Biden accused of behaving like a ‘bully’ as Truss urged not to cave in to him

Liz Truss has been urged to stand up to “bully” Joe Biden over the Northern Ireland Protocol. The US President has voiced his disagreement over the Prime Minister’s bill which overrides parts of the Brexit deal.

Nile Gardiner, former aide to Margaret Thatcher, said on Twitter: “Biden behaves like a bully towards UK.

“Never make concessions to bullies. Don’t concede anything on prospects for a US/UK trade deal.

“His chief ally in Congress will probably be out of a job post November according to polls.

“PM needs to stand her ground and tell Biden to back off.”

It comes after the US President told Ms Truss at the UN General Assembly that the Good Friday Agreement was of utmost importance.

After a meeting on Wednesday, Downing Street said that “the Prime Minister and President Biden both agreed that the priority must be protecting the Good Friday Agreement and preserving the gains of peace in Northern Ireland”.

However, there was no indication of agreement on how to do that after a conversation one senior US administration official described as “candid” to the Associated Press.

Foreign minister James Cleverly said on Thursday that Britain wants to reach an agreement with the EU to solve post-Brexit trade to Northern Ireland issues quickly.

Mr Cleverly said while the Government would pursue Ms Truss’ bill and press its passage through parliament, it was simply a “safety net” and his first preference was for a negotiated settlement.

Referring to discussions with EU, US and Irish ministers, he said: “What I have seen is a collective desire to get this resolved. I detect a real atmosphere of goodwill.

“Our preferred option is, and has always been, a negotiated settlement. That’s the tone we will take into the talks.”

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Ms Truss’ bill on Northern Ireland, introduced when she served as Foreign Secretary under Boris Johnson, aims “to fix parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, restore stability and protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement” according to the Government.

It overrides elements of the Protocol on the customs and movement of goods, regulation of goods, state aid, and application of EU law.

On June 15, the EU relaunched the infringement procedure against the UK for failing to properly implement the Protocol that it had paused in 2021.

The Bill passed through the House of Commons, and is now in its second reading at the House of Lords.

It comes after the UK set a six month deadline on negotiations with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

According to the Telegraph, British officials hope a deal can be reached between the political parties to ensure Stormont is up and running before the 25th anniversary celebrations.

A Government source told the outlet: “What we want to do is protect and restore the Good Friday Agreement. And both of us [Britain and the US] are looking at the 25th anniversary next year as a key decision point, but the big obstacle to that being the lack of an Executive at the moment.

“The 25th anniversary is a key pivot moment, which is Easter next year. If you don’t have an Executive Assembly by then, that’s pretty bad all round.

“It’s an important place in the electoral cycle, for the Biden administration as well… So that’s the kind of primary focus which is an absolutely shared focus.”

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  • 1 час, 21 минута назад 25.09.2022Politics
    Labour takes on Liz Truss with major policy blitz

    But the Labour leader faces criticism from within his own party over his refusal to back strikers – as a poll reveals he is less popular than new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

    And in another headache for Sir Keir, Labour voters want him to join forces with the SNP in a hung Parliament, raising fears of a “coalition of chaos” that could lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom.

    Arriving in Liverpool with wife Victoria yesterday, he aimed to get back on the front foot as delegates gathered for what is seen as a make-or-break annual conference.

    Since Sir Keir took the top’ job in April 2020, politics has been dominated by the Covid crisis, limiting his opportunities to talk about other issues.

    This conference is seen as Labour’s opportunity to set out a wide-ranging policy agenda and his speech on Tuesday will promise a “fairer, greener” Britain.

    Labour’s top team will kick off the rally today with an avalanche of eye-catching proposals which it hopes will be big vote-winners.

    They include: • A massive 3Rs drive in primary schools to help children catch up on lessons they missed during lockdown; • Plans to help ailing high streets with a £1.65billion cut in business rates; • An extra 13,000 beat bobbies and community support officers; • Letting firms who pay taxes on time and treat staff well leap to the front of the queue for government contracts worth £40billion a year; • Tougher regulation of care homes to beef up standards and stop overcharging; • Specialist courts for rape trials so alleged victims are treated with dignity.

    On Wednesday, Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson will unveil what she calls “the most ambitious school improvement programme in a generation” after thousands of children whose progress was disrupted by lockdowns began secondary school lacking maths and English skills.

    She told the Sunday Express last night: “The pandemic risks doing permanent damage to children’s education because of the Conservatives’ failure to support properly.” pupils’ recovery.”

    Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves will launch an audacious bid to position Labour as the party of business in her speech tomorrow, with a pledge to cut taxes on employers by £1.65 billion.

    But Sir Keir faces criticism from left-wingers at the conference, including former leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is urging conference delegates to pass a motion demanding the party backs strikes.

