THERESA May has pledged that she will not agree to pay any EU divorce bill until a deal on future trade has been struck with Brussels. Following growing expectations of an imminent breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations, the Prime Minister rejected suggestions that the Government was poised to pay an exit fee of up to £50billion. She said she was “still in negotiations” with Brussels and insisted: “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” Mrs May spoke out after Tory MPs raised concerns that the Government was caving in to Brussels demands. In the Commons yesterday, one backbencher warned that the Government was “dancing to the tune” of the European Commission while another feared a multi-billion divorce fee would be “betraying” voters who backed leaving the EU in last year’s referendum. Mrs May used a round of broadcast interviews during a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday to reject suggestions that a deal with Brussels had been concluded.
The UK could end up paying an EU divorce bill of up to £50bn, prompting the threat of a Brexit backlash against Theresa May. Officials close to the talks were reported as saying there was a broad agreement on a framework for the UK to settle liabilities expected to total about €45-55bn (£40-49bn). The pound was up nearly a cent against the dollar to more than $1.34 on Wednesday on hopes that a divorce settlement with the EU was close. But the reported deal was described by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage as a “sellout”. He said: “I have always argued that no deal is better than a bad deal. Make no mistake about it, €55bn to leave the EU is a very, very bad deal.”
Theresa May has insisted there is still no agreement on the UK’s Brexit bill despite reports British officials have committed up to £50bn to the EU. The Prime Minister told Sky News the UK is “still in negotiation” over the financial settlement but ruled out paying “huge sums of money to the EU every year” after Brexit. EU bosses have given Mrs May until Monday to make a fresh offer on key divorce issues if she wants to reach the next phase of Brexit talks – on trade and a transition period – by Christmas. Yet, with the deadline looming, the Prime Minister denied claims a deal has already been struck on the UK’s payout to Brussels – although she did not correct suggestions a Brexit bill could be as much as £50bn or more. Speaking to Sky News on a visit to Iraq, Mrs May said: “We are still in negotiations with the EU. “I set out in my Florence speech that nobody, none of the EU27, would need to worry about having to pay in more or receive less.
A Brexit divorce payment of up to £40billion will only be handed over if Brussels agrees a comprehensive trade deal, MPs were told yesterday. Treasury chief secretary Elizabeth Truss sought to reassure Eurosceptics by insisting any payment was ‘contingent on us securing a suitable outcome’ in trade negotiations. Theresa May also made it clear that the UK would not make a unilateral offer to the EU without guarantees on trade, saying the two sides would ‘move in step together’ towards a settlement. Ministers have agreed a formula that would raise the UK’s offer to about £40billion in the hope of securing a breakthrough at a crunch summit in Brussels next month. EU sources have suggested the offer may be enough, despite some previous demands of as much as £90billion. The prospect of a breakthrough was also welcomed by businesses, with the pound rising to its highest level in weeks.
A Treasury minister has insisted the UK will not pay a rumoured £45bn divorce bill to leave the EU unless it secures a favourable trade deal in return. Liz Truss told MPs the huge payment – which has been agreed in principle with Brussels – was “contingent on getting a suitable outcome from those negotiations”. The pledge came as the minister came under pressure in the Commons not to make a legal commitment to pay up unless the EU agrees a “free-trade deal and zero tariffs”. A string of Brexit-backing Tory backbenchers urged the Government not to commit to the bill without guarantees in return, some demanding an “itemised account” of the payments planned. Answering an urgent question, Ms Truss, the Treasury chief secretary, refused to confirm or deny that Britain is prepared to pay about £45bn, insisting the reports were “simply media speculation”.
