THE EU has managed to “divide and rule” the political class to put the UK on the back foot in Brexit negotiations with the help of ministers who have undermined the Prime Minister, which means the UK might accept the worst possible deal, according to former Downing Street adviser Nick Timothy. Mr Timothy was one of the Prime Minister’s closest allies and has hit out at her Cabinet, who he claims have undermined her. He said: “The EU has divided and ruled Britain’s panicking political classes. It wants us to contribute to the defence of Europe, while excluding us from its information-sharing schemes and Galileo, the satellite system.
Britain would be signing itself up to the worst possible Brexit deal if it accepts freedom of movement, Theresa May‘s former chief of staff has warned. Nick Timothy issued a strong warning to the Prime Minister to toughen up her negotiating strategy after it emerged that several Cabinet ministers want freedom of movement to continue after Britain leaves the EU. Mr Timothy, one of Mrs May’s closest allies, said she has been ‘undermined’ by Parliament and her own Cabinet, adding: ‘The time for playing nice and being exploited is over.’
Britain risks signing up to the worst possible Brexit deal, Theresa May’s former chief of staff has warned as it emerges several Cabinet ministers want freedom of movement to effectively continue after Britain leaves the European Union. Writing for the Telegraph, Nick Timothy tells the Prime Minister she must urgently harden her negotiating strategy, adding: “The time for playing nice and being exploited is over”. Mr Timothy, one of Mrs May’s closest allies, says she has been “undermined” by Parliament and her own Cabinet and now risks being pushed into the worst possible outcome.
Theresa May has been warned that time is running out to secure a Brexit deal as she prepares to face the other 27 EU leaders at a summit in Brussels. The PM will brief all her counterparts for the last time before October, when both sides hope a deal will be done on the UK’s March 2019 departure. But Irish leader Leo Varadkar said the lack of progress was “disappointing”. He said he expected fellow leaders to send a “strong message” to Mrs May that talks had to “intensify”.
A LEADING MEP has quashed hopes of Theresa May achieving a successful breakthrough at the crunch EU summit taking place in Brussels today, accusing the Government of having no control over our own “destiny”. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, UKIP MEP Margot Parker warned Whitehall was allowing itself to be bullied by obstructionist EU negotiators. Questioned whether she expects the summit to be a success, she said: “I don’t. I expect it to be more of the same. “From the evidence so far, I don’t think Theresa May will achieve the breakthrough she is seeking.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused Philip Hammond, the chancellor, of working with “politicised” businesses to undermine Brexit. The arch Brexiteer, who chairs the European Research Group (ERG) of Eurosceptic Tories, called the Treasury “the beating heart of Remain”. Mr Rees-Mogg suggested a series of recent warnings by business leaders about Brexit were the result of “co-operation” with pro-EU cabinet ministers. He told Sky News: “I think there is co-operation between the Remainers in the cabinet and some businesses, some of the more politicised businesses. Asked who he was referring to, he replied: “Oh, the chancellor.
The Tory Brexit civil war deepened today as MPs accused Remainer ministers of ganging up with business to try to force Britain to keep closer ties with the EU. Backbenchers said elements in the Cabinet were colluding to mount ‘Project Fear Mark II’ and peddling gloom-laden warning in an effort to get the PM to change her approach. It comes after days of open warfare between ministers who back radically different Brexit visions. Business Secretary Greg Clark urged companies to keep pushing for a ‘soft’ Brexit. By contrast, Jeremy Hunt condemned the dire warning – from Airbus among others – as ‘inappropriate’ while Boris Johnson bluntly told a private reception ‘f*** business’.
Brexiteers have accused Remainers in the cabinet of co-ordinating business attacks on Brexit in a bid to bounce the prime minister into a soft Brexit. Jacob Rees-Mogg, head of the eurosceptic European Research Group of Tory MPs, told Sky News he believed Chancellor Philip Hammond was behind the sudden flurry of businesses speaking up on Brexit. It comes ahead of a crunch Chequers meeting of cabinet ministers next Friday to agree detailed plans on the UK’s post-Brexit future. “I think there is cooperation between the Remainers in the cabinet and some businesses, some of the more politicised businesses,” Mr Rees-Mogg told Sky News on a visit to the Irish border town Blacklion.
Pro-Brussels members of government and the cabinet, principally Chancellor Philip Hammond and those in the Treasury, are “cooperating” with big business to undermine Brexit and the will of the people, leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has warned. “I think there is cooperation between the Remainers in the cabinet and some businesses, some of the more politicised businesses,” he told Sky News on a visit to the Irish border town of Blacklion. Asked who in the cabinet, specifically, Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “Oh, the chancellor. Boris Johnson was quite right when he said the Treasury is the beating heart of remain, that’s obvious.”
