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tv   Brexitcast  BBC News  April 4, 2021 2:30pm-3:00pm BST

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it's a straight shot on this course so the conditions will virtually be the same right the way from start to finish. 0n the thames, they are very variable so you might go around a bend and be hit with a massive headwind and have to adapt your rowing stroke. the local rowing club's allowed back on the water this week as lockdown restrictions were eased on outdoor sports are hoping that this chance to share the river with the elite crews will attract more people into the sport. but they will be out of their boats for the race tomorrow, watching at home on tv. mike bushell, bbc news, in ely. beautiful weather around london. i thought we were predicting arctic winds? are you doubting us? it's a nice day in ely. it's out in many parts of england and wales. further north, though, the winds are picking up.
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we've got cloud coming into northern ireland, some wetter weather heading southwards into scotland. here, temperatures are lower than yesterday. temperatures of 15 celsius. things are set to change. that band of cloud heading southwards over night, the winds pick up, and we start to draw air all the way from the arctic. snow beginning to fall in scotland, even to lower levels. frost here and the far north of england. not as cold elsewhere. a bit of wintriness in that as well. we are all into sunshine and wintry showers on monday. most of the snow showers coming in over northern scotland. windy day everywhere tomorrow. and winds gusting 70 mph across northern parts of scotland. temperatures are lower tomorrow. when you add on the strength of the wind, it will feel much colder. it will feel more like
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the middle of winter. hello this is bbc news. the headlines: documents for a return to normal life — the fa cup final — set be be among the pilot events for the government's covid passport scheme in england. a traffic light system for countries is being planned for the re—introduction of international travel from england. but a warning not to book foreign holidays just yet. royal crisis injordan — a former crown prince says he's under house arrest — as part of a crackdown on government critics. a man is arrested following a second night of violence in northern ireland — the police describe an �*orchestrated attack�* on officers. now on bbc news: brexitcast.
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hello again, laura. hello, my friend. hello again, chris. hiya. and hello again katya. hello. now, do you know why brexitcast has been brought back? it is an anniversary. screaming popular demand. laura was right. occupational therapy. let's wait till the end for that. one of our bosses said we should have a special season where we look at what has happened since three months after the uk left the transition period and brexit became like a proper thing so that's what we're doing. this is our contribution to the box set. yes. and i thought, well, anniversaries come with a kind of material, don't they? so apparently your third anniversary is leather, your second anniversary is cotton and your first anniversary is paper. so i'm just wondering what's the three month anniversary? a quarter of a piece of paper. nano particle. a glass of warm white wine. a bit of earwax.
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yes, earwax — the earwax anniversary. or an episode of brexitcast. so welcome to the earwax anniversary edition of brexitcast which, by the way, is pre—recorded a little bit in advance so if you want to know what happened five minutes ago, we will not be telling you. this will be a much higher intellectual plane. voiceover: brexitcast from the bbc. no—one�*s got a (bleep) clue what brexit is. brexit is uhh. .. i haven't quite understood the full extent of this. - we are particularly reliant - on the dover—calais crossing. this election blew away the argument for a second referendum. i urge everyone to find closure. let the healing begin. i'm sorry. we will miss you. a process which i can only describe as a dog's brexit. hello. it's adam in the studio, in london.
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it's laura in the same studio but two metres apart. and it's katya in the studio in brussels, quite far apart. and it's chris at westminster, down the corridor from adam | and laura in my socially—distanced boutique of news. _ hello, everyone. it's good to be back. and the reason, as i said, we are back is because it is a good three months now since the uk left the transition period, left the single market, left the customs union and that's what our old pal, michel barnier used to call the economic brexit after the political brexit of the year before when the uk actually left as a member state. so we thought this would be a good moment to kind of look back a bit, assess where we are at the moment, and maybe look into the future as much as anyone can. and i thought we would start off with a bit of class, some ursula von der leyen, president of the european commission, talking on christmas eve ? do you remember that? i have not had a haircut since then ? and she was quoting all the greats of literature to just kind of talk about this moment and this was the moment where they'd just signed the trade and cooperation agreement.
