THERESA May has personally pleaded with Angela Merkel to end the European Union’s Brexit stand-off as the British Prime Minister travelled to Brussels today to push for talks to reach the next phase. The Prime Minister called the German Chancellor on Sunday to ask her to end the deadlock at this week’s EU summit in Brussels after both the French and German governments led a push to toughen the EU’s negotiating line in the next phase of Brexit talks. Both Berlin and Paris want a draft paper prepared for the summit on Thursday to avoid giving the impression the bloc will agree guidelines on a transition persion as soon as “sufficient progress” has been made with regards to the exit bill, top diplomats have said. Mrs May’s call to Mrs Merkel came the night before she is due to meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and chief negotiator Mr Barnier, just days after they said exit negotiations were deadlocked.
Theresa May will travel to Brussels for talks with European Union leaders amid reports that she has personally urged Angela Merkel to end the Brexit stand-off. The meeting on Monday comes days after Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the EU Commission, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator said talks about Britain leaving the EU in March 2019 were deadlocked. Mrs May is taking Oliver Robbins, the civil servant leading the Brexit talks, with her for the dinner – the first since a frosty meal in Downing Street in April. Mr Juncker was reported to have launched a scathing attack on Mrs May during the April dinner, saying that Brexit “cannot be a success”.
THERESA May will dine in Brussels tonight with European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker and his chief negotiator Michel Barnier in a bid to break Brexit deadlock ahead of this week’s crucial EU summit. No10 sources said last night the unusual move – which has raised eyebrows – was long planned. But prime ministers usually only travel to meet heads of state. She will be accompanied by her Brexit Secretary David Davis, who will have more chats with European colleagues in the coming days. It followed a tense phone call yesterday afternoon with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The pair agreed the “importance of continued constructive progress” in divorce talks. Mrs May is bidding to try and break the current impasse after Germany and France took a harder line than other countries and rejected proposed transitional arrangements.
Theresa May will travel to Brussels today in a last-ditch bid to break the Brexit deadlock ahead of a key summit this week. Government sources said the Prime Minister and Brexit Secretary David Davis would travel to the Belgian capital with the aim of reviving talks that have stalled over EU demands for a divorce payment of up to £90 billion. They are expected to hold separate talks with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Yesterday, Mrs May made a personal appeal to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to intervene to break the deadlock. She has also spoken to EU Council President Donald Tusk and Dutch PM Mark Rutte in recent days and is expected to discuss Brexit with other leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron in the next 72 hours. The moves come ahead of a crunch EU summit in Brussels on Thursday when leaders will assess the state of play on the Brexit talks.
Theresa May and David Davis will make a surprise visit to Brussels for a private dinner with the EU commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the EU’s top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in a diplomacy blitz before a crucial summit this week. May and Davis will visit Juncker and Barnier in the Belgian capital on Monday evening, where they are expected to make the case for EU leaders to agree to move on negotiations, to pave the way for discussions of Britain’s future relationship with the EU. Though Downing Street insisted the dinner had long been in May’s diary, EU sources suggested it may have been more last-minute, but were not able to provide confirmation. The EU, led by Germany and France, has sought to harden its position towards trade talks before Christmas. The UK has been unable to break the EU wall of unity that insists the talks about future relations cannot start until talks on terms of divorce are settled.
Theresa May will fly to Brussels today for emergency talks with EU chiefs to break the impasse on Brexit. The prime minister will make the surprise trip with David Davis, the Brexit secretary. They will meet Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. The meeting, which is understood to have been requested by Britain, comes days after Mr Juncker and Mr Barnier declared that talks over the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc were deadlocked. The two sides will speak over dinner in the commission building. Also present will be Oliver Robbins, the British civil servant leading on Brexit, and Martin Selmayr, Mr Juncker’s chief of staff.
Theresa May is travelling to Brussels to meet with Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier to try to break the Brexit ‘deadlock’. David Davis is going with her, along with Oliver Robbins, the civil servant leading the way on Brexit. May apparently phoned Angela Merkel to personally ask for her help to get Brexit moving, but France and Germany are both reportedly adamant that Britain must pay a huge sum of money before progress can be made. May has a habit of looking like she’s pandering to Brussels and jetting in to see Juncker and Barnier. The time has surely come for an ultimatum. If, at the end of the meeting, there is still ‘deadlock’, then Britain should warn that the country will soon walk away.
