Telegraph (by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard)
Brexiteers, bring out your black suits of mourning. Grieve with private dignity. The quixotic bid for British independence has failed. There will be no return to full sovereign and democratic self-rule in March 2019, or after the transition, or as far as the political eye can see. Britain will be bound and hemmed until the latent contradictions of such a colonial settlement cause a volcanic national uprising, as they surely must. The Westminster class is edging crablike towards a double embrace of the EU single market and the customs union, the full EU package but without a veto in the European Council, or Euro-MPs with heft in the dominant blocs of Strasbourg, or judges on the European Court.
Theresa May will meet senior ministers later in an attempt to resolve tensions over the government’s Brexit “backstop” plan. In the proposal the UK would match EU tariffs temporarily in order to avoid a hard Irish border post-Brexit. Number 10 had been expected to publish the “temporary customs arrangement” on Thursday, but faced resistance from Brexit Secretary David Davis. Its publication could now be delayed until the end of the week. The proposal will outline what would happen should no permanent solution be agreed with the EU before the UK’s 2019 exit – but it might not specify an end date. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said Downing Street believed it had enough support from senior ministers to publish the proposal. “But what they hadn’t quite bargained for was the level of resistance from the man who is meant to be in charge of this process (Mr Davis),” who wants a time limit added to the backstop, she said. She added that it was possible that the saga could potentially lead to the resignation of Mr Davis, but that it was not likely at this stage.
Theresa May has reportedly caved to rebels within her own party in a frantic bid to prevent them derailing key Brexit legislation. The Prime Minister hoped to do away with all 15 amendments to her EU Withdrawal Billin a single, 12 hour session on Tuesday. But in a bid to head off rebels pushing for Britain to remain in an European Economic Area, who could have inflicted an embarrassing Commons defeat on the Government, the Mrs May is understood to have “compromised.” It’s thought the bill will now be debated across two days – Tuesday June 12th and Wednesday June 13th – with six hours of debate on each day. The Prime Minister is also understood to have agreed to bring the trade and customs bill back to the House of Commons before the summer recess. The news emerged as Downing Street said details of the “backstop” arrangement would be published “shortly.”
Senior ministers are set for a showdown on the UK’s future relationship with the EU after it emerged that a key element of the plan has still not been agreed by the cabinet. Plans for a “backstop” customs option were due to be published on Thursday but could be delayed amid a row between Theresa May and David Davis, the Brexit secretary. Appearing to confirm that there remain major divisions within the cabinet, Mr Davis admitted the proposal would only be published once ministers have agreed on it. The row centres on how to manage the Northern Ireland border – one of the most contentious areas of Brexit negotiations. The backstop option, agreed in principle by the cabinet last month, would see the UK remain in part of the EU customs union if no other option for avoiding a hard border is found.
There are growing concerns over the direction of Brexit under Theresa May, with a note today shared with Ministers believed to have opened up the possibility of the UK remaining tied to the Customs Union without any end date in sight, according to The Telegraph. The so-called ‘Irish backstop’ option had seen the likes of Boris Johnson, David Davis and Michael Gove demand that the UK have the ability to end the arrangement.But instead, Britain will be tied to the European Court of Justice for years to come with little control and the proposal is being sent across to Brussels today, bypassing Brexiteers. One Conservative is quoted as saying: “There is no mandate for this, more to the point politically it’s very difficult because a lot of Conservatives will be very concerned that we are giving an incentive to the EU to keep the backstop in place forever. There is going to be an almighty row, this is a crazy situation.” This all adds up to another disturbingly soft move coming out from Number 10 that will alarm Brexiteers.
Brexiteers accused Theresa May of deception last night after Eurosceptic cabinet members were kept in the dark over a key negotiation document until hours before it was due to be published. The prime minister shared a blueprint for avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland with leading Remain-supporting cabinet ministers at the weekend, days before giving it to Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Michael Gove. The “backstop” plan is opposed by Brexiteers because it commits the whole of the UK to elements of the customs union if London and Brussels cannot agree a deal on border controls for goods. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Karen Bradley, the Northern Ireland secretary, were among those to see the four-page paper early as was David Davis.
David Davis last night issued an ultimatum to Theresa May over controversial Brexit plans amid fears he could even be on the brink of resignation. Friends of the Brexit Secretary suggested his frustrations could spill over, after No 10 circulated proposals that critics say could shackle the UK to the customs union indefinitely. The plans, on the so-called Irish backstop, appeared to open up the possibility that the UK could remain bound by EU tariffs and rules until a resolution is found for the border problem. Mr Davis yesterday refused to say whether he would stay in his job if the plans go ahead without his approval, saying: ‘That’s a question, I think, for the Prime Minister to be honest.’
