Several cabinet ministers expressed significant doubts about the prime minister’s preferred Brexit plan from the start, the BBC has learned. Parts of Theresa May’s plan were described as “worrying”, “disappointing” and “concerning” by members of her top team back in July. Mrs May is struggling to broker an agreement on Brexit with ministers. Two ministers have told the BBC they believe there is little chance the deal would get Parliament’s backing. One of them said it was “self-harming” for the PM to keep pursuing the same strategy.
THERESA May was last night 48 HOURS from having to trigger hundreds of millions-worth of No Deal projects as Brexit talks entered deadlock. The UK’s Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins held yet another round of intense talks with the EU’s Sabine Weyand yesterday to try and solve a row over customs and the Irish border. But Whitehall sources warned the chances of a deal being ready to present to Cabinet meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday morning were drifting away. They admitted if the PM is unable to put a withdrawal agreement before the Cabinet in 48 hours the chances of a November summit with the EU are OFF.
Downing Street was hoping last night for a deal with Brussels in the next 48 hours amid signs that cabinet unhappiness with the eventual package is growing. British and EU negotiators are closing in on a draft withdrawal agreement as early as tomorrow, possibly giving the green light to a leaders’ summit before the end of this month, but two crucial issues remain outstanding. The first is access to fishing rights during the backstop, the insurance plan to avoid a hard border in Ireland under which Britain would remain aligned with the EU customs union.
Theresa May has been forced to abandon plans for an emergency cabinet meeting to approve a Brexit deal, after fresh opposition at home and abroad plunged her timetable into turmoil. The prime minister shelved the meeting, pencilled in for Monday, slamming on the brakes after fierce resistance in her cabinet and in Brussels threatened to derail the path to an agreement. A government source conceded that an outline deal might not be ready by Tuesday – making it increasingly unlikely that a special EU summit to sign it off can be held in November, as hoped.
Theresa May’s Brexit plan will fail to get through Parliament if Britain is left “trapped” in a Customs Union with the EU against its will, the Leader of the Commons has warned. Andrea Leadsom, a leading Eurosceptic Cabinet minister, warned that the EU cannot be allowed to stop Britain from leaving the Customs Union after Brexit. She said that any arrangement which gave the EU a power of veto would “fail to fulfill the will of the people expressed at the referendum” and be voted down. Her stark warning came as the EU rejected the Prime Minister’s plan for an “independent mechanism” to oversee how the UK might leave a temporary customs arrangements if Brexit talks collapsed.
The UK must not agree to a Brexit deal which leaves it “trapped in a customs arrangement” with the EU, Andrea Leadsom has insisted. The leader of the Commons said she was “sticking in the government” to ensure the UK cannot be “held against its will” in a customs arrangement if a Brexit backstop deal is agreed. With the need to avoid a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland a major sticking point for Theresa May, the UK is likely to agree to a backstop while it negotiates its future relationship with the EU. This could see the whole of the UK effectively remain within the EU’s customs union.
Theresa May’s Brexit plan is under siege from across the Tory party as she attempts to overcome the final sticking points with Brussels in time to push it through a critical meeting of her cabinet ministers on Tuesday. As time runs out, leading Brexiters have told the prime minister they remain deeply opposed to her version of an exit mechanism that would prevent the UK unilaterally quitting a temporary customs arrangement if Brexit talks collapse. Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader and a prominent Eurosceptic, said she was “sticking in government” to make sure the UK did not end up trapped in a customs arrangement.
THERESA MAY’s “so-called Chequers proposals are in truth very far from dead” and the Brexit model will be “at the heart” of the deal she will “shortly and magically secure”, Boris Johnson has argued. The former Foreign Secretary used his weekly newspaper column to stage a dramatic Brexit intervention amid his brother’s bombshell resignation last week. Mr Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “The so-called Chequers proposals are in truth very far from dead. “The essence of the idea – that the UK should remain in the customs union and the single market for goods and agri-food – is what the backstop entails.”
Boris Johnson is calling on his former cabinet colleagues to stage a mutiny over Theresa May’s Brexit plan – but he admits “it will make little difference”. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson says the PM is “on the verge of total surrender” to Brussels and her proposals are “a recipe for continued strife”. “We are on the verge of signing up for something even worse than the current constitutional position. These are terms that might be enforced on a colony,” he adds. Mr Johnson’s stinging attack on Number 10 comes days after his brother,
Boris Johnson has once again laid into the government’s EU plan, insisting that he agreed with his resigning brother Jo’s criticism that it amounted to the “worst of both worlds” and that it “must be thrown out wholesale”. Writing for The Telegraph, BoJo claims that the “ambition of the government – as set out at Chequers and never yet repudiated by the Prime Minister – is to remain in captivity: to stay in our cell, even if we are given the theoretical key to escape”. Ouch. Further more he insists that “on the present plans we will be a vassal state, and in the Customs Union, until such time as our EU partners may feel moved to enter into fresh negotiations on a trade deal”.
