REBEL MPs and peers were last night warned that a parliamentary revolt to delay Theresa May’s Brexit plans could weaken Britain’s position in the forthcoming EU negotiations. Tory rebels are expected to join with Labour and Lib Dem MPs tomorrow to defeat the Government for a second time over the Prime Minister’s EU withdrawal Bill. They plan to amend the legislation to force a “meaningful vote” in Parliament on any final EU departure deal. A backbench rebellion was also understood to be growing in the Commons with some Tory MPs ready to vote against the Government to uphold a Lords’ amendment to the Bill guaranteeing the rights of more than three million EU citizens to stay in the country after Brexit. Commons Leader David Lidington yesterday insisted that attempts to tamper with the legislation could undermine hopes of agreeing a favourable trade deal with the EU.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is unlikely to bow to political expedience in Brexit negotiations but will make up her own mind about what she believes is best and refuse to give ground – that’s if past form is anything to go by. May, who backed the campaign to stay in the European Union in last June’s referendum, will have to carry or quell the eurosceptics in her ruling Conservative Party as she formulates her negotiating priorities and strategy. The 60-year-old – often described as “sphinx-like” in the British press – has revealed little in her first eight months as leader about how she will approach divorce talks with Brussels, perhaps wary of weakening her hand. But her previous experience of trying to win the support of the eurosceptics who drove Brexit could offer some clues about her modus operandi: two years ago when as interior minister she sought to opt back into the European Arrest Warrant against the wishes of many in her party.
Britain will pay its bills due as part of the Brexit negotiations voluntarily despite advice to ministers saying that there is no legal obligation to do so, the chancellor suggested yesterday. Philip Hammond said that reports that the European Union could demand up to €60 billion (£50 billion) for projects Britain had signed off as a member which have yet to be paid for were a “negotiating strategy”. Theresa May would honour bills that should be paid, he said. On Saturday The Times reported that government legal advice stated there was no law or treaty that could compel Britain to make post-Brexit payments.
BRITAIN is ready to “fight back” against any attempt by Brussels to impose punishment for leaving the EU, Philip Hammond vowed yesterday. In a stark warning to Brussels, the Chancellor warned that the UK will not “slink off like a wounded animal” if EU negotiators demand a swingeing divorce fee from the bloc. “British people have a great fighting spirit,” he said. He also promised that the Government will do “whatever we need to do” to make the country complete in the global market place in the event of an exit from the EU without a trade deal. His remarks were seen last night as the toughest yet from a Cabinet minister ahead of the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. They suggest that Theresa May is ready to talk tough with EU negotiators after her expected triggering of the bloc’s Article 50 exit mechanism later this month.
GINA MILLER has been ridiculed for her continuous fight against Brexit which has “forced” Remainers to be in favour of leaving the European Union. The 51-year-old, who led the High Court action which said Parliament must approve triggering Article 50, looked stern as she was mocked for drumming up the support of Brexit. The business owner recently launched a new campaign, demanding Parliament is given a full vote on the outcome of EU negotiations. But, her relentless effort to try to derail Britain’s divorce from Brussels was mocked by Ukip’s only MP Douglas Carswell. Speaking on Peston on Sunday, the Eurosceptic quipped: “As a Vote Leaver we should thank Gina. Gina has consolidated the position of Brexit.
Scrapping free movement rules after Britain quits the European Union may not lead to lower migration, a House of Lords report will warn today. Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to seize back control of the country’s borders amid concern that EU labour rules have driven net migration to record levels. She has suggested a ‘targeted’ visa regime for EU migrants so they must secure a skilled job before being allowed to work in the UK. Ministers have vowed to cut net migration – those arriving minus those leaving – to 100,000 a year. But a report by the Lords’ EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee raises doubts about the impact of axing free movement. It said that until September, net migration was consistently higher from outside the EU – despite restrictions on who could come to live in Britain.
UKIP’s deputy leader described levels of immigration into Britain as “completely insane” as he vowed to “protect traditional British values”. During a passionate speech at the party’s conference in Weymouth, Peter Whittle blamed uncontrolled immigration for mounting pressures on Britain’s services. According to the latest figures, in the year ending September 2016 net migration to the UK stood at 273,000. Mr Whittle argued the huge figure was now becoming the “new normal” despite promises from the Conservative Party to reduce it to the tens of thousands. Speaking at the Weymouth Pavilion on Saturday, the London Assembly Member said: “It’s estimated that our population is going to go up to about 70 million within the foreseeable future. This is completely insane.
