Brexit

Express
THERESA May has agreed to pay a set share of EU budgets after Brexit, according to a senior Brussels official, as the divorce bill deadlock looks to have finally been broken. However, the EU official said no precise figure has been agreed, which could mean the divorce bill is much higher than the £40 billion figure that has been reported. Speaking on condition of anonymity, an EU official said: “The official offer has not been submitted, but unofficially it has been agreed to such an extent that if no one decides to stage a last-minute complete turnaround everything will be OK. “It is a deal on what percentage share Britain will cover and on what items.” 

Express
JACOB Rees-Mogg has hit out at the “Remoanerish tinge” of the latest report from a select committee on leaving the European Union which only has seven Brexiteers out of a panel of 21 members, it has been revealed. The MP for North East Somerset took to Twitter to blast a recent report from the “Exiting the European Union Committee”. Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Today’s report by the select committee on Exiting the European Union split between those who voted to remain and those who voted to leave. This explains its Remoanerish tinge.” The Parliamentary Select committee is composed of a cross-party selection of 21 MPs, including Mr Rees-Mogg himself. The committee has some high-profile Remainers, such as Hilary Benn who recently called for a “flexible” exit date to ensure the UK could extend negotiations past the estimated two-years transitional deal with the EU. 

Ireland

Telegraph
The “Irish question” – how to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit – is now the biggest flash point in the negotiations.  Tempers have frayed on both sides of the Irish Sea, while all solutions put on the table so far, such as keeping Northern Ireland in the single market and customs union, have been rejected.  In a little over two weeks, however, EU leaders will decide at a summit in Brussels whether “sufficient progress” has been made on the key issues of citizens rights, the so-called Brexit bill and the Irish border. If they refuse to give the green light, the talks cannot progress onto trade.  

Guardian
DUP MPs have told senior government officials in Downing Street that any Brexit deal giving Northern Ireland a separate customs or trade regime from the rest of the UK would jeopardise the deal that keeps Theresa May in power. The Conservatives’ minority government is propped up by the DUP’s 10 MPs, in a confidence and supply arrangement that sees them back the Tories in key votes. But senior DUP figures demanded a meeting on Thursday after reports that the government was preparing to agree that trading relations in areas such as agriculture and energy would remain harmonised between Northern  Ireland and the EU after Brexit.

Sky News
MPs scrutinising the Brexit negotiations have poured cold water on the Government’s aim to leave the EU’s single market and customs union while preventing a hard border with Ireland. With divorce talks entering a crucial two weeks for the Prime Minister, the House of Commons’ Brexit committee has expressed huge doubts about the Government’s strategy. In a new report, although not backed unanimously by the committee’s members, MPs warn they “do not currently see how it will be possible” to avoid a customs border on the island of Ireland, if the Government pushes ahead with its aim to leave the single market and customs union. 

BBC News
It is not possible to see how the Irish border issue can be resolved after Brexit, the influential group of MPs scrutinising the process has said. The government wants no hard border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland and no customs border between the latter and the rest of the UK. Ministers have suggested technology could enable a “frictionless border”. But the Committee for Exiting the EU said the proposals were “untested” and “to some extent speculative”. 

ITV News
A hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is inevitable after Brexit, MPs have warned. The Commons Exiting the EU Committee said on Thursday it is impossible to reconcile withdrawal from the single market and the customs union with the government’s desire to keep a “frictionless” border. “We do not currently see how it will be possible to reconcile there being no border with the Government’s policy of leaving the single market and the customs union, which will inevitably make the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland the EU’s customs border with the UK,” the committee said. 

Times
Senior Democratic Unionist Party figures threatened to bring down the government over Brexit yesterday while telling EU leaders to ignore Irish claims that the peace process could be undermined. Northern Ireland’s main unionist party set down the red lines after The Times  suggested that a deal on the border was in sight if the government allowed Britain and Ireland to mirror each other’s rules on areas such as agriculture and energy. It came as The Times obtained a letter from Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, to EU heads. Bypassing Theresa May, she tells them to ignore claims that the peace process is in peril. 

Express
THE DUP has threatened to collapse Theresa May’s fragile Government if she reaches a deal with the European Union over the Irish border. The DUP, which is propping up Theresa May’s Tories in Westminster, sent a dire  Brexit warning to Theresa May this afternoon.  They said any compromise between Mrs May and the EU over the Irish border issue would threaten the future of the Government. With Theresa May and her Brexit negotiators ready to progress to the second round of Brexit talks, more and more focus has been shone on Ireland over the past fortnight. But despite growing understanding between Westminster, Dublin and Brussels, the DUP has now threaten to pull the rug out from under the PM.   

