Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has been accused of “project fear mark 2” as he says he will not be “bullied” into backing down on the Brexit deal. Boris Johnson, who today held talks in Stormont with the leaders of the five main Northern Irish parties, has demanded that the backstop be binned as a precondition to get into Brexit negotiations and avoid a no-deal Brexit. On Tuesday he told the Irish Prime Minister in a phone call that Britain will leave the EU on 31 October “no matter what.” Downing Street sources said he reiterated his “clear preference to leave the EU with a deal, but it must be one that abolishes the backstop”, the device which seeks to prevent a hard border returning to the island of Ireland.
Irish PM Leo Varadkar today warned he will not be ‘bullied’ into dropping the backstop as Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans ran into a wall of opposition. The Taoiseach said he was ‘absolutely not’ going to give in to the demand from the new PM, jibing that the UK leaving the EU ‘was not our idea’. The blunt dismissal came as Mr Johnson sent his Brexit envoy David Frost to Brussels for the first time. Mr Frost – who was expected to meet officials on Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier – has been tasked with delivering a tough message that negotiations cannot re-start until the backstop is ditched.
BORIS JOHNSON has told Ireland’s Leo Varadkar he would “never” erect a permanent border with Ireland ahead of his visit today. The Prime Minister told Mr Varadkar the UK will leave “come what may” on October 31 but the Taoiseach has insisted a backstop is “necessary”. Plans for the border have become the most contentious issue in Britain’s negotiations with the EU over the terms of its exit. The bloc insists on a “backstop”, an insurance policy to prevent border controls by requiring Britain to obey some EU rules in case both sides fail to agree a later trade deal.
Boris Johnson has been warned not to be the DUP’s “gofer” amid claims the prime minister cannot be an impartial broker in attempts to restart Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government. Mr Johnson is in Belfast for talks with all the main political parties in a bid to break the deadlock. Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government since 2017, when the power-sharing DUP-Sinn Fein-led administration collapsed.
Boris Johnson has insisted he will never be neutral on the Union as he concluded talks with the five main political parties in Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, who met the Prime Minister at Stormont House, along with her deputy Nigel Dodds, said Mr Johnson told her he would never be neutral on the Union, but would act in a neutral way in the administration of governance in Northern Ireland.
Boris Johnson warned he will ‘never be neutral on the Union’ as he clashed with Sinn Fein in tense talks at Stormont today. During a gruelling first visit to Northern Ireland as PM, he pledged to honour the ‘letter and spirit’ of the Good Friday Agreement as he pushes through the UK’s departure from the EU. However, Mr Johnson had to face down fury from republicans after again insisting that Brexit must happen by the end of October ‘come what may’.
DUP leader Arlene Foster has launched an attack on a “belligerent” EU, less than a day after Boris Johnson blamed the bloc for intensifying the Brexit crisis. Ms Foster’s comments came the morning after the pair enjoyed a private dinner and appeared to suggest both are determined to pin blame on Brussels should efforts to secure a deal fail in the coming weeks and months. On Tuesday, Mr Johnson said it was now the EU’s “call” on whether a Brexit agreement was reached or not, as the bloc presented a united front against his attempts to renegotiate Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement.
The DUP’s Arlene Foster has hit out at the “very belligerent” European Union and pointed out that instead of a reasonable negotiation they seemingly wanted to “break up” the United Kingdom. Speaking to the BBC this morning, Foster insisted that she does want a UK-EU deal but that “Dublin and indeed Brussels need to dial back on the rhetoric” and instead be a “willing partner” when it comes to any new deal. Foster went on to say that: “No Deal is on the table because of the fact that we have a very belligerent European Union who instead of focusing on a deal that was good for all of us, wanted to break up the United Kingdom, something of course which no British Prime Minister should be a part of.”
It would be “unthinkable” if a no-deal Brexit was not followed by a poll on Irish reunification, the leader of Sinn Féin has warned Boris Johnson, also telling the prime minister that no one believed he was impartial on Northern Ireland. “In the longer term, we have advised him that constitutional change is in the air. He can’t say that he hasn’t been told,” Mary Lou McDonald said after meeting Johnson at Stormont on Wednesday morning. Any Brexit, but particularly no deal, “represents in anybody’s language a dramatic change of circumstances on this island, and … it would be unthinkable in those circumstances that people would not to be given the opportunity to decide on our future together”, McDonald said.
Boris Johnson’s first visit to Northern Ireland as prime minister has concluded in a stand-off over an Irish border poll. Mr Johnson sat down on Wednesday with the five Northern Ireland parties attempting to reach agreement in a new power-sharing deal at Stormont. During the talks, the prime minister repeated his pledge that the UK will be leaving the EU in 92 days’ time “come what may”, despite his “intention to do so with a deal”, Downing Street revealed. David Frost, Mr Johnson’s Europe adviser, was dispatched to Brussels for introductory meetings with key EU officials.
