THE QUEEN appeared to change the wording of Boris Johnson’s Brexit promise on taking the UK out of the EU by October 31 as she delivered her speech at the State Opening of Parliament. Her Majesty outlined the Government’s agenda for the next 12 months this morning, where almost a third of the 26 new laws announced were dedicated to cracking down on crime. The opening line of the speech mentioned the Government’s “priority” of securing the UK’s exit from the EU by the Halloween deadline. But the free trade deal mentioned, which is due to make up the content of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, has not been agreed with Brussels.
Boris Johnson loaded the Queen’s Speech with measures to fight crime and improve the NHS yesterday as he prepared to step up efforts to secure an early election. The prime minister unveiled 26 bills, including tougher sentences for violent offenders and measures to improve patient safety, that he said reflected the “people’s priorities”. MPs are all but certain to reject his legislative programme a week today, however. Downing Street said yesterday that Mr Johnson, who has yet to win a Commons vote, would not resign should he suffer the first defeat of a Queen’s Speech since 1924.
BORIS Johnson is to force a showdown with deadlocked Parliament by daring MPs to vote down his new laws ahead of a winter general election. A total of seven new bills from the Queen’s Speech will be introduced to Parliament today, covering voter-friendly subjects from the environment to sentencing and broadband. The PM is also pressing ahead with pushing his entire new legislative agenda – unveiled by the monarch yesterday – to a crunch vote on Tuesday next week.
Police will be able to arrest foreign suspects on the spot under a crime crackdown which the Conservatives hope will establish them as the party of law and order. The bill means officers will not need a warrant if they know a foreign national is wanted for a serious crime. The move addresses some of the effects of a no-deal Brexit, which police had feared would make it impossible to detain people wanted by EU states. Priti Patel, home secretary, has prepared emergency legislation to be rushed through parliament in time for the October 31 deadline.
BORIS Johnson is ready to REJECT an offer of a short extension to Article 50 as he insists of sticking by his pledge of taking the UK out of the EU by October 31, Number 10 has said. The EU is ready to continue Brexit negotiations until Wednesday in a clear indication that a deal could be near – and also accepts Northern Ireland can leave the Customs Union at a time of its choosing in a key concession to Boris Johnson – but Mr Johnson is not minded to accept any further delay.
A deal to smooth Britain’s departure from the European Union hung in the balance on Monday after diplomats indicated the bloc wanted more concessions from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and said a full agreement was unlikely this week. As the Brexit maelstrom spins, Johnson and EU leaders face a tumultuous week of reckoning that could decide whether the divorce is orderly, acrimonious or delayed yet again.
Boris Johnson is edging towards the parliamentary numbers needed to pass a Brexit deal after more hardline Eurosceptics and pro-deal Labour MPs indicated they could back a new agreement made with the EU. The prime minister will need to win over almost all the 28 Tory “Spartans” who held out against Theresa May’s deal if he manages to bring an agreement back from Brussels, as well as either the Democratic Unionist party or a chunk of Labour backbenchers.
A BREXIT deal could go down to the October 31 wire after No10 admitted for the first time that one may not be done by this week’s EU summit deadline. A meeting of Europe’s 28 leaders in Brussels on Thursday is the last moment to agree an exit package before a law by MPs to delay our EU exit by three months kicks in. Lowering expectations ahead of it, the PM’s official spokesman said: “We want to make progress at the council.” If there is no deal in place by the end of the summit, Mr Johnson faces a titanic battle with Parliament to overturn the law that will see UK membership extended until January 31.
The “rebel alliance” of former Tory MPs is preparing to force Boris Johnson to request a Brexit delay even if he succeeds in getting a deal through the Commons this weekend. The prime minister will ask MPs to back any deal he secures from Brussels within 24 hours of the European summit as parliament sits on a Saturday for the first time in nearly 40 years. However, 21 former Tory MPs are concerned that even if Mr Johnson succeeds in getting his deal through the Commons there may not be enough time to ratify legislation required to implement it before October 31.
Former Tory leadership contender Sam Gyimah has called Boris Johnson‘s potential new Brexit deal “worse” than Theresa May’s, as the plans are discussed by EU member states. Foreign ministers from the EU 27 are meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss the proposals ahead of a European Council summit later in the week. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said talks between officials over the weekend had proved “constructive”, but told officials from the countries that “a lot of work remains to be done”.
