Harry & Meghan
UKIP Daily wishes to add its congratulations to the happy couple. Reports on the royal engagement can be found in the Times, Telegraph, Mail, Independent, Guardian, Mirror, Sun, Express, Star, Sky News, BBC News, ITV News, Reuters, Westmonster.
MICHEL Barnier today said he hopes for a Brexit breakthrough “in the next few days” and confirmed that Britain and the EU are close to signing off on an agreement over citizens’ rights. In an upbeat speech Brussels’ chief negotiator said the two sides are “shoring up” a pact over the futures of European citizens living in the UK and British expats based on the continent. He said the “moment of truth is approaching” in the tense divorce talks but expressed real “hope” that he and Brexit secretary David Davis will be able to get a deal across the line. The EU has set Britain an “absolute deadline” of December 4 by which to table a new offer unlocking sufficient progress or leaders will not be able to trigger trade talks at next month’s summit.
Britain and the EU will hopefully reach an agreement on sufficient progress in Brexit talks within “the next few days”, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. Michel Barnier told an EU conference in Tallinn, Estonia that the “moment of truth” was approaching for Britain’s exit talks and that “real, sufficient progress” was in sight. “I do hope in the next few days we will come up with an agreement on principles, and a real agreement,” he said. “We need to have real, sufficient progress in the three key areas where the UK’s decision has created a lot of uncertainty and fear even.” Mr Barnier added: “The moment of truth is approaching, we have a council under the Estonian presidency on December 14 and 15, and I really hope that will be the point where we will see real, sufficient progress on the conditions of our separation.
THE European Parliament’s Brexit chief Guy Verhofstadt has insisted that diluting the right of migrants from the European Union in the UK should not be an option despite attempts to move the divorce talks along. Mr Verhofstadt has warned the European Parliament will not support dilution of its citizens’ rights in order to move Brexit negotiations onto “phase two”, which includes trade and other post-divorce arrangements. While the EU Parliament is not directly involved in Brexit negotiations, it has the final say over the final deal before it can go into effect. Mr Verhoftstadt said: “My concern is that citizens’ rights are not being well-managed. “I fear this problem will not be solved in the coming weeks.” Failure to move forward on those issues would create further delays to the Brexit timetable. A decision is expected at the next European summit in mid-December.
The UK’s seven biggest lenders are all strong enough to cope with a “disorderly” no-deal Brexit, according to a Bank of England assessment. But the Bank said it would need to consider whether the firms will need to make sure they hold billions more capital in case such a scenario coincides with a wider global downturn. The Bank’s Financial Policy Committee also set out a wishlist of actions it says need to be taken to try to mitigate the risks to UK financial services posed by the departure from the EU. Stress tests based on a severe economic scenario were carried out on Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander UK, Standard Chartered and Nationwide.
For the first time since the financial crisis, all of the UK’s biggest lenders have passed the Bank of England’s stress tests. The tests imagine a series of adverse economic scenarios to see whether the banks could continue to lend money to support the UK economy. The Bank said Barclays and RBS did not pass the stress tests in a snapshot of their businesses at the end of 2016. However, both banks had improved their financial positions since then. And, as a result, both were deemed to have passed the stress tests overall. The worst case scenario the Bank imagined included a 33% fall in house prices, a rise in interest rates from 0.5% to 4% within two years, and the unemployment rate rising to 9.5% from its current rate of 4.3%.
The vast majority of Brits think the proposed £40 billion Brexit bill is unacceptable, according to a new poll by ICM. Theresa May is set to have arrived at that figure in a desperate bid to get the EU to open up talks on trade, but 71% of Brits regard the figure as too high. Just 11% back that amount of money being given away to Brussels. When polled on other hypothetical figures, 50% of those asked said £10 billion was an acceptable sum to pay the EU in return for a deal. When that amount increases to £20 billion, support quickly drops, with only 28% of voters believing it was an acceptable figure. A majority rejected even that amount. Politicians are underestimating the level of public anger that will be unleashed if they give away tens of billions to the EU whilst the police and Armed Forces face cuts back home.
Ireland’s foreign minister has said the European Union’s most senior leaders have assured him Brexit talks will not move on to the next stage unless the UK gives greater guarantees over the Irish border. Simon Coveney said Ireland did not need to use its veto as an EU member state to block progress in talks, because other European countries are in “complete solidarity” with Dublin over the issue. It comes a week ahead of a key meeting between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier, at which she is expected to try to secure their backing to move on from the first stage of talks and on to discussions of transition and trade. Mr Coveney told Irish broadcaster RTE: “We don’t need to use a veto because we have complete solidarity on this issue with 26 other EU countries. “It is clear to us that if there is not progress on the Irish border, we will not be moving onto phase two in December and that was reinforced to me as late as last Friday by very senior EU leaders.”