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and to ourfriends in the united kingdom, i want to say, parting is such sweet sorrow, but to use a line from ts eliot, what we call the beginning is often the end and to make an end is to make a beginning. three months later i am still not entirely sure what that quote means but that is my fault not hers. laura, sum up what the relationship has been like in the first quarter of the future? tricky. i think tricky. tricky on northern ireland, tricky on vaccines. tricky and also quite spiky. and unsettled and it does not feel yet like it has settled into a kind of groove, i think that is fair to say, for a variety of different reasons. one big caveat because the first three months have also still been during the pandemic.
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i don't think we really have a sense of what a full fat brexit end would look like because everybody has been grappling with this huge political other political problem and practical problem at the same time. katya, how does it feel at your end? i don't think we really have a sense of what a full fat brexit end would look like because everybody has been grappling with this huge political other political problem and practical problem at the same time. katya, how does it feel at your end? i would say scratchy. i think unexpectedly bumpy from the eu perspective. i i think there had been hopes here that after sort of - proper brexit, as they call it, | had been done, so at the end of the year, there could be - the chance for new beginnings, in the end, as ursula von der leyen ? correct pronunciation ? said... i laughter. scratchy and spiky, blimey! how did i say it?
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moving on. i think there was a feeling - in the eu, a sort of a hope that after all the political- tussle of the negotiations was over that the two sides - would then be able to normalise l relations and be able to tie up l loose ends and have a much more positive relationship. going forward and that actually has not - happened, as laura said, for a number of reasons which i am sure we will now unpack. i and i think, of course, . the vaccine crisis has fed into that 100%. there is no way that you could see eu and uk vaccine relations - without the prism of brexit. it isjust incredible. and on some days, i feel like we are right back- there in the old days of brexitcast, kind of interpreting both sides- and seeing each side talking right past one another once again. - i wonder though and obviously it is almost too early to say really but how much this sort of scratchiness and bumpiness that we have seen in the last few months is actually going to be the ongoing reality. because surely there is an inevitability that there's going to be a scratchiness in the future, isn't there? i don't know because i've realised that i was quite native
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because i thought — do you remember there was that sort of idea that, oh, the eu, they're really rules based when it comes to writing down the rule but once the rules are in black and white, there is a little bit of leeway to go round them and that politics comes in, and it is in everyone�*s interest for there to be cordial relations — yeah, i was so naive and it's kind of surprised me that things got so scratchy so quickly but maybe i should not have been surprised. because you look at the people involved, look at the issues involved, and you look at the environment. i mean, with vaccine it was life and death which raises the stakes of what everyone has to do. and when the politics are different, there is still obviously always going to be politics between two near neighbours, right. and while, whether we're in the eu or outside the eu, the uk and the continent, both in geographic europe but separated in lots of ways, culturally, politically, intellectually, you know, separated emotionally. everybody wants to be friends but also it is
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friends and rivals. it still feel to me like we're at that stage where a couple have got divorced and they still kind of annoy each other when they turn up to drop the kids off but they haven't yet got five years down the track where they go, you know what, i can't be bothered being stressed about this any more, let's just say hello and have a cup of tea and off we go and go back living our lives. it is still like, i'm still annoyed by the fact that you took all the dvds — showing my age. people i think are still harbouring the kind of scars... is at the right word? i suppose that human, political desire on both sides to justify the positions they took in the previous five years. exactly. i think that's exactly that. i think that both sides, - this is putting it simplistically, but have a point to prove. eu leaders still want to show . that brexit was not a good idea and for the governmenti it is in the government's interest to show that i brexit was a great idea.
