Brexit news live: Government disbands LGBT+ advisory panel

Brexit news live: Government disbands LGBT+ advisory panel


Gordon Brown calls for tougher lobbying rules in wake of David Cameron-Greensill row

The government’s LGBT+ panel of independent advisers has been disbanded by ministers.

It comes after three members quit in protest earlier this year over the government’s delay in introducing a ban on conversion therapy in Britain — three years after it was promised.

According to the BBC, members on the panel, who are expected to serve two-year terms, were willing to continue carrying out duties beyond March when their terms expired, but were not clear if the panel still existed.

A new panel is expected to be appointed in “due course”.

Meanwhile, Number 10 has said significant differences remain between the UK government and the European Union over the operation of the Brexit deal in Northern Ireland.

Talks have continued between the two sides, with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic and Brexit minister Lord Frost picking up the phone on Friday.

But Downing Street said there were still major hurdles to be crossed in order to resolve the issues around the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said “constructive” talks had been held with the EU about the arrangements – but that there were still “significant differences that need to be resolved”.

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Government disbands LGBT+ panel of advisers

The government’s LGBT+ panel of independent advisers has been disbanded by ministers, with a new panel to be appointed in “due course”.

It comes after three members of the panel quit in protest earlier this year, criticising the government’s delay at introducing a ban on conversion therapy in Britain — three years after it was promised.

Follow our breaking news story for more updates:

Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 10:33

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EU exports and imports rebound after record slump in January

Official figures show exports to the EU increased by £3.7 billion – or 46.6 per cent – in February, following a record slump of £5.7 billion in January.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the export increases were driven by machinery, transport equipment and chemicals.

It added that the import of goods from the EU also rebounded, increasing by £1.2 billion – or 7.3 per cent – in February.

An ONS spokeswoman said: “Exports to the EU recovered significantly from their January fall, though still remain below 2020 levels.

“However, imports from the EU are yet to significantly rebound, with a number of issues hampering trade.”

Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 10:25

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Gmail ‘more secure’ than parliament email, MP suggests

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said he had been told his Gmail email account was safer from cyber attacks than his parliamentary account.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Tugendhat accused China, which sanctioned the Tory MP for criticising human rights abuses in the country, and Iran of targeting him.

He said: “What the British government and parliament has to respond to is defending freedom of speech in the UK.

“Now last week, emails were sent round claiming to be from me, claiming that I had resigned from the Foreign Affairs Committee, which of course I haven’t, and many other cyber attacks have been perpetrated either on me or on others – attacks of impersonation, attacks on certain accounts and various other things.

“It has been happening for about two or three years – in fact, it is not just China that has done it. Iran is one country I know of that has done it and there are likely to be two others that I won’t name because I can’t be certain.”

Mr Tugendhat added: “I was told by friends at GCHQ, not formally I admit, that I was better off sticking to Gmail rather than using the parliamentary system because it was more secure – frankly, that tells you the level of security and the priority we are giving to democracy in the United Kingdom.”

Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 09:59

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Duke of Edinburgh ‘spanned all the generations’, says Commons speaker

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said the fact the Duke of Edinburgh “spanned all the generations” motivated many MPs to join in a day of tributes following his death at the age of 99.

Sir Lindsay told Times Radio: “It was a great reflection. People wanted to reflect their encounters, their meetings and how they had come across the Duke of Edinburgh.

“I think it was so important for people to express their views and their opinions in a very nice way.

“And it was a great reflection of his life, wasn’t it?

“Whether it was the older generation who served in the armed forces or whether (it was) the younger generation of MPs who had actually done the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“So he spanned all the generations and that’s why I think so many people feel this real attachment and wanted to be part of yesterday.”

Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 09:22

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What does the Greensill scandal mean for the future of lobbying?

Our associate editor Sean O’Grady has taken a look at what the future of lobbying might look like in the wake of the Greensill scandal in this piece:

Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 09:00

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‘One rule’ for Cameron and Greensill and another for public, shadow chancellor suggests

Labour shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said an independent probe needed to answer why there appeared to be “one rule” for David Cameron and Greensill Capital and another for the rest of the public when it came to lobbying for government support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether there was any evidence Rishi Sunak broke the ministerial code, Ms Dodds said: “The chancellor released two text messages, only two, and it appears there may well have been, for example, phone calls – we don’t understand yet what he was pushing his team to do.

“At the very time when the chancellor and the team appeared to be so open to having repeated conversations with David Cameron and with Greensill, I’m sure you’ll remember all of those individuals who had been shut out of government support.

“I was inundated with people contacting me saying they couldn’t understand why government wasn’t helping them, particularly self-employed people – (they were) really desperate for help, unable to get meetings with the Treasury at that time.

“And yet the door seemed to be open for Greensill and for David Cameron and that’s the big question – why did there seem to be one rule for Conservative politicians and a different rule for those who desperately needed help, those many self-employed people excluded?”

Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 08:32

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‘Significant differences’ remain over NI deal

Number 10 has said “significant differences” remain between the UK government and the European Union over the operation of the Brexit deal in Northern Ireland.

Talks have continued between the two sides, with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic and Brexit minister Lord Frost picking up the phone on Friday.

But Downing Street said there were still major hurdles to be crossed in order to resolve the issues around the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Anger at the post-Brexit trading arrangements, which have effectively created economic barriers with the rest of the UK, have been cited as one of the factors behind violence that has erupted in loyalist areas of Northern Ireland in recent days.

Prime minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said “constructive” talks had been held with the EU about the arrangements – but that there were “still significant differences that need to be resolved”.

Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 08:15

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David Cameron ‘welcomes’ Greensill inquiry

Former prime minister David Cameron “welcomes” an inquiry into his lobbying activities on behalf of collapsed financial firm Greensill Capital and would be “glad to take part”, his spokesman has said.

Downing Street announced senior lawyer Nigel Boardman had been commissioned to carry out a review into how the firm – founded by Australian financier Lex Greensill – was able to secure government contracts.

It follows a series of reports on Mr Cameron’s lobbying on behalf of the firm – including sending text messages to Mr Sunak’s personal phone number.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has been granted an urgent Commons question calling on chancellor Rishi Sunak to explain how Greensill was granted access to a Covid loan scheme for businesses, putting hundreds of millions of pounds taxpayers’ money at risk.

Mr Sunak, however, is not expected to respond in person, with officials arguing the scheme in question is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy rather than the Treasury.

Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 08:11

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Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live UK politics coverage. Stay tuned for rolling updates as Labour continues to press for answers over former prime minister David Cameron’s lobbying activities on behalf of the collapsed financial firm Greensill Capital.

Chiara Giordano13 April 2021 08:03



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