BRUSSELS is plotting to reverse the historic Brexit result and keep Britain in the EU. The alarm was raised after former Europe minister Peter Hain, a leading Remain campaigner, told a fringe meeting at Labour’s conference in Liverpool that EU bosses are prepared to ditch their rules to keep Britain in the EU. This appeared to be confirmed by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying he would offer Britain a chance to reverse its historic Brexit vote if he is re-elected next year. He said: “I would tell you’ve gone out, but we have a new treaty on the table so you have an opportunity to vote again.” Meanwhile European Parliament chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian premier and leader of the parliament’s liberal bloc, has warned that MEPs could veto the Brexit deal. He also made it clear that he wants a deal which would effectively keep Britain in the EU, possibly with “special associate status” in a way that would allow the City of London to be the euro’s financial centre.
It will be “impossible” for Brexit talks to result in a deal that gives Britons more rights than others outside the EU, Italy’s PM has told the BBC. Matteo Renzi warned that leaving the EU would be a “very difficult process” – but the problems could be solved only after the UK began the exit procedure. He said the Brexit vote had been “a bad decision” but had to be respected. Mr Renzi said he was ready to work with UK PM Theresa May to build the “best alliance” between the UK and the EU. Mr Renzi said he had been shocked and saddened by the EU referendum result, but repeated Mrs May’s vow that “Brexit is Brexit”, saying democracy had to be respected.
Britain needs to begin explaining its Brexit strategy to avoid prolonged uncertainty for businesses and negotiating partners, a London-based think tank said on Thursday, warning that internal squabbling risked undermining the government’s position. Since taking office in July with a commitment to lead Britain out of the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May has said little about what kind of deal she wants to strike with European partners on key issues like trade and immigration. “Silence is not a strategy,” said Hannah White, a programme director at the Institute for Government think tank. “The current situation – where we are left to interpret personal musings of individual ministers – is frustrating those looking for an early exit, perplexing those with whom we have to negotiate and unsettling those looking to do business in the UK.”
The UK is asking for a Brexit deal that is “not feasible” for the EU, the President of the European Parliament has told Sky News. German MEP Martin Schulz said, after meeting Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan, that “access to the single market without freedom of movement is the request of the UK Government and that is for sure not feasible for the European Union”. His words directly contradict those made by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson yesterday, in a separate interview with Sky . Mr Johnson, the lead campaigner for Leave, said: “They would have us believe there’s some automatic trade off between access to the single market and free movement. Complete baloney, absolute baloney.”
The British government’s legal reasons for stating that Prime Minister Theresa May has the power to begin divorce proceedings from the European Union without parliament’s authority were made public for the first time on Wednesday. In its submission ahead of a Brexit court challenge next month, the government argued that it had been “unequivocal” that the outcome of June’s referendum would be respected and that constitutionally a decision to withdraw from the bloc was a power that only MPs could take on behalf of the monarchy. A series of claims have been brought to force May and her MPs to accept parliament must trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal exit procedure.
Britain should not remain a member of the single market once it leaves the European Union, former Conservative leader Michael Howard has said. Lord Howard told the BBC the UK should secure “access” to it instead. He also said Brexit negotiations should be concluded “as soon as we can” to avoid prolonged uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU. The government has not said when it will start the formal exit process, other than it will not begin this year. There is also uncertainty over the nature of the UK’s relationship with the bloc post-Brexit, especially whether it intends to remain a member of the single market, which offers free movement of goods, finance and people around the EU without any tariffs, quotas or taxes. European leaders have repeatedly stressed that the UK cannot stay in the single market without accepting the free movement of EU citizens.
THE EUROPEAN UNION is at risk of a terrifying implosion after Brexit, new International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has declared. The Tory veteran boasted that while Britain could now chart a new place in the world, the EU faced a full blown banking crisis as well as wave of social problems and the migrant chaos. And in comments that could infuriate Berlin, he said Germany could become the “greatest ATM in global history” as it picks up the bill for the EU’s woe. Speaking to the Spectator he said: “The architecture of the European Union is beginning to peel away. “It’s going to sacrifice at least one generation of young Europeans on the altar of the single currency, and you can only rip out the social fabric from so much of Europe before it starts imploding.
Liam Fox has launched a savage assault on the European Union, saying its catastrophic economic policies have taken it to the brink of ‘imploding’. The International Trade Secretary said Europe was engulfed in a migrant crisis, a French economic crisis and a ‘potential’ Italian banking crisis – and that the euro had left a generation of young people out of work. Without Britain, he said, Germany could end up paying for the rest of the continent, becoming what he called the ‘greatest ATM in global history’. His dire assessment came in an interview with The Spectator magazine. It comes as ministers draw up plans for how to approach Brexit trade talks which could begin as early as next year – and suggests his strong preference for looking to the rest of the world for trade deals, which he would negotiate. Other ministers, such as Chancellor Philip Hammond, are thought to argue privately for closer ties to Europe’s single market when we leave, in what is known as a ‘soft’ Brexit.
