Theresa May’s efforts to strike a Brexit peace deal with her cabinet were plunged into chaos yesterday amid infighting and mounting suspicions over a compromise on customs. The prime minister has only three days left to cajole her most senior ministers into accepting Britain’s detailed negotiating stance before the final phase of talks in Brussels this summer. The atmosphere at Westminster last night was so febrile that it was described by one senior Tory as “a bit end of days” as No 10 arranged face-to-face talks with senior ministers before their meeting at Chequers on Friday.
Theresa May came under pressure to spell out her new “third way” customs proposals on a day when Conservative differences over the country’s post-Brexit future spilled into the open ahead of a crucial cabinet summit. Downing Street indicated it had produced a fresh model for the UK’s post-Brexit trading arrangements but would not supply details ahead of Friday’s Chequers away day with some cabinet members complaining they had not seen it. The new idea was outlined early on Monday morning but the prime minister made only a passing reference to it when she appeared in the Commons.
Tory MPs have erupted into public warfare over Brexit as Theresa May prepares for a crunch showdown with her own Cabinet. The Prime Minister today faced a new threat to topple her at the hands of Jacob Rees-Mogg – the powerful leader of Hard Brexit-backing MPs. He warned she could suffer the same fate ousted Tory Robert Peel did in 1846 if, as reports suggest, she starts giving in to soft Brexit. But Mr Rees-Mogg, whose backers are said to have piled up £750,000 for a possible leadership bid, now faces a furious backlash from Remainer Tories who accused him of “blackmail”.
TWO years after the electorate voted for Britain to leave the European Union, Theresa May still can’t secure Tory MPs’ consensus behind her preferred negotiating stance. She is hoping for third time lucky, having been turned over twice by her Cabinet. She should be reminded that the referendum result is not simply an internal Tory concern. It was an instruction by Britain’s voters to whichever party is in office to end this country’s membership of the EU. The Prime Minister was as committed as David Cameron and George Osborne were to remaining inside the neoliberal bloc.
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s allies have sounded out public relations firms to help to convert his supporters into votes in a future Tory leadership race, according to industry sources. The North East Somerset MP emerged as a potential successor to Theresa May last summer as grassroots Tories warmed to his combination of old-world courtesy and uncompromisingly right-wing views. He has since slipped behind Sajid Javid, the new home secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, as the so-called Moggmentum fades.
Boris Johnson has publicly backed the MP who warned Theresa May of a rebellion if she failed to deliver on her Brexit promises as a fresh Tory row over Europe took hold. The Foreign Secretary said the Eurosceptic MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who told the Prime Minister that she could face the collapse of her Government if she concedes too much ground to Brussels, “wants the best for our country”. It came as Mrs May was accused of treating her Cabinet like “idiots” after Downing Street trumpeted a “third option” for Britain’s customs arrangements with the EU but failed to tell a single minister what it was.
Boris Johnson has given his public backing to Jacob Rees-Mogg on the day that the backbench Brexiteer threatened open revolt if the prime minister fails to deliver a clean break from the EU. The foreign secretary praised Mr Rees-Mogg as “principled and dedicated” despite Rees-Mogg having written a newspaper article appearing to suggest Theresa May would be ditched if she goes against Tory backbenchers’ wishes. Mr Johnson’s intervention on Twitter on Monday served to further highlight Tory splits on Europe, hours after two ministers in Mr Johnson’s own department publicly attacked Mr Rees-Mogg over his piece.
Boris Johnson backed Jacob Rees-Mogg’s attacks on Theresa May tonight in an incendiary new escalation of the Tory civil war over Brexit. The Foreign Secretary insisted the ringleader of hard Brexiteers was a ‘principled and dedicated MP who wants to best for our country’ after Mr Rees-Mogg warned the PM her Government could fall if she did not execute his vision of leaving the EU. Mr Johnson’s explosive intervention is a direct slap down to two of his junior foreign office ministers who went public with vicious attacks on Mr Rees-Mogg this morning.
As is often the case, the Foreign Secretary on Monday evening summed up the PM’s worst nightmare, when tweeting that surely everyone can agree that Jacob Rees-Mogg is a principled MP who only “wants the best for our country”. As is often the case, the Foreign Secretary on Monday evening summed up the PM’s worst nightmare, when tweeting that surely everyone can agree that Jacob Rees-Mogg is a principled MP who only “wants the best for our country”.
Firms are running out of patience over the lack of progress in the Brexit talks, a major business organisation has warned Theresa May. The British Chambers of Commerce said companies still face uncertainty over tax, tariffs, customs and regulation, with time running out ahead of the March 29 2019 Brexit date. Cabinet ministers were urged to “stop squabbling” and put the nation’s economic interests first in reaching agreement at the crunch Chequers meeting on Friday as business patience reaches “breaking point”.
Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has laid out a very clear message in today’s Daily Telegraph: Theresa May must deliver the independence that the British people voted for or Brexiteers will reject the deal and the Conservative Party would be split. Laying out the conditions, Mogg says plainly: “Any EU agreement that restricts the country’s ability to make trade agreements with other states, restricts our ability to control our migration policy, makes us pay to trade or interferes with our fishing waters could not be accepted.”
As Downing Street’s Remainer Brexit supremo Olly Robbins further blurs the Prime Minister’s red lines, Guido cannot help but ask where are the Cabinet Brexiters? Single market: According to the front page of today’s Times, Robbins is now saying there is no chance of the UK striking a bespoke deal with Brussels and that Downing Street is now favouring a Norway-style Brexit inside the single market. This would be a clear betrayal of the result and mean a sellout on free movement.
David Davis has delayed a grilling from MPs, originally planned for this week, until the last possible moment before Parliament goes on its summer break. The delay will add weight to speculation the Government’s Brexit plan may be delayed even further. The Mirror revealed on Friday the Brexit Secretary had asked for his scheduled appearance before the Brexit Select Committee to be rescheduled. And today, committee members were told his appearance, alongside top Brexit civil servant Olly Robbins, will take place on the afternoon of the last day of term.
PIONEERING computer software that gives docks the power to clear hundreds of thousands of tonnes of precious cargo from countries far and wide could solve Britain’s Brexit customs riddle indefinitely. The programme is used by manufacturing giants Honda and Airbus and works by tracking and policing billions of pounds worth of non-EU goods through borders within a time frame as little as 15 minutes. Currently, with their rules and regulations it takes days if not weeks for EU goods to travel through the Eurotunnel to hemmed in Dover in a process made even longer by the loading on and off of lorries and the lack of new shipping software.
A new plan for post-Brexit customs arrangements will be a “significant step forward”, a Downing Street source has promised. The proposal, to be presented to ministers on Friday, will offer “the best of both worlds” – an independent trade policy and friction-free trade, the source added. But no details have yet been revealed about how it will work. Ministers have so far failed to agree what type of customs model to pursue. Friday’s Chequers summit, which will be followed by a White Paper setting out more details, is aimed at finalising the UK’s preferred path which can then be put to the EU.
Theresa May’s Chief Brexit adviser, Oliver Robbins, has reportedly told Cabinet Ministers that Number 10 is hoping to keep the UK closely tied to the EU with a ‘Norway-style deal‘. Robbins has apparently briefed Ministers that the government has little choice but to settle for a softer Brexit, as ‘they have no chance of striking a bespoke trade deal with the European Union’. A source came out of the meeting and told The Times that: “I would say Downing Street is moving towards a Norwegian model.”
Since the UK was granted a 21-month Brexit transition deal last March European capitals have watched with a mixture of bemusement and despair as a hopelessly divided British government has continued to argue with itself over the meaning of Brexit. As last week’s European Council showed, even Britain’s free-trading friends in the North, like the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, are no longer prepared to hide their exasperation at the lack of progress. The summit’s four-paragraph Brexit communique was terse to the point of rudeness.
The European Union (EU) is set to dismiss Theresa May’s latest Brexit proposals, whereby the UK would stay inside the bloc’s Single Market whilst trying to restrict open borders mass migration in some way. The Prime Minister has already made a long list of Brexit concessions on fishing, immigration, and trade during the “transition period” and now plans to give even more ground on financial services in a white paper to be presented at a crunch cabinet Brexit meeting this week. Whitehall sources last month described the Single Market plan as “freedom of movement by another name”, implying immigration restrictions will be minimal.
ANGELA Merkel has avoided being toppled tonight after she reached a compromise with rebels in Germany’s ruling coalition over dealing with vast numbers of migrants surging into her country.Under the proposals thrashed out with her rebellious Bavarian allies, Merkel said officials would now hold migrants registered in other European Union countries in transit centres while it negotiates their return. The tricky migration issue had pitted Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and his Bavaria-only Christian Social Union party against Merkel, the head of its sister party, the Christian Democratic Union.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition has apparently stepped back from the brink of collapse after late night emergency talks with her Bavarian allies resulted in an apparent immigration deal. Bavarian conservative leader Horst Seehofer had threatened to resign his position as leader of his party and German Interior Minister if Dr Merkel failed to strike a bargain to control immigration to Germany — either multilaterally within Europe, or unilaterally at home.
ANGELA MERKEL is “writing her final chapter” as she begins to tighten up Germany’s asylum and immigration laws in a last-ditch attempt to save her faltering government, according to Andrew Neil. The German Chancellor faces increasing pressure over her stance on immigration after she opened her county’s borders in 2015 to thousands of migrants – only to close the borders again days later. Now she has toughened her stance and agreed to build camps for asylum seekers.
