Boris Johnson says post-Covid world needs to be ‘more feminine’ in opening G7 speech
Boris Johnson has been accused of an “empty promise” after urging the G7 to get the world’s poorest children into school – despite slashing aid funding for education by 40 per cent.
The prime minister came under fire after he said it was “a source of international shame” that youngsters “bursting with potential” are denied lessons, simply because they are girls or deprived.
He announced £430m for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and urged fellow world leaders to match the UK’s commitment to “get more girls into the classroom”.
But aid groups protested that the cash was all but cancelled out by the UK swiping around £390m of funding for improving education over two years – part of £4bn-a-year overall aid cuts.
Rose Caldwell, chief executive of Plan International UK, said: “Covid-19 has created the biggest education emergency of our lifetime. Yet this pledge follows shameful cuts to overseas aid.
“The reality is that, without adequate funding, today’s targets and the flagship Girls’ Education Declaration will be nothing but empty promises.”
This evening, the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are at the Eden Project for a reception with the G7 leaders.
UK still prepared to unilaterally delay full implementation of protocol, No 10 says ahead of key meetings
Boris Johnson will meet the European Union’s key players on Saturday as the dispute over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading arrangements deepened.
The prime minister will hold talks with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, European Council head Charles Michel, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ahead of the talks, No 10 again indicated the UK would be prepared to unilaterally delay the full implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol in order to prevent a ban on chilled meats crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain.
Matt Mathers11 June 2021 19:40
Queen speaks to the Bidens
The Queen speaks to US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill at a reception at the Eden Project.
Boris Johnson and the EU Commission president, von der Leyen, can be seen chatting in the foreground.
Matt Mathers11 June 2021 19:26
Leaders to meet with the Queen
The Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have arrived at the Eden Project in Cornwall for a reception with G7 leaders.
Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie chatted with the Queen as she arrived at the popular tourist attraction, where the G7 leaders will spend the evening.
Here’s a picture of Mr and Mrs Johnson arriving.
Matt Mathers11 June 2021 19:12
Full report: PM’s plea for G7 to educate world’s poorest children branded an ‘empty promise’ after 40% aid cut
Our deputy politics editor Rob Merrick has the story:
Matt Mathers11 June 2021 19:04
Gove and Martin ‘hopeful’ of progress over protocol at summit
Irish prime minister Micheal Martin and UK Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove have expressed hope that progress can be made between the EU and UK on the Nothern Ireland protocol at the G7 summit.
The two men spoke after a meeting of the British Irish Council in Fermanagh, where priorities for Covid-19 recovery were also discussed.
Mr Gove said he believes that “pragmatic figures” within the EU are willing to work with the UK government to resolve difficulties caused by the protocol.
He added: “The protocol is there to uphold the Belfast Agreement in all its dimensions and it is important that the east-west dimensions are respected.
“I believe there is a willingness within pragmatic figures within the European Union to make sure that we can make these arrangements work so that they do not impact adversely on the lives of people across communities in Northern Ireland and I know that the Irish Government is using its best endeavours in order to proceed in a pragmatic and constructive way.”
Mr Martin said he believes discussions between the UK government and the EU should now “pick up momentum”.
He added: “There are issues to be refined and resolved and we acknowledge that, but we believe the mechanisms within the framework agreement facilitate that. I think there is opportunity within that framework to resolve this.
“I think discussions should pick up momentum, they did it before prior to the Brexit deal being signed off so, in my view, it is in the capacity of both the UK Government and the European Union to arrive at an agreement here.
“Ireland, as members of the EU, we have appraised people of the sensitivities of all of this, we want to be helpful. I do think there is potential.”
Matt Mathers11 June 2021 18:41
‘I feel like we’re at a wedding’
According to Bloomberg’s Kitty Donaldson, Jill Biden quipped “I feel like we’re at a wedding” as she and the G7 leaders and their spouses met earlier in Cornwall.
If the vibe for the weekend is nuptials, then Boris Johnson should feel perfectly at ease.
Last month the prime minister tied the knot for the third time with wife Carrie.
It emerged not too long after the secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral that the PM is part Catholic – another thing he and Joe Biden have in common, other than “marrying way above their stations”.
In reply to Dr Biden, the PM reportedly said the meeting was like “walking down the aisle”.
Matt Mathers11 June 2021 18:22
People’s Vaccine Alliance campaigners pose as G7 leaders fighting over a Covid vaccine as they urge the world’s richest countries to do more to help innoculate the world.
Yesterday, Joe Biden pledged to donate 500 million jabs to countries struggling with their programmes, while Boris Johnson has vowed to put up 100 million doses.
As a group, the G7 plans to donate 1 billion doses around the world.
But campaigners say that total “is a drop in the ocean” and far below what is needed, given a world population of roughly 7.6 billion and everyone requiring two jabs.
Alex Harris at Wellcome, a London-based science and health charitable foundation, said the pledges did not go far enough.
“What the world needs is vaccines now, not later this year. At this historic moment, the G7 must show the political leadership our crisis demands,” said Harris. “We urge G7 leaders to raise their ambition.”
Matt Mathers11 June 2021 18:01
UK working with EU to urgently find ‘radical’ solutions to post-Brexit trade problems, No 10 says
According to Boris Johnson’s spokesman, the UK is working with the European Union to urgently find “radical proposals” that would solve the post-Brexit trade problems in Northern Ireland.
He said tensions around the province may well come up in the bilateral talks that the prime minister will hold at the G7 summit on Saturday, with France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Angela Merkel and the leaders of the European Union.
The spokesman said Mr Johnson did not think the G7 summit was the forum to find an immediate solution but would discuss the issue if it was brought up.
Andy Gregory11 June 2021 17:40
Here are some takes on Emmanuel Macron’s effusive welcome of Joe Biden.
The Daily Mail’s deputy political editor reckons the French president is “coming on a bit strong”.
And Tom McTague of The Atlantic says that the move is reminiscent of Mr Macron’s early efforts with Mr Biden’s predecessor and, in a more cutting observation, suggests that “all leaders overestimate the power of their personal charm in international relations”.
Josh Wingrove of Bloomberg appears even less enthused.
Andy Gregory11 June 2021 17:15
Never one afraid to get straight down to schmoozing, France’s President Emmanuel Macron made it immediately clear who he wanted to get acquainted with as the summit kicked off earlier this afternoon.
This clip courtesy of LBC’s Ben Kentish shows Mr Macron wrap his arm around the US commander-in-chief before they stop for a very brief word, before heading up the stairs off the beach.
Matt Mathers11 June 2021 16:55