Leading intellectuals are fighting back against the false caricature that Brexit backers are stupid, it emerged yesterday. Some 40 economists, lawyers, philosophers, historians, scientists, policy experts and financiers are signed up as contributors to the Briefings for Brexit website. The independent and self-funding site www.briefingsforbrexit.com will publish analysis and opinions on crucial aspects of the debate, including the positive potential of leaving the European Union. A mission statement declares: “There is a prevailing media view that all sensible and informed people oppose Brexit. It has even become quite commonplace to associate support for Brexit with low levels of education and intellect and to claim that reason and thought inevitably lead to an anti-Brexit view. “This is simply not true. Moreover, it is divisive and tends to undermine democratic legitimacy.
There will be “a crisis in British politics” if MPs vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the European Parliament‘s chief Brexit negotiator has warned. On the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Guy Verhofstadt went on to predict such a defeat could lead Britain to elect a new government with a different position on Brexit. Asked what would happen if British politicians voted against whatever deal the Prime Minister negotiates with the European Union, Mr Verhofstadt said the UK would leave the EU “without any arrangement”. “There will be, I presume, a crisis in British politics,” he said. ”I presume maybe an election, maybe after that election a new government and maybe a new position of that government on Brexit. “That’s unknown territory.”
A final Brexit deal could still be voted down by the European Parliament, triggering a crisis in British politics, its chief negotiator warned yesterday. Guy Verhofstadt said if MEPs – or even British MPs – voted against whatever agreement is reached, the UK would fall into ‘unknown territory’. He said such a situation might lead to a change in government and a ‘new position of that government on Brexit’. In a provocative interview yesterday, the Belgian MEP also insisted Britain would have to accept that EU migrants who came here during the transition period would have the right to stay. Ministers want the cut-off date to be March 29 next year, after which new arrivals would have to register.
Theresa May’s demand that EU nationals coming to the UK during a Brexit transition deal should enjoy fewer rights than those already in the country would amount to “penalising citizens”, Guy Verhofstadt has said. Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, said May was “not very serious” when she proposed the idea. He said: “It’s not acceptable for us that rules will continue without change for financial services, for goods, for whatever other business, and only for the citizens, their situation will change. That is penalising citizens.” He added: “For us that is not acceptable. We do not even want to be talking about it.” The Belgian MEP was equally blunt when asked about UK hopes for a final deal that would mean different arrangements for different sections of the economy. “That will not be the outcome of these negotiations. It cannot be the outcome.”
Theresa May was warned today that Britain will automatically crash out of the EU next year if she fails to offer a workable deal to Brussels. Senior MEP Guy Verhofstadt said Britain’s red lines in the negotiations were dramatically narrowing the options for a deal. He said he had backed Britain staying in the EU single market, the customs union or an existing associate membership model – but that all had been rejected in London. Mrs May used a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday night to insist the negotiations were not a ‘one way street’. Formal talks on the transition period are due to come to a head next month with a series of major obstacles still to be finalised.
THERESA May could be ousted if her Brexit deal is voted down, and replaced by a new government with a different Brexit stance, veteran eurocrat Guy Verhofstadt speculated yesterday (Sunday). The former Belgian Prime Minister appeared to sound as if he relished the prospect of having a UK administration that was more likely to agree to a softer, or even no, Brexit. He is chief Brexit negotiator at the European Parliament, which will have a vote on the outcome of Britain’s talks with Brussels. Asked what would happen if MEPs or British MPs voted down the deal, he said: “Then there is Brexit on the 29th of March (next year) without any arrangements. “But I presume if that is happening, for example, the UK Parliament voting down the deal, there will be, I presume, a crisis in British politics. “I presume maybe an election. Maybe after that election a new government, and maybe a new position of that new government on Brexit. “That’s unknown territory.”
Boris Johnson and Liam Fox were accused by the technology sector of showing a “fundamental misunderstanding” of EU rules. The chief executives of the British and American tech industry associations wrote to Dr Fox, the international trade secretary, to warn that Britain should not diverge from the EU’s rules on data. He and Mr Johnson, the foreign secretary, have suggested that Britain may do this to secure trade deals with other countries, including the United States. Julian David, chief executive of TechUK, told The Times that the ministers’ view was “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how EU rules on data protection work and is not the view of businesses at the cutting edge of tech innovation”.
