A NEW Brexit-backing alliance of campaign groups and think tanks is being launched today in a fresh attempt to force Theresa May into changing course and delivering a full break with Brussels. The Brexit Advance Coalition will unite 10 organisations including several with close links to the Conservative Party. Get Britain Out, the Bow Group and the Campaign for Conservative Democracy are among those backing a joint declaration of principles. Supporters are planning a series of high-profile meetings and other campaign events over the coming months to raise the call for shift in Government policy towards a more decisive break with the EU than that promised by the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan agreed by ministers last month at her Chequers country retreat. They plan to work with other Brexit-backing forces including Leave Means Leave, a pressure group backed by former Ukip leader Nigel Farage which plans a major relaunch next month, and the European Research Group of Tory MPs lead by the senior backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg.
THERESA May is preparing to water down her promise to end Freedom of Movement and it will cost her the keys to No10, an ex-Brexit Department insider warns today. David Davis’s former Chief of Staff Stewart Jackson tells The Sun that a u-turn on immigration from Europe after Brexit is set to be the “next big climb down” from Downing Street. He describes an offer to Brussels that will keep keep borders open to EU citizens as the “last major red line” yet to be sacrificed in pursuit of a deal. Mr Jackson quit Whitehall when David Davis resigned in the wake of Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations deal hammered out at her Chequers country house in July.
The international trade secretary will pledge today to transform Britain into a “21st-century exporting superpower” by persuading hundreds of thousands of new companies to start trading as it leaves the European Union. In a speech to business leaders in London, Liam Fox will announce aspirations to overtake the economies of France and Italy and challenge Germany by selling more British goods and services abroad after Brexit. The strategy is expected to highlight opportunities across Asia and the Middle East, including China’s $900 billion Belt and Road infrastructure plan and big projects in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Liam Fox will today pledge to make Britain a ’21st century exporting superpower’ after Brexit. The International Trade Secretary will urge the country to ‘set its sights high’ as he outlines a strategy to boost the sales of domestic goods and services overseas. Official figures released in June showed exports hit a record £620billion last year, accounting for 30 per cent of UK GDP. Mr Fox will call for Britain to reach a figure of 35 per cent after ties are cut with Brussels. In a speech to a business audience in London today about the export strategy, he is expected to say: ‘UK businesses are superbly placed to capitalise on the rapid changes in the global economic environment and I believe the UK has the potential to be a 21st century exporting superpower.
Britain can be a “21st Century exporting superpower”, Liam Fox is expected to say in a speech detailing the government’s post-Brexit ambitions. The international trade secretary will say he wants exports as a proportion of UK GDP to rise from 30% to 35%. Last year exports of goods and services rose to a record high of £620 billion. The Federation of Small Businesses praised the aspiration – but said more financial incentives, such as grants and “export vouchers”, were needed. Mike Cherry from the FSB said small companies could use the vouchers to invest in things such as translation services or market research.
The Conservatives should not change the rules to make it easier to elect Boris Johnson because it could damage the party in the long term, William Hague has warned. The former party leader says that giving grassroots Tories a greater say in the election of their next leader could lead to entryism and see the party “swamped by new recruits”. He compares the proposal to Labour’s rule changes in 2015, where opening up the membership of the party ultimately led to the election of Jeremy Corbyn, leaving democracy “fundamentally weaker”.
Bending leadership rules in favour of Boris Johnson would risk “swamping” the Tory party with entryists and cause long-term damage, Lord Hague has warned. Writing for The Daily Telegraph, the former party leader said the grassroots should not be given too much say in a leadership vote, which could risk a Jeremy Corbyn-style split. Currently only two leadership candidates go to a final vote, a rule set under Lord Hague’s leadership, but activists want any MP with the support of 20 colleagues to go through.
WILLIAM Hague has warned the Conservatives not to change leadership rules because it would be easier for Boris Johnson to be elected and damage the party in the future. The peer compared the idea with Labour’s rule change in 2015 which led to the election of party leader Jeremy Corbyn which Hague describes left democracy “fundamentally weaker.” He also added that giving grassroots Tories more power in elections would result in the party being “swamped by new recruits.” Grassroots Tories want the party’s ruling body to change the current rules and allow any MP with the support of 20 colleagues the ability to go through to the final ballad of party members.
Former Conservative Leader Lord Hague has said that the Tory Party membership should not be given more power, as Leave.EU ramp up their campaign to get Brexiteers to sign up in anticipation of a future leadership contest. Writing in The Telegraph, Hague referred to the pro-Brexit campaign directly, saying: “The Leave.EU campaign has started urging its supporters to ‘flood’ the party with new members ready to vote in any such contest, while some MPs have become alarmed at the possibility of the party being ‘hijacked’ in this way.” And he emphatically pushed back against the grassroots getting more power: “Having reflected, I really and absolutely would not change the rules to reduce the role of MPs and enhance the power of the general membership.”
