THERESA May last night told EU chiefs she will not give another inch on Brexit ahead of a crunch summit. The PM gave a blunt message to commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker and negotiator Michel Barnier over dinner in Brussels. Her declaration dramatically ups the stakes before a key meeting of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday. The 27 national bosses must decide when to move on to Brexit transition talks and a trade deal. Downing Street warned: “The Prime Minister has said on a number of occasions that the UK have made an offer. “She looks forward to the EU27 reciprocating. We want to move forward as quickly as possible.”
Theresa May’s hopes of breaking a deadlock in Brexit talks appeared to be given a boost after she and Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to “accelerate” negotiations. The Prime Minister flew out to dinner with Mr Juncker, the President of the European Commission, after a Brexit charm offensive with other EU leaders ahead of a summit on Thursday. On Monday she spoke to Emmanuel Macron, the French President and Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach. She called Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor at the weekend. In an apparent sign of more cordial relations Mr Juncker gave David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, a “bear hug” after the meeting. Mr Juncker earlier joked that there would be an “autopsy” in the wake of his meeting with Mrs May. But while Mrs May and Mr Juncker hailed the talks as “constructive and friendly”, the EU appeared to be hardening its position ahead of Thursday’s European Council summit.
Theresa May and EU President Jean-Claude Juncker have agreed that efforts to reach a deal in Brexit talks should “accelerate” over the coming months. The Prime Minister and Commission chief made the announcement following a working dinner in Brussels ahead of a crunch European Council summit. No details were available on what specific measures might be introduced to speed up the negotiations, which have so far happened face-to-face on four days every month. Despite the limited face-time, the latest round of negotiations was still dogged by “deadlock”, according to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier. There were no formal talks about the UK’s divorce bill during the week because of a lack of agreement, while no full negotiations were scheduled for Wednesday, reducing the length of discussions of other matters to three days.
Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker have agreed to “accelerate” talks in a bid to break the deadlock over Brexit . The Prime Minister and the European Commission chief held crunch talks over a “friendly” and “constructive” dinner in Brussels. But there was no suggestion that the dinner had broken the impasse. The two-hour dinner over ran the schedule by half an hour, and Juncker received a kiss from May as she left, as well as a hug from Brexit secretary David Davis, who was also present. A joint statement issued shortly afterwards said the meeting “took place in a constructive and friendly atmosphere”.
Theresa May won a commitment to ‘accelerate’ Brexit talks at a crucial dinner with top Eurocrats tonight. The Prime Minister has engaged in a high stakes diplomatic push to try and break the deadlock at this week EU‘s summit. Mrs May and her Brexit Secretary David Davis dined with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Monday evening. If she had walked away empty handed the dinner would have been seen as another failed gamble by the embattled PM. But a joint statement between Mrs May and Mr Juncker raised hopes of a new breakthrough in the talks. EU leaders remain unlikely to declare ‘sufficient progress’ has been made to start trade talks but a promise to ‘accelerate’ negotiations will raise hopes the EU will start preparing its position for when they do begin.
Theresa May’s last-ditch attempt to persuade European leaders to open talks on a transition period look doomed to fail as Downing Street appeared to rule out fresh concessions on the UK’s divorce bill and Brussels hardened its approach days away from a crunch summit. Calls to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, along with a 90-minute dinner in Brussels with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and his chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, failed to move the dial in the prime minister’s favour, with senior diplomats insisting the UK had not done enough. A joint statement from Juncker and the prime minister following their dinner gave no indication of any movement in the British government’s favour, but instead included reference to the sequenced approach to the talks insisted upon by Brussels.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s government fears Brexit talks will break down unless the European Union (EU) gives ground at a key summit this week, according to a person familiar with her team’s views. Without a clear sign that negotiations will progress to trade and transition arrangements by December at Thursday’s summit of EU leaders, the entire Brexit process will be in danger of collapse — and senior British ministers are losing faith in the EU’s willingness to strike a deal, the person said. The warning came as the Prime Minister met European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for talks over dinner in Brussels, in an attempt to smooth the path for progress at the summit in the Belgian capital starting Thursday. Afterwards, the pair said they’d had a “broad, constructive” meeting and agreed to step up attempts to reach a deal on the divorce.
