Theresa May has started preparing for a third major Brexit speech setting out Britain’s future relationship with the EU amid cautious optimism of an emerging cabinet consensus. The prime minister promised her senior ministers at least two more chances to shape Britain’s desired “end state” before setting out her position publicly at yesterday’s meeting of a cabinet sub-committee. Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, and Michael Gove, the environment secretary, led calls for a presumption that Britain would diverge from European Union rules during the first formal discussion of the future relationship by senior ministers. They were supported by Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, in making the case for Britain to seek maximum freedom to pursue economic advantages.
THERESA May’s admission that Britain will be leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on March 29, 2019, looks set to spark a major clash between British negotiators and their EU counterparts. Speaking in the Commons for the first time since the EU27 leaders agreed enough progress had been made during the first phase of Brexit talks, the Prime Minister suggested Britain would try to leave both the fisheries and CAP during the transition period. However, the EU is of the mindset that Britain will stick with its current EU relationship without any major changes during the transition period. Mrs May’s admission this afternoon suggests Britain will not absolutely maintain its current relationship with the EU during the transition period, and will instead opt out of certain policies as Britain continues its path out of the bloc. She said: “We will be leaving the European Union on March 29 2019, we will therefore be leaving the Commons Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy at that date.
Theresa May has repeatedly refused to guarantee that EU rules to limit the working week to 48 hours will survive Brexit, as the Cabinet debates the controversy. Labour MPs lined up to demand answers on whether the restrictions would be kept, amid suggestions that Brexiteer ministers want to abandon them. In reply, the Prime Minister said the rules – known as the working time directive, which have operated in the UK since 2003 – would be pasted onto the UK statute book before Brexit day in 2019. But, on the Government’s plans after 2019, she would only say that she was committed to “maintaining and enhancing workers’ rights” in general. Jeremy Corbyn urged her to “face down” cabinet ministers who he accused of planning to “deregulate our economy” in a “race to the bottom”. In her statement, which followed the EU agreeing the negotiations can move onto phase two, Ms May argued the country was now “well on our way to delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit”.
Britain cannot have a special deal for the City of London, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has told the Guardian, dealing a blow to Theresa May’s hopes of securing a bespoke trade agreement with the bloc. Michel Barnier said it was unavoidable that British banks and financial firms would lose the passports that allow them to trade freely in the EU, as a result of any decision to quit the single market. “There is no place [for financial services]. There is not a single trade agreement that is open to financial services. It doesn’t exist.” He said the outcome was a consequence of “the red lines that the British have chosen themselves. In leaving the single market, they lose the financial services passport.”
The EU has dashed the government’s hopes of carving out a special arrangement to allow City firms to trade freely in the EU if Britain leaves the single market. Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, said he was not open to a free trade agreement including financial services. “There is no place (for financial services),” he said. “There is not a single trade agreement that is open to financial services. It doesn’t exist.” Describing the position as a result of “the red lines that the British have chosen themselves”, he stated: “In leaving the single market, they lose the financial services passport.” Barnier’s warning came on the eve of the first full Cabinet discussion of the “end state” which the UK is aiming for in upcoming negotiations on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. He said that the UK must follow all EU rules during the expected two-year transition period following the official date of Brexit in March 2019 – including laws introduced during that time with no British input into decisions.
Michel Barnier, the head of the European Union Brexit negotiating team, has poured cold water on Theresa May’s hopes of negotiating a unique Brexit deal just days after it was announced talks could move onto the next stage, ruling out a “cherry pick” of trade deal features. Warning that Britain could not expect a good deal in the next stage of negotiations, Barnier may have inadvertently strengthened the case for a so-called ‘hard’ no-deal Brexit, where Britain walks away from the bloc and does business on World Trade Organization terms — the favourite option for a number of key Brexiteers including Nigel Farage who believe the present trajectory is for a Brexit in name only. Making his prediction, Barnier said in an interview with Prospect Magazine: “The most difficult part remains to be done. It is also probably the most interesting. But the British have to understand it cannot be business as usual. We are ready to start working with the government on the three axes it has indicated: exit from the Union, exit from the single market, exit from the customs union. But the clock is ticking. The deadline of March 29, 2019 is their own doing.”
THE EU does not believe the UK will keep its word on certain post-Brexit agreements, Michel Barnier’s top advisor admitted today. Stefaan De Rynck, who is part of Mr Barnier’s negotiating team, said simple trust is “not enough” and more “glue” is needed in EU exit talks. Mr De Rynck said at a speech at Chatham House in London today: “What worries people on European Union side is idea the UK will leave single market and we’d have to trust somehow that outcome would be same on UK side in terms of standard setting. “That’s not enough glue to keep the system together, that trust.” De Rynck was also fairly uncompromising on the transition deal facing Britain. He said: “New EU rules that come online will need to be applied in the UK. No cherry-picking or what one could call a buffet-style transition where one picks the bits one likes.”
