Leaving the European Union to operate under World Trade Organisation rules could boost Treasury revenues by £80 billion over 15 years, a report backed by leading Tory Brexiteers will claim this week. The hard Brexit group Economists for Free Trade argues in its study that leaving without a deal could increase growth and allow the government to cut taxes and raise spending. It says that trade tariffs would increase customs revenues by £13 billion a year because of the EU’s large trade surplus with the UK.
JACOB Rees-Mogg will tomorrow launch a study showing Britain could get an extra £80billion for tax cuts and public spending by quitting the EU without a deal. The senior Tory MP is to give his backing to research by a group of economists detailing how the UK could be better off trading under World Trade Organisation terms than under Theresa May’s Chequers plan for a deal with Brussels. Increased economic growth, achieved by slashing regulation and boosting trade with countries around the world, will deliver the huge Brexit dividend, the report will argue.
A draft plan for Brexit to be proposed by Tory Eurosceptics includes significant tax cuts, as well as more eyebrow-raising ideas such as a new military expeditionary force to defend the Falklands and a domestic-built missile defence system, according to a leaked version. The document from the European Research Group (ERG), which corrals the bulk of the hard Brexit-supporting Conservative MPs, also argues for a so-called invisible customs frontier on the Irish border, with any checks carried out away from the frontier. After extracts of the leak were carried by several Sunday newspapers, the ERG’s head, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, said it was an early draft.
An influential Brexiteer group said money should be invested in a “Star Wars missile defence programme” to protect the UK after we leave the EU. The European Research Group, which since January 2018 has been chaired by Jacob Rees-Mogg , also suggested sending an “expeditionary force” to defend the Falklands. Leaked sections of a paper produced by the ERG reveal the group also wanted to slash income tax and VAT on domestic fuel after Brexit . The document said: “The UK needs a strong defence to protect these islands, which includes the insurance of a nuclear missile shield to deter aggression.”
The EU is preparing to issue new instructions for negotiating Brexit, it emerged last night. The conciliatory move will bolster Theresa May as she tries to sell her Chequers deal to the Tory party and calm a threatened Brexiteer rebellion. The EU’s 27 remaining leaders are expected to discuss whether to issue additional guidance to Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, at an informal summit in Salzburg, Austria, later this month. Ambassadors in Brussels are reported to have been briefed on the possibility that the EU could take a more conciliatory approach to the negotiations.
Brexit talks are at risk of collapse as a planned EU compromise on the critical question of the Irish border has been branded “unacceptable” by British cabinet ministers. The Independent has learnt that EU officials believe they have struck upon “the only way” to bring the two sides together on the Irish border in a bid to secure a withdrawal agreement later this year. But their proposal has already been outright rejected by at least two cabinet ministers, with one going further and branding the EU’s suggestion “bollocks”.
A senior Eurosceptic Tory MP has warned Theresa May she has until the Conservatives’ annual conference later this month to drop her Chequers plan or face a “catastrophic split” in the party. Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, said Ms May faced ”a massive problem” because Tory party members do not support her Brexit blueprint. He called the plan “not acceptable” and claimed the lack of parliamentary support for it would undermine the UK’s position in negotiations with the EU. Mr Baker, a senior figure in the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Brexiteers, quit the government in July in protest at the Chequers plan, which would see the UK continue to follow EU rules on the trade of goods.
As many as 80 Conservative MPs are prepared to vote against the prime minister’s Chequers plan, a former Brexit minister has warned. Steve Baker, who quit over the deal, said the level of opposition means Theresa May faces a “massive problem” at this month’s party’s conference. He told the Press Association the party will suffer a “catastrophic split” if Mrs May sticks with the Chequers deal. The cabinet backed the plan when it met at the PM’s country residence in July. The agreement, which led to the resignations of then-Brexit Secretary David Davis and the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, sets out a blueprint for the future relationship with the EU once the UK leaves in March 2019.
Theresa May risks a “catastrophic split” in her party if she persists with her Chequers plan for Brexit at this month’s Conservative conference, a former minister has warned. Steve Baker, who quit as a Brexit minister in July, claims at least 80 MPs are prepared to vote down the Chequers plan in the Commons. It comes as ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson moved on from describing the Chequers blueprint as a “suicide vest” to suggesting the UK should slash taxes after Brexit. Mr Baker, the former chairman of the Eurosceptic European Research Group, said Mrs May faces “a massive problem” because of the scale of opposition to Chequers among Tory grassroots members.
The Conservative party has erupted into open civil war after forceful criticism of Boris Johnson over his description of Theresa May’s Brexit plan as a “suicide vest” prompted counter-accusations of a “project smear” by Downing Street. The furious exchanges, in which a leading Tory backbencher said she would probably quit the party if Johnson became leader, herald a turbulent run-up to the party’s conference this month, which is likely to be dominated by intertwined rows over Brexit and the successor to Theresa May.
