EUROPEAN Council President Donald Tusk admitted the new October 31 Brexit deadline could be delayed yet further in a press conference at an emergency EU summit this morning. In response to a question as to whether the Article 50 extension agreed tonight was the “worst of both worlds”, Mr Tusk said it was possible there will be another summit in six months’ time regarding another extension. He said: “I am too old to exclude another scenario like this. It’s possible.” Mr Tusk himself had pushed for a year’s delay to Brexit, proposing a deadline of March 2020.
EU leaders were already talking about the possibility of a further extension beyond October early on Thursday, while the Irish PM said Halloween had not been on the minds of EU diplomats when the new deadline was set. At a summit in Brussels, the 27 EU nations offered Theresa May a further six months to ratify or rethink her withdrawal deal late on Wednesday night. The second extension to the Brexit process – initially intended to conclude on March 29 – definitively stopped the clock on a no-deal withdrawal on Friday with less than 48 hours to go.
France and Germany reached an uneasy compromise last night after President Macron and Angela Merkel disagreed over whether Britain should be humiliated as the price of a delay to Brexit. A complicated deal that allowed both leaders to claim victory came after clashes over a summit dinner on the extent to which the European Union valued good relations with Britain. At just before 2am in Brussels, Donald Tusk, the European Council president, wrote on Twitter: “EU27 has agreed an extension of Art. 50. I will now meet PM @theresa_may for the UK government’s agreement.”
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, enraged fellow leaders after standing alone against a long extension to Britain’s membership of the EU. Macron insisted on speaking last during a working dinner in Brussels on Wednesday night during which he set his stall against a longer extension up to 31 December backed by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Over a dinner of scallop salad, cod loin and macadamia nut parfait, it soon emerged that France was nearly isolated, with only a handful of member states, such as Belgium, sounding sympathetic to his arguments. The French president angered some EU leaders with his attempt to block a long extension of nine to 12 months that was favoured by the majority. The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, told the room that Macron’s opposition meant that “we are now only solving French domestic problems”.
Brexit is set to be delayed until Hallowe’en after EU leaders imposed a six-month Article 50 extension on Theresa May. On another bruising night in Brussels, the Prime Minister’s request for a shorter delay was rejected in favour of an October 31 exit date. The delay means Britain will almost certainly take part in next month’s European elections, prompting fury among Eurosceptic MPs. Mrs May was still clinging to the hope on Thursday morning that she can persuade Parliament to ratify a Withdrawal Agreement in time to avoid the European elections, but EU leaders dismissed the idea and were already talking about the possibility of a further extension beyond October.
BREXIT will be delayed AGAIN until Halloween in fresh humiliation for Theresa May. Squabbling EU leaders last night threw out the PM’s plea to agree a short extension capped to June 30. And after six hours of tense talks the European Council in Brussels pushed back the cut-off to October 31 – likely to cost Britain more than £5billion. Mrs May vowed to continue her efforts to get Britain out of the EU by June 1 by convincing Parliament to back her deal. But the prospect of a six-month delay was slammed by Brexiteers and welcomed by Remainers desperate to force a second referendum. The Prime Minister signed up to the move despite repeatedly vowing she wouldn’t keep Britain in the EU past June at the latest.
European Union leaders have granted the UK a six-month extension to Brexit, after five hours of talks in Brussels. The new deadline – 31 October – averts the prospect of the UK having to leave the EU without a deal on Friday, as MPs are still deadlocked over a deal. European Council president Donald Tusk said his “message to British friends” was “please do not waste this time”. Theresa May, who had wanted a shorter delay, said the UK would still aim to leave the EU as soon as possible. The UK must now hold European elections in May, or leave on 1 June without a deal.
Britain will remain as a member state of the EU until 31 October, with the option to leave earlier if Theresa May can secure Commons support for the Brexit deal, after a Franco-German carve-up of the UK’s future. A marathon six-hour debate among the EU leaders concluded with the prime minister being offered a longer extension than she had sought but providing a new Halloween no deal cliff-edge to focus minds in Westminster. “This extension is as flexible as I expected and a little bit shorter than I expected but it is still enough to find the best possible solution”, the European council president, Donald Tusk, told a media conference that began after 2am local time. He said of the extra six months of EU membership. “Please do not waste this time”.
Theresa May has agreed to the EU’s offer of a “flexible extension” to Article 50 until October 31, with a review on progress in June, giving her six more months to either ratify or rethink her withdrawal deal. The second extension to the Brexit process – initially intended to conclude on March 29 – definitively stopped the clock on a no-deal withdrawal on Friday with less than 48 hours to go. In an early-hours press conference, European Council President Donald Tusk did not rule out further extensions beyond October.
