CLAIMS that Theresa May has struck a secret controversial deal with Brussels she believes will get through Parliament were rebuffed yesterday by the Government as the Prime Minister braces for a showdown with her Cabinet over the claims. But the Prime Minister is braced for tough questioning by ministers at tomorrow’s weekly Cabinet meeting after the incendiary report that she has privately secured concessions from the European Union. The UK wants agreement on its exit deal plus a “political declaration” on its future economic partnership with the EU to be concluded by the end of this month.
Theresa May spent yesterday telephoning key cabinet ministers as Downing Street sought to calm fears that she was about to dash to the finishing line of Brexit talks. The prime minister spoke to Leave-supporting colleagues after reports that an agreement was far closer than had been acknowledged. Some fear that she is about to trigger a deal-making summit with the EU later this month without securing political agreement for the final negotiation. She will meet President Macron for Armistice Day commemorations on Friday with the fate of the negotiations in the balance.
MPs have been urged to back another Brexit referendum by 1,400 of the UK’s top lawyers. They have written to Prime Minister Theresa May to say that Parliament should not be bound by the 2016 vote. “Democratic government is not frozen in time,” the letter said. Meanwhile former foreign secretary Boris Johnson has made a renewed attack on Mrs May’s Brexit strategy. Writing in the Sun newspaper, he called the plan “an absolute stinker”. Among the signatories of the letter are Labour peer Baroness Kennedy QC, former Court of Appeal judge Konrad Schiemann and David Edward, a former judge at the European Court of Justice.
Dominic Raab has privately demanded the right to pull Britain out of the EU’s Irish backstop after just three months, the Telegraph has learned, setting back the prospect of clinching a Brexit divorce deal this week. The hardline pitch by the Brexit Secretary to the Irish government early last week is understood to have “stunned” Irish officials and exposed the continued deep divisions in Cabinet over how to prosecute the Brexit talks. Mr Raab’s proposal was put to the Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney in a private meeting in London last Tuesday, but three days later was apparently contradicted by David Lidington, the UK’s de facto deputy prime minister, on a visit to Dublin.
The chances of Theresa May striking a deal with Brussels on the Irish border that she can sell to the cabinet and parliament are said by EU officials to be “50-50” as the fraught talks enter their final stretch. The British negotiating team and the European commission’s taskforce, led by Michel Barnier, are to enter a secretive phase known as the “tunnel” this week, but senior EU figures involved in the talks warned the competing redlines remain “incompatible” in key areas.
IRISH communist leader Eugene McCartan urged the labour movement at the weekend to “step up the struggle for an Irish exit” from the European Union. Writing in the November issue of Socialist Voice, the Communist Party of Ireland general secretary noted that the organised labour movement had spent the last 40 years “cosying up to the EU, selling it to Irish workers as the ‘protector of workers’ rights’ and in the process receiving funds from the EU for education and training.”
Populist Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini is expected to drastically cut the daily allowance for migrants in Italy, with claims the country could see savings of up to 400 million euros by 2019. The proposal would see the current daily allowance of 35 euros per day per migrant cut almost in half to 19 euros per day, which would be one of the lowest rates in western Europe, Il Giornale reports. According to the Interior Ministry, the cuts would lead to a saving of 400 million euros in 2019, rising to 500 million in 2020 and 600 million in the years thereafter.
Islamists were responsible for a massive 84.27 per cent of terror killings in the West in 2017, with 66.67 per cent of the perpetrators coming to their target country from abroad. The number of foreign-born radical Islamic terrorists carrying out attacks in Western countries was up substantially from 2016, when 40.54 per cent of attackers struck outside their country of origin, according to a report by the Henry Jackson Society. Islamists achieved their 84 percent share of terror fatalities despite accounting for 48.53 percent of terrorist incidents overall, suggesting they tend to be more lethal than, for example, far-right terrorists — who accounted for 20.59 percent of terrorist incidents but only 12.36 percent of terror fatalities.
Foreign nationals will be allowed to join the armed forces without having ever lived in Britain, ministers will announce on Monday, in a major move to address a deepening recruitment crisis. The Ministry of Defence will drop a requirement for applicants from Commonwealth countries to have resided in Britain for five years, The Telegraph has learned. Military leaders now hope to recruit 1,350 extra personnel from foreign countries every year to the navy, army and air force.
To address the shortage of soldiers and recruit an extra 1,350 personnel from foreign countries every year, the Ministry of Defence will remove a five-year residency requirement for people from Commonwealth countries, including Australia, India and Canada. The Royal Navy and the RAF will begin recruitment procedures immediately with army applications opening early next year. People from countries outside the Commonwealth will still require British citizenship with the exception of Gurkhas from Nepal and applicants from the Republic of Ireland, who have special arrangements.
