Britain is demanding €1billion back from the EU amid fury at a German-backed plot to shut the UK out of the Galileo satellite project. Ministers are incandescent at the move and insist Brussels must repay the 12 per cent the UK has contributed to the budget for the government and military navigation system. There are also mounting signs of splits in the EU over the hard line taken by officials including Jean-Claude Juncker’s enforcer Martin Selmayr – with France, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the Baltic states understood to be concerned. A paper issued by the UK government voiced ‘strong objections’ to the behaviour of the EU over Galileo. It warned that cutting Britain out of the project would break the divorce deal struck between Theresa May and Mr Juncker in December.
THERESA May has warned she will make Brussels pay for excluding Britain from a key security project. In a noticeable toughening of the government’s stance it has issued a paper to Brussels over a decision by the EU to exclude Britain from the Galileo satellite navigation project and said that it will have to pay Britain back £1 billion. The decision to face down the EU over its hard line negotiating stance has come as it emerged that unity over Brussel’s strategy from the other 27 member states is crumbling. According to reports a number of EU governments including France, Sweden, the Netherlands and three Baltic states have made it clear they do not agree with the hard line approach being taken by chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
The EU warned Britain yesterday that it would not negotiate Brexit “under threat” after the government suggested it would demand more than £1 billion of taxpayers’ money back if it is forced out of the Galileo satellite programme. A senior Brussels official said that any formal request for reimbursement — as hinted in a government negotiating paper published yesterday — would lead to the EU pulling the plug on trade negotiations. “The EU doesn’t negotiate under threat,” the official said. “Such a request for reimbursement would be backsliding and unacceptable. There is no basis for requesting reimbursement.”
Brexit negotiations have begun to dramatically sour after months of deadlock, with exasperated EU officials tearing into Britain’s “fantasy” negotiating strategy and warning that Theresa May’s latest customs plan would ruin any chance of progress. This week’s latest meetings are understood to have produced no progress on the core issues of the Northern Ireland border and customs, with last year’s business-like start to discussions having given way to bitter behind-the-scenes briefings. One senior EU official said the UK still lacked negotiating positions on a wide variety of issues and that in others it was “chasing the fantasy of denying the consequences of Brexit in a given policy area” – while a UK government source accused Brussels of trying to “insult” the British negotiating team.
The European Union has accused Britain of “chasing the fantasy” of escaping the consequences of Brexit, as it ruled out UK plans to prevent a hard border in Ireland and build a new security relationship with the bloc. In a blistering attack that cast fresh doubt over the Brexit negotiations, a senior EU official said there had been little progress in talks in Brussels this week over the Irish border and the Galileo satellite project. The official definitively ruled out Britain’s continued involvement in the European Arrest Warrant extradition system, but said that any weakening of law enforcement capability would be Britain’s fault.
UK officials have warned the EU that its approach to Brexit negotiations risks damaging its security and economic relationship. It comes as a senior EU official said the UK was living in a “let’s just keep everything we have now… fantasy”. A UK official described those remarks as “laughable” and warned against “trying to insult us”. Meanwhile the UK says the EU should repay £1bn if it is excluded from the Galileo satellite navigation system. In a briefing on Thursday, following three days of Brexit talks, a senior EU official told journalists the UK was in a fantasy that everything could stay as it is, which would mean that the EU would have to change so that Britain could remain the same.
BRUSSELS could use taxpayers’ cash to bankroll the development of a future generation of killer robots, it emerged today. A new European Defence Fund will be allowed to pay for research into the deadly machines, officially known as Lethal Autonomous Weapons or LAWs. Euro MPs had wanted a blanket ban on the £440million cash pot, which includes British money, being used to fund such projects. But they were talked down in secret talks by Eurocrats who feared such a move could slow progress on researching other forms of military machines.
Any move by Italy’s insurgent government to issue parallel liquidity will set off a red alert in financial markets and call into question the survival of Europe’s monetary union, Standard & Poor’s has warned. The rating agency said the ‘minibot’ plan being prepared by anti-euro Lega nationalists and the alt-Left Five Star Movement would create a rival payment structure based on ‘IOU’ notes. This subverts the monetary control of the European Central Bank and risks a disastrous chain-reaction.
Pro-Brexit Tory MPs have agreed that staying in the EU customs union into the next decade is likely to be the “only viable option”, in a new report. The cabinet’s failure to agree what kind of trading and customs arrangements it wants after the UK leaves the bloc is condemned by the Brexit Committee. It concludes that, because neither option put forward by No 10 will be ready by the end of the planned transition in December 2020, remaining in the customs union for longer will be inevitable. Significantly, the select committee’s members include Jacob Rees-Mogg and other leading Brexiteers – and its report is unanimous despite splits over key Brexit controversies in the past.
