Cabinet Minister Andrea Leadsom has dismissed Project Fear scare stories on leaving the European Union without a deal, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr that the UK would “thrive” after leaving on WTO terms. It is an increasingly popular option across the country, yet Theresa May has been reduced to wanting any EU deal rather than going for No Deal. Yesterday, Leadsom said clearly that: “If we ended up with No Deal, we would survive and thrive, there is no doubt about that.” She went on to say that it would be: “Not nearly as grim as many would advocate and the civil service have done an amazing job of ensuring we minimise the problems. “I’m not an advocate for No Deal but it’s not nearly as bad as many like to think it would be.” Why doesn’t the Prime Minister get the UK out on a No Deal basis and negotiate a trade deal from there rather than endlessly delaying and killing faith and trust in politics?
FRUSTRATED EU leaders have privately given up on Theresa May and are “negotiating with the MPs directly,” sources say. A diplomatic source told The Sun that national capitals and Brussels bosses have established direct lines of negotiation with MPs after the Cooper/Letwin plot put the Commons in charge of deciding the length of the Brexit delay. But EU leaders are “worried” the Commons doesn’t have a grasp on reality and will vote to add an unrealistic end date to the Cooper-Letwin amendment tomorrow.
BRITAIN would be kept on a permanent “dog leash” by the EU if it entered into a customs union because of the legally binding backstop, a Eurosceptic barrister has warned. Martin Howe QC said the clause in Theresa May’s Brexit deal which stipulates the backstop policy amounts to “real poison” and has the potential to place the country in a trap with no easy escape route.
Cross party negotiations
The Prime Minister has announced her intention to find a compromise in cross-party talks on Brexit, in a video message delivered in the manner of a fireside chat. Sitting back with one arm resting on the arm of a sofa, and speaking directly to camera, Theresa May used a colloquial tone to tell voters she disagreed with Labour but claimed on Brexit the two sides agreed on ‘ending free movement, ensuring we leave with a good deal, protecting jobs, protecting security.’
Tory MP and leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has condemned Prime Minister Theresa May for making “active choices’ to stop Brexit. Mr Rees-Mogg, chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG), told Sky News that Mrs May would be “held to account” for her decisions to delay Brexit as well as for her decision to invite Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for talks over a possible compromise Brexit deal.
Cross-party talks between Theresa May’s government and the Labour Party are entering their second week today, ahead of a crucial EU summit on 10 April. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, is also set to hold talks with Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, in Dublin on Monday afternoon. Over the weekend Theresa May made a fresh bid to break the Brexit deadlock, by releasing a video message addressed to the public on Sunday.
There is increasing anger within the ranks of the Conservative Party as Theresa May continues to pursue a Brexit agreement with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn that the pair can ram through the House of Commons. Today, the Sunday Telegraph report on anger from Tory activists and Councillors, with over 100 members signing a letter pointing out that the party is now struggling to compete in the local elections next month as “belief in the party they joined is gone”.
Theresa May is gearing up to offer Jeremy Corbyn a soft Brexit with a “Boris lock” which would make it hard for a Eurosceptic PM to row back on after she steps down. According to the Sunday Times Number 10 is drawing up plans to enshrine in law a guarantee that MPs would have the ultimate say on a final deal with Brussels.
Theresa May is facing intense cabinet pressure to avoid the prospect of a long Brexit delay, amid increasing expectations that last ditch cross-party talks on a compromise departure plan will not produce anything concrete. Before a crucial EU summit later this week, the prime minister is facing a fast-diminishing range of options that could split the Conservative party and prompt a mass cabinet walkout.
Pro-Brexit Conservative MPs are increasingly speaking out against the possibility of a Theresa May/Jeremy Corbyn Brexit deal that could see the UK locked inside an EU Customs Union. In his Telegraph article today, Boris Johnson hits back against the prospect of submitting to Labour’s demands that would kill off an independent trade policy, saying: “There is still time to sort out the problems in the PM’s deal, and to escape the backstop; of course there is.
More than half of Britons want a “strong leader willing to break the rules”, a new survey on the state of parliamentary democracy has found. In findings that suggest large parts of the country are ready to entertain radical political change, nearly three quarters of people felt that the British system of governing needed “quite a lot” or “a great deal” of improvement. More than four in ten thought that the country’s problems could be more easily solved if ministers “didn’t have to worry so much about votes in parliament”.
Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has backed Boris Johnson to be the next Tory leader. The European Research Group chairman praised the former Foreign Secretary who is popular with Tory members. He said: “I think very highly of Boris Johnson, who managed to win in London twice in a Labour area – has a great connection with voters. “He is a clear Eurosceptic but otherwise is very much in the middle of the Conservative Party.
