THERESA May has received demands from the EU finance chief to make more concession to Brussels and to ignore the hard Brexiteers in her party, as he warns a further softening in her negotiation stance is needed to secure a deal. The EU’s budget minister Gunther Oettinger stated that in order for there it be a deal, the Prime Minister would have to take the “lead” and make concessions. Mr Oettinger also said the issue of the Irish border was “mission impossible” after both UK and EU negotiator looked like they were about to make progress.
Britain’s former ambassador to the European Union says Prime Minister Theresa May’s blueprint for Brexit is a “pipe dream” that has no chance of being accepted by the bloc. Ivan Rogers says that, more than two years after voting to leave the EU, Britain is “on fantasy island” about what kind of divorce deal is possible. Rogers, who quit last year, said Thursday that both May’s plan, which would keep Britain in the EU single market for goods, and rival Boris Johnson’s vision of a looser free-trade deal have “precisely zero” chance of being accepted.
MICHEL Barnier has laid out his latest Brexit offer to Theresa May in a speech to business leaders but the deal would involve customs checks on goods shipped from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland – and block Britain’s search for new trading partners. Under the Barnier proposals, Britain effectively stays in the customs union temporarily and would continue to apply the EU’s external tariffs. The UK would be unable to strike its own deals with global trading partners during this period which could be longer than the planned transition timeline.
Theresa May was challenged by at least six cabinet ministers last night who told her to put a time limit on a plan that keeps Britain tied to EU customs rules. The prime minister was warned that the issue could lead to cabinet resignations unless she found a way to ensure that Britain did not sign up indefinitely to the EU’s “backstop”. The confrontation came at a rare Brexit update with certain members of the cabinet. Liam Fox, the trade secretary and usually one of her most loyal supporters, criticised the plan.
Theresa May has briefed senior ministers on the status of the Brexit negotiations as concerns grow in some quarters of her cabinet and party that she is prepared to agree an indefinite customs backstop to ensure an open border in Ireland. The prime minister summoned members of the Brexit “war cabinet” on Thursday to build support for the terms of the withdrawal agreement and try to head off resignations before seeking the backing of her full cabinet and the rest of her party.
THERESA May will ask ministers to back a Brexit backstop offered by chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier despite warnings of a potentially damaging rift with the DUP. The Barnier plan would keep Britain in a customs union with Brussels until a permanent trade deal can be agreed but see Northern Ireland stay in the single market for goods, meaning there would have to be increased regulatory checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea. Negotiators from both sides have been locked in talks this week to overcome differences on how to keep the UK frontier with the Irish republic free of border checks after Britain leaves the EU in March.
BREXIT talks last night hit a fresh brick wall after No10 refused a renewed EU demand for Britain to stay in a customs union indefinitely until a future trade deal is struck. Theresa May summoned senior Cabinet ministers to No10 last night in the hope of asking them to sign off a draft deal. But a breakthrough on the key impasse issue failed to materialise, despite good progress on all other areas.
The DUP last night called for a new Tory leader to replace Theresa May and threatened to bring down the Government if she does not abandon her Brexit proposals. It came after four senior ministers confronted the PM over her plans to keep Britain in the customs union indefinitely. The DUP, whose 10 MPs are propping up Mrs May’s Government, fear the PM’s proposals to keep Northern Ireland in the single market while mainland Britain leaves it would split the UK.
EUROPEAN Union countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per cent by 2030 after marathon talks last night. The agreement was billed as a response to dire warnings from the United Nations this week that unless action to curb emissions is radically stepped up, global temperatures will rise by 2°C by 2050, leading to huge changes in sea levels which could inundate major cities including London, Shanghai and Singapore, as well as causing more extreme weather events, droughts and famines.
Business and political leaders in Normandy have warned French President Emmanuel Macron that a No Deal Brexit would represent a “major threat” to the country and they would need big subsidies to help them deal with the fallout. A letter signed by the President of Normandy, Hervé Morin, is intended to put pressure on Macron who has taken a hardline stance on Brexit. “Financiers tend to see it as an opportunity for economic expansion, a view shared by much of Mr. Macron’s administration, while a range of other sectors, from wine exporters to ferry lines, see it as a danger.
A senior Conservative MP accused ministers of secretly pushing ahead with a plan to turn the M26 into a car park to hold lorries in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee and MP for Tonbridge and Malling, said that he only found out about the work in his constituency on Wednesday hours before it started. Speaking in the Commons yesterday, he said: “It’s come to a pretty pass when a member finds out that works have begun on a motorway to turn that motorway into a parking lot without consultation either with the local community or with surrounding members.
