Angela Merkel has made clear the UK will not fully access the single market without free movement, after Theresa May said she wants a Brexit deal with both border controls and “maximum freedom” for British firms in Europe. The German Chancellor is demanding the UK not be able to “cherry pick” the best parts of the EU without accepting the basic terms of membership. But her most recent comments followed reports this morning that Ms May is planning for a hard Brexit, which the Prime Minister later claimed had misrepresented her view. Speaking in Cologne, Ms Merkel said there could not be negotiations based on “cherry picking”, adding that it is important that “we also make clear on the other hand that access to the single market can only be possible on the condition of respecting the four basic freedoms. “Otherwise one has to talk about limits [of access].” Ms May fuelled speculation that Britain was heading for a “hard Brexit” outside the single market in an interview on Sunday in which she said she was not aiming to preserve “bits” of the UK’s EU membership.
ANGELA Merkel has laid down a cast-iron ultimatum to Theresa May, embarrassingly snubbing the Prime Minister on the day she claimed she did not want a hard Brexit. The German Chancellor made it abundantly clear that unless Britain adopts all four of the European Union’s key freedoms then access to the single market will be denied. But just minutes earlier, Mrs May had expressed optimism that Britain would be granted access to the economic club, hinting that a bespoke Brexit deal could be in the pipeline. Mrs May said: “Well, I’m tempted to say the people who are getting it wrong are those who print things saying I’m talking about a ‘hard’ Brexit, ‘it’s absolutely inevitable it’s a hard Brexit’.
France is reportedly hoping to take Britain’s senior position in Nato amid claims the UK’s role within the alliance could be at threat after Brexit. The UK has held the position of deputy supreme allied commander – the No 2 military post in the alliance – since 1951 but this may have to be transferred to a member of the EU under options being discussed, the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) said. The role is central to securing Nato manpower and equipment for certain EU missions organised under so-called “Berlin-plus” arrangements. “There is already some discussion of the possibility that the assignment of the position . . . might have to be transferred to a Nato member that is a member of the EU,” Rusi deputy director-general Professor Malcolm Chalmers wrote in a briefing on the UK’s post-Brexit foreign and security policy.
Britain could lose its leading position within Nato after Brexit under options being discussed by member states. The tradition that a British officer holds the No 2 military post in the alliance is under threat as other European countries eye the coveted role, the Royal United Services Institute think tank indicated. The move would represent a loss of prestige for Britain, which has filled the post of deputy supreme allied commander almost continually since Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery in 1951. The alliance has always been led by an American. Defence sources identified France as most likely to exploit Britain’s exit from the European Union to improve its military standing within Nato.
Jeremy Corbyn has abandoned his outright support for the continued free movement of EU citizens, saying he now wants “reasonably managed migration”. In a landmark speech, the Labour leader will bow to growing voices in his party by accepting that post-Brexit restrictions on immigration “will be part of the negotiations”. The rethink will come just weeks after Mr Corbyn stood up for free movement – to the despair of Labour MPs who believe the stance guaranteed doom at the next election. He claimed any work visa scheme would be “fraught with difficulties” and would penalise British people hoping to cross the Channel to work. But, in a speech setting out Labour’s approach to Brexit, Mr Corbyn will change course, saying: “Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle.
Jeremy Corbyn will use his first speech of 2017 to claim that Britain can be better off outside the EU and insist that the Labour party has no principled objection to ending the free movement of European workers in the UK. Setting out his party’s pitch on Brexit in the year that Theresa May will trigger article 50, the Labour leader will also reach for the language of leave campaigners by promising to deliver on a pledge to spend millions of pounds extra on the NHS every week. He will say Labour’s priority in EU negotiations will remain full access to the European single market, but that his party wants “managed migration” and to repatriate powers from Brussels that would allow governments to intervene in struggling industries such as steel. Sources suggested that the economic demands were about tariff-free access to the single market, rather than membership that they argued did not exist. Corbyn’s speech and planned media appearances represent the first example of a new anti-establishment drive designed by strategists to emphasise and spread his image as a leftwing populist to a new set of voters.
Angela Merkel has warned the European Union must consider limiting the UK’s access to the single market if it refuses to accept free movement. The German Chancellor said Britain could not negotiate its future relationship with the bloc “based on a form of cherry picking”. Ms Merkel’s remarks came after the Prime Minister told Sky News that Britain could not hold on to “bits of EU membership”. The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar for two months in the wake of the comments, but Theresa May sought to play down their impact and said she was referring to the need for a new relationship with the EU. She said: “People wanted us to take control of immigration and people coming to the UK from the EU. “But we also want the best possible deal in trade with and operating within the single European market for British businesses and likewise for European businesses operating in and trading with the United Kingdom.”
