Theresa May will on Thursday ask her Brexit “war Cabinet” to agree a backstop plan that would keep Britain in a customs union with Brussels until a permanent trade deal can be agreed. British and EU negotiators are understood to have agreed in principle to an all-UK backstop plan to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland that would remove the final major obstacle blocking a withdrawal agreement. Boris Johnson said the deal would turn the UK into a “permanent EU colony” and the DUP angrily threatened to break its confidence and supply deal with the Conservatives and potentially bring down the Government if the Prime Minister goes through with the plan, which it described as a “sell out”.
If Theresa May strikes her Irish border deal with Brussels, she will set sail on a course that will lead to Britain being marooned in a customs union with the EU, powerless to navigate its own independent trade policy. Britain is expected to offer a compromise that would keep the UK in a customs union with the EU if it cannot agree a free trade deal with no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This “backstop”, if agreed by the EU, could be triggered if a UK-EU trade deal is not negotiated by the end of 2020. While Britain wants the backstop to be temporary, the EU insists it cannot be limited in time.
Theresa May was warned by the DUP that it would be prepared to bring down her government if she signs up to a compromise with Brussels to solve the Irish border question next week. In an explicit threat to the prime minister before a critical five days of negotiations in Brussels, the party threatened to withdraw support for the budget later this month unless it was happy with the final deal.
The Democratic Unionist Party says it is ready to block the budget and potentially topple Theresa May if she compromises further on Brexit. The Northern Ireland party – which is propping up the Conservatives in power – dramatically threatened to pull its support if its “red lines” over the Irish border are crossed. The move comes as the UK and the EU edge towards an agreement that would allow regulatory checks between Britain and Northern Ireland, enraging the DUP. Arlene Foster has described its red lines as “blood red”, prompting suggestions that the party could join with opposition parties to vote down the budget, on 29 October.
Theresa May will today ask her Brexit ‘war cabinet’ to support a plan to keep Britain in a customs union, after the DUP last night abstained from a Commons vote and threatened to bring the Government down. The PM will ask ministers to back an interim deal, keeping the whole of the UK in the EU customs area in order to avoid a ‘hard border’ in Northern Ireland, which would remain in the single market until a permanent deal with Brussels was agreed.
Theresa May is fighting to keep the delicate Brexit negotiations on track after the DUP threatened to vote down the budget and bring down her premiership if a divorce deal meant that Northern Ireland was treated separately from the rest of the UK. The prime minister responded by summoning senior cabinet members to Downing Street on Thursday, where she was expected to update them on progress amid signs that the sabre-rattling DUP and the Tory right were acting in concert against her. Ministers are expecting to hear more about the status of the withdrawal agreement – which includes the Irish border backstop.
THERESA MAY must walk a delicate political tightrope in the coming days as the EU demands she impose a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, against the wishes of the DUP. Mrs May is relying on the support of Arlene Foster’s DUP to prop up her unstable Government in what is known as a “confidence and supply” deal. But the unionists are warning of a revolt if Mrs May agrees to the terms the European Union are calling for. The bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said there could be a deal by next Wednesday but only on the condition the Prime Minister agrees to install a border between Northern Ireland and the UK.
The Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 Westminster MPs are planning to vote down the Budget later this month if they are unhappy about the government’s Brexit plans, the BBC understands. Theresa May relies on DUP support in key votes because she does not have a majority in the House of Commons. But the DUP could abandon this deal if Brexit means new barriers between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, Newsnight’s Nick Watt said. The Budget takes place on 29 October. If the DUP voted against it the government would face possible defeat, which could lead to a no-confidence vote.
The DUP are prepared to vote against the budget over Theresa May’s Brexit deal if it crosses their red lines. The party, whose MPs prop-up the Tory Government, have privately admitted the radical move is one of the options if attempts to nail down a deal with Brussels mean Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK. And the likelihood of that drew closer today as Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, warned there WILL have to be checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Democratic Unionist MPs who prop up Theresa May’s Government are preparing to vote against her Budget if the Prime Minister breaks their Brexit red lines. The radical move is reportedly one of the options being considered by leader Arlene Foster if attempts to nail down a deal with Brussels include any proposals that would leave Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the UK. Losing the party’s support in the Commons would mean possible defeat on the budget and a no-confidence vote.
The Democratic Unionist Party is prepared to vote against the budget if their red lines for an EU deal are ignored next week, Sky News understands. The 10 Unionist MPs prop up Theresa May’s government, which has no majority, as part of a confidence and supply deal in which they are relied on to vote through the government’s budgets. Party leader Arlene Foster has made clear that any Brexit deal in which Northern Ireland is treated separately to the rest of the UK, or faces extra checks along the border with Ireland, would be unacceptable to her party and that this is a “blood red line”.
