BORIS Johnson faced fresh questions over his Brexit resolve last night after it emerged he told rival contenders they “hardly” disagreed on when to leave the EU. In an unguarded moment, the mop-haired top Tory opened up to his opponents at the end of BBC1’s leadership debate on Tuesday night. The ex-Foreign Secretary insisted there was little between their strategies to deliver Britain’s EU exit. Boris has previously pledged to pull out by the current deadline of October 31, while all the others have opened the door to a fresh delay to pass a deal first. As the five contenders were lead out of the BBC studio in the basement of New Broadcasting House, their microphones were still attached. Boris was overheard telling them: “You see chaps, we don’t disagree on that much”. Environment Secretary Michael Gove immediately retorted: “Dates, Boris, dates”. But Boris replied to him and shrugged: “Hardly, pah”. Critics claimed the remarks cast fresh doubt on his October 31 commitment.
Tory leadership candidates are considering boycotting the BBC’s next televised debate after it failed to effectively vet an imam who had previously made allegedly antisemitic comments. Abdullah Patel, who asked a question about Islamophobia on Tuesday night, was suspended from schools where he was head and deputy head because of tweets about a Zionist conspiracy and violence against women. He was also suspended from his post at a mosque.
TORY leadership candidates are threatening to boycott future BBC debates after the broadcaster’s “biased” mismanagement of Tuesday night’s hustings. The BBC omnishambles was rife with controversy as it emerged on Wednesday an imam who had been selected to grill the Prime Ministerial hopefuls had been accused of anti-Semitism. The religious leader in question has since been suspended from his role as a deputy headteacher.
Supporters of Boris Johnson will on Thursday mount an operation to derail Michael Gove’s leadership hopes as Conservative MPs decide the final two candidates to be prime minister. Mr Gove has never been forgiven for stabbing Mr Johnson in the back during the 2016 leadership contest and revenge was in the air on Wednesday night as MPs began plotting against him. One supporter of Mr Johnson said they did not want Mr Gove just to be beaten, but to be “humiliated”.
Sajid Javid insisted last night that he was staying in the race to become Tory leader to win it as his rivals claimed that he was holding out to be Boris Johnson’s chancellor. The home secretary survived the third round of MPs’ voting to make it through to the final ballots today, which will decide which two will face an election by party members. Mr Johnson is assured to be in the final run-off after receiving the backing of 143 MPs.
The four remaining candidates in the Tory leadership race will be whittled down to a final two today. It will then be up to Conservative party members to decide who will become the next prime minister. On Wednesday Rory Stewart became the latest contender to be eliminated from the contest. Following his defeat he warned those left in the race against promises they “can’t deliver”. The international development secretary saw his bid come to an end after he finished bottom of the latest ballot of Tory MPs.
Philip Hammond will say a second referendum could be the way to “break the impasse” with Brexit. The Chancellor will use his annual Mansion House speech on Thursday to warn Tory leadership contenders to “be honest with the public” and admit that Parliament is likely to reject both the Withdrawal Agreement and no deal. Mr Hammond is expected to say: “If the new Prime Minister cannot end the deadlock in Parliament, then he will have to explore other democratic mechanisms to break the impasse.”
The next prime minister should “explore” holding a second Brexit referendum if he fails to break the deadlock in parliament, Philip Hammond said last night. The chancellor also warned that leaving the European Union without a deal would quickly burn through the £27 billion set aside for that outcome and end up costing more. In his most outspoken attack on a no-deal Brexit so far Mr Hammond said he would “fight and fight again” for an “outcome that protects the Union and the prosperity of the UK”.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to warn the next Prime Minister he will have to call an election or a second referendum to break the Brexit deadlock in Parliament. Mr Hammond is set to urge the remaining leadership candidates to be “honest with the public” about the risks of no-deal. The Chancellor has repeatedly warned that crashing out without an agreement could be devastating for the economy. In a speech in London, he is expected to say: “It may be that I’m wrong, and a new leader will persuade Parliament to accept the deal it has already rejected.
PHILIP HAMMOND today warns Boris Johnson he will have to trigger a second referendum or Election unless he gets real about Brexit. In an incendiary intervention the Chancellor insists a future Conservative PM will have to “explore other democratic mechanisms” if they cannot develop a credible plan to break the deadlock. And in a thinly veiled attack against the bookies’ odds-on favourite, Mr Hammond will demand Tory leadership contenders “be honest with the public” about the trade-offs required to deliver Brexit. “If your Plan A is undeliverable, not having a Plan B is like not having a plan at all.”
Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn looks set to back a second EU referendum regardless of the Brexit outcome. According to reports, Corbyn is likely to back a paper by his policy chief, Andrew Fisher, calling for another referendum on any deal negotiated with the European Union. A senior Labour source confirmed the shift to The Times, saying: “It is a moment.” Labour are under pressure from the resurgent anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats who beat them in the European Elections and are ahead of them in some polls, though the Brexit Party have been in first place in the three most recent YouGov General Election polls.
