Britain could refuse to pay the £40billion Brexit divorce bill if the UK does not get a trade deal, David Davis today said. The Brexit Secretary hailed the good progress which has been made in negotiations with Brussels. But he said that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ and the UK could take its financial offer off the table if a free trade deal is not thrashed out. The Cabinet minister was suffering from a bad bout of food poisoning – and kept a sick bucket by his side during the interview. Asked directly on the BBC‘s Andrew Marr show if the UK could take back the money offer, Mr Davis said Britain could ‘if we don’t get the free trade deal’.
BRITAIN will refuse to pay the £40billion Brexit divorce bill if we don’t strike a trade deal with the EU, David Davis said today. His pledge came as top Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg warned ministers it would be a “national humiliation” as bad as the Suez crisis if they backed down in talks with Europe. And in a further development, Jeremy Corbyn’s right-hand man refused to rule out a second referendum on Brexit. Asked if he would threaten to hold back the promised divorce bill of £40billion, Brexit Secretary Mr Davis told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “In theory, if we don’t get the future deal.”
David Davis has said the Government will continue to plan for a no-deal scenario despite reaching an agreement with Brussels on the transition period last week. The Brexit Secretary said that progress made in the negotiations meant it was now “incredibly probable very, very highly probable” that there would be a final deal reached with the EU. But he compared the Government’s continued no-deal preparation to insurance, telling BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “You don’t expect your house to burn down, it’s less than a one in 100,000 chance, but you have house insurance anyway.” Mr Davis added that “you can never stop making arrangements” for a potential no-deal scenario, “because that’s one of the things that guarantees the deal”.
Labour hopes to remove Theresa May’s power to crash out of the European Union if MPs vote down her final Brexit deal in the Commons, Sir Keir Starmer is to announce. In a speech on Monday, the Shadow Brexit Secretary will outline his party’s plans to put down an amendment to the Prime Minister’s key Brexit legislation – the EU Withdrawal Bill. This Thursday (29 March) marks one year until Britain’s exit from the bloc. Sir Keir hopes to build a coalition of peers and MPs to reject the “take it or leave it” approach on offer from ministers.
Labour will table amendments to the government’s EU withdrawal bill aimed at preventing the UK from crashing out of Europe without a deal if parliament rejects the outcome of the Brexit talks, Keir Starmer will say on Monday. In a speech in Birmingham, the shadow Brexit secretary will pledge to work with colleagues from other parties to try to amend the government’s key piece of Brexit legislation in an attempt to strengthen parliament’s say. Labour is keen to regain the initiative on Brexit after Jeremy Corbyn sacked Owen Smith as shadow Northern Ireland secretary on Friday for breaking with the shadow cabinet line by calling for a public poll on the final deal.
Labour will try to rewrite the Government’s Brexit legislation to prevent the UK leaving the European Union without a deal, if Parliament rejects the final withdrawal bill. Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer will use a speech on Monday to try to recruit a coalition of peers and MPs to reject the “take it or leave it” approach on offer from ministers, which would see a vote against the final agreement interpreted as a decision to back a “no deal” Brexit. Sir Keir will say at the speech in Birmingham that Labour’s approach will “bring back control” over Brexit to Parliament. “If Parliament rejects the Prime Minister’s deal that cannot give licence to her – or the extreme Brexiteers in her party – to allow the UK to crash out without an agreement.
THERESA MAY was today accused of betraying millions of Leave voters by “surrendering” any attempt to tackle EU immigration in talks with Brussels. In an unprecedented attack, Migration Watch slammed the PM for a “cop out” on border controls and warned it would come back to haunt her. It said that if ministers fail to restrict EU migration in the final Brexit deal “the electorate will not readily forgive them”. Alp Mehmet, the think tank’s vice-chair, said the PM’s transition deal with Brussels meant Britain had signed up to almost three more years of unlimited EU immigration. He accused the Government of caving into business chiefs who “profit handsomely” favour from free movement – and forgetting the views of ordinary voters on the doorsteps.
Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of a “cop out” over mass migration with EU open borders set to continue for years to come. Alp Mehmet from MigrationWatch has wrote for The Sun and spells it out: “Immigration was not just an important reason for the Brexit vote; it was, according to the polls, THE single most important issue of voter concern on the eve of referendum day in June 2016. “While the voice of voters may have been heard in the referendum result, it is also all too clear that it has since been largely ignored.” He goes on to say that: “Last Tuesday’s agreement on the transition arrangements are a complete cop out on immigration.”
Jeremy Hunt called health funding “crazy” yesterday as he launched a political offensive for a ten-year NHS spending deal and backed moves for a ringfenced tax. The health secretary, who has emerged as one of the cabinet’s most powerful figures in recent months, said that GPs and hospitals had been subjected to “feast or famine” in the past two decades. His call for a ten-year settlement and for ministers to be open-minded about “innovative forms of taxation” is a direct challenge to Philip Hammond, the chancellor, before a Whitehall spending review later this year. Downing Street played down reports that Theresa May was pressing the Treasury to provide up to £4 billion extra for the health service to coincide with its 70th anniversary this July.
