UKIP’s Interim Party Leader Steve Crowther has called for the suspension of Brexit negotiations with the European Union if Brussels insist on continuing with their “ransom demand”. Speaking exclusively to Westmonster ahead of Theresa May’s speech in Florence on Friday, Crowther said: “We should not accept that we are actually having any further talks until they drop the ransom demand. “I mean, that’s just ridiculous that they say ‘well you agree to pay us £80 billion or we won’t talk to you’. I mean it’s just ridiculous. I actually think it’s illegal because I think its against the Bribery Act, because there’s no legal basis for them asking for this money.” Crowther added that he thought the UK should walk away and EU should let the government know when it was serious about advancing trade talks, with the UK having “far more cards” than some suggested and that Britain should “play hardball”.
Theresa May will set out plans today for a multispeed transition from the European Union in which sectors of the economy will leave at different times to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit. The prime minister will indicate in a speech in Florence that she is prepared to pay tens of billions of pounds to Brussels and observe its rules for at least two years after Brexit. Though she will not name a figure, her remarks will be taken as a commitment to maintain Britain’s EU budget contributions, at a cost of at least £20 billion over the period. Mrs May has kept her cabinet together, however, by renewing promises that Britain will not automatically mirror EU legislation after it leaves the single market and customs union.
Theresa May will today warn EU leaders they have a ‘profound responsibility’ to make Brexit work. Making a ‘generous’ offer to secure a breakthrough in the deadlocked talks, she will propose a two-year transitional deal and pledge to pay up to 20 billion euros (£17.5bn) to ensure no hole is left in the EU’s budget. The Prime Minister, who will not put a precise figure on the size of any ‘divorce bill’, will also set out how the rights of EU citizens living in the UK will be enshrined in the final Brexit treaty so British courts are directly bound by the agreement and there can be no doubt about their future. Mrs May will tell Europe’s leaders they have a duty to future generations to strike a good deal, saying: ‘The eyes of the world are on us.’ And she will say that ‘Britain’s future is bright’ regardless of whether they agree to a trade deal, because of the UK’s ‘considerable’ economic strengths and ‘indomitable spirit’.
Theresa May will tell EU leaders there is a shared responsibility to make Brexit work “smoothly” as she attempts to break the deadlock in negotiations. In a major speech in Florence on Friday, she will say history will judge Brexit “not for the differences we faced, but for the vision we showed”. The BBC understands she will propose a two-year transitional deal, after March 2019, ahead of a permanent trade deal. It could include payments worth 20bn euros (£18bn) over the two years. According to pre-released excerpts from her speech, the prime minister will say that a successful final agreement is in the interests of both the UK and the remaining EU countries. “If we can do that, then when this chapter of our European history is written, it will be remembered not for the differences we faced, but for the vision we showed; not for the challenges we endured but for the creativity we used to overcome them; not for a relationship that ended but a new partnership that began.”
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has turned the screw on Theresa May just hours before her landmark speech. The Prime Minister is widely expected to hand an olive branch to the EU tomorrow when she speaks in Florence. But tonight Michel Barnier tried to spike her guns with a fresh warning that the clock is ticking. He said in Brussels: “If we want a deal, time is of the essence. Six months have gone by since Theresa May’s letter… Six months will be necessary to allow for ratification before 29 March 2019. “There is therefore only one year left.” He warned the issues of EU citizens’ rights, the divorce bill and Northern Ireland had to be resolved before any transition would be agreed. “If we want a deal, time is of the essence,” he said, adding: “without a withdrawal agreement, there is no transition. This is a point of law.” Mr Barnier also stressed that during any transition Britain would have to abide by all EU laws – the acquis – but would have no say at the Brussels’ table.
Theresa May will tell European counterparts their shared political legacies depend on agreeing a good Brexit deal as she seeks to break the deadlock in negotiations over the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. On Friday, the prime minister will set out her plans for a transitional period from the formal date of Brexit in March 2019, expected to last two years, before moving to a permanent trade deal. ITV News understands Mrs May is understood to be considering an offer of paying around £20 billion over the transition period in order to secure favourable trade access, which would also help address Brussels’ concerns about the potential hole in its current budget caused by the UK’s exit. Her landmark speech comes as an opinion poll suggested a majority of Britons now back staying in the European Union – with 52% in favour of remaining part of the bloc.
