Brussels warned yesterday that it will block Theresa May’s call for a Brexit transition deal unless the UK caves in during negotiations. In a fiery opening to the latest round of talks, the EU threatened to thwart the arrangement unless Britain first agrees to pay a huge ‘divorce’ bill and accept Brussels’ rules during this time. The Prime Minister announced plans for Britain to maintain its relationship with the EU for an ‘implementation’ period lasting several years after Brexit during a keynote speech last week aimed at breaking the deadlock in talks. Her intervention was tentatively welcomed by Brussels, but the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier yesterday told the UK it must settle its ‘debt’ first before any transition deal will be discussed.
DAVID Davis and Michel Barnier clashed once more over the explosive issue of a Brexit bill this evening as the pair put forward diametrically opposing views on how it should be paid. The Brexit secretary said any multi-billion pound payment to Brussels must be contingent on us getting a future trade deal – just moments after the Frenchman said the two issues could not be linked. In a fiery appearance Mr Davis said there were now “no excuses” for his counterpart to block progress in the talks given the reassurances provided by Theresa May’s keynote Florence speech. But Mr Barnier insisted there would be no “mixing up” of what he termed Britain’s “historic debts” to the bloc and subsequent negotiations on a future EU-UK trade deal.
Hopes that Theresa May’s Florence speech would break the deadlock in EU talks have been dashed after the bloc said her proposed transitional period could not be discussed until the UK settled its Brexit divorce bill. Despite initial signs that Ms May’s speech may help move things forward, the UK and EU negotiating teams ended the first day of further talks in Brussels in deadlock. Chief Brussels negotiator Michel Barnier explicitly ruled out transition-deal talks until the divorce bill, citizens’ rights, and Northern Ireland are dealt with, while Brexit Secretary David Davis ruled out settling Britain’s divorce bill without discussing Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
Britain says that any commitment toward outstanding payments into the EU budget will have to be clearly linked to a future political and trade relationship once the nation has officially left the group. U.K. chief negotiator David Davis promised that Britain “will honor commitments we have made during the period of our membership” but added it could “only be done in the context of an in accordance with a new deep and special partnership.” The EU has been insisting their needs to be “sufficient progress” on Britain’s outstanding financial commitments to the EU before any new relationship can be discussed. Estimates of the amounts Britain would still have to pay the EU have diverged wildly from some 20 billion euros to 100 billion euros.
The Brexit secretary, David Davis, and the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, have clashed over the UK’s exit bill and Britain’s request for a transition period after Theresa May’s speech in Florence last week failed to unlock the stalemate in negotiations. On the first day of the fourth round of talks, Barnier said the prime minister’s €20bn (£17.6bn) offer did not mean the UK would be given a transition period or that negotiations could move on to the detail of a future trading relationship. “It remains more necessary than ever to create the trust that we need to set up and build upon our future relationship,” he said, adding that it was up to Britain to provide clarity with time running out before it leaves. During a joint appearance in Brussels, Davis insisted there “could be no excuses for standing in the way” of progress this week and it was “obvious” that discussions on the financial settlement needed to be had in the context of talks over the future relationship.
EU NEGOTIATORS will use Angela Merkel’s election disappointment to “screw” money out of Britain and pressure international business to leave the UK, William Hague has claimed. The former Tory leader expects the EU to stall talks while Merkel attempts to form a coalition, knowing that the longer a deal takes the more business the UK will lose. Merkel secured a fourth term with 33 per cent of the vote, but her Christian Democratic Union party’s vote share dropped while the far-Right Alternative for Germany (AfD) rocketed into third place, entering the Bundestag for the first time with around 80 MPs. The election result will leave the newly elected German Chancellor scrambling to make deals with smaller parties in order to form a government. Now Mr Hague expects EU leaders to use the political situation in Germany as an excuse to delay moving ahead with Brexit talks.
