THERESA May has promised Cabinet ministers that her “best of both worlds” customs plan will deliver the decisive break with Brussels demanded by voters in the EU referendum. During a series of tense one-to-one meetings with senior colleagues in Downing Street, the Prime Minister insisted her new blueprint for post-Brexit customs links will ensure the UK quits the bloc’s single market and customs union while still benefiting from “frictionless trade” with European neighbours. Hope grew among her allies as the meetings progressed that the compromise proposal will win the unanimous backing of the Cabinet at a special meeting at her Chequers country retreat on Friday.
Theresa May faced fresh warnings and pressure over the shape and content of the final Brexit deal as crunch Cabinet talks at Chequers loom. With little more than a day to go before senior ministers meet in Buckinghamshire to thrash out a white paper, ministers are said to be sceptical about the so-called “third way” to solve the customs issue on the Irish border. The proposed “facilitated customs arrangement” would see technology used to determine where goods arriving into the UK will ultimately end up. This would allow the correct tariff to be paid – either at the UK or EU rate. According to the Financial Times, Brussels will express concern about the reliance of this plan on untested technology and will question how it is not “an open invitation to smugglers”.
PRO-Brexit Cabinet ministers must show some backbone and resist any attempts to keep the UK closely tied to Brussels ahead of Friday’s crunch meeting at Chequers, Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns has urged in a demand which could put Theresa May’s job on the line. Tory MP Ms Jenkyns, who quit as a ministerial aide in order to speak more freely about Brexit, urged Cabinet Brexiteers to stand up for Leave voters – and referred to the jockeying for position to succeed Mrs May. In a message on Twitter aimed at Mr Johnson, Mr Gove, Penny Mordaunt, Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom and Chris Grayling, she urged them to “show your steel on Friday”. She wrote: “Cabinet Brexiteers please stand up for the 17.4million people who voted to leave. We are relying on you.
David Davis has written to the Prime Minister warning that her plan for Brexit to be presented to the Cabinet at Chequers on Friday is unworkable. The Daily Telegraph can reveal the Brexit Secretary has sent a letter, setting out his opposition to Theresa May’s so-called “third way” plan, amid concerns the EU will reject it out of hand. In the last-ditch letter, he says the compromise plan the Prime Minister intends to present will fail because it is simply a customs partnership with some additional technological elements.
Brexit Secretary David Davis has reportedly written to Theresa May, warning her that her Brexit plan is unworkable. “This plan would be like Donald Trump allowing us to keep an eye on his borders for him, it will never happen,” a source told The Telegraph. “We need to have this row in the party now so that we have time to negotiate something bespoke with heads of state before it’s too late”. The paper reports the letter says the EU has already rejected certain elements of the proposed compromise and it was a ‘waste of time’ to pursue them. Davis believes the so-called “third way” option which is being presented to Ministers on Friday will be rejected right away by the EU, echoing what sources in Brussels have said over the last few weeks.
David Davis has warned Theresa May that her ‘third way’ plan for Brexit is unworkable, it was reported last night. The Brexit Secretary is said to have sent the Prime Minister a letter outlining his opposition to proposals to be presented to the Cabinet tomorrow. He is said to be concerned that the EU will simply reject the plan out of hand. The letter warned the compromise the Prime Minister intends to present will fail because it is simply a customs partnership with extra technological elements. And it expresses fears that Brussels has already rejected the idea of allowing a third-party country – as Britain will be after Brexit – to police EU borders and that discussing such an option is a waste of time.
The government has set up a shadow Brexit unit outside the department in charge of leaving the European Union, amid concerns that it is still unprepared for the challenges of no deal. An EU exit capability team, based in the Cabinet Office, was quietly established in May to provide support for the most complex and sensitive Brexit contingency projects. The creation of the unit has led to renewed speculation inside Whitehall that the Department for Exiting the EU itself will be abolished and responsibility for co-ordinating Brexit after next March will move to the Cabinet Office.
Theresa May’s fractious cabinet ministers are warning Downing Street not to skirt controversial issues, including freedom of movement and services, off the table at Friday’s Chequers meeting. As ministers were prepared for the all-day gathering with briefings in Downing Street, they told the Guardian they were concerned the focus on the details of future customs arrangements was too narrow. Remain-leaning cabinet ministers fear it leaves out the crucial services sector; while Brexiters are nervous the meeting will fail to address freedom of movement.
DAVID Davis was last night leading a frantic bid by senior Tory eurosceptics to talk Theresa May out of her controversial new ‘soft Brexit’ plan. In a dangerous split for the PM, the Brexit Secretary shares Leave-backing MPs’ anger that the new No10 blueprint betrays the referendum result. Mr Davis held a second round of one to one talks with Mrs May in 24 hours last night in a bid to harden her new negotiating stand, The Sun can reveal. Allies say the former SAS reservist fears she is about to give too much away in her bid to kick start stalled talks with the EU.
