The Home Office will scrap its targets for removing people from the UK, Amber Rudd has said. The home secretary was forced back to the House of Commons to answer an urgent question from Diane Abbott, after it appeared that her comments to a committee of MPs contradicted evidence from another witness who said targets were in place. After denying it less than 24 hours earlier, Ms Rudd admitted that some immigration officers do use targets for the number of people they should deport. But she insisted she would no longer set them moving forward.
Amber Rudd has vowed to scrap Home Office targets for removing people from Britain, after a chaotic 24 hours where she was summoned to the House of Commons to admit officials did have targets for departures, having previously denied their existence. The home secretary was hauled back in front of MPs on Thursday to answer an urgent question from Labour’s Diane Abbott, after documents revealed targets had previously been set for voluntary removals. Rudd had told the home affairs select committee on Wednesday that her department did not set such targets.
AMBER RUDD should resign as Home Secretary over the Windrush immigration scandal, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said today. Mr Corbyn said that Ms Rudd had “inherited a failing policy and made it worse,” and it was now time for her to go. He was referring to the government policies design to construct a “hostile environment” for immigrants, brought in under now-Prime Minister Theresa May when she was home secretary. Mr Corbyn challenged Ms May to explain why she, during her six years at the Home Office, had ignored warnings from then communities secretary Eric Pickles, Hackney North MP Diane Abbott, and even her own officials about discrimination caused by the measures.
THE EU has brazenly warned Theresa May that if she fails to deal with the Northern Ireland customs union headache in a month Brussels will derail Brexit. The bloc gave the frazzled PM an ultimatum – deal with the Northern Ireland boarder riddle before June’s European Council summit or sacrifice all chances of a final divorce deal by October. The ticking clock gives the PM little over four weeks to leave the country permanently shackled to the customs union or not. Furious Brexit Secretary David Davis yesterday blasted Brussels’ June deadline as an “artificial” negotiating ploy. He added: “We’re in the middle of a negotiation.
Amber Rudd today risked sparking fury at No10 by hinting that Britain could stay in the customs union – defying one of Theresa May‘s red lines. The Home Secretary – one of the leading faces of the Remain campaign – said the issue was still being debated among warring Cabinet colleagues. Her remark came shortly before a symbolic Commons vote on whether to stay in the customs union. The Government did not oppose the motion, meaning it was agreed unanimously – but is not binding and will not change policy. It sparked a furious response from Brexiteers who called for Ms Rudd to go as Home Secretary unless she backs leaving the customs union.
Under-fire cabinet minister Amber Rudd has sparked a fresh Tory war over Brexit after suggesting the UK might still stay in a customs union after leaving the EU. The home secretary’s comments – directly contradicting the prime minister’s official policy – came moments after MPs called for her resignation amid the growing Windrush scandal. She had been forced into an embarrassing U-turn, admitting in the Commons that her immigration officials used targets for the number of people they should deport – despite denying it 24 hours earlier.
Amber Rudd has extraordinarily refused to say Britain will leave the customs union in what comes close to a breach of collective responsibility. Asked at today’s Press Gallery lunch if the UK would stay in the customs union, Rudd replied: “I won’t be drawn on that – we still have some cabinet discussions to have”. It seems pretty clear that Rudd is deliberately putting a bomb under the UK’s negotiating position in an attempt to distract from the Windrush scandal. Every crack in the UK line on the customs union encourages the EU to give us a bad deal.
AMBER Rudd is facing calls to resign as Home Secretary after she defied the Prime Minister over Brexit policy by refusing to rule out that Britain could remain under Brussels rule in a customs union with the EU. Theresa May has adamantly ruled out any customs union deal with the EU after Brexit because it would prevent Britain from striking lucrative trade deals with the rest of the world. But at a lunch in parliament with journalists, Ms Rudd twice refused to rule out a customs union relationship which would mean the UK would lose control over regulations and trade policy.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd has appeared to cast doubt on the government’s policy of not being in a customs union with the EU after Brexit. She told journalists she would not be “drawn” on the issue and said there were discussions to be had about it in cabinet to agree a “final position”. Later she tweeted that she “should have been clearer” but had not wanted to get into “ongoing cabinet discussions”. The PM Theresa May has ruled out being in an EU customs union after Brexit.
