BRITISH tourists on holiday in the European Union will continue to get free healthcare after Brexit, David Davis has insisted. The Brexit Secretary said he will seek a continuation of the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) system in forthcoming negotiations, and vowed to offer EU citizens free access to the NHS in return. If Brussels officials reject his pledge, Mr Davis said the UK Government will foot the bill on behalf of its citizens. The Tory frontbencher said he will propose a 15-page paper outlining the Government’s plans on the rights of EU citizens living in front of Parliament later today.
British tourists will be guaranteed free health cover when they are on holiday in the EU, David Davis has disclosed, as the Government prepared to publish its detailed Brexit negotiating position on migrants’ rights. The Brexit Secretary will ask the EU to continue with the current European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, and said that if Brussels refuses, the Government will foot the £155 million a year bill. Mr Davis gave fresh details of what will be in a 12-page document sent to the EU on Monday setting out Britain’s position on migrant rights, which will form the basis for tough head-to-head negotiations over the coming weeks. He said EU citizens will have to undergo criminal record checks when they apply for “settled status” that will allow them to remain in Britain for life and promised to deport anyone who is considered undesirable.
David Davis said the UK Government is seeking a plan to allow Britons to continue accessing cut-price healthcare in EU countries. The cabinet minister said the UK wants a continuation of the existing European Health Insurance Card system, which would also allow EU citizens in this country to access the NHS. Mr Davis even said that if agreement on a continuation of the system with the EU cannot be agreed, then the UK would provide one “unilaterally”. He indicated the idea would be included as the Government publishes its paper on EU citizens’ rights on Monday. Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, he said: “We are looking to see if we can get a continuation of the EHIC scheme as it now exists. “Of course, if we can’t get one then we will provide one unilaterally, but that is what we are looking to. “We are trying to ensure that every individual citizen gets their current position as it were, locked in place for them, so that the anxiety can go.”
Full details of the Government’s post-Brexit “settled status” that will be offered to EU nationals in the UK will be published later. The plan guarantees permanent “settled status” for 3.2 million EU citizens who have been in the UK for five years, including rights to residency, healthcare, education, employment, benefits and pensions. Brexit Secretary David Davis said full details of the proposals would be set out in a 15-page document today, after EU leaders reacted dismissively to outlines of the plan revealed by Theresa May last week.
Cabinet minister David Davis has signalled he is willing to do a deal with Brussels over the European Court of Justice’s influence in the UK after Brexit. He said the UK would consider setting up a new arbitration body that would include European officials to rule in future trade disputes. The Brexit Secretary was adamant that it would not mean the ECJ itself continuing to have a role, something Theresa May has made a red-line in her approach. Mr Davis also said he was “not certain” that an overall deal would be reached with the EU, after the disagreement over the ECJ’s role crystallised last week. Ms May had put her proposals to European leaders over how she planned to guarantee the rights of European citizens to remain, work and use services in the UK after Brexit, insisting that the rights would be protected by British courts. The European Commission has indicated, however, that it wants the ECJ to guarantee the rights, as well as oversee the withdrawal negotiations and arbitrate future trade disputes between the EU and UK.
Negotiators on the deal between Theresa May and the Democratic Unionist party aimed at sustaining a minority Conservative government into Brexit talks are hoping to reach an agreement by Tuesday, DUP sources have indicated. It could be finalised as the deadline also looms for the DUP, Sinn Fein and the other Northern Ireland parties to find an agreement of their own to restored devolved power sharing in Belfast. As the prime minister struggles with mounting complex problems, including party splits over the terms on which to leave the EU and talk of a possible leadership challenge, Downing Street has remained tight-lipped on any proposed “confidence and supply” deal, instead saying it will be announced when it is signed and sealed.
DUP leader Arlene Foster has returned to London with hopes of concluding a deal with the Conservatives in the coming days. The two parties have been locked in talks for two weeks on a confidence and supply deal to prop up Theresa May’s minority government. Ahead of the crucial Queen’s Speech vote on Thursday, Sky News understands that Mrs Foster will meet the Prime Minister in Downing Street this morning. Despite fears a pact could complicate talks to restore the Northern Ireland Executive, Mrs Foster told Sky News she was confident her party would clinch agreements in Westminster and Stormont.
BBC bosses were facing growing anger last night at the allegedly biased coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s trip to the Glastonbury Festival. The Labour leader was given a rock star’s welcome by thousands of young fans when he appeared on the main stage at the annual music event in Somerset. Critics claimed the BBC reporting of his speech was heavily slanted in his favour. Before he spoke, one BBC reporter predicted his address would be “brilliant”. A BBC Radio 1 social media message showing a picture of the Labour leader waving a microphone was captioned: “When you ace the chorus.” Tory MP Philip Davies said: “The BBC became the unofficial media wing of the Labour Party some time ago.”
The Government has reportedly dropped plans to ease fire safety standards in new schools after the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 79 people. The cost-cutting plans being consulted by the Department of Education (DoE) would have removed the requirement for sprinklers to be included in the design of new schools. But the Government has now U-turned on its plans. A suggestion that “school buildings do not need to be sprinkler protected to achieve a reasonable standard of safety” is to be stripped out of the revised draft guidance, The Observer reported.
