Nigel Farage has said the European Union (EU) sent a “declaration of war” to the UK by appointing a hard-line federalist to negotiate Brexit, as well as slamming European Commission plans for an “EU army”. The former UKIP leader was responding to Jean-Claude Juncker’s state of the European Union address, in which he insisted, “the European Union, as such, is not at risk” after the Brexit vote and implied the Leave campaign betrayed “European values” and was linked to attacks on Polish worker. He also described, in the clearest terms yet, his plans to push ahead with an EU military force.
Substantive Brexit talks between the UK and the rest of the EU are unlikely to start much before the end of 2017, a former European Council president says. Speaking to the BBC, Herman Van Rompuy described the UK’s decision to leave the EU as a “political amputation”. He said negotiations were unlikely until a new German government was formed after next September’s election. The talks will be tough but hopefully of mutual benefit, he said, adding the UK had to make the “first move”. The UK voted to leave the EU in a referendum on 23 June . Prime Minister Theresa May has previously said that she will not trigger Article 50 – the formal start of the process of leaving the EU – before 2017.
The Bank of England has named one of its top executives to coordinate the central bank’s preparations for Brexit and the impact it will have on the country’s massive financial services sector. Phil Evans was named director for financial policy within the BoE’s Prudential Policy Directorate (PPD) and he will be responsible for co-ordinating work across the bank relating to withdrawal from the European Union, the BoE said. Evans previously served as the Bank’s international director and spent a period working as an adviser at the European Commission on secondment, according to his entry on LinkedIn. In his previous role, he was one of several top BoE officials who received a confidential bank report in 2015 on the possible shocks for Britain if the country decided to leave the EU, which voters did in June this year. The existence of the report was inadvertently leaked to a newspaper.
EU President Donald Tusk on Tuesday warned leaders they cannot ignore the lessons of Brexit and must address concerns about migration when they meet in Bratislava this week. Former Polish premier Tusk added that the bloc must be less “politically correct” and protect Europeans worried about terrorism, security and globalisation in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave. “It would be a fatal error to assume that the negative result in the UK referendum represents a specifically British issue,” Tusk wrote in an invitation letter for Friday’s summit of 27 leaders — all except Britain.
The European Union is facing existential threat, thanks to the “forces of populism”, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said in his State of the Union address. But he said the threat could be overcome by doubling down on the European project. In a speech which was drastically revised overnight to more directly address the British vote to exit the EU, Juncker admitted : “Many are wondering whether Brexit is the beginning of the disintegration process of the EU.” But he continued: “Allow me to state, we respect and at the same time regret the UK’s decision, but the EU as such is not at risk.”
Whitehall’s top civil servants held an away day during the EU referendum campaign to brainstorm the consequences of a Leave vote without telling David Cameron, the cabinet secretary has revealed. Appearing before a committee of MPs yesterday, Sir Jeremy Heywood, the head of the civil service, defended the preparation for Brexit. Sir Jeremy said that as well as policy thinking his team started talking about how Brexit could affect the government, including the idea of a separate trade department.
More than two thirds of doctors admit they have been left with no choice but to ration care as the NHS cash crisis intensifies. Services and treatments including mental health care for children, hip and knee replacements and cancer drugs are being restricted in order to save money. A survey of 1,000 doctors conducted exclusively for ITV News reveals patients are being denied treatments including varicose vein removal and cataract surgery, and forced to pay for care privately or wait for their condition to worsen. Some patients ended up in A&E because they were refused treatment, the research concluded.
Government-funded care for older people is being increasingly rationed in England, leaving growing numbers to fend for themselves, a review suggests. The number of over-65s being helped by councils had fallen by a quarter in the four years to 2014, the joint King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust report said. This was despite more people needing help, because of the ageing population. But the government said it was investing in the system to ensure “affordable and dignified care”. The report said there had been a rise in those left without support, while others now had to pay for their care, it added.
