The Leader of the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats, Sir Vince Cable, has said that he would be up for debating Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage in the run up to May’s European Elections. Speaking to James Whale this morning on TalkRadio, Cable said: “I’m hoping that we’ll have proper Leaders’ Debates about this European Election and I’m certainly up for a proper debate with Nigel Farage.” When asked if he would take part in a one-on-one debate, the LibDem MP said: “I’d love to do that. He is a formidable debater and in many ways quite an engaging character, I’ve crossed swords with him frequently. I think a debate of that kind I would certainly welcome.”
Conservative MPs have suggested they could boycott campaigning in the European elections and instruct local parties not to take part, with some saying they would fear for the safety of their activists. Theresa May has said she does not want to fight the elections on 23 May, with No 10 sources suggesting the UK could pull out of holding the vote just 24 hours before the polls open as long as a Brexit deal was passed. However, Conservative MPs and activists remain furious about the prospect of campaigning, especially given many were already experiencing a backlash when canvassing in local elections.
Tory support appears to be in free fall amid the Brexit chaos today as a new poll showed the party down 10 per cent in a month. Today’s BMG poll comes just a day after a Kantar survey showed a nine per cent plunge in support. Both polls put Theresa May‘s party in second place behind Labour amid mounting public anger at the shambolic handling of Brexit. Two successive polls showing dramatic falls in support will deeply alarm Tory HQ ahead of local elections on May 2 and likely European elections on May 23.
TORIES face election meltdown after a new poll shows support for them has plummeted by 10 points in a single month. The result fuelled fears of a bloodbath at the council and European elections and came just days after Tory MP Anne Marie Morris said she may defy her bosses and back the Brexit Party at the polls. A poll by BMG found that just 29 per cent of Brits would vote Tory of a general election was held tomorrow.
‘No deal’ planning
No deal Brexit plans have been shelved by the Government “with immediate effect” as Theresa May faced mounting pressure from Cabinet ministers, Tory Eurosceptics and the DUP to name a date for her departure. Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, told the civil service to “wind down” worst-case scenario no-deal planning after the European Union imposed a further six-month Brexit delay on Theresa May.
The government has halted all emergency planning for a no-deal Brexit despite committing £4bn to preparations, according to reports. A leaked email reportedly sent to all civil servants in an unnamed “front line Brexit department” said no-deal operational planning had been suspended with “immediate effect”.
GOVERNMENTAL departments have been told to stand down their planning for a no-deal Brexit with immediate effect after the EU agreed an Article 50 extension until October 31 – even though £4 billion has already been spent on preparations. A Downing Street source said “in common with the rest of government we have stood down our no-deal operational planning with immediate effect”. The news triggered an angry reaction from Brexiteers, with Tory MP Crispin Blunt describing it as a “confidence matter if true”, implying it could trigger the fall of Theresa May’s Government.
EMERGENCY planning for No Deal was called off today after the Brexit delay was written into law. Civil servants were reportedly told to stand down from urgent meetings meant to ensure the UK is ready to leave the EU without a deal. The move comes after the Brexit date was moved from April 12 to October 31 following a late-night Brussels summit. The decision comes as citizens and businesses – including L’Oreal, Tesco and BMW – were continuing to stockpile for No Deal.
The Government is standing down emergency preparations for a no-deal Brexit costing £4million after Theresa May agreed to a six-month delay with EU leaders. Civil servants were last night told to halt emergency preparations ‘with immediate effect’, including the Operation Brock contraflow on the M20 in Kent. The move infuriated Tory Brexiteers already angry at the latest delay to Britain’s departure from the EU, with former Brexit minister Steve Baker accusing the government of acting out of ‘sheer spite’.
Theresa May has paved the way for a final shot at pushing a Brexit deal through the House of Commons ahead of European elections in May. The prime minister and her aides repeatedly highlighted that the country could avoid the ignominy of electing British MEPs to the European parliament if the Commons passes a deal in the coming weeks. It would also mean Britain would not need the full extension of the Article 50 negotiating period until 31 October offered by European leaders last night – a proposal that saw Tory Brexiteers demand Ms May resign on Thursday.
THERESA May is today under fresh pressure to rip up her Brexit deal and scrap the hated Irish backstop. DUP boss Arlene Foster called on the PM to use the six-month delay to Brexit to start talks again and push the EU into compromising. She warned that if Brussels doesn’t shift its position, the EU will be responsible for triggering a No Deal scenario.
DEPUTY leader of the DUP, Nigel Dodds, demanded the Prime Minister learn her “lesson” over the threat of “no deal” which he claims prompted the European Union to “back down” and offer Britain an extension to the Article 50 process. Nigel Dodds, the DUP’s Commons leader, claimed the European Union had “backed down” as they faced the prospect of Brexit Britain leaving the bloc without a deal.
