Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to cave in to European Union (EU) demands and offer a £30 Billion Brexit ‘device bill’ with “almost unanimous” support from her Tory cabinet. The EU has hinted at blocking trade talks until the bill is settled, and leading Tories believe Mr. May will use a major Brexit speech in Florence, Italy, next week to announce the offer, the Daily Mail reports. A source told the paper the Cabinet is “almost unanimous” in its support for the proposal, with only Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arguing against a transition period and the bill. Mr. Johnson is said to advocate paying just £10 billion, but the EU’s chief negotiator, Michael Barnier, has hinted at as much as £90billion. In a 4,000-word essay on Facebook, Mr Johnson acknowledged the UK must “settle our accounts” but made no mention of a transition deal.
Theresa May has summoned ministers to a special cabinet meeting at which she will seek to bind Boris Johnson to her vision of Brexit on the eve of a key speech this week. The foreign secretary has piled on the pressure against a compromise with the EU. He refused yesterday to rule out resigning as he said that Britain should not have to pay “extortionate” sums for access to the single market, and that a post-Brexit transition should not be “too long”. Mrs May rebuked him mildly for setting out his vision before her speech in Florence on Friday. The prime minister wants to use the speech to restart stalled Brexit talks.
Theresa May slapped down Boris Johnson over his Brexit outburst today – but made clear he will not be sacked. The Prime Minister said ‘Boris is Boris’ as she insisted she – not the Foreign Secretary – is in charge of negotiations with the EU. Appearing at a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa today, she said the government is ‘driven from the front and we all have the same direction in sight’. The comments came as Mr Johnson met US president Donald Trump at the UN in New York this afternoon. Mr Johnson also sought to defuse the row caused when he published an article setting out his goals for Brexit. ‘As far as backseat driving, honestly, there is only one driver in this car and it is Theresa,’ he told reporters at the UN.
Boris Johnson was under intensifying pressure for reviving the Leave campaign’s controversial promise to spend £350 million a week on the NHS after Brexit as a think tank accused him of contradicting government figures. The Institute for Fiscal Studies, the leading economic research organisation, joined the official statistics watchdog in questioning the foreign secretary’s claim that there would be more money for public services after Brexit. Carl Emmerson, the institute’s deputy director, said the government’s own economic forecasts for the post-Brexit period “contain an allowance of almost £250 million per week — not £350 million — for funding that could in principle go to the NHS rather than the EU”.
Boris-hating journalists have reported the row between BoJo and Sir David Norgrove with such glee that they have neglected to mention that Boris’ article was correct and Sir David has cocked up. The supposedly independent UK Statistics Authority chief wrote in his public letter designed to embarrass Boris: “I am surprised and disappointed that you have chosen to repeat the figure of £350 million per week, in connection with the amount that might be available for extra public spending when we leave the European Union.” Except this is wrong and Sir David has made a pretty major error. Boris actually wrote in his Telegraph article: “Once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350 million per week. It would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS…”
Theresa May’s rift with Boris Johnson over Brexit has appeared to deepen, as she dismissed his claim that up to £350m a week could be freed up to spend on the NHS after Brexit; while the foreign secretary began musing openly about life outside government. Speaking to journalists on Monday on a flight to Canada, the prime minister sought to reassert her authority over the foreign secretary, saying: “This government is driven from the front, and we’re all going to the same destination.” May used a metaphor previously employed by home secretary Amber Rudd who had accused Johnson of “backseat driving”, after he used a 4,000-word article in the Daily Telegraph to repeat the controversial claim that £350m a week could be spent on the NHS by leaving the European Union, and set out his personal vision for Brexit.
The £350 million row is (once again) distracting everyone from the real story. James Forsyth has written a bang on the money blog about the “biggest Cabinet Brexit split” – between “several of the most senior members of the Cabinet” who want an “EEA minus/light” deal, and Boris and Gove who want a CETA/Canada plus model. An EEA minus/light deal means the UK shadows EU regulations and ECJ judgements, tying the UK’s hands and not delivering the Brexit for which Britons voted. A Canada plus deals means the UK shadows some standards but mostly we would be able to forge our own way in the world. This is what is kicking off right now. Guido understands Boris went bonkers last week when he found out Theresa May was heading towards the EEA light option at her Florence speech. Senior Tory Brexiters say the EEA light model is being pushed by Philip Hammond and Remainer civil servants in the Treasury, the permanently frustrating Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins, the DExEU permanent secretary who it was announced this morning is off to Number 10.
