Boris Johnson and his cabinet will meet today to discuss the hostile reaction from Dublin and Brussels to his new Brexit blueprint, which includes scrapping the Irish backstop. Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and the top officials from the EU’s commission and parliament have all rejected the prime minister’s proposals, which he claims are a final offer. Mr Johnson is also facing pressure from opposition parties at Westminster to make a Commons statement on his proposals, instead of sending Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay to face MPs as planned. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed Mr Johnson’s proposals were worse than those of Theresa May, and former Conservative deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine claimed “millions of Tories” were voting Lib Dem because of Brexit.
The government is expected to set out its proposals for a Brexit deal in Parliament later, while EU leaders also consider their response. On Wednesday, Boris Johnson outlined plans that would see Northern Ireland stay in the European single market for goods but leave the customs union – resulting in new customs checks. The European Commission welcomed “advances” but said problems remained. The PM says the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal. He insists he will not ask for a further extension if no deal is reached despite legislation designed to force him to do so unless MPs pass a deal or approve a no-deal Brexit before 19 October.
Boris Johnson put Ireland under huge pressure to accept his new Brexit deal on Wednesday night after Labour rebels suggested they were prepared to help the Prime Minister get the proposal through Parliament. Mr Johnson on Wednesday sent detailed proposals for a new Brexit deal to Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, setting out a plan that would remove the so-called backstop but leave Northern Ireland in a special relationship with the EU for four years. The DUP has given its blessing to the plan, and it was joined by Tory rebels, hardline Brexiteers and about 25 Labour MPs, giving Mr Johnson an apparent Commons majority for his proposed agreement.
BORIS Johnson yesterday unveiled his five-point plan to end the Brexit deadlock. The PM hailed his proposals as a “fair and reasonable compromise” as he also rallied the Tory faithful by declaring Britain was ready to go it alone. His plan will replace the hated Irish backstop, which has been rejected repeatedly by MPs. Mr Johnson told the Tory party conference in Manchester: “Yes, this is a compromise by the UK. “And I hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their turn.” But his ideas were rebuffed by Ireland leader Leo Varadkar whose support is needed to get a deal.
Boris Johnson laid the board for a dramatic Brexit endgame tonight after he tabled a ‘final offer’ and five-point plan to scrap the backstop with Brussels – and then dramatically moved to suspend Parliament again. The Prime Minister ramped up pressure on the EU by finally sending details of his plan to commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, and challenging him to accept a ‘reasonable compromise’. However he made clear the only alternative to his proposals is no deal. The five-point plan involves: Keeping Northern Ireland in the single market when it leaves the EU Customs Union with the rest of the UK, giving Stormont the right to veto staying in an all-island regulatory zone, conducting customs checks away from the border, putting money aside for Belfast and Dublin, and keeping freedom of movement between the UK and Ireland.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals will not work in their current form, the Irish premier has warned as EU leaders weighed up whether to open talks on the plans. EU Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said his initial reactions were “not positive”. “We don’t think that this is really the safeguard that Ireland needs,” he said adding he thought they were possibly designed to shift blame on to Brussels if talks fail. Michel Barnier, Brussels’ main Brexit negotiator, said the offer represented “progress” and Angela Merkel promised to “look carefully” at Mr Johnson’s blueprint.
Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has said the UK’s new Brexit proposals “do not fully meet the objectives of the backstop” following a phone call with Boris Johnson. But despite the pessimism, a statement from the Irish government said the Taoiseach would study the plans further and consult with other EU leaders. The backstop is an insurance policy to maintain an invisible border between Northern Ireland and Ireland negotiated by Theresa May, which would have kept either the whole UK or the province in a customs union with the EU, restricting the ability to sign free-trade deals around the world.
LEO VARADKAR has dismissed Boris Johnson’s initial Brexit proposals following talks with the Prime Minister this evening. The Irish President said Mr Johnson’s plan to remove the controversial backstop “do not fully meet the agreed objectives”. The Irish Government has said Mr Varadkar will study the plan in “further detail” and consult with Brussels chiefs over the next few days. Ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline, Mr Varadkar maintained he “wants to see a deal agreed and ratified” and would also hold further talks with the Prime Minister.
The Irish government has flatly rejected a leaked version of Boris Johnson‘s Brexit plan for the Irish border, ahead of its official unveiling on Wednesday. Leaks reported by the Daily Telegraph suggest the UK government is proposing a plan that would not prevent customs checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and also be time-limited – two longstanding EU red lines. Simon Coveney, Irish deputy prime minister, said the reports of what the UK was about to propose were “concerning to say the least”. He was joined by EU officials and diplomats in Brussels, who dismissed the proposals as “fundamentally flawed”. ”
Proposals to break the logjam over the Irish backstop were rejected as “unpalatable” and a “non-starter” by Northern Ireland business leaders yesterday. Boris Johnson’s plans were said to move Northern Ireland from no border with the UK and Ireland to the prospect of two borders, with new regulations, customs checks and tariffs. Business scepticism was shared by political and civic leaders from north and south of the border with the exception of the Democratic Unionist Party, which supports Mr Johnson’s government in London.
