Boris Johnson has insisted Britain can leave the EU with a deal by October 31 if the country rediscovers its “sense of mission” ahead of his expected coronation as Tory leader on Monday. The front-runner to succeed Theresa May said that if man could find a way to get to the moon and back 50 years ago, “we certainly have the technology” to solve the Northern Irish border problem – the one thing standing in the way of a Brexit deal. Writing in Monday’s Telegraph, he says: “It is time this country recovered some its can-do spirit. We can come out of the EU on October 31, and yes, we certainly have the technology to do so. What we need now is the will and the drive.” He railed against “pessimists” in comments which appeared to be aimed squarely at Philip Hammond, who said on Sunday that it is impossible to thrash out a deal in time to leave before the current Halloween deadline, and who has again made it clear that he will stop at nothing to prevent Mr Johnson pursuing a no deal Brexit.
BORIS JOHNSON has insisted Britain can leave the EU with a new Brexit deal by October 31 if the country “recovered some of its can-do spirit” and “ignored the pessimists” ahead of his victory in the Tory leadership contest. The Tory leadership frontrunner said that if a man could make it to the moon and back 50 years ago, “we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border”, he wrote in The Daily Telegraph. He said: “It is time this country recovered some of its can-do spirit. “We can come out of the EU on October 31, and yes, we certainly have the technology to do so. What we need now is the will and the drive.”
BORIS Johnson will sack Jeremy Hunt as Foreign Secretary if he wins the Tory leadership on Tuesday by a big margin, allies believe. Two of his close confidantes have told The Sun the No10 frontrunner is still furious with his rival for launching a series of personal attacks on him during the race – including branding him a coward for initially refusing TV debates. But they say Boris will wait to see what the marginal of his expected victory on Tuesday is before finally locking down the full composition of his Cabinet. If Boris gets “comfortably” more than 60% of Tory members’ votes, he will remove Mr Hunt from the Foreign Office and offer him a less grand Cabinet job, such as Business Secretary.
BORIS JOHNSON is planning on sacking Jeremy Hunt as Foreign Secretary if he becomes Prime Minister, insiders have claimed. The Tory leadership frontrunner is said to be furious with his rival following Mr Hunt’s personal attacks during the race, according to The Sun. Mr Hunt previously branded Mr Johnson a “coward” for not appearing in TV debates in the early stages of the debate. Mr Johnson reportedly plans to demote Mr Hunt to a less grand Cabinet job if he becomes the Conservative Party leader. One friend of Mr Johnson’s told The Sun: “Boris’s whole reshuffle revolves around what he does with Hunt.”
IAIN Duncan Smith has told friends he will not accept the role of Tory party chairman in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet – because he wants to get a more senior job. The ex-Tory leader, who is Boris’s campaign manager, doesn’t want to be bought off with the role in responsible of party administration. A close friend of Mr Duncan Smith told The Sun: “He’s not going to be party chairman. If there’s something offered he’ll think about it.” But Brexiteers are becoming increasingly worried there won’t be enough Cabinet jobs for Boris’s biggest Eurosceptic backers after senior Remainers like Amber Rudd and Matt Hancock look set to keep roles in Boris’s first Cabinet.
Jeremy Corbyn warned that ‘anti-Jewish bigotry’ has reared its head in our movement’ today as he unveiled a Labour plan to tackle racism in its ranks. The opposition leader wrote to party members today to reveal that his party had set up a section of its website to host ‘educational material’ for members and supporters to tackle racism. It came as one of his top shadow cabinet lieutenants defended Labour’s candidate to run against Boris Johnson at the next general election over a series of anti-Semitic tweets.
Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity among Labour Party members has plummeted, with two fifths wanting him to stand down as leader before the next general election, polling for The Times has found. Amid growing dissatisfaction at his handling of Brexit and the antisemitism crisis that has engulfed Labour, confidence in Mr Corbyn’s leadership has fallen by 24 points since March last year, with 43 per cent of Labour Party members saying he is doing a bad job. More than half are dissatisfied with the way in which the Labour leader has handled Brexit and one in four wants him to step down immediately, the YouGov poll found.
Labour MPs last night accused their own frontbench of being ‘actively complicit’ in smearing whistleblowers who have exposed anti-Semitism in the party. Three backbenchers – Ruth Smeeth, Wes Streeting and John Mann – condemned the ‘officially sanctioned spin campaign’ against former staff who spoke out about anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party in a BBC Panorama documentary. When the programme was broadcast earlier this month, Labour described those taking part as ‘disaffected former officials’ opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and claimed they had ‘both personal and political axes to grind’.
Six Tory MPs may defect to the Liberal Democrats if Boris Johnson is anointed Conservative leader tomorrow, it was claimed yesterday. The rebel group are due to hold talks with the pro-Remain party this week and could discuss voting against Mr Johnson in a vote of no confidence, The Sunday Times reported. It is said they could even consider joining the Lib Dems – depriving Mr Johnson of a majority even with the backing of the DUP.
