Customs union

BREXIT-backing ministers and newly appointed Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared victory tonight after a crunch Cabinet meeting failed to back Theresa May’s plan for a “customs partnership” with Brussels.
A gathering of the Prime Minister’s key Brexit sub-committee called to thrash out the preferred model for the UK’s future trade links with Brussels broke up in deadlock after more than two hours of tense discussions in Downing Street. Mrs May ordered ministers and officials to carry out “further work” on two options and return with revised proposals at a later date.

Theresa May has conceded that her plans for a customs partnership with the EU are “dead” after senior Cabinet ministers turned on her during a crunch Brexit meeting.
Sajid Javid, the new Home Secretary and Remain voter, switched sides to join Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and other Brexiteers in arguing that Mrs May’s preferred option for a customs deal should be “killed off”. The Prime Minister was said to have been “shocked” at the strength of opposition to her idea during a meeting of the Cabinet’s 11-strong Brexit sub-committee.

Sajid Javid has joined hard-Brexiters to voice strong doubts about the prime minister’s favoured customs plan as her Brexit inner cabinet broke up without agreement on the government’s negotiating stance.
Just days after replacing Amber Rudd as home secretary in the wake of the Windrush crisis, Javid staked out his independence from Theresa May by suggesting her favoured model of a “customs partnership” was unworkable and throwing his weight behind the alternative preferred by the hard-Brexit faction.

SAJID Javid last night sank Theresa May’s Brexit customs plans by siding with Leavers in the Cabinet.
The Home Secretary, who was appointed only on Monday, stunned the PM. He declared he was “the new kid on the block” as he shredded her customs partnership proposal at a three-hour meeting of her Brexit committee. The ex-Remain supporter tipped the balance of the 11- strong team — leaving Mrs May “visibly shocked to have lost the room” according to one insider. Mrs May was lobbying for a  customs partnership solution where the UK collects duty on behalf of the EU.

The controversial EU ‘customs partnership’ plan looked dead in the water last night following a Eurosceptic backlash.
Ministers clashed over the proposals during a tense three-hour meeting of Theresa May‘s Brexit war cabinet yesterday. New Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson both voiced ‘grave concerns’ about the proposal, which was described as ‘cretinous’ by Eurosceptics last week. Whitehall sources said the plan, which critics claim would keep Britain in a customs union in all but name, would ‘not go forward in its current form’.

Theresa May will go back to the drawing board to find a post-Brexit customs compromise to unify her cabinet, after ministers could not agree what approach to take.
The prime minister is said to have asked for her two existing options to be revised in a bid to find a consensus following a meeting of her Brexit “war cabinet”. It means that with five months to go until a Brexit deal is supposed to be set, the UK still has no clear position on exactly what kind of customs arrangements it wants with the EU after withdrawal.

Theresa May has only days to salvage her plan for a  customs deal with the EU after a show of defiance by cabinet ministers put her authority in question.
The prime minister failed to secure the backing for a “customs partnership” with the EU yesterday despite telling her most senior ministers that it was her favoured option. Sajid Javid, the new home secretary, came out against the plan in a crucial intervention that tipped the balance of opinion towards those such as David Davis, the  Brexit  secretary, and Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, who favour a different option.


Peers have voted for tough legal protections to guarantee no “checks and controls” at the Irish border after Brexit, in another defeat for Theresa May.
The amendment gives teeth to the prime minister’s verbal promise of “no physical infrastructure” – which, it is feared, could become a magnet for terrorists – after some ministers cast doubt on it. Peers voted 309 to 242 in favour of the amendment – a majority of 67. The defeat, the tenth on the main Brexit legislation, creates another headache for Ms May, who must decide whether to whip Tory MPs to overturn it in the House of Commons.


