Telegraph (by Richard Tice and John Longworth)
When we set up Leave Means Leave after the referendum, we thought it might be needed for six months. We hoped that we could trust the Government to do the job they had been instructed to do by the British people. People knew what they were voting for. They dismissed the ridiculous scaremongering of Project Fear and voted in the largest numbers ever to leave the EU. None of us imagined that, two years on, we would have to refight the battle. We never dreamt that we would have to attack some desperate “Chequers” proposal from the Prime Minister, which led to the resignation of two of the most influential Brexit-supporting Cabinet members.
MINISTERS will dramatically step up the war of words with the EU next week by unveiling ‘No Deal’ plans and declaring: “We will be ready”. A first batch of technical notices signed off by Theresa May will detail how Britain will have contingency plans in place for everything from farming to fishing, customs and even cigarette packets. The EU controls the copyright for all 42 of the gory images used in fag packs to encourage people to quit the habit – meaning the UK may need its own pictures after March 2019. Information on how the Government intends to stockpile medical supplies and vaccines in the NHS is expected to be among the first paper to be released on Thursday.
THE GOVERNMENT is set to publish a series of papers from next week covering 84 separate policy areas, outlining how Whitehall is preparing for the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, according to leaked files. The reports, acquired by BuzzFeed News, will cover issues including aviation security, batch testing of medicines, and work place rights. The list has been compiled from Government departments across Whitehall, and will outline the wide-ranging impacts of Brexit on all areas of British life. A spokesman from the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) commented on the leaks, stating: “We don’t comment on leaks or speculation. “However, as we’ve already made clear, individual departments are preparing specific technical notices to help citizens, businesses and consumers to prepare for March 2019 in the unlikely event of a no-deal scenario. “This is part of our preparatory work that has been underway for the past two years.”
Jeremy Hunt has been criticised by Tory Eurosceptics after warning that a “messy” no-deal Brexit would be a mistake the UK and the EU would “regret for generations”. The Foreign Secretary, speaking during a visit to the Netherlands, suggested that Britain could accept EU environmental and social regulations in an effort to secure a free trade deal. He told ITV News that the UK would “find a way to prosper and thrive” in the event of no-deal but said it would represent a “huge geo-strategic mistake”. He said: “In terms of everything else that happens on the world stage and it would be a mistake that we would regret for generations if we were to have a messy ugly divorce.
Jeremy Hunt sparked a row with Brexiteers last night after warning that ‘no deal’ would be a ‘messy, ugly divorce’ that the country would ‘regret for generations’. Brexiteers responded to the Foreign Secretary’s comments with fury, insisting that no deal with the EU would be a positive prospect for the UK. In a TV interview, Mr Hunt warned against leaving the EU without a deal, saying: ‘It would be a mistake that we would regret for generations if we were to have a messy, ugly divorce and that’s what we all want to avoid.’ He told ITV’s political editor Robert Peston: ‘If we don’t end up with a deal, of course there will be a difficult period to get through, but the UK would find a way to prosper and thrive as we have done so many times in our history.
Crashing out of the EU without a deal would be a “mistake we would regret for generations”, Jeremy Hunt has said. The foreign secretary said a no-deal Brexit would “inevitably change British attitudes towards Europe”, just a day after Latvia’s foreign minister claimed the scenario stood a 50:50 chance of coming to pass. The British Medical Association also warned leaving the bloc without a deal would be a “catastrophe” for the NHS. Mr Hunt’s comments came in an interview with ITV News after a meeting with the Dutch foreign minister as part of a three-day tour of northern Europe. When asked whether he was presenting the government’s Brexit plan as “take it or leave it”, Mr Hunt answered: “No, but it is a framework on which I believe the ultimate deal will be based and I’ve been to several countries and met seven foreign ministers and am meeting more in the weeks ahead.