The Northern Irish party propping up Theresa May’s minority government has threatened to vote down the budget if she breaches its “red lines” on the Irish border in the Brexit talks. The right-wing, pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is against any Brexit plan that will divide the province from the rest of the UK with a sea border or customs checks. The European Union has demanded such division if the border with the Republic of Ireland cannot be kept open or the entire UK does not remain inside the bloc’s Customs Union.
Ministers have been warned that 25 of the most important plans for a no-deal Brexit are in trouble, 13 of which have been labelled “off track”, The Times has learnt. Civil servants have urged cabinet ministers to approve a significant acceleration of no-deal planning and the head of the National Audit Office, Sir Amyas Morse, said the government had put business in a “very difficult position”. There are just over 300 no-deal “workstreams” across government to try to prevent the worst in the event that the UK crashes out of the EU.
BRUSSELS could hold Britain to ransom by demanding billions to keep planes in the sky in the event of a bitter No Deal – a top watchdog claimed yesterday. National Audit Office (NAO) chief Sir Amyas Morse warned it was entirely possible that a Brexit stand-off with the EU could turn sour. And he said that if the UK got “tough” by withholding the entire £39 billion divorce bill, Brussels could seek revenge by refusing to sign “mutual” agreements to keep airlines in the sky. He told MPs: “It’s not implausible. It is not impossible, and it could happen by mistake rather than deliberately.
A NO DEAL Brexit would be disastrous for Spain, the country’s UK tourism boss has warned, as he admitted resort towns will be dealt a major blow without the business of British holidaymakers. Javier Pinanes, director of Spain’s tourist office in London, said hotels in destinations like the Balearic Islands are heavily reliant on the millions of tourists who visit from the UK every year. And he acknowledged travel disruption which could follow if the UK leaves the EU without a deal would be “a really big problem”.
Michel Barnier has said that a Brexit deal is “within reach” by next Wednesday but warned that the only way to avoid border checks in the Irish Sea is if Britain stayed in a customs union with Brussels. Amid growing certainty in Westminster that a deal has been done with Brussels, leading Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg went on the attack with Mr Johnson saying it would “make the UK a permanent EU colony”.
Michel Barnier signalled he is playing hardball on Brexit today by ripping into Theresa May’s Chequers plan and refusing to budge from his tough line on the Irish border. The EU negotiator insisted ‘checks’ would be needed between the UK and the bloc in future, and they could not happen between Northern Ireland and the Republic. In a speech in Brussels, Mr Barnier repeated his plan for the province to stay within the EU’s customs jurisdiction – suggesting barcode scanning and other technology could be used to ease ‘political sensitivities’. Mrs May has insisted the idea is unacceptable as it would risk splitting up the UK.
Existing checks on agricultural goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland would have to increase ten-fold after Brexit, the EU’s chief negotiator has said – an ultimatum that is likely to enrage Northern Irish unionists and eurosceptics. Speaking to business leaders in Brussels, Michel Barnier laid out new details about the EU’s updated plan to find a solution to the Irish border issue – which is threatening to sink talks and cause a no-deal. The intensification of the checks is highly unlikely to be accepted by the DUP, who have said they will use their crucial Commons votes against any deal that treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK.
A final deal on the terms of Britain’s divorce from the EU is “within reach” by next Wednesday, the bloc’s chief negotiator has said. Michel Barnier announced 80-85% of the treaty has been agreed and promised Brussels would respect the “constitutional integrity” of the UK. But he vowed checks on animals and animal food products passing between Northern Ireland and Great Britain would have to increase tenfold. Currently 10% of these movements are screened, but Mr Barnier said bar codes on all lorries and ferries travelling between the two would have to be scanned.
Bodil Valero, the MEP in charge of setting out the European Parliament’s position on EU support for NGOs has this afternoon laid out plans for a billion Euro spending splurge on NGOs which support “European values” in order to combat rising anti-EU sentiment. Funding sock puppets to shift their propaganda… The European Parliamentary report states that “The promotion of a greater sense of belonging to the Union and of Union values is particularly important.” It also emphasises the importance of creating “a sense of belonging and a European identity.” The EU is so confident in itself that it’s using our own money to advertise itself to us.
THERESA MAY declared on Wednesday Britain has been “very clear” in Brexit negotiations that the nation will be an independent coastal state after Brexit and will be free to make its own decisions. British fishermen believe UK waters are overfished by other EU countries and the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) means they are also restricted as to how much they can fish. The strict EU regulations mean that some British fishermen are forced to throw fish back into the sea.
