THE Irish Government deliberately leaked a deal already rejected by Theresa May in order to destabilise the Prime Minister’s Government and derail Brexit negotiations, according to prominent Brexiteer and Conservative backbencher Peter Bone. Mr Bone, the MP for Wellingborough, claimed the documents surfaced in the Irish media as the European Union attempted to “bounce” Mrs May from Downing Street. On Monday, speculation surfaced about Northern Ireland being offered a separate 
Brexit deal to the rest of the UK in order to avoid the implementation of a hard border on the island of Ireland. This itself put Mrs May’s Government at risk with the DUP adamant they would not accept any “regulatory divergence” between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

DUP Leader Arlene Foster has said Northern Ireland must leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the UK. She said: “Northern Ireland must leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the UK. We will not accept any terms that separate Northern Ireland economically or politically from the UK. “We do want to see a sensible Brexit, where the common travel area is continued. “The Republic of Ireland government are trying to change terms of Belfast agreement without our input or consent, and we will not stand for that.” This could be big for Brexit – the DUP is propping up the Tory government for a start. SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon has already called for Scotland to retain regulatory alignment with the EU if Northern Ireland ends up doing that.

Theresa May has ten days to save  Brexit talks after  DUP allies blocked plans to resolve the status of Northern Ireland’s border with the south. The Prime Minister had to break off from lunch with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday to field an angry call from DUP leader Arlene Foster who had gone public with her concerns. Before the lunch,  EU diplomats and journalists had been told to expect a 15-page document outlining details of a deal that would clear the way for trade talks to begin this month. But later in the afternoon Mrs May and Mr Juncker faced the Press in Brussels to announce that discussions on a divorce deal had been abandoned for the day. 

As Theresa May arrived for her meetings with EU leaders in Brussels yesterday Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, took to Twitter to declare “tell me why I like Mondays!” It was a jokey reference to the Boomtown Rats song — written by an Irishman — that suggested everything was going to plan in the careful choreography to announce a breakthrough in Brexit talks. Mr Tusk referred to a phone call with Leo Varadkar during which the Irish prime minister had agreed to the draft text on Ireland along with Mrs May and Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president. Within hours, their hopes of a deal were in tatters.

Theresa May’s Brexit strategy is in disarray after the Irish Prime Minister dramatically accused her of reneging on an agreement that would have ended the deadlock in the talks. On a day of drama, the Prime Minister pulled the plug on a deal on the Irish border after it was rejected by the Democratic Unionist Party which props her up in power – triggering claims she is being “held to ransom”. The embarrassment left Ms May scrambling to arrange crisis talks with the DUP before she heads back to Brussels later this week, with the clock ticking on the negotiations. EU leaders have demanded she guarantee there will no hard land border in Ireland before a summit next week, if the talks are to move on to discussing future trade and a transitional deal. The unravelling of the deal also left many Conservatives questioning Ms May’s handling of the talks, amid disbelief that the DUP had not been squared off in advance.

Theresa May’s political weakness was brutally exposed to Brussels on Monday as an agreement struck between Britain and the EU to solve the problem of the Irish border and move to the next phase of Brexit talks was torpedoed by a last-minute telephone call with the leader of the Democratic Unionist that an agreement was within reach came to nothing when, during a working lunch with the European commission president, Jean Claude Juncker, May was forced to pause discussions to take a call from Arlene Foster. The unionist leader, whose party currently provides the Tories with a working majority in the Commons, told the British prime minister that she could not support Downing Street’s planned commitment to keep Northern Ireland aligned with EU laws. In London, Tory Brexiters, including Iain Duncan Smith and Jacob Rees-Mogg, told the Brexit minister Steve Baker, and the prime minister’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, that they were also rallying behind the DUP’s stance.

The DUP scuppered Brexit talks today by blocking a deal on the Irish border issue. The Prime Minister was forced to backtrack minutes from an agreement with European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker after a dramatic phone call with DUP chief Arlene Foster. Jeremy Corbyn  said Theresa May’s “grubby” election attempt to buy the party’s support had sunk her. Mrs May has just days to salvage Brexit negotiations after a deal was vetoed by the very party she bribed with ­£1billion to prop up her weak Tory government. The Prime Minister had to break off from final-round talks today as DUP leader  Arlene Foster refused to back a solution to the Irish border question that would in effect separate Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. The dramatic last-minute intervention scuppered hopes of agreement with EU chiefs so trade talks could begin. Now a new fix must be found to avoid the complete disaster of having no deal on Brexit at the European Council summit in Brussels next week.

Morning Star
THERESA MAY left Brexit talks in Brussels without a deal yesterday after the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) rejected a proposed solution to the Irish border problem. After meeting European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister said that “on a couple of issues, some differences do remain.” Shortly before Ms May admitted that efforts to reach agreement had failed, the DUP vowed to block any Brexit deal that would “separate” Northern Ireland from Britain. DUP leader Arlene Foster said her party, which props up Ms May’s Tory minority government, would not allow “any form of regulatory divergence.” How to maintain a “soft” Irish border has emerged as the obstacle to getting agreement from the EU to move on to phase two of negotiations after Ms May agreed to pay a £50 billion leaving fee and guaranteed that EU citizens in Britain will retain residency rights after Brexit takes effect — something Labour had demanded from day one.