THERESA May’s Brexit drive suffered a fresh setback yesterday when it emerged that EU chiefs are determined to block her plan for a customs deal. Leaked information from Brussels suggested the EU’s negotiating team have already rejected the Prime Minister’s blueprint for free trade in goods between the EU and the UK after Brexit. And relations between the two sides were further soured by allegations that EU officials were bugged by British security services to obtain details of their negotiating position. The latest extraordinary twist in the Brexit wrangle emerged yesterday as UK and EU negotiators resumed their talks in Brussels on Wednesday. Officials from both sides will reopen their attempt to resolve the dispute over the future of the Irish border and her due to discuss details of the future trade relationship between the EU and UK today. But Eurosceptic Tories said the EU’s firm opposition to Mrs May’s customs proposal, revealed by the Brussels leak, showed the Brexit plan agreed by Cabinet ministers at Chequers last month was dead.
Brexit relations hit a new low today after Brussels refused to deny that EU negotiators have raised concerns that they are being spied on by MI6. The European Commission declined to comment on the reports that British intelligence assets are suspected of being used to give the UK an upper hand in Brexit talks. It was reported that officials first suspected they were being bugged after the UK obtained sensitive documents “within hours” of them being presented to EU officials last month. A European Commission spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the situation, telling reporters in Brussels: “The commission’s position today is that we cannot comment on these press reports.” The document obtained was said to be a “political explosive” slide presentation that contained a “highly negative” economic assessment of British plans to stay aligned for EU rules.
HOPES of a trade deal with Brussels after Brexit faced a fresh setback yesterday when it emerged that EU chiefs are determined to block a key part of UK proposals. Leaked information from Brussels suggested the bloc’s negotiating team has already rejected a British blueprint for the free trade of goods. And relations between the two sides hit a new low last night as it was alleged that EU officials had been bugged by British security services to obtain the details. The leaked information about the Brussels negotiating position came from a slide presentation prepared by the EU’s negotiators. The current UK proposal is for “goods” to be regulated by a common rulebook – but for UK regulation for “services” to diverge from Brussels rules. But the presentation set out in detail why the EU would refuse to accept any arrangement leading to UK goods and services being treated differently, as proposed by the Government.
The European Union are stepping up pressure on the Polish government, insisting that if they “do not take appropriate measures” then they’ll be referred to the European Court of Justice, drawing criticism from Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski who described it as a “direct assault on sanctity of electorate holding government to account”. It comes after the Polish government pushed forward with changes to their judicial system including lowering the pension age of judges. The EU have warned: “The Polish authorities now have one month to take the necessary measures to comply with this Reasoned Opinion. “If the Polish authorities do not take appropriate measures, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.” Poland’s Deputy Justice Minister, Lukasz Piebiak, responded by saying: “We expected that our arguments would not convince the Commission – not because they are weak but because the Commission is acting in a political way and not as an institution charged with protecting respect for European law and treaties.
SCATHING European Commission documents were kept top secret because they threatened to dismantle Theresa May’s controversial Chequers plan before its release and risk toppling her fragile minority government in Westminster. Member states intervened and decided against releasing a set of slides rubbishing large segments of the Prime Minister’s White Paper before its release in July, which goes against the European Commission’s convention of transparent negotiations. The information was, however, kept out of the public eye after the request of a “high level” British official in order to avoid Mrs May’s Government being plunged into chaos. Brussels’ negotiator Michel Barnier sent his economic advisor Stephanie Riso to explain why the Commission’s team of economists believed accepting the British plan would do significant damage to the EU’s single market.
The European Commission will cause significant and lasting economic harm to millions of families across the continent if it rejects Britain’s Brexit plan, Greg Clark, the business secretary, has said. In a significant escalation of the government’s rhetoric Mr Clark used a meeting with his Austrian and Finnish counterparts to express dismay at what the government regards as EU intransigence to its proposals. His comments come after reports that the commission was about to publish a presentation dismissing the government’s plans to remain in the EU single market for goods before they had been agreed by the cabinet. The presentation was made to EU ambassadors early last month but publication was stopped after representations from London.
The European Union’s rapid push towards becoming a fully-fledged military power in its own right continues, with backing from Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Quoting Maas, the German Foreign Office tweeted: “We are in the process of transforming the EU into a genuine security and defence union. “We remain convinced that we need more and not less Europe.” The dangerous push in Brussels for a full EU Army has seen Jean-Claude Juncker back a “functioning European Defence Union by 2025”, with €13 billion set aside in the EU’s budget for defence. Remember when Remainers told you that this was all a fantasy?
