Blog: Brexit news – live: French to block ports in fish dispute as foreign butchers sought to prevent pig cull – The Independent

Post-Brexit deal: UK escalates dispute with EU over N. Ireland protocol

French fishermen have threatened to block the flow of Christmas goods to Britain from Friday amid a dispute on post-Brexit fishing rights.

The move comes after dozens of French vessels were told last month that they would not be given licences to fish off the coast of Jersey. The EU believes this decision goes against the Brexit deal it signed with the UK.

In response to the development, fishermen have said they could block outward-bound cargo at the ports of Calais and Dunkirk as well as at the Channel Tunnel.

“We are waiting until Friday, and then we’ll start to organise ourselves to attack,” fisherman Laurent Merlin said.

Meanwhile, Brussels has offered to scrap 80 per cent of checks on goods entering Northern Ireland in a bid to solve the Brexit impasse. João Vale de Almeida, the EU’s ambassador to the UK, called the concession “unprecedented”.

Although London has said it will look “seriously and constructively” at the bloc’s package, one likely sticking point is minister Lord Frost’s demand that the European Court of Justice (ECJ)’s jurisdiction be removed from the Brexit deal.

Meanwhile, the government is expected to grant temporary visas to foreign butchers to prevent a cull of about 150,000 pigs.

Tory minister Lord Benyon told the House of Lords said the move would “fill” the deficit in butchers.

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Families in Scotland in temporary housing longer, Labour warns

Families with children are facing increasingly long stays in temporary accommodation before moving to a permanent home, according to Scottish Labour.

A couple with children now spend almost a year on average in temporary housing, according to the party’s analysis of homelessness data.

Average stays have been increasing each year since 2017, Labour says, with single parents typically waiting an extra 53 days compared to those without children.

Coronavirus measures last year led to a fall in the number of homelessness applications but the number of people in temporary accommodation rose.

Scottish Labour MSP Mark Griffin said: “It is particularly unthinkable for children to face months on end in temporary accommodation, but it is a scandal for people of any age to have to endure this.

“These spiralling stays represent a total dereliction of duty from the SNP.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said that it is investing £37.5 million so councils can “prioritise settled accommodation for all”, and has a target of making 70 per cent of 110,000 more-affordable new homes by 2032 for social rent.

Lamiat Sabin14 October 2021 17:00

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‘MPs accused of misconduct should be barred from work’ – unions

Unions representing Parliamentary staff in Westminster are calling for MPs being investigated for sexual misconduct to be barred from the Houses of Parliament.

The branches of Unite and GMB – which represent staff of MPs, professionals union Prospect, and civil service union FDA have written to the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to say that such MPs could vote on matters remotely or by proxy.

It comes after several cases of MPs involved in sexual misconduct and the news that Wayne Couzens, the police officer who murdered Sarah Everard, worked on the Parliamentary estate for a period of time.

The letter said: “The recent revelation that Sarah Everard’s killer worked, albeit briefly, at Westminster will have added to the anxieties and concern of many members of staff here.

“We hope that your clear statement on the matter, which we welcome, provides some reassurance to them.”

The unions pointed to examples of sexual misconduct in recent years.

This included Delyn MP Rob Roberts, suspended from the Commons for six weeks after harassing a member of staff, and former Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, jailed for two years after being found guilty in 2020 of sexually assaulting two women.

Lamiat Sabin14 October 2021 16:30

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Police commissioner resigns over Sarah Everard comments

A police commissioner has resigned after saying Sarah Everard should have been more “streetwise”.

Philip Allot stepped down from his role as North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner on Thursday, hours after a unanimous vote of no confidence was taken against him by the North Yorkshire Fire and Crime panel.

In his letter of resignation, he wrote: “I misspoke and I am devastated at the effect that this has had on victims of crime and the groups that support them.”

My colleague Thomas Kingsley has the story:

The commissioner has said he cannot rebuilt trust after his comments

Rory Sullivan14 October 2021 15:58

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SNP politician admits attending controversial anti-abortion ‘vigil’

A SNP MSP has admitted attending an anti-abortion protest outside a hospital in Glasgow.