FOREIGNERS will be allowed to join the Armed Forces even if they have never lived in Britain, ministers will announce today. The Ministry of Defence is dropping a requirement for applicants from Commonwealth countries like Fiji, Malta and Cyprus to have lived in Britain for at least five years. The change comes as top brass hope to encourage an extra annual 1,350 personnel from foreign countries, amid a recruitment struggle. In recent years the business service provider Capita, in charge of recruitment, has been blamed for the failure to hit personnel targets.
Hundreds of pancreatic cancer patients are dying needlessly because of treatment delays after diagnosis, a major report has warned. More than 800 pancreatic cancer patients diagnosed at stage one or two do not receive life saving surgery, even though it raises the chances of their survival ten fold. Without surgery just 2.3 per cent of people survive for five years or longer, but that rises to 22.3 per cent for those who have their tumour removed. A new report by Pancreatic Cancer UK warns that patients often have to wait months for tests to determine whether they are eligible for surgery by which point it is often too late.
Companies and charities are making millions of pounds by treating NHS patients in psychiatric hospitals that are sometimes substandard and fail to provide adequate or safe care, an investigation by The Times has found. Thousands of patients are detained, sometimes against their will and in other cases for many years, in wards and units that inspectors say do not meet required standards of care. Fees charged to the NHS for psychiatric care can be as high as £13,000 a week for the most complex cases.
COMPANIES are raking in millions treating NHS patients in often sub-standard psychiatric hospitals, it was revealed last night. Thousands of patients are detained, often against their will, in wards and units which fail to meet the required standards of care, The Times reported. Companies and charities charge the NHS fees as high as £13,000 a week for the most complex cases. Some organisations make huge profits from services condemned as inadequate or in urgent need of improvement by health inspectors.
BENEFIT cheats have ALREADY targeted the new universal credit system in a scam costing taxpayers at least £100,000. Fraudsters found a glaring loophole in the “advance payments” on offer to the poorest families to help them cope while waiting for the new hand-out to be set up. Incredibly, scammers found they could simply go online and claim thousands of pounds for children and housing cost WITHOUT needing to provide any proof. The money was then paid into their accounts just hours later with no questions asked – and the claimants then simply vanished.
The government’s flagship universal credit policy will be defeated in Parliament unless ministers make further changes to protect vulnerable people, a senior MP has warned. Frank Field, who chairs the Commons work and pensions committee, said ministers risked a humiliating defeat unless they made further concessions. The government has faced sustained pressure over fears about the impact the policy will have on millions of low-paid people. Mr Field, who sits as an independent MP after resigning the Labour whip over antisemitism, condemned the government for refusing to allow his committee to scrutinise draft changes before they were introduced in Parliament.
The chair of a powerful House of Commons committee urged MPs last night to consider voting down new rules governing how three million benefit claimants will be switched to universal credit – amid fears the regulations will leave people worse off. Frank Field MP, who chairs the all-party work and pensions committee, complained that ministers had refused to show MPs details of the new regulations, which they fear will plunge more claimants into poverty, and leave them struggling to cope under the new system.
Theresa May’s flagship policy for sparking a revival in council housebuilding will not deliver a single new home in more than half of the local authorities in England, The Independent can reveal. Some of the most deprived towns and cities with the greatest need for new homes, including Liverpool, Bolton and Wakefield, are among areas that will miss out as a result of changes that will only benefit some councils. The prime minister used her speech to the Conservatives’ annual conference last month to announce a major change that will see the government scrap restrictions on how much councils can borrow to fund housing.
Plans for a third runway at Heathrow are at risk over concerns about the project’s costs and timescale, according to the aviation watchdog. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that Heathrow had to address major doubts over the runway “decisively and urgently” to get the project on track. In a significant intervention, it has threatened enforcement action against Britain’s biggest airport to force it to provide clear evidence about how it would finance the £14 billion runway while avoiding pushing up costs for airlines and passengers. The regulator also revealed that the project had been hit by a further delay, with a public consultation on detailed plans for the new runway now scheduled for June rather than in the first three months of next year.
Motorists should pre-pay for their petrol to wipe out tens of thousands of drive-off thefts so police can focus on violent crime and burglaries, says one of Britain’s top police chiefs. Simon Cole, the National Police Chiefs Council’s lead on local policing, criticised petrol giants for putting profits before crime reduction with a business model aimed at encouraging drivers into forecourt shops to boost sales. He said the companies could end “bilking” – where people drive off without paying – at a stroke by making motorists pay in advance as they did in many other countries.
COPS want to change the way motorists buy fuel after a spike in drive-off thefts, it’s reported. Police bosses say petrol companies should make drivers pre-pay at the pump instead of encouraging them to come into forecourt shops. The number of people driving off without paying, known as “bilking”, increased to around 25,000 a year, with some forces reporting rises of up to 40 per cent last year. Simon Cole, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead on local policing, told the Telegraph: “The petroleum industry could design out bilking in 30 seconds by making people pay up front, which is what they do in other countries. “They don’t, because the walk in their shops is part of their business offer.”