Amber Rudd was accused of deliberately widening Tory divisions over Brexit yesterday as she became embroiled in a new political row. The home secretary admitted that she was fighting for her career after a second week of turmoil caused by the Windrush scandal. Ms Rudd was summoned before parliament in the morning after it emerged that she had misled MPs the day before, wrongly claiming that the Home Office did not have deportation targets. Hours later Ms Rudd found herself in the middle of another controversy when she contradicted Theresa May by saying that she was “not going to be drawn” on whether Britain would stay in the EU customs union.
Theresa May has been warned to abandon her plan for a “blue skies” customs deal with the European Union after it was rejected by both Remainers and Leavers. Senior government figures say there is a “clear consensus” and some expect No 10 quietly to drop the plan before a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, and Michael Gove, the environment secretary, are said to be opposed to the so-called customs partnership. Boris Johnson and Liam Fox, the foreign and international trade secretaries, are openly hostile to the idea.
Theresa May’s Brexit inner cabinet are preparing for a showdown over the customs union next week, as leading Brexiters including Liam Fox and David Davis try to force the prime minister to ditch the “customs partnership” model. This so-called “hybrid model”, under which the UK would collect EU import tariffs on behalf of Brussels, is regarded as cumbersome and impractical by Brexiters, who fear it would leave open the option that Britain could rejoin a customs union. It would also require the UK to access EU IT systems to levy duties, something Brussels is unlikely to accept. “The hybrid model is the unicorn model”, one senior Brexiter said.
Pressure is mounting on Theresa May to keep Britain in a customs union after the Government lost a symbolic vote in the House of Commons. Pro-Remain Tories warned their party would “not be forgiven for a generation” if the party ignores the evidence for peace in Northern Ireland. But many prominent anti-EU campaigners did not show up to a parliamentary debate on urging the government to press for the negotiation of “an effective customs union” with the bloc after Brexit. It comes after Home Secretary Amber Rudd was forced to issue a swift correction after suggesting the cabinet’s view on the Customs Union was still being decided – despite official Tory policy being to leave it.
TORY Brexit rebels were last night told they risk “undermining faith in democracy” after boasting they have the numbers to force Britain to remain in the Customs Union. Insiders claimed 13 Tory MPs are ready to rebel when the Government brings a Trade Bill to the Commons — enough to threaten Theresa May’s slender majority. Rebels said victory would spur them to force the PM to keep Britain in the Single Market. Tory MP Matt Warman said: “I would say to my colleagues, democracy must come first. “What people voted for, whether some in this place like it or not, is a clean break because that is what allows us to have the control that people voted for.
The Labour Party’s fantasy politics have been dealt a blow of reality, with the European Union’s Michel Barnier confirming yet again that any Customs Union deal means no independence, no ability to strike trade deals or even have any input. Barnier told a business conference yesterday that: “We can’t change our rules; our rules will remain the same. “When you’re in a Customs Union for goods, like Turkey for example, you become part of a common trade policy – you don’t have autonomy anymore.”
Campaigners for a referendum on the Brexit deal are promising the “biggest ever pro-European march”, as their hopes grow for a fresh public vote. The demonstration – to be staged on the second anniversary of the Leave vote in June – will kick-start a “summer of action and mobilisation”, they say. Supporters of giving the people a “final say” on the exit deal negotiated by Theresa May expect to attract huge numbers from across the UK and as far afield as Gibraltar. The march, on 23 June, comes after the government acknowledged that MPs have the power to force a new referendum by amending a vote on the withdrawal agreement in the autumn.
