No10 is tight-lipped over Boris Johnson’s £535 county court debt

Downing Street was tight-lipped today after it emerged Boris Johnson has an outstanding £535 county court debt.

The register of county court judgements shows the PM was subject to a ruling over the sum on October 26 – and it is still ‘unsatisfied’.

The details of the case – registered to his address at 10 Downing Street – and the nature of the debt are unknown. 

No10 has yet to comment on the situation, which was first highlighted by Private Eye magazine. 

However, Mr Johnson’s finances have been the subject of swirling speculation for months, with claims Tory donors were approach to help meet costs of a lavish refurb at his official residence and even childcare for his young son.  

Downing Street was tight-lipped today after it emerged Boris Johnson has an outstanding £535 county court debt

The register of county court judgements shows the PM was subject to a ruling over the sum October 26 - and it is still 'unsatisfied'

The register of county court judgements shows the PM was subject to a ruling over the sum October 26 – and it is still ‘unsatisfied’

County court judgments are issued when action is taking by someone who claims there is a debt. 

The court can rule against individuals who simply do not respond. Those subject to rulings can ask for them to be set aside later. The issues relate to civil rather than criminal law.

Mr Johnson has been the subject of persistent gossip about his finances, with a huge row over claims Tory donors initially helped finance a refurbishment of his grace-and-favour flat.

There have also been suggestions donors were asked to contribute to the costs of his personal trainer and childcare for his and Carrie Symonds’ son Wilf.

Mr Johnson separated from ex-wife Marina, with whom he has four children, in 2018. They formally divorced in February last year after agreeing a financial settlement.

He became engaged to Ms Symonds in December 2019.

The couple live in Downing Street with Wilf, who was born in April last year.  

Despite the PM’s £150,000 salary, he is believed to have taken a significant pay cut on entering Downing Street as he was previously earning large sums for writing columns and giving speeches. 

There have been claims that the PM is preparing to rent out a property in London, which could bring significant income.  

Mr Johnson live in a grace-and-favour flat in Downing Street with fiancee Carrie and their son Wilf, who was born in April last year

Mr Johnson live in a grace-and-favour flat in Downing Street with fiancee Carrie and their son Wilf, who was born in April last year

The Electoral Commission has opened a formal investigation into the funding of the lavish refurbishment of the couple's official flat. Pictured: A design by Lulu Lytle, who is believed to have carried out the refurbishment

The Electoral Commission has opened a formal investigation into the funding of the lavish refurbishment of the couple’s official flat. Pictured: A design by Lulu Lytle, who is believed to have carried out the refurbishment

The Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into the Conservative Party over whether donations were properly reported. Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds could be interviewed, although they are not personally subject to action.

The premier has insisted he paid for the renovations himself, beyond the £30,000 annual taxpayer contribution for upkeep. 

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said there were ‘deeply concerning irregularities’ about the financing of the No11 flat refurbishment.

‘This is not about Boris Johnson’s personal finances, the record speaks for itself that he has already broken the rules on declaring his financial interests,’ she said.

‘The issue of debt when it comes to the Prime Minister is whatever debt of gratitude Boris Johnson owes to the Tory donor who paid to renovate his flat, and what this donor or donors were promised or expected in return for their generosity.’

Mr Johnson has dismissed the row over his flat funding as ‘trivia’, and it did not stop him romping to victory in Super Thursday elections last week.  

But ex-chief aide Dominic Cummings, who is now in a state of war with Mr Johnson, claimed in a blog last month that he had warned the PM that ‘plans to have donors secretly pay for the renovation were unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations’.

PMs have an annual allowance for improvements to their residence, and sources have told MailOnline that the £30,000 available for 2020-21 was the only public funding used for the refurb. 

Mr Johnson has repeatedly dodged when asked whether the extra cost of the work – believed to be £58,000 – was initially paid from Tory funds, merely insisting he had now footed the bill.

Labour has asked the parliamentary commissioner for standards to look into the issues raised and whether any rules been broken, but it a formal probe is not thought to have been launched yet.

Mr Johnson has previously been warned by the Commons standards committee for failing to declare interests.

In 2019, after he made public apologies, he was told he would face a more ‘serious sanction’ if he breached the rules again. That could potentially mean a recommendation of suspension, although it would need to be approved by the whole House. 

Boris Johnson eyes overhaul of Britain’s planning laws for new homes to be built

Boris Johnson eyes biggest overhaul of Britain’s planning laws for 70 years in bid to ease system for new homes to be built

  • Boris Johnson is moving to relax planning rules in biggest shake-up in 70 years
  • A planning bill will expand property ownership in areas where Tories have won
  • It will reportedly make it difficult for homeowners to block new housing schemes
  • The Prime Minister plans to put home ownership at the centre of the proposals 

Boris Johnson is proposing to relax rules on planning so new homes can be built in the biggest shake-up of the system in 70 years.

