Jean-Claude Juncker has attacked “totally ridiculous” MEPs for failing to turn up to an important morning debate in the European parliament and vowed that he “will never again attend a meeting of this kind”. The European Commission president’s unprecedented outburst came as only a handful of MEPs turned up — about 30 of the 751-strong assembly — for a speech by Joseph Muscat, the prime minister of Malta. “I would like to welcome those that have actually taken the trouble to turn up this morning,” he said to looks of astonishment at the meeting in the Strasbourg seat of the parliament.
OUTRAGED euro MPs today called on Brussels boss Jean-Claude Juncker to apologise after he branded them “ridiculous” during a flaming row with EU Parliament chief Antonio Tajani. Fuming MEPs ripped into the EU Commission boss as the nuclear fallout from the pair’s verbal catfight in the chamber threatened to spark a diplomatic war between the bloc’s three key institutions. They blasted him as “self-righteous and arrogant” and said he must immediately withdraw a vow never to attend the Parliament again, which they said was an affront to democracy. This morning the EU Council, up until now an innocent bystander in the scrap, was dragged into the melee as furious parliamentarians said its archaic structures were the fundamental reason behind the controversy.
British citizens living in Europe could have their rights cut after Brexit, a leading MEP has warned. Claude Moraes, the chair of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee and a member of the parliament’s Brexit steering committee, said that Theresa May’s controversial offer to EU citizens in the UK could be matched by Europe, leading to diminished rights for the 1.2 million UK citizens living on the continent. The Prime Minister’s proposals would see anyone who has already lived in the UK for five years given a new “settled status”, securing their position in the country. Anyone arriving after the triggering of Article 50, but before a notional cut-off date, yet to be set, would also have the chance to stay for five years and gain the status.
AUSTRIAN tanks and troops have moved to seal off a vital border with Italy to prevent migrants flooding in. The shock deployment sparked a diplomatic row between Vienna and the neighbouring nation. Ambassador Rene Pollitzer was yesterday summoned to Italy’s foreign ministry and told “there was no justification” for the action. Four Pandur armoured personnel carriers and 750 troops are at the Brenner Pass crossing in the Alps. Austria’s foreign minister Sebastian Kurz said: “The preparations at our border with Italy are not only justified but necessary. We are prepared and if necessary we will defend our borders.’’ So far this year more than 100,000 migrants, mainly from North Africa and the Middle East, have flooded into Europe — 20 per cent more than last year, according to the UN.
BRUSSELS should be given the power to raise taxes directly from citizens and companies to foster a sense of loyalty to the bloc, an arch proponent of a European superstate said today. Brexit negotiator and liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt said allowing eurocrats to employ its own continent-wide levies would “create a direct link between the EU and its citizens”. He claimed most people would not mind coughing up their hard earned wages to Brussels rather than their own countries so long as the payments came to the same amount as before.
An MP from Theresa May’s minority ruling Conservative Party, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of making false declarations over his spending in a 2015 election. Craig MacKinlay, who beat leading Brexit figure Nigel Farage in the parliamentary election for the South Thanet in south eastern England in 2015, is accused of making false claims about his spending during the campaign. Despite the ongoing case against him, he won the seat again in this year’s June election. May’s Conservatives lost their majority in that ballot and remain in power only through an agreement with 10 Northern Ireland MPs. If MacKinlay were to lose his court case, there would be pressure for a by-election. MacKinlay’s election agent Nathan Gray and aide Marion Little, who also face charges over the expenses, also pleaded not guilty in a London court.
Craig Mackinlay, the South Thanet Conservative MP who defeated former UKIP leader Nigel Farage in the 2015 general election, pleaded ‘not guilty’ to fraud charges related to election expenses. Appearing before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, Mackinlay, 50, as well as his election agent Nathan Gray, 28, and party activist Marion Little, 62, were all charged under the Representation of the People Act 1983. Prosecutor Zoe Martin outlined the case: “Following news reports in early 2016 that suggested that the Conservative Party’s spending returns for the UK General Election of 2015, amongst others, may not have been accurate or complete, the Electoral Commission opened an investigation in this regard in February of the same year. “In due course various findings were made against the Conservative Party and penalties imposed pursuant to the Commission’s powers under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.”
