The British government will have to experience its “darkest hour” and stare into the abyss of a no-deal Brexit before it will cave in to Brussels demands, senior EU diplomats have predicted. Ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Salzburg, diplomats in Brussels privately warned that Theresa May still needed to make a significant shift on her red lines for a deal to be possible, with the Irish border issue remaining a major hurdle in the talks. The stark prediction came as a French government official said that the president, Emmanuel Macron, wanted to nail down the key terms of the future deal now, rather than allow any ambiguous drift on the major issues after 29 March 2019.
EU officials have reportedly demanded a shift in the UK’s red lines for further concessions in the Brexit negotiations, being described as the British government facing its ‘darkest hour’. The UK must see No Deal Brexit as a disaster for its economy and then concede to Brussels before a deal can be reached. One EU diplomat told The Guardian: “It seems that the UK needs to have a ‘darkest hour’ moment before they will shift position. But they will have to shift their position.” The disgusting comment uses the phrase associated with Winston Churchill and World War 2. It was the title of the 2017 film that showed Churchill leading the country’s fight against the Nazis.
Theresa May says Britain’s option is to stick to her Chequers deal or leave the EU with no deal at all, as Boris Johnson urges her to go back to the drawing board. The Prime Minister said any other deal would “carve up the United Kingdom” as it would not resolve the question of the Irish border. “The alternative to [Chequers] will be not having a deal,” Mrs May told the BBC’s Panorama. Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has warned Brexit will be “a total write-off” unless Mrs May rips up “disastrous” plans for the Irish border before she heads to a crucial EU summit this week.
Theresa May has told the BBC that MPs will have a choice between her proposed deal with the EU – or no deal at all. She was also critical of a plan by Brexiteers to resolve the Irish border issue, saying it would create a “hard border 20km inside Ireland”. The prime minister did admit that under “no-deal there would be some short-term disruption”. Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said no-deal would be “catastrophic” and people were “too casual about it”. He told Panorama: “It’s not viable. It’s rhetoric, not reality, and it can’t be allowed to happen.”
The European Union are set to demand that any deal struck would bind a future British government, striking a massive blow to those such as Michael Gove who have insisted that Chequers could be a starting point only. EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier is set to demand a guarantee that any deal could not be re-opened and the terms couldn’t be changed in the future, report The Times. On a diplomatic note tracking the negotiations Sabine Weyand, Barnier’s deputy and a German European Commission figure, said: “It would be possible that (the EU) accepted painful compromises to avoid a failure and then the UK would want to continue negotiating because suddenly it’s possible again.”
Lord Adonis — former Minister of State for Education under Tony Blair — has issued a new fatwa on Brexit: those responsible must be investigated by public inquiry and banned from holding political office ever again. So let’s just get this clear. In June 2016, 17.4 million people voted for Brexit — more people than have ever voted for any cause in British history — but that democratic decision is not good enough for Lord Adonis who now thinks it must be stopped. Not only does he think it must be stopped but he also thinks ‘those directly responsible’ — presumably the most politically senior Brexit campaigners like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove — should be investigated by a public inquiry whose outcome Lord Adonis has already predetermined: they must never hold office again.
Labour is “only interested in frustrating” Brexit and is attempting to delay the UK’s departure from the EU, the Conservatives have claimed. A day after shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry suggested Labour would likely vote against any Brexit deal Theresa May secures with Brussels, London mayor Sadiq Khan proposed a new referendum with the option to remain in the EU. The call was described as “interesting and troubling” by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, while Conservative Party chair Brandon Lewis has demanded that Labour “rule out trying to delay Brexit”.
THERESA May’s push for a Brexit deal has been boosted by fresh signs that the EU is on the brink of a climb down in the row over the Irish border. Brussels sources suggested EU negotiators were ready to discuss technological solutions to checking goods crossing between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after next year’s departure from the bloc to avoid the need for a new customs barrier. Under the plan, goods could be tracked using barcodes on shipping containers for “trusted trader” firms routinely importing and exporting between the two territories.
Embattled Theresa May was handed a Brexit lifeline today amid claims that the EU is ready to make concessions over the Irish border. In a potential breakthrough, Brussels is said to be ready to accept that technology can be used to avoid friction between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The move could pave the way for a deal to be done by the end of the year – as long as Mrs May can hold warring Tories together long enough to get it through Parliament. But the scale of the task she still faces was underlined today when Boris Johnson launched another furious attack on her Brexit plan.
The European Union (EU) is preparing to make concessions, allowing the Irish border to be kept open using technology, as many Brexiteers have urged. Brussels will reportedly accept that advances in scanning technology can be used to solve the deadlock on customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Under the EU plan, goods will be tracked using shipping barcodes, removing the need for extra infrastructure on the border.
