House of Lords
Theresa May’s treatment of parliament was compared to Hitler’s assault on German democracy yesterday as the government suffered another defeat on its flagship Brexit legislation. Peers voted by a majority of 91 in the House of Lords to give parliament a decisive say on the outcome of the final Brexit negotiations, including in the event of a “no deal”. It was one of nine defeats now inflicted on the government during the report stage of the bill that ministers will now have to seek to overturn when it returns to the House of Commons this month. The vote was overshadowed by an acrimonious exchange between Remain and Brexiteer supporters.
Theresa May was likened to Adolf Hitler last night as peers handed the Government another defeat over Brexit. The House of Lords voted to give Parliament the power to force ministers to reopen talks if MPs reject Mrs May’s deal with Brussels. Nineteen rebel Tories backed the amendment, which was passed by 335 votes to 244. If it is not overturned by the Commons, Mrs May will lose the option of walking away with no deal –potentially meaning Britain may never leave the EU at all. Lord Roberts of Llandudno, a Lib Dem peer, claimed during the debate that the UK could follow the path of Nazi Germany unless the Prime Minister’s powers were curtailed. But a Conservative peer said the House of Lords had become a ‘cosy cabal of Remain’ – tying the Government’s hands in a bid to block Brexit.
Theresa May has suffered a crucial Brexit defeat after the House of Lords voted to kill off any prospect of the UK crashing out of the EU with “no deal”. Peers voted by 335 votes to 244 to ensure parliament – rather than the government – decides the next steps if the prime minister’s exit deal is rejected in the autumn. Unless the defeat is overturned in the Commons, it increases the chances of softening the deal and sending the government back to the negotiating table if the agreement is rejected. Earlier, Lord Callanan, a Brexit minister, refused to commit to reversing the vote, saying: “Let’s wait and see what happens – then we will decide our position in the House of Commons.”
The Government has accused the House of Lords of seeking to give Parliament the chance to stop the UK leaving the EU altogether after peers inflicted yet another defeat on key Brexit legislation. In the latest of a series of amendments peers have made to the EU Withdrawal Bill, the House of Lords supported giving Parliament the power to shape the Brexit process, including if MPs reject the outcome of the Government’s negotiations with Brussels. With the support of 19 Conservative rebels, peers backed the amendment by 335 to 244, a majority of 91, to deliver the seventh defeat for the Government on the bill in the House of Lords. The Tory peers to back the amendment included ex-deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine and former ministers Lord Patten of Barnes and Lord Willetts. However, Brexit minister Steve Baker signalled the Government will attempt to overturn the amendment when the EU Withdrawal Bill returns to the House of Commons.
The out-of-control Europhile Lords have struck again, this time voting for an amendment that will enable Remoaners in Parliament to determine what happens next if MPs reject Theresa May’s UK-EU Brexit deal. Peers voted for the amendment by 335 to 244. During the debate, Lord Fairfax of Cameron hit out at the “wrecking amendment” and described the House of Lords as a “cosy cabal of Remain”. Prime Minister’s Spokesman had laid out the danger of the amendment, saying: “What this amendment would do is weaken the UK’s hand in the Brexit negotiations by giving Parliament unprecedented powers to instruct the government to do anything in regard to the negotiations, including trying to keep the UK in the EU indefinitely.” The House of Lords have way overstepped the mark this time. Time to abolish.
The government has suffered a heavy defeat on a crucial Lords vote that could pave the way for parliament to send ministers back to the Brussels negotiations if MPs vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Labour said the amendment, which is the seventh Lords defeat for the government on the EU withdrawal bill, would effectively prevent Britain crashing out of the EU with no deal. The cross-party amendment was supported by 19 Tory rebels, winning by a majority of 91. Ministers have previously warned that should parliament vote down the deal agreed by negotiators, Britain would leave the bloc with no agreement. The amendment, led by former Tory minister Douglas Hogg, would change that scenario, meaning parliament could alter it and ask the government to reopen EU talks.
A CONSERVATIVE peer ripped into colleagues in the House of Lords for the “appalling lengths die-hard Remainers” will go to thwart the will of the British people. The House of Lords handed Prime Minister Theresa May a crushing defeat which could allow Parliament to set the terms of Brexit. An amendment to the Government’s Withdrawal Bill was backed in the House of Lords in a bid to give Parliament the power to set the direction of Brexit if politicians reject deal agreed by Theresa May. Mrs May would also lose the power of pulling Britain away from the European Union without a deal if placed into law. Speaking in the House of Lords, former Conservative Party leader, Lord Howard ripped into the proposed amendment before the vote. He said: “The truth of the matter is my Lords, a great deal has been spoken about the House of Commons.