The UK will be expected to hand asylum to potentially thousands of refugees to ease the ‘unprecedented’ migration crisis in Italy, Brussels chiefs said yesterday. As a fierce diplomatic row broke out between European countries over how to deal with the situation, the EU said Britain was expected to open its doors to help the bloc. The announcement came as Austria prepared to deploy troops in a bid to block migrants trying to cross its border with Italy and EU officials warned that the crisis could last for decades. Yesterday it emerged that the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe this year has passed 100,000 and nearly 2,250 have died making the journey. Italy has taken in nearly 85 per cent of the arrivals.
A TOP eurocrat today said he expects Britain to take part in a proposed EU scheme to relocate genuine refugees from Africa to Europe, which is primarily designed to bring an end to the continent’s growing migration crisis. EU Commission deputy head Frans Timmermans said he anticipated Westminster green-lighting the voluntary programme because previous UK Governments had championed taking in people in need of international protection straight from refugee camps overseas. David Cameron pledged to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees directly from UN-run camps in the Middle East rather than participating in Brussels’ migrant quota system, saying it was a better way of guaranteeing those in genuine peril were helped.
Scores of new bypasses are to be built under a £1 billion-a-year plan to combat congestion in towns and cities, the transport secretary will say today. Chris Grayling will announce the road-building scheme after a sharp rise in traffic and slowing average speeds. Funding will be ringfenced from the £6 billion raised annually from vehicle excise duty, he said, creating the first direct link between road tax and upkeep of major highways in 80 years. It will be spent upgrading about 3,800 miles of A-roads that are maintained by local authorities beyond the remit of Highways England, the government-owned agency that deals with motorways and main carriageways.
North Sea cod is to be declared sustainable again after recovering from decades of overfishing. Supermarkets are preparing to sell fresh British cod as an alternative to cod caught off Norway and Iceland, where stocks have remained plentiful. The North Sea stock of Britain’s favourite white fish is expected this month to be awarded the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue label, which tells shoppers that their fish supper is not endangering stocks.
Britannia will once again rule the waves as a leaked note reveals the UK will take back control of its territorial waters after Brexit. Fishing rights to 200 miles of coast will be returned to Britain after Brexit, according to an “information note” from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs sent to UK MEPs. It states that the EU’s rules on territorial waters, which cover just 12 miles of protected waters, will no longer apply and we’ll revert back to the UN convention. The UK is also pulling out of the 1964 London Fisheries Convention, which pre-dates the EU and allowed vessels from France, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands certain rights to fish in the 6-12 mile zone. It’s about time. Entire communities have been decimated by barmy EU fishing quotas and now perhaps seaside towns, one of the things that define Britain, can prosper once again. They should never have been let down in the first place.
Malta’s prime minister today branded Brexit a “disastrous creature” that the European Union should have seen coming but did nothing to stop. Joseph Muscat appeared to rebuke other EU leaders over their handling of David Cameron’s demands for reform in Brussels before the referendum. Those reforms in areas such as immigration were watered down by the EU, damaging the prime minister’s campaign to keep Britain in the bloc.
FURIOUS MPs yesterday demanded the BBC draw up a new code of practice to prevent an “anti-Brexit bias” in showdown talks. The Sun can reveal a cross-party group met with the state-broadcaster’s head of news to complain about pro-Brussels coverage. The group included Tory backbencher Philip Davies, Labour MP Kate Hoey and the DUP’s Iain Paisley Jr. It comes amid growing fury at the BBC’s coverage since the bombshell Brexit vote a year ago. Analysis of a series of shows on Radio 4 last year found that listeners were two and a half times more likely to hear a pro-EU speaker than an anti-EU one.
