Theresa May admitted to Donald Tusk tonight Britain’s Brexit demands would not be ready until after this week’s crucial EU summit. The Prime Minister told the EU Council President at Downing Street talks she would not have her crucial policy paper on the shape of Brexit in time to discuss it with other European leaders. The state of the document, known as a White Paper, has been the subject of fraught discussions inside Westminster and is not likely to be fixed until a Cabinet away day next month.
Banks are not ready for Brexit and are still hoping for a ‘miracle’ deal, the EU watchdog warned today. The European Banking Authority (EBA) said ‘time is running out’ and preparations for the failure of talks between Brussels and the UK were inadequate. The ‘wake up call’ for financial institutions came as Theresa May struggles to break the negotiations deadlock. Mrs May will meet EU council president Donald Tusk in Downing Street later ahead of a crucial summit with leaders this week. Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley is also heading to Brussels for talks with Michel Barnier, as efforts to find a way through intensify.
BRITAIN has stressed the importance of Northern Ireland in the Brexit border during a last-minute meeting with the European Union ahead of the Council summit at the end of the week. Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, held a lunchtime meeting with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier after Brexit was relegated to a mere “footnote” on the leaders’ agenda for the June 28-29 meet-up. Ms Bradley used her discussion with Mr Barnier in the Belgian capital to press home the British Government’s insistence of striking a Brexit deal economically and politically suitable for Northern Ireland and the Republic.
EUROPEAN UNION budget chief Gunther Oettinger has warned Britain “it would be smart” not to perform a U-turn on the so-called £39 billion Brexit bill no matter the outcome of withdrawal negotiations. The German eurocrat said any future post-Brexit agreement, which would set Britain back £39 billion in divorce fees, would benefit Westminster far more than it would Brussels as he forewarned against walking away from the negotiating table. Britain will continue to pay into the EU’s coffers as part of the transition period written into the draft withdrawal agreement, after which Brussels faces having to plug the £10 billion-a-year blackhole left by Brexit.
Hungary last night broke ranks to warn that the EU faces economic devastation if it fails to achieve a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain. Its foreign minister Peter Szijjarto demanded Brussels stop trying to punish the British people for voting to leave. In a stinging rebuke days before the European Council summit, Mr Szijjarto said the EU had put its citizens’ security at risk by threatening to kick Britain out of projects such as the European Arrest Warrant and DNA database for criminals.
HUNGARY has slammed the European Union over its push to punish the UK for its decision to leave the bloc and warned Brussels could face economic devastation if it fails to strike a post-Brexit trade arrangement with the UK. Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s Foreign Minister, pointed to the severe economic downturn which could arise from the EU failing to reach a viable customs arrangement with the UK prior to the Brexit deadline. The Hungarian official said: “If the EU is not able to come to an agreement with the UK then it will end up with a further decrease in its competitiveness, which has already suffered in recent years.
The crisis which could see the toppling of German Chancellor Angela Merkel has heightened after she was unable to secure any consensus or deal at an informal European summit on migration over the weekend. Chancellor Merkel, along with several prominent European leaders from 15 other countries, met in Brussels over the weekend as part of an informal discussion on migration ahead of a formal summit to take place on Thursday. Despite looking for a European solution to deal with the migrant issue, Merkel left the meeting with no agreement but what she described as “much goodwill”, Stuttgarter Nachrichten reports.
ITALY’S new prime minister has warned the future of Europe’s border-free travel zone is at stake if no solution is found to the migration crisis. At a meeting of 16 EU leaders, Giuseppe Conte called for shared EU responsibility for rescued migrants and penalties for countries refusing to accept their share. The meeting comes ahead of a full EU summit on migration next week and after Italy stopped two migrant rescue ships docking in its ports. It’s now been claimed Italy is refusing to help a further SEVEN boats carrying roughly 1,000 migrants stranded between its coast and Libya. The Spanish aid group Proactiva Open Arms, which has rescued thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean, said the Italians want the Libyan coast guard to conduct the rescues and return the migrants.
A senior minister has attacked her Cabinet colleagues’ demands for “unsustainable” budget increases as she warns a tax and spend policy would leave the Tories “crushed” at the polls. Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, believes fellow Cabinet ministers should admit that “un-Conservative” spending sprees would lead to “higher and higher taxes”. Her comments are squarely aimed at Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, who reportedly said that he could “break” the Prime Minister if he is not given a bigger defence budget.
THERESA May is facing a backlash in her own cabinet if she presses ahead with her controversial plan to sign Britain up to a controversial customs partnership. The proposal has been condemned by Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom, the Prime Minister’s former leadership rival, who has become the latest senior Tory to warn of the red tape it will cause. Mrs Leadsom’s vocal opposition means she has joined foreign secretary Boris Johnson and European Research Group leader Jacob Rees Mogg in making it clear the plan drawn up by leading Brexit civil servant Olly Robbins could lead to Mrs May’s future as leader coming into question.
