Brexit news live: Latest updates as Boris Johnson branded ‘liar’

Brexit news live: Latest updates as Boris Johnson branded ‘liar’

Today’s daily politics briefing

The former prime minister told CNN that the issues seen in recent months are not merely “teething problems”, warning that “bureaucracy” was the inevitable result of leaving the EU’s single market. 

“I hope they [the government] can tackle as many of these problems as possible but, ultimately, some of them are because we chose to leave the single market and become a third country,” he said.

Mr Cameron also weighed in on the subject of corporation tax, ahead of next week’s Budget. The former prime minister said it “wouldn’t make any sense at all” to raise this rate, given the current state of the economy.

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson has been branded an “unrepentant and inveterate liar” by a former French ambassador to the UK.

In her new book, Sylvie Bermann, France’s top representative in London during the EU referendum, said the prime minister uses “lies to embellish reality, as a game and as instrument of power”.


DUP meets loyalist paramilitaries amid anger at Northern Ireland Protocol

DUP leader Arlene Foster has met with a representative group for loyalist paramilitaries over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

It comes amid anger among loyalists at new checks on goods arriving at ports, with claims an economic wedge has been driven between the region and the rest of the UK which undermines the Union.

Graffiti has appeared across Northern Ireland expressing opposition to a border in the Irish Sea.

Ms Foster, along with her party’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds and East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson, discussed opposition to the protocol with the Loyalist Communities Council.

It represents loyalists groups including the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando.

A party spokesman said afterwards: “We listened to the views expressed and the need for political and constitutional methods to safeguard the United Kingdom single market and ensure there is an unfettered flow of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

Samuel Osborne25 February 2021 16:19


Salmond to appear before inquiry on Friday

Alex Salmond, the former first minister of Scotland, will appear on Friday before an inquiry into the Scottish government’s mishandling of harrassment complaints made against him.

Earlier this week, he refused to attend a committee session because some of the evidence he wanted to give was redacted. But it appears he has had a change of heart.

The evidence session will start at 12.30pm and could last as much as 4 hours.

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond


Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 15:58


Johnson not a ‘populist’, Downing Street claims

Downing Street has rejected the suggestion that Boris Johnson is a “populist”, after two former ministers said the Conservative Party had drifted away from its roots.

Former chancellor Philip Hammond said this week that the prime minister was in charge of a “populist government” which courted short-term popularity, while former home secretary Amber Rudd said the party no longer welcomed pro-Europeans.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 15:43


Council to urge Home Office to close asylum centre at barracks

The local council which covers a controversial asylum holding centre will write to the Home Office demanding its closure.

Napier Barracks has been used to house asylum seekers since last year, even though Public Health England (PHE) warned the accommodation was “not suitable” for use.

In the last few months, around 200 people housed in the widely criticised barracks have tested positive for coronavirus.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council voted in favour of a motion against the site, which councillors described as “not fit for purpose”.

After meeting Justin Welby, the Tory council leader David Monk said: “The archbishop is of the same opinion as us, that it’s not suitable.”

Connor McConville, the Labour councillor who brought the motion, said: “I believe the decision to use the barracks in this manner has caused a breakdown in cohesion in our community. It’s not fit for purpose and should be closed.”

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 15:26


New committee replaces No 10’s ‘failed’ Union unit

A new cabinet committee has replaced the government’s Union unit, a minister has said.

The previous unit was disbanded after two successive bosses – Luke Graham, then Oliver Lewis – left their positions in as many weeks.

Alister Jack, the Scotland secretary, said the change was “good news” for the Union, adding that the new ministerial cabinet committee includes the prime minister and the chancellor.

SNP MP Kirsten Oswald described the moved as “utterly humiliating for Boris Johnson”.

“The only thing his failed Union unit has delivered has been a sacking, a resignation and now its reported collapse within a matter of weeks,” she added.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 15:10


Cat brings Mr Pidgeon a pigeon during Stormont Zoom call

Feathers flew in a Stormont committee meeting this week, but not because of any hard-fought political dispute or personal falling-out, Jon Sharman reports.

A moment of levity came when a man called Colin Pidgeon was brought a live pigeon by his cat, which he managed to rescue and return to safety.

“You kept your composure the whole way through that – amazing,” said deputy committee chair Paul Frew.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 14:48


House of Lords Speaker to step down early to campaign on HIV/Aids and LGBT+ rights

Lord Fowler, the Speaker of the House of Lords, will step down early in order to campaign on HIV/Aids and LGBT+ rights.

The peer, 83, who served in Thatcher’s cabinet as health secretary, was due to leave his post in September. However, he will now return to the backbenches in April.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 14:28


Scottish government accused of ‘cover up’ by Tory MSP

Ruth Davidson, the Conservative leader at Holyrood, has accused the Scottish government of being involved in a “cover up” over the censoring of Alex Salmond’s evidence in an ongoing inquiry.

The politician claimed the parts which were redacted “are exactly the parts that expose the first minister” in her government’s mishandling of sexual harrassment complaints made against Mr Salmond.

“To the public this looks like a cover up, when the exact evidence that’s being redacted is the most damaging to her personally,” the Tory MSP said.

Ms Sturgeon has denied that politics was behind the Crown Office’s decision to censor part of Mr Salmond’s evidence, adding that anyone who thought otherwise was “signing up to a dangerous and quite deluded conspiracy theory”.


Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 14:09


Exporters paying price for PM’s hard Brexit, says Cameron

Businesses affected by red tape at the UK’s border are paying the price for Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit, David Cameron has said.

The former prime minister told CNN that the issues seen in recent months are not merely “teething problems”, warning that “bureaucracy” was the inevitable result of leaving the EU’s single market.

“I hope they can tackle as many of these problems as possible but, ultimately, some of them are because we chose to leave the single market and become a third country,” he said.

Mr Cameron also weighed in on the subject of corporation tax, saying it “wouldn’t make any sense at all” to raise it in the current economic conditions.

Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has the details:

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 13:52


Corbyn calls homelessness crisis ‘a scandal’

 Jeremy Corbyn has said it is “a scandal” that there is rough sleeping in this country.

The former Labour leader told MPs in the Commons: “Last year, 2020 saw the deaths of 976 rough sleepers on the streets of this country – that is a scandal, as indeed any rough sleeping is a scandal.”

The Islington North MP asked the housing secretary Robert Jenrick whether the government would address the situation by building more council houses.

Robert Jenrick said the government was “very committed” to building more homes, and had taken steps to provide cheaper housing through the Affordable Homes Programme.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 13:37

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