The Prime Minister is gearing up to offer the EU a ‘divorce payment’ worth up to £30billion in a bid to break the deadlock on a post-Brexit trade deal. Senior Tories believe Theresa May will use a speech in Florence on Friday to confirm that the UK is willing to continue contributing to the EU budget during a two-year transition period. A source said the Cabinet was ‘almost unanimous’ in its support for the proposal, with only Boris Johnson arguing for a shorter transition and lower payments. The Foreign Secretary is said to be unhappy at any deal that would pay Brussels more than £10billion. But the EU has tabled demands for as much as £90billion. EU leaders have demanded that the UK agree a formula for calculating a final ‘divorce bill’ before negotiations on a future free-trade deal can begin. First Secretary of State Damian Green – one of Mrs May’s allies – yesterday indicated the PM was preparing to make a serious offer this week.
Boris Johnson will use a showdown meeting with Theresa May this week to demand reassurances that the Prime Minister will not agree to make substantial payments to the EU after Brexit. The Foreign Secretary is concerned by reports that Mrs May is preparing to announce that she will carry on paying up to £10 billion per year to the EU during a transition period, which could be as long as three years. He used a Telegraph article on Friday to insist that Britain should only pay “what is due” and should pay nothing to access the single market. Mr Johnson has been told he will not be sacked over the article, which had not been authorised by Downing Street and was regarded by some as a deliberate attempt to undermine Mrs May.
Boris Johnson and Theresa May could be heading towards a collision course over Brexit as the Foreign Secretary will not agree to Britain making huge payments to Brussels as part of a so-called ‘transitional deal’ with the European Union. May is reportedly considering offering to pay Brussels £10bn during a 3 year transitional period, but Boris is strongly opposed. There are fears within the Tory Party that BoJo could resign over the matter, weakening Theresa May’s already fragile grip on power. Insiders told The Telegraph that Boris could “explode the unity of the party”. There is no appetite amongst the British public to hand over a giant Brexit bill to Brussels. The government should take note.
Boris Johnson has been criticised by the head of the UK Statistics Authority for repeating the infamous claim that Britain pays £350m per week to the EU. In a letter to the Foreign Secretary, Sir David Norgrove accused Mr Johnson of a “clear misuse of statistics” after he once again claimed the amount could be invested in the NHS when Britain leaves the European Union. The former London Mayor reiterated the widely refuted figure in a controversial 4000-word article for The Telegraph in which he outlined a vision for Britain after Brexit. Mr Johnson and other Leave campaigners used it as a campaigning tool during last year’s referendum campaign, including memorably plastering it on the side of a campaign bus. The claim was exhaustively debunked by statisticians and news outlets, and even top Brexiteer Nigel Farage was quick to distance himself from it immediately after the referendum.
Boris Johnson has been slapped down by Britain’s statistics watchdog twice in one day for “misusing official statistics”. It came after he repeated the false claim the NHS is in line for an extra £350 million a week after Brexit. Sir David Norgrove, chair of the UK Statistics Authority wrote to the Foreign Secretary today, to say he was “surprised and disappointed” he had used the figure in a newspaper article. The figure was originally plastered on the side of the Vote Leave battle bus during the referendum campaign. And he repeated it in a 4,000 word “blueprint” for Brexit Britain on Saturday. “Once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350 million a week,” Johnson wrote in the Telegraph.
BORIS JOHNSON was locked in a bitter spat with the UK’s stats chief last night over claims Brexit will save the Government £350million a week. Sir David Norgrove said he was “disappointed” the Foreign Secretary had “misused” official statistics by repeating Vote Leave’s key Referendum pledge. Sir David said it confused “gross and net contributions” to Brussels. But the raging Cabinet Minister hit back and said that it was “beyond doubt” that “upon withdrawal, we will have complete discretion over £350m per week”. The row centres on how much Britain could save by cutting ties with Brussels. Vote Leave argued we’d take back control of as much as £350million a week that could be spent on the NHS. Boris Johnson repeated the claim in his blueprint on Saturday.
Boris Johnson faced growing pressure over his intervention on Brexit as Cabinet colleagues lined up to question his actions and he was accused of a “clear misuse of official statistics”. Sir David Norgrove, the head of the UK Statistics Authority, said he was “surprised and disappointed” to see the foreign secretary restate the controversial claim that Britain will claw back £350m a week, triggering a war of words between the pair. Johnson hit back in a strongly-worded letter in which he accused Norgrove of a “wilful distortion of the text of my article”, claiming it was a misrepresentation and demanding it be withdrawn. And although there were claims that Michael Gove backed Johnson over the decision to lay out his views on Brexit just days before May’s critical speech, a spokesman said: “The first Michael knew about Boris’s article was when it was published on Friday night.” They also made clear that Gove accepted the idea of a two year transition period including payments from the UK – in contrast to Johnson who wants a maximum of a year and no money offered for access to markets.