MICHEL BARNIER has warned EU capitals it will be “very difficult” to strike a Brexit deal in time for this week’s European leaders summit unless Boris Johnson offers further concessions. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, told senior EU diplomats that the UK’s customs proposals are still “unacceptable” in their current form. Brussels is also unsatisfied with the amount of progress made across the weekend. Mr Barnier told senior diplomats there had “not been as much progress” as he had hoped for and future negotiations will be “difficult”.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will update EU ministers on the state of negotiations today, following a warning that there may not be time for a deal before this week’s deadline. On Monday senior EU figures suggested talks to broker an agreement would not be finished before a major summit on Thursday and Friday this week, forcing Boris Johnson to ask for a delay to Brexit. That has been tipped as the last point a deal can be signed off before the Saturday 19 October deadline MPs gave the prime minister to secure one.
EU leaders have told Boris Johnson there is no way to strike a Brexit agreement before this week’s summit, destroying his hopes of presenting a deal to parliament at a special sitting on Saturday. Finland’s Prime Minister Antti Rinne, whose government currently holds the rotating EU presidency, warned there was no “practical or legal way” to find an agreement before Thursday’s meeting of EU leaders in Brussels – while Spain’s foreign minister said “more time” could be needed.
It’s extremely hard to see how a new Brexit deal can still be agreed by this Thursday. Negotiations continue – but time is tight, and, to use the words of even the most upbeat of those involved, “there’s still much work to do”. EU internal talk is focussing now on a possible “holding pattern statement” at this week’s EU leaders summit, along the lines of “we’ve made great progress in negotiations but still need more time”.
THE STRONG performance of the right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) in yesterday’s Polish general election has “disastrous implications” for the European Union, a political commentator has warned. Another analyst said PiS – which is tipped to scoop almost 45 percent of the vote, a result which would translate to an absolute majority in the Sejm, the country’s lower house of parliament – had capitalised on a badly fractured opposition to strengthen its power base.
A Brexit deal appears to be taking shape after sources on both sides of the Channel said a positive day of negotiations had yielded a potential solution to the Northern Irish border problem. Sources in Brussels and London told The Telegraph there was “cautious optimism” that a narrow path to a deal could now be appearing – a marked shift in tone from the downbeat assessment from the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Sunday.
Dublin today injected fresh optimism into ongoing Brexit talks as the Irish deputy prime minister said a divorce deal could still be agreed before a crunch EU summit on Thursday. Simon Coveney sounded a positive note as he told reporters this morning he believed ‘a deal is possible’ and that an accord ‘may even be possible this week’. However, he also warned that ‘we’re not there yet’ as time runs out ahead of a meeting of European leaders in Brussels at the end of the week.
Members of loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland have threatened action if Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal devalues the status of Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom. Speaking to The Times on Sunday, well-known loyalist Robert Girvan said: “I can’t see loyalism of any strand just walking into a situation where there is any type of economic union with the Irish Republic. I was talking to someone who said we’ll see how hard the border is if bombs start going off in Limerick.”
Jeremy Corbyn suggested he will agree to a general election within ‘weeks’ today as he lashed out at the ‘farce’ of the Queen’s Speech. Speaking in the Commons after the State Opening of Parliament, the Labour leader insisted Boris Johnson knows he cannot get any of the draft legislation unveiled by the monarch through. But heckled by Tories that he was preventing the government from going to the country, Mr Corbyn said he had committed to supporting a ballot as soon as a No Deal Brexit is ruled out.
Labour are making a song and dance about the government stamping down on voter fraud by introducing voter ID. Labour say this will stop poor people, young and people of colour without passports from voting. The government is offering free-of-charge voter photo ID to stop the kind of electoral fraud that is common and difficult to prove… Labour Conferences require photographic ID together with written delegate applications which are further vetted by the police. The cheapest costs £30.
The chancellor will announce this year’s budget only six days after Britain’s scheduled departure from the European Union. Sajid Javid said that he would use the event to set out the government’s domestic policy agenda, with a focus on an “infrastructure revolution” as the Conservatives gear up for an election. It is likely to be one of the biggest giveaway budgets in recent memory. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the government’s official forecaster, has been told to prepare its forecasts on the same Brexit assumptions as those that were used for Theresa May’s government, which assumed that there would be a smooth transition to a deal.
Sajid Javid has announced the government will hold a budget on 6 November, less than a week after a possible no-deal departure from the EU. In an attempt to ramp up pressure during 11th-hour Brexit talks and as an election looms, the chancellor said the set-piece tax and spending event would be the first since the UK left the EU. “I will be setting out our plan to shape the economy for the future and triggering the start of our infrastructure revolution. This is the right and responsible thing to do – we must get on with governing,” he said.
Boris Johnson‘s government will announce a new budget on 6 November, Sajid Javid has said. The chancellor suggested his first budget would take place after Brexit, despite parliament passing a rebel bill that compels ministers to request an extension of article 50 by 31 October. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, a Treasury source said Mr Javid would be likely to rip up the plans and deliver an emergency statement, with a Budget to follow within a few weeks.