The far-right tilt of Austria’s new coalition government marks a ‘dangerous development’ in Europe, the United Nations’ human right’s chief has warned today. Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said he is ‘very worried’ about the surge of the far right, and cautioned against ‘the peddling of fear’ in European politics. As Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was sworn into power in Vienna today, more than 2,000 people took part in demonstrations, brandishing placards such as ‘refugees welcome’ and ‘Nazis out’ and ‘No Nazi pigs’. Prince al-Hussein said that Kurz’s decision to take hard-right position on things like immigration to gain support marked ‘a dangerous development in the political life of Europe.’
EUROPEAN countries should be prepared to cough up and increase their budget contributions to cover the financial black hole left by Brexit, the bloc’s farming chief said today. Irishman Phil Hogan said the remaining 27 member states face a stark choice of paying more or receiving less once they lose £10.5 billion a year in contributions from the UK. He called on capitals to agree to change the formula used to calculate their contributions, based on one per cent of Gross National Income, to as high as 1.2 per cent to absorb the cost. However, the proposals are likely to go down badly with many of the bloc’s wealthier members including Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria who have all vowed not to pay a penny more. They argue that instead of asking hard-pressed European taxpayers to stump up more, Brussels should instead look at cutting waste and reigning back on unnecessary programmes.
Jeremy Corbyn believes he will “probably” be Prime Minister within the next year, after failing to achieve his previous ambition of being in Number 10 before Christmas. Commenting on his belief that there will be another election in the next 12 months, Mr Corbyn said: “I will probably win. I’m ready to be prime minister tomorrow.” Mr Corbyn’s comments to Grazia magazine contrast with those he made in June at Glastonbury music festival. After speaking to a cheering crowd of festivalgoers, Mr Corbyn reportedly told the festival’s founder and organiser, Michael Eavis, that he believed he would be Prime Minister before the end of this year. It comes as a YouGov poll currently puts Theresa May significantly ahead of Mr Corbyn as the favored Prime Minister, with 37 per cent of those polled saying Theresa May would make the best Prime Minister compared with 28 per cent favouring the Labour leader.
Jeremy Corbyn risked being accused of arrogance yesterday after declaring he will be in Downing Street next year. The Labour leader said he would ‘probably’ win an election and that he was ‘ready to be prime minister tomorrow’. He claimed: ‘There will probably be another election in the next 12 months. I will probably win.’ It is not the first time he has made such bullish comments. After appearing at Glastonbury Festival in June, he reportedly told its founder Michael Eavis that he would be in No 10 ‘by Christmas’. And at the Labour Party conference in September, he told delegates his party was ‘on the threshold of power’. However, Theresa May has beaten off her critics and will spend Christmas in Downing Street – where many MPs want her to remain.
AN EMBOLDENED Jeremy Corbyn boasted “he will probably win” the next General Election and be ruling the UK “in the next 12 months,” reports reveal. The bold claim is the latest in a long line of predictions Corbyn has made since he shocked commentators by not leading Labour into a record defeat. The Labour leader said: “There will probably be another election in the next 12 months. I will probably win.” However, the assertion follows a swell of support for Theresa May with some polls showing the Tory’s in the lead for the first time since the General Election. The Prime Minister saw her party’s poll ratings grow after she successfully navigated Brexit talks onto the next stage. Mrs May had to contend with the last-minute roadblock of the DUP after they blocked the initial deal forcing the Tory leader into a scramble to secure an 11th-hour agreement. A recent YouGov poll showed the Government had clawed back the biggest share of support standing on 42 per cent – while Labour held 41 per cent support. The same poll also showed the Prime Minister was 10 per cent more popular with voters on a personal rating.
One in ten NHS staffing posts is vacant and the biggest gaps are in nursing, an analysis has found. Almost 100,500 full-time jobs are unfilled including 43,000 in nursing – 1 in 8 of the total. Approximately 11,200 doctor posts are empty and this number is rising faster than amongst other healthcare staff. Labour, who obtained the figures, said the Government’s workforce policies had created a ‘disaster.’ They said hospitals were having to spend billions a year hiring agency doctors and nurses as they were so understaffed.
Theresa May has been warned over a deepening crisis in the health service as new figures show more than 100,000 NHS posts are lying vacant. New analysis suggests the number of unfilled doctor positions has risen beyond 10,000 for the first time, while vacancies for nurses soared to 40,000 within the health service in England. Nursing leaders warned the health service is now facing intense pressures amid increased demand, tightening budgets and poor working conditions that across the NHS has led to almost one in 10 posts remaining unfilled. In a sign of the challenges facing the health service, The Independent revealed last week that one in five hospital trusts ran out of spare beds in the first weeks of winter, with seasonal pressures just beginning to bite. It also comes after Health Education England – the NHS staffing agency – recently identified a need for 190,000 extra staff by 2027 as part of a draft strategy to provide a sustainable workforce.