The Prime Minister will put home ownership at the centre of the proposals to keep his new constituents in former Labour ‘Red Wall’ seats on side. 

A planning bill, which is set to be included in tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech, will aim at expanding property ownership in areas where the Tories have recently won.

Boris Johnson is proposing to relax planning rules so homes can be built, making it difficult for homeowners to block new housing schemes, in the biggest shake-up in 70 years (stock image)

It will simplify the planning process, making it more difficult for homeowners to block new housing schemes, according to The Times.

It comes after a row last year over an algorithm that would have meant thousands of extra homes being built in rural Tory heartlands.

A new scheme to give discounts of at least 30 per cent to first-time buyers in their local area will be tested this year in Bolsover, Derbyshire – once a Labour town represented by veteran MP Dennis Skinner.

Priority will be given to key workers as well as armed forces veterans in the ‘first homes’ scheme.

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London elections: Laurence Fox insists he will ‘march on’ despite winning fewer votes than YouTuber

First Count

Sadiq Khan (Lab) 1,013,721 (40.05%, -4.19%)

Shaun Bailey (C) 893,051 (35.28%, +0.25%)

Sian Berry (Green) 197,976 (7.82%, +2.02%)

Luisa Porritt (LD) 111,716 (4.41%, -0.21%)

Niko Omilana (Ind) 49,628 (1.96%)

Laurence Fox (Reclaim) 47,634 (1.88%)

Brian Rose (LRP) 31,111 (1.23%)

Richard Hewison (EU) 28,012 (1.11%)

Count Binface (Binface) 24,775 (0.98%)

Mandu Reid (Women) 21,182 (0.84%, -1.21%)

Piers Corbyn (LLL) 20,604 (0.81%)

Vanessa Hudson (AWP) 16,826 (0.66%)

Peter Gammons (UKIP) 14,393 (0.57%, -3.07%)

Farah London (Ind) 11,869 (0.47%)

David Kurten (Heritage) 11,025 (0.44%)

Nims Obunge (Ind) 9,682 (0.38%)

Steve Kelleher (Soc Dem) 8,764 (0.35%)

Kam Balayev (Renew) 7,774 (0.31%)

Max Fosh (Ind) 6,309 (0.25%)

Valerie Brown (Pink) 5,305 (0.21%)

Eliminated: Kam Balayev, Sian Berry, Count Binface, Valerie Brown, Piers Corbyn, Max Fosh, Laurence Fox, Peter Gammons, Richard Hewison, Vanessa Hudson, Steve Kelleher, David Kurten, Farah London, Nims Obunge, Niko Omilana, Luisa Porritt, Mandu Reid, Brian Rose

Second Count

Distribution of Balayev’s, Berry’s, Binface’s, Brown’s, Corbyn’s, Fosh’s, Fox’s, Gammons’s, Hewison’s, Hudson’s, Kelleher’s, Kurten’s, London’s, Obunge’s, Omilana’s, Porritt’s, Reid’s and Rose’s votes

Sadiq Khan (Lab) 1,206,034

Shaun Bailey (C) 977,601

Elected: Sadiq Khan

Eliminated: Shaun Bailey

Electorate 6,047,327; Turnout 2,531,357 (41.86%, -3.45%) 

Gogglebox fans in stitches as Sophie and Pete Sandiford ring Boris Johnson’s number

‘Comedy gold!’ Gogglebox fans in stitches as Sophie and Pete Sandiford ring Boris Johnson’s number only to hilariously panic when he ‘answers’

Gogglebox viewers were left in stitches on Friday night when siblings Sophie and Pete Sandiford rung Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s number – only to panic when he actually ‘answered’.

The duo were left intrigued after watching a report which stated that the PM’s personal phone number had been available publicly online for over 15 years and decided to give the politician a ring.

But the pair got more than the bargained for when a voice on the other end responded causing them to abruptly hang up, much to the joy of fans, with one branding the scene ‘comedy gold’. 

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Funny: Gogglebox viewers were left in stitches on Friday night when siblings Sophie and Pete Sandiford rung Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s number – only to panic when he actually ‘answered’

The Channel 4 show saw TV favourite Ellie Warner give the number a go, only to received an automated response informing her the phone was switched off – with the news report stating that this was the usual occurrence for callers.

But Sophie and Pete were left astounded as when Sophie dialled the number, it actually rang, with her brother urging her to ‘hang up, hang up’, adding: ‘If he answered, we’re f***ed!’