ITV News
Theresa May will return to Brussels this week hoping to break the deadlock that dramatically stalled Monday’s Brexit talks over the question of Northern Ireland’s border. The talks broke down after the PM pulled out of a deal at the last moment after meeting fierce resistance from Unionists to proposals which would align Northern Ireland’s regulations with the Republic, Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has claimed. Mrs May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said they hope to reconvene later this week for more talks ahead of the December 14 summit of the European Council. “I’m still confident that we can reach sufficient progress before the European Council of December 15,” she said. “This is not a failure, this is the start of the very last round. I’m very confident that we will reach an agreement in the course of this week.” Mr Juncker said the meeting was “friendly and constructive”.

THERESA May dramatically pulled out of a Brexit divorce deal after the EU also refused to accept her demand to time limit euro judges’ say over EU citizens. The Sun can reveal the Prime Minister wanted to attach a sunset clause of less than five years to the compromise arrangement to break a deadlock. Under it, the European Court of Justice  would be able to rule on disputes for Europeans living in the UK. Legal cases about their rights would be referred to the Luxembourg court by Britain’s Supreme Court, on the advice of an independent ombudsman. But to fulfil her promise to Leave voters to end the ECJ’s jurisdiction in the UK, Mrs May has insisted it be time limited. She argued that there would be no need for the ECJ to continue safeguarding EU citizens’ rights as any controversial cases that arrive will have been ruled on within a few years.

Sky News
After a tumultuous start to the week, Theresa May now faces a race against time to make progress in Brexit talks. The Prime Minister had hoped to get an agreement on the terms of Britain’s EU withdrawal on Monday, but the Democratic Unionist Party would not allow proposals that would have 
moved Northern Ireland’s customs border to the Irish Sea. European Council President Donald Tusk said that, until the DUP declared its opposition to the deal, he had been preparing to issue new negotiating guidelines for the next phase of talks. Mrs May is expected to speak with DUP leader Arlene Foster by phone on Tuesday in a desperate move to find favour with the party, relied on by her minority government at Westminster. She will travel back to Brussels later this week for more talks with EU officials after failing to secure a deal.

Rumours are swirling that Theresa May is willing to effectively leave Northern Ireland within the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market to meet EU demands on Britain’s border with the Irish Republic. Having already appeared to cave in to the bloc on the bloated, multi-billion euro “divorce bill” it has been insisting on, the Remain-supporting Prime Minister is travelling to Brussels in an effort to smooth the way for a declaration of “sufficient progress” on the rights of EU nationals and the Northern Irish border, so talks can move on to the subject of a future trade agreement. It is the border question which has become the EU’s favoured cudgel following the concessions on money, with President of the European Council Donald Tusk handing scandal-hit Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar  an effective veto over any Brexit  deal at the weekend.

Decisions over a possible deal over the Northern Irish border today have stirred up a hornet’s nest of confusion, but there is an easier way say UKIP. Gerard Batten MEP, the UKIP Brexit spokesman said, “The feverish speculation about the EU negotiations and the Northern Irish border with the South has reached absurdity. The idea that the PM could negotiate a deal on the North Irish border without talking to the DUP is beyond credibility. However we do not yet know exactly what Mrs May has agreed or not agreed but it seems to hing on the words regarding ‘no regulatory divergence” as opposed to maintaining “regulatory alignment. In fact the UK in general has ‘regulatory alignment’ with the EU since having been members for 44 years our regulations are identical, or equivalent, to theirs. And now it appears to be so much sound and fury signifying nothing.

It could not have looked better for Theresa May as she headed for Brussels on Monday. A leaked text from a document supposedly agreed between the UK and Irish Government appeared to show a deal had been struck as leaders scrambled to arrange celebratory press conferences to mark the occasion. A jubilant Donald Tusk hinted that the next stage of talks between the UK and EU was imminent and despite attempts to play down a deal over the weekend, advisers around the Prime Minister appeared optimistic. There was even talk of Mrs May’s set-piece lunch with Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President, being used to thrash out the terms of a trade deal, with the terms of the divorce deal already in the bag. But not for the first time in Mrs May’s short premiership, the plan quickly began to fall apart.

Theresa May was warned last night that she has four days to salvage a Brexit deal or risk delays after the Democratic Unionist Party vetoed it at the eleventh hour. The prime minister will hold talks with Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP, in the next 24 hours in an attempt to ease Unionist concerns that Northern Ireland could have a separate status within Britain under a future deal. Downing Street said last night that agreement was still possible. Senior EU diplomats said they were unconvinced that Mrs May had the authority to complete a deal, however, and that time was running out to reach agreement before next week’s meeting of European leaders in Brussels.