BRUSSELS last night hinted at a climbdown on Irish demands to solve Brexit border issues in the next week — with the Government in Dublin today facing a crunch confidence vote. Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said only a form of words as an “agreement of principles” was needed to green light crucial Brexit trade talks next month. This is much less than the written plan the outspoken Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has demanded from Britain. Two weeks ago Mr Varadkar said he wanted solutions “written down in practical terms in the conclusions of phase one” of Brexit talks or Dublin would veto moving onto phase two discussions about trade. Today the Irish government face a confidence motion that could spark elections in December as Mr Varadkar’s minority government does not have the numbers to survive if a vote is called over a policing scandal. The threat of fresh elections has been blamed for the under-fire Taoiseach’s hardline Brexit stance.
THE IRISH are “being used” by the EU to keep the UK in the Single Market and the Customs Union, a DUP MP has declared on BBC Newsnight. The EU is trying to use the crisis over the future of the Irish border to force the UK to soften Brexit, Sammy Wilson has claimed. He said: “I think the Irish are actually being used by the EU who are trying to force the UK to look again at its commitment to leave the Single Market.” He said: “The Irish have said they don’t want a hard border, the UK Government have said they don’t want a hard border. “It seems that the only person who is pushing this now is Michel Barnier, who is really wanting to try and force the UK’s hand on the Single Market membership and the Customs Union.” Despite claims that the Irish border is now the single biggest obstacle to Brexit talks finally moving on to trade Mr Wilson insisted the issue was “not a massive problem”. Dublin has insisted that they would reject any kind of physical border with Northern Ireland and will block Brexit talk progress until they have sufficient guarantees.
Brexiteer MP Kate Hoey has insisted that the Irish government should be “more positive” about Britain’s Brexit future and that they should “start looking at solutions” alongside the UK. She also pulled no punches on the border issue, telling the BBC: “We’re not the ones who’re going to be putting up the physical border. If this ends with a No Deal we won’t be putting up the border, they’ll have to pay for it because it doesn’t need to happen.” Straight talking from Hoey. Get her on the negotiating team!
A confidential study conducted by the UK government and the European commission has listed 142 cross-border activities on the island of Ireland that would be negatively impacted by a hard Brexit. They include heart surgery in Dublin for children from Northern Ireland as well as cancer treatment in Derry for people from the Republic because patients, clinicians and ambulances are free to move across the border without checks. Also listed as at risk are existing cross-border agreements on mobile phone roaming, which enable commuters, tourists and business travellers to enjoy charges restricted to local rates across the entire island. Eoin Magennis, senior economist in the Economic Policy Centre at Ulster University, said: “It’s an important list because it shows the depth of cooperation that people aren’t aware of that has developed since 1999-2000 and it’s going to be hard to unpick all of that.”
A hard Brexit could reignite paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland because any attempt to impose customs checks on the border would become a target for dissident republicans, a member of the Irish parliament has said. With Britain and Ireland locked in a stand-off over how to make progress on the issue of the border before the European summit next month, allies of Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, are taking a tough line. Neale Richmond, of the ruling Fine Gael party, said that a hard border threatened to undermine the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which cemented the peace process.
Britain should threaten the “weak” Republic of Ireland with new border controls in order to get its way over Brexit, Ukip has said. Gerard Batten, the party Brexit spokesperson, said Ireland was “a tiny country that relies on UK for its existence” and that it amounted to “the weakest kid in the playground sucking up to the EU bullies”. The MEP said the UK had been “threatened” by the Republic over the issue of the Irish border after Brexit and that Britain should “respond in like manner”. We should advise, we are free to revoke common travel area,” he said, adding that the Republic was “nothing but a subservient client state to the EU”. Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar said earlier this month that Ireland needed “written” assurances from the UK that there would be no return to a hard border between the north and the Republic after Brexit – a position both sides have said they support. The Taoiseach hinted that if no such written promise was made Ireland would not deem sufficient progress to have been made in negotiations to move to trade talks at the upcoming December European Council summit.
Theresa May faces fresh allegations of “rigging Parliament” over a near-unprecedented move to prevent MPs amending the Budget. Labour has accused the Prime Minister of running scared of an expected attempt to use the Finance Bill to force a vote on scrapping VAT on domestic fuel. With the Democratic Unionist Party likely to oppose the Government on such a vote, it left her facing a possible embarrassing defeat, the Opposition claimed. An amendment was expected because – like the notorious £350m-a-week extra for the NHS – zero-rating of fuel was a key plank of the Vote Leave campaign that secured Brexit. Another likely challenge was over the issue of “period poverty”, with ministers under pressure to agree to put in free sanitary products in schools. The controversy comes hard-on-the-heels of the row over the Conservatives seizing control of all Commons committees – despite losing their majority at the general election.
