POLITICO London Playbook: Is it deal day? — Ils ne passeront pas — Tier 4 news today – POLITICO

Good Wednesday morning.


IS IT DEAL DAY? The U.Ok. and the European Union are lastly … eventually … certainly … coming into their commerce talks endgame, 1,644 days for the reason that Brexit referendum and with simply eight days of the transition interval to go. After POLITICO’s story yesterday that Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have been holding secret cellphone calls to attempt to thrash out an Eleventh-hour deal, RTE’s Tony Connelly stories EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has set a deadline of Christmas Eve to succeed in an settlement (what’s French for bucket of salt?). The newest from the U.Ok. aspect is that there “could” be a deal tonight, however this stays unlikely as a result of excellent variations on fisheries. Things are shifting extraordinarily shortly and the hour-by-hour developments today may very well be make or break. Playbook will attempt to take you thru the place we’re at this morning.

EARLY OPTIMISM: Yesterday was a little bit of a rollercoaster of briefings, whispers and temperature-taking from the 2 sides which, if Playbook is solely sincere, has left us little wiser about whether or not a deal is imminent. Connelly reported that Barnier briefed EU ambassadors that there had been “significant progress,” resulting in “cautious optimism” in Brussels {that a} deal will be achieved by Christmas Eve — with the intention to give EU officers time to hunt provisional utility of the treaty in time for the top of the transition. The Sun’s Nick Gutteridge and Harry Cole talked of “growing Wednesday whispers” and quoted a senior U.Ok. supply saying: “There is a deal on the table now and both sides want to be home for Christmas Eve.” Which all sounded fairly constructive …

HOLY MACKEREL: Then got here the fact verify. Eurasia Group analyst Mujtaba Rahman mentioned Barnier instructed the ambassadors that Britain’s newest proposal on fish was “completely unacceptable.” Connelly has the element as to why: “The UK offer of the EU handing over 35 percent of the value of its catches does not count pelagic species” (that’s fish like mackerel and tuna that stay neither close to the underside of the ocean nor close to the shore). The Times‘ Bruno Waterfield stories Barnier mentioned this meant the provide really amounted to a 60 % lower to the worth of fish caught by European boats. Given the EU has mentioned it gained’t transcend 25 %, that implies Johnson should transfer additional today to get a deal. It additionally stays unclear whether or not the U.Ok. and EU can agree on if and the way Brussels might impose cross-retaliation tariffs ought to the U.Ok. lower their quotas in future.

NO. 10 SAY NO: Downing Street sources had been final evening publicly gloomy about today’s prospects. One instructed Playbook it is a minimum of as doubtless that negotiations drag on to subsequent week as it is {that a} deal is reached today. Another mentioned they “doubt” there can be a deal today as a result of there may be “still so much to work through and their positions on fisheries are still very far from acceptable.” It is feasible that is expectations administration from No. 10. But there are related noises from the EU aspect — POLITICO’s Hans von der Burchard and Jacopo Barigazzi say the possibilities of a deal by Christmas “look slimmer than ever.”

LE BLAME GAME: Relations between these on the prime of the U.Ok. authorities and French President Emmanuel Macron have grow to be strained, to place it very mildly, over Macron’s hardline on fish and his actions on the border over COVID. Cole quotes a U.Ok. supply saying: “There’s a real chance relations with the French sink this whole thing, if there was ever a time to tell them to get stuffed, this might be it.” He additionally stories the PM has “hardened” within the final 24 hours in his fury with Macron.

ILS NE PASSERONT PAS: The Spectator’s James Forsyth says Paris has basically misunderstood what no deal means for Britain, and says the PM gained’t come again begging to the negotiating desk subsequent 12 months. “If these talks end in no deal, then Boris Johnson could not — politically — go back and accept the same or worse terms. So, however difficult things got he would have to press on rather than come back to the pre-deadline table. This would mean that no-deal would not be short. Rather, it would last for quite some time — and a no-deal of any length would poison U.K./EU relations for years, providing a further obstacle to a resumption of talks.”

BRUNO VS. POGBA: If you might be struggling to grasp that after 4 years Britain and the EU are contemplating detonating a whole commerce deal over just a few species of mid-ranking fish, Playbook suspects you aren’t alone. In a searing evaluation for the Times, Waterfield says “the entire deal hinges” on fishing quotas price lower than “the preening French midfielder Paul Pogba.” Good line, that.

THIS JUST IN: Which takes us to the most recent news dropped by ITV’s Robert Peston in a single day. “A U.K. source now says agreement on a U.K./EU trade deal is again possible” on Wednesday, he tweeted, citing “late movement” which means “there will either be a deal tomorrow. Or the following Wednesday. Or — presumably — never.” Think that’s all of the choices coated.

BRING HIM HOME: A traditional Cole line: Apparently, “the RAF are standby to take Lord Frost and his exhausted team home for Christmas amid grounded flights and travel chaos from mutant COVID.” Chloe Westley’s in all probability on the brink of put the footage to music for the PM’s Twitter account as we communicate.

