The Prime Minister is attempting to restore her grip on Brexit and parliament, as calls mount for an emergency general election to settle the question of whether Britain withdraws from the EU. Theresa May was engaged in urgent phone diplomacy in the wake of the High Court decision which insisted parliament must have the final say on when Article 50 is triggered. Mrs May will be calling European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday in a bid to persuade continental leaders that the ruling will not deter her from invoklking Article 50 by April next year.
The prime minister is expected to tell the European Commission’s president her Brexit timetable will not be derailed by the High Court’s Article 50 ruling. Three judges ruled on Thursday that Theresa May cannot invoke Article 50 without Parliament’s support. But sources told BBC political correspondent Iain Watson Mrs May will tell Jean-Claude Juncker she still intends to start the process by March. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the government’s appeal next month. Mrs May is due to outline her commitment during a telephone call to Mr Juncker later. However Conservative peer Lady Wheatcroft told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she was willing to table an amendment to Article 50 to delay the Brexit process.
MPs last night tore into three ‘out of touch’ judges for ruling that embittered Remainers in Parliament should be allowed to frustrate the verdict of the British public. The Lord Chief Justice and two senior colleagues were accused of putting Britain on course for a full-blown ‘constitutional crisis’ by saying Brexit could not be triggered without a Westminster vote. The judgment by Lord Thomas – a founding member of the European Law Institute, a club of lawyers and academics aiming to ‘improve’ EU law – throws into chaos Mrs May’s timetable for invoking Article 50 in March next year. Senior MPs – led by an ex-justice minister – said it was an outrage that an ‘unholy alliance’ of judges and embittered Remain backers could thwart the wishes of 17.4million Leave voters.
Theresa May is attempting to take back control of Brexit after the High Court ruled she needs the support of MPs before starting negotiations to leave the EU. The Prime Minister will speak to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker this morning to reassure him she still intends to trigger Article 50, the formal process for cutting ties with Brussels, by the end of March. Meanwhile, acting UKIP leader Nigel Farage has added his voice to calls for Mrs May to call an emergency General Election following the legal setback. He said she should go to the country even though such a move would be strongly opposed by Conservative and Labour MPs alike.
THE BRITISH public have reacted strongly against today’s Brexit court ruling with the Leave EU group saying they have been inundated with support. The government has said it will appeal the ruling with another hearing expected next month. The prime minister’s official spokesman said the government had “no intention of letting” the judgement “derail Article 50 or the timetable we have set out. We are determined to continue with our plan”. Before the referendum, parliament voted on whether or not to allow the national vote, ruling in a six-to-one majority to go ahead with the vote.
A GROUP of top lawyers have branded today’s High Court ruling on Article 50 “deeply troubling and wrong-headed” as they asked why MPs are only allowed to block ‘less Europe’ and not ‘more Europe’. This morning, judges ruled Theresa May doesn’t have the power to kickstart Britain’s EU departure alone and must seek Parliament’s consent before triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the legal mechanism for quitting the Brussels-based bloc. The bombshell ruling has opened up the possibility of pro-Remain MPs and unelected peers being able to defy the will of the British people by disregarding the historic Brexit vote on June 23. But the Lawyers for Britain group, whose full response to the High Court ruling is published below, has argued a key plank of the verdict is “illogical and does not hold water”.
NIGEL Farage is under pressure for a permanent return as Ukip leader and lead the push for a quick Brexit after he hinted that he could return in 2019. Speaking on LBC Mr Farage suggested that he could return as leader in 2019 “if Brexit hasn’t been delivered” raising hopes that he will change his mind about quitting frontline British politics. His tantalising suggestion in the phone-in came after his close friend and Ukip’s billionaire donor Arron Banks made it clear he wants Mr Farage to stay on. While many senior figures are officially getting behind the main leadership candidates – former deputy leader Paul Nuttall, former deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans, London Assembly member Peter Whittle and entrepreneur John Rees-Evans – it is understood many are “desperate” for Mr Farage to stay, according to one senior source. Mr Farage is currently interim leader following the shock resignation of his successor Diane James just 18 days after being elected as his successor but plans to “take his life back” and spend time helping other exit movements across Europe.
TRADE deals being pursued by Britain, the EU and the US will torpedo the Paris climate accord, campaigners warn as it comes into force today. The agreement — hailed by then French foreign minister Laurent Fabius as a “historic turning point” when signed amid fanfare last December — will count for little when compared to corporate-friendly treaties such as TTIP, Ceta and Tisa, which tie governments’ hands when it comes to tackling climate change, activists at War on Want and Global Justice Now charge. Global Justice Now trade researcher Jean Blaylock told the Morning Star that while Paris was spun as an “action summit,” the real priorities of richer countries were elsewhere. “Governments are pushing through highly risky trade deals, against huge democratic opposition, that lock in an unsustainable ‘free-market’ approach that will make it much harder for real action on climate to be taken,” she said.
