this is bbc news. the headlines... the uk and european union hammer out the final details of a christmas eve post—brexit trade deal, with a press conference expected soon. with one week to go until the end of the transition period, disagreements over fishing rights are thought to have caused a "last—minute hitch". more than 6,000 lorries spend another night stranded outside the port of dover, with drivers waiting to be tested for covid—19 before they're allowed into france. another six million people in england are told to stay at home from boxing day as the toughest level of covid restrictions are widened.
the uk and the european union are on the brink of an historic post—brexit trade and security deal, ending nearly a year of bitter wrangling. an announcement that the two sides have secured an agreement on their future relationship, which will avoid import taxes on each other‘s goods, is expected in the coming hours. but yet again, fishing is the issue they're stuck on, and a news conference, which was initially expected first thing this morning, is being delayed. negotiators from both sides talked through the night in brussels and are continuing to hammer out the details. 0ur political correspondent, iain watson is in downing street. we iain watson is in downing street. are very much on that. we are very much on the brink of that. that deal looks like it will go ahead. i guess it would not be brexit if everything ran to time. to
missed deadlines, lots of informal deadlines have gone on these talks. this time next week, we are likely to be leaving the eu's rules and regulations behind at the end of the transition period. the most contentious issue seems to be fishing. the negotiations were going on in the evening and into the night, apparently took king out the technical details. discussions were a p pa re ntly technical details. discussions were apparently on a fish by fish species. fishing is still of huge symbolic significance in the uk in terms of winning back the sovereignty and also for french fishing communities. i was told more than two hours ago that ursula von der leyen and the prime minister we re der leyen and the prime minister were going to make an announcement shortly. as far as we are aware,
that call between them which seals the brexit deal is yet to happen. it will still have to be endorsed by the uk parliament next week and the eu parliament early next year. but until the call between those to have been made, it is not absolutely sure. the press conference by the prime minister has also been delayed. boris johnson prime minister has also been delayed. borisjohnson has already prepared the groundwork and has spoken to the european research group, the conservative brexiteer group, if you like. they seem to be relatively happy that they have secured a deal that will largely allow tariff free access to the eu. markets are also repatriating control over fishing waters. the level of detail has basically been the final stumbling block towards
this deal. why does he politically need to worry about the european research group members? he probably does not need their approval because the labour party would probably back it. if he gets a deal, any deal, the vast majority of labour mps will back it or abstain. the vast majority of conservative mps would be happy to get brexit done. there doesn't seem to be a danger of the deal not getting through parliament. the difficulty for boris johnson deal not getting through parliament. the difficulty for borisjohnson as someone the difficulty for borisjohnson as someone who led the vote leave campaign, he would like people to be involved with that and endorse it. he wants to convince people from outside his party, such as nigel fa raj , outside his party, such as nigel faraj, and outside his party, such as nigel fa raj, and those outside his party, such as nigel faraj, and those who voted conservative for the first time due
to brexit. if he's not going to do a no—deal brexit, he has to convince them that he will achieve something better. this is a political argument, rather than simply winning the votes. he wants to make sure that no one in his own party, if things go wrong on other fronts, challenge his leadership and site brexit as a cause. fascinating. we will no doubt see you in the coming hours. thank you very much. as we've been hearing, the uk and eu have locked horns over a number of issues during negotiations. but there were a number of key sticking points that proved particularly difficult to navigate over the past few weeks. for more on this, i've been speaking to our reality check correspondent, chris morris. i started by asking him for his response to a tweet from scotland's first minister, nicola sturgeon, who said this is "a disastrous brexit outcome for scottish farmers...and
like all other aspects of brexit, foisted on scotland against our will." it is going to be one of the interesting things to watch for, the constitutional implications for the uk of this deal, if and when it finally gets done, and how it beds in. because one thing we are going to hear in a constant drumbeat from the snp is, "if northern ireland can have full access to the eu's single market, why can't we?" because remember, northern ireland is going to be treated differently, and i suspect that tweet is generated particular by the issue of seed potatoes, which will not have the access which many farmers in scotland were hoping they would have to the eu market. so that's i think one of the big implications of brexit, of course, is going to be, what does it mean for the future of the uk? and i think, moving into 2021, that is going to be one of the big political themes of the year. in terms of the sticking points, it shouldn't surprise any of us that the press conference, the announcement has been delayed, by viewers, are you still hearing that it is going to happen today? as far as we know, but then there were plenty of people saying
