They’re smart, the Brexit Party. To the untrained eye, their behaviour in the European Parliament on Wednesday might have looked boorish and mindless. Personally, though, I’m convinced it was all part of a cunning plan. Namely: to make the EU so heartily sick of us that they reject any request to delay Brexit, and just kick us out, instead. It might well work, too. Plenty in the EU seem to have already lost patience with Brexit – strikingly few MEPs turned up for Wednesday’s four-hour debate on it in Strasbourg. And of those who did turn up, many sounded deeply long-suffering. “We have once more gathered to discuss the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union,” sighed Finland’s Tytti Tuppurainen. The Brexit Party cheered. Normally, unlike the House of Commons, the European Parliament is a staid, sedate sort of place. But not when Nigel Farage and co are in town. Throughout the debate, they lustily cheered every warning about a no-deal Brexit, and were admonished again and again by the debate’s increasingly weary chair for jeering and catcalling during other people’s speeches.
BREXIT PARTY MEP Michael Heaver gave an impassioned speech in the European Parliament as he accused the EU of regretting the Brexit vote because they’ve “lost their cash cow” – the UK. Mr Heaver, an MEP for the east of England, reaffirmed the Brexit Party’s campaign to leave the EU with no deal and carry out the democratic vote as 17.4 million British people voted to leave. The Brexiteer explained they’ve seen straight through former Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement completely disagree with it being “fair and balanced”. He added that no deal is becoming more favourable in the UK despite Boris Johnson prioritising a deal. Speaking in European Parliament, Mr Heaver said: “Let me reassure everyone in the chamber that Nigel Farage does indeed still speak for the pro-Brexit majority in my country. “As for this resolution, a regrettable event is what you’re calling Brexit, well maybe for you with the UK cash cow out of the door.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has told Boris Johnson to stop “pretending” he is negotiating a Brexit deal, amid concerns that the prime minister is not trying to reach an agreement. It comes after reports that proposals brought to Brussels by UK negotiators amounted to the old agreement, with the section on the Irish backstop simply crossed out in the text. Speaking in the European Parliament, Michel Barnier said: “Almost three years after the UK referendum, I don’t think we should be spending time pretending to negotiate. I think we need to move forward with determination.” Mr Barnier said the EU was “open to any UK proposal and are willing to work day and night towards progress”, adding: “If the UK leaves without a deal, I would recall that these questions don’t just disappear.
Nigel Farage has warned that the humiliation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson by the “pip-squeak prime minister of Luxembourg” during Brexit talks was a sign of the bad faith the EU plans to have with the UK if the country accepts the withdrawal treaty, saying now is the time for a “clean break Brexit”. Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday morning, Mr Farage warned that even without the Irish backstop, which could lock the whole of the UK in regulatory alignment with the EU and stop the UK signing its own trade deals, the withdrawal treaty is still “a very bad deal for Britain”. “It’ll leave us trapped inside European Union rules, it’ll leave us under the auspices of the European Court.
Boris Johnson was given an ultimatum to present a written proposal for a Brexit deal before the end of the month if he wants to avert no-deal, it was reported last night. After President Macron of France met Antti Rinne, the prime minister of Finland, the two leaders appeared to suggest a new deadline of September 30 for the UK to make formal proposals for a new deal. “We need to know what the UK is proposing”, Mr Rinne, who holds a rotating EU presidency, said. “The UK should make its possible own proposals very soon if they would like them to be discussed.”
EU leaders have given Boris Johnson an ultimatum to come up with a new Brexit plan by the end of September or face up to a no deal. The deadline, agreed at a meeting in Paris on Wednesday evening, comes as the bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier told Mr Johnson to stop “pretending” to negotiate. On Wednesday evening French president Emmanuel Macron – who has taken the hardest line against the UK – met with Antti Rinne, Finland’s prime minister and the current holder of the rotating EU Council presidency. “If the UK wants to discuss alternatives to the existing Brexit agreement then these must be presented before the end of the month,” Mr Rinne told reporters after the meeting in which the deadline was agreed.
The UK needs to submit its new Brexit deal proposal to the EU by the end of September or it will be “over”, according to Finland’s prime minister. Antti Rinne said he and French president Emmanuel Macron agreed at a meeting in Paris on Wednesday the UK needs to produce the plans in writing by 30 September. “If the UK wants to discuss alternatives to the existing Brexit agreement then these must be presented before the end of the month,” he told Finnish reporters. “If not by then, then it’s over.” Finland currently holds the rotating Council of the EU presidency, meaning it sets the daily agenda.
Boris Johnson has 12 days to set out his Brexit plans to the EU, according to Finland’s prime minister. Antti Rinne said he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed the UK needed to produce the proposals in writing by the end of September, adding if not, “then it’s over”. Finland currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency. A Downing Street source said: “We will continue negotiating and put forward proposals at the appropriate time.” Mr Johnson has said a deal is possible at a crucial summit of EU leaders on 17 October, but he has insisted Brexit will happen by the 31 October deadline, even if a deal is not agreed.