Sixteen former European Commissioners are still being paid €100,000 or more a year for doing nothing, two years after finishing their terms on the Brussels executive, despite some taking lucrative posts elsewhere. Former members of the European Union’s highest authority are paid a bonus worth between 40 and 65 per cent of their salary for three years after leaving office. The “transitional allowance”, worth more than €100,000 after a standard five years in office, is paid at special levels of “community tax”, set as low as 23 per cent for that income bracket.
French authorities prepared on Thursday to dismantle a makeshift migrant camp in central Paris, its numbers swelled by refugees from a larger settlement in Calais that was meanwhile shut down for good. In twin actions that epitomised Europe’s failure to adequately cater for the waves of refugees that have reached its shores since early 2015, the last migrants left the Calais camp while some 3,000 prepared for what might be their last night under canvas near the capital’s Stalingrad metro station. In a final operation in Calais after the camp was razed over the past two weeks, demolition teams knocked down a makeshift mosque and church that migrants who dreamed of reaching Britain would worship in.
Only days after police cracked down on migrant slums on the streets of Paris, gangs of migrants armed with clubs fought each other in the Stalingrad district of the French capital. The brawl was caught on camera and shows dramatic scenes of mass violence between rival migrant factions, the Daily Mail reports . After the French government cleared the Calais Jungle, many migrants have travelled to Paris and have been sleeping rough in the district’s migrant camp. The cause of the brawl is currently unknown, though it has been speculated that raids by police in Paris stoked already-existing tensions between migrants of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
BRITAIN’S stricken A&E departments are 3,000 doctors short as the toughest winter ever looms. Hospitals are “running too hot” with nowhere near enough beds to cope with a huge demand, MPs have warned. Emergency departments need a staff of 8,000 doctors but there are just 5,300 working. A report by the Commons Health Committee warned Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt: “The ongoing decline in performance of emergency departments should be regarded as a matter of patient safety.” And another 1,000 consultants are required to stop the NHS buckling as the “cold snap” approaches, the report added. Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, the committee’s chairwoman, said: “Accident and emergency departments in England are managing unprecedented levels of demand. “The pressures are now continuing year round as departments try to cope with increasing numbers of patients with complex needs.”
Theresa May was in denial about the extent of the NHS’s financial problems and should accept that its sums “just do not add up”, the government spending watchdog has claimed. Meg Hillier, the chair of the Commons public accounts committee, wrote in a letter to the prime minister on Thursday that growing evidence disproved her insistence that the NHS was getting enough money. Hillier, the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, also accused NHS bosses, including its chief executive, Simon Stevens, of not telling May the truth about how grim the health service’s finances were. Hillier is the second select committee chair this week to dispute the accuracy of May’s assertions that the NHS in England would receive £10bn extra funding by 2020-21 and that it was getting all the money it said it needed. Earlier this week, the government rebutted the health select committee’s detailed critique of government statements about NHS funding, the accuracy of which is increasingly being challenged.
The Government is to “delay” extending Right To Buy to housing associations, with the policy no longer at the top-of its “to-do list”, according to the official in charge of implementing it. The plan, included in the Conservative 2015 general election manifesto and previously thought to be a fait accompli, would see housing association tenants offered the chance to buy their homes as big discounts, as council tenants have been able to since the 1980s. Hilary Davies, Department for Communities and Local Government civil servant leading on the policy, however told a conference of housing associations that the “new government” was re-thinking the policy and that ministers’ views were not yet clear. “The Brexit vote has made us think about timing and is leading to a delay in the process,” she said on Thursday, according to trade magazine Inside Housing. “The new government is supporting Right to Buy, but you can imagine what is at the top of their to-do list currently.”
Prisons in England and Wales are to see their biggest overhaul in a generation, Justice Secretary Liz Truss has said. She unveiled a White Paper detailing £1.3bn investment in new prisons over the next five years, and plans for 2,100 extra officers, drug tests and more autonomy for governors. Labour said the announcement was “too little, too late”, saying earlier staff cuts had created a “crisis in safety”. Unions have raised concerns about a rise in violence and suicide in jails. The Prison Officers Association (POA) warned on Wednesday that jails were facing bloodbaths unless more staff were recruited and retained.
There will be thousands more guards in UK prisons and no fly zones will be implemented over jails, in a bid to improve safety and help reduce crime. Some believe the system is currently in crisis, with figures showing there are now 65 assaults behind bars every day. Justice Secretary Liz Truss is outlining plans for reform. The changes will include an extra 2,500 prison officers, maths and English tests for offenders so that their improvement can be monitored; and 300 more police dogs to detect drugs, with tests carried out on inmates when they arrive and leave prison.
England and Scotland’s footballers will defy the sport’s global governing body and wear black armbands bearing poppies in their 11 November match. The FA and SFA appear to have rejected FIFA’s ban on poppies being displayed on the pitch for the World Cup Armistice Day qualifier. The ruling by football’s world governing body was earlier described by the Prime Minister as “utterly outrageous”. FIFA has insisted that laws of the game which prohibit political or religious messages from players’ kit mean poppies cannot be worn. However, the FA said in a statement: “We do not believe it represents a political, religious or commercial message.”