Social care is crumbling thanks to Tory austerity, but research suggests it does not have to be that way. Polling for the Daily Mirror reveals 56% would pay more National Insurance for “more and better social care” and 54% would sacrifice more income tax. Such is the state of the system, some 74% of the 2,000 adults polled by ComRes were also concerned about the likely level of care they would receive. Taxpayer Suzanne Walker, 38, an NHS worker of Redcar, Teesside, said: “I would happily pay a bit more if it meant those less fortunate would not struggle as much. “I’m not surprised a lot of people agree.”
Workers should be forced to have their pay docked, and equity from pensioners’ homes taken to cover the cost of care in later life, the former head of the country’s health watchdog has said. Sir David Behan, who recently stood down from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), urged ministers to be brave in their forthcoming green paper on social care. The issue almost cost Theresa May the last election, with proposals to tackle the issue dropped after being dubbed a “dementia tax”. In an interview with The Telegraph, Sir David pressed ministers to introduce measures to use the “wealth” of baby boomers – whether in the form of their homes, savings or pensions, to pay towards their care.
Universities are duping students into taking places because they are not being honest about the poor job prospects associated with their degrees, MPs have suggested. The Education Select Committee has called on both universities and the Government to do more to ensure better outcomes for students as part of a wider bid to improve value for money. Official statistics for 2017 showed that 49 per cent of recent graduates were working in non-graduate roles across the UK, prompting concerns they had racked up thousands of pounds in debt for no real gain.
UNIVERSITIES must concentrate on value for money and improving access for poorer students, MPs say today. A report published by the Commons Education Committee calls for a sharper focus on the teaching of skills and more support for disadvantaged students. Committee chair Rob Halfon demanded an expansion of degree apprenticeships as well as a fresh look at excessive vice chancellor pay. He said: “The blunt reality is that too many universities are not providing value for money and that students are not getting good outcomes from the degrees for which so many of them rack up debt. “Too many institutions are neither meeting our skills needs or providing the means for the disadvantaged to climb the ladder of opportunity.” The report suggests the “unjustifiably” excessive salaries of vice-chancellors have become the norm rather than the exception.
Schools are “drowning in meaningless data” and teachers spend less than half their time at work teaching, a report has warned. Most teacher time is spent on paperwork, planning, marking and other tasks, according to the Workload Advisory Group, set up by the Department for Education. It said that schools were overwhelmed by data that had no use but which they felt obliged to collect. Damian Hinds, the education secretary, said in a letter to school leaders published with the report that teachers were spending too much time on number-crunching. The letter, co-signed by Ofsted, acknowledged that workload was a common reason for leaving the profession. “Many teachers are having to work way too many hours each week on unnecessary tasks.
The Education Secretary is demanding billions more for schools following a Budget in which the Chancellor lavished more money on potholes than classrooms. Damian Hinds said education spending was a ‘special case’ that deserved more than the real-terms freeze currently on offer to all departments outside the NHS in next year’s spending review. Philip Hammond warned last week that a huge increase in health spending meant other departments would be left with an average zero per cent real-terms settlement in the three-year review. But, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Mr Hinds made it clear this will not be enough for education, which is facing a rising school population and teacher shortages.
Two private Islamic schools have been reported to the education watchdog for segregating boys and girls. Ofsted found The Aveccina Academy and The Wisdom Academy, both based in Birmingham, West Midlands, were practising ‘sex discrimination’. The regulator was concerned after it found the Aveccina Academy was segregating boys and girls across different year groups and did not allow them to mix during break times. Boys and girls also had lessons on different floors of the building. The Wisdom Academy, a private school in Birmingham, has been accused of ‘failing to prepare students for life in modern Britain’.
Germany’s nationalised train operator is locked in crisis talks with the Government as unprecedented levels of disruption cripple the finances of one of Britain’s biggest rail franchises, the Telegraph can reveal. Northern, whose parent company Arriva is owned by state-backed transport titan Deutsche Bahn, has suffered at the hands of waves of strike action and a bungled timetable overhaul. Under the terms of the franchise, Northern’s subsidy for operating the line is supposed to come down every year but with passenger numbers dwindling, the Germans are trying to renegotiate the terms, it is understood.
The ‘catastrophic’ privatisation of Britain’s railways has cost the taxpayer £5bn per year and driven up fares by 20 per cent, Labour has claimed. Analysis released to mark the 25th anniversary of the legislation that privatised British Rail suggests government subsidies of the railways have increased fourfold since 1993. And since 1995, shortly after British Rail began to be sold off, fares have increased by an average of 20 per cent in real terms, while some routes have seen a much bigger rise. Labour said the cost of a peak-time single ticket from London to Manchester has increased by 238 per cent, from £50 to £169 – three times the rate of inflation during the period.