Treasury ‘Project Fear’
Philip Hammond was forced to water down Treasury plans for a no-deal Brexit amid concerns that they bore similarities to “Project Fear”, Government sources have said. Ministers will on Thursday publish the first of 84 technical documents outlining contingency plans in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal next year. However, two Government sources told The Telegraph that concerns were raised in Whitehall about the “tone” of several of the Treasury documents. The sections on the “current status” of arrangements with the EU were too “upbeat” while the implications of a no-deal Brexit were seen as “negative”.
Philip Hammond was forced to rewrite Treasury plans for a no-deal Brexit after they were likened to Project Fear, government sources claimed last night. Ministers are due to publish the first of 84 documents detailing contingency plans this week. However, two Government sources said that concerns were raised with Chancellor Mr Hammond over the ‘tone’ of several Treasury reports. Sections on the current status of EU arrangements were too ‘upbeat’, while the consequences of leaving the EU without a deal were portrayed as ‘negative’.
LABOUR Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says a no deal Brexit will be “unacceptable” as he calls for Britain to maintain a “serious relationship” with the European Union after it leaves the Brussels bloc. Jeremy Corbyn said the Labour Party is not “seeking to undermine Europe” and will not support a no deal Brexit. Speaking to LBC, Mr Corbyn said: “The Labour Party has been around for more than a century and the Labour Party is very big and very strong. “We are determined to achieve an economic relationship with Europe which gives us tariff-free access to the European market and also the appropriate customs arrangements that go with it.”
Jeremy Corbyn was last night facing a fresh investigation into whether he broke parliamentary rules by failing to declare a visit to meet terror group Hamas. The Labour leader met two groups of Hamas parliamentarians during a visit to Israel and the West Bank in 2010. He has previously referred to the organisation as his ‘friends’, despite it being designated as a terrorist group by the EU. But Mr Corbyn, then a backbench MP, did not register the trip – raising questions over whether he violated parliamentary rules.
JEREMY Hunt will today warn EU chiefs against turning Brexit into a “messy divorce” that could leave Europe divided “for a generation”. In a keynote speech, the Foreign Secretary is to urge European Commission negotiators to end their stonewalling and approach Theresa May’s offer of a Brexit deal “with an open mind”. Rejecting the UK’s offer of a new partnership based on friendship would be “a geo-strategic error for Europe at an extremely vulnerable time in our history” he is to say. He will also insist that Britain can “prosper” without a deal with Brussels.
Greece is finally out of its protracted bailout. Eight years and almost €300bn after Athens first received aid from the Eurozone, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, the country is finally able to stand on its own two feet again. Instead of relying on new payments from those creditors, the Government will fund itself from the financial markets. “The economy, the society and the country as a whole are now entering a new phase,” said the Greek government.
The European Union has lost patience with technology companies and will legislate to force them to remove terrorist propaganda from their services. The EU said in March that it favoured a “voluntary approach” but would force businesses’ hands if they did not crack down more effectively. Julian King, the EU’s commissioner for security, told the Financial Times that Brussels had “not seen enough progress” on the removal of such material and would “take stronger action to better protect our citizens”.
Web giants will have to delete extremist content on their platforms within an hour or face being fined, under new plans by the European Commission. It is the first time the commission has shown it will get tough on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – rather than relying on self-regulation alone. Under the new rules, the sites would have an hour to take down things such as videos uploaded by members of Islamic State or posts inciting violence by extremist groups. If they are not removed within the time period, companies will be fined.
Measles cases have surged in Europe amid warnings that renewed opposition to vaccination has enabled the disease to make a comeback. The number of people diagnosed with the illness this year is already almost twice last year’s total and currently stands at a record 41,000 cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. At least 37 deaths have been reported in Europe this year. In Britain 828 cases of measles had been laboratory-confirmed up to August 13, compared with 274 cases last year, representing a serious setback for public health.
Holidaymakers have been warned to check that they have been vaccinated against measles before travelling abroad, after it was revealed that 37 people have died from the disease as the number of cases in Europe soared in the first six months of 2018. The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) European office said more than 41,000 measles cases were reported in the region during the first half of the year – more than in all 12-month periods so far this decade. The previous highest annual total was 23,927 cases in 2017. A year earlier, only 5,273 cases were reported. The agency said half of this year’s total – some 23,000 cases – occurred in Ukraine. France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia and Serbia also had more than 1,000 infections each.
