Theresa May dismissed Brussels’ demands yesterday for a backstop that would divide Northern Ireland from the rest of Britain, relieving pressure from Tory Brexiteers but increasing the chance of a no-deal exit. The prime minister secured a partial reprieve from her internal opponents with a categorical rejection of the EU’s insistence that the province remain subject to its customs and regulations until a final trade deal is struck. Downing Street sources said that she would not countenance such a backstop being contained in the withdrawal agreement that she is negotiating.
Karen Bradley, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, has given assurances that the British government will not renege on the “backstop” commitment over the Irish border issue in Brexit negotiations. She said the government was fully committed to the agreement it had struck with the EU last December when Theresa May and the European commission president, Jean Claude Juncker, signed the “joint report” ending the first phase of Brexit negotiations covering EU citizens, the divorce bill and the Irish border. “We are committed to everything we have agreed to in the joint report and we will ensure there is no border on the island of Ireland,” she told the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in London on Monday.
Prime Minister Theresa May has set out her four-point plan. It consists of “We must make the commitment to a temporary UK/EU joint customs territory legally binding”; Option to extend transition period, though she says the government has not committed to this yet; Not be kept in arrangements “indefinitely”; Northern Ireland full continued access to whole UK market.
THERESA May yesterday urged Tory MPs to “focus on the prize” of Brexit as the “hardest part” of the Brussels negotiations begin. In a Commons statement, the Prime Minister hit back at her party critics by insisting that any power to lengthen the UK’s transition out of the EU would only be used as a last resort. She also stepped up her attack on campaigners for a fresh EU referendum, accusing them of demanding a “politicians’ vote” to overturn the will of the people expressed in the 2016 decision to quit the bloc. “Serving our national interest will demand that we hold our nerve through these last stages of the negotiations, the hardest part of all,” the Prime Minister told MPs.
Of the more than 800 changes to legislation needed before Brexit only 71 have been put before parliament, a report has found. The government has said that between 800 and 1,000 statutory instruments (SIs) are required to ensure that British law is functional before Britain leaves the EU on March 29. But even though almost half the time available has passed, 9 per cent of the necessary SIs have been put before parliament, leading to fears that the Commons faces an impossible task in scrutinising them in time.
Stockpiling ahead of Brexit could boost Scotland’s economic growth in 2018-19 but the measure will have a negative effect in the medium term, the Scottish Government’s top economist has said. Dr Gary Gillespie said analysis suggests the building of stock inventories by firms ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU could potentially increase Scottish GDP by 0.4%. However, the chief economist added such growth “would be more than offset” by a slowing of output in subsequent quarters.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May used a Commons statement Monday to reject outright calls for a second referendum on membership of the European Union, but said nevertheless extending the so-called transition period where the United Kingdom is still in the European Union in all but name could be “preferable”. The statement came after a weekend of intensifying plotting in Westminster — both by the Prime Minister’s pro-Brexit Tory colleagues against her, and by pro-remain campaigners who, emboldened by a protest march on Saturday, have vowed “the most co-ordinated lobbying effort ever conducted on a piece of legislation.”
Veteran pro-Brexit Tory MP John Redwood has just laid into Theresa May’s EU plan, whilst calling for tax cuts to help stimulate the economy. In a full-blooded defence of conservatism Redwood stood up in Parliament today and said: “Our economy is being slowed deliberately by a fiscal and monetary squeeze which we need to lift. We need tax cuts to raise people’s take home pay so that they have more spending power. All this is possible if we don’t give £39 billion to the EU.”
Theresa May has attempted to quell a mounting Tory rebellion over Brexit by unveiling a new four-point plan to break the deadlock with Brussels. The Prime Minister was on Monday accused by Eurosceptic Tory MPs of “surrender” as they suggested in the Commons that she does not have a Brexit plan and “know where we’re going”. Tory MPs said that they and their constituents were increasingly “frustrated” as the Prime Minister insisted the UK will leave before the next election in May 2022 – six years after the Brexit vote.
Theresa May faced down Conservative critics of her Brexit negotiating strategy in a critical Commons debate in which she pleaded to be given time to “deliver the Brexit that the British people voted for”. The prime minister told her jittery MPs it was time “we hold our nerve” as the Brexit talks approach their endgame during nearly two hours of exchanges, which were not attended by leadership rivals Boris Johnson and David Davis. May told MPs if sticking to her position in the Brexit negotiations “means I get difficult days in Brussels, then so be it.
Theresa May has said it may be preferable for Britain to extend the period it remains tied to EU rules and regulations, as she called on her party to “hold our nerve”. The prime minister said such a move could allow more time to sort out Britain’s future relationship with the EU, without needing to activate a controversial contingency plan for the Irish border known as the “backstop”. While extending the transition was “undesirable”, Mrs May said she was ready to “explore every possible option”.