A group of soldiers are under investigation by the British Army after posing for a photograph with citizen journalist and street organiser Tommy Robinson, with the force vowing to punish those involved. Britain’s officer class received a stark and distinct reminder that the majority of the nation’s fighting strength is drawn from white, working-class communities Tuesday when a group of two dozen uniformed soldiers bumped into Tommy Robinson at a motorway service station.
It has been revealed that the British Army has launched an investigation into a photo and video of political activist Tommy Robinson with a group of British Army cadets. The cadets are seen smiling in the photograph and chant Tommy Robinson’s name in the video posted to social media. UKIP Leader Gerard Batten commented: “British Army cadets are brave patriots who have made the noble decision to fight for Queen and Country. “Tommy Robinson has put his life and liberty on the line campaigning against the worst excesses of literalist Islam and these cadets recognise that. It’s a disgrace that the military establishment has once again caved in to pressure from the cult of political correctness and has ordered an investigation.
The extra £20.5 billion for the NHS will be wasted without proper funding for social care, the Care Quality Commission has warned. Almost half of A&E departments were failing because of deep-rooted problems with health and social care services in their area, the watchdog said in its annual report, adding that there were blackspots where patients face “care injustice” and struggle to access good services. In June Theresa May promised an extra £20.5 billion a year of NHS funding by 2023-24, saying that the health service needed to plan how the money would transform services.
School children should be taught about the “grave injustices” of the British Empire, Jeremy Corbyn will say on Thursday, prompting a furious response from Tory politicians. The Labour leader will announce plans to improve the teaching of black British history and the history of the British Empire, colonialism and slavery “to help ensure their legacy is more widely understood across the country”.
Jeremy Corbyn will today unveil proposals to ensure schoolchildren are taught about the legacy of Britain’s role in slavery and colonialism. The move comes on the same day as Labour faces accusations that it is ‘putting ideology first and children second’ with its plans to impose a new rule book on all schools. The National Curriculum already recommends that children learn about the slave trade, the British Empire and colonies in America. But the Labour leader will back a new educational trust aimed at teaching children about how ‘slavery interrupted a rich African and black history’.
Schools should teach children about colonialism, slavery and the legacy of the British empire, and give greater weight to the “immense contribution” black Britons have made, Jeremy Corbyn will say. The Labour leader will use a visit to Bristol, a city whose wealth was built on the slave trade, to unveil plans for an Emancipation Educational Trust, which would educate future generations about the impact of slavery. Under Labour’s plans, the new trust would “tell the story of how slavery interrupted a rich African and black history” through visits to historic sites and study of pre-colonial periods.
Schools in England face further strains on their budgets unless the government acts to fill a £1.7bn pension black hole, according to parliamentary research. The figures, compiled by the House of Commons library and released by Labour, suggest that increased pension contributions for state sector staff could run to £4bn for the government as a whole, of which schools would face having to pay up to nearly £1.7bn by the end of the current parliament. While the Department for Education (DfE) is to receive extra funding to meet the higher contributions for the first year, Peter Dowd, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said the government should commit to paying the extra pensions costs in the spending review.
Theresa May has been accused of ‘deliberately misleading Parliament’ after she used discredited statistics in the House of Commons. Jeremy Corbyn challenged the Prime Minister on her record on education spending reminding her that the Education Secretary Damian Hinds had been written to by the Official Stats Watchdog four times in the last year. In defending her minister, Theresa May repeated one of the claims that has been disputed by the National Statistics Authority. Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner is writing to the Prime Minister to ask her to correct the record.
Ministers have been accused of burying a key report into universal credit amid growing criticism of the welfare reform scheme. The Department for Work and Pensions conducted a three-year trial into whether benefit sanctions could be used to get low-income employees on universal credit to work longer hours and earn more. The study was quietly put on the department’s website last month without a ministerial comment or introduction. It was brought to attention only after being discovered by Sky News. In an indictment of a central feature of universal credit, the report says: “This evaluation did not find evidence of a statistically significant impact on self-reported earnings among participants 15 months after they started the trial.”
Britain could face turmoil not seen since the poll tax riots if the government pushes ahead with a national roll-out of the universal credit scheme, Gordon Brown has warned. The former prime minister described the welfare reforms as a “cruel and vindictive” experiment that will exacerbate the “convulsions” of Brexit and risk public disorder. His intervention comes as charities warn extending the coverage of universal credit across the country would trigger a surge in food bank usage. Reports have suggested millions of families could be left more than £200 a month worse off when the new system begins its national roll-out in July.