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Boris Johnson’s wish to pick fights with his old enemies risks making the UK a pariah

‘No way out’: Commentator predicts Boris Johnson’s future 02:10

London (CNN)UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government have spent much of this week fighting with the EU and rowing with a European human rights court, all while playing down accusations that they are breaking international law and pandering to his party’s base.

On Monday, Johnson’s foreign secretary, Liz Truss, revealed the long-awaited Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, a piece of legislation that, if passed, would allow the British government to unilaterally override parts of the Brexit deal it agreed with the EU in 2019.
Two days later, the EU responded by launching legal proceedings against the UK over its failure to implement parts of the protocol to date, while Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission vice-president, said that “there is no legal nor political justification whatsoever for unilaterally changing an international agreement … let’s call a spade a spade: this is illegal.”
UK government officials responded angrily by insisting that the bill, if passed, would be perfectly legal. Suella Braverman, the attorney general who gave the new bill a green light, went on television to defend the proposed legislation. In doing so, she accused the BBC of painting the EU as “the good guys” and told ITV’s political editor that his assertion the bill would break that law was “Remaniac make-believe.”
On Tuesday, the Johnson government found itself cursing the name of another European institution, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), after it was forced to abandon a flight that would transport asylum-seekers to Rwanda. The UK announced a deal in April under which asylum seekers in the country could be relocated and granted asylum in Rwanda. The UN’s human rights agency had previously warned the UK that the policy might be unlawful, as it could expose those refugees to human rights abuses in Rwanda.
Demonstrators protest outside of an airport perimeter fence against a planned deportation of asylum seekers from Britain to Rwanda, at Gatwick Airport near Crawley, Britain, June 12, 2022.

The scheme had been widely criticized by human rights organizations, which succeeded in numerous legal challenges against individual removals but failed in their bid for an injunction suspending the flight. However, when the ECHR intervened on Tuesday night, saying that the last asylum seekers due to be on board had not exhausted their legal options in the UK, the plane was grounded.
Again, government ministers responded by insisting that the plan was lawful. Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has since suggested that the UK will introduce its own Bill of Rights that could effectively allow it to ignore the ECHR.
Johnson’s willingness to have public spats with large, international institutions makes sense when you look at recent history. Both Johnson and his predecessor, Theresa May, picked fights with the judiciary and the EU during the most frustrating days of Brexit. This, so the theory goes among Conservatives, gave both leaders a boost among their core supporters for attacking elitist bodies that were blocking the will of the people.
“Historically, Boris has done well hitting out at big institutions like the EU and courts,” says a former government minister told CNN. “These were not artificial fights, both Rwanda and Northern Ireland are proper government policy. But the hardline way we’ve defended them suggests to me that Boris sees a silver lining,” they added.
In one sense, this logic makes sense. Johnson has been hit by scandal after scandal and has seen his personal approval ratings tank, along with national polling for his Conservative Party.
He has had to fight off a vote among his own party to remove him as leader and on Thursday night saw his own ethics adviser Christopher Geidt resigned, saying that Johnson’s government had put him in an “impossible and odious position.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks as he takes questions at the House of Commons in London, Britain June 15, 2022.

So, a fight with the lofty elites in Brussels and Strasbourg over real red-meat Conservative issues like Brexit and immigration could be just what Johnson needs to get things back on track.
However, every time a government becomes so fixated on domestic policy, it risks forgetting that allies and enemies around the world are paying attention.
CNN spoke to multiple Western diplomatic sources who said that Johnson’s government had cast a dark shadow over their perception of the UK. One senior Western official who has worked closely with the UK during the Ukraine crisis said that while allies still coordinated with the UK, the sense of concern that they don’t know what version of Johnson they will get has become normalized.
“He is not Donald Trump, but he is so unpredictable that it’s easy for allies to think of him as being like Donald Trump,” said a Western diplomat.
A European diplomat told CNN that “it’s hard to overstate just how much damage has been done. Trust has been hugely damaged.” They pointed to the issue over Northern Ireland, saying that “on our side, we know that there are solutions to the protocol. But those solutions rely on trust. Why should we trust him not to tear up any new agreement in the future?”
Western officials say, with some sadness, that there were moments in the immediate aftermath of Russia invading Ukraine where they thought Johnson might start behaving like a “stable and predictable” leader, as the Western diplomat put it.
A European official agreed, saying that “there were moments when we looked at the UK with some admiration and thought there might be some path forward. Ukraine was something bigger than our squabbles.”
However, the official continued that this feeling of optimism faded quickly, after Johnson compared the Ukrainian fight for freedom to Brexit.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the National Service of Thanksgiving held at St Paul's Cathedral as part of celebrations marking the Platinum Jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Friday, June 3, 2022.

