Theresa May’s unpopularity in her own party has reached a new low, with Tory activists successfully triggering an Extraordinary General Meeting where they will push for a no confidence vote in their own Prime Minister. The Sun report that a petition signed by local Conservative Association Chairman has reached the threshold, the first time a Tory Leader has faced such a challenge in 185 years. The petition itself reads: “We no longer feel that Mrs May is the right person to continue as Prime Minister to lead us forward in the negotiations.
THERESA May must introduce her final Brexit deal to Parliament by the end of next week – or miss her June 30 deadline for leaving the EU, The Sun has learnt. A Cabinet minister said the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the crucial law that will enact our EU departure, will need roughly six weeks to pass both the Commons and Lords. The Government has all-but given up hope of getting a Brexit deal through in time to avoid having to go ahead with the European elections on May 23.
Theresa May was last night warned she will face an unprecedented confidence vote from Tory activists unless she agrees to step down within weeks. Andrew Sharpe, head of the party’s voluntary wing, is understood to have delivered the ultimatum during talks with Mrs May in No 10. Mr Sharpe, chairman of the Conservatives’ national convention and deputy chairman of the party’s ruling board, is said to have warned the Prime Minister that disquiet in Tory ranks means he now has no choice but to call an emergency general meeting (EGM) of activists next month to discuss her future.
The European Union “will never accept” a move by Theresa May to raise tuition fees for EU students after Brexit, the European parliament’s Brexit chief has said. Guy Verhofstadt said he would write to the prime minister following reports that EU students would be charged full international fees, instead of benefiting from the same rates as UK students as now. “No way! Students mustn’t be victims of Brexit,” Mr Verhofstadt said. “I will write to PM May saying we will never accept this.”
No decision has been made about whether to charge EU students more to study at English universities after Brexit, the government has insisted. They currently pay the same as those from the UK, but it has been reported fees could rise from 2021. Labour’s Angela Rayner accused the government of “building walls” between top British universities and the EU. Lib Dem Tom Brake warned the EU would likely reciprocate, meaning only the richest from the UK could study abroad.
BRITAIN attracted more business investment from overseas last year than any other country in Europe, new figures revealed last night. Data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed more than £1,400billion-worth of investment stock flowed into the UK from abroad during 2018. Only the US and China attracted more foreign capital and loans than this country during the 12-month period, the figures confirmed.
European firms became more pessimistic about the economy as confidence among their British counterparts grew for the second month in a row. Economic optimism among the Continent’s industrial companies and retail bosses hit a two-year low this month, according to official figures from the European Commission. They were downbeat about their order books, with the commission saying expectations for production rates had ‘deteriorated significantly’.
Cross party talks
JEREMY HUNT has warned Prime Minister Theresa May a Brexit deal with Labour is unlikely to be favourable with Tory MPs. The Foreign Secretary said the deal would be even less popular than the one MPs have previously rejected, the Daily Telegraph reported. Mr Hunt fears the cross-party talks could end up alienating Conservative MPs. He went on to question whether Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was “serious about delivering Brexit”.
Jeremy Hunt has warned Theresa May that a Brexit deal forged with Labour could be even less popular with Tory MPs than the one they have already rejected. The Foreign Secretary told The Telegraph that the cross-party talks risked alienating Conservative MPs so that “you lose more Conservative MPs than you gain Labour MPs”. He said he did not expect talks with Labour to lead to a “rose garden moment” as he questioned whether Jeremy Corbyn was “serious about delivering Brexit”.
A BREAKTHROUGH in crunch talks between Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn could be announced in just days, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Sunday. But the prime minister has so far been unable to get the thrice-rejected exit package she agreed with the EU approved by parliament. As a result, Britain’s divorce from the EU was postponed by an agreement in Brussels earlier this month that gave Mrs May more time to persuade lawmakers to approve the departure terms.
Cross-party talks to break the Brexit deadlock have moved on to the “nuts and bolts” after the latest “positive” set of meetings. Sue Hayman, Labour’s shadow environment secretary, emerged from the Cabinet Office on Monday to declare the day’s negotiations with senior government ministers as “very constructive”. There is still “a lot more to discuss”, she added, but suggested the government had shown willingness to drop some of its red lines.
Ministers have made “substantive” moves in Brexit talks with Labour aimed at breaking the deadlock in parliament over Theresa May’s deal, it was claimed yesterday. For the first time in four weeks of negotiations senior Labour sources said that the government side appeared to have shifted its position on the party’s key demands around a closer customs union with the European Union after Brexit.
The Brexit deadlock could be broken as minsters claimed to have made headway over Theresa May‘s deal. Senior Labour MPs have said for the first time since cross-party talks began that Mrs May’s ‘red lines’ may have started to shift. These entrenched positions surround a closer customs union with the EU after Brexit. It was feared the negotiations would finish without and breakthrough next week after local elections on Thursday, but it is now thought the discussions will continue, according to the Times.