The pair were then horrified as the call connected and an unknown male voice was heard on the line, with Sophie hilariously flinging the phone at Pete in a panic.

Hello, it's B: The duo were left intrigued after watching a report which stated that the PM's personal phone number had been available publicly online for over 15 years and decided to give the politician a ring

Hello, it’s B: The duo were left intrigued after watching a report which stated that the PM’s personal phone number had been available publicly online for over 15 years and decided to give the politician a ring

The dad-to-be, looking petrified, then rushed to hang up the phone, with his hands shaking in the process.

As Sophie burst out laughing, Pete asked ‘who was it?’, with his sister responding ‘I have no idea’ before going on to block the number.

Fearing the repercussions of their actions, Pete then warned: ‘MI5 are gonna be around here in a minute, and we’re gonna be in the back of a van!’ 

Oh dear! The pair got more than the bargained for when a voice on the other end responded causing them to abruptly hang up, much to the joy of fans, with one branding the scene 'comedy gold'

Oh dear! The pair got more than the bargained for when a voice on the other end responded causing them to abruptly hang up, much to the joy of fans, with one branding the scene ‘comedy gold’

Shock: Sophie and Pete were left astounded as when Sophie dialled the number, it actually rang, with her brother urging her to 'hang up, hang up', adding: 'If he answered, we're f***ed!'

Shock: Sophie and Pete were left astounded as when Sophie dialled the number, it actually rang, with her brother urging her to ‘hang up, hang up’, adding: ‘If he answered, we’re f***ed!’

Was it Boris? The pair were then horrified as the call connected and an unknown male voice was heard on the line, with Sophie hilariously flinging the phone at Pete in a panic

Was it Boris? The pair were then horrified as the call connected and an unknown male voice was heard on the line, with Sophie hilariously flinging the phone at Pete in a panic

Watching the scenes unfold, Gogglebox viewers rushed to Twitter to share how funny they found watching Sophie and Pete’s ‘encounter’ with the PM.

‘Watching Pete and Sophie panic when their call to Boris was answered – Priceless’ commented one fan.

While another shared: ‘Boris answering Sophie’s phone has creased me. can’t believe he actually answered!! Love Sophie and Pete.’

Amused: Watching the scenes unfold, Gogglebox viewers rushed to Twitter to share how funny they found watching Sophie and Pete's 'encounter' with the PM

Amused: Watching the scenes unfold, Gogglebox viewers rushed to Twitter to share how funny they found watching Sophie and Pete’s ‘encounter’ with the PM

A third tweeted: ‘laughing at Pete and Sophie on Gogglebox ringing Boris Johnson.’

‘Absolute highlight to see @Petesandiford and @PeteandSophie ringing the PM and someone answering. Comedy gold’ shared a fourth.

‘By far the funniest on #gogglebox is @Petesandiford and his sis, I actually stopped breathing when they rung the PM’ responded a fifth.

While another wondered if Boris would return the call, writing: ‘Ok but I need to know if Boris rang Sophie and Pete back after they hung up lmao.’ 

Gogglebox continues Friday at 9pm on Channel 4.  

What drama: Fearing the repercussions of their actions, Pete then warned: 'MI5 are gonna be around here in a minute, and we're gonna be in the back of a van!'

What drama: Fearing the repercussions of their actions, Pete then warned: ‘MI5 are gonna be around here in a minute, and we’re gonna be in the back of a van!’

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Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds rent out their £1.2million south London townhouse

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds rent out their £1.2million south London townhouse to raise cash after Downing Street refurbishment row

  • Prime Minister reportedly took out buy-to-let mortgage on Camberwell home 
  • He had purchased the three-storey, redbrick house for £1.2million in July 2019
  • It is estimated renting the house could earn Mr Johnson up to £4,000 a month

Boris Johnson is preparing to rent out his £1.2million south London townhouse to raise cash amid a feud over the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat, reports say.

It is understood the Prime Minister has taken out a buy-to-let mortgage on the home he purchased with his fiancée Carrie Symonds in Camberwell, south London, in July 2019.

He could let the three-storey, redbrick house for between £3,300 and £4,000 a month, according to The Times

The couple face growing scrutiny following the estimated £200,000 refurbishment of their Downing Street flat – and the decision to fund it via contributions from Tory donors.  

Boris Johnson is preparing to rent out his £1.2million south London townhouse to raise cash amid a feud over the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat, reports say

A preview of Lulu Lytle (pictured with her dog Panther) of Soane Britain's collaboration with Christie's Spring edition of The Collector sales

A preview of Lulu Lytle (pictured with her dog Panther) of Soane Britain’s collaboration with Christie’s Spring edition of The Collector sales

It emerged on Wednesday that Britain’s top civil servant Simon Case only discovered Mr Johnson wanted a charity to pay for the makeover earlier this year. 