Conservative MPs Owen Paterson and Iain Duncan Smith have been in Brussels today where they spoke to the European Union’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and continued pushing for the backstop to be ditched. After the meeting, DUP Leader Arlene Foster insisted that “we should have already left” whilst calling for Theresa May “to look at the alternative arrangements to the backstop”. “She should come out here very strongly and say ‘the backstop is the issue, so let’s deal with it’,” Foster told Sky News.
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn agreed last night to press on with Brexit talks as the prime minister spelt out a new route to reaching a deal in the Commons. The party leaders held a short meeting in parliament after Mrs May updated MPs on the latest Brexit delay. In notably warmer exchanges she suggested that the two sides were closer than many realised on the key issue of the customs union while Mr Corbyn did not repeat a previous claim that she was refusing to move from her “red lines”.
Theresa May edged closer to a compromise with Labour on a customs union last night as she resumed Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn. The two met in Parliament hours after Mrs May told MPs there was ‘more agreement in relation to a customs union than is often given credit’. The Labour leader also suggested the talks – which have now lasted nine days – were making progress. He said: ‘I welcome the indications from the Government that they may be willing to move in the key areas that have prevented the Prime Minister’s deal from being supported on this side.’
Geoffrey Cox said ministers would “listen” to demands for a second Brexit referendum in the strongest sign yet the Government is ready to water down its negotiating red lines. The Attorney General said the aim of Brexit compromise talks with the Labour Party was to “find common ground” as he told MPs the Government had entered discussions without any “preconditions”.
Second referendum campaigners have hailed today’s pledge to delay Brexit – claiming it paves the way for another EU vote. The six month extension to Halloween has boosted hopes for a second referendum – or that leaving the EU might be cancelled altogether. And today EU chiefs fuelled the hopes, saying they “dreamed” of a day Britain would end the “Halloween nightmare” and stay in the EU altogether. Odds for the UK revoking Article 50 which would effectively cancel Brexit are now at 2/1.
The question was almost inevitable, but when it came, delivered in the measured tones of veteran MP Sir Bill Cash, it was still enough to cause gasps in the House of Commons. Accusing Theresa May of “abject surrender” in accepting a six-month Brexit extension from Brussels, he asked the Prime Minister: “Will she resign?” Sir John Major, David Cameron and Mrs May herself all had their battles with Sir Bill over Europe, but in his 35-year Parliamentary career, it was the first time he had ever called for a Tory leader to go.
A senior Tory today launched a blistering attack on the Prime Minister asking her to her face to “resign”. Long term eurosceptic Bill Cash tore into Theresa May’s agreement with the EU27 for an extension until the end of October calling it an “abject surrender”. Mr Cash, who has consistently voted against the Prime Minister’s deal and supports a no deal Brexit , was the first Tory MP to attack the severely weakened Mrs May.
IT hasn’t taken long for those modern British evils of declinism and defeatism to work their way through the Westminster village woodwork. The woodworm that’s infested Number Ten and spread to Parliament is now contaminating the mainstream media. By yesterday they’d forgotten that just over a week ago they were taking the end of Theresa May’s reign as read. Let’s hope today’s wake-up lasts.
Tory Party chiefs are gearing up for a summer leadership contest in preparation for Theresa May quitting, the Daily Mail has learned. Senior officials have drawn up detailed plans for hustings between leadership candidates, including scouting locations across the country, sources said. Details of the preparations come as a string of Eurosceptic Tory MPs called for Mrs May to resign after she agreed to delay Brexit further.
Theresa May will face increasing pressure from Eurosceptics to stand down after accepting a delay to leaving the EU until the end of October, the former Brexit secretary David Davis has said. Davis, who has not ruled out standing to replace her, said on Thursday that calls for her to go would rise “dramatically” but did not sound convinced they could persuade her to resign of her own accord or be able to force her out. The prime minister cannot officially be subject to another party leadership challenge until December – a year after seeing off the last one – but a string of Conservative MPs are considering ways to show she has lost the confidence of her party.
Theresa May is set to enrage her critics within the Conservative party after setting herself up to stay on as prime minister until the winter while presiding over a long delay to Brexit. She told MPs just weeks ago that she was “not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30 June” as prime minister and said she would resign once this stage of talks was complete – prompting her rivals to gear up for a summer leadership contest.
Tory MPs who have lost patience with Theresa May’s repeated efforts to delay Brexit, breaking multiple promises along the way, are trying to organise an internal petition to change party rules and remove her as leader. Mrs May was granted a 12-month period of immunity from votes of no confidence by the parliamentary party after surviving a challenge in December 2018, despite more than half of her backbenchers voting for her removal.
