The EU needs to be realistic about the dangerous state of the Brexit negotiations and is preparing to deploy its trillion-pound budget to cushion the bloc from the prospect of a no-deal scenario, the European commission president has warned. With the two sides still far apart on the “hardest issues”, just days from a crunch leaders’ summit in Brussels, Jean-Claude Juncker told the Irish parliament on Thursday he was stepping up preparations for a breakdown in talks, and even drafting plans aimed at keeping the peace in Northern Ireland.
EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Irish PM Leo Varadkar put on a show of unity today as they warned Theresa May that ‘time is running out’ to strike a Brexit deal. The pair delivered a tough message as the EU commission president visited Dublin along with chief negotiator Michel Barnier, just a week before a crunch summit in Brussels. Claiming there were still ‘serious’ differences with the UK over how to guarantee no hard border between the Northern Ireland and the Republic, Mr Varadkar warned there could be no agreement unless the issue was settled.
The European Commission President has opened a speech to the Irish Senate by saying he was “not drunk” but would prefer to be, before warning of a “no deal” Brexit. Jean-Claude Juncker is on a two-day visit to the country, as the UK and European Union (EU) continue to disagree about how to deal with the Irish border after Brexit. Mr. Juncker is well known to enjoy a drink, and when he addressed politicians he felt the need to stress his walking had been affected by a back problem instead of alcohol. “Mr Speaker, Taoiseach and other members, I have some difficulties walking. I’m not drunk, I have sciatica. I’d prefer to be drunk,” he said.
Britons could need a visa costing £52 to enter the EU under draft proposals presented to MEPs as part of the European Commission’s planning for Brexit. The proposal emerged as the Home Office outlined how millions of EU citizens who wish to stay in the UK after Brexit would pay £65 for “settled status”, with decisions on applications promised within a “matter of days”. A commission document proposes changes to the EU’s visa policy for third countries — nations not in the EU — to “place the UK on either the visa-required list of third countries or the ‘visa-free’ list”.
THERESA May is facing a fresh challenge to her Brexit plan after Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones demanded she ditch her negotiating strategy and agree to remain shackled to the European Union through its single market and customs union. The Scottish and Welsh leaders said the Prime Minister should urgently change course and push for a “Norway plus” deal to avoid economic disaster. Ms Sturgeon and Mr Jones urged the Prime Minister to ignore Leave supporters in her party and abandon her Brexit ‘red lines’ – which include leaving the bloc’s single market and customs union.
This week’s passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill has set the conditions for a future Conservative government to deliver a “clean Brexit”, even if Theresa May does not achieve that in negotiations with Brussels over the coming months, Jacob Rees-Mogg has said. The arch-eurosceptic said the danger of a Brexit in Name Only – in which the UK leaves the EU but remains subject to the rules of the single market or customs union – has been “significantly reduced” by the successful delivery of the bill. Parliament’s approval of the bill, after more than 270 hours of debate, came just days ahead of the second anniversary of the 2016 EU referendum on Saturday.
Ireland’s prime minister has rejected Theresa May’s plan to avoid a hard border after Brexit, warning that it does not honour the commitments the prime minister made in December and March. Calling for talks to “intensify”, Leo Varadkar said the UK plan published at the start of the month was unworkable because it was time-limited and did not cover alignment of goods. “I think it’s important to recall the British government’s commitments … what was agreed in December in writing between the UK and the EU was that there would be no hard border on the island of Ireland, no physical infrastructure, no associated controls or checks and that would be achieved by full regulatory alignment,” he said at a press conference in Dublin.
The government is considering a Ukraine-style “association agreement” with the EU to govern future relations with the bloc after Brexit. The deal, which would include a free trade agreement, regulatory alignment, and cooperation on security and foreign affairs, is being explored in Downing Street, according to a senior cabinet source. The format, which the EU also has with countries like Georgia and Moldova, would help avoid a complex web of bilateral agreements like the one which governs relations between the EU and Switzerland. The approach, recommended by the European parliament based on Theresa May’s red lines, would not include single market or customs union membership, but could open the door to more cooperation than a basic free trade agreement, depending on specifics.
TORY MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned the Government that Brexiteers will vote down a deal with the EU if ministers cave in to Brussels’ demands. With the EU Withdrawal Bill receiving Royal Assent early next week, Britain will be in a position where it can legally walk away from talks with the EU and opt to leave without a deal. Because of a late collapse by Tory Remainer rebels led by former minister Dominic Grieve, MPs cannot now block a “no deal” or reverse Brexit. Mr Rees-Mogg, chairman of the influential pro-Brexit European Research Group, made it clear that the compromise extracted by Remainers has instead strengthened the hand of those who want Britain to leave the EU properly.
