Theresa May opened the door to a Brexit climb down today as she signalled she was ready to compromise with EU. The under-fire Prime Minister risked further alienating Leave-supporting Tories as she admitted her Chequers blueprint is “at the moment, the only plan on the table that delivers on the Brexit vote”. The Tory chief also indicated she was ready to ditch her withdrawal proposal if Brussels suggests a better route.
Theresa May has hinted she could concede further ground to the EU in Brexit negotiations, as she said her Chequers proposal “isn’t dead”. The prime minister was quizzed repeatedly on whether she would defy ardent Eurosceptics, including former Brexit secretary David Davis, who say the UK has already made too many concessions in exit talks. “If they’ve got counter-proposals, let’s hear what those counter-proposals are”, Mrs May told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
THERESA May has opened the door to abandoning her controversial soft Brexit Chequers plan. As the Tory conference started in Birmingham yesterday, the PM gave angry delegates hope by hinting there was “flexibility”. Meanwhile, Tories on all sides of the Brexit debate rallied round her after Boris Johnson launched his most personal attack yet. Marking the start of the Tories’ choppy annual conference in Birmingham, the under fire party leader told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show that a free trade deal is “at the heart of Chequers”.
Theresa May has signalled she may be willing to compromise further with the EU on her under-fire Chequers proposals for Brexit, risking anger from Tory eurosceptics. The prime minister used an interview at the opening of Conservative conference to urge Brussels to set out detailed concerns and bring forward counter proposals, referring to her own plans as the only ones available “at the moment”. The move risks further antagonising those in her party who want her Chequers plans dropped altogether, with both Boris Johnson and David Davis branding them unworkable on Sunday.
Theresa May has refused to rule out further compromises in order to broker a final deal with the EU, but hit back at Boris Johnson after the former foreign secretary questioned her belief in Brexit. The prime minister was asked repeatedly whether she was prepared to make further concessions to the EU after European leaders rejected her proposal in Salzburg earlier this month, saying it would risk the integrity of the EU single market.
Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has demanded Britain leave the EU on leave on ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious terms’ as he branded Theresa May‘s Chequers as a ‘dying duck’. Conservative backbenchers warned the PM that they do not want to see her ousted from Number Ten, but warned her that she must chuck her under-fire Brexit plan. Their comments, at a packed fringe meeting at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham, piles yet more pressure on Mrs May who is facing a Tory revolt on Brexit.
David Davis’s successor as Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, claims some in the EU want Britain “penalised” — but warns the country will not “crawl” for a deal. “If you walk around the corridors in Brussels, you hear all sorts of mutterings about how the UK must be penalised for leaving the EU, and the politicisation of Northern Ireland is part of that,” the Tory MP told The Sun, echoing similar comments by Boris Johnson, a possible rival for Theresa May’s premiership who Raab once backed as Tory leader.
The Foreign Secretary has warned the EU that it will stir Britain’s “Dunkirk spirit” if it tries to force a bad Brexit deal on Prime Minister Theresa May. Jeremy Hunt’s warning at the Conservative Party Conference came after he compared the EU to the Soviet Union. He said that if the bloc becomes a “prison” and punishes Britain for Brexit other countries will “want to escape.” Mr Hunt also invoked Margaret Thatcher as he told EU leaders that if they want to break up the UK by putting a border in the Irish Sea the answer is “No, no, no.”
The new Foreign Secretary has launched into a spirited defence of Brexiteers at the start of Tory Conference and even compared the EU to the USSR: “At the moment you, European friends, seem to think the way to keep the club together is to punish a member who leaves, not just with economic disruption, but even by breaking up the United Kingdom with a border down the Irish Sea… “The EU was set up to protect freedom – it was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving.
Nigel Farage should have been given a peerage and appointed chief Brexit negotiator after Britain voted to leave the EU, a Conservative MP has said. Wellingborough MP Peter Bone hailed the former UKIP leader, and insisted that “we would have been out by now” if Mr Farage had been leading talks with the EU. Speaking at a Leave Means Leave rally in Solihull – just 20 minutes from the official Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham – Mr Bone and Mr Farage joined forces with other prominent Brexit campaigners.
On the first day of the Conservative Conference Leave Means Leave, a prominent Brexit campaign group have been ramping up efforts to force the Prime Minister into ‘Chucking Chequers’. Speeches from Mr Brexit himself, Nigel Farage MEP, Andrea Jenkyns MP, Peter Bone MP and Labour Leave’s Brendan Chilton. Farage said: “It doesn’t matter where you come from, this issue of whether we get Brexit delivered is bigger than party politics”.
Jeremy Hunt warned Brussels against locking Britain in an EU “prison” yesterday as he sought to rally Tories behind Theresa May’s Chequers plan. The foreign secretary delighted Conservative activists with a confrontational address that compared the EU to the former Soviet Union and warned: “If you put a country like Britain in a corner, we don’t crumble. We fight.” He said that it was time for Brussels to change its approach and do a deal with Britain that would prevent a “wholly avoidable tragedy” for the whole continent.