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so then, come the vaccine crisis, i for example, and the government saying, look, post brexit uk, - we are able to approve vaccines, by our own vaccines, i we've got this freedom. the eu says, well, you would have been able to do that _ if you were with us but look- at your terrible history of dealing with the crisis. i mean, this is a global pandemic and somehow it has got- dragged into this post—brexit wound—licking debate. - it comes back to the pandemic. if you want to know what the size of the queues is going to be at the airport in alicante when you turn up as a non—eu passport holder now, we have not experienced that yet. crosstalk. 0r losing your mobile phone on holiday and needing medical treatment because you don't have your e health card any more that is carrying over a bit. i think it'snot going to be —| we cannotjudge the effects of brexit, pandemic or not, i for quite a long time to come. you can though be pretty sure that it has not worked out exactly as the prime minister used to promise. that takes us nicely to our next retrospective clip, which is borisjohnson, the prime minister, on christmas eve, the day
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of the trade deal was done, and it's not the bit where he makes that awful joke about brussels sprouts... i thought you loved thatjoke. actually, i wasjust trying to look cool, i thought it was an excellent brussels sprouts joke — i was trying to sound a bit more cynical — but thanks for that, laura. he was talking about — he claimed there were not going to be — but which everyone said, hang on there's going to be loads of them — non—tariff barriers. there will be no non—tariff barriers to trade, instead there will be a giant free—trade zone of which we will once be a member and at the same time be able to do our own free—trade deals as one uk whole and entire. laura, remind us why people were scratching their heads a bit when he said that? because there are non—tariff barriers like filling in forms, like export checks, like all sorts of things that have made a big difference to people, in particular kinds of businesses. so for all that the prime minister
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wanted to say that and it is very important that in the deal there were not tariff, so you know, taxes on imports and exports put on either side, but there are now, however you look at it, however you spin it, there right extra checks and therefore extra hassles for a lot of people who are trying to do business between the uk and the eu. and that became very clear, very quickly, particularly by one very angry scottish fishermen. called jamie mcmillan, who is the managing director of lochfyne langoustines. if scottish exports can't get the product to market next week, we will be at the gates of westminster and we will be dumping our shellfish on your door step, rotten, the same way as the westminster uk government is rotten to the core. is it "langa—stines" or "lango—stines", laura? i know as soon as i said that, i think i got it wrong. itjust depends how posh you are. katya, would you like to correct my pronunciation on that? "langoo—stin". i'm not saying it like that! the weird thing about that is that eu exporters are facing much less hassle than the stuff going the other way �*cause actually the uk�*s external border with eu keeps getting delayed — the full implementation of it.
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presumably europeans firms are not complaining about this stuff? yes, that is not something that we are hearing - about on the eu side. i think what there is a recognition of and you do hear that _ from eu businesses that export. to the uk as well as uk businesses exporting to the eu — there is this awareness that ? here we're not talking - about teething problems when it. comes to plant and animal products these are permanent barriers, these non—tariff barriers, - and so what the eu keeps fishing for — if you excuse — _ that's a terrible pun, not even comparable j to brussels sprouts — but what the eu is fishing - for and has been for a long time, is an agreement with the uk over plant and animal rulesi and what they mean, of course, in the eu, is harmonisation, - which the uk is not keen-
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on because it wants to be able to diverge from eu rules and so that very familiar sort of push—pull- that we felt throughout the negotiations, - so the eu saying, oh, _ it will be so much easier if we just had the same rules, is back| here when it comes to plant and animal products. just to boil it down, unless a government in the uk now or in the future, is willing to do a bit more harmonisation and with that cost that might mean you can't do trade deals elsewhere, as you say, the practical reality of this for businesses caught up in it is that this isjust a permanent thing to get used to. it certainly has cost but i think this comes back to that - | big debate about brexit, is that, j yes, there are going to be issues like that but the government keeps saying wait for- the upside of brexit. also we should say, the government jumps in quite quickly with langoustine people with a funds to compensate them for disruption that they�*d had in that window at the start of the year. so money is being spent and effort is being directed at these sectors. but it will be interesting to see just as the seasons turn
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and agricultural trends change, do different bits of that world get caught up in these non—tariff barriers? the other thing that has kept on coming up almost every day, and in fact maybe something would have happened in the time it�*s taken for us to record this and you to watch it, about northern ireland and for me, the standout quote in this actually very emotive and complicated issue was from michael gove at a select committee on video from his very grand office just painting a very govesque metaphor for what the situation was like with the eu over the northern ireland bit of the brexit deal. when an air plane takes off, that�*s the point when you sometimes get that increased level of turbulence but then, eventually, you reach cruising altitude and the crew tell you to take your seatbelts off and enjoy gin and tonic and some peanuts. we�*re not at that gin and tonic and peanuts stage yet, but i�*m confident we will be. i love that! i actually — i did love that.
