11 August 2017

First Secretary of State stands by tens-of-thousands immigration policy

First Secretary of State Damian Green has insisted that the government will stand by its intention to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, despite an appeal from Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, questioning the target. Speaking in Edinburgh, Green said, “I think the overall purpose of the government’s immigration policy is to have immigration at sustainable levels — we do need to identify that as being in the tens of thousands. It is clear that one of the forces behind the Brexit vote was a feeling in some parts of the UK that immigration had been allowed to be too high for too long, and I think we should respect that.” He also dismissed the suggestion that power over immigration policy could be devolved to regional governments, saying, “Immigration has always been a reserved power and that is for obvious practical reasons, that nobody wants any kind of border control inside the UK. I can’t see that changing.”

Source: The Times

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The Times: Lawyers argue Repeal Bill could remove the right to sue the government post-Brexit

According to The Times, a clause in the European Union Repeal Bill, set to be debated next month, could mean Britons losing the ability to sue the government post-Brexit over issues including workers’ rights and environmental policy. Currently, the government can be sued under the European Court of Justice’s 1991 Francovich ruling, which says that any EU member state can be sued if an individual or business has been damaged as a result of a “sufficiently serious” failure of a country to implement EU law. However, a clause in the repeal bill, says, “There is no right in domestic law on or after exit day to damages in accordance with the rule in Francovich.” A government spokesman said, “The right to Francovich damages is linked to EU membership. The government therefore considers that this will no longer be relevant after we leave. After exit, under UK law it will still be possible for individuals to receive damages or compensation for any losses caused by breach of the law.”

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UK trade deficit widens despite weak currency

The UK trade deficit has widened between May and June, despite hopes that the weak sterling would rebalance the economy towards exports and manufacturing. Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the deficit widened to £4.6 billion as exports shrank and imports grew, representing the worst trade performance in nine months. Analysis by the ONS also showed that exports to the EU grew by 2 percent since the first quarter, while non-EU exports fell by 1.4 percent.

Separately, US bank Morgan Stanley have predicted that the euro will reach parity with the pound for the first time in its history by 2018, having today raised its currency forecast for the euro to $1.25 for the start of 2018.

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Number of migrants arriving in Europe via Mediterranean halved in 2017

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 116,692 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 6 August, with almost 83% arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This is less than half of the migration arrivals registered in the same period the year before, where 263,436 arrived across the region through 6 August 2016.

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Former Brexit Secretary chief of staff calls for new political movement to stop Brexit

James Chapman, former chief of staff to Brexit Secretary David Davis, has called for a new political movement to be set up to block Brexit, suggesting that senior government members were sympathetic to his plans. Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, he said, “Two people in the cabinet now, and a number of people who have been in Conservative cabinets before now, better cabinets I might say than the current one, and a number of shadow cabinet ministers have also been in touch. They are not saying they are going to quit their parties, but they are saying they understand that there is an enormous gap in the centre now of British politics. Look, the two main parties have been captured by their fringes.” He added, “The hard Brexit plan that Mrs May is perusing is going to take our economy off a cliff. It’s going to make Black Wednesday [the day the UK was forced to withdraw from the Exchange Rate Mechanism] look like a picnic. And when that happens, the Conservative Party will never be in power again.”

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Fears grow over contaminated eggs as supermarkets withdraw products

Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Waitrose have all withdrawn egg products from their shelves as the number of contaminated eggs suspected of arriving in the UK has risen to 700,000. The eggs, produced in the Netherlands, have been shown to contain fipronil, which is banned from use in food products by the EU and can cause health issues. Heather Hancock, chair of the Food Standards Agency, said, “I’m confident that acting quickly is the right thing to do. The number of eggs involved is small in proportion to the number of eggs we eat, and it is very unlikely that there is a risk to public health. Based on the available evidence there is no need for people to change the way they consume or cook eggs. However, fipronil is not legally allowed for use near food-producing animals and it shouldn’t be there.” Dutch investigators yesterday said they had arrested two people for allegedly used fipronil in poultry farms.

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