THERESA May must be ready to walk out of the forthcoming Brexit negotiations without a deal, the most senior Tory in the European Parliament warned tonight. Syed Kamall, leader of the Conservative MEPs, urged the Prime Minister to be ready to face down demands from European leaders for an EU exit deal that would punish the UK for voting to leave the bloc. And he predicted that Mrs May will prove a “tough and shrewd negotiator” when the departure talks start this spring. He made his intervention as Downing Street confirmed that the Prime Minister will deliver a keynote speech on her vision for Brexit next week. Mrs May is expected to make clear that regaining full control of immigration will be her top priority for Britain’s future outside the EU. She is also understood to be poised to say that she is ready to pull the country out of the EU’s single market unless European leaders accept that Britain can curb free movement of EU citizens.
Theresa May will finally lift the lid on her Brexit strategy next week – possibly just days before a crucial Supreme Court ruling on whether Parliament must give its consent to leaving the EU. A long-awaited speech – which, the Prime Minister promised, would reveal “more details” of her plans – will be made next Tuesday, it was announced. Downing Street has decided to get ahead of a likely defeat in the Supreme Court, which is expected to confirm that MPs and peers must approve the triggering of the Article 50 exit clause. The Government is believed to have already drawn up at least two versions of a Bill that could be tabled to comply with the ruling – which could come later in the week. In the speech, the Prime Minister will be under pressure to finally state clearly whether she wants Britain to remain in the EU’s single market or customs union after Brexit. Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, has led EU leaders who insist Britain cannot enjoy favourable
Theresa May will lay out her plans for Britain’s exit from the European Union on Tuesday, in a major speech that will be closely scrutinised in financial markets, and by other European leaders. The prime minister has come under intense political pressure to reveal more details of her negotiating priorities before she triggers article 50, the formal divorce process from the EU. May promised senior MPs before Christmas that she would make a speech in the new year, “setting out more about our approach and about the opportunity I think we have as a country to use this process to forge a truly global Britain that embraces and trades with countries across the world”. She has signalled some key principles, including taking control of immigration, and leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, which polices the single market.
Theresa May will make a major speech on Brexit on Tuesday, Downing Street has confirmed. The Prime Minister has been under pressure to set out the Government’s strategy ahead of triggering Article 50 by the end of March and starting formal EU divorce negotiations. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis have been involved in drawing up the contents of the speech. Opposition parties hope it will end uncertainty about how the Government will conduct exit negotiations with the European Union. A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said her speech will set out “more on our approach to Brexit” and will be “in line with our approach of a global Britain and continuing to be an outward looking nation”.
European courts will continue to “dish out judgments” to the UK if it opts for a transitional deal after Brexit, an influential EU leader has warned. The comments from Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, whose government holds the rotating presidency of the EU for the first half of this year, come after Theresa May pledged to take the UK out of the jurisdiction of the European Court. The Maltese premier made clear that any transition trade arrangements, which could last well into the 2020s, would see European institutions retain the upper hand. “An essential part of those transitional arrangements will be the governing institutions of that period,” he said, according to The Times. “It is pretty clear to me that the institutions should be the European institutions. “So it is not a transition period where British institutions take over, but it is a transition period where the European Court of Justice is still in charge of dishing out judgments.”
Britain will remain under the rule of European courts well into the 2020s, a key EU leader has said. Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, which holds the EU presidency, said that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) would have to continue “dishing out judgments” if the UK wanted transitional arrangements to allow important sectors to adapt. This process is expected to take at least five years after the formal divorce from the EU, which is expected in 2019. Britain’s need to avoid a sudden, damaging economic rupture meant that Theresa May would have to “blink first” in the looming divorce talks, Edward Scicluna, Malta’s finance minister, added.
EU leaders have revealed they are planning to turn Brexit talks into a hardball game of bluff in a bid to make Britain “blink first”. Malta’s finance minister – whose nation will chair the negotiations when they start at the end of March – warned the UK’s departure is shaping up to be rocky. Edward Scicluna also predicted both the EU and the UK will be hurt by the stand off. But he claimed: “The point is who is going to blink first? It will be the UK”. Issuing a veiled threat, Mr Scicluna added: “We don’t want to humiliate the UK.” He said: “We know it’s a divorce, we want it to be an amicable one. But circumstances are not showing that it can go in that direction.” As Europe shapes up for two years of tough negotiating, Angela Merkel issued another appeal yesterday for the other 27 to keep up a united front. The German Chancellor said: “We are absolutely in agreement that we cannot let ourselves be divided”.
EUROPE’S finance chief has blown another hole in the economic arguments of Remoaners with a shock admission the bloc’s much-vaunted Single Market does not work well for countries like Britain. Polish eurocrat Elżbieta Bieńkowska conceded that the common economic area, which is usually presented as Brussels’ crowning achievement, “does not function properly”. Her comments were directed towards the services sector, which makes up 80 per cent of the British economy and accounts for around a third of all our exports to the continent. And they will come as a hammer blow to europhile MPs trying to make the increasingly shaky economic case for shackling Britain to the struggling eurozone post-Brexit.
Euro zone finance ministers will discuss on Jan. 26 the “compatibility” of Italy’s bailout for bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena with European Union rules, an official in the bloc told Reuters on Thursday. The comments cast doubt on the rescue plan for the ailing bank, Italy’s third largest lender. Rome decided in December to salvage Monte dei Paschi after a plan to raise capital in the markets failed. The bank was the weakest among top euro zone banks in a stress test ran last year by the European Central Bank.
