BREXITEER Tories plan will seek to put a legal block on the Government sending any more money to the European Union without MPs’ approval once Britain leaves the bloc, it emerged last night. They threaten to try to amend the Finance Bill enacting the October 29 Budget, to ensure Parliament gets a say if Britain wants to release more cash to Brussels after Brexit day on March 29. They fear Britain will end up paying into Brussels coffers for longer than voters or MPs want. Concern has been intensified by the fact that Philip Hammond’s Budget statement will come before the UK has finalised leaving terms with the EU and the agreement has been ratified across the bloc. There are also concerns that next March’s Brexit day could be postponed by extending the Article 50 deadline.
Theresa May was on Thursday evening increasingly isolated over her plan to keep Britain tied to the EU for longer as she was savaged by both wings of her party and left in the cold by EU leaders. Mrs May confirmed on Thursday that she was prepared to consider extending the transition period – currently due to end in December 2020 – by “a matter of months” in an attempt to break the deadlock over the Northern Ireland border issue. The move enraged Brexiteers who said it would cost billions, and angered members of the Cabinet who said they had not formally agreed the plan before she offered it up as a bargaining chip.
Angry senior Tories have accused Theresa May of going back on her pledge to allow a proper “meaningful vote” on any Brexit deal and vowed to fight the move. Ken Clarke and Dominic Grieve spoke out after the government said MPs should only be allowed to accept or reject the agreement – with no amendments allowed. The stance appears a clear U-turn on a pledge – revealed by The Independent – that the vote would not be a “take-it-or-leave-it” choice, because “parliament can always seek to amend motions”.
France does not rule out a possible lengthening of Britain’s post-Brexit transition period if it helps advance negotiations with London, but any extension would come with conditions, an official in President Emmanuel Macron’s office said on Thursday. “It’s one of the possible options. It’s neither a firm proposal from the EU 27 nor a formal request from the UK,” the Elysee Palace official said. “It’s something we shouldn’t rule out. If we were to go in that direction, it would come with a certain number of conditions.”
Theresa May has seen an EU summit pass with no Brexit breakthrough as she was hit by a growing backlash over plans to lengthen the UK’s transition period. There had been hopes this week’s gathering of EU leaders in Brussels – previously dubbed the “moment of truth” for Brexit – could overcome the impasse in negotiations. But the bloc ruled not enough progress has been made and so shelved plans for a special summit to be held next month to sign off on a deal.
Theresa May says extending the Brexit transition to three years is an ‘option’. Speaking in Brussels, the Prime Minister suggested a prolonged implementation period could be triggered later to avoid having to use the Northern Ireland ‘backstop’. And she wouldn’t rule out the ‘backstop’ arrangement for being open ended, risking a furious mutiny from her backbenches. Earlier, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker indicated the bloc would be open to extending the transition, saying it was a “good idea”.
Not content with just losing a referendum, the Losers’ (sic) People’s Vote campaign has decided to lose its credibility as well after their woeful attempt to calculate how much an extra year of transition would cost the UK was absolutely panned by Remainers. Incredibly, they managed to come up with a figure of £182.5 billion as the cost to the UK by 2025 of extending the transition period by a single year. Brexiteers have been complaining that it would be an expensive waste of time but these numbers make George Osborne’s predictions look plausible… Remainers tore into the vast array of basic errors in their methodology, describing the forecasts as “shockingly bad”, “self-discrediting nonsense”, “diabolical”, “extremely disappointing”, and a “huge gift” to Brexiteers. Thanks!
THERESA May is under fire after Brexit negotiations stalled again and a delay to the UK’s exit from the EU moved a step closer – but can the Prime Minister cling on to power against her opponents or will she be forced to resign? Talks between Brussels and Britain hit deadlock in Salzburg this week after Theresa May rejected the European Union’s “backstop” insurance clause for the Irish border saying it would break up the UK. Both parties are considering an extended transition period to work out their differences, meaning Britain may not exit the EU on March 29, 2019 as planned.
Theresa May is facing the most perilous week of her premiership after infuriating all sections of her party by making further concessions to Brussels. Her offer to extend the transition period after Brexit — made without cabinet approval — enraged Remain and Leave Tory MPs alike. With confidence in No 10 ebbing away, rival blocs of Conservative MPs stepped up plotting against the prime minister. David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, was calling ministers yesterday to urge a change of course in the negotiations. “He is definitely on manoeuvres,” one recipient of a call said.
THERESA May has conceded the Irish backstop cannot have an end date, risking the threat of fresh Cabinet resignations. The PM told Leo Varadkar she accepted Brussels’ demands that any fallback border solution cannot be “time-limited”. But British officials insisted they will demand a get-out clause to stop us being shackled to the EU forever. She made the admission in a meeting with the Taioseach just hours before telling other leaders the UK would consider extending the transition period.
