Britain will have only weeks to negotiate deals with dozens of countries after the European Union refused to help to extend any existing trade agreements before the legally binding signing of a Brexit withdrawal treaty. European officials have told the government that they will not ask the EU’s trading partners to allow Britain to benefit from current trade deals with key countries such as Japan or South Korea until Theresa May signs the final legal text of a Brexit deal.
GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel has snubbed Italy’s plea for debt relief putting the eurozone on the brink of an almighty clash. Speaking to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, she said in an interview that the EU would not turn into a “debt-sharing union”. The 63-year-old made her remarks when asked about the Five Star Movement and Lega’s joint plea for the European Central Bank to pardon Italy’s eye-watering €250billion debt.The Chancellor said while member states standing together was important, “solidarity among euro partners should never lead to a debt union, rather it must be about helping others to help themselves”.
Italy‘s new hardline interior minister Matteo Salvini arrived in Sicily today to push the anti-immigration agenda which propelled him to power. The leader of the right-wing League, who has told illegal immigrants to ‘pack their bags’, rallied support today in Pozzallo, a port town on the front line of the Mediterranean refugee crisis. The port town in southern Sicily is one of the main landing points for refugees fleeing war, persecution and famine across North Africa and the Middle East. It came after 35 migrants were killed last night when their boat sank off Tunisia‘s southern coast, with 68 others rescued by the coast guard.
Brexiteers have mocked sensational Civil Service leaks claiming Brexit could lead to an almost immediate collapse in essential supplies of food, fuel, and medicine, dubbed the “Armageddon” scenario. The “Doomsday Brexit scenario” was reportedly drawn up by senior civil servants for Brexit Secretary David Davis, and leaked to The Sunday Times, with unnamed sources saying the port of Dover would collapse “on day one” of Brexit. They have drawn up several scenarios for a rapid, ‘No Deal’ Brexit, including a mild one, a severe one, and one ominously dubbed “Armageddon”.
Brexiters have hit back at leaked Whitehall advice warning of food and fuel shortages if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, with the Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees Mogg calling it “project fear on speed”. As Theresa May’s ministers prepared to return to Westminster after the Whitsun recess with the cabinet still deadlocked over customs arrangements, a fresh row broke out over the risks of a no-deal Brexit. Three scenarios drawn up in Whitehall and obtained by the Sunday Times – the worst of the three referred to as “armageddon” – set out the consequences should Britain walk away from the negotiating table.
Brexit-backing former Cabinet Minister Priti Patel has waded in on Theresa May and Philip Hammond, saying the fact they’re both Remainers is a serious issue. When asked in an interview with The House whether or not it was problematic for Brexit that May and Hammond still couldn’t bring themselves to say it’s a good idea, she said: “I have to say, originally I thought it wasn’t. But I think it’s fair to say that there’s something in that. There is absolutely something in that. “I actually resent the negativity. The role of Conservatives is to be aspirational and positive and be on the side of people, working to support people. In my view, politics is about putting people first.”
Britain will have a good set of proposals on Brexit policy ready for a meeting of European Union leaders this month, home secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday, adding that he expected a positive response from Brussels. He rejected a newspaper report saying failure to reach an exit deal with the EU would cause immediate shortages of medicine, fuel and food. Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to find a proposal on post-Brexit customs arrangements – the biggest stumbling block so far in exit talks – to take into negotiations with Brussels as the clock ticks down to Britain’s scheduled exit in March 2019.
Priti Patel has handed a dossier of evidence to the Electoral Commission that demonstrates beyond doubt that the various Remain campaigns coordinated their spending in breach of the rules. The Commission’s guidance is clear: “you are very likely to be working together if you have joint advertising campaigns”. That is exactly what the various supposedly independent campaigns did regarding the “Don’t F*ck My Future” advertising campaign. Guido cannot see how the Remain campaigns can claim they did not co-ordinate. Having looked through the documents on the Electoral Commission’s website, I note that, according to Adam & Eve/DDB’s returns, producing these advertisements cost in excess of £76,000.
A pro-Brexit think tank run by a close ally of Michael Gove has said the UK should stay aligned with the EU’s single market after it leaves the bloc. Open Europe said that when it comes to trade in goods, the single market was a “significant achievement” and that it “makes sense” to stay in line with its rules and regulations. The group took a different view about trade in services, for which it said the UK should look to diverge from Europe and focus on the rest of the word.
The leader of the DUP has warned that her party will withdraw its support for Theresa May’s government if it adopts a Brexit deal that sees Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK. Arlene Foster said ensuring Northern Ireland maintains the same rules and regulations as Britain was a “red line” which if crossed would lose the Conservatives the critical backing of her 10 MPs. It comes as cabinet ministers are still struggling to find a solution to fulfil two of Ms May’s key Brexit pledges – keeping the Irish border open and leaving the EU’s customs union.
