'consequences' of no deal Brexit for Brussels

Mr Dale told Express.co.uk that a lot of countries do not have a trade deal with the European Union due to the time it takes for the trading bloc to agree to terms. The political commentator backed the UK to secure trade deals with a lot of countries using a nimble approach to negotiations now Britain is outside of the EU. 

Mr Dale said: “The consequences will be that we are trading with the EU on exactly the same terms we trade with a lot of countries in the world.

“We will have the opportunity to strike deals with every other country in the world, a lot of the countries haven’t got a trade deal with the EU because Brussels takes so long to come to them.

“We are told there are around 60 to 70 free trade agreements that the EU have negotiated with countries all around the world.

“However, about 20 of those are with individual Caribbean islands.

READ MORE: Underestimating the importance of fishing ‘devastated’ UK towns

“There are lots of countries out there where I think if we are nimble, we can actually do deals with.”

He continued: “If there is no deal whatsoever I think it would be a shame for everybody and there would be sectors in the UK economy that would be hit, particularly agriculture.

“If the EU slapped 40 percent tariffs on agriculture products which they probably would then clearly that is going to have a massive impact on our exports to the EU.

“If tariffs in other sectors are only 10 percent then I doubt that will have a massive effect but it certainly wouldn’t be an ideal situation.”

“I think our red lines are that we won’t exceed to EU demands on fisheries, there may be compromises, there may be arrangements for Spanish fishermen, French fishermen to fish in British waters but that will be our decision to what extent that happens.

“Our fishing industry used to be massive and it is entirely because of the common fisheries policy that it no longer is and it now contributes a very small percentage to GDP.

“That is no reason not to look at this sector and think well in ten years’ time this could be transformed if we play it right.”

Mr Dale added: “Fisheries has to be a red line in the sense that we have to control our policy.”



EU collapse: Brussels warned of 'inevitable' end as MEP outlines benefits of leaving bloc

Top European Union figures have been accused over the past decade of plotting to establish an ever-closer union with more centralised powers granted to Brussels. Finnish eurosceptic MEP Laura Huhtasaari forecast attempts to bring member states increasingly under the control of the bloc will ultimately result in its collapse. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Huhtasaari said the end may not be as nigh as many expect but she appeared adamant the collapse will come. 

The Finnish MEP said: “I think it’s inevitable that it will collapse, but probably not right now.

“I want my country back, I want to get out of the EU. I don’t want to be part of this new Soviet Union-like union.

“I definitely want to be an independent state, doing a free trade agreement and other kinds of loose operations.”

Ms Huhtasaari accused Brussels of being prone to bypassing its own laws to achieve its goals, a move she claims may again be employed to secure a widespread agreement of the EU27 on the controversial coronavirus recovery package Ursula von der Leyen is proposing.

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The European Commission President put forward a proposal that would see the EU use its strong credit rating to borrow €750 billion on the financial market to support members that suffered the highest consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

But fiscally conservative countries have demanded the imposition of strict conditions for the establishment of the fund as they expressed their disagreement about a plan which would effectively see the bloc assume common debt.

Ms Huhtasaari insisted the proposal itself would violate the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), one of two treaties outlining the constitutional basis of the bloc.

According to Article 125 of the TFEU, neither member states nor Brussels has any obligation to assume the commitment of either national government or central banks of other member states if they incur in financial trouble.

READ MORE: China sparks panic with promise to take action against Australia after grave law violation

Italian eurosceptic MEP Raffaele Fitto told Mrs Merkel: “Germany is taking over the Presidency during the most difficult time in the history of our continent since the Second World War.

“Unfortunately so far the EU response has been slow, limited in its effectiveness and lacking a true spirit of solidarity between the Member States.

“To reach an agreement next week is a necessity, ensuring that the money reaches citizens and businesses as soon as possible, is a duty.

“That is why we do not want a compromise downwards, but we want an ambitious agreement.”

He added: “Germany has a huge responsibility in this six-month period: to move beyond national self-interest and to recover the original spirit of the European Union by avoiding the mistakes of the past.”