Independent
Any agreement reached on citizens’ rights in the Brexit negotiations must be ring-fenced even if the talks collapse and no deal is agreed between the UK and EU, a new Commons report has demanded.  In a report before the crucial European Council meeting – where it will be decided next month whether the Brexit negotiations can pass to the next phase – MPs on the influential Brexit committee also warned that a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic appeared inevitable after Brexit.  The report by the committee, chaired by the Labour MP Hillary Benn, said: “We call on the Government to request, and the EU to agree, that any agreement reached on citizens’ rights should be ring-fenced when reached, and persevered even if no overall Article 50 deal is reached.”   
The MPs on the Brexit committee added that if the EU negotiating team rejected such a request, then Downing Street should “make a declaration that it will unilaterally provide an agreement on EU citizens’ rights in the UK” to provide reassurances to the more than three million EU citizens living in Britain.  

Sun
THE DUP has threatened to pull out of their deal with the Tories if Theresa May caves to the EU on the Irish border, it emerged today. Unionist politicians reportedly met with ministers to warn them that any Brexit deal which splits the UK and Northern Ireland could see them ditching the PM. Representatives from the party spoke to senior Government figures today to demand that they are listened to in Brexit talks. The DUP, whose 10 MPs are helping to prop up the minority Government, don’t want to see a border in the Irish Sea which would effectively keep Northern Ireland in the EU. A senior party source told Sky News today: “The UK Government knows that any agreement with the EU that Northern Ireland should stay in the single market or the customs union or its regulatory equivalent would be deeply destabilising to the confidence and supply agreement.”

Independent
The Democratic Unionist Party has threatened to rethink its deal to prop up Theresa May in power if she compromises over the Irish border after Brexit
Sammy Wilson, one of the DUP’s 10 MPs, said the party would not accept any moves that would see Northern Ireland “treated differently than the rest of the UK”. The warning follows reports that further powers could be devolved to Belfast allowing rules in areas such as agriculture and energy to be aligned with the EU, rather than London. The move is an attempt to meet the Irish government’s demand for a cast-iron guarantee there will be no return to a hard border with Northern Ireland, which it fears would be made inevitable by new trade barriers. “If there is any hint that, in order to placate Dublin and the EU, they’re prepared to have Northern Ireland treated differently than the rest of the United Kingdom, then they can’t rely on our vote,” Mr Wilson said.

EU

Express
BRUSSELS is pressing ahead with plans to splurge £115 million on a vast EU visitor centre in one of Paris’ swankiest neighbourhoods despite an outcry over waste of taxpayers’ cash. Leaked EU parliament documents show officials are moving forward with the plan to set up a new ‘House of Europe’ attraction to make the project more accessible to ordinary citizens.  They have negotiated a combined lease and refit for a building on the extremely pricey Boulevard Haussmann, in central Paris, for an eye-watering sum of £5.8 million a year. The famous street, which is in the heart of Paris and boasts the world-famous Galeries Lafayette shopping centre, is the fictional home of SPECTRE in the James Bond movies. 

Westmonster
new journalistic code of practice, funded by the EU, calls on journalists to avoid reporting on the migrant crisis in a negative way, refrain from linking Islam to terror and avoid mentioning whether or not a criminal migrant was in the country illegally. The guideline even calls on journalists to report their colleagues to the authorities for “hate speech” if they do so. The code, financed by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship  program, defines hate speech as expressions which ‘promote or justify xenophobia’ including ‘intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism’. The report says that although journalism cannot ‘solve the problem of hate speech on its own…the European Union must reinforce existing mechanisms and support new tools designed to combat hate speech’. 

Westmonster
The EU has admitted that it’s core flagship policy the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is too difficult to administer. If it cannot even handle that, what on earth is it for, asks Stuart Agnew MEP, the UKIP Agricultural spokesman. Mr Agnew said, “Commissioner Hogan admitted, in effect, that the CAP does not work and more responsibility for Agriculture must begin to be delegated to the Member States. However though the EU is prepared to devolve responsibility, it has no plans to loosen its grip on its authority. “What is this independence worth if the Member States have to seek the approval of the Commission for their plans? 

Express
BREXIT backing MEPs today reacted with fury after EU chiefs signed off on a gargantuan £140 billion budget for 2018. Eurosceptics branded the vast spending “wasteful” and said British taxpayers should be “livid” at how their money is being spent.  Today the EU parliament formally adopted the spending plan for next year, which represents a £2.6 billion hike from 2017.  This budget is the last one that Britain will contribute to as a full member of the club, with the UK set to leave the EU in March 2019.  

Migration

Times
Net migration fell by the largest amount ever recorded in a year after the Brexit referendum, with EU citizens accounting for more than three quarters of the drop. Official figures show that net immigration is at its lowest level for three years, driven by a fall in Europeans heading to Britain and an increase in those leaving. Applications from EU migrants for British citizenship jumped by 80 per cent and there was a five-fold increase in EU citizens issued with a permanent residence card as confirmation of their right to live in the UK.