Theresa May has failed to set out a solution to prevent a hard border in Ireland after Brexit and “time is now running out”, a highly critical report by MPs warns today. The Exiting the European Union Committee stamps on suggestions that an agreement with the EU is close, stating the UK has still not put forward a workable proposal to avoid border posts and checks. It also argues a plan B will be needed if the EU continues to reject the Chequers proposals – urging the prime minister to keep single market and customs union membership on the table. And the report dismisses the growing push by pro-Brexit Tories for a “Canada type” deal, pointing out that would not keep open the Irish border, or meet Ms May’s pledge to deliver “friction-free trade”.
EU officials are working on plans for a high-tech solution to the Irish border issue after Brexit. The significant breakthrough came as Boris Johnson again branded the PM’s Chequers plan a disaster. EU negotiator Michel Barnier is working on a plan to use technology to minimise border checks in a major boost to Theresa May’s chances of clinching a deal. The proposals are due to be issued to the 27 member states after the Tory conference ends next month. The confidential document, seen by The Times, stated: “The biggest unsolved problem is Northern Ireland. There is a political mobilisation in the UK in this regard. Therefore we are trying to clarify the EU position.” Officials on both sides have been looking at ways to soften the Irish backstop deadlock to get it passed.
MICHEL Barnier’s new plan to break the deadlock over the Irish border was last night rubbished by the DUP as “null and void” window dressing. The EU’s chief negotiator wants British officials to police goods travelling between Belfast and the rest of the UK to “de-dramatise” internal UK checks. Eurocrats are trying to calm fears their backstop proposal will create an Irish Sea border by using technological solutions pinched from Brexiteers. But Unionists said they will continue to reject any plan that keeps just Northern Ireland in the Customs Union and parts of the Single Market. Their opposition to the new proposal effectively kills it stone dead because Theresa May wouldn’t be able to get in through parliament.
The European Union is insisting on cast iron guarantees that Britain will not attempt to reopen the terms of any Brexit deal after it has been signed, confidential diplomatic notes reveal. The Times has learnt that, in a rebuff to Michael Gove, Brussels is preparing to demand that Theresa May makes “credible” assurances that any deal will not be unpicked by her successor. Mr Gove, the environment secretary, claimed at the weekend that a future prime minister could “choose to alter” the relationship between Britain and the EU.
EU migrants will not get special treatment after Brexit, Theresa May has suggested, ahead of the launch of a major report into immigration on Tuesday. The Prime Minister said British people voted for a fairer immigration system as she gave the strongest hint yet that the Government will implement a policy which treats all migrants the same no matter where they come from. Her remarks appear to suggest a row over what the future migration system may look like has been settled, amid claims Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, was campaigning behind the scenes for EU nationals to be given preferential treatment under the new rules.
Theresa May today appeared to dismiss the prospect of giving preferential access for EU citizens to the UK. The PM is preparing to unveil a new immigration system for after Brexit – potentially in her Tory conference speech next month. There has been speculation over whether free movement-style arrangements will stay in place in order to ease negotiations with Brussels. However, Mrs May gave her biggest signal yet that she backs a global system – a view also shared by Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Pushed in her BBC Panorama interview on whether she ruled out giving a special immigration arrangement for EU citizens, Mrs May replied: ‘What we will be doing is putting forward a set of rules for people from the European Union and people from outside the European Union.’
Today’s warning by the International Monetary Fund that a no-deal Brexit would inflict “substantial costs” on the UK economy is of little surprise. Since before the referendum, the IMF and its managing director Christine Lagarde have taken the most hawkish of assessments of Brexit. Back in May 2016 they warned that the vote to leave itself could trigger a stock market crash and steep fall in house prices, claims proved categorically incorrect. Yet the fund’s warning today does represent a broad consensus, with one or two notable exceptions, among financial experts about the likely consequences of a no deal Brexit.
An extraordinary warning that a no-deal Brexit risks wiping out Britain’s 10-year recovery from the economic crash has sparked fresh tensions between Philip Hammond and Theresa May. The chancellor sided with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as it warned of “dire consequences” from crashing out of the EU, saying the government must heed the advice to protect jobs and prosperity. “Despite the contingency actions we are taking, leaving without a deal would put at risk the substantial progress the British people have made over the last 10 years,” Mr Hammond said. Moments earlier, Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, had made clear its view that Britain would be worse off under every possible post-Brexit option.
A messy Brexit in which Britain leaves the European Union without a deal could undo ten years of hard work spent fixing the economy, Philip Hammond has said. As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the results of its annual health check of the economy, the chancellor said that he was confident the two sides would “reach an agreement this autumn” but that a no-deal Brexit was “not impossible”. “Leaving without a deal would put at risk the substantial progress the British people have made over the past ten years in repairing our economy,” he said.