Former royal aide Mr Case decided to look into the matter further and reportedly discovered that Tory donor Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row had been lined up to chair a planned Downing Street charity and two other peers were said to have been asked to join the board.         

It is understood the Prime Minister has taken out a buy-to-let mortgage on the home he purchased with his fiancée Carrie Symonds in Camberwell, south London, in July 2019

It is understood the Prime Minister has taken out a buy-to-let mortgage on the home he purchased with his fiancée Carrie Symonds in Camberwell, south London, in July 2019

Mr Case had a meeting with the potential trustees, former Thatcher adviser Lord Powell and senior Labour peer Baroness Jay, to find out what was happening. 

He is now conducting one of several investigations into how the costly redecoration of the Number 11 residence was funded.

A Cabinet Office spokesman confirmed: ‘The Cabinet Secretary only became aware of the Trust in late February.’  

The Prime Minister purchased his home in Camberwell in July 2019 with a mortgage from Santander. 

Land Registry documents show it was remortgaged with Clydesdale Bank last August.

Mr Johnson also recently began renting out his £1.2million home near Thame, Oxfordshire. A buy-to-let mortgage was taken out last year with Barclays. 

The four-bedroom, detached house was listed for £4,250 a month in April.

It comes after the Prime Minister was asked to pay for the lavish renovation of his Downing Street flat last spring. 

Mr Johnson had reportedly complained to aides that Carrie was buying wallpaper costing £840 a roll from interior designer Lulu Lytle.  

Mr Johnson had reportedly complained to aides that Carrie was buying wallpaper costing £840 a roll from interior designer Lulu Lytle. Pictured: The designer

Mr Johnson had reportedly complained to aides that Carrie was buying wallpaper costing £840 a roll from interior designer Lulu Lytle. Pictured: The designer

He told Ministers that he had settled the bill with his own money, but has ducked questions about who originally paid out when the work at 11, Downing Street was completed in 2020. 

An inquiry has now been launched following a string of revelations in the Mail suggesting a £58,000 cost overrun may have been paid originally by the Conservative Party before being covered by Tory donor Lord Brownlow. 

Failure to declare donations is an offence under electoral law, punishable by fines of up to £20,000.   

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Carrie Symonds goes to vote in £395 ‘woke’ dress with Boris Johnson

Carrie goes to the polls in £395 ‘woke’ dress: PM’s fiancée joins him at voting booth in outfit designed by environmentally friendly north London label that supports ‘female-led businesses’

  • Carried Symonds, 33, joined her fiance Boris Johnson to vote in local elections 
  • Was seen walking into Westminster’s Methodist Hall wearing O Pioneers dress
  • ‘Slow fashion’ brand has environmentally friendly commitment to sustainability

Carrie Symonds joined fiance Boris Johnson at the polls yesterday, wearing a £395 dress that fashion insiders suggested may have been picked for its ‘woke’ credentials.

The Prime Minister and his fiancée put on a united front as they cast their ballots at Methodist Central Hall in London amid the dramatic fallout from their lavish flat refurbishment.  

And now it has emerged that Miss Symonds, 33, wore a £395 dress from a ‘woke’ London fashion label that boasts of being environmentally friendly and supports women in the ‘male-dominated’ fashion industry. 

The Liberty print dress comes from O Pioneers, which has become a favourite of fashion editors because of its commitment to sustainability.

It specialises in using past season or end-of-line fabrics and off-cuts which might otherwise end up in landfill. The label, set up in trendy Camden, north London, uses local seamstresses rather than having items made abroad.

Carrie Symonds joined fiance Boris Johnson at the polls yesterday, wearing a £395 dress that fashion insiders suggested may have been picked for its ‘woke’ credentials

The £395 dress from a 'woke' north London fashion label that Carrie Symonds wore to vote yesterday

The £395 dress from a ‘woke’ north London fashion label that Carrie Symonds wore to vote yesterday

The label’s website says it supports women and ‘female-led businesses’.  

The couple smiled and waved for the cameras as they voted yesterday, amid intensifying scrutiny over the £58,000 refit of their Downing Street residence. 

Miss Symonds was said to have been the driving force behind the lavish refurbishment as she was reportedly keen to dump a ‘John Lewis furniture nightmare’ inherited from Theresa May. 

It has since transpired that Britain’s top civil servant Simon Case only discovered Boris Johnson wanted a charity to pay for his Downing Street flat makeover when he read about it in the Daily Mail. 

