Britain has set out its demands for a bespoke Brexit deal with “breadth and depth” to be agreed with the European Union by October. In the first meeting between British and European officials on the future relationship, Oliver Robbins, Theresa May’s chief Brexit negotiator, said that the UK needed a detailed and substantive agreement that set out the future trade and economic partnership. Mr Robbins said that Britain was prepared to negotiate on a labour mobility and immigration regime. Other areas would be a customs partnership and “level playing field” procedures to ensure regulatory alignment in areas such as agriculture.
Senior Conservatives have backed a plan to force a vote in the Commons aimed at pushing Theresa May into negotiating for Britain to stay in a customs union with the EU after Brexit. Ex-cabinet ministers Nicky Morgan and Dominic Grieve teamed up with other senior MPs, including Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, to force the vote next week. Less than 24 hours ago the government was defeated in the House of Lords on a motion also aimed at keeping the UK in a customs union. While the Commons vote due on Thursday will not be binding on Ms May, if it is passed it will stand as a show of strength from soft-Brexit backing MPs ahead of other binding votes on the customs union in the weeks ahead. Thursday’s motion demands the government “include as an objective in negotiations on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union the establishment of an effective customs union between the two territories”. It has been backed by the chairs of major Commons committees, Ms Cooper, who heads the Home Affairs Committee and, Ms Morgan, from the Treasury Committee.
Theresa May next week faces a show of defiance from MPs fighting to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU after 10 select committee chairs tabled a motion aimed at forcing a vote on the issue. Three Conservatives – Bob Neill, Nicky Morgan and Sarah Wollaston – are among the signatories to the motion, which urges the government to “include as an objective in negotiations … the establishment of an effective customs union”. The government lost a vote in the House of Lords on Wednesday night by a hefty majority of 123 on a cross-party amendment that would force ministers to report to parliament on their moves to keep the UK in a customs union. MPs campaigning against a hard Brexit, including Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna, have tabled amendments to the trade bill and customs bill demanding that the option of a customs union be kept on the table. But the government has delayed bringing the legislation back to the Commons, avoiding the risk of an embarrassing defeat, so the select committee chairs are using their power to raise issues in the Commons to force a vote.
THERESA May was last night facing a fresh Commons revolt over Britain’s future customs arrangements with the EU after Tory rebels joined with Labour MPs to force a vote. A debate on a parliamentary motion calling for an “effective customs union” is to be held at Westminster next Thursday. In a sign of Tories divisions over the crucial Brexit issue, senior MPs from the party Nicky Morgan, Sarah Wollaston, Robert Neill and Dominic Grieve backed the cross-party motion last night. The move follows two Government defeats over the flagship EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords earlier this week. But Downing Street insisted the move would not wreck the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans. “Our position remains unchanged – we are leaving the customs union,” a Number 10 spokesman said.
Emboldened by a vote to block a clean Brexit in the Lords Wednesday night, anti-Brexit MPs, including leading Tories, have backed a bid to force a vote on keeping the UK to tied to the bloc’s Customs Union and its rules. The parliamentary motion was pushed by the chairs of ten select committees, including former Tory ministers Nicky Morgan and Dominic Grieve, as well as Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves. It demands the government “include as an objective in negotiations on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union the establishment of an effective customs union between the two territories”. The motion will be debated next week, with Ms. Cooper claiming: “Parliament needs the chance to steer Brexit negotiations before it is too late.”
THERESA May faces a fresh Brexit headache within weeks after senior MPs said they would fight to keep Britain in the Customs Union. Last night Remainer Peers inflicted a damning defeat on the Government by slapping on a change to her flagship Brexit legislation – which would prevent us doing trade deals around the world. They won the vote by a whopping majority of more than 120, after voting by 347 to 225 in favour yesterday. And now MPs are set to push for Britain to stay in a Customs Union too, with a fresh vote on the issue. The Commons Liason Committee, made up of the chairs of a string of influential committees, will call on ministers to fight for “an effective Customs Union between the two territories”, HuffPost revealed today. It will point out that the EU is the UK’s biggest market for goods, and try and get us to stay close to the bloc.
Remoaner MPs have tabled a motion forcing a Parliamentary vote on whether or not Customs Union membership should be part of the Brexit negotiations – a move that would stop Britain negotiating free trade deals with countries around the world. Tory MPs Bob Neill, Nicky Morgan and Sarah Wollaston are among those who are urging the government to “include as an objective in negotiations…the establishment of an effective Customs Union”. The other culprits are Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Hilary Benn, the Liberal Democrats’ Norman Lamb, and the SNP’s Angus MacNeil. It comes after arch-Remoaners Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna have tabled amendments demanding that a Customs Union be kept on the table. And just last night members of the House of Lords managed to stay awake long enough to back a motion for an EU Customs Union by 348 votes to 225.
