More than 50 Conservative MPs would defy Theresa May to block any attempt to crash Britain out of the EU without a deal, a former Cabinet minister says. The prime minister would be thwarted by her own MPs if she tried to carry out her threat to pursue a “no-deal” exit if the negotiations fail, The Independent has been told. A “humble address” – the tactic employed successfully by Labour to force the government to release the notorious 58 Brexit economic assessments – would be used, it was suggested. “There are at least 50 Conservative MPs who would be prepared to vote to stop it happening, which would be more than enough to force the government to take notice,” the ex-Cabinet minister vowed. The warning comes amid growing concern that Ms May continues to insist that leaving without any agreement remains an option – despite her own civil servants warning of food and medicine shortages and huge tailbacks at the UK’s borders.
Theresa May has been urged by hardline Brexiters to speed up preparations for a “no-deal” Brexit to put pressure on Brussels during withdrawal negotiations. Sixty former cabinet ministers, MPs, economists and business figures signed a letter to the prime minister urging her to issue orders to departments to accelerate planning for Britain to operate under World Trade Organization rules if a deal cannot be done. They argue that in order to have “real leverage in the Brexit endgame” the UK must reserve the right to walk away without a trade deal “and take with it the £39bn it has offered to pay as part of a divorce settlement”. Their intervention came after more than 100,000 people marched through London on the second anniversary of the EU referendum to demand a fresh vote on the terms of the Brexit deal.
No Brexit trade deal, no divorce cash to Brussels – that’s the demand that’s been sent to Theresa May by 60 leading Brexiteers. Top politicians and businessmen, such as Wetherspoon’s boss Tim Martin and John Longworth, former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, have co-signed a letter to the PM calling for her to be bolder in EU negotiations and threaten to walk away without paying a penny unless a good trade deal is put on the table. The letter reportedly reads: “To have any real leverage in the Brexit endgame, the UK must reserve the right to walk away without a trade deal and take with it the £39billion it has offered to pay as part of a divorce settlement. “This money must be contingent on our securing a satisfactory free trade deal. No trade deal, no money. “In spite of the doom-mongers, the UK economy is in rude health. The world is desperate for the UK to once again take up leadership for global free trade and deals are on offer from our major trading partners.” This is common sense. Why on earth should taxpayers be forking out for a £39bn-or-so golden goodbye to Brussels if they’re getting nothing in return. Without at least threatening to walk away without paying, Theresa May is massively reducing Britain’s leverage in Brexit negotiations.
Liam Fox has said he would be prepared to accept an extension to the Brexit transition period – putting him at odds with other Brexiteers. The international trade secretary told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Having waited 40-odd years to leave the European Union, a few extra months doesn’t bother me if we’re getting it right.” His fellow Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson has urged Theresa May to deliver “full British Brexit” and said the public want politicians to get on with the process. On Saturday – the second anniversary of the referendum to leave the EU – tens of thousands of people marched through central London to demand a vote on the final Brexit deal. Mrs May’s former chief of staff is among those who have suggested the transition period after Brexit should be extended beyond 2020 in order to solve Cabinet indecision on customs arrangements. Nick Timothy urged Leave-supporting ministers to accept staying within EU frameworks for longer because arguments are continuing to rage about which of two customs options to choose.
JEREMY Corbyn is under pressure from members of his own Momentum grassroots campaign to defy the will of the people and back a second referendum by an anti-Brexit group who are calling for the election of a “radical Labour government”. Members of hard-left group Momentum are among those urging the Labour Party to steer away from a “kamikaze” Tory Brexit by supporting a “people’s vote” on the final deal with Brussels. The Remainers plans for ‘Labour for a People’s Vote’ call for an “option to stay in the EU should voters reject it”. The group, which also contains members of the left-wing Momentum organisation that supports Mr Corbyn, wants the party to put clear distance between itself and the Tories. It wants Labour’s official position to be one of voting against Prime Minister’s Theresa May’s final Brexit deal if it does not meet the party’s “six tests”.
Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, the European Union’s two most influential leaders, met yesterday with their bitterly divided counterparts for a frustrating “mini-summit” in Brussels, while facing plunging popularity at home. The German chancellor, whose political future is under threat unless she can wrest deals from her opposite numbers in Europe, had already conceded the mini-summit of 16 nations would not bridge huge splits over migration policy ahead of a full European Council meeting next week. Italy’s new hardline government has refused to admit foreign-flagged rescue ships packed with hundreds of migrants and pledged not to take in one more asylum seeker.
