The European Commission wants Britain to be paying into EU projects for four years after it has signed a Brexit deal, with final payments continuing up until the end of 2023, the Daily Telegraph has learned. The plan is part of a European Union demand that Britain settles a €60bn “Brexit bill” before being granted a deal that will govern future trade relations. The suggestion that Britain should pay in installments up until 2023 was made at a meeting earlier this month between Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, and senior officials from the 27 remaining EU member states. The aim of the payments would be to help smooth over the €10bn-a-year black hole left in the EU budgets by Britain’s departure from the EU, which could see richer countries like Germany and France paying more, or poorer countries, like Poland and Hungary receiving less.
The European Union’s (EU) chief Brexit negotiator is plotting to ban talks on a future trade deal with the UK until the government responds to his demands to pay a £51.2 billion (€60 billion) divorce bill. Michel Barnier also wants to withhold answers on the status and future of British expats living in the other 27 members states until his demands are met. “He thinks we will be discussing money and acquired rights [of expatriate citizens] until December,” a “senior eurozone official” who is in contact with Mr. Barnier told the Financial Times (FT). “No trade, nothing about the future, just the past”, the source reportedly added.
The European Commission has hatched a fantasy payment plan that would see Brexit Britain paying into the EU’s coffers well after the UK has left. Currently the EU’s opening position is that Britain will be clobbered by a bumper €60 billion ‘Brexit bill’ to shore up the EU’s astronomical budget. This is nothing but wishful thinking on their part however. Any British government with a backbone would see that the British people would be up in arms over any fiscal surrender to Brussels. A full, clean Brexit means that we stop paying the huge amounts of taxpayers’ cash that has been flowing out of Britain into the EU’s bank account.
Germany is siding with Britain to stop the European Commission presenting a €60 billion “divorce” bill immediately after Theresa May begins the Brexit process. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, wants the opening phase of Brexit talks to focus on the size of the exit bill for existing funding commitments, pensions and other liabilities. He believes that discussions on the EU-UK free trade deal, which is the main focus of ministerial work in Britain, should be delayed until substantial progress is made on exit issues. In private Germany is understood to be critical of this approach, in what will be a boost for Downing Street.
BRITAIN will be paying into EU coffers for four years after a Brexit deal, under plans being looked at by the European Commission. European Union officials want Britain to finalise a Brexit divorce bill of up to £51bn before finalising a trade deal. The aim of the payments would be to help smooth over the £8.5bn-a-year black hole left in the EU budgets by Britain’s departure – which could see richer countries like Germany and France paying more. The idea is Britain should pay in instalments up until 2023 was made at a meeting earlier this month between Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, and senior officials from the 27 remaining EU countries.
The European Commission has denied claims its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, could stand down in weeks, as reports emerge he is about to launch a controversial new push for more European Union (EU) integration. Italian newspaper La Repubblica quoted numerous European sources in a report on Monday, claiming Mr. Juncker is at crossroads and will decide whether or not to continue his term within four weeks. However, speaking to RAI, European Commission Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas denied the reports and said that Mr. Juncker “will not resign”. Spokeswoman Mina Andreeva claimed Mr. Juncker “is here to stay and fight all the crises that Europe is facing, from Grexit to Brexit, and the migration crisis. He is as motivated as his first day in office.”
Reports are coming in from Italian media that President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, could step down ‘within weeks’. On March 8th, the EU are set to publish a new plan for revived European integration post-Brexit, however, with Eurosceptic parties leading the polls and the Dutch and French elections coming up, Juncker is being urged to postpone his plan. Angela Merkel fears that plans for ‘more Europe’ will give Eurosceptics a boost in the polls which could lead to many key countries being led by people that want to leave the union, too. Sources close to the unelected President claim if he is forced to kick his plan into the long grass, he will quit as he “doesn’t want to be the one to handle the European decline”.
THE CHANCELLOR last night pledged to crackdown on online giants escaping business rates – while easing the pain for corner shops facing an eye-watering hike. Addressing furious MPs, Philip Hammond signalled the Treasury was seeking to soften the blow of the Government’s radical rates revaluation on the “hardest hit”. Sources claimed this could see extra relief in the upcoming Budget for small shops in affluent areas where rents have soared in the past decade. But the Chancellor also indicated the Government was finally ready to study ways of levelling the playing field between online giants such as Amazon and high street stores who bear the brunt of the business rates regime – because it’s a tax on property.
Hospitals have overspent by £886 million in the first nine months of the financial year, according to the regulator. While the deficit is down from the record overspend of £2.45 billion in 2015/16, the health service is expected to end the year with a deficit far larger than its target of £580 million. NHS Improvement said 135 out of 238 trusts were in deficit after nine months. The figures cover hospitals, ambulances, mental health units and community services although most of the deficit came from hospitals. Trusts were experiencing “one of the most challenging winters on record due to a huge increase in the demand for urgent and emergency care”, it added.