The chairman of Tory Eurosceptic bloc the European Research Group has thrown his weight behind fellow Old Etonian Boris Johnson, saying the former Foreign Secretary could ‘unite the party and win an election’. Jacob Rees-Mogg this morning denied his group should shoulder any blame for the current political impasse, saying the Prime Minister’s deal didn’t have unanimous Tory backing because it broke manifesto pledges.
BREXITEER JACOB Rees-Mogg has indicated that he could throw his weight behind former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in a Conservative Party leadership contest. The European Research Group (ERG) chair indicated that Mr Johnson could “unite” the Conservative Party after Brexit is delivered. The ERG chair leads a cohort of 80 Tory MPs who could play a pivotal role in deciding who takes over the leadership of the Conservative Party once Theresa May departs.
NIGEL FARAGE warned Tories are in “for a big shock” in the upcoming EU elections if the UK is forced to take part in the vote due to a long Brexit delay. The former Ukip leader issued a stark warning to Theresa May’s party, saying his newly-formed Brexit Party is ready to contest all 73 seats allocated to the UK in the European Parliament should Britain be trapped in the EU for longer than a few weeks.
A quarter of the public say they would boycott European Parliament elections if they happen in the UK in May, a Sky Data poll reveals. Some 26% of Britons say they would sit out elections in protest, while 47% say they would vote in them, and 17% admit they would not vote in them anyway. A higher proportion say they would vote than turned out in the 2014 EU elections in the UK – 36% of potential voters turned out five years ago, though usually more claim they will get to the ballot box than actually do so.
The EU has set up its own “fact checking” service in order to combat the spread of so-called “fake news” ahead of May’s European elections. The new ‘Decoders of Europe’ site, based on the Boulevard St Germain in Paris, seeks to “answer a series of questions or accusations, explaining what constitutes the reality and sometimes the complexity of European policies. Beyond these explanations, our goal is also to better inform, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, what works in Europe!” according to the EU website.
TORY council candidates have listed their party as ‘Local Conservatives’ in a bid to “detoxify” themselves from Theresa May’s leadership, The Sun can reveal. The party faces losing control of councils across the country due to the failure to deliver Brexit on time and Mrs May’s decision to enter cross-party talks with Jeremy Corbyn. Nomination papers submitted by candidates – seen by The Sun – reveal that many local Tory associations hope to escape voters’ anger over Brexit by listing their party on ballot papers for the May 2 local elections as ‘Local Conservatives’.
Labour would ‘consider very very strongly’ voting to revoke Article 50 and forcing the UK to remain a member of the EU, if the alternative were the UK leaving the EU without a deal, a shadow cabinet minister said today. Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow business secretary and part of Labour’s Brexit negotiating team, said the move would be considered if an ‘extremely damaging’ break from the bloc without an agreement was the other option.
The Jewish Labour Movement have passed a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn and concluded he is “unfit to be prime minister” as the party’s anti-Semitism crisis worsened. The JLM accused Mr Corbyn and the Labour leadership of having “fundamentally failed” to address the problem and said a government led by him “would not be in the interest of British Jews”.
The Jewish Labour Movement passed a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership on Sunday as the party came under renewed pressure over its handling of antisemitism allegations. Labour disputed a report in the Sunday Times, which drew on leaked internal documents, that its system for dealing with complaints has been beset by delays, inaction and interference from the leader’s office. But both the party and its leader were dealt a blow when the AGM of the Jewish Labour Movement – which has 2,000 members and has been affiliated for almost a century – voted to describe the party as “institutionally antisemitic”.
Jewish Labour members have branded the party leadership as antisemitic in a fresh blow to Jeremy Corbyn. The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) passed the damning motion at its annual general meeting on Sunday, accusing Mr Corbyn of having “condoned antisemitism and antisemites”. The group said the Labour leader was “unfit to be prime minister” and that a government he led “would not be in the interests of British Jews”.
Labour’s official Jewish affiliate has declared that it has no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership after nearly four years of antisemitism rows. A motion of no confidence in the Labour leader was passed “overwhelmingly” yesterday at the annual meeting of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), which has been formally tied to the party for 99 years. Last month the JLM voted not to secede from the party. Internal Labour Party documents on antisemitism claims were leaked to The Sunday Times showing a complaints system bedevilled by delays, inaction and reported interference from Mr Corbyn’s office.
Jeremy Corbyn has lost a no confidence motion by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) ‘overwhelmingly’ this afternoon after the group’s leader announced he would vote against the Labour leader, despite Mr Corbyn’s shadow attorney general pleading with the group to look past her leader and not ‘personalise’ the vote. It comes as internal Labour Party documents have revealed only three per cent of nearly 900 anti-Semitism disciplinary cases have resulted in a member’s expulsion from the party.
Jeremy Corbyn is facing a split in the Labour Party as 80 MPs called for a second referendum while the party chairman warned backing a so-called People’s Vote would cause massive divisions. Remainers within the Labour Party want Corbyn to push Theresa May to hold a second EU referendum. But the party chairman, Ian Lavery, warned Corbyn if he backed another referendum he risked causing an irrevocable split within the movement.