it was going to happen last night. they all want to be home for christmas, i guess, don't they? they do all want to be home for christmas. i wouldn't underestimate the power of that as a motivating factor. but in the end, you have the negotiators in the room, but it is the political sign—off which is equally crucial. and that political sign off has to come obviously from here in downing street, but from 27 other capitals on the other side, and sometimes it's the infuriating technical difficulties which can hold up what is obviously a much, much, much broader deal. when you look at what has been achieved over nine months, lots of people said it wouldn't be possible. this is a deal on trade, but also because security and other issues. this is all about uk's nearest neighbour and its history and this deal has been done injust nine months. in terms of trade talks, it has been done in incredibly quick
an announcement on a trade deal in the european union is expected today more than four years after the uk voted for brexit. talks this week have been taking place between boris johnson and european commission president, ursula von der leyen. these talks will affect the uk for generations. the talks are broadly done but a last—minute haggling is keeping the rest of the country waiting. 6000 lorries are stranded encamped with drivers being tested for coronavirus before they are allowed into france. new figures suggest that coronavirus is continuing to rise in northern
ireland, wales and england. good afternoon. an announcement on a trade deal with the european union is expected today, more than four yea rs is expected today, more than four years after the eu or uk voted for brexit. this will affect their relationship for generations. negotiators worked through the night to finalise the deal but it is thought that the specifics of fishing quotas are still being ironed out. here is our political correspondent. an agreement emerging, but taking its time after years of debate and months of trade negotiations, and all those missed deadlines. today, still a little more waiting. you have to feel for those businesses who still don't know on what terms they are meant to be trading with they are meant to be trading with
the eu on the ist of january. they are meant to be trading with the eu on the ist ofjanuary. people will be poring over this text over the next couple of days, through christmas day as well, to try to understand what it means. there is a big question for the uk and the eu in how they support businesses to adapt. pizza was on order as negotiators battled on in brussels last night. each side trying to catch some final concessions on fishing rights. the uk left the eu injanuary, in what's called the transition period, and has been following its rules since then while a deal was negotiated. the deal to cover goods that cross the border but one that is expected to be limited on services. but no details yet, they will have to be unpacked. the initial indications we are getting is that many of those facets of sovereignty are being returned, we can get on with a decent relationship with our european and friends that we have been with for so long, but we have parted company hopefully on very good terms.
numerous phone calls between boris johnson and eu chief ursula von der leyen in the last 2a hours. the diplomatic rush as the deadline looms. that is certainly a compromise, there is no suggestion the uk has achieved everything we wanted. we don't have the same access to the single market but without any of the obligations, which is what was talked about at various points, so it's a more distant relationship but also the basis on which a future relationship can be built. two prime ministers have been driven from office by brexit, an issue too that once consumed this place where debate was fierce, frenetic and angry at times. with a week until the transition period ends, mps will likely soon be asked to sign off an agreement. jessica parker, bbc news. 0ur political editor laura kuenssberg joins me now from westminster. what more are you hearing? it wouldn't be brexit if a few deadlines didn't slip here and there. we thought there might be in
an announcement this morning, it is now noon and its possible we will have to wait another couple of hours. that said, on both sides there is a strong degree of confidence that today is finally the day. as far as downing street is concerned, the prime minister will be able to proclaim he has done a free trade deal with the eu and he has been able to fulfil the promises he made in the manifesto at the election, that the uk will have control over its money, its border, its laws and fishing waters. we expect the deal will include an agreement that there shouldn't be quotas or tariffs for the sides to do business relatively freely. but until we see the full text, which will run to about 2000 pages, a real encyclopaedia of technical and legal detail, until we have seen that and been able to digests all of it, it will be hard to actually work out precisely who the winners and losers are in all of this, if you want to see it that way. but this is nearly
the milestone that marks the end of what has been a really frantic period. in political terms it's gone on for a very long time, but concluding such an enormous trade deal on the scale of this, affecting hundreds of billions of pounds a year, is really quite some feat. may be no surprise then there are a few niggles at the last hurdle. laura kuenssberg, thank you. live now to our europe editor, katya adler, in brussels. does that chime with what you are hearing? clearly, because we are hearing? clearly, because we are hearing things from the negotiators who are right here in brussels finishing off this deal. they stayed awake throughout the night, haggling over the last details on fish. do you remember the last months we kept saying over and over again the three outstanding issues, competition regulations, the eu saying it needs what it calls fair competition rules in order to give the uk tariff and
