Post-Brexit trade

Theresa May is seeking freedom for businesses to operate within the European Union’s single market, her spokeswoman said on Monday when asked what kind of trade deal the prime minister was seeking after leaving the EU. “I think the PM has said many times that she wants the UK to be the global champion for free trade, that she wants British companies to have the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the European single market,” May’s spokeswoman said in response to a question on whether she wanted Britain to stay inside the EU’s customs union. On Sunday, a cabinet minister said Britain had told Nissan it would aim for tariff-free trade with Europe for the motor industry after Brexit, persuading the Japanese company to invest in the country’s biggest car plant.

Britain’s pharmaceutical and aerospace industries, both big exporters, are stepping up pressure on the government for assurances about their future after last week’s post-Brexit deal with carmaker Nissan. The two sectors, which have been talking to ministers since the summer, are pressing their case after written assurances by business secretary Greg Clark persuaded Nissan to invest in the country’s biggest car plant, industry officials said. Pharma and aerospace companies share the motor industry’s worries about trade barriers once Britain leaves the European Union, but they also have deep concerns about regulation, their ability to recruit foreign staff and loss of EU science funding.

Theresa May is seeking freedom for businesses to operate within the European Union’s single market, her spokeswoman said on Monday when asked what kind of trade deal the prime minister was seeking after leaving the EU. I think the PM has said many times that she wants the UK to be the global champion for free trade, that she wants British companies to have the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the European single market,” May’s spokeswoman said in response to a question on whether she wanted Britain to stay inside the EU’s customs union. On Sunday, a cabinet minister said Britain had told Nissan it would aim for tariff-free trade with Europe for the motor industry after Brexit, persuading the Japanese company to invest in the country’s biggest car plant.

Northern Ireland

Sky News
Ireland’s Prime Minister will today host an unprecedented cross-border summit to address fears about the impact of Brexit on travel, trade, the economy and security. Enda Kenny TD has invited political parties, business leaders, security chiefs and other experts to participate in an “All Island Civic Dialogue” in Dublin. “It’s more of a listening exercise from political parties because we need to hear the voice of retail, the voice of trade, of commerce, of the construction sector, education and all of these areas, north and south,” he said. With bilateral trade between them topping £1.35bn a week, the Irish fear the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union could devastate their economy.

Labour Party

LABOUR’S Brexit chief today brushed aside the protestations of hapless Jeremy Corbyn to insist the party will press for an end to complete freedom of movement for EU citizens. Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, who has taken over as the party’s de facto leader on the issue of Europe, said there “has to be change” to unlimited mass migration following voters’ decision to leave the bloc. In a direct challenge to the authority of bumbling left-winger Mr Corbyn, who has said freedom of movement is not a problem, the moderate MP called on Labour colleagues to “accept” the result of the referendum. The outspoken intervention is the latest sign the party is finally beginning to understand the high levels of public concern over the impact of immigration, and comes after key figures like Chuka Umunna and Rachel Reeves called for tougher border controls.

UKIP Leadership

A UKIP leadership hopeful has spoken of his hopes for his party replacing Labour as the “official opposition” in the UK. He also addressed comments made by fellow party member Raheem Kassam, who pulled out in the race to become Ukip leader as he was not “satisfied about the integrity of the process”. Speaking to presenter Jo Coburn on BBC Two’s Daily Politics on Monday, Mr Whittle insisted there was nothing to suggest any improper conduct with regards to the leadership contest. It’s all being done very, very fairly and professionally – there’s no question about that,” he said. It’s not a picture I recognise, the whole progress of the leadership campaign has been very, very smooth this time.”


TOP European Union boss Jean-Claude Juncker is at the centre of a row over whether a tiny Belgian region was warned there would be “consequences” if it continued to block a flagship trade deal. The EU and Canada yesterday signed a free trade agreement that has taken seven years to reach, although it still won’t fully come into force until it clears around 40 national and regional parliaments across the bloc in the coming years. The most recent blockage to a deal being reached came from southern Belgium’s Wallonia region, which makes up less than one per cent of the 508million EU citizens. Although the region’s socialist-dominated local parliament ended its opposition to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement’s (CETA) to allow Sunday’s agreement, one of its leading figures has hit out at “pressure” applied on Wallonia’s representatives to reverse their objections.