BORIS Johnson has urged Theresa May’s Cabinet to stage a mutiny to thwart her Brexit plans. He said the PM is “on the verge of total surrender” and ready to make Britain “the punk of Brussels”. The former foreign secretary believes her “shameful” plans will leave the UK “trapped” in a customs union indefinitely. Mr Johnson hit out days after his brother Jo resigned as Transport Minister and called for another referendum. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: “As my brother Joseph rightly said when he resigned last week, we are already looking at the biggest failure of UK statecraft since Suez.”
BORIS Johnson has warned the UK Government is on the verge of “total surrender” to Brussels as the Brexit talks enter their crucial final stage. In a scathing attack on Theresa May’s negotiating strategy, the former foreign secretary said Britain is about to sign up to something “even worse” than its current deal. Likening the divorce terms to those that “might be enforced on a colony”, Mr Johnson claimed the Prime Minister intends to keep the UK “in captivity” to the EU through its customs union. His latest criticism comes as Mrs May faces renewed pressure from Tories on both sides of the Brexit divide.
No deal plus
JACOB Rees-Mogg has set out his new “no deal plus” vision for Brexit to break the deadlock between the UK and EU, urging Theresa May to finally abandon her unpopular Chequers blueprint. The leading Brexiteer has put forward his “compromise” as the Prime Minister faces major divisions within her party over her Brexit plans, as well as reports of opposition from the EU. Under Mr Rees-Mogg’s proposal, the UK would pay £20 billion to the EU, in what the chair of the influential European Research Group (ERG) has described as a “generous offer” to make Britain’s departure from the bloc as “amicable as possible”.
THERESA May is facing another crisis in her cabinet after the EU officials rejected her key Brexit proposal that would avoid the UK being trapped in the customs union. The Prime Minister had called for an “independent mechanism” that could allow the UK to quit a temporary customs arrangement if Brexit talks collapsed. The plan briefed to senior members of her cabinet including attorney-general, Geoffrey Cox aimed to finally solve the remaining issue of the “Irish backstop” with the bloc. A Whitehall source told the Sunday Times, Mrs May’s plan is the governments “life-support machine” adding: “By rejecting the proposal, the EU has just turned off the oxygen.”
Theresa May’s hopes of securing a Brexit deal have suffered a major setback after the EU signalled it could not accept a key plank of the UK’s plans, HuffPost has been told. The EU27 have rejected Britain’s proposed model for independent arbitration of a temporary customs partnership with the bloc, senior Whitehall sources have revealed. The fresh diplomatic roadblock emerged as rumours swirled that at least one Cabinet minister was on the edge of quitting in the wake of the resignation of transport minister Jo Johnson.
TORY ‘Remainers’ are preparing No Confidence letters in Theresa May as the UK edges towards a No Deal, the Sun can reveal. A furious senior Tory last night stormed “it’s now clear the Prime Minister is the problem” and it was time for a change in No 10. Another – who asked not to be named – said backbenchers were actively planning what to do as “we are staring into the abyss”. Until now it has been the Eurosceptic side of the Tory party that has submitted No Confidence letters in a bid to topple the PM – furious at her for a ‘sell out’ on Brexit. Today’s revelations that PRO-EU Tories are now minded to follow suit will terrify party big wigs. Just 48 letters are needed from Tory MPs to trigger a leadership election.
THERESA May’s Cabinet remains deeply divided over Brexit as the Prime Minister prepares to sell plans for the Northern Irish border to her inner circle at a crunch meeting this week. Agreeing a safety net to avoid a hard border in Ireland is the final obstacle blocking a withdrawal agreement, but senior ministers are at odds over whether the UK can secure terms which allow it to break free from the ‘backstop’. Brexiteers have warned that the wording of the agreement could trap Britain in the EU’s customs union indefinitely. Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom yesterday insisted the UK must be able to leave any customs agreement. But her Cabinet colleague, Education Secretary Damian Hinds, said the EU would be “very, very unlikely” to agree to such terms.
Labour is facing a deepening split after Emily Thornberry insisted the party could back a second referendum despite Jeremy Corbyn insisting that Brexit could not be stopped. Divisions on the Labour frontbench appeared to widen on Sunday, after the shadow foreign secretary appeared to contradict an interview given by Mr Corbyn just days beforehand. Speaking to the German newspaper Der Spiegel on Friday, the Labour leader said that Article 50 was irrevocable and that his party had to “recognise the reasons why people voted leave”.
Emily Thornberry has sought to calm Labour anger by saying the party could still back a Final Say referendum – just a day after Jeremy Corbyn rubbished the idea. The shadow foreign secretary said “all options remain on the table” if Labour fails to force a general election by voting against the Brexit deal Theresa May still hopes to strike within the next few days. Mr Corbyn has angered Labour MPs and supporters by arguing Brexit cannot be stopped – and by going on to reject the growing calls for a fresh public vote. But Ms Thornberry said: “If we don’t have a general election then, yes, of course all the options remain on the table.
