A GERMAN plot to keep Britain in the EU is set to be unveiled on Monday. A group of German business leaders are due to issue a demand to the EU and Angela Merkel’s Government that they ask Britain to stay as members but allow it to opt out of free movement and have complete control over its borders. Last night Brexit supporters insisted that the plan must be resisted and that offering immigration control is not good enough when Britain needs its full independence to take control of its own destiny to strike out on a new path free of Brussels rules.
A BREXIT BATTLE erupted as a German official warned Britain that Berlin wants the UK’s “unconditional surrender” in EU talks. A former head of Germany’s largest trade body said Angela Merkel wanted Theresa May to cave in on a divorce bill for Brussels – and the terms of an interim post-Brexit trade deal. Hans-Olaf Henkel said: “If I were to use a military term, what they want is unconditional surrender.” The incendiary comments came hours before Brexit Secretary David Davis arrived in Berlin to blast the Germans for putting “politics before prosperity” in the Brexit negotiations.
GERMANY expects David Davis to raise the white flag and offer “unconditional surrender” to the European Union’s Brexit demands in a keynote speech. German officials predict Mr Davis, 68, will agree to the EU’s terms and conditions with Brexit talks appearing to stall before moving on to the future relationship between the UK and EU as well as a trade deal. The Conservative minister is due to give a keynote speech to Germany’s largest trade body the Federation of German Industries (BDI) later today. The body’s former head, Hans-Olaf Henkel said both the German government and businesses wanted to see major concessions from Mr Davis on the so-called Brexit bill and transitional arrangements and said he expected the UK to offer “unconditional surrender”.
Brussels does not believe it is possible to strike anything more than a limited Canadian-style free trade agreement with the UK, according to a leaked European Commission document. The internal discussion paper stated that Britain’s rejection of membership of the single market and the customs union meant that co-operation would have to be restricted. The paper, leaked to the Politico website, stated that “single market arrangements in certain areas” or the “evolution of our regulatory frameworks” could not be managed within EU law as it stood. It added that the UK would have to be satisfied with a “standard FTA (free trade agreement)”.
Theresa May’s hopes of negotiating a “deep and special” trading relationship with the EU have been dealt a fresh blow by leaked documents which emphasise that only a basic free trade deal similar to that struck with Canada will be offered. An internal discussion paper prepared by the European commission spells out how the British government’s rejection of membership of the single market and the customs union leaves the member states with little wriggle room in trade talks. The document, leaked to the Politico website, was put together by the EU’s negotiating team to aid a “preparatory discussion” on the “framework for the future relationship”.
David Davis met with a hostile reception in Berlin on Thursday night as he attempted to win the support of German business leaders for a comprehensive free trade deal in Brexit talks. Mr Davis’ attempt to court German industry appeared to have backfired as his speech was greeted with incredulous laughter. The Brexit minister flew into Berlin amid concerns that the European Union is set to offer Britain a stark choice of a limited Canada-style free trade agreement or signing up to free movement. In a speech to an elite gathering of German business leaders, Mr Davis said Brexit made it “more important than ever that the United Kingdom and Germany work together to protect the values and interests we share”. But he was met with derision and disbelief.
Theresa May is set to offer another £20 billion to the European Union on top of the £18 billion that has already been punted, according to The Sun. The £38 billion bumper offer is unlikely go down well with British taxpayers. Meanwhile POLITICO report on how EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier is set to snub May’s desire for a bespoke UK trade deal. This follows on from the European Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani, throwing out €60 billion as the minimum amount that he believes the EU should accept as a Brexit bill. No wonder given he wants the EU’s budget to double!
David Davis has hinted that Britain may raise its cash offer to the EU beyond £20bn in the next few weeks in order to break the deadlock in Brexit negotiations. Speaking to an audience in Berlin on Thursday night, the Brexit Secretary revealed the UK “will come to” EU demands to increase its financial settlement before a crunch European Council summit takes place on 14 December. Downing Street earlier dismissed as “speculation” reports that Theresa May is ready to offer a further £20bn to pave the way for trade talks.
Theresa May is said to be ready to offer another £20billion to kickstart Brexit talks with the EU – amid fears Brussels is determined to hammer the City of London. The Prime Minister could brave the fury of Tory Eurosceptics by pledging more cash in a bid to break the deadlock over starting trade discussions. But she is expected to ignore a deadline set by the EU’s chief negotiator that she must spell out the divorce bill offer by the end of next week in order to make progress before Christmas.
