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Brexit news – live: King Charles to meet Ursula von der Leyen ahead of NI protocol talks

What is the Northern Ireland Protocol and how does it affect the UK?

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will meet with the King at Windsor Castle on Monday afternoon.

Buckingham Palace said the King is “pleased to meet any world leader” if they are visiting Britain and it is the government’s advice that he should do so.

They will have tea late on Monday afternoon and discuss a range of topics, including climate change and the situation in Ukraine, the palace said in a statement.

The EU chief is in the UK today for “final talks” with prime minister Rishi Sunak as the pair reach an agreement on a new Brexit deal to solve issues with the Northern Ireland protocol.

Earlier, John Major said democracy is “thrown away” when Northern Ireland’s government is not sitting as he urged the DUP to back a new deal between the UK and the EU.

“They talk of democracy. Democracy is thrown away when that happens [Northern Ireland] assembly is not sitting. We need them back.”

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Baroness Betty Boothroyd, first female Commons Speaker, dies aged 93

Baroness Betty Boothroyd, the first woman to be Speaker of the House of Commons, has died, according to the current Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoylewho said she was “one of a kind”.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “Not only was Betty Boothroyd an inspiring woman, but she was also an inspirational politician, and someone I was proud to call my friend.

“To be the first woman Speaker was truly ground-breaking and Betty certainly broke that glass ceiling with panache.”

Rich Booth and Martha McHardy reports:

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 12:38

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King’s meeting with von der Leyen will go down ‘very badly’ in NI – DUP

Former DUP leader Arlene Foster said the timing of the meeting between the King and the EU Commission president was “crass” and would “go down very badly” in Northern Ireland, Adam Forrest reports.

Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesperson, said at the weekend that a meeting would be “a cynical use, or abuse of the king” – accusing Mr Sunak of “dragging the king into a hugely controversial political issue, not just in Northern Ireland but even within his own party”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg told GB News on Monday that any meeting involving the EU leader and the King at this stage appeared to be “bouncing people” into supporting the deal “and I think that was a mistake”.

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 12:27

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Deal has cabinet backing – reports

Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal with the EU has the backing of his cabinet, according to a report.

The Times said ministers will not resign in protest at the agreement after being briefed extensively about it over the weekend.

Steve Baker, the Northern Ireland minister, is among those who have given the plan his approval and will get advice sight of the paperwork today.

Mr. Baker briefly spoke to broadcasters earlier after leaving No. 10 Downing Street. He was asked whether he would support the deal as he left 10 Downing Street.

Mr. Baker said: “I can only say this: that the prime minister is on the cusp of securing a really fantastic result for everyone involved.”

(AFP via Getty Images)

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 12:15

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Sunak ‘looking forward’ to meeting with von der Leyen

Rishi Sunak has said he is “looking forward” to his meeting with EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen later.

The pair are holding “final talks” on a new Brexit deal to resolve trading issues with the Northern Ireland protocol.

The prime minister said they would discuss “shared, practical solutions to the range of challenges” around the post-Brexit trading arrangements.

Ms von der Leyen arrived in London earlier and said she is “glad” to be meeting Mr Sunak.

“I’m looking forward to turning a page and opening a new chapter with our partner and friend.”

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 11:59

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Breaking: von der Leyen to meet King Charles

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will meet with the King at Windsor Castle on Monday afternoon, it is understood.

Adam Forrest will have more on this story as it comes in:

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 11:21

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Starmer on economy and Brexit deal

Keir Starmer has been speaking to business leaders this morning about his plans for the economy, days after setting out his five “missions” of a future Labor government.

The Labor leader has also been answering questions about Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal, saying that any agreement is likely to include a continued but small role for the ECJ in Northern Ireland.

He also said he wanted the government to improve relations with the EU, “not just Northern Ireland”.

On the UK economy, he said he wanted to return the UK to being a “rock of economic stability” and develop a new model for growth.

In a speech in the City of London setting out his plan to achieve the highest sustained growth in the G7, he said: “We have heard loud and clear about the need for certainty, that basic truth: chaos has a cost, that investors need a clear framework with policies that are always fully costed, fiscal rules – sound and followed rigorously, constraints accepted, institutions respected and not bypassed.”

He added: “A rock of economic stability. Our entire mission for growth is built on that, and don’t doubt it for a second.

But, honestly, isn’t that the least we should expect? I think so. Britain needs certainty, yes, but also change.”

(AFP via Getty Images)

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 11:06

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Sunak must sell deal to his own party – Starmer

Labor leader Keir Starmer said the task now facing the prime minister was to sell the protocol deal to his own Tory MPs.

He said that if he was in No 10 he would “restore trust” between the UK and the European Union.

With Rishi Sunak poised to announce a deal on changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol, Mr Starmer said there were practical steps “that could have been taken 18 months, two years ago, but we’ve been stuck in an impasse”.

Speaking in the City of London, he said: “The EU and the UK are probably in agreement, or very close to agreement at this stage.

“The question will be whether the prime minister has got the strength to sell it to his backbenchers or not.

“Many people will be frustrated that this is the loop we’ve been stuck in for a very, very long time and it’s not something you would have with a Labor government because we don’t have those divisions in our party on this issue. “

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 10:46

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Exclusive: Energy giants could be forced to return millions of pounds held in customer accounts

Costs are set to rise by around £500 a year, despite regulator Ofgem lowering its price cap on Monday, as energy bill support from ministers falls.

Ofgem is lowering its cap – the amount suppliers are able to charge – from £4,279 per year to £3,280, effective from April 1. But the amount the average household will have to pay under the government’s “energy price guarantee” is set to increase from £2,500 to £3,000 from April.

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 10:30

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ICYMI: Boris and Biden row over ‘f*** the Americans!’ outburst

Allies of Mr. Johnson have not disputed that he made the remarks about the US in a heated exchange with his former Lord Chancellor Sir Robert Buckland.

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 10:10

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Lib Dems – scrap energy price guarantee and cut bills instead

Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey has urged ministers to scrap April’s planned rise in the energy price guarantee and cut bills instead.

He warned the new price hikes will be a “hammer blow” to families and businesses, arguing that action is needed now to save people from a “cost-of-living cliff edge”.

Mr Davey said: “The Conservatives’ plan to hike energy bills in April will come as a hammer blow to families already struggling with soaring mortgages and rents, shopping bills and tax rises.

“With no plan to deal with this cost of living crisis for people or businesses, this chaotic, out-of-touch government is instead making it much worse because they just don’t get it.”

He insisted Rishi Sunak “must act now to save families from a cost-of-living cliff edge, by cutting energy bills instead of increasing them”.

Matt Mathers27 February 2023 09:44

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