As PM takes aim at multiple international laws and courts after Partygate saga, critics fear escalating delinquency
Boris Johnson’s first speech in office extolled the virtues of “habeas corpus and the rule of law”. But three years later, the prime minister stands accused of trying to break international law twice in a week – on the Northern Ireland protocol and steel tariffs.
The latter led to the resignation of his ethics adviser, Lord Geidt.
Met Office issues level three warning in London, south-east and east England and Royal Ascot takes unprecedented step of relaxing dress code
Beat the heat: how to stay cool in hot weather
A level three heatwave alert is in place for south-east England as temperatures passed 32C (89F) in London on the hottest day of the year so far.
There will be high temperatures across most of central and southern England on Friday as hot air spreads from Spain, Portugal and north Africa, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and some of north England will face lower temperatures as a band of rain passes through.
The government’s latest refugee policy collided with reality this week as the first deportation flight to Rwanda was halted at the last minute after a ruling by the European court of human rights. Meanwhile, the UK continued to pick a fight with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol. Guardian journalist John Harris is joined by the columnist Rafael Behr and the Observer’s chief leader writer, Sonia Sodha
Labour accuses Patel of ‘shambles’ over Rwanda flightPatel says preparation for next flight to Rwanda ‘begins now’No 10 revives prospect of UK leaving ECHRSummary of Šefčovič press conference on Northern Ireland protocol bill
This is what Šefčovič said about the UK bill in his opening statement.
Let there be no doubt: there is no legal nor political justification whatsoever for unilaterally changing an international agreement.
Opening the door to unilaterally changing an international agreement is a breach of international law as well.
Disputes over customs checks and trade data are being intensified by the NI protocol bill’s proposed breach of international law
The European Commission has described a UK bill to scrap post-Brexit checks and controls in Northern Ireland as “illegal”, “extremely damaging” and casting a shadow over British-EU relations. On Wednesday, it set out its response.
Maroš Šefčovič says Brussels will launch fresh legal action against UK over treaty obligations
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Brussels has urged Westminster to throw out the “illegal” attempt by Boris Johnson to unilaterally rewrite the post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland, as the EU launched fresh legal action against the UK.
Maroš Šefčovič, the EU’s Brexit commissioner, said he expected parliament to make the case for negotiation over conflict, as he relaunched a frozen case for past breaches of the Brexit deal and started two new claims over undelivered treaty obligations.
The EU's Brexit commissioner has confirmed the body has decided to take fresh legal action against the UK over its new legislation bypassing sections of the Northern Ireland protocol. Along with reviving the infringement process it launched in 2021, the EU is initiating two more processes – accusing the UK of failing to comply with provisions in the protocol relating to controls at border posts and the sharing of data
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Johnny Mercer criticised ministry’s operations as he tried to prevent prosecutions for alleged offences in conflict
The former veterans minister Johnny Mercer has lifted the lid on the toxic atmosphere in Boris Johnson’s government, saying ministers’ behaviour “would have got [you] punched in the mouth” if displayed in the army.
Mercer, who resigned from the role last year in a row over the treatment of soldiers who served in Northern Ireland, said the Ministry of Defence was not a “professional working environment” and his fellow ministers had treated him as a “dope on a rope”.
Feared backlash fails to emerge despite leading Conservative warning of international law breach
Ministers believe they have largely muted Conservative opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol bill, even though one leading Conservative critic has said no MP should be voting for a breach of international law.
Leading opponents of Boris Johnson held off from publicly rejecting the legislation after it was published, despite the government’s fears beforehand that it would provoke a backlash.
Despite what its defenders say, it is not the solution to anything, only the act of a government driven out of its mind by Brexit
It isn’t every day that former prime ministers set old party enmities aside to deliver a unified message on a matter of national urgency. When John Major and Tony Blair did it in June 2016, warning that Brexit would jeopardise the delicate balance of peace in Northern Ireland, it rightly led the news.
