Brexit news live: Latest updates as EU calls Boris Johnson’s bill a ‘distraction’

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Brexit news live: Latest updates as EU calls Boris Johnson's bill a 'distraction'

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The European Union said Boris Johnson’s plan to override the Brexit deal has distracted from negotiations over future trading arrangements.

Commenting towards the end of a week where the UK government’s controversial Internal Market Bill has dominated headlines, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the prime minister’s plan was an “unpleasant surprise” which had “distracted very strongly” from trade talks ahead of the looming deadline.

Meanwhile, MPs have warned the Home Office appears to form immigration policy on “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”, with evidence suggesting a calamity rivalling the Windrush scandal could be ”right around the corner”.

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Hunt: Maternity mistakes cost NHS nearly £1bn per year

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said mistakes on maternity wards are costing the NHS nearly £1bn in lawsuits per year.

Figures obtained by the Mr Hunt through a freedom of information request show that £952m was paid out in compensation and legal fees in the health sector in 2018/19.

Writing in the Daily Mail, the former health secretary — who now sits as chair of the House of Commons health committee —  said “something has gone badly wrong” when the NHS is paying more in legal costs than the combined salaries of all obstetricians and gynaecologists working in the health service in England, which come to £586m.

Mr Hunt also criticised hospital trusts after only 14 out of 59 of those examined provided meaningful data on needless deaths under freedom of information requests.

As health secretary, Mr Hunt ordered trusts to publish data on the number of avoidable deaths in hospitals.

He said there are around 150 avoidable deaths in the NHS per week in England alone.

“If a commercial airline were falling out of the sky every week it would be a major scandal – but in healthcare we seem to just accept it as inevitable,” he wrote.

Liam James18 September 2020 08:57

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MPs condemn ‘prejudiced’ Home Office

Priti Patel’s Home Office has “no idea” of the impact of its immigration policies, which appear to be shaped by “anecdote, assumption and prejudice”, a report by MPs has found.

The cross-party House of Commons Home Affairs Committee found policies affecting legal and illegal migrants — including the “hostile environment” — were carried out with little understanding or concern for the outcome.

Here’s our political editor Andrew Woodcock with the full story:

Liam James18 September 2020 08:26

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Brexit Bill a “distraction”, says EU

As we near the end of a week in which Boris Johnson’s plan to override the Brexit treaty dominated the news, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has given her thoughts on the UK government’s bluster.

“The attempt to violate the Withdrawal Agreement distracted very strongly from the ongoing negotiations,” Ms von der Leyen told reporters.

“This was an unpleasant surprise.

“And therefore it is time now that our British friends restore the trust in the validity of a signature under treaty, and that we keep on going, focused to negotiate because time is running out.”

The commission chief did however say she was “still convinced” a deal with the UK “can be done”.

Liam James18 September 2020 08:09

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Good morning and welcome to Friday’s blog. We’ll be bringing you all the latest developments in UK politics as the day progresses.

Liam James18 September 2020 08:01

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