THERESA May has vowed to fight EU demands for British borders to stay open to European migrants until at least 2021. In a warning to Brussels ahead of the next round of talks, the Prime Minister rejected a claim from EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier that the UK must continue to abide by full EU free movement rules throughout the expected post-Brexit two-year transition period. Campaigners have estimated that nearly a million more EU citizens could get the right to settle permanently in Britain if the EU gets its way rather than allowing the UK’s new border controls to begin on the day the country quits the bloc next year. Throwing down the gauntlet to Brussels, Mrs May insisted the issue remained “a matter for negotiation” and indicated her willingness to defend Britain’s position on the crucial issue.
Theresa May has promised that freedom of movement for EU citizens coming to Britain will end on Brexit day in March 2019. Brussels had insisted free movement must continue to the last day of any transition period, meaning EU citizens would be free to settle in Britain until at least the end of 2020. But the Prime Minister has made it clear that changing the rules on migration as soon as Britain leaves the EU is a must for her in negotiations over the transition period, which begin next week. Speaking in China on the first day of a three-day trade visit, she said people “did not vote for nothing to change when we come out of the EU”. She said that the issue of citizens’ rights had already been agreed in December when the EU agreed to move on to trade talks after “sufficient progress” had been reached in phase one of the Brexit talks.
EU migrants must be treated “differently” as soon as Britain leaves the EU, Theresa May said yesterday, putting the UK at odds with Brussels for the start of transition negotiations next week. The prime minister insisted that Brexit supporters “didn’t vote for nothing to change” as she fought back against the EU’s hardening stance. In the preliminary withdrawal deal struck before Christmas, the EU appeared to agree that the cut-off date after which EU migrants to the UK would no longer be granted permanent residence would be March 29, 2019 — the date that Britain formally leaves the bloc. But European negotiators are now insisting that the date should be the end of the transitional period in 2020.
Theresa May set out a new Brexit red line last night as she vowed to fight Brussels over plans that could grant up to another million EU citizens the right to settle in Britain. EU leaders accepted in December that migrants arriving after Britain leaves the bloc at the end of March next year should lose the automatic right to reside here. But Brussels backtracked on the deal this week, saying the ‘cut-off date’ should be delayed until the end of the transition period – putting it back by about two years. The MigrationWatch think-tank warned the ‘absurd’ move could result in up to a million more EU migrants winning the automatic right to live in the UK.
Theresa May has signalled she is preparing for a fight with Brussels over its demands that EU citizens should be able to secure full residence rights in the UK during the Brexit transition period. Ms May said she is “clear” that there should be a difference in the rights afforded to people who arrived in the UK before the expected March 2019 Brexit date and those who come afterwards. She made her comments after the EU set out its demands for the two-year transition period, including the one which would increase the number of EU citizens who can win UK residency rights after Britain officially quits the bloc.
Theresa May has sparked a new clash with Brussels by saying that EU citizens who arrive during the post-Brexit transition period must not have the same rights as those who came before. The prime minister’s remarks set her on course for a major skirmish with officials in Brussels, who have offered a “status quo” transition period until December 2020, including free movement and citizens’ rights for those who settle in the UK during that period. Rules for new EU migrants could include mandatory work permits, requirements to register on arrival and restrictions on access to benefits, which would not apply to EU citizens who moved to the UK before Brexit.
Theresa May has said she understands voters wanted a change in the UK’s relations with Europe when they backed Leave in the 2016 referendum. Speaking to reporters in China, the prime minister repeated her promise to deliver on Brexit, noting that the 17.4 million Britons who handed victory to Leave “did not vote for nothing to change when we come out of the EU.” Asked if she believes in Brexit “hand on heart,” May replied: “Yes.” The PM rejected speculation that she might seek to extend the expected two-year transition period after the official date of Brexit on March 29 2019 to three or more years.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson continues making a splash, now demanding that EU flags on Ministry Of Defence buildings are taken down and replaced with British ones. A source told The Sun that: “Gavin said he saw no reason why they should waste any time on delaying the removal of the EU flags. “He wants more British pride displayed around the building as Britain gets ready to quit the EU.” Williamson has made an impact since becoming Defence Secretary, pushing back heavily against cuts to the Armed Forces and taking a common sense approach to eliminating jihadis rather than allowing them back into Britain. No wonder he’s already being touted as a potential future Leader…
BRUSSELS boss Jean-Claude Juncker has admitted the EU could crack and give Britain a better Brexit deal. In candid remarks the EU Commission chief said pressure from big businesses on the continent will drive a wedge between member states. He predicted that individual countries will start squabbling over where to allow the UK ongoing access to the Single Market. His comments will come as a huge boost to British negotiators who are trying to pick apart the bloc’s opposition to “cherry picking”.