    In an email to members of pressure group Momentum, Mr Corbyn said: “Right now, Momentum are campaigning to turn the tide at the party conference, with trade unions and members uniting to pass a motion demanding Labour’s MPs and leadership stand with striking workers. I’m backing the campaign, will you too?”

    There was also a challenge from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who urged Labour to “step up” support for trade unions after Sir Keir banned frontbenchers from joining picket lines.

    Mr Burnham told the Sunday Express : “You can’t be neutral when the key workers that we clapped are now fighting for their livelihoods.”

    At the next general election Sir Keir is desperate to avoid a repeat of the 2015 vote, when Tories accused then-Labour leader Ed Miliband of planning a “coalition of chaos” with the independence-driven SNP.

    A Redfield and Wilton Strategies poll for the Sunday Express shows 67 percent of Labour voters want to see a coalition involving the SNP and the Liberal Democrats, if Labour becomes the largest party but fails to win an overall majority.

    But Sir Keir has repeatedly insisted he’ll make no agreements with smaller parties.

    Also in the survey, 41 percent said the Labour leader “looks like someone who will one day be Prime Minister” while 31 percent disagree.

    But asked which leader would make the best Prime Minister, 40 percent named Liz Truss with 35 percent choosing Sir Keir.

  • 1 час, 21 минута назад 25.09.2022Politics
    ‘Be bolder!’ Andy Burnham launches attack on Starmer as he admits leadership hopes

    Andy Burnham warned Labour needed to be “bolder” as he criticised Sir Keir Starmer for being too timid in his policies. The Manchester Mayor said he was supporting the party leader before launching a series of attacks on Sir Keir’s policy agenda.

    “This is the time for Labour to move up and set out an alternative that people can support.

    “I want to be clear, I am supporting Keir, I want to party to unite here in Liverpool, they’ve got us in a position where we have a clear and sustained poll lead which is no small achievement. It’s a big achievement.

    “I think the Government have put out an opportunity now for Labour to put out a programme that connects with ordinary people.

    “So yes, I would say, be bolder, be clear about what we will do.”

    Mr Burnham said it is now “odds on” that the UK will have a Labour government within the next two years as he spoke ahead of the Labour Party conference in Liverpool this week.

    He criticised Sir Keir for failing to back reforming the UK electoral system and not committing to renationalising the energy sector.

    “I do think it’s right to be open-minded about more public control, more public ownership, so we don’t leave ourselves so exposed to energy costs,” he said.

    However, he congratulated Sir Keir and Ed Miliband on their newly announced policy to end dependence on fossil fuels.

    “This is a good bold policy from Keir Starmer and Ed Miliband, this morning,” the mayor of Greater Manchester told Sky News.

    “This is the right way to go – face up to the future rather than going back to the past with fracking, which by the way, would really impact on an area like this where I’m talking to you from now, a former mining area.”

    His latest intervention comes amid continued speculation Mr Burnham hopes to one day challenge Sir Keir for the Labour leadership.

    He admitted this morning he still has ambitions to one day lead the party and said he was “a better politician” having left Westminster.

    Mr Burnham suggested he could return to Parliament as soon as just two years’ time.

    More to follow…

  • 1 час, 21 минута назад 25.09.2022Politics
    ‘Radical? It’s what the Tories said they would do?’ Ed Miliband stumped on energy pledge

    Former Labour leader Ed Miliband has been left stuttering after he was called out on what he claimed were “radical” Labour policies. Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sky News, Mr Miliband said Labour’s new pledge to have net zero electricity by 2030 was “the kind of radical action we need”, adding that, in contrast to the mini-budget announcement from the Conservative Party on Friday, this plan would benefit people “right across our country”. But Ms Ridge quickly pointed out that the Tories have also committed to this net zero future, instead aiming to have achieved this goal by 2035. Ms Ridge questioned how radical Mr Miliband’s act actually was when “it is just five years earlier” than the Conservatives.

    Speaking about the pledge to have net zero electricity by 2030, Mr Miliband said: “This is the kind of radical action we need and, crucially, this is a contrast with last Friday.

    “It is about building an economy that works for the many, right across our country, not about building an economy that is for a few at the top of our society.”

    Ms Ridge said: “You say it is radical but at the same time, the Government has also committed to net zero electricity by 2035. It is just five years earlier, right?”

    Mr Miliband then stuttered over his answer, before he said: “Well, just five years, I mean five years is a long time. We are in a decisive moment.

    Ms Ridge said: “Ok, well how much will it cost to do it five years earlier then?”

    Mr Miliband said: “Well, here is the thing. The vast majority of this will come not from the taxpayer but will come from private investment.”

