Lord Mandelson has said the Prime Minister should “bite the bullet” and meet the EU’s demands for a settlement payment, describing the proposed £52bn payment as “small change”. “Britain is not one of those countries that doesn’t pay its bills, for good reason not least the impact it would have on the markets and market confidence in our future debt-raising,” he told an audience at the Institute for Government. Lord Mandelson said “eventually” the terms of a new free trade deal could be discussed alongside the exit settlement, but not at the start.
LORD MANDELSON has urged the Prime Minister to “bite the bullet” and stump up taxpayers’ cash over the EU’s demand for an eye-watering Brexit fee. Brussels bosses are likely to slap Theresa May with a demand for a £50billion exit bill as soon as the Prime Minister begins formal Article 50 divorce talks. The EU has also insisted “significant progress” must be made on Britain’s withdrawal payment before the UK is allowed to discuss a future trade deal with the remaining 27 member states. Labour peer Lord Mandelson, a former EU employee and leading Remain supporter, told Mrs May to “settle the tab” with Brussels in order to satisfy the bloc’s demand to negotiate the cash up front.
Former EU Commissioner and Blair ally Lord Mandelson has insisted that a potential £50 billion bill from the EU amounts to ‘small change’. “It will be a vast sum of money – but as a percentage of our public spending and GDP in this country, it’s small change,” he said. “I would deal with the small change of the financial settlement in the first negotiation as quickly as you can.” It should come as little surprise that the fanatically pro-EU Mandelson wants the UK to financially submit to whatever demands Brussels puts forward. After all, he still thinks we may have to have a second Brexit referendum until we get the answer right.
The European parliament has overwhelmingly voted in favour of a tough negotiating stance towards the British government in the Brexit negotiations. MEPs in Strasbourg approved a resolution setting out the parliament’s red lines in the coming talks by 516 votes to 133, with 50 abstentions, comfortably exceeding the two-thirds majority sought by parliament leaders to show unity behind their approach. The resolution backs “phased negotiations” in the divorce proceedings, going against the wishes of Theresa May’s government, which would like exit talks and discussions of a future trade arrangement to happen in parallel. Talks on such a deal can also only occur once London has come to a settlement with the EU on its financial liabilities and the rights of citizens.
Guy Verhofstadt, who will represent the European Parliament in the upcoming Brexit negotiations, has said the younger generation in Britain will take the country back into EU. Verhofstadt confessed the relationship between Britain and Europe was “never a love affair”, but more a “marriage of convenience”. But he described the day Sir Time Barrow presented its Article 50 letter to European Council President Donald Tusk as “a very sad moment” nevertheless. “It was impossible, maybe, to unite Great Britain with the Continent, and naive, maybe to [attempt to] reconcile the legal system of Napoleon with the common law of the British Empire, and perhaps it was never meant to be,” he admitted, to applause from UKIP MEPs.
NOTHING symbolises the greed and waste at the core of the EU like the lamentable European Parliament. This overpaid gaggle of third-rate politicians — strangers to voters in the countries they’re supposed to represent — is responsible for most of Brussels’ excessive spending and overreach. So it’s little surprise that MEPs, fearing for their precious political project, yesterday approved a series of Brexit “red lines” that would force the UK to pay billions on leaving while keeping us bound by the most intrusive EU regulations. Just as it did with David Cameron’s renegotiation — when Brussels offered diddly-squat and the UK responded by voting to leave — the EU will learn again that Britain doesn’t take kindly to being pushed around.
A REMAINER opened up to Nigel Farage as he turned on the European Union calling the Brussels bloc a bunch of “bullies”. The caller revealed that he was a Remain voter in the EU referendum last June before he turned on the European Union in a furious rant. John, from Windsor, confined in LBC host Farage as he expressed his anger at the EU. He said: “Actually, I am one of those people you would call a Remainer. “I voted for Remain for two main reasons. One is because we could probably change the EU by being inside and negotiating internally.
The European Parliament has backed a motion setting out its position for the Brexit negotiations by 516 to 133. Although MEPs will not participate directly in the exit talks they will have to vote in favour of the final deal for it to go ahead. UKIP’s Nigel Farage accused MEPs of trying to impose conditions that were “impossible for Britain to comply with” and likened them to the “mafia”. The motion for debate was supported by the two largest groups of MEPs.