Plane-maker Airbus has warned it could pull out of the UK if Britain bows out of the EU without a trade deal. The pan-European manufacturer – which employs about 15,000 staff directly in Britain – signalled its frustration at political infighting which is delaying deals on critical areas such as aviation regulation and customs rules. Airbus’s plants in Brought and Bristol build wings and landing gear for the company’s airliners, and also carry out advanced design work. Without an agreement on aviation certification rules, parts built in the UK after Brexit may not be certified, meaning aircraft are grounded.
The European aerospace company Airbus is set to become the first big manufacturer to pull investment from Britain after losing patience with Theresa May’s stalled Brexit negotiations. Airbus, which generates £1.7 billion in tax revenues, is preparing to abandon plans to build aircraft wings at its British plants and move production to China, the US or elsewhere in Europe. It is making a series of investment decisions this summer because of worries that EU safety certifications will not apply from March next year and uncertainty over customs checks.
Nicola Sturgeon is to meet senior UK government politicians for the first time since accusing them of “ripping up” the devolution settlement. The first minister will hold talks with Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington in Guernsey. The UK government last week pushed through its Brexit bill without the consent of the Scottish Parliament. The move brought a furious response from Ms Sturgeon, with SNP MPs walking out of Prime Minister’s Questions. Ms Sturgeon and Mr Lidington are both attending a meeting of the British-Irish Council, which brings together representatives of governments from across the British Isles.
Theresa May could once again be on a collision course with the Brexiter wing of her party over a controversial proposal to keep the UK in a single market for goods. Whitehall sources said they believed free movement of goods was “100% the direction of travel” as the prime minister’s focus shifts to the next battle over Britain’s future relationship with the EU after next week’s Brussels summit. Downing Street remained tight-lipped, reiterating that the UK would be leaving the single market in its entirety. However, cabinet sources suggested the issue could be on the agenda at the Brexit “war cabinet” awayday at Chequers in early July.
Theresa May’s “endgame” for Brexit talks is keeping the UK tied to the bloc’s Single Market and its rules, and effectively continuing open borders by conceding “freedom of movement by another name”, sources have claimed. In her Mansion House speech in March, Theresa May spoke of “preserving integrated supply chains” with the European Union (EU) and its market, “a comprehensive system of mutual recognition”, and matching their “regulatory standards”. Now, speaking to The Guardian, Whitehall sources say that total free movement of goods is “100 percent the direction of travel” for the Government, effectively keeping the UK tied to the Single Market, but with no say in setting its rules.
THE Brexit battle looks set to continue as Brexiteers prepare to go to war with Theresa May over controversial plans to keep Britain in a single market for goods. The Prime Minister may have secured a last-minute Government Withdrawal Bill victory last night, but she faces a fresh showdown with anti-EU Tories who fear further compromises with the EU will come at price for Brexit Britain. A focus on securing a free market for goods with the bloc is likely to be at the cost of UK concessions on freedom of movement. Whitehall sources say free movement of goods is now “100 percent the direction of travel” for Brexit negotiations.
JOHN Bercow will lack “any credibility or honour” by not stepping down as House of Commons Speaker today, one of his leading critics said tonight. Friday June 22 marks the date Mr Bercow said he would not serve beyond, when he was first elected to the chair by fellow MPs on June 22, 2009. But he has signalled he has no plans to meet that original deadline, previously defiantly underlining to MPs that none of them objected when he was re-elected to the post after last year’s snap general election. Conservative MP James Duddridge, one of his fiercest critics, said: “Speaker Bercow will be breaking a manifesto commitment if he does not resign today.
John Bercow has been accused of presiding over a system which has seen millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money used to silence House of Commons employees during his tenure as Speaker. The House of Commons has routinely used non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements totalling more than £2.4 million to prevent staff from speaking out after they leave. The figures, obtained through freedom of information requests, show that the so-called “hush money” had been paid to 53 former members of staff since 2013, an average of £45,000 per person. In 2013 alone, 11 agreements were signed totalling £916,000, with every settlement containing specific confidentiality clauses.
The House of Commons has spent more than £2.4 million on non-disclosure agreements with employees over the past five years, official figures show. Fifty-three “gagging clauses” were used between 2013 and 2017, costing £2,407,176.78, according to data released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act. Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons, said that the amount was “surprising”. Maria Miller, the chairwoman of the women and equalities committee, called for greater transparency on why the payments were being made. Authorities confirmed that the agreements included confidentiality clauses but they did not prevent those who signed them from whistleblowing.
The House of Commons has spent more than £2.4m on gagging clauses over the last five years, official figures have revealed. A total of 53 non-disclosure agreements were signed by parliamentary staff between 2013 and 2017, costing £2,407,176.78, according to data released under the Freedom of Information Act. Commons leader Andrea Leadsom described the cost as “surprising”, while Maria Miller, Conservative chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Committee, called for greater transparency over why the payments were being made.
