Henry Bolton has re-appointed London Assembly member, David Kurten AM to his Shadow Cabinet brief as Spokesman for Education and Apprenticeships. Mr Bolton said, “By reappointing David into this role my top team nears completion. I am certain that David will continue in his sterling work both on the London Assembly where he has provided serious opposition to Sadiq Khan and in the education field where he will continue work on ensuring our children get the education, training and opportunities they deserve”. Mr Kurten said: “I met party leader Henry Bolton yesterday to discuss the role of Education Spokesman and I am happy to say that I will continue in that role. It is vital to the future of the country after Brexit that our own young people have the skills they need to thrive in this country – this means technical as well as academic skills. While the current government should be have this as their top priority in Education, they are more concerned about pushing politically correct ‘progressive’ ideologies in our schools.
David Davis is under mounting pressure after he was forced into a climbdown for saying that Parliament may be denied a vote on a final trade deal before Brexit. The Brexit Secretary, who has already been accused by colleagues of delaying the Brexit bill, said today that MPs may not be given a vote in Parliament until after March 2019. His comments prompted a furious response from pro-European Tory MPs, who said that a vote after Brexit would be meaningless and “absolutely unacceptable”. An hour later Theresa May contradicted Mr Davis at Prime Minister’s Questions, telling MPs she was “confident” they would get a vote before Britain left the EU. Mr Davis subsequently issued a statement clarifying that he “expects and intends” for there to be a vote in Parliament before Britain leaves the European Union.
David Davis was accused yesterday of breaking his pledge to give MPs a vote on the government’s Brexit deal after he warned that parliament might not have its say until after Britain had formally left the EU. The Brexit secretary faces being called to the Commons after opposition MPs seized on his statement that talks could last up to the end of the Article 50 process at midnight on March 29, 2019. Mr Davis admitted that in such circumstances parliament could not vote on any deal until after Britain had left the EU. Ministers have promised MPs a “meaningful vote” on the deal. Hours later Mr Davis appeared to backtrack, with his department saying that he had responded to “hypothetical scenarios”.
David Davis has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown saying ministers “expect and intend” MPs to be able to vote on Brexit before Britain actually leaves the EU, contradicting comments he made hours earlier. The Brexit Secretary’s department issued a statement after MPs reacted angrily to his claim on Wednesday morning, that the House of Commons may not have a chance to approve a deal till after withdrawal. His department’s clarification argued that Mr Davis’s words in the morning had merely been an answer to “hypothetical scenarios” and added that he actually believed an agreement should be reached “by October” next year, leaving time for MPs to vote before Brexit happens.
The extent of anti-Brexit bias at some of Britain’s best known universities was laid bare last night amid a furious row. A Tory MP was castigated this week and accused of ‘McCarthyism’ for asking universities what they are teaching about the UK’s departure from the EU. But yesterday the Daily Mail uncovered a string of examples of senior figures at universities explicitly speaking out in favour of Remain. Before the vote, a raft of senior academics spoke publicly to urge their students to back staying in the EU. Last night, one student campaigner revealed a professor had stormed up to him at a Vote Leave stall in Durham – and compared Brexit supporters to the Nazis. Since last year’s referendum, lecturers have been caught doling out pro-EU pamphlets and inviting students to meetings held by the pro-single market group Open Britain.
A university vice chancellor has issued a stinging rebuke to a Conservative MP’s attempts to compile a “sinister” list of academics who are teaching about Brexit, telling him: “We will never surrender”. Professor David Green, vice chancellor of the University of Worcester, said Chris Heaton-Harris’ efforts to find out what universities are teaching their students about Brexit had sent “a chill down my spine” and suggested they constitute “a British McCarthyism”. Mr Heaton-Harris was widely criticised for sending a letter to UK universities requesting they provide him with the names of professors who are teaching about Brexit, as well as a copy of their syllabus. In response, Professor Green told The Independent the letter was “chilling and sinister” and demanded that Theresa May immediately sack Mr Heaton-Harris as a government whip.
Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris “should probably not have sent” a letter to universities asking for details of Brexit courses, a minister has said. Universities minister Jo Johnson said his colleague, a government whip, was “regretting very much” his decision. He said the MP was “pursuing inquiries of his own” which may lead to a book on “the evolution of attitudes” to Europe rather than acting for the government. Universities enjoyed “24 carat academic freedom” in the UK, he insisted. Lecturers reacted with anger to the letter, calling it a “sinister” attempt to censor them and accusing Mr Heaton-Harris of conducting a “McCarthyite” witch hunt.
‘If you care about me then oppose Brexit’, young people will be urged to tell older relatives in a new Remain campaign aimed at sabotaging Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU). Organisers hope the initiative — which was conceived with input from figures including anti-Brexit Labour peer Lord Adonis — will see millennials telephone their parents and grandparents en masse and result in older voters feeling pressured into keeping Britain chained to Brussels, The Times reports. The campaign will be fronted by self-described “Brexit saboteur” and full-time anti-Brexit campaigner Madeleina Kay, whose blog features pictures of the activist posing with pro-EU figures and politicians including Bob Geldof, Eddie Izzard, and Nick Clegg.
The finance minister of Luxembourg has warned that punishing the City of London by forcing firms to shift operations out of the UK after Brexit would not benefit EU countries, but instead lead them to set up operations outside Europe. Speaking at the London School of Economics, Pierre Gramegna said it was key that “the Number 1 financial centre in the world remains in Europe”. He argued that a “no deal” Brexit outcome would not benefit the UK or the EU, and would instead push financial services away from the trading bloc. There are thousands of financial institutions registered in the UK, which currently rely on passporting rights to service clients in the EU and vice versa, but if no post-Brexit deal is established, those companies will lose that right.
The European Union is likely to offer Theresa May a transition period after Brexit of just 20 months, according to senior sources in Brussels. In her speech in Florence the prime minister formally requested what she had described as an implementation period of “about two years” to cushion Britain’s exit from the EU in March 2019, during which the UK would stay in the single market and customs union. The Irish government has publicly called for a longer period, of up to five years, to allow businesses to prepare for changes in customs procedures, a proposal that has the support of many in the UK. However, senior EU officials believe the most likely outcome will involve any withdrawal agreement stipulating 31 December 2020 as the date when the country leaves the bloc’s legal structures.
BRUSSELS was today accused of overseeing a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money as MEPs approved the giving away of 20,000 free Interrail tickets in a bid to create a “European identity”. Euro MPs sanctions an astonishing £10.7 million spend on the massive giveaway, which will give 18 year olds the chance to travel around the continent at hard-pressed families’ expense. Critics today branded the extraordinary spending splurge “irresponsible” at a time when the continent is supposed to be prioritising sky-high youth unemployment and social inequality. The initial allocation of 20,000 tickets is just a trial run, with proponents of the scheme hoping it can be extended to all European 18-year-olds at an eye-watering cost of £1.5 billion.
SPAIN had the highest budget deficit in the EU last year, according to new statistics, while the ongoing Catalonia crisis threatens to plunge the Spanish economy into further uncertainty. New data from the EU’s statistics agency, Eurostat, reveals Spain’s general government deficit stood at 4.3 per cent of GDP in 2016 – far higher than other bloc members. France had the second-largest deficit at the end of 2016 with 3.4 per cent, followed by Romania with 3 per cent. While the negative imbalance was below the EU limit of -4.6 per cent, Spain’s economic forecast looks increasingly uncertain given the ongoing unrest in Catalonia. Following the wealthy region’s standoff with the government in Madrid after the illegal independence referendum earlier this month, Catalonia’s largest bank has issued a major warning in a bid to end the uncertainty.