Conservatives in Westminster have mixed views on how bad this all is. Some worry that Johnson’s continued scandals and rhetoric are making the UK a pariah. Worse, they fear that a country like the UK — a longstanding member of the rules-based, international order — playing so fast and loose with international law sets a terrible precedent at a time when democracy is under threat in many parts of the world.
On the other hand, some MPs think that Johnson’s critics are getting worked up about something that normal people don’t care about. They say, not unreasonably, that a G7, NATO member with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council — and one that has in many respects led the way on Ukraine — is not about to get cut out by its allies.
Ultimately, Johnson’s international spats are most likely to play out in the domestic political arena. Some will love that he is taking a hardline stance. Others will feel a deepening sense of embarrassment that this man is their prime minister.
“If you are in Boris’s position, then you may as well double down on some of this stuff. What does he have to lose?” a senior Conservative MP told CNN. “Either things are so terminally bad that he’s doomed whatever he does, or he’s got two years to turn things around before the election. So why not go out there and have fights on your own pitch?”
That summary makes a lot of sense when you are sitting in Westminster, talking to people who spend too much time in Westminster. However, Johnson’s decisions seriously impact the lives of people who spend no time in Westminster and for whom this really is not a game. Especially as the UK is going through the worst cost-of-living crisis it has suffered in decades.
Johnson won’t know if his red meat gamble has paid off with the public until the next general election — unless he’s removed from office before then. There will undeniably be people who see him as the same Brexit street fighter who stands up for Britain against the bullies seeking to do it down.
But there will be an awful lot of people who think that instead of picking fights with the EU and ECHR, Johnson should be thinking of ways to improve their lives.

Controversial UK deportation flight to Rwanda grounded after all asylum-seekers removed

The inaugural flight of a controversial UK government scheme to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda was stopped on Tuesday at the eleventh hour, after an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

According to the UK’s PA Media news agency, “all migrants have been removed from the plane and the flight to Rwanda will not take off as scheduled tonight.”
Britain’s government had announced the deal with the east African country in April. Those people granted asylum would then be allowed to resettle in Rwanda. The government insisted the program was aimed at disrupting people-smuggling networks and deterring migrants from making the dangerous sea journey across the Channel to England from France.
Advocacy groups had initiated multiple legal challenges to stop the aircraft, including veja sneakers an appeal that was rejected by the Court of Appeal in London on Monday. Several dozen asylum seekers saw their tickets canceled, Care4Calais refugee charity said, leaving just seven people due to be deported by Tuesday morning.
But on the evening that the plane was expected to depart, the ECHR issued a series of rulings in the cases of the last Rwanda-bound asylum-seekers, ordering the British government not to remove them.
A Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said the country is “not deterred” after the UK deportation flight to Rwanda was grounded.
“We are not deterred by these developments. Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work,” Makolo said in a statement sent to CNN Wednesday.
“The current situation of people making dangerous journeys cannot continue as it is causing untold suffering to so many. Rwanda stands ready to receive the migrants when they do arrive and offer them safety and opportunity in our country,” Makolo added.
In its ruling for one Iraqi national, the ECHR said: “The European Court has indicated to the UK Government that the applicant should not be removed to Rwanda until three weeks after the delivery of the final domestic decision in his ongoing judicial review proceedings.”
The ECHR essentially found that that asylum seeker had not exhausted all legal proceedings in the UK, with British courts planning to hear the applicant’s judicial review challenge in July, and should not be removed until having done so.
“BREAKING: Last ticket cancelled,” tweeted Care4Calais, upon news of the flight cancellation. “NO ONE IS GOING TO RWANDA.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also reacted, tweeting: “Tonight’s inhumane deportation of asylum seekers to #Rwanda has been stopped by the ECtHR – minutes before it was due to depart. Sending people fleeing violence to a country thousands of miles away was already cruel and callous. It’s now potentially unlawful too.”
The development is a rebuff to the UK government, after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the deportation flight would depart regardless of how many people were on board.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said Tuesday evening that she was “disappointed” that the flight had been halted, and that her office was reviewing the legality of the decision. The government plans to move forward with the project, she also said.
“Access to the UK’s asylum system must be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers. The demands on the current system, the cost to the taxpayer, and the flagrant abuses are increasing, and the British public have rightly had enough,” Patel said.
“I have always said this policy will not be easy to deliver and am disappointed that legal challenge and last-minute claims have meant today’s flight was unable to depart,” she added.
A hostel that housed Rwanda genocide survivors prepares to take in people deported by the UK
Despite the government’s attempts to justify the scheme, criticism of the plan has continued to grow. Church of England leaders on Tuesday called it an “immoral policy that shames Britain” in a joint letter to The Times newspaper.
“Rwanda is a brave country recovering from catastrophic genocide. The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum aldo shoes seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries,” the letter reads.
“Many are desperate people fleeing unspeakable horrors. Many are Iranians, Eritreans and Sudanese citizens, who have an asylum grant rate of at least 88 per cent,” it continued. “We cannot offer asylum to everyone, but we must not outsource our ethical responsibilities, or discard international law — which protects the right to claim asylum.”
In response, Truss told Sky News that the Rwanda flights policy was “completely moral” and that critics “need to suggest an alternative policy that will work.”
Demonstrators protest outside of an airport perimeter fence against a planned deportation of asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda, at Gatwick Airport on June 12, 2022.
Demonstrators protest outside of an airport perimeter fence against a planned deportation of asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda, at Gatwick Airport on June 12, 2022.