Boris Johnson has been set a two-week deadline to table a plan for replacing the Irish backstop as further embarrassing details emerged of the prime minister’s chaotic visit to Luxembourg. France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, and Finland’s prime minister, Antti Rinne, told reporters in Paris that they were both “concerned about what is happening in Britain”. “We need to know what the UK is proposing,” said Rinne, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency. “Loose talk about proposals for negotiations is irresponsible … The UK should make its possible own proposals very soon if they would like them to be discussed.” Rinne said: “We both agreed that it is now time for Boris Johnson to produce his own proposals in writing – if they exist. If no proposals are received by the end of September, then it’s over.”
Boris Johnson has reportedly been given just 12 days to present the European Union with a viable Brexit deal or prepare for a No Deal Brexit. The Prime Minister has been given until September 30 to submit an alternative to the Irish border backstop in writing to Brussels. The ultimatum was hammered out at a meeting between French president Emmanuel Macron and Finnish PM Antti Rinne in Paris today, reports in Finland claim. However it is unclear if the deadline will be backed by other European leaders, who would have to come on board with it to enable it to carry any legal weight.
The Democratic Unionist party’s leader, Arlene Foster, has signalled it is ready to do a Brexit deal, indicating for the first time a willingness to accept a bespoke solution for Northern Ireland. She was speaking just hours before she held an “unplanned” meeting with the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, amid signs of a Brexit thaw between Belfast and Dublin. In a break with previous rhetoric where she has strongly opposed treating the region differently to the rest of the UK, Foster said the final deal would have to recognise Northern Ireland’s unique historical and geographical position and the fact it will be the UK’s only land border with the EU.
DUP leader Arlene Foster has said that she wants a solution to Brexit that does not affect Northern Ireland’s constitutional position. Mrs Foster was speaking to reporters before she addressed the Dublin City Chamber of Commerce. She also met with Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar in Government Buildings after her address. They discussed Brexit and the need for restoration of devolution. Asked if NI-specific solutions would not affect the current constitutional position of Northern Ireland, Mrs Foster said she wants a recognition that Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom. “What I want to see is Northern Ireland firmly being with the rest of Great Britain,” she said.
SCOTTISH First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been praised for “combining” a pro-EU stance with “nationalism for Scotland”. Brandenburg’s Economy Minister Jörg Steinbach hinted at Scotland rejoining the EU, saying: “Shouldn’t we apply the acquis to [UK] regions where there are competences?” It came as Ms Sturgeon accepted an award at a ceremony in Potsdam yesterday for her “advocacy for a united Europe” and her “clear stance and tireless dedication for Europe”, Politico reported. As she collected the gong at media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium, Ms Sturgeon insisted Scotland “did not ask for nor want” the 2016 referendum on Brexit and “voted overwhelmingly to Remain”.
Boris Johnson’s QC today told the Supreme Court his decision to prorogue Parliament is ‘fundamentally political’ and ‘is not territory a court can enter’. Sir James Eadie told the 11 senior judges who will rule on the landmark case that Mr Johnson’s advice to the Queen to shut down the Commons for five weeks until October 14 was not illegal. The Government’s top barrister, known as the ‘Treasury Devil’, said any suggestion the Prime Minister’s intention was to ‘stymy Parliament’ is ‘untenable’. The legal drama came on day two of the historic legal battle spearheaded by arch-remainer Gina Miller to decide if the Prime Minister broke the law and lied to Her Majesty.
Jacob Rees-Mogg praised Nigel Farage on Wednesday night as he urged Brexiteers to come back to the Conservative Party after Britain left the EU. The Leader of the House of Commons said the Brexit Party leader was the most important political figure outside Parliament in the past 30 years and that Brexiteers “owe him a great debt”. However, speaking at a Telegraph subscriber event, he warned Tory and Brexit Party supporters that they “all want the same thing … to leave the EU”, but risked enabling Labour to win a general election. He said that a vote for the Brexit Party would be “a vote effectively for Jeremy Corbyn”. Mr Rees-Mogg declared “we must deliver Brexit” and acknowledged that it would be “full steam ahead” for the Brexit Party if the Conservatives failed to do so.
Labour has begun the process of reversing Tony Blair’s reform of Clause 4, the totemic section of the party’s constitution. Mr Blair ditched the old statement of his party’s aims and values, regarded as a commitment to widespread nationalisation, in 1995. The decision was viewed as a significant moment in the party’s history. Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), controlled by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, agreed on Tuesday to set up a working group to examine changing the document. The development comes as a new poll shows that the Liberal Democrats have overtaken Labour after Jo Swinson promised to halt Brexit without a referendum.
