The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting a baby in the spring, Kensington Palace has announced.
Theresa May refused to endorse a draft Brexit deal negotiated by UK and EU officials on Sunday night amid fears that her Cabinet would fail to back the plan. British officials led by Ollie Robbins, the Government’s chief negotiator, are understood to have struck an agreement on a detailed proposal which would effectively mean Britain remains part of the EU’s customs union for the foreseeable future. It is the first time a Brexit blueprint had been agreed by both sets of negotiators. The EU had expected the Prime Minister to be prepared to announce the outline of a deal as soon as Monday and Dominic Raab, the Brexit Secretary, went to Brussels on Sunday for an unscheduled meeting with Michel Barnier.
Britain and the EU are yet to agree a Brexit deal, chief negotiator Michel Barnier said tonight, despite last-gasp talks with Dominic Raab in Brussels. Mr Barnier said that ‘despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open’ including measures to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Brexit Secretary Mr Raab spent around an hour and 15 minutes locked in discussions with Mr Barnier after making an unscheduled dash to the Belgian capital this afternoon.
A Brexit deal has not been struck despite “intense efforts” in Brussels on Sunday Michel Barnier has said. Reports claimed a “negotiator-level” agreement had been reached and Dominic Raab, the UK Brexit secretary, made a snap trip to Belgium to meet with Mr Barnier. But the EU’s chief negotiator later tweeted: “We met today @DominicRaab and UK negotiating team. Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open, including the backstop for IE/NI to avoid a hard border.” Mr Barnier said he would debrief the 27 remaining EU states and the European Parliament on the state of the negotiations.
BREXIT talks are on a knife-edge ahead of a crunch summit on Wednesday after a hastily-arranged meeting between Dominic Raab and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier failed to break the deadlock. The collapse means Prime Minister Theresa May is facing the very real prospect of no deal being reached by Wednesday’s deadline. The Irish border issue remains the sticking point and failure to agree on measures to prevent a hard border has thrown the timetable for reaching a Brexit deal into serious doubt. The surprise announcement of the meeting fuelled rumours a deal was set to be done ahead of this week’s summit of EU leaders.
The Brexit negotiations are on a knife-edge as Theresa May’s domestic vulnerability over the Irish border threatens to kill off hopes of an October deal, with the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, forced to make a dash to Brussels to seek more time from the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. Days before the crunch leaders’ summit at which the EU has demanded “maximum progress” be made to allow the talks to develop, Raab made the unexpected flying visit. He is understood to have told Barnier during a meeting that lasted just over an hour that the volatility of politics at home meant that a plan to strike an agreement on Monday on the backstop solution for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland was not possible.
Theresa May is fighting for the survival of her Chequers deal on several fronts, including within her cabinet. This is where the most senior ministers stand: ARDENT REMAINERS: The ministers most determined to secure a deal that ensures as little disruption as possible are Philip Hammond, the chancellor, Greg Clark, the business secretary, and David Gauke, the justice secretary. LOYALISTS: Some colleagues might say this is a group of quiet-lifers ducking a fight, but many respect the prime minister’s efforts to secure a deal within difficult constraints and are determined to help her. They include David Lidington, Mrs May’s deputy, Karen Bradley and James Brokenshire, her protégés, and mid-ranking ministers such as Damian Hinds.
David Davis urged the Cabinet to mutiny against Theresa May today amid signs that a Brexit deal could be close. As Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab headed to Brussels for face-to-face talks with Michel Barnier, Mr Davis accused the PM of ‘panicking’ and making ‘unacceptable’ concessions to the bloc. The scramble to strike a divorce agreement is entering its final frantic stretch before a crunch summit on Wednesday. Mrs May is thought to be trying to break the deadlock by proposing a new ‘backstop’ arrangement for the Irish border. The blueprint could mean the whole UK staying in the EU customs union ‘temporarily’ and accepting regulatory checks between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.
Theresa May is facing the biggest threat to her premiership with a two-pronged attack from warring Tories over her Brexit plan. Brexiteer Cabinet ministers will tonight plot over pizza how to kill it off, which could lead to her being toppled. In a second equally lethal threat, 44 letters demanding a vote of no confidence had by Sunday evening been submitted by Tory MPs. That is just four short of the number required to trigger a leadership contest. It comes as Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab returned empty-handed from urgent talks in Brussels last night – despite reports UK and EU negotiators had a technical deal.
The former Brexit secretary wants the prime minister to be presented with an ultimatum that her party will seek to remove her if she refuses to budge before Wednesday’s crunch EU summit. If she stands firm, Tory MPs will immediately trigger a leadership contest by sending in the required 48 letters calling for a vote of confidence in her, he is warning ministers. The dramatic ramping-up of pressure on Ms May – to switch to seeking a looser, Canada-style trade deal – comes as the chances of a breakthrough in the Brexit talks over the next few days faded.