‘Incredibly dangerous’ journey

According to data from the UK Home office, 28,526 people arrived to the United Kingdom on small boats in 2021. The vast majority of them, 23,655, were men and nearly two thirds came from just four countries: Iran (7,874), Iraq (5,414), Eritrea (2,829) and Syria (2,260).
Care4Calais said the reason the majority of refugees are male is the result of fleeing their homelands where “young men may be killed to stop them rebelling against the government, or forced into military service.”
It also explained the journey to Calais is “incredibly dangerous” and that “many families will not risk their daughters safety on a journey to Europe. The hope is the men who escape will then help them to safety.”
Almost all of the people who come on small boats — 98% off those who arrived in 2020 — have applied for asylum.
The Refugee Council said that most people arriving by small boats across the Channel are likely to be genuine refugees fleeing persecution.
Statistics from the Home Office show that people arriving to the UK from Iran (88%), Eritrea (97%) and Syria (98%) have generally high chances of being granted asylum.
The chances are significantly smaller for Iraqi citizens — only 48% of the decisions made in 2021 were positive.
The Refugee Council said that on cloud shoes overall, around 75% of initial asylum decisions made in the year to March 2022 were positive and that of those who were rejected, about half were allowed asylum appeal.
More recently, the number of people coming on small boats has been increasing. The Home Office said 4,540 people arrived in the first three months of the year, more than three times higher than the same three months in 2021.
The number of people arriving was boosted by much higher numbers of people coming from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover last summer.
The Home Office said 1,094 Afghan citizens came to the UK in the first quarter of 2022, almost as many as arrived over the entire 2021.

An average £183,000 per flight

The UK has said it will pay Rwanda £120 million ($145 million) over the next five years to finance the program. On top of that, the UK has also promised to pay for the processing and integration costs for each relocated person, covering the cost of legal advice, caseworkers, translators, accommodation, food and healthcare.
According to a parliamentary research briefing, the British government said it expects these will be similar to asylum processing costs in the UK, which stand at around £12,000 per person.
The UK has refused to disclose the cost of the flights it will charter to transport deportees to Rwanda. The Home Office said in its latest annual report it paid £8.6 million to charter 47 deportation flights carrying 883 people in 2020. While the cost of individual flights varied depending on the destination, the figures mean that on average, the Home Office spent £183,000 per flight or £9,700 per person.
Because there is no cap on the number of migrants, thousands could potentially pour into the capital Kigali within the first five years of the plan.