quota free access to its single market. also the governance of the deal, so if either side break their word in this deal what could happen. then the third issue was on fish as well and that is where we are. don't forget, it is notjust a negotiation between the eu and the uk but also between the eu and the uk but also between eu member states as well. we wait to see the details but essentially the prime minister needs to say he has kept post—brexit sovereignty and the eu needs to say it has been able to protect its single market. both sides seem confident of that. thank you. with me is our business editor, simonjack. simon, the business community clearly eager for a degree of certainty. i think if and when we get this deal, which has been telegraphed all through the morning and last night, there will be a massive sigh of relief from business. the alternative was no deal, and while many politicians thought we could happily live without one, most
businesses violently disagreed and thought it would be incredibly damaging on an already covid ravaged economy. so that is the good news. when we get that there will be a brief celebration or sigh of relief, but then things will change very dramatically in the next nine days. there will be 250 million additional customs forms which will be filled out at a cost of £7 billion, so this will not be plain sailing. a lot of hauliers thinking small businesses in particular are not ready for this new normal. perhaps that is understandable, we have covid to deal with, part chaos for good measure, they haven't known exactly what that is to prepare for. so it will be twinned with a lot of hard work to get ready for the new normal coming our way onjanuary the work to get ready for the new normal coming our way on january the ist. simonjack, coming our way on january the ist. simon jack, thank you. the latest figures suggest the levels of coronavirus are continuing to rise across most of the uk, except in scotland
where cases are falling. the data from the office for national statistics suggests one in 85 people in england had covid—i9 in the week to december the 18th. in wales the figures are up sharply, in northern ireland up slightly. with the details, here's our health correspondent, laura foster. her report contains flash photography. not all people with covid—i9 will need hospital treatment, but if the virus keeps spreading, the nhs will be put under even more pressure. a new, more contagious variant is driving cases in the south—east of england, but now there are fresh concerns about another variant from south africa. we only have evidence ofa south africa. we only have evidence of a couple of cases that have been detected. like the new variant of circulating in the south—east, it appears to be more infectious. again, it is not clear we are getting more severe symptoms and a higher risk of hospitalisation but it is something we need to keep monitoring. the figures suggest one in 85 people in homes in england had
the virus, in wales won in 60, in northern ireland won in 180, but in scotla nd northern ireland won in 180, but in scotland won in mo, slightly down on last week. everyone is being asked to stick to social distancing rules. what we need to see is greater compliance with the advice, and to try to remember to carry your mask at all times, where it whenever you are in a crowded place. wear it more often than you might have thought you needed to. it's been two weeks since margaret keenan became the first person to receive the covid vaccine. since then nearly half a million people in the uk have had it, 70% of them over the age of 80 and due back for their second jabs after christmas. laura foster, bbc news. the transport secretary, grant shapps, has promised that ferries will sail from dover
on christmas day and boxing day to allow lorry drivers who've been stranded in kent to return home. they need to test negative for covid—i9 before they can cross the channel. with the very latest on the situation in kent, here's simonjones. relief at last for drivers who have tested negative for coronavirus and will now be allowed to leave this lorry park and head home. afterfour nights sleeping in their cabs. they are the lucky ones, despite testing beginning in earnest yesterday the amount of hauliers actually increased as more drivers headed to kent hearing the trains and ferries were running again. but some were resigned to christmas away from theirfamilies. how long have you been here? two days here. and how do you feel? i feel not good. it is not my fault, not my boss fold, not your fault, it is the fault of france because france make a new law when it is impossible to come back to europe. lorries are not just impossible to come back to europe. lorries are notjust parked up here
at manston airport but on many of the side roads and slip roads in the area. highways england have taken the extraordinary step of asking not just hauliers but all drivers to stay away from kent until further notice while the backlog clears. the port of dover will remain open on christmas day to try to keep the freight flowing, but the impact of france's decision to close its border to the uk for two days due to concerns over the new coronavirus strain will be felt for a good deal longer. 26 firefighters have been sent to the town and with 10,000 testing kits, but the british government is warning that getting things back to normal will be a mammoth task. simon is in manston now. what is the latest? lorries are continuing to leave the site here, they are relieved, many have been sounding their horns and waving. they have tested negative for
coronavirus, they are heading to the port and will be able to return home. but this will be a mammoth operation. 0n home. but this will be a mammoth operation. on this side there are almost 4000 lorries, on the m20 more than 2000 lorries, plus of course all of those parked on lay—by is and side roads. it is not surprising the government has put some pressure on the port of dover and ferry companies to keep services running normally tomorrow when the port is closed. that will help reduce the backlog somewhat but the reality is that for many drivers they won't get the chance to return home and will be spending christmas day parked up on this former airport site in kent. simonjones in on this former airport site in kent. simon jones in manston, on this former airport site in kent. simonjones in manston, thank you. hundreds of thousands of people will be spending a fourth christmas since the grenfell fire tragedy still living in or owning flats covered in dangerous flammable cladding. among them nhs doctors and nurses who have had to deal with the global pandemic.
