Brexit news latest: Live PMQs updates as threat of ‘sausage war’ draws closer

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It is “inconceivable” that Boris Johnson did not understand the consequences of the Northern Ireland protocol, a former government adviser has said.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Gavin Barwell, who served as Theresa May’s chief of staff, accused the prime minister of signing up to the deal in the knowledge that he would ignore parts of it later.

“I think the calculation was sign up to whatever was on offer and see if we can deal with anything we don’t like down the line,” Mr Barwell said.

His comments come amid the latest post-Brexit trade dispute, which concerns chilled meats transported from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Reports suggest London intends to extend the “grace period” for such products beyond June, meaning the imposition of checks will be delayed.

However, the EU has warned the UK that it will respond “swiftly, firmly and resolutely” to any unilateral action which breaches the protocol, with the European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic raising the prospect of a trade war.


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Watch live as Boris Johnson faces Keir Starmer at PMQs

Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 12:16


PM is making another educational blunder, says Starmer

The prime minister is making yet another educational blunder by not increasing catch-up funding for schools, Keir Starmer has said.

The opposition leader pointed out previous educational mistakes made by ministers in the last year, including the exam results fiasco and U-turns on free school meals.

Mr Starmer said that the “the prime minister is on the wrong side of it”.

Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 12:16


Labour criticises the government’s educational catch-up programme

Keir Starmer has taken aim at the government’s education catch-up programme, which Labour thinks does not offer enough support to young people.

The Labour leader cited the government adviser Kevin Collins who called it a “half-hearted” scheme, which risked failing hundreds of thousands of children.

Mr Starmer said that if minister did not change course, it would “hold Britain back for a generation”.

In response, the prime minister claimed the £3bn scheme constituted “the biggest tutoring programme anywhere in the world”.

Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 12:11


Starmer congratulates Johnson on his marriage

Keir Starmer has congratulated Boris Johnson on his recent marriage to Carrie Symonds.

He wished them a happy life together.


Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 12:07


Johnson faces Starmer at PMQs

PMQs is underway in the Commons.

Boris Johnson faces questions from Keir Starmer, before he heads down to Cornwall for the G7 summit.

Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 12:01


‘Threatening messages’ sent to Oxford college staff after government criticism

“Threatening messages” have been sent to staff at one Oxford University college after a minister criticised its student body’s decision to remove an image of the Queen from their common room.

On Tuesday evening, education secretary Gavin Williamson called the move “simply absurd”.

Since then, staff members at Magdalen College have been targeted with abusive messages. Barrister Dinah Rose, the college’s president, said students had the right to “free speech and political debate”.

“So if you are one of the people currently sending obscene and threatening messages to the College staff, you might consider pausing, and asking yourself whether that is really the best way to show your respect for the Queen,” she tweeted.

Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 11:40


Travel industry attacks government’s traffic light system

A tourism body has said the government’s coronavirus traffic light system is “hugely damaging” and “failed”.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has called on ministers to scrap the policy in which countries assigned as red, amber or green depending on the level of their coronavirus infections.

Virginia Messina, acting chief executive of the WTTC, said: “What’s needed now is a watertight government policy enabling those who’ve been fully jabbed to travel freely, and not have to self-isolate on their return.

“Those who are not fully vaccinated should be able to travel with proof of a negative test.”

Cathy Adams has the story:

Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 11:20


Gove broke law over Covid contract, court rules

A coronavirus contract awarded by the government to a market research company whose bosses were friends of Dominic Cummings was unlawful, the High Court has ruled.

Andrew Woodcock has details on this breaking story:

Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 10:59


UK and EU only agree that ‘time is running out’, says Brexit expert

In their ongoing Brexit dispute, the only thing the UK and the EU agree on is that time is in short supply.

Mujtaba Rahman, of the Eurasia Group, tweeted that the “omens aren’t good” and the G7 is crucial to what happens next.

This comes as a senior EU official said: “We’re very close to a tipping point”.

Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 10:43


PM knew damage Brexit would cause to Northern Ireland, senior Tory says

Boris Johnson is being disingenous by claiming he did not fully understand the effect Brexit would have on Northern Ireland, a senior Tory has said.

Gavin Barwell attacked the idea that the prime minister and his team were unaware of the consequences of the Northern Ireland protocol.

He suggested they simply ignored aspects they did not like, hoping they could overrule them later down the line.

His comments follow Brexit minister David Frost’s claim that the government “underestimated the effect of the protocol on goods movements to Northern Ireland”.

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has the story:

Rory Sullivan9 June 2021 10:23

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