But not for long: the two prime ministers did not grace a single English newspaper front page the following morning. The media caravan moved on briskly. Besides, Northern Ireland was exactly the kind of serious, complicated and historically knotty subject that referendum coverage swerved to avoid. In fact, in a survey by King’s College London, analysing 350,000 articles in print and online across the 10-week referendum campaign, Northern Ireland didn’t register as an issue at all.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson says DUP will not budge unless protocol bill progresses through Westminster
The Democratic Unionist party (DUP) has rebuffed a British government appeal to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland despite the introduction of legislation to scrap post-Brexit checks in the Irish Sea.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, on Tuesday welcomed the Northern Ireland protocol bill but said the party would revive the Stormont assembly only if the bill progressed at Westminster.
When real diplomacy is needed, instead we have a PM picking unnecessary fights with the EU to appease his own party
At 6am on 10 April 1998 at Stormont’s Castle Buildings, after round upon round of multiparty negotiations, the Good Friday agreement was signed. In 30 minutes, the violent conflict that had lasted 30 years was finally, for the most part, over.
It was one of the most significant moments of modern British history and one of the last Labour government’s greatest achievements. Twenty four years later, the relative peace and stability this act of international diplomacy secured must not be taken for granted.
The UK government hopes a little-known legal principle will overturn parts of the post-Brexit agreement
In justifying its attempt to unilaterally overturn parts of the post-Brexit agreement with the EU, the UK government has invoked a little-known legal principle known as the “doctrine of necessity”. The loophole is allowed by the UN’s International Law Commission to be used by a state facing “grave and imminent peril”.
But the government’s ex-legal adviser Jonathan Jones said the EU would find the use of the doctrine “completely unpersuasive”.
EU, legal experts and some Conservative MPs warn that Northern Ireland protocol bill is illegal under international law
UK risks EU trade war as NI protocol bill is publishedPM claims NI protocol bill makes ‘relatively trivial set of adjustments’Summary and analysis of Johnson’s LBC interview52 out of 90 MLAs reject NI protocol bill ‘in strongest possible terms’UK decision to ‘renege’ on treaty ‘very regrettable’, says Irish PMIs NI protocol bill just ‘relatively trivial set of adjustments’?
Q: Your Northern Ireland protocol plan is holed below the water line because it has so much opposition in your party, isn’t it?
Johnson says the government needs to resolve the problems with the protocol.
The EU will not renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol agreement, the European Commission vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič, has said in response to Britain's decision to override some post-Brexit trade rules for the region.
'Renegotiating of the protocol is unrealistic,' he said. 'Any renegotiations would simply bring further legal uncertainty for the people and businesses in Northern Ireland. For these reasons, the EU will not renegotiate the protocol'
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The foreign secretary has said the legislation would fix issues with the post-Brexit protocol by easing checks for firms selling goods from Great Britain destined for Northern Ireland rather than the EU. But the EU, legal experts and even some Conservative MPs have said the move breaches international law
UK risks EU trade war as Northern Ireland protocol bill is publishedFollow the day’s politics news – as it happens Continue reading...
Explainer: Despite Boris Johnson’s claims, legislation includes four key changes to way arrangement works
Boris Johnson has played down the significance of the government’s Northern Ireland protocol bill, claiming it represents a “relatively trivial set of adjustments”. However the detail of the legislation includes four key changes to the way the protocol currently works:
Brandon Lewis refuses to outline what legal advice has been sought on amending Brexit arrangements
A bill to unilaterally amend the Northern Ireland protocol will not breach international law, the Northern Ireland secretary has said, but he refused to outline what legal advice had been sought or whether the full legal position would be released.
Brandon Lewis said the Northern Ireland protocol bill, which is being published on Monday, was based around “protecting the integrity” of the Good Friday peace agreement. He insisted that when people saw the legislation they would understand it did not breach international law.
Hotelier Rocco Forte demands PM changes course as Commons battle looms over tensions with EU
A big Tory donor has said he cannot support Boris Johnson, after accusing him of overseeing an un-Conservative government, delivering a “pathetic” tax-cutting pledge and refusing to heed calls to change the course of his premiership.
With the prime minister facing a split over Brexit within days and a mounting revolt among party backers after last week’s humiliating confidence vote, the hotelier Sir Rocco Forte said that he “will not put up” with the direction Johnson is taking the party.
Tory tensions high over risk of illegality in imminent bill to improve trade between Northern Ireland and rest of UK
Boris Johnson is being warned that he will repeat the mistakes of Partygate by backing “rule-breaking over the rule of law”, when he publishes plans on Monday that are expected to prompt a new Tory rebellion over Brexit.
