THERESA May today rejected demands from business leaders for an early Brexit “transition deal” that could keep Britain firmly tied to the EU for years to come. In a statement at Westminster, the Prime Minister insisted she will not sign any interim arrangement until a long-term trade agreement with Brussels has been fully thrashed out. She said: “You don’t know what those practical arrangements will be until you reach a deal on that future partnership.” Her remarks delighted Brexit-backing Tory MPs in the Commons yesterday following fears that an interim deal is being pushed by pro-Brussels supporters to try to keep the UK effectively tied to the EU indefinitely.
Theresa May has warned she will reject a transition to cushion Brexit if she has failed to also strike a long-term trade agreement with the EU – raising the chances of a “no deal” exit. The Prime Minister said Britain must know “where you are heading” before agreeing the two-year transition she has proposed, to try to break the deadlock in the talks. The stance echoes a statement, last week, by the Brexit Secretary David Davis, which was immediately attacked as “extraordinarily dangerous” by a pro-EU group. It is widely agreed, both at home and in Brussels, that there is no time to agree permanent trading terms, given the need to reach a deal by next autumn.
Theresa May has signalled there will be no transitional deal to prevent a “cliff-edge” Brexit unless the UK settles its final trading relationship with the EU next year, prompting warnings that businesses will start leaving the country before then. The prime minister surprised MPs when she told them in a Commons debate that there could be no “implementation period” unless the UK had settled its “future partnership” with the EU, which is unlikely to happen until next summer at the earliest and may fail to be agreed at all. Her remarks alarmed MPs fighting against a hard Brexit. Business groups have been intensively lobbying for the government to agree the terms of transition with the EU by Christmas, before companies make their financial plans for 2018.
Theresa May yesterday issued a fresh threat to leave Europe without a deal as a humiliating leak from Brussels suggested she “begged” EU leaders to help her kick-start Brexit negotiations. The Prime Minister indicated for the first time that unless a trade deal is agreed by next summer, Britain will leave the EU in March 2019 without a transition period. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday that his team was already working on a draft Brexit treaty in a signal that some progress is now being made towards a deal. Mrs May told MPs that to have an implementation period “you need to know what the future partnership is going to be”, and dismissed the EU’s timetable of agreeing a trade deal by October next year as being too late.
Theresa May has come under pressure from Tory bankbenchers over claims she privately agreed to pay the EU a bigger divorce bill to speed up the Brexit talks. The Prime Minister was told not to hand over “a penny more” than Britain owes, with one backbencher suggesting it would be impossible to “look public sector workers in the eye”. The warnings, during a Commons statement, laid bare the difficulty Ms May faces in meeting the EU’s demand to up her offer in order to break the deadlock in the negotiations. Without a concession on the financial settlement, the EU will not agree to discuss future trade or a transition deal – provoking mounting alarm among business leaders.
New polling shows big support for Britain leaving the European Union without a deal and trading on WTO terms. Opinium have found that 37% backed that outcome, compared to only 25% who support a transition period remaining in the single market until a deal is done and just 23% who still think Brexit should be abandoned. 62% of Leave voters back exiting without a deal, as do 13% of Remain voters. It shows once more how the British people are growing impatient of the delays and frequent attempts to water down Brexit. After the historic vote on June 23rd 2016, the British people expect the UK’s EU exit to be delivered and they don’t want to wait years and years to see the type of radical change they voted for. A British government that walked away from a bad deal and got on with it would have large public support.
Brexit could be postponed by “up to two years” if any part of the negotiations is referred to Europe’s highest court, experts have warned. At the end of talks, the European Parliament will have the opportunity to vote on the final deal as part of the ratification process, and members could opt to seek a judicial review from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) if there are questions raised about the legality of any aspect of the agreement. Any referral would undoubtedly delay Britain leaving the European Union but due to the unprecedented nature of Brexit the exact timeframe remains unknown, with estimates varying from a few months to two years.