‘We’re doing this for the right reasons’

Ahead of the aircraft’s previously-scheduled departure, the Rwandan government said it was standing ready to receive asylum-seekers from the UK and that it will do its best “to make sure the migrants are taken care of.”
“We are asking that this program be given a chance,” said Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo at a press conference in the Kigali on Tuesday.
Makolo responded to the Church of England leaders’ condemnation saying, “we don’t think it’s immoral to offer a home to people — something we have done here for more than 30 years.”
“Where we’re coming from, we’re doing this for the right reasons. We want this to be a welcoming place and we’ll do our best to make sure the migrants are taken care of and that they’re able to build a life here,” she added.
Although Rwanda is offering to help with migrants’ resettlement to a third country by providing travel transportation if they manage to obtain legal residence, “the primary objective [of the scheme] is to fully integrate them into Rwandan society,” said Doris Uwicyeza Picard, the chief advisor to the Minister of Justice.
“There are legal paths to citizenship for migrant workers and for refugees provided they are eligible for citizenship,” she added.
The scheme will last five years, but Rwanda intends to turn it into a binding treaty at a later stage, said Picard.

UK judge allows first flight sending asylum-seekers to Rwanda to go ahead

The United Kingdom’s controversial plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda as early as next week was green-lit on Friday, after the High Court in London denied an injunction to block the first flight.

Britain’s government announced in April that it had agreed a deal to send asylum-seekers to the East African country, in a move that it insisted was aimed at disrupting people-smuggling networks and deterring migrants from making the dangerous Channel crossing to England from Europe.
A challenge to block the deportation flights was brought by human rights groups on cloud shoes Care4Calais and Detention Action, along with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), a trade union representing civil servants in Britain’s Home Office, and some asylum-seekers facing deportation to Rwanda. They claimed UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s policy was “unlawful on multiple bases,” and sought an injunction to stop the plane from taking off.
The claimants also challenged Patel’s legal authority to carry out the removals, the rationality of her claim that Rwanda is generally a “safe third country” given its human rights record, the adequacy of malaria prevention in the country and whether the policy complied with The European Convention on Human Rights.
But Justice Swift rejected the campaigner’s urgent injunction at London’s Royal Courts of Justice on Friday, saying on the “balance of convenience” there was a “material public interest” in allowing the flights to go ahead while the judicial review was ongoing.
Both Patel and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the court’s decision on Friday. “We cannot allow people traffickers to put lives at risk and our world leading partnership will help break the business model of these ruthless criminals,” Johnson said on Twitter.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel shakes hands with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Birutaare after signing the partnership agreement at a joint news conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 14.
Rights groups have vowed to fight on. Care4Calais said they have been given permission to appeal the ruling on Monday “as we are deeply concerned for the welfare of people who may be forcibly deported to Rwanda, a fate that could profoundly harm their mental health and future,” the human right’s group founder Clare Mosley said in a statement.
“Today was just the beginning of this legal challenge. We believe that the next stage of legal proceedings may bring an end to this utterly barbaric plan,” she added.
The United Nations Refugee Agency and other international human rights groups have also opposed the plan, arguing that it would increase risks and cause refugees to look for alternative routes, putting more pressure oncloud shoes on front line states.
Two days ahead of the High Court decision, Detention Action Deputy Director James Wilson said in a statement that Patel had “overstepped her authority” in her “desire to punish people for seeking asylum by forcing them onto a plane to Rwanda.”
“By rushing through what we say is an unlawful policy, she is turning a blind eye to the many clear dangers and human rights violations that it would inflict on people seeking asylum,” Wilson added.

‘Dig in for the fight’