Britain’s Brexit divorce bill could be £10billion higher than ministers claim, an influential group of MPs today said. The Government has admitted UK taxpayers will have to pay up to £39bn to the Brussels budget for decades to come. But the Public Accounts Committee have warned that the bill could be up to £49bn by the time all bills are settled and urged Theresa May to come clean about the bill. They also warned the ‘Brexit dividend’ – the money the UK will no longer have to pay in to the EU once it has left – was ‘hard to calculate’.
Britain’s divorce bill for leaving the EU could be at least £10bn higher than the government estimates, according to a group of MPs who scrutinise public spending. In a new report, the House of Commons’ public accounts committee states there is a risk the amount the UK actually pays to leave the EU “will fall outside the narrow range” estimated by the treasury of £35-39bn. The committee also pours cold water on suggestions of a “Brexit dividend” from Britain’s departure, claiming it will be “hard to calculate and, if it materialises, is some years away”.
BREXITEER Jacob Rees-Mogg said resolving the Irish border issue will be “very straightforward” if there is political will from both the European Union and UK to come to an agreeable solution. The prominent Tory backbencher, who is the Chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), took a trip to the Irish border to meet residents and discuss their concerns with Brexit. In a discussion on the border with farmer John Sheridan on Sky News, Mr Rees-Mogg insisted the issue can be resolved without having to implement a hard border.
Northern Ireland’s police chief has revealed the chaos surrounding preparations for the Irish border after Brexit, protesting that no one is in charge. George Hamilton told MPs there was no coordinator who was “actually taking responsibility” for the project – as he warned of the risk from organised crime and dissident terrorists. The chief constable revealed he had yet to submit a business case for how to bolster border policing because he was “trying to find a mechanism and an audience” for doing so.
ANGELA Merkel is integral not just for the survival of the Eurozone but if she is removed from power then the instability created could bring down the whole European Union, Malta Foreign Minister Abela Carmelo suggested on BBC Newsnight. Ahead of crunch talks of the European Council which will focus on migration, security and defence, Mr Carmelo was invited onto the flagship programme to discuss Angela Merkel. The Foreign Minister was asked how important it is for the Eurozone that Angela Merkel survives.
Theresa May will arrive at a summit in Brussels on Thursday to warnings that there has been “no progress” in the key areas of Brexit talks since the last time she met EU leaders. The prime minister is arriving in the EU capital on Thursday afternoon for the European Council meeting, where Britain’s departure will be a footnote on the agenda compared to discussions about migration, trade and eurozone reform. Over dinner Ms May will try to explain to EU national leaders like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron why her Cabinet still has no agreed position on major issues with just four months to the deadline.
The European Union’s 27 leaders are to ratchet up the pressure on Theresa May by giving her a strong warning about the growing risk of a no-deal Brexit, as countries across Europe confirmed they were intensifying work on their contingency plans for Britain crashing out of the bloc. With a complete absence of progress on key issues, including that of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, the prime minister will be pressed at a summit in Brussels to reassure her fellow leaders about her intentions.
BRUSSELS could be putting the security of Europe by refusing to work with Britain on cyber security after we leave the EU, an ex-spy boss has hinted. Former GCHQ boss Robert Hannigan told The Sun that “cyber attacks don’t respect borders” and it was vital to secure an agreement where we continue to share critical intelligence with the EU after Brexit. Speaking at the launch of a new £13.5m government-backed cyber security hub in East London yesterday, the former spook chief urged both sides to come together to strike a “sensible agreement” even though Brussels has been holding up a deal involving security after we quit the bloc.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has moved one of her key allies into a campaigning role because she thinks the United Kingdom could hold a national election just before it is due to leave the European Union. In one of the most tumultuous periods in recent British political history, there have been four major elections in the past four years: the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, the 2015 UK election, the Brexit referendum of 2016 and the snap election called by Prime Minister Theresa May last year. Sturgeon’s pro-independence Scottish National Party says it must be prepared for every eventuality as May, who leads a deeply divided party and country, struggles to strike a Brexit deal with the EU before exiting the bloc on March 29, 2019.
The leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh assembly has quit after a row about a manufacturer’s threat to leave the UK amid Brexit uncertainty. Andrew RT Davies, who campaigned to leave the EU, criticised Airbus for warning that it could move some of its production overseas. He said that the aerospace firm had done its workers a disservice with an intervention he dismissed as “hyperbole”. His comments drew a sharp rebuke from Guto Bebb, the defence minister and Aberconwy MP.
Andrew RT Davies has quit as leader of the Conservative group in the Welsh Assembly after seven years in charge. He had been criticised within the party for suggesting firms like Airbus were undermining Brexit by warning they could close UK plants. Theresa May said the Welsh Tories had been a “strong voice for the people of Wales” under his leadership. Interim leader Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies told BBC Wales he wanted to take over permanently. He has been backed by Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay, runner-up in the 2011 leadership contest.
Wages in Britain have been driven down by the mass importation of cheap labour from other countries, says Bruges Group Director Robert Oulds. It’s just common sense: If you have a massive influx of cheap labour it floods the lower end of the job market and drives down wages… Oulds said: “Wages are low particularly for the least well off because of immigration and importing labour. This is widely proven, it’s made the rich richer and the poor poorer. We’ve become a cheap labour economy because we’ve imported cheap labour from Eastern Europe and low productivity sectors.
