Jeremy Corbyn was last night accused of plotting to keep Britain in the EU ‘in all but name’ after Labour performed a staggering U-turn over Brexit. Sir Keir Starmer yesterday claimed the party was now committed to staying in both the single market and the customs union for years after Brexit. The party’s Brexit spokesman said Labour policy was to remain in both for the duration of a ‘transition period’ after Britain formally leaves the EU in March 2019 – which he said could be as long as four years. That would mean Britain having to continue hefty payments to Brussels, as well as accepting open borders. Last night, Labour leader Mr Corbyn admitted he had no clue how long such a transition period might last.
LABOUR has been accused of deliberately trying to sabotage David Davis’ Brexit negotiations as the minister gears up for another round of vital talks. On the eve of the third-round talks with the bloc, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer announced his party was committed to a “soft Brexit” – despite months of Labour support for a clean break from the single market. Now a Eurosceptic Conservative MP has criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s party for the timing of their Brexit U-turn, claiming it weakens David Davis’ hand as he meets with EU negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels today. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen is also furious at Tony Blair’s meeting with EU president Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday, which is set to clash with Mr Davis’ press conference with Mr Barnier.
In a dramatic policy shift, Labour is pledging to continue UK membership of the EU single market and the customs union during a transitional period following Brexit in March 2019. The party’s shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, has also not ruled out negotiating the possibility of a new single market and customs arrangement on a permanent basis. Effectively, a Labour government would try to keep Britain inside an economic union while leaving the political union with the European Union. At the election, Labour promised to seek to “retain the benefits” of the single market and customs union as part of a “jobs-first” Brexit. But party leader Jeremy Corbyn has so far stopped short of committing to continued membership beyond the date of Brexit.
LABOUR was accused of deliberately trying to sabotage Brexit negotiations by dramatically changing its policy on the eve of the crucial third-round of talks with Brussels. Shadow Brexit Secretary announced that Labour had adopted “soft Brexit” as party policy – pledging to keep Britain in the single market and continue uncontrolled immigration for at least four more years. But just hours later Jeremy Corbyn plunged the new position into chaos by admitting he had no idea how long the interim phase would last – meaning freedom of movement could carry on indefinitely. It would also mean no end to our soaring contribution to the EU’s budget and European judges would remain supreme over UK courts.
Labour is to announce it supports continued membership of the single market when the UK leaves the EU in a major policy shift over Brexit. Tomorrow will see the party set out its stall as the party of “soft Brexit” in a move that will clearly differentiate Labour’s approach from the Government’s. The new policy – likely to please many of the party’s supporters but certain to anger others – was revealed by shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer in an interview with the Observer. Prime Minister Theresa May has said there will be a “transition period” lasting at last two years after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 during which time the government aims to negotiate an interim customs arrangement and a deal to operate from outside the single market, but with continued access, to avoid an economic “cliff edge” for businesses.
Pro-EU Conservatives warned yesterday that they would use Labour’s new commitment to continued single market membership to push Theresa May towards a “soft Brexit”. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said a Labour government would abide by the “same basic terms” of Britain’s present EU membership during a transition period. This would mean accepting freedom of movement rules, paying into the Brussels budget and abiding by European Court of Justice rulings. For the first time Labour also held open the possibility of staying inside the single market and customs union permanently if the EU agreed new migration rules. Labour has previously said only that it would seek to “retain the benefits” of the single market and customs union.
Labour is committing itself to continued UK membership of the EU single market and customs union during a transition period following the official Brexit date of March 2019. In a clarification of its policy, the party’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has announced that a Labour government would abide by “the same basic terms” of Britain’s current EU membership during the transition, which some observers expect to last as long as four or five years. And in an article for The Observer, he made clear that the party is open to the possibility of negotiating new single market and customs union terms which the UK could sign up to on a permanent basis.
Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, are facing a backlash from senior MPs in Labour’s traditional heartlands after announcing a dramatic shift in party policy to back continued membership of the EU single market beyond March 2019. In a move that positions it decisively as the party of “soft Brexit”, Labour told the Observer that it would support full participation in the single market and customs union during a lengthy “transitional period” that it believes could last between two and four years after the day of departure. This would mean that, under a Labour government, the UK would continue to abide by the EU’s free movement rules, accept the jurisdiction of the European court of justice on trade and economic issues, and pay into the EU budget for a period of years after Brexit in the hope of lessening the shock of leaving to the UK economy.