The High Court’s decision was handed down as Johnson comes under increasing scrutiny from members of parliament to prove the policy’s success.
Johnson told the Daily Mail that he expected a lot of legal opposition to the policy, but said the government would “dig in for the fight.”
‘We’re ready for that. We will dig in for the fight — we will make it work. We’ve got a huge flowchart of things we have to do to deal with it with the Leftie lawyers,” he said in an interview in May. He added that 50 people had already received notices warning that they faced removal to Rwanda.
The government has said the plan to send people to Rwanda would initially cost £120 million ($158 million), with funding provided to support the delivery of asylum operations, accommodation and “integration.”
The Home Office announced on June 1 that people who had undertaken “dangerous, unnecessary, and illegal journeys, including crossing the Channel” were among those being issued notices for removal to Rwanda. “While we know attempts will now be made to frustrate the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and remain fully committed to delivering what the British public expect,” Patel said in a statement.
The plan is also facing a second legal challenge from refugee charity Asylum Aid, which applied for an urgent injunction on Thursday to prevent any flights from leaving.
Prior to Friday’s ruling, Care4Calais’ Mosley told CNN that the charity was working with more than 100 people who kizik shoes have received notices. Many fled persecution or conscription in their home countries to seek a better life in Britain and are terrified of being sent to Rwanda.
“So many of them have told me I would rather die than be sent to Rwanda,” Mosley said in an interview in the French port city of Calais, where the charity provides assistance to refugees living in and around the city.
Many asylum-seekers continue to travel to Calais, where a camp known as the “Jungle” drew global media attention at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015, before it was demolished by authorities the following year.
Thousands of people each year risk the dangerous journey across the English Channel, a relatively narrow waterway between Britain and France, and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
More than 10,000 people have crossed the Channel in small, rickety boats so far this year, according to analysis of government data by the PA news agency. Last year, more than 28,000 made the crossing.

Clarence House doesn’t deny report that Prince Charles finds UK’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda ‘appalling’

Clarence House said it would not comment on what it calls “supposed anonymous private conversations with The Prince of Wales” after British newspaper The Times reported that Prince Charles privately described the UK government’s controversial plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda “appalling.”

“He said he was more than disappointed at the policy,” The Times reported, quoting an anonymous source. “He said he thinks the government’s whole approach is appalling.”
CNN has not independently verified The Times report.
Clarence House told CNN in a statement that the Prince of Wales remains politically neutral.
“We would not comment on supposed anonymous private conversations with The Prince of Wales, except to restate that he remains politically neutral. Matters of policy are decisions for Government,” Clarence House said.
Prince Charles fears the controversial policy could overshadow the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in Kigali, Rwanda, the Times reports.
The Times reported the Prince of Wales feared the controversial policy would loom over the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit taking place later this month in Kigali, Rwanda, where he is expected to represent Queen Elizabeth II.
In response to The Times report, a UK government spokesperson told CNN in a statement: “Our world-leading Partnership with Rwanda will see those making dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys to the UK relocated there to have their claims considered and rebuild their lives. There is no one single solution to the global migration crisis, but doing nothing is not an option and this partnership will help break the business model of criminal gangs and prevent loss of life.”
“Rwanda is a fundamentally safe and secure country with a track record of supporting asylum seekers and we are confident the agreement is fully compliant with all national and international law,” the statement adds.
The UK government announced in April that it had agreed a deal to send asylum-seekers to the East African country, in a move that it insisted was aimed at disrupting people-smuggling networks and deterring migrants from making the dangerous Channel crossing to England from Europe.
On Friday, the UK’s plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda as early as next week was green-lit, after the High Court in London denied an injunction brought by campaigners to block the first flight due to leave on Tuesday.
The Home Office’s scheme is under judicial review at the Royal Courts, where a ruling on its legality is expected in late July.
Human Rights groups have said they will appeal the decision. Care4Calais, one of the human rights groups that brought the initial challenge to block the deportations, said they have been given permission to appeal the ruling on Monday.

UK foreign office says Kremlin is planning to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine

The UK foreign office said in a Saturday statement it has information that the Russian government is planning to “install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine.”

