North Korea preparing more missile launches, says South

BBC – South Korea says it has seen indications that the North is preparing more missile launches, possibly an intercontinental ballistic missile.

It said it was strengthening its controversial US-made Thaad missile defence system after the North’s test of a nuclear bomb at the weekend.

The South has carried out live-fire exercises in response to the test.

The US has warned that any threat to itself or its allies will be met with a “massive military response”.

The North says it tested a hydrogen bomb that can fit on to a long-range missile.

Pyongyang has repeatedly defied UN sanctions and international pressure by developing nuclear weapons and testing missiles, and the provocations have only intensified.

In the past two months it has conducted intercontinental ballistic missile tests, sending one over mainland Japan into the Pacific Ocean. It has also threatened to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam.

The United Nations Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting later on Monday to discuss its response.

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  • Can we work out the power of the tested bomb?

Ahead of that meeting, South Korea and Japan’s leaders had agreed to push for a stronger UN resolution on North Korea, said a South Korean presidential palace spokesman.

The Security Council last imposed sanctions in August, targeting North Korean exports.

What has the South said?

Chang Kyung-soo, a defence ministry official, told parliament: “We have continued to see signs of possibly more ballistic missile launches. We also forecast North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).”

The ICBM could be fired into the North Pacific, officials said.

No timeframe was given for any launches but this Saturday, the anniversary of the foundation of the North’s regime, or 10 October, the establishment of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, were possible dates.

The ministry also told parliament the US would seek to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to seas off the peninsula.

It said it would temporarily deploy four more launchers of the US Thaad (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence) missile defence system to join the two already at the site in Seongju, south of Seoul.

Both China and Russia are strongly opposed to the Thaad deployment.

The South’s Defence Minister Song Young-moo said it was now presumed the North had reduced its nuclear warhead in size to below 500kg (1,100lbs), and would be able to fit one on an ICBM.

However, analysts have said the North’s claims about miniaturisation should be treated with considerable caution.

The ministry said there would be more live-fire drills in the South this month, involving Taurus air-to-surface missiles mounted on F-15 jets.

Monday’s drills simulated the targeting of the Punggye-ri nuclear site in Kilju County, where North Korea carried out its bomb test.

  • N Korea: China’s ‘nightmare neighbour’?
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South Korea and the US had also agreed “in principle” to revise current guidelines so that the South could double the maximum payload of its ballistic missiles, the Yonhap news agency also reported.

How did the nuclear test unfold?

On Sunday, seismologists started picking up readings of an earth tremor in the area where North Korea had conducted nuclear tests before.

The US Geological Survey put the tremor at 6.3 magnitude. North Korea later confirmed its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

  • Stages of an underground nuclear test

Pyongyang then released pictures of leader Kim Jong-un with what state media said was a new type of hydrogen bomb.

  • Kim inspects ‘nuclear warhead’: A picture decoded
  • ‘Tunnel collapse’ at nuclear site may provide clues

Officials in China said they were carrying out emergency radiation testing along the border with North Korea.

What has the reaction been?

The nuclear test prompted an angry response from US President Donald Trump who denounced it as “hostile” and “dangerous”, and called the North a “rogue nation”.

He added that the US was considering stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea, which relies on China for about 90% of its foreign trade.

  • Is Trump’s trade threat for real?

US Defence Secretary James Mattis later told reporters that while the US would respond to any threat “with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming”, it was “not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea”.

A White House statement also said that Washington would defend itself and its allies “using the full range of diplomatic, conventional, and nuclear capabilities at our disposal”.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called the test an “absurd strategic mistake” and urged for the “strongest possible” response, including new UN Security Council sanctions to “completely isolate” the country.

China said on Monday that it had lodged a diplomatic protest with North Korea over the test.

Both China and Russia said any solution to the crisis could only come through talks.

What does the test tell us?

Estimations of the power of the tested device have varied widely, from 50 kilotons to 120 kilotons. A 50kt device would be about three times the size of the bomb that struck Hiroshima in 1945.