NUMBER OF THE DAY: From Tony Connelly: “One official raised the possibility that the text is now 2,000 pages long.”

BRACE, BRACE: For all of the noise yesterday, right here’s what Playbook is aware of for sure this morning: Johnson and von der Leyen at the moment are in common contact over the element of a possible settlement on fish, on which your entire commerce deal now actually rests. There is additional house for Johnson to maneuver on quotas and pelagic species, and for the EU to maneuver on cross-retaliation — so there’s a attainable touchdown zone. It is evident that Johnson and von der Leyen desire a deal, and the U.Ok. has been keen to maneuver significantly with the intention to discover an settlement. On a sensible degree, the EU might actually do with the deal being achieved earlier than Christmas. On a private and political degree, that will swimsuit the U.Ok. negotiating crew too. There might not be sufficient time today, so talks might drag into subsequent week — when a deal might nonetheless be reached. But there may be nonetheless an actual likelihood issues might all go flawed, partially on account of badly souring relations with France. Strap in, it’s going to be an enormous few days. This actually is it …

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TIER 4 NEWS TODAY: While we await any Brexit white smoke, today can be more likely to be a really newsy day on the coronavirus entrance. Playbook is instructed an announcement might come as quickly as this afternoon on which different components of England can be put into Tier 4 subsequent, presumably from Boxing Day. The Mirror’s Pippa Crerar says there was a “Gold Command” assembly yesterday to debate the necessity for additional measures. The Times’ Francis Elliott says there’s a assembly of the “COVID O” Cabinet subcommittee today, at which ministers will make the ultimate resolution.

WHERE’S NEXT? Playbook is instructed it is lower-tier areas which can be located subsequent to Tier 4 areas with excessive an infection charges which can be more likely to be moved up. Elliott has particulars: “Among areas understood to be under consideration are West Sussex and the remaining parts of East Sussex that are not already in the toughest tier. Other areas reported to be under threat of being placed in Tier 4 include parts of the North and Midlands such as Rugby, Burnley, Lincoln and Stoke-on-Trent.”

KEIR 4 TIER 4: Labour chief Keir Starmer makes his transfer this morning, writing to Johnson to say that additional nationwide restrictions at the moment are “sadly inevitable” and asserting Labour would again a recall of parliament if a vote is required. Starmer says Johnson should act “immediately” ought to the federal government’s SAGE scientists advocate additional measures. The Indy’s Ash Cowburn has a write-up.

FREIGHT OFF YOUR MIND: Last evening the federal government introduced the deal agreed with France to reopen the border and permit freight to journey via. As Playbook reported yesterday, it’s primarily based on mass testing of lorry drivers, with NHS Test & Trace beginning work today on giving lateral movement checks to hauliers within the queues at Manston in Kent. The roadside testing will see lorry drivers get their leads to 20-Half-hour — they’ll then get a textual content message, permitting them to board their ferry or enter the Eurotunnel. Military personnel can be deployed to hold out the checks, the Times’ Steve Swinford stories.

VOLTE-FACE: There had been ideas in Whitehall final evening that Emmanuel Macron had discovered himself at odds with the European Commission and far of the EU over his resolution to ban freight on the weekend. One supply claimed the French president had come underneath strain from the Polish authorities and different Eastern European international locations with hauliers caught in Kent who wish to get residence for Christmas. It additionally seems Macron backed down on a requirement to make the lorry drivers have PCR checks, which take 24 hours to provide a consequence. A authorities official says the PM was “full of praise” for a way Transport Secretary Grant Shapps dealt with the disaster.

THE BAD NEWS: Government sources anticipate it to take days to clear the backlog and are nonetheless asking hauliers to not come to port as a result of there’ll nonetheless be vital delays for a while.

YOU CAN SEE WHY: Business Insider’s Adam Payne stories the Salvation Army needed to step in to feed lorry drivers stranded in Kent on Monday evening after they ran out of meals.

ER, ABOUT THOSE LATERAL FLOW TESTS: “The government has shelved plans to open rapid-turnaround coronavirus test centres across England over Christmas amid concerns from public health experts about the accuracy of their results,” based on the Guardian’s Josh Halliday and Helen Pidd. “The scheme was halted last week after concerns were raised by directors of public health about the accuracy of the tests and the potential false reassurance given to people who test negative.” Bodes effectively.

MEET PROFESSOR TONY: Former PM Tony Blair has a plan to save lots of the nation. He writes within the Indy that individuals ought to simply be given a single shot of the two-dose vaccine with the intention to give some immunity to as many individuals as attainable. (*4*); he reckons. Playbook will need to have missed Blair getting his medical {qualifications} and job on SAGE.


PARLIAMENT: In recess.

CRUDDOCRACY: The Tories are getting extra flak this morning over Johnson’s resolution to overrule the Lords appointment committee and hand a peerage to Tory donor Peter Cruddas, regardless of his involvement in a cash-for-access scandal seven years in the past. Alistair Graham, former chairman of the committee on requirements in public life, tells Lucy Fisher within the Telegraph: “Given that he was involved in ‘cash for access,’ he doesn’t meet the seven standards of public life… [and] therefore is a totally unsuitable person to be appointed as a life peer.” The Times goes significantly onerous on the “disgraced donor.”

