Brexit news live: Latest updates as Boris Johnson told to reopen EU talks


Today’s daily politics briefing

Peers will urge the Boris Johnson on Wednesday to reopen talks with the EU on services, after the vital sector – worth £317bn in exports in 2019 – was neglected in the Brexit trade agreement.

The Lords EU services sub-committee worries that much damage will be done to the UK economy if improvements are not made. “Too much is at stake if we don’t,” says Baroness Donaghy, the committee’s chair.

The sub-committee expresses concern about financial service jobs moving to the continent, UK professional qualifications not being recognised in the EU, the loss of visa-free music tours and the scrapping of the Erasmus scheme for students.

Meanwhile, Priti Patel will announce an “immigration overhaul” when she speaks in the Commons early on Wednesday afternoon.

Under the home secretary’s proposals, those who reach the UK illegally will be denied an automatic right to asylum and will be regularly assessed for removal from the country.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said the plans would not stop dangerous crossings and “risk withdrawing support from desperate people, such as victims of human trafficking”.

Mike Adamson, the British Red Cross’ chief executive, called the proposals “inhumane”, while Sonia Lenegan, of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, said the measures are “cruel”.

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Johnson admits regret over coronavirus decisions

The prime minister admitted on Tuesday that he wishes his government had done “many things” differently during the pandemic.

The comment came as his chief medical officer acknowledged that the UK had seen “a bad outcome” by international standards.

Speaking one year on from the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown, Boris Johnson said he would be dealing with this “deeply difficult and distressing period” for the rest of his life.

Rory Sullivan24 March 2021 09:20

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Raab to urge Nato allies to stand up to Russia

Dominic Raab will call on Nato to “face down” the threat from Russia during an in-person meeting with otherforeign ministers.

The British foreign secretary will confirm the UK’s “unwavering” support for Nato and will urge a “strong, united, political bulwark against Moscow’s destabilising activities”.

Here’s our political editor Andrew Woodcock with more details:

Rory Sullivan24 March 2021 09:00

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PM claims ‘greed’ behind vaccine success

Many will think the UK’s successful vaccine success is down to the NHS and huge state spending.

However, Boris Johnson told Tory backbenchers on the 1922 committee on Tuesday evening: “The reason we have the vaccine success is because of capitalism, because of greed, my friends.”

Realising he had made a mistake, he retracted the comment.

Here’s Adam Forrest with a round-up of this and today’s other main political stories:

Rory Sullivan24 March 2021 08:40

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Patel should stop merely seeking ‘clicks and likes’, says Phillips

Jess Phillips, the shadow domestic violence and safeguarding, has criticised Priti Patel for seeking “clicks and likes”.

The Labour MP tweeted: “Hope as Priti Patel tours studios she is asked why she talks tough on foreign criminals, but has overseen highest numbers in UK ever.”

Her comments come as the home secretary frames her “immigration overhaul” as an attempt to tackle people smuggling.

Ms Phillips said that instead of seeking headlines Ms Patel should focus on reducing crime at home, in particular protecting people from sex offenders.

Rory Sullivan24 March 2021 08:26

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Patel’s overhaul of immigration system branded ‘inhumane’

An overhaul of the UK’s immigration system aims to make it more difficult for those who arrive illegally to remain in the country.

While the government said its plans are “firm but fair”, the measures have been widely condemned, with Mike Adamson, the chief executive of the British Red Cross, calling the proposals “inhumane”,

Enver Solomon, head of the Refugee Council, said the government was differentiating “between the deserving and undeserving refugee” based solely on how people travel to the UK rather than their situations.

Our social affairs correspondent May Bulman has the details:

Rory Sullivan24 March 2021 08:10

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Reopen EU trade talks on services, peers say

The prime minister should reopen trade talks with Brussels on the services sector, peers warn today.

Baroness Donaghy, the chair of the Lords EU services sub-committee, says: “The services sector is at the heart of the UK economy, so it is essential that the government and EU makes improvements to smooth UK-EU services trade. Too much is at stake if we don’t.”

Our deputy politics editor Rob Merrick reports:

Rory Sullivan24 March 2021 07:53

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

Rory Sullivan24 March 2021 07:51



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