FOREIGN Secretary Jeremy Hunt sparked talk of his own leadership bid yesterday by saying he now backed leave. The former Remain campaigner said his “views had changed” since getting his new Cabinet post and Brexit was “vital”. And he said ending Britain’s EU membership was the only way of restoring sovereignty and ensures decisions “are taken closer to the people they affect”. The comments in a Sunday newspaper column were immediately latched on by Eurosceptics. One said: “Forget Boris, Jeremy’s the one making a bid now.”
A 4,000-word dossier detailing Boris Johnson’s past indiscretions was circulated in Westminster hours before it was revealed that he had separated from his wife. The document is understood to have been drawn up by one of Theresa May’s aides during the Conservative leadership election in 2016 but was never used because Mr Johnson dropped out of the race to succeed David Cameron. However, it was circulated to two Sunday newspapers last week before the revelations about Mr Johnson’s marriage difficulties became public.
DOWNING Street aides yesterday denied deploying a secret “dirty dossier” on Boris Johnson in a campaign to wreck his leadership ambitions. Insiders confirmed reports that a computer document, entitled WarBook2, detailing allegations of affairs and drug use by the former foreign secretary, had been drawn up by Theresa May’s political advisers in the run-up to her bid for the Tory leadership in 2016. One source insisted the compilation of information had been the work of former staff who had since left the Prime Minister’s team and had not been referred to.
Boris Johnson’s allies accused Downing Street of waging a campaign to discredit him as he faced heavy criticism yesterday for likening Theresa May’s Chequers strategy to a suicide vest. In one of several attacks by ministers, Sajid Javid, the home secretary, criticised Mr Johnson’s language. A former colleague of Mr Johnson at the Foreign Office called the remarks “outrageous, inappropriate and hurtful”. The former foreign secretary was also condemned by the father of the youngest victim of the 2005 London suicide bombings.
At least a dozen Tory MPs are ready to quit the party to stop Boris Johnson becoming leader. They issued the warning last night after he sparked outrage by saying Theresa May’s Brexit strategy had put Britain in a suicide vest and handed the detonator to Brussels. Mr Johnson’s critics accused him of using disgusting language to distract attention from his private life. He is being divorced by long-suffering wife Marina over claims of another affair.
A local Labour Party branch is investigating how the Iranian state broadcaster was allowed to film a meeting at which members passed a vote of no confidence in a pro-Israel MP. Press TV, which is banned in the UK, recorded a party meeting in the Enfield North constituency at which Joan Ryan lost a no confidence motion. Ms Ryan, a former minister under Tony Blair, chairs the Labour Friends of Israel group and has been highly critical of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of antisemitism in the party.
Adults posing as children to claim asylum in Britain are being exposed at the rate of nine every week, according to official figures. Over the past three years three out of five asylum seekers whose age was checked after they claimed to be under 18 were found to be adults. The Home Office statistics revealed 2,336 cases where the claims to be a child were disputed and then checked. Of these, 1,403 turned out to be over 18. More than seven out of ten unaccompanied Vietnamese child asylum seekers whose ages were investigated – around 100 in all – were actually adults.
Ministers will delay an attempt today to redraw the political map of Britain amid fears that it would fuel Tory divisions over Brexit. The government is due to publish a report by the Boundary Commission under which the number of parliamentary seats will be cut from 650 to 600 and constituencies across the country redrawn. Ministers, however, will stop short of tabling a vote on the changes over concerns that it could become a lightning rod for Brexiteer anger over Chequers. While the changes would benefit the Conservatives overall, more than a dozen Tory rebel MPs, including Boris Johnson and David Davis, could find their seats at risk.
Final recommendations for new parliamentary boundaries that could see the number of MPs cut from 650 to 600 will be published later. The Boundary Commission for England submitted its proposals to the government, but they must now be presented to Parliament. The commission said it was “confident” in its new map, which covers constituencies across the UK. Parliament approved the principle of reducing the number of MPs in 2011. Since then, the Boundary Commissions of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were meant to redraw the UK’s political map every five years to take account of changes in population shifts.
The populist right made substantial gains in the Swedish election last night as the country’s prime minister battled to stay in post. Almost one in five voters turned to the radical right-wing Sweden Democrats, while Stefan Lofven’s ruling Social Democrats were on course to fall to their lowest tally in more than a century. Experts believe that there will be weeks or months of gridlock as the two main blocs enter thorny negotiations to form a new government. The Sweden Democrats, whose most prominent policies include taking the country out of the European Union and closing the borders to refugees, claimed to be the “real winners” of the election.
Sweden is headed for a hung parliament after an election on Sunday that saw the nationalist Sweden Democrats make gains, as one of Europe’s most liberal nations turns right amid fears over immigration. The Sweden Democrats, who are anti-immigration nationalists that have been shunned by all other parties, saw their popularity surge in today’s election. Far-right parties have made spectacular gains throughout Europe in recent years amid growing anxiety over national identity and the effects of globalisation and immigration following armed conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.