    “You see, private investors are lining up to go for wind energy and solar energy but they cannot because the Government blocks them on onshore wind, blocks them on solar, and doesn’t make the investments we need.”

    Demanding an answer to her original question, Ms Ridge said: “So, what will the cost be? Just explain it to me.”

    Mr Miliband said: “We have made a pledge of £28billion each and every year, a green plan property pledge, and we think it will cost around £2billion a year to make this happen.

    “So, it is a small proportion of that pledge and it is the right thing to do for the country.”

    Green energy will be a major focus for the Labour Party during their conference, beginning on Sunday, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer expected to make his keynote speech on Tuesday.

    He has said he wants to turn the UK into a clean energy “superpower” as the energy crisis continues to cause costs to spiral out of control.

    Ahead of the conference, he claimed Labour’s energy plans would “save the British people £93billion” and undermine Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ability to blackmail the UK through control of vital energy resources to Europe.

    Sir Keir said: “Our plan for clean power by 2030 will save the British people £93bn off their energy bills and break the UK’s vulnerability to Putin and his cronies. It will also support our drive for higher growth and rising living standards.”

    While the UK is not reliant on Russian energy supplies directly, the impact of rising costs in Europe still appreciates the bills of UK homeowners.

    Labour are looking to work with businesses in the private sector, as well as the public sector, to more than quadruple offshore wind power, to triple solar power and double onshore wind by 2030 to offset this issue.

    They are also backing the use of nuclear, hydrogen, and tidal power to further ween Britain of unsustainable fossil fuels.

    They claim their plan would “re-industrialise” the UK by creating more than 200,000 direct jobs and up to 260,000 to 300,000 indirect jobs.

  • 1 час, 21 минута назад 25.09.2022Politics
    ‘We should not be on a recess’ Ian Blackford issues warning to Truss over economic crisis

    Ian Blackford confirmed he had written to the Prime Minister in wake of Friday’s mini-budget announcement, urging her to recall Parliament. MPs are set to vacate the House of Commons for three weeks as the parties engage in a schedule of conferences and campaign drives across the country. The SNP Westminster Leader argued conference season should be postponed following the introduction of the Conservative’s plan for economic growth. Mr Blackford claimed the Chancellor’s package was “simply wrong” and had placed the UK in a “perilous situation” that required parliamentary discussion.

    Speaking from the Isle of Skye within his own constituency, Mr Blackford said: “There is a real risk that any recession now is going to be longer and deeper than it needed to be and that is a consequence of the Government’s actions.

    “I have written to the Prime Minister overnight and suggested that we need to make sure that Parliament meets, that Parliament is recalled because we need to discuss this economic crisis.

    “We simply should not be on the conference recess over the course of the next couple of weeks.

    “There is a real economic crisis. Parliament needs to make sure that they are holding the Prime Minister and Chancellor to account.”

    The Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced a string of new fiscal measures on Friday, just before Parliament broke for recess, leaving very little time for MPs to discuss the economic developments in Westminster.

    Despite his demands for a Parliamentary recall, Mr Blackford revealed his own party’s conference schedule would still go ahead as planned.

    “It simply isn’t good enough for parliamentarians to be away at party political conferences.

    “These conferences have to take place, I acknowledge that – my own party’s conference will take place.

    “But, our obligation is to be in Parliament and holding this Prime Minister and this Chancellor to account.”

    The SNP conference will take place in Aberdeen, while Labour and the Conservatives will travel to Liverpool and Birmingham respectively.

    The conference recess began on Friday, with MPs to remain absent from the house until the 11th of October.

    MPs returned to the house at the beginning of September, following a period of extended recess over the summer, but regular proceedings were disrupted by the official ten day mourning period for the Queen.

    As a result, by mid-October, the Government under Liz Truss will have only sat in Parliament on a smattering of days despite being in power for well over a month.

    Before the conference recess, Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled the largest plan of tax cuts in 50 years to his colleagues in the House of Commons.

    The new Chancellor has slashed the basic rate of income tax from 20 percent to 19 percent. In addition, he has scrapped the highest tax band for earners of over £150,000, meaning the top paid workers will now only pay a maximum tax rate of 40 percent.

    The ambitious package has been labelled an economic “gamble” by critics of the Tory Government. Mr Blackford called the Chancellor’s plan a “disaster” after the value of the pound plummeted.

    The SNP representative said: “This is economic illiteracy that will do nothing to stem the fall in sterling nor to assist the desire to restrain inflation.”

  • 1 час, 21 минута назад 25.09.2022Politics
    Kuenssberg confronts Starmer with Labour’s lack of support on bills ‘What happens then?’

