Theresa May could bypass her Brexit “war Cabinet” by asking the full Cabinet to back her controversial plan for a customs partnership with Brussels, Eurosceptic ministers fear. Mrs May has postponed plans to discuss Britain’s future customs arrangements with her 11-strong Brexit sub-committee on Thursday, having been outnumbered 6-5 last week by those who opposed the partnership idea. As she considers her next move, Brexiteers have warned her she could face a revolt – and even a leadership contest – if she tries to steamroller opponents of the plan. Boris Johnson has described the customs partnership proposal – which involves Britain collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU – as “crazy”.
Theresa May could look to force through her plans to keep the UK shackled to a customs partnership with Brussels by by-passing her Brexit ‘War Cabinet’ and instead letting her full Cabinet vote on it. She lost the last vote 6-5 last week and her plans for Britain’s future ‘customs partnership’ with Brussels were said to be dead in the water…but apparently she’s still trying to force them through. One Cabinet source said: “There is a growing feeling that the Prime Minister is going to avoid another confrontation with the Brexit sub-committee on a customs partnership, which she would lose, and just put the matter to a full Cabinet meeting where she has the numbers to win.
MPs will have a vote on remaining in the European Economic Area – effectively a vote on the single market – after a shock defeat for the government in the Lords. It means the Brexit strategy of both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn has been blown apart in the last 24 hours. The rebel Labour amendment in the Lords opened the prospect of a Commons vote on the EEA – a less stringent version of the single market – after 83 Labour peers voted against the party whip. Chuka Umunna, the Labour MP who co-chairs a pro-European Commons committee with Conservative Anna Soubry, said the leadership would now have to come off the fence and make it clear where it stood.
Boris Johnson has challenged the prime minister to sack him by indicating that he has no intention of quitting the cabinet despite branding her favoured customs plan “crazy”. Downing Street tried to sidestep a confrontation with the foreign secretary yesterday after he said that Theresa May’s proposed customs partnership would create a “whole new web of bureaucracy”. Friends of Mr Johnson said he would not resign. “Why should he?” asked one. “He knows it’s better to fight for this on the inside.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg praised ‘aggressive’ Boris Johnson and ‘amazing’ Sajid Javid today amid speculation over a Brexiteer bid to oust Theresa May. The Tory backbencher – head of the influential Eurosceptic bloc of Tory MPs – upped the pressure on the PM amid a mounting meltdown over plans for trade with the EU. Boris Johnson brought the bitter Cabinet row crashing into the open today with a dramatic intervention in which he warned that the proposal would create ‘a whole new web of bureaucracy’.
House of Lords
Peers have voted to strip the official date of Brexit from flagship laws on leaving the bloc tonight in a twelfth defeat for Theresa May. Axing the date from the EU (Withdrawal) Bill will not stop the Article 50 clock and should not delay Britain’s actual departure from the Brussels club. But the move flies in the face of Government policy to write the date of March 29, 2019, into British law. Opposition and rebel peers claim stripping the date from the Bill will make the negotiations easier. The 311 to 233 vote was the second defeat for ministers today on the final day of report stage on the flagship legislation. Earlier peers demanded Britain stay in EU agencies after quitting the bloc, voting 298 to 227 in defiance of appeals from the minister.
The Lords have voted to keep the UK in the single market after 83 peers defied the Labour whip to land the government a devastating defeat. Theresa May has insisted Britain will also leave the European Union’s single market and customs union after it quits the bloc next March. A total of 83 Labour peers voted for an amendment tabled by Lord Alli which would see the UK remain part of the European Economic Area – and effectively the single market. The government suffered two earlier losses, when peers backed plans to remove references to official Brexit date from the face of the bill as well as plans to keep the UK in EU agencies after Brexit.
FURY erupted last night as members of the Lords were accused of “taking a wrecking ball” to Brexit. There were four new defeats for the Government over vital legislation, including supporting a move that could delay our departure from the EU. It took to 14 the number of times that unelected peers have defied Brexit voters, ministers and majority opinion in the House of Commons to back changing the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. Tory MP and Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said after yesterday’s votes: “The peers set themselves against the people, using an ermine-covered wrecking ball in their efforts to stop Brexit.”
Europhile Lords have out-voted the government yet again, backing an amendment to remove any specific date out of the EU Withdrawal Bill. Those seeking to delay and stop Brexit won the vote by 311 votes to 233. Included among them were 10 Conservative Lords, 86 Liberal Democrats and 145 Labour Peers. What an insult to the British people. The Lords are showing they have zero respect for the referendum result.
The Government has suffered an unexpected Brexit defeat in the Lords, rounding off a series of reverses in the upper chamber. Peers backed retaining key aspects of the EU’s single market through continued participation in the European Economic Area (EEA) by 245 votes to 218, a majority of 27. It came in defiance of both the Government and Opposition frontbenches and followed earlier defeats on the Brexit date and participation in EU agencies. The Government has suffered 14 defeats over its flagship EU Withdrawal Bill, with the latest reversals coming on the sixth and final day of the bill’s report stage in the upper chamber.