British Prime Minister Theresa May cannot expect the opposition Labour Party to save her in a parliamentary vote on any Brexit deal, Emily Thornberry, Labour’s foreign affairs policy chief, said on Sunday. “What we’ve said is that you cannot simply come to the House of Commons with a bit of nonsense … you cannot expect the Labour Party to save you from your own backbenchers,” Thornberry told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, saying Labour would vote against any deal that did not meet its tests. If May loses the vote in parliament, Thornberry said: “First stage is we demand a general election … if we don’t get a general election, then what we have said is all options remain on the table.”
Jeremy Corbyn has rejected growing calls for a Final Say referendum, despite a backlash from his own MPs for saying Brexit cannot be stopped. The Labour leader faced strong criticism – including from a shadow minister – after an interview in which he insisted the process of EU withdrawal could not be halted. Matthew Pennycook, a Brexit spokesman, took to Twitter to point out that Labour’s agreed policy is to leave the door open to “another referendum in which Remain cannot be ruled out as an option”. Pro-EU backbenchers accused Mr Corbyn of a “dereliction of duty” and warned he would never be forgiven for ignoring the overwhelming wishes of Labour members.
EU loyalist politicians have been left seething after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the German press it was too late to stop Brexit. Speaking to Der Spiegel, the ageing socialist answered in the negative when his interviewer asked, “If you could stop Brexit, would you?” “We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognize the reasons why people voted Leave,” he said, adding that “a lot of people have been totally angered by the way in which their communities have been left behind.”
Fixed odds betting terminals
BORIS JOHNSON will this week lead a cross-party rebellion over delays to a crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), The Sun can reveal. Sources claimed he is one of SIXTY Tory, Labour, DUP and SNP MPs who will support an amendment demanding the Chancellor bring forward a cut in the maximum stake to £2 from October 2019. The amendment could be laid by former Tory party leader Iain Duncan Smith and Labour’s Carolyn Harris as early as Monday. And it will leave Theresa May and the Treasury facing a crushing defeat when the issue goes to a Commons debate on November 20th.
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, is to meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and other world leaders at a summit on new technologies that could revolutionise health and social care. The minister will champion the UK’s genomics, life sciences and artificial intelligence programmes as he addresses the GovTech summit in Paris on Monday about how innovation can transform patients’ lives. “I’ve said I’ll scour the world to find technology to improve the NHS.
Police chiefs want an expansion of stop and search powers to combat knife crime by lowering the level of suspicion an officer needs to take action. They want to scrap the requirement that ‘reasonable grounds’ are needed before a suspect can be frisked. It came as Home Secretary Sajid Javid was last night locked in a bitter war of words with the police over how to fight the violence epidemic which has seen 250 knife killings in Britain this year. Adrian Hanstock, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said talks had been held with Mr Javid over stepping up stop and search.
The wave of knife crime may be linked directly to the police budget cuts instigated by the coalition government and continued under Theresa May, a former head of Scotland Yard has suggested. Speaking to the Observer after a week in which five people were stabbed to death in London, Lord Blair said the fact that violent crime had risen alongside a reduction in police funding may not be a coincidence. In 2010, when the Conservatives came to power with the Liberal Democrats and began cutting spending, the capital had 4.1 officers per 1,000 Londoners, but by 2016-17 the ratio had dropped to 3.3 officers per 1,000, according to figures from city hall.
POLICE chiefs want to expand their stop and search powers to halt Britain’s knife crimewave. The current requirement of “reasonable grounds” for a search could be scrapped under the plans. It comes amid a crime surge that has seen at least 250 UK knife death victims this year. Senior officers have held talks with Home Secretary Sajid Javid’s advisers over the past fortnight to discuss the issue. Adrian Hanstock, British Transport Police’s deputy chief constable, said current requirements — from the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 — are out of date. He suggested officers should be able to carry out a search if they “are concerned a person may have something to cause harm”.
The World Health Organization has described increased antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats facing global public health. As disease-causing micro-organisms evolve and adapt, they naturally become more resistant to the antibiotics we have developed to destroy them, but the overuse and misuse of drugs is accelerating the process. A review commissioned by the UK government warned that the number of people dying worldwide every year from superbugs could increase from the 700,000 reported in 2016 to ten million by 2050.
Britain needs more gas storage sites to reduce the risk of a supply shortage that could lead to blackouts, a leading energy consultancy has warned. The country’s gas supply position is “precarious” and winter shortfalls could jeopardise fuel supplies for power stations, according to Wood Mackenzie. Graham Freedman, its principal analyst for European gas, accused the government of “taking its eye off the ball” after the closure of Britain’s main storage site and urged it to act to “get some more gas storage in place”. The question of gas security has risen up the agenda after the “Beast from the East” cold snap in the spring, when a supply scare led to prices surging to two-decade highs.