Philip Hammond is deliberately working to “frustrate” Brexit and treating pro-Leave ministers like “pirates who have taken him prisoner”, a Cabinet minister has told The Telegraph, in an extraordinary attack on one of the most senior members of the Government. Branding the Chancellor and his Treasury “the Establishment”, the furious senior minister warned of a deep split over how to leave the European Union, launching all-out war as talks restart in Brussels on Monday. They also revealed a plot to keep a weakened Theresa May in Number 10 in a bid to prevent an early leadership race, warning of a “critical moment” as David Davis flies out to meet his rival negotiators for discussions to set the terms of engagement.
Philip Hammond has been accused of trying to ‘frustrate’ Brexit by a Cabinet rival amid a major feud at the heart of the Tory party, according to reports. Theresa May has been urged to sack feuding ministers in a bid to instil discipline as civil war breaks out among top-tier Conservatives. Hammond yesterday accused rival ministers of leaking details of conversations about public sector pay, in a plot against him. But a fellow Cabinet member told The Telegraph that the Chancellor was treating pro-Leave ministers like ‘pirates who have taken him prisoner’. The minister, who has not been named, added: What’s really going on is that the Establishment, the Treasure, is trying to f*** it up. They want to frustrate Brexit.’
PHILIP Hammond has been accused of treating pro-Leave ministers like “pirates” who have “taken him prisoner”, it has been claimed. A Cabinet minister said the Chancellor had deliberately been trying to frustrate Brexit plans, the Telegraph reported. The news outlet warned an all out war had broken out within the Government. A senior minister said: “What’s really going on is that the Establishment, the Treasury, is trying to **** it up. They want to frustrate Brexit.” The unnamed minister added Theresa May needed to remain at No10 to ensure Brexit went ahead. They added: “This is a critical moment. That’s why we have to keep Theresa there. Otherwise the whole thing will fall apart.”
Philip Hammond has laid bare cabinet infighting over Brexit, suggesting other ministers are out to get him because he is pushing for Theresa May to change course. The Chancellor said damaging stories about him were coming from “people who are not happy with the agenda that I have”, which is to steer Britain towards a transitional exit deal. The claim came as Mr Hammond all but admitted he had told the Cabinet that public sector workers are “overpaid” – while denying he said “even a woman” can drive a train. The leaks of his remarks in cabinet meetings have made front-page headlines in recent days, prompting claims they are coming from rival ministers.
David Davis arrives in Brussels for the second round of Brexit negotiations today as the cabinet became divided over the details of a transitional deal with the European Union. While Liam Fox has advocated a “very time-limited” transitional period, Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has used the hung parliament as an opportunity to press for extended temporary arrangements on customs, potentially lasting four years. A transitional arrangement with Brussels could delay the process of withdrawal and may stop Britain from signing trade deals with non-EU countries — which could effectively render Dr Fox redundant as international trade secretary.
Britain is embarking on the first full round of Brexit negotiations, as the Cabinet remains in all-out war over the Government’s negotiating strategy. Brexit Secretary David Davis will begin four days of talks in Brussels declaring that protecting EU citizens in the UK and Britons living in Europe is his top priority. But as the talks get under way, it is reported that Chancellor Philip Hammond is being accused of Brexit treachery and trying to frustrate the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
David Davis is facing damaging accusations that the Government is “tearing itself apart” over Brexit, as the critical negotiations resume in Brussels. The Brexit Secretary will hold fresh talks with the European Commission’s chief negotiator on Monday, just a day after the Cabinet’s deep policy split was revealed by the Chancellor. Philip Hammond lifted the lid on Cabinet feuding by claiming damaging stories about him had come from fellow ministers out to get him because he is pushing for a softer Brexit. Meanwhile, Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, fired his own warning shot by laying down strict conditions for any transitional deal, as demanded by the Chancellor. Mr Fox ruled out any delay to full EU withdrawal that prevented Britain from signing trade deals with non-EU countries from day one after departure day, in March 2019.
Brexit Secretary David Davis has called on both sides in the negotiations on the UK’s departure from the European Union to “get down to business”. Mr Davis is in Brussels for a second round of formal talks on Brexit. He said his priority was to “lift the uncertainty” for EU citizens living in the UK and Britons living in the EU. The EU says there must be substantial progress on this – and on a financial settlement and the issue of the Irish border – before trade talks can begin. Mr Davis said: “We made a good start last month, and this week we’ll be getting into the real substance.” “Protecting the rights of all our citizens is the priority for me going into this round and I’m clear that it’s something we must make real progress on.”
