Liam Fox has launched an outspoken attack on the EU, saying it will risk harming its own people if it refuses to enter talks on a post-Brexit trade deal within weeks. The International Trade Secretary also dismissed warnings that the huge tariffs slapped on Bombardier planes part-made in Belfast had harmed the chances of a UK-US trade deal – insisting there were no “parallels”. And he again called for Britain to crash out of the EU with “no deal” if Brussels cuts up rough, saying: “We don’t need one and we could make a very good success if we didn’t.” The comments came at a fringe meeting at the Conservative conference, where Dr Fox tore into media organisations that were “pessimistic” about Brexit. Much of the focus is on the deadlocked negotiations, which have dashed British hopes of getting the go-ahead to move onto trade talks at an EU summit later this month.
EUROPEAN Union leaders have told Theresa May trade talks will begin by Christmas, inside sources have revealed. Tory sources said the Prime Minister is increasingly confident that her speech in Florence last month secured talks with the EU. The insiders told the Daily Mail: “The mood on Brexit is much more positive than the public pronouncements you hear, particularly from the European Commission. “There is a growing sense of people feeling a bit more momentum and wanting to get on to looking at the future partnership.” When asked if trade talks would start by Christmas they said “yes”.
Britain expects to have free trade deals on the table long before the end of the Brexit transition period, according to a senior minister. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox was bullish about the prospects of reaching agreements in time for the end of the implementation period, which is expected to come into effect in March 2019. Prime Minister Theresa May used her keynote Brexit speech in Florence last month to further flesh out her vision for leaving the EU, including a transition period of two years to allow firms to prepare. When asked at a Conservative party conference fringe event if Britain would be in a position to have trade agreements ready to enforce at the end of this process, Dr Fox said: “We expect to have draft agreements long before that with a number of countries.
Talks on a new trade deal with Europe will begin by Christmas, EU leaders have told Theresa May. Tory sources said the Prime Minister was increasingly confident that her speech in Florence last month had secured a breakthrough in talks with Brussels. EU leaders are due to decide this month whether ‘sufficient progress’ has been made on the Brexit divorce bill, citizens’ rights and Northern Ireland to allow trade negotiations to start – but senior Tories do not expect to get the green light. However, EU leaders have indicated to Mrs May that they expect to begin talks on the ‘future relationship’, including a new free trade deal, by the end of this year.
Boris Johnson’s new negotiating red lines for Brexit will make it impossible for Britain to secure a transition deal with the EU, MEPs are to warn. The European parliament will tell Theresa May tomorrow that it will veto any deal unless Britain continues to accept European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings during any implementation period. Ending the jurisdiction of the court immediately at the point of Brexit was one of the four red lines set out by the foreign secretary over the weekend. He also demanded that no new EU directives or regulations should apply to Britain after Brexit and that the UK should not pay, or accept EU rules, to gain long-term access to the single market.
Northern Ireland will leave the EU’s single market and customs union with the rest of UK, its Secretary of State has insisted, in a slapdown to Brussels. James Brokenshire ruled out any U-turn by insisting there would be no separate trading arrangements for the province – despite growing concerns about the future Irish border. This week, the European Parliament will side with Dublin by calling for customs checks to take place at Irish Sea ports for visitors travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The resolution, set to be voted on hours before Theresa May’s make-or-break Tory conference speech on Wednesday, is expected to rubbish Britain’s existing border proposals. But, at the Conservative conference in Manchester, Mr Brokenshire drew applause when he said: “We will leave the European Union in 2019 as one United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland could stay in the single market and customs union in a Sinn Fein deal being brokered with the EU in the battle over Brexit . The motion is expected to be passed in Brussels this week to coincide with a promise of substantial funding – understood to top the £1.2billion offered to DUP chief Arlene Foster by the British Government. Sinn Fein is said to be delighted with the European move, pushed forward by MEP Martina Anderson in backroom meetings in Brussels. The retention of Northern Ireland in the single market and the customs union would ensure the Northern population would be closer to the 4.7 million population of the Republic of Ireland than it has been since partition. However with health, business, security, military intelligence and agriculture already working steadily on a cross-border basis, there would be little practical change for Northern Ireland nationals.
Infighting dominated the start of the Tory conference yesterday as Theresa May came under pressure to rein in Boris Johnson. Her attempt to reach out to younger voters was overshadowed by the Foreign Secretary’s second high-profile intervention on Brexit in a fortnight. Still weakened by the fallout from her election disaster, the Prime Minister was urged by some in her party yesterday to silence Mr Johnson, or remove him from her Cabinet. Two senior figures on the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs even told the Mail the party would back her if she decided to sack him. But another high-profile Conservative, Jacob Rees-Mogg, appeared to back the Foreign Secretary last night. He said he too did not ‘want to see any foot dragging’ over Brexit.