Patients will be put at risk if the Government doesn’t back plans to close A&E and maternity units, a leading think-tank warns. Local health managers are trying to redesign NHS services in their areas so they can be run more cheaply and offer a better standard of care. But their ‘sustainability and transformation plans’ could lead to the closure of dozens of A&Es, maternity wards, specialist cancer units and even entire hospitals. A report by the King’s Fund today urges MPs to back the proposals – even though they are likely to be unpopular with voters. It warns that not supporting the plans would mean politicians were ‘colluding’ to allow unsafe departments to remain open. However, the think-tank’s appeal to MPs marks a U-turn on its position last year, when it was critical of the plans.
NHS trusts have reported a deficit of £886m in the first nine months of the financial year and are likely to miss their overspend target, figures show. While the sum owed by NHS trusts is down from the record overspend of £2.45bn in 2015/16, the health service is not on track to meet a year-end deficit target of £580m. Some 135 out of 238 trusts were in deficit at the nine-month point, according to data from NHS Improvement. The figures cover hospitals, ambulances, mental health units and community services, although most of the deficit was in hospitals. NHS Improvement said trusts were experiencing “one of the most challenging winters on record due to a huge increase in the demand for urgent and emergency care”. Some 5.34 million patients attended A&E between October and December, which is 200,000 more than the same period the previous year.
PAY caps for NHS agency staff in England have been “largely unsuccessful” in getting medics to take up permanent contracts because of concerns about stress and work-life balance, a report revealed yesterday. Health bosses announced a package of measures to clamp down on excessive spending on agency staff in October 2015 after it emerged that NHS England spent more than £3 billion on temporary workers in 2014-15. The NHS has saved £600 million in the year since the cap was introduced. But there has been “no noticeable, widespread increase in temp-to-perm transitions” since the cap was introduced, the report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research found.
NHS bosses are desperately trying to plug a £900million black hole as services reach “breaking point”. Health trusts across the country released bombshell new data showing the huge shortfall last night as pressure builds on services. Hospitals are having to deal with unprecedented demand but have actually slashed 15,000 beds in just six years to cut costs, another new report has revealed. The 10% fall in beds has left doctors and nurses fighting a battle on two fronts as they struggle to give patients the care they require and balance the books at the same time. An ageing population and the pressures of immigration and the social care crisis also mean demand is through the roof. Hospitals have also had to deal with the extra strain from regular outbreaks of Norovirus over the winter.
The Government has been accused of “trying to hide an inconvenient truth” amid a row over claims the NHS is at “breaking point”. The British Medical Association said the number of overnight beds in English hospitals fell by a fifth between 2006 and 2016, delaying admissions and causing operations to be cancelled. But the Department of Health hit back, disputing some of the key findings of the BMA report, which was based on official statistics. Officials insisted changes in the way data was recorded meant historical figures could not be compared with the current situation.
Theresa May piled symbolic political pressure on peers yesterday as she crossed from the Commons to watch the House of Lords begin debating the government’s Article 50 bill. The prime minister gazed intently from the steps to the royal throne as Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, the Conservative leader in the Lords, told peers that they had a constitutional duty not to “frustrate the process” of Brexit. Others, however, lined up to criticise the government. The Bishop of Southwark said that to ignore the views of those who voted to remain risked creating “regional divide, generational resentment and a threat to the union”. It is highly unusual for a prime minister to watch peers debate legislation.
The House of Lords will not be bullied or “threatened” into writing the Prime Minister a “blank cheque” on Brexit, peers have said, as the upper house starts a long debate on the Government’s Article 50 bill. Theresa May this afternoon took the highly unusual step of attending the House of Lords session in person, watching intently from the steps of the Queen’s golden throne. The Prime Minister’s spokesperson told journalists that Ms May was sitting on the steps “in recognition of the importance of this bill as it proceeds through the Lords”. Asked whether Ms May was seeking to intimidate peers he said the Government “holds the House of Lords in the highest regard”. Ms May is entitled to attend the chamber by virtue of her membership of the privy council.
Theresa May shocked peers today as she watched the opening exchanges on the historic Brexit Bill from the steps of Her Majesty’s throne in the House of Lords. Peers sat until midnight and will do again today as they began detailed scrutiny of laws handing the Prime Minister power to trigger Article 50 and start Brexit. Speech after speech was made on the issue, with Liberal Democrat Baroness Featherstone blasting pro-EU MPs for having no ‘cojones’. Mrs May took the extremely rare step of making a personal appearance in the Lords chamber as the debate began, watching as Lords leader Baroness Natalie Evans opened the debate.
THERESA May insisted on staring down rebellious lords in person yesterday as some threatened to impose curbs on Brexit. The Prime Minister stunned the upper house’s ageing members by sitting on the steps of the Queen’s throne as they began debating the bill to authorise EU exit talks. It is the first time in 27 years that a PM has taken up the right open to any privy councillor. Hours earlier, Mrs May issued a warning to pro-Remain lords not to hold up Britain’s EU departure. Insisting all amendments to the 137-word bill were blocked by the Commons two weeks ago, she said: “I don’t want anybody holding up what the British people want, which is for us to deliver Brexit.”