Jeremy Corbyn will disappoint Labour MPs expecting a clearer commitment to remain in a customs union with the EU after a meeting of senior shadow ministers today. Backbenchers had believed that Mr Corbyn would agree that Britain should stay in a customs union at a meeting of the shadow cabinet in a move that would have sharpened the divide between the two main parties on trade talks with Brussels. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, all but confirmed such a move when she told Peston on Sunday on ITV that Labour believed a form of customs union was the only way to avoid a hard border with Ireland.
Jeremy Corbyn faced growing pressure to shift Labour to a full anti-Brexit stance today. The Labour leader is being confronted by calls from 20,000 party members demanded a stronger say on the party’s Brexit policy. Meanwhile ex-leader Neil Kinnock called on Mr Corbyn to stop Brexit to save the NHS from disaster. Since the referendum Mr Corbyn and Labour have insisted Brexit must be delivered but maintained ambiguous policy on exactly how it should be done. Mr Corbyn is facing growing calls to at least commit his party to staying inside the EU single market and customs union in a similar set up to Norway. Brexiteers believe this is worse than EU membership as most rules from the Brussels bloc would be imposed without any British input on writing them.
Labour MPs were paid up to £10,000 for secret meetings with Cold War spies, a former agent has claimed as he revealed they threw him a “farewell party” when he was kicked out of Britain. Jan Sarkocy, a Czech spy based in London in the 1980s, says he was in contact with 15 of the party’s representatives including Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Livingstone, while John McDonnell was regularly meeting a KGB agent. The claims have been vigorously denied and Mr Corbyn has labelled him a “fantasist”. He has now claimed that those in Parliament who acted as informants to his secret service – the Statni Bezpecnost or StB – were paid between £1,000 and £10,000.
Labour MPs were paid up to £10,000 to meet Eastern Bloc agents during the Cold War, an ex-spy claimed last night. Jan Sarkocy said at least 15 senior Labour figures had shared information with him in the late 1980s. Some pocketed between £1,000 and £10,000 per meeting but still wanted more, he alleged. The former Czech spy, who met Jeremy Corbyn at the time, claimed the MPs ‘wanted big bucks for giving us help’. His latest comments prompted calls for an official probe into the allegations. Mr Corbyn vehemently denies Mr Sarkocy’s claim he was a paid informant of the Czech secret police.
Theresa May will on Monday attack Britain’s “outdated attitude” to university education as she says too many people take degrees and are charged too much money for their courses. The Prime Minister will suggest that snobbery towards vocational training has created a belief that it is “something for other people’s children” as she aims to create parity between academic and technical education for over-18s. Announcing a review of tertiary education and university funding, Mrs May will admit that the current system of tuition fees is not working because the amount students pay for their courses bears no relation to the “cost or quality of their course”.
Theresa May will admit that the current system of tuition fees is no longer working as she delivers a major speech pledging to overhaul post-18 education with a review of the entire system. In an attempt to defuse the political damage inflicted on the Conservative Party since 2010 over the toxic issue of trebling tuition fees with younger voters across England, the Prime Minister will say that the system of variable fees has not resulted in the “competitive market” originally envisaged. Instead, Ms May will accept: “We now have one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world.” Setting out details of a long-promised government-led review into post-18 education – due to conclude in early 2019 – Ms May will outline how she also aims to break down the “false boundaries” and warn against the “outdated attitudes” that favour academic over technical qualifications.
Theresa May will today condemn the ‘outdated attitude’ that university is the best option for all school-leavers. In a speech challenging snobbery around skills training, she will criticise the notion that technical courses are ‘for other people’s children’. The Prime Minister will also say she accepts that tuition fees are very high and that many graduates do not get a good return on their investment. The Government is launching a wholesale review of the post-18 education system and the funding of universities. An independent team, which is expected to report early next year, will: Examine different fee levels for different courses, with the cost of arts and social sciences likely to fall; Consider publishing data on the likely financial benefits to students of different qualifications; Investigate the possible return of a student grant system; Look at two-year degree courses and part-time options where students can work at the same time.