CAN YOU SPOT A THEME? Expect extra of this kind of factor from Labour deputy chief Angela Rayner today: “After months of revelations about the cronyism at the heart of this government, it’s somehow appropriate the prime minister has chosen to end the year with a peerage to Peter Cruddas, the man who once corruptly offered access to government in exchange for cash,” Rayner said. “Whether it’s the Dominic Cummings saga, wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer cash on contracts that don’t deliver or giving peerages to disgraced donors, it’s never been more clear: there is one rule for the Conservatives and their chums, another for the rest of the country.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Great discover from the Indy’s John Rentoul, who has dug out this previous Boris Johnson Telegraph column from 2006 wherein he writes about one other cash-for-honors scandal: “Arrest Lord Levy! Arrest Blair! Arrest the lot of them, I say! … the swoop on Levy perfectly illustrates the decay of the Government and the putrefaction of the honours system.”

DESPERATELY SEEKING SUNAK: Labour can be doubling down on its assaults on Chancellor Rishi Sunak, mocking up a lacking individuals poster on Instagram and claiming he’s disappeared since Tier 4 was introduced.


YOU’RE NIC’D: Nicola Sturgeon has apologized after the Scottish Sun bought maintain of pics of her chatting to pensioners in a pub with out a face masks. “This was a stupid mistake and I’m really sorry,” Sturgeon says, after she broke legal guidelines requiring pub prospects to put on masks until seated at a desk. Chris Musson bought the inside track.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING: Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump pardoned former marketing campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who pleaded responsible to mendacity to federal officers through the Russia investigation, in addition to pardoning three disgraced former Republican U.S. representatives, and 4 Blackwater contractors who had been jailed in reference to the killings of civilians in a bloodbath in Baghdad. The Guardian has a write-up.

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Sky News breakfast present (Sky News): Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (7.05 a.m.) … David Nabarro, WHO particular envoy for the worldwide COVID-19 response (7.30 a.m.) … Mayor of Middlesbrough Andy Preston (7.35 a.m.) … Former Chief Scientific Adviser Mark Walport (8.05 a.m.) … Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth (8.30 a.m.).

Nick Ferrari at Breakfast (LBC): Crossbench peer Peter Ricketts (7.05 a.m.) … Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (7.50 a.m.) … Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth and former Chief Scientific Adviser David King (8.05 a.m.) … Former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox (9.55 a.m.).

BBC Radio 5Live: Damian Collins, the previous chairman of the digital, tradition, media and sport choose committee (8.05 a.m.) … Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth (8.15 a.m.).

Times Radio breakfast present: Crossbench peer Peter Ricketts (7.20 a.m.) … Chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) Jane Halton (7.30am) … CEO of the Harris Federation Dan Moynihan (8.05 a.m.) … Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (9.05 a.m.).

Talk Radio breakfast: Danny Mortimer, chief govt of NHS Confederation (7.05 a.m.) … Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Gina Radford (8.05 a.m.) … Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick (8.50 a.m.).


(Click on the publication’s identify to see its entrance web page.)

Daily Express: With buddies like these!

Daily Mail: New Tier 4 fears for Boxing Day.

Daily Mirror: Utter chaos.

Financial Times: France opens Channel border to drivers testing unfavourable for Covid.

i: Lorry chaos continues as France opens border to UK.

Metro: No room on the inn.

POLITICO UK: France and Britain comply with elevate coronavirus ban on freight, journey.

The Daily Telegraph: Tier 4 to be widened on Boxing Day.

The Independent: Hospital virus sufferers to exceed first peak in days.

The Sun: Kick within the baubles.

The Times: Covid checks at lorry parks as France reopens border.


Westminster climate: Looks fairly wet all day🌧️ 🌧️ 🌧️. Highs of 13C.

Congrats to: Top wonk Georgina Wright, who’s leaving the Institute for Government to hitch the Institut Montaigne in Paris. She begins January, by which period Brexit will clearly be one hundred pc sorted and U.Ok.-French relations will certainly be utterly healed. Meanwhile the IfG is on the hunt for a brand new researcher.

Birthdays: Haltemprice and Howden MP and former Brexit Secretary David Davis … Shadow Scotland Minister Chris Elmore … Former Universities Minister Jo Johnson … Singer, mannequin and former first girl of France Carla Bruni-Sarkozy … Former Japanese Emperor Akihito … Justice of the Supreme Court Michael Briggs … Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Europe Wesley Clark … Crossbench peer and former Chief of the General Staff Richard Dannatt … Green Party peer Jenny Jones … MailOnline Deputy Political Editor Tim Sculthorpe … Former U.Ok. Ambassador to the U.S. Peter Westmacott, who turns 70.

PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editor Zoya Sheftalovich, reporter Andrew McDonald and producer Miriam Webber.

primarily based on website supplies www.politico.eu

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