The architects of Labour’s Brexit policy have said they are ready to take a “political hit” after their plan to keep Britain in the single market after EU withdrawal exposed divisions at the top of the party. Allies of Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer accepted their proposal would mean the party is accused of wanting to keep the EU free movement many Labour voters oppose, but said it was the “least worst option” for the economy and critical to safeguarding jobs. But others at the top of the party branded the move “unwise” and warned it would be “incredibly damaging” in Labour voting areas that had backed Brexit in a bid to reduce immigration.
Labour has pledged its support for the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union’s Single Market during the transition period, backsliding on the party’s manifesto promise to leave the internal market by 2019. Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer stated the party’s support for Free Movement and paying into EU budgets for up to four years after the UK leaves the EU in 2019 on Sunday. “Labour would seek a transitional deal that maintains the same basic terms that we currently enjoy with the EU. “That means we would seek to remain in a Customs Union with the EU and within the Single Market during this period. It means we would abide by the common rules of both,” Starmer said, according to The Observer.
The Labour Party are now backsliding on Brexit, with their man Keir Starmer now talking up the prospect of continuing the UK’s single market membership after 2019. That would mean open borders, European Courts continuing to rule over Britain and there have even been hints that the party could push for the UK to remain in the EU’s single market and customs union forever. This slap in the face was unveiled in the Observer, with Starmer making clear that: “Labour would seek a transitional deal that maintains the same basic terms that we currently enjoy with the EU. “That means we would seek to remain in a customs union with the EU and within the single market during this period. It means we would abide by the common rules of both.”
Liberal Democrats have challenged Labour to back them in a parliamentary vote to keep the UK in the European single market. The challenge comes after shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer announced a new policy which will see Jeremy Corbyn’s party seek membership of the single market and customs union for a transition period lasting as long as four years from 2019. Lib Dems are to force a vote on whether the UK should leave the European Economic Area (EEA) – and therefore the single market – when the Government’s key Brexit legislation returns to the Commons at the end of Westminster’s summer break in September. A second amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill will also force a vote on membership of the customs union.
British officials arrive in Brussels on Monday to push the EU towards talks about their post-Brexit ties, which the bloc refuses to do without an agreement first on London’s exit bill and other divorce issues. A third round of Brexit talks takes place more than a year after Britons voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, delivering an unprecedented blow to the post-World War Two European integration. Chief Brexit negotiators, the EU’s Michel Barnier and Britain’s David Davis, will meet at 1500 GMT before more talks on Tuesday and Wednesday convene on technical level on expatriate rights, divorce bill and “other separation issues”. Senior officials will also tackle the conundrum of the future border between EU state Ireland and the United Kingdom’s Northern Ireland, and a news conference is due on Thursday, according to a schedule published by Brussels.
Formal Brexit talks are due to resume in Brussels later, with British negotiators urging the EU to show “flexibility and imagination”. Brexit Secretary David Davis wants to broaden discussions to include trade. But the EU says there has to be progress on the issues of citizens’ rights, the Irish border and the “divorce bill” before talks can widen. Both sides have said there is no real prospect of a breakthrough in this third round of talks. BBC’s Europe correspondent Kevin Connolly said the mood for the talks had been set by a series of briefings “that betray a good deal of mutual exasperation”.
BREXIT negotiators are on the brink of securing the terms of a key trade issue that is expected to be finalised in the next round of talks with the bloc. The expected diplomatic victory will see the UK come out on top in a decision on what to do with the EU’s food import allocations – or tariff rate quotas (TRQs) – after Brexit. Brussels negotiates a common trade policy on behalf of 28 states and has 124 TRQs with major agricultural exporters across the globe. In one example the EU has an agreement to buy 230,000 tonnes of New Zealand lamb each year under a quota with reduced tariffs – but Britain buys 40 per cent of this. The allocation of lamb after Brexit has concerned Brussels, who believe flooding the European market with foreign goods could cause chaos for the continent’s sheep farmers.
