Brexit

In an exclusive report, the Guardian claims Brexit talks will start 10 days after the General Election.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has pencilled in 19 June for the first formal day of talks with Britain about its withdrawal from the European Union, in what are being billed as the most important negotiations in the country’s history.
That highly symbolic morning, Barnier will face whoever is the British Brexit secretary after the election for the first day of an arduous 15 months of negotiations to hammer out the terms of the UK’s exit.
It is understood that the European commission’s Brexit taskforce, led by Barnier, shared the proposed date with key figures in Brussels last week.

The Express has picked up the story.

EU officials expect the Brexit negotiations to begin in earnest just 10 days after the result of the General Election is announced, Brussels sources said last night.
Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, is understood to have pencilled in June 19 as the first day for detailed talks on Britain’s departure from the bloc.
The session is expected to kick off weeks of intense wrangling over the UK’s future relationship with the EU during the summer.
The decision on the timing of the talks, set to be confirmed by the European Commission on Monday, means the Prime Minister will be pitched straight into the battle for the country’s future within days of polling day on June 8.

And the Sun quotes the Brexit minister admitting he has had disagreements already over the talks.

DAVID Davis today admitted having a ‘skirmish’ with EU bosses over Brexit – but hailed ‘the boss’ Theresa May for facing down top Eurocrats.
The Brexit Secretary expressed optimism over Britain’s chances of hashing out a free-trade deal with Europe despite the early difficulties.
But he added that he had a team of civil servants preparing for the possibility of failing to get a deal.
Mr Davis also warned that Mrs May ‘takes about two weeks to make her mind up’ on any serious issue – and expressed horror at the possibility of the PM teaming up with Jeremy Corbyn for Carpool Karaoke.

There is no let-up in threats from Germany, reports the Express.

ANGELA Merkel today repeated her threat that Brexit must have a “price” as Europe prepares for what is set to be a fractious opening round of divorce talks next month.
The tough-talking German chancellor reiterated her stance that the UK cannot end freedom of movement without the rest of the continent taking counter-measures.
It is the latest sign of Mrs Merkel, who is facing a re-election battle later this year, significantly upping her rhetoric against Britain as the negotiations draw near.
Her no-nonsense approach is likely to play well with German voters but could cause friction when the long-awaited talks finally get under way.
They are also tactically designed to try and keep the remaining 27 member states together amid fears fissures could open up as the reality of Brexit dawns. 

But Reuters claims the final result will be ‘fair’.

Britain would be treated fairly by the European Union after it quit the bloc, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday, but Brexit would nonetheless have its price.
Britain formally announced its intention to leave the 28-nation bloc in March, and has stated its intention to maintain a close relationship with the EU on exit.
In recent days, Merkel has repeatedly stated that Britain must expect a more distant relationship if it is no longer a member.
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said she is worried  that the EU must be ‘on guard’ over the possibility of Britain becoming more competitive after Brexit.
Speaking to a group of businesses in Berlin, Merkel said that once the UK formally leaves the bloc, which will currently set to be by the end of March 2019, we will be able to have a bonfire of EU regulations which will make us even more competitive on the world stage, gaining a possible economic edge.
She warned that the EU must develop “strong mechanisms” to offset the effect this will have on them, and hinted that this could form part of the exit deal, saying that Eurocrats will “negotiate our future relations with Britain very thoroughly.”

Fisheries

The question of whether we will control the fish in our coasts is reported by Westmonster.

There has been outrage from the pro-Brexit Fishing For Leave at the Conservative Party’s weak approach on fisheries in their manifesto.
FFL have pointed out that one of the “acid tests” of the UK’s EU withdrawal was taking back control to control of all UK waters and resources within an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) out to 200 miles or the mid-line under international law.
They say that the Conservative manifesto is worrying as it pledges only that the UK “will be fully responsible for the access and management of the waters where we have historically exercised sovereign control”.
The UK has historically only ever been able to exercise control over a 12 mile fishing radius as the 200 mile extension only came into effect when Britain was already in the EU and bound by their fisheries policy. 

The story is also reported by Breitbart.

The Conservative manifesto suggests Britain will not regain their full territorial waters after Brexit, claims the Fishing For Leave group who say the careful choice of words regarding fisheries may foreshadow a Brexit betrayal.
The manifesto, titled ‘Forward, Together‘, commits a Tory government to a Brexit deal in which the United Kingdom “will be fully responsible for the access and management of the waters where we have historically exercised sovereign control” – an apparent assurance that the fishing industry will not be sacrificed as a bargaining chip in Britain’s negotiations with the European.
However, campaigners at Fishing For Leave, which led Britain’s fishermen into the infamous Battle of the Thames during the EU referendum, believe that the party’s “peculiar” use of the qualifying words “historically exercised sovereign control” should “ring alarm bells for a total backslide and fudged deal”.

