The Brexit Party
BORIS Johnson offered an olive branch to Nigel Farage as he ruled out extending the Brexit transition period beyond 2020. The Tory leader’s pledge came as he bigged-up his “Canada-style” deal with the EU in a video posted on Twitter on Sunday. Mr Johnson also stressed his agreement would be free of any political alignment. He said: “It’s a fantastic deal, it means we can take back control of our money, our borders, our laws as soon as we come out of the EU. “And of course it enables us to do a big free trade deal with our EU friends and partners. “And I want to stress that will be a straight-forward free trade agreement not based on any kind of political alignment.
Boris Johnson has offered an olive branch to Nigel Farage by ruling out extending the Brexit transition period beyond 2020. In the Prime Minister’s Sunday evening Twitter video he stressed that his agreement with the EU allowed him to pursue a Canada-style free trade deal with the Bloc and would be free of any political alignment. The Brexit Party leader has said he will pitch candidates in 600 constituencies unless Mr Johnson agrees to go for the hardest possible withdrawal in the form of No Deal or a ‘clean-break Brexit.’
NIGEL FARAGE has been warned to back off ahead of the December 12 general election as Brexiteers fear he could thwart Boris Johnson’s chances of winning a majority and delivering Brexit. The stark reality is the Brexit Party needs to win over just one in every 16 Tory voters in order for a hung Parliament to be delivered, according to an expert. Mr Farage reiterated his desire to enter into a pact with the prime minister ahead of the ballot, saying the “clock is ticking” with less than five weeks left until Britons cast their vote. Professor Matthew Goodwin of Kent University, who analysed data, told the Sun: “The Conservatives need as many Brexit Party supporters as possible.
THE Conservatives were accused of “scamming” voters today by sending unpaid mail that appeared to be official NHS letters but turned out to be Tory pre-election PR. Douglas Smith from St Albans was charged £4 by the Royal Mail to collect two letters on Thursday which had been sent to him and his partner. He claimed that the NHS logo was visible through the transparent envelope windows and Mr Smith said he thought they were notifications of hospital appointments. But the businessman said he was “disgusted” to open the letters and find that they were mailshots from the Tories asking for voters’ opinions on the NHS. The letters, which he picked up from his local Royal Mail office after paying a fee, have stickers on the envelopes stating that recipients must pay £2 to collect each letter.
Free movement could continue under Labour’s Brexit plans, the party’s campaign chief said yesterday – despite a 2017 election pledge to end it. Andrew Gwynne said Labour would seek to negotiate ‘bespoke reciprocal arrangements’ that would allow people to continue travelling freely between Britain and the EU. In 2017, Labour pledged to end free movement in a bid to shore up support in Leave-voting seats. But at the party’s annual conference in September, delegates voted to ‘maintain and extend free movement’ regardless of whether Britain left the EU.
Labour activists are urging Jeremy Corbyn to incorporate the radical pro-migration policy passed at the party’s conference into its manifesto this week as the Tories prepare to weaponise the issue in the election battle. Senior Labour figures are expected to meet on Monday to thrash out the details of the party’s policy, but a final decision will not be made until next weekend. Grassroots campaigners succeeded in persuading Labour’s conference in September to adopt a series of radical policy motions on issues including migration, private schools and the climate crisis.
Britain will be in an economic crisis “within months” of Labour taking office, Sajid Javid warned yesterday as he defended Conservative claims that Jeremy Corbyn’s policies would cost the country £1.2 trillion. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, rejected the analysis of Labour’s spending plans as a “ludicrous piece of fake news”. The party said that it included plans that had never been part of its policy and others that had been double-counted or misrepresented.
Labour would plunge Britain into an economic crisis ‘within months’, Sajid Javid said yesterday – as he insisted Jeremy Corbyn‘s policies would cost the UK £1.2trillion. In a combative intervention, the Chancellor brushed aside Labour protests to warn that Mr Corbyn’s hard-Left agenda would cost the equivalent of more than £43,000 per household over five years. Mr Javid also hinted that the Conservatives would offer tax cuts, saying he wanted people to ‘keep more of their own money’. The bombshell dossier on Labour’s plans came as the head of one of the UK’s best-known retailers warned that Labour’s ‘animosity’ towards business would damage the economy on which future prosperity depends.
REMAINERS trying to reverse the result of the historic 2016 EU referendum have been warned to keep in mind one significant “misunderstanding” if they are successful in their attempts, a former UK diplomat has claimed. Britons will head to the polls on December 12 as Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to secure a majority to deliver his agreed Brexit deal with the bloc. But, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to give Brits another Brexit referendum if he holds power after the vote, while Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has demanded the UK “stop Brexit”.