Uber taxis could soon be used to transfer non-emergency patients to and from hospital after a deal was struck between an NHS trust and social care company Cera. The deal will see patients able to use Uber for journeys including hospital appointments and generally getting out-and-about when they might otherwise be housebound or reliant on family and friends. Patients will use the UberAssist disabled access cars and the UberWav service for wheelchair users. The service will also be available to carers, using the app alongside traditional forms of transport to determine the most efficient option in each individual case, Cera said. Patients with illnesses ranging from cancer to dementia will be looked after by Cera carers under the scheme at Barts Health NHS Trust in London. A smartphone app will help to coordinate care, book drivers, and keep relatives informed of their care.
NHS spending is falling to “intolerable” new levels under the Tories, says a damning report. TUC analysis of official spending figures makes a mockery of Theresa May’s claims that the Government is lavishing record levels of cash on the service. Rather than going up, spending per person in England is set to fall in the next two years when inflation and population growth are taken into account. The same research shows two thirds of cash strapped health authorities are planning to cut services and nearly half are expected to be in the red by the end of this financial year in April. The worrying findings, ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, come at a time when the NHS has been told to find £22billion in savings – causing staff shortages, longer waiting times and cancelled operations.
Whilst we have an NHS crisis here at home, some £150 million is now being dished out from the healthcare budget in foreign aid. £15 million of his includes a scheme to stop those abroad from smoking in what highlights a colossal waste of British taxpayers’ money. Only £11 million went from the health budget to overseas in 2014, but this has now spiralled way out of control. Whilst the numbers of hospital beds in the UK are being cut and the NHS faces a crisis as mass migration continues to fuel a population surge, the country is giving away millions. It represents once again totally skewed priorities.
MSPs on Holyrood’s Europe committee have called for a “bespoke solution” for Scotland in the UK’s Brexit deal. Committee members penned a report calling for a Scottish solution to be included in Article 50, the starting point of the Brexit process. Convener Joan McAlpine said Scotland’s majority vote to remain inside the EU and the single market should be reflected in the coming negotiations. However, Conservative members of the committee dissented over some points. Prime Minister Theresa May told the Scottish Tory conference in Glasgow that the UK government would be aiming for “a deal which works for all parts of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and for the United Kingdom as a whole”.
Paul Nuttall has asked Ukip to “give me time to sort out this mess” as the row over Nigel Farage’s failed bid for a knighthood escalated. Speaking ten days after losing the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, the Ukip leader admitted to “moments of doubt” over whether he was the right person to head the party. Mr Nuttall, 40, had faced questions over his leadership after he barely dented Labour’s majority in the by-election, but vowed to press on. “I’ve only been in this role for 13 weeks,” he told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One. “Five of that was spent fighting a by-election, two of it was the Christmas period. Give me time to sort out this mess and I will.
PAUL NUTTALL rejected calls for him to resign as Ukip’s leader, demanding he was given “time to sort out the mess”. The Eurosceptic took the helm of the party 13 weeks ago but has already found himself in the midst of controversy evere since. The Ukip chief suffered a bruising defeat to Labour in the “Brexit capital” Stoke by-election earlier this month. His campaign was hit by a number of setbacks, including the revelation of a false claim on his website that he lost “close friends” in the Hillsborough disaster. Party donor Arron Banks described Mr Nuttall’s leadership as “weak” and said the party was being “run like a squash club committee”. However, remaining defiant, the 40-year-old dismissed the calls for him to step aside, claiming he’d been victim to a Labour smear campaign.
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall says he needs time to sort out the “mess” his party is in. Mr Nuttall urged UKIP to “stick together” after senior figures clashed following his Stoke by-election defeat. He said he took responsibility for inaccurate claims he lost close friends at Hillsborough but blamed reports he had not actually been at the match on an “orchestrated smear campaign”. UKIP’s latest row involves ex-leader Nigel Farage and MP Douglas Carswell. Claims Mr Carswell blocked an attempt to get Mr Farage a knighthood have been referred to UKIP’s National Executive Committee. Mr Carswell has denied trying to stop the honour. Mr Farage has accused him of “working for the Conservatives” and called for him to be expelled from the party.
