HAPPY ST GEORGE’S DAY!
THERESA MAY could be booted out as PM by furious Tory MPs in mid-June under radical plans to be considered by senior figures today. The Sun can reveal the Conservative 1922 committee is expected to vote on an extraordinary proposal to rewrite party rules to allow a new no confidence challenge just six months after the PM survived the last one in December. It would only be allowed if 92 Tories – or 30 per cent of MPs – submit a no confidence letter to backbench ‘kingpin’ Sir Graham Brady. Currently, the PM cannot endure a new challenge for 12 months – meaning she is ‘safe’ until the end of 2019.
Theresa May will be told by her own MPs to name the date of her departure or face being ousted in June after the Conservative Party’s patience with her finally ran out. Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, will tell the Prime Minister that the party is preparing to change its rules to make it easier to throw out unpopular leaders if they refuse to go. Backbenchers have already set June 12 as the date Mrs May will be forced out if she does not comply – exactly six months on from the day she fought off the last attempt to depose her through a confidence vote in her leadership.
A TORY grassroots plot to force Theresa May into quitting has secured enough support to trigger an emergency party meeting for a no-confidence vote. The Prime Minister’s failure to secure Britain’s exit from the European Union has unleashed a furious uprising in the party. Last night the threshold needed to demand an extraordinary general meeting of the party’s national convention, the most powerful body representing the rank and file, was reached. Sources involved in the plot said the petition had been backed by at least 65 constituency association chairmen after the Prime Minister’s “spectacular failure to deliver” Brexit.
A Tory plot to oust Theresa May over Brexit ramped up dramatically today after activists won a bid to trigger an emergency summit. The powerful National Conservative Convention is poised to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting within weeks after grassroots Brexiteers handed in a petition under party rules. Leave-backers – who are furious with Mrs May’s decision to delay Brexit to October 31 and enter ‘soft deal’ talks with Labour – had been pushing for the meeting so they can stage a vote of no confidence in the Tory leader. They used rules which say the Convention must call an EGM if at least 65 chairman of local constituency associations demand one in a petition.
Conservative MPs are today launching a new move to oust Theresa May within weeks even if her Brexit deal has not been ratified by parliament. Members of the party’s backbench 1922 Committee will meet this afternoon for an emergency session to discuss the prime minister’s leadership. Last night Nigel Evans, the committee’s joint executive secretary, said that he would use the meeting to demand a date for Mrs May to go.
MPs are returning to Westminster after an 11-day Easter break with Brexit still deadlocked and Theresa May facing a double threat to her leadership. Senior government ministers are resuming their talks with leading Labour figures in a bid to reach a deal, but the two sides remain a long way from a breakthrough. And the prime minister is facing two new moves to accelerate her removal from Downing Street, from senior Conservative MPs and from pro-Brexit party activists.
Theresa May could face an unprecedented vote of confidence in her leadership after 70 local association chiefs signed a petition supporting one, according to reports. They have called for an extraordinary general meeting of the National Conservative Convention to discuss the Prime Minister’s leadership of the party. A non-binding vote is expected to be held at the meeting, which would – if it showed a lack of confidence – put pressure on the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs to find a way of forcibly removing the PM from office.
Theresa May is facing an unprecedented push to remove her as Tory leader, with a petition by local party chairmen having triggered an extraordinary general meeting for a vote of no confidence. The Conservative Party is very much a top-down organisation, with the mostly Remain-supporting Conservative Central Headquarters (CCHQ) having much more control over parliamentary candidate selection (and deselection) than local associations and ordinary members, and the parliamentary party having a similarly dominant role in appointing the party leader — and, in effect, the Prime Minister, in times when the Tories are in government.
EMBATTLED Theresa May was facing a triple assault on her leadership today amid growing dismay over her handling of Brexit. She is expected to be told she must step down as Prime Minister by the end of June or Conservative MPs will change the party rules and force her out. Mrs May could also be challenged with an unprecedented vote of confidence this week as Tory grassroots anger boils over. Plans for a major Government re-shuffle also appear to have been abandoned, leaving the PM at the mercy of Remainer Cabinet members.
Boris Johnson is the Tory grassroots’ favourite to be the next Conservative Party leader and now has a 17 point lead over his closest rival, a new survey has shown. The former foreign secretary was backed by almost one in three Tory members to take over from Theresa May as support for him surged by 10 per cent in less than one month. Support for Mr Johnson – now at 32 per cent – is at its highest level since last August as Eurosceptic activists appear to have swung in behind the leading Brexiteer, according to the work done by the ConservativeHome website.