BREXIT secretary David Davis has said that legislation regarding the transfer of European Union (EU) laws into British ones should start next week. Mr Davis told a meeting of Theresa May’s top ministers that legislation for the so-called ‘Repeal Bill’ should be introduced to the House of Commons next week. A spokesman for the Prime Minister told reporters: “He [Mr Davis] said the legislation, which is the start of the legislative process for Brexit, is expected to be tabled next week.” A House of Commons spokesman told Express.co.uk that as yet nothing had been timetabled so far. The Government says that the ’Repeal Bill’ is designed to achieve a smooth transition over the legal aspects as Britain moves out of the European Union, creating the necessity of transferring the legislation into British statute.
Doctors may be using SnapChat to send each other patient scans, as they try to ‘manufacture technical fixes’ as the digital revolution passes the NHS by. According to a new report, medics could be using camera apps to record patient details, an ‘insecure, risky and non-auditable way of operating’ say the paper’s authors. The paper comes as it is revealed the NHS is still the world’s largest purchaser of fax machines. The report was commissioned to examine the dealings that DeepMind Health, which is owned by Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has with the NHS.
Patients are having to beg for treatment that was once routine as the NHS rations procedures ranging from hip replacements to cataract removal. Requests by doctors for exceptional funding have surged by almost 50 per cent in four years as health trusts restrict what they will automatically pay for, an investigation has found. Patients are left in pain because of long delays even when permission is granted, in the latest sign of the impact of cost-cutting. In Buckinghamshire, every patient referred for hip and knee surgery must have their request scrutinised by a panel. The local health trusts that pay for care have been ordered to make savings in order to help the NHS balance the books after years of hospitals running deficits.
Patients are having to plead with the NHS for hip replacements, cataract surgery and other routine treatments that were once provided without question, an investigation has found. There has been a surge in the number of special requests made by doctors on patients’ behalf for procedures to be funded. In total, some 73,900 requests were made in 2016/17. Out of these, half were rejected as they were not deemed cost effective or beneficial. The total number of requests has increased by 20 per cent in the past year and by almost 50 per cent compared to four years ago. Many were for treatments that were previously routinely available on the NHS, such as hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, and procedures to repair damaged nerves or varicose veins. Those patients whose requests are turned down must decide whether to put up with their pain or pay up to £10,000 to go private.
Buildings at three hospitals in England have failed fire safety tests in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the NHS has revealed. Cladding is being removed by King’s College Hospital in London, Sheffield Children’s NHS trust and North Middlesex University Hospitals following failed safety tests. The news came as it was announced 190 high-rise buildings have now failed combustibility tests rolled out by the Government in the wake of the fire. Meanwhile, it emerged that a contractor which inspected fire alarms at Grenfell Tower is being investigated for fraud over work done in another part of London. None of the three hospitals whose buildings have failed fire tests house patients, the NHS has said, and the cladding is being removed from all three.
PRINCE Charles has suffered a massive setback in his aim to make Camilla Parker Bowles the next Queen – with readers slamming such a move as the “final nail in Diana’s coffin”. Daily Star Online revealed at the weekend how a Royal Butler believes the Duchess of Cornwall will become Queen when Elizabeth II dies. But in the hours that followed publication, a furious reaction from readers showed people are still overwhelmingly against that idea, despite the Butler saying “the public have accepted her now”. A poll run by Daily Star Online has amassed 3,000 votes at of 8pm, with a huge 84% of them saying they do NOT want Camilla to be Queen. And among an eye-opening string of comments left below the story, it’s clear hardcore fans of Princess Diana – Charles’ ex-wife who died in a horror car crash in 1997 – won’t be budged.
Anne Marie Waters
One of Britain’s influential political blogs, Guido Fawkes, has published an edited video of UK Independence Party (UKIP) leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters under the headline: “Anne Marie Waters: ‘I am a Left Winger’”. The three-minute video from 2014 shows Ms. Waters describing her politics as she stood for a parliamentary seat for the Labour Party. Ms. Waters’s previous affiliation with Labour was never hidden, but bloggers at Guido Fawkes are seeking to make a point of it, hoping to influence the UKIP leadership election. During the edited video, contrary to the headline, Ms. Waters clearly states: “I don’t really describe myself, most of what I believe would be standard left wing but I wouldn’t really describe myself as as left or a right or anything of the kind”.