Hydrogen bombs are many times more powerful than an atomic bomb.

They use fusion – the merging of atoms – to unleash huge amounts of energy, whereas atomic bombs use nuclear fission, or the splitting of atoms.

  • Can the world live with a nuclear North Korea?
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Posted in BBC

Kate pregnant again! Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child – Kensington Palace

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child, Kensington Palace has announced.

The Queen is “delighted” with the news, the Palace said in a statement.

The Duchess is suffering from severe morning sickness, as she did with her previous pregnancies, forcing her to cancel a public engagement she had later today, the Palace added.

The statement said: “Their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child.

“The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.

“As with her previous two pregnancies, the Duchess is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

“Her royal highness will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road Children’s Centre in London today.

“The Duchess is being cared for at Kensington Palace.”

The latest addition to the Cambridge family will be a great-grandchild of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

He or she will be fifth in line to the throne, pushing uncle Prince Harry into sixth place.

:: George prepares to start school

But it is unlikely that, as a third born royal in direct succession, he or she will become king or queen.

The Prince of Wales is first in line, followed by William, Prince George and the couple’s daughter Princess Charlotte, who is two.

The news comes as the family prepares for a major milestone when Prince George starts his first day at school on Thursday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen an independent school in Battersea, south London, where fees cost from £17,604 a year, for their four-year-old son.

George’s first day at school and the baby announcement comes at an important time for the family, which is now mainly based at their Kensington Palace apartment, rather than their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall.

William is now a full-time royal having quit his job as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance in July.

The Prince is due to attend the National Mental Health and Policing Conference in Oxford tomorrow.

Speculation will begin immediately on the sex and likely name of the couple’s third child, with Alice – popular with bookmakers last time – or Alexandra possibilities for a girl and Frederick, James or Philip for a boy.

It would be a surprise, given they chose traditional royal names for their first two children, if Kate and William now went for something more modern.

In July Kate hinted at a third child on the family’s royal tour of Poland.

Given a cuddly toy meant for a newborn, she said to William, laughing: ‘We will just have to have more babies’.

The Palace has not said when Kate, 35, is expected to give birth.

Number 10 tweeted Theresa May’s congratulations, posting: “PM – This is fantastic news. Many congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

Posted in Sky

Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child

Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, are expecting their third child, Kensington Palace has announced.

The announcement said the Queen and members of both families were “delighted” by the news.

Officials said the Duchess of Cambridge was suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a form of severe morning sickness, and would not carry out her engagements on Monday (local time).

The Duchess suffered from the sickness in her previous pregnancies and she is being cared for at Kensington Palace, the statement said.

William and Kate, both 35, already have two children: Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who are aged four and two respectively.

No details were immediately available about when the third baby is due.

The announcement came as a surprise, as there had been little indication that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant.

Their third child would be fifth in line to the British throne and if the child is a boy, his arrival will be historic because he would not displace his big sister in the line of succession.

William is a grandson of the Queen and the eldest son of Prince Charles, who is the first in line to the throne.

 

Posted in ABC

Duchess of Cambridge pregnant with third child

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a third child, Kensington Palace has announced.

The announcement was made as the duchess was forced to cancel an engagement on Monday because of extreme morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum.

In a statement, Kensington Palace said: “Their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child.

“The Queen and members of both families are delighted with the news.

“As with her previous two pregnancies, the duchess is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum. Her royal highness will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road children’s centre in London today. The duchess is being cared for at Kensington Palace.”

The announcement comes in the same week as four-year-old Prince George is due to start school at Thomas’s Battersea, south London. Princess Charlotte is two.

Hyperemesis gravidarum can be so acute that it requires supplementary hydration, medication and nutrients.

Kate, 35, was admitted to hospital because of morning sickness during her first pregnancy.

The baby will be fifth in line to the throne – bumping William’s brother, Prince Harry, down to sixth place. Until recently, if the Cambridge’s new baby was a boy it would have leapfrogged Charlotte in the line of succession. Under the rules of male primogeniture, royal sons took precedence over female siblings.