Jeremy Hunt is to challenge the EU to impose tougher sanctions against Russia as he urges the bloc to stand with Britain and the US against the “malign” and “aggressive” behaviour of Moscow. The remarks come as the US State Department prepares to impose new sweeping sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s administration after claiming Russia had violated international law with a nerve agent attack on the streets of Britain. In his first visit to Washington as foreign secretary, Mr Hunt will urge the EU member states to ensure the allies speak with “one voice” against transgressions by Moscow, “whenever and wherever they occur, from the streets of Salisbury to the fate of Crimea”.
Jeremy Hunt has called for further sanctions against Russia in the wake of the Salisbury poisoning as he warns that Putin’s foreign policy “has made the world a more dangerous place”. The Foreign Secretary will say that a chaotic hard Brexit would make it harder to stand up to the bullying Kremlin as he calls on the EU to stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Britain and the US over Russian aggression. EU nations including Germany and France were among dozens of countries that expelled Russian diplomats following March’s Novichok nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, which also resulted in the death of a British woman, Dawn Sturgess, in June.
Jeremy Hunt will use his first speech as foreign secretary to call for further sanctions on Russia in response to the Salisbury novichok poisonings. In a wide ranging address in Washington, he will say Vladimir Putin has made the world a more dangerous place and will warn of the dangers of a “messy divorce” from the EU. He will also criticise China for failing to help the West tackle Russia and highlight the role fake news plays in corroding faith in democracy. With regards to the diplomatic spat with Russia, caused by the novichok nerve agent attacks, he will say: “Russia’s aggressive and malign behaviour undermines the international order that keeps us safe.
The British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is to urge Donald Trump to face down Moscow’s threat to western values by imposing wider economic sanctions against Russia and agreeing new rules to protect the legitimacy of democratic elections. In a speech in Washington on Tuesday during his first visit since taking over from Boris Johnson as the UK’s most senior diplomat, Hunt will specifically call for tighter regulation of online political advertising and new measures to prevent cyber attacks on electoral machinery. Hunt will also throw out a challenge to Trump’s protectionist policies by warning a weakening of free trade will only damage western economies, and ultimately western political power.
On the morning of December 16, 2016, hundreds of inmates in HMP Birmingham – the Category B prison this week taken out of private sector control following a devastating report on conditions and its management – went on a 15-hour rampage. What started with a guard being threatened for his keys with a syringe full of potentially ‘infected’ blood was later described as the worst UK jail riot for a quarter of a century, causing £6million of damage. Inmates seized control of four wings and released 500 prisoners from their cells.
UNDER-FIRE outsourcing giant G4S should be stripped of its public contracts and barred from any further justice projects following its disastrous mismanagement of Birmingham prison, unions and politicians said today. The beleaguered privateer lost another prison contract after HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) discovered “appalling” squalor in the jail and that violent prisoners were able to act with “near-impunity.” G4S had its contract to run Britain’s first private prison, HMP Wolds in east Yorkshire, cancelled in 2012 after a damning HMIP report.
G4S-run HMP Birmingham has been taken over by the Government after it was found that law and order had broken down in the prison. It has been revealed that prisoners were openly smoking illicit substances and terrorised prison staff who locked themselves in their offices for their own safety. Prisoners also hazed one another by forcing fellow inmates to consume cockroaches found among the squalid conditions of the prison. UKIP Leader Gerard Batten commented: “The privatisation of prisons is a failed experiment. It doesn’t even save money. Somebody detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure should only ever be the responsibility of an officer of the Crown answerable to a minister.
Britain faces the threat of social unrest as robots take ‘swathes’ of jobs, the Bank of England’s chief economist warned today. Andy Haldane said the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution will see ‘the machine replacing humans doing thinking things’. He cautioned that the ‘dark side’ of the change could be disruption on a much bigger scale than in Victorian times, with professions such as accountancy among those at risk. The stark message came amid calls for a massive skills drive to find employment for those set to be affected by the next wave of automation. In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Haldane said: ‘The first three industrial revolutions have been about largely machines replacing humans doing principally manual tasks, whereas the fourth will be different.
The rise of artificial intelligence will have a “dark” fallout even more disruptive than previous industrial revolutions, the Bank of England’s chief economist has predicted. Andy Haldane said that the “fourth industrial revolution” would be on a much greater scale than those that played out in the 18th to 20th centuries and would lead to widespread job losses and societal changes. Automation has already displaced millions of low-skilled jobs. Experts predict that artificial intelligence (AI) will displace millions more in the next two decades as technologies such as driverless cars and software that can perform increasingly sophisticated roles come into use. The Serious Fraud Office already uses AI instead of barristers to sift through case documents to identify relevant evidence.