NO-DEAL Brexit draws closer as UK officials admit they are failing to make importance progress on the contentious Irish border conundrum with their European Union counterparts as negotiations resume. Both sides are struggling to reach an agreement an agreement on the Irish backstop, the mechanism requested by Brussels to ensure a hard border doesn’t emerge on Ireland. The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic was the main focus as technical-level Brexit talks resumed after a short summer break yesterday. As politicians across the Continent warn of the increasing chances of a no-deal Brexit, UK officials have displayed a level of pessimism around the Irish border debate. A UK official said: “We haven’t been making much progress on Northern Ireland.”
The average GP now works less than three-and-a-half days a week – and just one in 20 trainee doctors intends to do the job full-time, research shows. Patients’ groups said the rise of the part-time GP was “terrifying” given the national shortage of family doctors – fuelling ever longer waits for an appointment. But GPs said the job has become so intense that full-time working was increasingly “untenable”. The survey of more than 2,000 family doctors shows that on average, they are now carrying out 6.7 half-day sessions a week – the lowest figure on record. Patients’ groups said family doctors were lucky to be able to opt for part-time hours, with average earnings of more than £100,000 for a GP.
The average GP works less than three-and-a-half days a week – and only one in 20 trainee doctors plan to do the job full-time, according to research. A University of Manchester survey of more than 2,000 family doctors found that they did a total of 6.7 half-day sessions a week, which is the equivalent of just over three days – the lowest figure on record. Meanwhile, separate polling carried out by the King’s Fund of over 700 trainee GPs found that most had no intention of pursuing full-time work as a family doctor. It reported only 22 per cent planned to work full time as a GP within a year of completing their training. Patients’ groups said the surge in part-time GPs is ‘terrifying’ given the acute national shortage of family doctors.
NHS surgeries are piling pressure on the military by poaching its GPs, forces doctors have complained. The Defence Medical Services face a “descending spiral” in which doctors fed up with constant deployment overseas opt for an easier civilian job, worsening conditions for those who remain, according to Glynn Evans, head of the British Medical Association’s armed forces committee. NHS sources, however, claim that the military has also tried to take GPs from the health service. A lack of qualified GPs is one of the key problems facing the NHS and three years ago ministers promised to recruit an extra 5,000 by 2020. The total has instead fallen by more than 1,000 since then.
PE is now more popular than French at A level, a sign of the sharp decline in European languages being studied. Only 8,713 candidates took French, this year’s results show, down 8 per cent in a year. In 1996 French was one of the most popular A levels, taken by 22,718 students. A total of 11,307 took PE this year. Chinese has also overtaken German for the first time at A level. The latter is in danger of disappearing from classrooms, with uptake having dropped by 17 per cent in a year to 3,058 pupils. Chinese is the third most popular language at A level, taken by 3,334 teenagers, up 8.6 per cent on last year.
Universities were said to be dropping their offers by several grades yesterday as all but six Russell Group institutions offered vacancies through clearing. Experts said that some universities unable to attract enough students could be “close to broke” as a result. The combination of a school-leaver population falling by 2.5 per cent and more competition between universities freed from caps on undergraduate numbers means that students are in a powerful position this year. Only five years ago they were turned away if they slipped a grade, but institutions can no longer afford to be as picky. While those in clearing are asked for particular grades, there is thought to be more flexibility than ever.
Britain’s armed forces are at serious risk because of chronic computer failures at military surgeries across the country, doctors have warned. Service personnel are in danger of being given the wrong drugs and missing life-saving vaccines because GPs are routinely locked out of patient records, medical staff have told The Times. One described the IT system as “the biggest threat to patient safety that I have encountered in my 20-year career”. Almost 500 civilian and military GPs provide primary care to Britain’s 147,000 full-time soldiers, sailors and air personnel in the defence medical services, rather than the NHS. Representatives of the doctors say that they have been raising the alarm for two years with the surgeon-general, the most senior armed forces doctor.