Northern Ireland gives out £100 vouchers to aid high street recovery

Economy minister hopes prepaid card’s September launch will help bricks-and-mortar businesses struggling after lockdowns Adults in Northern Ireland are being handed free shopping vouchers as part of a £145m plan to breathe life back into high streets scarred by lockdown closures. Gordon Lyons, the country’s economy minister, said everyone aged 18 and over would be […]

As UK restrictions end, what will be the new normal for pubs?

Pavement drinking, table service and ordering by app are here to stay – and there’ll be more Wetherspoons Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage A week after England’s coronavirus restrictions came to an end on 19 July – with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland not too far behind – the pubs sector […]

If Britain wants to resolve the Northern Ireland protocol, this is not the way to do it | Anand Menon and Jill Rutter

The UK has legitimate concerns about the deal, but threatening to tear it up will destroy the trust that’s so vital Taking responsibility should be the flipside of taking back control. But admissions of responsibility are in short supply in the government document published on the Northern Ireland protocol on Wednesday. According to this, the […]

The Guardian view on Boris Johnson’s Brexit lies: reality demands a rewrite | Editorial

The prime minister needed a Northern Ireland deal for political reasons ahead of the general election. He now wants to dump it because it’s bad for Britain Boris Johnson’s proposal to rewrite the Northern Ireland protocol he signed in 2019 suggests that he has still not come to terms with the implications of his red […]

M&S chair: Brexit protocol will leave gaps on shelves in Northern Ireland

Retailer already planning to delist some Christmas products after grace period ends, says Archie Norman Shops in Northern Ireland will have gaps on the shelves when the grace period in the Brexit protocol ends, the chair of Marks & Spencer has warned. Ahead of a government statement on the issue, Archie Norman said the retailer […]

UK hits record number of homes sold in a month

Flurry of activity before changes to stamp duty rules meant June 2021 was the busiest month since records began The number of homes changing hands in the UK rose to the highest level on record in June, with 213,120 sales registered with HMRC. The flurry of activity before changes to stamp duty rules in England, […]

UK key workers: how are you experiencing this stage of the pandemic?

We would like to hear from public facing workers such as retail workers, bus drivers and refuse collectors about their current experience While most social distancing restrictions came to an end in England this week, and eased in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the number of coronavirus infections has continued to rise sharply. On Tuesday […]

Does warm weather mean you are less likely to catch Covid?

According to epidemiologists, meeting outside helps minimise infection risks but heat itself has a negligible effect on the virus Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage With the recent rising temperatures and more people now mixing outdoors as restrictions have been lifted in England, and eased in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, experts […]

A shameful betrayal of victims of the Troubles | Letters

Readers respond to the government’s plan to impose a statute of limitations on prosecutions for crimes committed in the Northern Ireland conflict My sister Maxine Hambleton was murdered in the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974. The decision by Boris Johnson’s government to introduce a statute of limitations on atrocities linked to the bizarrely named “Troubles” […]

Tell us: how has the rise in Covid infections affected UK rural areas?

We’d like to hear from those living in rural areas about any impact from the latest rise in coronavirus rates. Share your experiences We would like to find out how rural areas across the UK have been affected by the latest surge in Covid infections. On Monday, England lifted most of its remaining Covid restrictions, […]

Northern Ireland records its highest ever temperature as UK bakes

All four nations experience hottest day of year as Ballywatticock in County Down hits 31.2C The hottest day of the year so far has been recorded in all four UK nations and forecasters believe it could be even warmer on Sunday. It was the hottest day on record in Northern Ireland with 31.2C recorded in […]

Only by forgiving – and forgetting – can Ireland move on from its past | Simon Jenkins

Boris Johnson’s lie that there was no need for a border in the Irish Sea may be a chance, at last, for reconciliation If I had lost a family member on Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland in 1972, I am sure I would want someone brought to justice. Nor would I care when. Indeed, though […]

British plans for a Troubles amnesty would breach international obligations | Simon Coveney

The UK government’s proposal would add to years of uncertainty and misery for victims and their families • Simon Coveney is Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs and minister for defence Dealing with the legacy of the Troubles is not easy, but there are no shortcuts. In 2014, the UK and Irish governments and Northern Ireland […]

The Guardian view on the Troubles legacy row: no solution at all | Editorial

The British government has managed to unite Northern Ireland against its amnesty plan. A different approach is needed Long and bitter experience taught an earlier generation of British governments that the only sure route to political success in Northern Ireland lies in patiently bringing the different traditions and parties together in an agreement. This week […]

UK confirms plan to call time on Troubles prosecutions

Proposals to end prosecutions relating to Troubles before 1998 opposed by Irish government All criminal prosecutions relating to the Troubles and future attempts to take civil actions would be blocked under UK government plans that have united Northern Ireland’s parties in opposition. The proposals, which are also opposed by the Irish government, were announced by […]

UK house prices rise by 10% amid stamp duty holiday rush

Desire for larger homes and outdoor space during the pandemic help drive growth in the year to May UK house prices rose by 10% in the year to May, the fastest rate since before the 2008 financial crisis, as buyers scrambled to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday in some parts of the country. […]

Living in England: what are your plans on 19 July?