Anti-Brexit bias runs like a spinal cord through the bloated body of civil servants and ex-mandarins that make up Whitehall. This group of metropolitan remainers – whose fat pensions are funded by the taxpayer – are an influence network which has been regularly accused of trying to hamper Brexit. Many of them have seats in the House of Lords. Last night every living former Cabinet Secretary voted against the government on the customs union. A Guido probe reveals the extent to which former top civil servants share anti-Brexit views… Let’s start with Lord David Hannay, formerly Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the European Economic Community. He tarred all Leave voters with the same brush, calling them “feckless” during a Parliamentary debate last year. That’s 17,410,742 voters dismissed… Lord Robin Butler – Cabinet Secretary for a decade under Thatcher, Major and Blair, loudly and publicly opposes Brexit. e claims leaving the EU: “Strikes a dagger to my soul… The United Kingdom being motivated by an illusory quest for independence, in a world which becomes more interdependent day by day, is a painful prospect.”
A British Second World War veteran will sue to overturn the Brexit referendum after a European Union court accepted his case. Harry Shindler, 96, who lives in Italy, argues that the result was invalid because he and 11 other long-term expatriates were denied a vote. “The court can’t tell us to have another referendum but can say it doesn’t recognise the result,” he told The Times. “If we win, then the referendum is overturned. That would put the cat amongst the pigeons.” Mr Shindler was denied a vote under a rule barring those who have lived abroad for more than 15 years. The Conservatives promised in 2015 to ditch this rule and give expatriate citizens votes for life.
The EU has comprehensively rejected British proposals for avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland in a move which will cast serious doubt on the UK’s ability to leave the customs union, The Telegraph has learned. Senior EU diplomatic sources said that Mrs May’s plan for avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland was subjected to a “systematic and forensic annihilation” this week at a meeting between senior EU officials and Olly Robbins, the UK’s lead Brexit negotiator. “It was a detailed and forensic rebuttal,” added the source who was directly briefed on the meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. “It was made clear that none of the UK’s customs options will work. None of them.”
This week we’ve seen Europhile Lords and Remoaners MPs both push for the UK to remain locked inside a Customs Union. And now the European Union, right on cue, have briefed that they delivered a “systematic and forensic annihilation” of the British government’s proposals for the Irish border in a move that will cause the usual suspects to increase their demands for the UK to remain in a European Union CU. That would of course stop Brexit Britain from negotiating global deals – a key pillar of the Leave campaign and something that the likes of Trade Secretary Liam Fox have spelt out the advantages of. An EU source told The Telegraph that: “It was made clear that none of the UK’s customs options will work. None of them.”
Proposals for the future of the Irish border after Brexit were “annihilated” by EU officials, who said none of the options would work. EU diplomatic sources told The Daily Telegraph that Brussels officials delivered a “detailed and forensic rebuttal”, and said “none of the UK customs options will work – none of them”. The revelation came after Britain’s lead negotiator Olly Robbins met with senior EU officials, and has raised doubts about hopes for the future deal with Europe. A UK Government spokesman said Britain is continuing an “intensive work programme to engage” all the scenarios set out in December’s Joint Report, which was agreed by Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
EU CHIEFS have piled pressure on Theresa May by rejecting British plans to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister’s proposals were subjected to a “systematic and forensic annihilation” this week in a meeting between senior EU officials and the UK’s lead Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins, senior EU sources claim. Mrs May may now be forced to remain in the customs union if she wants to avoid a hard border. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has also suspended internal talks on the future EU-UK trade deal, according to The Telegraph. The knockback comes after the House of Lords voted for an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill that favours staying in the customs union. A source said: “It was made clear that none of the UK’s customs options will work. None of them.”
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday some 25 percent of work remained to be done on a pact covering UK withdrawal from the EU, including crucial issues such as management of the Ireland/Northern Ireland border. “In terms of what has been agreed so far, it’s about 75 percent,” Barnier told France 2 television. Even if Britain and the EU were working towards a British exit from the EU taking place in March 2019, risks of failure remained as long as outstanding topics such as Ireland were unresolved, he said. “There are always difficulties, and risks of a failure,” said Barnier. Some in Britain want “what the English call cherry picking”, he said, adding that the reply to that was “No way”. Britain and the EU are committed to keeping a free flow of people and goods over the Irish border without returning to checkpoints which would be a reminder of the three decades of violence largely ended by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.
President Macron appeared to goad Angela Merkel yesterday by invoking the successful partnerships of former French and German leaders as he tried to persuade her to back his ambitious plans for EU reform. In promoting their predecessors such as Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle, the French president claimed a similar leadership role in Europe. His comments were interpreted as a challenge to Mrs Merkel over whether she wanted to form a new double act. The German chancellor seemed hesitant and cautious alongside Mr Macron at their joint press conference: the former “Queen of Europe” appeared to have been put on the spot by the new prince.