Theresa May has been warned the Tories will be “toast” if they fail to deliver on their Brexit promises, as eurosceptic MPs maintain the pressure on the prime minister ahead of a crunch meeting of her top team. As the PM prepares to gather ministers at her country retreat of Chequers on Friday, she has been put on notice by the European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative backbenchers. Around 40 members of the ERG met with chief whip Julian Smith on Wednesday, reports Sky’s senior political correspondent Beth Rigby. Our correspondent said that they told Mr Smith the party will be “toast” if it “welches” on its previous Brexit promises, adding that the roughly £40bn “divorce bill” should only be paid to Brussels on condition of getting a deal.
Downing Street has set out some of the detail of how customs could be handled after Brexit. No 10 says its new plan – dubbed the “facilitated customs arrangement” – offers “the best of both worlds”. The details come as Theresa May and Angela Merkel prepare to discuss the progress of Brexit negotiations when they hold talks in Berlin later. The UK prime minister is facing calls from the EU to clarify the UK’s position. According to Number 10, the new plan would allow the UK the freedom to set its own tariffs on goods arriving into the country. Technology would be used to determine beforehand where they will ultimately end up – and therefore whether UK or EU tariffs should be paid.
HARDCORE Remainers today launched yet another bid to overturn the result of the Brexit referendum – as the elections watchdog is set to tick off the official Leave campaign. The Electoral Commission is expected to find Vote Leave guilty of breaching campaign rules on spending and co-ordinating with other groups. The pro-Brexit group denies the claims and says it wasn’t given the chance to defend itself. But EU supporters are trying to use the finding as an excuse to hold a second referendum – claiming it makes the first vote invalid. Tony Blair’s spin doctor Alastair Campbell said today: “When there are proven breaches of law in Parliamentary elections you have a by-election.”
THE Electoral Commission is set to be challenged in the courts over a draft report which claims Vote Leave broke spending rules during the referendum. The former chief executive of Vote Leave Matthew Elliott has said that the watchdog is guilty of “a huge breach of natural justice” and accused it of refusing to take evidence from his organisation. The challenge will put the reputation of the Electoral Commission under the spotlight amid fears that it may be part of deliberate attempts to delegitimise the historic vote to Leave the EU in 2016. Remain lost despite having £9 million of taxpayers’ money ploughed into its campaign by the Government. The commission has refused to follow up complaints about spending on the Remain side despite documented evidence handed over by former cabinet minister Priti Patel.
Since this issue is in the spotlight again, Guido brings you a reminder that the Remain campaign did exactly the same thing that Vote Leave is accused of, only far, far worse. In the month before the vote the Remainers set up FIVE new campaigns and funnelled a MILLION pounds into them so they could stay under the spending limit: DDB UK Ltd registered as an independent campaign on 25 May 2016, less than a month before the referendum. DDB UK Ltd received £191,000 in donations. Best For Our Future registered as a permitted participant on 27 May 2016, less than a month before the referendum. It received £424,000 in donations; The In Crowd registered on 10 June 2016, less than two weeks before the referendum. It received £76,000 in donations. Virgin Management Ltd registered as a permitted participant on 3 June 2016, less than three weeks before the referendum.
ALL compromises reached at the crunch Brexit summit taking place at Chequers on Friday are likely to be rejected by the EU in a bid to avoid the bloc being undercut, a leading MEP has warned. The Prime Minister is meeting her entire Cabinet at her country retreat in Buckinghamshire to finalise the Government’s Brexit trade policy and desired customs arrangement with the EU prior to publishing their official White Paper. However a British MEP expressed scepticism over the meetings and stated that any compromise reached between the deadlocked Cabinet will likely be rejected by the EU regardless. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, independent MEP Nathan Gill said: “Whatever model we present to the EU it is likely they will reject it unless they have co-authored it.
The Hungarian government will do everything it can to support Austria in overturning the EU’s disastrous immigration policy, according to Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó. “Hungary expects the Austrian EU Presidency to practice a totally new politics that is the complete reverse of Brussels’ existing migration policy,” he said. “The Hungarian Government will be providing all possible support towards this.” Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, said in a speech to the European Parliament yesterday that he “will be working to create a safe Europe”, adding that he “views the reduction of illegal migration as one of [his] most important tasks.” Szijjártó stressed that while he welcomed the positive noises coming from EU leaders, there was still a battle to be had with the “forces that are organising migration.”
Speaking today in a debate with the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, on the Future of Europe UKIP Leader Gerard Batten MEP spoke about the plans for a United States of Europe and praised the Polish Government’s decision to resist the European Union’s migrant quotas. UKIP Leader Gerard Batten MEP said: “We’ve seen full economic, political and financial governance being aspired to. The EU now governs almost every aspect of the citizen’s life.” “Not surprisingly you and your Government are opposing that forced acceptance of irregular migrants and refugees, but you’ve been threatened by the EU. If you don’t take the migrants, then you cannot have the money.”
