David Davis has accused Europhile MPs who are plotting to frustrate Theresa May’s plans for a clean Brexit of abusing trust of the British people. The Exiting the European Union secretary said that MPs who vote against triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty are showing that they do not “trust the people” after last summer’s European Union referendum. As many as 100 Labour MPs including more than half a dozen shadow ministers are set to join the Scottish National Party and vote against the Government’s EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill to start the process of leaving the EU. The scale of the likely rebellion against Mr Corbyn will test his authority and force him to sack the ministers who defy him. The Daily Telegraph can disclose that Conservative ministers and MPs have been ordered to stay in the House of Commons until midnight tonight amid fears of an “ambush” vote by pro-Remain MPs during the Article 50 debate.
The government wants to pass the legislation allowing Article 50 to be triggered by the first week of March, giving Theresa May the option to initiate the Brexit process at a summit of European leaders. The prime minister has so far been determined not to reveal the precise date when she plans to invoke the formal two-year mechanism for leaving the EU, saying only that she will begin Brexit by the end of March. However, the government told the House of Lords yesterday that it wants the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill approved on March 7. All 28 heads of government from EU member states will meet on March 9 at the two-day European Council.
Theresa May’s Brexit battle is moving back to Westminster after a day of diplomacy in Cardiff and Dublin, as MPs begin debating the bill to approve triggering Article 50. Two days have been set aside for a debate on the bill’s second reading in the Commons, with pro-Remain MPs attempting to prevent it going ahead by tabling a series of wrecking amendments. Five amendments – two all-party, one from the Scottish National Party, one from Labour backbenchers and one from the Liberal Democrats – have been tabled by the bill’s opponents. Ahead of her Commons battle, the Prime Minister met the leaders of the UK’s devolved governments for Brexit talks in Cardiff and then met the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in Dublin.
MPs are to begin two days of debate over the government’s parliamentary bill to get the formal process of Brexit under way. Discussions on the European Union Bill have been extended to midnight on Tuesday to accommodate more speakers, with a vote to take place on Wednesday. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has ordered his MPs to vote with the government, but some are expected to defy him. Ministers want to get the bill passed in time to trigger Brexit by 31 March. The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill would allow Prime Minister Theresa May to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, getting official talks between the UK and the EU started.
MPs will today begin a two-day debate on the bill to trigger Article 50, giving the Prime Minister the go-ahead to launch formal negotiations for Britain to leave the European Union. Discussions on the ‘Brexit bill’ will continue to midnight with a vote taking place on Wednesday evening. The European Union (Notification on Withdrawal) Bill will allow Theresa May to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This means the Prime Minister can start the formal leaving negotiations between the UK and the EU. Ministers were forced to table legislation after the Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling that the Government must obtain the approval of Parliament before it could begin negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Theresa May’s Brexit bill is likely to pass through the Commons without major amendment next week, as Conservative rebels are backing away from supporting changes proposed by Labour or other opposition parties. A band of Tory MPs fighting against a hard Brexit are indicating they have been largely satisfied by the prime minister’s promise of a white paper, which they believe could be published as early as Thursday. Labour and the Liberal Democrats now believe there is very little chance of getting enough cross-party votes for amendments. They had hoped to win support on issues such as guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals, and a more meaningful vote at the end of the two-year negotiations or protections in the House of Commons. Opposition parties are now concentrating on getting the government to concede points voluntarily, with Labour MPs believing the most likely proposal to be accepted is a demand for May to provide quarterly updates to parliament on the process of negotiations.
THERESA MAY last night told rebel MPs they will be defying the “will of the people” if they block a bid to kick-start Brexit over the next 48 hours. On the eve of the launch of the Government’s Brexit Bill in the Commons, the Prime Minister insisted MPs had voted overwhelmingly to hold last year’s bombshell Referendum. And she said it was up to Parliament to stand by that outcome when MPs are asked to give the power to trigger Article 50 – and formally begin EU divorce talks. She said: “Parliament voted six to one to give the people the decision as to whether we should stay in the European Union, they have spoken in that vote. “I hope when people look at the Article 50 bill they will recognise that it is a very simple decision – do they support the will of the British people or not.”
MPs will today be challenged to “trust the people” and accept their historic decision on Leaving the EU. Brexit Secretary David Davis will put forward an uncompromising message as he opens the debate on the bill to allow the Government to trigger Article 50 and start the process of ending Brussels rule. It comes as an axis of Labour and Tory Remoaner MPs and peers along with Scottish Nationalists and the Lib Dems plan to try to block Article 50 and ignore the biggest democratic instruction ever given by the British people. The debate on the bill follows the European Parliament’s chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt confirming that a trade deal can be negotiated at the same time as exit talks and it can all be wrapped up in 15 months.
Labour MPs are to try to force a vote giving Parliament the right to decide whether Britain should stay in the EU single market – and are demanding Theresa May delays triggering Article 50 until such a poll is held. In an amendment tabled to the Withdrawal from the European Bill, 10 Labour backbenchers, including a number of former shadow cabinet ministers, demand the Prime Minister holds off on formally beginning Brexit negotiations until Parliament “has determined whether the UK should also seek to withdraw from the European Economic Area” – the official name for the single market. Ms May has previously said she plans to take UK out of the single market, arguing that staying in “would mean not leaving the EU at all”. The amendment was tabled by Wes Streeting, the MP for Ilford North and a member of the Treasury Select Committee, and backed by senior Labour MPs including Chuka Umunna, the former shadow Business Secretary, Heidi Alexander, who was previously shadow Health Secretary, and Maria Eagle, who has held several posts in Jeremy Corbyn’s top team.