A radical shake-up, before the birth of Prince George and affecting babies born after 28 October 2011, removed discriminatory male bias. It meant the Cambridge’s first child, regardless of gender, would be destined as monarch, and it means Charlotte retains her position even if she has a younger brother.

It is likely Kate will chose to have her baby in the Lindo wing of St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, where she has already experienced two straightforward deliveries. The couple have a live-in nanny.

Having chosen traditional royal names for their first two children, bookies’ odds are likely to be short on Alice or Alexandra for a girl, and James or Philip for a boy.

Royal observers had indicated it was likely that the couple would have three children.

Kate is one of three, with a sister, Pippa Matthews, and brother, James Middleton. On a royal tour of Poland in July 2017, Kate joked abut having a third after being given a present designed for newborns, turning to William and saying: “We will just have to have more babies”.

William, 35, who is one of two siblings, may not initially have been convinced. On an overseas tour of Singapore in 2012, when asked by a group of teenagers how many children he would like to have, he said he was “thinking about having two”.

He recently gave up his part-time job as an air ambulance helicopter pilot for East Anglian air ambulance to take up full-time royal duties as the Duke of Edinburgh stepped down from his royal work.

William and Kate, who have a property on the Queen’s Sandringham estate, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, will be based in Kensington Palace during the week.

Kensington Palace announces third royal baby on the way

THE Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a third child who will be fifth in line to the British throne.

Kensington Palace announced the news on Monday, saying that the Queen and rest of the Royal Family are “delighted”.

The Duchess is suffering from an extreme form of morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, as she did with previous pregnancies.

She has been forced to cancel her planned engagement at a London children’s hospital today and is being cared for an Kensington Palace.

The couple are already parents to Prince George, four, and Princess Charlotte, two. Their third child will be fifth in line to the British throne with Prince Harry forced down to sixth place.

Kensington Palace did not confirm when the baby is due.

MORE: What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

The Duchess was last seen in public last week with Prince William and Prince Harry when they visited a memorial garden dedicated to the princes’ late mother Diana. She was wearing a dress that showed no hint of a baby bump.

The announcement comes after the royal couple travelled to Poland in July and Kate dropped a hint she would like to have more children.

When presented with a gift for a newborn baby, she said “We will just have to have more babies,” raising speculation she knew she was pregnant at the time.

The news comes as Prince George is due to start his first year at school in London this week and following the twentieth anniversary of the death of the Duke’s mother, Princess Diana.

Earlier this week residents near the prestigious school where Prince George will start raised fears about security, claiming it could become a potential target.

Sarah Burnett-Moore, 54, told how she walked into Thomas’s Battersea after the front gate and a main entrance door were left open.

Mrs Burnett-Moore told The Telegraph: “I could have walked in with an IED and set it to go off on Thursday.

“I live just 200 metres from the school and myself and lots of neighbours are worried about the security implications as the prince’s presence will make the area a target for attacks.”

The news could help mark a new chapter for the family who have been at the centre of reporting around the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, that has seen the popularity of Prince Charles dip and led Prince William and Harry to speak out about her death.

In a documentary called Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, her sons revealed their sadness over their last conversation with their mother.

“Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know, ‘see you later’. If I’d known now obviously what was going to happen I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it and everything else. But that phone call sticks in my mind, quite heavily,” Prince William said.

MORE: Prince Harry defends Prince Charles over Diana’s death

Prince Harry said he struggled to recall what they talked about.

“It was her speaking from Paris. I can’t really necessarily remember what I said, but all I do remember is probably regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was,” he said in the show.

“Looking back on it now it’s incredibly hard. I’ll have to sort of deal with that for the rest of my life. Not knowing that was the last time I was going to speak to my mum, how differently that conversation would have panned out if I’d had even the slightest inkling her life was going to be taken that night.”

Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child, Kensington Palace has announced.

The Queen and both families are said to be “delighted with the news”.

As with her previous two pregnancies, the duchess, 35, is suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.

