US President-elect, Joe Biden, has repeated calls for the border between Ireland and Great Britain to remain open as controversial issues threaten to complicate the final stages of the Brexit process.
Biden has stressed the importance of protecting Northern Ireland’s peace deal on Brexi proceedings in a call with British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, after Democrats won the US election against Donald Trump. He also said he had discussed the matter with other European leaders.
Johnson’s government is seeking a trade deal with the European Union but has said he was willing to leave without anyone. That could complicate the situation on Northern Ireland’s sensitive border with Ireland – Britain’s only land border with the EU.
Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, Tuesday that the border must be opened.
“We don’t want guarded borders,” he said, answering a question from a reporter about what he would say to Brexit negotiators.
The 1998 Good Friday peace deal helped end 30 years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland and created an institution for cross-border cooperation on the island. Ireland.
Johnson filed law in September that would violate Northern Irish protocol of the Brexit divorce agreement that seeks to circumvent the physical customs border between the UK and Irish provinces that are members of the EU.
Governor of Nevada, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 himself earlier this month, said on Sunday that he was tightening coronavirus restrictions on casinos, restaurants and bars, while imposing a broader statewide mandate for face coverings over the next three weeks.
The new measures, effective Tuesday, come as state and local leaders are around United States of America has moved to restore various restrictions on social and economic life to tame the alarming wave of Covid-19 infections following the summer lull in the pandemic.
“Whether you believe in the science of Covid or not, the reality is – Covid is filling our hospital beds, and it threatens all the Nevadans,” Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat said in announcing what he described as a “statewide lull”.
The latest restrictions are likely to prove extremely difficult for a country whose economy, and the livelihoods of its largest city, Las Vegas, largely dependent on tourism, games, and the hospitality industry.
Under Sisolak’s latest public health order, restaurants and bars must reduce operations from 50% to 25% of capacity, with additional social distancing requirements, including a ban on services without prior reservation.
The casino, which reopened in June after being booked closed for more than two months following the Covid-19 outbreak, will also be capped at 25% capacity.
The same capacity limits will apply to museums, art galleries, libraries, arcades, racetracks and theme parks – all of which had previously closed at 50% capacity.
Sisolak’s latest mask mandate will require all individuals to wear a face covering at all times in the presence of other people from outside their immediate home, whether indoors or outdoors.
Private social gatherings are limited to 10 people from no more than two households, both inside and outside, while public gatherings in places such as cinemas, theater performances, showrooms, weddings, cemeteries and places of worship will be limited to 50 people . , or 25% of normal fire code capacity, whichever is less.
All youth and adult sports tournaments will be completely suspended.
Sisolak, 66, tested positive for Covid-19 on November 13, although he said last week that he had only minor symptoms.
Keir Starmer has explained Boris Johnson as “the greatest single threat to the future of Great Britain” following his comments on Scotland’s devolution, during the history-making prime minister’s question in which Johnson appeared via video link.
Prime Minister isolate yourself after a Conservative Party MP who attended a meeting on Downing Street tested positive for the coronavirus, and answered questions from inside No. 10 while sitting at a table.
Starmer began by asking Johnson why, at Zoom’s call with Tory lawmakers this week, he did it devolution described as “the disaster north of the border” and “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake”.
“As of now, whatever our disagreements are, there is a very broad consensus on devolution,” asked the Labor leader. “So why did the prime minister tell his MPs this week that Scottish devolution was, in his opinion, a disaster?”
Johnson doesn’t deny saying it, but avoids the question, arguing that “what has undoubtedly been a disaster” is the SNP’s way, he says, using devolution to foster British schism.
Starmer replied: “The single biggest threat to the future of Great Britain is the prime minister, whenever he opens his mouth about this.
“When the prime minister said he wanted to take back control, nobody thought he meant the Scottish people. But the prime minister’s quote is very clear – he says devolution has been a ‘catastrophe north of the border’.
“This is not an isolated incident. Whether it’s the internal market bill, the prime minister’s way of sidelining a parliament being delegated to the Covid response, the prime minister is seriously undermining the British order. “
Asked again about his comments, Johnson agreed that there were “huge gains in devolution”, pointing to his own time as London mayor who was transferred.
But he appears to back up his claims about devolution in Scotland’s problematic, saying that Tony Blair, who introduced him as prime minister, “has admitted that he did not expect a separatist party to emerge in the country. Scotland, he didn’t predict the collapse of the Scottish Laborers ”.
Starmer used the rest of his question to ask Johnson about his response to the coronavirus, saying that the reason only about 11% of people are fully adhering to the 14-day self-isolation period is that many are unable to stay away from work.
Johnson said the statutory sick pay measures of £ 95 a week, or a one-time payment of £ 500 available to some, were and the support package “extraordinary and extraordinary”, and accused Starmer of not supporting the government over Covid.
Starmer replied that he was “not going to take a lecture on support”. He said: “The lockdown measures were passed the other week by a Labor vote – 32 from [the PM’s] MPs themselves broke the three-row whip. And I heard that about 50 of them have joined the WhatsApp group to find out how they will oppose it next time. “
The Labor leader also highlighted allegations of cronyism and a lack of transparency in private contracts related to the supply of protective equipment and other Covid measures.
His comments followed said the National Audit Office PPE suppliers with political connections have access to a “high priority” channel for government contracts, where bids are 10 times more likely to succeed.