Jeremy Corbyn will soften his stance on immigration as he sets out a positive vision of Brexit Britain. The Labour leader is to refuse to bow to growing pressure from his ranks – including senior allies – to back tough new curbs on free movement of people. Yet despite having long defended the principle as an “intrinsic” part of Europe, he will use his first speech of 2017 to get all of his team back on side by telling voters the party is not ideologically tied to an open-door policy. But he will stress that he still believes keeping full access to the EU single market is more important than top-down curbs on immigration. Mr Corbyn will say: “Labour is not wedded to freedom of movement for EU citizens as a point of principle.
Jeremy Corbyn is to attempt to end confusion over Labour policy on immigration after his deputy Tom Watson struggled to explain it in a Sky News interview. In a speech on Tuesday on Brexit billed as part of his New Year relaunch, the Labour leader will say his party is not wedded to free movement for EU citizens as a point of principle. The move marks a shift by Mr Corbyn, who up to now has strongly defended free movement and put himself at odds with Labour MPs who are demanding curbs on immigration. His stance has been contradicted by the Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer and at the weekend two Labour MPs, Stephen Kinnock and Emma Reynolds, demanded a two-tier system.
Europe will see a huge increase in Africans migrating to its shores in the next few years if Brussels fails to protect the borders, according to Austrian military intelligence. Analysis by the Austrian Army Intelligence Office (HNnA) shows population growth and rising unemployment in Africa will add an extra 15 million people to the continent’s “workforce surplus” by 2020. Unless the European Union (EU) makes changes to its asylum policy and increases aid payments to the most affected countries in Africa, an army of young people who are unable to find jobs at home will be tempted to migrate to Europe for a better life, the HNaA warns. A report by the agency, seen by Bild, says Brussels should take measures to properly secure Europe’s external borders, and improve deals with African nations which enable failed asylum seekers to be sent back to their country of origin.
“Lies” were responsible for the electoral success of Donald Trump and Brexit, and the role of teachers is to push students towards “progressive rebellion”, according to a piece in this week’s TES. Writing in the weekly magazine for educators, which was formerly known as the Times Educational Supplement, Oliver Beach called victories for populism at the ballot box last year “frightening” and said teachers must counter the “post-truth” climate from which he claims they resulted. Beach, who appeared on the BBC show ‘Tough Young Teachers’ before quitting the profession, cites “post-truth politics” as “the most frightening development” of the last year. Asserting that the decisions of “naive voters” to opt for Trump and Brexit were “based on lies”, citing the property tycoon’s campaign promise to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Beach said educators must prepare students to ‘empower and encourage’ young people to “challenge and question” right-wing politics.
Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out holding a second Scottish independence referendum this year but said another ballot remained “highly likely”. The first minister suggested she would wait to see the direction of the Brexit negotiations. “There is not going to be an independence referendum in 2017, I don’t think there is anybody who thinks that is the case,” she told STV News. The majority of Scottish people voted remain in the EU referendum, and the Scottish government has already drafted legislation for a second referendum vote on independence which it has said it will use if it is the only option to protect Scotland’s place in the single market. Over the weekend, Sturgeon denied she had been “bluffing” about the potential for a second poll but indicated that a soft Brexit, which kept the UK in the single market, would be enough to take the referendum off the table in the short-term.
NICOLA STURGEON was ridiculed today after she ruled out holding a Scottish independence referendum within the next 12 months. The Scottish First Minister has consistently threatened a new independence vote if her EU demands are not met in the wake of last summer’s UK-wide Brexit vote. But the SNP leader has insisted she will not be pushing for a second referendum in 2017, which critics immediately derided as “blindingly obvious” and an “empty gesture”. It comes amid a fresh blow to Ms Sturgeon’s hopes of building an economic case for Scottish independence after it emerged UK taxpayers are facing a £24billion bill for decommissioning oil and gas fields in the North Sea. Despite the First Minister’s regular threats of a new independence vote following the EU referendum, opinion polls have continually shown little appetite among Scottish voters to break away from the UK in the wake of the Leave result.
VLADIMIR Putin today railed against a US hacking “witch hunt” against his country after outgoing president Barack Obama warned the Kremlin is preparing a campaign to oust Angela Merkel from power in Germany. The Moscow chief launched a blistering broadside against the current White House administration, calling it “unprofessional” and saying he was looking forward to working with a more “sober” American leader. His remarks come amid a growing war of words between Mr Putin and the departing Mr Obama following the publication of a joint report by three intelligence agencies blaming Russian hackers for influencing the US election in favour of Mr Trump. The Kremlin had remained largely silent on the claims until now, but today a spokesman for the Russian leader tore into the conclusions by the CIA, FBI and NSA which he called “groundless”.
UKIP’s role in politics is more important now than ever been before, Paul Nuttall claimed as he vowed to stop any Brexit backsliding by the Government. Paul Nuttall said although Ukip was key in ensuring Britain was given a vote to leave the crumbling bloc, the eurosceptic party had an even bigger job to ensure the Government delivered the will of the British people. Speaking on the BBC’s Daily Politics show, Mr Nuttall revealed his plan to hold Theresa May and her Conservative Government to account during the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. “Let’s be clear, what people voted for on June 23 was to control our own borders, to control our own finances and sign free trade deals all over the globe,” he said. “We forced David Cameron into giving the referendum in the first place by being strong electorally and we intend to ensure Theresa May doesn’t backslide by doing the same thing.
