Brexit minister David Davis headed to Brussels Monday for his first talks there with the European Commission’s top negotiator Michel Barnier on how to tackle Britain’s divorce from the EU. “I want to begin the work of ensuring we have a positive, strong and productive relationship with our closest neighbours,” Davis said in a statement. His spokeswoman said that after meeting Barnier on Monday Davis would travel to Strasbourg on Tuesday to meet the European Parliament’s Brexit pointman Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister.
Brexit Secretary David Davies will meet the European Parliament’s chief negotiator in Strasbourg later. Guy Verhofstadt said he was looking forward to a “hell of a conversation” – referring to comments by Mr Davis. In September, Mr Davis answered a question about Mr Verhofstadt, an avowed believer in the EU, by saying “get thee behind me Satan”. Mr Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, has said there will be no compromise on freedom of movement.
In a fresh blow to the UK Independence Party, its former leader of 18 days, Diane James MEP has announced she is leaving the organisation and will sit as an independent in the European Parliament. Ms. James follows closely on the heels of Steven Woolfe MEP who was forced out of the party following an alleged altercation with another UKIP MEP Mike Hookem in the Strasbourg Parliament. Both MEPs had previously been considered the way forward for the “Faragist” faction in the party — those loyal to the interim leader Nigel Farage.
Diane James, the former leader of the UK Independence Party has quit the party, her office said. James was leader of the party for just 18 days when she stepped down in October , citing personal reasons. In a statement the 56-year-old said that her relationship with the party was “increasingly difficult” and that she quit as leader because she had “no support” from the party.
In a fresh blow to the UK Independence Party, its former leader of 18 days, Diane James MEP has announced she is leaving the organisation and will sit as an independent in the European Parliament. Ms. James follows closely on the heels of Steven Woolfe MEP who was forced out of the party following an alleged altercation with another UKIP MEP Mike Hookem in the Strasbourg Parliament. Both MEPs had previously been considered the way forward for the “Faragist” faction in the party — those loyal to the interim leader Nigel Farage. The announcement comes just days before the party is due to reveal its newest leader, suspected to be Paul Nuttall.
The Scottish government is pushing for Britain and the European Union to give Scotland special terms in any Brexit deal to keep it closer than England to EU markets, its lead negotiator said in Brussels on Monday. Telling an audience that included EU officials and diplomats that only the “softest” break with the EU would suit Scotland, Edinburgh’s Brexit minister Mike Russell said that if that were not possible, then Scotland should vote again on independence. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s drive to restrict immigration from the EU and end EU judicial oversight made it unlikely, Russell said, that Britain would remain in the EU single market.
A JAW-DROPPING poll today reveals how antipathy towards weak European Union leaders is ripping the bloc apart at a time when it is facing a seemingly unstoppable populist surge. Shock figures reveal how European voters are increasingly turning against the pampered liberal elite in favour of strong politicians who they believe will better serve their interests. Of 12 EU countries ranked by the level of support for populist politicians, who are predominantly eurosceptic, authoritarian leaders scored more than 40 per cent of the vote in all but four. And in a particularly worrying sign for the Brussels establishment Britain – which has already voted to leave – is far from top of the list when it comes to disdain for the out of touch elite.
FLOUNDERING German Chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted the US-Europe trade deal she staunchly backed is no longer possible. The German leader made the admission while meeting outgoing US President Barack Obama at the chancellery in Berlin on November 18 while the US leader was on his farewell tour of Europe. Ms Merkel admitted her plans for the trade zone do not stand a chance against President-elect Donald Trump, who has been vocal about his opposition to the proposal. Trump has promised to do away with international trade deals once he is in power as he believes they take jobs away from American workers and hurt the economy.
THE EU will tonight debate for the creation of a continent wide super army that will be up and running next year – and blame BREXIT for its creation. Brussels politicians will convene in the French city of Strasbourg to thrash out the plans that will cost taxpayers £420m a year. They will vote on the issue to establish an “EU-wide system for the coordination of rapid movement of defence forces personnel” across Europe. If agreed Britain will not only be forced to foot the bill because it is timetabled for before the triggering of Article 50, but it will also be legally drawn into it. And bizarrely the EU claims it needs to make a position of European Defence Minister and roll out a massive army because of BREXIT.
EASTERN European countries are queuing up to develop closer ties with Russia after becoming increasingly disappointed with the co-operation from the European Union, according to reports. Two countries in particular – Moldova and Bulgaria – are reportedly seeing a big rise in the popularity of Pro-Russia forces, and recent election results have provided more proof the countries look set to ditch their European neighbours in favour of closer Russian ties. Bulgaria – who joined the bloc in 2007 – recently elected pro-Russian candidate, Rumen Radev, as their new president, while Igor Dodon – whose ambition to be closer to Russia was a large part of his campaign manifesto – was elected Moldova’s president last week.
The NHS faces “complete financial collapse”, it is claimed, after the UK’s financial watchdog discovered a deepening financial blackhole. In a damning report, the National Audit Office warned the Government’s “aggressive efficiency targets” were leading to “financial problems” that are “endemic and not sustainable”. Its analysis found NHS commissioners, trusts and foundation trusts – which oversee hospitals and surgeries – had a combined deficit of £1.85 billion in 2015-16. This is a three-fold increase on the £574 million recorded a year earlier.