Political deadlock in Germany is likely to delay the start of Brexit trade talks for several months, senior ministers fear. Downing Street had hoped for Theresa May’s concessions last week to “unlock” negotiations in Brussels and allow talks on a transition deal and a future relationship to begin after a meeting of European leaders next month. However, after Sunday’s divisive German election result, Whitehall now believes that it will be difficult for the EU to quickly agree a joint position. The unexpectedly poor showing for Angela Merkel and her Bavarian allies means she will be mired in talks for months and only able to focus on international issues of the highest priority — which the Brexit talks are not.
A PLOT to keep Britain in a reformed version of the EU is being hatched by Germany and France, according to bombshell claims. French president Emmanuel Macron is set to unveil plans to transform the EU into a two tier system, a Brussels source has said. Macron hopes his radical reforms may encourage the UK to remain a member of the EU a more flexible basis, it has been claimed. German chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to support his changes after winning a fourth term in office in yesterday’s election. Details of Macron’s plans have provoked fury among Eurosceptic MPs who fear Brexit may be derailed indefinitely. Last night a senior Tory MP told the Express: “A serious effort to stop Brexit is now under way. “I am very worried that we will now never leave the EU.
Labour’s row over Brexit has spilled onto its conference floor as members accused each other of “voting away their chance” to stay in the EU. Remain activists accused pro-Corbyn group Momentum of a “stitch-up” after Brexit was not one of the eight topics selected for a policy vote last night. Momentum encouraged its supporters not to back 27 motions from constituency parties, most of which argued for staying in the single market permanently. This morning the centrist Labour First group called the move an “unprincipled and anti-democratic stitch-up” in a leaflet that also branded left-wing members “bullying Stalinists”. “It is just bizarre – conference won’t be able to vote on the biggest political issue facing the UK because it might harm the narrow factional interests of Momentum,” the leaflet said.
LABOUR’S shadow Foreign Secretary has defended her party’s decision not to discuss Brexit at their annual party conference. Emily Thornberry responded to claims that not holding a vote on Brexit at the party’s annual conference was a “slap in the face to democracy” by claiming it was the “exact opposite”. Ms Thornberry went on to refuse to rule out continued membership to the EU’s single market repeatedly insisting “we are not sweeping anything off the table”. Labour members chose not to hold a vote on Brexit during the annual conference in Brighton, despite many in the party calling for a policy debate. The issues debated at the conference are decided by party delegates voting on proposals from the constituency parties – with the fanatical Corbyn movement Momentum spearheading efforts to sideline Brexit.
LABOUR’S leader in the European Parliament yesterday threatened to launch a new attempt at wrecking Brexit as bitter divisions over Europe erupted at the party’s conference. Glenis Willmott, who heads the Labour group in Brussels, said her MEPs could line up with other left-wingers in the assembly to try to vote down any deal. In her speech to the conference, Ms Willmott pointed out that the European Parliament had the power to vote down a final Brexit deal. She said: “There will be no backing for a deal that fails to give peace of mind to EU citizens in Britain, and Brits who have made their home abroad. “And there will be no backing for a deal that opens the door to attacks on workers’ rights.”
LONDON MAYOR Sadiq Khan deepened Labour’s civil war on Brexit yesterday by insisting Britain remain in the EU single market. And he suggested Britain may never LEAVE the EU despite the Brexit vote last year. He said “as things stand the referendum results are the referendum results”. And he told BBC Radio 4: “”I am quite clear when it comes to us leaving the EU – if we do leave the European Union – there will have to be a new deal. “I want us to continue to be members of the single market.”
Labour has pledged to seize control of up to £200 billion of contracts running schools, hospitals and prisons in an expansion of nationalisation plans that business leaders warned would send investors “running for the hills”. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, delighted party activists and union leaders yesterday with a promise to “bring back in-house” assets built and maintained under the private finance initiative (PFI). He also said that Royal Mail and water, energy and rail companies would be taken back into public ownership in the first years of a Labour government. Ministers would decide compensation, paid in government bonds, for both nationalisation programmes. Under the plans, share- holders of companies using tax havens could be punished by being given less than the valuation.
