Jacob Rees-Mogg’s allies are talking to PR firms as he steps up his leadership campaign, it was claimed today. The posh MP is jockeying for position with more than half a dozen other Tories looking to take over from Theresa May if the Brexit negotiations implode. Supporters of the Old Etonian are reported to have interviewed public relations companies with a view to working on a leadership challenge. Mr Rees-Mogg denied the claim.
Top Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has denied suggestions he is readying a Conservative leadership bid, after an ex-minister claimed there was “no doubt” a coup against Theresa May is being planned. Mr Rees-Mogg branded recent reports that a £750,000 war chest has been raised and PR firms contacted to help him win the Tory leadership as “fake news” and a “completely bogus story”. However, the North East Somerset MP did repeat his warning to the prime minister that he will not be able to support her Brexit plan if she breaches a commitment to leave the EU’s single market and customs union.
Theresa May is facing an “almighty row” with Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers at Chequers amid accusations that she is pursuing the “softest Brexit possible”. On Tuesday it emerged that the Prime Minister’s new “third way” on customs arrangements will revive key parts of Theresa May’s customs partnership, which Eurosceptics fear will lead to a significant compromise on Brexit. The plans are expected to see Britain enter into a single market on goods with the EU, collect tariffs on the EU’s behalf and potentially open the door for the European Court of Justice to have a role in arbitrating future trade disputes.
THERESA MAY could face a showdown with Cabinet ministers during this week’s Brexit getaway at Chequers amid speculation she is leading the UK into a soft Brexit and trying to “keep” the UK in the single market. Earlier this week, it emerged the Prime Minister is hoping for a ‘third-way’ approach to customs arrangements with the Brussels bloc. The plans are expected to potentially allow the European Courts of Justice to have a say on trade disputes and see Britain enter a single market on goods with Brussels. One Cabinet insider said the arrangement is just a ploy to keep Britain in the EU.
Tory MPs are turning the screw on Theresa May, laying out their red lines that they will not accept from her Brexit policy. It comes ahead of a crunch meeting at Chequers on Friday where the PM is going to try to unify her Cabinet. The letter says the MPs won’t stand for any extension of Article 50, the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice or any extension of the transition agreement. It’s signed first by Andrea Jenkyns who says she wants to ensure the British people ‘are not sold out’. Too right, Brexiteers have seen their wishes disregarded and watered down for far too long.
TORY Brexiteers were furious at a softer Brexit plan by Theresa May for Britain to keep on collecting the EU’s border taxes after Brexit. In a bid to break the negotiations deadlock with Brussels, it emerged that the PM is sticking to her initial bid for the UK to levy EU customs tariffs on imports destined for mainland Europe, as well as the UK’s own new tariffs. Downing Street argue it is the only way to keep border trade free-flowing with the bloc, ensure the Irish border stays open and allow the UK to strike its own new trade deals.
THERESA May is heading for a complete “sell-out” and is on the verge of softening her Brexit stance ahead of a crunch Cabinet meeting at Chequers on Friday, an 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 Brexiteers have raised concerns that Mrs May may be on the verge of softening her Brexit stance after avoiding her inner “war” Cabinet, which previously voted against the Prime Minister’s desired “customs partnership” model.
DEADLOCKED Brexit negotiations will not progress until the United Kingdom can provide a satisfactory answer to the Irish border conundrum, according to European Council President Donald Tusk. The EU’s most senior official posed the threat while briefing MEPs on last week’s European Council summit in Brussels, in which Brexit appeared as an insignificant footnote against migration and enlargement. Leaders of the EU27 agreed that they should all express concern about the lack of progress on the Irish border as neither Brussels and Westminster have been able to reach an agreement on the so-called Irish backstop.
The chancellor and the business secretary are being lined up to warn their colleagues on Friday of the dangers of pushing for a hard Brexit. Philip Hammond and Greg Clark are expected to spell out the possible consequences for tax revenue and business confidence when the cabinet meets at Chequers to try to form a united front. Theresa May is increasingly believed to be preparing to push her colleagues to accept the softest Brexit, keeping existing rules for goods, with some limited curbs to migration and some reduction to EU access for service companies.
The huge Unite union today vowed to try and force a new general election to remove Theresa May if it opposes her Brexit deal. Trade union members also left the door open to calling a new referendum on any deal if they do not like the terms. Union questions about the exact terms of Brexit piles pressure on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to soften his stance on quitting the EU. It comes as Momentum, the supporter group dedicated to Mr Corbyn, edges closer to full-blown support for a new referendum. Labour’s leader opposes a second referendum on the deal, as does Prime Minister Theresa May.