Frantic legal and political negotiations have been taking place this week among Johnson, his cabinet and MPs in advance of the government’s bill designed to improve trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The legislation will be published on Monday.
Central Belfast: Thanks to a little forward planning, an arts centre is now home to Northern Ireland’s largest colony of these ‘international mobsters’
A thudding rhythm comes belting out of a nearby bar, taxis double-parked outside. Looking up at the sky’s darkening turquoise, I feel like the party’s gatecrasher. No one else seems to have heard what is slicing through the noise … Sssrreeeeee, ssrreeeeeee.
The Irish for swift is gabhlán gaoithe (“forked one of the wind”), which captures the bird’s hunch-shouldered long-winged silhouette and its commitment to flight. After fledging, these small screamers are as immersed in air as fish are in water. They sleep, drink and preen on the wing; and, hurtling at almost motorway speed, their superb vision identifies insect prey to seize with staggering accuracy.
Draft legislation to be issued Monday, as Keir Starmer promises a Labour government would repeal law if it passes
Legislation to disapply parts of the Northern Ireland protocol will be published next week, but senior government sources acknowledge it is going to be a “difficult” process to get it through parliament.
The new laws are aimed at unilaterally changing parts of the protocol to make trade easier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, but critics say overriding the post-Brexit treaty could contravene international law.
This live blog is now closed, you can find all the latest UK political news here
UNHCR backs bid to stop Patel sending asylum seekers to RwandaPM will be out by autumn without ‘positive new agenda’, says FrostLib Dems accuse Johnson of hiding from voters in byelectionNo 10 rejects claims Treasury wasted £11bn through debt mistakeStarmer defends decision to focus on NHS at PMQs this weekMcDonnell urges Starmer to back RMT over proposed strikeNI protocol, strictly applied, ‘was never going to work’, says Mandelson
And these are from the BBC’s home and legal correspondent, Dominic Casciani, on the high court hearing this morning on the proposed removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Body criticises plan to grant conditional immunity to people accused of murder in Northern Ireland conflict
The Council of Europe has rebuked the UK over a plan to grant conditional immunity to people accused of murder and other offences during the Northern Ireland Troubles.
The body, which oversees the European court of human rights (ECHR), on Friday accused the government of not consulting stakeholders and expressed concern over the stated intention to pull the plug on inquests.
UK could be entering third Covid wave this year but trend represents ‘small increase’ in positive tests
The UK may be entering its third wave of coronavirus this year, researchers warn, as official figures show infections are on the rise again in England and Northern Ireland.
The Office for National Statistics said its latest analysis of swabs from households across Britain revealed a mixed picture with a “small increase” in positive tests in England and Northern Ireland, while the trend in Wales and Scotland remained unclear.
This live blog has now closed, you can read more on Boris Johnson’s comments about a potential ‘wage-price spiral’ here
Summary and analysis of PM’s speech on cost of living and housingPlan to extend right to buy condemned by experts as unworkableSummary of Michael Gove’s morning interviewsStarmer accuses PM of taking ‘wrecking ball’ to relations with IrelandJohnson will be out as Tory leader by next election, says Hammond
The Queen has received a present from the cabinet to mark her Platinum Jubilee, No 10 says. It is a specially-commissioned musical box, with pictures of all the 14 prime ministers who have served here around the side. When it opens it plays Handel’s Hallelujah.
In every office there is always someone who organises the presents and this picture, on the No 10 Flickr account, suggests that in cabinet that job falls to Michael Ellis, the paymaster general.
Micheál Martin’s remarks come as No 10 is expected to table draft legislation overriding key parts of Brexit deal
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Boris Johnson has been warned by his Irish counterpart that ditching the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland would be a “historic low point”, citing the outbreak of war in Ukraine as a reason why international law must be respected.
With Downing Street expected to table controversial draft legislation overriding key parts of the withdrawal agreement next week, the taoiseach, Micheál Martin, said such a move would be “deeply damaging”.
Annual growth remains at 10.5%, the slowest rate since start of year, says Halifax
The average UK house price hit a fresh high in May, rising for the 11th month in a row, according to Halifax data, but the annual growth rate slowed in a sign that the cost of living crisis is cooling the market.