Criticising anti-Brexit figureheads like Maastricht Treaty enabler John Major and Iraq war architect Tony Blair, government adviser and agricultural businessman Michael Seals MBE has said farmers have nothing to fear over Brexit. Writing in the Farmers Weekly, Seals — who is the chairman of the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England — notes the anti-democratic attitudes of pro-EU leaders like Tony Blair, before slamming the EU itself for seeking to punish Britain for voting against them. Casting a positive light on the leave vote — which has been often dominated in the agricultural sector in the past by a small number of agri-business owners who benefit enormously from the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments — Seals stated the great opportunities in selling more produce to the world outside of the EU.
There were fresh hopes of an end to the conflict between Cornish fishermen and their French counterparts, dubbed the “scallop wars”, on Monday night after it was announced that the two sides had come to a new agreement. Vessels from the two nations clashed over the summer in a dispute about access to fishing grounds in the Baie de Seine, north of Normandy. The French and British governments announced that a deal had been reached in early September, but those hopes were dashed last Thursday when talks broke down. Now it has been announced that another agreement has been reached.
Gina Miller denounced Brexit ‘lies’ today as she renewed calls for a second referendum at the Liberal Democrat conference. Despite being the star attraction at the party gathering in Brighton today, the anti-Brexit activist insisted she was not their ‘leader in waiting’. Ms Miller insisted politicians were failing to rise to the challenge of Brexit and lashed ‘fascism’ on both left and right of British politics. She called out leading Brexiteers Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and David Davis for failing to offer a workable plan to people who voted Leave.
Half of voters say immigration is straining public services, and nearly all of them think that MPs lie about the issue, a report reveals today. Just 15 per cent of people feel the Government has managed immigration competently and fairly, while only 17 per cent trust them to tell the truth about immigration in Britain. The paper, produced by a project called the National Conversation on Immigration, reveals a ‘shocking’ level of public mistrust over immigration. Many of the 20,000 people polled were divided on the issue, believing that immigration brought positive benefits to the country, although they had concerns about pressure on public services.
A large minority of people in the UK believe multiculturalism has undermined British culture and that migrants do not properly integrate, according to some of the broadest research into the population’s attitudes to immigration. The study, conducted over the last two years, also reflects widespread frustration at the government’s handling of immigration, with only 15% of respondents feeling ministers have managed it competently and fairly. On balance, the UK population appears to be slightly more positive than negative about the impact of immigration; however, 40% of respondents agreed that having a wide variety of backgrounds has undermined British culture.
LEAVING the EU presents “an opportunity to reform Britain’s immigration policy” and replace it with “a system that works for everyone,” according to a new report published today. British Future and Hope Not Hate’s report, which follows the biggest-ever public consultation on immigration and integration, revealed that just 15 per cent thought the government had managed immigration competently and fairly. But they added that “mistrust over immigration was also linked to a broader mistrust of politicians”, with only 13 per cent of respondents trusting MPs to tell the truth most or all of the time.
Michel Barnier has backed Spanish plans that would force Gibraltar to end its status as an offshore tax haven after Brexit. After talks with Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish prime minister, Europe’s chief negotiator said that he would offer “all his support to Spain” in its demands for changes to how Gibraltar operates. Spain wants a special deal with Gibraltar over tax evasion, smuggling and cross-border workers as part of the Brexit deal. While the socialist government does not want to use its veto, agreed during Brexit talks last year, to lay claim to the sovereignty of Gibraltar, it does want to secure concessions.
The Government will today urge the BBC and rival broadcasters to do more to challenge Russian propaganda in the wake of the Salisbury attack, alongside a rallying cry that a “strong media means a strong democracy and a strong nation”. The Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright will use a speech to the television industry to call for action against the spread of disinformation, in return for more support navigating the shift to online streaming and the rise of Netflix. Mr Wright is expected to ask broadcasters “to go further by doing more to build trust in the accuracy of news through high quality journalism and reporting”. The BBC and its Public Service Broadcaster rivals should seek to boost media literacy to help viewers distinguish trustworthy news sources, he will say at the Royal Television Society conference in London.
Punctuality on the railways has reached a 12-year low after the disruption caused by severe weather and new timetables. One in seven trains missed the industry’s public performance measure (PPM) of punctuality in the 12 months to August 18, according to the Office of Rail and Road. The last time the annual rolling average fell so low was in February 2006, according to Press Association analysis. PPM measures whether a train arrives at its final destination within five minutes of the scheduled time, or ten minutes for a long-distance service.
Residents frustrated by “brazen” drug dealing outside their homes have created a series of road signs highlighting crime in an attempt to shame police into action. Guerrilla street artists have painted a parking bay marked ‘drug dealers only‘ and installed six signs on lampposts after being commissioned by neighbours in Tower Hamlets, east London. The anonymous group of artists, who call themselves the Columbia Road Cartel, were asked by the Weavers Community Action Group to help underline levels of drug crime around Columbia Road, near Shoreditch, east London.