The result of the EU Council summit late last night was that the EU offered a six month extension until 31st October 2019, the day before a new EU Commission take their seats, and presumably coincidentally, All Hallows’ Eve. As a sop to Macron, who was pushing for a much shorter extension, there will be a review on 30th June. This ‘review’ is entirely symbolic… The Prime Minister was made to sit outside for the majority of the meeting while the heads of government of the EU27 deliberated for hours. Eventually she agreed what they had agreed. May had previously told Parliament that “As Prime Minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30th June.” If Brexit is delayed beyond that point, British MEPs will take their seats in the EU Parliament.
Britain is now heading for a humiliating Halloween Brexit after EU leaders ignored Theresa May and gave her until October 31 to pass her deal at a crunch summit that ended at 2am today. But the Prime Minister was handed a slim lifeline with the 27 states adding a ‘flextension’ ensuring the UK can leave earlier if she can convince MPs to pass a Brexit deal – but Brussels will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement and change the Irish backstop to make that easier. The six-month extension will be accompanied by a technical review in June – described as a ‘sop’ for French President Emmanuel Macron who was slapped down by his colleagues after calling for punishing conditions and a short extension to be imposed on the UK.
Tory MPs are plotting to oust Theresa May by changing a party rule which states that a Prime Minister cannot be kicked out within 12 months of winning a no confidence vote. With the Tories plunged into civil war following Mrs May’s attempted customs union compromise with Jeremy Corbyn, a number of unnamed MPs have called on their association chairmen to gather signatures to push through the rule change under schedule 9 of the Conservative Party Constitution. It states that party rules can be changed with a petition signed by 10,000 Tory members.
TORY MPs desperate for new leadership amid the Brexit chaos are plotting to oust Theresa May by changing their party’s constitution. Currently, there is a rule which insists the Prime Minister cannot be kicked out within 12 months of winning a no-confidence vote. Rebels launched a no-confidence motion in Mrs May in December 2018, which she won, meaning they are unable to try again until December 2019. However, the dogged Prime Minister has managed to cause fresh outrage following her talks with Jeremy Corbyn about a potential customs union compromise. In retaliation, a group of unnamed MPs have called on their association chairman to gather signatures to push through a rule change under schedule 9 of the Conservative Party Constitution, according to the Telegraph. It states that party rules can be changed with a petition signed by 10,000 members.
Theresa May could cling on as Prime Minister for another year while she tries to deliver Brexit, allies said. She faced renewed calls to quit as she travelled to an emergency summit in Brussels to negotiate another delay that could last up to a year. Former leader Iain Duncan Smith called on Mrs May to stick to her promise to resign next month. He warned last night that she would face ‘humiliation’ if she tried to stay on against the wishes of her party and called on the Cabinet to remove her. ‘The whole thing is an utter car crash,’ he said. ‘I think the Cabinet has to have a moment with the Prime Minister and say, “This can’t go on, I’m afraid, it really can’t go on”.’
Theresa May is facing renewed calls to resign from furious Brexiteers after a six-month extension deal was agreed last night at an emergency EU council meeting in Brussels. The delay till Halloween, with a ‘review’ in June, was a compromise solution thrashed out in five hours of talks in Mrs May’s absence, after Emmanuel Macron held out against a longer extension lasting into 2020. The Prime Minister, who has accepted the delay, had hoped to extend Article 50 no later than June 30, and her failure will infuriate hardliners.
POWERFUL Tory backbenchers tonight finalised plans to demand Theresa May quits as PM next month if she signs Britain up to a lengthy Brexit delay. At an hour-long meeting in Parliament the 18-strong executive of the Tory 1922 committee decided they would persuade her to quit as Tory leader by May 23. This would formally launch a leadership contest that would see a new PM take the reins by July. They even discussed plans to change party rules to oust Mrs May if she refuses to sign up to their recommended timetable. It comes after The Sun revealed today that Cabinet ministers believe she will be ousted when the Tories suffer a council elections bloodbath in the May 2 poll.
Theresa May is set to enrage her critics within the Conservative party after setting herself up to stay on as prime minister until the winter while presiding over a long delay to Brexit. She told MPs just weeks ago that she was “not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30 June” as prime minister and said she would resign once this stage of talks was complete – prompting her rivals to gear up for a summer leadership contest. But as EU leaders met on Wednesday night to decide on another lengthy Article 50 extension, a Conservative source said the prime minister’s promised departure was tied to passing the withdrawal agreement rather than a specific date.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have branded Theresa May‘s bid for a Brexit extension as humiliating and embarrassing. Party leader Arlene Foster and Westminster leader Nigel Dodds both accused Ms May of “begging” European leaders for help to break the impasse. The senior figures in the Government’s confidence and supply partners did not hold back in their criticism of the prime minister’s handling of the process as she spent the day holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. “The talks between the prime minister and the leaders of France and Germany is humiliating and embarrassing for the United Kingdom,” Mr Dodds said.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) accepted a further £13,000 donation from a pro-Brexit group in the months after the EU referendum, documents have confirmed. The Constitutional Research Council (CRC) had previously donated £435,000 to the DUP during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. The bulk of the £435,000 was spent by the DUP on pro-Brexit advertising. The DUP said it has complied with electoral law at all times.
