BRUSSELS today piled new pressure on Theresa May to backtrack from her Chequers Brexit blueprint, by saying that a “Canada plus plus plus” free trade alternative remains on the table. In stern words, European Council President Donald Tusk made clear his distaste for Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s “insulting” comparison between the EU and the repressive old Soviet Union. Demanding “respect” from Britain, he also rejected Mrs May’s complaint the EU insulted the UK at last month’s summit where leaders firmly rejected her Chequers blueprint. But his renewed offer of a deal based on the EU’s with Canada was seized on by leading eurosceptics in the UK, who claim Mrs May’s idea will keep Britain too shackled to EU rules. Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage urged her in a Tweet: “Please Mrs May, bite his hand off.”
The European Union is ready to offer Britain a form of “Canada-plus” Brexit trade deal, Donald Tusk has said in a move described as a “superb way forward” by arch-critic Boris Johnson. Mr Tusk, the European Council president, also demanded that Theresa May’s government “get down to business” and solve the Irish border issue to seal a Brexit deal. The comments put pressure on the Prime Minister to change strategy and open talks on a Canada-plus deal ahead of a crucial meeting of EU leaders in 10 days time.
Donald Tusk has given fresh impetus to Conservative MPs who want Theresa May to ditch her Brexit plan, a little more than 24 hours after the prime minister again called for “respect” from Brussels. The European Council president also strongly criticised Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, branding his recent comparison of the EU to the Soviet Union “unwise as it is insulting”, noting he had “spent half his life in the Soviet bloc”. And he suggested the Conservative Party conference, which was dominated by tensions over Brexit, had served to delay the progress of the exit talks.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s jibe likening the EU to the Soviet Union was “as unwise as it is insulting”, the president of the European Council says. Donald Tusk called for “respect”, saying as someone who spent half his life in the Soviet bloc: “I know what I am talking about.” Asked if Mr Hunt, who made the comments at the Tory conference, should resign, he replied: “That’s not my problem.” He also said a Canada-style free trade deal with the EU remained on the table.
Brexiteer MP Andrea Jenkyns has claimed that Donald Tusk’s comments about a Canada+ deal being on offer for the UK show that “the EU is afraid of the UK leaving without a deal”. Speaking to Westmonster, Jenkyns said: “Donald Tusk’s comments illustrate what Brexiteers have been saying from the very beginning: that the EU is afraid of the UK leaving without a deal. “The EU want our divorce settlement, they want us to continue buying their products and they want access to the sixth largest economy in the world.
The European Council President has branded Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s comparison of the EU and Soviet Union as an unwise insult. Donald Tusk demanded greater respect from the UK government, saying “unacceptable comments” were achieving nothing other than to raise the temperature of the Brexit negotiations. Mr Tusk also rejected any suggestion the EU had not respected the dignity of the UK at the recent meeting of European leaders at Salzburg.
The President of the European Council has said the bloc has offered Britain a Canada-style deal “from the beginning” despite the Prime Minister’s claim that the only options are Chequers or ‘No Deal’. “From the very beginning, the EU offer has been a Canada+++ deal,” Donald Tusk wrote on Twitter on Thursday. He added said this deal would be “Much further-reaching on trade, internal security and foreign policy cooperation. This is a true measure of respect. And this offer remains in place.” Critics were quick to point out that Brussels’ uncompromising stance on the Irish border appears to contradict this statement.
THERESA May’s top secret Brexit plan B has been revealed, with the Prime Minister seeking an agreement that will keep the UK permanently shackled to the EU customs union – and Irish officials are said to have backed the proposal. Mrs May is said to be pouring over the plan, which “is for the whole UK to participate in a customs union with the EU”, and is a scenario that could take effect if no other solution to the Irish border question is found.
THE European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been asked to rule on whether Britain alone can reverse Brexit, according to a statement by Scotland’s Court of Session. The ECJ has been asked to deliver a preliminary ruling on whether Britain’s decision to leave the European Union can be reversed by Britain alone. A source close to the case told Reuters, the ECJ hopes to make a decision before Christmas. Theresa May’s Government is in talks with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
Scotland’s Court of Session has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for a preliminary ruling on whether the British parliament can change its mind about leaving the European Union without the bloc’s agreement, the Scottish court said on Thursday. Britain’s Conservative government is struggling to reach a deal with the EU on how it will leave the world’s biggest trading bloc as the March 29 exit date approaches. The petitioners, who represent Scottish voters, successfully argued to the Scottish court that if parliament is to vote on the government’s eventual Brexit deal, it needs legal certainty on whether the process can be reversed without permission from the other 27 EU states.