The UK’s statistics watchdog has stood by its criticism of Boris Johnson in a growing row over the possible financial windfall the NHS may get from Brexit. Sir David Norgrove said he was “disappointed” the foreign secretary had, in an article, revived Leave campaigners’ disputed referendum pledge of £350m a week extra for the NHS. The watchdog said it was misleading and a “clear misuse” of figures. Mr Johnson has replied to Sir David – accusing him of “wilful distortion”. In his 4,000 word piece for the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, Mr Johnson wrote: “Once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350 million per week. “It would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS.”
It’s the slogan that just won’t die. The potent “£350m/NHS” claim caused huge controversy during the EU referendum campaign and it was repeated this week by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, prompting the UK’s leading statistician to accuse him of “clear misuse of official statistics”. What’s all the fuss about? It was just a slogan, right? A marketing pitch in a sea of deceptive claims during the referendum. Oh, but this one was clever in its trickery and its notoriety is well-earned. It may have swung the referendum result and, therefore, changed the course of history. Vote Leave strategist Dominic Cummings reflected after the result: “Would we have won without £350m/NHS? All our research and the close result strongly suggests no.”
Boris Johnson has been accused of trying to undermine Theresa May by “back-seat driving” the Brexit negotiations. The public slapdown of the Foreign Secretary by his Cabinet colleague and Home Secretary Amber Rudd came after Mr Johnson penned a lengthy article setting out his Brexit blueprint, which was viewed by many as a leadership bid. It highlighted divisions in the Conservative Party just days before the PM is due to give a major speech on leaving the EU next week in Florence. Mr Johnson’s 4,000-word Brexit article, published in the Daily Telegraph at the weekend, drew criticism from within his own party, and fuelled speculation over his future in the Cabinet.
Theresa May is to hold showdown talks with Boris Johnson after her allies rounded on him for ‘backseat driving’ over Brexit. The Prime Minister has not spoken to her Foreign Secretary since Friday night when he published a 4,000-word essay that was widely seen as a warning against giving in to Remainers in the Cabinet. But Government sources confirmed last night that the pair will try to settle their differences in the next 24 hours during face-to-face talks in New York, where they are attending a UN conference. Mr Johnson will seek assurances that Mrs May will not sign up to a deal that will hand tens of billions of pounds to the EU after Brexit. Some senior Tories believe he could even storm out of the Government over the dispute.
Boris Johnson was left politically isolated last night as Michael Gove refused to support his intervention on Brexit and the foreign secretary came under heavy fire from other cabinet colleagues. Mr Johnson was accused of “back-seat driving” by Amber Rudd, the home secretary, who criticised him for publishing a 4,200-word vision for a “glorious” Brexit on the day that Britain suffered its fifth terrorist attack this year. He was also rebuked by Sir David Norgrove, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, for repeating the claim that Brexit would allow £350 million a week to be brought back under British control, enabling more money to be spent on the NHS.
NIGEL FARAGE has heaped praise on Boris Johnson’s controversial Brexit intervention as the “first pure Brexit voice from the cabinet in a long time”. Nigel Farage commended Boris Johnson for having the audacity to shake up the Brexit debate and acting as a rare voice for true Leavers. The Foreign Secretary’s 4,000 word newspaper article yesterday has been viewed as a challenge to Theresa May’s leadership. He has since been accused of “backseat driving” by Home Secretary Amber Rudd over the Brexit blueprint he put forward. Speaking on his LBC call-in show, the former Ukip leader said that for too long Brexiteers in the cabinet had been quiet. Mr Farage hit out at the apparent consensus in the cabinet that agreed for Britain to pay up a giant divorce bill and agree to a transition deal following Brexit.
Fewer than a quarter of voters would think about backing the Liberal Democrats at the next election, a poll shows despite Sir Vince Cable insisting that he could become prime minister. In a blow for the pro-European party, even half of those described as “Hard Remainers”, who want to stop Brexit, say they could not vote Lib Dem. Sir Vince yesterday claimed that his party “could break through” and form a Commons majority with him installed in No 10. “I think it’s perfectly plausible, actually,” he told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show. “As leader of the third UK party, my job is to be the alternative prime minister.”
The Liberal Democrats rejected a move from party members to ignore the Brexit referendum result and back scrapping Article 50 in a dramatic conference row. Members tabled a motion that would have changed party policy, to back reversing Brexit without a second vote. But after a lengthy and passionate row on the floor of the party’s Autumn Conference in Bournemouth, members voted against the move. Former Leader Sir Menzies Campbell was among the senior party members opposing the move. He told party faithful: “We’ve got to be concerned not only about avoiding principle for process, we’ve got to be concerned about strategy and outcomes. “And which do you think is more likely – forming a Liberal Democrat government or wining a referendum in association with other parties who like us believe that the best interests of the United Kingdom are to remain in the European Union.”
Sir Vince Cable has insisted he is a “plausible” candidate to be prime minister, as he attends his first party conference as Liberal Democrat leader. Sir Vince is using the gathering in Bournemouth to position the Lib Dems firmly as the voice of Remain voters who reject the possibility of a soft Brexit. He took over the party in July after a disappointing result at the General Election, where the party campaigned on an anti-Brexit platform but failed to capitalise on disappointed Remain voters. He leads a group of just 12 MPs, and said his job is to build numbers up again – but insists his party can provide a “moderate, common-sense alternative” amid the turmoil of British politics.
Sir Vince Cable has insisted it is “perfectly plausible” that he could become the next prime minister. The Liberal Democrat leader said politics was in a “remarkable state of flux”, with both major parties divided. On day two of its conference, the party leadership saw off a challenge to its policy on a second EU referendum. Members backed the idea of an “exit from Brexit” poll, although former leader Tim Farron warned them not to treat Leave voters “like idiots”. Asked how Brexit could be stopped, given that Article 50 has been triggered and both the Tories and Labour are opposed to another vote, Sir Vince said “sensible” figures within Labour were coming round to the idea. Although public opinion had not changed much since the Brexit referendum, he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show this would happen once the economic reality of withdrawal from the EU sank in.
The founder of the powerful Corbyn-backing Momentum group has said it his “objective” to push for changes to Labour’s ruling executive ahead of a major battle over the issue at this month’s party conference. Speaking exclusively to The Independent, Jon Lansman said Labour’s National Executive Committee needed more grassroots member representation, giving them greater sway over determining policy, leadership contests and candidate selection. A behind-the-scenes row over NEC control has already flared ahead of September’s gathering after The Independent revealed a plan by the right wing of the party to rein in Jeremy Corbyn’s power by drafting extra members likely to be hostile to his leadership.
The European Union has been accused of paying African migrant smugglers thousands – to encourage them to quit the illegal trade and set up their own businesses instead. According to an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme, traffickers are getting up to £6,000 a time to move into new employment, such as training to become a mechanic, or help to set up a farm or shop. An EU spokesman has denied that any cash was given to individuals, but an unnamed EU official told the programme off-camera that ex-smugglers were being given money via third parties and that the vetting system to decide who received help was ‘flawed’. In one project, in Niger, the EU said it had ‘invested’ 687,000 euros or £604,000 in a pilot project designed to help former traffickers in the past 12 months alone.
BRITISH taxpayers cash is being handed to people claiming to be former people smugglers in Africa to help set up new businesses in an European Union aid project, an investigation has revealed. The money is being distributed in Niger in a scheme designed to encourage former criminals running smuggling networks through Libya to divert their efforts into lawful enterprises. The scheme is part of a £260million scheme in the Western African nation to reduce the numbers of migrants heading to Europe. Details of the Brussels spending, which British taxpayers contribute to as part of the UK’s EU membership fee, have been uncovered by an investigation by the BBC Panorama programme. The findings will be broadcast on BBC One this evening.
Three bank card providers are accused of putting customers at risk of fraud after it emerged that they are allowing shoppers to make card payments without PINs. A Daily Telegraph investigation found cardholders with Barclays, American Express and Co-op Bank are able to make payments with just a signature if they do not know their PIN. The three card providers have a total combined customer base of at least 16 million people in the UK. Customers of other banks will have their accounts frozen if they enter their PIN incorrectly three times while trying to make a purchase. Freezing accounts in this way is standard industry procedure and is used by all other major High Street banks as a counter-fraud measure.
Armed special forces troops are being deployed on the London Underground and have been told to ‘shoot to kill’ terrorists. Members of the SAS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment have been told to target terrorists who are on trains, buses and planes. It is believed some of the troops will patrol the busy tube network in the capital in pairs and will be disguised as couples. They will be armed with Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistols so they can ‘take down’ potential gunmen and suicide bombers, reports the Daily Star Sunday. Those in the special covert teams have been trained at the SAS base in Hereford for the past few months. A source said they are trained in ‘rapid-fire techniques’ and told the newspaper: ‘The task force is comprised of some of the most experienced special forces personnel in the Army.
Cut-price’ medics are being lured to the UK from the United States with promises of long holidays touring Europe, in a bid to plug widespread staffing shortages. The NHS is attempting to train or recruit up to 3,200 “physician associates” who can carry out minor operations and carry out ward rounds, after just two years’ training. Medical leaders have issued new guidance in order to expand the programme, amid shortages of medics. The new role is not supposed to substitute for a doctor, though the associates can carry out some of the tasks they normally do.
Many children may be missing out on religious education at school, a report suggests. It claims up to one in four secondaries in England are struggling to meet their legal obligation to teach pupils about major religions and belief systems. A quarter of the schools polled for the report said they do not offer the subject to all students at GCSE level (aged 14 to 16). This is likely to be fuelled by a range of factors such as the fact that RE is not included in the English Baccalaureate, a school performance measure that recognises youngsters who studied a group of academic subjects. In addition, the survey found differences between types of schools, with 96 per cent of faith schools saying they offer the subject to all 14 to 16-year-olds, compared with 73 per cent of academies.