As Cabinet divisions over Brexit threaten to tear Theresa May’s Government apart, focus is turning to the obscure legislation that governs how the UK would leave the single market. Now experts have claimed that Ms May’s plans for a hard Brexit could be scuppered by a little-known legal clause. The small print at the heart of the debate, Article 127, is the lesser-known cousin of Article 50. Whereas Article 50 spells out how a country leaves the European Union (EU), Article 127 relates to departing the single market. The former has already been triggered, but the latter has not – and that is where the Prime Minister’s problem could lie. Article 127 is a clause of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement 1993 – the document that includes the rules governing the single market. Article 127 explains the process for a country leaving the single market. It says: “Each Contracting Party may withdraw from this Agreement provided it gives at least twelve months’ notice in writing to the other Contracting Parties.
The Scottish and Welsh first ministers have attempted to increase the pressure on the UK government over Brexit by jointly publishing a series of amendments to the EU withdrawal bill. Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones are working together to try to fight off what they see as a bid by Westminster to grab powers that will be returning following Brexit. The pair jointly tabled 38 amendments to the withdrawal bill and wrote to Theresa May insisting that, while they wanted to work with the UK government, they would do so only if their suggested changes were accepted. Jones accused the Tory government of trying to “hijack” powers that ought to go to Cardiff while the Scottish government released a list of 111 examples of policy areas that it claimed the UK wanted to centralise including railway ownership, GM foods, pesticides regulation, the sharing of criminal data, protected food names, state aid, EU citizens’ voting rights and fracking.
JEAN-Claude Juncker’s “dreadful” State of the Union speech could fuel a “car crash” hard Brexit, Vince Cable said as he accused the Brussels bloc of making things worse. Despite criticising Theresa May and opposing Brexit the Liberal Democrat leader has admitted the Prime Minister’s European counterparts are putting her in a difficult position over a deal. The Liberal Democrats, who back a second referendum on Brexit terms before a deal is struck, held their party conference in Bournemouth where Mr Cable made his keynote speech yesterday. Speaking to Politico the new Lib Dem leader said Juncker’s State of the Union address, where he outlined plans to create a federal EU, had been a boost to the narrative of “extreme Brexiteers”. Mr Cable said: “The lack of understanding on the European side is actually making it worse.
DANISH fishermen today demanded the EU guarantee them continued access to British waters after Brexit in return for agreeing to a future trade deal with the UK. European trawler men are anxious they will be blocked from landing catches in Britain’s fertile fishing grounds once the country has left the bloc in March 2019. Fishing became a key feature of last year’s EU referendum battle, with many coastal communities blaming Brussels’ controversial quota system for driving businesses to the wall. Since the vote ministers have sent out mixed messages on whether the UK will fully take back control of its waters, including environment secretary Michael Gove who contradicted himself in the space of a month. Britain boasts the most lucrative fishing grounds in all of Europe, which have been wide open to foreign vessels for decades under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Theresay May has made peace with Boris Johnson by securing a Cabinet truce over Britain’s future payments to the EU. The deal involves paying substantial sums to the EU until at least 2020, but no further payments after Britain’s transition period. It is a compromise between Boris Johnson’s position and that of Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, and is expected to be part of the Prime Minister’s Brexit speech in Florence on Friday. It came after a frenzied day on which the Foreign Secretary’s allies suggested he would be prepared to resign from the Cabinet over Mrs May’s Brexit strategy, only for him to apparently pull back from the brink after the Prime Minister brokered a truce.
Boris Johnson pulled back from the brink of resignation yesterday after striking a backroom deal with No 10 before a key speech by the prime minister. The foreign secretary had threatened to quit if Theresa May opened the way for a “soft Brexit” during the speech in Florence on Friday, it is understood. He signalled he would stay, sources said, and claimed that the cabinet was a “nest of singing birds” after No 10 promised that Mrs May would not use the address to sign Britain up to a “Swiss-style” relationship with the EU after Brexit. The developments follow four days of cabinet turbulence, with hard Brexiteers lining up behind Mr Johnson after he published an unsanctioned 4,200-word plan for Brexit at the weekend.