She will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road Children’s Centre in London today.

Catherine is being cared for at Kensington Palace, the statement said.

The duke and duchess have one son, George, and one daughter, Charlotte, aged four and two.

With the previous two pregnancies, the couple announced them before the 12-week mark – when most women have their first scan – because of the duchess being unwell with hyperemesis gravidarum.

Her first pregnancy was revealed when she was just a few weeks pregnant with Prince George after she was admitted to hospital in December 2012.

Her second pregnancy with Princess Charlotte was announced in September 2014, when she was treated at the palace for the condition.

Hyperemesis gravidarum affects about one in every 200 pregnancies and results in severe nausea and vomiting – with one of the main dangers being dehydration.

The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said the couple had “clearly been forced” to make the announcement because of the duchess’ condition.

“It is quite a significant week for them because Prince George is due to start at big school,” he told BBC News.

“Presumably his mother would be keen to take him to that, [but] whether she is going to be well enough to do that remains to be seen.

“It had also been expected that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be taking a foreign trip this autumn,” he added.

“Whether they will be able to do that or whether the duchess will be well enough to do that also remains to be seen.”

The expectant child will become the fifth in line to the throne behind Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

A change – which stops royal sons taking precedence over their female siblings in the line of succession – came into force in March 2015.

The child will be the Queen’s sixth great-grandchild.


The last third-born monarch

To become King or Queen as the third-born royal child is rare – and has yet to happen within the current House of Windsor.

But the third child of George III and Queen Charlotte, William IV, took on the task and ruled from 1830 to 1837.

The Hanoverian king acceded to the throne aged 64 when his older brother, George IV, died without an heir.

He became next in line when he was 62 and his other older brother, Frederick, Duke of York, died.


Prime Minister Theresa May has tweeted her congratulations to the couple, calling it “fantastic news”.

Posted in BBC

Trump pushing for $6 billion in Harvey recovery funding

President Trump is requesting that nearly $6 billion be made available for the Harvey recovery process.

The administration urged Congress on Thursday to approve and provide $5.95 billion for the initial response and recovery efforts related to the devastating hurricane affecting parts of Texas and Louisiana, Axios reported.

A senior administration official told the website that White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will be calling Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill this week, asking them for their support on the funding plan.

The official added that the Trump administration believes the requested amount will be more than enough to support hurricane recovery efforts until year’s end.

If approved by Congress, $5.5 billion would go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for its disaster relief operations and $450 million to the Small Business Administration to assist affected businesses.

To access the funding, the U.S. debt limit would have to be increased – a move that would aim at lowering the risk of default, Bloomberg Politics reported.

A separate official told the news site that the White House was looking to extend the limit long enough to move back the threat of default until Congress is able to draft a budget for the full federal fiscal year.

Trump has expressed his desire to move swiftly on recovery efforts and rebuild damaged areas in Houston and southeast Texas. Some Democrats have said that the area could need more than $150 billion in federal aid. The initial request is expected to be a down payment on a larger federal aid package, the Washington Post reported.

The news came on the same day that President Trump pledged $1 million of his personal money to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey in both Texas and Louisiana.

“The president is pledging a million dollars of personal money to help,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday.

Sanders said the president asked that she “check with” reporters for “suggestions” on groups and organizations that would be “best and most effective in providing aid.”

The press secretary was asked whether Trump would pay the $1 million from his personal funds, or from the Trump Organization.

“I know the president said he was going to give — I don’t know the legal part of exactly that, but he said his personal money,” Sanders answered. “So I assume that comes directly from him.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed reporting to this story.

Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych

 

Brexit healthcare deal is ‘good news for pensioners’

British pensioners who have retired to other EU countries will continue to have their healthcare paid for by the NHS post-Brexit, after a deal in principle was agreed by negotiators in Brussels.

In one of the few advances made in discussions about EU citizens’ future rights, the Brexit secretary, David Davis, said there had been agreement on four key areas, including reciprocal healthcare for British and EU retirees affected by Brexit.

