Paul Nuttall is the favourite to become the next Ukip leader, according to an exclusive survey of elected Ukip councillors for The Times Red Box. Nuttall, a Ukip MEP for the North West region and former deputy leader of the party, holds a significant lead over his main rival, Suzanne Evans. Over the weekend both Nuttall and Evans declared their candidacies for a role that became available after Diane James resigned after only eighteen days at the helm.
One of the eight candidates to become UKIP’s leader has pulled out of the contest, stating that one of his rivals is “the only person who can effectively unite our party”. West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge added that the other contenders should follow his example and stand down in favour of current deputy leader Paul Nuttall. He urged UKIP to stick to its “patriotic, libertarian” principles. Mr Nuttall announced on Sunday that he would run for leader. Whoever wins the race will replace Nigel Farage, who is filling the role on a temporary basis. This follows the resignation of Diane James, who won the previous UKIP leadership election over the summer but quit after just 18 days in the job.
A Ukip leadership contender has provoked anger over his behaviour on social media after it was revealed that he posted a series of abusive tweets. Raheem Kassam, a former adviser to Nigel Farage, said yesterday that he plays a “character online” that people tell him is nothing like his real personality. He apologised for a remark that he made “in haste” about Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister. In June during a live television debate on the EU referendum, he tweeted: “Can someone just like . . . tape Nicola Sturgeon’s mouth shut? And her legs, so she can’t reproduce. Thanks.”
UKIP contender Bill Etheridge has pulled out of the leadership race, calling one of his rivals “the only person” who can effectively unite the party. The West Midlands MEP urged the other seven candidates to stand down in favour of current deputy leader Paul Nuttall. Mr Etheridge said: “I always said that if a candidate better suited to take this party forward emerged I would better back down and support them. That candidate has emerged. “Paul Nuttall is not only a personal friend and an honourable man but I believe he is the only person who can effectively unite our party after the recent well publicised problems we have suffered.”
A man who claimed a gay donkey tried to rape his horse is standing to be Ukip leader. John Rees-Evans, who also took a gun into IKEA, was forced to confront the bizarre claim as he declared his run for the top job. The ex-soldier insisted his 2014 quip was “playful banter with a mischievous activist” and the IKEA incident was “embellished”. He admitted: “The fact is I’m not a politician.” Mr Rees-Evans, who came third behind Labour and the Tories in the last general election with 6,423 votes, is the eight Ukipper to throw their hat in the ring. But his plan to declare his vision for Ukip on national TV today was rudely interrupted by BBC Daily Politics host Jo Coburn.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday it was not accurate to suggest that Britain was headed for a “hard Brexit” because it does not face a binary choice between curbing immigration and getting a good trade deal with the EU. Earlier this month sterling plunged versus the dollar as financial markets viewed a keynote speech by May on Britain’s EU exit as signalling that she was prioritising immigration control over economic concerns – the so-called “hard Brexit” scenario. During a question and answer session in parliament on May’s meeting with EU leaders last week, opposition Labour lawmaker Andy Burnham said May had been “talking up” a hard Brexit.
Theresa May has said the UK will be “the most passionate, enthusiastic and convinced” supporter of free trade in the world after it leaves the EU. The prime minister, who attended her first European Council meeting at the weekend, told MPs the government would “develop our own British model”. She expressed her disappointment at the stalling of free trade talks between the EU and Canada. Labour accused Mrs May of overseeing a “chaotic Brexit”.
The UK Government will contribute £36m towards the clearance and security of the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp, the Home Secretary says. In a statement given to the House of Commons, Amber Rudd said the clearance was in the national interest of “both the UK and France… an important step in bringing to an end the difficult situation”. She said: “While responsibility for Calais lies with the French government, the juxtaposed controls are a vital part of the UK’s border security and a valuable economic link. “That’s why the UK Government will be contributing up to £36m to maintain the security of these controls, to support the camp clearance and to ensure in the long-term that the camp is kept closed.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to persuade the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Monday to work with her government on a common Brexit negotiating position, but the Scottish leader dismissed the meeting as “deeply frustrating”. May says that while the devolved governments of the UK’s three smaller nations should give their views on what the terms of Brexit should be, they must not under mine the UK’s strategy by seeking separate settlements with the EU. “I don’t know what the UK’s negotiating position is because they can’t tell us,” Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said after talks at May’s Downing Street office
Labour’s leader in the House of Lords has said the party’s peers “will not block” Brexit, in what could be a boost for Theresa May. Baroness Angela Smith said peers had to be “adult” in approaching the issue and that threats over blocking Britain’s EU withdrawal only gave Brexiteers reason to cry foul. A group of Tory Lords angry at Ms May’s hard-line approach have already signalled they could stymie and block Brexit legislation, something which is significant because Conservatives are already in a minority there. It led one cabinet minister to warn in The Independent that such a rebellion would put the Lords’ future at risk. Speaking in the upper chamber, Labour’s Baroness Smith said she had read the news report, before setting out how Labour peers would approach Brexit legislation differently. She said: “We will scrutinise. We will examine. But my Lords – we will not block.”
Britain’s public finances have been hit by a post-Brexit £700 million EU budget bill, an internal Treasury briefing reveals. Brussels increased its demand by more than 25 per cent last month, according to the note intended only for Treasury ministers and officials. The document, marked “sensitive” but released in error on the department’s website, also reveals that No 11 has given up on hitting its targets to reduce Britain’s deficit this year. Poor tax receipts meant that the UK was on course to miss the targets even before the vote on June 23.