The claim promoted in the mainstream media that Britain would be left £20 billion a year worse off under the “max fac” customs plan backed by Brexit supporting figures has been blasted as “propaganda” by UKIP’s leader. The technology-dependent customs border favoured by Brexit backers including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove could cost businesses between £17 billion and £20 billion, according to HM Revenue and Customs chief Jon Thompson. His claim that the light-touch border dubbed ‘maximum facilitation’ would force firms to pay £32.50 for each customs declaration was reported by the globalist Financial Times as a “dramatic intervention” which “appeared to destroy the case advanced by pro-Brexit MPs” in support of the system.
The clearly principled Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns has resigned from her PPS role in the government so that she can “fight for Brexit”. Stepping down as a Parliament Private Secretary, Jenkyns points out how in Parliament “there are 21 members on the Brexit committee, only 7 of which voted to leave the EU” and she wants to focus more on fighting for the pro-Leave majority of Brits. “As we get closer to us leaving the EU, my committee business will be more important than ever and I believe it best I do all I can to fight to secure the right direction for our country’s future.” And she says: “I made a promise to my constituents during this Parliament to fight for Brexit and this is a promise that I intend to keep to the best of my abilities.
Theresa May has suffered her first resignation over Brexit as officials admitted that the cabinet row over customs may not be settled before next month’s European Council meeting. Andrea Jenkyns quit as a parliamentary private secretary to fight for the “right sort of Brexit” that would not leave the UK “half-in and half-out”. Although Ms Jenkyns, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, said Mrs May had her full support, her resignation will be a warning to Downing Street as the prime minister seeks to head off a rebellion.
Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns has resigned as a PPS to focus on her role on the Brexit select committee and “fight for Brexit”. “Currently, there are 21 members on the Brexit committee, only 7 of which voted to leave the EU. It is my opinion that the reports produced by the committee have been unbalanced in favour of us either remaining in the EU, the customs union or delaying our departure. I, therefore, feel I need to spend more of my time doing all I can do to correct this imbalance and be a robust voice for the benefits of Brexit.” Jenkyns offers this conditional support for the PM: “The Prime Minister has my full support in delivering the Brexit that she promised the British people.
Europhile group supported by billionaire George Soros is reportedly behind a £5.6m plan to reverse Brexit in the latest shameless Remoaner push to thwart the will of the people. ‘Best for Britain’ is apparently hoping to raise the money from wealthy donors, saying: ‘We have less than six months to stop Brexit.’ According to the Daily Mail, the group will have the audacity to claim that exiting the EU will put national security and risk and that Brexit is to be blame for cuts to local Councils. Former Cabinet Minister Owen Paterson said: “The cynical plan to manipulate the British voter and stop Brexit has now been laid bare.
Theresa May is set to ask the European Union for an extra transition period that would see full Brexit delayed until around seven years after the vote to Leave. Under the plans, briefed by government officials to The Times newspaper, the whole of the United Kingdom would stay aligned with EU regulations and customs procedures until 2023 to help avoid a hard border in Ireland. It comes on top of a two-year transition period from 2019 to the start of 2021 which has already been agreed. The latest plan for a longer transition is intended as a replacement for the border “backstop” agreed by negotiators in December under which the UK would “maintain full alignment” with the single market if no other solution could be found, to remove the need for border checks.
PRIME Minister Theresa May will ask the European Union for a SECOND transition period to run until at least 2023 it has shockingly been claimed – further delaying Britain’s full exit from the bloc by another three years. She will propose another transition covering customs and trade that will follow the period already agreed that will run until the end of 2020. This proposal has not been tabled in Brussels yet and could face stiff opposition from EU negotiators and Brexit-backing Conservative MPs. The Prime Minister will ask European bosses for a customs and regulatory alignment implementation period from 2021 to 2023 at the earliest in order to avoid infrastructure and checks at the Northern Irish border, according to The Times.
BREXITEERS are furious with Theresa May for not putting the EU Withdrawal Bill to a fresh vote until after the Lewisham East by-election amid fears of a defeat on a key issue. The PM could risk the narrowest of defeats on Brexit by delaying the hugely important vote until after the election as with a minority Government every vote counts. Leading Eurosceptics have said they are convinced there will be a coalition of pro-EU Conservative rebels, Labour and SNP MPs to vote against the Bill. A livid Leaver said: “Why risk any further slippage which could then needlessly bring another Labour MP into the lobby against you? “It’s just p**s poor politics. “No10’s mismanagement of the parliamentary party is off the chart loopy.”