DUP chiefs have held private talks with Boris Johnson and his Tory leadership campaign team as Theresa May faces repeated challenges to her dwindling authority. The prime minister brushed aside calls by Tory Brexiteers yesterday for her resignation but was put on notice by her supposed allies in the Democratic Unionist Party that the clock was running down on the deal under which they prop up her government.
Theresa May certainly faced a tough crowd at Wednesday’s EU summit in Brussels, with Emmanuel Macron’s hardline stance against a long extension to Article 50 threatening to destabilise the European consensus and give the PM a headache. But help came in the unlikely form of Angela Merkel. While Theresa May may not be a stranger to public snubbing at these summits, the German chancellor went out of her way to share an endearing moment with the British Prime Minister.
Theresa May disowned hardline Tory Eurosceptics at a closed meeting of EU leaders in Brussels in her bid to win a further delay to Brexit. The prime minister stressed to Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and others that MPs like Jacob Rees-Mogg – who have suggested the UK should cause chaos at EU institutions if it stayed in the bloc – had no influence. “She made clear that that the United Kingdom was a serious country and that we should not be distracted by some non-members of the government who were trying to give the opposite impression,” a senior EU official who was in the meeting said.
European Council president Donald Tusk has said it is his “quiet dream” for the UK to stay in the EU after the bloc’s leaders offered to delay Brexit until Halloween. In a dramatic night in Brussels, European leaders rebuffed Theresa May’s calls for a short extension to 30 June, instead offering the prime minister a longer extension to 31 October to find a way through the Brexit deadlock.
More than 71,000 patients were taken back to hospital last year just a day after they were sent home, figures have revealed. The number of readmissions soared by a third in four years, figures revealed, with experts blaming a severe shortage of hospital beds. They are concerned patients are being sent home before they have recovered to create room for others arriving from A&E.
Hospital inspections are bad for patients because they divert staff away from giving basic care, a new study indicates. A major review of NHS trusts found the rate of potentially dangerous falls and bedsores tends to be worse in the aftermath of a visit by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) than they otherwise would be. Since 2013, the watchdog has undertaken longer and more complex inspections of hospitals at least once every three years.
Britain’s obesity crisis means one in five young adults now have a potentially harmful liver condition. Junk food and a lack of exercise have been blamed for people in their twenties suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A study of more than 4,000 young adults found more than 20 per cent are walking around with dangerous levels of fat in their liver. This gives them twice the risk of suffering a cardiac event such as a heart attack, and in extreme cases can lead to liver cancer or the need for a liver transplant.
Women should be able to book an abortion without seeing a GP or having counselling, according to NHS guidance designed to speed up terminations. Tens of thousands of women should also be able to take abortion pills at home, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has recommended after a legal change last year. Terminations should be carried out within two weeks of a woman requesting one, according to its first guidance on abortion.
Women should be able to terminate pregnancies within a week of seeing a doctor, new official guidelines state. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) also says patients should be able to self-refer to abortion clinics rather than see a GP first, if they prefer. They could even be booked in for a termination without seeing a doctor in person if they choose a phone or video consultation instead.
A&E performance was the worst on record in the last financial year as patient waiting times increased and targets for ambulances and diagnostic tests were missed, new NHS England figures show. A total of 88 per cent of patients were seen within four hours, down from 88.3 per cent in 2017-18 and 89.1 per cent in 2016-17. Eighty-seven per cent of the 4.1 million patients on the referral to treatment waiting list at the end of February this year had been waiting less than 18 weeks — not meeting the 92 per cent standard.
Hospital privacy curtains are a breeding ground for potentially deadly superbugs. The curtains, which are frequently touched by patients, have been found to contain dangerous MRSA. They are also a source of bacteria called vancomycin-resistant enterococci, or VRE, which can cause blood and urinary infections. Researchers led by the University of Michigan swabbed the edges of curtains dividing hospital beds where they were most touched.
Dozens of illegal schools, some with open sewers or operating from rat-infested or dangerous buildings, have been discovered during an investigation by Ofsted. Inspectors also found that vulnerable children were left playing computer games for hours in the care of unqualified teachers. Councils also paid illegal schools to teach difficult children. Fees of £27,000 a year per child were paid by one local authority to an unregistered school, set up as alternative provision for children not in mainstream education.
Thousands of children are attending illegal schools where they get little or no teaching and are subjected to dangerous conditions such as open sewers and exposed wiring, a report has found. The education watchdog warns that more than 200 unregistered establishments may be providing sub-standard teaching and care. In some cases they are being unwittingly funded by councils. The unregistered schools include those run for strict religious parents who do not want their children in mainstream education.
A university shake-up ordered by Theresa May could lead to a two-tier system in which the rich buy places on degree courses, a former minister has warned. Students with poor A level grades, such as three Ds or below, could be banned from applying for loans in an attempt to raise degree standards.