German asset managers have demanded “unhindered access” to financial services from London after Brexit in a boost to British calls to preserve open markets after the UK leaves the bloc. The European Union has been adamant that any future free trade agreement between Britain and the EU cannot include financial services and has warned that Brexit will strip the sector of its “passporting rights” into the bloc. Instead, Brussels has said that access will be governed by regulatory “equivalence”, a judgement made by the European Commission. Such decisions can be withdrawn unilaterally, with no appeal process, and on just 30 days notice, which robs business of certainty. Last week, Phillip Hammond, the Chancellor, repeated his call for a mutually beneficial deal to be struck on financial services. The British government has accepted the loss of its passporting, which will take effect when the UK leaves the Brexit transition period at the end of 2021.
Several European Union leaders on Sunday backed plans to screen migrants in North Africa and the Balkans to see whether they are eligible for asylum, as tensions over how best to handle the arrivals of thousands of people threatens to undermine the bloc’s unity. At emergency migration talks in Brussels, a group of 16 countries led by France and Germany were thrashing out who should take responsibility for migrants arriving in Europe — currently mostly Italy, Greece and Spain — how long they should take care of them and how much their European partners should do to help out. Failure to agree on how to deal with the challenge of migration threatens the EU’s border-free travel area, one of the biggest accomplishments in the bloc’s 60-year history. The number of people arriving in Europe has dropped significantly this year — the U.N.’s refugee agency forecasts around 80,000 people will enter by sea in 2018 if current trends continue — but the EU’s political turmoil over the topic has soared. Anti-migrant parties — and governments in Hungary and Italy — have been fomenting public fears of foreigners and have won support doing so. Encouraged by a deal with Turkey that has slashed migrant arrivals from there by 97 percent since 2015 — when hundreds of thousands of people entered, mostly migrants fleeing war in Syria and Iraq — the 28-nation EU is ready to greenlight plans to set up screening centers in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia.
Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, is urging Conservative MPs to stop prevaricating and back a controversial third runway at Heathrow to aid the United Kingdom’s trade drive as it prepares for life after Brexit. Writing in the Telegraph ahead of Monday’s crucial Commons vote, Mr Grayling says Britain has put off a decision on the airport’s expansion for “nearly half a century”, and demands an end to years of political wrangling and uncertainty. While he concedes there is “never an easy answer, the perfect place or option that leaves local communities unaffected”, he warns MPs that the UK needs new airport capacity in order to compete after leaving the EU.
THERESA May has been accused of trying to “fix” the vote on a third runway at Heathrow as a damning environmental report is due to be published after the crucial Commons showdown. The Government inquiry is due to reveal that surging emissions from the airport’s expansion means Brits will have to ditch petrol cars, gas cookers and central heating boilers to meet its targets. But MPs will only get a chance to read the Committee on Climate Change document on Thursday – and the Heathrow vote is on Monday. It comes after Boris Johnson is set to avoid having to back the project – which he adamantly against – as he will conveniently be out of the country tomorrow evening. The Foreign Secretary, who once said he would “lie down in front of the bulldozers” – would have had to reverse his opposition, or face resigning from Government to defy Mrs May. Another Tory minister who has chosen to step down in order to vote against the third runway is Greg Hands, who has been a longstanding anti-Heathrow campaigner.
MPs will decide later whether to expand Heathrow airport in a crunch vote which looks set to expose divisions in both Labour and Tory ranks. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said it was “the biggest transport decision in a generation” as he called for cross-party support to approve a third runway. The spotlight will be on the whereabouts of Boris Johnson, who once threatened to lie down in front of the bulldozers if a third runway got the go-ahead at the west London airport. The foreign secretary is set to miss the vote because he is abroad, but the government has so far declined to say where he will be on security grounds.
MPs will decide whether to build a third runway at Heathrow airport later, in a vote likely to expose splits in both Labour and Tory ranks. The spotlight will be on Boris Johnson, who once vowed to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop Heathrow expansion. The foreign secretary is facing criticism for missing the vote, as he will be promoting UK trade abroad. Other Tory MPs will be ordered to back a third runway with Labour MPs given a free vote. With the government issuing a three-line whip to its MPs – and about 40 Labour MPs expected to vote with them – it is widely expected that the expansion plan will get Commons backing. But the SNP, which had been expected to vote with the government, could decide to vote against expansion, sources have told the BBC – and the votes of those 35 MPs could make it closer than previously expected.
