UK lockdown roadmap LIVE – Matt Hancock defends PPE contracts as Keir Starmer defies unions on March 8 school reopening


LABOUR leader Keir Starmer has backed Boris Johnson’s plan to get kids back to school on March 8.

The Prime Minister is preparing a major school safety campaign this week to convince parents children are safe, despite nine teaching unions saying they want a staggered return. 

Speaking on Sunday morning, Sir Keir told Sky News: “Ideally, I’d like to see all schools back open on 8th March and all children back in school on March 8.

“I’ve been worried through the pandemic, a number of people have, about the impact that being out of school has on particularly vulnerable children and the attainment gap is getting bigger, so ideally March 8.

“We’ll have to see obviously where the data is, see where the science is, but that’s what we should be working towards.

“If that means more testing, if that means Nightingale classrooms, if it means other measures, let’s do that because I want to get our kids back into school.

Brits are expected to be updated on the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown as Mr Johnson is set to make an announcement from Downing Street at 7pm tomorrow.

Follow our live blog below for the very latest UK politics news

  • MATT HANCOCK FACES CALLS TO RESIGN OVER PPE CONTRACTS

    Matt Hancock is facing calls to resign after a court ruled his decision to withhold the publishing of Government PPE contracts during the pandemic as “unlawful”.

    A judge ruled the health secretary had “breached his legal obligation” by not publishing details within 30 days of contracts being signed. But Mr Hancock said his team had been focused on sourcing PPE and said his decision was “the right thing to do”.

    He told the BBC his team “spent all of their time buying life-saving equipment, even if the paperwork was a little bit late”.

    But one of the MPs who brought the case to court – the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas – said Mr Hancock’s response made her angry.

    She tweeted: “How dare Hancock suggest he broke [the] law to prevent shortages of PPE on the frontline? Health workers died for lack of [the] right PPE at [the] right time because of incompetence, cronyism and waste – does he think our memories are so short?”

  • NORTHERN IRELAND PARTIES TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST BREXIT DEAL

    Members of Northern Ireland’s two largest pro-British parties are set to take part in legal action challenging part of Britain’s divorce deal with the European Union, the parties said today

    The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) are to join other pro-British figures to challenge the Northern Ireland Protocol, which has created trade barriers between the British region and the rest of the United Kingdom.

    The protocol, which is designed to protect the European Union’s single market without creating a land border on the island of Ireland, has caused significant disruption to trade since it came into force at the start of the year.

    Some British companies have halted deliveries to Northern Ireland and some supermarkets have been left with empty shelves.

    The DUP said several senior members would join “other likeminded unionists” as named parties in judicial review proceedings challenging the Northern Ireland Protocols compatibility with Act of Union 1800, the Northern Ireland Act of 1998 and the Belfast Agreement, it said in a statement.

  • UK MINISTERS PLEDGE MORE SUPPORT FOR FISHING INDUSTRY

    The fishing industry will be able to draw on more support as it deals with post-Brexit export issues and the impact of coronavirus, UK ministers say.

    Cash grants are being made available for more fishing businesses as criteria for a support fund are being expanded.

    These will draw on a £23 million fund announced in January to help seafood exporters who were struggling to get produce to their usual markets in the EU.

    The fishing industry has also been hit by a drop in demand from the hospitality sector.

    A new UK-wide scheme, similar to last year’s Fisheries Response Fund, will open in early March.

  • SADIQ KHAN ADVISER BRANDED ‘RACIST’ OVER DEROGATORY COMMENTS ABOUT BLACK MPS

    A HARD-left activist appointed by Sadiq Khan to review London’s statues has been branded a “racist” over derogatory comments he made about black MPs.

    Toyin Agbetu was signed up by Mayor of London to join his Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.

    But Agbetu is already facing calls to be sacked after the racial remarks were uncovered, including labelling David Lammy a “poor example of Africans”.

    Read more here.

    undefined
    undefined
  • BORIS JOHNSON CHAIRS ‘COVID S’ COMMITTEE TO FINALISE ROAD MAP AHEAD OF COMMONS

    Mr Johnson chaired a meeting of senior ministers on Sunday, known as the “Covid S” committee, to finalise his road map before it is signed off by the Cabinet on Monday.

    He will then unveil the plans to MPs in the Commons later that afternoon and is expected to lead a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening.

  • DUP LEADER AND SENIOR MPS LAUNCH NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL LEGAL CHALLENGE

    DUP leader Arlene Foster and senior party MPs are launching legal action challenging the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    They will be joining other unionists from across the UK in judicial review proceedings unless alternative post-Brexit trade arrangements are put in place which secure their consent.

    DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, the party’s Westminster leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and chief whip Sammy Wilson are backing Mrs Foster’s action in response to disruption of business through Irish Sea ports.

    A separate group of DUP members has also engaged senior legal counsel to prepare for a series of challenges to the protocol.

    Mrs Foster said: “Fundamental to the Act of Union is unfettered trade throughout the UK. At the core of the Belfast Agreement was the principle of consent yet the Northern Ireland Protocol has driven a coach and horses through both the Act of Union and the Belfast Agreement.”

  • POST-BREXIT PLAN TO AVOID MOTOR INSURANCE FOR RIDE-ON LAWNMOWERS AND QUAD BIKES

    Vehicles such as ride-on lawnmowers and mobility scooters will not require motor insurance in Britain under a Government plan to ignore an item of EU legislation.

    Boris Johnson has previously described the extension of compulsory motor insurance to a wider range of vehicles on private land as “insane”.

    The Vnuk law comes from a 2014 ruling by the European Court of Justice and is named after a Slovenian man knocked off his ladder by a tractor trailer on a farm.

    Other vehicles which could have required motor insurance in Britain due to the decision include golf buggies and quad bikes.

    Work to implement Vnuk in Britain has been ongoing for several years – including a public consultation in 2016 – but no timetable had been set.

  • HANCOCK REJECTS CALLS FOR TEACHERS TO HAVE VACCINE PRIORITY

    Matt Hancock has again rejected calls for teachers to be given priority for a Covid jab before schools return.

    Boris Johnson is tomorrow expected to announce schools will reopen from March 8 after kids were forced to study from home during the third national lockdown.

    But the Health Secretary today said there were no plans for teachers to receive a Covid vaccination before going back to class.

    He told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We’ve asked the expert group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, what order we should vaccinate in, broadly in order to reduce the number of deaths as fast as possible.

    “They set out the priority groups one to nine, which includes those who are clinically most vulnerable and their carers, and includes the over-50s, going down the age range.”

  • LOCAL LOCKDOWN MEASURES RECCOMENDED

    The Government will have to leave room for “highly local” interventions when it implements its road map out of lockdown, a statistician has argued.

    Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, of the statistical laboratory at Cambridge University, suggested future measures could become “much more focused and targeted” as officials focused on outbreaks in particular areas.

    Speaking to Times Radio on Sunday, Sir David said recent coronavirus data indicating drops in hospital admissions, death rates and cases across the country was “very encouraging”.

    However, he said there were areas with still “quite a lot of cases” and “really quite substantial numbers”, adding: “These are pockets around the country.”

    Sir David, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said some “scattered” areas were seeing above 200 new cases per 100,000 per week, which was “of concern”.

  • PM TO SET OUT ‘CAUTIOUS’ ROAD MAP FOR EASING CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS – HANCOCK

    Boris Johnson will set out a “cautious” plan to relax coronavirus restrictions when he unveils his road map out of lockdown, the Health Secretary has said, despite an accelerated target to offer vaccines to all adults by the end of July.

    The Prime Minister will outline his blueprint for easing the stringent measures in England to Parliament on Monday, amid a clamour of warnings from scientists to act gradually and calls from some Tory MPs to lift all legal restrictions by May.

    Matt Hancock insisted that, despite the success of the vaccine rollout so far, and the “understandable” urge to return to normal life, the Government’s goal is to take a “cautious but irreversible approach”.

    In a series of broadcast interviews on Sunday morning, he said there will be “weeks between the steps” so ministers can “watch carefully” the impact of each relaxation of the restrictions.

    Mr Hancock said that one in three adults in the UK has now received a coronavirus vaccine, and that the Government is confident it has the supplies to meet the July 31 target and to vaccinate all adults over 50, and higher risk groups, by April 15.

  • ONE THIRD OF UK ADULT POPULATION RECEIVED FIRST VACCINE JAB

    A third (33.4%) of the UK adult population has now been given the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, latest figures show.

    Government data up to February 20 shows that of the 18,197,269 jabs given in the UK so far, 17,582,121 were first doses – a rise of 334,679 on the previous day.

    Some 615,148 were second doses, an increase of 10,263 on figures released the previous day.

  • LABOUR LEADER REFRAINS FROM CALLING FOR MATT HANCOCK RESIGNATION

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer did not call for Matt Hancock’s resignation following a court ruling that he acted unlawfully over coronavirus contracts.

    The High Court ruled the Government unlawfully failed to publish details of billions of pounds’ worth of public contracts.

