Brexit news live: Latest updates as Boris Johnson branded ‘liar’

Today’s daily politics briefing

The former prime minister told CNN that the issues seen in recent months are not merely “teething problems”, warning that “bureaucracy” was the inevitable result of leaving the EU’s single market.

“I hope they [the government] can tackle as many of these problems as possible but, ultimately, some of them are because we chose to leave the single market and become a third country,” he said.

Mr Cameron also weighed in on the subject of corporation tax, ahead of next week’s Budget. The former prime minister said it “wouldn’t make any sense at all” to raise this rate, given the current state of the economy.

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson has been branded an “unrepentant and inveterate liar” by a former French ambassador to the UK.

In her new book, Sylvie Bermann, France’s top representative in London during the EU referendum, said the prime minister uses “lies to embellish reality, as a game and as instrument of power”.

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Morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live UK politics coverage.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 07:50

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Foster blasts EU officials as ‘tone deaf’

Arlene Foster has described EU officials as “tone deaf” following a meeting yesterday on the Northern Ireland protocol.

The country’s first minister said the discussions were “hugely disappointing”, adding that the bloc has “refused to recognise the problems or offer any sensible solutions” to post-Brexit trade disruption.

She also repeated her calls for Westminster “to act unilaterally” so that Northern Ireland does not remain “cut off” from the rest of the UK.

“The prime minister told the House of Commons that there would be unfettered trade within the United Kingdom, yet the Northern Ireland protocol has completely ruptured the flow of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland,” she said.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 07:56

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Sturgeon insists redaction of Salmond’s evidence is not political

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted it is “downright wrong” to blame political influence for the decision to censor evidence submitted by her predecessor Alex Salmond to a Holyrood inquiry.

As a result of the censorship, Mr Salmond refused to appear before the inquiry on Wednesday.

He alleges that a “malicious and concerted” attempt was made to bar him from political life through claims of sexual harrassment.

The inquiry by the Committee on the Scottish Government’s Handling of Harrassment Complaints started after it was found that allegations against Mr Salmond had been “tainted by apparent bias”.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has more details about the scandal convulsing Scottish politics:

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 08:08

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Government should be truthful with public about economy, says Hammond

Ministers must be truthful with the public about the state of the economy, the former chancellor Philip Hammond has warned.

Speaking ahead of next week’s Budget, Mr Hammond expressed his fear that the government would prioritise popularity over trying to balance spending and taxation.

He told the BBC that his concern was“that as a populist government, giving money away is always easier than collecting it in”.

Lord Hammond described Boris Johnson’s pledges before the pandemic as “very extravagant” and said not all of them “can now sensibly be delivered”.

The former minister said admitting this would be “a big challenge” for a government that is obsessed by its “short-term popularity”.

Former chancellor Philip Hammond says public needs ‘home truths’ on economy

(GETTY)

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 08:24

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Inside Politics

It is not only the DUP that wants the Northern Ireland protocol to be ditched.

Tory backbenchers in the ERG are calling on Boris Johnson to abandon the current arrangements over the Irish Sea.

Adam Forrest has more on this as part of his daily politics round-up:

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 08:41

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Shapps becomes first minister to have coronavirus vaccine

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has become the first member of cabinet to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

The 52-year-old MP was eligible for the jab because he was classed as clinically vulnerable, since he underwent cancer treatment in the 1990s.

The minister he was “so surprised” to get a call from his GP offering him the vaccine that he “called back and checked they got it right”.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 08:58

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Labour promises to restore Britain’s high streets through ‘empty shops order’

Councils should have the power to repurpose empty shops in order to revive the country’s high streets, Labour will say on Thursday.

Ahead of her speech today, the shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said Labour wanted to “secure the future of the high street” and give communities a “proper stake” in their town centres.

She added that her party would address the “decade of decline in Britain’s high streets” caused by successive Tory governments.

The proposed “empty shops order” would allow councils to work with the owners of empty shops to bring them back into use.

However, if this approach was not successful, the council could secure management rights and proceed without the permission of the owner.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 09:21

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Education minister ‘trusts the judgement of teachers’ amid warnings of grade inflation

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has said he “trusts the judgement of teachers”, despite concerns that a new government grading system could undermine school qualifications.

Later this morning, Mr Williamson is expected to tell the Commons that teachers will give their students grades in lieu of exams this summer.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has the details:

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 09:36

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Salmond believes ‘conspiracy’ tried to stop his political comeback

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond believes there was a “conspiracy” to prevent his return to politics.

SNP MSP Alex Neil, an ally of Mr Salmond’s, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “everyone involved” would have to resign if the allegation was proven.

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 09:56

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ERG urges PM to scrap Northern Ireland protocol

The European Research Group (ERG) has demanded that the Northern Ireland protocol be scrapped, saying the UK government should act in the interests of Stormont.

The group of hardline Brexiteers has released a 38-page report on the issue.

Here are its conclusions:

Rory Sullivan25 February 2021 10:19

 

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