“This is good news for British pensioners in the EU,” he said.

Other areas of agreement included protection for “frontier workers”, those who live in one EU member state and work in another. This would include people who live in the UK and commute to Europe, or Britons settled in one country, for example Germany, who commute to work in another, say Luxembourg.

Also, professional qualifications would be recognised across the bloc after Brexit, allowing lawyers, doctors, accountants, seafarers, train drivers and others who have moved to or from the UK to another EU country to work under their existing credentials.

There was also agreement to coordinate on social security post-Brexit. However, there was still disagreement on more than half the issues discussed, including the eventual oversight of the legal rights of EU citizens.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, hinted that Brussels was insisting that such oversight should be held by the European court of justice – a “red line” for Britain.

In his opening address at the press conference after the third round of talks, Barnier raised serious concerns about the Home Office’s capacity to oversee or police any deal on EU citizens’ rights given the recent debacle when it mistakenly sent letters to about 100 EU citizens, threatening deportation.

“The UK quickly recognised that it was a mistake, but this is not the first time this has happened and it reinforced the point that [this] needs to be under the control of the ECJ, a point [on] which we disagreed today,” Barnier said.

British pensioners across Europe will be relieved, however, that there has been progress on reciprocal healthcare rights.

According to figures issued to a parliamentary select committee this year, Britain spends £650m reimbursing other EU countries for treating British patients. Of that, about £500m goes on 190,000 registered pensioners, including 70,000 in Spain, 44,000 in Ireland, 43,000 in France and 12,000 in Cyprus.

The agreement will allow a British pensioner who has retired in another EU country to travel to other EU countries on holidays and use the existing European Health Insurance Card should they need medical attention.

It is understood Britain was pushing for this agreement to cover British tourists as well, but the EU said it was not an issue to be discussed in a deal for EU citizens.

Twenty-seven million Ehic cards have been issued in Britain.

Davis said EU citizens would remain “a top priority” and there had been a wide range of agreements in discussions this week.

It is understood Britain reiterated its commitment not to enforce the requirement that EU citizens who are “self-sufficient”, including students and stay-at-home parents, have private health insurance. They will be able to be treated by the NHS.

Newspaper headlines: ‘Barbs fly at Brexit talks’

The end of the latest round of Brexit talks provides the lead for many papers.

The Guardian highlights the view of the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier that the UK’s approach is nostalgic, unrealistic and undermined by a lack of trust.

The Daily Express sounds a defiant note.

“You can’t bully us Mr Barnier,” is its headline, saying his comments enraged the British side.

The Times emphasises an EU demand that the UK pays billions of pounds in foreign aid to Africa as part of its financial settlement with Brussels.

Business paper City AM sums up the problem as “money trouble”, and says deadlock over the so-called divorce bill has triggered fresh alarm that trade talks could be shunted into next year.

The Financial Times and the Daily Mail have a photo of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker greeting former PM Tony Blair with a kiss.

The Mail calls it a “nauseating love-in” that “reminds us why we were so right to get out”.

The Guardian, which publishes an investigation into the gambling industry, claims online casinos are targeting people on low incomes and those who have stopped gambling.

In an editorial, the paper says the record fine levied on one company on Thursday is a sign that the UK has a gambling problem and that greater regulation is needed.

“Making the necessary changes will be painful,” it acknowledges, “but the costs to public health cannot be ignored”.

The Times says for an industry that relies on expert judgement in studying form and setting odds, betting operators have an uncanny knack of shooting themselves in the foot.

It says modest cuts in stakes and prizes might be enough to satisfy critics, but the industry’s poor record on responsible gambling is shortening the odds of a drastic outcome.

The Daily Telegraph is among the papers to concentrate on the role of a sat-nav in the alleged terror attack outside Buckingham Palace a week ago.

Evidence taken from the car of Mohiussunath Chowdhury, who appeared in court on Thursday, suggests he programmed his sat-nav for Windsor Castle.

However, the in-car system is believed to have taken him to a central London pub of the same name rather than to the castle itself.

