THERESA May risked infuriating Tory Brexiteers this evening by opening talks with the EU on extending Britain’s transition out of the bloc by at least another year. At an EU summit in Brussels, the Prime Minister was understood to have discussed pushing the end of the so-called “implementation period” after Brexit beyond its current December 2020 deadline. The move would mean free movement for EU migrants to come to Britain continuing for a year longer than previously thought.
Theresa May has opened the door to an even longer Brexit transition period, setting herself on yet another collision course with Tory Eurosceptics and potentially growing the EU divorce bill by billions. The prime minister brought up the possibility of an extension during meetings with EU leaders in Brussels on Wednesday as she sought to find a way to break the deadlock in negotiations. The period – during which the UK would stay completely tied to EU rules without any say on them – is hugely unpopular with Brexiteers, who believe it would make Britain a “vassal state” of the bloc.
Theresa May has told EU leaders she is prepared to consider extending the Brexit transition period as she called on them to show “courage” and come up with “creative” ideas to break the current deadlock. At a summit in Brussels the Prime Minister said Britain would be open to the idea of staying tied to the EU beyond the end of December 2020, even though that could mean paying billions more to Brussels. Last week the Telegraph revealed that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, had proposed extending transition by another year, to the end of 2021, to allow more time for a trade deal to be worked out.
Theresa May’s desperate plea for EU leaders to show ‘courage’ to break the deadlock in Brexit talks fell flat tonight – amid claims she could keep Britain lashed to the bloc for another year to ease the Irish border standoff. The PM was accused of having ‘nothing new’ to say after she urged counterparts to be ‘creative’ as negotiations threaten to collapse into disarray. A summit pencilled in for next month to seal a divorce package has now been shelved, effectively ruling out any kind of resolution before December.
Theresa May risked deepening the Tories’ Brexit civil war tonight amid claims she could effectively tie Britain to Brussels for another year. The Prime Minister was said to have told EU leaders she was ready to consider lengthening the exit transition period from 21 months. She originally wanted a transition of “around two years”. But the EU offered 21 months, starting after Britain quits the bloc on March 29 and ending in December 2020. Extending it by a year would enrage Tory Brexiteers as the UK would carry on pumping cash – potentially £9billion – to Brussels. Angry Leaver supporters would claim Britain has not properly quit.
Theresa May last night conceded that Britain may need to remain tied to European rules and laws for a further year after Brexit as the price of finding a compromise on the Irish border. In a presentation to EU leaders in Brussels the prime minister said that she would consider extending the transition period by 12 months from December 2020 as part of measures to solve the Irish backstop issue. The concession will infuriate Tory Brexiteers and could make it more difficult to get any deal through the House of Commons. It did not seem to impress the leaders of the other 27 EU nations, either.
Brexit-backing MPs have reacted angrily to the idea that the UK’s transition out of the EU could be extended for another year, to the end of 2021. No. 10 refused to rule out an extension after a summit of EU leaders in Brussels failed to make progress. The move could buy the two sides more time to come up with a solution to the problem of the Irish border. But the UK would have to pay billions more into the EU’s budget and follow its rules for even longer. Theresa May addressed her 27 European counterparts on Wednesday evening, urging them to give ground and end the current Brexit deadlock.
The Brexit withdrawal agreement must either be accepted or rejected by MPs and should not automatically be subjected to amendments, according to a letter and a memorandum released by the government. Some MPs pushing for another vote on Britain’s membership of the EU were hoping to add an amendment. Brexiters also planned to use the opportunity to push for a Canada-style trade deal. Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, sent a letter to fellow MPs on 10 October implying that the government wanted to restrict the parliamentary process.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has riled some MPs after appearing to suggest Parliament might not get a so-called “meaningful vote” on any deal. Some MPs want the right to amend whatever Theresa May eventually comes back with, but Mr Raab hinted it may only be a “take it or leave it” choice. The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg says it’s a “big fat row waiting to happen”. The argument erupted as Theresa May struggled to make progress with the EU in Brussels on Wednesday.
THERESA May’s words to the EU27 failed to convince the president of the European parliament, who branded the content of her speech “unacceptable” before claiming the bloc “wants to protect the Irish Republic”. Antonio Tajani made clear the European Union’s priority in a statement that followed Mrs May’s speech to the EU27. The president told reporters the EU parliament will vote down every deal which doesn’t avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Despite praising Mrs May’s tone, which he described as much more “positive” and willing to cooperate than the one she used at the end of the summit in Salzburg, Mr Tajani said her speech failed to meet his expectations.
Germany and France are starting to step up their preparations for a no-deal Brexit even though both publicly insist an agreement with the UK over the terms of its departure from the EU can still be achieved. Angela Merkel revealed for the first time on Wednesday that Germany was drawing up contingency plans, saying the government had started making “suitable preparations” for the possibility of Britain leaving with no accord. While there was there was still a chance for a deal, it was “only fitting as a responsible and forward-thinking government leadership that we prepare for every scenario”, the German chancellor told MPs in Berlin.