IRELAND’S Leo Varadkar has warned of a “very real” risk of a return to the dark days of the Troubles in Northern Ireland if a hard border returns after Brexit. The Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) used a newspaper article on an IRA bombing of a customs post as a “prop” to emphasise the importance of the Irish border issue to EU leaders. Mr Varadkar brought in a copy of Wednesday’s Irish Times, which featured the story of the blast which killed nine people in August 1972, to a summit dinner on Wednesday evening.
SCOTTISH Tories would veto an extension the transition period in support of their fisherman, The Sun can reveal. Divorce talks have already agreed that the UK will remain part of the EU’s hated Commons Fisheries Policy as part of the so-called withdrawal phase. But one senior Scottish Tory saying another year “would be a red line for us.” Mrs May’s grip on the Commons relies on the 13 Scottish Tory MPs, with insiders telling The Sun: “We’ve already swallowed one extension to getting our waters back, we will not put up with another one.”
France and Germany have instructed Michel Barnier to be “more flexible” with Theresa May in a final push to solve the Irish border question. In a private session of European leaders on Wednesday night, Angela Merkel and President Macron urged Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, to give the prime minister legal guarantees that a deal with Europe will never impose a customs border in the Irish Sea. The German chancellor and French president fear that Mrs May will not be able to sell the compromises necessary to seal the deal to either her cabinet, the DUP or her own backbenchers.
The European Union’s two most senior officials have said any UK request for an extension to the Brexit transition period would be considered “positively” and likely be accepted. Commission president Jean Claude Juncker said that a longer transition was “probable” while council president Donald Tusk ointed out that a two-year period had already been accepted in principle by the 27 EU countries. It comes after Theresa May signalled on Thursday that she would consider extending the transition to allow more time for UK and EU negotiators to solve problems around post-Brexit relations, in particular on the Irish border.
EU leaders are preparing to back Theresa May in building a “coalition of the reasonable” in the UK parliament, in a desperate bid to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Following what has been described by diplomats as a “call for help” by the prime minister at a crunch summit in Brussels, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, stressed that the EU had to pursue “all avenues” to find a deal that can get through the Commons.“I think where there is a will there is a way,” she said. Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, said: “It will be done.”
The 27 EU leaders have decided to shelve plans for a special Brexit summit in November until “decisive progress” is made in talks. The decision, which was made after leaders met in Brussels on Wednesday night, is a blow for Theresa May, who had hoped to be able to negotiate face-to-face with her counterparts and bypass the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier. EU sources familiar with the meeting however told The Independent that the leaders did not believe enough progress had been made in discussions with the UK to move to a summit to wrap up a deal – following a briefing over dinner by their chief negotiator.
“A no-deal would be dangerous for Britain and the European Union,” Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has told the EU summit in Brussels. Speaking alongside the European Council president Donald Tusk he said: “I’m convinced that under the leadership of Donald, we’ll find a deal. “My working assumption is not that we will have a no-deal, a no-deal would be dangerous for Britain and the European Union.”
DONALD TUSK was caught on camera gesticulating wildly at a leading senior civil servant while attending a crunch summit in Brussels to discuss Brexit yesterday. Mr Tusk was arguing loudly with Secretary-General of the European Commission Martin Selmayr while heading to a press conference. The pair argued for over a minute before the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker intervened. The incident was caught on camera by reporters waiting for Mr Tusk and Mr Junker to give a joint press conference.
EU Council President Donald Tusk and the ambitious Secretary General to the European Commission, Martin Selmayr, appeared to have a blazing row prior to a press conference in Brussels today. Footage was tweeted out by the Daily Mail’s David Churchill and well, see for yourself:
European banks could be banned from trading in US markets if Brussels forces new reading trading rules on Brexit Britain. A top US regulator said the EU’s threats were ‘completely irresponsible’ and ‘wholly unacceptable’. Christopher Giancarlo, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said the EU should not be ordering rafts of regulatory changes. European Union financial regulators want more oversight of how markets outside the EU handle transactions customers inside the bloc. The rules are due to be in place before March and would apply to the City of London after Brexit.
Knife crime is the worst on record in England and Wales as drug turf wars and “county lines” gangs fuel violence. The number of killings soared to the highest level in a decade. Robbery, vehicle crime and burglary also rose as overall crime recorded by police jumped by almost 10 per cent to its highest level in 13 years. Gang violence linked to control of drug markets and more young offenders for whom carrying a weapon is normal are being blamed for the surge in “low volume, high harm” offences. Separate figures, also released yesterday, showed the proportion of offences resulting in a charge or summons in the same year fell to 8.7 per cent, down from 15 per cent in 2015.