JEREMY Corbyn has come under massive pressure to back a second referendum to block Brexit from his biggest financial backers, the Unite trade union. Delegates at the Unite conference backed a so-called “people’s vote” on the outcome of talks with the EU which has been pushed by Remainers to reverse the historic leave vote in 2016. It came after union baron Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, described Brexit as “a nightmare” in his keynote speech and urged delegates to back another vote on it.
UNITE threw its might behind Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn today, vowing to get him into No 10 as the union said No to a second referendum on Brexit. Speaking at the union’s biennial policy conference in Brighton, general secretary Len McCluskey took aim at the media misrepresentation of the union’s position on a second referendum, telling delegates: “Let me be clear – we are not calling for a second referendum. “Our decisions are made by our conference, not by any unrepresentative opinion polls commissioned by God knows who.”
Len McCluskey has pledged to campaign for a fresh Brexit referendum with “all of the influence and power of oratory that I have” if his Unite members back the move. Members of Britain’s biggest trade union will decide on Tuesday whether to abandon its current opposition to a public vote on Theresa May’s deal. At the weekend, a poll found that 57 per cent of Unite members did support a further referendum, with just 34 per cent opposed to the idea. Campaigners believe the support of the general secretary of Unite – Labour’s biggest funder, with more than 1.4 million members – could be crucial in persuading Jeremy Corbyn to back another vote.
The Unite union has said it will try force an early general election later this year if it does not like the government’s Brexit deal. In a motion backed by delegates, Unite also says it remains “open to the possibility” of another EU referendum “depending on political circumstances”. Campaigners for a referendum on the Brexit deal are hoping to pressure Unite – Labour’s biggest backer – into supporting a referendum on the deal. Labour and Tories do not back the idea.
MPs have launched a fresh bid to scrap the 130-year-old first-past-the-post voting system. Politicians from every party have joined forces in a dramatic drive to bring in proportional representation in a major overhaul the current electoral system. Labour, Lib Dems, Tories, Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP are all represented in a newly-formed parliamentary group targeting radical reform, the Daily Mirror can reveal. It aims to push for “the adoption of a system of proportional representation at all levels of governance in the UK”.
The political crisis in Germany looked set to spread beyond its frontiers on Tuesday as Austria warned it was “ready to take steps to protect its borders” against migrants. Angela Merkel would have hoped she had resolved the crisis which threatened to bring down her government when she hammered out a last-minute compromise on Monday night with her rebellious interior minister, Horst Seehofer, to hold migrants at “transit centres” on the German border. But on Tuesday it appeared the deal could set off the domino effect she warned against and threaten the future of the European Union ’s border-free Schengen Area.
Austria has said it will send asylum seekers back to Italy and Slovenia – hours after Angela Merkel agreed to restrict migrant arrivals in Germany to save her coalition. The German Chancellor struck a compromise deal with her rebellious Bavarian allies, the CSU, last night in a bid to avert a political crisis in Berlin. Among the proposals is a plan to send back to Austria asylum seekers arriving in Germany who cannot be returned to their countries of entry into the European Union.
Austria’s chancellor has warned Britain against trying to turn EU countries against each other to gain an advantage in Brexit talks. Speaking at the European Parliament as his country took over the European Council’s rotating presidency, Sebastian Kurz said Austria would “preserve the unity of the 27” in Brexit matters. Austria is taking the reins in setting the agenda at EU summits from now until next year – a crucial period for Brexit talks that should include the meeting where the final deal is planned to be signed off in October.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT debates were stopped for half an hour today when MEPs switched off microphones in support of an interpreters’ strike. Around a dozen politicians, including Labour’s Theresa Griffin, briefly occupied parliament’s control room to stop technicians turning the power back on. Parliament president Antonio Tajani accused MEPs of “acting like trade unionists.” “The negotiations are between the administration and the interpreters and it’s not incumbent on [MEPs] to intervene,” he moaned. Interpreters have coped with an increase in languages provided to 24 but seen staff numbers cut.
EUROPEAN UNION interpreters have demonstrated their considerable influence on the Brussels project after their protest over working conditions helped bring a debate featuring a member state’s prime minister to a halt. The EU employees at the European Parliament in Strasbourg are staging the first in a series of strikes over a long-running feud about changes to their working hours. The interpreters, who give live translations of all parliamentary proceedings in the EU’s 24 official languages, are stopping work for up to two hours a day as they escalate their argument further.
MEPs have rejected proposals to introduce new rules which would have made it possible to scrutinise their expenses. Under the current system, MEPs are given a fixed payment of €4,416 per month on top of their €8,611 monthly salary to cover their office expenses. The money is paid in a lump sum and they are not required to provide any proof of how the money is spent. Last night, behind closed doors, MEPs rejected plans which would have required them to keep receipts for their expenditure which would then be scrutinised by an external auditor.
