Brexit news – live: Boris Johnson defeated again in Lords, as ‘no-deal to cost more than Covid’

The House of Lords has voted to force Boris Johnson’s government to seek the consent of the devolved administrations before ministers can exercise powers contained in No 10’s controversial Internal Market Bill.

It comes as Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has said that a no-deal Brexit would cause even more long-term damage to the UK’s economy than the coronavirus pandemic. The influential figure told MPs a deal was in the “best interests of both sides”.

It follows an optimistic assessment of trade talks by Irish premier Micheál Martin, who revealed legal texts were now in play on all areas of the prospective trade deal. “I would be hopeful that by the end of this week we could see the outline of a deal,” said Mr Martin.


Sunak tries to reassure investors over Brexit

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been busy reassuring investors this morning, telling them that he was determined that the UK would remain a global leader for asset management after Brexit.

“We’re beginning a new relationship with the EU. And as we do so, we are determined that the UK will remain a global leader for asset management,” he told a conference organised by The Investment Association.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak

(Getty Images)

Adam Forrest24 November 2020 10:17


No 10 plans ‘new law to cut overseas aid’

Could the planned cut to the foreign aid budget become permanent? Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are under pressure to explain just how often the plan to slash aid spending from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

Although it was thought to be a temporary proposal to help pay for the cost of the Covid recovery next year, the BBC reports that No 10 wants to pass a new law to free ministers up from strict rules on aid spending – raising fears the reduction could be indefinite.

Adam Forrest24 November 2020 09:48


Governor’s no-deal warning in sharp contrast to Sunak’s ‘nonchalance’

Some reaction now to Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey’s warning that the economic damage caused by a no-deal Brexit would be worse than the pandemic.  

The FT’s former editor Lionel Barber said he found it strange Bailey’s warning was not making too many headlines. “Surreal too that the (likely) deal will be Hard Brexit and there will be barely a peep.”

The Times’ leader writer Simon Nixon said: “Even more amazing given the greater long-term damage of no deal Brexit that Rishi Sunak nonchalantly claimed on Sunday not to be bothered about it.”

Adam Forrest24 November 2020 09:42


Sunak set to ditch living wage rise

The lowest paid could lose out when chancellor Rishi Sunak reveals the government spending review this week, according to reports.

The planned 5.6 per cent increase to the national living wage – which was due to increase to £9.21 an hour in April – will be limited to only £8.90 an hour, a rise of 2 per cent, according to The Times. The Low Pay Commission are said to have claimed the full rise from the current rate of £8.72 an hour was unaffordable.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Rowing back on this planned pay rise is no way to treat those who kept the country going through this pandemic.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak


Adam Forrest24 November 2020 09:26


Brexit? ‘Total mess’ says next US secretary of state

President-elect Joe Biden will formally announce his cabinet today, and Anthony Blinken is widely expected to become the next US secretary of state. Worth noting that Blinken as “a total mess”, and compared the process to a dog being run over by a car.

“This is not just the dog that caught the car, this is the dog that caught the car and the car goes into reverse and runs over the dog” he said on the podcast Pod Save The World last year.

Adam Forrest24 November 2020 09:17


Labour chief whip asks Corbyn to apologise ‘unequivocally’

Labour’s chief whip Nick Brown has asked former leader Jeremy Corbyn to “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation” apologise for claiming that the scale of antisemitism in the party was “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

The harsh tone of the letter – which accuses Corbyn of causing “distress and pain” – suggests he won’t have the whip restored without a much more substantial mea culpa that the one he offered last week.  

Corbyn but was reinstated as a Labour member by the NEC following a brief suspension, but blocked from sitting as a Labour MP.

Adam Forrest24 November 2020 09:09


Government accused of running ‘Orwellian’ unit to get around transparency laws

The British government is operating a secretive internal unit to block requests for information by the public under transparency laws, it has been revealed.

The FOI Clearing House, an “Orwellian” operation within Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office, shares personal information about journalists and researchers – and has been accused of “blacklisting” people making freedom of information requests.  

An investigation by OpenDemocracy found the unit issues edicts to other departments to “protect sensitive information”, collates lists of journalists and transparency researchers, and even has sign-off powers other government departments’ freedom of information requests.

Transparency campaigners and data protection experts said the unit was certainly an attempt to circumvent the transparency protections in the Freedom of Information Act, and possibly even unlawful.

Adam Forrest24 November 2020 09:04


Shapps clashes with Burley in awkward interview

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has clashed with Sky News host Kay Burley during an awkward interview over new quarantine rules. From December 15, travellers will be able to use the negative test results to come out of quarantine after five days.

Burley said he had failed to explain why it took so long to bring measures the airline industry had requested for months, having asked him three times. “I’m afraid the science has taken time,” said Shapps.

Challenged over the £22bn cost of test and trace system thus far, Shapps said the government had to do whatever it takes to “get through and beyond” the virus. “We have to get through this coronavirus and I’m afraid there has been no other option but to spend a lot of money.”

Shapps gave little away about tier status for England’s regions, saying only that the government will decide based on “the number of cases” in each area. But he did say people in high tier areas would have to seriously consider any travel plans. “We are saying, avoid travel outside of your area.”

Grant Shapps in chaotic exchange with Kay Burley over quarantine regulations

Adam Forrest24 November 2020 09:01


MPs shouldn’t be getting pay rise, says Shapps

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has said he thinks MPs’ pay should be included in the public-sector pay freeze – and that if he were given a pay rise he would give his share to charity because it would be “the right thing to do”.

“I will pay mine to charity, that’s my decision,” he told Good Morning Britain, adding: “Public-sector workers, many are facing perhaps a three-year pay freeze, (so) the right thing to do is that politicians should not be taking a pay rise.”

Shapps added that ministers have had a 5 per cent pay cut and an “ongoing” 10-year pay freeze which he also supports.

Adam Forrest24 November 2020 08:45


ICYMI: Boris Johnson says MPs’ salaries should be frozen

If you missed it yesterday, Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said the PM believes MPs should have their pay frozen next year, instead of receiving a £3,000 pay rise as proposed.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which sets MP’s pay, is currently consulting on a proposed £3,360 pay rise for all MPs – but the issue has sparked more anger as the Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to confirm a pay freeze on many public sector workers in his spending review on Wednesday.

Catch up on the report by our Political Editor Andrew Woodcock:

Kate Ng24 November 2020 08:29


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