Foreign aid will be spent in Britain’s “national interest” to boost post-Brexit trade, the International Development Secretary has vowed. Priti Patel said leaving the EU would allow the Government to reclaim billions of pounds of annual aid funding that is currently diverted via Brussels. It could then be used, not only for “humanitarian” work, but also for “prosperity Britain post-Brexit, on trade and economic development,” she told the Commons International Development Committee. “There are a whole raft of opportunities there where we can use that money for our national interest, or Global Britain’s interest, as well as helping to alleviate poverty around the world,” Ms Patel said. The comments were criticised by the Liberal Democrats, who accused Ms Patel of “politically-motivated attacks based on zero evidence”, because EU aid work had been shown to be of “incredibly good value”.
THE International Development Secretary has said that the foreign aid budget will be used to promote “Global Britain” and be used in the “national interest” to help secure post-Brexit trade deals. Priti Patel, 45, was a leading member of the Leave campaign in last year’s referendum and said the UK would use the funds to support Britain’s “national interest” as it embarked on securing various trade deals once it had left the European Union (EU). Ms Patel also said that the money would continue to support efforts to alleviate poverty around the world. She told the Commons International Development Committee: “We can absolutely use it for humanitarian, but also for prosperity, Britain post-Brexit, on trade and economic development.
Theresa May is planning to bring in the head of the Brexit referendum campaign to overhaul the Tory machine and reassure Leave-supporting MPs and activists. Matthew Elliott, former chief executive of Vote Leave, is in advanced negotiations over a senior role at Conservative Campaign Headquarters, The Times has learnt. The appointment, most probably as party vice-chairman, is part of changes called for after the Tories’ shambolic election and conference. Supporters point to Mr Elliott’s record leading successful campaigns in favour of leaving the EU and, in 2011, against a move to the alternative vote electoral system, as well as his role setting up the Taxpayers’ Alliance, an influential low-tax pressure group.
Britain will lose its ability to carry out major amphibious operations under cost-cutting plans being considered to sell off warships, MPs and military leaders have warned. Naval officials in Chile and Brazil are reported to be lining up to buy two Royal Navy amphibious landing platform ships and Type-23 frigates after UK officials told them they may be put up for sale from next year. The two nations have been told warships including HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark could be available second hand as a result of cost-cutting plans being considered by the Forces, defence journal Jane’s reported. The Ministry of Defence strongly denied it would cut the Navy’s overstretched fleet of frigates, and said there had been “no engagement” with Chile or Brazil.
Britain is considering selling frontline warships and has axed two mine-hunting vessels amid a funding crisis. Military chiefs met yesterday to discuss a new round of cuts as they grapple with a gap in funding of £20 billion to £30 billion over the next decade. Officials are reported to have discreetly advised the navies of Brazil and Chile that up to five frigates and the Royal Navy’s only two amphibious assault ships could be put up for sale. Two out of a 13-strong fleet of frigates could become available for sale as early as next year, with a further three by 2023, according to Jane’s Navy International, a specialist publication.
PLANS to scrap Royal Navy assault ships in an alleged attempt to save money have been slapped down as a “mad scheme”. Cost-cutting suggestions for the Royal Navy have reportedly included proposals to axe HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, both ships which have 30 years’ life expectancy. Getting rid of the amphibious ships, as well as 1,000 Royal Marines, would reportedly help save money and free up crew for two new aircraft carriers – HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. But the move was strongly condemned by the Commons’ Defence Committee Chair Dr Julian Lewis, who went on to raise it in Parliament.
Secret talks have been held about selling vital Royal Navy warships to save money in the Ministry of Defence, it was claimed yesterday. A number of Type 23 frigates plus two amphibious assault ships would be sold to Chile and Brazil under the plans. But last night sources within the department reacted with fury and dismissed the claims, denying there was any such plan to sell current ships to the South American nations. The Government is currently conducting a security and capability review, which is largely seen as a cuts exercise. Service chiefs have been told to find billions in savings over the next decade to fund an ambitious equipment programme. Insiders said a number of frigates – used to hunt Russian submarines – were also discussed.