Theresa May will today tell EU leaders that they share a “profound sense of responsibility” to forge a Brexit deal for the benefit of those who “inherit the world we leave them”. The Prime Minister will use a landmark speech in Florence to tell European negotiators and heads of state that “the eyes of the world are upon us” and that they must use imagination to make a success of “this chapter of our European history”. Employing positive rhetoric that evokes Boris Johnson’s intervention in The Daily Telegraph last week, Mrs May will insist that “the future is bright” as she sets out her vision of Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with Europe. Downing Street said the speech – her most significant on Brexit since January – would also include a blueprint for a “bold new economic and security partnership” and set out plans for a time-limited implementation period, offering “certainty and clarity.
The former Bank of England Governor, Lord Mervyn King, says Britain shouldn’t waste time in pointless Brexit negotiations with Brussels – he thinks the UK should just walk away and trade under WTO rules. Lord King said: “Everyone who took part in it said they’d accept the result of the referendum, but an awful lot of people, I fear, are now trying to find a way of reversing it by saying we’re going to leave but stay in the Single Market or Customs Union. “The idea of sitting down and having a long, complex negotiation is one of which the UK has absolutely no control. The UK has to be ready to leave and trade on WTO arrangements as the US does, as China does, rather than pretend that somehow there’s magic at the end of the rainbow and we’re going to get down there and find a splendid deal.
British people have turned their backs on Brexit, according to a new poll released just as Theresa May prepares to give a make-or-break speech on her plans for EU withdrawal. The exclusive survey for The Independent by BMG Research shows a majority now believe the country should remain in the EU, after weeks in which deadlocked Brussels talks and cabinet splits exposed the sheer complexity of withdrawal. Ms May goes to Florence in the hope of convincing EU leaders of the “importance of negotiations making further progress” with time running out before Britain falls out of the bloc without terms.
Lord Heseltine has reiterated his belief the UK may not leave the European Union and that Brexit can be undone. Despite the resignation of most other Europhile MPs to the fact that Brexit now appears inevitable, the former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister, said he believed the UK will one day adopt the Euro “when the time is right”. He told LBC radio it was “very possible” the UK will never leave the 27-nation bloc, despite Article 50 being triggered in March and the Brexit negotiations now being well underway. The Tory grandee, who famously challenged Margaret Thatcher for leadership of the party in 1990, told host Iain Dale that he believed there will be a significant shift in public opinion and that Parliament will not have the “stomach for it” by March 2019.
THE EU is expected to demand Britain carries on contributing to their gilt-edged pension pots to the tune of a staggering £9.5 billion, even after the UK leaves the bloc, it has been claimed. In the ongoing battle EU mandarins are expected to make the UK cough up for their pensions as part of the so-called Brexit bill – the amount of money being demanded by Brussels bureaucrats for what the bloc sees as the UK’s outstanding financial contributions due to long-standing commitments. And European Commission figures suggest Britain could be expected to foot the bill for EU pensions. Based on European Commission figures and assuming the UK is liable for a 13 per cent share, the UK is likely to be asked to pay just over £9.5bn (€10.8bn), according to estimates seen by the Financial Times.
THE European Commission will snub Theresa May’s Florence speech as the PM attempts to break the Brexit deadlock. Signalling the EU is unwilling to negotiate, Express.co.uk has been told nobody from the European Commission will attend the speech. Instead Theresa May will address her own ministers and other dignitaries in the Italian city. The location was picked for being geographically at the heart of Europe. Mrs May was hoping to use the speech to end months of deadlock by offering major concessions to move talks forward. But it would appear the European Commission has already made up its mind. A European Commission spokesman told Express.co.uk: “We will not be in attendance at the speech tomorrow.
The EU’s chief negotiator tried to pile the pressure on Theresa May today by demanding Britain come up with its Brexit proposals ‘as soon as next week’. Michel Barnier said ‘time is of the essence’ and warned there is ‘only one year left’ to thrash out a deal which secures an agreement on withdrawal and a transition phase. He said ‘major uncertainty’ remains over the key issues of the divorce bill citizens rights and the Irish border and blamed Britain failing to come up with a plan. He also warned that Britain would not be able to enjoy all the benefits of being a member of the single market without paying into the EU budget. And on the Brexit divorce bill, Mr Barnier said the UK must ‘settle the accounts’ before proper talks on a trade deal can start. The Eurocrat turned up the heat on the Prime Minister just a day before she is due to give her flagship speech on Brexit in Florence tomorrow.