Boris Johnson is blocking plans to increase the £20billion divorce offer to the EU. The Foreign Secretary has warned Theresa May that he cannot accept a further ‘unilateral’ increase in the size of the divorce payment without written guarantees from Brussels on a future trade deal. The EU is demanding agreement on a £53billion divorce bill by next Friday as a condition for starting trade negotiations this year.
Theresa May has again slammed the brakes on the Brexit bill, as a growing Tory backbench revolt threatens to force her into another embarrassing U-turn. Crunch votes – including on the Prime Minister’s controversial pledge to put the precise date of EU withdrawal in domestic law – could be shelved until after Christmas. The move prompted a suggestion from the pro-EU campaign group Open Britain that the Government may be preparing further concessions.
Theresa May is poised to bow to the demands of the Brexit “mutineers” by dropping Britain’s EU exit date from legislation governing the UK’s withdrawal. David Lidington, the Justice Secretary, said “various constructive suggestions” had been made to the Prime Minister and that the Government “will listen” to calls for the exit date to be removed from the Bill. Another senior Cabinet minister told The Telegraph the Government was considering removing the controversial amendment after a series of tight votes earlier this week signalled Mrs May might lose if it was put to the vote. Dominic Grieve, the leader of the Tory rebels, said that as many as 27 Tory MPs were prepared to oppose Mrs May’s amendment which proposed to set a legal date and time for leaving the EU.
The Government could abandon its attempt to write the date of Brexit into law in the face of Tory rebellion, a senior Cabinet minister hinted today. Justice Secretary David Lidington said the Government was listening closely to the concerns of colleagues as it fights to the crucial Repeal Bill through the Commons. And he said the amendment only ever sought to clarify ‘beyond doubt’ something that is already a fact of EU law. Theresa May unveiled a controversial plan to write a Brexit date of 11pm March 29, 2019, onto the face of the new laws last week.
Theresa May’s pledge to enshrine “Brexit day” in law appeared to be unravelling last night after a minister signalled that it could be ditched in the face of a Conservative revolt. About 20 Tory MPs are thought to be willing to vote in parliament against the move, which was announced by the prime minister a week ago. “Let no one doubt our determination or question our resolve, Brexit is happening,” she said in an article on Friday. “It will be there in black and white on the front page of this historic piece of legislation.”
Three Asian men have been jailed for more than 20 years for indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl in Rotherham in the 1990s. Sajid Ali, 38, Zaheer Iqbal, 40, and Riaz Makhmood, 39, befriended the teenager in the South Yorkshire town before plying her with alcohol and having sex with her. Sheffield Crown Court heard the victim was passed around by the three defendants during meetings in a car park, a graveyard and the stairwell of a block of flats.
Sajid Javid has laid down a challenge to Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, as he called for a “giant leap” in numbers of new homes being built. The Communities secretary said the lack of new homes being built was a “big problem and we have to think big” to tackle the crisis. A major new package for house-building will be at the heart of the Budget next week. Mr Javid has upped the pressure in recent weeks for Mr Hammond to spend billions of public money on new homes. His words came as new figures that show 217,000 new homes were built over the past year.
Baby boomers who believe young people could afford a home if only they cut back on avocados and nights out were lambasted by the communities secretary as new figures showed that housebuilding was at a ten-year high. Sajid Javid attacked those who have “long-since paid off their own mortgage” for “living in a different world” as he warned that without more affordable housing the UK was at risk of creating “a rootless generation”.
Britain sent £1.5 billion to the EU last year to spend on overseas aid projects, including help for coconut farmers in the Caribbean. One scheme promoted African dancing and another funded juggling lessons in Tanzania. Figures released yesterday showed the chunk of the UK’s aid budget that is funnelled through the EU soared by £177million, or 13 per cent, in a year. It came despite warnings about how ‘we don’t have any oversight’ over the way Brussels spends our aid cash. The data also revealed how we sent almost £50million in aid directly to China in 2016 and nearly £100million to India, where it was used for yoga lessons for heart patients.