More than a quarter of accident and emergency units are dangerously overcrowded after the busiest day on record for the NHS, senior doctors have warned. Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said that 25 to 30 per cent of A&E departments were dealing with fewer than 75 per cent of patients within four hours — the “magic mark” for safety. “When it gets below 75 per cent it becomes very overcrowded and that is when it becomes unsafe. There are delays in assessment of patients, there are delays in pain relief, there are delays in antibiotics being given, and basic patient dignity is compromised,” he told The Times.
An accident and emergency doctor has taken to Reddit to explain what really goes on in a busy UK hospital. The user, under the name Joan Dark, describes herself as a senior registrar in a “busy urban tertiary trauma centre” and admitted that emergency medicine “is a machine and you get sucked in and spat out”. She added she does not “really have any anger towards” Jeremy Hunt and said that although it “is a bit strong” to describe the NHS as in the grip of a humanitarian crisis, “maybe it is a term that needs to be used to reinvigorate some debate”. She said: “I don’t have an overarching plan to cure the NHS, if I did I would expect significantly better pay and a nice government office, but I do have a wish list of things I’d like to see that would best help the emergency department.
Frontline doctors have issued an unprecedented warning that patient safety is at risk at many A&E units across the NHS because hospitals are overwhelmed, as the health secretary provoked controversy by suggesting the four-hour treatment target should exclude people who waste time by presenting with minor ailments. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine said a substantial number of A&E departments were falling significantly short of the four hour standard – but Jeremy Hunt said that as many as 30% of those turning up were neither an urgent case nor a genuine emergency. The college, which represents doctors in emergency care, warned: “In our expert opinion, when an emergency department falls below 75% against the four-hour standard, it shows a significant level of overcrowding and begins to put safety at risk. Present figures suggest a substantial number of departments are falling below this level.”
Jeremy Hunt last night begged patients to stay away from crisis-hit hospitals. Announcing drastic measures to ease pressures on the NHS, the Health Secretary claimed 30 per cent of people using casualty units did not need to be there. Some had trivial issues such as broken fingernails, drunkenness and back ache. As well as appearing to blame patients, Mr Hunt: Suggested the four-hour treatment target could be limited to serious cases; Gave hospitals the green light to cancel non-urgent operations to free up beds; Said paramedics would be told not to bring elderly care home residents into hospital unless they were seriously ill; Urged casualty units to post GPs on their doors to redirect non-urgent patients to walk-in centres and pharmacies.
Jeremy Hunt condemned millions of patients to “indefinite” A&E waits yesterday as he said the promise to see every patient within four hours should be scrapped. In a shock statement to Parliament, the Tory Health Secretary said the long-standing pledge to treat every A&E patient within a four-hour window should now apply to “urgent” cases only. Labour’s shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth accused Mr Hunt of “rewriting and downgrading” one of the NHS’s most important pledges. Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb added: “This is a slippery slope towards the downgrading of standards of care across the NHS. “If the Health Secretary thinks it is acceptable for patients to be left waiting indefinitely in A&Es then he is sorely mistaken.
THE NHS winter meltdown continued yesterday as desperate hospitals cancelled ops, begged patients to stay away and even treated adults on a children’s ward. One under-pressure A&E declared a critical black alert as it struggled to deal with a patient every 90 seconds. A badly-injured rugby player had to be taken to hospital in the back of a pick-up truck because the ambulance took too long. And a car passenger who suffered spinal damage in a crash waited five hours for paramedics. Britain’s leading emergency doctor Dr Mark Holland said he was stunned that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had scrapped A&E’s four hour targets. Dr Holland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “Healthcare professionals and medical bodies across the country are reporting difficulties from the front line en masse, yet we are faced with dismissal. “Mr Hunt is completely out of touch if this is what he believes to be an accurate reflection of the situation.”
A CHANGE in Atlantic currents will trigger an apocalyptic Ice Age in Europe and America, researchers fear. A new study by Wei Lui, a Yale University researcher, reveals that the ongoing process of climate change could trigger catastrophic collapse of a vital Atlantic Ocean current known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). This current is a natural process that moves heat from hotter countries to the North Atlantic region that includes northern Europe and North America. The plot of the 2004 sci-fi movie The Day After Tomorrow was inspired by possibility of the current’s death. As in the film, the collapse of the current could plunge large parts of the Northern Hemisphere, especially North Atlantic countries, into extreme winter conditions that transform the entire region into frigid wastelands. Mr Lui cites climate change as the main threat to the current and says that it could be fatal for many countries like the USA and the UK.