Theresa May has delivered an “I’m in charge” rebuke to Boris Johnson after his open challenge to her Brexit policy, insisting her government is “driven from the front”. The Prime Minister denied she had “lost control” of her Cabinet, claiming it was agreed on the “same destination” for leaving the EU – despite the clear split with her Foreign Secretary. Ms May also slapped down his call for an extra £350m a week for the NHS after Brexit, saying: “That will be a decision that will be taken at the time.” Asked, en route to trade talks in Canada with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, if she feared Mr Johnson was poised to resign to fight for a harder Brexit, the Prime Minister swerved the question.
Boris Johnson openly speculated about his future in government last night after he was rebuked by Theresa May for speaking out over Brexit. Amid a deepening Cabinet row over strategy, the Foreign Secretary repeated his concerns about the dangers of being dragged into a long transitional deal. Friends said he was also concerned that Remainers in the Cabinet might wreck Brexit by keeping Britain in the single market in the long term. Speaking in New York, where he is due to have a showdown with the Prime Minister today, he suggested he was toying with quitting. Asked if he was planning to do so, the Foreign Secretary initially said: ‘I think you may be barking up the wrong tree.’ But he later added: ‘When the burden of office is lifted from my shoulders I will of course look back with great pride on my time doing all sorts of things.’
Embattled Boris Johnson has dropped a huge hint he could quit as Foreign Secretary as pressure mounts over his row with Theresa May. The Cabinet Minister signalled he was ready to walk away amid the growing row at the heart of Government over his latest botched intervention. Mrs May was forced to publicly slap down Mr Johnson after he published a 4,000-word vision for Brexit – upstaging her own speech due this Friday. She said: “This Government is driven from the front.” Tonight Mr Johnson told reporters at the United Nations in New York: “When the burden of office is lifted from my shoulders I will of course look back with great pride on my time doing all sorts of things.”
Theresa May must use a landmark speech on Friday to unite the Cabinet around an agreed plan for Brexit or risk an irreversible split in the Conservative Party, Lord Hague has warned. The former party leader says senior ministers “lack co-ordination” 15 months on from the EU referendum and it is “high time” they settle on an agreed plan. Lord Hague says that if Mrs May’s landmark Brexit speech in Florence on Friday fails to unite the Cabinet, “Jeremy Corbyn will be Prime Minister”. As the Prime Minister prepares to set out her vision for post-Brexit Britain in her speech, a fresh Cabinet row has emerged over what sort of deal the Government should aim for.
JEREMY Corbyn will become Prime Minister if Theresa May fails to reunite the Tory party with her landmark speech on Friday, William Hague has warned. The Prime Minister has been called on to unite her Cabinet around a plan to get Britain out of the EU and end the “lack of co-ordination” among Cabinet members. Lord Hague told The Telegraph that 15 months on from the EU referendum was “high time” for the Government settle on an agreed plan. Mrs May is expected to lay out a plan for getting the UK out of the European Union when she makes a defining speech in Florence. But the former party leader, Lord Hague, warned that if the Prime Minister fails to unite her Cabinet she will be replaced by her Labour counterpart.
THERESA May has dramatically tightened her grip on the Brexit process by moving the UK’s most senior negotiator to a new role. Oliver Robbins has been shifted from Brexit Secretary David Davis’ department to a position as the PM’s European Union (EU) adviser. The Government said Mr Robbins, who is reported to have clashed with Mr Davis, will “continue to lead the UK team” in negotiations. But the move has been seen by Whitehall insiders as an bid by Mrs May to take a more prominent role in shaping the talks. Speaking in Canada today, the PM denied claims Mr Robbins’ job change showed the Brexit negotiating structure had been a “shambles”. She told reporters: “No, not at all. What it is a sign of is that the negotiations are getting into a more detailed and more intense phase.