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i have to say that. but we are so far off the peanuts. laughs. when it comes to northern ireland, though, ithink- there has been a recognitioni on the eu side that basically, the deal that was sold to i the public and to politicians and member states and so on as having been done on ireland - actually was not ready — . i hear that quite a lot by eu diplomats and theyjust say look, we — you know, - it was like this here we go. we're ready for take off — if we want to stay with i the metaphor — - and actually, it wasn't. and that is why it hasi been so difficult to get off the ground. - been so difficult to get and it's the practical stuff, isn't it? i mean, inevitably our conversations sometimes involve what seems like kind of highfalutin' high politics but i was watching the northern ireland affairs committee here in westminster the other day and andrew lynas, the boss of the food group, lynas foodservice, was talking about mozzarella shortages in northern ireland. it sounds almost amusing, doesn't it, but the matters businesswise, of about getting
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cheese across the irish sea, from great britain to northern ireland, and it being held up in boxes while they are waiting for vets to sniff around in cardboard boxes looking at cheese! because of the nature of looking at, you know, sorting it out before a foodstuff passes into the island of ireland. but it matters hugely politically as well. totally. because this has caused a big concern and big problems in the unionist political sphere in northern ireland. the dup which, of course, right now is part of the power—sharing agreement at stormont — which, remember, that did not work for years. it took a huge amount of deal to get both sides to the table, to actually have a stormont government up and running and functioning. there is now massive pressure on the dup. the unionist community has got huge concerns, there have been all sorts of chatter and reporting. it�*s never — it�*s very hard to work out exactly what�*s going on but real tensions. some port officials were withdrawn from one shift over safety concerns. there�*s been suggestions of kind of uptick —
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real uptick in tensions — and the government in westminster is very, very worried about the politics of all of this. and we can�*t also mention — forget to mention as well that the eu pressed the nuclear button... right, yeah. oh, no — hovered over the nuclear button. well, 0k. well, they did not go through with it... it was a bit of spunk! so, right. so adam, article 16, explain to people — because this was a hugely — seen in westminster as a hugely aggressive move from the eu very early on — it was the end of january, wasn�*t it? yeah, so article 16 is the bit of the northern ireland protocol in the brexit deal — and remember, this is the brexit deal, the divorce deal, not the trade treaty, which came later — and it�*s article 16, it�*s called the safeguarding clause, and lots of treaties have these kinds of clauses — they�*re maybe not quite as potentially dramatic as they are in this case — and it means that if there is a serious social or economic or security problem, then you can unilaterallyjust stop applying your bit of the deal in the place where it applies. and laura, what you are getting at was when the eu was first
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developing its mechanism for monitoring the export of vaccines out of the eu into other countries so they could potentially stop them and keep them in the eu, they said "oh! so we can make this new mechanism work in northern ireland, we will use article 16!" and it got put on black and white in the proposal for about three hours and in the three hours it existed in black and white, this stooshie, as we would say in glasgow, around it was enormous and it was on a friday night and i remember was watching the film of cats at the same time, so it was a very intense evening! laughter. watching that weird film and getting all these texts about this dramatic thing! exactly, so i will literally never forget it! it went bonkers here, it — it did. ithink, you know, when you call it an aggressive move, laura, idon't think it was meant to be an aggressive move at all. think it was meant to be it was a stupid move, something that internally in the eu, it was — i mean, people were going ballistic here. absolutely, you know — diplomats who worked on the brexit negotiations, people inside the commission who had worked on brexit negotiations were tearing their hairout. how do you do this .