Momentum continues to build behind anti-EU French Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, with a new poll out putting her at a record-high 47%, just a few percentage points from winning the election overall and becoming France’s next President. The Ifop poll shows that head-to-head with Francois Fillon, Le Pen just trailed on 47%. This is up from her previous high of 45% against Fillon. Though many expect Emmanuel Macron to advance to the second-round and take on Le Pen, the latest poll out has Fillon only 4% behind beating Macron in the first round.
France’s future in the European Union was the main talking point for the country’s presidential candidates Tuesday night, in a four-hour debate described as a “cacophony”. All 11 people standing for the French presidency took part in the epic debate, including less well known candidates polling barely above one per cent. Front National leader Marine Le Pen was able to paint herself as a moderate against the words of her smaller rivals, telling François Asselineau, president of the obscure Popular Republican Union, her position was “less brutal” than his policy of unilaterally withdrawing from the EU.
In response to the European Parliament’s joint resolution from the main federalist groups UKIP proposed 14 separate amendments to protect British interests, from controlling immigration to protecting Gibraltar’s sovereignty. All of these amendments were voted down today with help from Labour MEPs. Paul Nuttall MEP and UKIP leader commented: “For once it would have been nice for British MEPs to put aside petty party political differences to ensure Britain’s best interests would be served. Needless to say Labour MEPs just couldn’t play nice and voted against protecting Gibraltar from an ever more antagonistic Spain, controlling EU immigration post-Brexit and even to actively disadvantage Britain by not allowing us to pursue free trade deals.
Increases of up to £20,000 in probate fees were thrown into doubt yesterday after a parliamentary panel of experts said that they were unlawful. In a new blow to Liz Truss, the lord chancellor, an influential committee said that she might be overstepping her powers by introducing the charges, described by critics as a death tax. The rises have the “hallmarks of taxes rather than fees”, the parliamentary joint committee on statutory instruments said, given that payments would increase from £155 to £20,000 for larger estates. The highly critical report said that the changes could breach the constitutional principle that there should be no taxation without the consent of parliament. It called for the proposals to “have the attention” of both houses.
A controversial death tax that will cost families thousands of pounds may be unlawful, a Parliamentary committee warns. From next month, the cost of getting probate – the legal authority to take control of someone’s finances when they die – will soar from £215 to as much as £20,000. But in a last-minute intervention, MPs and peers have called on Justice Secretary Liz Truss to delay the proposed rise. They claim the changes are essentially a new tax as the move will raise an extra £300million a year for the Treasury. By law Parliament has to vote before any new tax can be introduced, and this has not yet happened.
The foreign aid budget soared by £1.2billion last year – because EU rules added prostitution and drugs to national statistics. Under targets brought in by David Cameron, ministers are committed to sending 0.7 per cent of our national income overseas every year. With the Brussels-led accounting change raising estimates of the size of the UK economy, the foreign aid bill has gone up. Figures out yesterday showed spending jumped by 10 per cent to a record £13.3billion last year. The surge will raise pressure on the Government to scrap the aid promise at a time when vital services at home such as social care, the NHS and schools are so squeezed.
A leaked document has exposed how Theresa May “sabotaged” a Government-wide plan to explain the benefits of immigration to the British public. The Cabinet Office paper seen by The Independent suggests Ms May used her political clout to prevent the bid to explain the “positive impacts” immigrants bring the economy and NHS. Critics now claim the incident reveals how the Prime Minister will be prepared to put political considerations on immigration ahead of the national interest going into Brexit talks.
State schools are following the lead of universities by hiring fundraisers after being forced to make thousands of pounds’ worth of budget cuts. Professional fundraisers have mostly been the preserve of higher education institutions and independent schools but now state schools are using their services. Others are increasingly turning to sponsorship from local businesses and seeking charitable donations, as well as asking parents for money. A headteachers’ leader said that appointing fundraisers would only work in certain parts of the country and was not sustainable. He added that many businesses were happy to volunteer time and expertise, but not money. Faith schools are often successful fundraisers because they have ready-made links with local organisations.
