June 22, 2021

G7 summit – live: Johnson says he will not disagree with Biden on ‘anything’ as leaders meet face-to-face

Watch live as G7 leaders arrive for summit in Cornwall

Boris Johnson has said he will not disagree with Joe Biden on “anything” ahead of the pair’s face-to-face meeting in Cornwall.

The prime minister and US president have been attempting to cool the rhetoric today after it emerged Washington delivered an “extraordinary rebuke” to London over Northern Ireland.

Earlier, a senior US official said Mr Biden had not come to the UK to lecture Mr Johnson about the protocol and is not looking to be confrontational or adversarial.

“He didn’t come here to give a lecture,” the official, who was unnamed in quotes given to Reuters, said. “He came here to communicate what he believes very, very deeply about peace in Northern Ireland.”

It comes after the Biden administration warned the British government not to imperil peace in Northern Ireland amid fraught Brexit negotiations with the EU which ended without a breakthrough on Wednesday.

On Thursday afternoon during his first trip abroad since taking office in January, Mr Biden met with Mr Johnson and their wives and strolled along the beachfront at Carbis Bay.

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Covid outbreak at hotel housing summit security staff

There has been a Covid outbreak at a hotel housing security staff at the G7 Summit in Cornwall, it has been reported.

Sky News’s Dan Whitehead says the hotel will shut down completely and “board up”. He adds that security for the German delegation and a US broadcaster are staying at the accommodation.

Matt Mathers10 June 2021 17:52

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Prince of Wales calls on G7 leaders to ramp up efforts to tackle climate change

The Prince of Wales has said the G7 summit as a “game-changing opportunity” to help create a partnership between governments, business and private finance to finally tackle the “existential crisis” of climate change.

Charles’s comments were made to a group of chief executives and business leaders – including fashion designer Stella McCartney – gathered by the prince in preparation for a meeting with world leaders in Cornwall on Friday.

Meeting at St James’ Palace the prince told the executives: “We do have a potentially game-changing opportunity to drive forward the partnerships between government, business and private sector finance that are of course absolutely vital if we are to win the battle to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.”

(Getty Images)

He went on to say: “So working together, and in the closest possible partnership with governments, we can move – and actually are moving or beginning to – mountains.

“As I’m afraid I’ve been trying to say for several decades, unless we actually unlock private sector resources, innovation and finance, with the public sector setting a framework of incentives and regulation, we just don’t stand a chance of solving the existential crisis we have engineered over the years.”

Among attendees at the meeting was Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca, the Covid-19 vaccine maker.

He said: “The climate emergency is a public health emergency, for which there is no vaccine and no one is immune. The events of the last 18 months have resulted in the greatest public health challenge of our generation, but the impact of the climate emergency has the potential to be greater still, damaging our planet irreversibly. The pandemic has taught us the critical importance of collaboration and we must work together, now, to achieve change at speed and scale.”

Matt Mathers10 June 2021 17:38

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ICYMI: Why does Brexit row over Northern Ireland matter to Joe Biden and what is his influence over it?

Joe Biden and Boris Johnson have today attempted to cool the rhetoric on Brexit after it emerged Washington sent an extraordinary rebuke to London over the Northern Ireland protocol.

Earlier today, an unnamed US source said Mr Biden had not come to lecture the UK prime minister on the subject, while Mr Johnson suggested he will not disagree with the president “on anything” as the pair met in Cornwall.

But however much both parties try to turn the focus away from Brexit, it is likely to be the subject attracting most attention over the coming days amid a “sausage” trade war between the UK and the EU.

Mr Biden has previously warned that the Good Friday Agreement must be upheld and peace not imperilled. But why is the US president so interested in what is going on thousands of miles away from his home turf?

My colleague Adam Forrest has taken a look:

Matt Mathers10 June 2021 17:11

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First lady Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson join husbands

First Lady Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson joined their husbands for a walkabout in Cornwall, ahead of the Prime Minister’s first meeting of the G7 summit with the US president.

More images of the meeting below:

(REUTERS)

(Getty Images)

Matt Mathers10 June 2021 16:51

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‘We both married way above our station’: Biden ‘thrilled’ to meet Johnson’s wife

Boris Johnson and Joe Biden traded pleasantries on Thursday as the US president arrived in Cornwall for the start of a G7 summit.