The European Union could grant another Brexit delay even if the letter making a request for an extension beyond October 31 is not signed by the prime minister. European leaders are on standby to hold an emergency Brexit summit in the last week of the month if Boris Johnson fails to get a new withdrawal agreement past the House of Commons in the next two weeks. Under the terms of the Benn act, the government must ask for a further extension to the Article 50 process if he does not have Commons approval for a new agreement or the support of MPs for a no-deal Brexit by October 19.
Europeans have provisionally rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “take it or leave it” final Brexit deal. The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost arrived in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon to deliver to the EU Brexit proposals that aim to remove the Irish backstop. The plans would leave Northern Ireland in a ‘special relationship’ with the EU until 2025. Northern Ireland would leave the Customs Union with the rest of the UK at the end of the transition period but will stay in the Single Market for at least four years, meaning there would be a regulatory border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain in the Irish Sea.
European lawmaker Guy Verhofstadt said his initial reaction to Brexit proposals set out by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were not positive, and thought they were possibly designed to shift blame on to Brussels if talks fail. Verhofstadt, head of the Brexit Steering Group which coordinates the European Parliament over Brexit, said the group would set out a more detailed response on Thursday. “I can tell you that the first reaction of the Brexit Steering Group was not positive, not positive in the sense that we don’t think that this is really the safeguards that Ireland needs,” he told reporters.
The Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament has said he is “absolutely not positive” about Boris Johnson’s new proposal for a deal with the EU. Guy Verhofstadt, who chairs the European Parliament’s Brexit steering group, said: “the first assessment of nearly every member in the Brexit Steering Group was not positive.” “It doesn’t provide the necessary safeguards for Ireland,” he said. The Prime Minister published his new plan to the EU on Wednesday in which the controversial Irish backstop agreement had been removed.
Boris Johnson’s chances of a new Brexit deal were hanging by a thread last night after EU leaders withheld approval for formal negotiations on his plans for an alternative to the Irish backstop. The prime minister set out proposals that would in effect keep Northern Ireland in the EU single market for all goods while following UK customs rules. He said the compromise allowed a “meaningful Brexit” without the need for physical checks on the border. Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, said that Mr Johnson’s proposals did not “fully meet the agreed objectives” of the original guarantee against a hard border on the island of Ireland but did not reject them entirely.
EU politicians have given a withering assessment of Boris Johnson’s ‘trap’ of a backstop solution – describing it as ‘problematic.’ The Prime Minister said his plan represented a ‘reasonable compromise’ as Downing Street signalled the start of 10 days of ‘intensive discussions’ in a bid to find an agreement so the UK does not crash out of the EU without a deal. Mr Johnson’s blueprint to break the Brexit deadlock would see Northern Ireland remain tied to EU single market rules but leave the customs union.
Brussels has given Boris Johnson’s new plan to resolve the Northern Ireland backstop conundrum a cool response. While European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker welcomed the proposals, he said there were “problematic points” particularly relating to the “governance of the backstop”. The prime minister’s potential solution would see Northern Ireland effectively remain tied to EU single market rules for goods but leave the customs union. Under his proposal, the arrangements would have to be approved by the currently suspended Assembly, which would then vote every four years on whether to keep them.
Boris Johnson appears to be fighting a losing battle to avoid Britain staying in the European Union beyond 31 October after Michel Barnier privately gave a scathing analysis of the prime minister’s new plan for the Irish border, describing it as a trap. The European commission also refused to go into the secretive and intensive “tunnel” talks with the UK’s negotiators before a crunch summit on 17 October from which the UK had hoped to deliver a breakthrough deal. Despite concerted attempts to avoid publicly trashing the UK proposals, there was dismay behind the scenes in Brussels after Johnson tabled his first concrete proposal for replacing the Irish backstop.
BORIS JOHNSON’s proposals to break the Brexit impasse have been “welcomed” by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. The European Commission has confirmed the EU chief has “acknowledged the positive advances” made by the UK following talks with the Prime Minister this afternoon. In a statement the European Commission said: “President Juncker welcomed Prime Minister Johnson’s determination to advance the talks ahead of the October European Council and make progress towards a deal.
Boris Johnson is preparing for 10 days of “intensive discussions” as he seeks backing from EU leaders for his Brexit blueprint. The Prime Minister has said he wants to get an agreement in place for the EU summit on October 17, paving the way for Britain to leave with a deal at the end of the month. With the agenda for such meetings generally set several days in advance, he acknowledged there was “very little time” left. So far, however, European leaders have reacted coolly to the plan, set out in a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday, to resolve the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop.
