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12 September 2019

Five things you need to know today: Labour demand recall of parliament over no-deal Brexit

Plus, US Supreme Court approves Trump's asylum curbs, trade union warns Johnson civil servants must not be asked to break the law. 

By New Statesman

No-deal Brexit: Labour demand recall of parliament over new document

Labour has said it is “more important than ever” that parliament is recalled after the government published its no-deal Brexit assessment. The five-page Operation Yellowhammer document warned of rising food and fuel prices, disruption to medicine supplies and public disorder on Britain’s streets. Its release was prompted by a “humble address” motion passed by MPs before parliament’s suspension. Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said parliament’s recall would would allow MPs “the opportunity to scrutinise these documents and take all steps necessary to stop no-deal”. Michael Gove, the cabinet minister with responsibility for no-deal planning, said “revised assumptions” would be published “in due course alongside a document outlining the mitigations the government has put in place and intends to put in place”.

US Supreme Court approves Trump plan to curb asylum 

The US Supreme Court has approved plans by the Trump administration to severely limit the ability of Central American immigrants to claim asylum in the US. Under the new policy, anyone who passes through another country on their way to the US, such as Mexico, will be required to seek protection there first. Groups challenging the move, which reverses decades of US policy, say that it violates the US refugee act and the UN refugee convention guaranteeing the right to seek asylum to those fleeing persecution.

Union warns Johnson civil servants must not be asked to break the law

Senior civil servants could be forced to break the law and may be prosecuted if they help Boris Johnson’s government defy the will of parliament, their union has warned. In a letter obtained by the Guardian, the FDA wrote to the Prime Minister seeking public assurances that Whitehall staff will not be asked to break the law or the civil service code. General secretary Dave Penman warned of “increasing consternation” among civil servants and wrote that Brexit had been a “lightning rod for attacks on the civil service”.

Trump postpones planned tariff increases on China as “gesture of goodwill”

Donald Trump has announced that the US will postpone planned tariff increases on Chinese goods as a gesture of “goodwill” in advance of new trade talks. Trump tweeted that the two-week delay from 1 October was due to the 70th anniversary of the creation of the People’s Republic of China and followed a request from Liu Hue, the Chinese vice premier. The move to postpone an increase in tariffs from 25 per cent to 30 per cent on $250bn of goods, followed China’s decision to exempt 16 types of US products from tariffs.

NHS trusts to make £55bn of PFI payments, report warns

NHS trusts will have to make a further £55bn in payments by the time the last private finance initiative ends in 2050, a report has warned. The Institute for Public Policy Research said that the NHS needed to be given a legal right to buy out “toxic deals” agreed with private firms for new hospitals and centres. By 2050, £80bn is expected to have been paid in fees for an initial £13bn of private sector-funded investment. Chris Thomas, a health fellow at IPPR, said the worst deals were comparable to taking out a mortgage from a “loan shark charging high rates of interest that could not be renegotiated”.

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