DUP leader Arlene Foster has threatened to pull out of a deal propping up Theresa May’s Government if ministers cross the party’s “red line” by treating Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the UK after Brexit. The Cabinet are still examining ideas to solve the thorny Irish border issue after Britain quits the EU with no clear way forward so far. One idea proposed by Brexit Secretary David Davis would see Northern Ireland covered by a joint regime of UK and EU customs regulations, allowing it to trade freely with both, plus a 10-mile wide “special economic zone” on the border with Ireland.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland has “paused” the sale of three stations near the border until it knows the outcome of Brexit negotiations. It is the clearest indication yet that officers are preparing for the possibility of a return to a hard border on the island. Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin said: “The PSNI has a responsibility to keep people safe and we constantly review our resources to ensure that we are best equipped to do this. “In light of the UK Referendum vote to leave the EU, we are reviewing decisions we previously made about our stations identified for disposal.
House of Lords
Ministers are facing calls to scrap the “undemocratic farce” of electing hereditary peers as new analysis reveals the average poll only attracts 29 voters. Ahead of a by-election to replace Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, critics described the system as a “bizarre hangover from feudal times”, where some elections are decided by as few as three voters. Labour abolished the majority of hereditary peerages in 1999 but around 90 still remain, accounting for some 12 per cent of the House of Lords. In most circumstances, if one dies, quits or retires then the successor is voted for by members of their own party.
Churches, mosques and temples should have regular drills to prepare for terrorist attacks and disasters in their area, a report has said, drawing on the relief provided by faith groups after the Grenfell Tower fire. In the immediate aftermath of a major tragedy, places of worship are often used as shelters, gathering points and aid distribution centres. A report into Grenfell by Theos, a religious affairs think tank, has recommended that “preparation in peacetime” would help places of worship to equip themselves for future disasters.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid is to reveal plans for MI5 to declassify and share information on UK citizens suspected of having terrorist sympathies. The security services currently hold information on around 20,000 such people, labelled “subjects of concern”. Mr Javid will make the announcement later in a speech relating to the overhaul of UK counter-terror strategy. Mr Javid is also expected to say he wants to eradicate “safe spaces” that are exploited by violent extremists. In his first speech on security since replacing Amber Rudd as home secretary, Mr Javid will suggest increased – and faster – sharing of information between security services, the private sector and other partners.
MI5 and police will be alerted to suspicious purchases – such as large amounts of chemicals – more quickly under new anti-terror plans. In a speech this morning, Home Secretary Sajid Javid will also defend the controversial Prevent scheme, which aims to stop people being drawn into terrorism. Mr Javid is expected to say the government wants to work more closely with businesses to eradicate the “safe spaces” exploited by extremists. “That includes faster alerts for suspicious purchases, improving security at crowded places across the UK, and reducing the vulnerability of our critical infrastructure,” he will say.
Police and security services face a surge in the number of convicted terrorists released from prison, Guardian analysis has shown, prompting warnings over the unique threats posed by extremists back on the streets. More than 40% of the sentences for terrorism offences handed down over a 10-year period will have been served by the end of the year, figures compiled by the Sentencing Council show. More than 80 of the 193 terms issued for terrorism offences between 2007 and 2016 will run out by the end of this year.
Theresa May is expected to lift the cap on doctors from outside the EU within weeks after the NHS warned it is leading to staff shortages, The Telegraph has learned. The Prime Minister previously blocked plans to relax the visa rules when pleas were made by Amber Rudd, the former Home Secretary. However she is now preparing to lift the cap to meet the NHS’s needs. Discussions in Government are at a “fairly developed stage” after Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, and Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, persuaded the Prime Minister to relax the restrictions.
Theresa May is preparing to relax tough visa restrictions on foreign doctors in the face of a Cabinet revolt led by Sajid Javid. The new Home Secretary yesterday went public with his concerns about restrictions on skilled workers that are blamed for fuelling a shortage of doctors in the NHS. In his first major TV interview since his appointment in April, Mr Javid also made it clear he was prepared to speak out on wider immigration policy, which has been the preserve of Mrs May since 2010. He revealed he has already torn up part of the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ policy blamed by critics for the Windrush scandal – and refused to endorse her long-standing policy of reducing net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’.
Theresa May’s authority was dealt a blow yesterday as two ministers publicly challenged government policy. Sajid Javid, the home secretary, promised to review significant parts of the prime minister’s immigration policy and a defence minister reopened the dispute over historical investigations into the actions of British armed forces in Northern Ireland. In his first major television interview since being promoted in late April, Mr Javid admitted there was a “perception problem” with including students in net migration figures, pledged to “take a fresh look” at the cap on skilled workers given visas and appeared reluctant to endorse the policy of bringing annual net migration below 100,000.
