Brexit latest: US trade deal panic as Biden takes bitter swipe at UK – ‘Good luck Boris’

Joe Biden discusses his Irish ancestry

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Joe Biden, who took office earlier this year, has always been critical of Brexit and regularly references his Irish heritage to express frustration at the decision to leave the bloc. During his first press conference as US President, he again referred to his Irish ancestry when asked about migrants at the US-Mexico border. He told reporters: “When my great grandfather got on a coffin ship in the Irish sea, the expectation was he going to live long enough to get to the United States of America.

“They left because of what the Brits had been doing.

“They were in real, real trouble. They didn’t want to leave but they had no choice.

“I can’t guarantee we’re going to solve everything, but I can guarantee we can make everything better.”

The latest swipe from Mr Biden saw several people take to Twitter to question the UK’s chances of striking a trade deal with the US, with one tweeting: “How’s that trade deal going, Johnson?”

Another wrote: “I don’t think this bodes well for Boris in his Trade Negotiation with the US. Best of luck.”

Following his US election victory last November over Donald Trump, a clip of Mr Biden emerged of him knocking back an interview with the BBC, citing his Irish heritage.

BBC’s New York correspondent Nick Bryant could be heard asking: “Mr. Biden, a quick word for the BBC.”

The US President had replied: “The BBC?” I’m Irish.”

Nigel Farage, a close friend of Mr Trump, launched a scathing attack in response to this, tweeting: “As you can see from this clip, Biden hates the UK.

“The Conservatives had four years to do a trade deal with the USA and pro-UK President, and they failed.

“There is no chance now.”

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4:55am update: ‘EU have been storing vaccines!’ Claire Fox slams EU ‘high level of vaccine scepticism’

Claire Fox hits out ‘the EU have been storing vaccines!’ and not giving it to their own people, saying the bloc has caused ‘high level of vaccine scepticism’.

In her fierce critique of the bloc the Brexiteer said: “Different countries in the EU have been storing vaccines and not giving them to their own people.”

She added how the European Union has frightened the general public in member states over its misleading comments over the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The former MEP said this behaviour has led to “a high level of vaccine scepticism in many countries in the EU.”

3:335am update: Norway continues AstraZeneca snub with jab on hold for three more weeks

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) said on Friday they will delay making a decision on whether to resume the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine until April 15.

On March 11, authorities suspended the rollout of the vaccine after a small number of younger inoculated people were hospitalised for a combination of blood clots, bleeding and a low count of platelets, some of whom later died.

Sara Viksmoen Watle, senior physician at FHI, told Reuters: “We still need more information and more knowledge to reach a conclusion/

“Now we have more of an explanation for why the patients got these symptoms … But we still do not know if it is caused by the vaccine. And if it is caused by the vaccine, why?”

The MHRA and the EMA have both stated there is no evidence the AstraZeneca vaccine causes blood clots after a “thorough and careful review”.

1:45am update: France accuses UK of ‘blackmail’ over coronavirus vaccine row 

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has accused the UK of “blackmail” in its dealings with the EU over coronavirus vaccines.

He told France Info radio: “The United Kingdom has taken great pride in vaccinating well with the first dose except they have a problem with the second dose. 

“You are vaccinated when you have had both doses. Today there are as many people vaccinated with both in France as the United Kingdom.

Data compiled by AFP indicates Britain has administered two vaccine doses to 4.1 percent of its population against 3.9 percent overall in France, despite the UK administering 29,316,130 first doses.

The minister then added: “You can’t be playing like this, a bit of blackmail, just because you hurried to get people vaccinated with a first shot, and now you’re a bit handicapped because you don’t have the second one.”

12:30am update: Brexit Britain ready to seal vaccine deal with EU after AstraZeneca row

Downing Street sources have said Britain is close to strking a deal with the EU on coronavirus vaccines, with an announcement set to arrive as early as this weekend.

In exchange for the EU removing its threat to ban the export of Pfizer-BioNTech to the UK, Britain will forgo some long-term supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that had been due to be exported from Holland according to the Times.

On Wednesday the two sides issued a joint statement saying they were working to “ensure a reciprocally beneficial relationship between the UK and EU on COVID-19”. 

11pm update: Liam Neeson fears Ireland will be biggest loser from Brexit: ‘We’re still worried’

Liam Neeson claimed he was “still worried about Brexit” and the ramifications it could have for not just Northern Ireland but also the Republic of Ireland.

Neeson raised concern about “the dissolution of the middle class” in the US and felt it was “the same in Britain too”.

He claimed to have read about the socio-economic group being blended into the working class “every day” before going onto Brexit.

Neeson said: “Of course, we’re all still worried about Brexit and what’s going to happen.”

He reiterated that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union had an effect on everyone. 

10:10 update: Time to go! Brexiteer urges ‘rabbit in headlights’ Boris to QUIT as PM in damning analysis

Boris Johnson is like a “rabbit in the headlights” and needs to quit as UK Prime Minister to allow a new leader to get the country back on track, a leading Brexiteer has said.