Peers have dealt a major blow to Theresa May’s Brexit strategy by backing a bid to force the government to effectively keep the UK in the single market. Rebels in both Labour and Tory ranks defied the leadership to inflict the defeat on the government in the Lords, where they supported a cross-party amendment calling for continued participation in the European Economic Area (EEA). The news will come as a blow to Jeremy Corbyn, as 83 Labour peers rebelled against a frontbench edict to abstain on the vote. Some 17 Tories also defied Ms May to back the bid.
The House of Lords voted to keep Britain in the single market last night, causing headaches for both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. The government was defeated on an amendment that would have forced Britain to remain a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) by 247 votes to 218, with rebels from both parties. Mr Corbyn had ordered his peers to abstain but 83 ignored him and 17 Tories abstained to deliver one of four defeats last night on the government’s Brexit legislation, amid signs of growing discord in the Lords. Ministers must now decide whether to undo 14 amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill when the legislation returns to the Commons.
STAYING in the European Union would subject Britain to ever more Brussels control as the bloc plots to tighten its grip on member states, new analysis has shown. Brexit backers said statements by senior EU figures since Britain’s historic referendum show the folly of seeking to reverse the 2016 vote. The comments point to an EU future where power is centralised yet further in Brussels with countries forced to join the euro, pay more in budget contributions and open their borders to workers from impoverished new member states.
The European Union single currency Euro slumped Monday, reflecting gloomy investor confidence, slow economic growth, and strong Dollar performance. The Euro hit the lowest level against the U.S. Dollar of the year Monday, casting into relief the plight fo the sluggish Eurozone with the economic uptick int he United States where the economy is responding well to President Donald Trump’s tax cuts and push for deregulation. The currency slipped 0.5 per cent agains the Dollar Monday, taking the Euro down 1.4 per cent just in the first week of May, reports the Financial Times.
Labour’s plans to muzzle the press would return Britain to the legal Dark Ages and make it easier for wealthy people to suppress negative stories, according to a senior lawyer who represented phone-hacking victims. Mark Stephens, an expert in media law, warns in a letter to The Times today that a “small and affluent privacy lobby” is trying to hijack data protection legislation to impose tighter regulation on newspapers. MPs will vote today on two opposition amendments to the Data Protection Bill that opponents say pose a chilling threat to media freedom. The outcome is thought to be on a knife-edge.
The government is facing two difficult votes, and potential defeats, over amendments to the data protection bill that are due to be debated in the Commons on Wednesday. The amendments would establish a “Leveson two” inquiry into the misuse of personal data by the media, and a measure that would impose punitive legal costs on English media organisations that refuse to sign-up to an officially recognised press regulator. At present, the only such regulator is Impress. The second amendment, tabled by the Labour MPs Tom Watson and Liam Byrne, has prompted a robust response from media organisations who fear it would have a chilling effect on investigative journalism in the public interest.
Tonight the Commons votes on Tom Watson and Ed Miliband’s amendments declaring war on press freedom. The amendments are a Trump-style assault on the media, outrageously attempting to force publishers to pay both sides’ legal costs even if they win a dispute – a reform that will potentially bankrupt media companies. Watson and Miliband, backed by former fascist Max Mosley and Hacked Off’s press-hating millionaire celebrities and oligarchs, last night lost the support of the Guardian. In an excoriating statement condemning Watson and Miliband, Guardian News and Media warn the amendments “would further erode press freedom and have a severe chilling effect for the news environment in the UK”.
Theresa May is urging MPs to reject a bid to further tighten press regulation ahead of a knife-edge vote on new proposals in the Commons. The prime minister told senior ministers at cabinet that plans put forward by opposition MPs would “undermine” the free press and unjustly see papers forking out crippling sums of money even if they do not lose legal cases. But government insiders have suggested there is a serious chance of the proposals passing, with questions over how the DUP may vote and some Tories planning on abstaining.
The right of the press to report the truth about police investigations would be undermined if Sir Cliff Richard won his legal action against the BBC, the corporation’s lawyers claimed yesterday. The 77-year-old singer is suing the BBC over coverage of a police raid on his home in 2014. He has told Mr Justice Mann that the coverage, which involved use of a helicopter, was a “very serious invasion” of his privacy. The BBC disputes his claims, saying that its reporting of the search of the apartment in Sunningdale, Berkshire, was accurate and in good faith.
Patients are finding it much more difficult to see the same GP each time they book an appointment, researchers have found. Only half of people are able to see their ‘preferred’ family doctor most of the time – down from two-thirds five years ago. In the first study of its kind, the University of Leicester researchers analysed 6,243 surgeries from 2012 and 2017. Over that five-year period, they found that ‘continuity of care’ – a measure of patients being able to see their preferred GP – had dropped by more than a quarter.