Jeremy Corbyn is being warned of a battle to force him to abandon his plan to “stay neutral” in a fresh Brexit referendum, at Labour’s conference this weekend. Supporters of a Final Say vote pledged a showdown to make it official party policy to campaign for Remain – hours after the Labour leader signalled he intended to sit on the fence. Phil Wilson, an influential Labour MP, told The Independent: “Conference will attempt to make sure the party backs Remain and that the leader does as well.” And grassroots activists pointed out that no fewer than 90 per cent of motions put forward by local parties call on Labour to campaign to stay in the EU, rather than stay neutral. “Support for an explicit Remain stance is evidently overwhelming,” said Michael Chessum, the national organiser for the Another Europe is Possible group.
Labour Friends of Israel last night scrapped plans to host a stand at Labour’s conference over fears for Jewish delegates. The group said the party’s deteriorating anti-Semitism problem meant it would not be responsible to expose its employees to the risk of abuse. It came as Labour was also criticised for failing to consult Jewish members over its new disciplinary procedures for expelling members. The Jewish Labour Movement attacked the decision for the revised rules to be debated at conference on Saturday – the Jewish Sabbath. Critics say the new rules merely hand more power to Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, which has in the past been accused of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism.
Radical plans to commit Labour to cutting UK greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030 are expected to be watered down at the party’s annual conference, HuffPost UK can reveal. Jeremy Corbyn will make tackling global warming a centrepiece of the gathering in Brighton, with a whole day devoted for the first time to the issue of the climate emergency. But Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell are also determined to draft a credible policy that balances jobs in poor communities with the need to take more urgent action than the Tories and other parties have promised, insiders said. The party leadership is expected to adopt key elements of a ‘Green New Deal’, while dropping what are seen as the more unworkable targets in motions drafted by some party activists. Backed by grassroots group Momentum, 128 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) have submitted motions on climate change – more even than Brexit – with many demanding a move to slash emissions to zero, as opposed to ‘net zero’.
Britons would prefer Liberal Democrats over the Labour Party in a potential general election, according to a new YouGov poll for The Times newspaper. The poll puts the Liberal Democrats’ support at 23%, up four points from last week, and the Labour Party at 21%, two points down. The Conservative Party is at 32%, unchanged from a week ago, the poll showed. It is the first time the Labour Party has been in third place since July. Half of those who backed Labour in the 2017 election are sticking with the party, with a quarter going to the Liberal Democrats and 9% backing Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, according to the poll.
The Liberal Democrats will assess every policy decision and new piece of legislation on their impact on people’s wellbeing before rolling them out, Jo Swinson has said. Under plans to introduce a “wellbeing budget”, Ms Swinson said the party will seek to “rethink the purpose of our economy” by looking at the effect government decisions have on people’s happiness. Party aides suggested the move could even include the introduction of a “minister for happiness”. The announcement came as she declared the Lib Dems were facing the “the fight of our lives for the heart and soul of Britain” as she announced herself as the party’s candidate to be the next prime minister.
The Brexit Party
NIGEL FARAGE has claimed the UK is very close to getting a Brexit deal on October 17 as he hinted Juncker and Barnier are caving to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s backstop demands. The leader of the Brexit Party said the EU’s chief negotiators don’t have any emotional attachment to the backstop and are happy to look into alternative arrangements. His comments come as Mr Johnson must bring a deal to Parliament by the deadline or face Remain MPs forcing him to request a three-month extension from the EU. But the EU can overrule this law and force the UK to leave by October 31, Mr Johnson’s Brexit pledge. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Farage said: “I think what is more significant is what is going on with the negotiations around the backstop. “Today we’ve been hearing here in Strasbourg from Juncker and Barnier, they have no emotional attachment as such to the backstop.
The law must be changed to protect victims of identity fraud and prevent authorities covering up the vast scale of the problem, say a former chief prosecutor, criminal lawyers and academics. Every year tens of thousands of victims try to contact the police after being sent bills for credit cards, phone contracts and loans that have been taken out in their names. Criminals can do this as many lenders require only basic details to apply for credit, such as names, dates of birth and addresses and these are often easy to find online.
At least 400 pensioners sell their homes each week to pay for social care, a new study says today. It reveals that 21,120 owners took the desperate step last year, compared with just 11,880 in 2000. The figures lay bare the scale of a crisis in which anyone with more than £23,250 in savings, including their property value, is denied state help. The Daily Mail is campaigning for urgent action – particularly for dementia sufferers who make up two thirds of those in care. Published by the charity Independent Age, the report also found that only some councils offer ‘deferred payment agreements’ that save people having to sell up before their death.
The number of students from poor backgrounds going to university this year has reached a record 20 per cent, figures show. Almost 26,000 freshers from deprived families have a place, with the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) saying the gap between the most and least advantaged is ‘narrowing’. It comes amid pressure on universities to admit more disadvantaged students. For the first time, 20.4 per cent (25,910) from the least affluent backgrounds have confirmed places, according to UCAS.