Britain must take back its waters after French fisherman attacked UK boats in a row over scallops, Tory Eurosceptics have told Michael Gove as they accused him of “weakness”. Leaked Whatsapp messages reveal Tory MPs told the Environment Secretary that they felt “angry and badly let down” as they called for the Royal Navy to be put on standby to prevent future incidents. They said French vessels should be banned from British waters after Brexit if they continue to behave in such an aggressive manner. Mr Gove subsequently took the unusual step of intervening on the Whatsapp group himself in a bid to reassure his colleagues, saying he understood their concerns.
British fishermen are calling for Royal Navy protection after their vessels were attacked by French boats as they were out catching scallops in the English Channel. A fleet of around 35 French boats surrounded just five British vessels overnight, launching missiles including rocks and flares and ramming the smaller group, shocking footage shows. The French are legally not allowed to fish for scallops in the summer. Last year, the British were restricted, too, thanks to a deal with the French, which was not struck again this year — allowing the British to catch scallops early and angering the French.
French skippers who attacked British boats as part of a so-called scallop war in the Channel boasted yesterday that they had “won a battle” and promised to step up their protests. British fishermen returned to port with damaged vessels and described being ambushed in the early hours of Tuesday as French crews attempted to ram them and threw rocks and flares. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, demanded that the French authorities ensure the disputed fishing grounds off the Normandy coast were policed to prevent a repeat of the “terrible scenes”. French fishermen were unrepentant.
British fishermen have vowed to return to English Channel later this week despite so-called ‘scallop wars’ being fought with the French. A sea battle blew up off the coast of France this week after Normandy crews accused British trawlers of ‘scallop pillaging’ in a row over access to the Seine Bay. French maritime authorities today appealed for calm and branded the clashes – in which Normandy fisherman threw stones, flares and pieces of anchor – ‘very dangerous’. But British fisherman insisted they have done nothing wrong and will return to fish in the area at the end of this week.
The European Union is prepared to offer Britain an unprecedentedly close relationship after it quits the bloc but would not allow anything that weakened the body’s single market, chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday. With seven months to go until Britain is due to leave the EU, the two sides are yet to reach a divorce deal. Officials increasingly expect an informal October deadline to slip into November. Britain’s Brexit minister Dominic Raab told lawmakers on Wednesday he was confident that a deal was “within our sights”, although he added that there was “some measure of leeway” on the October timetable.
MICHEL Barnier sent the pound soaring yesterday after issuing his warmest words yet on a Brexit deal. The EU’S chief negotiator pledged to agree “a partnership like we have never had before with any third country” after a meeting in Berlin. With the Brexit endgame beginning, jittery financial markets leapt on his words to send sterling rocketing against the dollar by 1.3 cents – pushing it above the US$1.30 mark for the first time in three weeks. Mr Barnier added: “We must publish in October or November a very important political declaration on the future relationship that we want with the UK to be as close as possible”.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator raised hopes of a breakthrough, saying Brussels was ready to offer the UK a unique deal. Michel Barnier said Britain would still not get preferential access to the EU’s single market. But he said: “We are prepared to offer Britain a partnership such as there never has been with any other third country.” The value of the pound rose against the dollar and euro after his comments. The deal would include close cooperation on security and foreign policy areas. He said: “We respect Britain’s red lines scrupulously. In return, they must respect what we are. Single market means single market. There is no single market a la carte.”
President Macron is preparing to throw Theresa May a lifeline by pushing other EU leaders to agree a close relationship with Britain after Brexit as part of his vision for a united Europe. The French leader wants to use a summit in Austria next month to spell out a new structure for European alliances. It would be based on “concentric circles”, with the EU and the euro at its core and Britain in a second ring, diplomatic sources have told The Times. That would depend on an amicable Brexit, however. Mr Macron’s decision to promote his vision at Salzburg suggests he is softening opposition to the prime minister’s Chequers proposals.
The French president will push EU leaders to make a post-Brexit deal with the UK at an upcoming meeting. Emmanuel Macron aims to use an EU summit next month to put pressure on the bloc’s leaders to push for a partnership with Britain. At the meeting in Salzburg, Austria, Mr Macron will outline a new structure for European alliances, based on “concentric circles” with the EU and Euro at its core and the UK in a second ring, according to The Times. The newspaper quoted a diplomatic source saying: “He sees a no-deal scenario as something that would break links and poison relations at a time when Europe needs to be united beyond the EU.”
French President Emmanuel Macron has declared war on the European populist bloc spearheaded by Matteo Salvini and Viktor Orbán, saying Wednesday that he is their “chief adversary.” Following meetings in Milan Tuesday, the Italian interior minister and Hungarian prime minister jointly vowed to demolish the current European Union (EU) globalist structure led by Macron, replacing it with a model that respects the national sovereignty of EU countries. “In Europe, Macron is at the head of the parties that support immigration, on the other side are we ourselves, but we want to stop illegal immigration,” Mr. Orbán declared Tuesday.