Morning Star
HEALTH Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested yesterday that hospitals should sell their land to bridge the gaps in NHS funding. He mooted a fire-sale after fellow Tory MP Sarah Wollaston brought the government to task in an emergency question to the Commons over how much he claims the Department of Health gave the NHS. Dr Wollaston — a former GP and now the head of the health select committee — wrote to Chancellor Philip Hammond this week saying it was wrong for ministers to give the impression that the health service is “awash with cash.” The government claims to have given the NHS an extra £10 billion over five years.

Theresa May’s “incorrect” claim she is pumping £10bn into the NHS risks misleading the public, two powerful Tory MPs warn today. They say the figure gives the “false impression” the health service is “awash with cash” and have demanded fresh funding in next month’s Autumn Statement. Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Commons Health Committee, joins Tory committee member Dr James Davies in the mutiny today against Chancellor Philip Hammond. The Prime Minister and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have repeatedly made the £10bn spending claim.

Sky News
The Government’s claim that it is investing billions more in the NHS is “incorrect”, a group of top MPs has claimed. In a strongly worded letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond, the group accused the Government of wrongly claiming it is going to raise spending on the NHS in England by £10bn over the next five years. Five MPs led by Conservative Dr Sarah Wollaston, the chair of the Commons Health Select Committee, have warned Mr Hammond the figure was misleading the public about the state of the NHS’ finances at a time when funding pressures were threatening to become “overwhelming”

Labour has asked the UK Statistics Authority to investigate Theresa May’s statement that the government is giving the NHS an extra £10bn. Jonathan Ashworth , the shadow health secretary, has written to the watchdog after five members of the Commons health select committee criticised the prime minister’s statement as “incorrect” and said it suggested the cash-strapped health service was “awash with cash”. The authority, independent of the government but accountable to parliament, seeks “to promote and safeguard the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good”. Its role is to ensure that official statistics used by Whitehall departments and the devolved administrations are accurate. I would be grateful if you would conduct an urgent inquiry into the government’s NHS spending plans and the accuracy of recent statements made by the prime minister and ministers, in particular claims that the NHS budget will increase in real terms by £10bn between 2014-15 and 2020-21,” Ashworth wrote in a letter to the authority’s chair, Sir Andrew Dilnot.

Jeremy Hunt has admitted his claim of an extra £10 billion for the NHS involves “painful” cuts in other health budgets, after heated Commons clashes. The Health Secretary was forced to make the concession after five senior MPs – including two Conservatives – accused him of misleading the public about the extra funding being put in. Led by the Dr Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative chairman of the Commons health select committee, the five wrote to the Chancellor, urging ministers to abandon the “incorrect” £10 billion claim. They say the figure has been fiddled by excluding money for recruiting and training NHS staff and – in particular – deep cuts to spending on improving public health. In the Commons, Labour said the only way to discredit the £10 billion figure further would be if Mr Hunt put it “on the side of a bus and got the Foreign Secretary to drive it”

Up to 2,000 untrained nurses are to be installed in hospitals amid a desperate shortage of qualified staff. Dubbed ‘nursing on the cheap’, they will be responsible for giving patients potentially lethal drugs including morphine. They will also be asked to insert tubes and monitor patients’ breathing, temperature and heart rate to check they aren’t deteriorating. The so-called nursing associates will be deployed onto wards from January to start a two-year course, learning on the job. Critics fear they will be used by hospitals to replace qualified nurses who have spent at least three years at university and usually have several more years of experience on wards. The NHS is severely short of nurses and figures earlier this year revealed that as many as one in 10 posts are empty – equivalent to 23,500 full-time staff. This largely came about because the Government slashed the number of training places between 2010 and 2013, leading to a shortfall of nurses coming up from university.

Cyber attack

ITV News
The UK will “strike back” if it comes under cyber-attack, Chancellor Philip Hammond said as he announced cyber-defence funding will get a boost from a £1.9bn government security strategy. The package of measures are aimed at protecting the Government, businesses and citizens from online threats including state-sponsored hackers. Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer said: “No longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies, cyber-attacks are a reality and they are happening now. “Our adversaries are varied – organised criminal groups, ‘hactivists’, untrained teenagers and foreign states.” Ministers fear society is increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attack, with the rise in the numbers of devices linked to the internet potentially giving hackers a soft target.