NHS bosses have threatened to impose “phantom” three-month minimum waiting times in order to save money in the hope that patients “get better over time”. More than a million people could be affected by new rules forcing them to wait for routine procedures such as cataract operations and hip replacements even if they practically could be seen sooner.It means that under the proposals, which were last night branded “disgusting” by patient groups, some would end up waiting twice the length they currently do naturally. Minimum waiting times were banned by the Government in 2011 which criticised them as prolonging unnecessary suffering.
The NHS faces an even greater challenge this winter because hospitals have failed to free up enough beds to cope with increased demand, the health service regulator has warned. While hospitals have treated more patients in A&E than a year ago, NHS Improvement (NHSI) says wards remain full and targets to discharge more patients ahead of the winter peak have failed. In a quarterly report published without notice, NHSI said hospital performance had been affected by the national cyber-attack, as well as the terror attacks in Manchester and London and the demands of the Grenfell Tower fire.
UKIP has promised to push for billions of extra funding to revive Britain’s dwindling military and to fight against the armed forces being sucked into the European Union’s new united defence force. The party’s new leader, Henry Bolton, a former army officer, also called for returning jihadists to be tried for treason and for closer military ties with the U.S. and NATO after Brexit. “UKIP is the only party fully committed to the independent security of our country and to the welfare of our uniformed personnel,” the party claimed as they launch a new ‘Save Our Services’ campaign on Thursday. Mr. Bolton blasted the EU’s new PESCO agreement – paving the way for an EU army – as a step towards a European “federal state” and said “any involvement” posed a “significant risk” of compromising the integrity of UK defence and “subordinating [it] to the EU”.
Senior judicial figures have called for an end to “unjust” and “outdated” divorce laws as The Times begins a campaign to modernise family legislation. Lord Mackay of Clashfern, the lord chancellor to two prime ministers, and Baroness Butler-Sloss, the former lord justice of appeal and president of the High Court family division, join other legal grandees to condemn the “ante- diluvian, damaging” 50-year-old laws governing marital break-ups. They are backing this newspaper’s demand for sweeping reform, including the abolition of the need during divorce proceedings to allege fault or blame, which has caused people to remain locked for years in loveless marriages; the end of the so-called meal ticket for life maintenance awards; statutory backing for prenuptial contracts.
Growing support in parliament for fault to be scrapped from divorce proceedings means that an overhaul of laws is certain to be promoted in a private member’s bill in the new year. Baroness Butler-Sloss, former president of the family division, told The Times that she wanted to “keep this in the public eye” and encourage the government to review legislation “when they have settled Brexit a bit”. A recent report from the Nuffield Foundation by a team of academics led by Liz Trinder had highlighted everything wrong with the current system, Lady Butler-Sloss said. Finding Fault was the first full-scale study of how divorce laws worked in practice since the 1980s.
The number of drivers evading car tax is estimated to have trebled after the government scrapped paper tax discs on vehicles, official figures show. Some 755,000 vehicles failed to pay vehicle excise duty this year, the Department for Transport admitted, the highest evasion rate in a decade. An estimated £107m a year is now being lost because more car owners have started avoiding vehicle exercise duty, the government figures show. Paper tax discs were scrapped in 2014 in a move which the Government said would eventually save the DVLA around £7 million a year. But government research found that the “evasion rate” among drivers has since trebled. Tax has not been paid for an estimated 1.8 per cent of vehicles this year, compared with 1.4 per cent in 2015 and 0.6 per cent in 2013.
The number of unlicensed cars has trebled since paper tax discs were abolished three years ago, it emerged yesterday. The Government claimed it would save £10million a year by reducing tax evasion and cutting costs when it replaced paper discs with an online system in October 2014. But the policy, introduced by then-chancellor George Osborne, was described as a ‘failure’ last night as it revealed a dramatic surge in motorists either dodging tax deliberately or forgetting to pay it. The Department for Transport (DfT) predicted the Exchequer could lose a staggering £107million from evasion of Vehicle Excise Duty this year.
The United States is researching the development of a ground-based cruise missile, banned by a Cold War-era treaty, because it believes Russia has already violated the agreement, it was reported on Thursday. The aim of developing the banned weapon is to force Russia to comply with the arms control agreement, unnamed US officials told the Wall Street Journal. The US believes that Russia has already deployed a banned cruise missile that threatens US and Nato facilities in Europe. By developing its own missile, the US hopes to demonstrate to Russia its military prowess and to force Moscow to back-down. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INV) was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union, at the White House in 1987, coming into effect the following year. It was a crucial step in the process of ending the Cold War.