John Mason said he was present at an event outside the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), but denied it was a protest. “It was more like a vigil,” he added.

He also expressed his view that abortion is “seldom essential or vital”, suggesting he turned up at the “vigil” to help women realise “they have a choice”.

Lucy Grieve, co-founder and director of Back Off Scotland, a group campaigning for buffer zones around abortion clinics, called the revelation “disturbing”.

“First, the Scottish government abdicate from their responsibility of protecting women accessing abortion services from intimidation and harassment,” she said.

“Now, we have evidence that one of their own MSPs has attended an anti-choice protest at QEUH.”

Rory Sullivan14 October 2021 15:45

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Hunt says government’s GPs rescue plan will not alleviate ‘unsustainable pressure’

Former health minister Jeremy Hunt has said the government’s rescue plan for GPs will not “turn the tide” on the difficulties they face.

As part of the package, Sajid Javid announced a £250 million winter access fund, with the investment set to fund more locum doctors in a bid to ease the strain on the system.

Mr Hunt, however, believes the proposed changes will not succeed in ending “the unsustainable pressure” on GPs.

Rory Sullivan14 October 2021 15:20

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Gap between poorer and richer students attending university widens

The gap in the levels of better-off and disadvantaged pupils going to university is at its widest since 2007, figures show.

A total of 26.6 per cent of students on free school meals at 15 went to university in 2019/2020, compared to 45.7 per cent of those who did not receive them.

Responding to the latest data, Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “A much more concerted effort is required to narrow this gap. Money is not the whole answer but it is important nonetheless and there has to be more government investment in early years education, schools and colleges, and in tackling child poverty.”

Rory Sullivan14 October 2021 15:04

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Government set to open doors to foreign butchers to prevent pig cull

The government is expected to grant temporary visas to foreign butchers to prevent a mass cull of British pigs.

Tory minister Lord Benyon told the House of Lords said the move would “fill” the deficit in butchers.

His remark follows warnings that 150,000 animals could be destroyed due to a shortage of workers in the meat industry.

Zoe Davies, chief executive of the National Pig Association (NPA), told The Independent: “We hoping that something will come out either today or tomorrow, and we hope it will be good. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Announcement on visa rules ‘imminent’, says minister

Rory Sullivan14 October 2021 14:45

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Number of universal credit renters in arrears up by 70 per cent, charity warns

The number of renters on universal credit in England who have fallen into arrears has increased by 70 per cent, the latest data shows.

The homelessness charity Crisis said there were more than 190,000 low-income renters who were at least two months behind with their payments between April and May this year.

This is up from 114,000 people between November and December last year.

Crisis said the new figures were “far worse than we feared” and said they should serve as a “wake-up call” for the government.

Figures ‘far worse than we feared’, says homelessness charity Crisis

Rory Sullivan14 October 2021 14:23

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US climate envoy delivers blow on Cop26 prospects

In a blow to Boris Johnson, the US climate envoy John Kerry has predicted that the Cop26 climate summit will not be successful.

He indicated that not every country will sign up to the measures necessary to limit global heating to under 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

“It would be wonderful if everybody came and everybody hit the 1.5 degrees mark now,” he told the Associated Press. “That would be terrific. But some countries just don’t have the energy mix yet that allows them to do that.”

Joe Biden’s envoy offers downbeat assessment ahead of crucial summit in UK

Rory Sullivan14 October 2021 14:00

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French fleet set to block ports amid Brexit fishing dispute

French fishermen have threatened to block ports and the Channel Tunnel as early as tomorrow in an ongoing dispute about fishing rights in British waters.

Those who lost their right to fish off the coast of Jersey have said they want to target supplies of Christmas goods to Britain.

“We are waiting until Friday, and then we’ll start to organise ourselves to attack,” fisherman Laurent Merlin said.

‘We’re ready to block everything,’ French fishermen warn

Rory Sullivan14 October 2021 13:41

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