The Times and the Sun point out that the suspect was a driver for taxi firm Uber.

Posted in BBC

Brexit: UK ‘must not allow itself to be blackmailed’

The UK must not allow itself to be “blackmailed” by the EU over its Brexit settlement bill, the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said.

Talks on the final settlement should begin as soon as possible “because that’s good for business”, he added.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier has said trade talks are still “quite far” away.

Both he and UK Brexit Secretary David Davis made clear on Thursday that the size of the UK’s Brexit “divorce bill” remained a sticking point in talks.

The UK wants to begin trade talks and discuss the future relationship between Britain and the EU as soon as possible, saying it would benefit both sides.

However, Brussels insists that discussions about the future relationship can only begin once “sufficient progress” has been made on the “divorce bill” – the amount the UK will pay to settle its liabilities when it leaves the EU – citizens’ rights, and the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic.

Mr Barnier said that at the current rate of progress, he was quite far from being able to recommend opening parallel talks on a future trade relationship.

No figure has yet been put on the “divorce” payment, but European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has suggested it could come in at about 60bn euros (£55bn).

Unconfirmed reports have put it as high as 100bn euros (£92bn).

Britain, which voted to leave the EU in June 2016, officially began Brexit talks on 19 June this year and is due to leave the EU on Friday, 29 March 2019.

Speaking in Japan on Friday, Mr Fox said everyone would benefit from Brexit if the outcome was free trade with no tariff barriers.

Asked whether it was time for the UK to name its Brexit price, he told ITV News: “We can’t be blackmailed into paying a price on the first part (the divorce fee).

“We think we should begin discussions on the final settlement because that’s good for business, and it’s good for the prosperity both of the British people and of the rest of the people of the European Union.”

Mr Fox and Prime Minister Theresa May have been holding talks with Japanese leaders about the future of trading relations between the two countries after Brexit.

‘Unlock some tension’

Speaking to the BBC at the end of the three-day visit, Mr Fox said: “It’s very clear that businesses, not just in Europe but investors in places like here in Japan, are getting impatient and want to see what that final shape of that [Brexit] arrangement is going to be.”

He said a willingness by the EU to negotiate on the future trading relationship now would “unlock some of the tension”.

He added that it was a “mistake” for the EU to think a delay in talking about the economy and the trading arrangement would not potentially damage them too.

But writing in the Daily Telegraph on Friday, Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the European Parliament’s Brexit group, said the EU has been “fully transparent” about its negotiating positions and mandates since day one.

“This is not a ploy to derail talks, but an inevitable consequence of the Brexit decision,” he said.

Mr Verhofstadt called on UK politicians to “be more honest” about the complexities of Brexit negotiations, asking them to recognise that “other governments also have obligations to their own taxpayers”.

‘Sabre rattling’

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who works with the pro-EU Open Britain pressure group, said Mr Fox’s comments were “sabre rattling from a trade secretary who is twiddling his thumbs because he cannot do anything until the trade position of the UK has been resolved with the EU”.

“Cabinet ministers like Liam Fox and Boris Johnson have been engaging in overblown rhetoric during the referendum campaign and ever since,” he said.

“Until the government makes progress on the divorce settlement bill there will be no progress on… any kind of trade arrangement.”

The European Council is due to meet in October and will decide whether sufficient progress has been made on key Brexit discussions to allow negotiations to move on to trade and the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

‘Duty to taxpayers’

If it has not, as Mr Barnier has suggested, the next opportunity would be the council’s meeting in December – meaning talks about the future relationship would be unlikely to begin before the end of the year.

Speaking on Thursday following talks in Brussels with Brexit Secretary David Davis, Mr Barnier said the UK did not feel “legally obliged to honour its obligations” after Brexit.

He said “no decisive progress” had been made on key issues, following the third round of talks.

Mr Davis said the UK had a “duty to our taxpayers” to “rigorously” examine the EU’s demands.

And he urged the EU to be “more imaginative and flexible” in its approach.

Posted in BBC