House prices increased by 1% between April and May, or £2,857, taking the average price of a home to a record of £289,099.
More than 70 staff suspended and 34 arrested at psychiatric hospital in County Antrim since allegations came to light
A public inquiry has opened into allegations of extensive and repeated abuse of patients at Muckamore Abbey, a hospital for vulnerable adults in Northern Ireland.
The inquiry’s chair, Tom Kark, said at the first hearing on Monday that the allegations of abuse and neglect at the psychiatric facility outside Belfast, in County Antrim, brought the medical, nursing and care professions into disrepute.
Recently rediscovered BBC footage of an exuberant Sunday afternoon disco in Ardoyne has gone viral
In 1964 it was the moment the children of Holy Cross parish in north Belfast waited for all week: at 3pm on Sunday their school held a disco.
For the price of a few pence they would pack the hall, the music would start and for the next few hours their world was a sublime realm of dance, joy and rock’n’roll, especially when the Hippy Hippy Shake played.
Former Brexit negotiator criticises Irish government’s focus on ‘all-island’ economy
Boris Johnson’s former Brexit negotiator David Frost has said the “weakness” of the UK’s position shaped the negotiations for the Northern Ireland protocol but blamed a lack of pragmatism in the EU’s approach for the current difficulties.
Frost said the deal he negotiated while in Johnson’s government would have run smoothly only if it had never been fully applied by the EU.
PSNI investigating video of people chanting about 2011 killing of Michaela McAreavey
Two men have apologised for their involvement in a video on social media of a group appearing to mock the murder of a Northern Irish teacher on her honeymoon.
The video, filmed in a room decorated with union flags and Orange Order paintings, features people chanting about the 2011 murder in Mauritius of Michaela McAreavey, an Irish-language teacher and daughter of the Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte.
Conor Burns says Brexit deal intended to support peace accord is undermining cross-community consent
The UK’s special envoy for the Northern Ireland protocol has said he told US officials that it has become a threat to the Good Friday agreement.
Conor Burns, the Northern Ireland minister assigned to make the UK’s case in Washington, shrugged off a threat earlier this month by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to block a US-UK free trade deal if the UK took unilateral action to override the protocol.
Exporters fear Northern Ireland protocol row will spur trade war with Brussels, making an already difficult job even harder
Mark Brearley is still frustrated by Brexit. More than a year from Britain’s formal withdrawal from the EU, on terms agreed by Boris Johnson’s government, exporting the goods his company produces hasn’t got any easier for the London-based manufacturer.
Describing it as “the same nightmare week after week”, he says: “A lot more time is spent with things going wrong. The EU really feels like the hardest place in the world to ship things to sometimes.”
Orange Order parade in Belfast comes after Covid-19 pandemic postponed last year’s celebrations
More than 10,000 people gathered at Stormont to celebrate the centenary of Northern Ireland.
While political deadlock remains, people at the centenary event were upbeat and in a relaxed mood as they fanned out across the grounds of Stormont to celebrate the past, present and future of Northern Ireland.
UK experts urge confirmed cases to avoid handling household pets as precautionary measure
People with monkeypox have been told to avoid contact with their pets for three weeks amid concerns the animals could become infected and pass the virus on to other people.
Monkeypox is caused by a viral infection and can be found in animals including rodents and monkeys, as well as in humans. It is typically found in central and western Africa, however in recent weeks there has been a surge in human cases in countries where the disease is not endemic, including the UK.
Health officials say they are ready to respond but that overall risk to general public is low
Cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in Wales and Northern Ireland, public health officials have announced, as experts stress the risk to the general public remains low.
Public Health Wales, which has confirmed one case, urged people to be aware of the symptoms of the virus, adding it was important for gay and bisexual men to be alert. A sizeable proportion of monkeypox cases recently diagnosed in England have been found among people who identify as gay or bisexual and among men who have sex with men.
UK government to table legislation to safeguard language as revival gains momentum
Gregory Campbell, a Democratic Unionist party MP in Northern Ireland, once expressed his scorn for the Irish language with six words that became infamous: “Curry my yoghurt, can coca coalyer.”
He coined the gibberish phrase in 2014 during an address to the Stormont assembly to mimic and deride nationalist colleagues who began speeches with “go raibh maith agat, ceann comhairle”, which means “thank you, chairman”.