The UK could be left with “no choice” but a no-deal Brexit if the EU tries to “lock us in” to a customs union, according to Dominic Raab. The Brexit secretary will tell his party’s conference later that any attempt “via the back door” will be met with the UK walking away. He will say the UK’s willingness to compromise is “not without limits”. Later, Chancellor Philip Hammond will attempt to look beyond Brexit in a speech about plans to raise salaries. Mr Raab – who has been a vocal supporter of Brexit – will say: “We are leaving the European Union in fact, not just in name.
Jeremy Hunt today likened the EU to a Soviet prison – warning that trying to lock Britain in could destroy the bloc. The Foreign Secretary made the striking comparison as he delivered a stark message that the UK would ‘fight’ if Brussels tried to block a fair divorce deal. He insisted the EU must learn the lessons of history and not try to keep countries in line with dirty tactics. Mr Hunt also issued a plea for Tories to come together behind Theresa May‘s Chequers plan, saying infighting only risked handing power to Jeremy Corbyn.
FOREIGN Secretary Jeremy Hunt sensationally compared the EU to the Soviet Union as he attacked Brussels’ hardline stance over Brexit. Mr Hunt, who campaigned for Remain in the 2016 referendum, made the shock remark as he addressed the Tory conference in Birmingham. Launching a broadside at Brussels, he told party members: “What happened to the confidence and ideals of the European dream? “The European Union was set up to protect freedom. It was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving.
Jeremy Hunt has likened the EU to Soviet Russia, accusing it of becoming “a prison” and vowing to “fight” for the Brexit deal Britain wants. In extraordinary rhetoric, the foreign secretary attacked EU leaders for turning their backs on the “confidence and ideals of the European dream”. Instead, he told the Conservative conference, Brussels appeared to “think the way to keep the club together is to punish a member who leaves”.
Italy’s powerful deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini said Saturday “I do not care” if the EU Commission rejects his budget plans. “No-one in Brussels can tell me it is not time,” the head of the populist League (Lega) party told a meeting in the Italian capital. “If Brussels says I cannot do it, I do not care, I will do it anyway,” the outspoken leader vowed. Italy’s new coalition government has drafted a budget that raises spending, pushes the public deficit target to around 2.4 percent of gross domestic product for the next three years, and probably hikes the public debt above its current level of 131 percent of GDP.
Voters in Northern Ireland believe that Theresa May will betray them over Brexit, a Times poll has found. Sixty per cent said they believed that the prime minister would not honour her promise to keep Northern Ireland exactly the same as the rest of the United Kingdom, with no border in the Irish Sea, according to the poll by LucidTalk. A further 26 per cent “have their doubts” that Mrs May would keep her promise. Only 12 per cent expressed full trust in her. One in three Democratic Unionist Party voters does not trust Mrs May to keep her promise, suggesting that the Northern Ireland party could face a backlash if there were any attempt by Mrs May to soften her position.
BORIS Johnson was today mocked after he called for a new BRIDGE which would connect Northern Ireland to mainland Britain. The top Brexiteer says building the 25-mile bridge over the Irish Sea would be a sign ministers still “believe in Britain” after we’ve left the EU. But Tory colleagues ridiculed the idea – saying it would result in “good headlines but not good policies”. Mr Johnson has previously suggested building a bridge which would run from western Scotland to Northern Ireland, claiming it would shore up the Union.
Tory Remain rebels today demanded a second referendum on Brexit – and floated the idea of a government of national unity to call it. Dominic Grieve, the former minister who rallied rebels to inflict a defeat on Brexit laws last year, warned there would be a ‘polite rebellion’ from pro-EU Tories. He said today there were now a ‘significant’ number of Conservative MPs prepared to back a new referendum for the first time. And he suggested that if Mrs May will not agree to hold another national vote, a cross-party alliance could seize power and force one.
Philip Hammond will announce plans to plough £125m of new funding into jobs and apprenticeships when he addresses party members at the Conservatives’ annual conference later today. The chancellor will tell the gathering in Birmingham that too many people feel they are “falling behind” after years of low wage growth. The fresh investment will be used to create more apprenticeships in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics – known collectively as STEM subjects.
Chancellor Philip Hammond will launch a Tory fightback on business and the economy with promises to boost apprenticeships and provide more help to small businesses. Four weeks before his next budget on 29 October, the chancellor will pledge to work with business to tackle low wages, job insecurity and spiralling house prices. It comes as Mr Hammond launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson, who used an interview in the Sunday Times to describe Theresa May’s Brexit policy as “deranged” and “preposterous”.
Boris Johnson was denounced as irrelevant and offensive from the platform of the Conservatives’ conference yesterday during a backlash over his criticism of Theresa May and her Brexit negotiations. The prime minister was in the audience as a former head of the CBI attacked Mr Johnson. Referring to his reported “f*** business” dismissal of industry’s concerns over Brexit, Lord Jones of Birmingham said: “It showed him up for the irrelevant and offensive person he really is.”
