Senior Brexiteers are reportedly looking at Tory MP Nick Boles’ plan for Brexit which would involve scrapping the transition period and joining the European Economic Area whilst Britain negotiates a deal with Brussels. Reports in the Telegraph suggest some Brexiteer MPs including David Davis have met with Boles, who is Michael Gove’s ally in Parliament to discuss his option for Brexit. However, the EEA does mean free movement, continued contributions to the EU budget and very little say over EU laws.
Ministers would be forced to review public spending after a no-deal Brexit, Philip Hammond said yesterday as he hinted that austerity could only end if Britain remained closely tied to the EU. In provocative remarks that infuriated Brexiteers before the budget, the chancellor claimed that he would have to tear up his plans for the economy and propose a new settlement in the event of no deal in March. He added that his spending plans were based on a good post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU, hinting at the possible need for hard Brexit spending cuts.
Philip Hammond warned yesterday that the Prime Minister’s plan to end austerity could be cancelled if Britain leaves the EU without a Brexit deal. The Chancellor is expected to use today’s Budget to loosen the purse strings with a raft of spending pledges and a promise to bring forward a rise in income tax thresholds to next year. He will tell voters that the ‘fruits of their hard work are now at last in sight’ after a decade of restraint. However, in comments that risked angering Brexiteers, Mr Hammond yesterday warned that he would be forced to rip up his Budget in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Philip Hammond will use his Budget to warn that tens of billions of pounds in new public spending commitments and tax cuts will be jeopardised by a no deal Brexit. The Chancellor is expected to turn on the spending taps by bringing forward income tax cuts and pledging billions in funding for the NHS, roads, high-streets, social care and universal credit. His Budget is intended to mark the start of fulfilling the Prime Minister’s pledge to end austerity and show that there will be a “Brexit dividend” when a deal with the EU is struck.
Millions of pounds are to be spent planting trees on residential streets and in town centres, Philip Hammond will announce today. The Chancellor hopes that a £60million pledge to increase the amount of greenery around the UK will boost house prices, prevent flooding and help absorb air pollutants. Two pots of cash will be unveiled, including £10million for trees in streets and urban areas, matched by funding contributions from local authorities, community groups and charities, the Treasury said. On top of this, up to £50million will be made available to buy carbon credits from landowners who agree to plant new woodland, which could lead to an estimated 10 million new trees over the next 30 years.
A fresh Brexit row is looming after top Tory Philip Hammond ordered full “modelling” of the UK’s final deal with the EU. The Chancellor will present MPs with detailed predictions of how the deal will affect Britain’s economy and everyday life. Previous forecasts by the Chancellor have enraged Brexiteers – who claim they are too pessimistic about the prospects of life outside the EU. The forecasts will be presented before MPs get a “meaningful” vote on Brexit in Parliament later in the year.
Brexit will be a disaster for the social care sector – and for women Parliament does not have a “legal veto” over a no-deal Brexit, House of Commons officials have said – suggesting MPs who want to stop Britain crashing out of the EU will have to find another route. Instead, Britain will simply crash out of the European Union in March unless an exit deal is approved or MPs find another way to force the government to act. In written guidance to a member of parliament, seen by The Independent, experts in the House of Commons library said parliament cannot “legally and in isolation prevent a no-deal Brexit” if it votes against Theresa May’s deal.
LABOUR MPs could back a Norway-style transition deal post-Brexit to allow time to develop a wide-ranging trade deal after the UK leaves the bloc, said MP Frank Field. Eurosceptic Mr Field, who quit the Labour whip earlier this year, said if the Government fails to negotiate a suitable Brexit deal in time then there are merits of the UK joining the European Economic Area, the European Free Trade Association court and customs union. He said a “no deal” Brexit would unravel with its threat to jobs and livelihoods. The idea of such a trade deal was first suggested by Tory MP Nick Boles, which was later backed by William Hague, the former foreign secretary, and Nicky Morgan, the former education secretary.
John McDonnell has urged Conservative MPs to join Labour in voting down the Budget if the chancellor fails to halt the highly contentious rollout of universal credit. The shadow chancellor’s call on the eve of the Budget comes after demands from charities and cross-party MPs, including more than a dozen Tories, for Philip Hammond to commit extra money towards the government’s flagship welfare programme. Mr McDonnell also accused the government of showing “callous complacency” over universal credit after repeated suggestions that low-income families are being driven into debt.
Labour has been accused of plotting to block key legislation in Parliament in the case of a No Deal Brexit with the EU. Senior Tories told the Telegraph that Labour’s plan to amend No Deal legislation amounted to a “calculated move to wreck no deal preparation” in order to force a General Election. On Thursday John McDonnell spoke about these pieces of legislation that would try to be rushed through in case of No Deal saying: “It means trying to get it back onto the floor of the House as much as we possibly can so that members across the House can take a view, rather than just having them nodded through.
