A Tory minister and four Conservative backbenchers appear poised to defect to the new Independent Group set up by disgruntled Labour MPs, it has been claimed. Describing the breakaway group as “remarkably sensible people”, the minister told the Telegraph he was prepared to join the new party if the Government presses ahead with a no-deal Brexit. It came as Anna Soubry sparked speculation she is preparing to jump ship after removing a Conservative Party slogan from her social media profile. The Tory Remainer removed all reference to her party from her Twitter biography, referring to herself simply as ‘MP for Broxtowe’ having previously described herself as a ‘lifelong One Nation Tory’.
Jeremy Corbyn was told to prepare for more resignations last night as Labour was blown apart by the biggest split in British politics in 40 years. Seven MPs officially quit the party yesterday, branding it institutionally anti-Semitic, racist – and led by a man who’s a threat to national security. One said it would be ‘irresponsible’ to allow Mr Corbyn to become Prime Minister. But, on the eve of his party’s greatest crisis, the Labour leader spent hours on Sunday down at his allotment in north London.
Jeremy Corbyn was warned by his deputy last night that more MPs would resign from Labour unless he brought the party back into the mainstream. Tom Watson issued the challenge after seven MPs quit the party yesterday. He told Mr Corbyn to reshuffle his top team and said that he and other Labour MPs would in any case develop a policy programme in the party’s “social democratic” tradition. Mr Watson’s move, which threatens a schism in the opposition, came after Luciana Berger and Chuka Umunna led the most significant party split in a generation.
A senior Tory refused to rule out joining a new ‘Independent Group’ of MPs today after Labour’s ‘gang of seven’ set off an earthquake in British politics. Nick Boles, who has led cross-party efforts to secure the softest possible Brexit, stopped short of saying he would stay in the Tories and insisted he was fully focused on stopping a no deal on March 29 when asked if he would defect from the Conservatives. Other Tory MPs such as Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston will also be the focus of attention with just 39 days until Brexit day.
SENIOR Tories fear that at least six Conservatives will quit the party to join Chuka Umunna and the ‘Independents’. Anti-Brexiteer MPs Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston are under ‘resignation watch’. And insiders are convinced Anna Soubry will also walk despite her long career in the Tory party. Others thought to be considering their future are Antoinette Sandbach, Philip Lee and ex-Education Secretary Justine Greening. Both Ms Allen and Dr Wollaston have faced a fury from local activists over their strong support for a People’s Vote.
TEN more Labour MPs are ready to quit the red rose party and join a new group of “Independents” created on Monday, sources claim. Up to six Tories could join them before next week’s key Brexit vote. Labour was rocked by a devastating historic split on Monday as seven anti-Brexit MPs quit the party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s hard left revolution. In the biggest shake-up to British politics for nearly 40 years, arch Remainer Chuka Umunna and other backbenchers tore into the hard-left leader over his stance on Brexit and failure to tackle anti-Semitism.
A SMALL clique of Blairite MPs rebuffed pressure today to do the “honourable thing” and stand in by-elections following their resignation from the Labour Party. The seven MPs from the party’s right wing, Luciana Berger, Ann Coffey, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, Angela Smith and Chuka Umunna finally left to form a new Independent Group following months of speculation. Yet despite their calls for a second referendum — a “People’s Vote” — they are refusing to stand in by-elections, with Ms Berger allegedly telling a Sky News reporter that “one thing voters don’t want now is more elections.”
The website run by former Labour MPs who have resigned from the party has completely broken just moments after it was announced. The politicians, calling themselves The Independent Group, established a new website as part of a plan to split from the Labour Party that was announced at a press conference this morning. The website was referenced on a podium that the MPs stood in front of as they made the announcement. But while the launch was still happening, the website stopped working
BBC viewers watching the defection of seven MPs from the Labour party on Monday morning overheard a stark warning from an unknown voice: “We are actually fu**ed.” The commentary was inadvertently broadcast to the nation on the BBC Two and BBC News channels, giving the unnamed commentator’s views on the decision of Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and other MPs to leave Jeremy Corbyn’s party and sit in parliament as an independent group. “Between this and Brexit we are actually fu**ed,” said the man in a live broadcast.
THE Labour Party has been plunged into crisis as it was revealed nearly 100 Labour MPs face being ousted by their constituency parties ahead of the next general election at the same time as a breakaway group announced they are quitting the party today. A group of seven MPs angry with Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit leadership announced their split at an event in Westminsiter this morning. Those MPs, including outspoken Remainer and former Labour leadership candidate Chuka Umunna, are furious Mr Corbyn has not committed to a policy of holding a second Brexit referendum with the option of staying in the European Union.