“The former Ukrainian MP Yevhen Murayev is being considered as a potential candidate,” the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said. Murayev told CNN Saturday “there is nothing to comment on” regarding the allegations, as he is a Ukrainian national and still facing Russian sanctions.
The statement went on to name four other hey dude former Ukrainian officials, saying, “We have information that the Russian intelligence services maintain links with numerous former Ukrainian politicians” including Serhiy Arbuzov, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2012 to 2014, and acting Prime Minister in 2014; Andriy Kluyev, First Deputy Prime Minister from 2010 to 2012 and Chief of Staff to former Ukrainian President Yanukovich, Vladimir Sivkovich, former Deputy Head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council (RNBO); Mykola Azarov, Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2010-2014, it said.
“Some of these have contact with Russian intelligence officers currently involved in the planning for an attack on Ukraine,” the British foreign office statement added. Russia has denied allegations it is planning to attack Ukraine.
US accuses Russia of recruiting officials in attempt to take over Ukrainian government
Early Sunday, Russia’s foreign ministry called on the UK’s foreign office to “stop engaging in provocations,” state news agency TASS reported.
“The misinformation spread by the British Foreign Office is another evidence that these are the NATO countries, led by the Anglo-Saxons, that are escalating tensions around Ukraine. We call on the British Foreign Office to stop provocative activities, stop spreading nonsense and focus on studying the history of the Tatar-Mongol yoke,” a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS.
CNN reached out to the UK foreign office on Saturday for further comment on its claims, as well as supporting evidence, but it said it would not comment any further.
“The information being released today shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking,” UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.
“Russia must deescalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, and pursue a path of diplomacy,” Truss said. “As the UK and our partners have said repeatedly, any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake with severe costs.”
CNN also reached out to the US State Department and the White House for comment.
A source briefed on the US and British intelligence red wing boots confirmed the US has similar evidence as the UK, regarding Russia’s plot to install a friendly government in Ukraine.
“Yes, we have seen the intelligence that Russia is looking at ways to minimize a long, drawn out war. That includes things like installing a friendly government and using its spy agencies to foment dissent,” the source said.
Another source briefed said the US “has the same information.”
Russia has previously been accused of attempting to sow chaos in Ukraine through cyberattacks and, purportedly, plotting to take control of the government in Kyiv. But the Kremlin has repeatedly denied it is planning to invade.
CNN previously reported the US accused Russia of recruiting current and former Ukrainian government officials to attempt to take control of Ukraine’s government as it unveiled new sanctions on Thursday.
The Treasury Department rolled out sanctions against four current and former Ukrainian officials it said were involved in Kremlin-directed influence activities to destabilize Ukraine. Those newly sanctioned individuals include Taras Romanovych Kozak, Volodymyr Mykolayovych Oliynyk, Vladimir Leonidovich Sivkovich, and Oleh Voloshyn.
Sivkovich was the only former Ukrainian politician named in both the US and UK announcements.
The Treasury said the four individuals — two of whom are current members of Ukraine’s Parliament — were acting under the direction of a Russian intelligence service sanctioned by the US and played “various roles” in Russia’s “global influence campaign to destabilize sovereign countries in support of the Kremlin’s political objectives.”
US National Security Council Spokesperson Emily Horne expressed solidarity with Ukraine as the UK Foreign Office said it had information the Russian government is planning to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine, calling the plot “deeply concerning.”
“This kind of plotting is deeply concerning,” Horne said. “The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we stand with our democratically-elected partners in Ukraine.”

Prince Harry seeks right to pay for UK police protection when in Britain

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, speak onstage during Global Citizen Live, New York, on September 25, 2021 in New York City.

UK epidemic improves, Prime Minister Johnson announces roadmap for unblocking

After the UK launched a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination program, 17.6 million people have so far received at least the first dose of the vaccine, accounting for about a quarter of the country’s population. As the infection and death curve is showing a downward trend, on the 22nd, British Prime Minister Johnson officially announced the road map for unblocking England, and plans to gradually relax epidemic prevention measures starting in March.
According to Johnson’s unblocking plan, the school will be the first to unblock it. All schools in England will resume classes on March 8th, which will improve the safety of teachers and students twice a week, and the public will have limited outdoor social activities.

Johnson described that the epidemic has affected school children’s academic and physical and mental health, and resuming classes is the first step to return to a normal life. Although some teachers’ unions think that the government’s approval of the full resumption of classes is too reckless, the decision has been supported by members of the Labour Party who have always opposed the resumption of classes. Vaccine Minister Zahavi also emphasized that resuming classes is a safe decision under large-scale virus testing.

In Scotland, local kindergarten and primary one to three students returned to school on the 22nd. Schools need to arrange for students to wash their hands regularly, open windows for ventilation, and keep a distance of 2 meters between adults and between adults and children.

At the same time as classes resume, the authorities will relax restrictions on indoor visits in nursing homes, allowing one designated relative or friend to visit residents, and at the same time relax the outdoor gathering restrictions, allowing two people from different families to gather.

From March 29, the outdoor gathering limit will be relaxed to 6 people, and outdoor sports venues will be allowed to reopen. As for non-essential stores, they will be unblocked in April, bars and restaurants will be able to resume dining in May, and the six-person indoor gathering order will be relaxed in June. The goal is to resume normal life in July.