The UK Independence Party will remain at the forefront of bringing radical change to British politics, its leader has promised, even as the country prepares to leave the European Union. For more than 20 years UKIP has built its policy platform around a central wish to see Britain exit the 28 member state block and uncouple from Brussels. But with Brexit plans now underway following a referendum on the matter last June, many have questioned what the party now stands for. On Sunday its new leader, Paul Nuttall, attempted to answer that question, setting out the party’s stall in the Sunday Telegraph. “Some people say our unique selling point was leaving the EU and that it has now gone. But our appeal is much wider than that,” he wrote.
Britain will “fight back” and not “slink off like a wounded animal” if finishes its negotiations with the EU without striking the deal it wants, the Chancellor Philip Hammond has said. Mr Hammond told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that Britain would “do whatever we need to do” including striking deals and building alliances with the rest of the world, to protect and drive the British economy if it were forced to face a future without a trade agreement with the EU. Mr Hammond said: “If there is anybody in the European Union who thinks that if we don’t do a deal with the European Union, if we don’t continue to work closely together, Britain will simply slink off as a wounded animal, that is not going to happen.
Philip Hammond has sent a warning to Britain’s European partners that Britain will “fight back” and not “slink off like a wounded animal” if it does not get the Brexit deal it wants. In combative language ahead of triggering the article 50 negotiations on terms of withdrawal, the chancellor said Britain would “do whatever we need to do” to be competitive in the event of leaving the EU without a trade agreement. The use of such language flies in the face of calls from Sir John Major to tone down anti-EU rhetoric before negotiations begin. In an interview on the the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Hammond said: “If there is anybody in the European Union who thinks that if we don’t do a deal with the European Union, if we don’t continue to work closely together, Britain will simply slink off as a wounded animal, that is not going to happen.
Negative coverage of the European Union in British newspapers nearly doubled over the last 40 years, a study has found. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) found negative coverage of the EU increased from 24 per cent to 45 per cent between 1974 and 2013, at the “expense of positive and neutral coverage”. Positive coverage fell from 25 per cent to 10 per cent over the same period. The study, published in the Journal of Common Market Studies, analysed 16,400 newspaper articles during five periods from 1974 to 2013 during which the EU was highly prominent in UK news. By individually analysing each newspaper, the authors showed negative coverage increased steadily from the mid-1970s to the mid-2010s, a period in which centre-right tabloids increased their EU coverage. By the mid-2010s, 85 per cent of EU coverage in the Daily Mail was negative, compared with less than 25 per cent in the mid-1970s.
The leader of the centre-right bloc in the European Parliament threatened on Sunday to expel a Polish politician who has been nominated by Warsaw to replace fellow-Pole Donald Tusk as chair of European Union summit meetings. In a sign of mounting frustration among fellow Europeans with the right-wing government in Warsaw, Manfred Weber said in a statement that the conservative EPP, the biggest group in the EU legislature, would expel Jacek Saryusz-Wolski if he did not drop the bid to replace Tusk, which many diplomats see as farcical. EU leaders are expected to give Tusk, a former Polish prime minister from the centre-right Civic Platform (PO), a second 30-month term as president of their European Council during a summit in Brussels on Thursday. Until Saturday, no other candidate had emerged. By tradition any challenger would be expected to be a sitting or recently retired government leader. All members except Poland have backed Tusk.
A diplomatic rift between Turkey and key European nations deepened Sunday as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Germany of “Nazi practices,” days after a local authority prevented a Turkish minister from addressing a rally. Meanwhile, at an election campaign event in Amsterdam, Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders also resorted to extreme-right comparisons, calling Erdogan an “Islamo-fascist leader.” The diplomatic tension has been rising in recent days amid Turkish plans to have government ministers to address rallies in Germany and the Netherlands in support of an upcoming constitutional referendum that would give Erdogan new powers.
Chancellor Philip Hammond will use Wednesday’s Budget to announce that rising tax revenues as a result of a stronger-than-expected economy will be used to build up a £60bn reserve to deal with Brexit-related uncertainty, rather than increase spending on the NHS. Mr Hammond will announce an extra £1.3bn for social care, but Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has warned that £12bn should be immediately redirected to the NHS, warning that “the crisis is happening now.” Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, the Chancellor also warned that the UK would be prepared to “fight back” and “not slink off into the corner” if no trade deal with the EU could be reached, and would do “whatever it takes” to rebuild the British economy.