Theresa May has been warned that parliament will “veto” a no-deal Brexit, as she makes an emergency trip to Brussels to try to break the deadlock in the talks. Ken Clarke, the veteran pro-EU Conservative, increased the pressure to do what is necessary to strike an agreement, ahead of the Prime Minister’s surprise dinner with the EU’s top officials. An amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill, co-tabled by Mr Clarke, would put into law Ms May’s plan for a two-year transition period – preventing Brexit if that transition is not agreed. Asked if MPs could stop a no-deal Brexit in that way, he vowed: “Parliament can veto anything it wants.” Mr Clarke – who insisted he was not trying to reverse Brexit, if there was a workable plan – said “only a handful of hard right-wing Eurosceptics think no deal is desirable”.
LABOUR’S leadership has slammed the Tories over their pitiful failings on Brexit that are driving Britain towards “economic disaster.” Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said yesterday that the government could face defeat in the House of Commons if it pursued its calamitous “no deal” strategy. It came as a cross-party group of MPs declared plans which would give Parliament the ability to veto a “no deal” outcome. Mr McDonnell told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show that some Tories were turning in desperation to Labour to avoid Britain leaving the EU without an agreement. He said he believes Theresa May lacks a majority in the Commons for such an exit, and said he is “not willing to countenance” it.
LABOUR has vowed its MPs will vote against Britain leaving the European Union without a deal in place, raising the prospect of a crunch legal battle over whether Parliament can block Brexit. Yesterday the shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer confirmed the party would oppose a “simply not viable” no-deal exit if such a vote were put before the House of Commons in 2019. But critics immediately pointed out such a pledge was irrelevant because, if the clock runs out on the two-year negotiating period, the UK will simply crash out of the bloc without an agreement. Whilst the divorce period can be extended for another two years or even longer in the event of the two sides running out of time, this can only be authorised by the 27 EU member states.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit position has become increasingly bonkers. The Labour Party stood at the 2017 General Election pledging to end free movement which of course involves leaving the single market. Now they say they would push to remain inside the Single Market and Customs Union, potentially forever. This betrayal of Labour Leave voters and many Brexiteers who switched from UKIP to Labour at the last election is bad enough. But their stance on No Deal with Brussels is insane politics that deserves greater scrutiny. Their main man on Brexit, Sir Keir Starmer, was clear on Peston when it came to No Deal: “We want a vote on it and I can tell you we’ll vote against it”. This stance has been welcomed by MPs like David Lammy, who oppose Brexit entirely and want MPs to overturn the referendum result.
European leaders are deliberately stalling on a deal that would protect the rights of EU and British citizens after Brexit to wring further financial concessions from Theresa May, government sources claimed last night. Senior figures close to negotiations said that an agreement to safeguard the rights of three million EU citizens living in the UK was “almost done”. In a sign of growing frustration in Whitehall, sources claimed that there was unwillingness on the EU side to finalise the deal. The aim was to maximise pressure on Mrs May over money while not being seen to put the EU’s financial interests over the rights of its citizens, the sources said.
THE EU is trying to squeeze more money out of the UK by delaying the Brexit process over citizen’s rights, Government sources claim. Senior figures close to the negotiations have said there is an unwillingness on the EU side to finalise a Brexit deal. According to the Government insiders, the aim is to put pressure on Theresa May over money while not being seen to put the EU’s financial interests over the right of citizens One Whitehall source told The Times: “Clearly it is not in the interests of the EU side to accept that it is now only money that is the sticking block to progress.
European Union leaders will agree this week to start preparing internally for talks with Britain on a post-Brexit transition, according to a new draft summit statement that spells out conditions which London must meet before negotiations start. The draft, seen by Reuters on Monday, was circulated by summit chair Donald Tusk to the 27 other member governments for discussion by ministers on Tuesday, ahead of a summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday and Friday. Following objections from heavyweight powers Germany and France to a first draft last week, the text somewhat hardens up the requirement that London meet conditions set by the EU and softens any suggestion that it is a foregone conclusion that leaders will agree to launch trade talks in December. However, it retains an instruction for EU officials to “start internal preparatory discussions” on how the EU would negotiate a transition and future trade relationship. That, officials say, could save weeks of delay if a December summit does indeed give a green light to a second phase of talks.
