Today’s daily politics briefing
Trust in Boris Johnson’s government to “do the right thing” has tumbled from 60 per cent at the height of the first coronavirus lockdown to just 44 per cent now, according to a new survey.
Analysis by Edelman’s found “the integrity of the United Kingdom may now be under threat”, with voters expressing more trust in the leaders of devolved administrations than in Downing Street.
It come as an influential cross-party committee of MPs warned chancellor Rishi Sunak that his upcoming Budget is not the time for tax increases. Labour has called on Mr Sunak not to bring in a “triple hammer blow” of tax rises, welfare cuts or freezes on public sector pay.
We’ve got to make the current Brexit deal work, says Dodds
Labour’s shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has been asked about the party’s approach to Brexit at a Q&A session after her speech at Bloomberg.
“Would we would be seeking to immediately renegotiate this deal? No, we’ve got to make the current deal work,” she said. Dodds said she did not want to be “blasé about the challenges around customs that we face at all”.
She added: “I’ve time and time again highlighted the enormous gulf where the government have said we would be around the number of customs agents and customs officials, compared to where we are right now.
“Businesses have faced so much uncertainty because of coronavirus, they shouldn’t have to be facing this current degree of uncertainty because of the government’s lack of preparedness around Brexit as well.”
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 11:48
Labour’s new Scottish leader wants ‘greater alignment’ with EU
Labour’s new Scottish leader has challenged Keir Starmer to end his silence on Brexit and campaign for “greater alignment” with the EU.
Anas Sarwar became the first senior party figure to push for what would be a renegotiation of the threadbare trade deal negotiated by Boris Johnson.
“I support the EU, I want us to have as close a relationship with the EU as possible,” Sarwar told The Guardian. “I have been advocating for us to have greater alignment around the single market and customs union ever since the UK voted to leave the union.”
He also described Scottish independence as “an amplifier” of economic problems – “a multiplier of the negatives of Brexit.”
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 11:42
Sunak will take your questions after Budget
Rishi Sunak will answer questions from both the public and media on Wednesday afternoon following his big statement – claiming it to be a “Budget first”. The event will take place at 5pm on Wednesday.
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 11:33
By-election record looms, as door knocking set to resume
By-election geeks will be delighted to learn a new record is about to be set for the longest period of time since a parliamentary by-election was held in the UK.
On March 5, a total of 582 days will have passed since voters last went to the polls in a Westminster by-election – beating the previous record set between early 2002 and late 2003.
And party activists will be ecstatic at the news that door-to-door campaigning will get back to normal pretty soon ahead of England’s local elections. Activists will be permitted to canvas alone from 8 March, with groups of six allowed from 29 March.
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 11:28
British manufacturing still struggling with Brexit disruption
UK factory output last month grew at its lowest level since May as manufacturing firms were weighed down by supply chain disruption.
Experts behind the IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) report said further delays within supply chains have impacted upon trade.
Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit, said: “The UK manufacturing sector was again hit by supply chain issues, Covid-19 restrictions, stalling exports, input shortages and rising cost pressures in February.”
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 11:13
DUP defends ‘right’ move to halt Brexit border posts
The DUP’s agriculture minister Gordon Lyons – who stunned Northern Ireland at the end of last week with his controversial decision to halt work on permanent inspection posts for Brexit port checks – has defended the move.
“We’re facing practical barriers and legal uncertainty about what comes next,” Lyons told BBC Radio Ulster on Monday morning. “It’s right that we stop, and that we get that clarity from the EU and the UK.”
Asked about the latest remarks by the DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson – saying the party would “fight guerrilla warfare” against the protocol – Lyons said the protocol was “at the root of so many problems we are facing”.
But Sinn Fein has accused Lyons and his party of recklessness over their opposition to the protocol.
MP Chris Hazzard said: “The DUP are leading their supporters up to the top of the hill, and they’re going to leave them stranded. They haven’t been honest throughout this [Brexit] process.”
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 11:00
SNP support ‘on the slide’, says poll guru
The great Sir John Curtice – the country’s top polling analyst – says SNP support has been “gradually on the slide” for a while now.
Support for Scottish independence has dropped down to 50 per cent for the fisrt time since June, a weekend Survation poll found – ending a run of almost two dozen polls in favour of a breakaway.
Sir John has pointed out that SNP poll support peaked at 54 per cent for the Holyrood election constituency vote (and 43 per cent on the regional ballot) in November and has slipped since then.
“If over the next two months support continues to fall at this rate, the SNP could fall short of the 65 seats it needs for a majority,” writes Sir John in Scotland’s Daily Record.
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 10:37
Gordon Brown: ‘I don’t think UK has economic plan’
Former Labour PM Gordon Brown offered his thoughts on GMB this morning – saying Rishi Sunak should focus on making sure one million young people are not “lost” to unemployment.
“You have to be two steps ahead. You can’t be behind the curve. We’ve got a plan for getting out of lockdown but I don’t think we have an economic plan.”
Brown revealed he has had his vaccine, and his wife Sarah is getting her first jab today.
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 10:18
Vaccines minister promises variant will be picked up ‘rapidly’
Nadhim Zahawi said community transmission of the new P1 variant first identified in Brazil will be identified “very, very quickly” through testing.
“One of the strengths of the UK’s system is obviously our genome sequencing capability,” the vaccines minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“We would pick up, as we have done obviously in these cases, pick up rapidly, both in terms of PCR testing capability – 800,000 capacity per day – and millions of lateral flow tests.
“We would pick up community transmission of this variant very, very rapidly, because we are able to genome sequence so quickly.”
He also insisted on Sky News that the system for testing travellers from abroad is “robust” despite criticism from Labour about “weaknesses” in the system.
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 10:04
Save our high streets, Tory MPs tell chancellor
A group of 45 Tory MPs from Northern Research Group (NRG) have called for an extension of the business rates holiday to help save the high street. “We need to make sure that once people can go shopping again, they have high streets to go back to.”
On Sunday chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that pubs, restaurants, shops and other businesses hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic will be boosted by a £5bn grant scheme to help them reopen as the lockdown is eased.
Will there be a new retail tax at the Budget? The Sunday Telegraph claimed Sunak was considering a tax on online deliveries, but government sources have “played down” the idea in some reports this morning.
Adam Forrest1 March 2021 09:52