The Express claims the Prime Minister will protect Scottish waters.

THERESA May has committed to not giving up Britain’s fishing waters as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations as she made an audacious push for parliamentary seats in Scotland.
At a rally in Edinburgh the Prime Minister warned that Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP are preparing to surrender Scotland’s fishing waters around the British coastline to re-enter the EU if they get independence.
But in a passionate speech Mrs May set her face against a second independence referendum saying “Britons are one people” and appeared to suggest she will use her veto over another vote indefinitely.
After claims by both the SNP and Ukip that the Tories are set to “betray” Britain’s fishing industry over Brexit, Mrs May made it clear that she has no intention of allowing the hated Common Fisheries Policy to operate again after Brexit.

Social care

The Conservatives’ cost of looking after the elderly doesn’t add up, says the Guardian.

Theresa May’s flagship manifesto proposal to shake up the funding of social care for older people has come under fire from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies and opposition parties.
The IFS warned on Friday that the complex new system outlined in the Conservative party’s manifesto, which would force more elderly people to pay for their own care, “makes no attempt to deal with the fundamental challenge of social care funding”.
While some households would fare better because of a higher, £100,000 means test, the IFS said that overall the new system would be “less generous”. It would fail to tackle the “insurance problem” that means individuals cannot plan for the risk of having to pay very high costs in their old age.
On Thursday, the Conservatives announced plans to make people needing help in their own homes pay the costs of long-term social care, with only £100,000 of the value of their estate protected. Announcing the plan, the party said it would “address the fundamental unfairness at the heart of Britain’s elderly care system and tackle the long-term challenges of an ageing society”.
Labour attacked the plans as part of a “triple whammy” for hard-up pensioners, alongside the weakening of the triple-lock guarantee on the basic state pension and the means-testing of the winter fuel allowance.

NHS

The question of charging for GP appointments is still rumbling around, says the Times.

GPs are considering charging patients for certain services to avert what they say could be a total collapse of general practice.
They will also vote on whether to close their lists to new patients in protest about a lack of resources.
Yesterday doctors at a British Medical Association meeting in Edinburgh asked the organisation’s general practice committee (GPC) to consider alternative funding options. The move would pit doctors against the government, which says that it has no plans to introduce charges for consultations.
Richard Wood, of the Buckinghamshire local medical committee (LMC), said: “I’m not asking us to choose privatisation. I’m not asking us to choose to charge the vulnerable in society.

The Mail also has the story.

Britain’s family doctors are threatening to close lists to new patients in protest at NHS funding.
The drastic form of industrial action was called for by GPs who say primary healthcare is in crisis and ‘will collapse’.
Doctors at the British Medical Association’s Local Medical Committees conference in Edinburgh voted by a two-thirds majority in favour of balloting all GPs over the move. The ballot will take place later this year.
The current funding arrangements for family doctors are ‘just a sticking plaster’, and the move was necessary to defend ‘patient safety, morale, and health’ in the medical profession, they said.
NHS England has announced a five-year plan to put general practice ‘back on its feet’ with an extra £2.4billion a year in funding by 2020/21.
Called GP Forward View, the increase arose after pressure over mounting workloads, a lack of funding and a shortage of trainee GPs.

The Independent claims the government is not revealing the true cost of the NHS.

Government officials have been accused of a “cover up” over a reported delay in the publication of NHS trust deficit figures until after the general election.
The data, which will show the full scale of the deficit posted by trusts in England in the last financial year, had been scheduled to be published next Thursday – two weeks ahead of the election on 8 June.
But, according to the BBC, the figures will not be released as scheduled due to “purdah rules”, which ban the Government from making any kind of announcement about new or controversial initiatives or laws that could sway the outcome of the vote during an election campaign.
NHS Improvement, which expected to publish the figures next week, had estimated an end of a year deficit of £750-850m earlier this year, but it is predicted to exceed this.

The Mirror also carries this story.

The Tories have been accused of trying to block damning figures on the state of the NHS finances.
Key statistics were due to be released at the end of May but ministers are citing “purdah” rules to hold the information back until after the election.
The British Medical Association blasted the government as “running scared” by delaying the release of the figures.
Regulator NHS Improvement had wanted to publish data on the scale of hospital funding black holes but was warned not to by the Government.

Immigration

The figures involved in cutting the number of immigrants don’t add up, says the Express.

DEFENCE secretary Sir Michael Fallon has sparked a row by appearing to water down the Tory manifesto pledge to reduce net migration to “the tens of thousands”.
Sir Michael said that the promise to finally bring immigration down to manageable numbers was “an ambition” and refused to set a timetable for it to happen.
His comments led Ukip to claim that the Tories are “taking the British people for mugs”.
The Tory manifesto retained the target, which has never been met since being introduced by David Cameron.
The policy document said the current annual figure of 273,000 people heading to Britain – the equivalent of a city the size of Newcastle – was “still too high” and promised to slash the number to “sustainable levels”.