The Conservatives must wake up to the idea that Jeremy Corbyn’s policies and approach are attractive to people from all backgrounds and economic circumstances, a leading Tory minister will say today. Nick Gibb, the minister for school standards at the education department, warns that Tory governments “have been guilty of ignoring a steady scream of dissatisfaction, anger and powerlessness that is now overwhelming our political system.” Speaking at the Social Market Foundation, the minister says that this is now “overwhelming our political system” and that fellow Conservative MPs cannot just assume that the Labour leader is unpopular.
Conservative party chiefs have instructed candidates for the European parliament to lie low for fear that campaigning will enrage voters before Thursday’s local elections, according to senior party figures. Theresa May’s official spokesman insisted yesterday that she still believed it was possible to avoid holding the European elections on May 23 because the Commons could yet ratify her EU divorce deal in time.
Jeremy Corbyn has been warned that his refusal to commit to a fresh Brexit referendum is causing Labour members to abandon to party in their droves, as its ruling body prepares to meet to decide the party’s manifesto for next month’s European Parliament elections. A weekly meeting of Labour MPs was told that one constituency party had lost as many as 500 members over the “constructive ambiguity” in party’s policy on a Final Say vote
Labour’s governing body will meet on Tuesday to discuss whether to call for a public vote on Brexit as part of its European election manifesto. The National Executive Committee is split between holding a referendum on any deal; holding one with caveats; or rejecting the idea altogether. The party is also holding talks with ministers to try to agree a Brexit deal and break the deadlock in Parliament. The EU has set a new deadline of 31 October for the UK’s departure.
Jeremy Corbyn is resisting pressure to promise a second referendum on any Brexit deal during a showdown of Labour ’s ruling body today. The party’s Brexit row escalated ahead of the National Executive Committee meeting to thrash out its European elections manifesto. Labour is split at the highest levels over whether to demand a “confirmatory vote” on any deal to leave the European Union.
Labour’s ruling body is meeting to sign off the party’s manifesto for the European elections, amid a bitter split between Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy Tom Watson over calls for a second Brexit referendum. Ahead of what is expected to be a stormy meeting, the Labour leader is resisting pressure to promise a new Brexit vote, while Mr Watson is pushing for a second referendum on any deal to be included in the manifesto. The number of Labour MPs and MEPs calling on the party’s national executive to include a “clear commitment” to a second referendum has now reached 118.
Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party plans to capitalise on its poll ratings with a tilt at a Westminster seat. It will stand in Peterborough if a by-election is triggered later this week by a “recall” petition against the disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya. The former Ukip leader’s new group has startled the main parties after polls put it on course to win the European parliament elections on May 23.
LEAVING the EU without a deal should be one of the options on the ballot paper in the event of a second referendum being called, Change UK interim leader Heidi Allen has said. Meanwhile she has admitted her disappointment after the resignation of two candidates for the European elections were forced to step down in the space of 48 hours over offensive comments made on social media. South Cambridgeshire MP Ms Allen, who quit the Conservatives in February to join The Independent Group, or TIG, said she had “some sympathy” with no deal because it offered a “clean Brexit”.
Significant gains made by the hard-Right Vox Party at the Spanish election are a sign of the significant rise in support for the populist Right across Europe. In the past couple of years alone, Finland, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Sweden and France have seen hard-Right parties gain significant traction on election day. Now, these parties have their sights set on the upcoming European Elections, promising significant change to the way the bloc is run.
Spain faces fresh uncertainty after the Socialist party said it would try to rule as a minority government after winning the general election but falling short of a parliamentary majority. The party of Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister, won 123 of the 350 seats in parliament with 29 per cent of the vote. Senior Socialists indicated that he would try to force through legislation with the support of other parties on a case by case basis.
The election of a far-right party to the Spanish parliament on Sunday means that 23 out of 28 EU member states now have right-wing populist, hard Eurosceptic, or far-right parties in their national parliaments. Vox won 10.3 per cent of the vote in the Spanish general election and 24 seats in the Spanish national congress in elections on Sunday, falling short of the larger gains they had hoped for.
Ministers have again failed to fix the social care crisis by kicking the issue down the road following years of delays. Insiders claim the broken care system will not be fixed until after Brexit, as experts warned that 60,000 elderly people have died waiting for help while reforms were repeatedly put off.
Older people used their homes to borrow nearly £1billion at the start of the year – as soaring care costs fuelled an equity release boom. A total of £936.2million was withdrawn by over-55s in the first three months of 2019, up 8 per cent on last year. The money was used for everything from home extensions to helping grandchildren get on the property ladder. However among the over-75s, 42 per cent of borrowers said they would use the money to fund costs associated with old age.