THERESA May is set to get tough with the EU next week and reject their demands for her to commit to a final divorce bill figure and lump sum payment. The Daily Express has learnt that senior Government figures have privately briefed key Brexit groups that the Prime Minister will insist that they move on to trade talks before any final divorce bill can be agreed. The revelation came as ministers played down claims emanating from the EU that the Government has privately committed to paying 45 to 55 billion euros (£40 billion to £49 billion). According to one report from Brussels, the UK Government has accepted that it has 90 billion euros of liabilities and will pay around half – 45 billion euros (£40 billion). Mrs May’s hand has been strengthened by a new Bank of England report that reveals that the UK banking system will be able to survive the shock of no deal with the EU.
Theresa May has been put on notice by hardline Conservative Eurosceptics that they could be prepared to vote against her final Brexit deal if the UK continues to pay the £50bn divorce bill for years to come or does not get good trade terms. A group of Tory MPs are unhappy about the scale of the proposed sum and believe leaving on World Trade Organisation terms would be better, meaning the prime minister might have to rely on Labour support to get parliament’s approval for a final deal before March 2019. One Tory MP said some members of the Brexit-supporting European Research Group were demanding a meeting with Julian Smith, the new chief whip, to make clear their unhappiness about the idea of phased payments lasting many years. Other backbenchers are uneasy about the overall amount of money that the UK will pay, although their decision on the vote would depend on whether ministers manage to achieve a good trade agreement with the EU.
THE size of our £44billion Brexit offer may be hard to swallow. But, with certain conditions, it should be worth it. First, it must only be paid (by small annual instalments) once every one of the 27 EU nations has irreversibly signed off a free trade deal with Britain. It is not a bung merely for the chance to discuss trade — though, incredibly, that is the EU’s delusional position. It is the price we are prepared to pay for a finalised deal potentially far more valuable to our economy long-term. The Government must make this crystal clear to Brussels: no deal, no dosh. Second, under any agreement — which MUST include financial services — we must regain the freedom to ditch EU rules, if required, to strike other deals worldwide. After Brexit we must be an independent nation, running our economy and setting our taxes as we see fit.
BREXITEER MPs reacted with anger last night as it emerged Britain will keep paying at least £2.59bn a year to the EU for decades after Brexit. The eye-watering total comes from analysis by The Sun of Theresa May’s publicly declared ongoing commitments to Brussels so far. The fresh row erupted after EU officials claimed the PM has agreed to shell out £44bn in a divorce cheque. The cash would be spread out over 40 years, leaving Brussels with an annual sum of £1.1bn a year. On top of that, Mrs May has also said the UK will want to pay into a series of ongoing EU programmes, which total £1.49bn. They range from the Euratom nuclear regulator, Galileo and Copernicus satellites and Horizon 2020 science programmes to the Erasmus student travel scheme and Europol crime fighting agency.
DENNIS SKINNER said yesterday that Brexit voters in his constituency would prefer a rumoured £60 billion due to be paid to Brussels be spent in Britain instead.The Labour MP for Bolsover said 70 per cent of his constituents who voted Leave wanted him to tell Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss that it should be invested in the NHS and social care. His views were shared by Tory backbenchers during an urgent question on the cost of Brexit brought by Labour MP Chris Leslie, who accused the government of paying for the privilege “of downgrading to an inferior deal” with the EU. Wellingborough MP Peter Bone said: “For the first time in my parliamentary career I’m going to agree with [Mr Skinner]. He is absolutely right. “The 60-odd per cent of the people in Wellingborough who voted to leave would want to know what we were doing with £60bn. “They would want it spent on the NHS, social care and defence, they would not want it given to the European Union.”
The European court of justice is to be asked if the UK can stop the Brexit process unilaterally in a legal challenge being launched in Scotland by pro-European politicians. A group of four politicians from Labour, the Scottish National party and Scottish Greens wants the European court to rule on whether article 50 can be revoked by the UK on its own if voters or the Commons decide the final Brexit deal is unacceptable. The four – David Martin, a Scottish Labour MEP, Alyn Smith, an SNP MEP and Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, both Green MSPs at Holyrood – are launching a crowdfunding campaign at 10pm on Wednesday night to raise £50,000 for legal costs. They plan to ask judges in Scotland’s civil court, the court of session in Edinburgh, to agree to refer the issue to the ECJ next year in a move that will strengthen the efforts by campaigners to block Brexit after the deal is finalised.