The European Commission is drawing up a multibillion pound aid package for Ireland to offset the economic damage of a no-deal Brexit, The Times understands. The bloc would “spend whatever was necessary” to support the Irish government through any disruption of trade, said a senior EU diplomat. European leaders have privately told Boris Johnson that he risks scuppering any prospect of averting a no-deal Brexit by making “totally unrealistic” demands over the Irish backstop.
BRUSSELS now believes there is an 80 per cent chance Boris Johnson will lead Britain out with No Deal on October 31 amid growing alarm over his campaign pledges. Eurocrats are bracing for an ugly split after concluding the Tory leadership contender has boxed himself in so tightly an “accident” is almost inevitable. They said member states may even have considered an unprecedented last minute offer on the backstop had he not ruled out any realistic compromise. And they warned if there is No Deal the bloc will attach harsher conditions to any standstill trade agreement than those contained in the backstop. A senior EU official questioned whether Mr Johnson is serious about getting a deal or his claim that crashing out is a “one in a million” chance. They told The Sun: “We’re a bit puzzled. He’s closed a lot of doors. He’s closing down each and every possibility.
BRUSSELS is ready to crumble amid the prospect of a no deal Brexit after senior European officials have engaged in secret talks with leading figures in Boris Johnson’s team in order to strike a new deal. The Tory leadership frontrunner is widely expected to defeat Jeremy Hunt in the contest and become Prime Minister – when the result of the 160,000 Conservative party membership is announced on Tuesday. Brexiteers within Mr Johnson’s camp including Geoffrey Cox, James Brokenshire and Andrea Leadsom have all met with senior officials from the bloc’s major players, The Sunday Times reports.
Ireland’s deputy prime minister has warned Boris Johnson he will be “in trouble” if he enters No 10 vowing to rip up the existing Brexit deal. Simon Coveney categorically ruled out any renegotiation of Theresa May’s failed divorce agreement, regardless of the UK choosing a new prime minister with a hardline approach. “If the approach is going to be to tear up the withdrawal agreement then I think we are in trouble – we are all in trouble,” Mr Coveney said.
If the new UK prime minister wants to “tear up” the existing withdrawal agreement with the EU “we’re in trouble”, Ireland’s deputy PM has said. Simon Coveney said the decision for a no-deal Brexit would be the UK’s but added checks “of some sorts” would be needed in the Irish Republic. Ireland would have to protect its place in the single market, he told the BBC. Both men vying to become UK PM say they want to change the withdrawal deal and, in particular, the so-called backstop.
The European Union would be willing to change parts of the political declaration, or agreement on a future relationship with Britain, when the new British prime minister is elected, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said on Sunday. Repeating a warning to the new prime minister, likely to be former London mayor Boris Johnson, that the bloc will not reopen the divorce deal, or Withdrawal Agreement, Coveney said there would be an opportunity to get rid of the so-called Northern Irish backstop through the future relationship. “If a new British prime minister decides they want to change the future relationship ambition between the UK and the EU, then certainly we hope that the backstop that many in the UK don’t seem to like can be avoided,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
PANICKING EU countries have been secretly trying to woo Boris Johnson in a bid to thrash out a new Brexit plan that would avoid a no-deal, it emerged yesterday. Senior Irish politicians and diplomats have held peace talks with two of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet allies. German and French figures, as well as the Dutch and Belgian governments, have also established contacts with Mr Johnson’s team and signalled an intention to do a deal. They have been stung into action by the Tory leadership favourite’s insistence he is willing to take Britain out of the European Union on October 31 “do or die”.
A change in British prime minister will not shift the fundamental realities of Brexit, Ireland’s deputy PM has warned, saying there is no chance of the EU ditching or watering down the Irish backstop. Wholesale changes to Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement have been suggested by some as a way of avoiding a no-deal Brexit, but Coveney told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: “If the approach of the new British prime minister is that they’re going to tear up the withdrawal agreement, I think we’re in trouble. I think we’re all in trouble, quite frankly.
While Westminster has been gripped by the Conservative leadership race, Brussels has been on a Brexit break. That respite will soon be over. And despite rumours of Brussels compromises in the works, the EU has no off-the-shelf Brexit plan for the new prime minister, who is expected to be announced on Tuesday. “It wouldn’t make any sense to start working on this now,” one senior EU source said. “Because we really need to know [what he wants]. The only thing we have seen are his public statements.” EU negotiators have had no contact with the teams of Boris Johnson – the widely presumed winner – or his rival, Jeremy Hunt.
Students would apply for a university place only after receiving their A-level results, under an overhaul being planned by admissions chiefs. The review may also spell the end for unconditional offers that lock teenagers into accepting places before taking their exams. A group set up by Universities UK (UUK) will scrutinise the admissions system and recommend changes. Post-qualification admissions are the norm in other countries. Under such a reform A levels could be sat later.