The UK will withhold part of its Brexit divorce bill if it leaves the EU without a deal, Dominic Raab has warned. The Brexit secretary said it would be “peculiar” for the UK to part with the £40 billion financial settlement, which Theresa May agreed with the EU last year, if negotiations came to a halt. Describing a possible no-deal scenario to the Lords EU committee, Mr Raab said: “It could not be safely assumed that the financial settlement would be paid in precisely the same shape, or speed, or rate. That would be a peculiar position for the UK to take. We regard the package as a whole.
David Lidington has warned EU leaders to accept the UK’s Chequers plan or face the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. Theresa May’s de facto deputy said talks were at a “fork in the road” and that the only alternative to Britain crashing out of the bloc without an agreement was Brussels accepting the UK’s proposals. The Cabinet Office minister was speaking at a business conference in France, where he promised the UK would remain a “proud European nation” despite leaving the EU.
THERESA MAY’s Chequers deal has been attacked by one of her closest advisors, Nick Timothy, who served as her chief of staff from when she took office until the disastrous 2017 general election. In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Timothy asserted his belief the Chequers deal will be rejected by Brussels and could lead to a very bad deal for the UK. He said: “Chequers was never going to be acceptable to the EU, because it drives a coach and horse through its core principles. “It seeks to cherry pick the rights ministers have decided they want – so far, de facto membership of the single market in goods – without accepting corresponding obligations, such as the free movement of people.”
Bloomberg is reporting this morning that privately British and EU negotiating teams are saying that terms won’t be agreed until the middle of November. Something Guido has been hearing from government sources for some time. This will barely give parliament enough time to ratify the deal in the new year. Given that it would take months to agree the terms of a second referendum – even if there were a majority for it in parliament – that means that the sands of time have run out for a second referendum. Cable, Chuka, Soubry, Lucas et al are wasting their time because they are out of time. The whole remainiac campaign is a futile impotent exercise.
Pro-Remain Tory MPs have been rattled by a surge in new members joining the party following Leave.EU’s campaign urging Brexiteers to sign up. The Times front page lays out how Remainers are fearful of an ‘infiltration’ – even though they stood on a pro-Brexit manifesto themselves. A Tory MP told the paper that their local membership had grown from 170 to 221 in a few months, with other MPs also reporting an increase.
Conservative Campaign Headquarters has urged local party bosses to vet applicants carefully amid more Tory infighting over claims of Ukip entryism. Pro-EU Conservative MPs have reported large spikes in applications to join their local parties after Arron Banks, the former Ukip donor, called for the targeting of “Remain fanatics”. Officially CCHQ refuses to accept that the party is falling victim to an orchestrated entryist campaign. A leaked email to association chiefs reveals its concerns. It reminds them of their right to reject those “whose declared opinions or conduct shall . . . be inconsistent” with party objectives or “likely to bring the party into disrepute”.
A former minister has called for the Tories to halt new applications amid fears UKIP supporters were trying to infiltrate the party. Anna Soubry claimed hard Brexiteers” were trying to join the Conservatives in order to “topple the leader and destroy government policy”. Her comments came after pro-EU MPs reported a sharp rise in applications to join their local parties. Arron Banks, the former UKIP donor and founder of Leave.EU, has called on supporters to “flood” the Tory Party so they can elect a “true Brexiteer” such as Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg .
REMAINER Anna Soubry has been ridiculed after she claimed the Conservative Party has been “infiltrated” by Brexit supporters. The hardliner pro-EU MP, who has opposed party policy to support the historic referendum vote in 2016, claimed that the Leavers have joined the Tories and suggested they should not be allowed to stay. But former Tory minister Robert Halfon described her claim as “bonkers”. He said her view amounted to saying that “if any of the 17 million who voted for Brexit join the Tories that is somehow infiltration. “If the Soubrites are so worried and have so much support then let them get hundreds of activists who have their point of view to join. I wouldn’t mind, the more members the merrier.”
Pro-Corbyn activists will picket a meeting of Labour’s ruling body next week in an attempt to stop the “pro-Israel lobby” forcing a climbdown on antisemitism. Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) is expected to try to end weeks of bitter rows by adopting the full definition and examples of antisemitism in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) code. Members of the NEC will be greeted on Tuesday by a “mass lobby” organised by the Camden branch of Momentum, the pro-Corbyn group.
More than 30,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Jeremy Corbyn quit over his response to the antisemitism scandal engulfing the Labour Party. The petition, launched on Saturday, condemns Mr Corbyn’s personal conduct and accuses him of seeking to “defend, honour, assist and promote antisemites”. On Tuesday Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi, called Mr Corbyn an antisemite who had “given support to racists, terrorists and dealers of hate”. The Campaign Against Antisemitism petition, which features an image of Labour’s slogan doctored to read “For the many not the Jew”, calls on the party’s MPs to take action.