MPs should vote down the Budget this week if the government continues with the roll-out of its damaging Universal Credit (UC) scheme, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said today. He accused Chancellor Philip Hammond – who is set to announce the autumn Budget tomorrow – of “callous complacency” over British people’s futures. This came after Mr Hammond on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show failed to answer whether he is actually planning to put an end to years of austerity, as PM Theresa May has recently claimed. Labour has published a new list of 10 “emergency demands” for the government on UC, a benefit reform system that rolls all payments into one monthly lump sum that has pushed claimants into severe hardship.
Cross-party MPs have launched a push for a fresh EU referendum as they attempt to build momentum for a “killer amendment” on any Brexit deal Theresa May tables in the Commons. The move, backed by MPs from the major political parties, is being spearheaded by the Conservative backbencher, Sarah Wollaston, and claims to have the backing of more than 100 MPs. According to the Observer, if passed, the motion will make clear the prime minister’s deal will be dependent on a public vote taking place beforehand.
A new cross-party group of MPs plans to thwart Brexit by swinging the Commons behind a second referendum as soon as Theresa May requests parliament’s backing for a deal with the EU, as pressure mounts on party leaders to put the issue back to the people. Tory, Labour and SNP members say they will table a “killer” amendment in favour of a public vote. The amendment, if passed, will state that acceptance of the prime minister’s deal must be dependent on a public vote taking place beforehand, in which people would be offered the choice of leaving on the terms of that deal, or staying in the EU.
Angela Merkel’s political future looked uncertain on Sunday as her coalition government suffered heavy losses in key regional elections for the second time in as many weeks. Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) plunged to its worst result since 1966 in the state of Hesse, according to initial exit polls. Home to the German financial capital, Frankfurt, the state is a major symbolic prize and has been a CDU stronghold for decades. But in a vote widely seen as a verdict on Mrs Merkel’s troubled national government, her main coalition partners, the centre-Left Social Democrats (SPD), suffered major losses too and were in danger of their worst ever postwar showing in the state.
Angela Merkel narrowly survived one of the toughest tests of her 13 years in office last night as her party clung on to power in a state election. The chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) lost more than a quarter of its vote in Hesse but held on to enough support to have a plausible hope of scraping together a ruling coalition with the Greens. The regional election in one of the most prosperous states had ballooned into a personal test of the chancellor’s authority after months of civil war in her government.
Exit polls for regional elections in Hesse, Germany, suggest Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and her Social Democratic Party (SPD) partners have been hammered at the ballot box. Chancellor Merkel’s party is projected to be down around 10 percent, as are the left-liberal SPD — traditionally the rivals of the supposedly ‘centre-right’ CDU but currently working with them in a so-called ‘grand coalition’ after both parties haemorrhaged support in the first federal election since the onset of the migrant crisis in 2015. The anti-mass migration, eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) are thought to have broken through with around 12 percent of the vote, roughly in line with their results in other recent German elections.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party look to have suffered heavy losses in Sunday’s regional election in Hesse state. The CDU remained the largest party, but lost around 10 percentage points to score 28 per cent of the vote, public broadcaster ARD reported. Meanwhile, junior federal government partners the Social Democrats (SPD) dropped almost 11 points to land on just 20 per cent. The Greens came third and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Hesse regional assembly for the first time with 12 percent of the vote.
French president Emmanuel Macron was left fuming after the Belgian government announced it would replace its ageing fleet of F-16s with British-American F-35s rather than Eurofighters or French Rafales. The United Kingdom is a ‘Level 1’ partner in U.S.-based Lockheed Martin’s F-35 programme, and will reportedly reap a £400 million windfall from its 15 percent stake in the manufacture of the 34 warplanes to the Western European country, which hosts one of the EU’s major centres of power in its capital.
The European Union Parliament passed a motion this week to demand member-states ban ‘neo-fascist’ parties and groups and have intelligence agencies fully co-operate with ‘anti-racism’ NGOs. The motion, which was introduced at the request of Italian MEP Eleonora Forenza, was passed by a vote of 355 MEPs. Many MEPs were not present in the 751-seat chamber for the vote. The resolution cited several high-profile acts of violence including the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016, the murder rampage of Norwegian extremist Anders Brevik, along with other cases like the recent arrest this year of members of the Action des Forces Opérationnelles (AFO), who allegedly plotted to attack Muslims they deemed extremists.
MI5 is to take the lead in combating extreme rightwing terrorism amid mounting fears that white supremacists are increasing their efforts to foment violent racial conflict on Britain’s streets, The Guardian has learned. The switch from the police – which has always previously taken responsibility for monitoring far right extremism – to MI5 means that the ideology will now sit in the same portfolio as Islamist terrorism and Northern Ireland-related terrorism, which are both covered by the domestic security service. The decision also means that extreme rightwing activity will now be officially designated as posing a major threat to national security. It comes amid growing global fears of the threat posed by far-right terrorists.