Theresa May will make an unannounced trip to Brussels today to meet the key players negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU. Sky News understands the Prime Minister will accompany Brexit Secretary David Davis on the trip, which is expected to include dinner with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, and Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president. Government sources say the meeting has been planned for “a while” and therefore “it would be wrong to say it represents any view on negotiations”. However, it follows a marked ramp-up in high level discussions between the Prime Minister and fellow leaders, including telephone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Council president Donald Tusk.
David Davis is set to make an emergency trip to Brussels on Monday, as Theresa May faced a fresh setback in her hope of early post-Brexit trade talks. The Brexit Secretary is expected to try to open up negotiations with key figures from EU member states, to break the deadlock before a crucial summit on Thursday. The trip comes as The Independent learns of an attempt by Germany and France to toughen the EU’s stance in demanding that Britain first agree to settle its so-called divorce bill. A draft last Thursday appeared to offer the Prime Minister a chink of light by suggesting the EU could start planning for trade negotiations, albeit without involving the UK yet. It said “additional guidelines” could be drawn up in December, moving onto trade and “possible transitional arrangements” – the Holy Grail for Britain. The statement added that “in order to be fully ready for such a scenario”, the EU heads of government should “start internal preparatory discussions”.
Tory MPs are in talks with Labour to prevent Britain leaving the European Union without a deal, John McDonnell has suggested. The shadow chancellor said he believes Theresa May lacks a majority in the House of Commons for no deal, adding he is “not willing to countenance” such an outcome. Mr McDonnell also said he believed the Brexit divorce bill, one of the major sticking points in the negotiations, said that “some of the figures have been inflated”. He expects moves to guarantee in law a “meaningful vote” on the outcome of Brexit talks will secure a Commons majority. The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is notably absent from the Commons schedule for the week ahead, with the Government saying it wants to closely evaluate some 300 amendments and more than 50 new clauses proposed.
A powerful cross-party group of MPs is drawing up plans that would make it impossible for Theresa May to allow Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal in 2019. The move comes amid new warnings that a “cliff-edge” Brexit would be catastrophic for the economy. One critical aim of the group – which includes the former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke and several Conservative ex-ministers, together with prominent Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green MPs – is to give parliament the ability to veto, or prevent by other legal means, a “bad deal” or “no deal” outcome. Concern over Brexit policy reached new heights this weekend after the prime minister told the House of Commons that her government was spending £250m on preparations for a possible “no deal” result because negotiations with Brussels had stalled.
JOHN McDonnell says Labour MPs are in talks with Tory rebels to join forces and block Theresa May from leaving the EU with a “no deal” Brexit. The Shadow Chancellor said he is willing to accept any deal Brussels offers us as he is “not willing to countenance” Britain leaving without an agreement in 2019. He said he believes the Prime Minister lacks a majority in the House of Commons for no deal, and he expects moves to guarantee in law a “meaningful vote” on the outcome of the Brexit talks. If this happens then pro-EU Conservatives could join forces with Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP to secure a Commons majority vetoing Mrs May if she fails to get an accord with the EU. It is perhaps the threat of this happening which is the reason why the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is notably absent from the Commons schedule for the week ahead.
Parliament can stop the UK leaving the EU without negotiating a deal, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said. There was not a Commons majority for such an outcome, he told the BBC, and Labour would work with other parties to stop the “damage” it would cause. He urged ministers to “come to their senses” and publish legal advice about what was owed in financial liabilities. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the UK will “succeed come what may” but he was confident of a “sensible deal”. Dismissing Mr McDonnell’s comments as “complete nonsense”, he told the Andrew Marr show on BBC One that it was a “legal reality” that the UK would be leaving at the end of March 2019 after Article 50 was triggered earlier this year.
Remain-backing MPs from across Britain’s main parties are drawing up plans to block the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, it has been revealed. The cross-party group — which includes prominent Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP, and Green MPs — seek to give Parliament the power to stop the UK leaving talks with Brussels without a deal, according to The Guardian, despite barely more than one in four Britons believing that “any deal is better than no deal”. An amendment to the Brexit bill tabled by Tory former cabinet minister Dominic Grieve would decree that any final deal has to be approved by Parliament, giving MPs — most of whom supported Remain during the European Union (EU) referendum campaign last year — the power to reject any agreement struck with Brussels by Prime Minister Theresa May.