Caroline Lucas was booed by a Question Time audience after calling for a second Brexit referendum. The party’s co-leader and only MP argued that the public should have another say after the final deal was in place. But there was a large proportion of the audience in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, who were appalled by the idea. And Tory minister Matt Hancock replied: “There could be nothing worse for this country than going through that referendum debate again.” Responding to the disagreements among the political class over leaving the bloc, she said: “I think what you’ve described is a very good case to have a ‘people’s vote’ on the final deal because so much has become apparent that we didn’t know before.”
CAROLINE Lucas was booed and jeered at after she suggested the UK public should have yet another vote on Brexit to give them another chance to “stay in the European Union” in a fiery episode of BBC Question Time. The panelists were addressing a question posed by the audience as to whether remaining in the EU Customs Union would still classify as Brexit. Green Party co-leader Ms Lucas said Brexit was not an adventure but a “nightmare” and there should be a “people’s vote” – which caused the audience to turn on her and boo. She added: “I don’t know why you are booing democracy.
UKIP Leader, Gerard Batten, has slammed Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament, Richard Corbett, after he raised the possibility of a second EU referendum, saying; “while another vote may be the great hope of the pro-European political elite; it will do nothing more than further polarise public opinion on the matter of Brexit.” “We already had a democratic vote in 2016; with the majority of British people voting in favour of leaving the EU. Therefore, people like Mr Corbett should accept and respect the will of the British people and stop looking for every way possible to undermine the democratic result,” added Mr Batten.
THERESA May will hold back most of Britain’s Brexit divorce cheque until the full details of a new trade deal are thrashed out, No10 sources have revealed. The tough negotiating position emerged as Downing Street dismissed a warning by the boss of Whitehall’s spending watchdog. Auditor General Sir Amyas Morse said the UK will be legally obliged to pay the full £39billion bill even if no new trade agreement is reached. The National Audit Office’s boss told MPs that the withdrawal agreement will become a binding treaty once it is passed by Parliament.
Theresa May has been reduced to “pleading” with the EU to give British financial firms access to sell services into the single market after Brexit without having to follow European regulations, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. Speaking in Sofia on Thursday Michel Barnier said Britain would face new border checks and disruption from leaving the bloc, and that the UK was more dependent on Europe for trade than vice-versa. In a speech Mr Barnier rejected Theresa May’s call for continued trade in financial services between Britain and the EU “based on the UK and EU maintaining the same regulatory outcomes over time”. “I can perfectly see the UK’s logic and interest in pleading for a system of ‘mutual recognition’ and ‘reciprocal regulatory equivalence’,” Mr Barnier said at a finance conference in the Bulgarian capital.
City of London
The EU does not need the City of London, and Theresa May’s “pleading” for a special deal for the UK’s financial services sector will not be rewarded, the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said. In his toughest rebuff yet to the demands made by the British prime ministerin her landmark Mansion House speech, Barnier suggested the City would be granted nothing more generous than that enjoyed by Wall Street. “Some argue that the EU desperately needs the City of London, and that access to financing for EU27 business would be hampered – and economic growth undermined – without giving UK operators the same market access as today,” Barnier said at a meeting of finance ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria.
TSB’s handling of its ongoing IT meltdown has descended further into farce, after chief Paul Pester admitted the bank was “on its knees” and unsure what had caused a seven-day IT meltdown. Spanish parent company Sabadell stepped in over Mr Pester’s head at a press conference in Spain to warn outages could continue into next week. Mr Pester told the Telegraph that he was still not sure exactly what the problem was. He said an international team of experts drafted in from tech giant IBM today “will get to the bottom of this”. Mr Pester insisted the “engine room” of the bank was working “fantastically well”, but said it had hit “a capacity issue” that was preventing roughly a million customers accessing online banking services.
