Apologies for the delay this morning.
Dominic Raab has threatened Michel Barnier with the prospect that the EU will be forced to order the Irish government to reinstate the border in Northern Ireland in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the Telegraph can reveal. The Brexit secretary confronted the EU’s chief negotiator over the border issue at a highly-charged meeting in Brussels last month, leaving Mr Barnier “absolutely furious”, according to a senior European source. The angry encounter came in only the second Raab-Barnier meeting and was confirmed to the Telegraph by three separate official sources drawn from both sides of the Channel, and points to sharp souring of the Brexit talks behind the scenes in recent weeks.
British negotiators have hit back in their talks with the EU against Michel Barnier’s criticisms of the Downing Street offer of a single market-style deal on goods, claiming that Brussels’ attacks are without merit and confused. The EU’s chief negotiator has in recent weeks warned that the British proposals are a threat not only to the internal market but the very existence of the EU project, as British businesses would be able to undercut their competitors on the continent. The controversy raged as Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, undertook two hours of talks with his EU counterpart.
Sixty Tory MPs led by Jacob Rees-Mogg are to launch a plan to scrap the Prime Minister’s ‘Soft Brexit’ Chequers proposals and highlight the benefits of a clean exit from the Brussels bloc. The Brexiteers will publish a series of papers arguing for a trade agreement with the European Union (EU) similar to Canada’s, which would free the United Kingdom of many of the bloc’s goods and trade rules, unlike Theresa May’s ‘Chequers’ plan. The 100-page document will also lay out solutions to the Northern Irish border question and issues around farming and agriculture, a source told the Daily Telegraph.
A blundering Treasury minister today let slip the dramatic codename of the government’s no-deal plan – Operation Yellowhammer. The striking title was revealed on a document accidentally exposed by Salisbury MP John Glen as he walked into the Cabinet Office. The paper, spotted by eagle-eyed photographers, is for a meeting to ‘consider progress on the government’s plans for mitigating the immediate impacts of a no-deal Brexit‘. It says departments should be managing the pressures from a collapse in negotiations by ‘reprioritising’ existing funding.
A secret Treasury document has raised questions about “rail access to the EU” after a no-deal Brexit. The document – snapped as it was carried into a Whitehall meeting – also reveals that Philip Hammond’s department has codenamed its contingency planning “Operation Yellowhammer”. It warns that government departments will have to make cuts to prepare for crashing out of the EU, saying: “Their first call should be internal reprioritisation.” And it acknowledges the need to “maintain confidence in the event of contingency plans being triggered – particularly important for financial services”.
Another careless aide has been snapped in Downing Street flashing a Treasury briefing about no deal Brexit planning. The planning has been dubbed ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ and appears to show penny-pinching mandarins at the Treasury encouraging departments to fund no deal planning through “internal reprioritisation”, despite £3 billion having already been set aside for no-deal planning in the last budget by a reluctant Philip Hammond. Some speculation that it was accidently on-purpose rather than cock-up… It now emerges that the indiscreet note-carrier was not a hapless aide but in fact Treasury Minister John Glen. Either he’s cunning or a bit of a clutz…
NIGEL FARAGE has explained the thinking behind the leaked Treasury document named “Operation Yellowhammer” and claimed it was released to scare the British public. On Thursday a secret document outlining Treasury plans for a no-deal Brexit were captured on camera being carried into a meeting. The paper reveals officials have been holding high-level discussions to develop an emergency plan in the event of Britain leaving the EU without a deal next March. Speaking on his LBC show, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage explained his thinking behind the documents which Philip Hammond’s department have named “Operation Yellowhammer”.
Theresa May’s Government has conceded to France that UK vessels will no longer fish in French waters abiding by a French law prohibiting scallop fishing in the Bay of Seine during certain months of the year. Both Government’s released a joint statement saying talks were “constructive”. However, a final deal has not been reached and hinges on a “reasonable compensation package” for small UK boats which are set to lose out. Last week dozens of French ships attacked 5 British vessels who were legally fishing scallops in French waters. The UK Government seems to have given into the violent French tactics which included ramming boats and using flares against UK ships.
EUROSCEPTIC Tories want EU staff allowed at UK ports to solve the Irish border stand-off. Senior sources told the Sun the incredible move could help to break the logjam around the Irish border in Brexit talks – and “show willing” to Brussels. Under the idea, EU staff would be allowed into ports such as Liverpool and Bristol in the same way UK Border Force man posts at Calais in France. The suggestion is expected to be included among a raft of Brexit blueprints from the Tory Eurosceptic group led by influential Conservatives Steve Baker and Jacob Rees Mogg next week.
BREXITEER MPs want to allow EU staff into UK ports to prevent a hard border with Ireland and “show willing” to Brussels in their new Brexit model which will act as an alternative to the Chequers deal. EU staff would man ports such as Liverpool and Bristol in the same way UK Border Force man posts at Calais in France. The idea is expected to be included in the Brexit blueprint championed by the Tory Eurosceptic group, led by influential Conservatives Steve Baker and Jacob Rees-Mogg, who will release their plans next week.
