At least 15 Conservative MPs are in talks with Labour about a deal which could keep Britain signed up to free movement after Britain leaves the European Union, the Telegraph can disclose. The Tory MPs could back a plan to keep the UK in the European Economic Area after Brexit which would require the UK to accept unlimited numbers of migrants from within the EU. The news came as the Government published legislation which will repatriate thousands of Brussels powers to London after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.
A GAGGLE of Conservative MPs are in talks with Labour about keeping Britain locked into accepting free movement after the UK leaves the EU. As many as 15 Tories could support a plan to keep the UK entangled in the European Economic Area (EEA) after Brexit, which in turn would mean accepting migrants from across the Brussels bloc. It comes after the Government published the Great Repeal Bill, which will repatriate powers from Brussels to Britain after the UK formally leaves the bloc in March 2019. The move means all existing institutions will be replaced by British alternatives so that the nation no longer remains under the thumb of EU case law. Legislation will then be able to changed as the British Government sees fit, most likely with the permission of MPs.
Theresa May faces Brexit “hell” this autumn after Opposition parties refused to back her Repeal Bill. Tory Ministers begged Labour and Lib Dem MPs to “work together” with the Government as they unveiled the first big piece of Brexit legislation, giving them power to bring 12,000 important EU laws onto the British statue book. But the Bill confirmed that as they do so, Ministers plan to abandon the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights – a key document guaranteeing a raft of basic human rights to every citizen. Labour has said the charter must be incorporated into British law after Brexit, and made the issue a ‘red line’ for its support in Parliament.
Former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, John Longworth, has accused Brexit MPs of representing a “fifth column” in Britain who are working with the European Union to undermine the British national interest. Speaking to Iain Dale on LBC, Longworth said: “In a negotiation of course all sorts of tactics are going to be employed. “The truth of the matter is the European Union is not on our side in these negotiations, it would be foolish to think that they are. “EU propaganda department will use whatever rhetoric they feel appropriate to try to cause divisions within the UK and undermine our negotiating position in favour of the EU.“And of course the fact that they can reach out to a fifth column of which (Labour MP) Ben Bradshaw is one.”
Theresa May has been accused of trying to snatch sweeping new powers that would allow her to scrap people’s rights after Brexit without telling Parliament. Buried in the newly published Repeal Bill is a clause permitting ministers to tamper unhindered with employment and environmental protections as long as they deem there to be an “urgent” need. The Government was expected to try for some new powers in the 63-page bill, but the measures proposed go even further than the “Henry the VIII powers”, which already weakened scrutiny. Campaigners warned the bill was “ripe for abuse”, would lead to a bonfire of rights and protections and that the Government was “cutting Parliament out”.
The political leaders of Scotland and Wales joined forces yesterday and threatened to block the laws needed to prepare Britain for Brexit. Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, and Carwyn Jones, her Welsh counterpart, warned that the prime minister faced a constitutional crisis unless she rewrote the legislation. They attacked the government’s plans, published in the so-called great repeal bill, as a “naked power-grab” by Westminster that undermined the principles of devolution. The bill, tabled yesterday in parliament, aims to create the legal framework for Brexit by repealing the act that took Britain into the EU in 1973. It will also incorporate existing EU laws into the British statute book.
Theresa May appeared to be heading for an explosive constitutional clash over Brexit after the Scottish and Welsh governments said they could not support the great repeal bill – the key proposals drawn up to extricate Britain from the EU. The historic legislation, formally known as the European Union (withdrawal) bill, came under sustained attack after it was published on Thursday, with MPs and human rights campaigners, as well as leaders in Edinburgh and Cardiff, dismissing it as a Westminster power grab. Just hours after the government published the 66-page bill that will repeal the European Communities Act of 1972, and bring decades of EU law on to the UK statute book, the Scottish and Welsh leaders, Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones, rejected it.
Labour, Nicola Sturgeon and the Welsh government last night threatened to band together to derail the Repeal Bill that ends the EU’s power over Britain. Ministers yesterday published legislation to repeal the European Communities Act, which enshrines the supremacy of EU law – and the European courts. It will smooth the path to Brexit by transferring thousands of EU regulations into British law, preventing legal uncertainty. But Labour’s Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer warned that his party would try to block the legislation when MPs vote in September as it will not bring a controversial human-rights charter into UK law.
The Scottish and Welsh First Ministers have voted to block legislative consent for the Government’s Brexit Repeal Bill – throwing a spanner in the works of Theresa May’s plan to leave the EU. Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones said the bill was a “naked power grab” by Westminster because it did not immediately return powers to the devolved administrations after taking them from the EU. The Brexit Repeal Bill moves all EU law into the UK government statue books – freezing it during the Brexit process so that it can be changed piecemeal once Britain has left the bloc.
The Government has published a bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972, which handed away Britain’s sovereignty to Brussels – but Remainers have vowed to fight it to the bitter end. “The Government cannot use the Great Repeal Bill to get their way,” declared Tim Farron, the former Liberal Democrat leader who resigned from his post after deciding that it was incompatible with his Christian faith. “We have been learning the lessons of Maastricht and I am putting the Government on warning. If you found [passing] the Article 50 Bill difficult, you should be under no illusion: this will be hell,” he promised.