Ben Habib claimed Mr Johnson is lurching from blunder to blunder, lacks vision and was unable to plan effectively in a scathing takedown of his performance since becoming PM at the end of 2019, when he replaced Theresa May. 

The former Brexit Party MEP, who was interviewed on the subject on Talk Radio this morning, subsequently told “I have, for some time, been pondering the Prime Minister’s position.

“My doubts began last year when it became plain he had made no preparations for a no-deal outcome with the EU, his threat to walk away from negotiations was false and he would sign the UK into a lousy deal.

“As sure as night follows day, that is what he has done, including leaving part of the UK behind and partitioning the country – a first for any country in history that has not just been defeated in war.”

Dylan Donnelly takes over from James Bickerton

9.11pm update: ‘Respect our sovereignty!’ Furious Polish MEP demands EU stop meddling in internal affairs

Eurocrats have been ordered to back off and stop trying to interfere in the internal affairs of Poland and Hungary – with a Polish MP warning continued meddling would pose a threat to the EU’s very survival.

Brussels has been locked in an ongoing dispute with both countries over controversial legal reforms which the EU claims endanger judicial independence.

The bloc has consequently launched proceedings in accordance with Article 7 of the EU’s constitution, which could theoretically see both sides lose their European Council voting rights unless they back down.

7.59pm update: Boris holds crunch phone call with Biden after US President stepped in to EU vaccine row

Boris Johnson has spoken with US President Joe Biden, Downing Street has confirmed, with the global fight against coronavirus and the vaccine rollout programme top of the agenda.

And significantly given Mr Biden’s recent remarks, Mr Johnson also took the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister spoke to President Joe Biden this afternoon. 

“The leaders discussed the fight against coronavirus and updated each other on their countries’ vaccine rollouts.”

7.00pm update: Brexit agreement reached! UK and EU make huge leap on future financial services deal

Brexit Britain and the European Union have taken their first steps towards an agreement on financial services, as both sides agreed a new forum to discuss market regulation.

Brexit Britain fully cut ties with the European Union at the end of last year, with a deal between the UK and Brussels clinched on Christmas Eve.

But, a deal on financial services was largely absent from the trade agreement.

The UK and EU have now taken their first steps to cooperate on the future relationship the City of London will have with the bloc.

5.50pm update: IDS details EU punishment plot against UK as Brussels ‘scrambles for vaccine scapegoat’

Sir Iain Duncan Smith has warned that the EU will come back with another plot to punish the UK over vaccines as Brussels “scrambles to pick a scapegoat” to blame for its vaccination rollout shambles.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith declared that the EU “blinked first” in its vaccine war threat with the UK.

Speaking with Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO, the former Conservative party leader also warned that the EU will “come back at us again and again” in its attempt to punish the UK over vaccines.

He said that the European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, was coming under fire from member state leaders and it was “trying to pick a scapegoat and this time it was the UK”.

4.36pm update: AstraZeneca export row explodes as Brussels vows to ensure ‘everything stays in Europe’

Brussels has risked further escalation in the global vaccines war after singling out AstraZeneca for its ban on exports.

Top eurocrat Thierry Breton warned the Anglo-Swedish firm it risked falling foul of the bloc’s new export curbs unless it delivers more doses to member states.

Brussels is furious with the pharmaceutical giant after it repeatedly slashed the number of jabs it will ship to the EU due to production hiccups.

Mr Breton said: “Of course, AstraZeneca has been an issue…We had a problem with this company.”

3.21pm update: Don’t test us! Furious France loses it on vaccines – warns UK it will not be ‘blackmailed’

Brussels has risked further escalation in the global vaccines war after singling out AstraZeneca for its ban on exports.

Risking a further escalation in tensions, its foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said our mass immunisation drive is bound to hit by “problems” because we don’t have enough doses stored up.

He suggested Downing Street will have to come begging for shipments from Europe to “fully vaccinate” its population after prioritising delivering first doses.

But British officials dismissed the Frenchman’s antagonistic attack on our jabs scheme, insisting Britons will not miss out on their second doses.

James Bickerton takes over live reporting from Paul Withers

1.03pm update: Brexit POLL: Should UK pull out of US trade deal talks after Joe Biden’s latest swipe?

THE chances of Brexit Britain securing a trade deal with the US have been dealt a hammer blow after President Joe Biden took another major swipe at the UK. now asks if Boris Johnson should pull out of talks with Washington?

Mr Biden took over at the White House in January after defeating Donald Trump in one of the most anticipated and controversial US presidential elections in political history.

Republican Mr Trump had a fractured relationship with the European Union and continued to speak in favour of Brexit and the rising possibility of a lucrative trade deal between the US and UK.

In contrast, during the lead up to the US presidential election and since taking the White House hot seat, Mr Biden has bemoaned Britain’s departure from the EU while regularly referencing his Irish heritage.

During his first press conference as US President, when asked about migrants at the US-Mexico border, Mr Biden took another huge swipe at the UK.

