Brexit: UK imports and exports evaluated by expert
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland claimed Brussels should “listen to and take into account the experience of people and businesses” after supermarket chains complained the EU was issuing unnecessary checks on food products coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
Mr Lewis accused the EU of “mitigating risks that don’t exist” as he revealed the bloc was imposing checks on Sainsbury’s products even though the supermarket giant does not have any stores in the Republic of Ireland.
The checks, issued under the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit agreement, are aimed at ensuring no unauthorised product is introduced in the EU via the border between the Republic and the UK.
Mr Lewis blasted: “At the moment a big supermarket, like Sainsbury’s, cannot send a box of pork pies or packet of ham from one of its stores in England, Wales or Scotland to another branch in Northern Ireland without going through a burdensome regime of checks and processes to allow it to cross the Irish Sea.
“In theory, this is to make sure that there is no risk of ‘non-compliant’ goods ending up in the EU’s single market, via Northern Ireland.
DON’T MISS: Eurovision POLL: Should the UK boycott the song contest after ‘Brexit payback’? VOTE
Brexit news: EU inspectors are doing unnecessary checks on food in Northern Ireland
“Except Sainsbury’s does not have any stores in the Republic of Ireland – so such checks are unnecessary.
“They are attempting to mitigate a risk that does not exist.
“The sooner the EU is able to find new solutions and embrace a more pragmatic approach the better.”
He added: “It is our hope that the EU will embrace a more constructive approach to the Protocol so that it can support the peace process, be implemented in the proportionate way that we always intended, and ensure the people of Northern Ireland can continue to see the benefits of continued prosperity and stability.
“That is the only way it can be sustained.
“I would urge the EU to take the proportionate, risk-based approach that is needed so that we can all look forward to a more positive and optimistic future for the whole of Northern Ireland – one that fully embraces all that it has to offer the rest of the UK and the world.”
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Brexit news: Brandon Lewis has launched a scathing attack against the EU
11:15pm update: ‘Alright cupcake!’ Rejoiner Campbell seizes on UK’s Eurovision flop to hit out at Brexit
REJOINER Alastair Campbell’s attempt to denigrate Brexit with a Tweet on the UK’s result at Eurovision Song Contest, brilliantly backfired.
The former Labour spin doctor under Tony Blair’s Government appeared to suggest the UK had come last at the Eurovision Song Contest because of Britons’ decision to leave the EU.
In a short and pungent Tweet, Mr Campbell wrote: “Null points … Global Britain …”
But the bitter message backfired when both Brexiteers and Remainers ridiculed the Labour politician.
M&S panic as EU plot to force retailers to buy European food over British
Oliver Trapnell takes over from Paul Withers
9pm update: M&S panic: EU plot to force retailers to buy European food rather than English
Mark’s and Spencer’s is reportedly planning to buy more food from the European Union as a result of trade disruption with Northern Ireland.
Under the terms of Boris Johnson Brexit trade deal customs restrictions now exist on some trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
The extra bureaucracy has seen some firms struggle to get goods across the Irish Sea whilst infuriating unionists.
According to the Daily Telegraph in response Marks & Spencer will purchase more food from within the EU.
Speaking to the paper Clive Black, a Shore Capital retail analyst, commented: “It’s been a real problem to try and rectify.
“It’s obscene and a disgrace that bureaucrats in Brussels are thinking there is something potentially illegal or wrong with M&S lasagne.”
7pm update: ‘Stars have aligned!’ £8bn Brexit trade bonanza looms as UK set sights on South Africa
“The stars have aligned” for Brexit Britain and South Africa to bolster trade relations, the UK’s trade envoy to the country has told Express.co.uk.
Andrew Selous MP has hailed the UK’s exit from the EU as an opportunity to greater strengthen ties with South Africa going forwards.
He said the two countries already do a significant amount of trade each year – worth £8billion in 2020 even with the pandemic – but the UK’s new internationalist outlook would provide fresh opportunities for the two Commonwealth partners.
