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A warning from the Biden administration to Boris Johnson not to imperil peace in Northern Ireland amid fraught Brexit negotiations stands as an “unprecedented rebuke” for a British prime minister, Sir Keir Starmer has said ahead of the G7 summit.
The Labour leader said the government’s handling of the matter was not only “undermining the peace process” but was now “also undermining our relationship with America”.
Aides to the US president said Joe Biden will stress the need to “stand behind” the Northern Ireland Protocol, the element of the Brexit deal which has triggered a UK-EU dispute.
On his first trip abroad since taking office in January, Mr Biden will meet Mr Johnson in Carbis Bay – however a planned trip to Saint Michael’s Mount, a castle on a tidal island off the coast of Cornwall, has been cancelled due to the weather.
The issue of Brexit has threatened to overshadow their meeting and the UK’s hosting of the summit, which begins on Friday.
Which leaders will be at summit?
Boris Johnson is welcoming leaders from around the world to the UK on Friday as he hosts the latest summit.
The gathering marks the first time the leaders have come together in almost two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s also US President Joe Biden’s first overseas visit since entering the Oval Office in January.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Leonie Chao-Fong10 June 2021 13:47
Biden ‘not looking to lecture Johnson on Northern Ireland’
Joe Biden has not come to Britain to lecture Boris Johnson about Northern Ireland, a senior US official has said.
The US president is not looking to be confrontational or adversarial, the official is quoted by Reuters as saying.
He said: “He didn’t come here to give a lecture.
“He came here to communicate what he believes very, very deeply about peace in Northern Ireland.”
Leonie Chao-Fong10 June 2021 13:29
Opinion | G7 nations talk a good game on fighting the illegal wildlife trade, but still aren’t getting serious
G7 governments, including the UK, are talking tough on wildlife crime these days, pledging to help halt the horrendous level of poaching and trafficking that threatens countless species with extinction across the globe, writes Steve Galster.
But as the director of a frontline conservation organisation that receives aid from some of these wealthy nations, I can tell you that the slaughter and smuggling continue, while politics and greed are still winning the day.
Here is his opinion piece:
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 13:22
Multilateralism is back, says Merkel in message to G7
Angela Merkel, who is attending her last G7 summit after nearly 16 years as chancellor, has been a leading advocate of taking a multilateral approach to world affairs, reports the Associated Press.
Asked what message Ms Merkel wants to send at the summit, a senior German official replied: “The message of the summit overall – and that stands for what the chancellor has stood for over recent years – is that multilaterism, and the G7, is back.”
The official, who said that there has been much common ground in pre-summit negotiations, stressed that issues such as climate change, the pandemic and many others can only be solved together.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department rules.
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 13:10
Opinion | Our economic model is broken – but are G7 leaders brave enough to do anything about it?
When G7 leaders meet in Cornwall this weekend, they will have plenty to discuss: the equitable global rollout of Covid vaccines, the rise of China, the climate emergency and how to rebuild economies in the wake of the pandemic, writes Caroline Lucas.
These are all critical issues. But if the G7 wants to remain relevant and maintain a leading role on the world stage, it needs to do more than come up with piecemeal responses to these huge challenges. It needs to set a lead.
Here is her comment piece:
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 12:56
Biden to have tea with Queen on Sunday
US President Joe Biden will be welcomed to Windsor by the Queen with a Guard of Honour, followed by tea with the monarch at the castle, reports the PA news agency.
The Queen will host the American leader and First Lady Jill Biden at her Berkshire royal residence on Sunday.
Buckingham Palace released further details about the visit on Thursday.
The Queen will greet Mr and Dr Biden at the dais – a low platform for a throne – in the castle’s quadrangle.
A Guard of Honour formed of The Queen‘s Company First Battalion Grenadier Guards will give a Royal Salute, and the US national anthem will be played.
Mr Biden will then accompany the Officer Commanding the Guard of Honour, Major James Taylor, and Major General Christopher Ghika to inspect the Honour Guard, before returning to the dais to watch the military march-past with the Queen and First Lady.
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 12:42
What is the transatlantic travel taskforce and what might it achieve?
“We’re pleased to announce a joint UK/US Taskforce to help facilitate the reopening of transatlantic travel” – so tweeted the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, a week after tightening restrictions on British travellers.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, transatlantic links between the two countries constituted the most valuable intercontinental travel market in the world. And the industy is keen to have them restored.
So what will happen – and when? This is what we know so far:
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 12:29
Cornwall hospital ‘reserves space for G7 VIPs’
The Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro has reportedly set aside space in case it is needed for G7 dignatories as well as those caught up in planned protests.
Local news site Cornwall Live said the area reserved for any patients linked to the summit was “small”.
The prospect of protests this weekend will have fed into local health plans ahead of the gathering of world leaders in Carbis Bay.
Earlier this week the Lib Dems claimed two wards had been reserved at the Royal Cornwall hospital in preparation for the G7.
Andrew George, the health spokesperson for the Lib Dems in Cornwall, told The Guardian that ensuring hospital beds had been cleared was an “inevitable consequences of the government failing to put proper plans in place before theG7comes to town”.
NHS Kernow, the clinical commissioning group (CCG) for Cornwall and the Scilly Isles, said there was sufficient capacity to deal with any extra demand linked to the summit.
“As at any time when we expect increased demand for our services, we work together with our health and care partners to create additional capacity in our hospitals,” the statement said. “We have done this to ensure we are prepared for G7, as we would with any major event in the county.”
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 12:18
Chance of rain scuppers Biden-Johnson trip
Poor weather in Cornwall is being blamed after a trip to a coastal beauty spot planned for Joe Biden and Boris Johnson was cancelled.
The two leaders were due to meet at Saint Michael’s Mount, a castle on a tidal island off the coast of Cornwall, for their talks ahead of the G7 summit.
A No 10 source told the PA news agency the visit to Saint Michael’s Mount was “off due to the weather”.
Weather forecasts for Marazion, the town closest to Saint Michael’s Mount, suggest the trip would have been hit by a high chance of rain around lunchtime with a moderate breeze.
The leaders will meet instead in Carbis Bay, the location for Friday’s summit.
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 12:06
Global vaccine plan must be G7 priority, says Labour
Plans for supplying vaccines to less developed countries should be the priority at G7 discussions this weeked, Labour has said.
Leader Sir Keir Starmer, speaking in Batley, said it was important the UK should send vaccines to developing countries but said “on its own, it’s not enough”.
He said: “We need a global agreement; we need global funding.
“That ought to be the most important topic of discussion at the G7 this weekend.
“And, what I want to see from the prime minister is real leadership on this.”
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 11:57