The European Commission have now revealed their plan for a €13 billion budget for a ‘European Defence Union’, with the Commission explaining themselves: “The European Union is stepping up its contribution to Europe’s collective security and defence”.
They also tweeted that “the EU needs to take greater responsibility for defending and protecting its citizens”. They go on to lay out their agenda: “Cover joint costs of Common Security and Defence policy military missions…to enable the EU to engage in broader actions aimed at supporting non-EU countries’ armed forces with infrastructure, equipment, supplies or military technical assistance”.

The European Commission has unveiled its plans for a bigger continent-wide
EU budget to finance new priorities including defence, border control, and international aid. The €1.135 trillion (£1 trillion) proposal unveiled by president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday would spend 1.1 per cent of the bloc’s GDP, with higher contributions for member states and cuts to some spending areas to make up for lost payments from Brexit.  The so-called “multi-annual financial framework” proposal fires the starting gun on a series of complex rows between member states over how money should be allocated and raised for the seven-year spending plan – with leaders set to hash out a deal over the coming months.

DUTCH leader Mark Rutte has warned there is “still a lot of negotiating ahead” after the European Commission unveiled its plans to plug the budget blackhole left after Brexit.
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands warned the blueprint is “not acceptable”. Mr Rutte slammed the plan, revealed by Jean-Claude Juncker today, for attempting to increase spending despite the impending departure of the UK – one of the biggest contributors to the bloc’s budget. Brexit will leave an estimated £10.5billion (€12bn) annual gap in the EU’s coffers, but some estimates put the figure as high as £13.2bn (€15bn).

The European Commission has announced the political  bloc’s latest budget, an increase to €1.25 trillion, and has included a new clause to deny access to funds for states judged to be not “respecting the rule of law”.
The seven-year budget was announced Wednesday afternoon by the European Commission and was welcomed by europhile MEP Guy Verhofstadt who wrote on Twitter, “The #EUbudget must apply conditionality: if a Government rejects #EUvalues, they shouldn’t be the largest beneficiaries of EU money either.” Verhofstadt singled out Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in his remark saying: “European money should benefit our economies & citizens, not be used to enrich Orbán’s family or finance football stadia in his constituency.”

FRANCE has lashed out at the EU’s proposal to cut farm subsidies in the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget as the bloc desperately tries to plug the funding black hole left by Brexit.
The French Agriculture Ministry has criticised the European Commission’s proposal to cut farm subsidies by five percent, blasting the measure as unacceptable and vowing that France will oppose any drop in direct revenue to farmers. A ministry statement said: “For Stephane Travert, the Agriculture and Food Minister, such a drastic, massive and blind cut is simply unthinkable.”

The European Commission has announced a €13 billion “Defence Fund” paving the way for closer EU military integration – plans once called a “dangerous fantasy” by anti-Brexit Remainer Nick Clegg.
The Commission confirmed on Wednesday that the EU’s 2021-2027 bloated  budget – €1.279 trillion – includes the multi-billion euro fund. At €13 billion, the EU military fund is now greater than the whole defence budget of Turkey, which has a larger standing army than any European Union nation. “The European Union is stepping up its contribution to Europe’s collective security and defence,” the Commission said of the Defence Fund.

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron has called on Britain to sign up for his 10-nation defence coalition with EU member states – in a move which will keep the UK further shackled to the bloc after Brexit.
Fed up with Germany’s foot-dragging on defence, Mr Macron has gathered up a handful of European countries to team up and form a European super army. As well as Britain, the French President has his sights set on Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Estonia, with all states expected to sign on the dotted line at a special ceremony in Paris as early as next month.

The European Commission’s plan for a bumper budget, despite Brexit Britain leaving, has predictably gone down very badly with European leaders. Danish PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen tweeted that “a smaller EU should mean a smaller budget”. Whilst Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has also piled in, saying that the EU’s proposal for 2021 – 2027 budget “is not an acceptable outcome” and that “a smaller EU as a result of Brexit should mean a smaller budget”. This was always bound to happen. Those running the EU are obsessed with greater powers, further centralisation and bigger budgets.