David Davis wants greater “flexibility and imagination” in order to break the deadlock in Brexit negotiations, as the latest round of talks get under way in Brussels. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michael Barnier, has insisted progress must be made on sorting the UK’s “divorce” bill before talks can advance to future trade. He believes a series of papers produced by his Department for Exiting the EU over the past fortnight have proved that the two issues are inextricably linked. Britain has so far refused to explain how it thinks its liabilities to the EU should be calculated, let alone put a figure on it, which has infuriated Brussels, considering the figure is estimated to be between £50million and £80million.
France and other EU nations have signalled they are willing to begin Brexit trade talks as early as October in a move that opens the door to a climbdown by the EU, The Daily Telegraph has learned. Senior French diplomats have made clear they want to see the deadlocked Brexit talks make progress in the first sign of splits emerging in the EU. Under the terms of a proposal set out by France the UK is being encouraged to request a three-year transitional deal if it continues to pay into the EU Budget and accepts EU law. This position puts Paris at odds with hardliners in Brussels and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, who are insisting there can be no trade talks until the issue of the Brexit divorce bill is settled.
David Davis will parry EU demands that Britain start setting out how it will pay its “divorce bill” today by increasing the pressure over issues such as Northern Ireland. The Brexit secretary arrives in Brussels for the third round of formal talks and will ask his opposite number Michel Barnier to show “flexibility and imagination”. The talks come after Britain published a series of Brexit position papers including several on issues such as Ireland, where the European Commission has yet to show its hand. UK officials said yesterday that the exercise had helped expose the weakness of Mr Barnier’s insistence that Britain’s future relationship with the EU can only be discussed after an outline divorce bill is agreed.
DAVID Davis will today urge EU Brexit negotiators to end their stonewalling tactics amid growing pressure from European business for the swift conclusion of a trade deal with Britain. The Tory Cabinet minister is to call for “flexibility and imagination” from his EU counterpart Michel Barnier when their face-to-face talks about the UK’s departure from the European bloc resume this morning. His demand comes as manufacturing bosses last night raised the alarm about the lack of progress made by the EU in hammering out post-Brexit trade terms with the British Government. In a dramatic intervention ahead of today’s talks in Brussels, the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce warned of a “major negative impact” in the European economy if EU leaders fail to halt the uncertainty about Britain’s future trading relationship with the bloc. Mr Davis, the EU Exit Secretary, and chief EU negotiator Mr Barnier will hold the third round of formal talks in Brussels about the UK’s departure from the EU over the next four days.
BRITS should get duty free back for trips to Europe after Brexit, say a group of Tory MPs. Forty have written to Chancellor Philip Hammond calling for tweaks in tax laws so tax-free sales can return from Brexit Day on March 30, 2019.Duty free sales within the EU were axed by Brussels in 1999 but the letter – signed by former ministers and dozens of senior Tories – says it would make no sense for it not to apply after Brexit. And they say it would deliver a major boost to Britain’s tourism industry, rejuvenate neglected coastal communities, ferry ports and regional airports. It would also benefit Britain’s cruise ship industry by making the entire journey duty free and make stopovers at UK ports very attractive for European cruises. But MPs have told Mr Hammond to order Treasury officials to change the law now to make sure operators are ready on day one of Brexit.
German business leaders have issued a plea to the European Union to begin work on a trade deal with Britain as they enter the next round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels today. The EU has repeatedly said talks on a trade agreement cannot begin until ‘sufficient progress’ is made on the divorce bill, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and Northern Ireland. But last night they were under increasing pressure to compromise as the influential Association of German Chambers of Commerce (DIHK) warned it was important for businesses on both sides of the Channel for them to start looking at the future arrangements. In a joint intervention with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), the group warned that trade would suffer without clarity.
One of Germany’s largest platforms for far-left extremists, a website suspected of planning the G20 violence at Hamburg this year and that has published contact information of populist politicians, has been taken down. The extremist site “linksunten.indymedia.org” was shut down by the interior ministry Friday. The website, which started in 2009, has been the largest platform for extremist groups like Antifa and sources claim that the government shut the site down in response to the violence at the Hamburg G20 conference, Der Spiegel reports. The interior ministry released a statement saying the website “runs counter to the criminal laws for purpose and activity”, and goes against the German constitution.