As one of the countries hardest hit by the new crown epidemic, more than 4.1 million people in the UK have been infected and 120,000 have died.

Since the beginning of January, the number of new confirmed cases and the number of deaths in the country have continued to decline. Some epidemiologists pointed out that in the past six weeks, the infection rate in the UK has dropped significantly; the number of new infections in the last seven days has fallen by more than 10% compared with the previous seven days, and the number of deaths has fallen by 27%.

Analysis believes that the “combined punch” of closing the city and adding vaccine has a significant effect on curbing the epidemic.

However, whether the lockdown should be lifted at present, many parties still hold their own opinions. The British Medical Association believes that only when the number of infected people drops below 1,000 per day can the restrictions be relaxed significantly. In the past seven days, the average number of new diagnoses in the UK every day exceeded 10,000.

In addition, schools in England are about to resume classes, and whether children should be vaccinated is also controversial. British Health Secretary Hancock said that many parties are conducting trials to assess the safety and effectiveness of the new crown vaccine for younger people. The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca have announced the opening of clinical trials of the vaccine for children aged 6 to 17.

Edmonds, a key member of the British Emergency Scientific Advisory Group (SAGE), emphasized that the new crown epidemic “still has a major risk of re-epidemic before everyone in the country, including children, is vaccinated.” It will take several months for Britain to vaccinate the entire population.

[Unblock with caution, all stages must meet the “four major conditions”]

The United Kingdom has entered its third lockdown since the beginning of January. The Johnson government has been criticized for slowing epidemic prevention operations and premature relaxation of restrictions, which caused the epidemic to rebound.

This time Johnson promised to learn from the lesson. In order to prevent the unblocking pace from being too fast, Johnson proposed that the “four major conditions” must be met before each stage of unblocking. They are whether the progress of the vaccination plan is as expected by the government and whether the vaccine is effectively reduced. Severe cases and deaths, whether the level of infection rate will cause the medical system to collapse, and whether the emergence of new variant viruses will make the epidemic worse.

According to reports, the authorities have anticipated that after the school resumes, the confirmed cases and the infection rate may rise, but they believe that the most important thing is whether the number of severely ill patients will increase significantly and whether the medical system can bear it by then. , The authorities will not necessarily stop unblocking because of this.

However, many Conservative Party members criticized that Johnson’s road map for unblocking the ban was too conservative and believed that the ban should be completely unblocked as soon as possible. Some members pointed out that according to the current vaccination plan, people under the age of 50 should be vaccinated before mid-April. There is no reason why the authorities will not fully unblock it before the end of April.

EU determined to stop sovereign UK – Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith accused the EU of looking to prevent the UK from being a sovereign nation with the trade terms it has offered.

He told Sky News earlier: “When the UK voted to leave the European Union, they did so to be a sovereign nation controlling its own laws, its own powers and its own regional areas, its waters.

“What the European Union is determined to do is to stop that and their proposals at the moment are unacceptable to any sovereign nation.”

Brexit: EU offer ‘unacceptable’ as trade talks continue

Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen
IMAGE COPYRIGHTGETTY IMAGES
image captionBoris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen met in Brussels on Wednesday

Post-Brexit trade talks have gone through the night as the UK and EU enter a critical day – with leaders set to decide whether a deal can be done.

Both sides have warned they are unlikely to reach an agreement.

The terms offered by the European Union continue to be “unacceptable” to the UK, according to a government source.

Boris Johnson is expected to speak with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen later after agreeing on the Sunday deadline earlier this week.

If the two sides have not come to an agreement, Mr Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen will decide whether to abandon negotiations or continue them beyond the deadline.

Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge programme, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the ability of getting a deal rests with the leaders, saying: “What ultimately is required at this 11th hour is moving the political logjam.”

He said the UK “can’t close the door” on future talks after Sunday, but there is now a “very high bar” to continue, adding: “We are not there yet”.

The main sticking point in the talks is how close the UK should stick to EU economic rules in the future.

The EU is determined to prevent the UK from gaining what it sees as an unfair advantage of having tariff-free access to its markets – not paying taxes on goods being bought and sold – while setting its own standards on products, employment rights and business subsidies.