After the victory of pro-sovereignty and anti-mass migration Czech President Miloš Zeman at the weekend, many are looking to the three big national elections coming in Europe this year in which populists and pro-sovereignty parties look to dominate in Italy and Hungary and place strongly in Sweden. While 2017 saw major elections in France and Germany, which saw strong showings from the populist French Front National and the Alternative for Germany (AfD), neither managed to enter government.
European Union negotiators see no room for discussion with Britain on maintaining “passport” access to EU financial markets for its banks after Brexit, but they are willing to look at free trade in the sector, diplomats said. Speaking after EU officials briefed representatives of the other 27 member states on Tuesday, several diplomats who were present told Reuters there appeared to be some differences among governments over how much access to EU customers they were willing to give banks and other financial firms from London.
EUROCRATS are hatching plans to use the EU’s jobless fund to subsidise migrants’ rents, The Sun can reveal. Brussels says cash from its employment pot could be spent on housing for asylum seekers if a move will improve their job prospects. The European Social Fund, designed to boost the labour market, doles out around £10billion a year across the continent. Last week the EU Commission published a “toolkit” advising member states on new measures to aid with the integration of migrants. Amongst the proposals are a mechanism for “rent support” for newly arrived asylum seekers to be provided “on a case by case basis”.
UNELECTED peers are trying to undermine democracy and stop Brexit by opposing the EU Withdrawal Bill, a member of the Lords warned yesterday. Fears were raised about the intentions of the Remainer-dominated Upper House as members debated the second reading of the Bill. With 190 peers listed to speak, only a handful supported Brexit, while senior Labour peer Lord Foulkes revealed plans to ignore the will of the people in the historic EU referendum vote. He said: “I make no apology for restating what I have said before that I Lord Adonis is a leading Remainer do not accept in a parliamentary democracy that an advisory referendum is binding.”
Peers were urged today to use their ‘entire arsenal of powers’ to ‘limit the damage of Brexit‘ as Remainers resumed their bid to re-write flagship laws. Former Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd said she could not recall ‘a comparable crisis of such prolonged intensity and danger to the national interest’. She said that, having campaigned for Remain, she was ‘bemused now to find it is the winning side that is blowing a fuse’. Baroness Boothroyd the duty of the House of Lords was clear regardless of how people voted in the referendum and their opinion of the Government’s ‘squabbling factions’.
A TORY peer has urged his fellow Lords not to “sabotage” the EU Withdrawal Bill, as the upper house debates the Brexit legislation in a two-day marathon session. Lord Michael Dobbs made the passionate speech during the second reading of the EU Bill and told his unelected colleagues that they have a duty to advise and enhance but not to obstruct the Government’s bill. He said: “We have a duty to advise, to enhance, to improve where we can, but not to obstruct or overturn. Least of all, to sabotage.”
Yesterday’s EU Withdrawal Bill debate in the House of Lords saw Brexit-bashing peers at their ermine-clad, sneering worst. Lord Bilmoria said Brexit is “a train crash in slow motion” and compared leaving the EU to the outbreak of the First World War. The Dark Lord, Lord Mandleson, said it is not “axiomatic” that the result of the referendum should be upheld and suggested Brexit could be overturned. Lord Patten whacked the benches as he shouted “I hate referendums!” and denounced Brexit as an “sin against… democracy.”
THE SNP’s Brexit minister has demanded Theresa May offer post-Brexit powers to devolved governments or face gridlock on the EU Withdrawal Bill as the key legislation passes through the House of Lords. Michael Russell has demanded an amendment to the bill from Westminster by tomorrow to ensure powers taken away from the EU are given to Wales and Scotland. It comes as Europhiles in the House of Lords threaten to derail the bill if devolution is not protected in the final draft of the legislation. While the SNP does not have any peers in the Lords, the Liberal Democrats have promised to throw their 100 members in the upper house behind the Scottish Government’s demands.
