Boris Johnson news— live: ‘Nothing off table’ to avoid ‘trade war’ over NI protocol

Related video: ‘Frustrating’ lack of flexibility from EU over protocol, says Northern Ireland secretary

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove has said the government would keep talking to the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol – but did not rule out unilateral UK action to ditch checks.

The minister said: “We’re going to talk to the EU, but nothing is off the table,” adding it was important to be “prepared to walk away”.

Asked about EU threats to launch a trade war, Mr Gove told Sky News: “There are some actors who will say certain things. And that’s fine, I’m not going to criticise them. Boris and Liz, they are negotiating duo whom I place my trust.”

It comes as foreign secretary Liz Truss said the UK “will not shy away” from taking action on the Northern Ireland Protocol after Boris Johnson indicated the situation was “now very serious”.

The EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic said that “renegotiation is not an option” but Ms Truss pushed back saying “the current EU proposals fail to properly address the real issues affecting Northern Ireland and in some cases would take us backward.”

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Cost-of-living: Westminster SNP leader says government must recognise people’s suffering

Ian Blackford, Westminster SNP leader has said the government needs to acknowledge people’s suffering as households continue to struggle with the cost-of-living crisis.

Talking to Sky News this morning, he said: “There was nothing in the Queen’s Speech yesterday that recognised that there has to be a sense of urgence, people are facing real hardships.”

Pointing to energy companies hitting record-high profits while low-income families have to make choices between heating and eating, he said the government has a duty to provide more help such as reinstating the £20 universal credit.

He said: “Of course there’s no magic money tree but it’s about the responsabilities that you have.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 09:40

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No emergency budget planned to ease cost-of-living crisis, says Gove

Cabinet minister Michael Gove has ruled out an emergency budget, as he insisted Boris Johnson’s suggestion of more help to ease the cost-of-living crisis was “overinterpreted”.

The Levelling Up Secretary said on Wednesday that claims of a split between Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Prime Minister over the need for more financial support were “overinflated”.

Under fire for failing to use the Queen’s Speech to announce fresh help, Mr Johnson suggested he and Mr Sunak would announce more “in the days to come”.

But the Treasury quickly shot down this suggestion, while No 10 conceded more support should not be expected in the “next few days”.

Mr Gove told Sky News: “There won’t be an emergency budget. It is sometimes the case that the words from a prime minister or minister are overinterpreted.

“The Prime Minister is right. We will be saying more and doing more in order to help people with the cost-of-living challenge we face at the moment, but that doesn’t amount to an emergency budget. It is part of the work of government.

“Last night the Prime Minister convened a group of ministers – we have all done work on some of the things we could do to help. Those policy initiatives will be announced by individual departments in due course as they are worked up.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 09:25

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Gove says UK will continue to negotiate with EU over NI Protocol

Communities secretary Michael Gove has said the UK will continue to negotiate with the EU to resolve differences over the Northern Ireland Protocol but said “no option is off the table”.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has made clear her frustration at the lack of progress in talks with Brussels amid reports the UK could unilaterally abandon the protocol.

Asked on BBC Breakfast if the Government was going to “tear up” the agreement, Mr Gove said: “No. We are going to negotiate with the EU in order to get the best possible outcome for the people of Northern Ireland, but no option is off the table.

“Liz Truss will be meeting Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice president, tomorrow. They have a good relationship. They will try to make progress tomorrow. I know that both of them are fully committed to making sure we resolve some very difficult issues that have arisen.

“You would expect a UK Government when it is thinking about the security of the entire United Kingdom to say that there is no option that is off the table and that is absolutely right.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 09:02

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Lib Dem leader surprised by lack of cost-of-living focus in Queen’s Speech

Sir Ed Davey has said he was surprised that the Queen’s Speech did not do more to tackle the cost-of-living crisis after the Conservatives lost hundreds of council seats last week.

The Lib Dem leader told Sky News: “I was expecting that after the people had said during the local election results they were not happy, the Government would take some action, but there was nothing for the cost of living.”

Sir Ed called on the Government to fund a VAT cut through a windfall tax on the “superprofits” of oil and gas companies.