We’d like to hear from those in England and other parts of the UK about how they feel and what they plan to do when restrictions are lifted On 19 July, most of the remaining Covid restrictions will be lifted in England with no limits on how many people can meet, face coverings no longer […]

Guidance to induce minority ethnic pregnancies earlier condemned as racist

Draft Nice guidelines for England, Wales and Northern Ireland will not solve poorer maternity outcomes for women of colour, say doctors Proposed guidance that recommends inducing labour at 39 weeks in pregnant women from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds has raised concerns from doctors and midwives and been branded “racist” by activists. White women […]

Northern Ireland’s deputy leader urges calm before loyalist parades

Michelle O’Neill concerned about site of unionist bonfire, as tensions rise over post-Brexit trading rules Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister has urged people to celebrate peacefully before the start of the loyalist parade season, as tensions increase over post-Brexit trading arrangements. Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill – who is deputy to the new first minister, Paul […]

The Guardian view on Keir Starmer’s party: reset and clarify what Labour is about | Editorial

The opposition can’t just offer healthier versions of Tory policies. The party needs to be in the business of serious change in a radical way Sir Keir Starmer has had a good 10 days. It’s been a long time since that could be said. Labour retained a key northern seat; he unnerved the prime minister […]

Post-Brexit situation in Northern Ireland is fragile, says Starmer

Labour leader says lack of trust in relation to NI protocol repeatedly mentioned during three-day trip Keir Starmer has said the situation in Northern Ireland is “fragile” as the standoff with Brussels over the implementation of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal continues. The Labour leader has met community groups and politicians from all the main parties […]

Keir Starmer: tweaking NHS Covid app ‘like taking batteries out of smoke alarm’

Labour leader criticises move to reduce its sensitivity as he raises questions about 19 July reopening Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Reducing the sensitivity of the NHS Covid app to cut the number of people self-isolating is like “taking the batteries out of the smoke alarm”, Keir Starmer has said as […]

‘I wore M&S hiking boots!’ Eight lockdown brides who rethought their look

For many readers, the pandemic changed their wedding plans – and the dress they had once hoped to wear felt completely wrong. Instead, they got creative We ‘eloped’ at Dunseverick Castle in Northern Ireland. My family lives in Singapore and were unable to come over, so we decided to do what felt right – a […]

Boris Johnson performs another masterclass in evading MPs’ questions | Zoe Williams

From the climate crisis to Northern Ireland, the embarrassing depths of the PM’s ignorance were clear to see The liaison committee, comprising the chairs of all Commons select committees, is thereby crowned committee of committees, and you can understand why they so rarely indulge in recommendations or reports. Just imagine the size of that camel. […]

UK-EU relations deteriorate again after ‘strange’ David Frost remarks

Irish foreign minister hits out at Brexit minister over provocative article on Northern Ireland protocol The EU fears that Boris Johnson wants to “dismantle” the Northern Ireland protocol, the Irish foreign minister has said, as relations between Brussels and London deteriorated again after remarks by the Brexit minister David Frost in the past 24 hours. […]

Irish taoiseach urges No 10 to match EU generosity over NI protocol

Micheál Martin says the UK must engage with the bloc after extension of grace period for movement of chilled meats The Irish taoiseach, Micheál Martin, has called on Downing Street to “reciprocate the generosity of spirit” shown by EU leaders on the Northern Ireland protocol after they extended the grace period allowing chilled meats to […]

Northern Ireland prosecutors drop Troubles-era cases against ex-soldiers

Two former British army soldiers had faced prosecution over Bloody Sunday killings and murder of Derry teenager Prosecutors in Northern Ireland have dropped murder charges against two former British army soldiers for Troubles-era killings, including on Bloody Sunday. The decision halted the trial of the veteran known as Soldier F, the only member of the […]

The Guardian view on England and the union: we need to talk | Editorial

Politics in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is focused on the way the UK is working. It is time the largest nation got more serious too This country needs a serious conversation about England. Not about the England football team – that’s for another day. The conversation this country – the United Kingdom – needs […]

UK drivers will no longer need insurance ‘green card’ in EU

Brexit requirement to be dropped for UK-registered vehicles, including those from Northern Ireland Millions of UK motorists will no longer have to obtain an insurance “green card” before taking their car to EU countries after the requirement for extra Brexit-related paperwork was dropped. The European Commission announced it had waived the obligation when it unveiled […]