THERESA May last night refused to rule out walking away from the EU if no Brexit deal is reached by the talks’ two year deadline. Worried MPs called on the PM to agree a transition deal now to reassure worried businesses as the clock ticks down. But the PM insisted there could be no intermediary phase without knowing what trade terms Britain will win first. Instead, she insisted it was now “for the EU to now say what they want” from any future relationship, declaring the negotiating ball was back in Brussels’ court. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also accused Mrs May of presiding over “Groundhog Day” because of the lack of surface progress.
Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief negotiator, has revealed work has begun on the Brexit treaty and that he will quit before trade negotiations between the EU and UK are finished. Mr Barnier said he would step down in the Spring after the 29 March 2019 Brexit deadline but before the end of a proposed transition deal to allow further EU-UK trade talks. He conceded that the future UK-EU trading relationship was the “most important” thing in the negotiations but added that talks over it could take years. Theresa May today issued a fresh threat to leave the EU without a deal but Mr Barnier warned that would have disastrous consequences including British planes being unable to gain authorisation to take off and land at European airports.
THE EU Chief Negotiator has claimed that a free trade deal will take years to complete despite Theresa May insisting there could be no transition period after Brexit without an agreement. Michel Barnier said the discussions would be very different from the first phase of the negotiations on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal. In an interview with France’s Les Echoes newspaper, he warned that the negotiations would continue to be “difficult” and that agreeing on the future relationship between the EU and the UK would take time. He said: “The two phases are difficult. The second will be very different and will last several years. “It is truly unique because instead of promoting regulatory convergence, it will aim to frame a difference.
EUROPEAN Union MEPs are set to vote on handing more power over wages and social security standards of workers in Europe, according to a new report. The report, by Italian left-winger Laura Agea, says the laws already exist for the European Union (EU) to take control over something which national governments have previously assumed is solely their competence. The EU’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs stops short of guaranteeing a minimum wage but so-called “minimum income schemes” would inevitably mean handing more powers to Brussels bureaucrats in being able to determine wages and social security programmes. If introduced, the scheme will guarantee a minimum level of income to all citizens.
THE European Union (EU) is making a bid to hold sway over virtually all aspects of citizens lives, wanting control over “the provision of public services such as health, education and childcare”. Buried in a report on “minimum income schemes” by the European Union Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, MEPs advocated providing an income “that is above the poverty line” and added the moves should be accompanied by “the provision of public services such as health, education and childcare”. Although the report has not been ratified by the EU Parliament and it has not legislative power as any directive by the body can be voted down by individual states, it can be seen as a further move by the bloc to increasingly interfere in people’s lives.
Angela Merkel is “furious” over leaks from private Brexit talks amid fears that further hostility from Brussels may topple Theresa May, The Times has been told. The German chancellor expressed anger at reported leaks from a dinner last week between Mrs May and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, it is understood. A German newspaper suggested on Sunday that the prime minister “begged” for help on Brexit, seeming “anxious, despondent and discouraged”. The article said that the meeting last Monday was like hearing “cries for help”. Mrs Merkel is thought to be frustrated by the Tories’ perceived refusal to offer more detail on Brexit. But she is concerned above all that talks will collapse.
The European Commission has accused “some people” of leaking an account of Theresa May’s dinner with commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to undermine the EU’s position on Brexit talks. In an unprecedented move, commission chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas broke the body’s silence and told reporters in Brussels that other people had their “own political agendas” for leaking the claims that Ms May had “begged” Mr Juncker for help on Brexit. He urged the unnamed party to “leave us alone” after the unnamed source told a German newspaper that the PM looked like “someone who can’t sleep a wink” at the meeting.
JEAN-CLAUDE Juncker’s top official today suggested that British politicians may have leaked damning details of a second dinner between his boss and Theresa May to “undermine” the Brexit talks. Martin Selmayr, the EU Commission president’s chief of staff, denied reports that he or the “EU side” briefed a German newspaper about the supposedly private meal that took place in Brussels last week. The PM’s former top advisor, Nick Timothy, immediately pointed the finger at the German official after a bruising account of the meeting appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper yesterday.
