Customs union

Theresa May has laid down a red line for the deal on post-Brexit
customs she is seeking with the EU, insisting it would last only for “a limited time”. Facing a backlash from pro-Brexit cabinet ministers, the prime minister sought to dismiss fears that the “backstop” – keeping the UK aligned with the EU customs union – could become permanent. Ms May repeated her claim that the “right solution” to the  Irish border dilemma lay in a new overarching economic agreement to be negotiated. And she said, of the backstop: “If it is necessary, it will be in a very limited set of circumstances for a limited time, but we are working on achieving that commitment to Northern Ireland through our overall relationship with the European Union.”

Theresa May has said that her backstop plan to keep Britain aligned to the customs union beyond 2020 would only apply in a “very limited” set of circumstances as Brexiters ratcheted up pressure on her over the future customs relationship.
The prime minister said nobody wanted the UK to resort to the option despite persuading her “war cabinet” to sign up to new proposals last week, marking rare progress on Brexit after weeks of deadlock. Her remarks come after Boris Johnson issued a thinly veiled warning that he and his fellow Brexiters would still expect May to deliver a deal on customs that avoided triggering the backstop, one of the sticking points in talks with Brussels.


Hungarian deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjen has warned that Islam is penetrating Europe without resistance as Christianity and national identity fade away.
Semjen, who leads the Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP) which partners with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party in the Hungarian parliament, made the comments at a massive pilgrimage gathering in Csiksomlyo (Sumuleu Ciuc) in Transylvania, Romania — home to a large minority of ethnic Hungarians. “A great many Hungarians, irrespective of their religious affiliation, gather here year by year to reinforce themselves in their national identity and Christian mission,” he told the assembled crowds.

Telegraph (by William Hague)
“In Britain, to govern is difficult. In Italy it is pointless,” said a senior Italian who called to wish me well when I became Foreign Secretary. I laughed, of course, at this charmingly honest assessment of a problem we find almost endearing: the inability of a country we generally adore to settle on any government for more than a few months.
The indifference of Italians to politics seems to fit well with being the home of the best combination of food, wine, weather and style anywhere in Europe.

“THE STAGE is set” for Italy to leave the EU, with Brussels’ failure to keep promises to the Italian people means they will quit the elitist trade bloc, according to former Tory leader, William Hague.
The former Foreign Secretary was discussing the problems the new right-wing coalition in Italy will have with the EU as bureaucrats “prevent Italians from receiving the benefits for which they voted.” Writing in a newspaper column, Lord Hague said: “The two parties that have just jointly nominated a prime minister – the Five Star Movement and The League – are an entirely new combination, vehemently opposed to most of the policies pursued in their own country and the rest of Europe for the past few decades.

The warnings are coming fast and thick. Fitch Ratings has issue a red alert, deeming Italy’s insurgent government a threat to market stability and sovereign solvency.
The conservative leader in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, said Italians are “playing with fire” as anti-euro Lega nationalists and the alt-Left Five Star Movement join forces to smash the euro austerity regime – and to deport 500,000 illegal immigrants. “This could provoke another eurozone crisis,” he said. France’s finance minister warns of a “Greek-like” disaster if the new government goes ahead with plans for a flat tax (15pc and 20pc).

A huge row is brewing in Paris over what to do about the soaring number of migrants living on the streets.
According to reports, there are an estimated 3,000 people living in makeshift camps along the banks of the Saint-Denis canal, with at least 80 more arriving every day. Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo has accused Macron’s government of “giving up the city of Paris.” “Chaos now sums up the capital’s camps…Only a simultaneous operation to take care of all of the people,” she wrote in a letter to  Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. Interior Minister Gérard Collomb responded to the accusations by saying Hidalgo, a supporter of mass immigration, was responsible for the “salubrity and cleanliness of public spaces” in the French capital.

General Election

BORIS Johnson last night rebuked Tory MPs pressing for a snap general election to break the dead-lock in the Brexit negotiations. Reports at the weekend revealed that some Conservative backbenchers are preparing for a poll amid fears Theresa May’s difficulties over the EU departure negotiations are becoming insurmountable.
Reports at the weekend revealed that some Conservative backbenchers are preparing for a poll amid fears Theresa May’s difficulties over the EU departure negotiations are becoming insurmountable. But the Foreign Secretary and leading Cabinet Brexiteer warned that voters did not want to be put through another campaign following the two elections and an EU referendum over the past three years.

Labour Party

The split in Labour over Brexit has spread to its youth wing with pro-EU figures demanding a conference vote on the party’s policy.
The chairwomen of Young Labour and Labour Students signed an open letter declaring support for a campaign that is pushing for the party to hold a vote on its Brexit position at its conference in Liverpool in September. They said they represented 100,000 party members, but others in Young Labour accused Miriam Mirwitch, its chairwoman, of acting unilaterally. While most Labour members supported Remain in the EU referendum, the leadership has been anxious to avoid ostracising Leave voters. Labour backs a customs union, but some MPs want single market membership.