Up to three quarters of GPs’ surgeries in some areas shut their doors to patients on weekday afternoons, according to figures highlighting the growing difficulty of seeing a doctor. Some surgeries offer appointments for only three hours a day, making it hard for patients to get a consultation. Inspectors have warned that surgeries face disciplinary action amid fears that limited opening hours at local practices are increasing pressure on A&E units. Patients are 8 per cent more likely to go to A&E if their surgeries open for fewer than 45 hours a week, according to the National Audit Office.
It has been a calamitous winter inside the NHS. Last week, three people tragically died at Worcestershire Royal hospital with a women dying of a heart attack after waiting for 35 hours on a trolley. A similar picture has developed across the country with patients on trolleys due to lack of beds, many hospital trusts on red alert and ambulances missing targets for life-threatening emergencies. The British Red Cross declared a humanitarian crisis in the NHS. The return of the Red Cross to Europe, over the last few years, for the first time since the Second World War is a terrible indicator of the toll austerity is taking. Wall-to-wall coverage and acres of column inches have generally failed to examine the root causes. Health journalists and correspondents seem perfectly content to recycle the crisis mantra. This is extremely convenient for the government and vested interests. What is missing from this picture is that the NHS crisis is manufactured by deliberate policies of cuts and privatisation.
Freezing temperatures across the UK risk plunging struggling hospitals into a deeper crisis as the NHS enters its busiest three weeks of the year, health bosses have said. Hospitals are braced for a sudden spike in emergency admissions for broken limbs and chronic breathing problems. The organisation that represents hospital trusts in England said the NHS, already facing “winter all year round”, risked being plunged into an “Arctic winter” in the days ahead. Almost 30 hospitals have issued black alerts this week after becoming so overloaded they cannot provide a normal range of services or guarantee patient safety. Some hospitals have been forced to use rehabilitation gyms and neurological wards for emergency beds, and others have cancelled operations. The British Lung Foundation said the cold weather was already resulting in an increase in patients presenting with potentially fatal respiratory conditions. Worse weather is due over the next few days.
The granddaughter of a woman taken to hospital with heart problems said the situation in Accident and Emergency was “beyond words”. Lucinda Wilcox was so shocked by the number of people lining the corridors on trolleys at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant, south Wales, that she took pictures to highlight the problem. “I counted nine [people] in the corridor on trolleys waiting to be seen,” she said. “It really was upsetting and eye-opening. “The people on the trolleys, some of them were on their own, they were hunched over in the beds. They were coming off the trolleys because obviously they’d been there for so long.”
A&E units have failed to hit their four-hour waiting targets for 16 months in a row, increasing pressure on Theresa May to tackle the crisis engulfing the NHS. The latest figures from NHS England show only 88.4% of patients admitted to A&E were dealt with in four hours in November. Hospitals have not met the target of 95% since July 2015. NHS England says doctors are unable to meet the four-hour time because poor social care means they cannot send patients home, causing a logjam in hospitals. GPs are being drafted in to help discharge patients at some hospitals.
Hospitals are failing to raise concerns about incompetent locum doctors who demand up to £155 per hour, a new report has warned. Some hospitals take no action when they see poor practice and there is “no obvious mechanism” for identifying low levels of concern about a doctor’s competency, the General Medical Council said. The review also found some patients were too scared to offer feedback on their family doctor, while most medics only sought patient opinions one day every five years. The study warned that information on locum doctors was not always shared between the hospitals where they worked, while some hospitals were “unwilling to provide frank feedback” when a doctor was not up to par.
LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn revealed yesterday the huge amount of cash spent on privatising parts of the NHS has more than doubled under the Tories. Mr Corbyn said that the Conservative-led government is sneakily privatising the NHS even though there have been major crises after companies have taken over services and hospitals — such as the failed running of Hinchingbrooke Hospital by Circle Health — in a bid to make profits. Private provision of healthcare in England has shot up in absolute terms from £4.1 billion to £8.7bn since 2010. Mr Corbyn said: “The Conservatives are privatising our NHS by stealth despite the repeated failures and costs of private provision. “It saddles us with an expensive and unnecessary internal market. It puts tax avoidance, not patient care, at the heart of its management. It also promotes excessive boardroom pay and grotesque inequality.
Southern Railway will be at a standstill again on Friday because of another strike by drivers in the long-running dispute over driver-only trains. Members of Aslef will strike for the third time this week, bringing fresh misery to the company’s 300,000 passengers. Southern is again laying on 200 buses and coaches to take passengers to railway stations served by other operators, but advised people not to travel unless it was absolutely necessary. Train drivers walked out on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will strike again on 24, 25 and 27 January.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has suggested cyclists are not road users, weeks after footage emerged of him knocking one over with the door of his ministerial car. At Transport Questions in the House of Commons, Labour MP for Cambridge Daniel Zeichner asked him about a remark he had given in an interview with the Evening Standard, in which he said that, ‘Cycle lanes cause problems for road users.’ Mr Zeichner asked: “I was wondering if he could clarify for the house exactly who he thinks road users are?” Mr Grayling told him: “Where you have cycle lanes, cyclists are the users of cycle lanes and the road users are the users of the road. It’s very simple.”
World War 3
RUSSIA has warned of the threat of WW3 as thousands of US troops and tanks arrive on Vladimir Putin’s doorstep. Tanks, heavy artillery and almost 3,000 US soldiers have arrived in Poland to face down Russia. The deployment – codenamed Atlantic Resolve – is the largest US military reinforcement in decades. Its stated aim is protecting Eastern Europe from Russian invasion. But Russia has warned it considers the force “a threat” – and has moved S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems around Moscow in response. Poland and the Baltic former Soviet Republics requested US and NATO troops after Putin seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. US Army Colonel Christopher Norrie, commander of the 3rd Armoured Brigade Combat Team, said: “The main goal of our mission is deterrence and prevention of threats.” But Russia said it considers the deployment as aggression along its border.