Nearly 2,000 lives could be saved annually if all hospitals adopted the same system for spotting seriously-ill patients, NHS officials have said. By using a standardised warning system to spot seriously-ill patients, nurses and doctors could move from ward to ward and hospital to hospital and would already know how to use the clinical assessment system. The National Early Warning Score (News) system, developed by the Royal College of Physicians, sees patients given a score based on various clinical factors including heart rate, temperature, blood pressure and their breathing. The score determines whether a patient needs care from a nurse, ward doctor or critical care team. NHS England has ordered every hospital and ambulance service to adopt the system by 2019, but only seven in 10 are currently doing so. If every organisation used the system then 2,000 lives and 627,000 “bed days” could be saved every year, NHS England has estimated.
A £3.5 million inquiry into one of Britain’s most notorious crime gangs collapsed after multiple claims of police corruption, an investigation by The Times has revealed. Officers from Greater Manchester police were accused of taking bribes from associates of Paul Massey, the underworld “Mr Big” who was murdered in Salford two years ago. The allegations emerged during Operation Holly, a five-year inquiry into money laundering, fraud and tax offences, which centred on a security company for which Massey, 55, was a consultant. Detectives believed that he was a “shadow director” for 21st Security Ltd and that it was used to launder funds and disguise the gang’s gains.
It is the largest and most powerful warship ever built by the UK… and it’s leaking. Launched just weeks ago, the Royal Navy’s new £3.1billion aircraft carrier has a ‘significant’ defect – and could cost millions to repair. Top brass on the HMS Queen Elizabeth found the fault – which affects an inflatable seal around one of the propeller shafts – during sea trials. It is now causing the carrier to take on 200 litres of water every hour. The UK’s largest warship, which is currently in Portsmouth, may have to be moved to a dry dock for repairs. Insiders blamed the leak on Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), the partnership that built the vessel. As ACA delivered HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Navy with the fault, the company will have to pay the cost of repairs. Weighing a colossal 65,000 tonnes, the Queen Elizabeth is 919ft long with a flight deck of four acres – space for three football pitches. It was assembled at Rosyth from nine blocks built in six UK shipyards, including BAE Systems Surface Ships in Glasgow, Babcock at Appledore, Devon, and Babcock at Rosyth.
Britain’s new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is leaking as a result of a faulty seal, it has emerged. The Royal Navy’s £3.1 billion warship, which was accepted into the Royal Navy fleet by The Queen less than a month ago, has a “significant” defect. Reports suggested there is a problem with an inflatable rubber ring-style seal around one of the propeller shafts. The fault means the ship has been taking on up to 200 litres of sea water an hour, according to The Sun. The Royal Navy confirmed the problem was identified during sea trials and said the aircraft carrier is scheduled for repair.
THE Royal Navy’s new £3.1billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has a leak so serious it may need to go back into dry dock — for repairs that will cost millions. A faulty seal around one of the vast warship’s propeller shafts means 200 litres of sea water pour in every hour. Insiders said there is a “significant” defect with the stern seal, an inflatable rubber ring that fits around one of the propeller shafts. The problem was spotted during sea trials. Top Brass are furious because the carrier, the UK’s largest ever warship, had the fault when it was delivered by ship building partnership the Aircraft Carrier Alliance. That means the manufacturers will have to pay for the repairs, not the Ministry of Defence.
New national rules are set to end the postcode lottery on recycling. In a radical four-point plan, the Environment Secretary wants to tie councils to common guidelines that will make recycling less confusing for millions. At present, town halls are free to decide what they recycle. A recent Daily Mail investigation found that there is a huge disparity on plastic waste, with some local authorities collecting every type – and some taking none at all. Michael Gove has revealed he is considering nationwide standards to ensure that – as far as possible – councils collect the same items.
NEW recycling rules are set to simplify the nation’s bid to tackle plastic waste. Government proposals aim to help almost eight million families whose councils refuse to pick up “everyday plastics” for recycling. Environment Secretary Michael Gove told the Daily Mail he wants to make all councils recycle the same things — ending the current postcode lottery. His four-point plan includes making it easier for families to tell what can be recycled and what has to go in the general rubbish bin. It would reduce the number of plastics that are in use to make it easier for recycling firms — and cut single-use plastics, such as straws and coffee cups. The plan also aims to improve the recycling rate, which has been in decline.