BRUSSELS could owe Britain billions of pounds, a former Tory Cabinet minister declared last night. Iain Duncan Smith, a leading figure in the crusade for Britain to quit the EU, hit back at demands for a Brexit divorce settlement of up to £60billion by pointing out that UK taxpayers have ploughed vast sums in the bloc over the past four decades and should be due a repayment. “We should stop listening to this nonsense about what we should pay them and look into what they owe us,” the senior MP said. His blistering intervention in the debate comes just a day before Theresa May is due to formally begin the Brexit process. An historic letter from the Prime Minister requesting the activation of the EU’s Article 50 exit process is due to be hand delivered to EU Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels on Wednesday.
Britain must sweep aside thousands of needless EU regulations after Brexit to free the country from the shackles of Brussels, a coalition of senior MPs and business leaders have demanded. Theresa May will on Wednesday start the formal process of leaving the EU when she invokes Article 50, giving her a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to rejuvenate the UK economy. Today The Daily Telegraph calls on the Conservative Party to promise a bonfire of EU red tape in its 2020 manifesto to put Britain on a radically different course. The proposal has the backing of the former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, who believes the Tories should promise at the next election to “whittle away” unnecessary rules, reducing the “burden” on businesses and citizens.
Britain’s Brexit divorse bill will be “nothing like” the tens of billions of pounds in liabilities floated by EU officials and widely reported in the press, David Davis has said. The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union suggested Britain might pay nothing when it left the EU and said he had seen “no explanation” for any figure cited anywhere else. It was reported in February that European Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier would demand £48 billion in liabilities from David Davis and his UK negotiating team. The figure, supposedly agreed at a meeting of member states, reflects commitments Britain has made on EU-wide projects until 2020, as well as the pensions of officials. The one-off payment is separate from any ongoing contribution the UK might make to the EU budget for access to trade markets.
The national consensus for leaving the European Union is growing, with 68% now behind the process in a YouGov poll according to the Mail. A narrative of any sense of ‘Bregret’ has been shattered. ICM had support for Brexit at 68%, with only 15% wanting to block the UK’s exit from the failed bloc. On the eve of Article 50, the country is now focused on the independent future of the country. One based on border controls, with our Parliament and Courts supreme and our territorial fishing waters brought back under our control. It is no longer about whether we leave or not, but how we leave. Will the European Union realise that its in its own best interests to sort a quick, sensible deal with Brexit Britain? Or will they mess us about and the UK walk out rather than accept a bad deal?
A strict cap will not be placed on immigration from the European Union after Britain leaves, the Brexit secretary indicated last night. In the clearest sign that the government will not attempt a big restriction immediately after Brexit, David Davis said that migration levels would rise and fall depending on need. He added that the public were in favour of migration “so long as it is managed”. Asked if there would be a fixed cap, Mr Davis said: “No.” He said: “I don’t think most people oppose migration, I think most people are in favour of migration so long as it’s managed. The point is, it will need to be managed.”
Immigration should rise and fall depending on the UK’s needs after it has left the EU, the Brexit secretary says. David Davis said a “sustainable” system would take into account the needs of the NHS and different industries. He also said the government had a “huge contingency plan” for the UK leaving the EU without a deal. Mr Davis was speaking on a special edition of BBC Question Time ahead of Wednesday’s formal Brexit notification. The government has yet to specify how the UK’s immigration system will work once it is no longer bound by EU free movement rules, but has promised to restore “control” to borders with new curbs in place.
Immigration levels may need to rise “from time to time”, David Davis has said as he refused to commit to a cap on the number of EU citizens coming to the UK after Brexit. In an indication that the vote to leave the European Union might not result in a dramatic fall in net migration, the Brexit Secretary said industries and public services dependent on migrant labour would need to be able to continue to recruit workers from overseas. However, Mr Davis said he believed the Conservatives’ target of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands could be reached as part of a “sustainable” policy.
One woman was found dead while aid groups said on Sunday around 1,000 migrants were rescued overnight off the Libyan coast, the latest victim among growing numbers seeking to reach Europe. Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee said the dead woman was found on one of several rudimentary vessels carrying would-be refugees, helped during a six-hour operation. Two rescue ships picked up the migrants as they sought to make the perilous journey to Italy, three days after more than 250 Africans were feared drowned off Libya after a rescue boat found five corpses close to two sinking rubber dinghies. Despite rough winter seas, migrant departures from Libya on boats chartered by people traffickers have accelerated in recent months from already-record levels, with patrol boats rescuing more than 6,000 people in the past week alone.
The Greek Immigration Minister, Yannis Mouzalas, has warned the EU that Greece cannot cope with any more migrants, as Brussels considers returning to the controversial ‘Dublin Agreement’. The agreement, when enforced, make migrants the responsibility of the first country they enter which also means migrants who come to Europe via Greece that have their asylum claims rejected could be sent back for Greece to deal with, rather than be deported to their home country. Mouzalas told Der Spiegel: “We are not in a position to implement a return to the Dublin rules. I want the Germans to understand that we are not concerned about political or ideological reasons, or that we would not appreciate the help from Germany. Greece simply has no capacity to cope with the arrival of other refugees.