Philip Hammond will today urge Boris Johnson to keep open the option of a second referendum to break the Brexit deadlock and pledge to ‘fight’ against No Deal. In a pessimistic intervention, the Chancellor will warn that the next Prime Minister will not be able to secure a better deal with the European Union and MPs will block any attempt at a No Deal exit. Mr Hammond will signal his agreement with Rory Stewart, who was eliminated from the leadership contest yesterday, that Mrs May’s deal is the best the EU will offer.
Philip Hammond is to issue a stern warning to Boris Johnson that no Conservative government should pursue a no-deal Brexit which would hit prosperity and risk the break-up of the United Kingdom. The chancellor will signal his readiness to be a thorn in the side of any incoming prime minister determined to take Britain out of the EU without a deal, in a high-profile speech in which he is expected to vow to “fight and fight again” for prudent financial management and the union.
WHEN a big issue is challenging our leaders, and now would-be leaders, they mostly prefer to make dramatic overstatements that they hope to be believed because of the ferocity of their language rather than the evidence they provide or argument they make. If they fail to convince they move on to distractions, in this case an eye-wateringly expensive new climate policy or personal arguments about how feminist are the candidates for Conservative Party leadership. Remainers in government say a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would be ‘catastrophic’ for business and jobs. Former minister Dominic Grieve calls it ‘chaos’ and Justine Greening uses the same term as the BBC commentators and interviewers and most of the Leftish media, ‘crashing out’.
Nigel Farage has opened the door to a pact with Boris Johnson to deliver a no-deal Brexit, in a move that will alarm moderate Conservatives. The Brexit party leader urged the clear Tory leadership favourite to call a general election if the Commons blocked a crash-out departure from the EU – arguing he would win a “thumping majority”. “If he was prepared to do that, of course I’d want to work with them, of course I’d do that,” Mr Farage said. The comments come after the biggest Conservative donor piled pressure on Mr Johnson, if he wins the race to No 10, “to be willing to work with Farage”.
Brexit leader Nigel Farage has signalled a softening towards the prospect of an electoral alliance between his party and the governing Conservatives, but has maintained the Tories as a whole had still failed to comprehend how badly damaging continuing to fail to deliver Brexit would be to them. While Mr Farage listed a long set of conditions for presumptive future Conservative leader Boris Johnson to fulfill in return to electoral support from perhaps the greatest threat to a future Tory majority, the comments at a live discussion event Tuesday evening were the first time the Brexit leader had admitted such an alliance could be possible.
Labour would back staying in the EU while allowing its Brexiteer MPs to campaign against the policy in a second referendum, under plans being considered by Jeremy Corbyn. Yesterday the shadow cabinet backed a proposal to change the party’s Brexit policy and support a second referendum in all circumstances, but there were clashes between shadow ministers who wanted the party to back Remain and those who said that it could be electoral suicide in a Leave voting seat.
Senior Labour figures are mounting a fightback against pressure for change in the party’s Brexit position, as the deeply-divided shadow cabinet meets amid calls for it to adopt full-throated support for a second referendum. A leaked briefing paper understood to have been presented to the meeting warns of an “evident risk” that shifting to a more explicitly pro-Remain position would cost the party seats in the Midlands and North of England.
Labour MPs predominantly representing Leave seats have warned Jeremy Corbyn that backing a second referendum would be “toxic” to the bedrock of the party’s supporters. Twenty-six MPs have signed a letter urging the party leader to “put the national interest first” and back a deal before October 31. They warned that a no-deal outcome would “alienate” many who supported the party at the last general election.
Tom Watson has claimed that on any Brexit deal “there will be a referendum” and says the Labour Party must campaign to remain or else it will be “electoral history”. The deputy Labour leader confirmed to ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston that Jeremy Corbyn was moving toward backing a “referendum in all circumstances” but said the party had not decided which way it would campaign.
Europe has been warned. Any use of monetary levers to hold down the euro exchange rate will be deemed a provocation by the Trump administration. Further cuts in interest rates to minus 0.5pc or beyond will be scrutinized for currency manipulation. A revival of quantitative easing will be considered a devaluation policy in disguise, as indeed it is, since the money leaks out into global securities and depresses the euro. The Bank for International Settlements says €300bn of Europe’s QE funding reached London alone between 2014 and 2017.
ITALY said it will reluctantly respect EU budget rules but sent a chilling warning to Brussels that the country will fight to change them. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Rome will accept the bloc’s fiscal rules but will battle to have them adapted so the member state can allow for more public investment and stronger growth. Mr Conte said ahead of tomorrow’s EU summit: “We are determined to avoid an EU infringement procedure and we are convinced about our economic policies.”