Theresa May is to have a cabinet sleepover at her Chequers country retreat at the end of next week to finalise the Brexit white paper in a showdown dubbed “the body bag summit” by some MPs. Sources told Sky News the meeting had been pencilled in for 5 and 6 July, with cabinet ministers told to bring their overnight bags as the prime minister locks in her top team to thrash out an agreement.”It’s a pyjama party,” joked one source. The much-awaited white paper, setting out detailed plans on the UK’s post-Brexit future, will be published on 9 July.
Boris Johnson has cast doubt on whether a third runway at Heathrow will ever be built despite MPs overwhelmingly approving plans to expand Britain’s biggest airport. The Foreign Secretary predicted it would be “a very long time” before the £14 billion development could begin, “if indeed a third runway ever comes about”. Mr Johnson, who has always opposed Heathrow expansion, was ridiculed by his own colleagues on Monday for flying to Afghanistan to avoid the vote, which the Government won by 415 to 119, a majority of 296.
MPs overwhelmingly backed a third runway at Heathrow last night that will expand the airport’s capacity by hundreds of thousands of flights after decades of delay. A three-line whip imposed on the Tories to support the proposals, combined with a free vote for Labour MPs and the abstention of Scottish Nationalists, meant that the plans were voted through with a majority of 296. Boris Johnson, a vocal opponent of the west London airport’s expansion, provoked derision after he missed the vote to be in Afghanistan, despite a vow to lie down in front of bulldozers to prevent the scheme.
Heathrow’s third runway has been cleared for take off after winning huge Commons backing. MPs voted by an overwhelming 415 to 119, majority 296, to approve expanding the West London airport after almost two decades of delays. Parliament’s central lobby was locked down after 12 demonstrators staged a “lie in” in protest over the plans. And shameless Boris Johnson, who once vowed to “lie down in front of bulldozers” to prevent expansion, was mocked by MPs after scuttling 3,500 miles to Afghanistan to dodge the crunch vote.
MPs last night voted 415 to 119 in favour of expanding Heathrow with a third runway in an historic step toward ending a decades-long battle over airports. The vote comes in defiance of furious protests a new runway will be a disaster for the environment and a million people living nearby. Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye hailed the vote as a ‘great day for the whole country’ within moments of the vote, which effectively gives outline planning permission for the runway. Construction of the £14billion project is still years of and will be subject to detailed planning and likely court challenges. Parliament’s Central Lobby was briefly sealed off by police ahead of the vote as the Vote No Heathrow group chanted and laid on the floor to block MPs moving about.
Boris Johnson has faced sharp criticism from fellow Conservative MPs over his decision to miss Monday night’s crunch vote on Heathrow expansion by flying out of the country on an official visit to Afghanistan. The foreign secretary claimed that resigning over his opposition to the £14bn project, which the Commons backed on Monday night by 415 votes to 119 – a majority of 296, would achieve “absolutely nothing” and that he would lobby against it privately instead. However, he faced disdain from colleagues for choosing to travel to Kabul on the day of the vote so he could avoid choosing between his cabinet job and his longstanding opposition to the project, which now faces a legal challenge.
The Electoral Commission has called for urgent reforms to electoral law after a series of online political campaign scandals, acknowledging concerns that British democracy “may be under threat”. Following a series of revelations involving the likes of Cambridge Analytica, the elections regulator has asked Westminster and the devolved governments to change the law in order to combat misinformation, misuse of personal data and overseas interference in elections. Among other recommendations, the Electoral Commission has called for a change in the law to require all digital political campaign material to state who paid for it, bringing online adverts in line with physical leaflets and adverts; New legislation to make it clear that spending in UK elections and referendums by foreign organisations and individuals is not allowed; An increase in the maximum fine, currently £20,000 per offence, that the Electoral Commission can impose on organisations and individuals who break the rules;
“Urgent” action is needed to make online political advertising more honest and transparent, the UK’s election watchdog has said. The head of the Electoral Commission, Sir John Holmes, said voters “need to know who is targeting them and how”. He wants digital ads to carry the name of the party or campaign behind them so voters know the source of any claims. The government said it would launch a consultation on making the proposals law “in due course”. Election leaflets have to carry the name and address of the candidate’s agent and who is paying for it.
The NHS performs worse than comparable international health systems in preventing deaths from eight common causes, including heart attacks and cancers. New research found that the UK was the third poorest performer out of 19 developed countries at preventing people dying when good medical care could have saved them. The analysis, published by the research groups and think tanks the Nuffield Trust, the Health Foundation, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and The King’s Fund, compared 19 countries including France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Italy and the USA.
Nine European countries, including the UK, have signed a “letter of intent” to create a joint military intervention force operating independently of the European Union. The planned force for rapid deployment in times of crisis would include Britain after Brexit and was agreed without any involvement from Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign affairs chief. It was also signed by France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain and Portugal. The scheme is independent from plans for greater EU defence co-operation and has been pushed by France because of concerns that Brexit could create obstacles to European military operations by excluding Britain.