Britain could be allowed to negotiate its split from Brussels and start talks about a trade agreement with the EU at the same time, the European parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator has suggested. Guy Verhofstadt hinted that the EU’s rules mean that a trade agreement between the UK and Brussels would have a bearing on the terms of Britain’s departure from the bloc. “In the treaty, Article 50, we are saying a withdrawal can be agreed taking into consideration the future relationship,” he said. “So you see it is a fantastic political text and it says it all, a withdrawal agreement in the light of the future relationship. That is literally in the treaty and that is what we need to apply.”
Sweden’s top security and intelligence official has issued a stark warning about Brussels’ latest intrusion into national affairs. Security head Johan Olsson complains that his agency’s ability to react to terrorist atrocities has been massively impaired by a recent EU law that allows telecoms companies to delete or withhold data. “If a bomb exploded outside a religious community hall, the first thing we do is look at which mobile phones have been there, which gives us immediate and valuable clues, that’s basically what we to start with,” says Mr Olsson. But that is no longer the case thanks to the EU’s Data Retention Directive introduced last year. “Our ability to catch up to the other players in time is significantly worse. Our ability to stop and repel attacks has gone down, [the EU Directive] has major implications for us”.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator says U.S. President Donald Trump poses a serious threat to the EU because he is working with right wing groups on the continent to engineer the bloc’s disintegration. Guy Verhofstadt said Monday the EU has “fewer friends than ever in the United States today.” He said Trump and his advisers had joined with European right wing movements in “undermining the EU.” Trump himself had spoken “very favorably of the fact that other countries will want to break away” from the 28-member bloc after Britain. Verhofstadt says Trump is one of three threats facing the EU, along with radicalized political Islam and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin, he says, is trying to undermine the EU with cyber-attacks and financing anti-European right wing political parties, including the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands and France’s National Front.
It appears Brussels are increasingly nervous about the new global lay of the land: a pro-Brexit US President, who also wants to engage with Russia, is giving EU nationalists a serious headache. Verhofstadt has branded Trump as one of the “existential threats” facing the European Union – along with radical Islam and Vladimir Putin. The main bone of contention seems to be Trump’s support for the UK’s exit from the EU – as well as support for nation state democracy in general. The world is changing. The political revolution is spreading. It seems that the penny is dropping in Brussels but of course we know what their answer will be: more EU.
Marine Le Pen is one course to win the first round of voting in this year’s French presidential elections, a shock poll has revealed. The Front National leader is still likely to lose out in the second round voting, however, as those from both left and right will unite against her, the Kantar-Sofres poll for Le Figaro suggested. In the first-round vote in April, Ms. Le Pen would come first with 25 per cent. Conservative candidate François Fillon would garner 21-22 per cent and centrist Emmanuel Macron can expect 20-21 per cent. In the runoff to be held on May 7th, both Mr. Fillon and Mr. Macron are projected to win if either is pitted against Ms. Le Pen, while Mr. Macron would beat Mr. Fillon in the knockout.
The first new grammar school of Prime Minister’s Theresa May’s revolution could be open by September 2019, a headmaster has said as he prepares an application to build a new annex in a neighbouring borough. Jonathan Wilden, the head of Wallington County Grammar School in Sutton, is in talks with the Department for Education (DfE) about opening a new campus in Croyden, which would create places for around 1,000 students in a previously non-selective borough. It will be the first time in half a century that a grammar school has received funding directly from the Government to expand.
Nicola Sturgeon has given Theresa May a two-month deadline to compromise over Brexit – hinting she will call a second independence vote otherwise. The SNP First Minister delivered what appeared to be an ultimatum after little progress was made during face-to-face talks between the pair. Ms Sturgeon said she had seen no evidence that her proposals – including for Scotland to stay in the EU single market – were being taken seriously. And she warned it was “absolutely crucial” that Scots saw “some movement” before the Article 50 exit clause is triggered, towards the end of March. Speaking in Cardiff, Ms Sturgeon said: “So far the compromise, or the attempts at compromise, have come only from the Scottish government.
NICOLA STURGEON is set to dump the SNP’s long-held aim of an independent Scotland remaining a full EU member state in order to best satisfy her “fetish” for breaking away from the UK, it has emerged. The Scottish First Minister is reportedly close to watering down her promise Scotland could stay in the EU if it leaves the UK at a second independence referendum. Instead, if Ms Sturgeon follows through with her threat of a second vote on Scottish independence, senior SNP figures are believed to want the party to campaign on the basis of an independent Scotland striking a Norway-style deal with the EU. By contrast, during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the ‘Yes’ campaign insisted Scotland would remain a full member of the Brussels-based bloc if voters chose to quit the UK.
Patient safety is at risk due to an ‘unacceptable’ lack of NHS funding, according to a letter signed by 2,000 NHS doctors. The open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May said doctors constantly have to apologise to patients about the poor standard of care. The document, published last night in the British Medical Journal, said things ‘simply cannot continue’ the way they are. The doctors who organised the letter – consultant anaesthetist Anita Sugavanam and A&E consultant Rob Galloway, of Brighton & Sussex University Hospital – said it is one that they hoped ‘we would never have to write’. Their letter said: ‘We are constantly failing to meet our own and our patients expectations. We apologise to them and we also empathise with them.
STRIKES will continue on London Underground after bosses put forward proposals to create only 325 new jobs to replace 838 staff sacked through ticket-office closures and cuts in station staff. The Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said yesterday that its members will strike for 16 hours from 6pm on Sunday and for 15 hours from 10am on Tuesday February 7 pending more talks through arbitration service Acas. The white-collar Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) has suspended strike action but is continuing an overtime ban following the proposal. The two unions have been in dispute with London Underground for months over its closure of ticket offices and sacking of station staff, which the unions say are a threat to safety.