Boris Johnson dramatically pulled back from the brink of resignation last night as he publicly insisted that he backed Theresa May on Brexit. After days of prevarication, in which he hinted he could walk out as Foreign Secretary, Mr Johnson indicated he had shelved immediate thoughts of quitting. Asked if he was going to resign, he said: ‘No of course not, we are going to deliver a fantastic Brexit… We are a Government working together. We are a nest of singing birds.’ His apparent climbdown came after reports that he was so unhappy about the Government’s direction on Brexit that he could resign by the weekend. Instead, sources last night confirmed that Mr Johnson would now attend the Prime Minister’s set-piece speech in Florence on Friday where she is due to set out ‘significant’ new thinking on her negotiating strategy.
The world’s biggest technology firms will be told to take down terrorist propaganda in as little as one hour, as Theresa May seeks to dramatically reduce the danger of it inspiring further atrocities. The Prime Minister will also challenge them to develop technology to prevent “evil material” ever appearing on the web, as they are forced to defend their efforts in public for the first time. Social media firms have faced growing criticism that they failing to act to prevent the spread of content blamed for provoking people to carry out terror attacks. Now Ms May, together with the leaders of France and Italy, will use a UN forum to claim progress, while also piling pressure on the internet giants to go much further.
Internet companies must take down terrorist content within two hours or face fines, Theresa May will demand today. Alongside President Macron of France and Paolo Gentiloni, the Italian prime minister, she will urge companies to go “further and faster” to stop the spread of terrorist material. The prime minister will make the call at the UN general assembly in New York at a meeting attended by companies including Microsoft, Facebook, Google and Twitter. In particular, Mrs May will urge them to develop technology to stop such material from appearing on the web in the first place. Islamic State is understood to have produced 27,000 links to jihadist content in five months.
Internet giants must do more to combat the scourge of online extremism amid growing support from the public for a crackdown on radical material a former CIA director has said. General David Petraeus warned that the internet offered an opportunity for a “whole new domain of warfare” and said that social media firms could do more to prevent the proliferation of terror content. The retired general also pointed to the availability of bomb-making materials online in the wake of the attack at Parsons Green where 29 people were injured when a homemade bomb was partially detonated on a District Line train. His comments came as research by the Policy Exchange think-tank found that almost three quarters of the public want tech companies to do more to remove content that could radicalise people.
INTERNET giants must remove all extremist content within two hours of it being posted or face crippling fines, Theresa May will demand. The PM will give tech bosses a month to deliver on the tough new target. She will unveil the move — also backed by France and Italy — in a speech to world leaders in New York. Mrs May will tell the UN General Assembly: “In the last decade, hundreds of thousands have been killed by terrorists across the world.” And she will insist: “Industry needs to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content online, and developing technological solutions which prevent it being uploaded in the first place”. The tech giants will have one month to come up with a system to remove hate content within two hours, before reporting to the G7 meeting of interior ministers on October 20.
Theresa May believes internet companies need to go “further and faster” in fighting terrorism online. The Prime Minister will co-host an event on preventing terrorist use of the internet at the United Nations General Assembly in New York later today. Ahead of the meeting, she said: “We need a fundamental shift in the scale and nature of our response – both from industry and governments – if we are to match the evolving nature of terrorists’ use of the internet.” During the talks, Mrs May will say: “Industry needs to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content online, and developing technological solutions which prevent it being uploaded in the first place.” The event will also be attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.
Labour’s ruling body yesterday agreed proposals brought by Jeremy Corbyn for a wide-scale review that is poised to consolidate the left’s grip on the party. The Labour leader also won approval from the National Executive Committee for a plan to lower the threshold of MP endorsements required by a leadership candidate from 15 per cent of the parliamentary Labour party (PLP) to 10 per cent, a change designed to ensure that a left-wing candidate can succeed Mr Corbyn. But his allies also argue that it is part of a wider move to democratise the party and hand more power to members. The proposed new threshold represents a compromise; the left wing wanted it to be 5 per cent.
Jeremy Corbyn has secured a significant victory after Labour’s ruling body agreed to proposed changes that will make it easier for a leftwing candidate to run for the party leadership. The national executive committee accepted a compromise deal on the so-called McDonnell amendment, named after the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who is in favour of reducing the number of MPs needed to nominate a leadership candidate. In a further strengthening of the left’s position, the party has also increased the number of NEC delegates from members and unions and authorised a further review of party rules to be conducted by Corbyn’s allies. The proposed changes have been described as “tectonic” by some commentators because they mean that the parliamentary party will find it harder to stop a leftwing successor to 68-year-old Corbyn. It could postpone indefinitely moves by some MPs who want to return Labour to policies pursued by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The proposed changes went through at an NEC meeting in the party’s headquarters in central London that lasted more than four hours. They will be voted upon at the party’s annual conference in Brighton, which will open on Sunday.