British anarchists and open borders activists have promised to “fight the police” in Calais this week to stop them demolishing the illegal Jungle migrant camp. France is due to begin the work on Monday, and the 6,500 to 10,000 migrants living there will either be deported or moved to one of 300 temporary refugee centres across France. “Lots of us will be going down”, promised a member of the No Borders group at a rally in South London last week, where leaflets bearing a picture of masked, club-wielding activists smashing up a law enforcement van were displayed. According to The Sunday Times, the “No Borders social” also involved the Anti-Raids Network (ARN), the UK end of No Borders.
Calais migrants today pledged to ‘get to Britain at all costs’ – or ‘die’ trying – as they prepared to bunker down in the Jungle camp as its demolition starts today. Aid workers say thousands of refugees may ‘resist’ and refuse to leave on the day work to raze the camp to the ground is due to begin. Last night remaining migrants from its estimated 10,000-strong population began protesting against armed officers and broke into chants of ‘UK, UK, UK!’ The 300-strong group held their hands aloft in a crossed position as if handcuffed to signify their lack of freedom. Today hundreds of migrants were queuing up in the pre-dawn darkness for buses to take them to housing sites around France. ‘Bye Bye, Jungle!’ one group of migrants shouted as they hauled luggage through the muddy lanes of the shantytown where thousands of mainly Afghans, Sudanese and Eritreans had holed up, desperate to sneak into Britain.
France began clearing the sprawling “Jungle” migrant camp in Calais on Monday, with hundreds carrying suitcases queuing outside a hangar to be resettled in reception centres across the country. The first buses departed less than an hour after immigration workers started the operation and officials predicted some 2,500 would leave on the first day. Armed police fanned out around the warehouse and across the squalid shanty-town after a night during which small groups of migrants burnt toilet blocks and hurled stones at security forces in protest at the plans to dismantle the camp. The Socialist government says it is closing the camp, home to 6,500 migrants fleeing war and poverty, on humanitarian grounds. It plans to relocate them to 450 centres across France.
Thousands of migrants have been moved from the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp ahead of its demolition later. Around 2,000 residents, including around 300 minors, are thought to have passed through the registration centre on the edge of the camp. A further 85 buses are expected to arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday, with officials saying the entire operation will last at least a week.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned Theresa May she is not “bluffing” over her promise to hold an independence referendum if Scotland’s vote against Brexit is “not respected”. After talks in Downing Street, she said she was not prepared to see “Scotland driven off a hard Brexit cliff-edge”. She and the first ministers of Wales and Northern Ireland demanded to be fully consulted on EU negotiations. But Downing Street said it was vital not to “undermine” the UK’s position. The Scottish and Welsh leaders want the devolved legislatures and Parliament all to vote on the UK’s approach when formal talks with the European Union about Brexit begin.
THERESA May warned Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon against trying to “undermine” her chances of Brexit success. The pair clashed in stormy Downing Street talks over the process of leaving the European Union . Ms Sturgeon reiterated her threat to call another Scottish independence referendum as she demanded rights for Scotland to retain closer links with the European Union than the rest of the UK. But the Prime Minister insisted that she will be negotiating a Brexit deal on behalf of the whole of Britain and told Ms Sturgeon not to hinder the process. Mrs May also insisted that Scotland’s best future lies inside the UK. She hosted talks with the leaders of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to underline her commitment to ensuring all their views are heard in the Brexit process. Most voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted for Britain to stay in the EU, while England and Wales backed leaving.
Prime Minister Theresa May is set to end decades of indecision by backing the expansion of Britain and Europe’s busiest airport, Heathrow, finally kickstarting a project made more pressing by the vote to leave the EU. May and a small team of ministers will meet on Tuesday to choose between expanding Heathrow, to the west of London, or Gatwick, to the south – making a decision on airport expansion after more than 25 years of debate. Key opponents of Heathrow expansion such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who as then London mayor said last year it would not solve capacity issues and the scheme was doomed to fail, will not be present.
The government’s long-awaited decision on which airport scheme should get the go-ahead will finally be announced later. A third runway at Heathrow is expected to be announced. But other options include extending an existing runway at Heathrow or building a second runway at Gatwick. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will make the announcement in the House of Commons at around 12.30pm.
The government’s long-awaited decision on airport expansion is set to be announced, with Heathrow the favourite. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will make a statement to Parliament around lunchtime on Tuesday. But the decision faces a long consultation before it becomes final. A study last year, led by Sir Howard Davies, recommended a third runway at Heathrow but other options include a new runway at Gatwick or extending one of Heathrow’s existing runways.
Theresa May’s government is likely to back a third runway at Heathrow on Tuesday, six years after the coalition scrapped plans for the project. Two sources on the cabinet’s airports subcommittee have told the Guardian they expect the group to back Heathrow, after it meets on Tuesday morning to make a final decision. Members of the nine-strong committee have been directed to make their decisions on the basis of the evidence of the Airports Commission, which was led by Sir Howard Davies. That put forward two options for expanding at Heathrow and one at Gatwick , before making a final recommendation for a third runway at Heathrow last year.
After decades of procrastination and delay, the Government will today make the highly controversial decision of expanding an airport in southeast England. The UK needs greater airport capacity to increase its trade links with the rest of the world but there has been a long-running disagreement as to where this should take place. It is widely expected that Heathrow will be the winner but that Gatwick will be allowed to expand at a later date. Even then, it will be at least another year before a vote by MPs and that leaves plenty of time for legal challenges and opposition.
THE Government has signalled a major U-turn in its war on Press freedom. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is to fight plans for crippling financial punishments on newspapers. Peers are demanding the Press sign up to a regulatory body approved by Royal Charter. If they do not, they will face having to pay legal fees for both sides in libel actions, regardless of who wins, under Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. But last night sources close to No10 said the Government would not support Section 40. Mrs Bradley said she wanted to see a “vibrant and free local press”. She said newspapers should be able to carry out investigations without fear of libel actions which could “put them out of business”.