Brexit Secretary David Davis has vowed to make “real progress” in negotiations over the future rights of European nationals living in the UK as talks resume in Brussels. Last month the Government published what it said was a “fair and serious” offer to guarantee the future rights of the 3.2 million EU citizens living in the UK and the 1.2 million British ex-pats in the EU. But the proposal to grant EU nationals “settled status”, effectively indefinite leave to remain, was immediately dismissed by European Council President Donald Tusk as “below our expectations”, and risked worsening their situation. It was the first of a series of public spats following the first round of negotiations, which Mr Davis earlier said had got off to a “good start”.
Trade Secretary Liam Fox has insisted Britain must be free to sign deals with non-EU countries from day one after Brexit, potentially opening up another cabinet split. Mr Fox laid down his own red line by saying he would not accept a transitional deal to delay full EU withdrawal if it held back the trading “opportunities” on offer across the globe. He also condemned cabinet leaks which have targeted Philip Hammond – an attempt, the Chancellor has claimed, to undermine his soft Brexit policy. “I absolutely deplore leaks from the Cabinet. My colleagues should be very quiet and to their own departmental duties,” Mr Fox told the BBC’s Sunday Politics.
DR LIAM FOX laid out his red lines for Brexit yesterday – warning Theresa May not to enter into a transitional deal that would stop Britain from negotiating new trade deals from April 2019. The International Trade Secretary has rowed back on his previous opposition to an interim deal, insisting he will back an arrangement that keeps existing trade terms in place to avoid a “cliff edge” for business. But he made clear he would only back such a transitional deal if it’s “very time limited”. And he said the terms of any interim deal must allow him to open official trade talks with non-EU countries. EU member states are barred from negotiating individual trade deals and staying in the customs union would continue to prevent the UK striking new arrangements – making Dr Fox’s job as International Trade Secretary all-but redundant.
INTERNATIONAL Trade Secretary Liam Fox has led calls for political unity in the face of moves by pro-EU factions to destabilise this week’s Brexit negotiations with Brussels. His comments come amid fears “unpatriotic” Remainers are boosting French hopes of using Brexit to wreck Britain’s economy. Separate splits within the Cabinet are also helping Britain’s opponents in Brussels, Berlin and Paris, Dr Fox warned. The Cabinet minister and other senior government figures yesterday cautioned that infighting and briefing against each other would severely undermine the UK’s position. After attacks on Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis in the Sunday papers, Dr Fox said: “I absolutely deplore leaks from the Cabinet.
HALF the country still want to leave the European Union (EU) dispelling claims many voters have changed their mind and wish to remain in the bloc. A new poll taken yesterday and today has revealed 50 per cent of voters still want Brexit. Asked how they would vote if there was another EU referendum, 48 per cent of the 1,024 adults asked said they would vote to leave, the Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday found. Last June, 52 per cent voted to leave the bloc while 48 per cent wanted to remain. Since then there has been a steady stream of the electorate claiming they would change their mind as details of what may happen post-Brexit have been revealed.
Tony Blair has insisted voters are changing their minds on Brexit – despite his own opinion poll showing overwhelming support for leaving the EU. The former prime minister claimed it is ‘possible now that Brexit doesn’t happen’ as ‘public opinion is moving’. But he was undermined by a poll he commissioned which revealed 56 per cent believe ‘Brexit must mean Brexit’. In addition, 75 per cent said they believe Britain’s immigration policy is too open, compared with just 4 per cent who said it is too closed. The survey of 1,000 people for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change found that given the choice of a ‘hard Brexit’, ‘soft Brexit’ or a second referendum, most people chose the first. More than 40 per cent favoured a clean break, just under 40 per cent wanted a ‘middle way’ and around a fifth supported another vote.
TONY Blair has warned the UK may never leave the EU and called for Jeremy Corbyn to halt the process. In an interview with journalist Sophie Ridge, Mr Blair said said it is “absolutely necessary” Britain does not leave the European Union. He also warned Brexit had already done the UK a significant amount of economic and political “damage”. The former Prime Miniser said Labour is “providing the opposition up to a point” but he would like to see the party “go further” over Brexit. “I think a lot of people voted Labour not because they thought Jeremy Corbyn was about to be Prime Minister, but because they wanted to put the brakes on Brexit,” he said.
