.@columeastwood on the Protocol: “this is the second attempt in one week by this government to put distance between agreements they themselves have signed. Why does he think anyone in Northern Ireland or any other country would trust anything they say from this day forward?”
Eastwood asks this after reminding Brandon Lewis of his previous assurances that NI was uniquely placed to benefit from the Protocol and that there was no sea border between GB and NI.
Brandon Lewis says that it’s right that the govt listens to all of the voices who are saying the Protocol is a threat to the Belfast/GF agreement.
Certainly true there are voices warning about that. But critics of the govt will say they didn’t listen when other voices repeatedly warned the form of Brexit the prime minister chose was also a significant threat- indeed the Protocol was designed to offset its worst effects.
Moreover the problem primarily arises from the lack of unionist consent for the protocol. That is something about which the government was completely aware when they agreed to it.
.@StephenFarryMP (Alliance): “this statement is full of bluster and rewriting of history. It creates more uncertainty and instability. The government is choosing confrontation rather than the obvious way forward which is a comprehensive vetinerary agreement.”
Striking how the govt’s adoption of a so called “muscular unionism” cuts against the direction of rhetoric and policy from UK govts to NI over time. Lewis (and PM and others) consistently refer to NI as an “integral part of the UK”- feels a long way from Peter Brook’s totemic...
...intervention where he said that the UK had no “selfish strategic or economic interest” in NI and was a key moment in and element of the peace process.
Sammy Wilson (DUP) criticises SDLP and Alliance MPs saying they “seem to think it’s their jobs to be EU representatives in this House- before going on to welcome the government’s command paper.
NEW: response from the EU via @MarosSefcovic: “We will not agree to a renegotiation of the Protocol."
Statement in full- pretty firm though makes clear they’ll keep talking. Says the Protocol must be implemented and will not be renegotiated there but also says they will engage with the UK and will continue “to seek creative solutions, within the framework of the Protocol.”
.@simoncoveney says protocol “was jointly agreed by this UK govt and the EU. It is jointly owned by them and must be jointly implemented by them.”

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More from @lewis_goodall

21 Jul
Robert Jenrick on his feet in the Commons for the second reading of the Building Safety bill
Jenrick says he'll be laying down a written ministerial statement on the subject shortly which is "market sensitive" and ergo MPs haven't seen it yet

@LucyMPowell says it's completely unacceptable for a ministerial statement not to be laid before the debate so MPs can scrutinise
Mike Penning (Conservative) also says it's completely unacceptable and criticises Robert Jenrick for not giving MPs more notice
Read 33 tweets
21 Jul
Big blow to Liverpool and yet further questions about the city’s development policy and management in recent years.
Liverpool becomes only the third place in the world to completely lose its UNESCO status. Quick googling tells me the other two were the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman and the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany.
That said some there will argue that UNESCO were saying Liverpool had to be frozen in aspic when the city wanted/needed to develop. It’s a tension which has been brewing for years.
Read 6 tweets
20 Jul

Yday spent the evening talking to leaseholders of Richmond House on the south west London/Surrey border.

Or rather- what's left of Richmond House, it burnt down in 2019. The fire cavity barriers were labelled as "defective" in an independent report 🧵
RH is instructive because it potentially highlights two central weaknesses of the government's response to the crisis

1) idea that litigation is a credible solution
2) idea that problem is only or mainly with buildings which were 18m or over with cladding problems
First background

Richmond House burnt down in September 2019. It was built in 2010/11 by Berkeleys one of the biggest building firms in Britain.

The estate "The Hamptons" is a big one. As the name would suggest it's got an American air. Big houses. Wide avenues. Opulent.
Read 25 tweets
20 Jul
Endless paradoxes with Cummings, as ever. He works to make a man he says is an incompetent prime minister. He does so because he thinks it would be dangerous not to honour democracy. Having been democratically elected with big maj,DC says days later he is discussing removing him.
Key exchange below

Laura K: "Some people will be listening to you saying you were thinking of getting rid of Boris Johnson and just wonder who you think you are?"

Cummings: "Possibly but the situation we found ourselves in was that within days the PM's gf is trying...
...to get rid of us and appoint clowns to certain key jobs. Do you just go, OK that's fine or do you say, OK that's a disaster and try and avoid that happening?"

So Mr Cummings believed the survival of he and his core team was more important than the survival of the just....
Read 6 tweets
20 Jul
NEW: Covid related absence in England’s schools continues to increase. On 15th July Covid related absence in English state schools was 14.3%. That’s up from 11.2% on 8th a July and 8.5% on 1st July.
Picture is even worse in secondary schools- was 17.9% on 15 July. This is up from 13.5% on 8 July and 10.4% on 1 July respectively. So going on for 1 in 5 English secondary school pupils off for Covid related absence (not necessarily nor likely because they actually had Covid).
You’ll see that demonstrated here. Vast majority of absence as a result of contact with Covid+ pupil (or suspected), not because they themselves had tested positive.
Read 5 tweets
18 Jul
NEW: England has moved into Step 4 of the roadmap and lifted remaining Coronavirus opening restrictions. Hence 👇
Doubtless Twitter is going to be flooded with people expressing concern about nightclubs. Whatever you think, do dial down any judgmental comments. Loads of young people have sacrificed a lot in the pandemic and now doing what the govt (rightly or wrongly) is saying they can.
Well all the replies to this demonstrated the grace, understanding and lack of judgment we’ve come to expect on here during this period.
Read 4 tweets

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