The Independent Group
At least 200 people have applied to stand as candidates for the new Independent Group if the UK takes part in European elections next month – amid growing signs that the contest could turn into a “proxy referendum” on whether to leave or remain in the EU. The Observer has been told that one pro-EU former Tory cabinet minister and several former MPs and MEPs from the main parties have also put their names forward in the hope of being selected by TIG.
Britain will have the toughest internet laws in the world, ministers pledge today as the Government backed the Daily Telegraph campaign for a statutory duty of care to protect children online. Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary, and Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, have unveiled their White Paper spelling out plans for a duty of care enforced by a new independent regulator.
Internet sites could be fined or blocked if they fail to tackle “online harms” such as terrorist propaganda and child abuse, under new government plans. The proposals, which include an independent watchdog and a code of practice that tech companies would have to follow, could see the UK introduce “world first” internet safety laws designed to make the country the safest place on the globe to be online.
The hard shoulder is to be stripped from almost 400 more miles of motorway within six years after warnings from highways chiefs that it is unsafe. Highways England said that smart motorways, which do not have the emergency lane, would almost double in length from 416 miles to 788 miles by April 2025. They will be renamed digital roads, with emergency lay-bys closer together and the speed limit past roadworks increased from 50mph to 60mph to improve traffic flow.
Smart motorways are being extended to almost 800 miles despite increasing concerns over their safety. Highways England insists smart motorways, which do not have a hard shoulder, are safer because they have emergency lay-bys. But motoring groups fear the removal of the hard shoulder will pose a risk as vehicles will have no choice but to stop in ‘live’ lanes. Smart motorways work by using the hard shoulder as a permanent fourth driving lane, with variable speed limits controlling traffic.
A mother whose young daughter was left writhing in agony by itchy chicken pox scabs has revealed that a simple shampoo helped to soothe them. Clare Jenkin, from Musselburgh, East Lothian, said she was amazed when her daughter Reagan’s doctor advised the family to use Head and Shoulders Classic Clean shampoo to calm the child’s inflamed skin.
A revolutionary 60-minute therapy for high blood pressure could allow patients to throw their tablets away for good. The unlikely remedy involves blasting nerves in the kidneys with sound waves to stop them sending signals to the brain that drive up blood pressure. It could slash the risk of heart attacks and strokes, two of Britain’s biggest killers. New research reveals the treatment, called renal denervation, keeps high blood pressure at bay in almost 60 per cent of volunteers.
BRITISH doctors have developed revolutionary nose drops that could protect against flu. Just a few squirts up each nostril also has the potential to keep meningitis, pneumonia and ear infections at bay. University Hospital Southampton is already trialling the meningitis spray in people, with the others set to follow within a year. All have proven effective in lab tests. Prof Robert Read genetically modified a type of “friendly” bacteria to help it stick in the nose and throat.
Prostate cancer patients at risk of the disease returning have had NHS scans cancelled or delayed due to supply problems of a screening chemical. Concerns have been raised over the availability of choline, a chemical compound injected into patients before screening which makes cancerous cells more visible. It comes as waiting times for cancer patients in England are revealed to be at a record high. Almost one in four patients have not received treatment within the target two-month window.
Thousands of people with heart failure could see their lives extended if the NHS allowed them to be fitted with a device currently reserved for those awaiting transplants, according to leading surgeons. The doctors say it is a ‘scandal’ that heart-failure patients are being left to die by the effective ban on the use of the special pumps. NHS guidelines state that ‘left ventricular assist devices’ (LVADs) can be implanted only in limited circumstances due to the cost of the operation to fit them – about £80,000 – and the potential complications they can cause, such as blood clots.
Big compensation payouts awarded against the NHS have become so frequent that it is handing over million-pound settlements on a near daily basis, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. According to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act, there were 336 seven-figure payouts to patients seriously harmed by medical errors last year. And the number of £1 million-plus settlements has risen by 30 per cent in the past two years – up from 257 in 2015-16, according to NHS Resolution, the health service’s litigation authority.
More than a quarter of a million master’s degrees were awarded last year, the highest figure on record, as young people seek extra qualifications to stand out in the job market. Many fear that the increase in first and upper second degrees being awarded means that having a BA or BSc is no longer enough for employers. More than one in four students achieves a first, compared with 8 per cent in the 1990s. At some universities the rate is closer to 50 per cent.
Reports of tax conmen have soared by 10 per cent since the Daily Mail exposed the gang behind the telephone fraud. Thousands of victims have contacted HMRC to say they were targeted by bogus officials threatening them with jail unless they immediately repaid non-existent tax debts. Treasury minister Mel Stride said the rise in reports was ‘largely thanks to the Mail’s investigation’, which has encouraged more people to come forward.