The British government has less than a month to make a concession on the Brexit bill in order to guarantee launching trade talks in December, the Guardian understands. Senior officials in Brussels say talks have stalled since Theresa May’s Florence speech and warn the EU will find it difficult to agree to trade talks at a December summit unless the prime minister offers more on the Brexit divorce settlement. There remains “a lot to do on financial obligations”, Italy’s Europe minister Sandro Gozi said on Tuesday, after meeting the Brexit secretary, David Davis, in Rome. One senior diplomat told the Guardian that the EU would not give way on the negotiation timetable, as it wanted the security that the UK would sign up to share the EU’s debts and pension liabilities, although it was not seeking a number. “When we drafted the guidelines we knew we would reach this moment,” the diplomat said, referring to the standoff.
LABOUR “Remoaners” are going after the “beasts of Brexit” to try and force the UK to stay under Brussels rule, a Tory MP claimed on Newsnight. Calls for Priti Patel and Boris Johnson to stand down following controversies are being “drummed up” by Pro-EU elements in the Labour Party to derail Brexit, Nadhim Zahawi claimed. He said on Newsnight: “I somehow feel that some of this stuff is being drummed up against Priti and the Foreign Secretary because they were big beasts in the Brexit campaign and some Labour Remoaners and others think ‘if we can take out some of these beasts and derail the Government then maybe we can actually do a U-turn on Brexit’.” The shock claim comes as pressure mounts on Priti Patel following revelations she held meetings with officials while on holiday in Israel. Now Ms Patel is thought to be facing the sack after allegedly misleading Theresa May over her meetings and being told to come clean regarding the trip, The Sun reported.
Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire MEP, Mike Hookem, has launched a petition to force the Government to remove fisheries from Theresa May’s ‘Great Repeal Bill’, saying, “The inclusion of the Common Fisheries Policy into UK law is an abject betrayal of Brexit.” Mr Hookem, UKIP’s fisheries spokesman, launched his crusade after George Eustice announced in the House of Commons that ‘technical measures’ of the CFP will be included in Theresa May’s flagship Repeal Bill. Speaking from Brussels, Mr Hookem said, “the response to the petition has been amazing so far, with over 6,000 signatures in the first 48 hours. However, we still have a long way to go if we are going to get the 100,000 signatures we need to force a Commons debate. “Throughout the referendum, the fishing community of Great Britain was one of the loudest voices in the Leave camp, as they have seen first-hand how disastrous EU policy can be to our country.
THERESA MAY has been warned not to make Britain the “jellyfish spined man of Europe” as the fishing industry demands a maximum transition period of nine month. In a briefing with journalists, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) said that reclaiming British fishing waters from the EU will be one of the “great successes” of Brexit. Currently 60 per cent of Britain’s fishing stock worth £650 million a year is caught by foreign vessels from the EU. Once Brexit takes place on 29 March 2019 Britain will take control of its waters, which represent the majority of the fishing stocks in the current EU. It will reverse the betrayal of the industry by former Prime Minister Edward Heath when he handed over Britain’s fishing rights as a price for entering the EU.
Britain will untether itself from EU regulations after Brexit to forge trade deals with the rest of the world, the trade secretary said yesterday. Liam Fox, speaking the day after his US counterpart spelt out a long list of American preconditions for a US trade deal with Britain, said that the government would move away from the EU model of “harmonisation” of regulations and laws. Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary, had said that the UK retaining EU regulations on chemicals, GM crops and food safety would represent “landmines” for a potential deal. Dr Fox’s response stirred unease among business groups. They have urged the government not to depart dramatically from the common rule book that underpins links with the EU.
This “happy breed of men”, as Shakespeare wrote of this “sceptr’d isle”, has got that bit more cheerful. Since voting to leave the EU, it turns out that we have become happier rather than more despondent. Those who have preached doom and gloom about Brexit may have to re-think their script. Whitehall statisticians said yesterday that they had recorded a material rise in three measures they use to track personal wellbeing in their first set of full-year figures since the referendum. We are not merely happier; we are more satisfied with life and more likely to feel that what we do is worthwhile. The only blip in the data is in measures of anxiety, which have crept up.
DESPITE all the Brexit doom-mongers and naysayers defiant Brits are feeling happier since the vote to leave the EU. Official figures show the nation’s sense of happiness and life satisfaction has hit the highest levels since 2011. People also feel their life is more worthwhile this year than last. The only blip is that anxiety is up slightly. Experts credit soaring employment and a growing economy for the positive measures – and say a spate of terror attacks earlier this year is credited with the negative one. The data was released by the Office of National Statistics, who quizzed more than 100,000 adults who were asked the following questions, on a scale of nought to 10, with nought being “not at all” and 10 being “completely”.
THE European Union must become more flexible or risk reluctant members following Britain out of the bloc, a leading expert has claimed. Disagreements between EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker and French president Emmanuel Macron on how the 27-member group should move forward have revealed major divisions about its future – and Mr Macron’s vision is the most likely outcome. The French president has called for a more flexible EU, as opposed to Mr Juncker’s vision of an increasingly integrated bloc, and think tank director Charles Grant, of the Centre for European Reform, agrees with the French leader. Writing for Politico, Mr Grant says: “If the EU wants to survive its (inevitable) future crises, the answer is easy.
