Brexit

Reuters

European Union officials and diplomats launched a round of confidential discussions this week to prepare a coordinated response to a possible British vote to leave the bloc next month, EU sources told Reuters on Wednesday. Britain will hold a referendum on EU membership on June 23. Senior diplomats from founding powers Germany and France, as well as several other countries, met on Monday for talks chaired by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff, Martin Selmayr, several sources said.

Reuters

Groups campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union have pulled ahead of those urging Britons to remain in the bloc in the race to raise funds, the Electoral Commission said on Thursday. The various groups on the “Out” side received a total of 3.8 million pounds ($5.6 million) in donations between April 22 and May 12, more than double the combined 1.6 million pounds received by groups campaigning for “In”, new data showed. Britons will vote on June 23 on whether to remain in the 28-member EU, the world’s largest trading bloc, a choice with far-reaching consequences for politics, the economy, defence and diplomacy in Britain and far beyond.

Breitbart

Concerns have been raised over recent EU referendum polls that show massive, anomalous leads to the ‘Remain’ camp, calling into question why the Telegraph newspaper is using a lesser known polling company using sample sizes which are less than half that of regular referendum polls. A recent ORB poll showed the Remain campaign in the lead by 13 points among people who definitely intend to vote. This is at odds with polling from major UK pollsters who use larger sample sizes. For instance, Opinium has Remain in the lead by just four points, the same as YouGov. Both companies use sample sizes twice as large as ORB.

Immigration

Sky News

EU net migration has hit a record high at 184,000, the last immigration figures to be released before the referendum show. It is an increase of 10,000 on the previous year, according to the Office for National Statistics, and will be seized upon by Brexit campaigners for whom immigration is a key issue. The figure for the year ending December 2015 means it is joint-highest with the year ending March 2015 – but the highest calendar year on record.

Express

BRITAIN should accept more migrants from the Commonwealth if we quit the EU next month, a leading Ukip politician has said. MEP Diane James said the NHS should be recruiting doctors “who speak our language” instead of migrants from EU countries. She made the comments during a heated debate over next month’s historic referendum on Britain’s relationship with Brussels. James was joined by Tory MP Liam Fox in the Leave corner, while the SNP’s Alex Salmond and Labour’s Alan Johnson battled for Remain.

The Sun

DAVID Cameron turned a deaf ear to the nation’s immigration fears yesterday as figures showed net migration hit a near-record 333,000 last year. The PM, in Japan for a G7 summit, refused to answer questions on the shocking statistic even though immigration is the No1 concern for millions of EU referendum voters. The number of extra migrants that came to Britain in 2015 would fill Wembley Stadium almost four times over.

Daily Mirror

David Cameron’s pledge to slash net migration to tens of thousands lay in tatters today as figures showed 333,000 more people came to the UK than left last year. The number was the second highest yearly total on record. A total of 20,000 more people came to Britain in 2015 than in the previous 12 months, according to quarterly figures from the Office for National Statistics. And net migration from the EU was 184,000 – up 10,000 on a year earlier. The highest 12-month net migration record was 336,000 in the year to June 2015.

Daily Mail

A record number of jobless EU migrants moving to Britain to look for work has pushed immigration from the European Union to an all-time high. In a hammer blow to David Cameron, official figures showed the total number of EU nationals coming here under freedom-of-movement rules hit 270,000 last year. This included a record 77,000 who came without the offer of a job. It also included a record number of arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Sharia law

Breitbart

As part of the UK government’s Counter-Extremism Strategy, the details of an independent review of the application of Sharia Law in England and Wales have been announced. As Breitbart London reported last October, an independent review of Sharia Law was announced by the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Criminal Information, Lord Bates. Sharia is the Islamic legal system, derived from the Quran and the Hadith, which is a significant source of legislation in many Muslim countries. Responding to a written question from the Bishop of St Albans, Lord Bates said: “Sharia councils may be working in a discriminatory and unacceptable way.

Express

THERESA May has launched an inquiry into Muslim Sharia courts, after concerns that they are becoming an alternative legal system in the UK. The Home Secretary said the review would consider whether the courts are being “misused or exploited” to discriminate against women and others contrary to British law and whether they can even “harm” communities. Mrs May said the inquiry will also assess how incompatible the application of Islamic law may be with the law in England and Wales.

Independent

The Government is to launch an investigation into whether sharia courts operating in the UK discriminate against women – legitimising forced marriages and issuing unfair divorce settlements. The Home Office said it would examine claims that sharia courts – or councils – may be working in a “discriminatory and unacceptable way”, seeking to legitimise forced marriage and issuing divorces that are unfair to women, contrary to the teachings of Islam. However, it will also seek out examples of best practice among sharia councils.

