Boris Johnson has reignited the row over his controversial claim that Brexit could mean Britain would have £350million extra a week to spend on the NHS by saying the figure was a underestimated. The Foreign Secretary claimed the official Vote Leave campaign could have used a higher figure as the UK’s gross contribution would rise to £438 million by 2021, the last year of an expected transition period. The claim first attracted criticism during the referendum campaign, when the 53-year-old was travelling around the country in a Vote Leave bus emblazoned with the slogan: ‘We send the EU £350 million a week let’s fund our NHS instead’. After reviving the argument in September, he was accused of ‘misusing’ official figures to highlight the benefits of Brexit by UK Statistics Authority chairman Sir David Norgrove, angering Leavers.
BORIS Johnson’s Brexit vow of clawing back £350million a week from the EU should have been £438million, he says. The Foreign Secretary claimed: “We grossly underestimated the sum over which we would be able to take back control.” He said the UK’s weekly gross contribution will continue to rise – and will stand at £438m per week the end of a likely post-Brexit transition period in 2020-21. Critics slammed Vote Leave’s Brexit battle bus claim that we would get back the cash – but Boris insisted campaigners were right to pledge it would go to the NHS.
Boris Johnson has reopened the row about the Brexit campaign’s claim that leaving the European Union would give Britain an extra £350 million a week to spend on the NHS, saying the figure was an underestimate. The Foreign Secretary said Vote Leave could have used a higher figure as the UK’s gross contribution would rise to £438 million by 2021, the last year of an expected transition period. Johnson claimed Britain’s contribution to the EU budget was already at £362 million a week, the Guardian reported. “There was an error on the side of the bus. We grossly underestimated the sum over which we would be able to take back control,” he told the newspaper. “As and when the cash becomes available – and it won’t until we leave – the NHS should be at the very top of the list.”
Britain’s small and medium-sized businesses overwhelmingly want a clean break with the European Union (EU), outside the bloc’s Single Market and Customs Union. Leaving these institutions would free firms of the bloc’s restrictive rules and labour regulations, which critics say hit smaller businesses harder, whilst opening up trade to growing markets outside Europe. In contrast, larger corporations and more international businesses largely want to remain tied to the bloc and its rules, which have served them for the past 40 years. The findings come from a YouGov survey, carried out for the accountancy firm RSM in November and December, and reported by the Financial Times.
THE PROPOSED German coalition deal which Angela Merkel is desperately putting together to keep her in power focuses extremely heavily on the European Union. With likely key coalition partner Martin Schulz, the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) and former European Parliament president, pulling the strings over the balance of power, Brussels looks set to benefit if the deal is agreed. More than three months after the German federal election Martin Schulz and Angela Merkel appear to be finally nearing agreement – with the European Union at the heart. Mr Schulz still needs to finalise approval for the deal from his party but the draft indicates the direction the grand coalition is heading. The deal has been translated into English by the Ghent European Law Institute, which highlighted how the first three pages of the proposed agreement is dedicated to Brussels.
European Union governments demanded yesterday that their citizens who come to Britain after Brexit be allowed to remain in the country indefinitely, in a move that threatens to derail delicate transition talks. In a new draft negotiating directive drawn up for Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, member states said the UK’s ability to apply a new immigration system to EU citizens arriving during the transition should be curbed. It in effect reopens the deal the UK made with the EU in December, which said that only EU citizens present at the time of Brexit could stay without restriction and indefinitely. Last night a British source said the UK position was unchanged.
Theresa May has been hit with a double Brexit blow as the EU toughened up its terms for a transition period and Norway privately warned Brussels that giving in to the UK’s demands for a “special” trade deal could force it to rip up its own agreements with the bloc. A paper on Michel Barnier’s demands for the transition period, leaked to the Guardian, reveals that the EU plans to insist on the free movement of people throughout the transition period and the inclusion of people moving to the UK before 31 December 2020 in the terms of an agreement on rights for nationals from the rest of Europe post-Brexit. The UK had at one time wanted the agreement on citizens to be limited to people who moved to the UK before 29 March 2017, when Theresa May triggered article 50.
TWO more EU countries have backed calls for a trade deal with Britain. Luxembourg and Sweden have joined Spain and the Netherlands in wanting a post-Brexit agreement which includes both goods and services. Italy, Poland, Hungary and the Republic of Ireland have also spoken in favour of such a treaty. Germany and France face a rebellion over their hardline Brexit stance. Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel said: “Most would be happy to stick as close as possible to the current status quo.” Chancellor Philip Hammond has said any EU offer of a trade deal that does not include services would not be a “realistic proposition” for the UK.