Philip Hammond is expected to use Wednesday’s budget to announce that tax revenues will be used to build up a reserve to deal with uncertainties arising from Brexit, rather than increase spending on the health service. The chancellor has indicated that some extra money will be allocated for social care. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has warned that £12bn should be immediately redirected to the NHS, warning that “the crisis is happening now”. The government has announced the allocation of more than £500m from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to help Britain’s innovators. The money is part of a £23bn pledge first made in the autumn statement. Of this money, £270m will go to universities and businesses that are developing artificial intelligence, batteries for electric cars or manufacturing medicines. Another £90m will go to fund 1,000 PhD places while £200m will support research fellowships.
Jeremy Corbyn’s grassroots movement Momentum is to relaunch this week after months of infighting threatened to cripple it. The movement, created in October 2015 to capture the enthusiasm of Corbyn’s leadership campaign, has been engulfed in debilitating feuds on a scale not seen on the left since the 1980s. Jon Lansman, one of its founders and a close associate of Corbyn, has made a series of moves to end the factionalism. A new national coordinating group is to meet for the first time on 11 March, in Birmingham, shorn of leftwing groups and individuals judged as hostile to Labour. Two weeks later, on 25 March, Momentum will hold its first national conference, also in Birmingham, building on the events it held in parallel with Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool in September. As part of its new look, the group is to recruit a national coordinator who will act as its public face. The organisation, which has been dubbed Corbyn’s praetorian guard, has about 22,000 members, each paying £10 a year. It also has a much larger database of supporters. Organisers are expecting about 700 to attend the conference.
COUNCILS are spending a whopping £2 million a day on temporary accommodation for homeless families because of an ongoing shortage of truly affordable housing, the Local Government Association (LGA) announced yesterday. Nearly 75,000 households are currently living in bed and breakfasts, hostels and in short-term private rents — a 50 per cent increase since 2010, the LGA said. Councils have had to spend £2.6 billion on housing people in temporary accommodation over the past three years, the LGA estimated. The association is calling for a “renaissance in house-building by councils,” as the number of flats and houses available has plunged to a 24-year low because of the Tories’ disastrous right-to-buy policy and the extension of it to housing association tenants. The amount of social housing being built — already at rock-bottom — plummeted by 52 per cent between 2015 and 2016.
Britain will seek to boost trade links with African Commonwealth nations this week in a move described by Whitehall officials as “empire 2.0”. Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, will promise to build better links with the 52-member organisation when ministers from each country meet in London on Thursday and Friday. Britain plans to promise all developing nations that their trading relationships with the UK will stay the same or improve after Brexit, guaranteeing that they will not get worse. Ministers want to go further with African nations, however, and start talks to allow Britain to work more closely with an African free trade zone. “They want to be able to start talking about African free trade deals this week,” a Whitehall source said.
Snow at Easter?
The UK is set to see more snow at Easter than it did over Christmas as an arctic blast sweeps across the country. Temperatures are set to plummet as low as -8C in April with snow and gale force winds battering parts of the UK. But the mad-cap conditions are set to get even more extreme – with temperatures then soaring to around 26C in May, according to forecasters. Over the weekend, social media was awash with photographs of snow blanketing the country. And experts believe the UK could see more snow next weekend as temperatures drop and a cold front swoops in. But in another twist, temperatures in the south east could go as high as 13C by midweek, making it warmer than the south of France.
A “polar vortex” will send icy winds from the far north in the run-up to Easter Sunday, the Met Office warns. Snow is also expected as part of a mad three months of weather. Forecasters say Atlantic gales will batter Britain until late March, with 50mph gusts due in the South from Monday. Councils, transport bosses and emergency services have also been briefed to expect snow and sub-zero temperatures around Easter Sunday on April 16. Cold April spells have seen -5C to -11C in each of the past five years, Met Office records show. The ‘polar vortex’ – the North Pole’s dominant low pressure – is forecast to weaken, meaning high pressure would block mild westerly winds and allow cold air to hit Britain.