Former royal aide Mr Case decided to look into the matter further and discovered that Tory donor Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row had been lined up to chair the planned Downing Street charity and had asked two other peers to join the board. 

Mr Case had a meeting with the potential trustees, former Thatcher adviser Lord Powell and senior Labour peer Baroness Jay, to find out what was happening. 

Mr Case is now conducting one of several investigations into how the costly redecoration of the Number 11 residence was funded.

Miss Symonds, 33, and the Prime Minister went to Westminster's Methodist Central Hall yesterday to cast their local election vote

Miss Symonds, 33, and the Prime Minister went to Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall yesterday to cast their local election vote

A Cabinet Office spokesman confirmed: ‘The Cabinet Secretary only became aware of the Trust in late February.’

The inquiry follows a string of revelations in the Mail suggesting a £58,000 cost overrun may have been paid originally by the Conservative Party before being covered by Tory donor Lord Brownlow.

Mr Johnson told Ministers that he had settled the bill with his own money, but has ducked questions about who originally paid out when the work at 11, Downing Street was completed last year.

Failure to declare donations is an offence under electoral law, punishable by fines of up to £20,000.

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Carrie Symonds goes to vote… in £395 ‘woke’ dress hailed by fashionistas for its eco credentials 

Carrie Symonds goes to vote… in £395 ‘woke’ dress hailed by fashionistas for its eco credentials

  • Carried Symonds, 33, joined her fiance Boris Johnson to vote in local elections 
  • Was seen walking into Westminster’s Methodist Hall wearing O Pioneers dress
  • ‘Slow fashion’ brand has environmentally friendly commitment to sustainability

Carrie Symonds joined fiance Boris Johnson at the polls yesterday, wearing a £395 dress that fashion insiders suggested may have been picked for its ‘woke’ credentials.

The Liberty print dress comes from London label O Pioneers, which has become a favourite of fashion editors because of its environmentally friendly commitment to sustainability.

It specialises in using past season or end-of-line fabrics and off-cuts which might otherwise end up in landfill.

The label, set up in trendy Camden, north London, uses local seamstresses rather than having items made abroad.

Carrie Symonds joined fiance Boris Johnson at the polls yesterday, wearing a £395 dress that fashion insiders suggested may have been picked for its ‘woke’ credentials

The label’s website says it supports women and ‘female-led businesses’.

Miss Symonds, 33, and the Prime Minister went to Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall yesterday to cast their local election votes.

The couple smiled and waved for the cameras, as they come under intensifying scrutiny over the estimated £200,000 refit of their Downing Street residence, following a furore over how the costly redecoration was funded.

Miss Symonds was said to have been the driving force behind the lavish refurbishment as she was reportedly keen to dump a ‘John Lewis furniture nightmare’ inherited from Theresa May. 

Miss Symonds, 33, and the Prime Minister went to Westminster's Methodist Central Hall yesterday to cast their local election votes

Miss Symonds, 33, and the Prime Minister went to Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall yesterday to cast their local election votes

It has since transpired that Britain’s top civil servant Simon Case only discovered Boris Johnson wanted a charity to pay for his Downing Street flat makeover when he read about it in the Daily Mail. 

Former royal aide Mr Case decided to look into the matter further and discovered that Tory donor Lord Brownlow of Shurlock Row had been lined up to chair the planned Downing Street charity and had asked two other peers to join the board. 

Mr Case had a meeting with the potential trustees, former Thatcher adviser Lord Powell and senior Labour peer Baroness Jay, to find out what was happening. 

Mr Case is now conducting one of several investigations into how the costly redecoration of the Number 11 residence was funded.

A Cabinet Office spokesman confirmed: ‘The Cabinet Secretary only became aware of the Trust in late February.’

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Military re-enactment enthusiast shoots MUSKET into the air at Jersey blockade

A member of the Jersey Militia re-enactment group has fired a musket towards the ongoing stand-off between the Royal Navy and 100 French fishing vessels over post-Brexit fishing rules.

The fishing vessels are blocking access to the port at Saint Helier, prompting Boris Johnson to deploy Navy vessels HMS Severn and HMS Tamar.

The ships – which are both significantly larger than French military boat Athos sent by Emmanuel Macron – are armed with menacing cannons and machine guns.

But one historical re-enactment enthusiast in the British Crown dependency felt the urge to intervene with his own weaponry.

The lone man – who has not been named – shot a blank-firing musket into the water from Elizabeth Castle in a defiant protest this morning.

