Attempt to trigger Article 16 was ‘mistake’, says EU vice president
Giving evidence to the Irish parliament on Tuesday, Maros Sefcovic, the vice president of the European Commission, accused the UK of numerous “shortcomings”, including its failure to implement controls at the Northern Irish border.
While acknowledging the difficulties caused by the protocol, Mr Sefcovic said it was the “only solution” to the problems presented by Brexit in Northern Ireland.
He will travel to Northern Ireland on Thursday for a series of meetings, with the country’s first minister Arlene Foster tweeting on Tuesday that he should meet those “hardest hit” by the protocol and not just its “cheerleaders”.
UK calls for ceasefires to help international coronavirus vaccine rollout
The UK will call for ceasefires around the globe to allow coronavirus vaccines to be given to people in conflict zones.
The foreign secretary Dominic Raab will tell the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the world can only win its fight against Covid-19 if vaccines are made available everywhere.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, he said: “Global vaccination coverage is essential to beating coronavirus.
“That is why the UK is calling for a vaccination ceasefire to allow Covid-19 vaccines to reach people living in conflict zones and for a greater global team effort to deliver equitable access.”
In 2001, a two-day ceasefire in Afghanistan allowed health workers and volunteers to vaccinate 5.7 million children under 5 against polio.
Rory Sullivan17 February 2021 09:16
Government must do more for young people, says children’s commissioner
The prime minister needs to put young people at the centre of plans to “build back better”, England’s children’s commissioner has said.
In her last speech in the role, Anne Longfield will warn Boris Johnson on Wednesday that “levelling up” the UK will be merely a “slogan” if children are not central to those plans.
She will also accuse the government of “institutional bias against children”, noting that only £1 billion has been assigned to help pupils to catch up with missed studies, despite a warning from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that lost education during the pandemic could cost the economy £350 billion in the long term.
Rory Sullivan17 February 2021 08:51
Nicola Sturgeon has stolen a march on Boris Johnson by announcing that primary schools in Scotland will open to some pupils from Monday.
Here’s Adam Forrest with a round-up of this and today’s other leading politics stories.
Rory Sullivan17 February 2021 08:33
Labour demands pay rise for social care workers
Labour will on Wednesday urge the government to increase social care workers’ earnings to at least £10 per hour, while warning that “poverty wages” are harming the economy.
In a keynote speech, the party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner will say the pay rise is “well overdue” and that social care staff have been long “underpaid and undervalued”.
She will add that Tory ministers should be ashamed that many of these workers “are struggling to support themselves and their own families”, despite risking their lives during the pandemic.
Rory Sullivan17 February 2021 08:17
EU accuses UK of failing to live up to Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland
Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president, has accused the UK of failing to live up to the terms of the Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Sefcovic said the failures included controls not being performed at border posts.
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the details:
Rory Sullivan17 February 2021 08:08
Morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling UK politics coverage.
Rory Sullivan17 February 2021 08:04