THE EU is pressuring Switzerland not to make a bilateral deal with Britain after Brexit, it was revealed last night. The move appears to be part of a “punishment agenda” by Brussels and has led to concerns that the European Commission is not negotiating with Britain in good faith. A private briefing has raised concerns that the EU is secretly pursuing an aggressive agenda against the UK at the same time that it is trying to force Britain to agree to “full regulatory alignment” with Brussels and give up the opportunity to compete. The commission yesterday denied the allegations with a spokeswoman describing them as “invented”. However, several senior MPs told the Daily Express that the warning was issued by senior Swiss sources. A Government minister said: “Basically they are trying to squeeze Switzerland by the *****.
JUDGES are set to decide whether Brexit can be reversed – with the decision resting in the hands of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). An EU study on whether Article 50 can be un-triggered said the decision does not rest with Britain alone. The study by Brussels said the UK cannot simply decide to stop Brexit and remain in the European Union. Ioannis Papageorgiou of the European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee policy department said: “The assumption that there is a self-affirmed right of member states to interpret the silence of the treaty in the matter and conclude that the UK (or any) notification of withdrawal under Article 50 can be revoked would have long-lasting political and legal consequences for the EU.
Emmanuel Macron will press Theresa May to take in more unaccompanied child refugees and pay more towards policing the port of Calais in a meeting between the two leaders on Thursday. The French president will on Tuesday visit the refugee camps in Calais ahead of the summit to survey the camp where his government estimates 400 people are living in the hope of reaching the UK. The Touquet accords, signed in 2003, effectively moved the British border to the French side of the channel and allowed UK immigration officers to carry out checks in Calais. While serving as economy minister in the French Socialist government in March 2016 ahead of the EU referendum, Mr Macron himself warned the agreements would have to be renegotiated if the Leave campaign won. Now the French government says the UK must take in more refugees from the area, in particular unaccompanied minors – and pay more for policing the daily cat-and-mouse game between authorities and people trying to enter the UK.
Nearly 1,000 people are still camped out in Northern France desperately hoping to get into Britain, despite the demolition of the Calais jungle 15 months ago. Sky News has witnessed the daily attempt by some of the young migrants to access trucks bound for the UK, just hours before the French President is due to arrive in the port town. Emmanuel Macron is meeting police and charities who are trying, with conflicting methods, to deal with the town’s continuing migration problems. His visit comes two days before he travels to the UK where he is expected to call on the British government to take in more migrants and contribute more money for the policing and security of the port town.
French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to tell the UK that he wants us to let more migrants from Calais in and cough up more for border controls in Calais. An Elysee source told the Financial Times that Macron is pushing for what he regards to be a “certain number of improvements from the UK”. Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has reportedly said that ‘I want to reach an additional protocol to these agreements and to take concrete measures to look after a certain number of costs by the British’ and that the UK must take in ‘a larger number of people, as regards to the reception of refugees and unaccompanied minors.’ As part of the talks, Macron wants Britain to open its borders to Calais migrants who have ‘legitimate reasons to be transferred to the other side of the Channel’ – something which couldn’t possibly be known until an asylum claim was filed. The French President also wants the UK to pay more towards the costs of enforcing border controls in Calais, despite us recently paying £2.3 million for a huge wall around the port that doesn’t even lock!
MPs erupted in fury last night after the French boasted they had forced Britain into coughing up more money and agreeing to take in more refugees in order to renew the Calais border agreement. Senior Tory MP Tim Loughton warned the UK had already spent a whopping £100m over the last three years that was arguably “not our liability”. It followed claims from Paris sources that President Macron had managed to “strong arm” Britain into a deal. Last night Dover MP Charlie Elphicke blasted: “British taxpayers are fed up of the French constantly demanding more money to help police their borders. “We’ve already handed over millions to bolster security in Calais and dismantle the Jungle migrant camp. “It’s time President Macron and his team got a grip of the situation – rather than keep asking us for more cash.”