Boris Johnson is streets ahead in the race to replace Theresa May as Tory leader and has an 18 point lead over his nearest rival Dominic Raab, a poll of party supporters revealed today. A survey on the influential Conservative Home website shows 33 per cent of people want Mr Johnson to take over as party chief. He enjoys twice the support of his nearest rival Dominic Raab on 15 per cent, followed by Michael Gove on eight per cent, Jeremy Hunt on six per cent and Sajid Javid on five per cent. The poll, published today, shows Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Davis, Matt Hancock, Esther McVey and Penny Mordaunt on just two per cent.
Theresa May’s mishandling of Brexit is damaging faith in her to such an extent that the majority of Conservative Party members not only want her gone, but are planning to vote for the Brexit Party at the EU Elections next month. At least that’s according to two surveys of Tory members conducted by ConservativeHome, who found that a whopping 79% of Conservatives now want Theresa May to resign. Just 219 in a survey of 1,132 were against May announcing her departure.
Cross party talks
Talks on a cross-party Brexit deal between Labour and the Conservatives will resume today, amid pessimism that substantive progress can be made. The two sides are due to meet face to face for the first time since MPs broke for the Easter recess ten days ago. The talks are expected to involve David Lidington, Theresa May’s deputy, and Gavin Barwell, her chief of staff. For Labour Seumas Milne, Jeremy Corbyn’s strategy and communications director, is also understood to be taking part with Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary.
The Brexit crisis will gasp back into life on Tuesday as the Tories plunge head-first back into talks with Labour to find a way forward. Theresa May finally enjoyed a tiny break from months of turmoil last week, munching on packed lunches while she walked in Snowdonia. But her Easter truce will shudder to a halt as her warring Cabinet meets on Tuesday morning – followed by her deputy, chief of staff and Chief Whip all descend on the Cabinet Office for a summit with Labour.
The government will resume Brexit talks with the Labour Party as MPs return to Westminster following the Easter break. Cabinet ministers, including the PM’s de facto deputy, David Lidington, will meet senior opposition figures in an attempt to solve the Brexit impasse. But the resumption of talks has provoked anger among a number of Tory MPs, with senior backbenchers meeting later to discuss their next move. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a cabinet meeting.
Brexit negotiations between the government and Labour will resume on Tuesday as Theresa May launches a fresh bid to break the deadlock in parliament and quash new attempts to oust her from office. The prime minister’s deputy, David Lidington, and the Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, will lead talks with Labour shadow ministers, including shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, in a new effort to find a cross-party solution to the current crisis. They will be joined by government chief whip Julian Smith and Ms May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell.
Brexit talks between government ministers and Labour are due to resume on Tuesday amid distinctly limited expectations of a breakthrough, with the political focus likely instead to shift on to renewed Conservative efforts to oust Theresa May from Downing Street. The executive of the 1922 Committee, which represents Conservative backbenchers, is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, with its chair, Graham Brady, reportedly planning to tell the prime minister she must depart before the end of June. In the Brexit talks, a government team including David Lidington, May’s de facto deputy, and the Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, is to meet Barclay’s Labour shadow, Keir Starmer, the shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, and others at the Cabinet Office.
THERESA May has asked officials to look again at a rival plan by Tory MPs for the Irish border to escape the disastrous Brexit deadlock. Senior Tory Brexiteers are lobbying the PM to use the new six month delay to mount a fresh push on the EU to adopt their ‘alternative arrangements’ model. The development comes as Theresa May will today come under renewed pressure to call time on stalled talks with Labour for a cross-party exit deal. But replacing the controversial Irish backstop to keep the border open with the ‘Malthouse Compromise’ formula of stand off customs declarations and checks is still the only way she can win a Commons majority for one, the group insist.
The UK’s first-past-the-post (FPTP) parliamentary election system is broken and outdated and can no longer be relied upon to keep out extreme elements and encourage moderate, consensual politics, a thinktank has said. A report by the Constitution Society said an increased concentration of support for the two main parties into defined geographical areas meant there was less and less direct competition between Labour and the Conservatives, negating a need to appeal to the middle ground. Instead, the report said, the dominant voice of members and the limited viability of smaller parties meant both the Conservatives and Labour had moved away from the centre and were dominated by internal arguments such as Brexit.
Any kind of Brexit will hurt the British people, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has claimed, in an interview in which he also praised Angela Merkel as a “lovable work of art” and recommended her for a top EU job once she steps down as the Chancellor of Germany. “Nobody knows how Brexit will end,” the European Commission chief remarked, telling the German Funke Media Group there was still a possibility of Britain having a clean, No Deal exit from the bloc, despite Theresa May agreeing another delay of up to six months before Article 50 negotiations expire and the country actually leaves the bloc.
EU unity has been one of the great surprises of Brexit: the bloc’s 27 remaining member states have managed to hold a united front in public in a way the UK – a single country – could only dream of. But with the UK’s departure delayed until October – crucially, after the EU elections – that unity is being tested as never before, and the results are surfacing in the European parliament itself. Guy Verhofstadt, long adored by British Remainers for mocking Brexiteers and championing citizens’ rights, surprised a few of those campaigners when he stood up in the European parliament on Wednesday.