A ring-fenced tax solely for the NHS and social care has the backing of the public, Jeremy Hunt has said. The Health and Social Care Secretary said Britain’s ageing population meant more cash was needed for health, adding it was “vital to be open to innovative models of taxation” to provide the funding. His claim will be interpreted in some quarters as a prod to his Cabinet colleagues to back the idea. Indeed, Mr Hunt acknowledged the idea could be resisted by Chancellor Philip Hammond because the measure could restrict his flexibility over how to use tax revenue.
Theresa May is under pressure to launch an inquiry into the NHS and social care crisis. Almost 100 MPs have written to the Prime Minister urging her to set up a Parliamentary Commission on the long-term funding. This would establish whether to raise taxes and, specifically, if there should be a ring-fenced levy for health and social care. Yesterday Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said tax increases were the only way to provide extra cash for such services. He has thrown his weight behind a ‘hypothecated’ tax – where the money would go straight to the NHS rather than the Treasury – pointing out most of the public were in favour.
Theresa May is under mounting pressure to consider tax rises to fund Britain’s creaking health and social care system, as a group of high-powered MPs on Monday call for a new commission to recommend money-raising measures. Among the signatories to a letter to the prime minister are 21 select committee chairs who are urging May to set up a year-long “parliamentary commission”, echoing the approach taken after the banking bailouts. Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes and chair of the health and social care committee, said: “We call on the government to act with urgency and to take a whole system approach to the funding of the NHS, social care and public health.
Almost 100 MPs have called on Theresa May to establish a cross-party commission to address the crisis in the NHS and in social care. A letter sent to the Prime Minister calls for a parliamentary commission and signatories include 21 select committee chairmen and 30 former ministers. The move is an attempt to break the “political deadlock” that has blocked repeated attempts to determine how to organise and fund services to cope with Britain’s ageing population. The MPs say they are “seriously worried” the Government’s promised green paper on social care will fail to make progress and instead called for an approach examining the system as a whole.
Resistance to the antibiotic of last resort spread from a single Chinese pig farm to human patients on five continents within the space of a decade, scientists have discovered. The study is the first to identify the “shocking” speed with which a gene that gives bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella protection against drugs can jump across borders and from species to species. It could allow public health officials to detect outbreaks of resistance in their early stages while there is still time to suppress them. Anti-microbial resistance (AMR), where potentially deadly pathogens evolve and exchange mutations that shield them against antibiotics, has led to the rise of several strains of “superbug” that are extremely hard to treat even in hospitals.
THE EUROPEAN Union is planning to exclude the UK from a vital 2.3billion GPS security system that it helped to fund after stating that Brexit was a “security risk”, it has been reported. The Galileo network, which is due to go live in 2020, received 15 per cent of its £2.3billion cost from the UK. The system has important military advantages and will deliver encrypted GPS navigation data. Furious officials inside No10 have expressed outrage the EU now plans to ban the UK from benefiting from Galileo by accusing the country of being a risk to security.
Theresa May is fighting to prevent Britain being frozen out of an EU satellite project with hundreds of millions of pounds of contracts at stake. The EU is planning to withhold contracts relating to the security elements of the €10 billion Galileo satellite programme from UK companies after Brexit. The exclusion from Galileo’s “public regulated service” (PRS), an encrypted navigation system for government users, would also mean that the British armed forces would be cut off from the programme, set up to be a rival to the US GPS.
The European Union harbours “grave suspicions” about the dominance of Google and has not ruled out breaking it up, the bloc’s competition commissioner has warned. Margrethe Vestager told The Telegraph that the threat to split the internet giant up into smaller companies must be kept open. In June last year, the Danish commissioner hit Google with a record £2.1 billion fine – which the firm is appealing against – for giving its own comparison shopping service an illegal advantage in search results. Google now faces two other separate cases.
Councils have spent more than £43 million in five years to settle legal claims brought by cyclists and motorists injured on Britain’s deteriorating roads. Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that cyclists received an average of £11,000 in compensation for each successful claim against councils, 13 times higher than equivalent payouts for motorists. Campaigners said that the sums underlined the seriousness of the injuries faced by cyclists when they hit a crack or pothole.
Councils have called for more cash to sort out the roads as the Government announced an extra £100million will be spent on filling in potholes. Following the damage caused by Storm Emma, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced the cash would help repair almost two million potholes and protect roads from further bad weather. He said: ‘People rely on good roads to get to work and to see friends or family. We have seen an unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather which has caused damage to our local roads.’ He added that giving councils more funding would mean ‘all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes’.
