LEADING Brexiteers have warned Theresa May her Brexit deal is doomed to fail when it is put to the House of Commons next week. Chief eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg has said the Prime Minister should ignore any vote to delay Brexit after blasting “the people have spoken”. MPs have been given the option of extending Article 50 if they cannot agree on Mrs May’s altered Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday. They will be allowed to vote on whether to leave with no deal in a further Commons vote the following day. Should MPs decide not to proceed without a deal they will be given a say on extending the March 29 deadline. But the Prime Minister has been warned Brexiters are plotting to reject the Withdrawal Agreement if they cannot be satisfied the UK will not be tied indefinitely to the EU through the backstop.
Government sources believe that Prime Minister Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement could lose by 100 votes, whilst unelected peers in the House of Lords have voted in favour of Brexit Britain staying in a customs union with the EU. Mrs May was defeated by a record majority of 230 when her Brexit deal was voted on in January, and one Cabinet minister allegedly told The Telegraph that it seems “certain” the Prime Minister will lose the second vote on Tuesday by a margin of up to 100 which would leave her in “serious difficulty.”
DESPERATE Theresa May will today tell EU chiefs their Brexit deal will be voted down by MPs next week unless they climb down. The PM’s last ditch plea comes as her high stakes stand-off with Europe’s bosses over the Irish backstop rolls into a third day. With talks still stalled after Tuesday’s Brussels bust up, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox last night called off a new trip to the Belgian capital today – with only four days to go until a final Commons showdown.
THERESA May will today tell European Union leaders it is in their interests to agree a new divorce deal as she battles to keep Brexit on track. Britain and Brussels were locked in a standoff on Thursday after Eurocrats demanded fresh proposals but were in turn accused of being intransigent. The Prime Minister will insist the government remains determined to secure legal changes to her exit agreement that will make it acceptable to MPs.
Theresa May is to make a last ditch plea to the European Union to give ground and allow changes to the proposed Brexit deal that would allow her party’s MPs to back it. The prime minister will give a speech saying that the actions of Brussels negotiators will have a material impact on the outcome of the critical vote next week. Her intervention comes as her chief negotiator is expected to head back to Brussels on Friday in a bid to secure something which will allow the government to say it has won some kind of alteration.
Theresa May will allow MPs a free vote on whether to pursue No Deal next week if her own proposals are defeated, two of her allies said last night. They said she accepted it would be impossible to whip a vote on No Deal without causing a destabilising wave of resignations that could bring down her fragile government. ‘Whichever way you whipped it, it would split the party,’ one said. ‘A free vote is inevitable.’ Chancellor Philip Hammond also hinted at the move yesterday.
Labour has admitted it will not support a new referendum on Brexit in all circumstances, in a major blow to those in the party campaigning for one. Sources close to the Labour leadership confirmed that the party is not advocating a referendum on anything other than a “damaging Tory Brexit” and will not support one if Britain leaves the EU on terms that Labour backs. The Independent has learnt that the issue was the subject of a row between Mr Corbyn’s shadow ministers that pitted Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry against Brexit-backing frontbenchers led by Jon Trickett.
DOMINIC Grieve and leading Tory Remainers met with senior members of Emmanuel Macron’s French government yesterday to plot a second referendum. The serial EU rebel led a caucus of Europhile Tories meeting French Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau and other senior French politicians in the French President’s team to discuss extending Article 50, according to the Daily Telegraph. Mr Grieve is among several Tory MPs who are campaigning for a second referendum. They back plans to extend Article 50 – so they can push for another In-Out vote.
In a truly astonishing development, hardline Tory Remainer MP Dominic Grieve is set to meet with figures from Emmanuel Macron’s French government figures including Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau. According to The Telegraph they will be discussing the extension of Article 50 and a potential second referendum. It is rumoured that the French want to see a massive delay to Berexit of close to two years. Loiseau is to apparently meet Grieve in his parliamentary office with other advisers and officials.
Geoffrey Cox is facing a backlash in Brussels and Dublin after claiming the Irish backstop posed a risk to the human rights of people in Northern Ireland. In the latest round of negotiations in Brussels, the attorney general told Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, the arrangement could potentially breach the European convention on human rights (ECHR). It came amid increasing gloom in Westminster over the talks’ chances of success and as Cox hit back at EU complaints that his proposals to end the Brexit deadlock were too vague.
Geoffrey Cox claimed the Irish border backstop would breach the human rights of people in Northern Ireland in a scramble for new concessions, the EU said tonight. Sources said the Attorney General made the move in Tuesday night’s fractious negotiating session with Michel Barnier, the Guardian reported. He is said to have warned a permanent backstop would breach the rights of people in Northern Ireland to choose their politicians because it means imposing EU rules.