BRUSSELS risks uproar after telling Britain to waive a £65 ‘citizen’ fee for three million EU citizens – and grant them residency rights for nothing. The EU parliament’s Brexit chief Guy Verhofstadt will write to Home Secretary Sajid Javid this week calling for the process to be made cost free. In the letter, co-authored with Labour MEP Claude Moraes, he will make a series of demands about the “settled status” scheme. It comes in response to a major paper, published by Ministers last month, on how as many as 3.5 million EU citizens can apply to stay in the UK after Brexit.
The government is considering raising fuel and alcohol duty to raise billions of pounds to boost spending, it was reported last night. An inflation-linked increase on fuel duty next year, which would raise £800 million in its first 12 months, is one of the proposals said to be “under serious consideration” by ministers to help fund Theresa May’s health spending pledge, according to The Guardian. The move, which would end an eight-year freeze on duty, is likely to meet robust opposition from Tory MPs concerned about the cost of living.
The eight-year freeze on fuel duty could be lifted to raise billions of pounds for the NHS and boost public spending, it was reported last night. Allowing fuel duty to rise could yield £800million more to help pay for the NHS’s £20billion 70th birthday present. The move, which may also see a rise in alcohol duty, is said to be ‘under serious consideration’ by ministers. Currently fuel duty is frozen at 57.95 pence per litre and has been since 2011. That is thought to have reduced prices for drivers by 13 per cent.
The government is close to lifting its eight-year long freeze on fuel duty to raise billions of pounds to help meet pressure from cabinet ministers to boost public spending while also continuing to reduce the deficit. An inflation-linked increase would raise £800m extra for Treasury coffers next year – and billions more over subsequent years – to help pay for Theresa May’s promise to spend an additional £20bn on the National Health Service by 2023, a pledge which the prime minister had said would partly be funded through a “Brexit dividend”.
A national incident has been declared over rising cases of measles, with GPs told to look out for the disease in holidaymakers returning from Italy. So far this year there have been 729 cases of measles in England, compared with 274 in the whole of last year. Public Health England (PHE) is boosting surveillance and asking the NHS to be more vigilant. Travellers have been urged to make sure that they and their families have had the MMR vaccination, as the baseless autism scare linked to it is blamed for fuelling outbreaks across Europe.
Britain’s data watchdog is investigating a confidential data breach affecting 150,000 NHS patients. The NHS accidentally disclosed data on 150,000 patients who had objected to the sharing of their information, it has emerged. Data was shared for clinical audits and research on the patients who had opted out of any data information sharing other than for purposes of their care. A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner’s Office told the Daily Mirror: “We are aware of an incident involving NHS Digital and are making enquiries.”
The medical records of 150,000 NHS patients were shared against their wishes in a blunder being investigated by the information commissioner. One in ten patients who opted out of having their data shared for research had the decision ignored because a software error went undetected for three years, the government admitted. Health chiefs promised to inform the patients that their opt-outs had not been honoured and to apologise. Although officials promised to ask researchers and administrators not to use the data, they conceded that it would be too late in many cases.
The NHS has accidentally disclosed data on 150,000 patients who had opted out of having their personal information shared. Hundreds of organisations, including some private companies, will have had access to records from all the patients affected by the error. Health minister Jackie Doyle-Price made the stark revelation – uncovered by NHS Digital last week – in a statement to Parliament today. The data breach, which stretches back three years to March 2015, was caused by a coding error by a major IT supplier to the NHS.
The NHS in England has launched the biggest recruitment drive in its history to encourage schoolchildren to work in the health service. The health service, which is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its creation this week, ended the last financial year with almost 100,000 vacancies. The new £8 million recruitment drive is set to to target schoolchildren in a bid to encourage them to take up a career in the NHS. The We Are The NHS campaign will highlight professions across the health service, initially focusing on nursing.
EU students enrolling at universities in England in the first academic year after Brexit will pay the same tuition fees as British students, the government has announced. Damian Hinds, the education secretary, has said EU students starting in autumn 2019 will access the same financial support and will be charged the same for fees during the duration of their degrees. He also announced a freeze on the maximum tuition fees a university can charge – which is £9,250 a year – will remain for a second year to enable more people to access higher education or training.
EU students at universities in England, Wales and Scotland will continue to be treated the same as home students in the first intake after Brexit. Education Secretary Damian Hinds says EU students starting in autumn 2019 will pay the same tuition fees as English students and their access to support will be unchanged. This status will last for the duration of their degree courses. Mr Hinds said he wanted to provide “clarity and certainty”. The Scottish government has already made a similar commitment to EU students starting in Scottish universities in autumn 2019 – which will mean they will continue to pay no tuition fees.
Thousands of Brits are spending their summer holidays in countries where there is a high risk of getting rabies from a dog, official figures reveal. Health officials have released new data showing the risk of contracting deadly rabies in countries all over the world, and warn travellers not to touch animals abroad. The UK, Australia and New Zealand have no risk of the disease but the danger is slightly higher in the US and Canada, where foxes, skunks and raccoons transmit it.