The European Parliament expects to be able to endorse any deal with London just two weeks before Britain leaves the EU on March 29, a leading lawmaker said on Monday, highlighting how tight the schedule is to agree on divorce terms and future ties. Danuta Hubner, head of the European parliament’s constitutional affairs committee that will first handle the agreement, said the target to hold a vote would be a plenary session due March 11-14. It was one of the first times a senior lawmaker has discussed the likely timing of the vote, making clear just how close to the deadline it will be.
A BATTLE of Britain hero warned of the “terrible menace” of the EU 12 years before the nation joined the country the-then European Economic Community (ECC) in a private letter revealed today. RAF pilot Sir Hugh Dowding said in a private letter to Lord Beaverbrook in 1961 that “all the unemployables” of Europe would “invade” Britain if the nation was to join the ECC. The late Sir Hugh warned the bloc would “succeed where Hitler failed”. The letter was penned four years after the creation of the ECC, which was then known as the common market and 12 years before Britain joined.
The war hero who masterminded victory in the Battle of Britain later warned of a new ‘terrible menace’ the country faced before the UK joined the EU, it was revealed today. RAF supremo Sir Hugh Dowding claimed in 1961 that ‘all the unemployables’ of Europe would ‘invade’ Britain if the country were to join the then European Economic Community. Sir Hugh, nicknamed ‘Stuffy’ by pilots because he was so aloof, added that in doing so, the newly-formed organisation would ‘succeed where Hitler failed’. Dowding wrote the letter four years after the common market, then known as the EEC, was formed and 12 years before Britain finally joined.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has condemned the Macron-led proposals to tie EU funding to “solidarity” with its progressive immigration policies, as the bloc gears up for European Parliament elections in 2019 set to be defined by the battle over migration. Hungary’s chief diplomat Péter Szijjártó told the Austrian daily Die Presse that his country has rejected threats from Paris to stop European Union funding to members who fail to show “solidarity” over the forced redistribution of migrants.
The populist prime minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babiš, described in recent years as “the Czech Trump”, has slammed Angela Merkel’s approach to the migrant crisis and dubbed it a “threat to European civilisation”. “If they want to have more Islamic State supporters in France, the Netherlands or Belgium than they have now, that’s up to them” he said in an interview with Czech television, aiming his attack at Europhile leaders in the west. In the course of his comments Babiš referred to the recent protests in the German town of Chemnitz, where thousands took to the streets this weekend to protest the fatal stabbing of a German man by migrants.
Italy’s economy has stalled abruptly over the summer and the industrial sector is on the cusp of outright recession, threatening to drive the country’s knife-edge debt dynamics into dangerous territory. The sudden slowdown comes as mounting political alarm pushes risk spreads on 10-year Italian debt to a five-year high of 290, a sign that capital outflows are picking up again. Markets are increasingly nervous as the insurgent Lega-Five Star government draws up sweeping plans for tax cuts and welfare spending in the 2019 budget, risking a bare-knuckled fight with Brussels over EU fiscal rules.
Two-thirds of Germans believe the country has become a worse place to live since Angela Merkel opened its borders and triggered the migrant crisis in 2015, with just 17 percent saying the subsequent changes have been for the better. Some 66 percent of voters believe the country has gone downhill since the mass migration influx according to a new Enmid poll, conducted by Bild on Sunday in the wake of protests over the murders of Germans by refugees and asylum seekers.
The “Norway” option of staying in the EEA was one of the first to be ruled out after the referendum – among other issues it doesn’t allow the UK to end free movement and would mean the UK remaining subject to vast swathes of EU law in perpetuity. Although much the same could be said about Chequers… However, the suggestion of using the EEA as a staging post during the transition period has regained some traction after senior Tory MP Nick Boles made a renewed call over the weekend for the UK to seek temporary membership of the EEA, to give the government time to negotiate a new relationship with the EU and avoid what he calls the “humiliation” of Chequers.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy means disaster for Britain, her former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said, as critics at home and officials in Brussels stepped up their opposition to her plans for how to leave the European Union. With under two months before Britain and the EU want to agree a deal to end over 40 years of union, May is struggling to sell what she calls her business-friendly Brexit to her own party and across a divided country.
THE pound has plummeted and put the currency under renewed pressure after Michel Barnier blasted Theresa May’s Chequers plan, becoming the latest to heavily criticise the Prime Minister’s Brexit proposals. After two weeks of improvements as Brexit negotiations enter a crucial stage, pound sterling fell 0.3 percent in early morning trading to $1.2928 against the US dollar. The currency, which had come off from a four-week peak of $1.3043 hit on Thursday, had dropped as low as $1.2892.
JACOB Rees-Mogg declared Brexiteers now have more in common with Michel Barnier than Theresa May after the Frenchman trashed the Chequers plan in private talks with MPs. The leading eurosceptic said he and the EU’s chief negotiator had agreed the PM’s blueprint for a trade deal with the bloc was “absolute rubbish and that we should chuck it”. And he put the boot in further by accusing Downing Street of running scared of Boris Johnson after officials resorted to personal attacks on the former foreign secretary.