The EU sent Attorney General Geoffrey Cox packing after ‘difficult’ and ‘negative’ 11th hour talks failed again leaving Theresa May with ‘nothing’ that could win her make-or-break Brexit vote, it was revealed today. Mr Cox has openly admitted he had ‘robust’ conversations with his counterpart Michel Barnier – diplomatic code for a bust-up – as he returned from Brussels empty handed last night with one source claiming: ‘There is no light at the end of the tunnel’. Without a breakthrough the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal faces another catastrophic Commons defeat with a senior Tory admitting: ‘Everything is going to be s***’ if they lose again next week.
LEO Varadkar has blamed Britain for the impasse over the Irish border and insisted the UK should be offering more help to “mitigate the damage” caused by Brexit. The Taoiseach said Ireland and the EU had already made concessions and it was now up to Westminster to propose a solution. Expressing surprise that the UK was now issuing further demands, he said: “I often wonder why people are asking us to make further concessions, we’ve made a lot of concessions already – accepting a UK-wide element to the backstop when we only ever wanted it to be Northern Ireland specific.”
STRIKES by French unions against Brexit caused farcical scenes – after migrants used them as cover to try sneak aboard Brit lorries. The protests were branded a border farce and “irresponsible” as the go-slow by custom officers opened the door to people in Calais trying to illegally get into the UK. Strikes forced lorries to queue 15 miles back as far as Dunkirk, while train passengers in Paris were “interrogated” as they tried to get home on the Eurostar.
TORY party chiefs fear they could lose 1,000 councillors in a local elections meltdown, sealing Theresa May’s fate in No10. The Government’s ongoing Brexit turmoil and an impossibly high bar from 2015’s success will mean losses at the May 2 polls will stretch into “the high hundreds”, one senior figure has claimed. The PM’s allies suspect her mounting army of Tory MP critics will wait for the expected ballot box battering before demanding she resigns.
A major independent inquiry into ‘institutional anti-Semitism’ in the Labour party has been announced. The independent investigation by the respected Equalities and Human Rights Commission will examine how the party deals with anti-Semitism. Party bosses will be forced to hand over a raft of private emails and text messages as part of the investigation. It will place Jeremy Corbyn in the spotlight and force him to explain the barrage of allegations of anti-Semitism against him.
A Jeremy Corbyn ally called for Britain’s equality watchdog to be abolished after it announced it was probing anti-Semitism claims in the Labour party. Huda Elmi, a member of Labour’s ruling NEC, said the Equality and Human Rights Commission was a ‘failed experiment’ and should be scrapped. The Momentum activist’s comments came after the EHRC said Labour may have ‘unlawfully discriminated’ against Jewish people. Labour said it will co-operate fully with the Commission, but said the party rejects ‘completely’ any suggestion that it has acted unlawfully.
The Lib Dems have decided to flagrantly ignore another result in a referendum they actually called themselves – using the excuse that more old people voted the way they wanted. Richmond Lib Dems held a vote to gauge public support for their plan to reduce speed limits to 20mph across the Borough. Almost 10,000 people took part in the vote, which split 51% to 49% against them… True to form, the Lib Dems have decided to ignore the result and implement their original plans anyway, barring three minor exemptions.
Europe’s banks are to be flooded with another round of state-subsidised loans this year after the European Central Bank scrapped plans to tighten monetary policy in the face of collapsing eurozone growth. Interest rates will be left unchanged in the bloc until at least 2020, the bank said as it abandoned plans for a rise after the summer. It will also relaunch a cheap funding scheme that is likely to deliver commercial banks hundreds of billions of euros in subsidised loans.
Top economists at Germany’s Ifo Institute have admitted that a “No Deal” Brexit — “Hard Brexit”, according to detractors, or “Clean Brexit”, according to proponents — would not leave the United Kingdom any worse off than the European Union, unless it was executed extremely poorly. “In the case of a hard Brexit, would the UK really apply the high EU external tariffs and carry out elaborate physical checks at the borders?” asked Gabriel Felbermayr, director of the German think tank, in a report covered by the Telegraph newspaper.
The Passport Office website crashed yesterday after a warning that millions of holidaymakers could be barred from EU countries by a No Deal Brexit unless they beat today’s renewal deadline. A surge in applications was triggered by consumer group Which? after it said 3.5million Britons with less than six months left on passports could be stopped from entering multiple European countries this summer – including France, Spain and Italy. However, those who acted on the advice found the Government website was not working, and were presented with the message: ‘This service is not available. If you don’t want to wait you can apply a different way.’
Millions of UK travellers could be barred from entering many European countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit unless they renew their passports by Friday, a consumer group has claimed. Holidaymakers and business travellers risk falling foul of rules for entering countries in the Schengen zone such as France, Spain and Italy, according to Which?. Until recently, UK citizens who renewed their passport before it expired could have up to nine months of the remaining validity added to their new travel document.