Tory MPs united today to demand a Universal Credit U-turn after a report warned “woeful” support for the benefit risks tipping families “over the edge”. Chancellor Philip Hammond has been forced to hint at more cash in tomorrow’s Budget after a triple whammy of warnings about the six-in-one benefit. First, more than 20 Tory backbenchers launched a last-ditch plea to raise the “work allowance” – the amount people can earn before their benefits are cut off. They urged the Chancellor to cut the five-week wait for payment, writing: “Expecting families with nothing to wait for five weeks does not fit with Conservative values.”
Every school and hospital casualty unit will have its own dedicated mental health team in a £2 billion funding boost to tackle the epidemic of eating disorders, depression and self-harm among young people. In his budget today Philip Hammond, the chancellor, will announce a 15 per cent rise in real-terms spending on mental health services in England as part of the NHS’s five-year financial settlement. Charities welcomed the move but policy experts said that it offered only half the money needed to ensure that mental health was no longer treated as the “Cinderella service” of the NHS.
Every school in Britain will get a mental health support worker to help pupils suffering from depression, self-harm and eating disorders, Philip Hammond will reveal today. The Chancellor will announce in the Budget that at least one tenth of the £20 billion-a-year extra funding promised for the NHS will go to improving mental health services. He will say the £2 billion-plus annual boost will help deliver a commitment to give patients suffering from mental health conditions the same level of care as those with physical ailments. The extra cash will help pay for the provision of round-the-clock ‘comprehensive’ mental health support in every major accident and emergency department, ensuring anyone experiencing a crisis can get rapid specialist help.
Mental health services are to be given a £2bn per year boost as part of the government’s package for the NHS, Philip Hammond will announce in the Budget. The Chancellor will say on Monday the money will go towards making mental health support available in every A&E department, and include an increase in specialist ambulances across the country. The injection of funds into mental health provisions, the Treasury said, will form part of a £20bn package announced by Theresa May earlier this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the creation of the health service.
Mental health services will get a cash injection of £2bn a year, as Philip Hammond promises more dedicated support in Monday’s budget. Special ambulances to treat people with conditions like depression, anxiety and PTSD are part of the new measures to ensure mental illnesses are treated as seriously as physical ones. The vehicles look like normal cars and are designed to reduce stigma. Specialist mental health support will also be available 24/7 in every A&E department in the country, Mr Hammond will promise.
We have found them in our oceans and rivers; in the food we eat and water we drink. And now, courtesy of a team of Austrian scientists, we have discovered microplastics inside us. According to new research from the Austrian Environment Agency and the University of Vienna, who analysed the stool samples of people from eight countries around the world, including Britain, microplastics have now moved to the very top of the food chain. Although admittedly taken from a small sample size, the study published last week provides evidence of microplastics being detected in humans for the first time. Every single sample examined in the study contained microplastic.
A government health adviser who wrote a report stating that reusable containers could increase the risk of food poisoning had accepted money from plastic packaging lobbyists. David McDowell was paid by Pack2Go, a group representing convenience food packaging makers across Europe, to report on the risk from reusable coffee cups and other products. His findings have been used to lobby the government before today’s budget, which could impose a tax on single-use plastic cups. Professor McDowell is acting chairman of the government’s advisory committee on the microbiological safety of food.
Cancer cells are able to push through blood vessels with 200 times the force of ordinary cells, according to a study that may help to explain how tumours spread throughout the body. Researchers have shown that when cancer cells cluster together and stick to the walls of veins and arteries they may form a network that generates a mechanical force, allowing them to break through weaker sections. The discovery came after scientists developed a new method for testing the strength of forces produced by living cells, including breast cancer cells.
Britons overwhelmingly back the full decriminalisation of cannabis, a poll has revealed. Medical use of the drug was approved by the government this year after the case of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell came to light. The Home Office seized the cannabis oil he was using to help control his severe epilepsy, resulting in him being hospitalised in a life-threatening condition. Now almost two thirds of people say they support full legalisation of the drug, according to a Populus poll. Public opinion was very different earlier this year, with support and opposition of full legalisation at 43 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.
Hunting foxes using packs of hounds can be more humane than flushing them out with only two animals, a study has found. Farmers in England and Wales are permitted to use two hounds to flush out foxes that are a threat to their livestock. Farmers in Scotland can use a pack of hounds for the same purpose. The foxes are then meant to be shot rather than killed by the hounds. The Federation of Welsh Farmers’ Packs (FWFP), which represents groups owning packs of hounds, commissioned a vet it believed was sympathetic to hunting to study the time taken to kill foxes using two hounds, known as a couple, or a pack.