Britain is facing demands to help France pay for the cost of setting up new customs posts at its Channel ports after Brexit. Theresa May will meet the French President Emmanuel Macron for an Anglo-French summit next month, The Telegraph has learnt, at which the border issue is likely to be raised. French politicians and officials believe Britain should contribute towards the cost of tighter border controls, as it currently does under the Le Touquet treaty. Leading Brexiteers described the idea as “absurd” and said Britain must not pay “a penny more” than it has already agreed to. Mr Macron is under huge pressure from politicians and officials in northern France to raise the impact of Brexit on Channel ports with Mrs May when he comes to London for talks pencilled in for mid-January.
The EU’s lead negotiator has held face-to-face talks with David Davis’s former chief official in a breach of protocol that is regarded in Brussels as evidence of the Brexit secretary being sidelined. Mr Davis has been the public face of the talks, but sources say that Oliver Robbins, his former permanent secretary, is in effect running the negotiations. They add that Mr Robbins is dealing directly with Michel Barnier as well as Sabine Weyand, his opposite number in the European Commission. The Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) described the idea of Mr Davis being sidelined as “wholly inaccurate” but did not deny that Mr Robbins had held talks with Mr Barnier without Mr Davis being present.
OFFICIALS are set for damaging Brexit splits between the EU nations in the coming year – and will hold Britain’s banks hostage to try and keep unity. Sources have told The Times that Brussels staff will try to unite the 27 other countries in the bloc by demanding a “high” price for British banks to have continued access to EU markets after we leave. They are concerned that as trade talks begin in the coming weeks, it will expose the divisions of the nations, who have so far managed largely to stay united. One source said they will hold back talks about our booming banking sector and aviation access until the very end of the negotiations – and will demand we pay to get what we want. A senior EU commission official told the newspaper: “Why would we give these away? In return for what? “The question of financial services and aviation will be settled at the end of the negotiations and the price will be high.”
Labour is coming under pressure from leading pro-remain campaigners to clarify its stance on Brexit, after polling showed that a quarter of its current voters could switch party by the next election and more than half would oppose Labour backing Brexit. The poll of people planning to vote Labour – conducted by YouGov for the Best of Britain campaign group – found 24% said they may change their minds before the next election, and two-thirds of those who voted remain would be disappointed or angry if Labour says it will proceed with Brexit. The poll also found many Labour voters have opposing perceptions about the party’s current stance on Brexit. It found 32% of Labour remain voters believe Labour is “completely against Brexit” and a further 31% of Labour leave voters believe Labour is “completely in favour of Brexit”.
Jeremy Corbyn has denied that Labour’s position on Brexit is “confusing” as he ruled out support for a second referendum. The Labour leader said his party accepted the UK was formally leaving the European Union but it would not allow the country to “go off a cliff in March 2019”. It comes after Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said nothing should be ruled out in the Brexit negotiations. “Our position is that we are not advocating a second referendum,” Mr Corbyn told the i newspaper. “We have had a referendum which came to a decision. The negotiations are still ongoing, albeit well behind schedule, and we’ve set out the kind of relationship we want to have with Europe in the future.” On Labour’s Brexit stance, Mr Corbyn said: “I don’t think it’s confusing.
John McDonnell has backed the return of flying pickets and “sympathy strikes” as part of Labour’s latest plan to take Britain back to the 1970’s. The shadow chancellor, together with the Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, has endorsed the policies of a Labour think-tank that wants to repeal all prohibitive trade union laws passed since 1979, when Margaret Thatcher came to power. Unions have donated £28.7 million to the Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader, and Mr Corbyn’s right hand man believes the party should hand power back to the trade union movement. Mr McDonnell has described the Institute of Employment Rights’ Manifesto for Labour Law as a “blueprint” for Labour policy on workers’ rights. Mr Lavery and Ms Long-Bailey have both expressed their support for the document on Twitter.
Labour frontbenchers have been accused of plotting to take Britain back to the days of flying pickets and strikes in the 1970s. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has backed a radical pro-strike manifesto which would leave key public services vulnerable to industrial action. The ‘blueprint’ for workers’ rights, set out by a Left-wing think-tank, calls for current anti-strike laws to be ripped up and unions to be given more powers. Several of the most senior members of Labour’s shadow cabinet have said the party would adopt manifesto policies of the Institute of Employment Rights. They include shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey and the party’s chairman Ian Lavery. It comes as a series of planned strikes are set to cripple much of the UK’s rail network in January. Tory MPs last night claimed that Labour’s plans would usher in a new era of industrial unrest by taking the country back to the 1970s.
