Wales launches surprise plot to CHANGE new UK trade – demands more for itself

Dominic Raab dismisses EU threat to City of London

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The Labour-led administration has written to Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay and the Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart calling for a joint approach on setting up a freeport in Wales in a bid to encourage economic activity after Brexit. However, despite Welsh Ministers setting out the conditions where a joint approach could be taken, Cardiff says no formal offer has been presented by the UK Government to the Welsh Government on a proposed Freeport in Wales.

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Ministers say the Welsh Government cannot accept a proposal where a Welsh Freeport would receive less financial support than the £25m made available for Freeports in England.

Welsh Economy Minister Vaughan Gething MS said: “We remain open to the idea of having a Freeport in Wales, but creating one here would require the use of devolved powers. However, as it stands, the UK Government has not agreed to our request for joint decision making, and no appropriate funding has been offered.

“We have repeatedly pressed UK Ministers for constructive engagement.

“The lack of clarity about implementing Freeports in Wales, a policy driven by the UK Government, is destabilising business decisions in an already exceptionally uncertain economic environment, and is having a direct impact on investment decisions.

“Furthermore, their decision to announce specific Freeports for England, without concluding arrangements for Wales, gives rise to the potential for jobs and investment to be drawn out of Wales.

“Until the UK Government responds to us and presents us with a formal offer, the ball remains firmly in the UK Government’s court.”

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5.55am update: Brexit chaos as Government holds crisis talks over shortage of truck drivers

BRITAIN is facing Brexit chaos as the Government has been forced to hold crisis talks over a shortage of truck drivers.

Officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) are said to be holding talks with industry chiefs over a sgortage of 100,000 truck drivers due to Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

One measure could be bringing in short-term visas, the Telegraph has reported.

A source said: “Everyone involved is sworn to secrecy as the Home Office is taking a very hard line.

“The Home Office has the final decision on this and the DfT knows it has a very tough sell, so need the very best evidence.”

5.00am update: ‘Can’t bear the thought of Brexit Britain succeeding!’ Farage mocks EU for backing Italy

NIGEL FARAGE has mocked the European Union for supporting Italy in the Euro 2020 final against England.

European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen is rooting for Italy to beat England on Sunday in the Euro 2020 final, a European Commission spokesperson said on Friday.

The spokesperson said: “Her heart is with the Squadra Azzurra, so she will be supporting Italy on Sunday.”

But Mr Farage has mocked the EU chief and claimed it’s more animosity linked to Brexit.

In a furious rant on GB News, Mr Farage said: “I didn’t want to bring Brexit into it believe me but it can’t be helped because Ursula von der Leyen and other European commissioners are making it absolutely clear they want Italy to win.

“They’re telling us that the whole of Europe wants Italy to win.

“They can’t bear the thought of Brexit Britain succeeding.

“They didn’t even like the fact that the Swiss has as good a run as they did.”

3.30am update: Hands off! EU super trawler plundering UK waters is ‘shadowed’ through environmental zone

A MASSIVE, Dutch-flagged super trawler plundering UK waters has been shadowed through a designated environmental zone to prevent it from hoovering up fish stocks by a group of environmentalists.

But Greenpeace has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to do more, by banning such vessels from all marine protected areas (MPAs) in line with his pre-Brexit pledges.

The environmental pressure group’s Operation Ocean Witness patrol boat kept tabs on the Willem van der Zwan as it passed through the Offshore Overfalls Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the Sussex coast.

Greenpeace’s boat displayed a banner proclaiming “This is a marine protected area”.

Fiona Nicholls, a Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner, said: “Supertrawlers like the Willem van der Zwan spend thousands of hours each year fishing inside our protected areas at sea.

”They endanger the health of our oceans, remove unimaginably vast quantities of fish from the ecosystem, and destroy the livelihoods of local fishers all around the UK.”

2.10am update: EU trying to land-grab UK soil by back door!’ Furious backlash to Brussels plot

THE EU is attempting to break up the UK, Britons have declared in a furious outburst against Brussels.

Amid the heightened tensions post-Brexit, Express.co.uk readers have expressed their fury over how the EU has treated Northern Ireland and its place within the UK.

Amid the support for remaining part of the UK, readers expressed their fury over the Northern Ireland protocol and its damage to businesses in the country.

One person said: “Remainers are claiming nobody cares about NI.

“Well, this proves yet again they are liars.

“The EU is trying to land-grab parts of the UK via the back-door.

“EU nearly caused a war with Russia trying to recruit Ukraine into the EU.”

1.00am update: EU powergrab FAILS: US to massively invest in City – Brussels’ plan flops

US BUSINESSES with operations in the UK are expected to increase their investment in the next few years as Brussels’ plan to seize power flops following Britain’s departure from the EU.