The NHS is “not sustinable” due to a desperate lack of funds which is now directly impacting on services and patient care, the Government’s own auditors warn today. A damning report by the National Audit Office (NAO) said more than two-thirds of NHS trusts overspent last year with a combined deficits of almost £2.5billion – up 1285% on 2014/15. The report shows panicking officials at the Department of Health have been forced to prop up trusts with huge loans and by plugging holes in day-to-day spending with almost £1billion earmarked for capital investment in new hospitals and equipment. And the auditors are clear there is now a dangerous knock-on effect for patient care.
Financial problems facing the NHS have been branded “endemic” as two-thirds of trusts report deficits, according to a new report by the National Audit Office. The report, outlining the perilous state of Britain’s health service, finds that in 2015-16, NHS commissioners, trusts and foundation trusts recorded a combined deficit of £1.85 billion – a significant increase on the £574 million reported in the previous year. In their fifth report into the financial stability of the NHS the National Audit office – an independent parliamentary body – finds that the financial position of NHS bodies overall has continued to decline. It adds provider trusts’ overall deficit grew by 185 per cent to £2.45 billion, up from £859 million on the previous year.
A growing elderly population means that demand is now higher than ever, and the pressure on A&E departments means that routine procedures are being cancelled as there are not enough beds for patients. Campaigning group 38 Degrees has found that 98% of healthcare areas have breached the safe bed occupancy levels. It is recommended that no more than 85% of beds are occupied at any one time in hospitals. This lack of beds is partly due to social care funding cuts which mean that people are staying in hospital longer than necessary, because home care packages are not in place. While the crisis in social care is not new, it is now threatening to push the NHS to breaking point.
Passport checks to curb health tourism may have to be extended to every hospital, it emerged yesterday. The top civil servant at the Department of Health said the idea would be controversial but had proved a success in trials. Chris Wormald’s officials are examining whether the checks – used in areas of high immigration – should become national policy. British citizens would need to prove their identity to confirm their eligibility for free treatment. Non-urgent hospital treatment and maternity services would be targeted initially, rather than casualty and GP services. Under current rules EU governments should be billed for the treatment their citizens receive. Non-EU citizens should pay themselves or use insurance. However, many of the charges are not collected because staff fail to carry out checks. Britain paid out £674million to other European countries for the treatment of Britons abroad in 2014/15 – but received only £49million in return for NHS treatment of Europeans.
Patients could have to show proof of identity to get some NHS care, the senior civil servant at the Department of Health has said. Chris Wormald told a Commons committee it was a controversial move but already happened in some NHS trusts. The NHS has “a lot further to go” in reclaiming money for treating foreign visitors, he said. Committee chairwoman Meg Hillier raised concerns that some British residents might not have passports or other ID.Mr Wormald, permanent secretary at the Department of Health, which is responsible for the NHS in England, told the Public Accounts Committee: “We have some trusts that are looking at asking for two forms of ID before treatment.
Patients could soon have to take their passport to hospital to prove they are eligible for free treatment, under new rules to stop so-called health tourism. The Department of Health’s top civil servant, permanent secretary Chris Wormald, told MPs that he was looking at making hospitals check whether patients should be paying. Mr Wormald admitted the proposal was controversial, but it would mean anyone, including British citizens, might have to prove their identity before tests or an operation. He told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee that passport checks were already taking place at one hospital in Peterborough which serves a high immigrant population.
SHOCK plans for the sell-off of the NHS were uncovered yesterday when NHS bosses published a proposal to reduce reliance on public money. A staggering £500 million is to be slashed from one area’s NHS budget as details of the government’s NHS cuts programme leaked out. The Cambridgeshire document appears to be a blueprint for savage cuts and blows the lid on government plans to privatise the NHS. The sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have been dubbed “slash, trash and plunder” by campaigners. Tory plans to cut £22 billion from the NHS budget by 2020 could see thousands of beds lost and units closed, including A&E departments. Doctors have raised concerns about being shut out of the plans.
MILLIONS of people could be wiped out by a long-forecast super earthquake dubbed “The Big One” after a series of earthquakes around the so-called Ring of Fire. The US west coast – including major cities in California, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco – is thought to be at “high risk” of a major tremor, which could kill millions. Experts at the US Geological Survey predicted there could be an earthquake of 7.0 or larger near San Francisco in the coming years. Last night Japan and New Zealand – both at opposite ends of the Ring of Fire – were rocked by earthquakes with magnitudes above 6.0.
ISIS and al-Qaida are plotting terror attacks this holiday season, the US government has warned. The State Department warned its citizens to be vigilant throughout Thanksgiving – on Thursday – Christmas and the entire holiday season. It has “credible information” the terror groups are planning attacks throughout Europe. And a terror suspect has been charged plotting an attack on Times Square, New York, similar to the Bastille Day attack on Nice, France. In a statement, the US State Department said: “US citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets.” It added that there was credible information that ISIS, al-Qaida and their affiliates continued to plan attacks in Europe. The department noted extremists had carried out attacks in Belgium, France, Germany and Turkey in the past year – and said it remains concerned about the potential for attacks throughout Europe.