Number 10 is stepping up a charm offensive to win over Tory MPs ahead of a crunch meeting in Brussels over Brexit later this week, sources have told The Telegraph. As Theresa May fights to keep her party and Cabinet together, sceptical MPs have been invited to Downing Street for a series of lunch and dinner meetings in a bid to ease fears about the Brexit talks. The Prime Minister is facing one of the most difficult weeks in her career to date, with the prospect of Cabinet resignations over plans for a backstop as part of the Brexit agreement, which critics fear could keep the UK tied into the customs union indefinitely.
No 10 will begin a two-day charm offensive today in an attempt to win sceptical backbenchers round to Theresa May’s Brexit plans. Brexiteer MPs have been invited in groups for lunch and dinner today and tomorrow after a weekend during which Conservative splits over Mrs May and her approach to negotiating with Brussels were laid bare. The meals are a resumption of the dinners at which aides tried to sell her Chequers plan before the Tory party conference. Sources at No 10 played down the idea that the dinners were linked to the European Council summit, which begins on Wednesday.
The Brexit divorce deal mooted by Theresa May will not include a hard date for leaving the EU customs union, a Cabinet minister admitted today. Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted the compromise on the ‘backstop’ to avoid a hard Irish border would be ‘time-limited’ and ‘temporary’. But he made clear that did not mean there had to be a fixed end date – saying that other ‘conditions’ could be included. The comments will fuel growing anger among Tory Eurosceptics at what they see as Mrs May bowing to demands from the EU. David Davis today urged the Cabinet to step in and stop the concessions going ahead – while Boris Johnson said he fears the worst national humiliation since Suez more than six decades ago.
Theresa May will not insist on an “end date” for the UK staying in the EU customs territory, a cabinet minister has admitted – raising the risk of resignations within days. Instead, looser “conditions” could be set to try to convince pro-Brexit Tories that the country will not be locked into a union for many years to come, Matt Hancock said. The health secretary also insisted he saw “absolutely no reason” why Tuesday’s crunch cabinet meeting would spark walkouts over the plan – but admitted he could not rule that out. Up to nine cabinet ministers are believed to oppose the prime minister’s “backstop” proposals, to avoid a hard border in Ireland, unless they include a set date for the UK’s escape.
Ministers have been told to start implementing plans for a no-deal Brexit within weeks as last-ditch talks in Brussels between Britain and the EU broke up after little more than an hour. Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, travelled to Brussels yesterday for an unscheduled meeting with his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, amid speculation that officials on both sides had reached agreement over the so-called Irish backstop. But Theresa May’s hopes of sealing a deal at the summit in Brussels that starts on Wednesday were left on a knife-edge when both sides declared that there had been no consensus.
DUP leader Arlene Foster is primed to trigger a no-deal Brexit and sink Theresa May, leaked government emails suggest. The head of Northern Ireland’s biggest party believes Britain is now likely to leave without a deal, according to the exchange. Mrs Foster had a “difficult and hostile” exchange with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier last week, according to bombshell emails between senior UK officials. And with the DUP currently propping up Mrs May’s government, their 10 MPs could now collapse Downing Street’s Brexit plans with Mrs Foster “ready” to lead the rebellion.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab flew to Brussels on Sunday for unscheduled talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier – but “key issues” remain despite speculation a deal had been reached. News of the talks fuelled reports that a divorce agreement may be close ahead of Wednesday’s crunch summit of European leaders. Politico went as far as citing unnamed diplomats as saying a deal was done. But speaking afterwards, Mr Barnier said: “Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open.” These issues, including avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, are now unlikely to be resolved ahead of the summit.
EU leaders are preparing to hold an extraordinary “no deal” Brexit summit in November to deal with the potential consequences of the UK crashing out of the bloc should Theresa May fail to deliver decisive progress on the Irish border issue this week, the Guardian can reveal. A special meeting of heads of state and government at which the EU had hoped to sign off on the Brexit negotiations next month may instead be turned into an emergency summit to discuss the bloc’s response to a cliff-edge Brexit. The plan is likely to pile further pressure on the British prime minister by illustrating the EU’s seriousness about allowing the UK to crash out if the alternative were a deal that would undermine the integrity of the single market or prove unacceptable to the Republic of Ireland.