BRUSSELS’ top Brexit negotiator is happy to push Britain into a hard Brexit in punishment for leaving Europe, according to reports. A senior diplomatic source claimed that Mr Barnier believes the UK must be seen to “pay a big price” for leaving the bloc. The source told the Mail Online: “The idea of avenging Britain for damaging the EU by leaving resonates with Barnier. “He has an old-fashioned view of Anglo-French relations based on mutual suspicion and ancient rivalry.” The source added that he thought a hard Brexit would be worse for Britain for the EU, and you can’t leave the EU and damage it without paying a price. Tory Minister Michael Forsyth accused Brussels of ‘Al Capone’ tactics over its demands for the UK to pay a huge divorce bill after we leave in 2019. But the news comes after claims that Barnier is softening his approach towards the negotiating process, and Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron are the ones taking a hard line.
Jean-Claude Juncker admits that if Catalonia leaves Spain other regions will do the same elsewhere and the EU will become “impossible”. For the first time Juncker appears to have publicly acknowledged the potential break-up of the European Union, something many people in Britain have long been hoping for. He told Luxembourg University: “If we allow Catalonia – and it is not our business – to separate, others will do the same. I do not want that. I wouldn’t like a European Union in 15 years that consists of some 98 states. “It’s already relatively difficult with 28 and with 27 not easier, but with 98 it would simply be impossible.” Brexit, the rise of the AfD in Germany, calls for an independence referendum in Veneto, Italy, and the independence result in Catalonia…the EU is in crisis. Juncker has just admitted he’d rather go against the result of a democratic vote in Catalonia than watch his European project crumble. The hypocrisy.
A government watchdog is pushing ministers to enshrine a new “constitutional right to equality” in British statute to ensure anti-discrimination laws are not weakened after Brexit. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned that as things stand the UK will “lose the safety net” that European law currently provides when it drops out of the EU. Without further action it would mean after Brexit, people could be in a weaker position in legal battles against employers or the state, where they believe they have fallen victim to race or sex discrimination. The commission also wants the full EU Charter of Fundamental Rights retained in British law, to ensure British citizens’ rights are not watered down after we leave the European bloc. It comes amid a row over the Government’s Brexit legislation, with ministers overwhelmed by the number of amendments wanted by MPs concerned about the sweeping new powers it gives ministers to change existing laws without full scrutiny in Parliament.
Veterans leaving the armed forces are being hindered by the ‘misguided view’ that most are suffering from a serious mental health or physical problem, research reveals today. The public are sympathetic to service ‘heroes’ returning to Civvy Street, but more than half think they are more likely than most to commit suicide, be addicted to alcohol or get divorced. Almost four in five people believe the experiences suffered by veterans mean they are ‘somewhat’ or ‘much’ more likely to have ‘mental health problems’ than other people. The research was carried out by Lord Ashcroft, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Veterans’ Transition, to establish how the public view service personnel returning to civilian life. Data was collected from an online survey of around 2,000 adults and eight focus groups across the UK in June this year.
Britain’s largest police force will no longer investigate thousands of burglaries, thefts and some assaults, it has been revealed. The Metropolitan Police have stopped looking into low-level crimes – which critics claim will give criminals ‘the green light to thieve’. The new guidelines, which were issued to officers in the London force last month, have been introduced as part of the force’s ongoing cost-cutting drive. Officers were told that they no longer had to investigate low-level incidents of grievous bodily harm or car crime unless a victim identified a suspect. Any crimes that involved a loss of less than £50 also no longer have to be investigated unless a suspect is identified. The guidelines also stated that burglaries should only be looked into if the thieves used violence to gain entry or tricked their way in. The Met is aiming to save £400million by 2020 as part of cuts to the service’s budget.
It is not just women who have been unfairly treated by the BBC, Radio 4 broadcaster Justin Webb has disclosed, as he questions why his colleague Nick Robinson is paid £100,000 more to do “essentially the same job”. Webb, one of the hosts of the Today programme, said the gender pay gap revealed at the BBC this summer was “really, really serious”, with women working for the corporation having a genuine grievance which must be resolved. But, he said, there was also a “wider fairness issue”, which Robinson joked had affected their relationship “quite a lot”. The pay gap issue, said Webb, must not be “fobbed off to a review like something in W1A” and forgotten about.