Brexit means Welsh independence “must be on the table”, the newly-elected leader of Plaid Cymru has said, as he predicted “the dying days of the British state”. Adam Price believes that leaving the EU will make demands for Scottish independence and Irish unity “insatiable”, regardless of what deal Theresa May strikes with Brussels. He will tell the Plaid Cymru conference in Cardigan this weekend that Wales “cannot be left playing catch up” and his party would legislate for an independence referendum “at the earliest possible opportunity”.
EU chief Donald Tusk tried to exploit Tory splits over Europe last night by demanding that Theresa May abandon Chequers and accept a Canada-style trade deal. The President of the European Council triggered a furious Government backlash with a cynical appeal to hardline Brexiteers who want the PM to abandon her blueprint. Taunting Mrs May on Twitter after she accused EU leaders of not respecting the UK, Mr Tusk wrote: ‘From the very beginning, the EU offer has been a Canada+++ deal.
Theresa May was left humiliated as EU President Donald Tusk appeared to side with hardline Tory Brexiteers opposed to her Chequers plan. In a brutal slapdown, timed for the day after Mrs May’s keynote speech to Conservative Party Conference, Mr Tusk offered the kind of Brexit deal backed by Jacob Rees-Mogg and ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis over her Chequers plan. And he accused Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of being “unwise” and “insulting” by comparing the EU to the Soviet Union.
The French government has said it would prefer a no-deal Brexit to accepting Theresa May’s Chequers plan – dramatically raising the rhetorical stakes in negotiations. The statement by the country’s Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau comes as its government moves to hire 700 extra customs officers in preparation for a no-deal Brexit – effectively putting its money where its mouth is. “No deal would be better than a bad deal,” Ms Loiseau told Radio Classique, referring to the prime minister’s Chequers plan, which the EU has already rejected as unworkable.
The EU’s spending promises and pension costs rose by tens of billions of euros last year, an official report reveals, raising the possibility of an escalating Brexit divorce bill for the UK. The EU’s auditor also described member countries’ annual budget fees as “moveable”, because they are linked to commitments and liabilities that change. The British government has said the Brexit bill will be £39bn, with payments spread over decades, ending in 2064.
FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron still thinks he can stop Brexit, Theresa May has told her cabinet. The Prime Minister warned the rest of her ministers that the French hardline boss is holding out hope that another referendum could be on the cards. And it might push EU leaders into giving us a bad deal if they think they can force another vote where Britain opts to stay in the bloc, The Times reported. The French President is pushing for the EU to pursue a hardline approach with Mrs May in Brexit talks – and is said to be among several members who want to punish us for leaving.
Theresa May is to bow to more European Union (EU) demands and could accept customs checks in the Irish Sea, just weeks after insisting a British Prime Minister would “never” consider dividing the nation. Downing Street is planning to keep the UK tied to all of the bloc’s rules on goods, as set out in the Chequers plan, but also accept the potential for checks in the Irish Sea to meet EU demands that goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain must meet all the bloc’s standards, The Times reports.
The EU has told the UK to stop “wasting time” and find a solution to the Irish border row, with just two weeks until the next showdown summit over Brexit. Donald Tusk, the European Council president, turned his fire on Jeremy Hunt for likening the EU to the Soviet Union – accusing ministers of rousing the Tory faithful, instead of striving to reach an agreement. “Unacceptable remarks that raise the temperature will achieve nothing except wasting more time,” Mr Tusk said.
Theresa May faced a pincer movement from both wings of the Conservative Party yesterday as they resisted suggestions from No 10 that she could stay on to fight the next election. Cabinet ministers, MPs and party donors made clear at the party conference in Birmingham that Mrs May was not under immediate pressure to go or to name a date. They suggested, however, that they expected her to depart in good time for the next election. Donors are concerned that the prime minister’s solid conference performance on Wednesday has convinced her aides that she should be given a chance to fight the next election.
Theresa May has been warned of fresh Tory revolt over her Brexit approach, as she faces a race against time to agree a deal with Brussels. Despite winning plaudits for her upbeat conference speech, the prime minister’s reprieve was short-lived, as a senior Brexiteer told her to avoid a “political accident” by rethinking her Chequers plan just hours after she appealed for unity. Time is running out for Ms May to break the deadlock with Brussels ahead of the European Council summit on October 17, which the EU has described as the “moment of truth” for a Brexit deal.
The night before four Russian spies were caught trying to hack into the world’s chemical weapons testing headquarters, they had drunk three cans of Heineken, a bottle of Lowenbrau lager, two bottles of Aldi’s pure fruit orange juice and a packet of cold, cooked chicken slices. The agents had gathered up the remnants of their cheap picnic and stuffed the rubbish into a plastic bag, fearful of leaving DNA and fingerprints in their hotel room. They needn’t have bothered with the clean-up operation. A few hours later, the four spies – two cyber hackers and two ‘heavies’ – had been detained in a Dutch intelligence swoop.