Derek Hatton, the firebrand former deputy leader of Liverpool council, has been readmitted to Labour three decades after being expelled for being part of the left-wing Militant Tendency group. Seen by many as one of the most divisive figures in Labour history, Mr Hatton has praised Jeremy Corbyn and said that the Labour leader prompted his decision to apply to rejoin the party. In the mid-1980s he was criticised for running an illegal budget at the council in protest at cuts by the government of Mrs Thatcher, and for stunts such as sending redundancy notices to council workers by taxi.
Left-wing hardliner Derek Hatton has been readmitted to the Labour Party more than 30 years after he was expelled. Hatton was the ringleader of the Trotskyist Militant tendency in the 1980s which set an illegal budget in Liverpool – causing ‘grotesque chaos’ in the city – and brought about bitter divisions in the party. He was thrown out in 1986 but the party’s disputes panel is said to have readmitted him last week after he was ‘inspired’ to return by Jeremy Corbyn‘s leadership. The news of Hatton’s return comes on the same day that seven Labour moderates quit the party in protest at Mr Corbyn’s handling of Brexit and anti-Semitism.
DEREK Hatton has been let back into the Labour Party 33 years after being kicked out for belonging to the hard-left Militant group. The ex-deputy leader of Liverpool’s “loony left” council in the 1980s was kicked out by Neil Kinnock. Leading Labour moderate MPs lashed the move with Ian Austin branding it “disgraceful” and Ian Murray saying it is a “slap in the face”’. News of his membership emerged tonight after the “gang of seven” announced they were splitting from Labour because it has been hijacked by the far-Left.
THERESA May faces a fresh battle with Brexiteers after it emerged a compromise plan on how to take Britain out of the EU has been sidelined. Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay took details of “Plan C”, drawn up by Brexiteers and Remainers, to talks with his counterpart in Brussels. But the call for “alternative arrangements” to a backstop preventing a hard Irish border was sidelined in favour of legal assurances. Mr Barclay and Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox will return to Brussels on Wednesday to present EU officials with a “legal way forward”.
Four cabinet ministers have demanded the prime minister stop using the threat of a no-deal Brexit as a negotiating tactic, telling Theresa May that businesses and manufacturers now needed to be given certainty. The demand was made in a meeting with the prime minister on Monday by the justice secretary, David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, the business secretary, Greg Clark, and the Scottish secretary, David Mundell.
The British government will use tools including tariffs and quotas to make sure its farmers are not left at a competitive disadvantage by Brexit, environment minister Michael Gove will say on Tuesday. With just six weeks to go until Britain is due to leave the EU, the government is yet to win parliament’s backing for an exit agreement. It is due to set out later this month the tariffs it plans to levy if Britain leaves without a deal on March 29. Trade minister Liam Fox has denied media reports that he supports slashing tariffs on all imports to zero in order to keep prices low for consumers. Farmers say this could price them out of the market.
The emergency sirens are whirring for a no-deal Brexit — only this time it’s not a drill. In European capitals there is now mounting alarm that Theresa May has set Britain on course for a diplomatic disaster, by fundamentally misjudging how far EU leaders are prepared to bend at the last minute in their summit just a week before Britain’s EU departure date. A month after suffering the biggest parliamentary defeat in British history, May is doubling down on her strategy of winning her Brexiteer backbenchers and the Democratic Unionist Party over to supporting her deal by securing legally binding changes to the Withdrawal Agreement she finalized with the EU in November.
The Irish foreign minister has accused Theresa May of trying to drive a wedge between Dublin and other EU states and force his government to make concessions on the backstop. In an angry riposte to lobbying by British ministers in European capitals for a time limit to the Irish backstop, Simon Coveney said that Dublin would not be “steamrollered” into backing down. At a private meeting with Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, yesterday Mr Coveney told him that any attempts to “isolate” Dublin would backfire.
Jeremy Hunt was confronted over alleged British attempts to isolate Ireland from its EU partners by the country’s deputy prime minister during a meeting in Brussels on Monday, as tensions over the continuing Brexit impasse bubbled to the surface. Ireland’s tánaiste, Simon Coveney raised “negative briefings” in a private meeting with the foreign secretary before later publicly expressing his frustration over a lack of progress, with fewer than 40 days to go until Brexit. Warning that Ireland would not be “steamrolled” in the last weeks of the Brexit talks, Coveney told reporters: “Yes, there is frustration in Ireland.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s most senior official, declared that Brexit was “in God’s hands” on Monday, as he said Brussels would be open to delaying Brexit if it avoided a ‘no deal’ scenario. In an interview with German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung, the eccentric European Commission president said that Brexit was now being dictated by higher forces. “When it comes to Brexit, it is like being before the courts or on the high seas; we are in God’s hands. And we can never quite be sure when God will take the matter in hand,” Mr Juncker said.
Major banks on the Continent will be able to carry on using London for £60 trillion of crucial trading activity even if there is a No Deal Brexit. Large lenders inside the European Union have been given permission by Brussels to continue accessing so-called clearing houses in the City for a year after we leave. These clearing houses allow banks to trade complicated derivatives which underpin vital lending to households and businesses. Banks based inside the EU are legally only allowed to use clearing houses within the bloc – and it was feared a No Deal Brexit would cut them off from London, the main hub for clearing, causing chaos.