Sadiq Khan was under fire last night after claiming he could not do any more to stop the knife crime epidemic which yesterday claimed another teenage victim in the capital. The London mayor was accused of passing the buck after blaming Conservative education policies for helping fuel knife crime. The former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said Mr Khan was “playing party political games” when he was the man responsible for policing policies in London that could stop the killings.
Sadiq Khan today rolled his eyes and said ‘I’ve done all I can’ as he was grilled over his failure to tackle London’s knife crime epidemic – four years after promising to do ‘everything in my power’ to cut stop and search. The Mayor of London made the vow in 2015 while still on the campaign trail, claiming the tactic was ‘overused’ and undermined public confidence in the police. In his Sky News interview today, Mr Khan said he had done ‘as much as I am allowed to do under the law’ to curb knife crime by raising council tax three years in a row and using money from business rates to invest in policing and youth services.
SADIQ Khan has blamed the Government for knife crime TWENTY times since becoming Mayor of London, The Sun can reveal. As violence has continued to increase the Mayor repeatedly says he can’t solve the problem. Instead he pins the blame on funding cuts and demands more cash time and time again. Even in his manifesto before the 2016 mayoral election, Mr Khan attacked austerity, saying: “On the Tories’ watch, there’s been a worrying rise in violent crime.” After he took over from Boris Johnson, the Labour politician saw a surge of fatal stabbings on his patch.
SAJID JAVID has asked for £300 million to tackle knife crime in Britain’s biggest cities, The Sun can reveal. Amid a bitter Cabinet rift on police funding, the Home Secretary has demanded the top-up cash in a formal request to No.10. He also wants police to track knife crime and a Cabinet sub-committee set up to tackle the blood-letting in “hot spots”. The money would be spread over three years and ring-fenced for knife crime. One insider said: “Extra money is needed and it has to be a serious amount to make a difference.”
One of Britain’s most senior police officers has demanded “harsh” sentences for criminals caught carrying knives as the country’s stabbings death toll continues to rise. Andy Cooke, chief constable of Merseyside Police, said judges needed to get tough on people who end up before the courts for carrying weapons, and urged the Government to unite in tackling the issue of knife crime, “rather than putting an obstacle in the way at every turn”.
Police chiefs rounded on the chancellor yesterday after he told them they would have to make do with current budgets despite forces’ pleas for emergency funds to tackle the knife crime epidemic. Senior officers reacted with outrage after Philip Hammond accused senior officers of failing to prioritise the staff and resources available. Labour called the suggestion “monstrous”.
Philip Hammond rebuffed chief constables’ demands for more cash to tackle rising knife crime and told them to use resources they already have to deal with the outbreak of violence. The Chancellor said instead of asking for money, police forces should transfer staff from ‘lower priority’ crimes. His comments were seen as a sharp slap-down of Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who this week said Ministers ‘have to listen’ to chief constables ‘when they talk about resources’, while police union leaders called the remarks an ‘insult’.
Hospitals will be told to send far more emergency patients home on the same day, under new NHS plans. Health officials say one in three emergency admissions will be sent home without an overnight stay, after being given access to on-the-spot tests. They say patients with conditions as severe as pneumonia could be helped by new services, which will see them assessed, diagnosed, treated and sent home without an overnight stay.
Thousands more people will be offered blood pressure lowering drugs as part of a drive to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Draft guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) recommend reducing the threshold at which the treatment should be offered. Health officials said as many as 450,000 more men and 270,000 more women with high blood pressure, known as hypertension, may now be eligible. However, in practice, many of these patients could already be receiving treatment because of variation in how earlier recommendations were implemented, Nice said.
The British public’s satisfaction with the National Health Service (NHS) is at an 11-year low, with people’s biggest complaint being waiting times for appointments. The British Social Attitudes survey found that just 53 per cent of the 2,926 people they polled between July and October 2018 were satisfied with the NHS — a three percentage point drop from the year before and the lowest approval rating since 2007. Four of the main reasons people gave for being dissatisfied were long waiting times for GP or hospital appointments (53 per cent), followed by not enough staff (52 per cent), lack of funding (49 per cent), and one-third identifying money being wasted.
More than 1,000 new trains will be introduced to the rail network this summer in the biggest shake-up of timetables since the meltdown of services 12 months ago. Changes will be made to schedules operated by 14 rail companies in May including South Western, Northern, Greater Anglia, Scotrail and West Midlands Railway. The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies and Network Rail, insisted that new systems had been introduced to manage the change and ensure the necessary infrastructure, staff and trains are in place to ensure that advertised services will run.
HEAVY snowfall is set to wreak havoc on the UK within days as the Met Office forecasters fear a month long deep freeze may take hold. A polar blast will be sweeping in with snow, ice and freezing gales as winter makes a last-minute comeback, according to some forecasters. Exacta Weather’s James Madden told the Express: “Wintry showers will start to spread across much of the country this month, we are looking at a significant snow risk which could reach as far south as London.