People’s Vote employees are refusing to return to work even after its chief executive stepped down pending an inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment. Patrick Heneghan, Labour’s former elections chief, is reported to have faced accusations of misconduct from three female staff members. The organisation is still understood to be stuck in a stand-off with workers, who say they have concerns about the governance of the campaign. On Saturday, People’s Vote launched a tactical voting app for Remain voters keen to get as many pro-EU MPs as possible returned to parliament in December.
The new chief executive of the People’s Vote campaign has stepped down pending an investigation into allegations of harassment towards female staff. Patrick Heneghan, who was appointed to the role two weeks ago, has been accused of inappropriate behaviour by three women who work at the campaign. Female staffers wrote to the board of Open Britain, the largest organisation under the umbrella of People’s Vote, saying they felt “unsafe” returning to work while Mr Heneghan was in charge. Members of the board, chaired by businessman Roland Rudd, have now been informed that Mr Heneghan will take a leave of absence while an investigation takes place, The Independent understands.
Local authorities will need billions of pounds of extra funding over the next five years to meet rising social care costs even if they put up council tax, a leading think tank has warned. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said that the cash would be needed even if council tax were to increase at double the rate of inflation. Councils and central government fund care for older people, including in nursing homes, for those who are judged not to be able to afford it themselves. They also fund support services for other adults and children.
Working parents could receive 35 hours of free childcare each week for babies once they turn nine months under plans announced by the Liberal Democrats. Party leader Jo Swinson said the proposal would give parents more choice about when they return to work and “unlock their untapped potential for the economy” as part of her “bold plan to build a brighter future”. The Lib Dems have pledged to provide every child aged two to four with 35 hours of free childcare for 48 weeks of the year, which they said would be extended to children aged between nine and 24 months where their parents are in work.
Military veterans will be given new legal protection to prevent them being prosecuted over killings during The Troubles, in a pledge to be made in the Conservative Party manifesto. Boris Johnson will go into the election with a promise to alter the Human Rights Act in order to bring an end to “the unfair trials” of soldiers. The Telegraph has learnt that the current draft of the manifesto includes a promise to end ‘ongoing… prosecutions’. It is unclear if ministers could ever intervene in active criminal court proceedings, and last night the Government refused to comment further.
The Conservatives and Labour have used Armistice Day to unveil competing packages of proposals to help military personnel and their families, with offers including a veterans’ railcard and a pay rise for the armed forces. The Labour proposals were centred around improving pay and conditions for serving military staff. A commitment to increase pay as part of the scrapping of the public sector pay cap were among five pledges announced. The party said the cap meant an army private had suffered a 5.8% cut in real-terms starting salaries since 2010. The other commitments were to improve housing for service people and their families, with less reliance on privately rented homes; a Police Federation-style representative body for personnel; an end to other privatisation within the military; and improved access to schools for children of force members, who often move area frequently.
As the election campaign enters its second week, the two main parties have shifted their focus to serving military personnel and veterans. Boris Johnson has vowed to protect veterans from vexatious legal action while Jeremy Corbyn wants to improve working conditions. Mr Johnson would amend the Human Rights Act so it does not apply to incidents before 2000, when the law came into force. This would include deaths during the Troubles. The Tory leader, who will mark Armistice Day in the Black Country, said: “As we remember the ultimate sacrifice made by our brave men and women for their country just over a century ago, it is right that we renew our commitment to the soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and veterans of today.”
The Conservatives will pledge today to end the “unfair trials” of soldiers accused of murders in Northern Ireland by banning inquests from returning verdicts of unlawful killings for deaths during the Troubles. The party will pledge to amend the Human Rights Act to exclude any death in Northern Ireland that took place before the act came into force in October 2000. The act has been the key legal route by which families have sought to prove British state involvement in killings that took place during the Troubles.
Boris Johnson last night vowed to change the law to protect Northern Ireland veterans. On the eve of Armistice Day, he unveiled a plan to end a legal ‘witch-hunt’ against our former soldiers and told them: ‘We will always support you.’ The Prime Minister wants to amend the Human Rights Act so that it does not apply to any incidents before it came into force in October 2000. It would end the obligation on the authorities to investigate veterans, many now in their 60s, who served during the Troubles.
The Conservatives will promise tax breaks for companies that employ military veterans as the political parties mark Armistice Day. Labour will call for a pay rise for British troops and an end to privatisation in the armed forces, while the Liberal Democrats want to make it easier for foreign soldiers fighting for the UK to become citizens. The Tories are unveiling a series of new policies aimed at serving troops and veterans, including free breakfast and after-school clubs for the children of the armed forces. They say that all veterans applying for public sector jobs will be guaranteed an interview, in an expansion of a policy already applied by some local authorities.