With the cameras rolling ahead of a potentially difficult meeting over Brexit, the prime minister told his US counterpart that “everyone” is “absolutely thrilled to see you”.

Mr Biden replied: “It’s a thrill to be here. I’m thrilled to meet your wife” – referring to Carrie Johnson (née Symonds) who married Mr Johnson at the end of last month.

Here is the story:

Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 16:17

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Extinction Rebellion protests planned for Friday

Extinction Rebellion is planning a range of protests over the weekend (see post at 10.28am). Here is their schedule for Friday, the first day of the summit:

  • 10am: “Stop Rearranging the Deckchairs” Titanic theatrical beach action by XR Money Rebellion (location: Town Beach / Harbour Beach)
  • 12 – 1.30pm: Sound The Alarm march (route: from the Leisure Centre to Porthminster Beach) 
  • 3.30pm: “Drowning in Oil” symbolic action (location: north end of Harbour Beach)
  • 4 – 4.30pm “Inquest on the Pandemic” by Doctors for Extinction Rebellion (location: north end of Harbour Beach)
  • 5pm “Smoke & Mirrors” signalling action to the G7 leaders (location: Gwithian beach)
  • 5pm “Stop the Amazon Burning” by Amazon Rebellion (location: “The Island” Porthmeor Road)

Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 16:12

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‘Not well informed‘: DUP leader attacks Biden over Brexit warning

DUP leader Edwin Poots has criticised comments by Joe Biden that the UK government was risking peace in Northern Ireland over Brexit, calling his remarks “not well informed”.

“It would strike me that it’s not well informed in that the imperilling of the peace has been as a consequence of the Protocol and because of the implementation of the Protocol,” Mr Poots said.

“We’ve seen riots on the streets in Northern Ireland which we hadn’t seen for many years and I think the President would do well to reflect on what the reality is.

“The east/west relationship has been harmed, barriers have been put east/west, that is unconstitutional and the issue that regulation is being made on behalf of Northern Ireland in Brussels without representation is something that is against democracy, and the United States of America was always a country which wished to have democracy right around the world, so I would like to think that the United States of America would recognise and respect the democratic rights of people in Northern Ireland to have some say over the people who are making the laws that are actually applied to them.”

Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 15:53

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UK and US leaders kick off summit with seafront greeting

Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and Joe Biden with first lady Jill Biden walk outside Carbis Bay Hotel

(REUTERS)

Air Force One, the airplane used by the US President Joe Biden, parked at RAF St Mawgan air base in Newquay

(Getty Images)

Bad weather builds up over Carbis Bay causing the G7 Summit organisers to cancel St Michael’s Mount as the venue for bilateral talks

(Getty Images)

Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 15:41

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Johnson meets Biden in Carbis Bay

Boris Johnson has greeted Joe Biden in Carbis Bay ahead of the summit.

“It’€™s gorgeous, I don’€™t want to go home,” Mr€ Biden said of the seaside view as he walked with First Lady Jill Biden, the PM and his wife, Carrie.

Later the two men were sat next to each other, and Mr Biden said: “I told the prime minister we have something in common. We both married way above our stations.”

Mr Johnson responded: “I’m not going to dissent on that one. I’m not going to disagree with you there or indeed on anything else, I think highly likely.”

The prime minister then shook his head as he and the president faced a cacophony of questions from journalists.

(REUTERS)

Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 15:34

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Gordon Brown | Nobody remembers G7 summits – this one needs to be different

Biarritz, Quebec, Sicily, Shima, and Bavaria. Only the most obsessive followers of politics might recognise these locations as the five most recent places to host the annual G7 summit, writes Gordon Brown.

If they are remembered at all, G7 gatherings are usually notable only for the leaders’ photo calls – and not for any big decisions made.

But as the world’s richest countries prepare to gather again this Friday, one monumental decision can save Carbis Bay in Cornwall from being added to the list of long forgotten G7 meetings. Leaders this weekend have a historic opportunity to stop Covid dead in its tracks, but they will only do so if they turn Boris Johnson’s promise to mass vaccinate the world into a concrete plan.

Here is the former prime minister’s comment piece in full:

Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 15:11

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