John McDonnell has confirmed that Labour will nationalise railways, water, energy and Royal Mail. Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Brighton, the Shadow Chancellor promised to “take back” key public services that are currently run by private companies. He said: “Ours will only become an economy for the many, if we significantly broaden ownership. That means supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses, the genuinely self-employed and massively expanding worker control and the co-operative sector. “Building an economy for the many also means bringing ownership and control of the utilities and key services into the hands of people who use and work in them. Rail, water, energy, Royal Mail: we’re taking them back.”
Labour’s John McDonnell has revealed a radical plan to end the “scandal” of PFI that costs Britain’s hospitals billions of pounds. The Shadow Chancellor said he will bring contracts under the costly scheme back under government control in a major blast at Tony Blair‘s legacy. His spokesman later clarified not all contracts will be seized back – instead they’ll be reviewed and taken back into public control “if necessary”. And it was not clear how much buying out existing contracts would cost. The Private Finance Initiative (PFI), introduced under Tory John Major and used heavily by New Labour, allowed private firms to build shiny new hospitals and schools at little immediate cost to the government. But it burdened the state with complex and large repayment plans for years to come.
Bookmakers could be forced to pay a levy to fund NHS treatment under new plans to curb problem gambling, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson will announce. Labour will launch a probe into how mental health services are coping with soaring numbers of addicts after a recent report found the number of over-16s deemed problem gamblers had grown by a third in three years. Mr Watson, the Shadow Culture secretary, will rail against gambling firms that are “deliberately targeting” the most vulnerable and outline a review into a tax to fund NHS treatment for those whose lives are “blighted by addiction”. The Gambling Commission has estimated that around 430,000 people over 16 suffer from a serious habit, while more than two million people are either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction.
Labour was branded the ‘new nasty party’ last night after an outbreak of intimidation and anti-Semitism at its annual conference. Jeremy Corbyn was urged to act after activists applauded panellists at a fringe meeting who likened supporters of Israel to Nazis. One speaker even suggested Labour should be free to debate whether the Holocaust had happened. Mr Corbyn was also facing a row about intimidation of Laura Kuenssberg. The BBC‘s political editor has been given a bodyguard following threats from Left-wingers at the conference. A Labour shadow minister yesterday claimed using an ex-soldier for protection was a ‘ploy’ to demonise hardliners.
Northern Ireland should be allowed effectively to remain part of the European Union, Owen Smith has demanded, in comments that risk breaching Labour’s fragile truce on Brexit. Mr Smith, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, told an event organised by Sinn Fein at Labour’s party conference that a special status “within the EU and as part of Britain” was the only solution to the problems caused for the province by Britain’s departure from the bloc. It came as the party leadership managed to avoid a public dispute erupting over Brexit policy, with an eleventh-hour policy statement passed by a show of hands on the conference floor.
John McDonnell vowed to take Britain into a ‘new era’ of hard-Left government today as he set out plans to nationalise utilities at below the market rate. The shadow chancellor fleshed out his goal of bringing rail, energy and water back into public ownership, insisting that parliament – not the market – would decide how much shareholders would be paid. Mr McDonnell also signalled that Labour could borrow tens of billions to end PFI contracts to provide public services, reiterated Labour’s determination to enforce caps on high pay, and vowed to strengthen unions.
Labour will unveil proposals for a tax on gambling today that would be ringfenced to fund NHS treatment for betting addicts. Tom Watson, the deputy party leader and shadow culture secretary, and Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, will announce a review into problem gambling and the ability of the health service to treat it. The inquiry will examine a proposal to impose a compulsory hypothecated levy on the industry to fund treatment, replacing the system that asks companies to make voluntary contributions. About 430,000 Britons have a serious gambling habit, up a third in three years, according to a report by the Gambling Commission. A further 1.57 million Britons are at risk of addiction.
