MEMBERSHIP of the EU is costing Britain almost £1billion a week, a new study has revealed. It puts the true cost of Brussels rule at £980million – almost treble the disputed figure of £350million quoted by Boris Johnson in the referendum campaign and displayed on the side of the Vote Leave battle bus. The revelation came as British and EU negotiators began the sixth round of Brexit talks in the Belgian capital yesterday. And it was welcomed by Eurosceptics who said it showed why we need to leave the European Union as quickly as possible. With Brexit Secretary David Davis and chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier due to meet today, the Government last night underlined its commitment to Brexit with a plan to include an exact time and date when Britain will leave in the EU Withdrawal Bill – 11pm British time on March 29, 2019.
Theresa May today warns pro-European Tory rebels that she will not “tolerate” any attempts to undermine Brexit as she unveils plans to enshrine in law the date that Britain leaves the EU. The Government last night tabled an amendment which formally commits Britain to leaving the European Union at 11pm on 29 March, 2019 ahead of a debate and vote in the Commons next week. The amendment will effectively force pro-European MPs to publicly declare if they oppose leaving the European Union in March 2019. Writing in The Telegraph, the Prime Minister warns MPs that they must not use the passage of the EU withdrawal bill through Parliament over the next month to try to “slow down or stop” Brexit.
Theresa May has outlined plans to set the UK’s departure date and time from the EU in law, warning she will not “tolerate” any attempt to block Brexit. She said the EU Withdrawal Bill will be amended to formally commit to Brexit at 23:00 GMT on Friday 29 March 2019. The bill will be scrutinised by MPs next week – but the PM warned against attempts to stop it or slow it down. Mrs May was writing in the Daily Telegraph as a fresh round of Brexit negotiations are due to begin later. The UK is due to leave the European Union after 2016’s referendum in which 51.9% of voters backed Brexit. The Prime Minister said the decision to put the specific time of Brexit “on the front page” of the Brexit bill showed the government was determined to see the process through.
The British government are tabling an amendment, which will be put to a vote, committing the UK to Brexiting from the European Union at 11pm on March 29th 2019. This is likely to be voted on next week and will be a clear line in the sand, with those voting against sure to be exposed as MPs who still don’t accept the referendum result and are continuing in attempts to kill off Brexit entirely. Theresa May has written for The Telegraph, insisting: “We will not tolerate attempts from any quarter to use the process of amendments to this Bill as a mechanism to try to block the democratic wishes of the British people by attempting to slow down or stop our departure from the European Union.”
Britain’s departure date from the European Union is to be fixed in law to allay fears that Brexit could be hit by government ‘backsliding’. David Davis said last night that he would accept Eurosceptic demands to include the departure date in the EU Withdrawal Bill, which returns to the Commons on Tuesday. A Government amendment will fix the departure time as 11pm on March 29, 2019. The time is one hour earlier than expected after government lawyers concluded the UK would leave at midnight Brussels time, which is an hour ahead of the UK.
Brexit will officially happen at 11pm on the day Article 50 runs out, the Government has signalled. The move means Britain’s historic divorce will fall at midnight, Brussels time, on 29 March 2019. It will be officially enshrined in the EU Withdrawal Bill, after the Government announced it was amending the key legislation to make the issue “crystal clear”. Sky News understands ministers are doing so to acknowledge an opposition amendment and avert further hold-up of the crucial bill.
MINISTERS last night crushed Remainers’ hopes of keeping Britain in the EU beyond March 2019 by announcing they will enshrine the time and date of Brexit in law. It will stop any backsliding on the timeframe for leaving the EU after growing calls to extend the Article 50 process beyond its current two-year cut-off. It kills off plots by business groups on both sides of the Channel. Only last night EU officials were floating the prospect of prolonging Britain’s EU membership beyond 2019 so Brexit negotiations carried on in to the two-year transition period. But Secretary David Davis quashed all speculation by unveiling an amendment to be attached to the crucial EU Withdrawal Bill that will “remove all doubt” that Britain is leaving the EU on March 29, 2019.
Theresa May is preparing to increase the Brexit divorce bill offer in a carefully choreographed move to allow negotiations to move forward to trade and transition. The prime minister’s chief negotiating “sherpa” Oliver Robbins is informally discussing scenarios in which Britain would increase the €20 billion (£17.8 billion) Mrs May has already put on the table. While no formal offer is expected in the current round of negotiations there is understood to be progress behind the scenes.