Hundreds of councillors have backed a campaign to abolish all 2,500 private schools across the UK in a bid to bridge the inequality gap. More than 250 Labour councillors have signed a letter published in The Sunday Times describing the “class segregation of schools” as “a burning injustice that must end”. The move follows an email sent to over 700 councillors by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) warning that the influx of 580,000 private school students into the state school system would result in an “unbearable burden” on council budgets.
The amount of the NHS budget going to private healthcare firms has reached unprecedented levels, despite the health secretary’s pledge to roll back outsourcing of patient care. The Department of Health and Social Care handed a record total of £9.2bn last year to private providers such as Virgin Care and the Priory mental health group, its annual report shows. That is an increase of 14% from the £8.1bn that went to profit-driven healthcare companies in 2014-15 and £410m more than the £8.77bn they received in 2017-18. It comes after Matt Hancock pledged to MPs in January that “there is no privatisation of the NHS on my watch”.
More than 770,000 elderly people have been refused state support since the Government pledged to reform the broken care system. The shocking figure emerged amid growing pressure on the new prime minister to tackle the social care crisis that burdens families with crippling dementia costs. More than 20,000 readers have signed the Mail’s petition to end the dementia care cost betrayal since it was launched on Saturday.
Developers must be allowed to build on sections of the green belt or a whole generation will be barred from home ownership, Jacob Rees-Mogg has said. The prominent backbencher suggested that a million homes could be built around London alone if rules on 3.9 per cent of the city’s green belt were relaxed. Mr Rees-Mogg has been an influential supporter of Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign and is widely expected to be given a job in the new administration. Mr Johnson has said he that is not in favour of relaxing green belt planning rules but has pledged to make tackling Britain’s housing crisis a central part of his manifesto.
Soldiers will get new protection against being tried for murder on the battlefield, Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt pledges today. The minister is looking at ways the crime could be reduced to manslaughter in certain circumstances. Miss Mordaunt also promises greater legal protection to military personnel facing allegations of offences committed abroad more than ten years ago. The proposals came as MPs demanded that ministers should legislate to end the ‘witch-hunt’ of forces veterans.
A 10-year “qualified statute of limitations” should be introduced to protect veterans and serving armed forces personnel from reinvestigation for alleged crimes, MPs have said. The House of Commons defence select committee also called on the government to consider amending the Human Rights Act to provide a presumption against prosecution for historical offences.
Iran-backed terrorist cells could be deployed to launch attacks in the UK if the crisis between London and Tehran deepens, intelligence sources have warned. Among senior intelligence officers, Iran ranks behind only Russia and China as the nation state posing the greatest threat to Britain’s national security and the seizure of the UK-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero will have intensified concerns in MI5 and MI6. Intelligence agencies believe Iran has organised and funded sleeper terror cells across Europe including the UK and could greenlight attacks in response to a conflict in the Gulf.
AN Iranian flag was today hoisted over seized British oil tanker Stena Impero as the Revolutionary Guard continues to taunt the UK. State TV footage shows Iranian armed forces on board the vessel after it was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday. The clip is thought to have been filmed in the southern port of Bandar Abbas, where jet boats have been sailing around the British ship. It has also emerged Tehran wants to impose a “toll” on all ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz, saying it would be used to “protect” the safety of the vessels. Any move to create a toll is likely to be met with hostility as a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the strait. It comes after Press TV, their state-funded mouthpiece, mocked the Royal Navy in an article headlined “From piracy to impotence”.
The Iranian flag has been hoisted over seized British oil tanker Stena Impero, in new footage broadcast on state TV. Footage also shows Iranian armed forces patrolling the decks of the oil tanker after the Iranian Revolutionary Guard seized it in the Strait of Hormuz at 4pm on Friday. The clip seems to have been recorded in the southern port of Bandar Abbas, where an Iranian official earlier confirmed the 23-strong crew of the British-registered tanker were ‘safe and in good health’.
The Royal Navy is now too small to fulfil its global role, a defence minister admitted last night as it emerged that Iran had ignored warnings from a British warship against seizing a UK-flagged tanker in the Gulf. The Stena Impero and her 23 crew members are being held by Iranian forces after they were taken on Friday while passing through the Strait of Hormuz. This was despite the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose, which is patrolling the Gulf to protect shipping, ordering the Iranian authorities to leave the vessel alone.
Theresa May will begin her final week as prime minister by chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra on Monday to discuss Iran‘s seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. The prime minister was absent from ministerial Cobra meetings over the weekend, which she spent in her Maidenhead constituency, but was kept informed of developments.
Air passengers face having a carbon charge added to the price of tickets automatically under government plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Ministers are considering measures that would require all airlines to introduce carbon offsetting payments at the point of ticket sale. Payments would be voluntary but could work on an “opt-out” system. Similar measures could also be applied to trains, buses and ferries.