EU negotiators want to be able to impose huge fines on Britain for breaking European laws for years after Brexit, it has emerged. The European Commission believes the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should have the power to rule on British infringements of EU laws that occurred at any time before the March 2019 withdrawal date, and to levy financial penalties. The news comes on the day that David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, returns to Brussels for his second round of face-to-face negotiations, with the message that both sides must “get down to business”. According to EU negotiating papers, the European Commission, leading the Brexit talks for the EU, wants the ECJ to be able to hear a case if “facts relating” to it occurred at any point before Brexit day. EU officials have put no statute of limitations on potential lawsuits.
DAVID Davis will warn European Union chiefs tomorrow that they “cannot pick the referee” to decide legal disputes after Brexit. As the second round of negotiations start, the Brexit Secretary will make it clear that trying to force Britain to accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice is unacceptable. Prime Minister Theresa May made getting rid of Brussels rule via the Court a “red line issue” in a speech in January. But figures in Brussels including European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and chief negotiator Michel Barnier have refused to accept Britain’s desire to take back control. Most recently, they rejected Mrs May’s “fair and serious” offer to protect the rights of EU citizens because it did not allow the Court to rule in the UK.
Theresa May should make Jeremy Corbyn a member of her Brexit negotiating team, a top EU official has suggested. Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, said the Prime Minister losing her majority in the general election was a “rejection” of her hard Brexit plan and other voices should be listened to as negotiations with the European Union get into full swing. The former Prime Minister of Belgium was critical of Ms May and described the election result as an “own goal”. He said it was now the Government’s responsibility to determine whether or not they would take the result into account when determining their negotiating position.
France is actively seeking to exploit Brexit to disrupt and degrade Britain’s lucrative financial sector, a senior City representative has warned. Former foreign office minister Jeremy Browne, who acts as the City of London’s envoy on Brexit, said the French see the British as “adversaries” in the forthcoming withdrawal negotiations. In a memorandum leaked to the Mail On Sunday, he said his talks in Paris have been “the worst I have had anywhere in the EU”, with the French open about their desire to see the UK weakened. Following a visit to the French capital earlier this month, Mr Browne said the mood had been made “more giddy and more assertive” by the election of President Emmanuel Macron.
EU officials hope the British government shows more urgency about a Brexit deal when its negotiators come to Brussels on Monday for a first full round of talks aimed at smoothing Britain’s departure. “The hard work starts now,” European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday, again sounding a note of alarm that London has yet to provide detailed proposals on a range of key issues, with barely a year left for bargaining. A year after the referendum vote to leave, Prime Minister Theresa May still faces a complex task in finding consensus at home on what kind of Brexit Britain wants. That job was made all the harder by losing her parliamentary majority last month.
Net immigration would continue to exceed 100,000 a year for at least a decade if Britain goes for a “soft” Brexit, a report warns today. Two reports released by the Migration Watch think tank said a “soft” Brexit being pushed by Remainers would mean the UK remaining in the single market via the European Economic Area. However this would require Britain to keep open its borders to EU nationals. Migration Watch warns that this would be a “disastrous halfway house” because while Britain would be forced to comply with freedom of movement rules, we would have no power to influence them. The UK would join Norway as a “fax democracy”. It would require the city the size of Birmingham to be built every two years, the think tank warns.
Ministers were under fire last night after suppressing a key report into HS2 overseen by the country’s most senior civil servant. The review assessed whether the UK’s biggest ever infrastructure project is on budget and provides value for money for taxpayers. It was led by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, which reports to the Cabinet Office, led by Sir Jeremy Heywood. The review was concluded last summer, before the legislation required to build the first phase of the high-speed railway, between London and Birmingham, received Royal Assent. But although the key findings were relayed to Sir Jeremy Heywood and the government spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, the report has never been published.
The final route of the Manchester and Leeds arms of the HS2 high-speed railway will be announced on Monday. Ministers suggested in November last year that the line should serve the existing Sheffield city centre station, after proposals to run trains to the Meadowhall shopping centre were shelved. But critics have warned this will mean homes on the new Shimmer housing estate in nearby Mexborough will be bulldozed. Some residents found out about the HS2 plans just weeks after moving into the development of two and three-storey town houses. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the Government will ensure communities affected by the railway receive “appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect”.
Jeremy Corbyn could be elected prime minister on a left-wing platform, Tony Blair has conceded. The former prime minister had repeatedly said that it was impossible for Mr Corbyn to emulate his electoral success with a hard-left policy agenda, but after Labour’s unexpected gains at the general election Mr Blair said he had changed his mind. “You have to say in today’s world now there have been so many political upsets it’s possible Jeremy Corbyn could become prime minister and Labour could win on that programme,” he said in an interview with Newsnight, which will be broadcast on BBC Two tonight.