Brussels has reacted with “concern” to aspects of Boris Johnson’s proposal for the Irish border – warning that it will have to change. Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told Mr Johnson in a phone call that the proposal contained “problematic points”, while an EU source warned that the bloc’s parliament would “never support” the plan. Meanwhile Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar told Mr Johnson in a separate phone call that the plans “do not fully meet the objectives of the backstop”. Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, was even more scathing, telling reporters in Brussels after a meeting with Michel Barnier that the plan was not good enough.
Boris Johnson will suspend Parliament from Tuesday evening to hold a Queen’s Speech on October 14, it has been confirmed. Opposition whips were informed of the decision on Wednesday. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House, is expected to announce the short prorogation on Thursday. The government originally attempted to suspend Parliament for five weeks, in what would have been the longest prorogation since the Second World War. That decision was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court last week, prompting MPs to return to Westminster.
The government has confirmed it plans to prorogue Parliament next Tuesday and hold a Queen’s Speech on 14 October. Boris Johnson’s last attempt to suspend Parliament in this way was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court. But the government needs to bring the current parliamentary session to an end, before it can hold a Queen’s Speech setting out its agenda for the next session. It means there will be no Prime Minister’s Questions next week.
Splits appeared in the so-called Remain alliance of MPs as the SNP accused the Liberal Democrats of blocking efforts to oust Boris Johnson. The dispute began at a meeting of opposition party leaders determined to prevent a no-deal Brexit. An SNP source said that Ian Blackford, the party’s leader in Westminster, had told other leaders “in no uncertain terms” that time was running out. Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, has said it is a matter of time before she tries to bring down the government but the Lib Dems and Labour cannot agree on when an election should be held and who would head a caretaker administration.
BORIS JOHNSON is preparing for a showdown in the House of Commons in the coming days, as Remainer MPs could soon once again become the biggest hurdle to the Prime Minister delivering on his Brexit promise to leave the EU on October 31. Last night the European Union, DUP, and the highly influential eurosceptic European Research Group all signalled their willingness to work with the Prime Minister’s fresh Brexit proposals. In a letter sent to the European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday afternoon, Boris Johnson set out his plan to abolish the Irish backstop.
Jeremy Corbyn has suffered a fresh Brexit set back after a new poll showed Labour had been overtaken by the Liberal Democrats. The latest survey conducted by YouGov puts Jo Swinson’s party in second place overall on 23 per cent. Labour has been relegated to third, two points behind the Lib Dems, on a total score of 21 per cent. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party remains way out in front on 34 per cent. The poll findings are likely to spark alarm at Labour HQ because the party would hope to be buoyant after its annual conference in Brighton last week.
“Little progress” has been made improving patient safety in the NHS over the past 20 years, the top health service watchdog has said. Serious accidents such as surgery on the wrong part of the body remain commonplace due to an “insidious” culture of defensiveness and blame, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said. Professor Ted Baker yesterday revealed he receives between 500 and 600 reports of “never events” a year, incidents that are wholly preventable whatever the circumstances.
Scotland Yard faces renewed scrutiny from police watchdogs over its botched investigation into claims of a Westminster child abuse ring. Priti Patel, the home secretary, is to order a public review into the Metropolitan Police’s handling of its £2.5 million Operation Midland, which was based on the claims of a fantasist. Ms Patel will instruct HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services to carry out the inquiry after an independent report by a former High Court judge alleged that officers obtained warrants illegally.
Police watchdogs are to investigate Scotland Yard over its disastrous VIP paedophile operation. Priti Patel is to tell Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review the force and its response to the ‘Nick’ affair. The Home Secretary will tomorrow ask it to examine the Yard’s response to a damning report on the scandal by former High Court judge, Sir Richard Henriques. The move will heap pressure on Met chief Cressida Dick, who oversaw Operation Midland in its early stages. She has rejected demands for a fresh investigation into the officers involved.
More than 4,000 university staff are being paid at least £100,000, a study of 120 institutions has found. A report by the Taxpayers’ Alliance claimed that 4,423 staff were paid more than £100,000 in 2017-18, up from 3,947 the year before. Vice-chancellors’ pay has been heavily criticised, many earning at least £350,000 a year. The latest figures suggest, however, that many more staff also receive high rates of pay. Universities with a large number of staff earning more than £100,000 were among those that fared badly in student satisfaction surveys.
At least 3,600 university staff are on more than £100,000 a year, a report shows. The figures from the TaxPayers’ Alliance pressure group also show that 762 employees were paid more than £150,000. The University of Edinburgh had the most high earners, with 335 staff receiving more than £100,000. It was followed by the University of Manchester, with 331 breaching the same threshold.