THERESA May is set to increase Britain’s divorce bill offer in bid to break the Brexit deadlock. The PM had already indicated it was prepared to fork out the £17.8 billion to cover the cost of pulling out of the EU. Now Number 10 is working through a number of scenarios which could see the offer hiked up in an effort to speed up proceedings. The issue is set to come to a head at a meeting of EU leaders in five weeks’ time. But a senior minister told the Financial Times: “The money isn’t the problem. The real problem is deciding what our end-state relationship with the EU will be.”
BRUSSELS has been accused of deliberately stalling Brexit talks by refusing to give UK citizens voting rights in European countries. British officials offered all European citizens living in the UK rights, but this has not been matched by those in their colleagues in the European Union. Brussels’ Brexit negotiators say the issue of UK citizens’ voting rights is up to individual member states. However, Government officials will be furious after European capitals revealed they had been told voting rights were to be decided centrally by the European Commission.
Ireland is demanding that the UK remain part of the customs union after Brexit to avoid a hard border, it was reported last night. Dublin’s new demands threaten the prospect of the UK’s talks with the EU 27 moving on to the next phase in December to discuss potential Brexit trade and transition terms. A leaked European Commission document revealed terms that were said to have caught British officials unaware. They had believed that wrangling over the Irish border had been postponed to await more detail on the shape of the Brexit divorce deal.
British hopes of opening Brexit trade and transition talks this December were thrown into renewed doubt as it emerged that Ireland is making fresh demands over the Northern Ireland border question, the Telegraph can reveal. The toughened Irish stance, reflected in a leaked European Commission document obtained by The Telegraph, blindsided British officials at Brexit negotiations in Brussels on Thursday as Ireland piled on pressure in the talks. British officials had believed that question of how to avoid creating a hard Irish border when the UK quits the EU single market and customs union had been ‘parked’ until the EU opened talks over trade and the future relationship. However the leaked talking points paper entitled ‘Dialogue on Ireland/Northern Ireland’ shows Ireland is now pushing hard for concrete reassurance on the Irish border question ahead of the crucial EU leaders’ summit in December.
Leaving the European Union without a trade deal would not be a ‘disaster’ as Britain’s exporters will brush off the impact of tariffs, experts declared last night. A report commissioned by top fund manager Neil Woodford said falling back on World Trade Organisation rules if no trade deal is reached ‘would not have severe consequences for British exporters’. Dismissing fears that EU tariffs on British goods would derail the economy, it said the fall in the value of the pound and the ‘diminishing importance’ of Europe, which has seen its share of world gross domestic product decline from 27 per cent to 17 per cent since 1990, would cushion the blow.
A NO DEAL Brexit would not be a disaster for the UK and the economy will grow more than if we stayed in, according to financial experts. Top fund manager Neil Woodford, who looks after more than £10billion of British savers’ money, dismissed fears that a so-called “cliff-edge” Brexit would derail the economy. According to a report, he commissioned, falling back on World Trade Organisation rules if no deal is reached would “not have severe consequences” for British exports. The report suggests a hard Brexit would see economic growth slow to 0.8 per cent in 2019 as “negative headwinds” buffet in the UK. But, it finds there will be no recession and added by 2027 output would be 1.1 per cent higher than it would have been if the UK stayed in the bloc.
British and European business leaders are to demand an urgent breakthrough on Brexit from Theresa May in order to salvage a transition deal from the stalled negotiations in Brussels. The CBI and counterparts from France, Germany and Italy will meet the prime minister at Downing Street on Monday to warn that taking much longer to negotiate a transition agreement could render it useless because companies will soon be forced to assume the worst about the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU. The employers alliance behind the initiative, BusinessEurope, has expressed concern at the slow place of the Brexit talks. “BusinessEurope urges both sides to make additional efforts and commit to reach a withdrawal agreement as early as possible in order to address the transition and future relations,” the director general, Markus Beyrer, said.
The UK will be a “colony” of the European Union (EU) after Brexit day in 2019, as securing a trade deal is “impossible” in two years, EU officials have claimed. EU officials taunted the UK, claiming Brits would be “forced” to abide by the bloc’s laws, without any say over those laws, as they battle for a trade deal on the EU’s terms. Article 50 rules insisted the UK must negotiate the terms of its withdrawal, to be ratified by all 27 remaining members, within a strict two year period. “We should not be pressured or rushed. They really should come up with the money,” one senior EU diplomat told euronews.