EU ‘can’t stand Brexit’ says commentator

12pm update: Britons hit out after Eurostar begs UK for assistance – ‘Tough, not our problem!’

The French have come under fire for requesting a cash injection to salvage the Eurostar, as furious Britons warned it’s “not our job to find the money”, especially given the manner in which Europe has treated the UK in recent week.

Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, France’ transport minister, has urged the French government to help the international rail service – and has also urged the UK government to step up. The train company, which links London to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam, is facing an impending financial disaster and is desperately seeking a huge financial boost to save itself.

Eurostar is 55 percent owned by the French state railway SNCF, 40 percent by infrastructure funds CDPQ and Hermes, and five percent by Belgian railway firm SNCB.

Furious readers said British taxpayers should not be expected to cough up in the middle of the Covid crisis to save the Eurostar.

In comments, one wrote: “Not our job to find the money!”

A second said: “If the UK Government give aid in any way or form to Eurostar, then it will show all what a bunch of fools we have in Government…French owned, the French pay…simple.”

11.30am update: Andrew Neil leaves Rejoiner Lord Adonis flailing after confronting him with his own tweet

Andrew Neil has skewered Lord Adonis over a previous tweet in which the fervent europhile wrongly predicted the UK’s vaccine rollout would be a “fiasco”.

The former BBC journalist, widely regarded as Britain’s toughest interviewer, confronted the Labour peer with his own tweet during a grilling on Spectator TV. A squirming Lord Adonis attempted to deny he had said it, before being forced to admit Kate Bingham, chair of the UK vaccine taskforce, had “done a good job”.

Mr Neil said to Lord Adonis: “You said that the British vaccine rollout would ‘lead to billions of corrupt contracts’ and the supply and distribution would be a ‘fiasco’.”

The Labour peer, who is campaigning for the UK to rejoin the EU, replied: “No, that’s not correct. I haven’t said that.”

Mr Neil said: “Well it is, I’ve got the tweet here.

10am update: Boris Johnson’s ‘Festival of Brexit’ under fire – but Blair’s Dome cost SIX times more

Boris Johnson is facing criticism for asking the taxpayers to fork out £120m for the “Festival of Brexit” – but the cost of the project is almost seven times less than what Tony Blair spent on a similar event.

A celebratory festival to take place after Britain’s recent departure from the EU will go ahead next year.

The £120million event is currently titled Festival UK 2022 with a final name expected to be confirmed in the following months.

It was announced during Theresa May’s time as Prime Minister, and is now backed by Boris Johnson’s Government.

The festival appears to remain a divisive one, though, as some have balked at the cost, and campaigners claim the money would be better spent helping the UK recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Lib Dem MP Jamie Stone, the party’s spokesman for digital, culture, media and sport, said: “Britain’s culture calamity is real thanks to Brexit, yet the taxpayer is being asked to cough up £120million for bread and circuses.”

The cost of the event appears to be almost seven times smaller than what former Prime Minister Tony Blair spent on a similar project, though.

9.10am update: UK car output plummeted 14 percent in February

British car production slumped to its lowest February level in 11 years following a 14 percent drop as lockdown measures, global supply chain problems and new customs processes hit the industry, a trade body said on Friday.

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show a total of 105,008 cars were produced in Britain last month

The current Covid lockdown means dealerships in England will not reopen to the public until at least April 12, whilst a shortage of semi-conductors and Brexit deal rule changes have impacted businesses.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “These figures are yet more evidence of how badly coronavirus has hit UK car production.

“The UK is not isolated from global issues and our automotive industry still needs a stable and secure international market in order to prosper.”

8.16am update: Brexit chaos – British expats in Italy facing massive wealth tax bill after rule change

British expats living in Italy face being slapped with a huge wealth tax bill under new post-Brexit rules.

Under Italian tax law, residents must pay a 0.76pc annual levy on the value of overseas properties.

The Italian tax authority previously calculated these bills using the UK’s old council tax system, which uses property valuations dating back to the early 1990s.

But since leaving the EU, the annual wealth tax will now be based on the properties’ modern-day market value.

This means people could face paying thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds on properties that have shot up in value over the past 30 years.

Alessia Paoletto of advice firm Withers, told the Telegraph: “These rules have been in place for a number of years but they are changing because Britain is no longer part of the EU.

“We hope there may be some reliefs against it as this is going to affect a lot of people, but right now it is happening so people will have to watch this space.”

7.50am update: Biden takes swipe at UK doubts increase over US trade deal

A possible trade deal between the UK and US has been thrown into further doubt after President Joe Biden took a bitter swipe at Britain.

Mr Biden regularly references his Irish heritage to express frustration at the decision to leave the bloc.

During his first press conference as US President, he again referred to his Irish ancestry when asked about migrants at the US-Mexico border.

He said: “When my great grandfather got on a coffin ship in the Irish sea, the expectation was he going to live long enough to get to the United States of America.

“They left because of what the Brits had been doing.

“They were in real, real trouble. They didn’t want to leave but they had no choice.

“I can’t guarantee we’re going to solve everything, but I can guarantee we can make everything better.”

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