Ukip‘s ruling executive is to debate a motion calling for Tommy Robinson to be offered membership of the party. The motion has been put forward by Ukip’s family and children spokesman and compares the far-right activist, who was jailed earlier this year for contempt of court, to “Robin Hood and the Sufragettes”. It calls for a vote at Ukip’s annual conference later this month on offering Robinson membership of the party and praises his work to expose “decades-long silence and inaction over industrial-scale child sexual abuse by rape gangs”. Ukip’s National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet on Sunday and discuss whether the motion should be put to a vote at the conference.
Ukip’s annual conference could debate whether to lift a ban on the anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson becoming a member, a move which, if approved, would further indicate the party’s move to the far right. Under long-established party rules, former members of the English Defence League, which was formed by Robinson, are banned from joining, along with people who belonged to the British National party. But Ukip’s leader, Gerard Batten, has strongly backed Robinson, a self-styled freedom-of-speech activist whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, likening him to Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
Poorer people will be forced to eat low-quality foreign meat if the UK crashes out of the EU because of soaring domestic prices, ministers have been warned. A new study warns of a “two-tier food system” after a no-deal Brexit – where only the wealthy are able to afford “fresh British chicken”. A no-deal “Fortress UK” departure from the EU would see labour and wage costs soar by up to 50 per cent and “also threatens the values which UK consumers hold”, it concludes. Fears have repeatedly been raised about chlorine washed chicken from the US, a practice banned by the EU in 1997.
Planes carrying urgent medical supplies will keep flying even if the UK quits the EU without a Brexit deal, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told Sky News. The pharmaceutical industry is preparing to stockpile six-week supplies of medicines and airlift time-sensitive products in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit. Government concerns over potential disruption to aviation and rail access to Europe were revealed in leaked documents photographed on Thursday. Mr Hancock said he was confident the government would reach a deal with the EU.
Labour MPs have voted to fully adopt an internationally-recognised definition and examples of antisemitism. The overwhelming majority of MPs, 205, backed the definition in a secret vote, while eight people opposed the measure and 12 spoiled their ballots. It comes after Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) agreed to incorporate the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, including all its examples, into the party’s code of conduct.
JEREMY Corbyn has claimed Labour has “no position” on a second Brexit poll, his clearest signal yet that the party will back a re-run. The Opposition leader has repeatedly ruled out support for another ballot but will face grassroots calls for a U-turn at his party’s conference later this month. Just last month he said “It’s not our policy to have a second referendum, it’s our policy to respect the result of the referendum.” But speaking in Hull he told reporters: “We don’t have a position on it yet.” Labour backing a second referendum would electrify the campaign to see Brexit undone.
Tony Blair says he is “not sure it is possible” for Labour “moderates” to take the party back from the left. The former Labour leader told the BBC’s Nick Robinson Labour had been through a “profound change” under Jeremy Corbyn. “It is a different type of Labour Party. Can it be taken back? I don’t know,” he said. He said the British people would never elect Mr Corbyn as prime minister and hinted at the emergence of a new “progressive, moderate” party. Speaking on Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking Podcast, Mr Blair said: “I don’t think the British people will tolerate a situation where, for example, the choice at the next election is Boris Johnson versus Jeremy Corbyn.
Sir Vince Cable has called for Liberal Democrat supporters to be able to vote in the party’s leadership contests for free as part of a plan to turn it into a “movement for moderates”. The Lib Dem leader wants his party to adopt a “registered supporter” system that would allow non-members to help decide who becomes leader. The proposal is similar to the Labour Party system that helped Jeremy Corbyn seize the leadership in 2015. While Labour’s registered supporters have to pay £3, however, Sir Vince will call for voting in Liberal Democrat contests to be free.
Vince Cable is to announce a plan to enlist a new group of Liberal Democrat supporters who will be able to help choose leaders despite paying nothing, one of a series of reform measures intended to reinvigorate his moribund party. The announcement will come in what is being billed by the Lib Dems as a major speech that will outline plans to modernise the party as something of a populist force for disgruntled moderates in the era of Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn. Cable is also expected to address his own future as leader.
STRUGGLING Lib Dem boss Sir Vince Cable is today expected to announce plans to quit – just a year after getting the job. The 75-year-old will lay out his timetable for stepping down alongside a major overhaul of party rules to attract tens of thousands of Remain supporters to vote in leadership contests. A new “Supporters Scheme” will allow anyone to vote in leadership contests – in a bid to mirror the Labour’s change of rules that attracted more than half a million new members. Sir Vince is also expected to announce new rules that would allow non-MPs to become leader – in another attempt to make the party more attractive to younger voters.