Sky News
The UK will defend itself in cyberspace and “strike back” against those who try to harm the country, Chancellor Philip Hammond will say today as he announces a new national cyber security strategy. The strategy, running from 2016 to 2021, will be supported by a £1.9bn investment made in last year’s Defence and Security Review. The amount is more than double the period covered by the previous strategy. Three areas are identified by the strategy: defence, deter and develop. Defence involves protecting critical national infrastructure in areas such as energy and transport, as well as Government websites, with automated techniques.

Hackers have sent fake emails pretending to be from the Government to more than 50,000 Britons a day in a tax refund scam. The bogus communication was asking for personal details in order to reclaim money – and took six weeks to close down. Details of the cyber attack, which peaked in September, emerged as the Government grows increasingly alarmed at the scale of attempted online fraud. Ministers are due to announce today a £2billion plan to fight cyber attacks by criminals and hostile states like Russia and China. Officials believe reliance on modern technology has made the UK ‘increasingly vulnerable’, with vital infrastructure such as hospitals, power stations, airports and banks all being targeted.

The NHS is at risk of cyber attacks, a minister warns today as as he says that hacking is “no longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies” but a clear and present threat. Ben Gummer, minister for Cabinet, says in an article for The Telegraph that “large quantities of sensitive data” held by the NHS and the Government is being targeted by hackers. He warns that cyber attackers, including those working for foreign states, could try to “disrupt” Britain’s energy, water and transport networks. It comes as the Government today unveils plans to spend £1.9billion on enhancing Britain’s cyber security, amid concerns that “everywhere from the living room to the board room is exposed to malicious hackers”.

Britain will “strike back” against cyber attacks by foreign governments and criminal hackers, the chancellor is to pledge today. The country must take an aggressive approach to protect the economy, infrastructure and individuals’ privacy from hostile forces, Philip Hammond will say. The risk of hackers targeting air traffic control and power grid networks is one of the biggest concerns. Announcing a £1.9 billion programme to improve cyberdefences, Mr Hammond will make the government’s most explicit threat to deploy newly developed offensive capabilities against attackers, whether they be lone teenagers or foreign states.


RUSSIA is becoming “increasingly aggressive” – using spooks, cyber-attacks and propaganda to attack Britain – the head of MI5 has warned. The Security Service’s director general Andrew Parker said Russia had been a “covert threat” for decades. But there were now more methods available to Kremlin agents. Russian spies are operating in the UK right now, the spy chief revealed. MI5 will take on 1,000 more “James Bonds” in a bid to stop Russian plots. In an interview with the Guardian – the first time an MI5 director has spoken out while in office – Mr Parker said Moscow’s spies who were “at work across Europe and in the UK”. He said: “[Russia] is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways – involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. “Russia is at work across Europe and in the UK today. “It is MI5’s job to get in the way of that.”

Russia’s increasingly aggressive behaviour is a threat to the stability of the UK, the head of MI5 has said. Andrew Parker, the director general of the home intelligence service, gave the first interview by a serving spy chief in 107 years, and took aim at Moscow for escalating tensions at a time when the West was fighting Islamist extremists. He told the Guardian that Russia had plenty of spies still working in Britain but that the difference between today and the Cold War era was that it was also using the weapon of cyber warfare. Russia was targeting military secrets, industrial projects and economic information, he said.

Footballers’ poppies

ITV News
The Football Association is in talks with FIFA over whether players can wear poppies when England play Scotland at Wembley on 11 November in the World cup qualifier. A report in the Sun claims the game’s world governing body have banned the two teams from displaying poppies on their shirts during the game as political statements are not allowed. In 2011, FIFA eventually backed down after threatening to ban the England team from wearing poppies in a friendly against Spain, allowing them instead to display the symbol on black armbands. The match next month takes place on Armistice Day, when commemorations take place to remember the nation’s service-personnel killed in war.

Fans and veterans are furious over FIFA’s refusal to allow England and Scotland players to wear poppies on their shirts during a World Cup qualifier at Wembley next week. The two teams are due to meet at Wembley on Armistice Day itself – November 11 – but have been told they cannot have the famous symbol displayed on their shirts because it is a ‘political statement’. It is understood the world football governing body has not changed its position meaning the players will not be able to display the tribute to fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for Britain.

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