BACKBENCH MPs believe they have “set a trap” for Theresa May which will force her to resign as Prime Minister, ITV’s political editor Robert Peston has said. Mr Peston made his remarks after Mrs May met with the 1922 Committee – and chairman Sir Graham Brady – and pledged to put her Withdrawal Agreement before the House of Commons BEFORE the European Parliamentary elections on May 23. He said: “The 1922 executive committee thinks it has finally laid a surefire trap for the PM Theresa May – by securing a promise from her to hold the second reading of the core Brexit legislation, the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill, before EU elections in two weeks.
A vote on the prime minister’s Brexit deal should take place “as soon as possible”, says Justice Secretary David Gauke. He said: “I think we want to bring it back as quickly as we can but we want to bring it back to succeed.” Before the UK can leave the EU, MPs must approve a Brexit deal, which then needs to be turned into UK law in the form of a withdrawal agreement bill. The Brexit deadline was delayed to October after MPs did not agree a deal.
Theresa May has been warned that she could end up with an “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet” Brexit deal that no-one wants if she presses ahead with plans to give MPs a new round of so-called indicative votes. The Prime Minister is preparing to hold the votes in the next fortnight if Brexit talks with Labour collapse, and wants to find a mechanism that would force Parliament to choose a way forward, rather than risking another stalemate.
A Brexit involving staying in the customs union would leave the UK £80bn worse off a year than if it had remained in the EU, a report says. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said tax income would fall by £13bn a year. The research was commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign for a further EU referendum. Some pro-Brexit economists have argued the UK has “nothing to fear” from leaving the EU customs union.
A plan by Remain campaigners to unite behind a single candidate in the Peterborough by-election has collapsed in chaos and bitter recriminations. The Liberal Democrats, Greens and the new Change UK group of breakaway MPs planned to unite behind an independent pro-EU candidate to replace the disgraced Fiona Onasanya. Their hopes ended in farce when the candidate pulled out at the 11th hour. It was understood to be Femi Oluwole, a law graduate and member of the Our Future, Our Choice group.
An attempt to form an alliance of pro-remain parties to support a single candidate in a byelection in Peterborough has collapsed, raising concerns the failure will hinder cooperation in the future. Representatives of the Liberal Democrats, the Green party, Renew and Change UK spent several hours unsuccessfully trying to reach an agreement on a single independent candidate before a 4pm deadline for nominations for the Cambridgeshire seat. It leaves the Lib Dems and the Greens supporting their own candidates.
An attempt by pro-EU political parties to form a Remain alliance for next month’s Peterborough by-election has ended in failure, with Change UK blaming Labour supporters for negotiations breaking down. The Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and Change UK had held discussions in the hope of uniting behind an independent candidate supportive of another Brexit referendum. Change UK blamed Labour figures for the breakdown, saying Labour supporters of the campaign for a second referendum had intervened to object to the pro-Remain parties uniting behind a single candidate.
Conservative officials fear the party could come sixth in the European elections, with their support plummeting to single digits. Candidates running in the election said the party was “almost in denial” that the poll was happening and continued to insist they would not need to take up their seats in the European parliament, despite fading prospects for a cross-party deal with Labour that would enable Brexit to happen before 2 July.
TORIES are bracing themselves for a massive Brexit backlash in the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections on May 23 – with one insider suggesting they could poll less than ten percent and another describing the situation as “awful”. And one MP has said the situation is so bad, canvassers are likely to refuse to knock on doors. Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington dashed lingering hopes that the Conservatives could avoid having the field candidates earlier this week, acknowledging there was not enough time to get Mrs May’s Brexit divorce deal through the Commons.
Theresa May’s chief Brexit minister has complained that Europeans are prone to “lazy thinking” about Brexit and for some reason associate the project with Nigel Farage and the “Little Englander” mentality. Speaking at an EU summit in Sibiu, Romania, on Thursday morning, Stephen Barclay said Europe’s politicians should be more positive about Britain’s departure.
SIX weeks after Britain was supposed to have left the EU, Brussels was wishing us Happy Europe Day today. Indeed, EU chiefs were celebrating Europe Day with 140 events across the continent – although almost half of them are happening in Brussels. There was even one in the UK with the European Commission confirming a Euro knees-up was being held at St John’s Smith Square in London. Europe Day is held on May 9 every year, the day after VE Day, which commemorates the defeat of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and is aimed at celebrating “peace and unity” in Europe.
A no-deal Brexit would be “nothing compared to the sacrifice” people made in the Second World War to “ensure Britain’s freedom”, Brexit Party candidate Ann Widdecombe has said. Speaking on Radio 4, the former Conservative MP -who defected to the party to stand as a candidate in the forthcoming European elections – said: “It is as nothing compared to the sacrifice that we asked a previous generation to make in order to ensure Britain’s freedom.
