The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, is facing a legal challenge from British expatriates who claim that his ban on EU officials negotiating with the UK over Brexit is illegal. The organisation Fair Deal for Expats is planning to launch its action at the EU’s general court in Luxembourg in an attempt to bolster Britain’s bargaining position in preliminary political discussions over withdrawal. Several days after the 23 June referendum result , Juncker announced that he was making a “presidential order” that there should be no negotiations with the UK until Article 50 – formally signalling Britain’s intention to withdraw – has been triggered. By forcing the UK to wait until it has pressed the button on Article 50, many believe Juncker has restricted its room for diplomatic manoeuvre.
Passionate Euro-federalist and leader of the European Liberals Guy Verhofstadt has been appointed to lead the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiations. The former Belgian Prime Minister, who has notably clashed with Nigel Farage in the European Parliament on multiple occasions, will be in charge of dealing with Britain as it attempts to negotiate the best possible deal for Brexit. He will join forces with Michel Barnier, who is leading negotiations for the European Commission. Although Mr Barnier’s role will likely be more significant, the final post-Brexit deal will have to be ratified by the European Parliament.
European Council president Donald Tusk told Theresa May “the ball is now in your court” as the pair discussed the next steps on Brexit. Meeting the PM at Number 10, Mr Tusk said the other 27 member states were waiting to see when the UK would formally trigger its EU departure. Mrs May said she wanted a “smooth” Brexit process. Meanwhile, former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt has been appointed as the EU Parliament’s lead Brexit negotiator. On Twitter, Mr Verhofstadt, head of the Liberal group in the European Parliament, said it was an “honour” to be appointed to the role, which he said would be central to the deal struck with the UK and “any future EU-UK agreements”. EU leaders, excluding the UK, are preparing to meet next week in Bratislava to sketch out the bloc’s future after Brexit.
EUROCRAT Donald Tusk has urged Theresa May to begin Brexit talks as soon as possible. The European Council president told the Prime Minister “The ball is in your court” during a working breakfast at Downing Street. In a sign that Brussels may be losing patience with Mrs May’s dithering over Brexit , Mr Tusk said it was a “crucial time” for the UK and the EU. He also said the leaders of the other 27 EU nations will discuss the “political consequences” of Brexit during next week’s summit in Bratislava.
Theresa May is on a collision course with Parliament over controversial plans to redraw the election map of the UK after Conservative MPs attacked them, with one branding them “perverse”. The review of constituencies due to be published next week will see the number of MPs in the Commons slashed from 650 to 600. But senior Tory backbencher Charles Walker said the move could not be justified without also reforming the unelected House of Lords. Fellow Tory Philip Davies also said it would be an “outrage” if the number of MPs serving as paid-up ministers did not fall at the same time. The plans for the boundary review were first introduced by David Cameron with the goal of ‘equalizing’ the number of registered voters in every constituency, though critics claim it will see Labour lose more seats than the Conservatives.
Members of Stand up to Racism and Trade Unionists for Calais gathered outside the French Embassy in London last night, to protest “in solidarity” with the migrants at Calais, following announcements that The Jungle migrant camp is to be dismantled. Fewer than 50 people gathered outside the embassy to chant slogans such as: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here,” “Let them in and let them stay, Theresa May, hear what we say,” and “Let it every refugee, throw the Tories in the sea.” The town of Calais has been besieged by thousand of migrants trying to reach the UK. Although the port town has been a gateway to Britain for illegal immigrants for over a decade, tensions in the town have risen to new heights over the last eighteen months as the migrant crisis sweeping Europe hit the region hard.
Theresa May could still block plans for a £4 billion renovation of Parliament which MPs claim is needed to avoid a “catastrophic event”. The committee recommending the move was forced to deny it is a “vanity project” following claims it could end up costing far more and is a bad use of public money. Mrs May’s office said the Prime Minister would have to study proposals put forward by the committee before making any decision. Concerns were also raised over whether the UK labour market had enough skilled workers to undertake the substantial project. The Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster, made up of Lords and MPs, produced a report saying the most cost effective, quickest and lowest risk option for carrying out the restoration of Parliament was to move all MPs, Peers and staff out for eight years.
A suspected Islamic State-inspired bomb attack was foiled by police yesterday in what was described as the most significant terror plot against the capital for two years. Counterterrorism detectives arrested two brothers, aged 19 and 20, over fears that they were trying to get hold of chemicals to construct an explosive device in west London. Their alleged targets were unclear but were thought to be random members of the public rather than the military or police. The alleged plot was said to be in the very early stages but sources said that it was more sophisticated than a knife attack.
Two men were arrested in London on Thursday on suspicion of being involved in terrorism, the British capital’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The men, who were not named, were arrested at an address in west London as part of a pre-planned, intelligence-led investigation by the force’s Counter Terrorism Command. One of the men, aged 19, was arrested on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts. The other, aged 20, was arrested on suspicion of funding terrorism and failure to disclose information regarding a terrorist act. He was also arrested on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts under a separate investigation by the South East Counter Terrorism Unit. Officers were searching addresses and vehicles in west and southeast London and in the Thames Valley area. Both men, who are from London, remain in police custody. The current terrorist threat level in Britain is considered severe, meaning that an attack is highly likely.