Iain Duncan Smith called for the “full weight of the Conservative Party” to fall on MPs who used violent language about Theresa May as figures from across politics condemned anonymous attacks on the prime minister. Sunday’s newspapers quoted one reported ally of David Davis as saying that Theresa May was “entering the killing zone”, a former minister comparing her to a “lame cockroach” and another former minister saying: “The moment is coming when the knife gets heated, stuck in her front and twisted. She’ll be dead soon.”
Well-worn phrases familiar to Britain’s political discourse with metaphorical allusions to combat and Medieval politics have come under sudden assault from supporters of the European Union as they seek to defend the Prime Minister, presently a strong bulwark against a true Brexit, from plotting Tory colleagues. Leading the vanguard of the attack against the humble figure of speech was New Labour vintage class warrior Yvette Cooper, now Home Affairs Select Committee chairman, who called upon the Conservative Party to name and shame those members who had been briefing against the Prime Minister over the weekend in warlike terms.
Tory Amber Rudd has claimed she and her MP colleagues would prevent a No Deal from happening. They are getting desperate now. Speaking on Newsnight Rudd claimed that: “I still think a No Deal will be stopped by the House of Commons. “I certainly think that a majority in the House of Commons, which yes includes other parties, would assert itself to stop a No Deal.” Ultra-Remainer Rudd has previously said a second referendum is on the table if the House of Commons does block a No Deal and is on the list of the most anti-democratic MPs in the country who are calling for a second vote but whose constituencies voted to Leave.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, told the BBC’s “Today” programme this morning: “I want a people’s vote, but I want it to be a big and proper people’s vote, which is a general election.” This deliberate legal obfuscation was necessary because her leader, Jeremy Corbyn, does not support a second referendum on whether Britain should remain in, or leave, the European Union. Thornberry is acutely aware of the anger and frustration felt by many ordinary members of her party – and, presumably, by many Remain-supporting Labour voters – at the Labour leadership’s refusal to oppose Brexit tooth and nail.
Theresa May is facing demands from 150 Tory MPs and peers to drop plans to investigate past crimes in Northern Ireland and other military conflicts. In a letter to the PM, they say a new Historical Investigations Unit would put “service and security personnel at an exceptional disadvantage”. And they accuse the government of breaking the Armed Forces Covenant – its manifesto commitment to personnel. The Northern Ireland Office declined a request for comment.
Telegraph (by Nigel Farage)
A few days ago staff from a relatively unknown European Parliament committee called TAX3 met with the European Commission’s Brexit Task Force (BTF), led by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. According to the minutes which I’ve been shown, the purpose of this meeting was to discuss the EU’s alleged “mandate” to create a “level playing field” when it comes to future relations with Britain in four main areas, one of which is tax. The minutes show that the BTF rubbished Theresa May’s Chequers plan over tax. Indeed, noting that the Chequers proposal omits even to mention tax, the BTF described it arrogantly as a “wishful thinking” document and said it is “not feasible.
NORMAN Tebbit has savaged the European Union’s attempt to “shackle” Britain to EU tax rules after Brexit, competing Brussels to a “Euro Mafia” in a ferocious outburst. Mr Tebbit, who served in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet as well as as Chairman of the Conservative Party in the 1980s, believes Brussels wants to administer a “punishment beating” to the UK as it prepares to leave the single bloc. Leaked EU documents suggest the EU could try to impose Brussels tax policies on the UK after Brexit.
The Italian government have pushed back against the European Union, insisting that they will not bin their budget. It comes after the anti-establishment government had to submit its spending plans, which were then rejected by Brussels. The unelected EU Commission call the shots, you see. Italy’s Economy Minister Giovanni Tria has responded by saying: “Italy is aware it has chosen a path that isn’t in line with EU rules. “It was a hard decision but necessary in order to bring the country’s GDP back to pre-crisis levels and considering the ongoing economic difficulties for Italians.”
GERMANY has demanded Remainers be given a second referendum following claims Brexit could completely destroy the EU. Speaking on German political debate programme Anne Will, former Secretary of State Sigmar Gabriel waded into the deadlocked Brexit negotiations by suggesting Prime Minister Theresa May’s answer to stalled talks would be to give Remainers a second vote. Mr Gabriel outlined a handful of bizarre points he believed made the Brexit ballot illegitimate, such as how teenage Britons too young to vote in the June 2016 referendum would now – according to him – almost certainly vote Remain in a second referendum.
The European Union must undergo “deep reform” and shoulder some responsibility for the Brexit vote if it hopes to keep the bloc together, Poland’s foreign minister has warned. Jacek Czaputowicz said Britain’s decision to leave was partly due to “deficiencies” in EU institutions, and that Brussels needed to accept this rather than seek to “punish” the country. “Brexit is a result of a sovereign decision of the British but also the wrong policies of the European Union and of deficiencies existing here in European institutions,” Mr Czaputowicz told the Telegraph.