Theresa May’s allies have accused Boris Johnson of “posturing” and said that his Brexit red lines are “straw man” arguments designed to boost his profile. The Prime Minister refused to deny suggestions that the Foreign Secretary is “unsackable” after he set out four new demands for Brexit at the weekend. In the wake of his intervention Damian Green, the First Secretary of State and Mrs May’s effective deputy, publicly rebuked Mr Johnson for making his views public. Mr Johnson hit back at the criticism, telling The Daily Telegraph that it is “extraordinary that so much of a fuss” is being made about his intervention. It came as a senior ally of Mrs May insisted that Mr Johnson’s Brexit red lines are in fact similar to the Prime Minister’s approach to Brexit.
Thousands of demonstrators descended on Manchester for the first day of the Conservative party conference, demanding a second Brexit referendum and an end to the Government’s austerity policies. Proceeding through the city chanting “bollocks to Brexit”, the pro-EU rally – featuring songs led by a Boris Johnson lookalike riding an inflatable pony – was part of a “Stop Brexit” protest by thousands of Remain supporters. A second, largely peaceful protest in the city, organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, also involved hundreds of demonstrators calling on Theresa May’s Conservatives to be kicked out of office as they waved placards and chanted the now-familiar: “Oh Jeremy Corbyn”.
Hundreds of GP surgeries are prescribing homeopathy, gluten-free foods and a banned painkiller as the NHS increases spending on medicines that have been earmarked for withdrawal to save money. A breakdown of spending surgery by surgery found that in the past year more than 700 GP practices had prescribed homeopathy, the alternative treatment that has been described as “rubbish” by the chief medical officer. Bristol made the greatest use of the therapy, with GPs in the city spending £1,526 in July, up from £916 five years ago.
Dental services are facing a crisis as more than half of dentists plan to leave the NHS within five years, a study reveals today. It found that 58 per cent want to go private, move overseas, retire or quit the profession. Many of those who want to leave the NHS are newly qualified and under the age of 35. The average dentist in England doing mainly NHS work earns about £100,000 – more than a government minister. But many say they are unhappy about the target-driven culture created by a new contract introduced in 2006 and claim their income has fallen. There are about 24,000 dentists in England, but their numbers fell last year and some patients have had to pull out their own teeth because NHS practices have refused new names on their books, a study found last month.
A MUSLIM woman was forced to remove her face veil on the first day of a ban in Austria. She was wearing a niqab in the town of Zell am See when cops stepped in. Items which cover the face, including the full Islamic veil, masks and scarves, have been outlawed in public places. Anyone flouting the law faces a fine of 150 euros. People are only allowed to wear them for special events or celebrations. Announcing the ban, officials in Vienna claimed it would encourage “acceptance and respect of Austrian values”. The measures, similar to those in other European Union countries, also apply to visitors even though large numbers of Arab tourists holiday in the Alpine country.
Catalonia’s government said 90 percent of those who voted in an unauthorised independence referendum chose to split from Spain. On a day marred by clashes between police and voters, 2.26 million people took part in the referendum, regional government spokesman Jordi Turull said. That represents a turnout of 42.3 percent of Catalonia’s 5.34 million voters. Of those who took part, 2.02 million Catalans voted “yes” to the question: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?” The preliminary results pave the way for the region’s leader to declare independence in the coming days, despite the Spanish government ruling the referendum illegal. The brutal scenes of police cracking down on the referendum plunged the EU into a new crisis after hundreds of people were injured in the violent stand-offs with Spanish police.
Riot police who bludgeoned, kicked and fired rubber bullets at voters taking part in an illegal referendum in Catalonia yesterday acted within the law, the Spanish prime minister said. In a day of violence unprecedented in modern Spanish history, 850 people were hurt, three seriously, according to the Catalan authorities. Riot police fired baton rounds in Barcelona and beat pro-independence supporters trying to stop them confiscating ballot boxes. The crackdown, in which one protester lost an eye to a rubber bullet and elderly voters were seen with blood streaming from head wounds, sent shock waves through Europe and led to calls for the resignation of Mariano Rajoy, the conservative prime minister.