Western powers joined forces to humiliate President Putin yesterday, exposing a Russian unit caught “in flagrante” on a mission to hack the international chemical weapons watchdog while it was investigating the Salisbury poisonings. Four officers of Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, attempted to hack into the Office for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Netherlands a month after the poisonings, the government revealed yesterday.
FEARS have been raised that the US military could turn insects into a new form of biological weaponry. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is running a programme called Insect Allies using leafhoppers, white flies and aphids to protect the nation’s food supply. It wants to counter threats like drought, crop disease and bioterrorism by using insects to infect plants with viruses that protect against such dangers.
The NHS is to send GP recruitment missions to Australia aiming to tempt doctors away from the beach with relocation packages worth up to £18,500. British doctors who have fled the NHS will be urged to return in its hour of need while it is also hoped that Australian GPs will be attracted by the chance to work in England. Regulators have agreed to streamline competence checks because Australian requirements are so similar and recruitment agencies have been hired to sell the NHS to doctors Down Under.
Human body parts were among tonnes of waste stockpiled by a company that deals with rubbish from NHS hospitals, causing a criminal investigation. Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) kept amputated limbs and infected liquids for longer than set out in regulations, the Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported. It is understood that it was stored securely. The Environment Agency said it had launched a criminal investigation into HES after finding it to be in breach of its environmental permits.
Human body parts are among hundreds of tonnes of waste from NHS hospitals which have been allowed to pile up by a private disposal company. Healthcare Environment Services Ltd has been found to be in breach of its permits at five sites in England which deal with clinical waste and a criminal investigation has been launched, the Environment Agency said. The Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported that amputated limbs and pharmaceutical waste were among the matter which had not been properly disposed of.
A “tech tsunami” being championed by the likes of health secretary Matt Hancock is destabilising the NHS in a way that increases health inequalities and profits private firms, GP leaders have said. Warning about the growing “digital divide” the chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, has called government to invest in NHS technology to ensure all patients can benefit. Opening the RCGP annual conference in Glasgow on Thursday, she is expected to warn about privately run tech schemes “siphoning off” younger, healthier patients.
London will be hit by a ‘triple whammy’ of strikes tomorrow (Friday) due to a tube and rail workers walk out. Commuters will be plunged into chaos as hundreds of South Western Railway (SWR) services into Waterloo will be cancelled as the 48-hour strike by RMT union train guards starts. Those who make it to Waterloo, will be greeted with little or no service on the one-stop Waterloo & City line to Bank, which is used by 35,000 a day, thanks to an unrelated 24-hour strike by Aslef union drivers.
Plans for a third runway faced a setback today as a series of legal challenges against the project cleared a major hurdle. The High Court in London gave permission for five separate claims against the runway to proceed to a full judicial review. The cases will be heard by two judges over a fortnight in March next year. Critics said that the decision represented a huge blow to the project as it indicated that all five claims had merit. Judges could ultimately render the plans unlawful in their present form, forcing the government into a costly rewrite that would almost certainly delay the project.
A TOMMY Robinson supporter quit a college course on her first day after being given a “final warning for being too right wing”. Alissa Cook-Gray, 17, told classmates she idolised the far-right English Defence League founder. She claims her classmate were expressing support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn when she told them she identified more with right-wing ideology. She also claims a teacher told her: “Get out, we don’t want people with your views.” After this, Alissa said she decided to quit her course at Total People in Crewe, Cheshire, after just over an hour of lessons.
A teen student says she has left college after revealing her support for Tommy Robinson and being told, “Get out, we don’t want people with your views.” The 17-year-old told StokeonTrentLive she was ostracised on day one of the community college course run by Total People in Crewe, Cheshire, which she had enrolled in to pick up qualifications in English and mathematics in preparation for an apprenticeship which she hoped would give her a “fresh start”. “I was given a final warning for being too right-wing,” she claimed.
LONDON is one of a number of cities in danger of devastating flooding as a result of global warming, top experts have warned. The report says world sea levels will rise at least 40cm (16in) if global warming isn’t limited to 1.5C. In the new release from Christian Aid, it warns many other major cities such as Bangkok, Shanghai and Houston are at risk of sinking below rising sea levels. Released on Thursday, the report comes ahead of a summit of the top climate scientists from around the world.
ENGLAND boss Gareth Southgate has signed a new contract to remain in the job until 2022. The 48-year-old will stay as Three Lions manager through to the World Cup in Qatar. Assistant Steve Holland has also agreed a new deal with the Football Association for the same duration. Southgate, who guided England to the World Cup semi-finals in the summer, said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead the national team through the next two major tournaments. “The job remains an incredible privilege and a true honour. Experiencing at first hand how the nation united behind the team this summer was something special and it will be great to see how far this young squad can go in the years to come.