DOVER traffic officers will be given new powers to help funnel queues of hauliers in and out of the Port of Dover to avoid gruelling customs delays as the option of a no deal Brexit becomes all the more likely. The proposals have been set out during a Department of Transport consultation and will see Highways England Traffic Officers (TOs) issued new powers to demand to see documentation to help shepherd hauliers through the bustling port, Sky News reports. The officers will also work alongside the police to levy fines of up to £300 on drivers who ignore their orders and attempt to use an alternative route or take too long in holding areas.
Hauliers will face increased fines and civilian traffic officers will be granted new powers in the event of a no-deal Brexit under government plans to try and avoid debilitating customs delays at Dover. Sky News understands the proposals, set out in a Department of Transport consultation, will see Highways England Traffic Officers (TOs) given the power to demand and check drivers’ documentation for the first time. TOs will also work with police to levy new increased fines, perhaps as high as £300, on drivers who ignore orders to take an alternative route or head to holding areas.
SAJID Javid is set to unleash an extra £2.1billion from the Treasury to dramatically accelerate the Government’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit this autumn. Following the deadlock between Downing Street and Brussels, Boris Johnson’s new Chancellor is double the amount of cash available for ensuring the UK can withstand a full break with the EU on October 31 to £4.2billion. His cash injection will include £1.1billion for immediate spending on extra border guards, stockpiling vital medicines and a massive publicity blitz aimed at households and businesses.
Sajid Javid claims to have doubled the funds available for Brexit preparations with the announcement of up to £2.1 billion in funds for a no-deal exit this year. The chancellor said last night that he was allocating an additional £1.1 billion for “critical operations” before leaving the EU on October 31 without a deal. These funds include £300 million announced this week for departments to buy extra freight capacity to ensure the supply of critical goods such as medicines and chemicals for up to four years after a no-deal Brexit.
NEW chancellor Sajid Javid sparked a political row last night by pledging an extra £2 billion to “turbocharge” No Deal preparations. The new Chancellor confirmed The Sun’s revelations at the weekend by revealing he was turning on the taps to beef up the border, support business and ensure the supply of “critical medicines”. There will also be extra cash to help process UK passport applications – to avoid chronic backlogs. Some £1.1 billion will be provided to Government departments immediately in a dramatic escalation.
Chancellor Sajid Javid has committed an additional £2.1bn to efforts to stave off expected disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit, prompting accusations of wasting taxpayers’ money on an outcome opposed by MPs and voters. The announcement – which brings to £6.3bn the amount set aside by the Treasury for no-deal preparations – was branded “a colossal waste of money” by anti-Brexit campaigners, who pointed out that opinion polls have consistently shown that voters would rather stay in the EU than leave without a deal.
The EU Parliament Brexit co-ordinator and fervent EU federalist, Guy Verhofstadt, has warned Boris Johnson that he will not break the unity of the EU27. Writing in the Guardian, Guy Verhofstadt says that he expects the EU27 leaders to face what he calls the irresponsible posturing of Boris Johnson, with calmness and unity. And he also writes: “Unless a further extension is requested, or article 50 is revoked by 31 October, when the current extension of UK membership expires, a dramatic shock awaits the global economy and we all stand to lose.
BORIS JOHNSON must accept a customs union if the new British prime minister is to alleviate the need for the controversial Northern Irish backstop, EU negotiators today warned. EU officials have encouraged Mr Johnson to commit to a soft Brexit in order to avoid a border from emerging on the island of Ireland. But Brussels will not curtail to threats by the next prime minister as they prepare to meet him from the first time. During his Tory leadership campaign, Mr Johnson spelled out plans to scrap the backstop as part of a wholesale renegotiation of Theresa May’s divorce deal.
The UK’s Brexit negotiator is heading to Brussels for meetings with EU officials, despite a claim by Boris Johnson that the UK would stay away until the bloc scraps the controversial backstop. The prime minister said last week that he and his team would only sit down with the EU if it agreed to reopen the withdrawal agreement and ditch the Irish border policy, which Brussels has repeatedly said it will not do. But despite Mr Johnson’s tough public message, his new Brexit chief, David Frost, headed to Brussels on Wednesday for two days of meetings with EU officials in Michel Barnier’s team.
Boris Johnson has sent his most senior EU adviser and Brexit negotiator to Brussels to deliver in person his message that the UK will leave without a deal unless the bloc abolishes the Irish backstop. David Frost, a former British ambassador to Denmark who was also an adviser to Johnson when he was foreign secretary, is to hold talks with EU officials over the next 48 hours. As Johnson’s choice to replace Olly Robbins, Frost is to be the new government’s main interlocutor for fresh negotiations. His contact is the most significant so far between Johnson’s administration and Brussels.