George Soros-funded NGO Citizens UK has launched a campaign demanding the Home Office extend the refugee resettlement scheme to every corner of Britain. The left-leaning new Home Secretary Sajid Javid was urged to “take a brave stand with refugees and show the world once again Britain is a country of welcome”, at a campaign launch in London on Friday. According to the group’s press release, “200 civil society leaders from mosques, churches, schools and other organisations” attended the event in support of extending beyond 2020 the government’s programme transporting 20,000 mostly Syrian migrants over five years into homes in UK councils. Citizens UK, which claims to be a “community organising group”, pointed to council figures showing migrants have been distributed across every part of Britain — including many rural areas — as a demonstration of the scheme’s “success”.
Tory Brexiteers have been told by the chief whip that they do not have to vote for any Brexit deal they do not like. Julian Smith made the comment at a meeting of 40 Brexiteers, who warned him that the party has no future if it reneges on key Brexit commitments. Yesterday’s meeting was called after growing signs that Theresa May will try and impose the softest possible Brexit on the cabinet at Friday’s cabinet meeting at Chequers, prompting a backlash among Brexiteers. Mr Smith heard the concerns and responded by telling the room that “if you don’t like it, you don’t have to vote for it”. This surprised some Brexiteers.
Only one hospital trust met all its main targets over the past year, with dozens failing on emergency treatment, cancer care and routine surgery waiting times, an investigation by The Times has found. As the NHS prepared to mark its 70th anniversary today with services at Westminster Abbey and York Minster, doctors said the findings showed a system that was teetering “like a giant game of Jenga”. The Times interactive project to uncover the best and worst of NHS hospitals found that in 2017-18, 25 out of 139 trusts failed to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours, treat 85 per cent of cancer patients within 62 days and offer 92 per cent of non-emergency patients treatment within 18 weeks.
Common blood pressure medication could be used to stop the deterioration in blood vessels that leads to a common form of dementia, a study says. The research on rats looked into ways of preventing and reversing changes in blood vessels in the brain that can lead to “small vessel disease”, a precursor to vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, affecting about 40 per cent of sufferers. It occurs after the cells lining blood vessels begin to malfunction, in turn causing damage in the brain, in particular to myelin, the “white matter” that protects nerve cells.
A couple taken critically ill at the weekend were poisoned by the same nerve agent used against Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy, and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, it was confirmed on Wednesday night. Police said tests carried out at the Porton Down government defence laboratory had established that Charles Rowley, 45, and his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, 44, had been exposed to Novichok. The incident comes four months after Mr Skripal, 67, and and his 33-year-old daughter were poisoned in a suspected Russian backed assassination attempt and will lead to fears that the public in Salisbury could still be at risk.
A couple were critically ill last night after being poisoned by the same nerve agent used against a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury. Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charlie Rowley, 45, appear to have been “accidentally exposed” to novichok, which was used to attack Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March. Neil Basu, the national head of counterterrorism, said that the link with the Skripals was being investigated and scientists would assess whether the novichok was from the same batch. Detectives do not yet know how Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley were contaminated but the likelihood of accidental exposure will cause public health concerns and questions about the Salisbury decontamination operation.
A COUPLE have been left fighting for their lives by traces of deadly Novichok from the Salisbury spy poisoning. Mum-of-three Dawn Sturgess, 44, was in a coma after she collapsed unable to breathe. Her boyfriend Charlie Rowley, 45, was said to have been turned into a dribbling, hallucinating zombie. They are thought to have stumbled across a discarded container or syringe used to carry the nerve agent which poisoned ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Security officials were briefing Theresa May last night after receiving test results from the Government’s Porton Down lab, which police said confirmed the agent involved was Novichok. Officials thought they had cleaned up all the Novichok left after the Skripals were poisoned in March.
A couple who were left in a critical condition in Amesbury came into contact with the nerve agent Novichok, the country’s top counter-terrorism police officer has said. Speaking outside Scotland Yard, Neil Basu said it was a “line of inquiry” whether the Novichok which poisoned Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess was from the same batch which was used in the “attempted murder” of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury in March. On Friday, the day before they became ill, the couple – who are both in their 40s – were in Queen Elizabeth Gardens in nearby Salisbury, close to where the Skripals were found.
Police are desperately searching for the source of a deadly Novichok nerve agent that left a couple fighting for their lives after they were exposed to it on Saturday. Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charles Rowley, 45, fell critically ill within hours of visiting Salisbury – the site of the attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei and his daughter Yulia Skripal. They visited a park near where the Skripals were found collapsed in March and Ms Sturgess lives 300 yards from where they ate on the day they were poisoned four months ago. More than 100 counter-terrorism officers along with local Whitshire police have locked down every place the couple went after their exposure in a bid to retrace their steps.