Johnson replied: “All government contracts will of course be issued on time, and already issued. But I must say that it is extraordinary that he attacked the government for procuring large amounts of PPE. “
A Spanish businessman was paid more than $ 28 million (£ 21 million) in taxpayer money to act as an intermediary in the sale of personal protective equipment to the British government by a Florida-based jewelry designer, according to US court documents.
The document, filed in Miami, states that Gabriel González Andersson stands to get another $ 21.3 million in consulting fees, also to be borne by British taxpayers, for three more PPE contracts between the Saiger company and the government. Saiger was founded this year by Michael Saiger, owner of the Miansai jewelry company, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In May, Saiger, whose jewelery is sold in more than 35 countries, to the Council of Fashion Designers of America that Miansai’s business had slowed down. She said: “I spend my days providing PPE kits to charities, shelters and local authorities.”
According to court documents, by leveraging contacts in China, the new Saiger company “was able to secure a number of lucrative contracts with the British government”. It said Andersson “did very well under this arrangement, and for his assistance in the completion of two contracts, was paid over $ 28 million”.
The US court case concerns a dispute between Saiger and Andersson over three further contracts agreed in June to supply millions of gloves and dresses to Britain, for which Andersson will be paid an additional $ 21.3 million.
The contract signed between Saiger and Andersson stipulates that he will provide services including “sourcing manufacturers, due diligence and coordinating logistics”.
The details raise new concerns about a large amount of money the British government has paid during the coronavirus crisis to private companies. PPE contract signed with other companies, including one worth £ 252m signed in April with Ayanda Capital, which describes itself as a specialist in currency trading and offshore property, and 11 with Pestfix, particularly the pest control business.
Separately, in the UK, the Good Law Project and EveryDoctor launched legal proceedings on Tuesday against the Department Health and Social Care (DHSC) for awarding a PPE contract totaling more than £ 250 million to Saiger.
One of the contracts, signed on June 4 for £ 70.5 million in dresses (of which $ 16 million will be awarded to Andersson according to US documents) is for the supply of 10.2 million dresses, roughly the number of dresses used by the UK’s NHS during the coronavirus pandemic, but on offer without any ads or a competitive tender process, the plaintiffs said. They also alleged that the government paid Saiger more for the dress under this contract, relative to the prevailing market price.
Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, said:“Finally we can all see – in plain black and white – an incredible amount flowing from the public treasury to private pockets. Who can blame individuals for joining the queue if the government is handing out free money? But you and I – and our children – will have to pay higher taxes because of the government’s inability to give the last generation of wealth big enough to obscure foreign businessmen.
“We consider the awarding of this contract, like many other contracts that have been carried out by the government, to violate the law. If the answers from the government are not good enough, and we hope they are not, we will launch a process. “
Dr Julia Patterson, from the EveryDoctor campaign group, said: “It’s heartbreaking NHS staff to see this mismanagement of public funds exposed. “
The plaintiffs said contract notification was not published until five months after the contract was awarded, breaking a law requiring the government to provide details within 30 days. The measures are designed to reduce the risk of fraud and increase the value of money by allowing proper oversight of how taxpayers’ cash is spent.
A DHSC spokesman said: “Proper due diligence is being carried out on all government contracts, and we are taking these checks very seriously.”
Andersson’s lawyer, Jonathan Morton, declined to comment on the US proceedings when contacted by the Guardian.
Good morning. This is meant to be the first day of the No. 10 post-Cummings relaunch – they sent out a press release last night said Boris Johnson will “make a series of critical announcements over the next few weeks which will be a clear signal of his continued ambition for Great Britain” – but of course it was announced last night that he must now self-isolate, following a meeting with Tory lawmakers, one of whom tested positive. .
He had posted a video about this on Twitter this morning.
And this is our story.
Last week we were told that Johnson plans to hold a press conference every Monday. But he will not appear this afternoon, and vice versa Matt Hancock, the health secretary, will be a Downing Street tutor.
This morning Hancock had a round of media interviews, mainly to promote the news two megalabs will open early next year, which will ultimately add an extra 600,000 a day to the government’s testing capacity. That would more than double the UK’s testing capacity.
In an interview with BBC Breakfast, Hancock also said he wanted to expand the use of testing to relatives of people in nursing homes in the UK so that by Christmas every resident could get a visit from his loved ones. She says:
Our goal is to make sure we have testing available in every nursing home before Christmas – to ensure that people can take the test and therefore see their loved ones safely, that’s the goal.
We are working with the social care sector to try to make this happen.
We’ve launched it in a small number of countries, Devon and Cornwall in the first instance, and then our goal is to have it before Christmas so people can see and be up close to their loved ones.
This is today’s agenda.
10.30am: The British Main Ports Group and the British Ports Association provide evidence to the Lords committee of preparations for the end of the post-Brexit transition.
11am: The Supreme Court has begun hearing appeals against coronavirus-related business insurance claims
12.15: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is expected to hold a briefing on the coronavirus.
12.15: The Welsh government is expected to hold a briefing on the coronavirus.
12.30: Downing Street holds its daily lobby briefing.
17.00: Matt Hancock, health secretary, holds a press conference at No.10.
And in Brussels the UK-EU trade talks are resuming.
Politics Live now doubles as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis has covered everything, this will continue into the foreseeable future. But we will cover non-Covid political stories as well, and when they seem more important or more compelling, they will come first.
This is our global coronavirus live blog.
I tried to monitor comments below the line (BTL) but it’s impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’ll likely find it. I try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest to the public, I’ll post questions and replies above the lines (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to grab my attention quickly, maybe it’s better to use Twitter. I am in @Andrizal.