Work has started to enable a motorway to be turned into a car park to deal with a no-deal Brexit. On Wednesday night Highways England began preparations for the M26 in Kent to be used as a holding area for lorries if there is gridlock. There is concern there could be delays at the nearby port of Dover if the UK withdraws from the EU without an agreement. There will be overnight closures on the motorway until Monday and in the run up to Christmas between November 19 and December 21 while the work is carried out.
Ireland has been accepted as a member of the international organisation of francophone nations amid concern that Brexit could leave its English-speaking diplomats out in the cold. It may not be the land of “bonjour” but the country was authorised to become an observer member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie — the French equivalent of the Commonwealth — at a summit in Armenia attended by President Emmanuel Macron.
The Democratic Unionist party has accused the EU of pulling an “astonishing confidence trick” on the UK government by claiming the Irish border problem is a roadblock to an overall Brexit deal. The remarks by Sammy Wilson, the DUP MP for East Antrim, come just hours after the party, which is propping up Theresa May’s government, threatened to sabotage the Brexit negotiations by voting down her budget later this month. In a further warning shot across the government’s bows, the DUP abstained in a vote on the agriculture bill on Wednesday night.
A DUP MP has told Sky News the party is not afraid of potentially triggering a general election by voting against the Budget. The Northern Ireland party, which backs Theresa May’s minority Conservative government in key votes at Westminster, has made it clear the radical move is on the table if the prime minister breaches their red lines in the Brexit negotiations. DUP leader Arlene Foster is steadfastly against any agreement with the EU that would leave Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK.
Theresa May is facing the threat of Cabinet resignations after she accepted EU demands that there will be no time limit on her controversial Brexit backstop plan. The Prime Minister told her Brexit “war Cabinet” on Thursday afternoon that a proposal to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU until a trade deal can be agreed will have no end date, leading to fears the arrangement could become permanent. At least three eurosceptic Cabinet ministers are said to be considering quitting over the latest concession, which appears to contradict Mrs May’s promise earlier this year that the backstop would expire “at the very latest by the end of December 2021”.
Another cabinet minister refused to back Theresa May’s Brexit plan, ahead of her crunch talks with senior colleagues to rally support for a deal. Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, repeatedly declined to say she supported the Chequers plan for a softer withdrawal, as the negotiations continued in Brussels. Instead, she said she was “completely supportive of the prime minister” – without mentioning Chequers – adding: “I am fully 100 per cent behind the prime minister and we will get the best deal for this country.”
The Conservatives may have to change leader to “heal wounds” and ensure its confidence and supply agreement “stays in place”, a top DUP MP has told Sky News. Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesperson, issued a stern warning to the Conservatives as he pressed Mrs May to change her course on Brexit. He suggested all 10 DUP MPs could vote down this month’s budget to “pull the government back into keeping its promises”. Asked if that would be under a different leader, Mr Wilson told Sky News: “That may lead to a different leader.
Labour is facing a fresh antisemitism row after Jewish activists were banned from attending an event with John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, as organisers accused them of having “previously misrepresented events”. Multiple Jewish people who had tickets to the event on Thursday evening, but who had previously spoken out about the antisemitism row that engulfed Labour over the summer, were told at the last minute that their tickets had been cancelled.
Labour is facing renewed accusations of anti-Semitism as it emerged that Jewish journalists and anti-Semitism campaigners had been banned from attending an event tonight with John McDonnell. The Shadow Chancellor, billed as an “unrepentant socialist”, is due to sit down for a fireside chat-type event with Jenny Manson, head of the controversial pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labourfaction at a Momentum Barnet meeting this evening. No voice for Jewish bloggers trying to cover the event… Jewish Human Rights Watch have said the decision to exclude Jews from the event “beggars belief” and called on McDonnell to “withdraw from tonight’s event and apologise to Barnet’s Jewish communities.”
EMERGENCY departments failed to see the target 90 per cent of patients within four hours last month, new figures show. Only 88.9 per cent were seen, less than the 89.7 per cent in August and 89.7 per cent in September 2017. The NHS England figures also showed its worst second quarter performance against the standard since records began in 2004/5. Overall, the quarter’s performance was 89.3 per cent compared to 90.1 per cent for the same period last year. There was also further deterioration on 18 week elective referrals, which slumped to 87.2 in August against the 92 per cent target.
The NHS is still overpaying for price-hiked drugs by hundreds of millions of pounds a year because the government has failed to use powers brought in to combat profiteering, The Times can reveal. A Times investigation in 2016 exposed how several manufacturers had taken advantage of a loophole in NHS pricing rules to significantly increase the price of dozens of commonly prescribed drugs by up to 12,500 per cent. The government passed legislation in April last year to end the practice by giving the health secretary powers to impose a lower price for these generic drugs if taxpayers were being ripped off.