The UK and EU have been dragged into a blame game over EU citizens’ rights after Brexit, with each accusing the other of falling short in safeguarding the rights of expatriates. The home secretary, Sajid Javid, on Thursday accused EU countries of not doing enough to support British nationals living on the continent, ahead of the UK publishing details of its own plan for EU citizens living in Britain. But campaigners for the rights of British nationals living abroad said the government’s claim to be concerned was “a bit rich” given their apparent lack of interest so far.
The home secretary has accused Brussels of neglecting the post-Brexit rights of UK ex-pats living in Europe, claiming the EU’s preparations are “not good enough”. Sajid Javid has called upon EU countries to publish more concrete details on how UK nationals living across the European Union will be able to secure their status after Brexit. His demand comes as the government publishes a statement of intent and draft immigration rules on the settlement scheme proposed for EU citizens who are resident in the UK. “Publishing details of how we will administer our settled status scheme shows we are honouring the commitments made towards EU citizens living in the UK,” said Mr Javid.
A PLAN to protect the rights of EU citizens living in the UK in a key Brexit breakthrough, has been unveiled by the Government. The Home Office scheme would see the 3.4 million EU citizens signed up to an ID system and assured of settled status – with the EU now put on the spot to protect UK expats in Europe. Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said the system would protect EU citizens in Britain, who she described as “our friends, family and colleagues”. She said “we want them to say” and pointedly put the pressure on Brussels to do the same to for overseas UK citizens.
EU citizens will have to answer three “simple” questions online if they want to continue living in the UK after Brexit, the home secretary has said. Sajid Javid said the government’s “default” position would be to grant, not refuse, settled status. People will be asked to prove their ID, whether they have criminal convictions and whether they live in the UK. Their answers will be checked against government databases and a decision given “very quickly”, said Mr Javid. The scheme will operate online and via a smartphone app, Mr Javid said, and would be “as simple as people can reasonably expect”, with most decisions turned around within two weeks or sooner.
EU citizens living in Britain will be allowed to stay after Brexit if they can answer three simple questions and pay £65, Sajid Javid confirmed today. The Home Secretary said the estimated 3.3million EU nationals living in Britain, plus thousands of their close family, would be eligible for permanent ‘settled status’. The Home Office has developed a smart phone app that will ask them to prove their ID, whether they have criminal convictions and whether they live in the UK. Each application will be checked against Government databases and are supposed to be concluded in as little as two weeks. Today’s announcement confirms EU migrants will not undergo checks on whether they have committed crimes abroad.
The government has promised to fast-track the registration process for EU citizens who want to stay in the UK after Brexit, with decisions on applications to remain in the country reduced from six months to “a matter of days”. Unveiling details of the “settlement scheme” for EU citizens, the Home Office promised that the application process would be “short, simple and user friendly” with a default position of accepting rather than rejecting applications. Applicants will be asked to prove their identity, that they have no convictions, and that they currently live in the UK. The answers will then be compared to a database with the aim of giving the quickest answer possible.
Patients are likely to be dying prematurely in hospitals today, a medical safety expert has warned. Professor Sir Brian Jarman, director of the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London, which specialises in health safety data, said that there was a desire among officials “not to know” when things went wrong. For the past ten years the unit had sent ten alerts a month to hospitals where data suggested that there were excess deaths or other problems. He warned that whistleblowers had been “fired, gagged and blacklisted”. Sir Brian, 84, said that he did not have the impression that the NHS was hiding anything on the scale of Gosport War Memorial Hospital, where at least 456 patients died after being given inappropriate opioids.
The practices which led to the deaths of hundreds of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital are widespread in the health service, experts warned last night. Patients’ lives are being deliberately shortened by doctors and nurses, they claimed. One leading health academic said NHS staff were routinely hastening death through a ‘lethal combination’ of sedatives and dehydration. Professor Patrick Pullicino said it was commonplace for doctors to ‘diagnose’ the impending death of their patients – and then put them out of their ‘perceived misery’. A second expert, Professor Brian Jarman, said it was ‘likely’ that a Gosport-style scandal was already happening elsewhere.
It is the perfect excuse to hunt down a rubber duck, pour the bubble bath and settle in for a long soak. Having a hot bath five or more times a week could help to prevent a heart attack or stroke, say researchers. A study found that a regular dip in the tub – at 41C (106F) – is healthy for the heart and reduces the chances of hardened, blocked arteries. It is believed being immersed in water shifts blood flow from the legs and abdomen to the heart, while the high temperature may reduce blood pressure.
Hard-line eurosceptics have swept all the key posts in the budget and finance committees of the Italian parliament, shattering the brief calm in the bond markets and guaranteeing a showdown with Brussels over spending rules. The cohort of anti-euro legislators from the Five Star Movement and the ‘Italy First’ Lega party will have a powerful say over fiscal policy and may make it almost impossible for technocrat ministers in the new Italian government to enforce the EU’s draconian ‘bail-in’ rules for banks. Yields on 2-year Italian debt rocketed by 35 basis points to 0.93pc, and the risk spread over 10-year German Bunds jumped to 240 points.