The government’s borrowing requirements over the next four years could be significantly lower than forecast, leaving the Treasury with a windfall in next week’s budget. Philip Hammond may reveal that he has funding from better-than-expected public finances that could mean he does not have to increase taxes to pay for the additional NHS spending already announced by Theresa May. The news comes as ministers were told by Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, that public sector pay rises must be based on people’s performance and where they live — triggering an angry reaction from unions.
Nearly all Metropolitan Police officers want to carry spit guards, a new survey suggests. A poll carried out by the force’s police federation found 5,269 out of 5,572 members questioned, 95%, thought all Met officers should be issued with the mesh hoods. And 5,133 (92%) said they would be prepared to carry one after they had been trained. In September force chief Commissioner Cressida Dick said using the guards on the streets could make officers more likely to get “a good kicking” while struggling with aggressive suspects.
A public appeal for information on a defendant in the Huddersfield grooming gang trial who absconded on bail while the jury considered its verdicts could not be issued because of reporting restrictions, West Yorkshire Police told Breitbart London. Sajid Hussain, 33, was on trial at Leeds Crown Court with 19 other defendants for the grooming and rape of young girls and teens between 2004 and 2011 when the 15 victims were aged between 11 and 17. Hussain was granted bail in June and went missing the day after the jury began deliberation.
A LEADING expert has shockingly claimed a new global financial crash is on the horizon – and an “economic armageddon” is unavoidable. Dr John Llewellyn, the former chief economist of failed US investment bank Lehman Brothers, argued economic conditions which could spark a fresh crash were now “not only serious, but intensifying”. A summary of comments made by Dr Llewellyn at a financial forum last month, which were published on financial website Money Show this month, revealed the current financial system was set up to encourage banks and financiers to take the very risks that could prompt a collapse.
Three million operations and chemotherapy treatments a year will become life-threatening if the fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs is lost, health chiefs are warning. Patients who badger doctors for antibiotics risk “grave consequences”, Public Health England (PHE) says, adding that treatment-resistant blood infections are up a third in four years. Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, insisted yesterday that people needed to take responsibility for a threat that could put medicine “back in the Dark Ages”.
Superbugs will kill 10 million people a year by 2050 – more than cancer and diabetes combined – unless urgent action is taken, MPs have warned. They said the growing rise of viruses, parasites and bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics posed “a grave to health”. If ministers do not step in, then “modern medicine will be lost”, they added. The warning comes from a report by the Commons’ health and social care select committee, which scrutinises the government’s work in those areas. Britain is already seeing a rise of antibiotic resistant illnesses, which kill around 5,000 people a year in the UK.
Hip and knee operations are becoming increasingly lethal due to the rise of antibiotic resistance (AMR), health officials have warned. More than 2,500 people are now dying each year following a surge in once-treatable bloodstream infections for which antibiotics no longer work. A new report from Public Health England (PHE) warns that unless the trend is arrested, routine surgery, caesarean sections and some cancer treatments risk becoming life-threatening for more than three million patients each year. They are among a raft of common procedures which have been relatively safe for decades thanks to prophylactic (precautionary) antibiotics.
More than 3 million operations and cancer treatments a year in England may become life-threatening without antibiotics. Public Health England warned that cases of antibiotic-resistant blood infections have risen by more than a third in just four years. Experts say the crisis is getting worse amid growing concerns that the drugs are losing their power and can no longer treat many infections. Without antibiotics, infections related to surgery could double, putting people at risk of dangerous complications, health officials say. It could mean common procedures such as caesarean sections and hip replacements could become life-threatening.
People who eat organic food are 25 per cent less likely to get cancer, according to a study of almost 70,000 volunteers. Researchers say that pesticides in conventional fruit and vegetables can cause cancer, suggesting that going organic helps to prevent the disease. Previous studies have failed to find any convincing evidence that organic foods protect against disease or are more nutritious. Now researchers at Paris University have studied 69,000 people who were questioned about their diet and followed for an average of five years, during which 1,340 of them developed cancer.
England’s top doctor has called on the government to redouble its efforts to tackle the growing threat of superbugs, as an influential group of MPs has called for the issue to be moved much higher up the political agenda. In a report by the House of Commons health and social care select committee on antimicrobial resistance MPs warned that the issue was in danger of being forgotten and should become a “top five” policy priority area, with its own dedicated budget. Giving evidence to the committee Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, called for more “visible and active government leadership”, not just just from the Department of Health and the Prime Minister but across government as a whole.
Life on Mars
David Bowie has sung about it and Hollywood has been fascinated with the idea since the 1950s. Now the chances of discovering life on Mars have received a boost after scientists unearthed the possibility of salty, oxygen-enriched lagoons existing beneath the red planet’s arid surface. A study calculated that subterranean Martian lakes may produce enough oxygen to support aerobic microbes. At the poles there may even be “aerobic oases” capable of supporting multicellular, sponge-like creatures. Mars is thought to have once had significant amounts of water on its surface, with some experts believing that billions of years ago there were Martian oceans.