Nurses, pharmacists and physiotherapists could get more powers to prescribe medicines while online chemists face tighter scrutiny as Boris Johnson praised the NHS as an “emotional force to bring our country together”. Mr Johnson said he had seen the “wonder of our NHS” as he laid the groundwork for an election campaign presenting the Conservatives as defenders of the health service.
More than half of A&E units are failing as hospitals buckle under pressure from the broken social care system, a damning report warns today. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found standards of care in casualty wards has plummeted in the last year – with 52 per cent now rated as either inadequate or requiring improvement. The watchdog’s annual report said inadequate social care is forcing patients to go to A&E because it is ‘the only part of the system where doors are always open’.
Inspectors say they are increasingly concerned about the pressure on NHS hospitals as new figures show more than half of A&E departments are inadequate or require improvement. The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) annual state of care report found that emergency care standards have slipped over the last year, with A&E departments the most likely part of a hospital to be ranked inadequate. The CQC also warned of a “perfect storm” across health and social care where people cannot access care, or where the care comes too late to meet their needs.
HALF of Britain’s A&E units are failing to hit quality standards ahead of a winter onslaught. Watchdogs warn the NHS is facing a “perfect storm” of increased demand and workforce challenges. The Care Quality Commission said a lack of access to GPs or social care adds to the problem. Its Ofsted-style checks rated 52 per cent of emergency units as “inadequate” or “requiring improvement”. Just four of 210 were found to be “outstanding”.
The health watchdog has warned that A&E departments are under “tremendous pressure”, with more than half now deemed inadequate or in need of improvement. The Care Quality Commission’s annual State of Care report also warned of a “perfect storm” across health and social care where people cannot access the services they need or where care is provided too late. The regulator found that A&E standards had slipped over the past year and that emergency departments were the most likely part of a hospital to be ranked as inadequate.
Millions of Britons are struck down by flu each winter and thousands die, despite a jab being available. Even when people have the jab, problems with its efficacy mean it often fails to protect against the virus. But could this year be different? The release of a new, improved vaccine may mean we are better protected than before against flu. Britain is the first country in Europe to introduce the Flucelvax Tetra jab.
More parents are home-schooling their children as a “last resort” because local schools are failing them, Ofsted has said. Inadequate special needs provision or a breakdown in relations with parents were often found to be behind the decision, the watchdog said in a report. It added that it was particularly concerned by the rise in off-rolling, in which parents are persuaded to remove disruptive or academically weak children to enhance a school’s league table performance.
Parents are claiming their children are home-schooled to dodge fines for truancy. Families can be charged £60 if a pupil skips school without permission. Failure to pay can lead to prosecution and even jail. An Ofsted report has found that the threat of fines and court encourages some parents to pull out of formal schooling altogether. One parent told the watchdog: ‘I have been forced into doing it because there was no other option. If I didn’t I’d end up with a fine or prison.’
Racism in sport
Racists 0 England 6. Gareth Southgate’s dignified, fired-up players made what he called a “big statement” last night, but really this game should have been ended the moment the monkey chants started. England should have walked. They could have made an even bigger statement. After two stoppages, following the racist abuse of Tyrone Mings, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, England were given the option of walking off before half-time. Each player was adamant about wanting to stay on, and one has to admire their defiance and courage, but they are assuming that Uefa will take significant action.
England’s black players who were targeted with vile racist abuse tonight silenced Bulgarian fans with a 6-0 rout in a game which was halted twice by the referee because of the chants. Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling scored while Tyrone Mings enjoyed a fine debut in defence, despite all three being the subject of jeering, monkey chants and Nazi salutes from the home fans. After the Bulgarian FA rubbishing Gareth Southgate’s concerns about racism before the Euro 2020 qualifier tonight, it took only 30 minutes for official Ivan Bebel to stop the game after being alerted by Mings about the abuse.
England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions following complaints of racist chanting in the stands. The visiting coaching staff reported regular alleged monkey chants made towards England players during the first-half in Sofia. As part of the official protocol, if the game was halted for a third time, then it would be halted but the qualifier did last the full 90 minutes. Following the final whistle, the Football Association released a statement, it read: “The FA can confirm that England players were subjected to abhorrent racist chanting while playing in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria.
Gareth Southgate has praised his England players for sticking together through an “impossible situation” amid racist abuse from sections of Bulgaria fans in Sofia. The Three Lions emerged with a big 6-0 win on Monday night, but the main talking point of the Euro 2020 qualifier came off the pitch as home fans subjected England’s players to racist abuse.