Sir Vince Cable is planning an overhaul of the Liberal Democrats in an attempt to turn the party into a “Movement for Moderates”. The veteran politician will outline proposals for major reform of his party to allow new supporters to join for free and have a say in future leadership contests. The plans will be seen as an attempt by the Lib Dems to mirror the success of left-wing pressure group Momentum, which has attracted thousands of new supporters to Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Labour’s membership has soared in recent years since party reforms allowed anyone to sign up to vote in a leadership contest by becoming a registered supporter for a small fee.
One in seven major NHS operations is cancelled at the last minute, a study has found, leading to calls for an overhaul of hospital administration. Most cancellations are due to a lack of beds rather than medical reasons, a report concluded, triggering demands for more wards to be opened. One in ten patients waiting for planned surgery such as a hip replacement has had a previous operation cancelled. Surgeons said that “awful” delays left patients distressed and endangered their health. Almost 85,000 non-emergency operations were cancelled at short notice last year, figures show.
NEARLY 26,000 NHS ops were called off on the day they were due to take place in the first three months of 2018, a survey reveals. The Royal College of Anaesthetists found one in seven cancelled ops were called off with just hours to spare. Most were due to staff shortages, too few beds or lack of operating theatre capacity. Only a third were for medical reasons. Researchers warned: “These findings point to the impact of the pressure on surgical critical care capacity in the UK.” And the patients most likely to be affected were those who needed critical care after surgery.
Doctors and nurses should routinely tell patients to take part in sports and social activities rather than prescribing them drugs, the new health secretary has recommended. Matt Hancock backed a dramatic expansion of “social prescribing” as a way of relieving the pressure on the NHS as well as improving patients’ chances of recovering from their illness. GPs in particular are increasingly advising patients, especially those who are isolated or have certain mental health problems, such as depression, to take part in activities including bingo and gardening, instead of simply writing them a prescription.
The head of GCHQ has vowed to retaliate against the “brazen Kremlin” for Russia’s nerve agent attack on Salisbury. Jeremy Fleming, the director of GCHQ, said the Government’s top secret cyber intelligence agency would “deploy the full range of tools” to counter the threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s regime. Mr Fleming’s intervention – part of the UK’s coordinated response to the Novichok attack orchestrated by Russian military intelligence – further ratcheted up the pressure on the Kremlin.
The Russian state has unleashed an online campaign of false information after the Salisbury novichok attacks. The government has identified almost 40 fictitious narratives created by Russia and its proxies to sow disinformation and confusion about the nerve agent attack, The Times has learnt. The extensive campaign covered a wide range of conspiracy theories aimed at casting doubt on Britain’s case, including suggestions that photographs of the suspects had been faked and that the poison could not have been safely contained in a perfume bottle, Whitehall sources said.
RUSSIA’S fake news trolls have claimed that the Skripal poison suspects were British actors in a TV drama. A story created as joke on a Russian spoof website was seized upon and reported as fact. The claim was last night being shared on social media by conspiracy theorists backing Vladimir Putin. Russian site Panorama said Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were actually British actors called Paul Collinson and Jeffrey Fields. The site also stated CCTV pictures recovered by police were still shots taken from a series called “KGB Spy” which appeared on British television in the early 2000s.
British Airways has launched an “urgent” investigation and notified police after hundreds of thousands of customers’ personal and financial details were stolen. The airline said the hack continued for almost two weeks, between August 21 and September 5, with 380,000 payments compromised. Stolen information did not include travel or passport details. Customers who made bookings through ba.com or the airline’s app are being urged to contact banks and credit card providers. Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and chief executive, said: “We are deeply sorry for the disruption that this criminal activity has caused. We take the protection of our customers’ data very seriously.”
The bank details of almost 400,000 British Airways passengers have been stolen in one of the most serious data breaches to hit a UK company. Britain’s biggest airline admitted that it had been targeted by hackers for more than two weeks in a breach discovered on Wednesday evening. It said that the account details of passengers making bookings through its website and app may have been stolen but insisted that passport and travel information was safe. Affected customers were being contacted by staff and the police were investigating, it added.
The bank card details of almost 400,000 British Airways customers have been stolen in a cyber attack. Shockingly, the breach began 16 days ago, but was not detected by the airline until Wednesday night. It affects all 380,000 customers who booked flights online or via the BA app during that time using a debit or credit card. BA has insisted it had told customers about the security breach as soon as it could and it had now called in the police. But the cyber failure is a blow to the airline’s once-renowned reputation for customer service with some victims vowing never to use them again.
Furious British Airways customers have been left having to cancel their credit cards after a 15-day data breach compromised around 380,000 card payments. The airline admitted “criminal activity” had compromised the personal and financial details of customers who made bookings on its website or app from just before 11pm on August 21 until 9.45pm on Wednesday. BA said it was investigating the vast breach “as a matter of urgency”, while the National Crime Agency and National Cyber Security Centre are also assessing the hack. Worried customers rushed to social media and helplines after the airline urged anyone who suspected they may have been affected to contact their bank or credit card provider.