Britain should not have to pay any money into the EU’s budget, one of the leading Tory Brexit campaigners has insisted. The intervention from Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, is the latest sign that Eurosceptics will not accept a “Brexit-lite” departure from the bloc as the government begins to piece together a new relationship with the EU. He hit back at Conservative peers who suggest that parliament could block Britain’s EU exit, describing them as “a bunch of bad losers”.
TALKS with big business over quitting the EU have started, it emerged yesterday – six weeks after the referendum. And one of the key issues is whether to stay in the single market or not. Officials at the Treasury and new Department for EU Exit have made contact with the City about the best way to cut ties. The discussions come as ministers weigh up a series of options for what Britain’s future relationship with the EU will look like after the country has left the bloc. News of the talks emerged yesterday as a poll showed two-thirds of grassroots Tory Party members are opposed to Britain having a relationship to the EU similar to the deal struck by Norway. The Scandinavian nation does not belong to the EU but is in the wider European Economic Area. It is signed to the single market and free movement of citizens.
BRITAIN will be billions of pounds better off within a year of leaving the EU, a leading businessman who sacrificed his job for Brexit has said. John Longworth, the “Brexit martyr” who quit as director general of the British Chambers of Commerce after being suspended for publicly recommending leaving the EU, said the “Armageddon” predictions of the Remain campaign had all proved false. Instead, he said the UK could begin to reap “huge benefits” just one year after quitting the EU. Mr Longworth claims at least £50billion a year in contributions to Brussels would be saved and cutting EU red tape would reduce costs for business. He said the windfall will come even before the UK re-enters global markets, and lead long term to even lower inflation, cheaper goods and a lower cost of living.
A SECOND peer has quit the Liberal Democrats amid the party’s pledge to defy the Brexit vote, it has emerged. Baroness Zahida Manzoor, who had been the party’s work and pensions spokesperson, is said to have left in protest at leader Tim Farron’s vow to keep Britain in the EU. Just days after the Leave result in the EU referendum, the Lib Dems said they would campaign against the majority will of the British public and fight the next general election with a promise to keep the UK tied to Brussels. Revealing Baroness Manzoor’s decision, a party spokesperson told PoliticsHome: “Baroness Manzoor has resigned the whip as she disagrees with our view that we should be at the heart of Europe. “We are disappointed with her decision as it is the Liberal Democrats who are standing up for hope and unity in the face of Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out a second European Union referendum and said he will not seek to change the “Brexit” vote. The public “clearly have said ‘no'” to remaining in the EU, Mr Corbyn said, rejecting Owen Smith’s promise to hold a second referendum if he is elected leader of the Labour Party. “I think we’ve had a referendum, a decision has been made, you have to respect the decision people made,” the Labour leader told The Huffington Post UK. “We were given the choice, we after all supported holding a referendum so we must abide by the decision.
John Longworth, former boss of the British Chamber of Commerce, believes removing the £8.5billion annual net contribution to Brussels and scrapping reams of red tape will reap “huge benefits”. Mr Longworth, who quit his job in March after being suspended for backing Brexit, said the good times will be back quicker than we thought. “The moment we leave the repatriation of money is immediate,” he said. “I mean within a year, let’s put it that way.” He predicts leaving the EU will lead to lower inflation, cheaper goods and a reduced cost of living, even before the UK re-enters the global markets under new trade deals.
The Tories are on course to win a 90-seat majority at the next general election, aided by boundary changes that favour the party. Research conducted by the political website Electoral Calculus found that planned alterations to the size and make-up of constituencies would increase the Conservative majority from the current 12 seats to a comfortable 48-seat lead. Coupled with recent changes in the public’s voting intentions as support for Labour and Ukip slips, the net effect would give the Conservatives a majority of 90 seats in a smaller House of Commons.
Theresa May has been warned she will face stiff opposition to plans for new grammar schools from some senior Tory MPs as well as Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The prime minister was facing a backlash after the Sunday Telegraph reported that she will announce a return to more selective schools in England as early as the Conservatives’ autumn conference. Downing Street made no attempt to dampen speculation that an extension of selection in schools is on the government’s agenda, releasing a statement on Sunday that said: “The prime minister has been clear that we need to build a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
THERESA May should set up a new Immigration Ministry to cut massive inflows into Britain, a think tank argues today. The UK should copy other European countries in setting up the department to show it takes the issue seriously and help manage the effects of Brexit, Policy Exchange said. It should also be in charge of making sure new arrivals contribute to society and do not overwhelm certain areas as a “Department for Immigration and Integration”. Immigration is currently adding 330,000 people a year to Britain’s population as open borders with the EU have triggered massive inflows. Borders are managed by the Home Office but integration is split across Whitehall and the influx creates issues for councils, the NHS and schools.