The European Union’s threat to freeze out Swiss stock exchanges from the bloc’s single market will have confirmed the worst fears of the City of London about the future after Brexit. Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, has a system of regulatory recognition with Brussels called “equivalence”. Simply put, the granting of equivalence to a non-EU country is a temporary recognition that its rules are as strict as Brussels and gives access to its markets. Crucially equivalence lies entirely in the gift of the European Commission, the EU’s civil service, and can be withdrawn at short notice with no right of appeal.
The EU is preparing to cut Switzerland‘s stock exchanges off from the single market, in part as a warning shot to Brexit Britain that it must play ball. Like the UK, Switzerland is renegotiating its relationship with the European Union – and a lack of progress on the Swiss side in implementing a new treaty has frustrated Brussels. With Brexit talks in the background, EU officials want to show they are serious about the integrity of the single market.
BRITAIN is continuing to be the global hub of the financial world with big businesses refusing to move their assets outside of London despite the Brexit uncertainty. Following a meeting with the European Central Bank and regulators, firms warned they cannot be forced to move their capital outside of the UK. Joe Cassidy, a partner at KPMG in London, who leads the firm’s Brexit task force for financial services stated business “still prefer” trading in the capital.
The UK’s £14 billion foreign aid budget is being spent in too many wealthy countries with not enough going to the poorest nations, a critical report by UK aid’s funding watchdog has found. A report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) found that allocating the aid budget to other departments beyond the Department for International Development (DFID) has led to money increasingly being spent on middle-income countries. The report says that this means that the foreign aid focus has moved away from poverty reduction and is now more about security, climate change or economic goals.
Watchdogs yesterday warned that ministers cannot prove the aid budget is giving value for money. In a damning report, the National Audit Office said so many Whitehall departments were doling out the cash that no one was tracking whether the £14billion budget was being spent properly. It found that the sums going to ‘upper middle income’ countries had risen over the past four years despite promises to target the poorest. A separate report by another watchdog – the Independent Commission for Aid Impact – raised significant concerns over the international development budget.
SPREADING Britain’s £14 billion foreign aid budget across multiple government department risks wasting taxpayers money, Whitehall’s spending auditor has warned. A probe by the National Audit Office concluded the Government “does not know” whether the bloated budget is delivering value for money because of its decision to divide the money between different departments.
Teachers on a British-aid funded course in Pakistan failed to complete their training because they were serving as election officials under another British-funded initiative. Nine years after David Cameron committed to an ambitious spending target for overseas development, the government still cannot be confident that the £14 billion a year it spends provides value for money, the National Audit Office (NAO) warns today.
Small hospitals must stop treating stroke emergencies in order to save thousands of lives, England’s top doctor will today say. The national medical director will say NHS trusts across the country must centralise services, so that victims get the right help sooner. Professor Stephen Powis will say hospitals should follow a controversial model pioneered in London and Manchester, which is now saving around 170 lives a year.
A damning report into the deaths of children in cancer care was covered up by health service chiefs, according to accusations by doctors including the former NHS medical director for London. The 2015 report was commissioned after parents complained that their children had died “in agony” after being treated at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. In particular a coroner had deemed that there were “astonishing” failures in the care of Alice Mason, a two-year-old who died in 2011.
NHS bosses have been accused of “burying” a damning report into child cancer services commissioned following complaints that patients were “dying in agony”. Completed in 2015, the document highlights failings at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, one of the UK’s flagship cancer organisations. It found that, despite being supposedly a centre of excellence, children admitted for cancer treatment were routinely transferred between hospitals to get the care they needed.
More school children are subjected to cyberbullying in England than in any other developed nation, according to an international survey of more than a quarter of a million heads and teachers. Twenty-one per cent of English school heads said that intimidation or bullying of all kinds among their pupils occurred “on a regular basis”, compared with an average of 14 per cent in countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation.
Cambridge has fallen to its lowest ever place in a well-respected global league table as two thirds of British universities fell down the rankings. The University of Cambridge dropped a place to seventh and is now three places below its main rival the University of Oxford, which rose one spot to fourth. The UK recorded its third-worst performance in the rankings this year with the average rank of the 84 ranked UK institutions decreasing by nearly 13 places.
A Labour peer will try and force the Government to take back responsibility for funding free TV licences for the over-75s. Lord George Foulkes will table a Private Member’s Bill on Thursday aimed at repealing the provision which switched the burden onto the BBC. The 2015 stitch-up ultimately led to last week’s decision by the Corporation to means-test the lifeline so only over-75s on Pension Credit will be eligible.
Fraud is spiralling out of control, with almost 10,000 new cases every day. Alarming details of the nation’s fraud hotspots involving dating scams, computer virus attacks and bogus tradesmen are revealed today. The total number of fraud incidents in England and Wales was an astonishing 3.6million in 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics – a 12.6 per cent rise on 2017.