The two southern European countries that absorb nearly all boat-borne refugees from North Africa and Turkey are taking steps to halt the arrivals, with both saying they have reached their limit. The United Nation’s International Organization for Migration reports that 20,484 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea this year through mid-March. More than 80 percent – 16,248 — of that staggering number arrived in Italy, the second largest-number went to Greece and the third-largest to Spain. Greek Migration Policy Minister Yannis Mouzalas said that his nation is not able to absorb any more and will not be taking any more refugees. He said that Greece is unable to abide by the Dublin Regulation, which holds that refugees may be sent back to the first European stop they made.
Paul Nuttall vowed yesterday to radically overhaul Ukip and relaunch the party in September as he dampened expectations for its performance in May’s council elections. The Ukip leader said that “the whole party is going to change over the summer” in a shake-up that involves rebranding, new policies, a new constitution and new structures at national, regional and branch level. “The name will stay, that’s the one thing I’ll guarantee,” he said, refusing to rule out a change to the pound sign logo and purple and yellow colour scheme. The “post-Brexit Ukip” will be unveiled at its annual conference in Torquay.
Ukip’s Brexit spokesman has said the Government should be able to deport EU citizens who do not work or pay taxes once Britain leaves the EU. In an apparent departure from a policy of guaranteeing all EU nationals the right to remain in the UK after Brexit, which is widely accepted even among leading Brexiteers, Gerard Batten said strict new controls should be introduced. He suggested those who were out of work or homeless should be sent back to their country of origin. “What the British Government should do is write to every one of the other 27 EU member states and say we will guarantee your citizens’ rights if you guarantee our citizens’ rights,” he was quoted by The Guardian as saying. “So, for example, in Poland we have about 30-odd thousand people and they have about 900,000 here. So why wouldn’t they do that?
PAUL NUTTALL has issued Theresa May with a stern set of challenges to ensure she delivers a successful Brexit for Great Britain. The Ukip leader presented the party’s “six key tests” during a powerful speech confronting the Conservative Government shortly after Douglas Carswell, Ukip’s only MP, resigned from the party. Mr Nuttall promised to act a “Brexit guard dog” throughout the Prime Minister’s negotiations with Brussels after Article 50 is triggered on March 29. His six-point plan covered the areas Ukip believe to be critical positions to take when formal negotiations begin – legal, migration, maritime, trade, money and a time test. Mr Nuttall called for the Government to reverse its “betrayal” of Britain’s fishing industry, to introduce “full control of its immigration and asylum policies”, “retake its seat on the World Trade Organisation”, pay “no final settlement” to Brussels and complete the task before the 2020 General Election.
The six tests:
1. The Legal Test:
2. The Migration Test:
3. The Maritime Test:
4. The Trade Test:
5. The Money Test:
6. The Time Test:
The EU’s chief negotiator has warned it will crush Theresa May’s hopes of a new trade deal if she slashes business taxes, workers’ rights and environmental standards. Michel Barnier said an “ambitious free-trade agreement” was possible if the two sides can first reach agreement on the ‘divorce bill’, EU citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland’s border. But he warned it could only be agreed “provided that it ensures fair competition and guarantees high environmental, social and consumer protection standards”. The warning flows from the EU’s fears that Britain, under a Conservative Government, will embark on a “race to the bottom” after Brexit.
SADIQ Khan today warned Brussels that a “bad” Brexit deal will be just as damaging for the European Union as it will be for Britain. The London Mayor warned eurocrats that the rest of Europe would not profit from any attempt to “punish” the UK and warned them the British capital would remain the continent’s “beating” economic heart even after the country leaves. Speaking at an event in Brussels organised by Politico, the Labour heavyweight said that any attempt to lure firms away from the City would instead ust see jobs go to America and the Far East. And he also had a swipe at parts of the country which voted for Brexit because of immigration concerns, saying that just because they did not want “immigration slash talent, even though they might need it” did not mean London should suffer.
Calling for harsh sanctions on European Union (EU) nations refusing to welcome migrants, UN Human Rights Council Advisor Jean Ziegler said Germany’s open borders response to the crisis set a ‘great example’. Ziegler, who sits on the UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee, argued that EU countries with restrictive policies on migrants are “violently trampling on refugees’ human rights”, Der Tagesspiegel reports. He called on the European Commission to suspend payments to countries trying to minimise the migrant influx, highlighting Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, and Slovakia as “delinquents”.
FRONT National leader Marine Le Pen has cemented her lead in the race for the French presidency with the anti-immigration candidate taking a two point lead in the latest opinion poll. Ms Le Pen, 48, would come first in the first round of voting in the upcoming election, according to a survey carried out by Opinionway. The controversial leader would secure 26 per cent of the vote compared to the En Marche candidate Emmanuel Macron with 24 per cent and trailed by the centre right Republicans candidate Francois Fillon. However, with less than four weeks to go until the initial voting, Ms Le Pen would likely lose out in the second round with the former socialist Mr Macron beating Ms Le Pen in the run-off vote by a margin of 61 per cent to 39.
Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says that if her plan to pull France from the euro currency is rejected by the French she will resign. Le Pen, speaking Monday on Europe 1 radio, reiterated her plan to hold a referendum on the euro issue if elected president, and “If it’s no, I will go.” She said that a show of support for the eurozone means the French “choose a model of governance imposed by the European Union” – which Le Pen also wants to exit. It also means, she said, that “70 percent of my project cannot be put in place.” Le Pen is at the top of polls ahead of the April 23 and May 7 voting, along with independent centrist Emmanuel Macron.
Labour’s membership has fallen by 10,850 in the past four weeks, according to official party documents leaked to The Times. The revelation comes after it emerged earlier this month that the party had lost 26,000 members since last July’s peak of 554,000. A Labour source said that the latest departures showed “the trickle becoming a flood”. Last week, membership fell by about 6,450, as people failed to renew their subscriptions. A total of 692 people actively resigned and 300 additional resignations are waiting to be processed. The primary reason members gave for quitting was the party’s “general direction and approach to Brexit”, according to Labour’s weekly membership key performance indicators report, which was seen by this newspaper.
Painkillers, cough remedies and gluten-free foods will no longer be available on the NHS. GPs will have to stop prescribing items that can be bought cheaply in supermarkets and chemists. Unveiling a major cost-cutting plan in the Daily Mail today, the head of the NHS says patients will also be expected to pay for their own indigestion pills, hayfever remedies and sun cream. Simon Stevens says that free travel vaccinations will come to an end. His new national guidance will say these should no longer be ‘routinely’ prescribed on the NHS. There will also be a big drive to recover the costs of treating European Union citizens.
The NHS will no longer pay for everyday medicines, including painkillers and cough mixture, the head of the health service has said. Simon Stevens has outlined plans for patients to have to pay for basic items, like hay fever drugs, indigestion pills and gluten-free food, in a money-saving drive. The cuts are part of new measures to reduce £1 billion of costs in the health service, which is struggling to cope with a surge in demand caused by an expanding population. Under the new rules, doctors will be banned from “routinely” prescribing items that are cheaply available in high street chemists. Coeliacs will be forced to buy their own gluten-free food and patients will also be denied free travel vaccinations.
PRIVATEERS have pocketed almost half of the £2 billion extra cash given to the NHS in the pre-2015 election Autumn Statement, researchers revealed yesterday. Health bosses handed a staggering £901 million bonanza to private and nonNHS services compared to £800m buying the same care from NHS trusts, according to the Health Foundation. The report found a shocking £1 in every £8 of local commissioners’ budgets in England is being spent on buying care from non-NHS providers.
Northern Ireland has the right to leave the United Kingdom and join the European Union as part of the Republic after Brexit, ministers have conceded for the first time. In another blow to Theresa May’s efforts to keep the union together, ministers have concluded that Northern Ireland would not have to reapply for EU membership as a new country if it voted for reunification. It comes as civil servants prepare to take control of Northern Ireland’s budget from tomorrow after the failure of political parties in the province to restore powersharing. James Brokenshire, the Northern Ireland secretary, said that Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party would have a “short window” to resolve their differences.
MSPs are expected to back Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second independence referendum in a vote at Holyrood on Tuesday. A two-day debate over whether the First Minister should seek permission to hold another ballot between autumn 2018 and spring 2019 started in the Scottish Parliament last week but was halted as news of the terror attack at Westminster emerged. The vote was delayed but will be held on Tuesday, with the Scottish Greens expected to help the minority Scottish Government pass its motion asking for a mandate to take forward discussions with the UK Government on the details of a section 30 order, the mechanism to transfer the legal powers for a vote. Scottish Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians have made clear they will vote against another referendum.
A CATASTROPHIC tsunami threatening to wipe out parts of Spain and Portugal, kill 10,000 people and cause “high economic losses” could strike at “any time”, experts have warned. Shock research presented in terrifying new documentary “La Gran Ola” warns that an earthquake in the Gulf of Cadiz could trigger a monster tsunami. Should a “big one” quake happen, scientists believe the resulting tidal wave could hammer large swathes of coastline in popular tourist destinations. Begona Perez, head of the Division of Oceanography of Spanish Ports, said: “The question is not whether there will be another tsunami, but when will it happen.” Currently tsunami alert systems do not detect a tsunami “until it reaches the shore” meaning thousands “can’t do anything” to avoid death.
NORTH Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is readying his next missile as the threat of nuclear war looms. The hermit state has threatened “actual war” with America and South Korea, after the tubby tyrant threatened to reduce the “US to ash”. This was in response to US and South Korean forces holding military drills in the peninsula, practicing attacks on the despot nation. North Korea has seen this as an act of war, and has accelerated their development of the deadly ICBM missile. Once fully operational, the nuclear missile could obliterate more than one million Americans on the mainland. In preparation of nuclear war, Kim has fired 20 missiles in the last year, with mixed success. Escalation of work at his nuclear testing site at Punggye-ri has led experts to believe his next launch will be in days. An inside source backed that up, saying he will fire a missile to celebrate the anniversary of the Korean People’s Army.