MPs have been handed another 11-day break – despite their failure to solve the Brexit crisis. Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom yesterday announced the dates for the Whitsun recess, which will run from May 24 to June 3. After the EU agreed a six-month delay to Brexit last month, European Council president Donald Tusk pleaded with Britain: ‘Please do not waste this time.’ But MPs are now due to have four recess periods lasting 83 days over this time.
The candidate who wins the Conservative leadership contest could fail to become prime minister if they back a no-deal Brexit, Amber Rudd has said. The work and pensions secretary told BBC Newsnight “a no deal prime minister would not be able to command a majority in the House”. Convention dictates that a departing prime minister has to advise the Queen on a successor based on one criterion: an ability to command a majority in parliament.
Theresa May is facing renewed anger from Brexiteers after Tory European election leaflets included a link to a website that names and shames MPs who voted against her withdrawal deal. In a move likely to further enrage them, the leaflet fails to say that an independent trading policy would be a benefit of Brexit. This is seen by some as a hint that she might agree to a permanent customs union in the latest talks with Labour.
The Conservative Party’s EU Election material has gone out and is still flogging an EU deal. The front of the election communication describes “how to show you want a Brexit deal delivered as soon as possible” and asks voters to check if their MPs have voted for May’s deal. When it comes to Theresa May’s approach moving forward, the leaflet pushes themes on borders and leaving the Common Fisheries Policy.
Former cabinet minister Esther McVey has today become the latest Conservative MP to publicly declare her candidacy to succeed Theresa May as leader of the party – despite there being no formal contest currently in motion. “I’ve always said quite clearly if I got enough support from colleagues then yes I would, and now people have come forward and I have got that support, so I will be going forward,” she said. The MP for Tatton joins a crowded field, with a handful of cabinet members expected to announce their intention to compete for the keys to Downing Street in due course.
Another referendum could be “a healing process”, Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday as he defended Labour’s policy of “trying to offer something to everyone”. The Labour leader launched his campaign for the European parliament elections insisting that his party was neither a Remain nor a Leave party. He reiterated, however, that it would prefer to secure a Brexit deal than hold another referendum.
A second referendum could be a “healing process” that brings the Brexit process to a conclusion, Jeremy Corbyn has claimed as he launched Labour’s manifesto for the European election. The Labour leader’s remarks follow months of considerable pressure – from both pro-EU Labour MPs and members – for the party to unequivocally support a Final Say vote on any Brexit deal. Calls were also intensified in the wake of last week’s disappointing local election results for the party.
Labour can “unite our country” and heal the divisions caused by Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn said, as he launched his European elections campaign. Mr Corbyn said the party backed “the option of a public vote” if a “sensible” Brexit deal cannot be agreed and there is not a general election. He said cross-party talks on Brexit were “difficult” as the government’s “red lines remain in place”. The European elections take place in the UK on 23 May.
Jeremy Corbyn has again rebuffed the demands of many of his own activists for Labour to become the party of remain at the European elections later this month, insisting he will stand on the “common ground”. Launching his party’s manifesto for the European elections in Chatham, Kent, the Labour leader said voters should resist being defined simply as leavers or remainers. “We could allow ourselves to be defined only as ‘remainers’ or ‘leavers’ labels that meant nothing to us only a few years ago.
Jeremy Corbyn has accused Nigel Farage of selling voters “snake oil”, as he launched Labour’s campaign for the European elections. The Labour leader said Mr Farage’s Brexit Party, which is top of many opinion surveys ahead of polling day on 23 May, was peddling “poison” and needed to be challenged. Amid criticism of the party’s position on the question of a second referendum, which has seen critics accuse Mr Corbyn of sitting on the fence, he said made “no apology” for “trying to offer something to everyone”.
NIGEL Farage said he believes the Tories and Labour will be “very worried” by the presence of a Brexit Party candidate in the upcoming Peterborough by-election. Businessman Mike Greene, 54, who has appeared on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire, will stand for Mr Farage’s new party in its first shot at a seat in Westminster. The city’s by-election on June 6 will find a replacement for MP Fiona Onasanya who lost her seat through a recall petition after serving time in prison for lying about a speeding offence.
The leader of the hardline pro-Remain Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, has revealed the party’s European Parliament elections campaign slogan as “Bollocks to Brexit.” The special edition manifesto bearing the profanity was revealed by the left-wing Guardian, with a picture of Mr Cable looking coyly over a couple of the booklets, grasped in his hand like a geisha behind a fan. The other version of the manifesto set to be delivered to voters during campaigning simply reads, “Stop Brexit.”