Brexit voters would still support leaving the European Union (EU) if the divorce had economic effects such as higher prices and travel costs, a poll has revealed. While Brussels negotiators have claimed powers to economically punish the UK for leaving the bloc and taking back sovereignty, Brexit-supporting voters seem undeterred. Deltapoll research for LBC shows that 70 percent of Brexit voters are happy to leave the EU even if it means longer queues at border control.
Philip Hammond is preparing to unveil his budget as early as next month to avoid clashing with the final stages of Brexit talks. The Treasury had expected the budget to be held towards the end of November and Downing Street had wanted to strike a Brexit deal at October’s meeting of the European Council. Mr Hammond has told officials to work to produce a budget in late October as it becomes clear that Brexit talks will drag on through the autumn. Treasury sources said last night that no final decision had been taken and that it remained possible that the budget could take place later than originally planned, potentially in December.
Remainers have been working themselves up into a froth today on the back of polling results conducted on behalf of remainiac campaign groups Our Future Our Choice and Best For Britain which appear to show that a majority of voters in Northern Ireland would back a united Ireland “if” Brexit goes ahead. Polls typically show less than a third of voters in Northern Ireland in favour of a united Ireland, even since the EU referendum. Why has a Remainer-commissioned poll produced a radically different result? In Deltapoll’s sample, 824 people voted to Remain while only 292 voted to Leave, a ratio of 74% to 26%. Northern Ireland only voted 56% to 44% in the referendum.
The scallop wars between British and French fishermen opened up a potential new battleground yesterday after boats from France caught 44 bluefin tuna off the Channel Islands. The catch was later sold in France for more than €20,000. French fishermen are allowed to catch tuna in British waters, while British fishermen are banned. The anomaly reflects the differing rules over dredging for scallops which led to British boats being attacked off Normandy.
FISHERMEN attacked in the Channel scallop battle were fuming last night after French trawlermen netted a bumper catch of valuable bluefin tuna in British waters. They caught the fish — prized in Japan for sushi and potentially worth hundreds of thousands of pounds — off Jersey. Under EU laws British boats are banned from catching the endangered species. But French fishermen are given a quota. The 44 fish weighed between 50 and 120kg. Derek Meredith, of Brixham, Devon, owns two boats which were damaged in the scallop attack by the French last week.
The majority of voters in the Conservatives’ most marginal constituencies believe Theresa May’s Chequers plan is “bad for Britain”, a new poll has found as critics warned it is now more hated than the poll tax. A survey of 22,000 voters in the Conservatives’ 44 most marginal seats found that three-quarters of people are “dissatisfied” with the Government’s handling of Brexit negotiations. Over half of those polled believe the policy is “bad” for Britain, while just 21 per cent believe it is “good”.
A damning poll commissioned by respected think tank, Global Britain has revealed that voters in key Tory marginal constituencies are firmly against Theresa May’s Chequers plan. The poll was conducted in 44 constituencies around the UK and the message was clear: Chequers means Corbyn. The survey found that some 45% of voters believe Brexit to be the most important issue facing the country, with just 17% and 7% opting for the NHS and the economy respectively.
Tory Remainers joined Boris Johnson in launching a searing attack on Theresa May’s Brexit strategy today. The Prime Minister is facing a pincer movement from both wings of her party after the former foreign secretary accused her of flying the ‘white flag’ in negotiations with the EU. Europhile former minister Justine Greening piled in to jibe that the Chequers plan was ‘more unpopular than the poll tax’. However, Downing Street hit back that critics of the premier’s blueprint – which would see the UK follow EU rules on goods and collect some taxes for the bloc in order to avoid friction at the borders – had ‘no new ideas’.
Theresa May’s Chequers blueprint for Brexit was attacked by both sides of her party yesterday with one former cabinet minister warning that it was “more unpopular than the poll tax”. Before parliament’s return from the summer recess today, Justine Greening, the pro-European MP who was education secretary until the start of the year, said that the plan agreed by cabinet was “dead” and must be dropped quickly by the government. In Brussels, Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed he was “in greater agreement” with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, than with the government.
Theresa May has delivered a stinging slapdown to former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, saying he has produced “no new ideas” on Brexit. In a barely-veiled rebuff to Mr Johnson’s ambitions to become prime minister, a spokesman for the PM said the country needed “serious leadership with a serious plan” which was being provided by the current premier. The comments came after Mr Johnson used his regular Daily Telegraph column to launch a scathing attack on Mrs May’s Brexit strategy, branding it a “fix” that can only lead to victory for the EU.
