Brexit news – live: New licences for French trawlers in bid to ease fishing row as DUP condemns bus attack – The Independent

France-UK fishing row: Further escalation beckons despite Macron-Johnson meeting in Rome

The government of Jersey has issued nearly 50 additional licences to French boats to fish in its waters, in an apparent effort to stave off threats of sanctions from Paris.

It comes after Britain earlier threatened to sue France within 48 hours over fishing rights, with Lizz Truss, the foreign secretary, saying London “will not roll over” in the ongoing war of words with Paris.

The 49 temporary permits issued by Jersey today come on top of 66 permanent licences awarded last week, bringing to 162 the total number of French vessels allowed to fish in the area post-Brexit. However, it is unclear whether the move will be enough to stop the imposition of measures threatened by Paris, such as blocking British boats from French ports.

Elsewhere, a bus was hijacked earlier by armed, masked men and set alight in a predominantly unionist area of Newtownards in Northern Ireland. DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson responded by saying he will not be distracted by “thugs and hoods” in his efforts to get the Northern Ireland Protocol removed.

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TV presenters visit Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband on hunger strike

An update on Richard Ratcliffe’s hunger strike now. Claudia Winkleman and Victoria Coren Mitchell visited the husband of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe today, as he continues his hunger strike on Whitehall.

Mr Ratcliffe is on day nine of a protest outside the Foreign Office in London which he started after his wife, who has been detained in Iran since 2016, lost her latest appeal in Iran.

Winkleman and Mitchell posted a picture on Twitter showing Mr Ratcliffe sitting between them and holding a picture of his wife.

Speaking after the visit, Mr Ratcliffe told the PA news agency: “It was lovely of them. They both made patches for our giant patchwork quilt, and were very caring. Today is day nine, so getting a bit colder, and a bit slower – but more comfortable than yesterday’s rain.”

Asked how he was holding up, he said: “Mentally and physically a bit slower, and I get tired more, so lots of sitting down. But still continuing for now.”

He is hoping the demonstration will encourage ministers to do more in the fight to get his wife home.

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 18:59

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PM ignoring Islamophobia concerns ‘insult to British Muslims’

The prime minister’s failure to answer questions on Islamophobia for a year is an “insult to British Muslims”, an MP has said.

Afzal Khan raised a point of order in Parliament on Monday, saying Boris Johnson had “ignored” a letter marking Islamophobia Awareness Month in November 2020, writes our home affairs correspondent Lizzie Dearden.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the House of Commons, said questions from all MPs must be answered in a “timely way” by Downing Street. “I would expect the prime minister or any minister to respond to members from all sides of this house, that is what ministers are there for,” he added.

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 18:44

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Sunak defends scrapping triple lock on state pensions

Rishi Sunak today defended scrapping the triple lock on state pensions, telling MPs on the Treasury Select Committee there was “lots of other support for pensioners that comes through the system”.

Pointing to winter fuel payments and free prescriptions as examples, the chancellor said: “There’s lots of other support for pensioners separate to the state pension and, actually, pensions relative to earnings in this country are the highest they’ve been in over 30 years.”

He added that reducing the pension triple lock to a double lock, for a year from 2022-23, was “a reasonable and fair thing to do in the circumstances”.

It comes on the same day Mr Sunak denied he was raising taxes now in order to cut them before the next election and win votes.

(PA Wire)

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 18:33

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Watch: PM mocks Greta Thunberg in Cop26 speech

‘Blah blah blah’: Boris Johnson references Greta Thunberg in Cop26 speech

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 18:05

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UK accuses EU of ‘wilful misrepresentation’ of position on NI

The UK government has accused Brussels of “wilful misrepresentation” of its position on Northern Ireland, in the continuing row over the territory’s Brexit agreement.

Maroš Šefčovič, the EU’s Brexit chief, had warned that “no one” of the businesses he had spoke to in Northern Ireland had “ask me to scrap the protocol” – the treaty that gives the area a special status, reports our policy correspondent Jon Stone.

But the comments provoked anger in Westminster. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “The UK government is not arguing to scrap the Protocol, and never has. This is a wilful misrepresentation of the position outlined in our Command Paper in July.”

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 17:45

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DUP says ‘thugs’ won’t impact his Protocol efforts after bus hijacked

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, said he will not be distracted by “thugs and hoods” in his efforts to get the Northern Ireland Protocol removed.

Addressing reporters at Stormont, Sir Jeffrey blamed “paramilitary elements” for Monday morning’s hijacking of a bus in Newtownards.

Asked for his response to the suggestion the attackers were marking the deadline that he had previously set to see changes delivered to the Protocol, Sir Jeffrey said: “There’s absolutely no justification whatsoever and I’m not going to seek in any way to explain why people go out onto the streets and do what they did this morning.”

He said the attack may have been designed to damage the political campaign against Brexit’s Irish Sea border.

However, Sir Jeffrey said of the attack: “I am very clear, I will not be distracted by thugs and hoods.”

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 17:25

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Watch: Truss denies UK dropped climate pledges from Australia trade deal

‘Fake news’: Truss denies UK dropped climate pledges from Australia trade deal

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 17:05

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PM rejects calls to toughen up rules on ministers’ conduct

Boris Johnson has rejected calls to give more powers and independence to his ethics advisor.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life published its review of ethics in politics on Monday, and its main recommendation was to strengthen the powers of the prime minister’s independent advisor on ministers’ interests.

There was a desperate need to reform and strengthen the rules which govern how politicians act, Lord Evans, the chair of the Committee and former head of MI5, wrote in the report.

Tim Wyatt has the full report:

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 16:47

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‘Robust’ measures in place in case French threats go ahead – No 10

Another update in the UK’s fishing row with France now. Downing Street has said “robust” measures are in place should the French decide to carry out their threats over the fishing dispute.

“As you would expect, we have robust contingency plans in place. I’m not going to get into the detail of them here,” a No 10 spokesman told reporters.

“It is the French that made these threats and we are continuing to call for them to step back from those threats.”

He also said it remained “entirely up to France” whether they decided to carry out their threats in the row over post-Brexit fishing rights.

“We continue to hope that they step away from the threats they have made,” the spokesman said, adding meetings were continuing with the French and with authorities in Jersey and Guernsey on the issuing of individual licences.

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 16:36

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Sunak challenged over ‘tax cut’ claims

Our politics reporter Adam Forrest has the following:

Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh has challenged Rishi over his claim that reducing the taper rate to Universal Credit amounts a “tax cut” for low-income families.

She told the chancellor: “It’s not a tax cut – it’s a benefit change … It really isn’t a tax cut. You’re just desperate to find a tax cut.”

McDonagh also asked the chancellor if he agreed the government resembles Edward Heath’s “low growth” and “high tax” Tory government rather than the Margaret Thatcher administration he hopes to emulate.

Sunak said the economy would grow at a relatively high rate after the pandemic, and claimed he took a step towards cutting taxes in his Budget.

Sam Hancock1 November 2021 16:22