The first of a series of crippling five day strikes by junior doctors looks set to go ahead next month, despite fears over patient safety. British Medical Association (BMA) leaders have been in talks today to discuss whether to call off the strikes planned between now and Christmas. But a spokesperson said ‘the BMAs position has not changed’ and the industrial action will go ahead as planned. Since January junior doctors have been locked in a bitter row with ministers over a new contract that will see them paid less for weekend work. The Government insists the revised deals are crucial to deliver a seven day NHS service but junior doctors rejected a settlement brokered in the spring.
The European Union needs a military headquarters to work towards a common military force, the Commission president has told MEPs in Strasbourg. Jean-Claude Juncker said the lack of a “permanent structure” resulted in money being wasted on missions. Part of his annual state of the union address was devoted to the UK’s unexpected vote to leave the EU. He insisted that the bloc was not at risk but called for Brexit negotiations to take place as quickly as possible. Modelled on the state of the union address by the US president, the Commission president’s annual speech was introduced in 2010 to detail the state of the EU and future legislative plans.
JEAN-CLAUDE Juncker slotted another piece of the EU superstate jigsaw into place today with the creation of a scheme to imbue European youths with Brussels values. The EU chief announced the founding of a European Solidarity Corps (ESC), to be run entirely by Brussels bureaucrats, which will allow unemployed youngsters to volunteer for civic projects across the continent. But critics today branded the scheme a “waste of taxpayers’ money” and said it was part of a drive to eradicate national sovereignty in favour of the creation of a United States of Europe. One supporter of the plan even openly admitted that he hoped the ESC would make European youngsters “proud of the flag” of the fledgling European superstate, rather than those of their own countries.
Nigel Farage and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator traded magnificent insults today on the floor of the European Parliament. Ex-Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt was left furious after Mr Farage branded him the “high priest” of the “temple” of Brussels and Strasbourg. Ukip’s outgoing leader claimed appointing Mr Verhofstadt was a “declaration of war” on Britain because he believes so strongly in the EU project. But Mr Verhofstadt said he should look at his own aggressive politics first – comparing him to an alcoholic complaining someone else had drunk a pint.
The British government has told France it will approve plans to build a nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point, according to reports. Two months ago, Theresa May slammed the brakes on the £18bn deal agreed by her predecessor. However Bloomberg is reporting an official familiar with the matter claims the project will go ahead subject to conditions.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has defended his team over the release of the names of MPs claimed to have abused him and his allies. Mr Corbyn said those named had made statements “on the record”, when he spoke during the last hustings in the Labour leadership contest at Sky headquarters in London. Voting in the Labour leadership battle, which is also being contested by Owen Smith, ends next Wednesday. One Labour MP named on the list has told Sky News that he has formally complained to the party’s chief whip and chairman.
Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign team has issued a list singling out 14 Labour MPs, including deputy leader Tom Watson, whom it claims have abused the leader and his allies, triggering a new row in the party. Corbyn’s team said the list was sent out by mistake by a junior staff member, but the leader later appeared to stand by the substance of the allegations, saying all the remarks had been made on the record. In the release, Owen Smith , the challenger for the Labour leadership, was accused of being the “real disunity candidate”, who has failed to tackle abuse meted out by his own supporters. The list, obtained by Press Association, highlighted the behaviour of a number of Labour MPs, including Jess Phillips for telling Corbyn’s ally Diane Abbott to “f**k off”, John Woodcock for dismissing the party leader as a “f**king disaster” and Tristram Hunt for describing Labour as “in the s**t”.
Experts are warning the potentially world-ending space rock is heading towards us – but no one is certain how close it will actually come. Worryingly, it is not yet clear when the huge meteor – believed to be up to ten miles wide – will brush past the planet. The asteroid was spotted by astronomer Zhao Haibin using China’s largest telescope at Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing. The images of the asteroid, dubbed 2009ES by the Minor Planet Center, were captured by the 1.2 metre Schmit telescope last Wednesday. It is one of 1,640 near Earth asteroids – known as “minor bodies” – heading towards Earth, according to Chinese Academy of Science.