Blog: Boris Johnson news – live: PM says world must ‘move together’ to get vaccines out at first virtual G7 meeting – The Independent

EU to allow data to continue to flow to UK

Boris Johnson has called on G7 members to “make sure the whole world is vaccinated” and ensure that all countries “move together” out of the pandemic during the virtual summit’s first meeting.

The prime minister hosted the summit of the group of rich industrialised countries, which includes the US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the EU. He also called on them to join together in focusing on the need for action to stem global warming.

The meeting also heard Mr Johnson promising to share the UK’s surplus vaccine doses to poorer nations and the European Commission doubling its contribution to the World Health Organisation’s Covax programme to 1 billion euros.

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Inside Politics newsletter

The latest news on Brexit, politics and beyond direct to your inbox every weekday

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Hello and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of UK politics today.

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 07:56

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David Frost role ‘shows Brexit isn’t over’, former diplomat says

The appointment of the UK’s chief EU negotiator as a Cabinet minister shows that Brexit talks are not over, with an “ongoing and permanent negotiation” likely, a former diplomat has warned.

Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK’s permanent representative to the EU from 2013 until 2017, described David Frost’s new role as a “recognition” that talks with the EU would continue following the end of the transition period.

Our policy correspondent, Jon Stone, has the full story below:

Ivan Rogers warns Brexit talks have become ‘permanent’

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 08:07

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Hauliers have become own customs agents due to shortages, MSPs told

Brexit has forced hauliers to become “their own customs agents” due to shortages of qualified officers, MSPs have been told.

Martin Reid, the Scotland and Northern Ireland director for the Road Haulage Association (RHA), said his members had started to recruit and train administrative staff due a lack of customs officers to help with exports.

“There’s a lack of qualified customs agents, something that the government deny,” Mr Reid told the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee at Holyrood.

“But we have seen that is definitely the case, so hauliers are now having to become their own customs clerks.

“They’re having to take on admin people, train them up on systems that are still in their infancy and that we’re still learning in order to deal with the additional paperwork that’s required.”

He added: “Nobody is saying that it’s an easy time for the government but it’s not an easy time for anyone in this current environment.”

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 08:23

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‘Cummings pet project’ research agency to go ahead, government confirms

Ministers are moving forward with plans to set up a new scientific research agency, modelled on the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) in the US, the government has confirmed.

The agency has been widely-seen as the “pet project” of former No 10 senior adviser Dominic Cummings, who has advocated for funding for “high-risk high-payoff visions”.

Our policy correspondent, Jon Stone, has the full story below:

The former No.10 aide wanted to create a ‘British Darpa’ but MPs say the plans are unfocussed

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 08:38

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International community should not overlook Iran deal breaches, minister says

The international community should not overlook Iran’s breaches of the 2015 deal aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions, a Foreign Office minister has said.

“It is absolutely right that Iran must come back into compliance with the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]. We’ve called upon them to do so,” James Cleverly told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday.

“Ultimately it is in their hands. They are calling for the international community to ease sanctions and that kind of stuff, but ultimately that is in their hands.”

When asked if sanctions on Iran should be lifted to “unlock” talks, Mr Cleverly added: “I don’t think that we should be sending a signal that we are going to overlook this non-compliance or just brush it under the carpet.

“This is in Iran’s hands. They are the ones breaching the conditions of the JCPOA. They are the ones that can do something about this and they should come back into compliance.”

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 08:58

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MPs urge government to bring forward legislation banning gay conversion therapy

The government must “prioritise” delivering on previous commitments ahead of the Queen’s Speech, such as bringing forward long-awaited legislation to ban gay conversion therapy, MPs have said.

Sir Bernard Jenkin, the chair of the Commons Liaison Committee, noted that the coronavirus pandemic had “understandably” impacted the government’s agenda but ministers now needed to deliver on promises.

Our political correspondent, Ashley Cowburn, has the full story below:

PM described practice as ‘abhorrent’ last year – but proposals to eradicate it are yet to be published

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 09:13

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Labour urges government to ‘clarify mandate’ for new research agency

Labour’s Ed Miliband has called for the government to “clarify the mandate” for its new scientific research agency, which is expected to be modelled on the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) in the US.

The shadow business secretary said: “Labour has long called for investment in high ambition science.

“But government must clarify the mandate and mission of the new agency after engagement with the UK’s science community – and crucially address the wider funding crisis facing researchers.”

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 09:36

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The pound has risen to $1.40 for the first time in nearly three years today amid optimism around the speed of the UK’s mass vaccination campaign for Covid-19.

The chart below from Bloomberg shows how the currency’s value has fluctuated over the past few years:

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 10:03

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SNP ‘clearly rattled’ over decision to publish Sturgeon evidence, Tories say

The Scottish Tory leader at Holyrood has accused the SNP of being “clearly rattled” over the prospect of Alex Salmond’s claims about Nicola Sturgeon being published as part of the inquiry into the handling of harassment complaints against the former first minister.

Ms Sturgeon’s party has claimed that the decision to publish Mr Salmond’s dossier could “jeopardise” the anonymity of women who were involved in the legal case against him.

Our reporter, Adam Forrest, has the full story below:

Scottish Tories accuse party of ‘bizarre’ overreaction to decision allowing former leader to make his claims

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 10:17

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Liaison Committee chair Sir Bernard Jenkin’s letter to Jacob Rees-Mogg today urging the government to deliver on its outstanding commitments, such as banning the practice of gay conversion therapy, can be found below:

Conrad Duncan19 February 2021 10:44

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