Nigel Farage has admitted two of his children have German passports and will keep free movement rights after Brexit. But the ex Ukip leader insisted while his children value their German identity there were still British – and would support England in football. Mr Farage has four children, two with German wife Kirsten Mehr. The couple separated last year. He confirmed his children would keep rights as EU citizens that millions of Britons will lose after Brexit in a podcast interview with ex-deputy PM Nick Clegg. Asked directly if his children had German passports, Mr Farage said: ‘Yes. Yes. ‘And that link to the German side of their family is clearly important to them but their identity, when it comes to a football game, it’s pretty clear which side they’re actually going to support. ‘Their mum may not.’
Nigel Farage has admitted two of his children have both British and German passports, which would allow them to take advantage of free movement rights post-Brexit, but insisted they feel British rather than European. In a robust exchange with former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, the ex-Ukip leader also suggested Britain had lost the second world war because the nation had been “bankrupted” and “our big imperial possessions started to disappear.” Farage has four children, two with his wife Kirsten Mehr, who is a German national and has confirmed the couple separated last year. His children would be entitled to German citizenship through their mother. Last year witnesses claimed on social media to have seen the former Ukip leader queuing at the German embassy, though his spokesman at the time denied Farage had been seeking citizenship.
Jeremy Corbyn is a backward-looking, sepia-tinted socialist, according to former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg. The ex-Lib Dem leader launched a highly-personal attack on the Labour boss, saying a better Opposition would be 20 points ahead of the Tories. In an extraordinary 152-second diatribe unleashed at the Institute for Government think tank, the knight of the realm mocked Mr Corbyn’s world view. Sir Nick said: “It’s nostalgia, I see it as a profoundly conservative – small-C conservative- view of life, it’s very much hankering for a calmer, quieter, nicer yesteryear where you don’t need to worry too much about globalisation, we can spend lots of money, we’ll all be apparently generating the money from the top 5% who spuriously will be merrily fleeced at will.” Mr Corbyn is “deeply conservative on political reform – literally nothing to say, nothing to say – a so-called radical, progressive – nothing to say. How conservative can you get?” said the former party leader.
NICOLA STURGEON rejected calls to sack her health secretary today, despite an NHS crisis happening “under her nose.” Shona Robinson is accused of ignoring repeated warnings from the auditor general about the financial problems faced by NHS Tayside, which covers her constituency. The board faces charges of financial mismanagement, including raiding charity endowment funds to pay for an IT system. It could now have to cut £200 million from its healthcare budgets. At First Minister’s Questions today, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “We have a health board raiding charity funds to pay the bills and that is after fiddling the accounts. “And what makes this worse is that this is all happening in Tayside under the nose of the health secretary who is a member of this parliament for Dundee.”
Disturbing intimidatory tactics used by students to undermine anti-terrorist measures on university campuses can be revealed today. Activists are targeting anyone connected to the Government’s Prevent programme – which seeks to tip off the security services about potential extremists. In one example, students at Islamic State executioner Jihadi John’s former university launched a direct action campaign to make a Muslim staff member’s life ‘hell’ for his involvement in the scheme. Interfaith adviser Yusuf Kaplan was branded a ‘fake Muslim’ and demonstrators said they hoped he would ‘die’. Thirty protesters stormed Westminster University’s headquarters to demand his sacking. They also descended on Mr Kaplan’s office to hurl abuse through a megaphone, screaming ‘shame’ and chanting ‘say it loud, say it clear, Kaplan not welcome here’.
Breitbart London has obtained the official UK Border Force interview with Hungarian Identitarian leader Abel Bodi, who was refused entry to the UK Friday. The interview — which sees Bodi admit to opposing “Islamisation” — was used as “evidence” of the activist’s “extremist views”. The document, which is part of the overall package given to Bodi, contains 13 pages of questions asked by the UK Border Force including what Mr. Bodi’s beliefs are on mass migration, Islamisation, and other issues. The resulting answers were then given as justification for refusing to allow Bodi to enter the country to speak at the Generation Identity conference that took place the following day. Below are excerpts from the full interview which took place for exactly one hour on Friday evening in which the officer asked Bodi a total of 51 questions:
Amber Rudd is at the centre of a new cabinet row over delays to Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policy. The home secretary is being pressed by Brexit-supporting ministers to speed up a bill that is supposed to settle the new immigration system after Britain leaves the EU in March next year. The dispute comes as the Windrush scandal exposes a faultline between Theresa May and those, including Ms Rudd, who want a softer policy on immigration. Ms Rudd said last month that the immigration bill would not be introduced until early next year — the latest in a series of delays. She also declined to confirm that she was aiming to hit the Tories’ target of reducing annual net migration to beneath 100,000.