The Brexit vote has removed the last obstacle to forming a European Army, said the chief of Brussels foreign policy yesterday. Federica Mogherini said the EU could storm ‘one of the last bastions of national sovereignty’ because of the Leave victory. The Italian, a former communist, said Britain leaving the EU meant there were no more excuses not to push ahead with closer defence co-operation. However, former communist states in Eastern Europe are likely to be nervous about how the plan could undermine Nato. They have warned that they are preparing a post-Brexit ‘counter-revolution’ to assert the power of national governments in Brussels.
Theresa May will unveil plans for a new wave of grammar schools on Friday, that will end “selection by house price” and give every child the chance to go to a good school. In her first speech since becoming prime minister, she will say the “arbitrary rule” which prevents new selective schools from being opened has “sacrificed children’s potential because of dogma and ideology”. Under her “ambitious package” of education reforms, new selective schools will have to meet targets on how many pupils they have from poor families or set up new open access schools and help failing institutions. The controversial proposals will also allow other schools to introduce selection “in some circumstances”.
The expansion of grammar schools in England will be accompanied by conditions requiring them to take a proportion of children from low-income families, the prime minister will say. Theresa May will also suggest allowing more faith groups to open free schools. Universities will be told they might have to sponsor an academy if they want to increase tuition fees. Mrs May will say a “belief in social mobility” drives the plans, but Labour says they will “entrench inequality”. In a major policy speech on meritocracy, the prime minister will say: “For too long we have tolerated a system that contains an arbitrary rule preventing selective schools from being established – sacrificing children’s potential because of dogma and ideology. “The truth is that we already have selection in our school system – and it’s selection by house price, selection by wealth. That is simply unfair.”
Theresa May is to change the law and allow a new generation of selective grammar schools, promising a “true meritocracy”. In her first domestic speech since entering Number 10, the Prime Minister will announce plans to lift Tony Blair’s 1998 ban on new grammar schools. Mrs May will claim that the current education system – which sees wealth and a family’s postcode used as a means of back-door selection – is “simply unfair”.
Theresa May will set aside decades of cross-party consensus in education policy by ending the ban on the creation of new grammar schools and attempt to head off critics by proposing measures intended to prevent poorer children losing out. The prime minister will end days of speculation by confirming that her government will reverse the “arbitrary” ban on the creation of new grammar schools that has been in place since 1998. Speaking in London, May will say: “For too long we have tolerated a system that contains an arbitrary rule preventing selective schools from being established – sacrificing children’s potential because of dogma and ideology. The truth is that we already have selection in our school system – and it’s selection by house price, selection by wealth. That is simply unfair.” She will confirm that new selective schools will be allowed to open and that existing schools will be able to become grammars. “This is about being unapologetic for our belief in social mobility and making this country a true meritocracy – a country that works for everyone,” she will say.
SCOTTISH Tory leader Ruth Davidson has launched a stinging attack on Nicola Sturgeon’s shameless bid to tear the UK apart. Ms Davidson branded the First Minister’s desperate bid for a second independence referendum a “direct threat” to Scotland’s economic prospects. And she suggested Ms Sturgeon is more interested in independence than fixing the country’s struggling education system or recruiting more Gps. She said: “The conclusion many people will draw is that the SNP cupboard is bare except for the only idea they’ve ever had – to split up the UK.” The SNP leader has hinted she could abandon her dream of another independence poll if the UK is handed a favourable Brexit deal. But speaking at Holyrood yesterday, Ms Davidson urged stubborn Ms Sturgeon to clearly set out the terms of her ideal settlement. She said: “The First Minister declares that independence will be considered ‘only if it is best or only way to protect our membership in the EU’.
Thousands of Post Office workers are to stage a 24-hour strike in disputes over branch closures, jobs and pensions. Members of the Communication Workers Union will walk out on September 15 after voting overwhelmingly for industrial action. The union warned of an ongoing dispute over jobs, services and pensions, saying the Post Office was at a crisis point. Dave Ward, general secretary of the CWU said: “The Post Office is relentlessly pursuing a programme of cuts that will mean a further 2,000 job losses, staff being left tens of thousands of pounds worse off in retirement and the privatisation of its flagship branches. “The Post Office is at crisis point and the Government has to step in.
NASA has fired a rocket carrying a robot space probe to collect samples from an asteroid which it is feared could one day hit Earth, in a bid to learn more about the origins of life. The 19-storey rocket blasted off from Florida on Thursday and soared in to space at 22,000 mph – more than 28 times the speed of sound. It will take the Osiris-Rex Atlas 5 rocket two years to reach its destination – a dark, rocky mass roughly a third of a mile wide and shaped like a giant acorn orbiting the sun at roughly the same distance as Earth.
World War III
NUCLEAR bombers, ballistic missiles, gigantic navy fleets, massive army drills, and hordes of terrorists – this could be the battleground for World War 3. US Navy admirals have warned that the Asia Pacific region could become the next battlefront in the war on ISIS. Tensions are already bubbling along the Pacific coast which is fast becoming a cauldron of conflict between the five of the world’s biggest players. Russia, China, United States and the unpredictable North Korea are all bolstering their military power across the region as the nations sit in a fragile peace. ISIS adds a new chaotic element to the tense region which could explode into war as conflict flares between the three superpowers and the loose cannon Kim Jong-un.