Wealthier homeowners should be asked to make a voluntary payment of up to £30,000 for their care needs in old age, a new report argues. The Centre for Policy Studies proposes a system in which everyone receives a state-funded weekly care payment. Those able to downsize or release equity from their homes would also be encouraged to contribute more to plug the current funding gap. But critics say it would not be enough to address the £7bn shortfall.
Child sexual abuse
A vulnerable girl was ‘raped and abused by multiple men over several years’ starting when she was 11 or 12 years old, a jury has heard. The victim was ‘deliberately targeted by men who wanted to use her for their own sexual purposes’ throughout her childhood, prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court on Monday. Opening the trial of Mohammed Akram and Usman Khalid, Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, told the jury: ‘We say that both of the men in the dock had sexual contact with her when she was just 12 and they knew how old she was.
Ministers are set to endorse a more ambitious climate target in a move likely to provoke tensions in Whitehall. The government’s advisory panel, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), is expected to recommend this week that the UK goes for a “net-zero” target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Theresa May is likely to back this, although it does not yet have cabinet agreement.
A critical piece of the largest ice shelf is melting far more rapidly than expected, raising questions over the stability of Antarctic glaciers stretching for more than 500 miles. Scientists have been tracking how a portion of the Ross Ice Shelf, which covers more than 190,000 square miles, almost the size of Spain, is interacting with the ocean. Their results, published in Nature Geoscience, show summer melt rates ten times faster than had been estimated for the whole ice shelf.
The leader of Islamic State last night threatened a wave of attacks worldwide in revenge for the defeat of his militant group in its Iraq and Syria heartlands. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 47, hailed the jihadists who he said had fought to the death to defend Baghuz, Isis’s last stronghold, where the self-proclaimed caliphate came to an end on March 23. “The battle for Baghuz is over,” Baghdadi said in a video released on an established Isis media channel yesterday.
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has appeared in a new video for the first time in nearly five years, vowing to get revenge for his dead militants and claiming the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka were in retaliation for his group’s defeat in Syria. The leader of the Islamist group gave his last sermon at the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq, in July 2014. He has not appeared in a video since announcing the creation of the so-called caliphate from the pulpit of the Al-Nuri mosque nearly five years ago in a clip played around the world.
The leader of the so-called Islamic State group has appeared for the first time in five years in a video released by the extremist group’s propaganda arm. In the clip, he acknowledged defeat in the group’s last stronghold in Syria, but vowed a “long battle” ahead. The Site Intelligence group said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in the video, also discussed the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka which killed over 250 people and for which the group claimed responsibility.
Victims of the contaminated blood scandal in England will receive more money, Theresa May has announced as a public inquiry begins today. Thousands of haemophiliacs and other hospital patients in the 1970s and 1980s were given blood products infected with hepatitis C and HIV, with around 2,400 people left dead. As hearings begin in central London on Tuesday, the Government announced extra money would go to thousands of people affected by the medical catastrophe in England.
The contaminated blood scandal was a “tragedy that should never have happened” and caused unimaginable pain to victims, Theresa May said yesterday as she pledged to increase the financial support offered to survivors. The Infected Blood Inquiry starts taking evidence today after being set up to examine what has been called the “worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS”. More than 2,400 patients died and 25,000 may have been infected after receiving transfusions or blood products contaminated with HIV or hepatitis C in the 1970s and 1980s.
Victims of the NHS contaminated blood scandal have been promised extra cash help, as a long-awaited public inquiry gets underway. Annual payments will rise from £46m to £75m, Theresa May announced, describing it as “a tragedy that should never have happened”. The boost comes ahead of the inquiry beginning to hear individuals’ testimonies about the disaster, that has killed thousands of people given blood products or transfusions from the 1970s to the 1990s. Many of the products came from blood donated by prisoners and drug addicts infected with HIV, hepatitis C and other viruses who were paid.
The days of doubt may finally come to an end for chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers, now that Stanford University scientists have created a blood test for the condition. Some two million Americans are estimated to suffer the mysterious disease, which is marked by otherwise inexplicable tiredness, pain, poor sleep and sometimes dizziness and brain fog. Surrounded by so many questions, patients’ complaints are often dismissed by families, strangers and even physicians who think their symptoms may be in their heads.
SCIENTISTS have developed a blood test they claim can diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome for the first time. The condition – also known as ME – causes extreme tiredness, sensitivity to light and muscle or joint pain. But some critics have questioned whether the illness really exists because standard medical checks come back normal. Now boffins from Stanford University, in the US, say their test “yielded precise results” when used on 20 patients with CFS and 20 without.