Tony Blair has unveiled his blueprint for stopping Brexit and revealed how he plans to use the NHS, jobs and living standards to make the case for a second referendum or fresh General Election. The former Prime Minister today published a 32-page document claiming that Brexit is already damaging Britain’s economy by hitting productivity, increasing food prices and deterring investment. It is likely to form the basis of a carefully orchestrated campaign by Mr Blair and other leading Remain politicians to secure a second referendum on Brexit as the exit date of March 29, 2019 approaches. However Lord Lamont, a former Tory Chancellor and prominent eurosceptic, said that Mr Blair is “delusional” and branded his blueprint as “project fear mark two”. Several of the document’s key assertions were contradicted.
Tony Blair has warned the rest of Europe that there could be more populist uprisings and countries breaking away from the EU if they do not deal with issues such as Muslim migration and integration. He used an interview with a German newspaper to say that the anxieties that led to Brexit are not confined to Britain and also urges other EU countries to “seize the moment” or face a populist backlash. Mr Blair has used his latest intervention, in an essay and a series of interviews, to reaffirm his desire to stop Britain leaving and to warn of its consequences and the limitations of Theresa May’s approach.
Controversial former prime minister Tony Blair has embarrassed the so-called ‘Remain Resistance’ by repeating debunked claims that the Brexit vote has created “significant staff shortages in the NHS”. In an interview on the January 4th edition of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, the Iraq War architect reiterated old claims of a ‘Brexodus’ of EU nurses from Britain’s socialised government-run health service as a result of the vote to Leave the European Union, in an attempt to buttress his arguments for a second referendum. However, investigations by Ross Clark for The Daily Mail and Mark Tinsley for BrexitCentral have found that, while the number of EU nurses being registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council has fallen, the number of EU staffers in the NHS is still rising overall, and currently stands at an all-time high.
TONY Blair has sparked a furious backlash after telling Britons its not too late to reverse Brexit and calling for a second referendum. The arch-Remainer said the decision to leave the EU would torpedo Britain’s remaining global clout and be regretted for generations to come. Mr Blair, Labour prime minister from 1997 to 2007, said Britain would be poorer and weaker, and he warned Theresa May had solved none of the problems over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit status. The 64-year-old wrote on his website: “2018 will be the last chance to secure a say on whether the new relationship proposed with Europe is better than the existing one.” And in an interview on Radio 4 he told John Humphrys Britain needed a second referendum because people “didn’t know what the terms of the new relationship will be”. Mr Blair’s comments have sparked fury on social media with people blasting the former Labour leader and telling him to respect the will of the people. Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage led the attacks, with a simple tweet highlighting Mr Blair’s past record on speculation.
Lord Andrew Adonis has urged Jeremy Corbyn to call for a second referendum so the British public can have their say on the final Brexit deal. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the former Labour Transport Secretary said it would become “increasingly difficult” for Mr Corbyn to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Theresa May on Brexit. Instead he called on the Labour leader to endorse a second referendum so the electorate could decide whether they want to accept the final trade deal with the European Union or opt to stay in the trade bloc. “I’m rather hoping that Jeremy Corbyn will move in the direction of a referendum on the final terms, because it is going to become increasingly difficult for him to stand shoulder to shoulder with Theresa May when the living standards of ordinary and hardworking Brits are being trashed,” Lord Adonis told The Independent. The comments come as Lord Adonis’s former boss, Tony Blair, launched a ferocious attack on Labour’s “confusing” stance on Brexit. The former Prime Minister described the party’s current position as “mistaken” and warned that voters would not find Mr Corbyn’s approach “credible”.
President Emmanuel Macron of France has warned of the risk of splits emerging between EU states over Brexit negotiations in an implicit admission that Europe’s “united front” over phase two of talks is under threat. Speaking to The Telegraph at the Elysée Palace, Mr Macron warned fellow EU leaders not to fall for the “prisoner’s dilemma” – a notorious paradox in game theory in which two parties act out of individual self-interest and both lose out in the process. Mr Macron’s comments were a French clarion call for unity as Brussels pleads with the remaining 27 EU states not to allow individual self-interest to trump common goals in the coming trade negotiations. His remarks came despite France aggressively prosecuting it’s own Brexit agenda to erode UK dominance in financial services, including planning what the Financial Times this week dubbed a “raid” on the UK’s £8tn asset management.
Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, is set to meet the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, to represent “the views of the 17.4 million”. Farage has called on people to tweet questions with the hashtag “askbarnier” before Monday’s meeting in Brussels. Speaking in a Twitter video Farage said: “Who is in there representing the views of the 17.4 million? Nobody. Well I’ve finally got my meeting with Mr Barnier, it’s going to happen 11am next Monday morning in Brussels, but I want to involve you. “I want you to ask your questions directly to Michel Barnier, so respond, give me your name, give me your home town, give me one question use the hashtag askbarnier and I’ll pick the best three.”
NIGEL Farage is to hold talks with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator next week, it has emerged. The Ukip MEP is expected to meet Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday to discuss the UK’s departure process and the continuing wrangle over a trade deal. Mr Farage, who heads a Euro-sceptic grouping in the European Parliament, requested the meeting after a string of British politicians including ex-Lib Dem leader Sir Nick Clegg and pro-Brussels Tory MP Kenneth Clarke. In his letter to Mr Barnier, the former Ukip leader wrote: “As you appear to be conducting a series of meetings with UK political figures on the issue of Brexit, I wish to make a request. “It seems that you are listening to a group of people who want to stop or delay Brexit. “I will come to speak for the 17.4 million who did not vote for a transition deal or any further delays and whose resolve is getting stronger.”