MINISTERS are handing councils an extra £100 million to fix potholes after being shamed over the desperate state of Britain’s roads. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the cash for local authorities across the UK would help repair roads damaged by the ‘Beast from the East’ snowstorm and Storm Emma. He said it came on top of a £6 billion road maintenance programme. It comes just days after furious motoring organisations claimed there are a staggering 24,400 miles of roads in the country that need essential maintenance – almost enough to stretch around the world. The Asphalt Industry Alliance said potholes had caused £1 billion of damage to vehicles in the past year.
AN extra £100million is being ploughed into repairing potholes and storm damage after a harsh winter. Roads have been shattered by an “unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather”, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said. Two million potholes will be filled, he vowed. A fifth of local roads in England and Wales are in a poor condition and councils are struggling to fill a funding black hole. Mr Grayling added: “People rely on good roads to get to work and to see friends or family.” The Asphalt Industry Alliance has warned 20% of roads in England and Wales have less than five years’ life before they become unstable. That is the equivalent of 40,000 miles of road.
A petition demanding the Government give the contract for its blue Brexit passports to a British firm has cleared 100,000 signatures in a day. The new design, modelled on the iconic ‘Old Blue’ passport held by British citizens before the current, EU-branded maroon passport was introduced to bring Britain in line with Brussels standards and recommendations, were hailed as a symbol of the country’s restoration as a sovereign nation-state. The move triggered a furious reaction from EU loyalists and unreconstructed Remain supporters — but their anger has turned to gloating as the Government reveals it intends to award the contract to make the new passports to a Franco-Dutch firm rather than the British firm which produces the current version.
Jeremy Corbyn will use billions of pounds of foreign aid to spread Left-wing and feminist ideals across the world, Labour said last night. He would also abandon the Tory principle of spending the aid budget in the British national interest. Labour has pledged to bring in the UK’s first ‘explicitly feminist’ international development policy to ‘challenge patriarchy’ by tripling funding for women’s groups. Mr Corbyn said he would challenge ‘global elites’ and ‘redistribute power’. The Department for International Development has been criticised in the past for supporting certain projects intended to empower women.
LABOUR last night called for the UK’s £13 billion overseas aid budget to be handed to left-wing grassroots groups tackling the “global elite”. Unveiling plans for a radical shake up of development, Labour demanded that a fortune be handed to activists promoting “alternative economic models”. And it would also commit to transfer power away from the aid industry and back into the “hands of people and communities”. Labour would stick by the Government’s target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid. But the cash would go to reducing inequality, promoting feminism and “taking bold action on the global economy rigged in favour of elites.”
Jeremy Corbyn has been accused by Jewish leaders of holding “conspiratorial views” about their community and treating them like a “hostile entity”. The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, two of the most senior Jewish groups in Britain, will on Monday take the unprecedented step of holding a protest against Mr Corbyn in Parliament Square. They will tell Mr Corbyn that “enough is enough” and hand him a letter in which they accuse him of siding with anti-Semites “time and time again”.
Jewish leaders have accused Jeremy Corbyn of being ‘hostile’ towards the Jewish community despite the Labour leader apologising for ‘pockets of anti-Semitism’ in the party. The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council today said Mr Corbyn sees their community as a ‘hostile entity’ and holds ‘conspiratorial views’ about them. The two senior Jewish groups are planning a protest against him in London’s Parliament Square, where they will hand him a letter accusing him of ‘siding with anti-Semites time and time again’, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Jewish leaders will accuse Jeremy Corbyn of holding “conspiratorial views” about their community at a protest outside parliament today as the Labour leader struggles to contain the fallout from his apparent support for a mural depicting Jewish bankers playing monopoly on the backs of the poor. The Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and the Board of Deputies of British Jews plan to protest outside parliament while, inside, Labour MPs are demanding that Mr Corbyn attend a meeting today to explain the incident.
The Countryside Alliance has offered to help Labour to win more rural votes, sending the Tories a message that they must not take support in the countryside for granted. A joint report by the pro-hunting lobby group and the Fabian Society, a left-leaning think tank with formal links to Labour, will warn the party not to focus on animal welfare at the expense of other rural concerns. “The Labour Party has given the impression that rural issues can be reduced to animal welfare issues,” the report, to be published tomorrow, says. “This is mistaken and has left a lasting impression among some in rural areas that the Labour Party does not understand them or, worse, is actively hostile to them.”
Campaigners have criticised the use of “German bricks” to build a Second World War commemoration centre at RAF Biggin Hill. Critics are incensed that white bricks from an Austro-German company are being used for a museum development at St George’s Chapel, which was built with support by Sir Winston Churchill in 1951 as a memorial to the 454 Biggin Hill air crew who lost their lives in the Second World War. They are also angry that a Grade II-listed vestry, housing a stained glass window honouring air crew, was removed for the new building.
For millions the Biggin Hill airfield is forever linked with the bravery of the air crew who died defending the country against the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. But now some 78 years on a new conflict has emerged at the famous site on the south-east edge of London. Campaigners say the bricks being used for a new memorial museum have been imported… from Germany. They are already opposed to the design of the building next to St George’s RAF chapel and say the bricks should have been sourced from the UK.