A new survey of 68 large American companies that employ more than 275,000 people in the UK found businesses have a “very high” confidence in Britain as a place to do business. Around 60 percent said they would increase investment in the UK.

Anna Marrs, a group president at American Express, said the geographical position and UK timezones make it an “ideal jumping-off point” for their operations outside the US.

She said: “The combination of a strong and multilingual talent base, a supportive business environment, and geographical and timezone advantages continues to make the UK an ideal jumping-off point for our operations outside the US.”

9.30pm update: Brexit Britain’s huge space project secures future UK jobs: ‘Won’t lose them abroad!’

Brexit Britain is set to be at the heart of a huge space project which will create a multitude of jobs on UK soil, as the boss of OneWeb vows: “We’re not going to lose them abroad.”

The Low Earth Orbit (LEO) broadband constellation, backed by the Government to provide “global” Internet coverage, declared itself “financially secure” earlier this month.

It comes after the tech company, based in London, raised the $2.4billion (£1.73billion) funding necessary to roll out the remaining 650 satellites in its constellation.

The team have now set their sights on completing their global coverage, but the 254 probes already launched are enough to start offering a commercial service to the Northern Hemisphere.

The company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BT to explore the possibility of improving digital communication services in some of the hardest to reach parts of the UK.

And OneWeb’s CEO, Neil Masterson, believes Britons should be excited.

He said: “What we have now is an indigenous British space industry that can lead to next-generation satellite development and give the graduates of our many universities a real career opportunity in Britain.

“We’re not going to lose them abroad to others, but rather we’ll keep them here.

“As we’ve seen in the pharma industry, that’s good for our future [economy in Britain].”

8.10pm update: Northern Ireland Orange Order parades end peacefully

The annual marches by thousands of members of Northern Ireland’s Orange Order have taken place without incident, police have confirmed.

The parades have often threatened to spark violence, even after the 1988 peace deal which predominantly ended three decades of conflict between Catholic nationalists wanting unification with Ireland and Protestant unionists wanting to retain the status quo.

There had been fears anger at post-Brexit trade barriers might fuel street violence.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts said in a statement: “I am pleased that today has passed without incident.”

6.30pm update: Starmer will storm ahead once Brexit and Corbyn ‘baggage’ is forgotten says think tank

A Labour think tank believes Sir Keir Starmer can lead the party to victory once the “baggage” of Brexit and former leader Jeremy Corbyn is cast off and is “in the rear view mirror”.

General Secretary of the Fabian Society Andrew Harrop spoke to Express.co.uk and believes Sir Keir Starmer could lead Labour to a general election victory once the “baggage” of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn is forgotten about.

Mr Harrop explains traditional Labour issues are being drowned out by these big political events which he says have slowed down Labour’s success.

The Politico Poll of Polls put Labour eight points behind the Conservatives at 42 to 34 percent on July 9.

Labour also suffered a huge general election loss in 2019 which saw the party lose 40 seats and a large vote swing away.

5.32pm update: Brexit emergency – Urgent talks held to avoid lorry driver crisis

Government ministers are believed to have launched urgent talks on a short-term visa scheme for foreign lorry drivers in a bid to prevent a shortage of staff.

There is an estimated shortfall of up to 100,000 truckers, delaying the deliveries of products including clothing and food.

Now, officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) are in discussion with haulage industry chiefs on how they can tackle the crisis.

According to reports, transport leaders have recommended a temporary easing of immigration controls as a way of quickly solving the crisis.

However, the Home Office has opposed relaxing controls, which were tightened following Britain’s departure from the EU when free movement ended.

Following the Home Office’s refusal, the DfT asked the industry for evidence to demonstrate the value of a temporary visa scheme.

4.22pm update: Eurosceptic MEP scores victory as GB News breaches ‘Brussels bubble’ in EU Parliament

GB News will be broadcast throughout the European Parliament after a Swedish MEP called for the channel to be shown in the institution.

Charlie Weimers celebrated the news that his request was approved by EU Parliament bigwigs as a win for “media diversity”.

MEPs will now be able to watch Andrew Neil’s independent news channel on the televisions in their offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Mr Weimers told Express.co.uk: “Would you believe it? GB News has reached the Brussels bubble!

“The British view on sovereignty, free trade and individual liberty is sorely missed in Brussels and still has a pivotal role to play in continental Europe.

“British influence on European intellectual thought preceded the EU and will of course not go away after Brexit.”

3.08pm update: ‘EU trying to land-grab UK soil by back door!’ Furious backlash to Brussels plot

The EU is attempting to break up the UK, Britons have declared in a furious outburst against Brussels.