BRITS have filled nine out of 10 new jobs created in the UK since the Brexit referendum, the Government announced. The number of EU nationals seeking work in Britain has plummeted to fewer than 35,000 following the vote to leave the bloc in 2016. And there are more than one million extra people in work. In the two years before the referendum more than 410,000 EU citizens joined the workforce. Since then they are responsible for just 5%. Businesses are “clearly adjusting” to lower European immigration, said Employment Minister Alok Sharma.
Nearly all new jobs created in the United Kingdom since the 2016 European Union (EU) membership referendum have gone to British workers, a distinct change from the period before the vote when nearly half went to EU migrants. The number of EU nationals who joined the British workforce — either getting a job in Britain for the first time, or returning to work after a period of absence — was 35,000 since the 2016 Brexit referendum. This is less than a tenth of the number who joined in the two years running up to the vote, when the figure stood at 410,000.
Four day week
The poorest 50% of households could see 13% boost in income by 2030 with 4-day week and higher minimum wage. It is part of a radical plan to solve the UK’s ongoing productivity crisis devised by thinktank the New Economics Foundation who are in favour of gradually reducing time spent working while raising minimum wages faster than planned. Britain is now in its tenth year of feeble labour productivity growth and politicians have so far failed to tackle the crisis. Their research shows that moving to a 4-day week by 2030 while lifting the national living wage to around £19 per hour rather than an expected level of £12 per hour would result in a rise of disposable income for the poorest 50% of households by 13% on average.
The NHS spent more than £13million helping thousands of women from abroad give birth last year. So far less than half of that money has been claimed back after it was spent on health tourists giving birth on maternity wards in England. And one hospital trust, Barts Health, racked up a bill of £1.7million caring for 232 women who had their children in its hospitals, The Sun revealed. Critics called the expenditure ‘ludicrous’ after it was revealed less than half the money has been claimed back. It can cost thousands of pounds for a woman to have her baby delivered in an NHS hospital if she isn’t a UK resident, and extra care costs even more.
More than a quarter of NHS doctors suffer from mental health conditions, a survey indicates, as leading medics say many refuse to seek help for fear it will ruin their career. The British Medical Association (BMA) today warns of a mental health “crisis” among the workforce, with 27 per cent having received a psychiatric diagnosis. The union says long hours and heavy workloads fuelled by rota gaps and increasing patient demand are pushing thousands of doctors towards “burnout”.
A quarter of doctors and medical students have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, it was revealed yesterday. Stresses of the job have pushed many into depression, anxiety and problem drinking. A survey of more than 4,300 medics found 27 per cent have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Two in five are facing psychological and emotional problems, including stress, depression, anxiety and emotional distress. Women struggle more than men, while consultants, GP partners and those working more than 51 hours a week are most likely to blame their job for their health problems.
Gagging orders for whistleblowers will be banished from the NHS, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has promised, after a radiographer had her non-disclosure agreement overturned. Mr Hancock said he was “determined to end” the injustice of making health service staff choose between speaking out to protect patients or keeping their job. “Whistleblowers perform a vital and courageous service for the NHS and I want more people to feel they can put their head above the parapet,” he told The Telegraph.
The health secretary has vowed to end the use of non-disclosure agreements that prevent would-be NHS whistleblowers speaking out. Matt Hancock said he wants more people to feel they can “put their head above the parapet”, and described settlement agreements that infringe on people’s rights to voice concerns as “completely inappropriate”. “We stand with whistleblowers,” Hancock said. “Making someone choose between the job they love and speaking the truth to keep patients safe is an injustice I am determined to end. “Settlement agreements that infringe on an individual’s right to speak out for the benefit of patients are completely inappropriate. Whistleblowers perform a vital and courageous service for the NHS and I want more people to feel they can put their head above the parapet.
Gagging orders for NHS whistleblowers will be banned to encourage more staff “to put their head above the parapet”, the health secretary has pledged. Matt Hancock said that he wanted to outlaw non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that silence staff who raise safety concerns or complaints of sexual harassment or workplace bullying. Sue Allison, 57, a radiographer, successfully argued that she had been asked to sign an NDA without legal advice after raising concerns at Morecambe Bay NHS foundation trust.
The government should support and fund choirs to help dementia sufferers cope with their fading memories, Line of Duty actress Vicky McClure has said, as she speaks of caring for her grandmother. McClure is hosting new television show Our Dementia Choir, which offers those with dementia music therapy as they train to perform as a choir in front of an audience of 1,000 people. The Line Of Duty star joins forces with specialists from the fields of medicine, music therapy and performance for the BBC One two part series.