A member of the Jersey Militia re-enactment group has fired a musket towards the ongoing stand-off between the Royal Navy and 100 French fishing vessels over post-Brexit fishing rules

One historical re-enactment enthusiast in the British Crown dependency felt the urge to intervene with his own weaponry

One historical re-enactment enthusiast in the British Crown dependency felt the urge to intervene with his own weaponry

The 'invading' French ships set up a blockade in the harbour at St Helier on the Channel Island of Jersey on Thursday morning, stopping boats from leaving port

The ‘invading’ French ships set up a blockade in the harbour at St Helier on the Channel Island of Jersey on Thursday morning, stopping boats from leaving port 

Footage shows him loading up his weapon before firing it into the harbour, as plumes of smoke billow around him.  

Witnesses on the ground counted 100 small vessels on the choppy water this morning, with French fishermen setting off flares and hoisting banners calling for access to the waters.

Why are Jersey and France warring over fishing rights?

What were the pre-Brexit arrangements for fishing waters?  

Until January 1 this year, the UK was subject to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). That meant that fleets from EU states had equal access to the the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of other countries.  

EEZ areas stretch 200 nautical miles from the coast of each state, or to a maritime halfway point between neighbouring countries. The British fishing industry had long complained that the arrangements meant EU fleets were plundering what should be their catch.   

What has changed?

The post-Brexit trade deal sealed between Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen before Christmas gave EU fleets transitional rights to UK fishing waters. The EU fishing quota for UK waters was reduced by 15 per cent this year, and will go down another 2.5 percentage points each year until 2026.

From that point the UK will in theory have the right to ban the bloc’s fishing fleets altogether, although there will need to be annual negotiations. Crucially for the current situation, UK and EU vessels now require a licence to fish in each other’s waters. 

What are the French angry about? 

A row has erupted over the specific regulations introduced by the Jersey government to implement the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. They require French boats to demonstrate they have a history of fishing in Jersey’s waters in order to get licences, with Jersey adamant that is what the TCA sets out. However, the French authorities claim these ‘new technical measures’ for accessing waters off the Channel Islands have not been communicated to the EU.

As a result they have been dismissed as ‘null and void’. There are also disputed allegations that Jersey has been dragging its heels in approving licences for boats that have applied. 

So, what could happen now and would it ever REALLY end in war?

There is a huge amount of sabre-rattling going on, with the UK deploying the navy to counter an extraordinary blockage by French fishing vessels. French ministers have been backing their fishing fleet, threatening to cut power to the Channel Island in retaliation. When such confrontations develop there is always the risk of a miscalculation and real clashes.

Boris Johnson has urged the French to use the ‘mechanisms of our new treaty to solve problems’ rather than resort to threats. There are rumours of a call between Mr Johnson and Emmanuel Macron, although No10 said there is nothing arranged yet.

And French fishermen on tiny vessels said they were ready to restage the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar during the protests.

Jean-Claude La Vaullée, skipper of Le Cach, said: ‘I’ve refuelled the boat – we’re ready to restage the Battle of Trafalgar.’

The battle was a massive defeat for the French and Spanish fleets, as Admiral Lord Nelson led the Royal Navy to a historic victory. 

The channel row is the result of Jersey implementing new requirements under the terms of the UK-EU trade deal for boats to submit evidence of their past fishing activities in order to receive a licence to carry on operating in its waters.

Earlier today, Athos hurtled towards Jersey to confront HMS Severn and HMS Tamar – despite them being far superior in size and power. 

Paris warned yesterday it could cut off electricity to the island – which is largely supplied via an undersea cable.

The sabre-rattling Prime Minister will keep his eye on events in the Channel throughout today as voters take to the polling booths in the local elections.

It comes after French maritime minister Annick Girardin yesterday accused the Channel Island of dragging its feet over issuing new licences to French fishing boats.

She said France was ready to take ‘retaliatory measures’ – suggesting it could cut its power, with 95 per cent of its electricity coming from France.

David Sellam, the head of the Normandy-Brittany sea authority, added he believes Jersey has been taken over by an ‘extremist fringe who want to reduce French fishing access and profit from Brexit’.

He said: ‘We’re ready for war. We can bring Jersey to its knees if necessary.’ 

Jersey fisherman Josh Dearing was astonished by the scenes on the sleepy island, describing the port this morning as ‘like an invasion’.

The blockade evokes memories of the Cod Wars which took place in the North Atlantic during the 1970s, when at times the Royal Navy stopped Icelandic boats from interfering with British trawlers.

Maritime tracking websites this morning showed HMS Severn had arrived in Jersey ‘to conduct maritime security patrols’. It is an older Batch 1 patrol vessel equipped with 20mm cannons and 7.62mm machine guns.