    Sir Keir told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I don’t want to call for him to resign. I do think he is wrong about the contracts – there have been problems with the contracts, on transparency, on who the contracts have gone to.

    “There’s been a lot of wasted money and I think that is a real cause for concern.

    “But, at the moment, at this stage of the pandemic, I want all Government ministers working really hard to get us through.”

  • STARMER CALLS FOR ALL PUPILS TO BE BACK IN ENGLAND’S SCHOOLS ON MARCH 8

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has rejected pressure from unions to call for a phased return of schools, arguing that “ideally” all children should be back in England’s classrooms on March 8.

    Sir Keir told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Ideally, I’d like to see all schools back open on 8th March and all children back in school on March 8.

    “I’ve been worried through the pandemic, a number of people have, about the impact that being out of school has on particularly vulnerable children and the attainment gap is getting bigger, so ideally March 8.

    “We’ll have to see obviously where the data is, see where the science is, but that’s what we should be working towards.

    “If that means more testing, if that means Nightingale classrooms, if it means other measures, let’s do that because I want to get our kids back into school.”

  • GOVERNMENT SHOULD DEAL WITH NI PROTOCOL, DUP LEADER SAYS

    DUP leader Arlene Foster has urged the Government to deal with the “rupturing” of the east-west relationship caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    On Monday a debate at Westminster triggered by her party’s e-petition will ask the Government to take action to replace this “flawed and deeply damaging” Protocol.

    The DUP has vowed to overthrow the post-Brexit trade mechanism which has disrupted trade from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland.

    Mrs Foster said: “There is no question of the public anger towards the Protocol. The petition demonstrated that.

    “Brussels and London must work for a permanent solution. Temporary measures will not work.The Protocol is flawed and has ruptured the east-west strand of the Belfast Agreement.”

  • BORIS JOHNSON PLEDGES ALL ADULTS TO BE OFFERED COVID VACCINE BY JULY 31

    Boris Johnson pledges all adults to be offered Covid vaccine by July 31
  • ROGER TAYLOR DESCRIBES BREXIT DEAL AS ‘DREADFUL RETROGRADE STEP’ FOR MUSICIANS

    Roger Taylor has described new obstacles posed by Brexit on musicians’ ability to tour in Europe as “a dreadful retrograde step”.

    The Queen drummer is one of more than 100 musicians who have accused the Government of “shamefully failing” the country’s performers with its Brexit deal.

    He was one of the signatories of a letter, organised by the Liberal Democrats and published in The Times last month, which said the lack of a special arrangement for musicians to tour without visas “will tip many performers over the edge”.

    It was also signed by Sir Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Sting, Bob Geldof and The Who’s Roger Daltrey.

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, Taylor said: “Borders are a dreadful invention of mankind, and so we are just putting up another one, and I think it’s a dreadful retrograde step.”

  • BORIS JOHNSON TO ADDRESS THE NATION AT 7PM TOMORROW

    Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of senior ministers on Sunday, known as the “Covid S” committee, to finalise his lockdown roadmap before it is signed off by the Cabinet on Monday.

    He will then unveil the plans to MPs in the Commons later that afternoon and is expected to lead a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening.

    Mr Johnson will first speak to MPs in the House of Commons at 3.30pm tomorrow to explain his approach.

    He will later address the nation at 7pm during a Downing Street press conference.

  • DUP MEMBERS ENGAGE LEGAL COUNSEL AHEAD OF POTENTIAL NI PROTOCOL COURT CHALLENGE

    A group of DUP members have engaged senior legal counsel to prepare for a series of challenges against the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    The PA news agency understands that a senior DUP member, supported by a number of others in the party, have sought the legal opinion of constitutional law experts ahead of several potential High Court challenges in both Belfast and London against the Government over post-Brexit Irish Sea trading arrangements.

    The move comes amid ongoing unionist and loyalist anger at new regulatory and customs processes required to bring goods into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

    A party source involved in the initiative told PA that preparatory work on a “series of very significant legal challenges” is at an “advance staged”.

    “No stone will be left unturned in the pursuit of justice for the people of the Union,” the source said.

  • TONY BLAIR GETS VACCINATED

    Former prime minister Tony Blair has received his Covid vaccine.

    The former Labour leader was pictured getting the jab at Lord cricket ground in London on Saturday morning.

    A tweet read: “Big thank you to the NHS, the wonderful people who staffed the Lords cricket ground facility – brilliantly organised.

    “Made me proud of our country -Tony Blair.”

  • RESIGN TRENDS ON TWITTER AMID CALLS FOR MATT HANCOCK TO QUIT

    Social media users are calling for Matt Hancock to resign after a court ruled his decision to withhold the publishing of Government contracts during the pandemic as “unlawful”.