The actions of Russia, China and Iran could “easily lead to inadvertent miscalculation” and increase the chance of war, the chief of defence staff Sir Nick Carter has said. Sir Carter wrote in a Remembrance Day newspaper column that the threats to peace were growing due to the ambitions of certain states and the actions of groups including Isis. “Our competitors have become masters at exploiting the seams between peace and war,” the general wrote in The Sunday Telegraph. “Energy, cash as bribes, corrupt business practices, cyber-attacks, assassination, fake news, propaganda, soldiers in unmarked uniforms and deniable private military and security companies, the usurping of supply chains, the theft of intellectual property, and old-fashioned military intimidation are all examples of a new age of alternative ‘weapons’ used to gain advantage, sow discord, undermine our political cohesion and insidiously destroy our way of life.”
Villagers whose homes have been swamped with waist-deep floodwater yesterday accused the authorities of abandoning them. Fishlake, near Doncaster, was cut off by its worst flooding in living memory when the River Don burst its banks. About 700 residents were told to evacuate over the weekend after nearly a month’s worth of rain fell in a single day. But many said by the time flood warnings had been issued and sandbags handed out, it was already too late to save their properties from the flood. And they said they have since been left with ‘no support’ on the ground from the local council. After the weather brought chaos to parts of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and with little sign of the water subsiding last night, it is likely to be days until residents can start to examine the damage.
FLOOD-stricken residents hit by last week’s deluge have been told to leave their homes as more ‘danger to life’ warnings were issued today. Around half the 700 residents of Fishlake, near Doncaster, left the village as the River Don burst its banks last week. Those who stayed behind have been forced to battle waist-high floods, with a local cafe and pub supplying food to those trapped inside their homes. But today Doncaster Council said it cannot provide “on the ground support” in Fishlake and urged the residents to leave their homes for their own safety. Chief executive Damian Allen said: “We are concerned over reports that some residents remain in the Fishlake area.
A military helicopter is working through the night to bolster defences in flood-hit South Yorkshire as more rain is forecast. An RAF Chinook began ferrying bags of aggregate on to flood banks in the Bentley area of Doncaster on Sunday evening – close to an area of housing which was inundated by floodwater on Friday. The air drops in the Doncaster area came as the Met Office issued fresh weather warnings and as people who stayed in a flooded village cut off by river water were urged to leave by the council. Around half the 700 residents of Fishlake, near Doncaster, left the village as the River Don burst its banks last week.
Patients with the six deadliest forms of cancer are being ‘neglected’ due to a chronic lack of research funding, a report has revealed. Survival rates for pancreatic, liver, brain, lung, oesophageal and stomach cancer stand at just 14 per cent. For breast cancer, the figure is 87 per cent. While the deadliest forms of the disease account for half of all common cancer deaths, they receive just 7 per cent of research spending on cancer in the UK. This creates a ‘vicious cycle’ that means there are few treatment options or clinical trials available for those with the least survivable cancers on the NHS.
Labour will recruit 24,000 extra nurses if Jeremy Corbyn becomes PM – while the Tories will fall 10,000 short if Boris Johnson stays in power. Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth revealed Labour’s manifesto pledge to reinstate NHS student bursaries worth £20,000 a year in maintenance and support. Their scrapping by the Tories three years ago has contributed to 40,000 unfilled nursing posts. And as demands on the NHS grow that will increase by another 10,000 over the next five years. Now in an exclusive interview Mr Ashworth promises: “I will be the nurses’ champion because I know how valuable they are.
Medicines derived from the cannabis plant have been approved for use on the NHS for the first time. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has approved a drug for epilepsy in children and another for multiple sclerosis. Campaigners hope they open the door for more cannabis-based drugs. Epidyolex, made from cannabis oil, can reduce seizures in children over two with two rare forms epilepsy. Sativex is a spray containing cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive constituent of cannabis, and can treat muscle stiffness in people with multiple sclerosis.
TWO cannabis-based medicines have been cleared for NHS use for the first time. Epidyolex is recommended for two rare types of epilepsy while the spray Sativex can ease muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. But regulators say there is not enough evidence to approve cannabis-based drugs for chronic pain. Campaigners have welcomed the go-ahead but said thousands of other people who could benefit from cannabis-based medicines were left in limbo. Millie Hinton, from the group End Our Pain, said it had been “a massive missed opportunity”. Last year, it was made legal for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis.
Fewer than half of students consistently support freedom of speech and two fifths favour censorship and no-platforming of controversial speakers, research has shown. A “culture of conformity” may also be having an effect on undergraduates, who are often too intimidated to espouse unpopular views on campus, according to a report by the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange. Deep-rooted reform is needed at universities, which should establish academic freedom champions reporting directly to the vice-chancellor, it says.
A group of schools has been criticised for entering hundreds of English-speaking teenagers into a GCSE exam aimed at pupils who moved here from abroad. Ofsted revealed one of the schools – Harris Academy Orpington in south London – spent £10,000 so almost an entire year group could sit an English as a Second Language International GCSE – even though 95 per cent of the pupils spoke only English. The results from those who passed the exam could have been used to boost the schools’ performances in league tables.