A row has broken out over the removal of a portrait of Theresa May from the walls of Oxford University, which she attended. The photograph of the Prime Minister, who read Geography at St Hugh’s College and achieved a second class degree, featured in a display about alumnae. But the image was taken down following a Twitter campaign called “Not All Geographers”, which criticised Ms May’s policies. Students raised concerns about the Windrush scandal and the Conservatives hostile environment policies. Messages were stuck to the wall around the picture saying: “Let in every refugee. Throw the Tories in the sea.”
A portrait of the Prime Minister has been removed from the walls of her university’s geography department after students wrote critical messages around it. The photograph of Theresa May, who read the subject at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, was put up as part of a display about high-achieving alumnae. But a campaign was quickly launched on Twitter, under the banner “Not All Geographers,” calling for the picture to taken down. Students voiced their disquiet over the Windrush scandal and the “hostile environment for immigrants”.
A picture of Theresa May has been removed from the walls of her old geography department at Oxford University after students complained she was a “contentious figure in a department with many EU citizens and de-colonial scholars”. A portrait of Mrs May was put on the walls of a stairwell at the university’s School of Geography and the Environment last week as a part of a celebration of the department’s female alumnae. However, after a protest by students – channelled through a social media account called ‘NotAllGeographers” – the picture has been removed, Cherwell, the university’s student newspaper, reported.
A row has broken out over a portrait of Theresa May which was removed from the walls of her alma mater, the University of Oxford, after students and academics objected to her being included in a celebration of female geographers. The picture of the prime minister, who graduated from St Hugh’s College with a second-class degree, was put up on the walls of the school of geography and the environment last week as part of an exhibition intended to inspire the next generation of female geographers. Days later it was removed after members of the school objected to her inclusion without consultation and mounted the Twitter campaign #NotAllGeographers.
London is the best city in the world for university students, according to new international rankings. The UK capital overtook last year’s top-placed city Montreal to rank as number one in the QS Best Student Cities Ranking 2018. The study, conducted by analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, builds the rankings based on a range of factors, including affordability, desirability and the view of students. Clinching the top spot for the first time, London scored highly on the student survey, which asked 50,000 students about the quality of their experience in their city, and their willingness to remain there after graduating.
MPs have called on the government to take urgent action to narrow the “stark” attainment gap between young people in the north of England and those living in the rest of the country. Tory MP Robert Halfon, chair of education select committee, has written to education secretary Damian Hinds to ask what he plans to do to improve the quality of education in the North. It comes after a report, from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) in February this year, revealed that disadvantaged northern teenagers fall on average one GCSE grade behind the rest of the country.
A portrait of Theresa May taken down after a protest at Oxford University is set to be reinstated. Mrs May was one of 12 alumnae whose pictures were put up last week to celebrate successful female graduates from the school of geography and the environment. It was swiftly targeted by students and academics opposed to her policies, who surrounded it with angry messages and lobbied on social media for its removal, under the hashtag #NotAllGeographers. They celebrated yesterday morning after the picture was taken down, but the university insisted that it would re-hang it.
Thousands of EU students plan to avoid studying at British universities because of Brexit and do not realise that tuition fees for the next academic year are protected, according to a global study. The annual International Student Survey found that Brexit had deterred almost two fifths of prospective EU students but had put off only one in ten of potential students from outside Europe. Nearly a third of EU respondents were not aware that students starting degrees in Britain in 2018-19 will pay the same fees as domestic students for the duration of their course.
The leaders of the UK, France and Germany have tonight spoken of their regret following US President Donald Trump’s decision to torpedo the Iran nuclear deal. Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement issued on behalf of the three nations ‘it is with regret and concern that we … take note of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.’ But EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini potentially put Europe on a collision course with the US by suggesting the European Union is determined to save the agreement, declaring ‘together with the rest of the international community, we will preserve this nuclear deal.’
President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last night and vowed to impose “the highest level of economic sanctions” against Tehran in a high-stakes move that broke from his European allies. The US president said that the international pact had only made the regime’s “bloody ambitions more brazen” and that all sanctions that had been lifted through it would be reimposed. “It’s clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” he said.
The UK has said it remains committed to the Iran nuclear deal, insisting that it has left the world “a safer place”. In a joint statement issued with her European counterparts, Theresa May said she regretted Donald Trump’s decision to exit the 2015 agreement. The group, which includes France and Germany, said the accord “remains important for our shared security”. “We urge all sides to remain committed to its implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility”, they wrote. Labour, meanwhile, accused President Trump of a “reckless, senseless and immoral act of diplomatic sabotage”.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he’s ditching the Iran nuclear deal, calling it ‘disastrous’ and an ’embarrassment.’ Trump said that the U.S. now has ‘definitive proof’ that Iran was lying about its pursuit of nuclear weapons when it entered into the 2015 agreement. And he threatened Tehran’s mullahs with new headaches if they resume their pursuit of a weapon of mass destruction. ‘If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before,’ the president warned.