Labour will “pay a heavy price” for Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to fight
Brexit and demand a fresh referendum on the withdrawal deal, Tony Blair warns today. The former Labour leader stepped up his criticism of his party’s stance on leaving the EU – condemning his successor’s “failure to lead” on the nation’s most important issue. The party now found itself in the “worst of both worlds”, as both Remain and Leave supporters came to the view that Labour was not on their side, Mr Blair argued. And he again urged Mr Corbyn to say “the British people should have the final decision”, because of Theresa May’s failure to negotiate good exit terms.


Ken Livingstone is resigning from the Labour Party after a disciplinary probe lasting more than two years.
The veteran ex-London mayor said he was “truly sorry” that his claim Hitler was supporting Zionism “caused offence and upset in the Jewish community”. But the 72-year-old continued to deny he was guilty of anti-Semitism and said he was resigning because the case had become a “distraction”. And tonight he refused to rule out applying to join the party in the future. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn,  a long-time ally of Mr Livingstone, said: “Ken Livingstone’s resignation is sad after such a long and vital contribution to London and progressive politics, but was the right thing to do.”

Ken Livingstone has announced that he is resigning from the Labour party, saying the issues around his suspension for alleged antisemitism had become a distraction.
The former mayor of London and Labour MP said he was leaving the party he joined 50 years ago with “great sadness” but would continue to campaign for a government led by Jeremy Corbyn. In a statement, he said: “After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the Labour party. We desperately need a Corbyn-led government to transform Britain and I’ll continue to work to this end.” He added: “The ongoing issues around my suspension from the Labour party have become a distraction from the key political issue of our time.

Sky News
Ken Livingstone quit Labour after admitting an anti-Semitism row over his comments about Hitler is a “distraction” – but then immediately left open the prospect of reapplying to join the party in the future.
The former London mayor had been suspended from Labour since April 2016 pending an internal investigation. It followed comments Mr Livingstone made more than two years ago about Hitler, in which he suggested the Nazi leader “was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. In a statement, which he urged his social media followers to share “to help counter media misrepresentation”, Mr Livingstone said: “I do not accept the allegation that I have brought the Labour Party into disrepute – nor that I am in any way guilty of anti-Semitism.

ITV News
Ken Livingstone has resigned from the Labour Party, saying the issues around his suspension for anti-Semitism had become a “distraction”.
In a statement, the former London mayor, who was suspended in 2016 for claiming Hitler supported Zionism in the 1930s, said he was leaving with “great sadness”. He said that he continued to reject the allegation that he had brought the party into disrepute and insisted he was in no way guilty of anti-Semitism. “After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the Labour Party,” he said. “The ongoing issues around my suspension from the Labour Party have become a distraction from the key political issue of our time – which is to replace a Tory government overseeing falling living standards and spiralling poverty, while starving our schools and the NHS of the vital resources they need.”

SHAMED Ken Livingstone tonight finally quit Labour two years after being suspended over anti-Semitism claims.
Jeremy Corbyn said he was “sad” to see the former London Mayor resign from the party. But moderate Labour MPs said “good riddance” to the hard-left veteran who disgraced himself by repeatedly comparing Israel to Hitler. And Ken refused to accept that he was wrong, insisting his outlandish and offensive claims were historically accurate. Mr Livingstone has previously vowed to fight the misconduct claims against him after spending two years on suspension from Labour.

Morning Star
KEN LIVINGSTONE announced his resignation from the Labour Party this evening.
The former mayor of London and Greater London Council leader, one of Labour’s most recognisable faces for decades, has been suspended since April 2016 pending formal internal investigations into his conduct after refusing to apologise for statements he made about Adolf Hitler and zionism. Mr Livingstone, whose suspension was due to expire in April but was extended, said he was quitting the party as the row over his comments had taken attention away from other vital issues. He said in a statement: “After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the Labour Party.


It has been nearly four years since Scotland decisively rejected independence in the 2014 referendum. But that’s not nearly enough time to sort out in people’s minds what actually happened on polling day, and why.
For example, was “Project Fear” – the label that Yes campaigners gave to the pro-UK Better Together campaign – responsible for clinching victory? Or was it to blame for allowing the No campaign’s previously invincible poll lead to be eroded almost to single digits?

Ministers should make sure Brexit properly benefits Scotland amid potential complacency over the possibility of another independence referendum, the Conservative leader in the country, Ruth Davidson, has argued.
In a speech in London following Nicola Sturgeon’s comments on Sunday in which she vowed to “restart a debate” on independence, Davidson said it was important to restore the emotional bonds of the union after Brexit. Davidson’s warning ran contrary to comments earlier at the same event by Michael Gove, who said he believed the Brexit vote had made unionism stronger.

