Related video: Boris Johnson dismisses warning ‘hundreds of thousands’ will die from tropical diseases after aid cuts
Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis has expressed confidence that the EU will agree to changes to the Brexit deal covering Northern Ireland, ahead of a deadline next week.
The Northern Ireland secretary told the Commons Northern Ireland affairs committee fixes to the accord were necessary and that he was “optimistic” they would happen.
It comes amid reports that the EU is set to grant the UK an extension to grace periods on imported chilled meats – amounting to a temporary ceasefire in the so-called “sausage trade war”.
The UK marks five years since the Brexit referendum on Wednesday amid an ongoing row over trade with Northern Ireland.
Boris Johnson acknowledged the fifth anniversary of the vote by claiming it was his “mission” to use the UK’s new position in the world to deliver a better future for the British people.
However, there was embarrassment for the PM as millions of Britons were hit with the return of mobile phone roaming charges that are outlawed within the EU — ending one of the most tangible benefits of EU membership in recent years.
Mobile roaming charges are back for millions of Britons
Customers of O2 have been told they will be billed £3.50 for every gigabyte (GB) of data used above a new limit of 25GB, from August.
Alastair Jamieson23 June 2021 17:19
Let us know how you would vote if the referendum was held today
A Savanta ComRes survey found 51 per cent of respondents would now vote Remain, while 49 per cent would vote Leave, based on interviews conducted last week.
But if you had the chance to vote today, would you cut ties with our closest neighbours and biggest trading bloc, or remain in the club with the opportunities to live, work and travel freely which come with it?
We ask that when you comment with your preference, you tell us the reason behind your choice. Click here for all the details.
Tom Batchelor23 June 2021 16:18
Queen holds first in-person weekly audience with PM since before lockdown
The Queen has held her first in-person weekly audience with the prime minister since before lockdown began.
Boris Johnson met with the monarch at Buckingham Palace this afternoon.
The pair, who were together at the G7 summit earlier this month, have conducted their audiences by telephone ever since the coronavirus pandemic swept through the nation.
Chiara Giordano23 June 2021 16:05
Government accused of channeling Covid emergency cash into political ‘campaigning’
Boris Johnson has been urged to launch “a full public inquiry” into allegations emergency Covid funds have been channelled into political projects favoured by Downing Street.
In a Commons exchange today, SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford said there was evidence cash had gone to conduct polling about the union.
Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has the full story below:
Chiara Giordano23 June 2021 15:55
Opinion | Putting Alan Turing on the £50 note doesn’t mean that the government cares about LGBT+ youth
Today – 23 June – on what would be his 108th birthday, Alan Turing appears on the new £50 note. This is an extraordinary act of public reclamation for a scientific genius and war hero who was criminalised for his homosexuality, and who consequently ended his own life aged 41, writes Nathan Kiley.
The government also recently announced that the replacement for the Erasmus Scheme for international student exchanges will be named the Turing Scheme, in his honour.
It’s not enough to only elevate someone we know is a genius. And if as a society we value genius more than we value humanity, then we’ll have to treat every member of any oppressed minority as if they might be a genius, for change to happen. Far better to acknowledge that, even if that person is not a genius, they still deserve to live in dignity and respect, and to have their stories told.
Tom Batchelor23 June 2021 15:45
Brexit trade ban on sausages in NI still being discussed, says No 10
Downing Street said a requested extension to the grace period on chilled meats is still being discussed between the UK and the European Union as part of talks about the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Deliveries of chilled meats – including sausages and burgers – could be effectively banned from crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain to Northern Ireland at the end of the month unless an extension, which has been formally requested by the UK, is agreed.
Asked whether Boris Johnson was optimistic about an extension, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We’re discussing this with our EU counterparts currently.
“There is no further update and that work is ongoing. We do want to find a solution.”
The No 10 spokesman said the government had not received a response “as yet” to its letter requesting a continuation of the grace period.
Tom Batchelor23 June 2021 15:35
Flotilla of fishermen stage protest in Dublin over cuts to Irish fishing quotas
More than 50 trawlers from fishing communities have made their way to Dublin Port today as part of a protest over the cut to EU fishing quotas and the impact of Brexit.
Irish fishermen have said declining fishing quotas have made it difficult to make a living and warned of the consequences of Brexit on coastal communities.
The flotilla travelled in convoy to St John Rodgerson’s Quay and held a protest outside the Dail, which is sitting in the Convention Centre in Dublin.
Those in the fishing industry say the Brexit deal struck last December has led to a loss of 43 million euro and a reduction in the national quota of 15 per cent for this year.
Chiara Giordano23 June 2021 15:24
No 10 distances itself from One Britain One Nation Day school song
Downing Street has said the Department for Education (DfE) had not asked anyone to sing songs for One Britain One Nation Day (OBON).
The government has been facing criticism and ridicule after it emerged schoolchildren are being made to sing a bizarre patriotic song in between classes.
Asked whether it was sensible for the department to encourage schoolchildren to sing the OBON patriotic song on Friday, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “The prime minister supports schools promoting fundamental British values, including tolerance and respect, and we endorse One Britain One Nation’s aims to help children learn about equality, kindness, pride, but I will point out the department has not asked people to sing songs or promoting any specific materials for One Britain One Nation day.”
Tom Batchelor23 June 2021 15:14
Defence Secretary attacks Russian ‘disinformation’ over Black Sea confrontation
The defence secretary has attacked Russian “disinformation” in claiming warning shots were fired at a British warship in Crimea and vowed to “uphold international law”.
Ben Wallace said Moscow’s false claims about the incident were nothing new, telling MPs: “We are not surprised by it, we plan for it.”
Here is the fast-developing story:
Tom Batchelor23 June 2021 14:59
John Rentoul | Keir Starmer forced Boris Johnson to waffle and sound as if he wasn’t serious
The Labour leader has identified Boris Johnson’s weaknesses and remained completely focused on them at Prime Minister’s Questions today, writes John Rentoul.
He knows that the prime minister is not good on detail, and that he finds it hard to keep his tone serious for long.
Here is his take on the full exchange:
Tom Batchelor23 June 2021 14:47
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