Catalan officials claimed 90% of 2.2million voters had called for independence in an ‘illegal’ referendum blighted by violent scenes which left at least 888 people injured. World leaders condemned the brutal scenes after officials revealed that hundreds of protesters have been injured so far. Officers were seen kicking and stamping on protesters as they stormed buildings and seized ballot boxes. Footage captured in the village of Sarria de Ter in the province of Girona showed authorities using an axe to smash down the doors of a polling station where Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was due to cast his vote. He said the region had won the right to become an independent state with the referendum results due in a few days.
Spanish police and military guards are aggressively suppressing a self-determination referendum on independence for Catalonia, which Madrid says “runs counter to the goals and ideals of the European Union”. The Spanish government enjoys the support of the EU’s unelected executive, with the President of the European Commission warning against “separatist adventures” and asserting that “regional traditions” should not “set themselves as elements of separatism and fragmentation of Europe”. The Catalans, who have their own regional government based in Barcelona, have a troubled relationship with Spain, which violently stripped away their autonomy and attempted to stamp out their language during the Franco years, and also settled hundreds of thousands of outsiders in the region to try and dilute its sense of national identity.
THE leader of Catalonia has claimed the region has “won the right” to independence after 90 per cent of voters backed separation from the Spanish state. The defiant bid to hold a vote on separating from Spain – despite the central government branding the move “illegal” – descended into violence which left 850 injured. Hundreds were hurt as riot police attacked peaceful protesters and unarmed civilians gathered to cast their ballots. Thirty-three cops were also injured. Catalonia – which has its capital in Barcelona – is a fiercely independent region of north eastern Spain that borders southern France. Spain allows the region – which has its own language and culture – a range of powers in a bid to quell its wish for independence from Madrid. But in the wake of the violence, the Catalan regional president last night declared Catalonia had “won the right to become an independent state”.
The EU preaches about peace, solidarity and democracy. It virtue signals about its values but when Juncker backs Spain in its closed attitude to the Catalans’ demands for independence – all the while encouraging those self-same calls in Scotland – its hypocrisy must become apparent to even the most committed Europhile. It was clear that Spain had no intention of allowing democracy to take its course and the sight of Spanish Federal Police and the paramilitary Guarda Civil laying about people peacefully going about the democratic process gives everyone pause to think. Their behaviour reminds me of the fascist Franco dictatorship and is a stain on all of us. Our hearts go out to the people of Catalonia. This must never happen again.
Commuters across the country are facing a week of disruption and misery as a result of rail strikes. Train services will be hit by 24 hour walk outs tomorrow and Thursday. A separate dispute over working conditions on the London Underground will also cause travel chaos in the capital on Thursday. Transport for London has warned of substantial disruption to Tube services by the strike that is certain to clog the roads. Last-ditch talks between the two sides will be held today. There appears no end in sight to the long-running row over driver-only trains and the role of guards across the UK. Action is being taken this week by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Southern, Merseyrail, Northern and Greater Anglia.
RAIL and Tube workers are to strike this week over plans for driver-only trains on the national network and working conditions on London Underground. RMT members at Southern, Merseyrail, Northern and Greater Anglia will walk out for 24 hours on Tuesday and Thursday. Tube drivers are set for a 24-hour strike on Thursday over pay and shift patterns, with substantial disruption to services expected. RMT says the axing of safety-critical guards on trains puts the profits of private companies — used to subsidise transport services in continental Europe and China — before public safety. General secretary Mick Cash called the issue a “national scandal.”
The UK is being “buried” by Islam and “swamped” by multiculturalism, Ukip’s new leader Henry Bolton has said. The little-known one-time Liberal Democrat and army officer used his first speech as leader to claim that public services are being overwhelmed by mass immigration. Following his surprise win over bookies’ favourite and anti-Islam campaigner Anne Marie Waters, Mr Bolton took to the stage at the party conference in Torquay to say he was “proud to be British”. In a question and answer session, he said people have little say in the way in which their communities are being transformed by immigration. “We presently have a net immigration that equates to the population of Wolverhampton or Hull every year,” he said. “Immigration is overwhelming our public services, housing and communities.
A salvage operation is due to start today to begin recovering what is believed to be £125 billion in gold sunk by the Germans during the First and Second World Wars. Britannia’s Gold plans to explore dozens of wrecked ships that were sent to the bottom of the sea by U-boats. The company said that a team of 37 had worked around the clock to locate and survey the first three targets, using video and acoustic mapping technology and equipment. Among the first wrecks Britannia Gold plans to explore are a First World War ship sunk on its way to Canada. The salvage vessel will set sail from an undisclosed port. Will Carrier, operations director, said that survey operations had been completed weeks ago.