Britain’s finance industry came a step closer to being locked out of European markets by Brexit today after Brussels officials rejected a City plan for a free trade deal in financial services after the UK leaves. The plan being pushed by UK financiers proposed that Britain and the EU would continue to allow cross-border trade in financial services on the basis that both sides’ regulations would adhere to international standards. But European Commission officials have told British financiers in meetings since the start of the year that there would have to be new trade barriers for banks because the UK is leaving the single market.
The Ministry of Defence is facing a £20 billion black hole in its “unaffordable” plans for a new generation of warships, jets and submarines, the spending watchdog has warned. The National Audit Office said that the department’s 10-year plan for new equipment failed to include a string of costs, including an extra £1.3 billion for a new fleet of frigates. It said a further £9.6 billion of forecast costs had been omitted due to the MoD’s budget-setting process “not being able to match costs to available budgets”. A further £1.3 billion in costs associated with the procurement of five Type 31e frigates was also omitted while the costs of acquiring the navy’s new Dreadnought and Astute class nuclear-powered submarines were rising faster than predicted.
A military plan to buy warships, jets and submarines is unaffordable and unrealistic, with a funding hole of up to £21 billion over ten years, the UK’s spending watchdog said yesterday. The Ministry of Defence omitted even to include the £1.3 billion price for a fleet of five new frigates in its equipment plan, the National Audit Office revealed. The NAO also identified a £576 million rise in the cost to build four replacement nuclear-armed Trident submarines. The watchdog took a veiled swipe at Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Sir Michael Fallon, who succeeded him as defence secretary, suggesting that the MoD was reverting back to before 2012 when its budget was consistently overheated.
A revolutionary breast cancer drug is to be made available on the NHS following a final decision from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice). Perjeta, also known as pertuzumab, previously accessed through the Cancer Drugs Fund, will be given to some women with breast cancer via the health service. Breast Cancer Now, a charity, said it was “delighted” by the news. Nice recommends the drug for women who have HER2-positive breast cancer which has returned to the breast but is inoperable, or where it has spread to other parts of the body, in combination with other medication. Manufacturer Roche said the move ends years of uncertainty over how the treatment would be funded in the long term.
A cancer jab that can eliminate tumours even when they have spread throughout the body is about to start human trials. Scientists at Stanford University in the US found that injecting tiny amounts of two drugs directly into a tumour not only kills the original cancer, but also triggers an ‘amazing bodywide’ reaction which destroys distant cancer cells. The drug combination works by switching on immune cells inside the tumours which have been deactivated by the cancer, then boosting them so they can go to work killing the disease. And once the immune cells have been reactivated, they recognise other cancer cells elsewhere in the body and set about clearing them out.
The NHS will not be privatised because public support for it is so strong that any government seeking to change its funding model would be committing “political suicide”, an analysis has claimed. The research by the influential King’s Fund health thinktank dismisses fears – voiced by Labour and NHS campaigners including Prof Stephen Hawking – that the health service will be turned into a US-style private system. It reached its conclusions after analysing 34 years of British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey data, which show that the NHS has enjoyed consistently stronger backing from voters than education or welfare.
Health service officials have been reprimanded for putting the health of vulnerable migrants, and the wider public, at risk and told to stop handing over confidential information to immigration officials immediately. The chair of the Health Select Committee has written to NHS Digital saying it must withdraw from a deal with the Home Office to trace immigrants through their personal details. Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston said NHS Digital had failed to consider the public interest in maintaining the fundamental principle of patient confidentiality or the ethical implications of sacrificing it.
Europeans who know Britain well are often slightly bemused by our unconditional love of the NHS, even more so when they hear us insist that it is somehow the ‘envy of the world’. Because, to put it brutally, it isn’t. Of course they recognise that the NHS is a fine system, that delivers great health outcomes in a pretty efficient and cost effective way. But they don’t envy it, for the simple reason that they have their own health systems which do much the same, sometimes (whisper it if you dare) even slightly better. And, crucially, they also do it in a way that is funded almost entirely by the tax-payer and is free at the point of delivery. Most European voters would tolerate nothing less. So why don’t the French or the Dutch or the Danish or the German health systems live in the same state of ‘perma-crisis’ as the NHS?