With Turkey in crisis and Europe’s borders closed, smugglers in northern Greece are expecting a profitable summer. Greek police say traffickers are using increasingly sophisticated methods — motorcycle spotters, maps of border surveillance “blind spots,” and even police informants — to move out refugees who have been stuck in this Greek border town for months. Higher smuggling fees and steadily worsening odds of success have done little to dent the determination of migrants like Sorah Rahimi. The 22-year-old psychology student traveled from Afghanistan with his mother who is in poor health — and is an ideal target for smuggling rings that are re-emerging in the region. He agreed to pay traffickers 2,500 euros ($2,750) to travel from Greece’s northern border with Macedonia to Sweden, but only made it a few miles before being spotted by police and turned back.
The UK government is to hold talks with key groups and sectors in Scotland, such as farming and oil and gas, on the impact of leaving the European Union. Scottish Secretary David Mundell said he wants to ensure Scottish interests are at the heart of negotiations. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already set out what she believes are Scotland’s main interests in its relationship with the EU. Mr Mundell has said he will work closely with the Scottish government. Scottish voters backed remaining in the EU by a margin of 62% to 38% in June’s referendum while the UK as a whole voted by 52% to 48% to leave. Speaking after the Brexit vote, Ms Sturgeon said a second independence vote was “highly likely” but promised to explore other options.
GIBRALTAR and other overseas territories should be given a seat in the Commons so that Britons living abroad get a voice in the Brexit negotiations, the Liberal Democrats have said. The party has called on the Government and the Boundary Commission to consult on a plan to create new constituencies for British people who live abroad. The plan, based on the French system created in 2010 enabling French citizens overseas to be represented, will create new MPs to represent Britons abroad. The Lib Dems have proposed the plan because the Brexit vote will affect many British people who live and work abroad as well as places like Gibraltar, which voted in the referendum overwhelmingly for remain.
British consumer spending picked up last month, according to a survey from card company Visa UK that bucked other signs Britons have become more cautious since June, when they voted to leave the European Union. Based on Visa credit and debit card usage data, consumer spending rose 1.6 percent in July compared with a year ago, up from June’s 0.9 percent increase and the biggest rise in three months. Seasonally-adjusted spending increased by 1.1 percent, the strongest month-on-month gain since January, reversing a 0.5 percent decline in June.
Rail workers with Southern Railway are set to walk out today at the start of a five-day strike in an escalating dispute over the role of conductors. The strike, which will see picket lines mounted across Southern’s network, including London Victoria and Brighton, will mean a week of travel chaos for hundreds of thousands of passengers. An emergency timetable will be put in place, with 60% of services expected to run, according to Southern. But some areas in Sussex will have no trains, while services will be even more packed than usual.
Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz opposes any steps that would bring Turkey closer to joining the European Union, he said in remarks released Saturday. Referring to the opening of further negotiating chapters — the process through which countries seeking to join can formally move towards membership — Kurz voiced his opposition in an interview with the Kurier daily due to be published on Sunday. “I have a say in the matter on the (European) Council of Foreign Ministers, where it will be decided if a new chapter will be opened with Turkey. And I am opposed to it,” he said. Decisions taken by the council have to be agreed unanimously.
Turkey’s president has said he would bring back the death penalty if the country’s parliament voted for it following last month’s failed coup. Tayyip Erdogan made the comment in a speech to more than one million people at an anti-coup rally in Istanbul. Erdogan blames US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for the coup attempt three weeks ago. He said Gulen’s network – which has now been listed as a terror organisation in Turkey – “must be destroyed” within the framework of the law. Gulen has denied any role in the coup plot.
A High Court judge is set to rule on a bid by five new, paid-up members of the Labour Party on their legal right to vote in the party’s leadership election. The case came about following a decision by Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) that full members would not be able to vote if they had not had at least six months’ continuous membership prior to July 12. A ruling by Mr Justice Hickinbottom is expected later today. According to Stephen Cragg QC, who is representing the five, the NEC is unlawfully “freezing” out his clients and many others from voting in the party leadership contest, which pits Jeremy Corbyn against challenger Owen Smith.