EURO MPs have been blasted after voting to keep how they spend their £3,900-a-month allowances secret from voters. Anti-corruption campaigners tore into the EU Parliament for refusing to open up its secretive £35million expenses bill to scrutiny. Currently MEPs are entitled to bumper payouts for hotels, restaurants and travel but do not have to file receipts or undergo audits. In a behind-closed-doors vote this week they decided to carry on with the heavily criticised system for at least another five years.
British fishermen are to be promised a greater share of the fish in UK waters under government plans for a new post-Brexit fisheries policy. Ministers will vow to “take back control of UK waters” from December 2020 and introduce a system of quotas that will cancel the historic claims, dating from the 1970s, made by other EU countries. The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations welcomed the fisheries white paper, to be published today, saying that it would result in greater catches and higher incomes for British fishermen.
British fishermen will face annual negotiations to secure their fishing rights in shared waters from 2020, while other EU countries may lose many of their current rights to fish in British waters, according to a government white paper on fishing after Brexit. Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations, published on Wednesday, provided the first glimpse into how the UK’s fishing industry will change after Brexit. Its premise, to be introduced in a fisheries bill, is that the UK should have full control of its waters and the ability to set its own quotas for UK-based vessels.
THERESA May today unveils a plan to take back full control of Britain’s fishing waters in a bid to quell rising Tory anarchy over Brexit. The government blueprint will see the UK set its own fishing quotas for the first time in five decades. Brexiteers had feared that the PM would trade away the power – a key pledge by Leave campaigners – in exchange for a better trade deal. But the firm commitment for quotas to become a sovereign decision means only British ministers will decide who fishes in the 200 miles of our territorial waters, and how much they catch.
A BAN on EU nations fishing in British waters post-Brexit has sparked panic among sprawling German fishing businesses. Furious Uwe Richter, head of the EuroBaltic fish factory in Sassnitz, has demanded the ban be challenged so that Germany can continue to profit from the wealth of the UK’s waters after the nation leaves the bloc in March next year. He raged: “Not only the fishermen are startled, but also their customers!”
The UK government is to publish details of how it wants to manage the fishing industry after Brexit. Ministers promised the UK would “take back control of our waters” when it leaves the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. Under the existing policy, limits on different species are set centrally and quotas are assigned to each country. The government said UK fishermen “received a poor deal that is based on fishing patterns from the 1970s”.
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is backing the ‘Save Your Internet’ campaign, revealing Tuesday how they are fighting the European Union’s (EU) latest attempt to “destroy the capacity for free speech” online, known as Article 13 and the ‘link tax’ Article 11. The unelected European Commission has been quietly pushing the laws – called the Proposal for Copyright Directive in the Single Digital Market – that could force online platforms to monitor and control all uploads with “content recognition technologies”. Alternative news providers and blogs may also be hit by plans for a “link tax” which could compel them to pay just to reference content and therefore hand the well-resourced mainstream media an advantage.
A major incident has been declared in Wiltshire after it was suspected two people were exposed to an unknown substance in Amesbury. The town is just seven miles from Salisbury, where Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent in March. The man and woman, both in their 40s, are in a critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital, Wiltshire Police said. Wiltshire Police said it was not clear if a crime had been committed, although a number of scenes in the Amesbury and Salisbury area have been cordoned off as a precaution.
Police have declared a major incident in Wiltshire after suspected exposure to an unknown substance left two people in a critical condition. The man and woman, both in their 40s, were found unconscious at an address in Amesbury on Saturday evening and were initially believed to have taken contaminated heroin or crack cocaine. Tests are now being carried out to identify the substance believed to have made them ill. Parts of Amesbury and Salisbury were cordoned off as a precaution last night while the pair were treated at Salisbury district hospital.
A MAJOR incident has been declared after people were exposed to an unknown substance in Wiltshire – just miles from Salisbury. Two people were suspected of being exposed to an unknown substance in Amesbury – a few miles south of Salisbury where two Russians were targeted with a deadly nerve agent. Emergency services were called to a home in Muggleton Road on June 30, after a man and woman – both in their 40s – were found unconscious inside.
A major incident has been declared in Wiltshire amid fears two people left fighting for their lives had been exposed to an “unknown substance”. A number of scenes in the Amesbury and Salisbury area have been cordoned off as authorities investigated the incident. Public Health England (PHE) advised it did not believe there to be a “significant health risk” to the wider public, although its advice was being continually assessed.
A major incident has been declared in Wiltshire after it was suspected two people might have been exposed to an unknown substance in Amesbury. The man and woman, both in their 40s, are in a critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital, Wiltshire Police said. A number of places in the Amesbury and Salisbury area have been cordoned off as a precaution and the force said it was not yet clear if they were the victims of a crime, however detectives are keeping an “open mind” about the circumstances of the incident.