TSB is offering an interest rate boost to persuade customers to stay despite an IT shambles that has left many unable to access its online services. The Spanish-owned lender said that it would lift the interest rate on its Classic Plus account from 3 per cent to 5 per cent to thank “our customers for sticking with us”. It added that it would waive overdraft fees and interest charges for its more than five million retail and small business customers. Customers of TSB have faced disruption to their app-based and online services since Monday when a computer system overhaul went awry, leaving many unable to check their accounts or monitor payments.
Hospitals are infested with rats, fleas, ants and cockroaches, and many have leaking sewage pipes. Almost all hospitals have suffered from pests while two thirds have leaking roofs and pipes after years of raiding maintenance budgets to cover day-to-day spending. Patients are at risk from crumbling buildings after bosses cut back on repairs to save money, Labour says. The NHS maintenance backlog is estimated at £5.5 billion, up £1.5 billion in four years during which ministers diverted money from infrastructure budgets to cover hospital deficits.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has announced a review into how tens of thousands of NHS staff can be trained to use artificial intelligence and robotics. The review will be led by Dr Eric Topol an expert in cardiology, genetics and digital medicine. Dr Topol will look at opportunities where the NHS could invest in training for existing staff. He will also consider the implications on the skills required of future healthcare professionals.
Train passengers have to endure a substandard service because of the “broken” privatised rail system, according to MPs. A cross-party report published today warns that the Department for Transport’s management of rail franchises is “completely inadequate”. The Commons public accounts committee raised serious concerns over the operation of the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise (TSGN), the biggest in the country, which runs services in London and the southeast. It cited an “appalling level of delays and cancellations” since 2014 after ministers failed to anticipate major problems with Victorian track infrastructure and strikes by unions over the introduction of driver-only trains.
The Football Association said Thursday they have received an offer to buy iconic Wembley stadium in a shock move that increases the chances of an NFL team taking up permanent residence in London. Shahid Khan, who owns Championship club Fulham and the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, is behind the Â£500 million ($698 million) bid to buy the national stadium. “We can confirm that the FA has received an offer to buy Wembley Stadium,” an FA statement read. According to the Evening Standard, Khan has struck an outline agreement with FA boss Martin Glenn to transfer Wembley to foreign ownership for the first time.
Theresa May tonight warned the FA to think of England fans before committing to selling off Wembley Stadium. Downing Street insisted the process was at an early stage and ultimately a matter for the FA to resolve. But Mrs May’s official spokesman urged caution. He said: ‘This is a decision for the Football Association. But Wembley is the historic home of English football and holds a very special place in the hearts of fans up and down the country. ‘I’m sure the FA will want to strongly consider the views of these supporters before deciding what to do next.’ Fans today reacted with anger when they heard of a possible plan to sell the ground to an American NFL team. The iconic site – where England games have been played since 1920s – could be handed to Shahid Khan, the billionaire owner of American football ‘franchise’ the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Football fans have demanded any public money pumped into Wembley Stadium be paid back if the site is sold to a American NFL tycoon. There was shock today after it emerged the iconic football ground is set to be sold to Shahid Khan, the billionaire owner of American football team the Jacksonville Jaguars. The current Wembley stadium opened in 2007 at a cost of £757million after work began to demolish the old ground in 2002. Funding for the new stadium came from the FA, which secured huge loans for the project, as well as from Lottery-funded Sport England which paid £120million. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport meanwhile put up £20million with a further £21million coming from the London Development Agency. The FA is understood to still have debts of more than £100million.
A SELF-titled archaeologist has shockingly claimed to have cracked the secret code of an ancient calendar to reveal a “divine” time travel map. The Mayan Tzolkin calendar has often been at the forefront of conspiracy theories and doomsday predictions but Timothy Alan has now claimed it also contains the secrets of time travel. Mr Alan’s uploaded part of his research to YouTube, where he explained his startling discoveries made over five years of painstaking work. He said: “I just wanted to share with you my work over the last five years in as quick a time as possible.