    The Labour Leader faced fierce questioning from BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg over his party’s plan to freeze the cost of energy during the winter months. The Conservative Government under Liz Truss has proposed a cap on energy costs set to last two years, offering bill payers a sense of long term security. Ms Kuenssberg confronted Sir Keir Starmer over his own proposal, highlighting the opposition’s planned price freeze would end in April. Airing the thoughts of concerned households across the country, Ms Kuenssburg asked: “What happens then?”

    Speaking in Liverpool, Sir Keir said: “We were very straightforward to say we have got to freeze energy prices.

    “At the time, the Government said they wouldn’t do that, they have now accepted that is the only thing to do. The divide now, the real political question, is who is going to pay for that freeze.”

    Ms Kuenssberg interjected: “No, hang on. There is another question first. You are promising a freeze for six months. The Government is promising a freeze for two years. Will you increase your offer to freeze bills for two years?”

    Sir Keir replied: “Our plan is for six months.”

    The BBC journalist again interrupted to emphasise her line of questioning: “What happens after that?”

    Sir Keir continued: “In April, we have to look at what the situation is, see what the forecasts are then.

    “We need to have a longer term answer to this, but the key issue at the moment is who is going to pay for this freeze, whether it’s six months or two years.”

    Ms Kuenssberg said: “The key issue for many people listening to you this morning, Keir Starmer, might be that the Government has promised they will freeze bills for two years and the Labour Leader has promised he will freeze them for six months and then, after that, we’ll have a look. People need to know now.”

    Under the opposition, the package would be funded by an additional windfall tax on the profits of energy corporations.

    Labour has predicted the average household would save £1,000 after the 80 percent price cap increase scheduled for October was scrapped.

    While Keir Starmer asserted the plan would mean people “wouldn’t pay a penny more” on their winter fuel bills under Labour’s package, the six month plan leaves households uncertain about the security of their energy costs come April.

    Prime Minister Truss has announced the average energy bill will be frozen at £2,500 for the next two years, providing a longer term plan to control energy prices.

    The Government intervention will be funded through an increase to borrowing, adding to substantial national debt.

    The Chancellor reported the plan will cost £60 billion over the next six months, although he added the cost is expected to come down as deals with new energy suppliers are negotiated in the coming months.

    Speaking to Laura Kuenssberg, Kwasi Kwarteng hit back at suggestions the annual cost would amount to £120 billion. He explained: “I think it is likely that the forward curve will be lower, but there is no way that anyone can predict what the cost of that will be.”

  • 1 час, 21 минута назад 25.09.2022Politics
    Sir Keir Starmer’s mask slips as he finally admits he DOES back workers on strike

    Sir Keir Starmer said he backed workers on strike across Britain as he appeared to cave to trade unions threatening to withdraw funding to Labour. Speaking this morning ahead of the party’s annual conference in Liverpool, the Holborn and St Pancras MP sought to heal the rift at the heart of Labour.

    He said he supported “the right of individuals to go on strike” and pledged he would improve workers’ rights if in No10.

    The Labour leader told the BBC: “When people go on strike, it is a last resort at the end of negotiations.

    “I can quite understand how people are driven to that.

    “People are struggling to pay their bills, the negotiations have not succeeded and they’ve taken a decision as a last resort to go on strike.

    “And I support the right of individuals to go on strike, I support the trade unions doing the job they’re doing in representing their members.

    “I want to see the strikes resolved, as do everybody who is on strike.”

    Earlier this year Sir Keir banned his shadow cabinet from appearing on picket lines. He sacked shadow transport minister Sam Tarry after he joined striking rail workers outside Euston station and gave an unauthorised media interview in which he made up policy.

    The actions enraged trade unions, who give the party millions in donations each year, with several of them threatening to stop giving money to Labour.

    Unite, Labour’s biggest financial backer, said in July there was “no point” in giving money to a party which does not support workers.

    She said it was getting “harder and harder to defend” Sir Keir’s stance on strikes and that she would stop giving money unless he gave his support to those taking industrial action.

    Sir Keir said this morning that it was “reasonable” for people to expect wages that take account of the rising cost of living.

    However, he appeared to stand by his decision not to appear on the picket line, saying he was focused on getting Labour into power.

    “My job as leader of the Labour Party is not the same as the job of a trade union.

    “My job is to get the Labour Party from Opposition, where we can just say things but not do things, into power where we can do things,” he said.

    “The single most important thing I can do for everybody who is on strike today and everyone who is struggling to pay their bills is to usher in a Labour Government.

    “Because when we do that we can have day one employment rights for every single person.”

    The Labour leader said the party was now in a position where it could win the next general election and that there had been “real progress”.

    He said he had “taken the Labour Party, picked it up off the canvas, put it back on its feet, changed the party and made it face the public”.

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