Tony Blair has told the BBC he now believes Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could become Prime Minister, contrary to his previous view. Before the general election, the former Prime Minister refused to personally endorse Mr Corbyn, saying instead people should vote Labour to ensure a proper opposition to Theresa May. Just a year ago, he said he believed it was impossible for Mr Corbyn to win an election on a left-wing platform, but the recent shift in the political landscape – including the election of Donald Trump as well as Labour’s better than expected result in June – have caused him to change his mind. But he has not changed his belief that a Corbyn-led Government would be damaging for the country with what he termed “an unreconstructed far-left programme.”
A controversial Muslim school which has been monitored since a child died there and books condoning domestic violence and forced sex were found in its library is to be taken over by the state. The Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham is to become an Academy and the Department of Education confirmed to the MailOnline that an interim board has been appointed to oversee that multiple problems identified in a damning Ofsted report are addressed. The education watchdog issued a highly critical report earlier this year which listed bullying, weak teaching, a chaotic playground, pupils who were not ‘sufficiently’ safe and staff who did not know what to do in medical emergencies as being serious problems at the school and gave the school the lowest ranking possible. Offensive books have also been found in the school library which state that a husband can beat his wife and insist on having sex with her.
As two gleaming F-35A Lightning II warplanes touched down at Bulgaria’s Graf Ignatievo airbase in April, dignitaries and pilots drummed home the official message: that the fifth generation jets were the most lethal, efficient and well-connected ever built. After the Bulgarian president, himself a MiG-29 pilot, welcomed the aircraft on its first European training deployment, US Air Force commanders spoke of how the F-35 “brought to bear truly game-changing capability”. “The F-35 pulls in all the information that the sensors detect and passes that to me, thereby increasing the lethality of all the other fighters airborne,” Major Luke Harris, an F-35 pilot from the US air force 34th Fighter Squadron, said. “Any other aircraft we’re flying with are made better by the F-35.”
BRIT taxpayers are forking out well over the odds for new war planes that won’t work properly due to defence cuts. The brand new F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, the most expensive aircraft of its kind, may not function properly due to cutbacks made by the MoD. An investigation by The Times shows that Britain could be forking out £150 million a pop for the planes, which have already had a bumpy development process. The jets were supposed to cost the UK between £77 million and £100 million but additional costs have been buried in the small print of US defence contracts. The extras are said to include software updates, spare parts and and “cost reduction initiatives”.
The RAF’s new generation warplane will reportedly be unable to fly properly due to defence cuts. The US-built F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is plagued by a long list of problems, leaving the Ministry of Defence facing millions of pounds of hidden costs, according to a report by The Times. The UK is paying between £77m and £100m for each of the planes, according to manufacturer Lockheed Martin, but the newspaper reports the true cost of each jet delivered this year will be more than £150m. The growth in price tag can be blamed on “extras” such as software upgrades and spare parts.
GIBRALTAR chief Fabian Picardo declared the Rock will never change its mind on British sovereignty as he promised his residents they will not become the “victims of Brexit”. The chief minister pledged to make sure Gibraltar was included in Brexit talks with the EU as he branded himself the “backbone of this negotiation for Gibraltar”. And he defiantly added: “The backbone is made of limestone rock – it’s not going to be easy to buckle on that. “We can have the War of the Summer, the War of the Autumn or the War of the Winter if you like on that, Gibraltar is not going to change its position.” Mr Picardo said Brexit Secretary David Davis had given him “cast-iron assurances” that Gibraltar will not be excluded to secure a better post-Brexit trade deal.
Yet another apocalypse
A MASSIVE star is on a collision course with Earth and could wipe out all life on our planet. The killer star – officially called HIP 85605 – is one of 14 heading towards us and has a 90 per cent chance of reaching the edge of our solar system, experts say. Once it reaches the outer rim, it will come into contact with the Oort cloud – a shell of icy objects encasing the entire system – where it could launch a flurry of cataclysmic asteroids at Earth. According to astrophysicist Alan Duffy, of Swinburn University: “Objects hardly ever meet in space – the distances are so huge – but the gravitational influence of a star is enormous, even something a light year away can rattle the loosely held Oort Cloud objects. “But there’s no doubt that nearby stars in the past have nudged Oort objects into falling towards the inner solar system.”