The Scottish government is set to refuse consent for the EU withdrawal bill unless it is significantly amended to protect devolution, after crunch talks with Theresa May’s deputy. The Scottish Brexit minister, Michael Russell, said the Scottish government would continue to push for changes to the bill before it could recommend passing the legislation after a meeting with Damian Green, the first secretary of state, and Brexit secretary David Davis. “We remain unable to recommend the Scottish parliament consent to the EU withdrawal bill as currently drafted and will not be able to do so until the power-grab is removed from the bill,” he said. Both the Scottish and Welsh administrations have demanded additional changes to avoid what they describe as a Westminster power-grab on devolved policy areas including fisheries and agriculture.
NICOLA Sturgeon has vowed to block Brexit after claiming Westminster is trying to make a “power grab” in from Scotland’s devolved government. The party says the bill will see Brussels’ responsibilities in areas which would normally fall to devolved governments initially transferred to Westminster. And Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell said today that Ms Sturgeon would recommend that Holyrood refuses to give its consent to the Bill “until the power grab is removed”. The threat directly contradicts claims by Theresa May’s deputy, Damian Green, that the row was over. After talks with representatives from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the first formal meeting of the joint ministerial committee (JMC) for eight months, Mr Green had claimed “talk of a power grab is now behind us”.
The Conservatives are being denied a House of Commons majority under an “unfair” constituency system, the official review of MPs seats suggests today. Changes proposed by the Boundary Commission to make the current system fairer would give the Tories a small outright majority in the Commons. The review of boundaries, which was proposed under the Coalition but blocked by the Liberal Democrats, would deliver on a Government pledge to cut the number of MPs by 50 to 600. The boundaries are being redrawn to equalise constituencies as the average Tory MP has 74,500 constituents compared to average Labour MP who has 70,500 voters, according to Electoral Calculus. The reforms are now seen by senior Conservatives as even more important after Theresa May’s disastrous snap election, in which she failed to win an outright majority in the Commons.
Theresa May would have won a majority at the general election under fair constituency boundaries, a review has suggested. Plans by the Boundary Commission to redraw borders and equalise the number of voters in each seat would – if they had been in force in June – have given the Tories the handful of extra MPs they needed. The plans would also see the total number of MPs cut from 650 to 600. Under the proposals, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and David Davis would face a fight to stay in the Commons. The Labour leader’s Islington North seat would be merged with his neighbour Diane Abbott’s, while Mr Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat would become a tight marginal, experts said.
Theresa May could have retained her House of Commons majority if June’s snap General Election had been fought on a proposed shake-up of MPs’ constituencies. An analysis of plans to cut the number of parliamentary seats, from 650 to 600, reveals if the vote had been held on a new list of constituencies the Conservatives may well have won an overall majority – rather than have to rely on the DUP’s support to rule as a minority administration. The research, carried out for Sky News, the BBC, ITV News and the Press Association, suggests the Tories would have enjoyed a majority of 16; or effectively 25 if Sinn Fein were assumed not to take up their seats.
Elderly patients are caught in a growing row between the NHS and councils over who is to blame for failing to reduce bed-blocking. Councils have accused ministers of scapegoating after they were threatened with fines if they did not do enough to get patients out of hospital beds. Hospitals have struggled even during the quieter summer months and warnings of a severe flu outbreak have left NHS leaders anxious about how they will cope this winter. NHS England has said that unless 2,500 beds were freed by getting elderly patients off wards, there would not be enough staff to go round.
A Home Office estimate that there are 13,000 modern slaves living in the UK is way short of the mark, with the true number in the tens of thousands, the anti-slavery commissioner has claimed. Kevin Hyland said that the 13,000 figure, published by the Home Office in 2014, did not mirror his research into the crime. “I deem this far too modest,” Mr Hyland said in a statement. The commissioner urged the government to reform the National Referral Mechanism, which was introduced in 2009 and helps the Home Office and the Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit to identify victims.
TREASURE hunters believe they have uncovered the mysterious Amber Room stolen by the Nazis during World War 2. The Amber Room was crafted entirely out of amber, gold and precious stones, and is believed to be worth at least £200million. Russia’s piece of art was believed to have been lost after it was ransacked by Hitler’s troops in Kaliningrad. But the experts now believe the gold is buried in an underground complex, used by warped Nazi scientists during the war. Georadar specialist Peter Lohr found the loot after using radar imagery, where he found booby traps. He now believes the treasure lies underground in Dresden, Germany, after a source told him of the treasure in 2001.