“When these oil and gas companies are making huge profits they never expected to make, these are huge superprofits, it’s only fair to ask them to pay the money to help people who are having to pay those bills,” he said.

Asked about the Government’s apparent willingness to breach the Northern Ireland Protocol, Sir Ed said it would be an “absolute disaster” for ordinary people.

He added: “For Michael Gove and Boris Johnson and the rest of them to think that a trade war is the right way to deal with the cost-of-living crisis, an economic crisis, I don’t know what planet they’re living on.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 08:52

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Michael Gove tells people to ‘calm down’ in Scouse accent as he rules out emergency budget

Michael Gove has said there will be no emergency budget this summer – insisting that the issue was “no big deal” despite the mounting cost of living crisis.

In a bizarre interview with BBC, the cabinet minister used a Liverpudlian accent to suggest that people to “calm down” over the lack of any extra financial support before the autumn budget.

It follows confusion over Boris Johnson’s remarks that more help would be revealed in “the days to come”, before the Treasury ruled out further short-term financial measures.

“The prime minister was making the point we are constantly looking at ideas to relieve the pressure on people facing incredibly tough times – but that doesn’t amount to an emergency budget,” Mr Gove told BBC Breakfast.

My colleague Adam Forrest has more:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 08:42

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Queen’s speech will allow government to ‘take advantage’ of Brexit opportunities

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove has said the Queen’s speech will allow the government to “take advantage” of Brexit opportunities.

“There are more than 20 Bills which we hope will become law,” Mr Gove said, adding: “There are also measures in there which ensure that in the long-term we can take advantage of some of the freedoms and flexibilities that being outside of the EU give us.

“In order for example to use some of the money the government spends on industry to support some of the small and medium sized businesses which are the engine room of the economy.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 08:30

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Cost-of-living: Lib Dem leader wants more VAT cuts

Liberal Democrats leader Edward Davey has said broader VAT cuts would put money back in people’s pockets.

Talking to Sky News this morning, he said: “A broader cut on VAT is the way forward, I wouldn’t just limit it to energy bills.”

He added that two and a half per cent off VAT “would give the average family an extra £600 a year” as he also suggested that the Warm Homes Discount should be doubled.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 08:20

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Cost-of-living: Michael Gove says government is trying to ‘protect most vulnerable’

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove has said the government is taking steps to “protect” people who are most vulnerable amid the cost-of-living crisis.

“We try to protect those who are most vulnerable. We’ve already taken steps for example reducing council tax for people who are in particular council tax bands who tend to be at the lower end of the income spectrum, but we also keep a review on a number of things we can do both short-term and long-term.

“So for example, in the Queen’s speech yesterday there are steps we are taking to protect people who are renting, both those in the private-renting sector and those in social homes to ensure we can have security for them as well.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 08:10

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Shadow justice secretary slams government for stoking ‘culture war’

The shadow justice secretary has attacked the Government for stoking a “culture war” as he criticised the Queen’s Speech for not doing more to tackle rising costs.

Labour MP Steve Reed characterised the speech, which happened on Tuesday, as “30-odd measures, all of them very, very small, few of them focusing on the cost-of-living crisis.”

Of the Government, he said: “They seemed more interested in stoking the kind of culture wars because they think a divided country is good for the Conservative Party.

“For me, it beggared belief that we had such a thin Queen’s Speech at a time when the country is facing such a monumental crisis.”

Claiming the economy was “floundering under Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson”, Mr Reed called on the Government to increase borrowing and investment.

He claimed: “If they’d maintained growth at the same rate we saw under Labour, the Chancellor would now have £30 billion more to spend each year, instead of having to go to people to clobber them for their taxes.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 08:00

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‘Nothing off table’ on protocol, says Gove

Michael Gove said the government would keep talking to the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol – but did not rule out unilateral UK action to ditch checks.

“We’re going to talk to the EU, but nothing is off the table,” he told Sky News – saying it was important to be “prepared to walk away”.

Asked about EU threats to launch a trade war, Mr Gove said: “There are some actors who will say certain things. And that’s fine, I’m not going to criticise them. Boris and Liz, they are negotiating duo whom I place my trust.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain11 May 2022 07:50