A vow to spend Britain’s foreign aid in “the national interest”, rather than simply to help the world’s poorest people, has triggered criticism of the International Development Secretary. Penny Mordaunt came under fire after pledging to allocate her £13bn overseas aid budget on “tackling the issues that matter most to the British people”. Such projects could include preventing plastics polluting the oceans and the illegal wildlife trade – which “the British public care about passionately”, she said. Labour warned immediately that the strategy risked weakening support for aid spending, if the public no longer believed it was helping the world’s poor. And the Liberal Democrats accused Ms Mordant of following in the footsteps of her ousted predecessor, Priti Patel, by “pursuing pathetic headlines in the right-wing press”.
Theresa May must drop her target to slash net migration to “the tens of thousands” because it “undermines” the public’s trust in politics, MPs say. People expect “practical steps” to cut the number of people entering the country, rather than a target that has been missed year-on-year, the Commons Home Affairs Committee warned. Its report is the latest strong criticism of the immigration goal which the Prime Minister has insisted on keeping, despite growing opposition – including from within her own Cabinet. The Independent and Open Britain, which is pressing for a soft Brexit, are running a Drop the Target campaign calling for the “tens of thousands” policy to be dropped. Now that campaign has been given backing by the influential committee, in a report which also fears the scale of illegal immigration have grown because of a lack of official data. It concluded: “The Government’s existing net migration target set at “the tens of thousands” is not working to build confidence or consent.
Ministers are demanding urgent explanations over the release of medical data to a US firm working for one of the world’s largest tobacco companies. MPs are tomorrow expected to grill Public Health England (PHE) on how the decision was taken to hand over the anonymised information, extracted from the records of 180,000 patients diagnosed with lung cancer. Tonight Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy told the Daily Telegraph: “I know many patients will be concerned about why this data was released so I have sought an urgent explanation from Public Health England. “If this information was gained inappropriately, I will raise this with the Information Commissioner as a matter of urgency,” he said, adding that he had been assured that the data could not identify patients. Public health experts said the actions by PHE amounted to an “extraordinary oversight”.
Medical students have been asked to help out in overstretched hospital wards to deal with the winter backlog. The request came as leaders of Britain’s 220,000 doctors warned of a crisis in the NHS, which they said would get steadily worse every year. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the umbrella group for bodies that set standards for doctors, said that despite better winter planning “the problems have been worse than ever”. It said that the problems were caused by a lack of staff and funding and that Britain needed “an honest debate about what kind of health and social care system people can reasonably expect and what it will cost to deliver”.
Private GPs have been accused of cashing in on the flu crisis by charging as much as £45 for a vaccine that costs the NHS £8. And some clinics are charging up to £75 for a nasal immunisation spray for children that costs the health service £18. Although patients in certain ‘at risk’ groups – including the over-65s – get vaccinated for free on the NHS, the majority have to pay privately. They can get it either from a pharmacist or a private GP clinic, as their own NHS doctor will only have enough stocks for at-risk patients. Many private clinics have seen a surge in demand in the past week after a sudden rise in flu rates, which are twice as high as last year. Figures yesterday showed cases had increased by a third compared with last week, but this is likely to be an under-estimate.
UKIP leader Henry Bolton last night faced angry demands for his resignation – despite dumping his controversial 25-year-old girlfriend in an attempt to save his job. The beleagured chief of the anti-Brussels party insisted his “romantic” relationship with model Jo Marney was over following revelations of her racist text messages about Prince Harry’s fiancee Meghan Markle. Leaked mobile phone messages sent by Miss Marney included use of the word “negro” and suggested Miss Markle’s “seed” would “taint” the Royal family. But the end of his liaison failed to pacify furious Ukip colleagues who accused him of bringing the party into disrepute. Mr Bolton was warned he could face a no-confidence vote from Ukip’s ruling national executive committee this weekend.
Henry Bolton’s stint as Ukip leader looks to be coming to an end within days, with the party’s ruling committee set to turf him out at a meeting on Sunday. The Ukip NEC will meet this weekend and HuffPost UK has learned the committee will seek to remove Bolton as party leader after further controversy around his private life. Revelations Bolton left his wife for a Ukip activist almost 30 years his junior provoked anger in the party, with many feeling he had presented a false image of himself during last summer’s leadership campaign. Those feelings have grown stronger since a series of text messages from his girlfriend Jo Marney were released which showed her making racist comments about Prince Harry’s fiancée Meghan Markle. Bolton today revealed he had ended the “romantic part” of his relationship with Marney, who has been suspended by the party for her derogatory comments.