MEDICINAL cannabis will be available on prescription from next month, the Home Secretary announced today. Doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products to patients from November 1. The new rules apply to England, Wales and Scotland, Sajid Javid said in a written statement. It follows several high-profile cases, including young epilepsy sufferers Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil. Alfie’s mother, Hannah Deacon, said: “Today is a momentous day for every patient and family with a suffering child who wish to access medicinal cannabis.
Almost 80,000 specialist doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products from the start of November after the government outlined how a relaxation of the rules on medical marijuana would work. The Home Office said that GPs would not be able to prescribe the drug but they would be able to refer patients to specialists who could do so without further authority. Cannabis medicines will only be allowed to be administered in certain regulated forms, such as resin, and patients will not be allowed to smoke the raw plant.
Medicinal Cannabis will be available on prescription in Britain from November 1. Currently, Cannabis Oil is only ever prescribed in exceptional circumstances and has to be granted by a medical panel. Those suffering from epilepsy, nausea and chronic pain due to chemotherapy could all be given the option to get the drug on prescription. Today’s decision is a major victory for campaigners. And it means Britain joins countries such as Germany who have already given the drug the go ahead.
The government’s decision to allow many more overseas doctors and nurses to work in the NHS was only temporary, Sajid Javid has said, in a move that has prompted concern that tough restrictions on numbers may be reimposed. The home secretary hinted at a possible U-turn on the relaxation of strictlimits on medical staff allowed to come to Britain in a letter to the government’s advisers on immigration.
The surcharge that migrants must pay to use the NHS will be doubled to £400, the government has announced. Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said the charge, which applies to migrants from outside the EU, represented “a good deal for those seeking to live in the UK temporarily”. The higher fee, which will be subject to parliamentary approval, will ensure migrants make a “fair contribution”, she said. The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced in 2015.
Philip Hammond may scrap promised income tax cuts to pay for a climbdown on Universal Credit, it was reported last night. It comes as Theresa May faces a growing Tory revolt over the rollout of Universal Credit after work and pensions secretary Esther McVey admitted it will leave some people worse off. Conservative MPs including Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of the new benefits system, have called on the Chancellor to pump more money into the flagship welfare reform.
Theresa May faces a House of Commons revolt over universal credit after the minister responsible for the system contradicted the government line and admitted it will leave some families “worse off”. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) needs to pass regulations in order to implement the next phase of the “managed migration” to the controversial new benefits system, but a growing number of Conservative MPs have publicly expressed their concerns. The changes are meant to affect another 3.95 million people from July.
Theresa May and the Chancellor are coming under pressure to increase funding for universal credit after it was revealed that some people would be worse off under the scheme. Universal credit replaces a range of existing welfare payments, but has so far been applied only to around one million new claimants or those with changed circumstances. The system combines six current benefits into one monthly payment. Those benefits are working tax credit, income support, jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and income-related employment and support allowance.
Hundreds of children are being exploited by dozens of criminal gangs for sex, drug trafficking, and other criminal activity in multicultural Bradford. A new report produced by the local council suggests 471 youngsters have been brought into or are connected with some 51 organised criminal organisations operating in the northern English city, according to the BBC. 347 children were identified as at risk of sexual exploitation, with 203 of the victims identified as White British, and over 60 percent of the suspected groomers identified as being of Pakistani origin — in line with a pattern which has now been observed in towns and cities across the country.
The UK has ground its fleet of £120 million F-35 stealth fighters following the crash of a US jet. The aircraft, which landed in the UK in June, are being examined to see whether they have a faulty fuel tube after the crash of a US Marine Corps F-35B in September. The jet went down near a military base in South Carolina on the same day the first F-35B jets landed on the HMS Queen Elizabeth- the pilot managed to eject to safety.
The RAF’s Top Gun stealth warplanes jets were grounded today amid safety fears. The hi-tech F-35 Joint Strike Fighters due to fly from the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier were grounded. The dramatic move was ordered while inspectors carried out urgent checks on fuel tubes for the Lockheed Martin jets. It comes two weeks after an accident in South Carolina where one of the US £150million aircraft crashed. Planes from US F-35 squadrons have been landing and taking off from HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Navy’s £3.1billion ship which is currently off the American coast.
A SUDDEN and rapid descent of one of Mount Etna’s slopes in Sicily could “lead to a tsunami with disastrous effects for the entire Mediterranean”, warn researchers. Scientists using new, sound-based marine monitoring gear found that the southeastern side of the volcano slipped about four centimetres underwater – in just eight days. As a result of their findings, published yesterday in the international journal Science Advances, the experts confirmed that Mount Etna’s “entire southeastern flank is in motion”.