A SWEDISH minister has blasted Brexit Britain today for dominating and ‘hijacking’ talks in Europe. Sweden’s finance minister, Magdalena Andersson, said Brexit should not be allowed to dominate talks in Europe and it was distracting ministers from real issues. “We, of course, need a good Brexit both for Britain and the European Union,” she said. “But also within the European Union we need to take steps forward to develop the union and not only be hijacked by Brexit.” Andersson also said she was worried about signals that Britain could launch new aggressive tax policies to smooth economic bumps, such as lower corporate taxes suggested by former finance minister George Osborne, which she said would make other EU members reluctant over a deal. EU leaders have pressed Britain to initiate formal exit talks as soon as possible after voters chose to split from the bloc in a June referendum, although the Government plans to take until at least the end of the year to form a negotiating stance.It comes as Britain was ordered to ‘make up its mind’ on the start of formal divorce procedures with the European Union.

Britain’s government needs to speed up its decision-making on big infrastructure projects to help the country’s economy withstand a slowdown caused by the Brexit vote, a leading employers group said on Monday. The British Chamber of Commerce cut its forecasts for economic growth in 2016 to 1.8 percent from a previous estimate of 2.2 percent and it also downgraded its 2017 and 2018 growth forecasts to 1.0 percent 1.8 percent respectively. “They (the government) should start with the long list of business-boosting infrastructure projects that have been put on hold for far too long – including a firm decision on a new airport runway, new nuclear investment, and road and rail schemes,” BCC acting director general Adam Marshall said. Finance minister Philip Hammond said last week that big infrastructure projects would take too long to deliver an economic impact to feature in budget plans he will announce in November but he said he could fund more modest projects if needed.


Travel visa

HOME Secretary Amber Rudd has vowed to hit back if the EU attempts to force Briton to apply for visas to travel to the continent after Brexit. The Tory Cabinet minister responded to reports Brussels officials are plotting a costly application system for UK citizens with a warning of tit-for-tat retaliation measures. She also insisted the Government will regain “complete control” over the country’s borders after leaving the EU and hinted that a work permit system was being considered for EU migrants. Mrs Rudd’s forthright warning to Brussels came in her first in-depth television interview since taking charge at the Home Office this summer. EU bureaucrats are said to be looking at making UK citizens apply for short-term visitors’ visas before being allowed to enter EU member nations.



A French scholar of Islam has a dire warning for Europe, claiming that the third generation of young Muslim men are being increasingly radicalised and may lead the continent into a civil war. Professor of political science at one of France’s most prestigious universities, Sciences Po, Gilles Kepel, claims that the current wave of Islamic terrorism in Europe is not so much a war of Western civilization against Islam, but a war within Islam itself. The result is an entire generation, adherents of the extremist Wahabist and Salafist movements, who want not only to take over Europe, but to eliminate more moderate Islamic opposition, reports Die Welt.

55 people have been arrested following an eight-hour armed protest of a “mixed marriage” at a Sikh temple in Leamington, Warwickshire. The men, described as “fanatical extremists” by a trustee of the temple, are believed to have entered the Gurdwara Sahib in Tachbrook Park Drive at around 6:45am Sunday morning to protest the wedding of a Sikh bride and a Hindu groom. The protestors, who were carrying ceremonial Sikh blades and other knives, occupied the foyer forcing the postponement of the ceremony. Officers and religious leaders entered the temple in an attempt to negotiate a peaceful resolution.

ITV News
Scores of men reportedly armed with knives occupied a Sikh temple in Leamington Spa in what is thought to have been a protest over a mixed marriage between a Sikh and a non-Sikh. Armed police were called to contain the incident at the Gurdwara Temple after a group of men entered the temple at around 6.45am on Sunday morning. A total of 55 people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and a “significant” number of knives seized, Warwickshire Police said. Police said all but one of the “bladed weapons” seized were ceremonial weapons known as Kirpans – one of the five physical symbols of faith worn by Sikhs.

A gang of men stormed a Sikh temple yesterday in what was believed to be a protest over an interfaith marriage. Fifty-five people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass at the Gurdwara temple in Leamington Spa after an eight-hour stand-off involving armed police. Dozens of bladed weapons were seized, all but one of which were ceremonial Sikh kirpans. No one was injured. Residents said that the temple had been forced to use security for interfaith marriages between Sikhs and non-Sikhs amid community tensions.