Targeted radiotherapy can cure prostate cancer in men whose disease was once thought to be incurable, preventing thousands of deaths every year, researchers have said. Nine in ten men given the treatment were still alive more than eight years later, according to long-term data that allays fears that a tailored, three-minute radiotherapy dose was too toxic for such patients. When the study began patients with cancer that had spread to tissue surrounding the prostate were often not considered for radiotherapy, particularly at higher doses, because of fears that it would do too much damage to the intestines. However, IMRT — intensity modulated radiotherapy — shapes beams of radiation to the contours of each individual tumour, allowing higher doses to be given without damaging healthy organs.
Hospital bosses were forced to chant “we can do this” by a senior NHS official in an effort to improve their accident and emergency performance in advance of what doctors have warned will be a tough winter for the NHS. Hospital trust chief executives say they were left feeling “bullied, patronised and humiliated” by the incident last week at a meeting attended by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, and Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS in England. The leaders of about 60 trusts which NHS national bodies deemed to have the worst record on meeting the politically important four-hour A&E treatment target were called into a meeting held in London on Monday 18 September. Chief executives present say that they were divided into four regional groups, covering the south and north of England, London, and the Midlands and east of the country, each of which held a separate session with a senior NHS England official.
Hospitals must be given a £500m bailout to cope with the coming winter crisis or face putting thousands of patients at risk, Labour has said. New analysis shows 10,000 people will be stuck for too long in A&E waiting rooms every day if the situation continues unchecked against a backdrop of growing waiting lists and cancelled operations. Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth accused Theresa May of “burying her head in the sand” over the unprecedented demand on the health service after patients faced the worst winter on record last year. Doctors’ leaders warned that the overstretched NHS was facing a strain on services in the summer months normally reserved for winter, when poor weather and seasonal flu heap pressure on hospitals and GPs.
North Korea’s foreign minister said US President Donald Trump has “declared war” on his country and threatened to shoot down US jets in international airspace. Ri Yong Ho said the “declaration of war” meant North Korea could target US bombers. He said: “The question of who won’t be around much longer will be answered then.” That was a reference to Mr Trump’s recent indication on Twitter that the North Korean foreign minister, and leader Kim Jong-un “won’t be around much longer”.
A bellicose tweet from President Trump constitutes a “declaration of war” against North Korea, the regime’s foreign minister said yesterday as he threatened to shoot American military aircraft out of international skies. “Last weekend Trump claimed that our leadership wouldn’t be around much longer, and hence, at last, he declared war on our country,” Ri Yong-ho said in New York. “Given that this comes from someone that is holding the seat of the United States presidency, this is clearly a declaration of war.” The remarks were apparently a response to a tweet by Mr Trump in which he referred to a threat by Mr Ri to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.
Kim Jong-un‘s Foreign Minister has made the shock claim that President Donald Trump has declared war on North Korea. Ri Yong-ho insisted all options are on the table for Pyongyang and that his nation now reserves the right to shoot down US planes even if they are not in Korea’s air space. The official, talking to reporters in New York, said: ‘The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country. ‘Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.’ The remarks from the rogue state’s Foreign Minister is in reaction to comments made by the President of the US in which he questioned how long the North Korean leadership would be in power.
The United Stated has called North Korea’s allegations that the US declared war on Pyongyang “absurd”. “We’ve not declared war on North Korea. Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. It comes after North Korea claimed it is authorised to shoot down US bombers in international airspace – in response to Donald Trump’s “declaration of war”. Pyongyang’s foreign minister said it interpreted the US president’s latest aggressive rhetoric as a red-line threat against his country. “The question of who won’t be around much longer will be answered then,” he added.
Britons travelling in France have been warned to expect petrol shortages as militant truck drivers took part in anti-government protests. Trade unions opposed to employment reforms by President Emmanuel Macron‘s government started blocking fuel depots and major roads first thing yesterday morning. By midday there was chaos across the country, with vast traffic jams and pumps running dry, especially close to the Channel ports in northern France. ‘Dozens of petrol stations have run dry because of panic buying, rather than because of the blockades’ said a spokesman for the CGT (General Confederation of Labour), France’s largest union. ‘Those travelling through France from Britain should certainly expect shortages. Our action will continue.’