Michel Barnier’s adviser, Stefaan De Rynck, has demanded that Nigel Farage “tone it down” after he asked Leave voters to submit their questions for the EU’s Chief Negotiator. Farage is now due to meet with Barnier on Monday, with Britain’s Brexit hero crowd-sourcing questions using the hashtag #AskBarnier. That doesn’t seem to have gone down well with Michel Barnier’s adviser Stefaan De Rynck who is now attempting to play down the meeting, though he did say that he’s “looking forward” to hearing Nigel’s views on the Brexit negotiations. Actively engaging the public in democracy clearly not something those in Brussels are keen to promote!
The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has agreed to meet Nigel Farage, a move critics described as “like sending an arsonist to put out a house fire”. The former UKIP chief is still an MEP and heads the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) political group in the European Parliament, which allows him access to the process. Three months after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn presented Mr Barnier with an Arsenal shirt, Mr Farage wrote to Mr Barnier asking him for a meeting. “As you appear to be conducting a series of meetings with UK political figures on the issue of Brexit, I wish to make a request,” he said. “It seems that you are listening to a group of people who want to stop or delay Brexit. “I will come to speak for the 17.4 million who did not vote for a transition deal or any further delays and whose resolve is getting stronger,” he concluded.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is to meet the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator in Brussels next Monday. He wrote to Michel Barnier in October to request a meeting, the day after Mr Barnier met three high-profile pro-EU politicians from the UK. Mr Farage said Mr Barnier was listening to people “who want to stop or delay Brexit” while he would represent the 17.4 million who voted for it. The two men will meet on Monday at the European Commission headquarters. The MEP confirmed he had “finally got my meeting with Monsieur Barnier” in a video on Twitter, in which he asked his followers to send in their questions for Mr Barnier and said he would pick the best three.
Eurosceptic Tories are urging Theresa May to remove Philip Hammond from the Treasury in next week’s reshuffle to prevent him ‘frustrating’ Brexit. The Chancellor was widely seen to have saved his job with a well-received Budget in November in which he set aside £3 billion to help prepare the UK for leaving the EU. But some Tory MPs are still urging Mrs May to sack him, warning that his lukewarm stance on Brexit risks wrecking the Government’s central mission. One senior Eurosceptic said: ‘All that matters in the reshuffle is that she moves the Chancellor. ‘She has the authority to do it and she must. No government ever succeeds if the prime minister and chancellor are at daggers drawn. ‘Their relationship seems so poisonous that we will end up in a situation where the government cannot function.
The number of people hospitalised by flu has tripled in a week, according to new figures showing the full scale of a deepening NHS crisis. The statistics show one in four patients admitted to hospital with influenza is suffering from the deadliest strain – dubbed “Aussie flu” – heaping pressure on intensive care units. GPs last night said they were “flooded” with cases of flu, with patients “waiting in reception for hours” and queues continuing long into the night. And the statistics show the NHS 111 service became overwhelmed in the approach to new year – with one in five callers – more than 22,000 patients – giving up in despair on the busiest day. Meanwhile, the number of patients stuck in ambulances outside hospitals for at least an hour doubled in one week, while almost 17,000 faced delays of at least half an hour. Health officials last night urged all those eligible for flu vaccinations to come forward. The latest statistics suggest around 4.5 million people in England are suffering “influenza-like symptoms”.
The NHS is bracing itself for a flu epidemic following a surge in cases at hospitals and GP surgeries. The number of patients admitted to hospital with the virus have trebled in a week and family doctors say they are overwhelmed. Last night, health officials urged the public to follow basic hygiene principles such as washing their hands and disinfecting stair railings and doors. They are particularly worried because France has already declared a flu epidemic and the virus has claimed 31 lives since November. Many patients there are succumbing to the same flu strain, H3N2, which was responsible for the worst flu outbreak in Australia for a decade. Hospitals here are already under pressure following a surge in A&E admissions after Christmas.
THE NHS crisis deepened last night as flu deaths doubled in a week. And the number of people admitted to intensive care with the lethal strain of Aussie flu has also soared. Officials revealed 48 people have now been killed by flu this winter – 23 of them in the last week. This comes as an arctic snap currently sweeping America is set to fuel an icy blast in the UK. Experts are warning the cold blast in the US will cause a chilly front in the UK. Below-zero temperatures are predicted for much of the UK, with snow showers likely to hamper the North. Public Health England urged people to prepare for the cold and keep an eye on the vulnerable.
Thousands of patients languished in ambulances last week because A&Es were too full to take them, as hospital chaos led Conservative MPs to demand new taxes to fund the NHS. One in eight patients arriving by ambulance had to wait at least half an hour before hospitals could see them, amid concerns that frail patients dialling 999 would face long delays because paramedics were stuck in A&E. Flu sent three times as many patients to hospital over Christmas as the week before, raising questions over how the NHS would cope with the rest of the winter. Flu admissions for Christmas week were also three times that of the same period last year.
Teacher training applicants have fallen by a third in a year, the latest figures show. Head teachers’ leaders blamed concerns over classroom stress and accountability, and confusion about routes into the profession, for the drop. By mid-December 12,820 people had applied for postgraduate routes into teaching starting this autumn. This compares with 19,330 people at the same stage in 2016 and 20,330 in 2015. The decrease of 6,510 between 2017 and 2016 equates to 33 per cent. The government has missed its teacher-recruitment targets for the past five years despite spending hundreds of millions of pounds on training new teachers. Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, described the figures as disastrous.