David Davis was in open rebellion against Theresa May on Wednesday night over fears that Britain may be tied to the European Union indefinitely after Brexit. The Brexit Secretary is refusing to be the front man for the Prime Minister’s plans for a customs “backstop” to avoid a hard Irish border beyond the end of the transition period in 2021. On Wednesday he was locked in a furious public row with the Prime Minister over the backstop, which will tie Britain to the customs union beyond 2021 if no resolution to the Irish border issue can be found before the end of the transition period.
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, and arguably the most important minister in this Government other than the Prime Minister, faces a moment of truth on Thursday. He is completely clear that it would be a disastrous mistake for the Prime Minister and the UK Government to offer Brussels a backstop proposal for keeping the Irish border open that does not contain a specified end date. His reason is simple. That backstop would commit the UK to staying in the customs union and single market. And once the EU were to have that commitment, Davis believes – plausibly – that his Brussels interlocutor Michel Barnier would no longer have any incentive to negotiate seriously on alternative arrangements for keeping the border open.
David Davis has accused the EU of “shooting itself in the foot to see if the gun works” by weakening security ties with the UK after Brexit. In a speech in London, the Brexit secretary criticised the European Commission for putting legal precedents ahead of practical considerations, after it emerged that Brussels has threatened to kick Britain out of its Galileo satellite navigation programme, which it helped to fund. He also revealed the cabinet was still split over the “backstop” proposals, which would keep the whole of the UK in the customs union until a permanent solution is found to the Irish border issue. It comes as Jeremy Corbyn criticised Theresa May over the government’s delay in laying out its Brexit plans in more detail, demanding when the government will publish its white paper on the UK’s future relationship with the EU
BREXIT Secretary David Davis last night increased pressure on Theresa May over her plans for a “backstop” customs system for Northern Ireland. He insists the scheme must be time-limited to stop the UK being tied to Brussels indefinitely. A new proposal for avoiding a “hard border” is expected to be published today following weeks of wrangling. But a furious row was understood to have broken out between Cabinet factions yesterday after a draft document failed to stipulate when the fall back mechanisms would expire. Mr Davis was believed to be among ministers critical of the draft which sets out a blueprint for a temporary customs union – if technology for a “frictionless border” is not ready in time for the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020. He signalled that he would hold Mrs May to a previous promise that the “backstop” would have an expiry date.
Theresa May faces yet another crunch meeting of a tense Cabinet Brexit sub-committee as Brexiteer ministers raise concerns over the Irish border. They are wary of the secrecy and implications of the prime minister’s plan for the “Irish backstop” – the agreement suggested in December to come up with a way to protect current border arrangements with Ireland. Brexit Secretary David Davis has expressed private concerns about some of the details of the arrangement – in particular whether it is truly “time limited” as promised by the PM. Many Tory Brexiteer MPs fear the backstop, which involves very close alignment with the customs union and single market, will in fact become the default long-term solution. At a news conference, Mr Davis said “if there’s agreement” the Irish backstop plans would be published. Asked if he could stay in his job if the government’s backstop proposals did not have his explicit approval, Mr Davis said: “That’s a question I think for the prime minister to be honest.”
PRIME Minister Theresa May lambasted Labour and SNP MEPs who backed the European Parliament’s latest bid to keep Britain shackled to the EU Common Fisheries Policy post-Brexit last week. During Prime Minister’s Questions, Mrs May was asked to comment on the latest EU’s attempt to continue to control UK fishing waters post-Brexit helped by the backing of some Labour and SNP MEPs last week. Scottish Conservative MP David Duguid asked the PM: “Does my Rt. Honourable friend share my disappointment and astonishment that Labour and SNP MEPs last week ignored interests of British fishermen when they voted to back the European Parliament in their attempt to keep the UK inside the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)? “Will she today say she still intends for the UK to become a fully independent coastal state?”
BREXIT will pump £540MILLION into the Scottish fishing industry, create 5,000 extra jobs and demolish trade barriers, a government report has revealed. Detailed analysis by agency Marine Scotland and published by Brexit-basher Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, found that Britian leaving Brussels’ gruelling Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and gaining UK waters back would boost the seafood sector by 21 percent. SNP’s Rural Affairs Minister, Fergus Ewing, had previously insisted the report showed leaving the single market and customs union would cause “significant harm” to the seafood industry.
MICHAEL Gove laid out his bid to be Chancellor in a post-Theresa May “dream team” today with astonishing calls to curb fat-cat execs and relaunch the broken economy. In a mammoth speech the Tory cabinet minister said capitalism was failing and needed to be reformed. He savaged “crony capitalists”, and called for tax changes to curb whopping bonuses and encourage more investment, veering miles away from the Environment Secretary’s actual brief. One ally said: “Michael has given up on No.10 – and this is all about positioning himself for the Treasury.” Speaking at a Policy Exchange event in London the speech revived much of Mrs May’s 2016 mission to reform corporate Britain – before much of it was dumped. Mr Gove slammed the Bank of England and other central banks over quantitative easing – saying it had only made the rich, richer.