BRUSSELS will back Britain into a corner and force it to walk out of negotiations if it issues a flat rejection of Theresa May’s proposed compromise on Brexit, a senior British MEP warned today. Ukip leadership candidate Jane Collins predicted the bloc will slam the door in the PM’s face without discussion if she offers a £18 billion payment up front to cover the UK’s ongoing budget contributions. During an interview in Brussels she told express.co.uk officials in the EU Parliament have put the EU’s final demand at closer to £90 billion and will want to recoup as much of that as possible. Mrs Collins, who has compared eurocrats to the highwayman Dick Turpin over their demands, said she agreed with foreign secretary Boris Johnson that any transition and payments should be kept to an absolute minimum. And she insisted the UK will quickly begin to see the benefits of Brexit once it starts trading with the rest of the world free from the “smothering red tape” imposed by EU membership.
A faster-than-expected fall in government borrowing has handed the chancellor a windfall of more than £10 billion to support public services and infrastructure and help students and young homebuyers. Official figures show that the deficit dropped to its lowest August level in a decade as VAT receipts hit record highs and day-to-day spending by the state declined. If present trends persist, economists said that borrowing for the whole of 2017-18 could be £10 billion less than projections in March. Capital Economics said that the undershoot — below the official £58.3 billion budget deficit forecast — could reach £13 billion, giving a boost to Philip Hammond when he delivers the budget on November 22.
PHILIP Hammond could be set to ease austerity and end the public sector pay cap thanks to a potential budget windfall of £10billion, economist suggests. A surprise fall in Government borrowing has left the Chancellor with extra cash which could be invested in housing or the NHS after the deficit fell to its lowest August level since 2007. PwC’s chief economist John Hawksworth told The Time the money could be used to soften austerity saying: “This could involve extra money for priorities such as the NHS, social care, housing and infrastructure investment as well as some further relaxation of the public sector pay cap.” Mr Hammond has already pledged to ease the public sector pay cap for police officers and prison staff but has faced calls to lift the cap for all staff. The Chancellor is said to be considering giving graduates a boost by increasing the income threshold for student loan repayments.
The Government had to borrow just £5.6bn to balance the budget in August, which is the smallest amount recorded for that month since the 2007 financial crisis. The figure, which does not take state-owned banks into account, was well below economists’ expectations of £7.1bn. It was largely a result of strong revenues from VAT, which rose by 5.6% on the year to £11.6bn. Sterling was generally ambivalent, trading down slightly after a hefty drop against the dollar on Wednesday following news that the US Federal Reserve would begin unwinding its quantative easing programme. The headline figure will be good news for Chancellor Philip Hammond, but the data from the Office for National Statistics also showed issues elsewhere.
Patients are dying at a higher than expected rate at ten NHS hospital trusts, raising “alarms” about their safety, new figures reveal. Campaigners have condemned as “very troubling” official mortality data suggesting significant numbers of unnecessary deaths at seven per cent of all English trusts. Five of these institutions, including two named in a national report into serious hospital failures, have shown an unexpectedly high number of deaths for the second year running in the 12 months up to March 2017. They include important centres such as the South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) scheme uses a number of factors to predict how many patients would be expected to die at a specific hospital assuming everything is running well. It allows health chiefs to then compare the actual total against this projection as an early warning for institutional safety issues.
Patients will be forced to wait at least three months for routine surgery as increasingly desperate health chiefs use treatment delays to cut costs. Thousands of patients in Cambridgeshire will have to wait twice as long as they do now for procedures such as hip and knee replacements under the most radical rationing plans to come out of a tough NHS savings drive. Doctors and patient groups condemned the “unjustified” minimum wait policy, which they said would lead to patients getting more ill while they were denied life-changing treatment. Ministers ordered an end to “unfair” minimum wait policies six years ago after a report found that NHS bosses were attempting to control costs by delaying treatment.
One third of Britons – including more than half of 18-24 year-olds – think the cost of university is not worth it for people currently considering applying, a Sky Data poll reveals. Just over half – 54% – say university it still worth it, but 35% now say that it is not. Among 18-24-year-olds, 53% say it is not worth it, while 39% say it is. Among those who have already been to university, 76% said it was worth it, while 22% said it was not. The gap was much smaller among younger people, however, with six in 10 of university attendees aged 18-34 saying it was worth it, compared with well over eight in 10 among older graduates.
A SUPERVOLCANO could be on the brink of erupting – spewing molten lava and ash and killing millions of people. Campi Flegrei is a dormant crater of fire and lava that sits underneath the Italian city of Naples, which is home to over a million people. But experts have said it is showing signs of reawakening after decades of inactivity and looks set to blow. A shocking report published earlier this year revealed the volcano has reached a “critical stage” and could erupt. And now it’s feared its “hot zone” magma chamber could literally burst open at any moment, causing a major natural disaster. A study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports reports the eruption could happen at any time and is a major danger.