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Lord King, the former governor of the Bank of England, has said that the UK should be “self-confident” about leaving the European Union. He said there were “real opportunities” for economic reform and new trade deals which meant Brexit could be a success. He highlighted agricultural reform and a developing relationship with the Republic of Ireland as areas where the UK could be positive. After Brexit, the Irish border will be the only EU-UK land border. “I think the challenges we face mean it’s not a bed of roses, no one should pretend that, but equally it is not the end of the world and there are some real opportunities that arise from the fact of Brexit we might take,” he said in an interview with Radio 4’s Today programme. “There are many opportunities and I think we should look at it in a much more self-confident way than either side is approaching it at present.

BREXIT presents “real opportunities” for the UK to secure new trade deals and strengthen the economy, the former governor of the Bank of England Lord King had claimed. Mr King hit out at Remoaners and insisted Britain should be “self confident” about its prospects upon leaving the crumbling bloc. In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr King, who headed up the Bank of England three years ago, presented an optimistic outlook for the UK’s independent future. He said: “I think the challenges we face mean it’s not a bed of roses, no one should pretend that, but equally it is not the end of the world and there are some real opportunities that arise from the fact of Brexit we might take. “Being out of what is a pretty unsuccessful European Union – particularly in the economic sense – gives us opportunities as well as obviously great political difficulties.”


Illegal migrants must be deported and Europe’s borders sealed shut, following the “unprecedented” attack in Berlin, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said. “It is unprecedented that in the heart of Europe, Christians were murdered at Christmas”, Orbán said in an interview published Saturday, speaking about the terror attack in Berlin, in which a Tunisian migrant ploughed a truck into a crowd of people at a Christmas market on Monday. “It’s clear that, in the case of migration, nothing can remain the way it was before. Brussels needs to change, migrants who entered Europe illegally must be deported, the borders need to be protected and the inflow of migrants has to be eliminated,” the Fidesz statesman told Veszprém online newspaper. Reflecting on the year, Orbán hailed it as one in which a democratic “revolt” took place in the West against political leaders “who refused to listen to the people”.

Italian populist politicians Matteo Salvini and Beppe Grillo are calling for the Schengen zone to be suspended, with Grillo calling Europe “a sieve” for terrorists and Salvani stating “we are at war”. Declaring that Italy was “in a time of war”, leader of populist party Lega Nord (Northern League) Matteo Salvini demanded the “renegotiation of the Schengen zone and free movement. Restore internal border controls – we are in a state of emergency.” His comments come following the Berlin Christmas market attack where suspect Anis Amri, whilst being the most wanted man in the world, managed to leave Germany, travelling first to France and then to Italy, and cross at least two international borders unchecked.

Foreign aid

INTERNATIONAL aid secretary Priti Patel appears to have pulled a spectacular U-turn for Christmas by claiming pouring billions in aid into Africa is “in Britain’s interest”. As a senior backbencher Ms Patel, who was a hero of the Brexit campaign, was a fierce critic of wasting money on foreign countries in aid who called for the abolition of the department she now heads. Hopes were raised that she would have a crackdown when she appointed the former head of the Taxpayers Alliance Robert Oxley as a special adviser who had once described international aid as “wasteful spending”. She had also announced a review of DfiD spending based on “core Conservative principles”.

Foreign aid contractors that make huge profits and spend taxpayers’ money on lavish salaries will be named and shamed for the first time under Government plans. Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, has written to all her department’s suppliers, demanding that they in future “deliver value for money” for taxpayers. That will include giving a detailed breakdown of employees’ salaries as well as profits being made by the company as a result of its contract with the foreign aid department. Ms Patel has come under growing pressure in recent weeks following a series of revelations about wasted spending by her department. It is understood that ministers’ aim is to make the information publicly available, to ensure that voters are able to see how their money is being spent. Ms Patel has come under growing pressure in recent weeks following a series of revelations about wasted spending by her department.


Councils were given permission to carry out more than 55,000 days of covert surveillance over five years, including spying on people walking dogs, feeding pigeons and fly-tipping, the Guardian can reveal. A mass freedom of information request has found 186 local authorities – two-thirds of the 283 that responded – used the government’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to gather evidence via secret listening devices, cameras and private detectives. Among the detailed examples provided were Midlothian council using the powers to monitor dog barking and Allerdale borough council gathering evidence about who was guilty of feeding pigeons. Wolverhampton used covert surveillance to check on the sale of dangerous toys and car clocking; Slough to aid an investigation into an illegal puppy farm; and Westminster to crack down on the selling of fireworks to children.


The widespread Boxing Day disruption on the railways is not the Government’s responsibility, the Department for Transport has said. Large parts of the country will be without a rail service, while those operators that do provide a service will only provide limited trains. But ahead of the nationwide disruption a Department for Transport spokesperson said the shutdown was a “matter for train operators” and not ministers. Labour accused the Conservatives of “hypocrisy”, saying they complained about the issue while in opposition, but have done nothing to rectify it after getting into Government. A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Deciding the level of service on specific days is a matter for train operators.

Passengers face days of chaos after Network Rail scheduled up to 200 engineering works over the Christmas period. Today there are no services across almost the whole of the network – despite previous Tory pledges to get to grips with the Boxing Day shutdown. And, on many lines around London, Cardiff and Manchester, the closures are set to continue into the New Year. It comes days after the Daily Mail revealed that 48 Network Rail officials earn more than the Prime Minister’s £150,000.  The owner of Britain’s tracks and stations pays 24 of its executives more than £200,000, including a £685,000 salary for chief executive Mark Carne. Critics said the salaries were a ‘kick in the teeth’ to passengers who have had to endure years of overcrowding and delays. The news infuriated MPs at a time when hundreds of miles of the network are completely closed down for engineering work.

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