Religious extremists are using schools to ‘indoctrinate’ the mind of youngsters and narrow their horizons, the head of Ofsted has warned. Strict parents and religious community leaders are using classrooms as a way of spreading their beliefs on the ‘impressionable’ minds of children, Amanda Spielman said. Ofsted Inspectors are also increasingly coming across those who want to ‘actively pervert’ the purpose of education. In a speech today, Ms Spielman will warn schools that they should not assume that the ‘most conservative voices’ of a particular faith group speak for everyone, and that they must not be afraid to ‘call out’ any practices that they feel could have a negative impact on young people.
Palace of Westminster
MPs have voted to move out of Parliament within the decade, while controversial renovation work takes place to prevent the “death trap” estate from being consumed by a fire or other catastrophic event. Last night politicians agreed to approve plans for work to begin straight away on the revamp, which could cost billions of pounds and has been heavily criticised. It represents a defeat for the Government after Commons leader Andrea Leadsom argued that more work was needed before approving the plans. It also revealed a Cabinet split on the issue after Michael Gove, Greg Clark and others voted against the plans while Chris Grayling, Matt Hancock and David Gauke backed them.
MPs and peers are to move out of the Palace of Westminster for at least six years after the Commons voted for a multibillion-pound refurbishment. In a surprise result, MPs rejected further delays and voted in favour of a “full decant” of parliament costing more than £4 billion and expected to start in 2025 at the earliest. It will be the first decant since the Blitz — MPs convened at nearby Church House between 1940 and 1941 — and the longest since the 14th century. The Commons has formally met on the same site since 1547 when Edward VI granted the use of St Stephen’s Chapel. When the Palace of Westminster burnt down in 1834, the Commons continued to meet on the site.
MPs have voted to move Parliament to another location for what is likely to be six years while a major restoration of the Palace of Westminster is carried out. In a surprise move, the House of Commons narrowly rejected government proposals that would have delayed a final decision and instead backed a cross-party amendment in favour of a “full and timely decant” of Parliament. Ministers had proposed setting up a new authority to assess whether Parliament should be completely moved while the work is undertaken or should continue to use part of the Palace of Westminster. But MPs lined up to criticise the Government for delaying the issue and voted by 236 to 220 in favour of the move, which has previously been recommended by two parliamentary committees.
Parliament is expected to relocate away from its historic site at the Palace of Westminster in the next decade after MPs decided that the risk of a major fire was so great that a total refurbishment costing at least £3.5bn was necessary. MPs voted by 236 to 220 to support an amendment that saw Conservative and Labour members come together to support a full programme of works that is likely to result in the Commons relocating to a venue in Whitehall from the middle of the next decade. They backed an amendment from the Labour MP Meg Hillier and rejected two motions in the name of leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom. Neither of those motions would have committed MPs and peers to moving off site.
MPs have voted in favour of moving out of Westminster entirely so Parliament can be renovated before a disastrous fire. The Commons voted 234 to 135, a majority of just 16, in favour of endorsing the work of a joint committee of MPs and Peers on what to do about the dilapidated state of the building. It is the first time since the war that MPs and peers will move out of the Palace of Westminster, with the £4billion restoration expected to take at least six years. For the first time, MPs have formally accepted the ‘clear and pressing need’ to repair the Victorian systems that underpin the Palace of Westminster.
Ukip is facing demands that it pay the £670,000 costs of a defamation case against one of its MEPs, which could push the party into bankruptcy. Money is tight for the anti-EU party, according to insiders, after a tumultuous 18 months during which it has had four leaders and been deserted by many donors and hordes of members. Next week the party is due in court, where it will challenge demands that it pay the costs for a slander and libel case brought against one of its senior politicians. Jane Collins, 55, Ukip MEP for the Yorkshire & Humber region, was successfully sued by three Labour MPs whom she had accused in 2014 of ignoring child sex abuse.
UKIP faces bankruptcy within weeks after it emerged the party could be liable to pay up to £650,000 in legal costs in a court case involving one of its MEPs. This amount is nearly double the amount in Ukip’s coffers, according to its latest annual accounts. The party agreed to pay the legal expenses for its Yorkshire and Humber MEP Jane Collins, who was found to have defamed three Labour MPs after accusing them of knowing about the child abuse scandal in Rotherham but doing nothing about it. Sir Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion sued Jane Collins over her comments at Ukip’s party conference in September 2014 – and last year won £54,000 in damages each. But she now faces having to pay for the full legal costs of the three MPs.