MORE than 200 undercover SAS soldiers will be deployed in shopping centres and high streets across Britain following fresh MI5 intelligence of a terror attack planned for Christmas. SAS commanders have cancelled all leave, sources said last night, as the regiment’s soldiers join police in the largest counter-terror surveillance operation in recent years. It comes as Home Office officials respond to the latest intelligence warning from the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, part of MI5, of a major attack by Islamic State extremists on mainland Britain. While the UK is already on a state of alert sources say they are responding to “new and urgent” threats which have emerged from captured IS militants in Iraq. The Special Forces soldiers will operate under police direction but will be armed and ready to provide advice on hostage situations and any chemical incidents.
British police said they had arrested six people in anti-terrorism raids across central England and London on Monday. Officers held four men from Derby and another in Burton on Trent in central England while a woman was also arrested in London on suspicion of preparing an act of terrorism. “We recognise that local people may have concerns as a result of these arrests and local officers will be out in the area as usual to speak to anyone who may have concerns,” a statement from the North East Counter Terrorism Unit said. “We would ask people to remain alert and vigilant but not to be alarmed and we are grateful for the assistance, support and understanding of people locally.” There was no further detail about the allegations.
Six people have been arrested on terrorism offences. Four men from Derby, aged 22, 27, 35 and 36, a 27-year-old man from Burton-on-Trent and a 32-year-old woman from London have all been arrested on suspicion of engaging in the preparation of an act of terrorism. Six properties in Derby, Burton on Trent and London are all being searched as part of the investigation. The six people are currently in police custody.
The prime minister is understood to be considering plans to allow councils in England and Wales to increase council tax to fund the social care system. It follows warnings that the system could “topple at any moment” leading to pressure on the NHS as patients cannot be released from hospital. Local councils have suffered more than a 40% reduction in government grants since 2010. The government has refused to comment on the reports. Former chancellor George Osborne previously introduced a 2% precept to pay for care for the elderly and disabled. Some councils have warned that even if every local authority imposed the maximum extra levy, social care would still face a funding gap of at least £2.6bn by 2020.
Theresa May will back steep rises to council tax bills this week in an attempt to plug a gaping hole in social care funding. Warnings of an “absolute crisis” in the industry have prompted the prime minister to drop her opposition to the increases, as the government strives to prove that it is facing up to the ballooning costs of caring for Britain’s ageing population. The move comes after Mrs May prevented Philip Hammond, the chancellor, from addressing social care in his autumn statement last month. Mr Hammond had wanted to announce bigger rises in local authority precepts, but was ordered to delay because of fears that the change would add to the burden on low-income families.
UKIP has vowed to fight back against the removal of Union Jack and St George’s flags currently being flown across a south east English town by the local council. UKIP councillors in Thurrock have said they will maintain the approximately 16 flags flying from lamp posts in the centre of town, despite the council’s insistence that they will be removed on Monday 12 December, Your Thurrock has reported. The flags were originally installed in November by the Tim Aker Foundation in conjunction with the Nicky Mason Charity, set up in remembrance of a local fallen soldier, with the council giving permission for them to remain up during the run up to Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday. But locals were hoping that the flags might stay as a regular feature in the town. UKIP Cllr Tim Aker has called for locals to resist the move, commenting on Twitter: “Thurrock Council want to take down our flags. We will keep them up. Even if they take them down. Are you with us?”
A SECRET group of MPs are pushing for an early General Election to secure Brexit.Plans are being put together by a secret team of Tory advisors after a surge in support for the Conservative Party. The move depends entirely on the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing held this week in which the Government appealed a High Court decision which ruled parliamentary approval needs to be given before Article 50 can be triggered to start the process of leaving the European Union (EU). If the 11 Supreme Court judges rule next month the Government has lost the appeal then Mrs May will call a General Election. The team, which has has even been kept secret from the Cabinet, is planning for a “mandate election” in which Mrs May would be put forward as the champion of “the people versus the judges”, sources told The Mail on Sunday. Current sentiment points towards Mrs May gaining a strong Commons majority and give her the power to quash any opposition to Brexit from the House of Lords.
How Brexit might look is to be mapped out in series of detailed reports published by the House of Lords this week in an effort to fill the void left by the Government refusing to outline its plan. The House of Lords European Union Committee is to release six reports on leaving the union in six days in an advent calendar-style schedule, taking on the biggest issues facing the country. The committee, Parliament’s largest body responsible for scrutinising the EU, is set to offer a view oon how trade, security and other subjects could operate as the Theresa May sticks to her limited ‘Brexit means Brexit’ mantra.
Europeans in the UK
European nationals living in the UK must have a guarantee they can remain after Brexit, campaigners say. The Three Million group is demanding assurances they will not be used as “bargaining chips”. Meanwhile, the think tank British Future wants a “fair” cut-off date for any settlement and citizenship changes. The government says it wants to protect the 2.8 million EU nationals living in the UK, but member states will need to protect UK citizens too. The Three Million group is delivering a letter to Downing Street later on Monday, alongside 10 groups representing the 1.2 million British citizens living in the EU. It wants EU citizens living in the UK to be given permanent residence before Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – getting Brexit negotiations with the EU under way – is triggered, which the government says will happen by the end of March. “We are not bargaining chips,” the letter reads. “We are people”.
EU nationals living in the UK before the formal Brexit process is triggered should be allowed to remain in the country permanently, a report has recommended. Theresa May’s refusal to agree the status of the 2.8 million Europeans in the UK unless the rights of Britons living on the continent are guaranteed is “morally wrong”, according to the report by think tank British Future. It called for the UK to demonstrate “goodwill” and “make the first move” as the Government prepares to begin divorce negotiations. The report, written by an expert panel which included a cross-party group of MPs, said all EU nationals should be eligible for permanent residence with the same health, social and education rights as British citizens.