More than three quarters of doctors believe that patient safety is being put at risk by underfunding in the NHS, according to a survey. The poll follows allegations that thousands of patients across the UK may have died because they were given opioids through syringe pumps that were allegedly prone to error. Syringe drivers were used at Gosport War Memorial Hospital and last week a panel’s report said that up to 650 patients had died because they were inappropriately prescribed the drugs. A whistleblower said that the panel had ignored evidence of deaths caused by syringe drivers, The Sunday Times said, because they feared a scandal that would require compensation payouts. A panel spokesman said that the allegations were “without merit”.
Just 72 hours after putting out a request for a British passport we secured a meeting with a people smuggler who offered us five. Abu Ahmad, who is known as ‘The Doctor’, used to operate openly among fellow Syrian migrants hoping to reach to Western Europe. However, since being put on the Interpol wanted list, the former heart surgeon has gone to ground and regularly changes his phone and home to evade the attention of the authorities. After negotiating with an intermediary, he agreed to meet us at our room at the Istanbul Grand Hyatt and tell his story. He insisted his face should be disguised, and made it very clear our contact would suffer if the deal was broken. The stocky 40-year-old bristled when asked if he was worried that jihadis might be among the thousands of people he had helped smuggle into Europe. And he pointedly asked the intermediary: ‘Are the people from your side solid or not?’
A BOMBSHELL new report is due to expose the true scale of child sexual abuse across the UK. The devastating research found abuse is widespread across all communities and social classes – with doctors and teachers among those carrying out attacks. The report, obtained by the Mail on Sunday, is the biggest dossier of evidence by abuse victims ever assembled. It contains accounts from 50 of the 1,400 people who have given evidence to the Truth Project, which is part of the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) set up by Theresa May. Victims include a 95-year-old – with many aged in their 70s and 80s – and about a third described abuse from at least 50 years ago. One woman, named as Nancy, said she was repeatedly raped from the age of five by a farm labourer after being evicted from London in the Blitz.
More than 30,000 children aged between 10 and 15 now say that they are in gangs, according to research that will fuel concerns about the country’s violent crime epidemic. Criminals are preying on young people by “taking the place of society”, Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner, said as analysis by her office showed that a total of 70,000 youths aged up to 25 were feared to be part of a gang network. Senior police and experts have told The Times that violence is out of control and children as young as ten are being groomed by drug runners. It is vital that middle-class drug users take responsibility for their contribution to the surge in violent crime, they say.
As many as 20 Tory MPs are prepared to back Gavin Williamson in a row over defence funding, it has been claimed, amid fears that Theresa May is turning her back on Britain’s armed forces. The Defence Secretary is at the centre of a fierce row with Downing Street, amid claims that he and his allies are prepared to block the next Budget unless there is a significant increase in defence spending. Mr Williamson, who has been openly lobbying for more cash in recent months, is believed to have been left reeling after last week’s announcement of a £20bn funding boost for the NHS.
More than 3,000 areas in England and Wales had no burglaries solved last year, as citizens say criminals are enjoying ‘easy pickings’ because of the lack of police presence. Out of nearly 5,900 neighbourhoods with more than 20 burglaries last year, police failed to solve 3,105 cases, or more than half of the crimes. New figures also revealed that seven out of 10 burglary investigations were closed without police ever identifying a suspect. The staggering amount of unsolved crimes prompted the Police Federation to say burglars were getting used to ‘never being stopped by police, never mind arrested.’ The shocking figures were analysed by the Sunday Times after looking at crime figures for 34,250 neighbourhoods in England and Wales.
The anti-mass migration Generation Identity movement has been banned permanently from Facebook, after all of their official pages were deleted due to “extremist content.” Over the last several weeks the group has seen page after page disappear from the social media giant’s platform with little or no explanation, but a new report claims that Facebook has permanently banned the hipster-right identitarians, accusing them of posting “extremist content”. According to the paper, Facebook confirmed that the group had been permanently banned from the platform, “citing their policies against extremist content and organised hate groups.” The ban impacts all branches of the identitarian movement, including in Britain, Austria, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, and France, where the original Generation Identitaire group was founded. The French wing of the movement put out a press release when censorship of their pages began earlier this year, saying: “By depriving Generation Identitaire of any representation on its platform, Facebook tries to gag a political movement that has accumulated hundreds of thousands of subscribers throughout Europe.”