But the Tories have defended their promise, says BBC News.

The Conservatives have defended their pledge to cut net migration to “tens of thousands” after Labour said it would never be met.
Treasury Chief Secretary David Gauke told BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions it was an “aim – it doesn’t have a timetable”.
But he said it would “drive policy” in terms of improving the skills of British workers.
It comes after ex-Chancellor George Osborne said the Tories “haven’t a clue” how they will meet the target.
The pledge to reduce net annual migration – the difference in the number of people coming to the UK for a year or more and those leaving – to the tens of thousands was in the 2010 and 2015 Tory manifestos.
Neither Theresa May nor David Cameron has come close to meeting it as prime minister. The most recent figure was 273,000. The last year it was below 100,000 was 1997.

The Independent also reports the defence secretary’s words.

Sir Michael Fallon has admitted the Conservatives have not costed out one of their key manifesto promises aimed at reducing immigration by two-thirds.
The Defence Secretary was forced to admit that they did not know how much a proposal to double the Immigration Skills Charge – a levy imposed on organisations for every skilled non-EU worker they hire – would cost the economy.
The proposal is one of a range of measures proposals by the party aimed at of reducing annual migration to the “tens of thousands” – a promise originally made in their 2010 manifesto.

The story is also in the Mirror.

A top Tory watered down the Conservatives’ latest migration pledge just eight hours after Theresa May again promised to slash numbers below 100,000.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said it was an “ambition” the party planned to meet, while the election manifesto described it as an “objective”.
The Tories were elected in 2010 on a promise to cut net migration – the difference between people arriving and those leaving – to the tens of thousands – a target they have never come close to hitting.

The Independent claims the plans would be catastrophic.

Reducing immigration to the tens of thousands could have “catastrophic consequences” for the British economy, according to a new report that derides Theresa May’s policy as “backward looking”.
It comes after the Prime Minister reiterated her commitment to the policy, which has never been met since being introduced by her predecessor David Cameron in 2009, as she published the party’s manifesto for the general election on Thursday.
The report by the new think tank, Global Future, adds that a net migration figure in excess of 200,000 – double the Government’s target – is required to “avoid collapse of whole sectors” and alleviate pressures on the NHS and social care.

Education

The proposal to scrap free school meals is covered in the Times.

As pained as Theresa May might have been to shrug off the mantle of Thatcherism this week, it is hard to avoid the comparison when it comes to healthy food for our kids. Where Thatcher removed free school milk, May is removing free school meals. We have gone from “Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher” to “Theresa May takes your dinner away”.
Universal free school meals for infants are to be scrapped, not on the basis of any real evidence, but in a desperate effort to plug the gap in school budgets that the Tories’ own funding formula has created.

The Mail reports the call to accommodate Muslims around school curriculums.

Schools are being urged to move revision classes and consider rescheduling sports days to accommodate the needs of Muslim pupils fasting for Ramadan, MailOnline can reveal.
A new report also suggests that schools should also ‘show sensitivity’ when organising graduation celebrations and change PE lesson plans to make sure that activities are ‘less strenuous’.
Ramadan falls at the end of May this year and will last for approximately one month meaning it will clash with GCSE and A Level exams across the country.
During the period Muslims who have reached ‘maturity’ are required to go without food or drink – including water – during sunlight hours.
It means that thousands of pupils could face sitting exams with empty stomachs in warm exam rooms at the height of summer when Britain gets an average of 16 hours of daylight. 

Farage

Our former leader has stamped his personality on a German reporter, says the Independent.

Nigel Farage abruptly ended an interview with a German newspaper because the reporter asked him about his relationships with Russia and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Mr Farage described interviewer Steffen Dobbert from 
Zeit Online as “a nutcase”, “mad” and “away with the fairies”, when Mr Dobbert suggested Ukip and Russia shared an agenda, asked why Mr Farage met with Mr Assange, and said after Brexit it might be harder for British people to travel to the European Union.
Eventually, on the advice of his press spokesman — who reportedly interrupted the interview several times — the eurosceptic MEP ended the conversation and asked Mr Dobbert to leave the room.

UFO

As usual, the Star expounds a conspiracy theory, this time about a spaceship in Antarctica.

A RUSSIAN UFO hunter claims to have identified evidence of a giant alien spaceship that crash-landed in remote Antarctica.
Valentin Degteryov posted images of his findings online, leaving viewers baffled.
The video clearly shows a dark object lying next to a large crater close to the Eklund Islands on the world’s most southernly continent.
As the clip continues, it shows the scale of the giant mystery entity – which Degteryov claims measures more than 1,900ft.
He claimed the supposed alien wreckage, which he spotted while studying the continent using images from Google Earth, became visible due to melting ice in Antarctica.

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