The government should end uncertainty for EU nationals living in Britain by promising that those based in the UK when article 50 is triggered can stay, according to a report compiled by both sides of the Brexit debate as well as employers and unions. Those who can also show they have lived in the UK for five years should be offered permanent residency, with continued rights for a period to bring in family members and to claim benefits, the study said. It also urged the government to streamline the process for residency applications, amid calculations that at current rates it would take well over a century to deal with all the EU nationals living in the UK. Set up by the British Future thinktank, the report was chaired by the leading pro-leave Labour MP Gisela Stuart, and also featured panellists from the Conservatives and Ukip, as well as the TUC and Institute of Directors.
Millions of EU citizens living in Britain at the moment when Article 50 is triggered should be given the right to remain permanently, according to a report published by an independent think tank today. Migrants arriving after that cut-off point would no longer have an automatic right to stay in the country and could be subject to a change in their immigration status, it adds. The proposal would involve a huge bureaucratic exercise in registering EU citizens, which the report warns threatens to overwhelm the Home Office with one of the biggest administrative tasks it has ever undertaken.
Any EU citizen travelling to the UK after Theresa May triggers Article 50 should not be allowed to permanently stay in the UK after Brexit, a major inquiry concludes today. Amid growing fears of a “surge” of EU migrants travelling to the UK to take advantage of an expected amnesty, a major report by British Future calls for a “cut-off date” to ensure people coming to the UK do not simply “expect to stay after Brexit”. The inquiry, which includes both Remain and Leave MPs, calls for the 3million EU migrants already here to be given an amnesty and offered permanent residence with the same health, social and educational rights as British citizens. Theresa May has so far refused to guarantee the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK, insisting that she will not do so until she has agreement from European leaders that they will do the same for British ex-pats. Around 1.2 million British nationals live in other EU countries.
Another court case
A lobby group backed by Lord Mandelson has instructed lawyers to begin a third legal challenge designed to thwart Brexit. The British Influence think-tank, supported by the architect of New Labour and close ally of Tony Blair, wants a judicial review into whether leaving the EU means automatic withdrawal from the single market. If it succeeds, it would mean MPs – many of whom are opposed to a ‘hard Brexit’ – would be given a say. Leave supporters say remaining in the single market would mean businesses would still have to abide by stifling red tape, and Britain would have to sign up to continued freedom of movement of people. It is the third such case brought forward by Remain campaigners who are seeking to defy the will of the people.
Theresa May is facing a fresh legal challenge to her Brexit plans as campaigners prepare to petition the High Court for Britain to stay in the single market. The claimants, including one Remain and one Leave voter, are seeking a judicial review into Ms May’s apparent decision to opt for a hard Brexit – meaning foregoing access to the single market in exchange for withdrawing Britain from freedom of movement for European workers. Such a review could theoretically give MPs the power of veto over the terms of the UK’s exit. Peter Wilding, chairman of the pro-Europe pressure group British Influence who is credited with coining the word Brexit, and Adrian Yalland, a Conservative lobbyist who voted to leave, launched the High Court bid to ensure the country got a “win-win, smart Brexit; not a lose-lose ideological hard Brexit which will damage the UK”.
Paolo Gentiloni was named Sunday as Italy’s new prime minister following reformist leader Matteo Renzi’s resignation in the wake of a crushing referendum defeat. Gentiloni, who served as foreign minister under Renzi, was asked by President Sergio Mattarella to form a new centre-left government that will guide Italy to elections due by February 2018. A close ally of the outgoing premier, Gentiloni now has to put together his own government team ahead of a parliamentary approval vote expected on Wednesday. In a brief statement, Gentiloni said there was an “urgent need for a fully functioning government” to address a series of pressing international, economic and social issues. Chief among those is a looming crisis in the troubled banking sector and ongoing relief efforts after a series of deadly earthquakes between August and October.
GIBRALTAR has dismissed threats from Spanish politicians trying to scupper a Brexit deal and vowed to stand alongside Britain as it leaves the European Union (EU). Standing in for Andrew Marr, Nick Robinson quizzed Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister, on whether Spain might try to scupper a Brexit deal “at one minute to midnight” as a last-minute tactic to push for joint sovereignty over the Rock. The chief minister replied that Spain’s former foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo had “played that card” ever since Briton’s voted to leave the bloc in June, and thanked him for showing his hand so early. The Gibraltar government has previously accused the Spanish of using the overseas territory as a bargaining chip in the UK’s European divorce talks. Spain tried to float the idea of a Spanish citizenship for the 30,000 residents of the Rock, after 96 per cent of them voted in favour of Remain. But the idea was slapped down by Gibraltar’s leaders who have been vocal in their support for Theresa May’s Government.
ANTARCTICA is hiding a huge city underneath more than a mile of ice, according to incredible claims. The icy mass – measuring over 14 million km-squared – has long been a source of great mystery and was the last continent of the world to be discovered. But its freezing temperatures and barren landscape have stopped people from ever attempting to colonise it, so has remained virtually untouched over the years. However, this may not actually be the case.A scientific theory known as crustal displacement means that thousands of years ago, the icy tundra may have been home to an ancient and mysterious civilisation. Professor Charles A Hapgood, a history expert from the US, first published a paper in the 1950s that said movement in the Earth’s crust meant that only 11,600 years ago large parts of Antarctica were totally ice free. He said evidence of this was in the 500-year-old Piri Reis map – a world map drawn up by the Ottoman admiral of the same name. A number of scholars who have examined the map claim it clearly shows the west coast of Africa, the east coast of South America and the northern coast of Antarctica – but not covered in sheet ice.