JEREMY Corbyn should quit as Labour leader due to the ongoing anti-Semitism row, a petition signed by 30,000 people has demanded. The Campaign Against Antisemitism started the petition at the beginning of the week amid growing anger at Mr Corbyn’s response to anti-Semitism claims rocking his party. The Change.org petition said: “Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite and must go.” The group has published a picture of the Labour leader with the slogan: “For the many, not the Jew.”
Businesswoman and anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller has ruled out a bid for the Lib Dem leadership. Current leader Sir Vince Cable wants to change the party’s rules to allow non-MPs to lead it in future, as part of a plan to broaden its appeal. Ms Miller, who is due to address the Lib Dem conference later this month, was reported to have had her eye on the role. But she told BBC News: “It’s very flattering, but no.” She added: “I don’t know where that rumour’s coming from but I’ve said it before and I’ll say again today, I have no intentions of going into official politics.”
Alex Salmond has sensationally resigned from the SNP after two women accused him of sexually harassing them while First Minister. Mr Salmond said he had taken the decision to quit the party, which he led for 20 years, amid growing pressure on Nicola Sturgeon to suspend him and to prevent the party descending into civil war. He said he had “not come into politics to facilitate opposition attacks on the SNP” and he had written to the party’s national secretary with his resignation. The former SNP leader said he intended to reapply for party membership “just as soon as I have had the opportunity to clear my name”, which he said he hoped would be by the end of the year. He denies any wrongdoing.
Alex Salmond has stepped down from the SNP, the party he led for 20 years, amid allegations of sexual harassment. The former Scottish first minister said that he had written to the party’s national secretary to resign his membership, saying he did not want to be the cause of internal divisions. He has been at the centre of a political storm since it was revealed last week that he was facing two complaints of sexual harassment, dating from when he was first minister in 2013. One allegation is that he kissed and touched a woman sexually at Bute House, his official residence, after he had been drinking and only stopped after she repeatedly asked him to. Mr Salmond has strenuously denied the claims.
THE bill for benefit fraud and blunders soared to £3.8billion last year.More than £70million was lost to fraudsters or wrongly paid out every week. The figure was an increase of £200m on the previous year despite a Tory pledge to crack down on errors and crime. The Department for Work and Pensions, run by minister Esther McVey, admitted more than £2 of every £100 paid out in welfare is now a “mistake”. James Price, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said last night: “We have to crack down on benefit fraud wherever we find it. It’s not just stealing from hard-pressed taxpayers but takes money away from those who need it most.” A total of £1.46bn was lost to housing benefit fraud and error while £650m was wrongly paid out in employment and support allowance and £320m on pension credit.
A PROBE will investigate whether schools expel failing pupils before they take their GCSEs to keep overall results scores up. Nearly 13,000 teenagers did not have exam results recorded despite appearing on their schools’ register the previous autumn. And more than 7,000 troubled teens sat tests in controversial “pupil referral units” rather than at their school. Watchdog Ofsted has now begun an investigation and has identified 300 schools with high dropout rates. Critics claim some teachers are trying to get rid of poorly performing kids to keep their school exam rates higher and make the institutions seem more successful in tables. Schools can only expel pupils as a “last resort” and removing them to boost results – known as off-rolling – is illegal.
KIDS will be banned from buying Red Bull in a crackdown on energy drinks unveiled by Theresa May. The sweeping ban will also cover higher caffeine drinks like Monster that have been blamed for suicides and will apply to all retailers. The crackdown comes after supermarket regulations prohibiting under-16s from consuming the dangerous cans was branded a failure by health chiefs. Almost a third of teens have consumed the drinks – with a quarter of 6 to 9-year-olds admitting to buying the high-sugar beverages. The government is to launch at 12-week consultation on whether to set the ban at 16 or 18.
Children will be banned from buying energy drinks under plans announced by Theresa May to tackle disruptive behaviour in classrooms. The sale of highly-caffeinated, sugary brands such as Red Bull and Monster will be prohibited up to the age of 18. Shops that flout the proposed ban would face a fine of up to £2,500, the same penalty for selling cigarettes to children. Ministers are also considering banning the drinks’ sale from vending machines. There is growing concern that the drinks are fuelling hyperactivity in children, while the Department for Health has warned that “excessive consumption” is associated with a “catalogue of health issues”.
Shops will be banned from selling Red Bull and other drinks “packed to the brim with caffeine” to teenagers, under plans announced by Theresa May. The scheme will see retailers blocked from selling energy drinks to under 16s and possibly even under 18s. Insiders told The Independent the intention is to use the same sanctions as selling cigarettes to children – meaning shops could be slapped with fines of £2,500. Ms May said she was acting as evidence shows excessive consumption of the drinks by children is linked to serious health problems. Some deaths are even connected to them.