England’s Home Counties are facing their “greatest threat” with plans to build new homes on more than 200 sites on the protected Green Belt, campaigners are warning. A report to be published this week from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has uncovered blueprints for more than 123,000 new homes on 203 sites in the London Green Belt. More than nine out of 10 sites have been allocated by councils under pressure from “unclear national planning guidance and confusing government messages”, the charity said. CPRE warned that the figure could be an underestimate as only two-thirds of local authorities were surveyed for the report, entitled “Safe Under Us?”. There was also evidence that planning inspectors were telling councils the Green Belt cannot be a “constraint” on development.



A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of planning an ‘imminent’ attack on Paris – the second ISIS-related plot foiled in France in one week. The youngster was suspected of preparing ‘violent action’ on the French capital, according two two judicial sources. He has been placed under house arrest after he was thought to be planning an attack in a public place in Paris, one of the sources said. Last Sunday, a car loaded with gas cylinders was found near Notre Dame Cathedral which resulted in the discovery of a plot to attack a Paris railway station under the direction of Islamic State. Seven people, including four women, were arrested. Meanwhile, the second judicial source added that the boy had been in contact with suspected French Islamist militant Rashid Kassim. They said that Kassim also guided one of the women arrested last week in the plot to attack a train station in Paris. French newspaper Le Monde reported that Kassim is in Syria and has used Telegram, the messaging service, to call for more attacks in France.

EU/Labour Party

Owen Smith has raised the possibility of a future Labour government seeking renewed British membership of the EU, saying the UK could rejoin the bloc if the political and economic cost of Brexit was seen as too high. The Labour leadership challenger has previously promised to push for a new referendum on the terms of any Brexit deal if he defeats Jeremy Corbyn, but on Sunday went further. He said it would be “sensible and responsible” for a Labour government to seek a return to the EU, if Theresa May led the UK out of the union before the 2020 election, and if the provision of public services was badly hit by the move.

Owen Smith has said the UK could apply to rejoin the EU if Labour wins power under his leadership – even if it means signing up to the euro and fully open borders. The leadership hopeful said it would be “sensible and responsible” for the party to adopt the policy if the price of Brexit became a further recession, more harsh cuts and the ripping up of workers’ rights. Mr Smith has previously called for a second referendum before leaving the EU, arguing that most voters were lied to in the campaign that narrowly backed withdrawal. But today he went further, suggesting Labour should continue to back EU membership, even if the country has left by the next general election in 2020 – and even if euro-membership was then compulsory.



The first new Welsh tax for almost 800 years is to be outlined in a bill expected to be introduced on Monday. The land transaction tax would replace stamp duty land tax from April 2018 if the bill becomes law. Like stamp duty land tax, land transaction tax would be payable on the purchase or lease of a building or land in Wales over a certain price. An announcement about the rates and bands for the proposed land transaction tax will be made closer to spring 2018, taking into account economic conditions at the time. The bill will also include measures to tackle tax avoidance, based on lessons learned in Scotland, which has a different system to the UK . The finance secretary, Mark Drakeford, said: “This is an historic milestone in the devolution of tax powers to Wales. This bill marks another step towards the creation of taxes which are more suited to the needs of Wales and support Welsh public services.



Sky News
A senior doctor has told Sky News the NHS faces “pockets of meltdown” this winter as a combination of doctors’ strikes, staff shortages and soaring patient demand put hospitals under unprecedented strain. In an exclusive interview, Dr Mark Holland, President of the Society for Acute Medicine, which meets for its annual conference today, said that hospitals in some areas could be “pushed to the brink” and care could become “unsafe”. “Last winter we buckled,” he said. “But there must come a point where we will break and that could well be this winter.

Hospitals cannot maintain standards and will fail patients unless they are given more funding, NHS bosses have warned. NHS Trust chairs and chief executives said they were sounding a “warning bell” to ministers, days after the health service released its worst performance statistics to date for services such as A&E , planned operations and ambulance response times. “Years of underfunding means the NHS is increasingly failing to do the job it wants to do, and the public needs it to do, through no fault of its own,” said Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, the organisation’s largest trade body.

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