The Government has rejected a plan that would require it to report back to Parliament on how Brexit negotiations are proceeding, describing it as “dangerous”. Brexit minister David Jones said the plan, proposed by Labour, “would bind us to an inflexible timetable of updates as we try to navigate a complex set of negotiations”. The minister added that he did not want to formally put such provisions into law because it might allow the courts to further rule on Brexit and bind the Government or delay the process. The amendment, named new clause three, would have required the Government to report to Parliament every two months on how negotiations were proceeding. It would also have to let Parliament scrutinise official documents included in the negotiation. In a late vote on Monday night MPs rejected the amendment to the Government’s Article 50 Bill by 333 votes to 284.
Opposition MPs have been accused of trying to block Brexit after tabling 146 pages of amendments to the Government’s Article 50 bill – despite it being just eight lines long. A total of 287 different motions have been proposed by MPs, with the vast majority coming from Labour backbenchers.The amendments seek to make a range of changes and additions to the Government’s European Union Bill, which is designed to enable Theresa May to trigger Article 50. They will be debated by MPs when the bill returns to Parliament on Monday for its Committee Stage. Many of the motions aim to force the Government to take an range of actions before negotiations begin, including publishing numerous impact assessments, releasing separate reports on the UK’s relationship with 21 different EU agencies, and consulting with the government of Gibraltar and all the UK’s devolved assemblies. Others try to dictate the positions Theresa May must take during negotiations with the EU, including demands for the UK to stay in the single market and guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK.
Theresa May has warned MPs not to obstruct the Brexit bill during its second phase of debate in the House of Commons, as Labour failed in its attempt to secure regular parliamentary scrutiny of the EU negotiations. The prime minister called on MPs not to use parliamentary procedures to delay the passage of the bill, which will be debated over the next three days. Dozens of amendments have been tabled by Labour and opposition MPs in the hope of getting enough cross-party support to secure better parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit, the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, access to the single market and a more meaningful vote at the end of the two-year negotiations. However, the House of Commons opposed a Labour amendment that would have forced May to make regular reports back to parliament every two months by 333 to 284 – a majority of 49 for the government. Another Labour amendment calling for the leaders of the devolved administrations to be consulted and have their views taken into account before any final Brexit deal also failed by 333 votes to 276 – an even bigger government majority of 57.
FRANCE’s prime minister and EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker today ganged up on Britain as they issued a joint demand that the UK be made to pay for leaving the bloc. Paris leader Bernard Cazeneuve vowed that the UK will be worse off outside the euro club after he met with the EU Commission president in Brussels this afternoon. The two men stood side-by-side after what they described as a “brotherly” meeting, and insisted that France and the EU are united in their determination to punish Britain for Brexit. France has been seen in Whitehall as one of the main blocks to cordial and constructive Brexit negotiations, with outgoing president Francois Hollande having taken a prickly stance towards Westminster. The comments from the pair, who put on a very public display of EU unity, demonstrates the monumental task Theresa May faces in securing a divorce deal which all 27 other member states will agree to sign off.
Angela Merkel’s CDU political party has fallen into second place behind Germany’s centre-left opposition for the first time in a decade, according to a new poll. The survey, carried out by pollsters INSA for Germany’s Bild newspaper, found Ms Merkel’s Christian democrats on 30 per cent, down three from the previous poll. The German Social Democratic Party (SPD), which has trailed Ms Merkel’s party in the polls for years, was meanwhile up four points to 31 per cent – putting it just slightly ahead. A German election polling average maintained by German newspaper Der Spiegel has not had the SPD ahead on average since late 2006. Though only the findings of a single poll, the latest results appear to be a symbolic watershed moment in Germany politics, which Ms Merkel has dominated for over a decade. The findings of a significant boost for the SPD are also corroborated by another poll conducted by Emnid for Bild am Sonntag. That survey recorded a six-point jump for the SPD, reportedly the biggest ever for the party in a single poll by that firm.
HARDLINERS in Brussels who want to punish Britain for Brexit have been dealt a blow by Germany’s finance minister who wants “a reasonable deal”. Wolfgang Schauble has told the German newspaper Tagesspiegel that it is important to “keep Great Britain close to us”. He warned against “punishing” Britain in a humiliating blow to key Brussels figures like European Parliament chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt. In a major boost to Britain’s financial services industry, he also pointed out that the City of London benefits Europe as a whole and the European Union should recognise that in a “reasonable” Brexit deal with Britain. He said: “We don’t want to punish the British for their decision we want to keep Britain close to us. “London offers a quality of financial services that are not to be found on the continent. “That would change a bit after a separation, but we have to find reasonable rules here with Britain.”
John Bercow has been accused of damaging the Special Relationship after he vowed to block Donald Trump from speaking in Parliament and accused the US president of “racism and sexism”. The Speaker of the Commons said he was “strongly opposed” to allowing Mr Trump to deliver an address in Westminster Hall and directly criticised his administration’s travel ban. Mr Bercow’s comments drew criticism from government sources, who accused him of breaching the convention that the Speaker must be politically neutral. