Theresa May hailed an ‘historic’ moment tonight as Labour failed to defeat the government in the first vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill. The crucial legislation was comfortably given its second reading in the Commons by a margin of 326 to 290 – a majority of 36. Seven Labour MPs defied Jeremy Corbyn‘s order to oppose the bill, making clear during a near-nine hour debate that they were determined to implement the result of the referendum. Importantly, the government also succeeded in passing its timetable for pushing the laws through parliament. But ominously for ministers, senior Tory MPs were among those who vowed to force changes to the proposals at a later stage in the process.
MPS tonight voted by 326 votes to 290 votes to back Theresa May’s Brexit Bill – despite warnings of a “power grab” by ministers. No 10’s “confident” predictions of victory were vindicated in a 36-vote Government majority vote after a clutch of Labour rebels pledged to team up with Tories and the DUP so the EU (Withdrawal) Bill could clear its latest Commons hurdle. Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: “This is a deeply disappointing result. “This Bill is an affront to parliamentary democracy and a naked power grab by Government Ministers. It leaves rights unprotected, it silences Parliament on key decisions and undermines the devolution settlement. “It will make the Brexit process more uncertain, and lead to division and chaos when we need unity and clarity. “Labour will seek to amend and remove the worst aspects from the Bill as it passes through Parliament. But the flaws are so fundamental it’s hard to see how this Bill could ever be made fit for purpose”.
A crucial Brexit bill has passed its latest stage in Parliament, but Tory MPs have threatened to stage a rebellion next month. MPs debated the EU Withdrawal Bill until past midnight into Tuesday morning and it was eventually passed, at its second reading, by 36 votes. Theresa May has said the attempt to transpose thousands of EU laws and regulations into British law is vital to avoid a legal “cliff edge” when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. Jeremy Corbyn had ordered his MPs to vote against the bill, saying the fact that ministers would be able to change the legislation without scrutiny from Parliament was a “power grab”. However, the bill was passed by 326 votes to 290 – with seven Labour MPs voting with the Government after more than 13 hours of debate.
Jeremy Corbyn paved the way for Labour to support permanent single market membership yesterday as MPs passed the Government’s flagship Brexit legislation. The leader said membership was “open for discussion”, marking another shift in his Brexit policy after previously ruling it out. His remarks sparked fears Labour is preparing to reverse its pledge not to block Brexit as MPs accused the party of betraying the public by voting against the EU Withdrawal.
Theresa May’s landmark EU (Withdrawal) Bill has passed its first parliamentary hurdle, paving the way for greater powers to be handed to ministers through the first major piece of Brexit legislation. MPs passed the legislation – often referred to as the Repeal Bill – by 326 votes to 290, giving the Government a majority of 36 after no Conservatives rebelled and several Labour politicians defied Jeremy Corbyn’s instruction to vote against. The Prime Minister described the vote as a “historic decision to back the will of the British people”, adding: “Although there is more to do, this decision means we can move on with negotiations with solid foundations and we continue to encourage MPs from all parts of the UK to work together in support of this vital piece of legislation.”
Senior Tory MPs yesterday warned ministers that they would have to accept changes to their flagship Brexit legislation or face defeats when the bill returns to the Commons next month. Ministers last night won a comfortable victory at the European withdrawal bill’s second reading, with seven Labour MPs joining the DUP in supporting the government and no Conservative MPs voting against it. After more than 13 hours of debate, the government secured a majority of 36, with 326 votes for and 290 against. After the vote Theresa May said: “Parliament took a historic decision to back the will of the British people and vote for a bill which gives certainty and clarity ahead of our withdrawal from the European Union.
A NEW movement being spearheaded by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is vowing to shake up the cosy Brussels elite and threaten the jobs of euro bigwigs like Jean-Claude Juncker. Diem25, a pro-democracy group which was set up 18 months ago, is now considering putting forward candidates for the European Parliament elections in 2019 to help shape the EU agenda. This is despite the fact members of the movement, including Mr Varoufakis, have been scathing of the institution which they do not consider to be a proper legislative chamber. The left-wing group describes itself as pro-European but frustrated with the sclerotic and undemocratic processes of the EU, which it wants to see radically reformed.
BRITAIN has paid a staggering £375billion to Brussels over the last 43 years, official figures have revealed. Data released to MPs at Westminster showed UK taxpayers have contributed the eye-watering sum to the budgets of the European Union and its predecessor the European Community from 1973 until last year. Euro-sceptics insisted the colossal payment means the country should not be forced to pay a so-called “divorce fee” to leave the bloc. They spoke out as MPs were voting at Westminster last night on the Government’s crunch EU Withdrawal Bill that has been drafted to ensure a smooth departure from the bloc. Richard Tice, co-chairman of the Brexit-backing pressure group Leave Means Leave, said: “This truly staggering amount of money shows what the real cost of EU membership has been to the UK. “The British people should feel vindicated by their decision to leave this anti-democratic, bureaucratic bloc that has drained us of money and sovereignty over many decades.
THE European Union must become a club to survive after Brexit, experts in Italy have warned. Mathematician Giandomenico Majone warned if the EU remains the same once Britain leaves Brussels, the bloc could struggle to survive. And Italian economist Giuseppe Pennisi has called on EU chiefs to heed Mr Majone’s advice. With Brexit negotiations well underway and Brussels embroiled in a war of words with London, Mr Pennisi suggests the bloc should look to its future. Writing for Il Sussidiario, Mr Pennisi said: “Brexit negotiations are underway. It is difficult to make predictions about who will win, even if it’s just about who wins in the financial accounts. “An ingenious and innovative point of view was raised by Giandomenico Majone in his essay ‘The European Union Post Brexit’ just published on the European Law Journal. “It is an essay that those who have political responsibilities regarding the European integration process should read and ponder carefully.
Jeremy Corbyn will underline Labour’s goal to secure a Brexit that “guarantees full access to the European single market” in a major speech to trade unions. The Labour leader will say his party wants a “jobs-first Brexit” without “xenophobic intimidation and scapegoating”, as he seeks to outline his approach to EU withdrawal ahead of his party’s conference. It comes after the Labour leader signaled he may be open to discussing single market arrangements similar to those enjoyed by Norway, which has full access in return for accepting the bloc’s rules. Speaking at the TUC conference in Brighton, Mr Corbyn was to say: “Labour respects the referendum result but we want a jobs-first Brexit that guarantees full access to the European single market as part of a new trade agreement and relationship with the EU.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said it is “open for discussion” whether the UK remains in the EU single market. But the party then insisted its policy had not changed and that the UK would not remain a single market member in the long term. Labour’s policy is to stay in the single market – which enables tariff-free trading between members – for a temporary period after March 2019. In a BBC interview, Mr Corbyn was asked whether this could go on indefinitely. He told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: “We want a relationship which allows us to trade within the single market. “Whether that’s formal membership, which is only possible, I believe, if you’re actually a member of the EU, or whether it’s an agreed trading relationship, is open for discussion. The outcome is more important than the nomenclature on the way.”
Jeremy Corbyn will call for the UK to retain “full access” to the European single market on Tuesday as he seeks to clarify Labour’s position on Brexit. The party’s leader will tell delegates at the TUC conference that his post-Brexit vision is in stark contrast to the Conservatives who want to create a “Shangri-La for bosses and bankers”. Speaking in Brighton on Tuesday, he will say: “Labour respects the referendum result but we want a jobs-first Brexit that guarantees full access to the European single market as part of a new trade agreement and relationship with the EU. “A jobs-first Brexit that maintains and develops workers’ rights, and consumer and environmental protections and uses powers returned from Brussels to support a new industrial strategy. A jobs-first Brexit where work pays, employees have security and decent conditions and prosperity is shared by the true wealth creators – that means all of us.”
JEREMY Corbyn triggered fresh confusion about Labour’s Europe policy today by suggesting that Britain could keep many ties to Brussels after Brexit. In a muddled BBC interview, the Labour leaders insisted the question of whether the UK should stay in the EU’s Single Market was “open for discussion”. He also refused to rule out the country keeping borders open to EU migrants after formally leaving the bloc. Mr Corbyn‘s remarks came hours before MPs were set to vote on the Government’s crunch EU Withdrawal Bill at Westminster amid deepening divisions in Labour ranks. Tory MP Nigel Evans said the interview showed Labour was in chaos over Brexit. The senior backbencher said: “This interview has further fuelled the confusion about Labour’s policy.
Corbyn is whipping his MPs to vote against Brexit even though he privately supports it. Caroline Flint says MPs should rebel against the Labour whip. Thanks to Keir Starmer Labour officially want to stay in the single market during the transition, even though Corbynistas think the single market is a neoliberal tool of the bosses and want to leave it. Tom Watson says Labour could stay in the single market forever, yet John McDonnell says we have to leave it to respect the referendum result. Frontbenchers Jon Ashworth and Jenny Chapman say Watson is wrong, Heidi Alexander and Alison McGovern say he is right. Diane Abbott and Clive Lewis say Labour must support free movement, Corbyn and Starmer say free movement will end after Brexit.
Labour members have been urged by centrist groups to block leftwing rule changes at the party’s conference backed by grassroots movement Momentum, including any potential moves towards deselection of moderate candidates. On Monday night, Progress and Labour First – some of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s most strident critics within the party, hosted a rally attended by 120 activists and MPs in parliament. Addressing the “Moderate Meet-Up”, John Spellar, MP for Warley, said there was a fight to “save social democracy” and that in-fighting over rule changes should not be allowed to dominate the conference in Brighton, which takes place 23-27 September. “They are trying to storm the conference, create the atmosphere they are the overwhelming tide,” Spellar told the meeting. “They want to create an atmosphere of disillusionment that they can’t be stopped. We have to call them out.”
John McDonnell’s campaign to seize power through ‘insurrection’ is exposed by the Daily Mail today. Labour‘s Shadow Chancellor has spent the past three months at rallies and on picket lines inciting union members to ‘drive the Tories from office’. Industrial action must however relate to work disputes and coordinating strikes solely to overthrow a government is almost certainly illegal. Mr McDonnell, who is Jeremy Corbyn’s closest political ally, appears to have been plotting anti-democratic action for as long as four years. Video footage obtained by the Mail from 2013 shows him using the word insurrection – defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘a violent uprising’. ‘Parliamentary democracy doesn’t work for us, elections aren’t working for us,’ he told hard-Left comrades. ‘We used to call it insurrection. Now we’re polite and say it’s direct action. Let’s get back to calling it what it is: It’s insurrection. We want to bring this Government down by whatever mechanism we have.
Jeremy Corbyn has tightened his grip on the Labour Party after two of his allies were elected to a key committee that controls what is discussed at the party’s annual conference, paving the way for his supporters to make a raft of rule changes. Seema Chandwani, a party activist in Tottenham, and Billy Hayes, the former head of the CWU postal workers union, will join the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC), replacing their “moderate” rivals, current Shadow Justice Minister Gloria De Piero and Labour peer Michael Cashman, after receiving double the number of votes from party members. Both Ms Chandwani and Mr Hayes were supported by Momentum, the grassroots campaigning organisation set up by Mr Corbyn’s allies. The result means the balance of the CAC has shifted decisively in Mr Corbyn’s favour, having previously been controlled by moderates.
Ministers will say today that Britain’s security will always be “indivisibly linked” with Europe as the government pledges to continue supplying UK troops, technology and intelligence to EU defence missions after Brexit. In an attempt to win allies among the EU 27 ahead of next month’s crucial summit, the government will offer an “unprecedented” future partnership with Brussels taking in defence, foreign policy and aid spending. The initiative, to be published in a position paper, opens the way for the UK to continue collaborating with the European Defence Agency as well as participating in joint military missions. It also suggests that the government is prepared to continue paying into the EU development budget to which the UK currently contributes around a billion pounds a year.
Cabinet ministers have risked a Brussels backlash after using their latest Brexit negotiating paper to highlight how crucial the UK’s military might is to ensuring European security. The Government underlined Britain’s large defence budget, Eastern European troop deployments, UN Security Council seat and nuclear deterrent ahead of the document’s publication on Tuesday. But key EU figures indicated the move would be seen in Brussels as an attempt to use British military strength as leverage on stalled Brexit talks. The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt told TheIndependent there could be no “trade-off” involving security, while another EU source warned UK negotiators “the days of gunboat diplomacy are over”.
The government will face another wave of co-ordinated strikes by public sector workers if it does not meet their demands for a 5 per cent pay rise, unions warned yesterday. Ministers will lift the pay cap for police and prison officers as early as tomorrow, but other public sector workers are likely to have to wait longer. Unions are pressing for above-inflation increases for nurses, teachers, council staff, civil servants and others who have had a pay freeze or 1 per cent cap for seven years. Ministers are all but certain to turn the demands down. Confidence is running high in the union movement after Jeremy Corbyn led Labour to a better-than-expected result in the election in June and consolidated his grip over the party.
UNIONS will discuss co-ordinated action in a campaign to end the controversial cap on public sector pay. The TUC Congress in Brighton will finalise plans for rallies and demonstrations as well as ballots for industrial action. A debate at the conference on Monday comes amid speculation that police and prison officers are in line for a pay rise above the current 1% limit. Ministers are expected to accept recommendations for higher pay rises this week, paving the way for similar increases for other public sector workers. Pay review body recommendations for police and prison officers for 2017/18 are still to be published and awaiting a government response, which Prime Minister Theresa May has said will happen “shortly”.
The UK is facing a growing threat of coordinated strikes by public sector workers over the issue of the 1% pay cap. Unions are calling for a 5% pay rise after following seven years of pay freezes or maximum 1%-a-year pay rises for millions of workers. Four unions tabled motions to this week’s Trades Union Congress in Brighton calling for some kind of nationally coordinated action, which were then included in a composite motion. The composite motion, among other measures, called for “immediate steps to develop a coordinated strategy of opposition to the pay cap… including… pay demands, campaign activities, tactics, ballots and industrial action”. The motion was passed unanimously.
Union leaders have raised the threat of strike action over the cap on public sector pay after accusing ministers of “cherry picking” certain workers for wage increases. Reports suggest police and prison officers could be in line for a pay rise above the 1 per cent limit after the Government signalled it would lift the longstanding cap for specific public sector staff. The move has drawn criticism from union chiefs, who are pressing for a 5 per cent pay hike for millions of nurses, civil servants and other public sector workers. Several unions are balloting their members for industrial action, including PCS, the largest civil servants union, and the Prison Officers Association (POA), which will ask its control room staff to vote on industrial action. It comes as Labour prepared to force a Commons vote on the cap for NHS workers on Wednesday, to heap pressure on ministers to act.
UNION bosses are demanding a 5 per cent pay hike for all public sector workers. The plea came amid threats of a coordinated mega-strike that were urged on by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. Backing the pay hike call Unison boss Dave Prentis blasted: “In the first six years of Conservative rule, public sector pay rose by just 4.4 per cent yet the cost of living soared by 22 per cent.” 13 unions agreed to the demand at the TUC conference in Brighton – just hours after hard-left Unite chief Len McCluskey threatened to operate “outside the law”. And the militant RMT threatened to grind the UK’s train network to a halt. Menacing unions – that have donated more than 27 million to Jeremy Corbyn – are hoping to bring Britain to standstill with coordinated strike action to force Theresa May from No10.
The world’s biggest offshore wind farm will be built in British waters at a fraction of the price of the Hinkley Point nuclear plant in a breakthrough for the renewable energy technology. Ministers were urged to put more offshore wind farms at the heart of Britain’s industrial strategy after new subsidy contracts yesterday showed their cost has fallen 50 per cent in two years. Developers of the record-breaking Hornsea Two wind farm off the Yorkshire coast and a second large project off Scotland were awarded contracts guaranteeing them a subsidised price of £57.50 for each megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity they generate for 15 years. The price compares with the £92.50/MWh price guaranteed to Hinkley Point in Somerset for 35 years.
DANISH developer Dong Energy will build the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the coast of Yorkshire, proposing to produce electricity at a record low cost. Yesterday’s government auction — at which firms bid for subsidies by offering low “strike prices,” a guaranteed price paid for electricity — resulted in a record-low £57.50 per megawatt hour for the Hornsea Two project. Experts had predicted a price of about £70 to £80, down from about £115 in February 2015. Dong called the results of the auction a “breakthrough moment” for offshore wind prices in Britain. New offshore wind is now cheaper than power from the under-construction Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Ministers have agreed to pay French firm EDF £92.50 per MWh, plus increases for inflation, for 35 years after the plant starts up in the late 2020s. Hornsea Two will have a capacity of 1.39 gigawatts — enough to power 1.3 million homes — and will be even bigger than Hornsea One, the 1.2GW wind farm being built now by Dong.
Energy from offshore wind in the UK will be cheaper than electricity from new nuclear power for the first time. The cost of subsidies for new offshore wind farms has halved since the last 2015 auction for clean energy projects. Two firms said they were willing to build offshore wind farms for a guaranteed price of £57.50 per megawatt hour for 2022-23. This compares with the new Hinkley Point C nuclear plant securing subsidies of £92.50 per megawatt hour. Nuclear firms said the UK still needed a mix of low-carbon energy, especially for when wind power was not available. The figures for offshore wind, from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, were revealed as the result of an auction for subsidies, in which the lowest bidder wins. In the auction in 2015, offshore wind farm projects won subsidies between £114 and £120 per megawatt hour.
The United Nations Security Council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea on Monday over the country’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3, imposing a ban on the country’s textile exports and capping imports of crude oil. It was the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by the 15-member council since 2006 over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes. The United States, which had proposed banning all oil imports to the Asian country, watered down an initial tougher draft resolution to win the support of Pyongyang ally China and Russia. Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary, welcomed the resolution. “The international community has shown it is united against the illegal and reckless acts by the North Korean regime. By adopting these new measures, we have the most stringent UN sanctions regime placed on any nation in the 21st century.
THE UN has voted to impose harsh new sanctions on North Korea in response to its harrowing nuclear threat. With backing from China and Russia, the council voted 15-0 to back the US-drafted ban on textile exports and restricting shipments of fuel to Pyongyang. It comes just one month after banning exports of coal, lead and seafood in response to North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “The international community has shown it is united against the illegal and reckless acts by the North Korean regime. “It is their continued, illegal and aggressive actions that have brought us to this point, and it is North Korea that must change its course.” The move will drain millions of dollars from the already crippled North Korean economy.
The United Nations has unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea following its sixth nuclear test. The resolution is not as harsh as the US wanted as it does not include an oil import ban or international asset freeze on the government and leader Kim Jong-un. It does however ban the pariah state from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates. But it only caps Pyongyang’s imports of crude oil at the level of the last 12 months, and it limits the import of refined petroleum products to 2 million barrels a year. The United States watered down an initial tougher draft resolution to win the support of North Korea’s ally China and Russia. The resolution also bans all textile exports and prohibits all countries from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers.
One of the favourites to become Ukip’s next leader has warned it could become the “UK Nazi party” if it selects the wrong candidate to succeed Paul Nuttall. Henry Bolton, a former army and police officer who claims the backing of Nigel Farage, said that the party could “easily slip towards the ideals of national socialism”. Bolton, who warned last week against what he termed “the dominating rise of Islam in our country”, did not specify which of his opponents he was referring to. However, the comments seem primarily aimed at Anne Marie Waters, an anti-Muslim activist who has close links to the far right and has described Islam as “evil”. Bolton, a former candidate for Kent’s police and crime commissioner, also took aim at what he described as “Islam bashing” under Nuttall’s leadership, which saw Ukip policies at the June election include a ban on full-face veils in public for Muslim women.