ARROGANT EU Brexit chief Michel Barnier has threatened to delay the start of Brexit trade talks – in another row over money. Sources in Brussels claimed the EU’s lead negotiator said a lack of clarity meant the Government’s hopes of opening trade talks this October were doomed. The claims emerged yesterday after Mr Barnier had updated ambassadors to the EU on the progress of Brexit talks. He has repeatedly asked the UK to spell out its position on the EU’s demands for a £85 billion divorce settlement – the most sensitive issue – by October before moving to the “second phase” of negotiations. One source said: “Barnier said the UK was not providing enough position papers and the chances were not big of sufficient progress being made.” David Davis’ Brexit department yesterday insisted it was confident there was no problem.
The top EU and UK negotiators appear to be at odds over whether the next phase of Brexit talks could begin in the autumn. Michel Barnier, who leads the EU side of the talks, has warned of a possible delay to discussions aimed at defining future ties between London and Brussels because of lack of progress in the current phase, focusing on the divorce. Brussels wants sufficient progress on key issues surrounding the separation, such as a financial settlement and citizens’ rights, before discussing future trade. Mr Barnier had previously expressed hope that sufficient progress could be made by October. But, briefing ambassadors from EU member states on the latest discussions with the British Government, he was sceptical.
The European Union is stomping its feet and threatening to delay Brexit negotiations until December if the British government doesn’t agree to pay the so-called divorce bill. Michel Barnier’s team don’t want to continue negotiations with Britain until an agreement has been reached on the amount of money we pay Brussels as we leave the EU – murmurings in Brussels have been of £90 billion, which is typically delusional. The Telegraph reported Barnier also told a private meeting of EU ambassadors that until “sufficient progress” has been made over the protection of citizens’ rights, the Northern Ireland border and the financial settlement, Brexit talks will be suspended. Barnier apparently threatened to cancel last week’s meeting with David Davis unless Ministers in Britain publicly acknowledged that Britain had some financial obligation to the EU.
Brexit Secretary David Davis is confident negotiations will continue as planned after reports that Brussels may delay trade talks because of a lack of progress on the “divorce” settlement. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier had wanted progress on the exit payment, citizens’ rights and the Northern Ireland border issue by October. The Daily Telegraph has reported this could now slip back to December. But the Brexit department says next-stage talks are on course for October. A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the EU said: “Negotiations to leave the EU are under way and we have already made good progress on a number of issues.
The EU’s top negotiator has accused the British government of being clueless over Brexit – and warned this looks like it will delay negotiations on a future trade deal. Michel Barnier yesterday told EU ambassadors that talks on the future relationship between Britain and the bloc are now less likely to start in October because of a lack of progress. According to briefings from Brussels, he said Britain has ‘no position’ on the Brexit divorce bill and is unclear in its positions on other crucial issues too. And it has been claimed that there have been no detailed discussions on the Irish border issue – despite two rounds of formal Brexit talks. The allegations are likely to spark fury among British government ministers, who have said they hope to get on to the next phase of talks by the autumn.
The EU has reportedly threatened a two-month delay to talks on a post-Brexit trade deal after exit negotiations stalled, in a further blow to Theresa May. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, made the warning at a private meeting in Brussels with EU ambassadors over the “divorce bill” – a highly contentious issue in the talks. Mr Barnier reportedly told the ambassadors it would “very unlikely” that “sufficient progress” would be made on the exit talks by October and that the council’s judgement on beginning trade talks – Theresa May’s priority – could be delayed by two months. “He said the likelihood of starting the future relationship talks in October appeared to be decreasing,” one EU official involved in the talks told Reuters.
A THREAT by the EU’s top negotiator to stall Brexit talks following the row over demands for a multi-billion divorce fee was dismissed as a “diversion tactic”. It emerged yesterday that Brussels diplomat Michel Barnier has told ambassadors from the 27 other EU nations that the next round of discussions on the UK’s departure from the bloc could be postponed. He was said to be plotting to suspend meetings with EU Exit Secretary David Davis for two months following British refusal to discuss his proposed severance fee. The move would shatter hopes of beginning work on a future UK-EU trade deal in the autumn, according to EU sources. But Mr Davis’s department yesterday insisted the trade talks will start in October, rejecting suggestions the process will be delayed.
EU citizens will still be allowed to come to the UK to live and work after Brexit as long as they register with the Home Office, Amber Rudd has announced. The Home Secretary said that freedom of movement will officially end in March 2019 when Britain leaves the EU, but revealed plans that suggest the existing immigration regime will remain largely unchanged during the transitional period after Brexit. Government sources conceded that the rules governing EU migrants coming to Britain during the transitional period “may look like a similar arrangement” to free movement.