THIS CHART by HSBC shows what could happen as the Italian referendum threatens to bring economic and political chaos. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has gambled his political career by calling a referendum over constitutional reform this December. Mr Renzi has promised to resign if he loses the vote – something that could lead to political and economic chaos in Italy and the eurozone. In a new chart, HSBC predicts that there will be “knee-jerk reaction” in the financial markets if a ‘no’ vote rejects constitutional reforms. If Mr Renzi does resign as promised, the bank says that the Italian President will nominate a caretaker government. But HSBC adds that there could be early elections in late 2017 and the new Parliament that is elected could struggle to govern. Many commentators believe that the Italy’s Eurosceptic Five Star Movement (M5S) would make a grab for power in the elections. Founded by controversial comedian Beppe Grillo, M5S is hostile towards the EU and has pledged to hold a referendum over Italy’s membership of the euro.
The chart shows the disintegration of the European Union.
HOSPITAL doctors will continue to resist new contracts due to be introduced next week, despite having called off a series of five-day strikes between now and Christmas, the BMA said yesterday. The junior doctors have already staged six strikes over government plans to extend weekend working with no extra funding or staffing. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the contracts will be brought in next Wednesday, though it now appears that it won’t be forced on them. The strikes were called off over concerns for patient safety, with the doctors putting patients’ welfare before their own problems with the contracts. But the doctors’ union, the British Medical Association (BMA), said it was considering “other options” to resist the contracts, short of strike action.
Theresa May has been told that she will win parliamentary backing for a third runway at Heathrow, it was claimed last night. Sir Patrick McLoughlin, the Tory party chairman, had assessed the likely level of support before the first meeting of a cabinet sub-committee that would decide whether to opt for Heathrow or a plan to build a second runway at Gatwick, the Financial Timesreported. Sir Patrick favoured Heathrow’s expansion when he served as David Cameron’s transport secretary and his retention on the committee is seen as indicative that the prime minister is leaning towards that option.
Labour Party conference
Jeremy Corbyn unveiled his ten-pledge blueprint for a Labour election manifesto today in his closing speech to Labour Party Conference. In a passionate plea to MPs and activists, his voice cracked as he called for “trench warfare” to end and put his party on notice for a 2017 election. In his biggest new policy, Mr Corbyn announced a wave of extra council borrowing against housing stock to fund up to 12,000 more council homes a year. He also announced a special ‘pupil premium’ for the arts and committed to spending 3% of Britain’s GDP on research.
Jeremy Corbyn today vowed to use Brexit to shift Britain to the Left, welcoming the death of EU rules restricting state aid and requiring public services to be privatised. In his conference speech, the Labour leader rejected criticism that he pursued a half-hearted Remain campaign, saying: “I spoke at rallies from Cornwall to Aberdeenshire.” Mr Corbyn repeated a pledge to fight any attempt by “Theresa May and her three-legged team of fractious Brexiteers” to use EU withdrawal to water down workers’ rights. But he also told the Liverpool conference he would be attempting to ensure Labour had an influence in the looming exit talks, by pushing his “own Brexit agenda”.
Global technology colossus Apple on Wednesday announced plans to create a London headquarters in the iconic and long-abandoned Battersea Power Station on the banks of the River Thames. “We are looking forward to opening Apple’s new London campus at The Battersea Power Station in 2021,” the world’s most valuable company said in a statement. Around 1,400 staff from eight existing offices in London will relocate to the renovated landmark, whose distinctive chimneys have towered over the central neighbourhood of Battersea since the 1930s. The former power station lay derelict since it stopped generating electricity in 1983, but is undergoing a £9 billion ($11.7 billion, 10.4 billion euros) makeover to turn the 42-acre (170,000 square metre) space into offices, apartments, shops and leisure facilities. The new “Apple complex” will take over 40 percent of the office space.
The British government and France’s EDF (EDF.PA) will officially sign a contract to build Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in a generation on Thursday, after months of wrangling over the involvement of EDF’s Chinese partner, sources said. British, French and Chinese government officials will be among those attending the signing ceremony in London on Thursday afternoon, which will formalise the deal for French state-controlled utility EDF to build the Hinkley Point C plant in southwest England, backed by $8 billion (£6.1 billion) of Chinese cash. It will be a second attempt at finalising the deal after a signing ceremony set for July 29 was cancelled at the last minute when British Prime Minister Theresa May unexpectedly announced she needed more time to verify the $24 billion deal.
UFO enthusiasts believe aliens visited Earth just days ago as a bizarre object is caught on camera apparently flying among the clouds. The footage – allegedly captured by NASA cameras – shows a strange object seemingly flying above the Earth’s atmosphere before disappearing from view. The UFO appears to be disc-shaped with a large indent towards the back. YouTube user UFO Sightings, who uploaded the video, believes it is proof aliens are observing humanity. Response to the footage – which was uploaded yesterday – has been mixed. John Michael Stock said: “It could be anything – including extraterrestrial origins.” Jan Cutler commented – somewhat sarcastically: “UFOs entering our airspace should be registered and required to pay for a permit or license and be regulated as to flight paths.