The number of tower blocks to have failed fire safety tests in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy has leapt to 60 in latest figures released by the Government. Cladding from high-rise flats in 25 local authority areas has now proved to be flammable in the urgent safety review after at least 79 people died in a fire at the west London block. Officials said every single sample to have undergone checks so far has failed. The new figure is nearly double the 34 blocks found be wrapped in flammable cladding in the previous update given on Saturday. Thousands of residents living in Doncaster, Norwich, Stockton-on-Tees and Sunderland are among the latest to be affected.
Sixty high-rise buildings have failed safety tests carried out after a fire killed at least 79 people in London earlier this month, the British government said on Sunday. British officials are conducting tests on some 600 high-rise buildings across England after fire ravaged the Grenfell tower block in west London on June 14, prompting public anger over the Conservative government’s budget cuts. On Friday some 4,000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes in north London after the fire brigade ruled that their blocks were unsafe. The Department for Communities said in a statement that 60 high rise buildings across 25 local authority areas had now failed the tests.
Theresa May has been warned that Britain’s nurse staffing crisis has left the NHS on the brink of another Mid Staffs scandal. The Royal College of Nursing said the Government has failed to respond to clear and alarming signals that the tragedy it called “inevitable” is about to happen again. Chief executive Janet Davies blamed dwindling foreign arrivals due to Brexit, plummeting domestic applications, and chronic low pay and high stress pushing people out. Janet Davies said the RCN’s national day of action is a “final warning” to ministers to take action or they will face nurses striking for the first time ever. Ms Davies said the long warned-of crisis in nursing, exacerbated by the Government’s approach, has now become so acute that the NHS is in grave danger of suffering another catastrophe on the scale of Mid Staffs.
More than 1,000 doctors are in open revolt over a vote to scrap the abortion limit. Tomorrow up to 500 doctors at the British Medical Association’s annual conference will debate whether the country should decriminalise abortion. If they vote in favour, the BMA will adopt this stance as its formal policy and lobby the Government for a change in the law which bans abortions after 24 weeks. But up to 1,200 doctors have signed a petition calling on the union to scrap the ballot, fearing the profession will be ‘severely damaged’. The BMA is one of the UK’s most powerful medical institutions and its decision to hold the abortion vote at its Bournemouth conference reflects a recent shift in opinion.
Theresa May has pushed the NHS to the brink of collapse, Britain’s top doctor will warn today. Dr Mark Porter, who chairs the British Medical Association, will say: “We have a Government trying to keep the health service running on nothing but fumes”. He will add that patients are being “belittled and bewildered” as access to care continues to get worse. In the devastating attack, Dr Porter will tell the BMA’s annual conference the NHS is “at breaking point”. He will also tell delegates in Bournemouth the health service is: “Run by ministers who wilfully ignore the pleas of the profession and the impact on patients.”
The NHS in England is “running on fumes”, the leader of the British Medical Association is warning. Dr Mark Porter hit out at the government at the start of the union’s annual conference. He accused ministers of putting patients at risk and “picking the pockets” of NHS staff because of the squeeze on wages. But ministers rejected the criticisms, saying they were putting more money into the health service. Dr Porter launched the attack as doctors gathered in Bournemouth.
Patients are suffering as the NHS reaches “breaking point” as a result of years of under-funding, leading doctors have warned. The Government was accused of wanting a “world-class” health service while putting in only a “third class” financial settlement, said the British Medical Association. As a result it is “failing too many people” and leaving patients “belittled and bewildered” as medical staff try to deal with overstretched systems, the union’s chairman will say. He is set to say ministers are content to “willfully ignore” the problem as he calls for millions more to be poured into the system. A new survey carried out by the BMA found that 43% were dissatisfied with NHS services – a larger share than the third who said they were satisfied.
THE NHS has spent £9million on sex swap operations in five years. Last year 202 procedures were carried out – up 23% on figures from five years ago. The majority of gender confirmation surgery ops are to help men change into women. In addition to surgery, transsexuals can also get psychotherapy and hormone replacement therapy on the NHS. The figures come from NHS Digital which compiles the data on all operations in NHS hospitals in England. Experts believe that for every sex change op carried out by the NHS, which cost around £10,000, another operation will be performed in the private sector, either abroad or in the UK.
After nearly a decade of construction, Britain’s biggest ever warship will set sail for the first time today. But before it can start policing the seas, the £3.1billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth must deal with its first test – squeezing under a set of bridges. All eyes today will be on Chief Petty Officer Andrew Vercoe as he steers the 932ft-long vessel out of the dock at Rosyth and into the North Sea in a nerve-racking ten-hour operation. With the aid of 11 tug boats and two pilots on the shore, the 65,000 tonne leviathan will have to squeeze out of the basin with just 14 inches to spare on each side. Then the 733-strong crew will have to wait for a low tide and the perfect wind conditions before it can pass under three bridges in the River Forth in a process that has been simulated some 30 times. As the carrier approaches the final crossing, the 127-year-old Forth Bridge, the ship’s captain will even resort to a sextant – a navigation tool used in the 18th century – to get his measurements correct.