A Labour government will impose VAT on private school fees to pay for free meals for all primary school pupils, Jeremy Corbyn is to announce. The Labour leader will say on Thursday that the policy will boost the health and educational attainment of all children while ending a “subsidy to the privileged few”. The announcement will be seen as an attempt to regain the political initiative following rows over the party’s poor showing in the opinion polls and allegations of anti-Semitism against Ken Livingstone. Mr Corbyn will point to research showing that offering universal access to free school meals improves pupils’ productivity, enabling primary school pupils to advance by around two months on average.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire after pledging to impose VAT on private school fees to pay for free meals for all primary school children in the UK. Should his party get into power, it would bring in the policy to ‘boost the health and educational attainment of all children’ while ending a ‘subsidy to the privileged few’. The announcement will be seen as an attempt to regain the political initiative following rows over the party’s poor showing in the opinion polls and allegations of anti-Semitism against Ken Livingstone. But the Independent Schools Council (ISC), representing private schools, said Labour‘s proposals did not add up and would force some smaller schools to close.
A Labour government would provide all primary school children with free school meals – funded by charging VAT on private school fees, the party is set to announce. Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner will say on Thursday that the policy would “remove the stigma” attached to the meals and improve the health and attainment of all children. In a joint Lancashire launch of the policy with Jeremy Corbyn, Ms Rayner is expected to accuse the Conservatives of limiting the number of children who can be fed through funding cuts.
A rising numbers of parents are being prosecuted after their children missed school without permission, with some facing community sentences and even jail time. Almost 20,000 people were taken to court in 2015 alone – an annual rise of more than a fifth, a Press Association survey found. The findings come on the same day the Supreme Court is due to rule on a landmark legal battle involving a father who took his daughter to Disney World in term-time without her headteacher’s permission.
Nurses are considering industrial action over a government decision to continue capping public sector pay increases at 1 per cent. When the increase for health service staff was announced last week, following recommendations by the NHS Pay Review Body, unions said that it was derisory. The Royal College of Nursing’s governing body voted yesterday to launch a consultation on industrial action before its congress next month, and ask members about the impact of pay restraint. The pay cap means that nurses have suffered a 14 per cent real-terms pay cut since 2011, the union says. Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “The pay cap is fuelling a recruitment and retention crisis.”
GREEDY temp doctors are aiming to “really hurt” hospitals by threatening to walk out over pay, a NHS boss warns. Agency medics want up to 50 per cent extra to compensate for new rules that force trusts to deduct their tax and national insurance. Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS Improvement, told the Health Service Journal: “There was a very organised campaign to say, ‘Let’s make this really hurt and threaten very hard’. It is intended to stop them being paid through personal service companies with lower tax liabilities. Medics claim they will lose out by up to 30 per cent. Several have now demanded extra cash to cover their losses – or will walk out, leaving wards short-staffed. Mr Mackey said NHS trusts are “trying to not blink”.
NHS Chiefs publish their plan for the NHS today and lays bare the challenges facing the health service in the face of years of Tory neglect and underinvestment. The NHS strategy contains welcome ambitions around mental health and cancer care that Labour endorses. However reading between the lines this document confirms that Theresa May’s government has broken its promise by failing to give the NHS the funding it needs. The plan admits the public are “concerned” for the future of the NHS and that the health service is under ‘real pressure’ to cope. We’ve all seen that pressure in recent months with hospitals in crisis, patients waiting on trolleys and ambulances backed up outside A&E. Daily Mirror readers deserve better.
The NHS needs a long-term plan to make up for decades of government “short-sightedness”, a parliamentary report has concluded. It also needs a guarantee that funding will rise in line with GDP for at least a decade, the report added. The House of Lords Select Committee on the Sustainability of the NHS criticised a “culture of short-termism” in government, and concluded that politicians and health professionals need to take a long-term view of everything from funding to recruitment to ensure the system remains sustainable.
UKIP AM Mark Reckless is set to quit the party and vote with the Conservative group in the Assembly. Tory sources have said Mr Reckless, the AM for South Wales East, has held talks with Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives. An announcement is due on Thursday which would see Mr Reckless join the Tory group in Cardiff Bay. It is understood Mr Reckless will be an independent AM rather than re-join the Conservative Party. There is resistance to re-admitting Mr Reckless following his dramatic defection from the Conservatives to join UKIP in September 2014. The then-MP fought and won a by-election in his Rochester and Strood seat in November that year, but lost his seat in the May 2015 General Election.
Conservative sources have confirmed to the BBC that Mark Reckless has held talks and is tomorrow to join the Tory group in the Welsh Assembly as an Independent AM. In doing so he would be betraying the UKIP membership who voted for and backed him, copying Douglas Carswell’s move of going Independent despite being elected on a UKIP ticket.