Thousands more people should be offered cataract surgery, according to official guidance that tells the NHS to end rationing. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which warns that restricting cataract surgery until people are virtually blind cannot be justified, will insist the NHS sends more people for immediate surgery. Its final guidance in the area was due to be published earlier this week but has been held up by a legal challenge to some of the technical details, said to be from an equipment manufacturer. It will rule that removing cataracts is virtually always a good use of NHS money and restrictions on the basis of sight quality alone should end.
The NHS must plan for the devastating long term effects on staff dealing with mass casualty terror attacks, such as the Manchester suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande gig which killed 22 innocent concert-goers, warns a new report. Experts claim the physical and psychological complications of such atrocities on medical staff who have to deal with the repercussions of the horrific events are ‘severe, under-reported, and underappreciated’. They stressed the NHS in England has faced an ‘unprecedented’ amount of major incidents this year, including the deaths of eight people in June’s London Bridge terror attack when a van deliberately mounted the pavement.
THE £2billion a year cost of health tourism should be met from Britain’s bloated foreign aid budget, a leading surgeon claimed last night. Meirion Thomas said cash-strapped NHS hospitals are at “breaking point” treating thousands of overseas patients who are not entitled to treatment and have no intention of paying. Mr Thomas, a respected former cancer surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, said health tourism abuses included the treatment of cancer, HIV, infertility and renal failure offered to patients arriving from across the globe. Many are here from countries already receiving hundreds of millions of pounds in UK foreign aid. The call for action comes as support floods in for our Stop The Foreign Aid Madness crusade demanding the Government reallocate some of the £13.3billion of taxpayers’ money sent overseas to easing problems at home.
Consumers are paying too much for their energy because of “excessive” green taxes added to bills, a damning Government-commissioned report has found. A series of “spectacularly bad” decisions by ministers have “unnecessarily burdened” households and businesses with higher green energy subsidies than necessary, according to Prof Dieter Helm, of Oxford University. The cost of renewable energy – as well as gas, coal and oil – has fallen but the benefits have not been passed on because ministers locked the taxpayer into long-term contracts that overestimated those costs, Prof Helm found. Green taxes will cost the average household almost £150 from next year, according to energy firms.
British households and businesses are paying way too much for their energy, an official report into the energy market has found. Billpayers are forking out over the odds because falling energy costs are not being passed on – and green taxes are much too high, the report said. Despite falling energy prices, ‘households and industry have seen limited benefits from these cost reductions’ the report said. The excessive costs are hampering industry and perpetuating fuel poverty, the report said. Green taxes – 20 per cent of electricity bills – are also much higher than necessary to reduce greenhouse gases and need to be reduced, the report said.
The Government has been accused of getting its sums “spectacularly” wrong on the energy market and locking customers into excessive prices for years to come, in an independent review commissioned by ministers. Professor Dieter Helm, who was asked in the summer to carry out the review, said prices had gone up for many households and businesses despite lower wholesale costs and greater efficiencies. He also warned of a “cliff edge” for electricity capacity leading up to 2025 amid uncertainty about when the much-delayed new nuclear reactor at Hinkley comes online. The report said that Government models of energy costs in the first half of the current decade had at times been “spectacularly bad”, as they predicted surging fossil fuel prices.
PLAGUE warnings have been issued for NINE countries surrounding Madagascar amid fears the disease could spread via sea trade and flight routes. The outbreak is considered a much bigger threat to the region than in previous years because it has taken on its pneumonic form – meaning it is airborne and spread by sneezing and coughing. And experts say the epidemic could still worsen as the death tolls hits 124 and more than 1,300 left infected. The medieval disease famously wiped out ONE THIRD of Europe’s population in the 13th and 14th centuries in one of the most devastating pandemics in human history known as the Black Death.