An exit poll is projecting that nearly one in five Swedish voters backed an anti-immigrant party with white supremacist roots in the Scandinavian country’s election. However, Swedish broadcaster SVT said its poll from Sunday’s election indicates that the centre-left Social Democrats governing Sweden now would remain the largest party in parliament. The poll projects that the ruling party received 26.2% of the vote. If the exit poll results carry over to the official count, the far-right Sweden Democrats would be the second-largest party in parliament.
Exit polls for Sweden’s national elections project a surge in support for the populist Sweden Democrats, who may have won around a fifth of the vote. Jimmie Åkesson’s eurosceptic, anti-mass migration party is forecast to take 19.2 percent of the vote in an exit poll for public broadcaster STV, while the ruling Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s ruling Social Democrats losing significant ground and their Green Party partners only just breaking the 4 percent parliamentary threshold. The Social Democrats’ establishment ‘centre-right’ rivals in the Moderate Party appear to have underwhelmed as well.
The Eurosceptic, anti-mass migration Sweden Democrats have seen their support increase in the country’s latest election. Results so far have seen the two largest parties the Social Democrats and the Moderate Party both lose seats, with the Sweden Democrats gaining around 13 seats and polling around 18% of the vote overall. That compares to 12.9% of the vote in 2014 and just 5.7% of the vote in 2010. Party Leader Jimmie Akesson called for an EU referendum in his country during the election campaign, describing the European Union as a “large web of corruption”.
Artificial intelligence poses a greater challege to the world than terrorism, the incoming president of the British Science Association has warned. Professor Jim Al-Khalili, a physicist at the University of Surrey, warned that progress in artificial intelligence is ‘happening too fast’ and is not being regulated well enough. He said that AI will make Britain increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks and lead to greater inequality as thousands are rendered unemployed.
Drinkers should focus on having two alcohol-free days a week, the country’s most senior public health official said as he distanced himself from the “finger-wagging” approach of NHS colleagues. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, told The Times yesterday that enjoying a drink was “absolutely fine” and his advice to take dry days was a tip rather than a target. He said that drinking should not be treated in the same way as smoking and accepted that alcohol was “a big part of British enjoyment”. Most people were not going to stop over health concerns.
Middle-aged people who enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner should abstain from alcohol on certain days during the week, Public Health England (PHE) has said. The warning comes as PHE and Drinkaware officials launch a new “Drink Free Days” campaign designed to help people cut down on drinking alcohol by choosing to abstain on more days. It comes as a YouGov poll found one in five UK adults are drinking above the chief medical officers’ low risk drinking guidelines. While more than two thirds admitted they would find cutting down on alcohol harder to do than other healthy lifestyle changes such diet improvements, exercising, or quitting smoking.
Drinkers should have at least two alcohol-free days a week to reduce the risk of liver disease, cancer and other illnesses, health chiefs say. Public Health England is urging regular drinkers to set a weekly target of non-drinking days to improve health and avoid dependency. It comes after a poll of almost 9,000 adults found two-thirds of regular drinkers – such as those who drink a glass of wine with dinner every night – believe cutting down would be harder than quitting smoking. One in five are drinking above the recommended limit of 14 units a week, equivalent to a small 150ml glass of wine every day, the survey found.
Four day week
British workers should only have to work four days a week – and should be paid higher salaries, the TUC will argue today. Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, will say that by the end of the century it should be the norm to work one day a week less. And despite doing less work, people should be paid more. Miss O’Grady will unveil the TUC’s latest ambition at the start of its 150th conference in Manchester, and will take aim at the bosses of tech firms such as Amazon for not spreading their wealth fairly.
The leader of Britain’s trade union movement has called for the power of technology to be used to give workers a four-day working week. Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trade Union Congress, will use her speech to the organisation’s 150th annual gathering today to insist that the change is possible in the 21st century. Comparing the campaign to previous fights for limits on working hours and the right to a weekend and annual leave, Ms O’Grady will say it is “time to share the wealth from new technology.” She will argue that wealth generated by new technology should be used to reduce workers’ hours and pay them more, naming Amazon as an example of a company where profits are being unfairly distributed.
FORECASTERS are warning of an early winter freeze as frosty winds look set to grip Britain. Sub-zero temperatures are expected to sweep the country next month, leaving Brits shivering after a long summer. Met Office experts say the weather will vary over the coming weeks – with heavy rain and strong winds in some places and warm sunshine in others – before temperatures eventually plunge. Forecasters say a north-south divide is poised to take hold of Britain early next week. Experts at the Weather Channel said after an unsettled weekend conditions will improve across the south, but stay very mixed in the north.