EU BREXIT negotiator Michel Barnier has said “key issues” remain unsolved between Brussels and the UK after “intense” Brexit talks with Dominic Raab. With less than six months until the UK leaves the Brussels bloc, Brexit negotiators are yet to reach a deal over the UK’s exit from the EU after a flurry of crisis meetings were held when Mr Raab rushed to Brussels for talks with Mr Barnier. Folllowing a tense showdown, Mr Barnier posted on Twitter “despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open” including measures to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies became the latest European party to be caught up in the political upheaval sweeping the continent as they suffered historic losses in regional elections on Sunday. The Christian Social Union (CSU), which has ruled Bavaria for more than 60 years, recorded its worst result since 1950 and will be forced to find a coalition partner if it is to remain in power. But for once it was not the populist Right that inflicted the heaviest wounds, but the centre-Left in the form of the Green Party which more than doubled its vote.
Disabled children left brain damaged at birth have won a total of more than £100 million in NHS compensation within the space of 24 hours. The High Court approved settlements in 11 cases on Monday and Tuesday last week, with payouts totalling more than £100 million. The figure reflects the increased awards being paid out to negligence victims. These are two to three times what they used to be and one was for a record £37 million. Lawyers say that the larger payouts are the result of a government decision to alter the way that the awards are calculated. Ministers are now urgently seeking to reverse the changes.
Elderly people could be prescribed ballroom dancing or cookery classes on the NHS to help combat loneliness, Theresa May will announce today. Instead of doling out pills, GPs will be encouraged to refer lonely people for social activities – which could also include walking clubs or art groups. The plan is part of a landmark ‘loneliness strategy’ being launched today amid concerns the problem is now a serious public health threat. Figures suggest that 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.
Tens of thousands of Brits are to be switched to cheaper drugs to save the NHS £150million. NHS patients prescribed Adalimumab for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis will get new versions of the medication from December. Health bosses say the cost cutting is needed to save hospitals from financial collapse. Adalimumab is the single medicine on which the NHS spends the most, at a cost of more than £400million a year. Switching to copycat versions of the drug is expected to save the NHS £150million a year by 2021, depending on the prices that are agreed for them.
A senior master at Eton is joining forces with teachers from other top public schools to launch their own sixth-form institution to address “unaffordable” private education. Joe Francis, who is also a former headmaster of Hampton Court House School, plans to set up the school for 250 students in London by 2020. He has teamed up with teachers from the £39,750-a-year Winchester College and the £42,680-a-year Dulwich College to cater for middle-class families who are no longer able to pay the cost of tuition fees.
Senior Labour figures have played down claims that the party would scrap the universal credit system, a week after John McDonnell said that it would have to go. Theresa May has come under pressure to provide extra funding for the scheme, while Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, privately said that “some people will be £200 a month worse off”. Last week Mr McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, suggested that the “iniquitous” system was beyond reform.
Labour has rowed back from its pledge to scrap the troubled universal credit benefits shake-up, suggesting it might simply rework it – and change its name. Shami Chakrabarti, the shadow attorney general, described John McDonnell’s vow to axe the new system – made just one week ago – as “dramatic language” that sounded like “a change of policy”. “Whether you end up changing the name of a benefit, or changing the structure of a benefit, in the end what’s important is the end of austerity and people having the money they need to live,” she told Sky News.
Too many troops are filling their boots, rather than marching in them, according to figures revealing that almost one in ten is obese. Almost 18,000 servicemen and women are obese according to responses to freedom of information requests, while more than 30,000 are overweight. Some have type 2 diabetes and others have been given fitness trackers to encourage a healthier lifestyle. The test to join the army is renowned for putting recruits through their paces, but the findings suggest that many of those in active service are not so active. The data shows that in July there were 8,662 obese soldiers in the army, while 4,666 Royal Navy and 4,274 Royal Air Force personnel were also obese, out of about 190,000.
If you think mutant soldiers with unstoppable physical and mental powers sound like nothing more than science fiction, you may be in for a shock. A chilling Government report today warns that the breeding of genetically-modified troops could be a reality within a generation. The creation of bionic soldiers would allow countries to increase their military capability and improve performance of fighting forces. Within 30 years, mutant soldiers could be able to lift huge weights and run at high speeds over extreme distances, the report by the Ministry of Defence’s think-tank says. They could also have infra-red night vision and be capable of transmitting their thoughts through electronically-aided telepathy.
Government advisers have been tasked with setting out a strategy to virtually eliminate carbon emissions within 30 years, following a warning that “unprecedented” action is needed to tackle climate change. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) will establish whether the UK needs to completely overhaul its current emissions targets, and what needs to be done to achieve this transition. Environmental groups welcomed the move as a crucial step forward, but cautioned that any new goals must be sufficiently ambitious to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Global warming will release deadly diseases that have been trapped in the ice caps for tens of thousands of years, an Oxford academic has warned. The world’s leading climate scientists said last week that there were only 12 years left to act to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C. The slightest increase beyond this will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people, according to the UN report. Peter Frankopan, professor of global history and director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, said there is “absolutely no chance” that nation states will keep below the 1.5-degree increase.