The unelected EU Commission are set to reject the Italian government’s budget, according to German outfit Spiegel. In what would be an unprecedented measure sure to spark a furious backlash, the Commission can block Italy’s budget. The Five Star/Lega coalition in office are aiming for a budget deficit of 2.4% in 2019. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said of the budget: “I am extremely happy, we are keeping our promises, slowly but bravely.” But now it seems Brussels will refuse to sign off on the Eurosceptic Italian government’s budget, the first time ever this will have happened to any country.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has rejected the budget of the populist Italian coalition government saying it could cause “violent counter-reaction” across the Eurozone economic bloc. Mr Juncker announced his rejection of the budget, which would increase Italian deficit spending to 2.4 percent of GDP, remarking that “saying yes would lead to violent reactions from other Eurozone countries,” Il Giornale reports. The Commission president also took a shot at the leaders of the coalition parties, the League’s Matteo Salvini and the Five Star Movement’s Luigi Di Maio, saying that both were looking to place guilt and blame rather than come up with solutions to the issue.
THREE has-been MPs Tony Blair, Michael Heseltine and Nick Clegg, have bizarrely chosen a host of European newspapers to demand a second Brexit referendum in Britain – and to insult the 17.4million Britons who voted to leave the EU. The ardent Remoaners took a double swipe at Brexit supporters calling them either “naïve optimists” or “cynical pessimists”. They claim Brexit negotiations have not gone well and now the public need to make a “final decision”, saying: “Our domestic debate is far from over and, even at this late hour, many of us are continuing to make the case that the British public need to make the final decision once we are in possession of all the relevant facts.
A Tory MP’s election to Parliament could have been declared void after he overspent on his campaign to beat Nigel Farage, a court has heard. Craig Mackinlay, 52, along with his election agent Nathan Gray, 29, and party activist Marion Little, 63, are accused of deliberately submitting ‘woefully inaccurate’ expenditure returns. Their trial at Southwark Crown Court has heard that during the 2015 general election campaign, the Conservative Party put in extra resources to win the seat in South Thanet on May 7 in a ‘two-horse race’ with then-Ukip leader Mr Farage.
CONSERVATIVE MP Craig Mackinlay spent more than double the legal limit on his general election campaign in 2015 in a bid to end Nigel Farage’s political ambitions forever, a court has heard. The MP, along with his election agent Nathan Gray, 29, and Marion Little 63, who is alleged to have run the campaign, are on trial at Southwark Crown Court in London, accused of deliberately submitting “woefully inaccurate” expenditure returns. Declared spending on the campaign came in under the strict £52,000 limit allowed for the MP’s constituency in South Thanet, Kent, but prosecutors allege up to £66,000 spent on staffing, accommodation and advertising for his campaign was not declared.
LABOUR splits over the fate of John Bercow spilled over last night – as their MP stunned the Commons with a shocking tale of a constituent still signed of sick after months of horrific bullying within Parliament. The electrifying moment came as Jeremy Corbyn was forced to slap down his own MPs who said the embattled Speaker must stay to wreck Brexit. Teresa Pearce told MPs: “My constituent came to see me earlier this year about being sexually harassed at work by a co-worker.
JOHN MCDONNELL sparked mass outrage by stating he “longs for a united Ireland” when answering a question about the border between the province and the Republic after Brexit. The Shadow Chancellor, who 20 years ago had praised the IRA’s “bombs and bullets”, made the comments when asked about the current impasse that has brought Brexit negotiations to a halt. While he said he wants to see a united Ireland, he said that he respects democracy and that he would only pursue this if Ulster votes for it.
John McDonnell has told journalists that he “longs” for a united state of Ireland that would see the UK split up. This man could be the 2nd most powerful man in the country if Labour get in. The Shadow Chancellor told journalists today: “I long for a united Ireland, but I recognise democracy.” The comments suggest McDonnell would be happy to break up the United Kingdom altogether. His statement comes as the DUP say they will refuse to vote for any Brexit deal which might separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the country. Just imagine Labour running the Brexit negotiations – they would break up our country and continue to let the EU rule over us. Madness.
A copycat rival to the world’s bestselling prescription drug has been launched in Europe, which NHS bosses hope could help to save £150 million a year. Samsung Bioepis, a joint venture between Samsung Biologics, part of the South Korean conglomerate, and Biogen, an American company, have created a “biosimilar” of the Humira medicine sold by Abbvie. Imraldi was launched as the main European patent on Humira expired yesterday, paving the way for companies to launch products for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and psoriasis. Humira generated worldwide sales of $18 billion last year.
