France recalls its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for a sub-agreement
Australia made a “huge mistake” by canceling a major submarine contract with France in favor of a deal with the UK and the US, the French ambassador to the country said.
French envoy Jean-Pierre Thebault said on Saturday that the initial arms deal between the French and Australian governments was supposed to be based “on trust, mutual understanding and sincerity”.
This came after France recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia in a dramatic escalation of diplomatic tensions over the new AUKUS alliance.
Meanwhile, the UK government is in urgent talks with senior energy officials to discuss a sudden increase in wholesale gas prices that has resulted in a CO2 shortage, potentially endangering the gas supply chain. food supply.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on Saturday insisted on the stability of UK gas supplies, while the chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association warned that the CO2 shortage was “definitely a crisis”.
Women will be “hardest hit” by reduction in universal credit, figures show
Planned cuts to universal credit (UC) will hit women harder and lose billions of pounds of their total annual income, a charity has warned.
Some 5.9 million people in the UK are currently receiving UC payments – with women making up 54% of those claiming the benefit in August 2021.
Our female correspondent, Maya oppenheim, has the full story below:
Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 3:43 PM
Closure of Covid task force leads to ‘brain drain’ ahead of dreaded winter surge
The government’s Covid task force, which plays a key role in decisions on lockdowns, PPE and contingency planning, faces a ‘brain drain’ as the country braces for a potentially harsh winter, The independent can reveal.
As the department is due to be disbanded in the spring, members of the task force are reportedly already heading for the exit.
Our journalist, Anna isaac, has the full story below:
Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 3:18 PM
Opinion: “Starmer may be John Smith’s style – but he faces stronger opposition”
Sir Keir Starmer shares some characteristics with former Labor Party leader John Smith, but he faces an even more difficult challenge to win the next general election, our commentator says Jean Rentoul.
Before Labor’s annual conference, John writes:
“Keir Starmer doesn’t like to be compared to previous Labor leaders, but Smith’s is more fit than most. Like Smith, Starmer relies on his skill as a lawyer to present a reassuring face to voters. Like Smith, Starmer puts himself at the center of the party, emphasizing unity above all else, while also offering trinkets left and right to keep them happy.
You can find its entirety below:
Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 3:01 PM
Wholesale gas prices have risen 250% since January, industry body says
Wholesale gas prices have jumped 250% since January, with an increase of 70% since August alone, the UK offshore oil and gas industry body said.
OGUK, which represents the industry, said the crisis coincided with talks about whether to open up new gas fields in the North Sea, with the body predicting that UK production in the North Sea would halve by 2027 unless new fields are opened.
“This price spike shows how much we continue to need British gas,” said Will Webster, OGUK’s head of energy policy.
“Letting production fall faster than we can reduce demand risks leaving us increasingly dependent on other countries and at the mercy of global events over which we have no control.
“As the UK continues to use oil and gas, we must make the most of the resources under our control while working for a low carbon future. “
Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 2:40 PM
Southern Conservative voters don’t believe Johnson is a ‘decent man’, says Lib Dem leader
Voters in the southern seats of the Conservative Party could turn against Boris Johnson for not believing him to be a “decent man,” said the Liberal Democrat leader.
Sir Ed Davey told the Daily Mirror that he believed such voters were up for grabs in the next general election, as the Conservatives focus their attention on retaining the “Red Wall” seats in the former Labor North Center.
“He’s been proven not to tell the truth time and time again, I think he’s playing with people’s prejudices,” Sir Ed said.
“There is something a Prime Minister should have – even if you don’t agree with him, he should be able to command respect, speak the truth, work hard and do his best.
“He doesn’t recognize the truth, he’s completely incompetent and I don’t think he’s a hard worker.”
He added: “That’s what Tory voters tell us – they don’t think he’s decent.”
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Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 2:21 PM
Ministers must recognize “cost of living crisis” as gas prices rise, Miliband says
The government must recognize the “severity of the cost of living crisis” facing families following a sudden increase in wholesale gas prices, former Labor leader Ed Miliband said.
The shadow business secretary said on Saturday that ministers must do more to put in place “a more robust, resilient and diverse energy infrastructure” across the UK.
“It is a fundamental failure of long-term government planning over the past decade that we are so exposed and vulnerable as a country and it is businesses and consumers that are paying the price,” Mr. Miliband on Twitter.
“If we had invested on a sufficient scale in diverse, secure and carbon-free energy supplies and if we had made energy efficiency a much higher priority, we would not be in such a precarious position. “
He added: “Ministers must recognize the severity of the cost of living crisis facing families today and reverse the cut in universal credit.
“They also need to ensure security of supply and take long-term action to build a much more robust, resilient and diverse energy infrastructure. “
Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 2:04 PM
ICYMI: Health Minister Lord Bethell, who has been at the center of a series of Covid-related controversies, has confirmed he was sacked during Boris Johnson’s reshuffle this week.
Our political editor, Andrew Woodcock, has the full story below:
Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 1:43 PM
Why has France spared the UK Ambassador in the AUKUS row?
Despite the role of the United Kingdom in the new AUKUS alliance, France notably chose not to recall its British ambassador on Friday when it asked its emissaries for the United States and Australia to return home during an important diplomatic reprimand.
Perhaps the reason is that the French government does not view the UK as an active party in the defense contract that sparked the feud.
According to a French diplomatic source for Reuters, the UK acted “opportunistically” in the deal between the US and Australia that ended a $ 40 billion submarine contract between Canberra and Paris
“The United Kingdom accompanied this operation in an opportunistic manner,” said the French diplomatic source.
“We do not need to consult our ambassador in Paris to know what to think and what conclusions to draw from it.”
Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 1:21 PM
Exclusive: the government accused of lowering the ceiling for Afghan refugees by 10%
Boris Johnson’s government has been accused of quietly reducing the number of Afghan refugees admitted to the UK by 10% as part of a program to protect those fleeing the Taliban.
Liberal Democrats said on Saturday that the “already paltry” offer to accommodate 5,000 people this year under the Afghan Citizen Resettlement Program had been reduced to 4,500 due to technicality in ministry policy. inside.
Our political editor, Andrew Woodcock, has the full story below:
Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 12:58 PM
ICYMI: Australian government “regrets” France’s decision to recall its ambassador
The Australian government has expressed “regret” over France’s decision to recall its ambassador to the country over a dispute over a canceled submarine contract.
The French government is angry that Australia canceled a major defense contract after agreeing to work with the UK and US to build nuclear-powered submarines as part of the new strategic alliance AUKUS.
“We note with regret the decision of France to recall its ambassador to Australia for consultations following the decision on the Attack Class project,” said a spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Marise Payne.
“Australia understands France’s deep disappointment with our decision, which was taken in accordance with our clear and communicated national security interests.
“Australia values its relationship with France, which is an important partner and an essential contributor to stability, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. It won’t change.
They added: “We look forward to re-engaging with France on our many issues of common interest, on the basis of shared values. “
The AUKUS Defense Pact between the UK, US and Australia has been widely seen as an attempt to counter China’s growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
Conrad DuncanSeptember 18, 2021 12:32 PM