Displaying items by tag: Boris Johnson
Speaking on a beach in Cornwall at the G7 summit, ITV's Robert Peston asked Boris Johnson whether he is now a practising Roman Catholic, having recently married in Westminster Cathedral. The Prime Minister replied, ‘I don't discuss these deep issues, certainly not with you’. Peston laughed and followed up by saying that Sir Keir Starmer has said he does not believe in God, and asked again if Mr Johnson did. The Prime Minister paused then referenced Psalm 14: ‘The foolish man has said in his heart there is no God’. Peston accepted his answer and finished the interview. The sentence also appears in Psalm 53. The rest of the verse describes those who deny God: ‘They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.’
The UK has accused France of the ‘offensive’ remark that Northern Ireland is not part of the UK. Since 2016 the two sides have been trying to work out how to deal with post-Brexit trade and Northern Ireland’s land border with the EU. The latest spat is centered on sausages. When Boris Johnson met Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit, he asked him to imagine if Toulouse sausages were barred from sale in Paris, which left Macron ‘astonished’. He told him Toulouse is part of the same territory, and inaccurately said, ‘Northern Ireland was not part of the United Kingdom’. Johnson furiously replied, ‘Northern Ireland and Britain are part of the same country.’ After the testy exchange Johnson told the media, ‘Some of our friends seem to misunderstand that the UK is a single country and a single territory. I think they need to get that into their heads.’
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden met on 10 June. Joe Biden has Irish roots, and many believe Britain should not underestimate the strength of his feelings against tinkering with the Northern Ireland Protocol if it puts the Good Friday agreement in jeopardy. Boris Johnson wants to ‘tinker’, putting the agreement at risk. He was seen by many Americans as Britain's equivalent of Donald Trump, and indeed he was lavish in his praise of the former president. But British PMs need to get on with whoever is America’s president. Boris, from a privileged background, needs to get on with Joe, who is from a poor working-class background. The one thing the two men do have in common is that they both are Catholics: one is a practising believer, the other needs more practice.
On 11 May the Queen set out the government's priorities at the state opening of Parliament. She said her government would ‘deliver a national recovery from the pandemic that makes the UK stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before’. Pray that Ministers can now start making progress beyond the twelve-month pandemic emergency, and give more time to push through laws to make manifesto promises real. May their plans provide all that is needed to succeed. The Queen also said the government would ‘strengthen the economic ties across the union, investing in and improving national infrastructure’ Pray for our government to stand strong in all that God intends it to do in the coming season. Other topics covered included education, women's rights, freeports, internet safety, the environment, modernising planning laws, and discouraging asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel. Pray that the PM’s ‘rocket boosters’ agenda would successfully repair all that is damaged.
On 10 March Boris Johnson phoned Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, to tell him the British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe must be allowed to return home to be with her family as she finished her five year prison sentence on 7 March. He said that while the removal of her ankle monitor was welcome, her continued confinement remains completely unacceptable. Rouhani complained to Johnson that no practical progress had been made in solving Iran’s demand for the UK to return a £400m debt. Nazanin now faces a new court date. Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said, ‘When I meet this family I feel there's not much more they can take of this, to be honest. Other countries have made more progress in getting their nationals home. We need to see a real concerted effort now.’ See
Boris Johnson has said it is ‘absolutely right’ to take a ‘data not dates’ approach to leaving lockdown, stressing that England will ease measures ‘cautiously’. He will set out a road map for easing restrictions on 22 February. Pray for Boris and his advisers to agree on the way forward that God has prepared for us to follow. We can thank God that infection rates are coming down quicker than expected and the vaccination programme is going well. Pray for the ongoing safety of the large numbers of vulnerable people not yet immunised.
The EU is expected to ask for more time to ratify the Brexit trade deal. UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, claimed that a resolution to EU/UK strained relations required a ‘different spirit’ from the EU. Frost blamed tensions on the bloc struggling to get used to a ‘genuinely independent actor in its neighbourhood’. He also pointed to ‘niggling border issues’ of the EU placing barriers on live UK shellfish exports. Brussels has told British fishermen they are barred indefinitely from selling live mussels, oysters, clams and cockles to EU member states. The ban is affecting restaurants on the continent as well as British fishermen. Boris Johnson has refused to rule out a trade war with Brussels if it didn’t back down in the escalating row. There is no legal barrier to this trade continuing, on animal health grounds and on public health grounds. There is legal provision within existing EU regulations to allow UK trade to continue.
Boris Johnson has said reopening schools is a national priority, and the return of students to the classroom will be ‘the first sign of normality beginning to return’. He acknowledged how ‘frustrating’ the news will be for teachers, parents and carers, as well as the mental health impact on pupils stuck at home for such a prolonged period of time. Despite pressure from backbenchers and parental pressure groups calling for schools to reopen, the Prime Minister urged that they should do so only when it is safe to do so. Please continue to pray for stressed and weary parents working from home and educating their children; may they find a peaceful and quiet time in their busy schedule to be spiritually and mentally refreshed. Pray also for isolated and vulnerable children, particularly those falling into depression and/or rebellion. Ask God to help them have positive internet conversations with teachers and friends and discover ways to combat anxiety.
Because of Brexit, the UK must submit its own national climate plan to the UN climate body. Nineteen church leaders have written to Boris Johnson asking him to set ambitious goals when he submits the country’s first climate plan under the Paris Agreement. This agreement commits countries to keeping temperature rises ‘well below’ 2C above pre-industrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit them to 1.5C, which is seen as the threshold beyond which the worst impacts of climate change will be felt. The letter to the Prime Minister was signed by the CofE's bishop for the environment, Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury; the Archbishop of Wales; and leaders from the Church of Scotland, the Baptist Union, Methodist Church, URC, and Quakers, as well as 57,000 others who believe the UK could be a true global leader.
Michel Barnier has warned Brexit trade talks could be plunged into ‘crisis’ if Boris Johnson puts forward more legislation that calls into question last year's divorce deal. The Brussels diplomat is worried that the Finance Bill will contain clauses that breach the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol. He was infuriated when No 10 tabled legislation that handed ministers the powers to rip up sections of the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland. Mr Barnier made the warning during a video call with EU27 ambassadors. At the time of writing the future UK-EU relationship is still deadlocked because of disagreements over post-Brexit fishing rights and common standards, and Downing Street has yet to decide on a timetable for publishing the Finance Bill. Talks went on late into the evening on 2 December at the business department in central London. See