Guardian
Net migration to Britain over the past 12 months has fallen by the largest amount since records began, with EU nationals accounting for three-quarters of those who chose to return to their native country, official figures show. In strong evidence that a “Brexodus” is getting under way, the latest official figures show net migration to Britain fell by 106,000 to 230,000 in the 12 months to June. The Office for National Statistics said three-quarters of the 106,000 reduction in net migration from its 336,000 peak in June 2016 – the month of the referendum – was accounted for by European Union    nationals. The figures show that the number of EU citizens leaving the UK rose by 29% to 123,000 with 43,000 saying they were returning home. This is the highest level of EU emigration from Britain since the 2008 recession.

Sun
A “BREXODUS” of jobless EU nationals has sparked the biggest drop in net migration for 50 years. Numbers fell 106,000 to 230,000 in 12 months to the end of June, the first full year after the referendum. The Office for National Statistics said there had been a fivefold increase in Europeans heading home to 120,000. And the figures showed a 43 per cent drop in EU citizens coming here to look for work. The number of migrants coming to Britain from western Europe also dropped by 19,000 or 14 per cent while the number of eastern Europeans fell by a third – or 24,000. Overall net migration is still double the Government’s target of 100,000 a year – and equivalent to the entire population of Derby or Blackpool.

NHS

Times
The health service will curb treatment for conditions such as hearing loss and dementia after its head set out the first explicit limits on what patients should expect. Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, effectively ripped up waiting-time targets for routine surgery, rebuffing demands from ministers as he said that cancer, mental health and GP care should take priority. Patients were told to stop expecting the NHS to treat coughs, indigestion and other minor conditions, with GPs encouraged to send people away without prescriptions for medicines they could buy over the counter. 

Mirror
Hospitals will be forced to tear up waiting time targets next year thanks to Tory underfunding, NHS chiefs have warned. A bombshell memo said the targets “will not be fully funded and met” without more cash – leaving distressed patients waiting longer for treatment. The admission – thought to include the 18-week wait from referral to treatment – ignites a new row between NHS chiefs and the government over health funding just a week after the Budget. The memo to NHS England’s board said it must “be realistic about what can be expected from the remaining available funds”. 

Independent
Patients will have to wait longer for treatment because the additional funding awarded to the NHS in last week’s budget won’t cover health service priorities and waiting list reductions, health chiefs have said. In a meeting today, NHS England’s board set out the principles for which services will be prioritised in the wake of the budget settlement for 2018/19. The board said that the NHS should do “all it can” to prevent patients waiting longer than the recommended 18 weeks for non-urgent procedures, including joint operations, cataract surgeries, and fertility treatments. Having not received the £4bn they asked for, these waiting time targets “will not be fully funded and met next year”, they said.  

Social care

Times
Elderly people in care homes who pay their own fees are subsidising those whose places are paid for by councils to the tune of almost £12,000 a year each. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that the system was not sustainable and that councils needed to pay another £1 billion a year to make up the shortfall or many providers risked going out of business. The CMA estimated during an inquiry that average annual charges across the UK last year for each patient were £44,000. 

Trump

Telegraph
US diplomats have dropped plans for Donald Trump to conduct a visit to Britain in January amid a war of words between the two countries’ leaders.  Mr Trump, the US president, had been penciled in for a ‘working visit’ in the first month of 2018 to formally open America’s new London embassy.  The trip, a scaled down version of a state visit with no meeting with the Queen, was intended to allow Mr Trump to come to the UK while avoiding the mass protests a full state visit would likely trigger.  However, The Telegraph can reveal that the trip has been pushed into the long grass, with no new date in the diary picked.  

Mail
Theresa May has said the US must do more to tackle far-Right extremists as she refused to back down in her spat with Donld Trump. The Prime Minister hit back at Mr  Trump‘s jibe that she is not tackling terrorism in Britain as an extraordinary spat threatened to blow the Special Relationship apart.  Mrs May risked fuelling the row by repeating her view that the US president was ‘wrong’ to retweet anti-Muslim videos posted by the far-Right group Britain First. Despite Mr Trump lashing out at her last night demanding she focus on ‘Islamic terrorism taking place in the UK’, Mrs May said she would not be afraid to raise concerns about such interventions. She also did little to quell speculation that a visit from Mr Trump has now being kicked into the long grass, stressing that no date has been set. 

Electric cars

Mail
The death of traditional diesel and petrol cars could come sooner than expected, a minister told MPs yesterday. Ministers announced plans over the summer to ban sales of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040 to crack down on air pollution. The ban does not cover hybrid vehicles which have a combustion engine and an electric motor. But roads minister Jesse Norman claimed the speed of progress in electric vehicles means the last cars powered solely by a combustion engine could roll off the production lines before then. Giving evidence to a joint parliamentary inquiry into air quality, Mr Norman was asked whether the government was moving fast enough. 

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