Criminal justice

ITV News

Victims and witnesses are being failed by a criminal justice system “close to breaking point”, a new report has warned. According to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the system has been “bedevilled by long-standing poor performance, including delays and inefficiencies”, and cutbacks have affected the ability of courts to deliver justice. The influential committee of MPs said around two-thirds of trials in the Crown Court were delayed or did not go ahead at all. A backlog of 51,830 cases was awaiting a Crown Court hearing as of September last year, and the system was “not good enough” in supporting victims and witnesses, the committee found.

EU

Express

A HEAVILY armed strike force of Euro border guards should be set up with a mandate to intervene in ANY country even without permission, a top Brussels body has urged today. Jean-Claude Juncker has been given the green light to press ahead with his controversial dream of an omnipotent paramilitary EU police force by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). The influential Brussels think tank adopted an opinion today calling on the unelected EU Commission to found a European Border Guard that would have the “right to intervene” even without the permission of a country’s government.

The Times

Steps towards creating a European army are being kept secret from British voters until the day after next month’s referendum. The plans, drawn up by the EU’s foreign policy chief, foresee the development of new European military and operational structures, including a headquarters. They are supported by Germany and other countries as the first step towards an EU army. Similar proposals were vetoed by Britain in 2011, although there are concerns that a loophole could allow nine states to group together and bypass opponents.

Health

Independent

The junior doctor leadership of the British Medical Association discussed “drawing out” their contract dispute with the Government for more than a year, a huge leak of private messages sent between the union’s committee members reveals. Despite publicly stating throughout their dispute that a solution could be reached if the Government was willing to negotiate, Dr Johann Malawana suggested to junior doctor committee members in December that “the best solution may actually [be] to draw this right out” and proposed “a strategy that tied the DH [Department of Health] up in knots for the next 16-18 months”.

Defence

ITV News

The UK will never be part of an EU army, the government has insisted. Following a report that Brussels is moving to promote greater military cooperation between EU member states, a government spokesman said: “The prime minister has repeatedly made clear that the UK will never be a part of an EU army. “We retain a veto on all defence matters in the EU, and we will oppose any measures which would undermine member states’ military forces.” The Times newspaper reported that a policy paper drawn up by the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini suggests the organisation could “step up” its contribution to security defence.

The Guardian

Plans for closer European military cooperation will not be released until after next month’s EU referendum, it has been claimed. The plans, which outline new European military and operational structures that include a headquarters, have been drawn up by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. The Times reported that the proposals will not be seen by European leaders until a summit on 28 June – almost a week after the UK referendum. It is feared that doing so before the vote could boost the leave campaign.

Scotland

BBC News

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has said he would expect another referendum on Scottish independence within two years of a Brexit vote, in a BBC EU debate. He said if Scotland is “dragged out” of the EU “against our will” on 23 June, he believed there would be another vote – and it would back independence. But Conservative Liam Fox said the EU vote should not be “stoked by fear” of a second Scottish referendum. Voters aged 18-to-29 took part in the BBC debate in Glasgow. Ahead of the EU referendum on 23 June, the at-times feisty debate – entitled How Should I Vote? – also included Labour’s Alan Johnson, who backs staying in the EU, and UKIP’s Diane James, who is campaigning for a Leave vote.

Express

NICOLA Sturgeon has refused to deny she would push for another Scottish independence referendum if voters choose to quit the EU. The SNP leader and First Minister yesterday said she was keen to avoid “speculation” about the impacts of Brexit. But speaking on the BBC show Newsnight, she admitted Scotland is more in favour of the EU than other parts of the UK. And many Scots would “look again at independence” if the country was “taken out” of the 28-member bloc next month, Sturgeon added.

TTIP

Morning Star

THE government made history yesterday as the first to accept a motion of “regret” to its own Queen’s Speech in a humiliating climbdown over TTIP. David Cameron reluctantly accepted a cross-party amendment to his programme for government which called for the exemption of the NHS from the EU-US trade deal. The Prime Minister stubbornly insists the NHS is not at risk from the investor-state dispute settlement that would allow companies to sue the government for lost profits if services are not privatised. But a rebellion by Tory Eurosceptics in support of a Labour motion to protect TTIP from the treaty forced him to accept it to avoid the first defeat on a Queen’s Speech since 1924.

Terror

Daily Mail

British Army elite soldiers have put on a show of force in London less than 24 hours after ISIS widow Sally Jones warned people not to visit the capital. The SAS were spotted flying over landmarks such as Big Ben, the Shard and London Eye in new anti-terror choppers in an apparent training exercise. In the event of an attack, the UK’s elite fighting force will swoop into action on the £43million heli-plane which has been nicknamed the ‘Transformer’.  SAS troops on high alert to respond to a Paris-style strike in the UK are training to use the V22 Osprey at Stirling Lines in Credenhill, Herefordshire. People in the capital were quick to spot the Ospreys as they roared above, with many taking to social media to comment on the awe-inspiring choppers. It came a day after a British jihadi bride threatened London with a summer bombing campaign on the Underground. Sally Jones taunted the public on Wednesday by tweeting: ‘You all scare so easily… it only takes a few tweets, because you are pathetic England.’

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