Jeremy Corbyn is launching a desperate bid to resolve the bitter anti-Semitism row that has wiped out six weeks of summer campaigning by his party. At a crucial meeting of Labour’s ruling body, the national executive committee (NEC), the Labour leader is hoping to reach a deal on a definition of anti-Semitism. The executive is expected to adopt an internationally recognised definition drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). But in a move that will dismay Jewish groups and anger many Labour MPs, the executive is also expected to include a so-called free speech clause, allowing criticism of Israel.
Labour members defied criticism from Jewish groups to elect a controversial activist who is embroiled in a row over anti-Semitism to the party’s ruling body. Peter Willsman, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn who blamed Jewish “Trump fanatics” for “making up” allegations of anti-Semitism, has been re-elected to the National Executive Committee. More than 70,000 Labour members voted for him, despite widespread condemnation of his comments by the Jewish community and warnings that his appointment would “taint the party’s already tattered reputation”.
A leading pro-Israel MP has been targeted for deselection by members of her local party. Joan Ryan, the chairwoman of Labour Friends of Israel, faces a motion of no-confidence in her Enfield North constituency. The motion, which has been tabled by local activists, complains about her criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn over the antisemitism allegations that have dogged Labour over the summer, says: “Our MP has smeared his character without him having the right to a fair and balanced defence.”
BREXIT has triggered a surge in support for Irish unity and Scottish independence which could see the break up of the United Kingdom, according to two new polls. The majority of Northern Irish citizens would vote to scrap the border that separates the Irish Republic in the event of a hard Brexit, the poll by Deltapoll for campaign group Our Future Our Choice indicates. The survey found 52 percent would support Irish reunification after Brexit by scrapping the border which has plagued trade deal negotiations with Brussels since the June 2016 referendum.
First Minster Nicola Sturgeon is to set out her plans for the coming year as MSPs return to Holyrood after recess. Ms Sturgeon will open the new year at the Scottish Parliament with a speech detailing her programme for government. She will announce a dozen new pieces of legislation, with focus expected to be on mental health, the environment and sustainable growth in the economy. MSPs will spend the rest of the week debating the plans, with other parties also setting out their own priorities.
The Scottish National Party is now the second biggest political party in Britain, overtaking the Conservatives for the first time. Figures published by the House of Commons library showed SNP membership at 125,000, with the Tories on 124,000. Labour is well ahead with 540,000 members, its numbers buoyed by the huge membership boost the party received from the grassroots campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn, and cheap supporters’ deals. Nicola Sturgeon reacted to the figures with a “wow” on social media while other senior officials said Scots were joining to register their frustration with Tory Brexit plans.
The SNP‘s membership has edged ahead of the Tories nationwide for the first time, new figures out today realised. Across the UK the Scottish National Party – which only stands candidates in Scotland – has around 125,000 members. The Conservative Party has slipped into third place with 124,000 members, research by the House of Commons Library reveals. Labour is far ahead with more than half a million paying subscribers, many of which who joined to support Jeremy Corbyn to be leader in 2015.
Child sex abuse
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has warned he will “not be afraid to take action” against tech giants if they do not help to tackle child sexual abuse online. Mr Javid said he was “demanding” companies take “more measures” – or face new legislation. He added that some sites were refusing to take online abuse seriously – and highlighted live-streaming of child abuse as a growing problem. Facebook, Google and Microsoft say they are committed to tackling the issue. Mr Javid said it was his “personal mission” to tackle online child abuse, adding: “I’ve been impressed by the progress the likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Apple have made on counter-terrorism.
Fifty people die every day from heart attacks or strokes that could have been prevented with better living, health chiefs have calculated. An early death could be avoided every 30 minutes if middle-aged people ate better, smoked less and exercised more, Public Health England (PHE) says. People should check their “heart age” using a calculator that has previously estimated that four in five middle-aged people have hearts prematurely damaged by unhealthy habits. One in six men over 40 has a heart a decade older than he is, PHE estimates. Jamie Waterall, its head of cardiovascular disease, said: “Millions are at risk of cardiovascular disease but don’t know it.
Sajid Javid is planning a significant extension of stop-and-search powers in his latest challenge to Theresa May and her legacy as home secretary. Mr Javid wants officers to be able to stop anyone suspected of carrying acid without a good reason. At present police can do so only when they have evidence that a person is about to cause an injury. The home secretary is also pushing for police to be able to stop and search people carrying laser pointers or drones. The changes expand powers that Mrs May sought to curb before she became prime minister.
The head of the northern section of HS2 is to quit as it emerged that legislation to build the line to Manchester and Leeds would be delayed by a year. Paul Griffiths, managing director of phase 2 of the £56 billion project, will leave HS2 at the end of the year. He is the latest in a string of senior personnel to leave the government-owned company that is building the line. The previous chief executive resigned at the end of 2016 and this summer a new chairman was appointed. The announcement followed a disclosure in The Times yesterday that the legislation needed to build the second phase, which would also service the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, would be delayed.