House of Lords
The House of Lords expenses scandal deepened on Monday night as it emerged seventeen peers claimed tens of thousands of pounds each despite doing little work. The members claimed a total of £424,637 in 2016 despite failing to speak, sit on a single committee or submit a written question. Labour peer Lord Kirkhill was the worst offender, pocketing £43,896, followed by Scottish Labour member Baroness Adams on £41,287. Seventeen members of the House of Lords managed to earn more than £10,000 each last year despite failing to speak, table a written question, or sit on a committee (file image)
PEERS have been slammed for claiming more than £420,000 in expenses last year — despite doing “nothing”. Seventeen members of the 798-strong House of Lords charged the taxpayer the eye-watering figure without asking a question, speaking in the chamber or sitting on a committee. Labour’s Lord Kirkhill pocketed the most at £43,896 followed by Baroness Adams on £41,287, the Mirror probe found. Alexandra Runswick of campaign group Unlock Democracy said: “We need fundamental reform so the second chamber is accountable to the people”.
Dozens of migrants are reaching Britain from northern France every week despite official claims that the crisis ended with the evacuation of the Jungle camp in Calais a year ago. Up to 100 migrants arrive in Calais and Dunkirk each week and a similar number made it across the channel to Britain, according to Christian Salomé, chairman of L’Auberge des Migrants, a Calais charity. Other charity workers estimated the figure to be nearer 50, although all agree that French government claims to have stopped cross-channel migration altogether are unfounded. A few migrants reach Britain under their own steam by stowing away in lorries, while others pay smuggling gangs fees of about €3,000 a person to get across.
Romanian criminals are exploiting a legal loophole to head to the UK before using human rights laws to prevent them from being sent home. Offenders are given bail in their home country without having their passport cancelled, allowing them to travel to Britain under EU freedom of movement laws. They can then attempt to prevent their extradition to Romania by making claims under the European Convention of Human Rights over the size of jail cells at home. The High Court blocked the extradition of two Romanian criminals in June on the ground that the cells in their home country’s semi-open prisons were too small.
Romanians are exploiting a legal loophole to escape prison sentences in their own country by coming to Britain, where they go missing. Several high profile Romanian criminals have been convicted in their home country but were then granted leave to come to the UK, including one who ‘wanted to attend a pigeon fancying event’. Once in Britain, they are often granted legal aid to claim they can’t be extradited back to Romania because prison conditions in their country would offend their human rights. Legal sources say wave after wave of hardened Romanian criminals are now on Britain’s streets, including Anastasescu George Alin, who was convicted over the deaths of 64 people in a Bucharest nightclub fire.
ALL EU migrants would be free to come to Britain after Brexit – as long as they have a job. Under new plans being floated by the Home Office, as long as an EU citizen had an offer of work they would be allowed in after we leave the EU. It could mean they would face removal if they don’t find work, but there are no plans in place for a cap on numbers arriving. That contradicts previous leaked Home Office papers which revealed the UK plans to cap the number of low-skilled EU migrants – confirming an end to free movement after Brexit. Those plans also said that bosses may also be forced to recruit British workers first before looking overseas.
Today Amber Rudd confirmed what UKIP have been saying since the EU referendum a year last June, which is that the Tory government have no intention of honouring their ‘tens of thousands’ net immigration pledge. With net immigration running at 250,000 a year (significantly higher under the Tories than Labour) the Home Office, since 2010 run by Theresa May and now Amber Rudd is kowtowing to big business, to keep the borders open after we leave the EU and allow in high levels of low skilled workers to keep down wages and deprive British workers of job opportunities and higher wages.
EUROPEAN UNION (EU) nationals will be allowed to live in Britain after Brexit if they have a job, new Home Office plans have revealed. Home Secretary Amber Rudd is pushing for the proposal in a bid to keep migration rules as simple as possible after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019. If Europeans cannot find work they could face deportation under the plans, but if they can they will have the right to live and work in the UK. However, the proposal would mean there being no cap on the number of European arrivals.