Germany has rejected US pressure to send warships to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf from seizure by Iran. Olaf Scholz, the German vice-chancellor, publicly confirmed on Wednesday that his country would not take part in a US-led naval taskforce. Mr Scholz, who is who is deputising for Angela Merkel while she is on holiday, warned of the danger of the world “sleepwalking into a much larger conflict”. “We want to talk about how to address the situation with our French and British partners in Europe, but there is no discussion of a mission as requested,” he said.
The U.S. has requested naval cooperation from Germany in the Strait of Hormuz as tensions with Iran escalate, but the political leaders of the European nation have refused to assist their NATO allies. The German Federal Foreign Office said that Washington has approached them to contribute to a new surveillance mission in the Persian Gulf but had rejected the appeal saying there was no prospect of a contribution, German tabloid Bild reports. Germany’s allies, including the U.S. and the UK, have been attacked in the Persian Gulf by Iran in recent months
Boris Johnson has found himself embroiled in new Brexit row after saying we could stay tied to EU for two years. The new PM has consistently promised that the UK will be out on the 31st October “do or die”. But while on a visit to Wales Mr Johnson said that the UK would come out of the customs union and the single market in the “next couple of years”. He said: “Some of the changes and adjustments necessary in the run-up to Oct 31, and a lot of which we have already done, will be crucial anyway if we are going to come out of the customs union, come out of the single market, as we must in the next couple of years.”
An inquiry into the historical child sexual abuse of children in care in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire has concluded that both councils failed in their duty to protect children from sexual abuse. The Chair and Panel of the IICSA (The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) also found that “despite decades of evidence”, there continues to be weaknesses in the foster care practice under both councils. During the 1980s and 1990s physical violence and sexual abuse occurred in many of the Councils’ children’s homes and in foster care. According to the report, neither Councils learned from their mistakes.
Ministers are working on a £500 million plan to support farmers in the event of a no-deal Brexit, The Times has learnt. If no deal is reached the government will buy slaughtered livestock at set prices to prop up demand that will collapse in Europe because of high tariffs. Boris Johnson promised in Wales yesterday that British farmers would be better off if the UK left the EU at the end of October, even without a deal. He said the government was working on “interventions that are aimed to support their incomes” in the event of a no-deal Brexit, adding that “we’ll make sure they have the support they need”.
British Airways passengers are facing travel chaos at the height of the summer holidays after a legal bid to halt a hugely damaging pilots’ strike was rejected. The Court of Appeal today threw out BA’s application for an injunction intended to block a proposed walkout. Three senior judges ruled that the strike by members of British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) could go ahead after confirming that its ballot for action was legally sound. It means that the walkout by as many as 4,000 BA pilots could go ahead in a little over two weeks.
Furious British Airways customers have slammed the airline after it lost a bid to block pilots’ strike in a dispute over pay. Thousands of passengers face having their summer getaways disrupted or cancelled and have called the ‘greedy profit-driven company’ out for letting customers suffer. One social media user said: ‘Sort out this strike action so customers don’t suffer. We work all year for our holiday and trust the worlds favourite airline with getting us there.’
Ryanair has told its staff it has 500 more pilots and 400 more cabin crew than required and job losses will be announced in the coming weeks. Chief Executive Michael O’Leary made the comments in an internal video to staff following the release on Monday of financial results for the three months to June 30. It is believed details of redundancies will be given by the end of August, and then job cuts would take place at around the end of September and again after Christmas.
A locum doctor was paid more than half a million pounds for a year’s work by a cash-strapped health board. As the NHS struggles to meet savings targets, the temporary medic was paid between £500,000 and £550,000 a year – five times a normal consultant’s salary. The locum consultant has been continuously employed since 2016, at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, which is already under scrutiny from Scotland’s public spending watchdog. The data was obtained by a NHS whistleblower.
About three quarters of GPs and hospital consultants have cut or are planning to cut their hours because of the doctors’ pensions crisis. About 42 per cent of family doctors and 30 per cent of consultants have reduced their working times already, claiming that they are being financially penalised the more they work. A further 34 per cent and 40 per cent respectively have confirmed that they plan to reduce their hours in the coming months because they fear losing out, according to a survey of more than 6,000 doctors by the British Medical Association.
Four in ten GPs have taken early retirement or slashed their hours because of a pensions crisis in the NHS. A further third of family doctors are planning to reduce their appointment times within the next year, figures reveal. Campaigners warned last night the crisis is putting patients’ lives at risk and making it ‘harder than ever’ to get an appointment. Pension reforms introduced in 2016 have forced senior doctors to cut their hours to avoid a tax bill that can run into tens of thousands. A survey of 6,000 senior doctors by the British Medical Association, released today, revealed 70 per cent of hospital consultants and three quarters of GPs have either reduced their hours or are planning to.