Overseas aid

Penny Mordaunt last night pledged to review the £100million the UK gives to Burma after MPs said she must do more to ensure it is not falling into the hands of the brutal regime.
The International Development Secretary said money was being redirected to victims of ‘ethnic cleansing’. And she vowed that no money would be given directly to the Burmese government, which has been accused of human rights abuses. It came after the Commons international development select committee called for a ‘dramatic change’ in Britain’s approach to the Burma crisis. It also called on the Government to admit that Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is ‘becoming part of the problem’.


A crackdown on wood burning stoves is at the centre of a Government drive to reduce air pollution as ministers deem it the UK’s biggest environmental threat to human health.
Under a new clean air strategy to be announced on Tuesday, wood burners that pump out too much smoke  will be banned from sale, along with certain types of car tyres and brakes, cleaning solvents, fertilisers and solid fuels. Writing in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph, Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, promise that Britain will set a “gold standard” in air quality after Brexit by going “further and faster” than proposed EU changes to regulations.

Households could be banned from burning ‘dirty’ fuels in a bid to improve air quality.
Town halls will be given powers to prohibit the sale of highly-polluting wet wood and any coal that is not smokeless. Wood-burning stoves, which are increasingly found in middle-class homes, have been blamed for toxic air. Launching a strategy to crack down on air pollution, Michael Gove will today say it shortens lives and is the fourth-biggest killer behind cancer, obesity and heart disease. The Environment Secretary’s blueprint includes: Long-awaited powers for councils to charge drivers of diesel vehicles in congested areas; A messaging system to alert the elderly and the vulnerable to the prospect of poor air conditions; Moves to tackle toxic microplastics left behind by car tyres and brakes; A warning that air pollution is contributing to a ‘national health crisis’.

Town halls could be handed powers to stop residents having bonfires or using wood-burning stoves as part of a clean- air strategy that would shift responsibility on to local authorities.
The environment department is due to reveal today that Michael Gove is considering giving councils powers to issue “non-burn notices”, a policy that is used in the US. This would let them ban the burning of dirty fuels on days when pollution exceeded a certain level. In the American state of Utah, the health department in Salt Lake County prohibits burning solid fuel in fireplaces or wood-burning stoves and bans outdoor fires on “no burn” days.


Almost one in three people admitted to hospital as an emergency has at least five illnesses, threatening NHS  efforts to treat people closer to home.
Patients are far sicker than they were a decade ago, due partly to unhealthy lifestyles, and an analysis says that thousands more beds could be needed to deal with an ageing population. Emergency hospital admissions cost the taxpayer £17 billion a year, up by £5.5 billion on ten years ago, and researchers at the Health Foundation, a think tank, say that patients are so ill that there is little prospect of saving money by sending them elsewhere.


Britain’s nuclear submarine programme faces a potential £6bn funding gap over the next 10 years, with serious questions over whether the project can be delivered on time.
A hard-hitting assessment by spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) of the Defence Nuclear Enterprise (DNS) – which covers all the Navy’s submarines, their weapons, powerplants, as well as support and design work – highlights a series of risks to the programme. The programme to build four Dreadnought-class nuclear missile submarines to replace the ageing Vanguard fleet is priced at £31bn with a £10bn contingency fund.

There is a hole of up to £6 billion in the budget for Britain’s nuclear deterrent submarines, warheads and missiles over the next decade, a government watchdog will reveal today.
The Ministry of Defence has already delayed by two years the construction of one of its seven nuclear-powered submarines, used to protect the four-strong nuclear-armed fleet, to cut costs, the National Audit Office (NAO) says. It is understood that such delays, while saving money in the short term, increase the total purchase price of a piece of equipment. The UK’s “nuclear enterprise” of submarines, propulsion systems, missiles and warheads also has hundreds of staff shortages in areas including finance, commercial and nuclear marine engineering.

Britain’s nuclear defence programme is projected to cost nearly £51bn over the next decade and there is a significant risk that the figure could increase further, according to Whitehall’s spending watchdog.
The National Audit Office found that the Ministry of Defence faces a £2.9bn black hole in its finances as it seeks to produce and maintain the submarines that carry Trident missiles and their warheads. Auditors said the fragility of the programme could destabilise the entire MoD equipment plan unless the “affordability gap” was addressed. The findings will intensify the debate over the UK’s nuclear deterrent and whether it is worth the money.


Anti-extremism group Quilliam have released their new report, describing the lack of prosecutions for Female Genital Mutilation a “National Scandal”.
The sickening reality is that thousands of girls and women have been attacked, but not a single person has been successful prosecuted in Britain. As Quilliam say: “In the report, we discuss that, just in 2016-2017, 5,391 new cases of FGM were recorded in the UK, yet Britain has failed to bring a single perpetrator of FGM to justice. “The report discusses a variety of reasons why Britain remains alone in Europe in its inability to prosecute FGM, including disempowered survivors, a lack of witnesses, cultural sensitivity, a severe lack of education and resources for victims, and the existence of legal loopholes.”

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