The Brexit Party
NIGEL FARAGE last night claimed his new Brexit Party will spark a political “revolution” at the European Elections – and terrify the Tories. The ex-UKIP chief revealed will formally launch the party in Coventry this Friday and contest every region on May 23 to give voters the chance to “fight back against the betrayal of democracy” by Theresa May. The blast came as serving arch Tory Brexiteer MP Anne Marie Morris said she may vote for the Brexit Party if the Elections take place. Confirming he will stand to become an MEP, Mr Farage said the party had been inundated with “just under 1,000” requests from people wanting to be a candidate. And he told The Sun: “I said in 2013 that UKIP was going to cause an earthquake in British politics and I think we can safely say we did that.
The Nigel Farage-led Brexit Party is polling in third place ahead of European Parliament elections, with Tory Party numbers “significantly squeezed” by the emergence of the new eurosceptic group. The poll by the Open Europe think tank ranked Labour in pole position with a considerable lead over the Conservatives, 37.8 per cent to 23 per cent, while the new Brexit Party has 10.3 per cent of voters’ support. Commenting on the results Wednesday, Director of Open Europe Henry Newman said “things are not pretty for the Conservatives already,” observing that “Conservative support in these elections appears to have been significantly squeezed, perhaps by [the] emergence of [the] new Brexit Party.”
New polling has revealed Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party to be in prime position to take on the Conservatives and Labour at May’s likely European Elections. This morning, Henry Newman of Open Europe revealed a new poll by Hanbury Strategy for the EU Elections. They have Labour currently on 38%, the Conservatives on 23% and the Brexit Party on 10%. Further back are the Liberal Democrats on 8%, UKIP on 7.5% and the anti-Brexit Change UK on 4%. Interestingly, the poll apparently shows that 48% of Leave voters are currently likely or very likely to support the Brexit Party, along with 18% of Remainers. Overall, 28% of voters said they were likely to support the Brexit Party, according to Open Europe’s Anna Nadibaidze.
Veteran Eurosceptic MP, Sir Bill Cash, has today warned the European Union’s Donald Tusk that any further Brexit delay agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to face legal challenge in the UK courts. Earlier today, Cash tweeted a copy of his letter to Tusk and said: “Any decision by the Prime Minister to accept a long extension to Article 50 is likely to be challenged in the UK courts.” As Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, Cash is arguing that constitutional law stipulates that a government cannot use powers to “frustrate the intention of Parliament”. Cash dismisses resolutions in the House of Commons as having “no legal effect at all” and points out that it is laws, Acts of Parliament, that count.
Universities have accused the Treasury of levying a “stealth” tax to fund teacher pensions. The Department for Education (DfE) has revealed that employers’ contribution to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) will rise from 16.48 per cent of their salaries to 23.6 per cent. The change, which comes into force in September, will see 70 universities pay an additional £142 million in the first year alone. The hike follows a valuation of the public service pension schemes by the Treasury.
Truancy is a bigger worry than school exclusions in tackling knife crime, the education secretary said yesterday. Damian Hinds was responding to an MP who said that councils should scrutinise the exclusion rates at schools in an effort to reduce the risk of young people being lured into gangs. Robert Halfon, chairman of the education select committee, wrote to Mr Hinds saying that schools needed help to be more inclusive, and to have better resources and training for teachers to cope with bad behaviour and challenges that could lead to knife crime.
The incoming president of the National Union of Students has said that she wanted to “oppress white people” and have an “Islamic takeover”. Zamzam Ibrahim, 24, from Greater Manchester, also described the Government’s counter-extremism strategy as “disastrous” and “racist”. Using the hashtag #IfIWasPresident, she wrote on Twitter in 2012: “I’d oppress white people just to give them a taste of what they put us through!” She signed off the message by writing “LMFAO”, which in urban slang is short for “Laughing My F***ing Arse Off”. Responding a questions online about what book everyone should read, she said: “The Quraan. We would have an Islamic takeover!” In another question about friendship between men and women, she wrote: “I’ve had this debate with many friends! Maybe in some cases but Islamically it’s incorrect for girls to be friends with a guy anyway!
A daughter of Somali refugees has been elected the next president of the National Union of Students, despite controversial comments she made as a teenager about oppressing white people. Zamzam Ibrahim, 24, who describes herself as a foodie and a coffee fiend, is the third consecutive female and ethnic minority holder of the role. She wrote on social media in 2012, when she was 16, that she would oppress white people to “give them a taste of what they put us through”, and that everyone should read the Koran, adding: “We would have an Islamic takeover!” She also said that girls and boys should not be friends because it was “Islamically not correct”.