HMS Tamar, a Batch 2 vessel with a 30mm MK44 Bushmaster cannon, has also arrived and was spotted looming over the tiny French vessels.

Around 100 French boats were in the harbour this morning, with some crews setting off flares during the protest.

The leader of the demonstration had asked the French boats to leave the harbour to let a freight ferry – the Commodore Goodwill – depart. 

Jersey fisherman Josh Dearing described the scene at the port of St Helier on Thursday morning as ‘like an invasion’.

The 28-year-old said: ‘There were a few hand-held flares and smoke flares going off and apparently a few maybe bangers and stuff going off from the French.’

He said the French fleet was mostly made up of ‘big French dredgers and trawlers’ of about 12 metres or more.

HMS Tamar looms in the mist behind French fishing boats taking part in the protest on Thursday morning over their post-Brexit fishing rights

HMS Tamar looms in the mist behind French fishing boats taking part in the protest on Thursday morning over their post-Brexit fishing rights

He added: ‘It was quite a sight. It was impressive, I looked from the shore this morning and it was just like a sea of red lights and flares already going off at sea. It was like an invasion.’

He said there had been rumblings about a planned protest a few days ago but he had not been sure if it was ‘serious or empty threats’.

He added: ‘The French being the French, they don’t mess around. They can blockade their own harbours – they wouldn’t think twice about coming and doing it to us.’ 

Romain Davodet, another French fisherman, said they had been told the Jersey decision ‘were irreversible’ and around 250 vessels faced disaster, along with ‘more than 2,000 jobs ashore.’

A flotilla of fishing vessels are seen in St Helier harbour, Jersey, as French fishermen protest post Brexit changes to fishing in the area. The HMS Tamar is seen here looming behind a small fishing boat

A flotilla of fishing vessels are seen in St Helier harbour, Jersey, as French fishermen protest post Brexit changes to fishing in the area. The HMS Tamar is seen here looming behind a small fishing boat

Two Royal Navy gunships have started patrolling the coast off Jersey as 100 French fishing boats threaten to blockade the harbour of the British Crown dependency. Pictured: French boats pen in a British vessel in St Helier Harbour this morning

Two Royal Navy gunships have started patrolling the coast off Jersey as 100 French fishing boats threaten to blockade the harbour of the British Crown dependency. Pictured: French boats pen in a British vessel in St Helier Harbour this morning

Another, Théo Marais, added: ‘I’m having my first boat built.

‘I’m 24, it’s a Euro 825,000 boat that I’m not even sure I can launch it! We love our jobs.

‘We don’t want to live on aid, what we want is to work.’

The Ministry of Defence said: ‘HMS Severn and HMS Tamar are deploying to Jersey to conduct maritime security patrols. This is a strictly precautionary measure and has been agreed with the Jersey Government.’

Poll shows Tories are on course for a MASSIVE 17-point win in Hartlepool

Disaster for Keir Starmer as poll shows Tories are on course for a MASSIVE 17-point win in Hartlepool by-election – a seat that has ALWAYS voted Labour

  • Survation poll find the Tories are 17 points ahead in Labour bastion Hartlepool
  • The seat up for grabs in by-election on Thursday has always been Labour held
  • Conservative nerves about impact of No11 flat row but many votes cast by post 

Keir Starmer is facing disaster at elections this week as a shock poll showed the Tories are on track to record a in Hartlepool.

Survation research puts Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer 17 points clear in a seat that Labour has always held since its creation in 1974.

The survey for ITV’s Good Morning Britain comes with health warnings as it is a relatively small sample, and was conducted a week ago before Boris Johnson’s ‘wallpapergate’ scandal fully took hold.

But it suggests that Sir Keir is facing a grim night as he struggles to resurrect Labour’s fortunes after its worst general election defeat since 1935 in December 2019.  

Sir Keir tried to put a brave face on the situation today, saying he will take ‘full responsibility’ for the results on Thursday.

He said his job is to ‘rebuild the Labour Party’. ‘I understand that every vote needs to be earned,’ he told Sky News.  

Survation research puts Conservative candidate Jill Mortimer 17 points clear in a seat that Labour has always held since its creation in 1974

Sir Keir tried to put a brave face on the situation today, saying he will take 'full responsibility' for the results on Thursday

Sir Keir tried to put a brave face on the situation today, saying he will take ‘full responsibility’ for the results on Thursday

Mr Johnson seemed to receive a warm reception when he visited Hartlepool yesterday, elbow bumping locals and posing for selfies.

A bullish premier dismissed the impact of the row over his lavish No11 flat refurbishment, saying people would not focus on ‘trivia.

The seat voted heavily for Brexit, but the Tories did not flip it in 2019 in the same way as much of the rest of Labour’s ‘Red Wall’.