A GROUP of hard-Left parliamentarians are plotting legal action to reverse Brexit, it has emerged. The Scots politicians hope to secure a judicial review to establish whether Britain can unilaterally revoke the the EU’s Article 50 departure mechanism. They are mounting a crowdfunded bid to establish whether the UK can make the move without permission of the bloc’s other 27 members. Remain-backing Greens MSPs Ross Greer and Andy Wightman have joined forces with Labour MEP David Martin and SNP MEP Alyn Smith. The action will be submitted to the Court of Session in Edinburgh with a view to referring it to the European Court of Justice. Lawyers have written to the UK Government asking what its position is and whether it has been told it can reverse the process. Ministers have been given a December 12 deadline to respond but the group says the letter is the first stage in a “proposed judicial review”.
EU leaders are preparing to offer a two-year Brexit transition deal as early as January after negotiators said that they were close to a breakthrough over the Northern Ireland border. British officials tabled proposals this week to avoid a “hard border” in Ireland that could unblock the last remaining major obstacle to a deal, The Times understands. In return the EU will pledge at a summit in Brussels next month to speed up approval for a transition deal that maintains Britain’s present relationship with the EU, reassuring businesses that might otherwise begin implementing plans for a hard Brexit. Sources in Dublin said that there was “movement” on the issue and growing confidence that a deal could be reached before the summit on December 14-15.
The deadlock over what the Irish border will look like after Brexit could be settled with a new referendum in Northern Ireland, a Conservative MEP has suggested. Speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels Charles Tannock said voters in the province should be given a say on whether or not to remain in the EU customs union. Though Northern Ireland voted solidly to remain in the EU referendum it is being taken out of the EU along with the rest of the UK. Brexit negotiations have become deadlocked on the issue of the border with the Republic, however, since Theresa May committed to taking the UK out of the customs union. Both the EU and UK say they do not want a hard border on the island of Ireland, in line with the Good Friday agreement. The EU has suggested keeping NI in the customs union and moving customs checks to ports on the Irish sea to avoid a border, but this is unacceptable to the British government and the DUP, the Northern Ireland party on which the Government relies for votes.
The EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has provoked fury with a speech in Berlin where he implied that Brexit Britain is somehow ducking the fight with radical Islamic terrorism. Barnier said: “More than 500 days ago, the United Kingdom took the sovereign decision to leave the European Union and bring to an end 44 years of common history. “To many of us this came as a great shock. “It was a decision taken against the backdrop of a strategic repositioning by our American ally, which has gathered pace since the election of Donald Trump. “It was a decision that came after a series of attacks on European soil, committed by young people who grew up in Europe, in our countries. “It was a decision that came six months after the French Minister of Defence issued a call for solidarity to all his European counterparts to join forces to fight the terrorism of Daesh. “Never had the need to be together, to protect ourselves together, to act together been so strong, so manifest. Yet rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the Union, the British chose to be on their own again.” British officials are said to be “furious” about the speech as essentially “accusing us of ducking out of the fight” against Islamic State.
The EU’s chief negotiator accused Britain yesterday of failing to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Europe in the face of terrorist attacks, provoking anger among senior government ministers. Michel Barnier said in a speech in Berlin that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union had come when the need for Europe to stand together was at its most urgent. “Yet rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the union, the British chose to be on their own again.” British government figures described the comments as stupid. Downing Street publicly rebuked Mr Barnier, with a spokesman saying pointedly: “The prime minister has been absolutely clear in her commitment to the ongoing security of Europe.”