Britain’s pro-EU Liberal Democrats are showcasing their European election campaign with a down-to-earth slogan they hope will attract frustrated voters who want to remain in the bloc: “Bollocks to Brexit”. Fresh from a strong showing in local council elections, the opposition party posted a photograph on Twitter of its leader Vince Cable with a “special edition” of its manifesto for the May 23 European parliament vote.
The European Parliament elections are a “golden opportunity” for Scottish voters to deliver a “stop Brexit” message, Nicola Sturgeon has said. The Scottish first minister and SNP leader claimed the 23 May poll is “by far the most important European election in Scotland’s history”. Speaking at the launch of her party’s election campaign in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon urged her country’s voters to “send this message: Scotland is not for Brexit, Scotland is for Europe”.
Leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon has said “Scotland does not want Brexit”, as she launched her party’s European Election campaign in Edinburgh. She asked supporters to send an “unequivocal message to Theresa May” by voting SNP and showing the prime minister “that Scotland is for Europe”. The first minister demanded any Brexit deal must be put back to the people in a second referendum as she joined the party’s six election candidates at the launch.
In a report lamenting a fall in general practitioner (GP) numbers per capita, Britain’s state broadcaster the BBC failed to mention immigration-driven population growth and instead blamed an “ageing” society for the decline. A study by the Nuffield Trust said the drop in UK doctor numbers from 65 per 100,000 UK residents in 2014 to 60 last year, marked the first sustained fall in the figure since the 1960s. In its report on the study, which noted patient groups complained that the phenomena was “causing real difficulties in making appointments”, the BBC report failed to mention two million-strong population growth since 2014.
The NHS is losing its grip on its cancer screening programmes and has allowed failings to go undetected for more than half a decade, watchdogs have warned. The Public Accounts Committee accused health officials over presiding over “woeful” failings which have seen takeup of some checks reach a 21-year-low. Their report found that none of the four main programmes – for bowel, breast and cervical cancers, and abdominal aortic aneurism – is meeting their targets.
More people will die of preventable cancers and heart conditions because of the government’s failure to address “appalling” flaws in screening programmes, experts have warned. A damning report by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee found not one adult screening programme in England met its minimum target for health checks. Some 1.25 million women last year were forced to wait too long for cervical cancer screening results, with uptake at the scans standing at a 21-year low.
Thousands of men with prostate cancer could be spared surgery and radiotherapy after the NHS treatments adviser ruled careful monitoring was just as effective. Regular check-ups to see if a tumour is growing should be offered as an “equal choice” alongside more invasive treatments that come with serious side-effects, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says. Final guidance issued yesterday confirmed interim conclusions last year that men with less advanced cancer should be told that they are just as likely to be alive in ten years if they opt for a technique known as “active surveillance”.
MORE than 100,000 people across Europe have been infected with the potentially deadly Measles virus, which is spreading an “alarming” rate, WHO has confirmed. The World Health Organisation said the rise in cases was “unprecedented” for a preventable disease. They revealed they are rapidly ramping up their response to the outbreak, which has spread over two years, “based on the growing number of children and adults affected by and dying from the disease”.
Since 1 January 2018, 47 of the 53 countries in the European region have in total reported over 100,000 measles cases and over 90 measles-related deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday. “This is unacceptable and we need to be bolder and scale up our response to the next level,” said Dr Dorit Nitzan, acting regional emergency director at the WHO regional office for Europe.
Universities could lose up to £7 million each a year if fees go up for EU students after Brexit, it is claimed. Analysis by Times Higher Education (THE) suggests the number of students will fall if they have to pay more to attend. It would mean a loss of fee income high enough to ‘push four institutions into deficit and worsen shortfalls at many others’, THE said. However, it also said that, if institutions kept the fall in student numbers well below 40 per cent, then they would actually benefit because of the higher fees.
Ministers are ignoring medical advice and doing the “minimum possible” on air pollution, the leaders of Britain’s doctors say today. The Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health say the government has focused on a “series of distractions” such as wood-burning stoves to avoid the real problem of traffic fumes. Ministers stress only the downsides of curbing car use, experts said, despite dirty air meaning every person in Britain is suffering effects equivalent to smoking a cigarette a day.
Climate change is a concern for eight in ten Britons, the highest level since official polling began seven years ago. Opposition to fracking and support for onshore wind farms have also both hit new highs, according to survey data released by the government yesterday. The survey of more than 4,000 households was carried out in mid-March, amid increasing coverage of schoolchildren striking in protest over inaction on climate change.
Victims of crime are set to no longer have to pay to phone the police after the Home Office announced it is to review the charge for 101 calls. The move by Sajid Javid’s department came as Vodafone, one of Britain’s biggest telecoms firms, became the first to declare that it will scrap the charge for 101 non-emergency calls for millions of its customers. The firm will make 101 calls free for all seven million of its pay-as-you-go users from the end of this month, exempting them from the 15 pence flat-rate charge.