Amid the heightened tensions post-Brexit, Express.co.uk readers have expressed their fury over how the EU has treated Northern Ireland and its place within the UK.

Amid the support for remaining part of the UK, readers expressed their fury over the Northern Ireland protocol and its damage to businesses in the country.

One person said: “Remainers are claiming nobody cares about NI.

“Well, this proves yet again they are liars.

“The EU is trying to land-grab parts of the UK via the back-door.

“EU nearly caused a war with Russia trying to recruit Ukraine into the EU.”

Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Richard Percival.

2pm update: UK Government hold talks on developing finance cooperation post-Brexit with India 

The UK could soon strike a financial services deal with India in a “major Brexit boost” for the City of London.

Treasury officials have held talks with counterparts in Delhi and agreed to deepen financial services cooperation.

The talks, part of the India-UK Financial Markets Dialogue, also addressed regulatory barriers for UK and Indian firms.

The move, Government sources have told Express.co.uk, will be a “major Brexit boost for investors, bankers and traders across the City” and will build on £18 billion worth of bilateral trade between both nations in 2020.

1:15pm update: SNP hits out at Brexit divorce deal costs 

The SNP has hit out at the soaring costs incurred as part of the UK government’s Brexit deal, as new estimates suggest it could now cost more than £40 billion.

Kirsten Oswald said the latest figures were a stark reminder of the true cost of remaining under Westminster control.

The SNP Deputy Westminster leader added: “Not only have the Tories dragged Scotland out of the EU – they’re now presenting people here with a huge bill for their Brexit disaster.

“Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are hitting Scotland’s economy hard with their extreme Brexit and to add insult to injury have left the country with a soaring bill to the tune of tens of billions of pounds.”

12:30pm update: UK economy storms forwards as EU shackles finally slashed – experts

Britain’s post-Brexit “resurgence” is picking up pace, financial experts have said, in response to the publication of a survey suggesting spending by businesses is set to surge in the coming months as the UK bounces back from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

And one suggested the research highlighted just how badly wrong the architects of Project Fear had been with their gloomy predictions five years ago.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was urged to seize the moment with regulatory reforms which with help Britain’s businesses capitalise on their new freedoms.

11:45am update: Spanish Cabinet reshuffle raises hopes for Gibraltar Brexit treaty 

Spain has appointed a new Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares familiar with the detail of a New Year’s Eve political agreement that will form the basis of treaty talks between the UK and the EU for Gibraltar.

Mr Albares takes over from Arancha Gonzalez Laya.

Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo, said: “I have thanked Arancha Gonzalez Laya for her approach and have wished her well on behalf of the People of Gibraltar.

“I look forward to the UK/EU treaty negotiations being positively supported by Snr Albares as he takes over in the Spanish Foreign Ministry.”

11am update: US to massively invest in City of London, survey says

US businesses with operations in the UK are expected to increase their investment in the next few years as Brussels’ plan to seize power flops following Britain’s departure from the EU.

A new survey of 68 large American companies that employ more than 275,000 people in the UK found businesses have a “very high” confidence in Britain as a place to do business.

Around 60 percent said they would increase investment in the UK.

9:30am update: Leavers fear EU meddling puts Ulster peace at risk

Leave voters say Brussels’ attempts to frustrate Brexit with sausage war trade rule changes is endangering peace in Northern Ireland.

A poll found more than half blame the EU’s meddling in commerce between Great Britain and the province for threatening stability.

Rule changes give Eurocrats the right to check goods moving across the Irish Sea into Northern Ireland, which, in effect, remains part of the EU single market to prevent trade checkpoints along the Irish border.

8:45am update: Scotland should not give in to post-Brexit pressure over independence 

Eddie Izzard has said she still hopes Scotland will stay part of the UK and not give in to post-Brexit pressure.

The gender-fluid comic, 58, said both PM Boris Johnson and the EU split had put the Union under more stress but said she would be sad to see it break up.

Izzard, who aims to be Britain’s first transgender MP, said: “I’ve always said, have as much power as you think you need, but let’s stay together.

“The UK is an unusual country. I think Brexit and Boris Johnson have put the Union under the greatest strain it has ever been. It’s a complicated old thing.”

8am update: EDF held talks with UK ministers about post-brexit immigration rules

French state-controlled power group EDF has held talks with UK Government ministers about post-Brexit immigration rules, the Telegraph reported.

The company is training thousands of Britons but also needs to be able to hire from the European Union and beyond given the number of construction workers needed to finish a 23 billion pounds ($31.97 billion) nuclear power plant it is building in Somerset, the report said.

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