Great Britain

Boris Johnson news – live: Donnez-moi un break, PM tells Macron, as UK downplays trade pact plan

'Donnez-moi un break,' Boris Johnson tells France over AUKUS submarine deal row

Boris Johnson has told Emmanuel Macron to “get a grip” and “donnez-moi un break” after France’s furious reaction to the UK’s defence pact with the US and Australia.

In undiplomatic franglais, the prime minister said: “I just think it’s time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break. Because this is fundamentally a great step forward for global security.”

Meanwhile, the UK has distanced itself from an “unprofessional” and “frankly embarrassing” plan to try and join a North American trade pact just 24 hours after considering it.

Canadian and Mexican officials were left upset after the UK briefed that it wants to join the tripartite deal between the US and the two countries (USMCA), blindsiding them just as they prepare for fresh bilateral talks with London.

The briefing from a senior UK government figure on Tuesday, during a trip to the US, caught officials off guard amid sensitive preparations for renegotiating bilateral deals, according to people familiar with the talks on all sides of the table.

A source said: “It’s just unprofessional, if I were to say it straight.

“On one side, it’s laughable that the UK would try and join USMCA, on another, of course we have to weigh such statements in light of serious talks with Britain and work out if there’s anything behind it.”


Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live UK politics coverage from Westminster and further afield.


Biden dashes hopes of a quick UK-US trade deal

Joe Biden has not committed to a post-Brexit free trade agreement with the UK, dashing British ministers hopes for a quick deal.

Instead, he said he would discuss trade “a little bit” with Boris Johnson at a meeting on Tuesday and that the issue would have to be “worked through”.

Mr Johnson had earlier admitted that a deal was not a priority for the US, as the Biden administration had “a lot of fish to fry”.

President’s warning to Boris Johnson not to allow Brexit to result in closed border in Ireland


World should ‘grow up’ and tackle climate change, says PM

The Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow must a “turning point for humanity”, Boris Johnson will tell world leaders on Wednesday.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, the British prime minister will say that the world needs “to grow up” to the scale of the climate crisis”.

“The world – this precious blue sphere with its eggshell crust and wisp of an atmosphere – is not some indestructible toy, some bouncy plastic romper room against which we can hurl ourselves to our heart’s content.

“Daily, weekly, we are doing such irreversible damage that long before a million years are up we will have made this beautiful planet effectively uninhabitable – not just for us but for many other species.”

Glasgow summit must be ‘turning point for humanity’, PM tells United Nations


UK will not put ‘timescales’ on US trade agreement, says Eustice

The UK will not put “timescales” on reaching a free trade agreement with the US, a cabinet minister has said.

Speaking to Sky News, environment secretary George Eustice admitted a deal was not a “a priority” for the White House.

“We still very much hope to be able to put together an agreement with the United States,” he said.

“We are not putting timescales on it.”


Truss to push Iran to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after almost 2,000 days of imprisonment

Foreign secretary Liz Truss will push Iran to free Nazinin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other British detainees at a meeting in New York.

The latest push for a diplomatic solution comes a day ahead of Nazinin’s 2000th day of imprisonment.

To mark the day, her husband Richard Ratcliffe will stand outside Parliament on Thursday on top of a giant snakes and ladders board.

He said his family remains “caught in a game between governments”, adding that there have been five foreign secretaries since she was detained.

“We live the ups and downs of our lives, as they roll their dice, and make their diplomatic moves,” he said.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has more details:

First face-to-face meeting with Tehran’s foreign minister since 2018


UK must not threaten peace in Ireland, says Biden

Joe Biden might not have been forthcoming about a potential UK trade deal, but he was more assertive about Brexit.

Speaking on Tuesday, the US president said the US had made a “major bipartisan effort” to establish peace in Ireland.

“And I would not at all like to see, nor I might add would many of my Republican colleagues like to see, a change in the Irish accords, the end result having a closed border in Ireland,” he said.


Biden ‘wrong’ over NI Brexit dispute, says minister

Joe Biden is “wrong” to be worried about Britain and the EU’s disagreement over Northern Ireland’s Brexit trade deal, a minister has said.

The UK government has blames trade friction between Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the protocol it signed with the EU.

Referring to President Biden, environment secretary George Eustice told Sky News: “He is probably at the moment just reading the headlines, reading what the EU is saying, reading what Ireland might be saying, which is that they would like the Northern Ireland Protocol to work in the way the EU envisage.

Mr Eustice added that the issue was “very complicated”, suggesting Mr Biden does not “fully appreciate all of that”.


What does Starmer stand to gain from Labour leadership election change?

Keir Starmer has sparked a row within Labour over plans to change how the party elects its leader.

He wants to replace the one-member-one-vote approach with the “electoral college” system, which critics say puts more power in the hands of Labour MPs.

But what does the Labour leader stand to gain from the move? Sean O’Grady takes a look:

Starmer’s push to scrap ‘one member, one vote’ for Labour leadership elections and return power to MPs has raised a few eyebrows. Sean O’Grady considers what the incumbent has to gain


UK government should copy Biden’s economic strategy, says think tank

Boris Johnson should boost the economy by investing £47 billion in a similar move to the Biden administration, a think tank has suggested.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said the policy would help full employment levels and drive up earnings.

Carys Roberts, the organisation’s executive director, said “significant economic stimulus and long-term investment” should be prioritised.

“The UK suffers from concentrations and imbalances of power that are both a cause of some of our economy’s problems, and a barrier to solving them.

“The pandemic must mark the end of this era of growing inequality and the beginning of a new one, in which sharing opportunity across people and places is a core objective of economic and social policy.”


Ministers pursue injunction against environmental group over motorway demonstrations

The government has vowed to take legal action against a group of environmental activists whose protests have shut the M25 down multiple times in recent days.

Ministers seek an injunction which would give the police stronger powers to pre-emptively block these demonstrations.

Home secretary Priti Patel said: “We will not tolerate lives being put at risk.

“Those who continue to do so risk imprisonment.”

In a column for the Daily Mail, she and her ministerial colleague Grant Shapps condemned the “guerrilla tactics” of Insulate Britain.

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