The wife of the Ukip leader Henry Bolton has twisted the knife, refusing to have him back and questioning his ‘inexplicably poor’ judgment over his affair with a ‘racist’ party activist. Tatiana Smurova-Bolton said her husband’s future as leader should now be decided by the party but offered him no support. Mr Bolton deserted his wife and their two young children at Christmas after meeting Jo Marney, a model and Ukip member who is almost 30 years his junior. Mr Bolton, 54, went on television on Monday to announce he was dumping his 25-year-old girlfriend after just a month because of racist comments she had made about Prince Harry’s fiancee Meghan Markle. But his future as Ukip leader now hangs in the balance while his marriage to Mrs Smurova-Bolton is also over.
He was told to choose his racist girlfriend or his role as Ukip leader, but despite ditching his partner yesterday Henry Bolton could still be ousted as party chief. Jo Marney, a 25-year-old model, had described Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s fiancée, as a “black American” who would “taint” the royal family and said “this is Britain, not Africa”, according to The Mail on Sunday. She was suspended from the party. She apologised unreservedly for the “shocking language” used, but claimed that it had been taken out of context. Mr Bolton, 54, told ITV that he did not defend her comments but added that he did not believe that they reflected her “core beliefs”.
UKIP leader Henry Bolton faced a party mutiny last night despite dumping his mistress in a desperate bid to save his career. He split with topless model Jo Marney, 25, after it emerged that she made racist comments about Meghan Markle. Despite saying he would stick by his lover, 54-year-old Mr Bolton yesterday said the ‘romantic part’ of his relationship was over following comments in which she suggested black people were ‘ugly’. However, pressure continued to mount on Mr Bolton to quit as senior members of the party led a revolt against him. He faces a vote of no confidence at a summit attended by senior party figures on Sunday, said deputy leader Suzanne Evans. Asked if he should resign, she told the BBC’s Daily Politics: ‘Unfortunately I think he should. I say that with a very heavy heart, because the last thing we need is another leadership election.’
Henry Bolton’s future as Ukip leader is in the balance, with some senior party figures calling on him to resign despite him ending his relationship with an activist found to have sent a series of racist and offensive messages. Suzanne Evans, formerly Ukip’s deputy leader, said she expected Bolton to either resign or be sacked because of how he handled his relationship with Jo Marney, who made racial slurs against Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s fiancee. Bolton, who was elected to the role three months ago, said he would stay in the post “for the good of the party” and was being unfairly targeted by people who had always opposed his leadership. Some senior Ukip figures said Bolton should not be forced out immediately, in part to avoid a fourth leadership election in 16 months.
The 25-year-old model, who was dumped by UKIP leader Henry Bolton after her racist messages were exposed, has fled to Disneyland as calls mount for him to quit. Henry Bolton looked set to be booted out of his job as soon as this weekend, despite having dumped Jo Marney. Ms Marney, who is believed to be on a jolly to the theme park in Paris, was suspended from the party after she made vile racial slurs about Meghan Markle . More horrific messages are understood to exist, showing Ms Marney making jokes about child abuse. But Bolton, 54, refused to quit, despite mounting questions over his judgement in leaving his wife for Marney, 25. In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Bolton said: “I don’t defend these comments whatsoever and indeed Jo has been suspended pending an investigation under the normal rules of the party for such things, and it is against the constitution for the party to be racist in any way.”As of Sunday the romantic side of our relationship is ended.” Mr Bolton’s estranged wife, Tatiana Smurova was reported to be relieved he had ditched the 25-year-old model.
UNDER-FIRE Ukip leader Henry Bolton tried to cover up his shamed mistress’s rants with menacing threats, The Sun can reveal. The former Army officer and cop has publicly insisted he had no knowledge of part time model Jo Marney’s twisted views until contacted by a Sunday newspaper three days ago. But The Sun has seen a series of messages Mr Bolton sent to a former boyfriend last week to try to stop him from leaking private messages to him. They included a series from Marney about child abuse and the rape of a baby. In his exchange with Marney’s ex, Mr Bolton warns: “You are so far out of your depth here. You are playing with Fire”. The Ukip boss added: “It’s a shame you let Ben talk you into releasing the other messages you received from Jo. Why did you do that?” The ex-boyfriend replied: “If I tell you why will you promise not to basically make my life agony? Not going to lie, you scare me.” Mr Bolton then told him: “If you tell me yes, but more so if you promise not to do this again. Then I will leave you alone”.