A third of caring jobs in hospitals are carried out by unregulated healthcare assistants and the NHS is hiring them at a much faster rate than nurses, a survey suggests. Hospitals are forced to “plug a care gap” caused by a shortage of registered nurses with less-qualified staff, according to a report. Healthcare assistants require no formal qualifications but have increasingly been entrusted with hands-on care in hospitals as nurses carry out more specialist tasks. A standardised qualification was introduced three years ago but it is not compulsory and, unlike nurses, healthcare assistants do not have to register with a professional regulator.
Hospitals made £70 million by charging staff to park their cars last year, official figures show. Doctors, nurses and other NHS staff contributed almost a third of the £226 million raised from hospital car parking charges and fines, according to data released for the first time. Unions have condemned the “extortionate” charges, saying it is wrong for the NHS to profit from staff who work 24 hours a day treating the sick.
A benefits error means that the Government will have to pay an additional £1.7billion to tens of thousands of disabled and ill claimants. Newly released documents show that an estimated 180,000 people are due £970million worth of historical underpayments, nearly three times more than originally estimated earlier this year. The Department for Work and Pensions will have to pay a further £700million over the next seven years, with those affected due to receive a total £5,000 each.
The government could pay out more than £1bn in back payments after finding out that tens of thousands of people claiming sickness and disability benefits have been underpaid. Due to a “historic error” at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), 180,000 people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have been underpaid and may be owed an average of £5,000 each. The blunders date back to between 2011 and 2014, when claimants were switched over from incapacity benefit. ESA underpayments worth £970m will be paid back over the next two years, but a larger bill for ongoing payments means the total cost to the DWP could be £1.67bn by 2024-25.
Almost 200,000 disabled people will receive backdated benefit payments of up to £10,000 each following a catastrophic government error. An extra £1.67 billion is to be paid to tens of thousands of disabled benefit claimants after years of underpayments, the Department for Work and Pensions said. The DWP was criticised for its handling of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) after revealing an estimated 180,000 recipients are due arrears payments totalling £970 million. The cost of paying them at a higher rate after their claims have been corrected is estimated to add another £700 million over the next seven years, a DWP analysis released on Wednesday showed.
The drive to target hate crime is forcing police officers to spend valuable time investigating wolf-whistles, bad manners and impolite comments, a police leader has warned. Sergeant Richard Cooke, the recently elected chairman of the West Midlands Police Federation, said forces were expected to record and follow up reports of hate crime, even when no criminal offence had taken place. Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Cooke warns police officers would be dispatched to offer words of advice to people, but this meant they had less time to focus on “genuine crimes” such as burglary and violence.
Police are spending their limited time investigating wolf whistling rather than “genuine crimes” such as burglaries, a police chief warned. Sergeant Richard Cooke, chairman of the West Midlands Police Federation, said forces were under pressure to follow up “hate crimes” that might simply be bad manners. Catcalling is treated as a hate crime in Nottinghamshire and this might be rolled out across the UK. Sergeant Cooke wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “A dangerous precedent could be set, where our scant resources are skewed further and further away from the genuine crisis in public safety taking place on our urban homes and streets.
Gatwick plans to spend up to £500 million to shift its emergency runway by 12 metres, bringing it into full passenger use and challenging Heathrow. Britain’s second busiest airport will unveil plans today to create a fully operational second runway that will allow it to handle up to 50,000 extra flights a year. The plan involves moving its existing standby runway — only used in emergency situations when the main runway is closed — slightly to the north to make sure that it complies with international safety regulations. New taxiways to and from the runways and additional stands will also be created.
Three men jailed for protesting at a fracking site were freed today after the Court of Appeal ruled that their sentences of up to 16 months were “manifestly excessive”. Simon Blevins, 26, a soil scientist from Sheffield, Richard Roberts, 36, a teacher from London and Rich Loizou, 31, piano restorer from Devon, were the first anti-fracking protesters to be jailed. The men were convicted last month of causing a public nuisance at a site in Lancashire, where Cuadrilla this week began the first fracking since being forced to stop after causing minor earthquakes in 2011.
THREE anti-fracking activists were freed from prison today in a “victory for common sense” after Court of Appeal judges said their sentences were “manifestly excessive.” Simon Blevins, Richard Roberts and Rich Loizou were jailed last month for public nuisance over a protest last July at shale gas firm Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire. The three climbed onto lorries outside the site in Preston New Road during a stand-off lasting nearly 100 hours. Supporters crowding the courtroom erupted into applause as the decision was announced.
Residents in a Surrey village are in a fight against some of Hollywood’s most powerful players over plans to expand a studio on greenbelt land. An application to quadruple the size of Shepperton Studios as part of a £500 million expansion has received the backing from firms such as Disney, Netflix and Lucasfilm. Movie bosses argue failure to expand will harm the British film industry and could mean having to shift production elsewhere due to a shortage of studio facilities.