the government is providing a £1.6 billion building safety fund to remove the cladding and says it wants costs to be affordable to leaseholders. for the last month, onejunior doctor has been recording a video diary of his experience. this is will martin's story. the metis building has 113 flats. i bought one in 2015. my name is will, i'm a junior doctor working on a covid ward in a hospital in the north west, and i am a leaseholder in a building that is affected by the cladding and fire safety scandal. i'm just going on to lunch break to grab a quick bite to eat. been on the wards this morning, and there's already an inbox full of stuff to do with cladding. a £7,000 a week bill for a fire safety patrol arrives. i'm angry that i even have to think about this at work,
but i'm angry that the government is expecting leaseholders to pay to fix a problem that we did not create. it feels like i'm not even part of society, that i don't deserve to live in a safe home. so it's 2:30am, i've been laying awake for about an hour. all i can think about is the costs i'm facing and about how unsafe my building is. part of my application for the government's building safety fund is rejected. it is just it isjust a it is just a slap it isjust a slap in it is just a slap in the face. i have said this before but it really is. to be at work, to receive that and then to spend the entire rest of the afternoon just dwelling on that and thinking about... "where am i going to get that money from now then? how am i going to fix that problem? what am i going to do about that?" it's just miserable.
this situation is miserable. my mental health is at an all—time low. we are told we face a £4 million repair bill. i'm just so exhausted and so tired of this situation. it is so consuming. every single part of my life is consumed by this flat. the government will say that they have put up funding and that they have a plan in place, but there are so many leaseholders, thousands of leaseholders like me who are just completely stuck and who are working really hard throughout this difficult time.
receiving bills like that and being told i am to pay for something i didn't create in my building, i had all the surveys done and bought it in good faith, it shouldn't be me who is penalised for this problem. this year has been the hardest year of my life. i have started work as a junior doctor during the pandemic, i have had all the problems with my flat. i'm looking forward to 2021. i have just one wish and that wish is for this nightmare to end, and for the government to do what's right. there'll be more coverage of the expected brexit deal announcement on the bbc news channel. we're back at the much earlier than usual time of 3.50pm this afternoon. now on bbc one it's time for the news where you are. goodbye.
fine weather for most of us today and clear skies will lead to a widespread crust, frost right across the country. christmas day was not crisp and cold for most of us. this isa gap crisp and cold for most of us. this is a gap in the clouds, this is the way the front from yesterday. we are ina window way the front from yesterday. we are in a window of quiet weather. cold air is also streaming in temporarily from the northern climes, but stormy weather out in the atlantic is coming our way come boxing day. this is what it looks like in the short—term. a few showers, wintry ones close to the north sea coast. but the large majority of us have clear skies and a widespread frost. look how cold it is, down to around -6 look how cold it is, down to around —6 across parts of northern england on christmas morning. a frost right down to the south coast of england as well. crisp, sunny weather on christmas day. clouds are increasing on the north—west of the country,
and that harold is a change, a big change which is coming our way the following day. fine on christmas day looks like this. this is a big atla ntic looks like this. this is a big atlantic storm, a powerful one, called storm balla, named by the met 0ffice. called storm balla, named by the met office. it will be approaching the north—west of the uk early on saturday. the men will be spreading to northern ireland, scotland, western areas of the uk. milder, around 10 degrees but the wins will be freshening. very stormy weather by the time we get to saturday night into sunday. amber warning from the met office. gusts of wind of 70 to 80 mph. widely across england and wales 58 to 60 mph. take care. look at squeezing the isobars and the strong winds. following those isobars and the heavy wane, it will