BREXIT negotiations are to resume today amid threats issued by Michel Barnier, who said on Monday that “there is a risk” talks will fail if an agreement on the Irish border won’t be found quickly – but another thorny issue could wreck the whole deal. The attention on the next round of talks between the EU and the UK seems to be all focused on the Irish border dilemma after Brussels chief negotiator Mr Barnier set a June deadline to reach an agreement. But the role the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will play in the future of the UK is still up for debate.


John Bercow was under intense pressure last night after  Theresa May 
demanded an investigation into claims he bullied an aide. The Commons Speaker faced a call to quit after his former private secretary accused him of foul-mouthed tirades and attempts at physical intimidation. Angus Sinclair said he was forced into early retirement with an £86,250 pay-off on condition he did not make any complaints. Mr Bercow has strenuously denied the claims. But yesterday Downing Street said there should be a ‘proper investigation’ – and twisted the knife by outlining three ways in which this could be carried out.

HOUSE of Commons Speaker John Bercow faced fresh allegations of bullying last night after his former Private Secretary accused him of physically intimidating him, following similar accusations made by former staffer Kate Emms earlier this year.
Angus Sinclair, Mr Bercow’s former Private Secretary, claimed he had been bullied by the Speaker and Mr Bercow’s anger was so bad he once smashed a mobile phone on his desk. Mr Sinclair said: “The Speaker responded in a way that I can only say is a form of bullying. “And that is to show anger, to thump the table to say that someone has failed in front of others.

Theresa May has said there must be “no place for bullying or harassment” in parliament, amid allegations against Commons speaker John Bercow.
The prime minister’s spokesman highlighted that Mr Bercow has denied bullying allegations against him, but said they should be “properly investigated”. Mr Bercow is facing calls to quit following fresh claims from a former private secretary, Angus Sinclair, who has said he was forced into early retirement with an £86,250 pay-off on condition he did not make any public complaints. Asked how Ms May viewed the allegations, her spokesman said: “The prime minister has been very clear from the start that there is no place for bullying or harassment of any kind in the workplace, including parliament.

Sky News
John Bercow has issued a fresh denial in response to claims of bullying, saying he had no knowledge of a former staffer’s reported £80,000 pay-off.
The House of Commons Speaker is fighting for his political career over allegations that surfaced on Monday night. Mr Bercow’s former private secretary, Angus Sinclair, told BBC Newsnight that the Speaker undermined him by mimicking him, shouting and swearing – and once smashed a mobile phone on a desk in front of him. He claimed to have been given “compulsory early retirement” in 2010 and an £86,250 pay-off to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

The House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has come under mounting pressure after the prime minister called for new claims of bullying against him to be formally investigated.
Bercow’s former private secretary alleged in a TV interview that the Speaker was prone to angry outbursts and obscene language. May’s spokesman told journalists: “The prime minister has been very clear from the start that there is no place for bullying or harassment in the workplace including parliament. It’s a matter for parliament to decide how to proceed, but the latest allegations are concerning and should be properly investigated.”


A nurse has accused the NHS of a “cover up” after she and thousands of others fell victim to the biggest cancer scandal in the health service’s history. Patricia Minchin, 75, developed breast cancer after the NHS failed to offer her a screening appointment. The disease has since spread. 
Jeremy Hunt, the Health and Social Care Secretary, has admitted 450,000 women could be affected by the scandal and up to 270 may have died as a result.  The women should have undergone screening but were not notified. Mr Hunt blamed a computer algorithm for the error which began in 2009 and went unnoticed for almost a decade. 

Sky News
Up to 270 women may have had their lives cut short after the NHS failed to invite them to breast screenings, the Health Secretary has said. 
Jeremy Hunt made the announcement as he said the Government will order an independent review into NHS breast cancer screening after 450,000 women in England failed to be invited for the screening. Some of the women have since developed cancer. Making a statement to the Commons, Mr Hunt said there could be 135 and 270 women who “had their lives shortened as a result”, adding it was “unlikely to be more than this range and may be considerably less”.