Theresa May is facing fresh accusations of “rigging Parliament” with an unprecedented move to prevent MPs from changing legislation on the Budget. Labour attacked May’s latest “power grab” after it emerged that the Government will deploy a little-used procedural device to effectively eliminate any attempts to amend the Finance Bill. The tactic will severely restrict MPs’ ability to secure alternative tax measures, such as a DUP-backed plan to abolish VAT on all domestic fuel after Brexit. It also ensures that no backbench rebels can join Labour or other parties in ambushing the Government on particular plans – as they have in recent years on issues like the ‘tampon tax’ or taxes on solar panels.
The prospect of a radical Left-wing lurch under Jeremy Corbyn is a more serious threat to British asset markets than Brexit and risks setting off a drastic repricing of UK plc, a leading US bank has warned. Morgan Stanley has told clients that there is a two-thirds likelihood of snap elections in the second half of 2018 once it becomes clear that the UK cannot secure the sort of Brexit deal it wants and the Conservative Party starts to fracture, bringing political risk into sharp focus. “We could see the biggest shake-up in the political backdrop since the Seventies. This is much more scary from an equity perspective than Brexit,” said Graham Secker, the bank’s chief European equity strategist.
Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing supporters have been accused of carrying out an “aggressive purge” of centrist councillors to put up their own candidates in local elections next year. Councillors across the country have been deselected in a vote of local members or have faced pressure not to contest their seats in May in favour of candidates more closely aligned to the cause of the Labour leader and the Momentum campaign that supports him. Tensions in one London borough have become so bad that centrist organisers called for the regional party to take over the selection process. Tim Gallagher, a councillor from Haringey, north London, who decided to step down last week, said that he and colleagues were written off as “zombie Blairites”.
Library books which urge women to be submissive to their husbands and never refuse sex are among a dossier of misogynistic material inspectors have found in Islamic schools. Ofsted has compiled a file of the worst examples of discrimination and sexism its inspectors encountered. The material includes excerpts from library books and children’s marked work which sanction domestic violence. Among the worst examples was a book discovered in a school library entitled, “Women who deserve to go to hell” which said that it was wrong for wives to show “ingratitude to their husband” or “have tall ambitions”. Ofsted said the material it collected was out of step with mainstream Muslim thinking and came from maintained schools as well as independent faith schools and unregistered schools.
Deadly scarlet fever cases have soared to the highest level in England for 50 years, new research reveals. More than 19,000 cases were reported in 2016, which is the most since 1967 and seven times more than in 2011, a study found. Although the cause of the outbreak is unclear, the bacteria is highly contagious and may have reached England from the surge of incidences in Vietnam, China, South Korea and Hong Kong, according to researchers. The ‘Victorian disease’, which affected more than 100,000 in England in the 1990s, can cause life-threatening complications including pneumonia, sepsis and organ damage. Study leader Dr Theresa Lamagni, head of streptococcal surveillance at Public Health England, said: ‘Whilst current rates are nowhere near those seen in the early 1900s, the magnitude of the recent upsurge is greater than any documented in the last century.
Cases of scarlet fever have soared in England, baffling government scientists who admit they do not know why the Victorian-era disease has made a comeback. The number of cases reached a 50-year high last year, a seven-fold increase in five years, according to research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. There were 620 outbreaks of scarlet fever in 2016, with more than 19,000 cases, mostly in schools and nurseries. The average age of a patient was four. The disease was a common cause of death in childhood during the 1800s, but has become less common and milder over the past century. However, the bacteria involved can still cause severe illnesses including pneumonia, sepsis and liver and kidney damage.
ZIMBABWE has been thrown into chaos after the new President dissolved the government, with reports of widespread looting. President Emmerson Mnanagagwa took over from veteran dictator Robert Mugabe last week. But the new regime has already sparked controversy after opposition politicians said the police and the army were still in control. There has been an outcry after it was revealed Mugabe, 93, received a whopping $10 million (£7.5 million) pay-off after 37 years in power that have left his country bankrupted. Now the President has sacked his entire cabinet, appointing just two new ministers. A spokesman for the President said that Mnangagwa was putting together a new team, and he wanted to get rid of the old ministers so that services were “uninterrupted”. He went on to say that the new leader of Zimbabwe, which has a 90% unemployment record, would meet with ministers tomorrow.