The EU has hailed a large rise in the number of migrants, many South American, who have been flying direct to Europe to file their asylum claims, with visa-free travel rules. While the bloc saw an overall decrease in asylum applications of 10 per cent over the last year, claims lodged by third world migrants who traveled to EU nations through regular channels rose by almost a third in the period, to around 115,000. The figure, which included 22,200 Venezuelans and 10,200 Colombians amongst applicants from South America, and 20,000 Georgians along with 21,900 Albanians amongst those from European countries outside the bloc, outstripped the total number of claims from Iraqi and Syrian nationals in the last year.
JIHADI bride Shamima Begum says the murder of 22 music fans in the Manchester Arena suicide bombing was “fair justification” for air raids on IS in Syria. Begum, 19, who is pleading to be allowed back into the UK with her newborn baby, dismissed the atrocity at the 2017 Ariana Grande concert as “retaliation.” The mum of a Manchester Arena victim said yesterday she was horrified that jihadi bride Shamima Begum may be let back into the UK.
There were fresh calls for planes to monitor the south coast night and day after more migrants were rescued from a packed boat off Dover yesterday. Two lifeboats took 34 migrants off a small vessel after its engine apparently failed. They were transferred to a Border Force ship that had been redeployed from overseas to patrol the Channel. More than 200 migrants have tried to make the perilous Channel crossing since November. Many started their journey in Iran and Afghanistan and had paid people-smugglers hundreds of pounds each to cross the Channel.
A group of 34 migrants have been picked up off the Kent coast today after being found on one boat. A lifeboat crew and a Border Force patrol vessel were called out to intercept the large rigid hulled inflatable with an enclosed cabin at the back of it. One witness said he saw at least one child, a boy who looked about six years old and was accompanied by a woman. According to local reports, the boat could have contained as many as 35 migrants. Border Force was alerted to the boat heading to the UK coast at a 06:30pm.
A group of 34 men, women and children have been detained by Border Force officials after crossing the Channel in a small boat. Two Border Force cutters and a coastal patrol vessel intercepted the small rigid-hulled inflatable boat at around 6.30am on Monday. The Home Office said the suspected migrants, whose nationalities have yet to be confirmed, have been taken to Dover for immigration officials to interview them. Kent Police said its officers attended the Port of Dover at around 11am on Monday to assist Border Force with the incident. Three men have been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.
The Japanese car giant Honda is to shut its only British factory, leading to the loss of thousands of jobs in an industry already struggling with Brexit-related uncertainty. The company is expected to announce tomorrow that its plant in Swindon will shut in 2022, affecting 3,500 people directly employed by the company and many others in the carmaker’s supply chain. The closure, first reported by Sky News, will be the biggest blow to car manufacturing in the UK since the collapse of Rover 14 years ago.
Ministers have been accused of “desperate and high handed” attempts at tying up trade deals with Japan. As Brexit day looms, the government is keen to roll over dozens of commercial agreements. However, it is understood that Tokyo reacted with dismay over a letter from Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, and Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, that was interpreted in Japan as an accusation of foot-dragging. The UK “is engaging in a fire sale of trade agreements,” Angus MacNeil, chairman of parliament’s international trade select committee, said.
The Australian Trade Minister, Simon Birmingham, has hinted at a quick trade deal with Brexit Britain that could be concluded by the end of the year, if the UK leaves the EU with No Deal. Birmingham told the pro-EU Financial Times that: “If we face a No Deal scenario then we would be urging and encouraging the UK to negotiate and finalise an agreement as quickly as possible. “I would absolutely hope that we would conclude negotiations this year.”
EUROPE and America were on the brink of a trade war last night as Brussels vowed to hit back at plans by Donald Trump to clobber EU car exports. Eurocrats said they would “react in a swift and adequate manner” if the US President brands sales of European cars a threat to national security. Washington’s trade department is set to issue report this week after being asked to investigate the issue by Mr Trump. EU diplomats expect US officials to conclude the bloc’s car exports are a security threat, allowing the White House to hit them with sky-high tariffs.
The European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday said that President Donald Trump would be breaking his word if he imposes tariffs on European cars. The U.S. Commerce Department said it has delivered its report on whether auto imports endanger U.S. national security. President Trump now has 90 days to consider the report and decided whether to impose import taxes. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that during a summit in Washington last summer, Trump promised not to damage trans-Atlantic trade with such measures.
Complain about your doctor and you will get better care, the health and social care watchdog has said. About seven million people who used NHS, private health or social care services in the past five years had concerns about their treatment but had never raised them, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said. A survey had shown that patients and their carers often worried about being seen as troublemakers or feared that complaining would make matters worse, it added.