Theresa May’s attempt to reach a Brexit deal on the Irish border has fallen apart after a damaging public row with the DUP over Northern Ireland’s future. On an extraordinary day in Brussels, EU leaders raised expectations that a deal on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal was about to be reached, only for Mrs May to return empty-handed following a serious miscalculation over the DUP’s response to a key negotiating point.

HARDLINE euro MPs today reissued their threat to hit the nuclear button and blow up two years of negotiations between Britain and the EU if all their demands are not met. Manfred Weber, chairman of the largest grouping in the EU Parliament, said MEPs “will not change our red lines” over citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and Ireland.  Speaking hours before Theresa May is set to jet into Brussels to meet EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, he expressed concern that the “negotiations are stalled”.  His remarks are in stark contrast to the prevailing mood of optimism in the Belgian capital, where diplomats believe the two sides are “85-90 per cent” of the way to securing a deal.  The outspoken German MEP, who is an ally of Angela Merkel, has been one of Brexit’s toughest critics and has repeatedly stressed the parliament is not afraid to wield its veto.  
Euro MPs cannot block member states from declaring sufficient progress at next month’s Council summit but they will get a make-or-break vote on the final deal in early 2019. 

Child abuse

Almost 200 paedophiles were arrested in just one week for grooming children on live-streaming apps. Suspects included teachers, care workers, medical staff, police officers, military personnel and civil servants. Detectives said the swoop had saved 245 children from abuse and exploitation. Some were primary school age. The officers fear that sex offenders are locked in a ‘feeding frenzy’, taking full advantage of new streaming technology. Posing as children, they trick their young targets into exposing  themselves or performing sex acts that are broadcast online. Some record the footage and use it to bully and blackmail victims into more depraved acts. The paedophiles often offer cash rewards in return for compliance.

Ten men are on trial accused of raping, abducting, and supplying drugs to eight teenage girls in the town of Rotherham. Alleged attackers Amjal Rafiq, Nabeel Kurshid, Iqlak Yousaf, Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, Aftab Hussain, Abid Saddiq, Sharaz Hussain, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, Masaeud Malik, and Waseem Khaliq, aged between 33 and 38, have been subject to a National Crime Agency investigation into historical child abuse in Rotherham, where mostly Muslim rape gangs operated unopposed for more than a decade. They first appeared at Sheffield Crown Court court in October, and have now been charged with a total of 33 offences reported to have taken place between 1998 and 2005. The men deny the charges and will stand trial at Sheffield Crown Court in 2018 between September and November.


The NHS will take on 300 more radiologists in England, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has said. The pledge is part of the Cancer Workforce Plan, intended to tackle what one charity called a “crisis in the diagnostic workforce”. Another 200 clinical endoscopists, who use tiny cameras on flexible tubes to investigate suspected cancers inside the body, will also be appointed. It is hoped that the new staff will be trained by 2020, according to Health Education England. Mr Hunt said: “We want to save more lives and to do that we need more specialists who can investigate and diagnose cancer quickly. These extra specialists will go a long way to help the NHS save an extra 30,000 lives by 2020.”

Cancer specialists who have been trained to eradicate tumours with radiotherapy are being instead told to man the phones. An in-depth report into NHS staffing has uncovered how ‘highly qualified’ radiographers are being put in charge of reception desks. It also found that 43 per cent of doctors, nurses and other specialists did not have enough time to talk to or comfort cancer patients. Cancer Research UK, which carried out the report, predicted that the NHS’s cancer services would ‘slip down the ranks’ if staffing levels did not improve. Around half of us will develop cancer at some point and there are around 360,000 new cases in the UK each year. This is predicted to increase to 422,000 a year by 2022 due to an ageing population and cancers caused by obesity, smoking and alcohol. Experts say the NHS cannot cope with these numbers.

Rail fares

ITV News
Train fares will rise by an average of 3.4% next month, the largest hike in five years. The passenger watchdog and the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union hit out at the increase, which comes into effect from January 2. Announcing the rise, industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said more than 97p in every pound from fares goes back into improving and running the railway. The Government uses the previous July’s Retail Prices Index measure of inflation to determine increases in regulated fares, which was 3.6%. These are around half of all tickets and include season tickets on most commuter routes and some off-peak return tickets on long-distance journeys. Train operating companies set the prices of other tickets but are bound by competition rules. Passengers can find the new fares and buy tickets online and at ticket offices from today.


Efforts to prevent unnecessary cancer deaths are being hamstrung by “staggering cuts” to public health which have seen councils slash spending on stop smoking services by one sixth in a year. Budgets for smoking cessation services and wider tobacco controls fell by £20m this year, from £120.6m in 2016/17 to £99.8m. This means spending to cut smoking has fallen by a third since councils first took over responsibility for public health four years ago, following the implementation of the coalition government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012. The Labour analysis shows two thirds of the 152 local authorities in England reduced their spending on smoking cessation this year. Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP said the “staggering cuts” undermined the efforts of health professionals and patients across the country who were trying cut smoking rates.

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