Other polls have suggested that Conservative support is dipping as the lobbying and refurbishment rows take their toll – although the party was enjoying huge leads in the early stages of the campaign.

A much higher proportion of postal votes than normal are expected to be cast due to the pandemic, meaning many people could have made their decision before the allegations filtered through.   

In a call with Tory activists last night, Mr Johnson tried to play down expectations for Hartlepool – once held by New Labour mastermind Lord Mandelson. 

‘I want to stress that a lot of people are talking about Hartlepool — I have just been there,’ he said.

‘I think it’s important for people to understand this is not a seat that Conservatives have ever held. 

‘This is the stamping ground of Peter Mandelson. It’s very important for everybody to be aware of the deep psephological reality.

‘It’s a massive, massive challenge, it would be a quite extraordinary thing in my view if that were to happen — but that doesn’t mean that we’re not fighting for every single vote.’ 

Mr Johnson seemed to receive a warm reception when he visited Hartlepool yesterday, elbow bumping locals and posing for selfies

Mr Johnson seemed to receive a warm reception when he visited Hartlepool yesterday, elbow bumping locals and posing for selfies

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Boris Johnson ‘will spend billions of pounds to save the Union’

Boris Johnson ‘will spend billions of pounds improving road and rail links to Scotland to save the Union’ and see off threat of independence referendum as Nicola Sturgeon’s hopes of winning a majority are on a knife edge

  • Boris Johnson plans to spend billions of pounds on infrastructure to save Union
  • PM expected to implement plans in the wake of Thursday’s Holyrood elections
  • Poll shows SNP heading for victory but winning majority could be on knife edge
  • Fear an SNP majority will see Nicola Sturgeon immediately demand IndyRef2 

Billions of pounds will be spent on improving road and rail links to Scotland under plans being put forward by Boris Johnson to strengthen the Union, it was claimed today. 

The Prime Minister is said to be preparing to splash the cash on better infrastructure in a desperate bid to see off the threat of Scottish independence. 

The Government is also looking at treating Scottish NHS patients on beds in England to deal with an operations backlog while UK diplomats in foreign capitals will be told to stress the case against independence. 

The plans could also see a student exchange programme set up between the UK nations.  

News of the PM’s plans, first reported in The Sunday Telegraph, came amid fears of a an SNP landslide victory at Thursday’s Holyrood election. 

However, a new poll suggests that while Nicola Sturgeon’s party is on course for victory, her chances of winning a crucial majority appear to be on a knife edge. 

Boris Johnson, pictured on a visit to a school in London on April 29, is said to be preparing to spend billion of pounds improving transport links to Scotland

The PM is hoping the spending will help to counter Nicola Sturgeon's push for Scottish independence. The SNP leader is pictured in Perth on May 1

The PM is hoping the spending will help to counter Nicola Sturgeon’s push for Scottish independence. The SNP leader is pictured in Perth on May 1 

Winning a majority is seen as key because Ms Sturgeon believes it would give her a mandate to hold a second independence referendum. 

Falling short of the benchmark would strengthen Mr Johnson’s hand and bolster his position of refusing to grant permission for a re-run of the 2014 vote. 

Mr Johnson is due to chair a meeting attended by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove, as well as the secretary of states for Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, when his Union plans will be finalised. 

The proposals are then expected to be rolled out in the aftermath of the ‘Super Thursday’ elections. 

There are concerns in Westminster that Ms Sturgeon will immediately demand an independence referendum should she secure a majority.    

One senior Government source told The Sunday Telegraph that the result is likely to be ‘bloody awful’ in Scotland and ‘we are in a bare knuckle fight’. 

There are hopes in Whitehall that Ms Sturgeon will fall short of a majority, potentially torpedoing her demands for a second border poll. 

One minister told the newspaper: ‘If you have a combined Lib-Lab-Con vote of over 50 per cent, then that is very significant.’ 

A highly-anticipated ‘Union connectivity review’ conducted by former Network Rail boss Sir Peter Hendy is due to report by July. 

The work will include a feasibility study on establishing a permanent tunnel or bridge connecting Scotland and Northern Ireland.    

It came as a Panelbase survey for The Sunday Times suggested Mrs Sturgeon is on course for victory on Thursday but that whether she wins a majority could be tight. 

The poll, conducted between April 28 and April 30 suggested the SNP could gain two seats on their 2016 tally, giving them an outright majority of just one.  

Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said the polling numbers suggested the SNP could end up with 65 seats, the Tories down three with 28, Labour down six with 18, the Lib Dems up one with six, the Greens up three with nine and the Alba Party with three. 

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