THE President of the European Parliament has called on Theresa May to publicly admit how much the UK needs the EU so Brexit negotiations can progress. Antonio Tajani said the Prime Minister should use a major speech on Friday to acknowledge areas where Britain will need continued cooperation with Europe after the country leaves the union. Mr Tajani claimed the Government was not being honest with the British public and that in some areas, the UK needed the EU more than is being ‘let on’. He told the Independent: “I accept the UK’s decision to leave and would like us to maintain close relations after Brexit, but it is up to British negotiators to make concrete proposals, not the other way around.
Boris Johnson’s weekend intervention in Brexit negotiations has been received with open-mouthed disbelief across continental European newspapers. Most outlets suggested the Foreign Secretary’s 4,000-word Daily Telegraph article spelling out his own Brexit plan would weaken Theresa May’s hand with EU negotiators still further – just days ahead of her crunch speech in Florence. “The EU will follow the civil war within the Tories with horror,” analysis from Germany’s pro-business Handelsblatt newspaper summarised. “For nothing makes negotiations more difficult than an unpredictable partner who does not know what he wants.” French daily newspaper Le Monde described the Foreign Secretary’s intervention as having “a nationalist tone” and warned that it “risks reviving the war on Europe within the Tories and weakening the already difficult position of the Prime Minister, not only on the domestic level, but in the negotiations with the EU-27”.
EURO politicians were today accused of trying to suppress political cartoons that are critical of the EU as a damaging censorship row threatened to engulf the bloc. MEPs voiced fears that some within the EU Parliament are attempting to make sure that material which questions the direction of the project never sees the light of day. They said that critical cartoons about German Chancellor Angela Merkel were apparently discarded on the basis that she is currently facing a re-election battle. The exhibition takes place after Sunday’s election. In an open letter they told the institution’s president, Antonio Tajani, that he must choose to “stand with democracy” or risk the principle of free speech being undermined. The highly political row has erupted over a planned exhibition, entitled ‘EU turns 60: A Cartoon Party’, which is due to be held at the EU Parliament building in Brussels later this month. It has been organised to exhibit 28 sketches by Greek and French cartoonists which are meant to take a satirical and humorous look at the bloc’s first 60 years in existence. But now it has emerged that an MEP involved in the organisation of the event, the British MEP Catherine Bearder, has rejected 12 of the drawings which are critical of the project.
The British government should not expect Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, break the current deadlock in the Brexit talks if she joins forces with the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) after this weekend’s election, a leading figure in the party has told The Telegraph. The warning came after David Davis, the Brexit secretary, predicted that Brexit talks would “accelerate” after the German election, with UK ministers privately hoping that a German coalition government with the FDP could lead to a more flexible approach from Berlin. But Michael Theurer, a senior FDP candidate who has argued publicly for a more pragmatic approach to Brexit and is a strong candidate to become economy minister in such an FDP coalition government, cautioned against raised British expectations.
BRUSSELS today issued a pointed rebuke to Boris Johnson after he claimed that Britain will not have to pay for continued access to the Single Market after Brexit. Two senior eurocrats insisted the foreign secretary’s comments were misguided and that countries outside the bloc cannot enjoy the full benefits of its economic area cost free. In a widely debated 4,000 word article setting out his very personal Brexit position last week, Mr Johnson had argued that the UK should not agree to continued budget payments to Brussels. Championing his vision for a ‘Global Britain’ trading around the world, he wrote: “We would not expect to pay for access to their markets any more than they would expect to pay for access to ours.” But his remarks met with a stony reception from two of the bloc’s most senior officials at a press conference about reforms to the European labour market in Brussels today.
Arch-Remainer Tony Blair today described Brexit as a ‘self harming act’ as he suggested Britain could stay in the EU. The former Prime Minister said quitting the Brussels bloc is going to ‘diminish’ the UK and harm the economy. And asked directly if Britain can ‘undo Brexit’ he suggested the historic vote could be undone once the final deal is thrashed out. The ex Labour leader took to the stage in New York to deliver his gloomy views on Brexit in the latest in a string of interventions by him to challenge the vote. In a talk at the Concordia annual summit, he compared the vote to leave the EU with the election of Donald Trump. He said: ‘I think the drivers behind Brexit and Donald Trump were largely the same.