The Immigration Minister today said Britain would leave the EU free movement rules in 2019 but refused to say whether it would actually cut the number of new arrivals. Brandon Lewis said the Government remained committed to cutting net migration to the tens of thousands but would not place a timescale on the decade-old target. Mr Lewis’ position appears to differ from an apparent Cabinet agreement last week that backed a transition deal that kept Britain in the single market until 2022 – meaning free movement would continue for three years after Brexit takes place.
EU citizens moving to the UK will have to register with the Home Office after free movement ends in 2019, the Home Secretary has said, as she again indicated a Brexit “implementation phase”. Amber Rudd’s comments came after immigration minister Brandon Lewis said earlier in the day the Government was “very clear” that the free movement of labour would end after Brexit. Ms Rudd, along with the Chancellor Philip Hammond and other soft Brexit advocates, has been keen to reassure the business community there will not be a ‘cliff edge’ Brexit which would threaten labour flows. A transitionary period of up to four years after the UK leaves the EU is expected to see EU nationals register to work in the country, despite the strong will of many Eurosceptic MPs to reduce immigration from the bloc.
Free movement of people between the EU and UK will end in March 2019, UK government ministers have said. From that date EU workers moving to the UK will have to register, at least until a permanent post-Brexit immigration policy is put in place. But Home Secretary Amber Rudd has sought to reassure business there will not be a “cliff edge” in terms of employing foreign workers after Brexit. She said policy would be evidence-based and take into account economic impact. The CBI said businesses “urgently” needed to know what EU migration would look like, both in any “transitional” period after March 2019 and beyond.
JACOB Rees-Mogg’s chances of leading Britain through Brexit talks have been given a significant boost after leading betting companies slashed the odds of the backbench MP becoming the next Conservative party leader. Last week it emerged Mr Rees-Mogg’s popularity had soared following the General Election, leaving him in second position to replace Theresa May as the Tory leader, according to betting odds. Now, some of Britain’s leading betting companies have dramatically reduced the odds of the North East Somerset MP becoming the party’s next leader. Ladbrokes gives odds of 8/1 for Mr Rees-Mogg becoming the next Tory leader, putting him level with Foreign Sectary Boris Johnson who had been widely tipped to replace Mrs May after her election gamble failed to pay off and she lost her parliamentary majority.
The Tories are stepping up their campaign to discredit Jeremy Corbyn’s pre-election pledge to “deal with” student debt. The Conservatives have written to shadow chancellor John McDonnell, challenging him to reveal what spending plans Labour would axe to pay for it. Since the election the Tories have accused the Labour leader of a U-turn and lying to students. But he insists he never made a commitment to write off student debt. Spearheading the latest Tory attack, Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “As their £100bn broken promise on student debt shows, Labour aren’t being straight with the British public.
Theresa May is facing a fresh Brexit challenge amid reports that Dublin wants the Irish Sea to be the country’s border with the UK. Ireland’s new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is unconvinced by the UK’s plans to introduce a high-tech land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit, according to The Times. It comes after Home Secretary Amber Rudd pledged there would be “no cliff-edge” on freedom of movement after Brexit, as she outlined an “implementation” period where EU nationals could register to come and work in the UK. The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is one of the key issues that needs to be resolved by the UK and the EU before talks begin on a new trade deal.
Theresa May is facing a new setback in Brexit negotiations after the government in Dublin said that her proposal for the Irish border was unworkable. Leo Varadkar, the Republic of Ireland’s prime minister, is pushing for the Irish Sea to become the post-Brexit border with the UK after warning Mrs May that her plan was doomed and would jeopardise the peace process. British officials were said to be taken aback by Dublin’s change in tone, expressed at a European Union summit in Brussels last week. The British government had proposed using technology such as surveillance cameras to allow continued free trade between the north and south of the island.
Theresa May is facing tough new demands by the Irish government that could see the Irish Sea become the country’s post-Brexit border with the UK, according to reports. New Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is said to be unconvinced by the British Government’s plans to introduce a hi-tech land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit. Ministers had proposed using things measures like surveillance cameras to allow free movement between the north and south of the island. However, according to reports in The Times, Mr Varadkar is said to think these plans could jeopardise the peace process in Ireland and restrict movement between the two countries. He is said to want customs and immigration checks moved away from the land border to ports and airports—effectively drawing a new border in the Irish Sea.
