Authors Faisal Islam
Reliable source tells me Withdrawal Deal text contains
- No unilateral exit from backstop
- Large annexe on level playing field
.... after reporting this on @SkyNews I get a call from a different senior source that this is “spot on” and further that the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has not pulled his punches in confirming in legal advice there is “no unilateral exit” from backstop ...
... furthermore I’m told (and this chimes with excellent Times splash this morning re Weyand) that the future partnership then takes its starting point as the activated backstop - ie UK-wide customs union-style arrangement and level playing field.
Understand that a ministerial briefing on the draft Withdrawal Agreement meant to drum up support from some trade organisations due tonight has now been postponed
BBC has seen the official internal management data for the new post Brexit freight border - roll on roll off lorry outbound flows to EU now at 98% of last February - though was 73% in January... officials say “back to normal”...
That is reference to lorry flow rates - which is what Cabinet Office key committees most concerned about post Brexit in terms of knock on social impact for supplies of everything. Government now confident its “reasonable worst case scenario” of 7k lorries in kent won’t happen...
That is not same as saying trade has normalised - drawing on multiple sources - ferry manifests, Kent checks, french official data - the level of empty lorries on the short straits is around 50%, and was normally around 30%... ...
traffic here was 67% normal in Jan - 82% in feb
Combining those and you get to around 2000 fewer laden export trucks a day in January, still notable fall now. Officials say much was displaced into last year by stockpilers. On other hand French transport sources suggest the higher value Tunnel export empties more like 50-60%
Officials have been tracking the commodity codes on the ferry manifests and have distinguished between freight flows hit so far in 2021 by general COVID downturn - eg clothing and apparel, and post Brexit transition - agriculture, food and groupage
That is in reference to 1990 carbon emissions - which is the standard point of reference
VDL trying to sound conciliatory - making point about the ratchet clause that all sides “remain free - sovereign” to do what they are want as regards matching future increases in regulations, but that both sides should retain right to adapt conditions for market entry
On fishing VDL says UK must understand legitimate expectations of EU fishing fleet based on decades and sometimes centuries of access ...
journalists at the EU summit seem more interested in asking Merkel/ VDL about Turkey than summit Brexit discussions, so far zero questions - some informational value there ...
It\u2019s brilliant that @ValnevaSE is starting the large-scale manufacture of its potential vaccine, creating 100 high-skilled jobs at their Livingston facility.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 28, 2021
We\u2019ve secured 60m doses due to be delivered by the end of the year if it is approved for use.https://t.co/4pDUbczlVl
Basically the Government through @katebingham acted like a venture capital fund, funding many vaccine candidates, expensively, across different types of tech, with companies from different countries (at time of some scepticism that a working vaccine could be produced so quickly)
Though despite the fact French Valneva had been funded for its vaccines in general in 2018 by EU’s investment bank, UK funding guaranteed its production in UK (speculative VC style investment) - similarly UK signed deal with Pfizer for German developed/ funded Biontech vaccine
UK approach explicitly focussed on speed (and boosting poor UK vaccine supply chain), at expense of cost. cost of individual batches, and cost of investing in spread of vaccines, not all would eventually be needed/ used...
EU focussed on lower price, & helping smaller EU nations
approach with Astra Zeneca went further - UK Govt via Matt Hancock involved in matchmaking AZ with Oxford University, funded early clinical trials that eg enabled private jets to ferry samples etc - 100m doses and pricing at cost were part of that deal struck at April wave 1 peak