The presenters of BBC’s Today programme have warned of the consequences for the corporation if it does not address the gender pay gap quickly. Justin Webb, a presenter, said that his female colleagues were waiting “impatiently” for the corporation to take action, adding that they could not be “fobbed off”. He said it was a “really really serious subject” that the BBC was aware of but had done “nothing about”. Nick Robinson, his colleague, said: “It’s not just about money . . . it’s about respect, status and worth.” Mr Webb also told the Cheltenham Literature Festival that there was a “wider fairness issue”, citing the disparity between himself and Mr Robinson.
People who need residential care should be guaranteed that they will spend no more than a quarter of their wealth on care fees, a leading health economist has proposed. An asset protection guarantee should replace David Cameron’s plan for a cap as a simpler and fairer way to limit how much people pay for care in their old age, he said. It would mean that wealthier people contributed substantially more towards their care costs than if a cap on total contributions was in place and people with only modest savings would pay for the first time. The rich would pay far less than under Theresa May’s election manifesto plan to force people with assets worth more than £100,000 to pay the entire costs of their care.
Ukip’s new leader yesterday suggested that he could chase down a badger and break its neck with his bare hands. Henry Bolton, 54, a former army officer who was last month elected the party’s fourth leader in less than two years, made the extraordinary claim on Sky News. Asked about remarks that he had made to the Kremlin-backed channel RT, Mr Bolton said: “They gave me a few options as ideas for an initiation ceremony into the leadership of Ukip. The one that was probably most suitable for me was chasing a badger across Dartmoor, capturing it and breaking its neck with one’s bare hands.” Mr Bolton, a former Liberal Democrat, beat Anne Marie Waters, an anti-Islam candidate, to lead Ukip.
The new UKIP leader has said he could capture a badger and kill it with his bare hands. The party’s fourth leader made the strange remark when asked by Sky News’ Niall Paterson who about a report in the Sunday Times which referenced an interview Bolton gave to Russia Today, in which he was asked about possible initiation ceremonies for UKIP leaders. Bolton replied that “the one that was probably most suitable for me was chasing a badger across Dartmoor, capturing it and then breaking its neck with one’s bare hands, which was a slightly unusual thing.” Bolton, a former soldier, police officer and diplomat, was elected as UKIP’s leader in September after receiving the backing of Nigel Farage. In the interview Bolton, who was seen as the more moderate candidate in the leadership election, was quizzed over a range of topics associated with the right-wing party including banning the burqa, faith schols and immigration. The former soldier said that in an “ideal world” Britain should be aiming for zero net migration.
UKIP’s new leader has called for Britain to aim for zero net migration to stop the country being “swamped”. Henry Bolton told Sky News a drastic change was needed, but admitted it would be “very difficult” to hit such a target. In 2015, Nigel Farage proposed stopping all low and un-skilled workers coming into the country and a cap of 50,000 on high-skilled immigrants. Mr Bolton said the net figure should be zero to ease pressure on services and infrastructure. He told the Sunday with Paterson show: “We are as a country being swamped by the fact we’re having a net immigration that is approximately the size of Wolverhampton or Hull ever year. “That’s difficult to cope with in terms of our services and infrastructure when we’re cutting police by 25%, for example, local government in some cases by 50%.” He initially rejected to say how many people should be let into the country each year, describing it as “arbitrary”.
UKIP Leader Henry Bolton has said he would like to see net immigration reduced to zero and called Philip Hammond ‘negligent in the extreme’ for not planning for a No Deal Brexit. Bolton told Sky News: “The government has done no planning or preparation Hammond doesn’t want to release funding from the treasury to support planning and preparation for a no deal Brexit and that’s negligence in the extreme in my view. “Let’s say we get to 19 March 2019 and no planning or preparation is in place because the government has failed to put anything in place for the next day, if we’ve got nothing in place to manage the consequences of leaving or put it in place. The fact that we’ve not been doing that is negligent.” On immigration, Bolton added: “We have net immigration the size of Wolverhampton or Hull every year. We’re cutting police and local services. To get on top of that we need to ramp up policing. We should be aiming for zero net immigration over the next few years. Net immigration is set by the amount of people that leave the country.”