Tag Archives: brexit transition period

Covid-19 and Brexit: a lethal combination

Deaths from coronavirus dominate the news, but behind the headlines other sources of mortality are taking their toll.

This has been the case from shortly after the start of the lockdown, but is becoming more evident. If we look for instance at the figures for week ending 3rd April, there were 3475 deaths from covid-19 in England and Wales, but a total of 6082 excess deaths from all causes, compared to the five year average for that week. Contributory causes to these excess deaths probably include delayed cancer and stroke treatments, failure to seek necessary treatment for fear of attending hospital, …

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5 June 2020 – today’s press releases (part 1)

  • Lib Dems: Ministers must commit now to any recommendations from inequalities inquiry
  • ONS figures highlight the devastating COVID-19 care home crisis
  • Lib Dems call for legally binding targets to restore natural world
  • Lib Dems: Extend Brexit transition now

Lib Dems: Ministers must commit now to any recommendations from inequalities inquiry

Responding to the announcement that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission will lead an inquiry into the racial inequalities exposed by the coronavirus outbreak, Liberal Democrat Equalities Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

The consequences of the coronavirus crisis are exacerbated for some communities by the existing inequalities in our society. The announcement that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission will investigate the disproportionate impact the virus has had on people from different ethnic minorities is particularly welcome considering Public Health England’s report earlier this week offered no proposed Government action.

The EHRC’s Inquiry will set out clear recommendations and Ministers must commit now to following them. The Liberal Democrats want to see a government-wide plan to tackle BAME inequalities, with a review by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to determine whether its funding is adequate. Once the Inquiry has been carried out, the Government should set this in motion with their recommendations.

Too many individuals have lost their lives to coronavirus, and we know that a disproportionate number of those we have tragically lost are from BAME communities. It is clear that not only does the Government need to do more to tackle the spread of the virus, but it also needs to do more to tackle the injustice and inequality in our society.

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27 May 2020 – today’s press releases

Good evening, everyone. Please accept my apologies for the absence of this regular feature for a few days. To be honest, I’ve taken a few days off to attempt to regain my mojo and, whilst it hasn’t been wholly successful, I am at least back. Let’s pick up with today’s releases, and I’ll catch up the past five days as we go along…

  • High time for Govt to extend Brexit transition period
  • PM must instruct Home Sec to lift no recourse to public funds rule for coronavirus crisis
  • Govt strategy must also support people in isolation

High time for Govt to extend Brexit transition

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21 May 2020 – today’s press releases (part 2)

  • 24,320 EU nationals are stuck in limbo
  • Govt warned Councils are struggling to cope with homelessness
  • Decrease in business turnover demands action with extended transition period
  • PM should face London Assembly after IOPC report

24,320 EU nationals are stuck in limbo

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their calls for EU citizens to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK, as new official figures show over 24,000 in Wales have not been given the right to remain.

Of the 57,140 EU nationals in Wales who have applied for permanent residency, only 32,370 have been granted settled status.

5,560 EU nationals in Wales have applied …

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A longer read for the weekend: The case for an extension to the Brexit transition period

It’s hard to believe that something which had dominated our lives for so long – Brexit – has almost completely fallen off the radar.

After the shock of the December General Election, and the brutality of losing our jobs and heading home from Brussels in January, we former MEPs were geared up for the long haul of holding the government to account as it ground its way through tortuous post Brexit trade negotiations with the EU.

And when Boris Johnson spoke of ‘healing the rift’ between leavers and remainers, it seemed an impossible idea. 

Little did any of us think a global pandemic would sweep across the globe and make those two words almost redundant within weeks. We are now a people divided between frontline workers and those who stay at home, the vulnerable and those less at risk, the sick and the well.

But while many people have far more urgent things to concentrate on, it is vital that some of us don’t take our eyes off what’s happening with Brexit. The transition clock is ticking loudly and it’s only a few weeks until the UK has to decide whether it will ask for an extension to the transition period that is due to end on December 31. 

Senior Europeans say that while the case for an extension is overwhelming, there is little appetite for it on the UK side. And while the Government might be tempted to use COVID-19 to camouflage the disaster of a crash out from the single market and customs union at the end of the year, the costs will be high – and less affordable than ever. 

This government, picked for its adherence to the Brexit mantra rather than its ability to steer us out of the COVID-19 crisis, still seems hell bent on crashing out, rather than looking at the changed landscape we now find ourselves in and accepting that not only we, but other governments too, have other things to think about.

We are so far away from reaching an agreement with the EU that it is fantasy to assume it is now possible. The timeline was extremely tight to begin with, but after talks stalled due to illness and isolation, the prospect of a deal has become even less likely.

And the UK’s refusal to make their negotiating mandate public is infuriating EU capitals. They don’t even know what the UK side is aiming for.

“The problems are immense: the British texts, which are not made public, don’t cover a number of key priorities. Nothing substantial on a level playing field, no text whatsoever on fisheries so far, no recognition of the role of ECJ or ECHR, no commitments regarding climate change, no certainty in the protection of data… The Political declaration is forgotten,” said one senior European who is well aware of what’s happening in the negotiations. 

The source said there was nothing concrete so far on how the UK sees its relationship with EU security or defence policies but by contrast they are making huge demands about access to European data, with no strings attached. 

“More generally, there is an aggressive tone which hurts and doesn’t help. There are many reasons why the talks are only talks, and not proper negotiations. The risk of a no deal is serious and obviously a scenario which has some traction in London.” 

During a remote meeting of the UK-EU Friendship Group set up by MEPs before the UK contingent headed home, Polish MEP Radek Sikorski (EPP) said: “We should all prepare ourselves for a super hard Brexit at the end of this year.”

And French MEP Nathalie Loiseau (Renew Europe), said: “The pace of negotiations is pretty slow. There’s very little progress. We ask for no posturing ideology, but for care for individuals and businesses who will be affected by this.”

The feeling in Brussels is that the UK still wants an agreement with all the benefits, but with minimal obligations. Their language is couched in ideology and hubris. Never mind the details of what being a ‘third country’ means in reality, fulfilling an election promise still seems far more important – regardless of the fact that whole world order has fundamentally changed. 

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