Thousands of migrants are attempting to reach Britain on ferries from the Spanish port of Bilbao following the close of the Jungle camp in Calais, it was revealed today. Police have stopped 1,765 people attempting to stowaway at the port on the Basque coast this year – five times more than in all of 2016. Small encampments of tents have grown up near the ferry terminal, under motorways and in abandoned properties, Spanish media reported. The majority of the migrants are from Albania, but they also include desperate refugees fleeing war zones in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Every day police at the port are stopping migrants who attempt to sneak onto passenger ferries or into freight containers.
Three of Britain’s leading public schools were last night embroiled in an exam “cheating” scandal amid accusations that pupils were told about questions that would feature in test papers. The Daily Telegraph has learned that Winchester College has suspended its head of art history amid accusations he gave pupils “advance knowledge” on two exam papers. Laurence Wolff, 56, son of the distinguished scientist Professor Heinz Wolff, was suspended with immediate effect after he was found to have given students “prior information on exam questions on two papers”. Last night the school confirmed that results for two exams sat by around 13 students had been nullified and grades would be estimated based on coursework and previous exams.
Another of the country’s leading independent schools has become embroiled in a scandal over exam questions. The head of art history at Winchester College, where fees are £38,100 a year, has been suspended after being accused of giving students advance knowledge of test papers, according to The Daily Telegraph. The college confirmed to the paper that the results of the exams had been nullified and that the students’ grades would be estimated, based on previous exams and their coursework. Laurence Wolff, 56, was found to have given about 13 students “prior information on exam questions on two papers”. He was suspended with immediate effect, the paper reported.
Two more schools have been dragged into a cheating scandal amid allegations that students were leaked information about exam questions. Winchester College suspended head of art history Laurence Wolff after it was alleged that he gave students tips on what would feature in two exam papers. The school confirmed results from the exams sat by 13 students had since been nullified and based on coursework and previous grades, according to the Daily Telegraph. Charterhouse School in Surrey has also been investigated by the exam board after it reported concerns that students were given advance warning about questions on the papers. But exam board Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) said that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Charterhouse or its students.
Anew class of drugs which could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths from cancer has been hailed as the biggest breakthrough since statins. Scientists last night said the discovery ushered in “a new era of therapeutics” which work in an entirely different way to conventional treatment. As well as cutting the risk of a heart attack by one quarter, the drugs halved the chances of dying from cancer and protected against gout and arthritis. Cholesterol-busting statins are given to millions of adults deemed to be at risk of heart disease. But half of heart attacks occur in people who do not have high cholesterol at all. Now scientists have found that reducing inflammation in the body can protect against a host of conditions – with a “really dramatic effect” on cancer deaths.
A new class of drug cut the risk of repeat heart attacks by a quarter in a trial that opens another front in the fight against one of Britain’s biggest killers. Medicine targeting the body’s natural inflammatory response to illness has been shown to protect heart patients from further life-threatening complications. Doctors said that the “incredibly important” and long-awaited results would save lives by opening a new era in heart disease treatment that gave extra protection on top of existing care. Almost 200,000 Britons a year suffer a heart attack and they are given medicines such as cholesterol-lowering statins and blood-thinning drugs to protect them. However, a quarter suffer a second heart attack within five years.
Thousands of lives could be saved thanks to a new heart drug hailed as the biggest breakthrough since statins. In a landmark four-year trial, scientists found that the drug – given by injection every three months – cut the risk of heart attacks by a quarter. The 10,000-patient study, involving 1,000 doctors in 39 countries, also suggested it could halve the risk of dying from lung cancer and prevent arthritis and gout. Scientists last night said the treatment marked ‘a new era of therapeutics’ that could save thousands of lives. The drug, Canakinumab, works by reducing inflammation – a major new approach in heart medicine. For the past 30 years cholesterol-busting statins have been given to nearly all people deemed to be at risk of cardiovascular disease in a bid to save them from heart attacks and strokes. Yet half of the 200,000 people who have a heart attack in Britain each year do not have high cholesterol, meaning there is a desperate need for a different approach to treatment.