Jeremy Corbyn has been handed a major boost after Labour chiefs voted to rewrite party rules giving the left more power. The ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) agreed to lower the threshold of MPs and MEPs needed to nominate a leadership candidate from 15% to 10%. This will make it easier for a successor to Jeremy Corbyn – who had to ‘borrow’ MPs’ nominations in 2015 – to get on the ballot. Chiefs also upped the number of NEC seats for members from six to nine and added another seat for trade unions, tipping the ruling body further in Mr Corbyn’s favour. They launched wide-ranging review of party democracy and participation that could lower the leadership threshold further. And they agreed a crackdown that will make it easier to discipline members who show anti-Semitism, racism, or homophobia. The changes are now set for a vote by delegates at Labour’s party conference in Brighton, which starts this Sunday.
Nigel Farage has threatened to stop paying his TV licence unless the BBC apologises for a report linking him to the death of a Polish man shortly after the Brexit vote. The broadcaster aired claims that Mr Farage had ‘blood on his hands’ for the attack on Arkadiusz Jozwik, 40, because of his role in the EU referendum campaign. The Polish man was killed after he was punched in a head during a row with a teenager in a shopping centre in Harlow, Essex. He fell over and died two days later. At the time reports claimed that the attack was racially motivated but a court has heard since that this was not the case. However, Mr Farage said yesterday that he lived ‘in fear of reprisals’ because of the BBC’s coverage and lived in a ‘perpetual state of fear’.
TONY Blair has provoked fresh anger over Brexit by claiming there is nearly a one-in-three chance Britain’s departure from the European Union can be stopped. In an interview on the fringe of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the former Labour prime minister and fanatical Remain campaigner suggested that the lack of a Tory Commons majority has raised doubts about Theresa May’s ability to deliver her plan to cut ties with Brussels. Mr Blair said: “I still have some difficulty seeing how, after the general election which produced a hung parliament in the UK, this Government is going to get its form of Brexit through. “I think there’s around about a 30 per cent chance it’s changed, but a lot will depend on how the debate develops over this year.” Mr Blair later clarified in an interview off camera that he believed there was a 30 per cent chance the exit will not happen at all.
Commuters fear an ‘autumn of discontent’ after bus controllers joined rail workers and tube drivers in announcing strikes in the coming weeks. Over 400 members of the union Unite employed by Transport for London will walk out on Friday in protest over pay. The announcement came just hours after workers at four rail companies are to stage two 24-hour strikes in worsening disputes over the role of guards and driver-only trains. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Southern, Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and Greater Anglia will walk out on October 3 and 5. Yesterday, the union Aslef announced drivers on the London Underground will walk out for 24 hours on October 5. The strikes will coincide with the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Manchester.
Commuters fear an ‘autumn of discontent’ after bus controllers joined rail workers and tube drivers in announcing strikes in the coming weeks. Over 400 members of the union Unite employed by Transport for London will walk out on Friday in protest over pay. The announcement came just hours after workers at four rail companies are to stage two 24-hour strikes in worsening disputes over the role of guards and driver-only trains. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Southern, Merseyrail, Arriva Rail North and Greater Anglia will walk out on October 3 and 5. Yesterday, the union Aslef announced drivers on the London Underground will walk out for 24 hours on October 5.
BRITAIN’S chaotic privatised rail network is to be hit by the biggest wave of strike action since the Tories sold the industry off to profiteering private firms. Rail union RMT announced yesterday that its members will strike across four franchises next month over the same issue – the removal of safety-critical guards from trains. Two 24-hour stoppages will take place on Southern, Greater Anglia, Northern and Merseyrail on Tuesday October 3 and Thursday October 5 in protest at employers’ cost-cutting drive to make all trains driver-only operated. RMT members at the four companies have voted overwhelmingly for strike action. The push by privateers and ministers for driver-only operation ignores the evidence of guards’ vital role in keeping passengers safe and saving lives, especially after derailments and collisions. Only this month, a Merseyrail guard rescued a six-year-old autistic boy who was terrified by chanting football fans on a packed train. The guard gave the boy and his mother shelter in her cabin. RMT called the planned removal of guards from trains “a clear threat to passenger safety.”