Britain has committed for the first time to make payments to the European Union after Brexit in a significant concession intended to smooth the path to a trade deal with Brussels. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, slipped out a statement yesterday in which he admitted that the UK had “obligations” that would “survive the UK’s withdrawal” from the EU. The language was seen in Brussels as highly significant before next week’s talks between Mr Davis and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator. On Wednesday Mr Barnier said that it was essential for the UK to recognise the existence of financial obligations that would post-date Brexit.
LEAVING the European Union single market and customs union would be as bad a mistake for Britain as appeasing Hitler in the 1930s, a senior Labour politician has claimed. Former Cabinet Minister Lord (Andrew) Adonis also likened such a departure to the breakup of the British empire – and warned getting Brexit wrong could slash living standards compared with France and Germany. He told The House magazine: “Anyone with a historical sense recognises that leaving the economic institutions of the EU, which have guided our destiny as a trading nation for half a century, is a very big step and the importance can’t be over-emphasised. “To my mind it’s as big a step … as decolonisation in the 1950s and 60s and appeasement in the 1930s.
A Government adviser is facing calls to quit after he compared Brexit to the appeasement of the Nazis in the 1930s. Lord Adonis also compared the decision to leave the EU to the fall of the British Empire and said it will lead to a period of ‘serious relative decline’ in living standards compared to Germany and France. His comments sparked outrage and Conservative MPs called on him to resign from his role advising the government on infrastructure projects. Lord Adonis, a Labour peer, said: ‘My language is usually pretty subdued in politics but anyone with a historical sense – and I’m a historian – recognises that leaving the economic institutions of the European Union, which have guided our destiny as a trading nation for half a century, is a very big step and the importance can’t be over-emphasised.
A government adviser has compared Brexit to the appeasement of the Nazis in the 1930s. Lord Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, also likened the decision to leave the EU to the break-up of the British Empire and claimed that it would lead to a period of “serious relative decline” in living standards compared with Germany and France. The Labour peer, who was transport secretary under Gordon Brown, said Britain must try to retain membership of the single market and customs union after Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon’s visit to Brussels today is pointless as they will have no influence over Brexit negotiations, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said. The staunch Brexiteer said the Labour and SNP leaders are entitled to attempt to dip their oar into the European Union. However, he insisted suggestions they will have any influence over the final negotiations is nonsense – and if they tempt Brussels’ into punishing the UK, then leaving the EU without a deal will benefit Britons. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, he said: “They’re entitled to, they’re opposition politicians and the job of the opposition is to oppose.
BRUSSELS was today plunged into bitter infighting as MEPs accused member states of pressing for “unacceptable and indiscriminate” cuts to the EU budget. Furious euro MPs ripped into national capitals over plans to slash £1.5 billion from research and agriculture projects, saying they had betrayed promises on spending. The EU is facing a cashflow crisis from 2019 when Britain, one of the bloc’s biggest net contributor, quits the club creating a £10 billion a year black hole at the heart of its finances. And in a sign of things to come the EU parliament, council and commission are already bickering over where best to spend taxpayers’ cash even whilst the UK is still paying into the pot. Plans for the bloc’s 2018 budget – which will be the last with Britain involved as a full member – were published by the member states today and focus on jobs creation and there migrant crisis.
The NHS paid £1. 7 billion to settle negligence claims last year after a 15 per cent rise in the total that led to warnings that the cost of errors could cripple the health service. Lawyers suing the NHS took home almost £500 million of the total, up 19 per cent, a figure criticised as “disproportionate” by health chiefs. Compensation payments have doubled since 2010 and settling outstanding claims is likely to cost the NHS £65 billion in the future, according to the annual report of NHS Resolution, which handles claims against hospitals. The number of negligence claims fell last year to 10,686 but costs rose as payouts and legal bills increased again.
PETER Whittle has promised a grassroots revolution which will focus on rebuilding “a sense of British patriotism” if he is elected as the leader of Ukip. The former London Mayor candidate who is a member of the London Assembly admitted that the period since the EU referendum success for Ukip has been “difficult” but said the party has “a remarkable and exciting future” ahead of it. The current deputy leader hopes to replace Paul Nuttall who stepped down after the general election where Ukip’s vote collapsed from the high point of 2015. Mr Whittle attacked the decision to not run candidates against known Brexit MPs saying that “it helped prop up a failed two party state” and was “a total disaster for Ukip”.
Train drivers have voted to strike over pay despite being offered more than £11,000 extra over four years for a four-day week. Aslef said that 62 per cent of its members on Southern rail voted in favour of the strike, with a turnout of 81 per cent. Drivers will walk out on Tuesday August 1, Wednesday 2 and Friday 4. This is likely to lead to the complete shutdown of Southern for a week, causing disruption for up to 300,000 passengers. Drivers have been offered a 23.8 per cent pay rise over four years, taking their basic salary for a 35-hour four-day week from £49,001 to £60,683.
End of cash?
Visa is planning to pay British businesses not to accept coins and notes after its chief executive vowed to “put cash out of business”. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that the payments giant will soon attempt to strike cashless agreements with British shops and restaurants, which will see them offered lump sums worth thousands of pounds and free contactless technology upgrades. In return they must agree to ban customers from paying with cash and ensure that every item is bought using a debit card, credit card or digital payment like Apple Pay. At present many smaller retailers actively discourage consumers from making card payments and encourage cash for small purchases, due to the high fees charged by card companies. UK retailers currently spend £800m a year on transaction fees for over 10 billion card payments, data shows.