EU citizens will face much tougher new deportation laws if they commit crimes in the UK after Brexit, the British government has warned. The new standard, which will apply after Brexit, will mean that EU citizens who are sentenced to more than a year in jail will face deportation, according to a new Brexit technical paper. The tough line emerged before a fresh round of talks opens in Brussels on Thursday and comes despite objections from European negotiators who want the 3.2m EU citizens in Britain after Brexit to retain all their current rights. Under existing EU free movement rules, EU citizens face a much laxer deportation test than other foreign nationals in the UK, requiring the British government to demonstrate criminals pose a “serious threat to the fundamental interests of society” before deporting them.
Citizens of European Union countries will be given a two-year grace period to apply for settled status once Britain leaves the bloc, the Government has said. Ministers said a new working paper released ahead of the next round of Brexit talks on Thursday spelled out a “streamlined system” for EU nationals. The proposal says the Government intends to keep the amount of paperwork required to apply as low as possible and that any application would be affordable, costing no more than one for a British passport. EU nationals wishing to stay in the UK will also be given a right to appeal any rejection, with the rules for who can and cannot stay set to be spelled out in any final withdrawal agreement. The Government has also clarified that it will not require EU citizens to have private health insurance.
International criminal record checks will not be carried out routinely on EU citizens hoping to stay in the UK after Brexit, the Government admitted yesterday. Instead, their names will only be screened against UK police and security databases. Only if there is ‘good cause’ to suspect a person has a hidden criminal history abroad will checks be done overseas. It raises the prospect that dangerous EU criminals, including killers, rapists and drug lords, will not be identified when they apply for the right to live here permanently – potentially putting the public at risk. Ministers faced criticism that they had caved in after the European Parliament threatened to block Brexit talks, due to begin again tomorrow, unless ‘invasive’ criminal record checks were blocked.
Surgical masks and robotic operations are a needless waste of NHS money, Imperial College has said, after identifying changes the health service can make to save more than £150 million each year. Researchers from the Department of Surgery and Cancer, found 71 commonly performed procedures or practices that are of high-cost but low-value to patients, which could be stopped. They include hernia repair operations for people with few symptoms, which currently cost the NHS £28 million a year, but do little to make people feel better. Likewise using CT scans to diagnose appendicitis was found to have little benefit above and beyond the traditional blood tests and hands-on pressure checks by doctors. Scrapping them could save the health service four million pounds, the report found.
The NHS will need up to £24bn more by 2022 than Theresa May plans to give it or patient care will worsen and treatment waiting times grow even longer, experts have said. Rising demand for care means the NHS budget in England will have to jump to £152.6bn by the end of this parliament, which could be as much as £24.2bn more than ministers have pledged. At least £4bn of that will have to come next year alone just to keep the NHS functioning well, three leading health thinktanks have said. The estimates come a day after the boss of the service’s financial regulator warned that the NHS could “pop” unless it receives an emergency cash injection in the budget later this month. Jim Mackey, the chief executive of NHS Improvement, said the NHS would have to scale back the range of services it provides in ways that would damage patient care if chancellor Philip Hammond does not announce an increase on the sums already planned on 22 November.
The NHS will have to stop some services “before things pop” if it does not get a cash injection, its finance watchdog has said. Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS Improvement, said that patients would have to accept an “adjustment of expectations” about what the health service could offer, adding that a recent decision to abandon targets for routine operations was only the start. It came as hospitals declared that they could not meet crucial targets on A&E, routine operations and cancer without extra cash. Mr Mackey told hospital bosses that the Treasury had accepted the need for more money but “there’s an argument about how much and when”.
NHS leaders are calling on the Government to reform immigration policy to make it easier to recruit doctors and nurses from overseas and fill significant gaps left by UK workforce shortages. Staff shortages are the top concern for two thirds of chief executives and chairs of NHS trusts and foundation trusts, according to a survey by membership body, NHS Providers. And 85 per cent expect overseas recruitment to be very or fairly important to keeping services running over the next three years. To address this NHS Providers, which represents 98 per cent of NHS trusts, says the Government must “urgently confirm the right to remain” of 60,000 EU staff in the NHS and set out how it will fund pay rises for staff now it has scrapped its public sector pay cap.
Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has lashed out at the European Union for backing Spain‘s ‘coup d’etat’ against Catalonia – while 200 mayors from the region went to Brussels to support him. The former president of Catalonia said: ‘Will you accept the result of the Catalan referendum or will you continue to help [Spanish prime minister] Mr Rajoy in his coup d’etat?’ Puigdemont, whose government declared independence from Spain last month and was then dismissed by Madrid, made the remarks in Belgium, where he fled from Spain. He also called for all of the region’s pro-independence parties to unite against Spain‘s ‘brutal repression’ as a poll shows they would hold a majority if they joined forces. He urged political groups to stand together against Madrid’s actions or see the Spanish state ‘win this fight’.