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by accident, though? i don't get it. i — well, the assumption is it's a technocrat — you know, a suit — who says "ooh, there is a bit of a loophole in these controls because of the special brexit deal on northern ireland, which means there is no hard border between northern ireland and the republic of ireland so if the eu wants to be able to keep vaccines produced in the eu, in eu territory, we have that back door there into the uk through northern ireland. well, we had better close it over this." crosstalk. they still pressed the button though, didn't they? - crosstalk. well, they pressed the button on printing the proposal. they never actually got as far as becoming the real world. in a few hours after that, they would've done. crosstalk. i know that does not matter, yeah. for people here, itjust showed — it underlined also the kind of suspicion that people had all the way through that actually, lots of people in the commission particularly never really understood the sensitivity of northern ireland and ireland. they were very happy to talk
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about the importance of ireland and the good friday agreement but they never really understood actually the way that northern ireland is — parts is on the island of ireland but it is part of the uk. it took away the moral high ground from the eu. exactly. because if you remember the eu back in september, when the government said that it may have to break international law in a specific and limited way and do the same thing and to override parts of the brexit agreement on northern ireland in order to safeguard free trade in — throughout the united kingdom, and the eu went "how can you even do that? do you not realise how serious this is? we spent so much time negotiating this agreement" and boom, on that friday night exactly, that was the impression that was given by the eu, absolutely fairly. there are plenty of people in the eu think exactly the same thing as you were saying, laura, and it also plays into the critics who always said — were suspicious of the eu for something else, who said "you talk about northern
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ireland and the peace process in northern ireland and wanting to protect it but you are just thinking about protecting the single market". what did ursula von der leyen say? - that it was a mistake and she deeply regretted it all. katya, i wanted to ask you... how long — how long did it take her to say that, though? and it�*s one of the things that created a real question mark actually about her political nous and her political ability because one of the things that has changed — hasn�*t it, adam? — is a new team in charge since this, since all of our good old days of talking about brexit all the time. yeah, maros sefovic is in charge now. he�*s one of the vice presidents of the commission and actually, there been a change of personnel in the uk side as well because captain gove of peanut fame is still a cabinet office minister but lord frost, who was the one who negotiated the trade deal, he has now taken over
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the running of that show. and actually, within his first week as a cabinet minister, he�*d upped the ante a bit on the uk side because those grace periods where the uk was delaying the full introduction of the northern ireland protocol for things like pharmaceuticals, parcels and supermarket goods, he just, at a stroke, extended that period before they�*d be introduced until october which, for the eu, was his version of article 16. he does not get to spend time anymore with michel barnier! no! things really have changed! crosstalk. he�*s writing a book and i am in it! what?! i discovered, yesterday, yeah — i�*m in barnier�*s book. it is not coming out until may, though. what, for stalking him? i hope it is in the acknowledgements! anyway... by the way, i'm just sort i throwing this intro the mix, i was reading tony connelly — our good friend from rte - in ireland, his blog — - and he pointed out that mr — i approach this pronunciation with a sense ofjeopardy, - actually, for fear that katya's
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gonna put me right as well, i with maros sefcovic. so old maros and lord frost are old muckers from the brusselsl circuit going back to 2005- when the eu held the presidency of the eu and he was the slovak ambassador and lord frost - was a british diplomat. so, you know... yes, although i have to say more attention is being paid to the departure of captain gove and arrival of david frost — that was seen as a clear sign — here in brussels, at least — that the government wanted to be quite tough with the eu when it came to implementing the brexit deal on northern ireland. david frost's reputation here is one of — he has been described to me as a brexit ideologue and he is seen as being quite inflexible. that is the reputation he has here and so, his arrival was seen as sort of a snapshot of tougher days to come ahead. well, talking about the future, because we have to go soon, what things will you be looking out for in the next three months and the three months after that and the three months after that and the three months after that? isn't it all about scratchiness and how scratchy it is? - i mean, it's back to where . we were at the start, isn't it? so what extent does that level out as a normal, i or are we in this sort-
