On 31 January 2020, seven days after the Chinese government took the remarkable step of locking down Wuhan city and the surrounding Hubei province, the last thing on the minds of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Ministers was worrying reports of disease in the South East. A meeting of Cobra, Britain's national crisis committee, held on 24 January, lasted just an hour and any threat of Covid-19 affected the UK was swiftly dismissed by Health Minister, Matt Hancock. Mr. Johnson did not even attend the meeting, which is normally always chaired by the PM.
The reason for the relaxed approach was simple. Still basking in December's glorious election victory, Mr. Johnson was finally able to take the UK out of the European Union. The fireworks and parties for the big night were being planned, the celebratory 50p coins minted.
Although there had been two confined cases of Coronavirus on 29 January, Mr. Johnson and his Leave-supporting Cabinet did not seem interested in taking any action that might hurt the economy, thereby risking public support for robust trade negotiations with the EU.
In a Brexit speech held at Greenwich on 3 February, he stated:
We are starting to hear some bizarre autarkic rhetoric when barriers are going up, and when there is a risk that new diseases such as Coronavirus will trigger panic and a desire for market segregation that go beyond what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage.
Then, at that moment, humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange, some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion of the right of the populations of the Earth to buy and sell freely among each other.
During two crucial weeks in February, Mr. Johnson was holed up in his country estate with his fiancÃ©e, and it was reported that he refused to work weekends.
This laxity in late January, early February, which will undoubtedly be poured over by academics and in public inquiries in the future, has cost Britain dearly. It has the highest death toll in Europe, with over 31,000 leaving loved ones before their time. The economy is expected to shrink by 30 percent in the first half of 2020. The government (and ultimately, the British taxpayer), is paying the wages of 6.3 million people, after 20 percent of companies furloughed their employees.
Furthermore, it has been revealed that Brexit left the country woefully underprepared for a global pandemic. An investigatory report in The Times revealed:
We have talked to scientists, academics, doctors, emergency planners, public officials and politicians about the root of the crisis and whether the government should have known sooner and acted more swiftly to kick-start the Whitehall machine and put the NHS onto a war footing.
They told us that, contrary to the official line, Britain was in a poor state of readiness for a pandemic. Emergency stockpiles of PPE had severely dwindled and gone out of date after becoming a low priority in the years of austerity cuts. The training to prepare key workers for a pandemic had been put on hold for two years while contingency planning was diverted to deal with a possible no-deal Brexit.
Given the dreadful price Britain seems to have already paid for putting Brexit preparations and celebrations ahead of public health, how likely is it that trade talks will be delayed, and the transition period extended beyond 31 December 2020?
At the time of writing there was scant evidence suggesting the British government had any intentions of delaying Brexit because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there is suspicion that Covid-19 will give Mr. Johnson and his government a get-out-of-jail-free card.
The European Union Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan told Ireland's RTÃ‰'s Today that Britain does not seem to be approaching EU trade talks with a plan to succeed. Furthermore, the UK appears set to blame any post-Brexit fallout on the economic shock from Covid-19.
"Despite the urgency and enormity of the negotiating challenge, I am afraid we are only making very slow progress in the Brexit negotiations.
"There is no real sign that our British friends are approaching the negotiations with a plan to succeed. I hope I am wrong, but I don't think so.
"I think that the United Kingdom politicians and government have certainly decided that COVID is going to be blamed for all the fallout from Brexit and my perception of it is they don't want to drag the negotiations out into 2021 because they can effectively blame COVID for everything."
The deadline for extending the transition period expires next month. The 25,000 civil servants who were working on the negotiations have been reassigned to deal with the medical, scientific, social, and economic consequences of the pandemic. Although the Prime Minister has been overwhelmed by Covid-19 and his own brush with death after contracting the virus, business and EU migrants deserve some clarity about the future.
And is Brexit still the will of the people? Although the stalwarts of the Conservative Party who voted Mr. Johnson in as Prime Minister after Theresa May's resignation are devoted to the Brexit cause, the public may be softening its stance. The dedication and sacrifice of EU nationals who staff the NHS, care homes, and other key services has not gone unnoticed. And a poll carried out in late March showed 64 percent of voters supported an extension of the Brexit negotiations. Importantly, this included almost 50 percent of those who voted to Leave.
However, a senior UK government figure told POLITICO: "We are leaving on December 31 for definite. The prime minister is adamant. That is the one thing that will not move."
Given that the world is facing the most significant economic crisis since the 1930s Great Depression, this is one gamble Mr Johnson may ultimately regret taking.
It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
TI have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.
I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.
Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.
I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
530 ReviewsREAD ALL REVIEWS