Penny Mordaunt has been named as the new International Development Secretary following the departure of Priti Patel amid the furore around unofficial meetings with Israeli politicians. Ms Mordaunt was minister for disabled people before she received the call from Theresa May on Thursday inviting her to join the Cabinet. She was brought across from her junior ministerial role after Ms Patel was forced to quit on Wednesday, having angered Ms May by failing to tell the Prime Minister she had held unofficial meetings with high-level Israeli politicians. Asked if she was joining a Cabinet “in chaos”, Ms Mordaunt said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed by the Prime Minister to be the new Secretary of State for International Development.
Penny Mordaunt, the Brexit-backing disabilities minister, has been appointed international development secretary to replace Priti Patel, who resigned from the cabinet on Wednesday night. Mordaunt’s appointment will appease many Eurosceptic MPs who wanted to see the prime minister preserve the balance of leave and remain supporters in the cabinet after the departure of Patel, who has been one of the government’s most pro-Brexit voices. Mordaunt, 44, had been widely tipped to replace Michael Fallon as defence secretary when he resigned over sexual harassment allegations last week, but he was succeeded by the former chief whip Gavin Williamson.
More than half of GPs would back plans to fine patients for not turning up to appointments in a bid to address the almost £1bn a year that no-shows cost the health service, a survey has revealed. In 2015, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that he approved of a fine “in principle”, but the proposal was swiftly slapped down and received a mixed reaction from doctors. GPs told The Independent that, while they can “see the attraction”, it would be a minefield for practices to enforce and would likely punish patients who most need to be seen. Earlier this year the Labour Party released analysis showing millions of patients finding it harder to get through to see their Gps. And responding to the poll, by the magazine for GPs Pulse, a total of 51 per cent of family doctors said “patients should be fined for not attending GP appointments”.
Over 100,000 children have been rejected for treatment by local mental health services after being referred in the last two years. A Freedom of Information request by the NSPCC to NHS Trusts in England revealed that on average 150 children each day were turned away from NHS children’s mental health services between 2015 and 2017. The charity is calling upon the Government to focus on early intervention to help children in order to reduce the numbers who reach crisis point.
Pesticides that are toxic to honeybees are to be banned in the UK, the Environment Secretary said yesterday. In a reversal from the government’s previous position, Michael Gove said the government now supports an EU-wide ban. The move was hailed by green campaigners as a strong signal that the environment will continue to be protected after Brexit. The pesticides – known as neo-nicotinoids or ‘neo-nics’ – are meant to kill insects that eat crops. They are used in sprays and coatings on seeds – killing sap-sucking weevils and aphids. But Mr Gove said yesterday the risk to bees and other insects such as butterflies was ‘greater than previously understood’. Last month a study found that three-quarters of the honey produced around the world contains nerve agent pesticides that can harm bees.
A total ban on bee-harming pesticides being used across Europe will be supported by the UK, the Environment Secretary has said. In a reversal of the Government’s previous position on neonicotinoid pesticides, Michael Gove said new evidence indicated the risk to bees and other insects was “greater than previously understood”. In 2013, the European Commission proposed a ban on three neonicotinoids for use on flowering crops such as oil seed rape, which are attractive to bees, after authorities identified risks to honey bees. The UK Government opposed the ban, claiming there was not enough evidence that bees were harmed by the pesticides, but other member states disagreed and the ban was implemented across the EU.
The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed. The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him. Neonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticide but in 2013 the European Union banned their use on flowering crops, although the UK was among the nations opposing the ban.
ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners welcomed the government’s announcement yesterday that it will ban a certain type of pesticide to save bees but warned it against “repeating past mistakes” by the use of other harmful chemicals. Neonicotinoids, which present a risk to honey bees, have been banned for use on crops such as the bright yellow oilseed rape plant by the European Union since 2013. The EU Commission has since proposed restricting the use of three neonicotinoids to plants in greenhouses, which would extend the ban to crops such as sugar beet and some cereals. In a reversal of the previous position held by his department, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said new evidence indicated that the risk to bees and other insects from the chemicals was “greater than previously understood.”
THE THREAT of nuclear war with North Korea has heightened after the US announced a new nuclear “attack warning” system in Hawaii. The siren would warn residents of the islands, which are one of the closest US territories to North Korea, of a potential nuclear strike. Hawaii already has an Emergency Alert System (EAS) which alerts the public about potential natural disasters such as tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. But the state’s government is stepping up security measures as tensions increase with Kim Jong-un.