Britain failed to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with European allies reeling from a wave of terror attacks when it voted to leave the EU, Brussels’s chief Brexit negotiator has said. Michel Barnier’s comment came as he warned that Britain will be cut out of decision-making on European defence as a result of Brexit. But Downing Street hit back, pointing out that the UK had played a “leading role” in the struggle against Isis, both in terms of counter-extremism measures and in the military effort in Iraq and Syria. Speaking to a security conference in Berlin, Mr Barnier said that the Brexit vote came “after a series of attacks on European soil, committed by young people who grew up in Europe, in our countries”. He added: “It was a decision that came six months after the French Minister of Defence issued a call for solidarity to all his European counterparts to join forces to fight the terrorism of Daesh. “Never had the need to be together, to protect ourselves together, to act together been so strong, so manifest.
There was a furious backlash tonight after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator accused the UK of refusing to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the continent against ISIS. Michel Barnier’s jibe claimed the Leave vote had followed ‘a series of attacks on European soil’ when the need for ‘solidarity’ was most acute. It came even as Theresa May visited British soldiers who had been helping in the fight against extremists in Iraq. He said: “It was a decision that came six months after the French Minister of Defence issued a call for solidarity to all his European counterparts to join forces to fight the terrorism of Daesh. “Never had the need to be together, to protect ourselves together, to act together been so strong, so manifest. “Yet rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the Union, the British chose to be on their own again.”
The European Union’s (EU) chief Brexit negotiator has been accused of an “outrageous slur” and “insult[ing]” British forces after clearly implying the UK has abandoned the fight against Islamic State terror in Europe by voting for Brexit. Giving a speech in Berlin Tuesday, Michel Barnier opened by describing jihadi attacks in the EU before the referendum, claiming Britain chose not “stand shoulder to shoulder” with the bloc and fight Islamist terror, instead choosing to be “on their own”. He also implied the election of Donald J. Trump had weakened the EU’s defence links with the U.S., and claimed that the EU taking control of national forces and creating an EU army was the best way to protect Europeans from Islamist terror. Brexit, he said, “was a decision taken against the backdrop of a strategic repositioning by our American ally, which has gathered pace since the election of Donald Trump.“It was a decision that came after a series of attacks on European soil, committed by young people who grew up in Europe, in our countries.“It was a decision that came six months after the French Minister of Defence issued a call for solidarity to all his European counterparts to join forces to fight the terrorism of Daesh. “Never had the need to be together, to protect ourselves together, to act together been so strong, so manifest. Yet rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the Union, the British chose to be on their own again.”
A VOLCANIC “super-eruption” capable of wiping out human civilisation will come much sooner than thought, scientists have warned. Cataclysmic blasts powerful enough to send humanity back to the Stone Age are part of the planet’s normal cycle – happening tens of thousands of years apart. But new research suggests the average time between the events is much less than previously thought. Super-eruptions can blanket an entire continent with volcanic ash and alter climate on a global scale. Scientists have shown they are capable of returning humanity to a pre-civilisation state. Like a giant meteor impact, a super-eruption can trigger a “nuclear winter” effect caused by dust thrown into the atmosphere blotting out the sun. Just one of the volcanic explosions can unleash more than 1,000 gigatons (1,000 billion tons) of erupted mass into the air. Previous estimates made in 2004 suggested super-eruptions occurred on average every 45,000 to 714,000 years and posed no immediate threat.
A DEVASTATING volcanic eruption about to occur in Bali is being caused by doomed planet Nibiru, an expert has shockingly claimed. Volcano experts have warned that Agung in Indonesia is about to erupt and blow lava from its top. Seismologists fear the eruption could be as bad as when it blew in 1963, killing more than 2,000 people. And a conspiracy theorist has claimed this is all down to the doomed planet affecting the atmosphere. David Meade, the man behind the Nibiru conspiracy, claims the mystery planet is heating up the core of the Earth. He told IBTimes: “In Bali they are evacuating as we speak, close to a hundred thousand people. The airport is closed. “People are trapped in the island. Nibiru has an electromagnetic effect on the sun, and therefore the Earth. The core heats up and displaces magma.”