    A judge ruled the health secretary had “breached his legal obligation” by not publishing details within 30 days of contracts being signed. But Mr Hancock said his team had been focused on sourcing PPE and said his decision was “the right thing to do”.

    He told the BBC his team “spent all of their time buying life-saving equipment, even if the paperwork was a little bit late”.

    But one of the MPs who brought the case to court – the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas – said Mr Hancock’s response made her angry.

    She tweeted: “How dare Hancock suggest he broke [the] law to prevent shortages of PPE on the frontline? Health workers died for lack of [the] right PPE at [the] right time because of incompetence, cronyism and waste – does he think our memories are so short?”

  • DUP LEADER LAUNCHES LEGAL ACTION AGAINST NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL

    DUP leader Arlene Foster and senior party MPs are launching legal action challenging the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    They will be joining other unionists from across the UK in judicial review proceedings unless alternative post-Brexit trade arrangements are put in place which secure their consent.

    DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, the party’s Westminster leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and chief whip Sammy Wilson are backing Mrs Foster’s action in response to disruption of business through Irish Sea ports.

    A separate group of DUP members has also engaged senior legal counsel to prepare for a series of challenges to the protocol.

    Mrs Foster said: “Fundamental to the Act of Union is unfettered trade throughout the UK.

    “At the core of the Belfast Agreement was the principle of consent yet the Northern Ireland Protocol has driven a coach and horses through both the Act of Union and the Belfast Agreement.”

    The move comes amid ongoing unionist and loyalist anger at new regulatory and customs processes required to bring goods into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

  • WHAT COULD BORIS JOHNSON’S FEB 22 ROADMAP INCLUDE?

    Boris Johnson is set to reveal his roadmap out of lockdown on February 22.

    While there have been no official statements on what the Prime Minister has in mind reports have speculated what Johnson may announce.

    Brits have been in lockdown since the start of January with the Prime Minister confirming he would be outlining the roadmap out of the strict rules on February 22.

    The R rate fell for the sixth week in a row and could be as low as 0.6 in some areas.

    This is a key figure for the government and if it remains low in England and Covid infections stay at an “acceptable level”, the PM is expected to green light an easing of restrictions.

    Read more here.

  • HANCOCK REJECTS CALLS FOR TEACHERS TO HAVE VACCINE PRIORITY

    Matt Hancock has again rejected calls for teachers to be given priority for a Covid jab before schools return.

    Boris Johnson is tomorrow expected to announce schools will reopen from March 8 after kids were forced to study from home during the third national lockdown.

    But the Health Secretary today said there were no plans for teachers to receive a Covid vaccination before going back to class.

    He told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “We’ve asked the expert group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, what order we should vaccinate in, broadly in order to reduce the number of deaths as fast as possible.

    “They set out the priority groups one to nine, which includes those who are clinically most vulnerable and their carers, and includes the over-50s, going down the age range.”

  • UK MINISTERS PLEDGE MORE SUPPORT FOR FISHING INDUSTRY

    The fishing industry will be able to draw on more support as it deals with post-Brexit export issues and the impact of coronavirus, UK ministers say.

    Cash grants are being made available for more fishing businesses as criteria for a support fund are being expanded.

    These will draw on a £23 million fund announced in January to help seafood exporters who were struggling to get produce to their usual markets in the EU.

    The fishing industry has also been hit by a drop in demand from the hospitality sector.

    A new UK-wide scheme, similar to last year’s Fisheries Response Fund, will open in early March.

    Earlier this month, a taskforce made up of the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the seafood industry met to discuss the way forward.

    Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Our fishermen are at the heart of many of our coastal communities and we recognise the impact of coronavirus and the end of the transition period on them.

  • GOVERNMENT SHOULD DEAL WITH NI PROTOCOL, DUP LEADER SAYS

    DUP leader Arlene Foster has urged the Government to deal with the “rupturing” of the east-west relationship caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    On Monday a debate at Westminster triggered by her party’s e-petition will ask the Government to take action to replace this “flawed and deeply damaging” Protocol.

    The DUP has vowed to overthrow the post-Brexit trade mechanism which has disrupted trade from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland.

    Mrs Foster said: “There is no question of the public anger towards the Protocol. The petition demonstrated that.

    “Brussels and London must work for a permanent solution. Temporary measures will not work.

    “The Protocol is flawed and has ruptured the east-west strand of the Belfast Agreement.”

READ  Tory leadership hopefuls: where they stand on Brexit





READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here