Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has refused to condemn Donald Trump’s premature claim to have already won the US presidential election – but contradicted the president by saying the outcome of his contest with Joe Biden was still not clear.
Dismissing Mr Trump’s remarks as “campaign commentary”, Mr Raab said: “We’ll wait for the definitive result. We have full faith in the American system to produce one.” Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said “Britain’s interests lie with a Joe Biden victory”.
It comes as the latest round of Brexit trade talks finish up in Brussels. Negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost have failed to find any agreements yet, but are expected to recommend Boris Johnson and EU leaders sanction further formal discussions in London for this weekend.
NHS chiefs plead with MPs to vote for lockdown today
NHS leaders have written to every MP urging them to back a second lockdown for England and warning of staff burnout and cancelled operations.
In an unprecedented move, NHS Provider warned MPs that “urgent action” is needed as the country has “lost control” of coronavirus, creating a “clear and present danger” that the NHS will not be able to treat all patients appropriately.
At present only around 20 Tory backbenchers are expected to defy the PM. One of them, Peter Bone, said this morning he would definitely vote against the government. “The government’s case is based on dubious modelling. It seems to me there are lies, damn lies and Covid statistics!!”
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 10:53
Biden may be too distracted to repair relations with EU, says expert
EU leaders aren’t waiting for the US election result with baited breath. Brussels thinks many clashes over trade, tech taxes and surveillance and more “could well continue under Biden”, according to the BBC’s Europe editor Katya Adler.
She also tweeted: “The EU is now preparing for a period of instability across the Atlantic following this election. Brussels admits too that if even if Biden becomes president his priority will be a multitude of domestic concerns before he really turns his attention to overseas relations.”
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 10:29
David Lammy slams Trump’s ‘fraud’ claim
We don’t expect to hear from Keir Starmer until he goes up against Boris Johnson at PMQs. But frontbench Labour MP have no problem commenting on the US election.
Shadow justice secretary David Lammy has condemned Donald Trump’s claims of fraud and vow to take the contest to the Supreme Court. “Counting votes is not electoral “fraud” Donald Trump, it is democracy. Anything less would be a coup,” Lammy tweeted.
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 10:18
Biden would be ‘unsentimental’ on US-UK trade deal, says Fox
Lots of chat this morning about whether a Joe Biden victory (looking slightly more likely now that he’s ahead in the votes in Wisconsin) would damage the chances of a US-UK trade deal.
Former trade secretary Liam Fox told Sky News: “I think there’s perhaps been a little too much sentiment about this … I think that if it were to be Joe Biden to be the president and they thought that was in America’s interests then that agreement would go ahead. It’s an unsentimental process.”
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 10:07
Joe Biden victory in Britain’s interests, says Labour
Dominic Raab may have been careful not to say too much, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy has been unequivocal in backing the Democrat. “There is no doubt in my mind that Britain’s interests lie with a Joe Biden victory,” she told Sky News.
“This idea that Joe Biden is somehow anti-British is a misreading of the situation. He’s got a long history of standing with the British people and the British government. The problem from a Democrat perspective is not Britain – the problem is Boris. There is deep concern about the way Boris has cast himself in the mould of president Trump.”
Britain’s interests lie with Joe Biden victory, says Lisa Nandy
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 09:53
Leading Tory MPs to vote against lockdown
MPs will try not to get too distracted by events in the US today – they still have to vote on the month-long lockdown scheduled to start across England this Thursday. We know Labour will approve the government’s shutdown, but just how big will the Tory rebellion be?
It looked like it had fizzled out almost entirely, but anti-lockdown are agitated once again after chief medical officer Chris Whitty admitted the four-week curbs would be “economically and socially destructive”. Whitty also admitted winter Covid deaths are unlikely to hit the 4,000-a-day level predicted in Sage’s worst-case scenario.
Former Tory chief whip Mark Harper announced this morning that he would vote against the government: “I do not believe that the government has made the case for a change away from the tiered system and in favour of an England-wide national lockdown.”
Likewise leading backbencher Steve Baker, who is frustrated No 10 hasn’t shared any estimates on the economic impact. “Unfortunately, I’m not convinced … the cost-benefit is today a guess.”
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 09:43
US election events ‘damaging and dangerous’, says Miliband
More election reaction. Former foreign secretary David Miliband said he still “hopes” for a clear result “because for the democratic world the prospect of a contested American election is really very damaging and dangerous”.
He added that “Trumpism and President Trump” need to be understood as “quite deep rooted now in the right of American politics”.
Asked what a Biden presidency could mean for the UK, he told the BBC: “There’s no question that the Biden team and Biden himself they do look askance at Brexit but they are serious people and they’re not interested in waging some kind of conflict or hostility towards the UK.”
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 09:33
Trump is ‘frustrated’ over lack of clear result, says Farage
Nigel Farage has been defending his friend Donald Trump over the president’s claim to have already won the US election. What he’s talking about is the potential for voter fraud,” said the Brexit Party leader.
“What’s he’s especially talking about is late votes coming in – and that clearly shouldn’t be allowed.” Challenged by Andrew Neil where the evidence for voter fraud was, Farage said: “Because it’s so new it hasn’t come to the light yet.”
He added: “You’re seeing tonight a president that is frustrated we haven’t got a clear result.”
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 09:18
No 10 ‘bouncing Sunak into furlough payments for Scotland’
Will Scotland get furlough payments if Nicola Sturgeon wants to go into lockdown? Rishi Sunak’s allies have said he is being “bounced” into stumping up the cash by Johnson – who is keen all parts of the UK get the same support as England.
Sources close to the chancellor told The Times that the Treasury still needs to “iron out” the mechanics before announcing anything.
Sturgeon is still demanding “clarity” on whether furlough money for Scottish firms would continue beyond 2 December if lockdown came in later.
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 09:17
Brexit talks set to move to London
Negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost have taken a pause after a week of Brexit trade talks in Brussels, but are set to recommend further discussions in London this weekend.
The two sides are yet to reach agreements on any of the big areas – fisheries, level playing field issues or a dispute mechanism. One EU diplomat told Reuters they remain especially “stuck” on fishing quotas.
A spokesman for the European Commission said there was “a lot of work still to be done”, dismissing reports from earlier in the week that there had been a breakthrough on fishing.
A British government source told The Times some progress had been made, but there were still big difficulties. “The biggest problem we have is time. There is still a large amount of work to do.”
Adam Forrest4 November 2020 09:17