A senior Spanish cabinet minister has warned that Madrid is prepared to use force to restore order in Catalonia as separatists vowed to resist direct rule. Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, the Spanish government spokesman and education minister, told The Times that Catalan police would be used to quell protests that threatened public order. “No government wants any acts of violence but the government has to make sure that the law is obeyed and if there are people on the other side who do not want to obey the law, then, through the Mossos d’Esquadra [the Catalan police], we will have to restore the law,” Mr Méndez de Vigo said.
A far-left pro-independence party in Catalonia is calling for ‘mass civil disobedience’ following the Spanish government’s unprecedented move to trigger a section of the constitution allowing the government to take direct rule of the region. In an announcement Monday, the CUP, a key ally in the regional parliament to the minority ruling separatist coalition, said the move will be met by civil disobedience as a form of non-violent resistance Catalonia said on Monday it was confident all officials including police would defy attempts by Madrid to enforce direct rule on the region, in an escalating dispute that has raised fears of unrest among Spain’s European allies.
The Catalan government has suggested that the European Union will not survive if it allows Spain to impose direct rule. Regional president Carles Puigdemont declared independence from Spain following a referendum which the Spanish National Police and paramilitary Civil Guard (Gaurdia Civil) attempted to violently suppress — although he suspended the effects of the declaration in hopes of pursuing a dialogue with Madrid. Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s has been uncompromising in his response, however, moving to impose direct rule by dismissing the Catalan government and dissolving the Catalan parliament — with the question of whether or not so-called independentists will be allowed to stand in fresh elections remaining open.
Patients with the highest risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes are not being prescribed statins despite a major NHS drive to put more people on the drug, a major study reveals today. Analysis of nearly 250 GP practices shows that since health chiefs encouraged doctors to put millions more people on statins, the proportion of people with the worst outlook being prescribed the medication has actually dropped. In 2014 watchdogs dramatically lowered the threshold for prescribing statins, effectively encouraging doctors to make them available to millions more patients. But the new research suggests that patients and GPs have been deterred from following the guidance amid controversy over the drugs.
GPs are prescribing statins to only one in five patients who are eligible to start taking them amid growing scepticism over the cholesterol-busting drugs. New prescriptions have halved in a decade, with doctors saying that patients are increasingly turning down statins because they fear the side-effects. This is despite evidence that effects such as muscle pain and diabetes are rarer than previously thought. GPs say that they are reluctant to recommend drugs from which the vast majority of patients will not benefit, as part of a backlash against “the medicalisation of life”. Only a third of those deemed at highest risk of a heart attack are started on statins and the proportion has fallen.
Statins are being doled out in their thousands to people who do not need them, a study suggests. One in six patients who started taking the pills between 2010 and 2015 were found to have been at ‘low risk’ of heart disease – with experts warning of ‘significant overtreatment’. At the same time, many who should have been given statins were not prescribed them. NHS watchdog NICE says patients who have at least a 10 per cent chance of developing cardiovascular disease over the next decade are eligible to receive the drugs. But Birmingham University researchers found one-sixth of those prescribed statins fell below this threshold.
The number of patients being put on mixed-sex hospital wards has soared by 316% since Jeremy Hunt boasted the scandal had “virtually gone”. The Health Secretary said in October 2013 the indignity of sick patients being forced to sleep next to the opposite sex had all but ended. But the Daily Mirror has found this is not the case, with patients enduring mixed-sex wards nearly 10,000 times in the past year. Lib Dem health spokeswoman Baroness Judith Jolly said: “This embarrassing failure is a sign of the intolerable pressure our health service is under.
DOCTORS set up an immigration checkpoint outside the Department of Health yesterday in protest at new NHS immigration checks and charges. Dozens of health professionals and patients from the Docs Not Cops campaign group blocked the entrance to the department and handed out the forms that NHS trusts are using to check patients’ eligibility for treatment. They accused the Tories of creating a “hostile environment” by “racially profiling” patients in NHS hospitals. Checks have already been piloted at 20 hospitals across Britain as part of the government’s plans to tackle supposed “health tourism.”