LORD PETER Mandelson today insisted he campaigned to keep Britain in the EU because he is a “patriot” and NOT to protect his lavish EU pension. The former Labour cabinet minister is in line to receive an estimated £34,000 per year due to his four-year spell as an EU trade commissioner. EU pension holders are required to hold a “duty of loyalty” to the bloc. But the Labour peer denied his retirement cash from Brussels had swayed his view of Britain’s membership of the EU. Speaking as the House of Lords today began two days of debate on the Government’s Article Bill, Lord Mandelson told peers: “As is well known, I was a Remainer. Not – I might say – because of my pension rights but because I am a patriot. A patriot rather than a nationalist. “And that’s why I think the approach the Government has decided to take to Brexit is wrong.”
British MPs lined up on Monday to pour scorn on a “racist and sexist” Donald Trump, who they said should not be allowed to come to Britain for a state visit because of the risk it would embarrass the Queen. The US president was compared to a “petulant child” and had his intelligence questioned by MPs during a three-hour debate triggered after more than 1.8m people signed a petition urging Theresa May to cancel her invitation. So many politicians packed into Westminster Hall for the debate that they had to have their speeches limited to five minutes each. Alex Salmond said he was unsure over whether to be appalled by the morality of the invitation or astonished by its stupidity.
The campaign to stop Donald Trump making a state visit erupted today in protests the length and breadth of Britain. Rallies by the ‘Stop Trump Coalition’ were timed to coincide with a debate by MPs on whether to ban the formal trip later this year. Thousands of protesters in London’s Parliament Square were joined by others in Liverpool, Glasgow and Newcastle. But despite the fact they could be heard inside Parliament, some Tory MPs still valiantly defended the state visit. In their three-hour debate, they said it was right to build bridges with the US – with one even dismissing the President’s ‘p***y-grabbing’ claims with the words: “Who hasn’t made some ridiculous sexual comment?”
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump was accused of leading the world into an Orwellian fantasy as Parliament debated his state visit yesterday. Labour MP Paul Flynn, who opened the Westminster Hall debate, warned that an “Orwellian world is unfolding before us where lies are the truth, good is bad, war is peace, fantasy is fact.” He said that we were seeing “the figure of the Trump Big Brother, ever present, preaching from his one source of news.” Parliament was debating a petition that had received a “remarkable total” of over 1.8 million signatures calling for Mr Trump’s planned state visit to be cancelled.
President Trump’s state visit to the UK will go ahead, the Government has emphatically declared despite opposition from MPs and protests all over the UK. The Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan told MPs at the end of an acrimonious three-hour debate the visit “should happen and will happen”, despite protests. While Sir Alan was speaking, a noisy demonstration – which one MP called a “Greek chorus of disapproval” – was taking place outside Parliament along with others in Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Newcastle. The debate was at times heated and ill-tempered, with some female MPs repeating the President’s lewd comments about women and many Tory MPs angrily hitting back at criticism of the President. But concluding the debate, Sir Alan said: “This is a special moment for the special relationship.
SNUBBING Donald Trump by withdrawing an invitation for a state visit could be “catastrophic” for Britain’s relations with the US, a senior Tory MP warned today. Tory former minister Sir Edward Leigh insisted that showing “respect and honour” to the new US President was vital for the UK’s national interest. Other MPs raised concerns that cancelling the offer could be deeply embarrassing for the Queen. The concerns about the dangers of potentially insulting President Trump were raised during a packed session held in a debating chamber off Parliament’s Westminster Hall. MPs discussed two opposing petitions on the issue, one backed by 1.5million people calling for the proposed state visit to be scrapped and another the other supported by more than 300,000 in favour of rolling out the red carpet for the American leader.
MPs have clashed over whether Donald Trump should be given a state visit to the UK in a packed Westminster debate. Protesters gathered outside as Labour’s Paul Flynn said it would be “terribly wrong” to go ahead with the visit. But Tory Nigel Evans told the US president’s critics to “get over it” and that plans would not be changed. The debate was triggered by two petitions – one against a state visit, which got 1.85 million signatures, and one in favour which got 311,000. Opening proceedings in Westminster Hall, Mr Flynn, a member of the petitions committee, said it was “extraordinary” an invitation had been issued so soon into the US president’s term. He said there was “no question of any disrespect” towards the United States in opposing Mr Trump’s visit, but said the president had caused problems in “every political area in which he has become involved in” and had been ” behaving like a petulant child”.
NASA will this week host a major press conference to unveil a “discovery beyond our solar system”. New findings on exoplanets – planets that orbit stars other than the sun – will be revealed, a press release states. The cryptic release on the NASA website revealed no further details. The search is on for habitable planets outside our galaxy that could harbour alien life. Space boffins hope these planets could one day support human colonies. Last year NASA announced it had found nine Earth-like planets and they could contain life. The US space agency will host the event at its Washington HQ at 1pm EST (6pm UK time) on Wednesday. The news event can be viewed live on NASA’s TV station and website. World leading scientists and astronomers will be in attendance.