“I wouldn’t say we ever left Africa, so I wouldn’t say the phrase ‘Britain is back’ is the right one but we are definitely looking to re-vitalise and re-energise our relationship,” he told this website.
“There’s a great deal to build on what is an already very established relationship but it could be so much more.
“It’s the most industrialised and diversified economy in Africa and it’s the UK’s biggest trading partner in Africa, which is probably a result of hieratic links, language links, the legal systems are the same.
“There’s a huge affinity to the UK. We don’t get any special favours just because we’re Brits but a lot of people are very happy to do business with us if they possibly can.”
Brexit news: Liz Truss is leading the UK’s trade deal negotiations
5.30pm update: ‘SNP mask slips again!’ Sturgeon’s councillor cheers on Europe and says ‘we hate UK too’
The SNP’s National Women’s Convenor has come under fire after making derogatory remarks about the United Kingdom.
Cllr Rhiannon Spear, who also chairs Glasgow City Council’s education committee claimed Scotland “hates the UK” after their performance in the Eurovision Song Contest.
James Newman, the British hopeful for the contest, was the only contestant to score zero points from the jury vote and from the public vote, coming bottom on the leaderboard.
The competition, which was held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, after the show was cancelled in 2020, was won by Italy with rock band Maneskin’s Zitti E Buoni.
Some 7.4 million people tuned in to watch the competition on BBC One, giving the channel a 48.5 percent share of the audience.
Responding to the vote, the Glasgow City Councillor wrote on Twitter: “It’s ok Europe we hate the United Kingdom too. Love, Scotland.”
The Greater Pollok councillor later added: “The UK has a billionaire Chancellor who won’t give NHS staff a fair pay rise during a global pandemic.”
4pm update: Northern Ireland Protocol ‘undeliverable’ – incoming DUP leader
Edwin Poots has claimed the Northern Ireland Protocol is “undeliverable” and suggested he may tell officials to stop border checks if the issue is not resolved.
The incoming DUP leader, who will take over from Arlene Foster this week, said: “We don’t have the staff to actually do this job.
“The number of vets that are required are non-existent, it takes five years to train vets, there’s already a shortage of vets in the United Kingdom.
“What I am saying and saying clearly, is that is not practical, and is not possible.
“We need to go back to the drawing board, and I believe that there are solutions.”
He added: “The problem with the protocol is that it is undeliverable.”
“I think that people in the European Union need to waken up to it.
“I think the UK Government have woken up to it.”
Brexit news: The key moments that led to the UK’s departure from the EU
Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Alessandra Scotto di Santolo.
2pm update: ‘No one supports ignorant UK!’ Bitter Europeans mock Britons and Brexit after Eurovision
Europeans jumped at the opportunity to mock Brexit Britain over its disappointing result at the Eurovision Song Contest.
More than seven million people in the UK tuned in to watch James Newman score nil points in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Brexiteers in the UK blamed the disappointing loss on the EU’s willingness to punish Britain for Brexit.
And Europeans were quick to confirm the theory as they took to Twitter to mock the UK.
1pm update: Hard Brexit vindicated! EEA members Norway and Iceland ‘increasingly want to leave’
According to historian Hjörtur J. Guðmundssonthe, two countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) – Iceland, and Norway – “increasingly want to leave” the arrangement.
Membership of the EEA allows full access to the single market but requires the country to accept EU rules such as free movement.
In 2018, Iceland’s Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson launched a blistering attack against the bloc as he claimed the EU was starting to view the Nordic country’s independence as a “nuisance.”
Mr Benediktsson said Brussels’ desire for “deeper integration” was making it more difficult for Iceland to have special exemptions in areas that risked harming national interests.
Mr Benediktsson told The Telegraph that there was growing concern in Reykjavik that the EU “did not understand” why Iceland was so reluctant to be swept up into the European project.
He said: “They are almost showing disregard, it’s like a nuisance to them.
“‘When will we get rid of that?’
“‘Why can’t everybody just become full members?’
