Wednesday evening UK news briefing: EU rejects call to rework Northern Ireland Protocol

·6 min read
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph
Your evening briefing from The Telegraph

Just hours after it was proposed, the European Commission has already rejected the UK Government's call to renegotiate the Northern Ireland Protocol.

UK government ministers published proposed changes to the current arrangement, designed to keep trade flowing in Northern Ireland after Brexit, and called for new talks.

However, Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice-president who leads on post-Brexit issue talks with the UK, issued a statement saying the terms of the deal will not be renegotiated.

Lord Frost, the minister overseeing Brexit-linked talks with the EU, pictured above, and Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, had made joint statements in Parliament today.

Read what are the changes the UK wants while Ben Habib analyses why only triggering Article 16 can prevent the EU taking control of Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, Priti Patel has been accused of allowing the French to be "making a mockery" of the British through their refusal to apprehend illegal Channel migrants at sea and return them to France.

The Home Secretary faced a backlash from Tory MPs who warned her new £54 million deal with the French would be "throwing good money after bad" unless she persuaded France to adopt tougher tactics at sea.

Read the stinging criticism of a former Conservative minister.

Deadly floods as China hit by 'worst rain in 1,000 years'

At least 25 people have died in severe flooding in central China caused by what weather forecasters said was the heaviest rain in a millennium. Twenty centimetres pelted down in just one hour on Tuesday in Zhengzhou, the local capital of Henan province with a population of 10 million. Watch video of the deluge and images of cars piled up and dramatic rescues. The extreme weather gripping the world has also seen wildfires raging across the western US and Canada, including a "monster" two-week-old blaze in Oregon, with harmful air pollution belched as far away as New York City. In the UK, the number of people who have drowned during the UK heatwave has reached 13.

Queen's visit to 92-year-old's knitted Sandringham

When 92-year-old great-grandmother Margaret Seaman set out to create a "knitted Sandringham" it was a charity project she thought would simply keep her busy after her husband died. She could never have imagined that not only would it go on display at the Queen's Norfolk residence but that she would get to show it to Her Majesty in person. Mrs Seaman, who spent two years working on the woolly royal residence, knitting up to 15 hours a day, revealed that it was "absolutely wonderful" to meet the Queen and that she had appeared delighted with her efforts.

News briefing: Today's essential headlines

'Pingdemic' hits Labour | Sir Keir Starmer is having to self-isolate after one of his children tested positive for Covid-19 at lunchtime. Only hours earlier the Labour leader took part in a rowdy PMQs, where he mocked Boris Johnson for having to isolate on his own so-called freedom day. Labour also confirmed it will oppose mandatory vaccine passports for businesses in the UK, meaning the Prime Minister faces a potential showdown in Parliament. Plans to make clubbers show Covid passports from September have raised fears about the return of illegal raves.

The end of lockdown: What Front Page readers think

We asked Front Page readers to let us know what you will be doing differently after Covid restrictions ended today and what you are thankful for. This week, we will share some of your contributions.

"I will not wear a mask anywhere unless I am obliged to do so. I will meet with friends – but that is rarely with more than six even before Covid. I will go back to the theatre and cinema as soon as there is something I want to see. I'll be thankful that the law is on my side."
Felicity Griffiths, 67, Cobham, Surrey

Wednesday big-read

'My pre-holiday diary from hell'

Lucy Aspden is far from relaxed about her approaching holiday in Spain
Lucy Aspden is far from relaxed about her approaching holiday in Spain

Happy-go-lucky holiday planning has become a thing of distant pre-pandemic memory. Trapped in a hellish state of flux, Lucy Aspen gives a blow-by-blow account of her attempt to reach her Spanish sun lounger for her first foreign escape in more than 17 months

Read her article

Around the world: Parisians split over 'health pass'

Parisians have appeared deeply divided over President Emmanuel Macron's decision to oblige them to wield a health pass to enter most museums and cinemas - and soon cafes and restaurants - in a bid to stem rocketing infections. A decree that comes into force today makes it obligatory for all leisure and cultural venues welcoming more than 50 people, including theatres, sports halls and even Disneyland Paris. Read on for details and how cases and vaccinations are fairing in France.

Comment and analysis

Editor's choice

  1. Debunking the Amy Winehouse myth | 'Her parents were judged so harshly'

  2. Moral Money | 'I lost my grandad's £12k Rolex – can I replace it with a knock-off unnoticed?'

  3. Get to the National Gallery pronto | Gaze upon Bellotto's astounding Königstein Views

Business and money briefing

'Those days are gone' | The number of people working in central London will never return to pre-pandemic levels because employees will not come back to the office five days a week, the chairman of one of Britain's biggest banks has warned. Read on for details.

Olympics briefing

Causing a stink | A marauding bear and a foul-smelling swimming venue have sparked alerts for Olympics organisers, as the sporting action in Japan finally began with women's football. Sightings of an animal intruder caused alarm for police outside the Fukushima softball venue, while in Tokyo Bay, concerns have been raised about the water quality where open water swimmers and triathletes are due to compete. Read on for details. Meanwhile, shooting gold medal hopeful Amber Hill has become the latest Team GB athlete to be ruled out of the Olympics.

Today's other sports headlines

Three things for tonight

And finally... for this evening's downtime

Humour is often cruel | The revelation that broadcaster Nicky Campbell was so hurt by jokes by writer Charlie Brooker that he ended up bedridden with depression, revives an age-old question: how far should you go for a laugh? Louis Wise analyses why comedians must not be silenced to avoid hurting people's feelings.

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