• News
    The Telegraph

    Michel Barnier tells Mark Francois that Brexit is pointless

    Michel Barnier has written to Mark Francois and told the Chair of the Eurosceptic European Research Group of Tory MPs that Brexit isn't worth it. Mr Francois had sent the EU's chief negotiator an open letter, which he titled a "missive from a free country", on June 29. "While nobody has been able to demonstrate to me the added value of leaving the most integrated economic and free trade area in the world, I have always respected the UK's decision to withdraw from the EU," Mr Barnier said in reply. "In this same spirit we approach the ongoing negotiations with your great - and indeed free - country." Mr Barnier warned Mr Francois that the EU would hold Boris Johnson to the joint Political Declaration and that Brussels was adamant that the European Court of Justice must have the final say on the interpretation of EU law. The Political Declaration, which is a non-binding document setting out the broad outline of the free trade agreement, was "agreed by your prime minister and voted for by the House of Commons,including yourself," Mr Barnier added. He said the level playing field guarantees the EU demands were necessary. Mr Barnier said that the EU would not agree a free trade deal without an agreement on fishing and described progress in negotiations as "disappointing". "We will continue to work with determination to conclude the negotiations with success as we continue to believe that this can be done despite the short time available, which is the choice of your government." Mr Barnier said, referring to the UK's refusal to extend the transition period. The French politician and commission official told Mr Francois it was a "pleasure" to hear from UK elected representatives. "Having been an elected representative for many years myself I value the crucial role you play in scrutinising and holding your government to account," he said In response, Mr Francois told the Telegraph that he was grateful for the "charming billet doux". He said, "As he rightly acknowledged, we are now a free country - and indeed very happy to be so." He added that the political declaration was "indicative and not legally binding - as Michel knows well. Nevertheless, I’m delighted that further talks are now agreed. As he often reminds us, 'the clock is ticking.'” UK and EU officials met in London this week and will meet again in Brussels next week as the try to break the deadlock in the trade negotiations. "This week’s discussions confirm that significant divergences remain between the EU and GB. We will continue working with patience, respect and determination," Mr Barnier tweeted on Thursday.

  • News
    Evening Standard

    Three men arrested after modern slavery raid at farm in Crews Hill, Enfield

    Three men have been arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences after a raid at a farm in north London.Met Police detectives carried out a search warrant at the semi-industrial site in Crews Hill, Enfield, on Wednesday, and found 11 adults inside the premises.

  • Celebrity

    Meghan Markle's next big job has been confirmed

    She'll be joining forces with another well known name...

  • Politics
    The Telegraph

    Fourth top civil servant quits in five months as Dominic Cummings' Whitehall shake-up gathers pace

    A fourth top civil servant has quit in the space of just five months as a promised Whitehall overhaul by Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister's chief adviser, appeared to be gaining momentum. Sir Richard Heaton, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, said he was standing down in the next few weeks – days after saying reports of his departure were "speculation". News of Sir Richard's departure came after Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet secretary, said last week that he would be quitting in September, pocketing a £250,000 pay-off in compensation. Last month, Sir Simon McDonald said he would step down as permanent secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in September "at the request" of Boris Johnson. In February, Sir Philip Rutnam resigned as permanent secretary of the Home Office, announcing that he would take Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, to an employment tribunal. Earlier this year, The Telegraph reported that Mr Johnson wanted to replace a series of mandarins as part of an overhaul of Whitehall. Mr Cummings has been a long time critic of the Civil Service, attacking it in 2014 as too London-centric and saying that bureaucracies behaved in a way that ended up forcing "someone with a startup mentality" to leave. Sir Richard had been at the Ministry of Justice since 2015, and was permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office for three years. He said it had been "a privilege" to lead at the ministry despite "challenging years", especially with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. "But what I am most proud of is the way in which people from every part of the department and its partner organisations work together to get things done," he added. Last month, Sir Richard hinted he could stay on after his five-year term expires at the end of next month, saying: "Whether or not I will continue beyond that will be the subject of an announcement, I dare say, in due course." He first came to Whitehall in 1991 as a legal adviser to the Home Office, and has worked across multiple departments advising on criminal law, the constitution, and human rights law.

  • Entertainment
    Yahoo News UK

    Coronavirus R rate range creeps up across England after lockdown restrictions eased

    The government has used R to assess whether the epidemic is in decline in the country or increasing.

  • News

    Man faints in front of Prince Charles

    An Asda employee fainted in front of The Prince of Wales during his visit to the distribution centre wit The Duchess of Cornwall to thank staff who have kept the country’s vital food supplies moving throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The man was ok and continued his conversation with Prince Charles after receiving medical attention.

  • Entertainment

    Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield shock fans after announcing last day on This Morning

    This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield announced during Thursday's episode that they will be taking a break from the show.MORE: Alison Hammond shares cheeky behind-the-scenes snap on This MorningLoading the player...WATCH: Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield announce last day on This MorningAfter the competition item, the presenters were discussing their disbelief at being in the middle of July already, when they announced that Friday 10 July will be their last day on the ITV show before the summer holidays. Holly, looking in shock at her co-star, said: "Oh it's just Friday 10 July [is tomorrow], like doesn't it sometimes freak you out that we're in July? This year has just like, it's the 10 July guys!"MORE: Martin Lewis leaves fans wanting answers after sharing surprising newsAgreeing with colleague, Phillip said: "I don't know what day it is, I don't know what month it is, we're just sort of plodding along." He then added: "And is that because it's the last day?" to which Holly cheerily shouted: "And it's our last day!" Holly and Phillip are set to leave This Morning for the summerThe two presenters usually take breaks from the show during term holidays and the summer break, before returning in September. Holly and Phil's announcement aligns with Eamonn Holmes comment last week, when he told viewers he and wife Ruth Langsford, who fill in for the regular presenters during holidays, would be back in the a couple of weeks for the summer.At the end of the show, the husband and wife presenting duo were saying their goodbyes when Eamonn said: "Thank you for watching, we'll be back doing this all over again for the summer, in a couple of weeks." He added: "We'll be back then. Goodbye," as Ruth then said her goodbyes and the show ran to credits.Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes will be filling in for Holly and PhilThe presenters upcoming absence sparked confusion and dismay from viewers on social media. One person tweeted: "Hang on @EamonnHolmes & Ruth off for a few weeks?? Nooooooo don't leave us ThisMorning," while a second person gushed: "Gutted, will miss you!"Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.