Hundreds of thousands of women face an “agonising wait” of up to six months to be checked for breast cancer after an IT blunder which meant they were not called for screening led to the deaths of as many as 270 patients.
NHS bosses were trying last night to contact 309,000 women who were not invited to breast cancer checks because of computer failures dating back almost a decade. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, apologised for women’s lives being cut short by “administrative incompetence”, but said that some women affected would have to wait until the end of October for catch-up checks to avoid disrupting routine screening for those aged between 50 and 70.

The health secretary has announced an independent review into breast cancer screening after hundreds of thousands of women may have been deprived of testing.
He told MPs “there may be between 135 and 270 women who had their lives shortened as a result”. Jeremy Hunt told MPs a “serious failure” in the breast cancer screening programme meant an estimated 450,000 women were not invited to final screenings between 2009 and 2018. The failure to invite the women for screening was because of IT issues which happened after 2009 and was discovered in January this year. It will have affected women aged between 68-71. The Health Secretary said urgent work to stop the failure continuing had been completed.

HUNDREDS of women may have died as a result of an NHS failure to invite them for breast cancer screening, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed today.
He told Parliament 450,000 women aged 68 to 71 weren’t invited for their last mammogram, between 2009 and the start of this year. Hunt apologised to the families of between 130 and 270 women whose lives are thought to have been cut short as a result of the “administrative incompetency”. All those women affected will be contacted, receiving a letter before the end of May. And families who have lost a loved one will also be informed in that time frame, Hunt told the House of Commons.

Up to 270 women in England may have died because they did not receive invitations to a final routine breast cancer screening, the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced on Wednesday.
Speaking in the Commons, the Health Secretary said 450,000 women aged around 70 had failed to get invitations since 2009. It is not known whether any delay in diagnosis resulted in avoidable death, but it is estimated that between 135 and 270 women had their lives shortened as a result, he said. According to Mr Hunt, a computer algorithm failure was to blame, which meant women who had just turned 70 were not sent an invitation for a final scan as they should have been.

Lawyers last night warned the blunder at the heart of the breast cancer screening scandal will cost the NHS millions of pounds in compensation.
They are expecting those families affected to launch a ‘huge legal challenge’ against the health service. After Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt promised compensation to families who lost a loved one as a direct result of the error, payouts are expected to range from £65,000 to £1million.   Between 130 and 270 women are feared to have died as a direct result of missing screening invitations due to the ‘devastating’ IT glitch.

Labour has moved to exploit a cabinet split over foreign doctors being refused visas to work in Britain by urging ministers to remove all health professionals from the cap on skilled workers in order to tackle the NHS’s growing staffing crisis.
The move comes after reports that Theresa May rejected calls by senior ministers to relax the rules on migration, which would enable more overseas doctors to move to the UK to alleviate the NHS’s worsening staff shortages. Jon Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, is demanding that doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff should start being treated separately from the other types of foreign skilled workers covered by the cap, so that more of them can come to the UK.


STEPHEN Hawking’s final published scientific theory has hinted at an astonishing new revelation. The cosmologist, who died on March 14, has claimed from beyond the grave that the universe is like a vast hologram — challenging previous theories of cosmic “inflation” and the “multiverse”.
In a new paper published in the Journal Of High Energy Physics, the professor claims the universe is like a vast and complex hologram, reports The Telegraph.  In other words, 3D reality is an illusion, and that the apparently “solid” world around us – and the dimension of time – is projected from information stored on a flat 2D surface. Most cosmologists believe that for a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, the universe expanded rapidly before settling into its present state, filled with stars and galaxies. Some have proposed that expansion goes on for ever, giving rise to a “multiverse”.

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