The Muslim Council of Britain is unrepresentative, Sajid Javid, the home secretary, said as he rejected its call for an investigation into alleged Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. The dispute threatens to overshadow the launch of the government’s new counterterrorism strategy, which will include plans for MI5 to share intelligence about suspected extremists with schools and social services. Yesterday Mr Javid hit back at the council, an umbrella body for hundreds of mosques and other organisations, which had said that it witnesses incidents of Islamophobia from Tory officials, candidates and supporters “more than weekly”.
Theresa May is under growing pressure to investigate Islamophobia in the Conservative party after a top Tory peer echoed calls made this week by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and Sayeeda Warsi. Mohamed Sheikh said an independent inquiry was required to “show we will not tolerate any form of discrimination within our own party”. His call comes after the MCB accused the Tories of failing to take the issue seriously. Lady Warsi, the party’s former chair, has said the failure was “embarrassing” for the party and that her calls over the past two years had gone unheeded.
Sajid Javid slammed the ‘unrepresentative’ Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) today as he dismissed claims of widespread Islamophobia in the Conservative Party. The stinging rebuke came after the MCB demanded an inquiry into ‘racists and bigots’ in the party, highlighting a series of alleged incidents involving activists. Former Tory chair Baroness Warsi also backed an investigation last week, complaining that the party tended to ‘shrug its shoulders’ over such claims. But asked about the issue on the BBC‘s Andrew Marr show today, Mr Javid pointed out that he had been made Home Secretary in a Tory government.
Sajid Javid has denied the Conservative Party has an Islamophobia problem, presenting his appointment as Home Secretary as evidence to the contrary. Mr Javid, who is not a practising Muslim, but comes from a Muslim family, said he did not recognise claims of anti-Muslim sentiment in his party. It comes after former Tory Party chair Baroness Warsi said: “There is a simmering anti-Muslim underbelly of islamophobia within the party.” Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Javid said: “I’ve got a lot of time for Baroness Warsi, but I’m afraid I do not agree with that.
HOME Secretary Sajid Javid was accused of resorting to “shoot the messenger tactics” today after he launched a stunning attack on the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The MCB called for a full investigation into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party last week, demanding Tory chairman Brandon Lewis take action over the “weekly occurrences of Islamophobia” from party candidates and activists. MCB secretary general Harun Khan blasted the Tories for taking no action against MP Bob Blackman’s “consistent record of endorsing Islamophobia,” pointing out nine other instances of Tory Islamophobia in the past two months alone.
Jeremy Corbyn has insisted he wants to hand the Elgin Marbles back to Greece if he becomes Prime minister The Labour leader made clear he viewed the ancient statues as ‘stolen’ and they should be returned. Many Parthenon sculptures have been housed in the British Museum since 1816 after they were bought by the government from Lord Elgin. Greece has long campaigned for their repatriation, but supporters insist they were purchased legitimately and have been painstakingly preserved in the UK. There have been warnings that giving back the artefacts would trigger requests from dozens of other countries for the repatriation of artworks in British museums.
UP to 15 rebel Labour MPs have demanded a second Brexit referendum after joining forces with Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, in a direct challenge to leader Jeremy Corbyn. The cluster of London-based politicians jumped ship and teamed up with the Mr Cable for his crusade for a second vote on whether Britain should leave the European Union. The MPs scrawled their names on an open letter calling for a deal that keeps the UK shackled to the bloc’s custom union and single market, which in turn would force Brexiteers to continue free movement and ban free trade with other countries outside the bloc. The flurry of signatures are from six former shadow ministers and regular Corbyn bashers Mike Gapes and Wes Streeting as well as Rushanara Ali, Margaret Hodge, David Lammy and Tulip Siddiq.
Theresa May is facing a rebellion by Boris Johnson and senior Tory MPs after it emerged that she is considering whipping a vote on third runway at Heathrow later this month. The Prime Minister had been expected to give Mr Johnson and dozens of anti-Heathrow Tory MPs a “licence to rebel” by handing them a free vote on the runway in a bid to avoid destabilising the Government. However The Telegraph understands Mrs May is now considering imposing a “three-line whip” on the vote next month amid concerns that the Government could lose.
THERESA May faces another embarrassing rebellion in the Houses of Parliament over the proposal to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport if she attempts to force Tory MPs to vote in favour of the plans later this month. Over 30 Conservative MPs are prepared to rebel against Mrs May’s push to expand the airport, which could ultimately lead to the Government’s defeat if SNP and Labour MPs also oppose the proposal. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson commented on the issue, stating: “We respect the success of the airport, we want to see Heathrow working wonderfully.
Israel raised the pressure on Britain and its European partners last night to tear up the nuclear deal with Iran by sharing secret files showing Tehran’s determination to build a bomb. One of the key documents, seen by The Times, is a memorandum that formally hands responsibility for the production of weapons-grade enriched uranium to the Iranian defence ministry. This and other written orders are part of a cache of 100,000 files snatched from a Tehran warehouse by agents of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, in January. Some of the haul is being made available to the security services of Britain, France and Germany before this week’s trip to Europe by Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.