Sources appear to have confirmed that Theresa May is attempting to tack a second so-called Brexit ‘transition’ on to the one she is currently negotiating with the EU, which would keep Britain inside the bloc’s Customs Union until at least 2023. The Prime Minister has already signed up to a ‘transition’ after Britain’s formal exit from the EU in 2019, which will last to the end of 2020 and see the country continue to abide by all the bloc’s rules and regulations, and even extend its Free Movement immigration regime to include impoverished Croatia. The Times now reports that she is proposing that this ‘transition’ should be followed immediately by another one, which would keep Britain inside the EU Customs Union and leave Brussels in charge of international trade all the way to 2023.
Prisoners could fill workforce shortages after Brexit even if some commit further crimes, the justice secretary said yesterday as he announced plans to improve offenders’ job prospects. Prisoners released on temporary licences could work in sectors such as catering, construction and agriculture, which are most threatened by the UK leaving the EU, David Gauke said, highlighting the opportunities for prisoners to find work in sectors that now employ large numbers of European workers. He outlined plans to expand release on temporary licence for work placements and said that he would not be deterred if prisoners took the opportunity to commit more crimes. Migrant workers had been relied on to fill jobs, Mr Gauke said.
Ex-offenders could help bolster the UK’s workforce after Brexit, the Justice Secretary claimed today as he unveiled new training scheme to cut re-offending. David Gauke for a ‘culture change’ in how employers perceive former prisoners. His plans could see more inmates let out temporarily to go to work to improve their job prospects after release. Mr Gauke said ex-prisoners could fill jobs in catering or agriculture if Brexit delivers the planned curbs to low skill migration. Under the reforms, ministers are also considering offering National Insurance ‘holidays’ to businesses which hire individuals who have served their sentences.
Every Brexiter MP and Cabinet minister should be thinking hard about Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings’ assessment of how Brexit is going this morning. Here are the seven key truth bullets… Number 10 has botched the Article 50 process and made no serious preparations to leave the EU: “The government’s nominal policy, which it put in its manifesto and has repeated many times, is to leave the Single Market and Customs Union and the jurisdiction of the ECJ. This requires preparing to be a ‘third country’ for the purposes of EU law. It requires building all the infrastructure and facilities that are normal around the world to manage trade. This process should have started BEFORE triggering A50 but the government has irretrievably botched this. Having botched it, it could have partially recovered its blunder by starting to do it afterwards.
PATIENTS are being put at risk of harm on NHS hospital wards that are more overcrowded than ever before, medics warn. Overnight bed occupancy hit the highest level on record between January and March this year, with 92.6 per cent filled. That is 1.2 per cent more than the same time last year and well above the 85 per cent cap considered safe by experts. Higher rates make it easier for infections to spread, harder to contain outbreaks of vomiting bugs, and cause backlogs in A&E. It can also lead to operations being cancelled because doctors have nowhere to put patients who need to recover after surgery. A record 25,475 ops were axed with less than a day’s notice during the same three month period, leaving patients in crippling pain.
The latest set of data from the Office for National Statistics shows the population of England is set to rise by 3.2million by mid-2026. As you would expect, migration plays a huge role in that population surge. In fact, in the North East of England, out of a projected population growth of 50,000, 44,000 is down to international migration. The report states: “London is the region with the highest projected level of net international migration over the 10 years to mid-2026. However, it also has a high net within UK migration outflow. These more or less offset each other, meaning that the overall impact of migration on the population is very small and most of London’s projected growth results from natural change.
Romanians are now the second most-common group of non-British nationals in the UK after a surge in arrivals in recent years. Figures released yesterday show that the group overtook Irish nationals for the first time last year. Polish nationals remained at the top of the list, numbering an estimated 1 million, according to the Office of National Statistics. The total number of non-British nationals living in the UK last year was 6.2 million. This was 4 per cent higher than in 2016, although the rate of growth slowed compared with the two preceding years. About 3.8 million of the total were EU nationals. Including those who had gained British citizenship, the total population of those not born in the UK was 9.4 million.
New data protection rules coming in on Friday have sparked a wave of fraudulent emails, the police’s fraud arm has warned, with criminals posing as banks and companies to steal people’s details. Customers of one of Britain’s biggest banks, Natwest, are among those being targeted with phishing scams in which they are told they must comply with so-called “GDPR” rules by handing over sensitive details, or face having their accounts deleted. Criminals can then use the details to access people’s bank accounts and siphon money. The General Data Protection Regulation is an EU-wide privacy crackdown designed to better protect people’s data and stop businesses using it to spam them.
Rail companies have been accused of blocking passenger complaints after being flooded with angry comments over a sudden rise in the number of delays and cancellations. The consumer group Which? said that operators were barring passengers on Twitter after being hit by a wave of complaints over new timetables. Northern Rail, which operates services across the north of England, was accused of blocking a number of passengers on the social media site. Other companies believed to have resorted to similar measures include Thameslink and Southeastern. Companies insisted that the action was taken over breaches of social media policies, which can include using abusive language.