The number of murders in the UK has soared by 14% as the number of knife crimes and robberies also rises. London is at the centre of fears of rising levels of violence, after the number of killings in the capital topped 100 this summer. But statistics released today show the number of homicides nationwide is up from 630 to 719, with overall recorded crime up by almost 10%. The number of offences registered as involving a knife or sharp instrument, 39,332, was the highest since 2011, when comparable records started. The data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed jumps in the numbers of recorded robberies (up 22%), sexual offences (up 18%), vehicle-related theft (up 7%) and burglaries (2%).
Police have recorded a 12% rise in knife crime in just a year, new figures show. Officers noted almost 40,000 knife or “sharp instrument” crimes in the 12 months to June as violent crime surged by 19% – which Labour branded the highest rise since 2011. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott declared: “These figures are truly shocking and must put an end to Tory austerity and police cuts. “You can’t keep the public safe on the cheap. The Tories are failing in their duty to protect the public and keep our citizens safe.” It comes amid fears over soaring knife crime and youth violence. Police recorded a 14% rise in murders after the rate fell for several years. Overall the number of crimes recorded by police in England and Wales increased by 9% in the year to June.
One in five adults in England and Wales experienced crime last year whilst London has hit its highest ever level of knife crime, according to statistics. For the year ending June 2018, homicide has risen by 14 percent, violent crime involving blades or knives by 12 percent, sexual offences by 18 percent, and robbery by 22 percent, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday. In addition, there were rises in theft (eight percent), burglary (two percent), and vehicle-related theft (seven percent) while there was a 30 percent increase in police-recorded public order offences.
Homicides and robberies are surging in England and Wales overall and London is now seeing the highest level of knife crime on record. That’s according to new data from the Office for National Statistics who have revealed that in the year ending June 2018, there was a 30% increase in public order offences, a 22% increase in robberies and homicides were up by 14%. On top of that there has been a 12% increase in offences involving a knife or sharp instrument. As the ONS make clear: “Excluding data from Greater Manchester Police, offences involving a knife or a sharp instrument are at the highest level recorded (39,332 offences) since comparable data began to be collected in April 2010.”
Stress-led absences in the NHS have risen by just under a fifth, new analysis shows. The number of staff absent due to stress, depression and anxiety has risen 17.6% between 2015/16 and 2017/18, according to statistics obtained by Labour through Freedom of Information. The equivalent of more than one million working days have been lost during this period. The majority of health boards, 10, showed an increase in these types of absences during that time, while four recorded a decrease. The figures show extensive fluctuations between areas with NHS Fife absences due to stress, depression, anxiety and other psychiatric illnesses up 39.4% between 2015/16 and 2017/18 and NHS recording the greatest decrease during the same period of a 30.4% drop.
The construction of High Speed 2 will cost 25 per cent more than similar rail projects in other countries, it was claimed yesterday, prompting further warnings that the scheme is too expensive. A report commissioned by HS2 Ltd, the government-owned company, is expected to show that costs are far higher than those for networks elsewhere because of population density, the cost of land and skills shortages. The conclusions risk casting a further shadow over the £55.7 billion project after repeated warnings that spending is at risk of spiralling out of control. The report by the auditors PWC is expected to be published by HS2 within weeks after being withheld for about two years.
The discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in Britain for three years will not push the beef industry back to the days of the 1990s, say farmers’ leaders, and is no risk to people. Yesterday all cattle movements around a farm in Aberdeenshire were halted as health experts moved in to seal off the premises and destroy all cattle with a direct connection to the animal that contracted bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Farmers’ representatives and meat industry officials said that it was an “isolated incident” and that although it was “disappointing” the case would not harm the £3 billion-a-year beef industry.
A case of mad cow disease has been confirmed on a farm in Scotland, officials revealed today. Routine testing found an animal which died on October 2 was infected and its four calves will now have to be put down as a safety precaution. One expert thinks the infection was caught from the animal’s food, suggesting other cows at the farm – believed to be in Huntly, Aberdeenshire – could be infected. The farm is on lockdown while officials investigate the source of the disease and the Scottish Government has confirmed the diseased animal did not go near the human food chain. If passed on to humans when they eat contaminated beef, BSE can cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) – a fatal, degenerative brain disorder.
A NEW case of mad cow disease has been discovered on a British beef farm. There is not believed to be a threat to humans and a probe at the farm in Aberdeenshire has now been launched. This is the first case of the disease in three years in the UK and the first confirmed in Scotland since 2008, it is understood. The last outbreak in Britain was in Wales in 2015 when the disease was discovered on a dead cow. The UK death toll from BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is currently at 177 since Stephen Churchill, 19, died of a fatal brain condition linked to mad cow disease in 1995.