Aukus pact live: France claims it was ‘stabbed in back’ over deal

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Related video: New Foreign Secretary Liz Truss ‘delighted’ with appointment

Boris Johnson is continuing his cabinet shake-up on Thursday with a reshuffle of more junior ranks following an overhaul of some of the top positions.

Penny Mordaunt is leaving her paymaster general role, moving to become a minister of state at the Department of International Trade, while Kemi Badenoch has been promoted and Greg Hands is also shifting departments.

Among the movers yesterday was Liz Truss, who was appointed foreign secretary, leaving Dominic Raab to be demoted, and Gavin Williamson, who was removed from the education brief.

The new Conservative Party co-chair, Oliver Dowden, has urged staff to “prepare for the next election” which one report suggested could be held as soon as spring 2023.

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Give EU nationals in UK a physical document, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland tell Home Office

The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments have urged the Home Office to provide EU nationals in Britain with a physical document to prove their post-Brexit immigration status, or risk “confusion and discrimination”.

A letter to immigration minister Kevin Foster, sent jointly from Scotland’s Europe minister, Wales’s social justice minister and the Northern Ireland executive’s first and deputy first ministers on Wednesday, warns of “a number of difficulties” EU citizens are facing in not having physical proof of their status.

Following Brexit, EU and EEA nationals and their family members who wished to stay in Britain have had to apply to the EU settlement scheme or otherwise face automatically becoming undocumented.

The Independent’s social affairs correspondent May Bulman has the details.

Joe Middleton16 September 2021 12:56

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PM set to meet with Nancy Pelosi

Boris Johnson will host Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, for a bilateral meeting to discuss Anglo-American relations on Thursday, Downing Street has confirmed.

The meeting will be in person, with Ms Pelosi then due to join Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle in his Chorley constituency for the G7 Speakers’ Conference on Friday.

Joe Middleton16 September 2021 12:46

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‘Unconscionable’ universal credit could plunge half a million households into poverty, warns top UN official

The decision to cut universal credit by £20 a week is “unconscionable” and could plunge hundreds of thousands of households into poverty, a top United Nations official has warned.

Ministers have come under continued pressure to reverse the decision to end the £20-a-week uplift introduced to support families during the Covid-19 pandemic, with recipients expected to lose out on £1,040 annually if the cut goes ahead, writes The Independent’s Chiara Giordano.

Olivier De Schutter, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty, has warned the move breaches international human rights law and could cause half a million low-income households, including 200,000 children, to fall below the poverty line.

Joe Middleton16 September 2021 12:28

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Aukus pact was discussed at G7, say No10

Downing Street has said the deal between the UK, US and Australia for nuclear-powered submarines was discussed by them during the G7.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “In terms of meetings between the three leaders, there was a meeting at the G7.

“I wouldn’t say there was one single meeting that did it, this has been something that has been an undertaking of several months, it’s a culmination of that work.”

Joe Middleton16 September 2021 12:13

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France complains over Ausuk pact

The new UK-US-Australia defence pact is a blow to France which had a contract with Canberra to supply a new fleet of conventional diesel-electric submarines which has now been scrapped.

In a joint statement, foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and armed forces minister Florence Parly condemned the move as contrary to “the letter and spirit of the co-operation” between France and Australia.

They said the US decision to exclude a European ally and partner from the agreement with Australia “signals a lack of consistency which France can only notice and regret”.

Tom Batchelor16 September 2021 11:57

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Johnson’s refusal to heal ‘dysfunctional relationship’ with EU is damaging Britain

Boris Johnson’s refusal to rebuild the UK’s “dysfunctional relationship” with the EU is damaging foreign and security policy, a former top diplomat says.

Peter Ricketts, a former head of the Foreign Office, says the prime minister’s “tactic” of trying to build closer links with national capitals instead “will not work” and must be rethought.

However, Lord Ricketts said the bitter spats between London and Brussels since Brexit made the task hugely difficult, adding: “Unfortunately trust is now at a very low ebb.”

Tom Batchelor16 September 2021 11:49

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More than 5.5 million people apply to EU Settlement Scheme

More than 5.5 million people had applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline, according to official estimates.

Of the 5,548,440 who submitted an application, more than 4.9 million (4,908,760) have been allowed to continue living and working in the UK after freedom of movement ended following the Brexit transition period.

EU citizens and their families were asked to apply to the Home Office by the end of June to obtain an immigration status so they could remain in the country.

Tom Batchelor16 September 2021 11:37

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Marks & Spencer closing 11 stores in France due to Brexit

Marks & Spencer have blamed Brexit for the closure of eleven French stores over supply chain issues.

The UK retail giant is struggling to stock its stores with fresh and chilled products.

All eleven franchise stores, operated in partnership with SFH, in France will shut “over the coming months”.

Tom Batchelor16 September 2021 11:14

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Theresa May questions Aukus impact on Taiwan

Theresa May has asked how the Aukus pact will cause the UK to respond should China attempt to invade Taiwan.

The Conservative former prime minister told the Commons: “(Mr Johnson) said yesterday that this partnership has the aim of working hand-in-glove to preserve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

“Can I ask him what are the implications of this pact for the stance that would be taken by the United Kingdom in its response should China attempt to invade Taiwan?”

Boris Johnson replied: “The United Kingdom remains determined to defend international law and that is the strong advice we would give to our friends across the world, and the strong advice that we would give to the government in Beijing.”

Tom Batchelor16 September 2021 11:09

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Keir Starmer warns PM not to neglect Europe and Nato with new defence pact

Sir Keir Starmer has offered his support for the new Aukus alliance, but called for a guarantee that the pact would not weaken relations with European allies and Nato.

The Labour leader also asked the PM to provide more clarity on how it would affect the UK’s relations with Beijing.

Responding to that point, Boris Johnson said Aukus was “not intended to be adversarial to any other power”.

“On his point about Nato, the House should be in no doubt that this government’s commitment to Nato is absolutely unshakeable,” Mr Johnson said.

“Our military relationship with France is rock solid and we stand shoulder to shoulder with the French.”

Tom Batchelor16 September 2021 11:02

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