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of beginnings of a new thing and so things might smoothen out? - is the old either scratchiness| or michael gove's plane thing again — peanuts thing? when do we get to the peanuts? when do you get to the film? isn't quite useful to have the eu to bash though, still, when needed? you know, i mean, is there an incentive — doesn't it work quite well for the prime minister, for example, to, when it comes to the vaccine debate, to keep out of it? to not attack the eu? yeah, that is the opposite of bashing! crosstalk. the high ground — yes. but on the other hand, you have the newspapers that bash brussels and you have cabinet ministers who might be tougher on the eu or in brussels — isn't it quite a useful sort of... i think it is, - for some, isn't it? ..political tool to have. i think it is for some but ijust don�*t think it�*s going to be
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as relevant anymore. i think it is already a lot less relevant and actually, it is the vaccines tensions that have really put it really back into people�*s purview — there�*s a posh word. but for me, i think the key thing i�*m really gonna be looking out for, actually, is what happens over in northern ireland because the stability for the rest — for the relations inside the uk and the stability between the two communities in belfast and around stormont has got really big, big, big implications, and i think that is hugely important. rememberthat the eu still hasn't — the european parliament still has not ratified the brexit deal, you know, the trade agreement, so we are waiting for that. there are whispers that that could then be used as a possible reset moment between the two sides in their grabbing for the peanuts. i think that is very unlikely, i have to say, some big moment. you know, we have had supposed big moments before and it is a bit of a damp squib at the end of the day, or a damp langoustine. but i think that what some suggest — on both sides, actually — to me, is it would not take very much to get rid of some of the bumps when it comes sort of to the practicalities between the two sides. i mean, for example, you know, musicians or actors,
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their free movement — can some deal be done? what about easing the movement of guide dogs for the blind if they are going to travel between the eu and the uk? could something be done about the status of the eu's non—ambassador ambassador to the uk or vice—versa? it's quite small things where agreements could be found quite easily that really could improve that mood music on both sides. now, my friends, we leave you as always with the feeling that a deal could be done. laughter. and with thoughts of damp langoustines and bowls of dusty peanuts. and the risk of no deal! crosstalk. it�*s a vintage brexitcast. happy earwax anniversary, one and all! it�*s been a good one. that's the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me! bye! bye— bye. bye! bye — bye. brexitcast. from the bbc.
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it has been quite a pleasant easter sunday across much of england and wales in the sunshine. there is more cloud and a strengthening breeze and northern ireland and scotland. but in the sunshine across england and wales temperatures could reach 15, 16 or 17. we no longer have that wind off the north sea. sunshine to end in the south. patchy rain heading southwards. as the rain picks up more and more showers following ten more wintry in parts of scotland. a touch of frost on the far north of england and further south it is not so cold because there is more cloud. intravenous in
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that and that will move its way south but then we will have some sunshine. wintry northern ireland and over the irish sea and the north sea coasts. a windy day everywhere. strong to gale force winds. it will feel much colder so it is a day away. the cold weather is on the way. this is bbc news with the latest headlines. documents for a return to normal life — the fa cup final set be be among the pilot events for the government�*s covid passport scheme in england. a traffic light system for countries is being planned for the re—introduction of international travel from england. but a warning not to book foreign holidays just yet. royal crisis injordan — a former crown prince says he�*s under arrest. prince hamza�*s accused of being involved in plot to destabilise the country. a man is arrested following a second night of violence in northern ireland — the police describe an "orchestrated attack" on officers.
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and a scaled back easter sunday, although the choir was able


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