The UK is set to join nine European Union (EU) states in signing up for a new, joint European rapid response military intervention force. The so-called “letter of intent” will help formalise the plan, led by French President Emmanuel Macron, which is widely perceived as another step towards the creation of an EU army. Defence ministers from Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain, Portugal, and the United Kingdom are expected to sign the document in Luxembourg on Monday. The initiative is separate from PESCO, the Brussels defence cooperation agreement, signed in November 2017 by 23 member states, meaning it is open for Britain to join after Brexit.
Black market British passports are being sold openly on social media. Genuine and fake versions can be bought for as little as £800, a Daily Mail investigation shows. One page on Facebook has been used to trade illegal British passports for at least three years. We also found that passports cloned with details taken from real passports were being touted for a few hundred pounds on other easily-accessible websites. The revelations follow yesterday’s Mail investigation into how stolen British passports are spirited to Turkey to be sold by people smugglers.
STOLEN and fake British passports are being sold for as little as £800 on social media, it has been reported. An investigation has claimed that one page on Facebook has been used to trade illegal British passports for at least three years. The Daily Mail has reported passports have been cloned with details taken from real passports and being touted for a few hundred pounds on other, easily accessible websites. Previously, the paper reported how fake Brit passports were being sold to people smugglers in Turkey. It’s reported an Arabic Facebook page called European Passports for Sale VIP features multiple pictures of British travel papers for sale from £800 to £2,600, and says seven out of ten customers succeed in making it past border control.
Ukip has allowed a trio of social media activists linked to the “alt-right” to join the party. The arrival of Paul Joseph Watson, Mark Meechan – better known to YouTube viewers as Count Dankula – and Carl Benjamin, who posts videos as Sargon of Akkad, will alarm some senior Ukip members already concerned at the struggling party’s direction under Gerard Batten. Batten, who took control of the party in February on an initial one-year basis, has defined himself largely though anti-Islam rhetoric. He has also backed Tommy Robinson, the founder of the anti-Islam English Defence League (EDL) street movement, who was jailed in May for contempt of court. The party’s rules forbid former members of the EDL or other far-right groups from joining.
Sikh shop owner in Ilford has received abuse for flying the St George’s flag outside his shop to show support for England at the World Cup. The shopkeeper received an anonymous, handwritten letter written in broken English saying he had forgotten his motherland and should be flying a different flag instead – but he says it only makes him want to fly the English flag even more. “We are a family business that my father started over 30 years ago,” he said. “He has lived in this country for around 40 years and we love this country otherwise we wouldn’t be here.
A Sikh shop owner who put St George’s flags outside his store has defied hate mail trolls who asked him ‘Have you forgotten your skin colour?’ Business owner Gagan, 31, received the anonymous letter last week claiming that as an Indian business owner, the firm should not show support for England during the World Cup. The manager of GMS Heating & Plumbing was accused of forgetting his motherland and his skin colour in the poisonous pen letter. He raised the flag for the first time last Wednesday, June 20, at his store in Ilford, east London, and received the anonymous letter on Thursday, June 21.
England’s World Cup success brought a welcome weekend boost to pubs and breweries but now fans are being warned not to let the excitement go to their heads. The Football Association could be fined if England supporters are caught singing offensive anti-EU chants during Thursday’s match against Belgium, Fifa said yesterday. England’s final group stage game in the Kaliningrad Stadium is being called the Brexit derby as political tensions with Brussels are transferred to the football pitch. It is England’s first match against European opposition at this World Cup, provoking fears that some supporters will take the opportunity to express their hostility to the European Union.
FIFA has threatened to fine the FA if England fans chant about Brexit during their clash against Belgium. They reportedly said that the FA it would be sanctioned if England fans breached its rules on “displaying insulting or political slogans in any form” and “uttering insulting words or sounds” during Thursday’s match in Kaliningrad. A FIFA Spokesman told The Telegraph: “Of course, there is a risk of some kind of punishment to the FA.” Of course this is the same FIFA that wanted to fine all four home nations for displaying poppies. During the Euros in France, England supporters chanted ‘f**k off Europe, we’re all voting out’…
ENGLAND World Cup fans have been warned not to sing songs about Brexit during this week’s match against Belgium by FIFA bosses. Football’s governing body said the FA could be punished if Three Lions fans are caught signing pro-Brexit chants during Thursday’s match. FIFA fears the crucial Group G match against Belgium could be fraught with political tension as the UK’s exit from the EU edges closer. Belgium’s capital Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union and is at the centre of Brexit negotiations.
England fans have been issued with a stark warning from FIFA not to sing pro-Brexit songs at the World Cup. Football’s global governing body said the FA faced punishment if England fans were caught making reference to the 2016 EU referendum in their match against Belgium on Thursday. It is feared the match could be fraught with political tension since Brussels is at the centre of the ongoing Brexit negotiations. According to a FIFA spokesperson, ‘displaying insulting or political slogans in any form’ and ‘uttering insulting words or sounds’ will be met with strict disciplinary measures.