Doctors have warned that plans for “brutal ” NHS cuts are shrouded in secrecy and will cause uproar once revealed. The British Medical Association (BMA) says health service leaders have refused to publish details of the proposals that could extend waiting times, reduce access to services, cut down on prescriptions and treatments, and even merge or close hospitals and facilities. The proposals are being discussed under the capped expenditure process – which was introduced this year to cap NHS spending in some areas in order to meet so-called “control total” budgets in 2017/18. The BMA submitted Freedom of Information requests to NHS Improvement and each of the 13 areas, asking for the proposal documents. Eight of the 13 areas responded – but, according to the BMA, none of them provided the full document or any significant details.
Rochdale grooming gang
Members of an Asian grooming gang are being given legal aid to fight deportation – after it emerged they have already received more than a £1million to unsuccessfully defend criminal charges. There was outrage last night as it was revealed the paedophiles – who preyed on girls as young as 13 – are getting more taxpayers’ money to battle moves to strip them of their British passports and send them back to Pakistan. The case is particularly sickening because, despite the depraved nature of their crimes, the men are trying to exploit Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which safeguards the right to family life. The four – who raped, abused and tormented young girls – claim booting them out of the country will harm their families.
There are “reasonable grounds” to suspect that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and its Tenant Management Organisation committed corporate manslaughter, Scotland Yard announced yesterday. In a letter circulated to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, the Force confirmed that officers had notified the council that they may be charged for their role in the blaze which left at least 80 people dead. The Justice 4 Grenfell campaign group said it hoped the statement was a “precursor” to individual arrests, adding: “Any arrests made will be seen by all those affected as tangible evidence that they are valued members of society and are being listened to.” Police do not have the power to arrest individuals under the offence of corporate manslaughter, but someone can face gross negligence manslaughter charges if a death may have been caused by an act or omission on their part.
Police investigating the Grenfell Tower disaster have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect that the council and management company of corporate manslaughter. Members of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and its Tenant Management Organisation will now be subjected to interviews from officers as part of a criminal investigation. In a letter to residents, the force said that senior figures from Kensington and Chelsea Council and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation faced being interviewed by police. The letter said: ‘We have seized a huge amount of material and taken a large number of witness statements. After an initial assessment of that information, the officer leading the investigation has today notified Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that each organisation may have committed the offence of corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.’
One of the frontrunners for the Ukip leadership is being assisted in her campaign by a far-right former BNP member. Jack Buckby previously stood for parliament for another extremist group that campaigns openly against Islam. As a former BNP member, he is barred from joining Ukip, but has been helping the campaign of Anne Marie Waters, who is standing for the latter’s leadership on a predominantly anti-Islam platform. Another member of the party who dropped out of the leadership race on Wednesday, Bill Etheridge, said that Ukip was close to becoming a “zombie party” because of a group who want to make it a vehicle for the BNP. Buckby, a prominent young voice from the British far right, stood in the 2016 Batley and Spen byelection that followed the murder of Jo Cox by a rightwing terrorist. Labour won the seat and all the other main parties stood aside.
A leading member of UKIP has resigned from the party’s front bench for the second time, saying he is worried about the direction the party is taking. Patrick O’Flynn, who is standing down as economics spokesman, claims the “centrist approach” advocated by him and others “is falling by the wayside”. The ex-journalist made the announcement as nominations are set to close in the contest to replace leader Paul Nuttall. Mr Nuttall quit after UKIP failed to win any seats in the general election. Mr O’Flynn also resigned as economics spokesman in 2015 after he described former UKIP leader Nigel Farage as “snarling, thin-skinned and aggressive” – remarks for which he later apologised.
Drinking alcohol most days of the week significantly protects against developing diabetes, a new study suggests. Data from more than 70,000 drinkers found that having a drink on three or four days per week was associated with a reduced risk of 27 per cent in men and 32 per cent in women, compared with abstaining. Wine had the biggest effect, with scientists suggesting that its chemical compounds improve blood-sugar balance. However, researchers have warned women to stay clear of gin and other spirits, which were associated with an increased of diabetes for women by 83 per cent. Previous studies had already suggested that light to moderate alcohol consumption can cut the risk of diabetes, but the new research is the first to focus on drinking frequency.
Drinking moderately three or four times a week may protect people against diabetes, a study has found. The research showed that men who drank 14 units a week, equivalent to a bottle and a half of wine, and women who drank nine units lowered their chance of contracting type II diabetes by 43 per cent and 58 per cent respectively. However, scientists cautioned that the research should not be taken as advice to drink. The Danish study looked only at diabetes and did not take into consideration all the other known problems linked to alcohol. Janne Tolstrup, of the University of Southern Denmark, said that she conducted the research because of previous studies showing an apparent connection between drinking and diabetes.