Labour is too divided on staying in the single market to win a crunch Commons vote next week, Keir Starmer has argued – as he defended his own “wrecking” amendment. The party’s Brexit spokesman hit back at pro-EU Labour MPs, insisting they were wrong to claim the chance to defeat the government on the key issue is being tossed away. Sir Keir has come under fire after tabling an amendment that stops short of staying in the European Economic Area (EEA) – while Labour MPs will be ordered to abstain in a separate vote on the EEA.
LABOUR’S Brexit chief has admitted the party’s MPs are split down the middle over how close Britain should stay to the EU. Its pro-EU backbenchers are seething at Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to join forces with rebel Tories next week to force the government to join the EEA. Labour’s pro-EU backbenchers are angered by Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to deal with rebel Tories next week to pressure the government to join the EEA The move would keep the UK in the Single Market and tied to Brussels’ edicts such as free movement. But up to a quarter of all Labour MPs are expected to defy their leader during a showdown vote next week on the landmark Brexit Withdrawal Bill to vote for EEA membership anyway. Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer confessed that there was no consensus in the party on how to interpret the landmark referendum result.
A “large number” of Labour MPs will rebel against Jeremy Corbyn’s new Brexit position and back full membership of the single market instead, Chuka Umunna has claimed. Europhiles on the opposition benches were angered when Mr Corbyn announced on Tuesday night that he would not back an attempt by the House of Lords to keep the UK in the single market via the European Economic Area (EEA), the “Norway option”. Mr Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham, said that he would back the Lords amendment to the government’s Brexit legislation, the withdrawal bill, when it returns to the Commons next week, and that a large number would do the same.
Sajid Javid has said he wants to introduce a “fairer, more compassionate” immigration system that allows staff greater freedom to use their common sense, as he acknowledged widespread failings within the Home Office. The home secretary said something went “massively” wrong at the department in its handling of the Windrush scandal, and that the treatment of those affected had not been “personal enough and not sympathetic enough”. During a gruelling two-hour appearance at parliament’s joint human rights select committee, Javid was told of a litany of mistakes by Home Office staff that led to the detention of at least two Windrush victims, despite them repeatedly pointing out that they had lived in the UK legally for over 50 years.
Theresa May will give the NHS a ‘significant increase’ in funding to mark its 70th birthday this year, Jeremy Hunt has said. The Health Secretary said he has been making the case for the service to have extra cash pumped into it ahead of the milestone next month. He also wants the NHS to be given ten-year budgets so that that the service is put on a long-term financial footing rather than yoyo-ing from feast to famine. The Prime Minister has faced mounting pressure to find extra money for the NHS ahead of the milestone anniversary next month. Health chiefs say it must get four per cent yearly increase in funds if the UK wants to keep the same health standards it has. Chancellor Philip Hammond is understood to be resisting calls to pump that much extra money into the NHS.
The antibiotics crisis is getting worse despite GPs being told to stop handing them out, an official report has warned. There are growing concerns that the drugs are losing their power to the extent they can no longer treat many infections. Experts say this is because they have been so overused by doctors in the past that bacteria have evolved to become resistant.GPs have been told to slash their use and stop prescribing them for common infections including sore throats and earaches. A Government-commissioned report warns that despite these efforts resistance ‘continues to increase’. ‘Current infection prevention and control practices are not adequately working to prevent such infections and outbreaks,’ said a report from the Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Prescribing, Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection which was uncovered by Pulse magazine. ‘
The prime minister will give the NHS a “significant increase” in its budget as part of a “birthday present” as it turns 70 in July, the health secretary said (Anna Behrmann writes). Theresa May understood that the service needed extra funds to tackle chronic under-staffing, cope with the ageing population and improve care, Jeremy Hunt said. Mrs May will fulfil her pledge of a “long-term plan” for NHS funding by reviewing the 1 per cent annual rise it has had since 2010. Mr Hunt told The Guardian: “I’ve been making the NHS’s case that we need significant and sustainable funding increases to meet the demographic challenges we face, and the prime minister completely appreciates that.”
More than 1.5million Brits are living in destitution, a shock report warns today (THU). The Government was last night (WED) urged to take to take immediate action to tackle the crisis by reforming the social security system. Of the 1,550,000 suffering in “shameful” squalor, 365,000 are children, the dossier said. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) found that the destitute often went without food, heating or lighting in their home and sometimes slept rough. The charity said social security policies often led to destitution “by design”, leaving people without support when they most needed it. Low benefit levels, delays in receiving benefits, harsh debt recovery practices and high housing costs were blamed for tipping people into destitution.