Labour’s next manifesto will include a pledge to reduce eviction powers for landlords and tip housing rules back in favour of renters, Jeremy Corbyn has announced. In an interview with The Independent, the Labour leader said at the next election his party would overhaul housing legislation by scrapping laws which allow landlords to kick out tenants under so-called “no fault” evictions. It is claimed that the contentious practice – allowing landlords to evict renters on a whim and without reason – has contributed to the alarming rise in homelessness since the creation of the coalition government in 2010. The Labour leader believes the current rules can lead to the break up of communities, children having to move schools or travel long distances to stay at the same school, and causes insecurity and anxiety for tenants across England. Asked whether abolishing the “no fault” evictions would be part of the next Labour manifesto, he replied: “Absolutely. Absolutely. I am very committed to housing and dealing with homelessness. I think it’s a moral litmus test for the country: do we just put up with so many rough sleepers or do we do something about it.“
SENIOR Labour figures are plotting to commit Jeremy Corbyn’s party to bringing back 1970s-style mass strikes and flying pickets, it emerged last night. An investigation by the Tories found that several shadow cabinet figures including hard-Left Treasury spokesman John McDonnell have pledged support for a hard-line trade union manifesto that includes promises to scrap a series of curbs on industrial action. The move comes ahead of a series of strikes on the rail network planned in the New Year that are expected to pile intense misery on commuters. A senior Tory MP warned that the policy proposals could lead to levels of workplace havoc not seen in the UK for around four decades. Backbencher James Cleverly said: “Labour want to take us back to the days where union barons could hold the country to ransom and disrupt the lives of millions of people with militant strike action. “Once again, it’s working people, commuters and parents who would pay the price of Labour’s reckless plans.”
Three quarters of nursing homes in parts of the country are failing, according to the Care Quality Commission. The reports warned that 30 per cent of all centres “required improvement” or were “inadequate”. The CQC also found that 93 per cent of areas had care homes that needed to improve, while more than a third in the north and a quarter in the south were failing. In Britain’s wealthiest borough, Kensington and Chelsea in west London, 75 per cent of nursing homes required improvement. Westminster in central London, the second most affluent, had a 50 per cent rate of inadequate homes, while Salford in Manchester had more than 60 per cent rated as “requiring improvement” or “inadequate”.
Three quarters of nursing homes are failing in some parts of the country, watchdog figures reveal. Nearly one in three (30.1 per cent) of all nursing homes ‘require improvement’ or are ‘inadequate’, according to Care Quality Commission reports. And most regions have experienced care problems, with 93 per cent of areas having homes that need improvement. The figures highlight the postcode lottery in the provision of quality local care across the country. More than a third of nursing homes in the North and a quarter in the South either needed improvement or were deemed inadequate. The issue is particularly acute in central London, where Westminster has a 50 per cent rate of failing homes, despite being under the nose of MPs at the Houses of Parliament.
An academic at the University of Oxford has accused colleagues of encouraging “online mobbing” and public shaming, in the continuing row over free speech. Alexander Morrison is the first prominent Oxford scholar to voice his support for Nigel Biggar’s controversial call for a reappraisal of colonialism. Dr Morrison is from the faculty of history, where a mass letter condemning Professor Biggar originated. The dispute has embittered relations among the gowns. Professor Biggar sparked debate with an article in November in The Times headlined “Don’t feel guilty about our colonial history”.
Patients face going blind while waiting for cataract surgery after new figures showed waiting times for operations have risen in more than half of NHS authorities. Average waiting times of almost six months are being recorded in the worst areas, with waits increasing by 50 per cent in some parts of England over the past three years. Delaying cataract surgery can cause isolation for patients who lose the confidence to leave their homes as their sight deteriorates, and can in some cases increase the risk of permanent sight damage or post-operative complications. Eye surgeons say a shortage of trained eye specialists and of operating theatres, coupled with increased pressure caused by the ageing population, is behind the rise in waiting times.