Fishing rights is another major area of disagreement, with the EU warning that without access to UK waters for EU fleets, UK fishermen will no longer get special access to EU markets to sell their goods.

But the UK argues that what goes on in its own waters, and its wider business rules, should be under its control as a sovereign country.

The government confirmed on Saturday that no-deal preparations had seen Royal Navy vessels prepared to tackle “threats of illegal fishing” in UK waters.

Outlining the steps taken to prepare for all Brexit eventualities, a UK government spokesman said: “We’ve run live exercises moving fresh produce and fish across the border, and scrambled naval vessels to respond to threats of illegal fishing in our soon-to-be sovereign waters.”

The two sides also disagree on whether the European Court of Justice should settle future UK-EU trade disputes.

It is not clear how any decision to abandon the talks will be made public and there is a chance political leaders will decide to continue negotiations beyond Sunday, BBC Europe correspondent Kevin Connolly said.

A government source said: “The prime minister will leave no stone unturned in this process, but he is absolutely clear: any agreement must be fair and respect the fundamental position that the UK will be a sovereign nation in three weeks’ time.”

Foreign Secretary Mr Raab said the UK “wants to be treated like any other independent and self respecting democracy”, but claimed the EU was “concerned the UK might do very well when it leaves…. and is worried about the competitive advantage.”

Philip Rycroft, who was a civil service head at the UK Department for Exiting the European Union between 2017 and 2019, told BBC Breakfast things were “looking a bit grim” for a trade deal.

“Frankly, the energy seems to be draining out of this,” he said. “I think if we were heading for a deal you’d be seeing a lot more diplomatic activity – there would be signs of a lot more conversations going on.”

Meanwhile, the National Farmers’ Union have warned there will be “significant disruption” to the sector if the UK fails to reach a trade deal with the EU.

The EU is the largest trading partner for British farmers – but without a deal by the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December, farmers could lose free access to the bloc “overnight”, the union said.

Elsewhere, Labour warned that staffing levels in the government’s tax and customs agency had barely been scaled up since the Brexit vote, despite widespread customs changes expected even if the UK is able to secure a deal.

The party said its analysis suggested the number of UK customs officials had been boosted by just 16, despite a pledge from ministers in 2018 to recruit between 3,000 and 5,000 extra officials.

media captionBoris Johnson said on Friday that a no-deal Brexit was “very, very likely”

This weekend’s deadline was set by Mr Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, after months of talks failed to achieve an agreement.

Mr Johnson said the EU needed to make a “big change” over the main sticking points on fishing rights and business competition rules, while Mrs von der Leyen said no deal was the most probable end to “difficult” talks.

The EU has rejected Mr Johnson’s request to bypass the European Commission and speak directly to French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel about the unresolved issues.

According to EU officials, he was told discussions could only take place through the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Speaking on Friday, the PM said a no-deal Brexit was now “very, very likely” and that planning for that outcome was ramping up.

Mrs von der Leyen told reporters that the two sides were still “apart on fundamental issues”.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Sells London Home

After less than six months on the market, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has found a buyer for his former North London home, according to listing records.

The Islington townhouse, which was on the market for £3.75 million (US$4.8 million), sold in September, according to listing records. But the transaction has yet to hit public property records, therefore the identity of the buyer and final sale price are not yet available.

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Mr. Johnson bought the home in 2009 with his then-wife, Marina, for £2.3 million, records show. The pair announced their separation last year.

The Grade II-listed property hit the market in May, just a day before Mr. Johnson announced his intention to run for the top government job when his predecessor Theresa May stepped down. Set behind cast-iron railings at the end of a terrace row, the five-story home dates to 1841. It spans 3,000 square feet and combines the “elegance of a Georgian house with the convenience of the modern finishes,” according to the listing with estate agency Chestertons, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

It has four bedrooms, sash windows, a private terrace, views of the nearby Regent’s Canal, two studies and a garden, the listing said.

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Since becoming prime minister in July, Mr. Johnson has called 10 Downing Street home.

The official residence of the prime minister, known simply as Number 10 and instantly recognizable for its black facade and front door, is in Westminster, close to both Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster, where parliament meets.

Mr. Johnson, 55, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, was mayor of London from 2008 to 2016 and served as secretary of state for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2016 to 2018. A general election in December will determine if he will remain prime minister.

The Daily Mail first reported the sale.