There it is: Lord Bilimoria lets the cat out of the bag in the Lords and admits “It is parliament thanks to this amendment that will have the ability to stop the train crash that is Brexit”. Jenny Jones responds to the Remainiac Lords by telling them their bonkers speeches have put her off voting for their amendment.
Theresa May is considering signing up Britain to a catch-all agreement with Brussels that Brexiteers fear will amount to “EU Mark II”. Mrs May has told ministers that the UK could “potentially” accept an association agreement with the EU, which critics say would make Britain a “rule taker” from Europe. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, and David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, are also open to the idea, which was first raised at a meeting of the Cabinet’s Brexit sub-committee last week. Mr Hammond said it would “save time” to sign up to something the EU is already familiar with, while Mr Davis also said such an arrangement could work.
THERESA May will commit a “catastrophic error” if she rushes the UK into a trade deal with the United States before cementing a comprehensive trade strategy for Brexit Britain, a parliamentary committee has warned. The US is the Government’s top priority for a trade agreement following EU withdrawal, and President Donald Trump has said he anticipates a “great” transatlantic deal. But Theresa May has been warned she risks freezing Europe out of future trade deals if she quickly turns to the US. The chairman of the International Trade Committee, Angus MacNeil, warned it would be a “catastrophic error” to begin negotiations before drawing up a strategy based on evidence.
Sajid Javid was under pressure to prove his Eurosceptic credentials last night by helping to block a Government ‘fudge’ on Britain’s exit from the EU’s customs union. Downing Street yesterday confirmed that the new Home Secretary will replace Amber Rudd on Theresa May’s Brexit ‘war cabinet’, which meets to discuss future customs arrangements tomorrow. Mr Javid backed Remain at the 2016 referendum, but friends say privately he is a lifelong Eurosceptic. Since Miss Rudd was a Remainer he could tip the balance on the 11-strong Cabinet committee that sets Brexit policy. A Whitehall source said Mr Javid’s interventions at meetings of the full Cabinet had become ‘much more Brexit-y’ in recent months.
BRUSSELS has denied hatching a secret plot to exploit the Irish border and keep Britain in a customs union. Chief negotiator Michel Barnier today insisted he was not attempting to pressure Theresa May into softening her red lines. And speaking alongside him Ireland’s leader Leo Varadkar rebuffed suggestions Dublin is involved in a “land grab” from the UK. During a joint appearance in the border town of Dundalk the pair heaped pressure on Mrs May to come up with a “workable” alternative to eurocrats’ backstop or face a crisis point in the talks. Under Brussels’ plan, which has been branded unacceptable by the PM, if a deal to keep the border open can’t be reached Northern Ireland will stay in parts of the Single Market and Customs Union.
MICHEL Barnier today denied he was trying to use the Northern Ireland for Brexit “revenge” on the UK as he made a grandstanding visit to the Irish border. The EU’s chief negotiator was given a cold welcome in Northern Ireland where Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster said he was not an “honest broker” and did not understand Ulster’s “wider unionist culture”. Mr Barnier was in Ireland to try to push Britain into accepting a solution where Northern Ireland joins Ireland and the EU in a customs union and effectively breaks off with the rest of the UK. The DUP and leading Tories have branded the land grab “unacceptable” while Theresa May has said no British Prime Minister would ever agree to it. The visit was part of a wider push by Brussels to force the UK to stay tied to EU rule in a form of customs union which would mean Britain would have no control over its trade policy.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has denied Arlene Foster’s claims that he has been “aggressive” towards Northern Ireland unionists in the Brexit talks. It comes after the DUP leader said Michel Barnier did not understand the dispute and was not an “honest broker”. Mr Barnier said he was not ready to engage in “polemics” with Mrs Foster. Monday marks the start of Michel Barnier’s two-day visit to Ireland, which comes amid rising tensions over the future UK-Ireland border.
Michel Barnier has warned of the risk of a hard border returning in Ireland. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator urged rapid movement on the vexed issue ahead of this June’s meeting of the bloc’s leaders. He also said there could be no withdrawal deal without a “backstop” option, meaning if no better solution is found Northern Ireland would continue to follow EU rules relating to the all-Ireland economy and North-South co-operation. Mr Barnier said: “The backstop is not there to change the UK’s red lines. It is there because of the UK’s red lines. “The UK’s decision to leave the single market and the customs union creates a risk that the hard border will return. This is why it is necessary to have a self-standing backstop solution.”