Climate change poses less of an immediate threat to the planet than previously thought because scientists got their modelling wrong, a new study has found. New research by British scientists reveals the world is being polluted and warming up less quickly than 10-year-old forecasts predicted, giving countries more time to get a grip on their carbon output. An unexpected “revolution” in affordable renewable energy has also contributed to the more positive outlook. Experts now say there is a two-in-three chance of keeping global temperatures within 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the ultimate goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement. They also condemned the “overreaction” to the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, announced by Donald Trump in June, saying it is unlikely to make a significant difference.
The worst impacts of climate change can still be avoided, senior scientists have said after revising their previous predictions. The world has warmed more slowly than had been forecast by computer models, which were “on the hot side” and overstated the impact of emissions, a new study has found. Its projections suggest that the world has a better chance than previously claimed of meeting the goal set by the Paris agreement on climate change to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, makes clear that rapid reductions in emissions will still be required but suggests that the world has more time to make the changes.
GLOBAL warming “can still be avoided” as top scientists admit they were too negative about the chances of saving the planet. Temperatures have risen at a slower rate than many predicted, meaning there is more time to take action, new research has revealed. A study published in Nature Geoscience claims computer-generated forecasts were “on the hot side” and overstated the impact of emissions. Revised predictions suggest the world has better odds than thought of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – the key target set by the Paris Agreement on climate change. One of the authors of the new study was Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London. He says many people – including himself – were previously convinced the damage to the environment was effectively done and could not be fixed.
The NHS is spending almost £80million a year hiring private ambulances to help it cope with an unprecedented number of 999 calls. Figures from the ten ambulance trusts in England show that the bill reached £78.4million in 2016/17, a 22 per cent increase on the £64.2million spent in 2014/15. But experts are worried about the standard of care and overall safety at some of these private firms. Earlier this year employees at one private ambulance firm said they had been given just an hour’s ‘blue light’ training. Ambulance services are struggling to respond to a record number of calls on top of a national shortage of paramedics. There were almost ten million 999 calls in 2016/17 and the total is going up by 5 per cent every year.
The NHS is spending almost £80m a year hiring private ambulances to answer 999 calls and take patients to hospital for appointments, new figures show. Widespread shortages of paramedics and rising demand forced England’s 10 NHS ambulance trusts to spend £78.4m in 2016-17 on help from non-NHS providers to supplement their own services. That was down on the £79.7m trusts spent in 2015-16, but 22% more than their £64.2m outlay in 2014-15, according to data obtained by the Press Association under freedom of information laws. South Central ambulance service spent the most on private services last year – £16.3m, up from its £13.6m outlay the year before and £12.3m in 2014-15. The East of England ambulance service spent the second-largest amount: £14m, more than double the £6.6m it paid to non-NHS providers the year before. The South East Coast ambulance service spent £11.1m.
THE NHS has forked out almost £80 million on private ambulances in the last two years, a rise of a fifth. The findings published today also show that all 10 ambulance trusts across the country are using private firms to help them answer 999 calls and transport people to hospital. Some trusts are so desperate they are even having to bring in agency paramedics, according to the figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request. The responses revealed that in 2016/17 the NHS spent £78.3m on private ambulances compared with £64.2m spent in 2014/5. South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust spent the most in 2016/17: £16.3m. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s president Dr Taj Hassan said: “It is concerning that trusts are having to use part of their budget for private ambulances and serves to highlight the current levels of demand emergency departments are facing.
Trade union leaders planning illegal strikes in protest at public sector pay curbs should “think again” about the harm caused to the public, Theresa May said. However, the Prime Minister stopped short of any fresh legislative clampdown to try to head off the threat of industrial action. Leaders of three trade unions have raised the threat of illegal strike action, amid anger that pay rises are likely to remain below the rate of inflation – even after the 1 per cent cap is lifted. Unite boss Len McCluskey said he would be prepared to break the “artificial threshold” requiring industrial action to be approved by a ballot of 50 per cent of members. His call was echoed by Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) chief Mark Serwotka and Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, who both said they would consider defying the rules.