Philip Hammond launched an extraordinary attack on Boris Johnson in which he said the former foreign secretary would never be prime minister and is “incapable” of grown-up politics. The Chancellor mocked Mr Johnson’s accent and accused him of failing to grasp the “detail” of Brexit, adding his main political achievement was “Boris Bikes” when he was Mayor of London. He said Mr Johnson would fail if he attempted to become the next Conservative leader.
Theresa May will this week challenge both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn to back her plan for Brexit or risk “panic” and “chaos”. A close cabinet ally of the prime minister urged Tory eurosceptics and Labour to “think about the consequences of their actions” before committing to vote down Ms May’s deal. The senior Conservative figure told The Independent the PM was “finely attuned” as to what kind of deal would be acceptable to both parliament and the country, and that her Chequers plan was the closest to it anyone had come.
Boris Johnson has issued his strongest challenge to Theresa May to date, branding her Chequers plan “deranged” and “preposterous” before declaring: “Unlike the Prime Minister, I campaigned for Brexit… I believe in it”. In his first newspaper interview since resigning from the Cabinet over the Chequers blueprint for a ‘Soft Brexit’ — which would, he believes, render Brexit Britain an EU “vassal state” — the former Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary reiterated his warning that the May plan “surrenders control”.
Philip Hammond last night launched a blistering personal attack on Boris Johnson. He said the former foreign secretary was incapable of ‘grown-up’ politics and did not have a clue how his own proposal for a Brexit deal would work. On the eve of his speech to the Tory Party conference, the Chancellor also said Mr Johnson was doomed to fail in his bid to be the next Conservative prime minister. ‘I don’t expect it to happen,’ he told the Daily Mail in a candid and wide-ranging interview. Mr Hammond revealed he had repeatedly told Mr Johnson that his ‘Canada-style’ plan would not work – but Mr Johnson made no serious attempt to defend it.
CORBYNISTA plans to boot out moderate MPs could completely backfire and put extreme lefties at risk of losing their seats, it has been warned. Hard-left MPs who support the Labour boss – some of whom campaigned to make it easier to boot out moderate MPs – could themselves be targeted after a rule change at the party’s conference last week. Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, and the Corbyn-supporting MP Chris Williamson, could face open contests for the Labour nomination in the wake of new party rules, according to insiders, the Sunday Times reported.
A “significant” number of Tory MPs would be prepared to back a second referendum on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, a senior Conservative has said. Ex-attorney general Dominic Grieve said the prime minister was facing a “polite rebellion” of pro-EU Tories who think a new vote is “indispensable” to avoiding a damaging no-deal Brexit. Mr Grieve became one of the first senior Tories to break cover over the need for a new referendum earlier this year, telling The Independent it was the “only sensible way forward”. He has been joined by prominent backbenchers Anna Soubry, Justine Greening, Sarah Wollaston, Philip Lee and Guto Bebb – and South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen, who declared the Chequers plan was “dead” on Saturday.
REBEL pro-EU Tories are plotting to bring down Theresa May and install a cross-party government as a last resort to cancel Brexit, it emerged today. Ringleader Dominic Grieve has admitted he could back a new government, consisting of both Tory and Labour MPs, which would exist for the sole purpose of calling a second referendum. And he claimed as many as 100 Conservative MPs are prepared to support the move, which would see Mrs May kicked out of power and replaced by a stand-in PM. Furious Brexiteers accused the ex-minister of “rank disloyalty” over the apparent threat.
Leading Remainer Ruth Davidson has firmly rejected the possibility of a second EU referendum, saying she would be an “enormous hypocrite” for supporting one: “When it comes to the possibility of re-running referendums, I would be an enormous hypocrite if I said ‘just because there was one that I had lost as a Remainer we should immediately re-run it’ when I’ve spent four years in Scotland saying that Nicola Sturgeon shouldn’t get another one on independence because that’s one that I won…”
Foreign trawlers are electrocuting fish in one of Britain’s most important marine reserves and threatening other marine life, an investigation has found. Dutch “pulse fishing” vessels, which tow electrodes that fire electricity into the seabed to force fish out of the mud, have been fishing in the Dogger Bank special area of conservation (SAC). The pulses cause fish to spasm and spring up into nets but they can also break the spines of big cod. British fishermen say that the sea is a graveyard after a visit by the overseas boats.
Andrea Leadsom has questioned whether HS2 should go ahead, as cabinet unity over the project starts to crack. Greg Clark, the business secretary, and Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, defended plans for a second high-speed rail link in the face of calls from Boris Johnson that it be halted. Mrs Leadsom called during last week’s cabinet meeting for the £56 billion project to be scrapped, her allies confirmed yesterday. The leader of the House, who has long had concerns related to her South Northamptonshire constituency, is understood to be deeply worried about the project’s finances.
TORIES face a wave of “significant industrial action” by teachers if promised funding for schools is not in place by the end of the month, the NEU union warned at the weekend. The teachers’ union delivered its action warning as thousands demonstrated at the gates of the Tory conference in Birmingham yesterday to demand the nasty party “calls time” on failed austerity. Malfunctioning Maybots, vuvuzelas and a samba band led the demonstration, organised by the People’s Assembly and TUC, to demand a new deal for working people.