The Brexit talks are at risk of collapsing over the future of the Irish border, the EU’s chief negotiator said yesterday. During a visit to Ireland, Michel Barnier urged Theresa May to reconsider introducing a border in the Irish Sea. He called for a “clear and operational solution for Ireland” to be included in the Brexit deal, adding: “Until we reach this agreement, there is a risk [of no deal].” Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, warned that Britain’s “approach to negotiations will need to change in some way” if there is to be agreement over the issue. The EU and Ireland are pressing the UK to spell out its plans for the Irish border before a key European summit.
Britain and the EU need to reach an agreement on the key points of the Brexit Northern Ireland border issue by June, Michel Barnier has said. The EU’s chief negotiator, who was speaking at a conference in the Irish border town of Dundalk, warned that talks were at risk of collapse if no agreement was made on a “backstop” to prevent a hard border. British negotiators are apparently working to a different timetable to the European Commission, with David Davis having said he wants the issue resolved by October. Mr Barnier’s comments come after a lack of progress on the border issue in talks this year, with just two months remaining until the June meeting of the European Council. “We need to agree rapidly by June the scope of alignment, what I call the safety controls that are … to respect the single market,” he said.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has warned that talks are at risk if the UK does not soften its red line on the Irish border issue. Speaking to reporters on his third visit to Ireland since the referendum, Michel Barnier said he was “not optimistic” and “not pessimistic” but “determined” that the two sides can break the current impasse on talks. He repeated recent declarations that unless Britain came up with fresh thinking on how to avoid a hard border by the June EU council summit, further talks were in danger of collapsing. “Until we reach this agreement and this operational solution for Northern Ireland, a backstop [solution], and we are ready for any proposal … there is a risk, a real risk,” he said.
Poland’s Foreign Minister has said his country will oppose a new European Union plan to change the way funding is allocated within the bloc, effectively cutting access to money to nations who oppose Brussels mass migration directives. The proposals on changing the way the European Union distributes cash it takes from the governments of member states were revealed in leaked documents in April, which themselves followed comments by German Chancellor Angela Merkel promising that in future EU money would be linked with nations accepting third world migrants. Responding to the coming change in EU policy, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz told the Associated Press that the change was the Union exerting unfair political pressure that would hurt nations like Poland, while giving other EU nations with different problems a free pass.
Plans to replace council tax put forward by a Left-wing campaign group could see thousands of families forced to pay more than £10,000 a year. The Labour Land Campaign (LLC) – which has been praised by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell – wants a new levy based on the value of land a home is built on. According to the group’s documents, homeowners in council tax Band D properties, who currently pay an average of £1,671, would see an average rise under a ‘land value tax’ of £717 to £2,388 – up 43 per cent. LLC suggests charging as much as £96,534 a year for a three-bedroom home in the richest part of London. Residents of Band D homes in parts of Manchester would pay £11,239 per year and those in Bristol £9,567.
SCOTLAND Yard is investigating 65 allegations of voting corruption in London ahead of Thursday’s local elections. Forty of the claims centre on the borough of Tower Hamlets, which has been the focus of electoral fraud and wrongdoing in the past. One allegation is understood to involve a candidate with links to the borough’s disgraced former mayor, Lutfur Rahman. He was banned from holding office for five years in 2015 after being found to have engaged in “corrupt and illegal” practices while in power. Sources allege the candidate has persuaded voters to hand over blank postal vote forms, in breach of rules.
New figures show that weekend timetables are heavily disrupted by engineering work, with more than a fifth of trains failing to run as planned on Saturdays and Sundays over the past year. Network Rail admitted that 22 per cent of weekend timetables were ditched, against a target of 10 per cent. Buses were used for an average of 17,050 hours a month over 12 months compared with 10,500 a month at the start of the decade, data from Network Rail shows. The government insists that the network is undergoing its biggest modernisation since the Victorian era.
Round-the-clock trains could be introduced in Britain amid demands for a more modern rail service, according to the head of Network Rail. The government-funded company said that it was overhauling its system of inspecting and repairing Britain’s railway to ultimately prepare for trains running through the night. In an interview with The Times, Mark Carne, chief executive, said that he expected trains to run 24 hours a day on the mainline network in the “not too distant future”. The move follows the introduction of a 24-hour service on five London Underground lines in 2016 and the recent expansion of the extended hours to two overground lines in the capital. Some trains also serve Gatwick and Manchester airports at night.