Brexit news live: Latest Boris Johnson updates as Dominic Cummings to appear before MPs


Raab tells UK officials to trade with countries which fail to meet human rights standards in leaked video

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab will on Wednesday warn that democracy around the world is “in retreat”, while suggesting the UK still has a large role to play on the world stage.

His speech comes after he told officials that Britain should seek trade deals with countries which do not meet European standards on human rights.

In a video call leaked to Huffpost, Mr Raab said he believed Britain must trade “liberally” around the world and not ignore nations who fail the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

“If we restrict it to countries with ECHR-level standards of human rights, we’re not going to do many trade deals with the growth markets of the future,” he said.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the comments had been “deliberately and selectively clipped to distort”, while Labour described them as the “shameful truth”.

Elsewhere, Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s former aide, will appear before the Commons Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday morning.

MPs will question him over the opaque new “high-risk” scientific research agency he supported during his time in the role.

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Cummings to be questioned by MPs on Wednesday

Dominic Cummings will be questioned by MPs on Wednesday morning about the “high-risk” scientific research agency he promoted during his time as Boris Johnson’s top aide.

In his first public appearance since leaving the role, Mr Cummings will speak about the Advanced Research & Invention Agency (Aria) before the Commons Science and Technology Committee.

Critics have said the new agency is opaque and needs to be more transparent.

The business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who is in charge of setting Aria up, will also be questioned by the committee.

<p>Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings leaves Downing Street in November</p>

Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings leaves Downing Street in November

(PA)

Rory Sullivan17 March 2021 08:04

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UK should trade with human rights abusers, says Raab

In a leaked video, the foreign secretary Dominic Raab suggested that the UK should trade “liberally” around the world – including with countries that do not meet European standards of human rights.

Amnesty International said the comment threw human rights campaigners living under repressive regimes “to the wolves”.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

Rory Sullivan17 March 2021 07:49

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Morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling UK politics coverage.

Rory Sullivan17 March 2021 07:45



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