Poorer students will be locked out of more lucrative careers if Theresa May forces universities to cut fees for arts and social science courses, experts warn today. The prime minister will prepare the ground for cuts to the cost of courses with lower earning potential as she admits in a speech today that the current system is broken. However, her plans came under immediate attack, with the former education secretary Justine Greening saying they risked damaging social mobility. With all but a few students paying the maximum £9,250 a year in fees, and the average student leaving university with debts of about £50,000, Mrs May will admit Britain has “one of the most expensive systems of university tuition in the world”.
Gerard Batten, a London MEP, made an early pitch to become Ukip’s fifth leader in 18 months yesterday, proposing to limit new mosques and claiming that a “significant minority” of Muslims held extremist views. He took over as acting leader after Henry Bolton lost a membership ballot at the weekend called in the aftermath of his affair with Jo Marney. Mr Bolton, a former army officer, told party members that he had “strong affections” for Ms Marney, who had sent racist messages regarding Meghan Markle. His comprehensive defeat — some 63 per cent of Ukip members at Saturday’s extraordinary general meeting said that he should quit — would appear to condemn the party to three months of internal wrangling.
Ukip’s new interim leader has insisted he was ‘factually and historically right’ to brand Islam a ‘death cult’. Gerard Batten faced condemnation less than 24 hours after taking the helm of Ukip following the sacking of Henry Bolton. The London MEP said Islam was fuelled by ‘dark ages ideologies’ and claimed many Muslim migrants to the UK believed in a literal interpretation of the Koran. He claimed new arrivals to Britain should be obliged to sign an agreement rejecting this view. Mr Batten, a member of the European Parliament elected in London, was thrust into the spotlight yesterday after Mr Bolton was sacked by Ukip members.
Ukip’s interim leader has defended calling Islam a “death cult”, saying the statement is “factually and historically true”. Gerard Batten, an MEP for London, took over as temporary leader on Saturday after Henry Bolton lost a vote of no confidence 867 votes to 500. Mr Bolton had come under fire for his relationship with 25-year-old model Jo Marney, who reportedly made racist remarks about Prince Harry’s fiance Meghan Markle and called Grenfell Tower a “nest of illegal immigrants”. Anti-racism campaigners have raised concerns about Mr Batten assuming the role of interim leader. In the wake of the Westminster attack he described Islam as a “death cult, born and steeped in fourteen hundred years of violence and bloodshed, that propagates itself by intimidation, violence and conquest”.
UKIP’s interim leader has told his ousted predecessor not to “waste his time” by running for the job again, as the party prepares itself for yet another leadership contest. Speaking the day after Henry Bolton lost a no confidence motion at an extraordinary general meeting of party members, Gerard Batten told Sky News he should have gone weeks ago as his position was “untenable”. Mr Bolton had been clinging on after a revolt by several senior party figures over his relationship with model Jo Marney. He admitted he still had “strong affections” for the 25-year-old, who resigned from UKIP following allegations she had sent racist text messages about Prince Harry’s fiancee Meghan Markle. On the eve of his dismissal Mr Bolton told Sky News he was quietly confident – and compared the scrutiny of his personal life to that experienced by the late Princess Diana.
Sacked Ukip leader Henry Bolton was spotted out on the town with his ex-girlfriend Jo Marney today less than 24 hours after he was ousted over the relationship. Witnesses told MailOnline the couple appeared to be very much still together – despite Mr Bolton insisting repeatedly he had broken off the relationship. Mr Bolton, 54, and Ms Marney were spotted drinking red wine together at the Rose and Crown pub near Hyde Park this afternoon. The couple spent more than an hour together at the central London bar, making little secret of their continuing affections. Mr Bolton was sacked as Ukip leader yesterday by party members disgusted that he had left his wife and children for the 25-year-old glamour model. The couple had repeatedly insisted the relationship was over after it emerged Ms Marney had sent a tirade of racist messages to a friend.
OUSTED UKIP leader Henry Bolton is seen getting cosy again with racist girlfriend Jo Marney a day after getting the boot. Eye witnesses said the pair appeared devoted to one another as they spent Sunday smooching in a quiet nook of the Rose & Crown boozer near Hyde Park, London. Mr Bolton, 54, had claimed to have ditched model Jo, 25, as he tried to shore up support ahead of Saturday’s no confidence vote in Birmingham which he lost. But yesterday they seemed very much in love after Mr Bolton pledged to spend time “sorting out” his private life. The show of unity came hours after Jo took to Twitter to pledge her undying love for the fallen leader.