Theresa May has been challenged over claims the Tories are “turning a blind eye” to Islamophobia within its ranks after party bosses failed to respond to calls for a probe into allegations of prejudice. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which represents more than 500 mosques, schools and organisations, has written a second letter to party chairman Brandon Lewis after it received no formal response to demands for an investigation last month. The Independent revealed last month that the MCB had demanded a full audit to tackle “more than weekly occurrences of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the party”, citing offensive tweets and accusations of links to far-right groups.
The Muslim Council of Britain has accused the Conservative party of hoping allegations of Islamophobia in its ranks will “magically go away” and complained that the party’s chairman has not responded to its call for an internal inquiry. Three weeks after it first raised the issue, the group wrote again to Brandon Lewis on Tuesday highlighting further allegations of anti-Muslim prejudice within Tory ranks. It said it was not acceptable to turn “a blind eye to legitimate concerns about bigotry”.
Chinese railway companies are the frontrunners to operate HS2 trains because two domestic bidders are beset by crises and unwilling to take on the financial risk, The Times has learnt. Guangshen Railway Co, an arm of the Chinese state rail company, and MTR, which runs Hong Kong’s rail network, are on course to win the contract, sources said. Their bid is the most likely to win the tender to run the 220mph trains from a shortlist of three that also includes two British-led entries — one from a consortium involving Virgin and another led by First Group.
Chinese rail firms are on course to win the contract to operate HS2 trains because domestic bidders are overwhelmed with problems, it was reported last night. MTR, which runs the rail network in Hong Kong, and Guangshen Railway Co, part of the Chinese state rail company, are the frontrunners to operate the 220mph trains, sources told the Times. The shortlist of three also includes two British-led entries – one led by First Group and another from a consortium involving Virgin. But the British firms are beset with crises and are reluctant to burden themselves with the financial risk that would come with winning the tender, the newspaper added.
Police have received 1,600 reports of illegal hunting in five years but have arrested just 83 people and charged only 30. That means only 5% of complaints about breaches of the 2004 Hunting Act have led to legal action, Freedom of Information requests to police forces found. They showed 51 arrests over hare coursing and just four for fox hunting. Figures did not reveal how many prosecutions succeeded. Animal rights campaigners have repeatedly accused officers of failing to crackdown on allegations of huntsmen and women breaching the law.
Soldiers were deployed to help fight a huge moorland wildfire last night as homes were evacuated in scenes compared to a volcanic eruption. Saddleworth Moor near Manchester has been ablaze since Sunday. More than a hundred firefighters and 39 fire engines were tackling what police yesterday declared to be a major incident. Last night about 100 soldiers from 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, and an RAF Chinook were drafted in. Villagers in Carrbrook, Greater Manchester, saw “a wall of fire rolling down the hill”.
The RAF has joined the British Army in a bid to tackle the 20ft flames on Saddleworth Moor as the blaze rages on for the fifth day amid a blazing heatwave searing its way across Britain. Helicopters have been pictured dropping gallons of water onto the flames in a bid to halt their spread, amid suggestions from locals that off-road motorcyclists riding the moorlands on Sunday ignited the blaze. And 100 soldiers have also been sent to help the exhausted firefighters, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed. The smoke engulfing homes has been described as dangerous with health officials forcing families to wear dust masks and to stay indoors.
AROUND a hundred soldiers and an RAF Chinook have been sent to try and tame the flames on Saddleworth Moor. Troops from 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, and an RAF Chinook helicopter have been deployed to support the Fire Service at the wildfire. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I pay tribute to our Armed Forces’ professionalism, dedication and sense of duty. “They are proving once again that Britain can always depend on our troops to protect us no matter the time, no matter the place, and no matter the problem.”
AROUND 100 soldiers and an RAF Chinook helicopter have been deployed to help tackle a vast moorland blaze that has raged for days. The troops from the 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, are being sent overnight to join firefighters across Tameside, on the edge of Saddleworth Moor. Some 55 firefighters were still trying to quell multiple pockets of flames spanning up to 6km last night. The soldiers were heading from their barracks in Catterick and will operate out of an Army training centre to control the fire by managing water lines and fire beating, among other means of support.
Nigel Farage, Ukip MEPs and their staff will gather in a Brussels bar tonight to cheer on England against Belgium — and the EU. The former Ukip leader, who leads a Eurosceptic bloc in the European parliament, has referred to the fixture as “Farage versus Verhofstadt”. Guy Verhofstadt, the parliament’s Brexit negotiator and an EU federalist, is a Belgian former prime minister and has mocked England’s chances against Belgium. Mr Farage taunted Charles Michel, the present prime minister, last month, telling him that Belgium supported the EU because “Belgium is not a nation, it’s an artificial creation”.