“I can understand that from a political standpoint but the fact of the matter is that if you have an international agreement you should respect it, and that’s that.”
His comments came after the Icelandic Parliament vowed to reexamine the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement, amid mounting concerns that Brussels was exerting too much influence over their domestic affairs.
Norway also seems to be incredibly divided on the issue.
12pm update: UK falls 14 places in Eurovision rankings since Cameron’s anti-EU speech
The UK’s average Eurovision placing has fallen 14 places since David Cameron delivered his Bloomberg speech in 2013 advocating for a Brexit vote.
On Saturday Britain’s James Newman came last out of 26 countries in Rotterdam. He failed to achieve a single point from the jury or public vote, the second time this has happened to the UK.
Italy won the competition with their song Zittie e Buoni beating off rival bids from Switzerland and France.
Britain used to be a Eurovision powerhouse winning the contest five times from 1956-1997.
Between 1956, when the first Eurovision song contest took place in West Germany, and 2012 the UK came 8th on average.
By contrast from 2013 onwards, Britain has finished at an average of 22nd place.
Eurovision results: James Newman came last
11am update: Frexit campaigner’s plea to copy ambitious new UK plans
Britain’s successes were hailed by eurosceptics in France who branded Boris Johnson’s plans a “Thatcher revolution”.
The Prime Minister and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unravelled their ambitious plan to create a new public sector body to oversee Britain’s railways. Mr Shapps said on Thursday that the new body will simplify a system that is “too complicated”.
The decision was described in the French daily Le Monde as a “profound reorganisation of the rail system”.
They wrote: “Gradually, without really saying it, Boris Johnson unravelled stitch by stitch the Thatcher revolution.
“After sharply increasing state spending, the Covid-19 pandemic requires, the British Prime Minister is implementing a profound reorganisation of the rail system, largely undermining the privatisation launched in 1994.
“Thursday, May 20, the British government announced the creation of a public company which will henceforth oversee the operation of trains in the United Kingdom.”
Frexit campaigners jumped at the opportunity to praise the UK for its political success, claiming Brexit was at the heart of it.
10am update: Farming chief tells PM to play EU saboteurs at own game
Martin Kennedy, president of the National Farmers Union Scotland, was left stunned by the European Commission’s attitude following a crunch meeting with the Brussels bloc earlier this month.
The farming boss took part in a meeting between Copa, the body representing all the European farming unions, and Cogeca, which represents European farming cooperatives, and provided Scottish farmers with the chance to speak to European Commission officials.
But Mr Kennedy was left astonished by the Commission’s attitude towards Brexit after getting the impression that it is “all our fault and we now have to face the consequences”.
The NFU Scotland president has warned of the chaos facing farmers following Brexit around “inconsistencies in trade, backwards and forwards, between ourselves and Northern Ireland, as well as ourselves and the EU”.
He has warned the fluency in trade is not being reciprocated by the EU and is becoming increasingly frustrated at the bloc of accusing farmers from diverging from several food standards.
Mr Kennedy told Express.co.uk: “We have a tariff-free deal, which is grand, but we certainly don’t have friction-free trade, and that is causing real concerns.
“We don’t seem to have that equivalence recognition for some of the standards we have.
“The EU seems to think we are diverging from some of the standards, and that is certainly not the case.
“I got the impression from the EUI that is all our fault and we now have to face the consequences.”
9am update: Tory MP John Redwood urges Brexit sceptics to look at Irish beef imports
Sir John Redwood responded to criticism of the UK-Australia trade deal over the impact of imports of Australian beef on British farmers.
The Tory MP argued those worried about the implications of such imports coming from Australia, should focus on the effect tariff-free imports of beef coming from the Republic of Ireland will have on the UK farming industry.
He suggested Irish beef could hurt British farmers more than Australians.
He said: “Why do all those now complaining about small quantities of Imported Australian beef hurting our farmers not turn their attention to the much larger volume of imports of Irish beef tariff-free which they seem to support?”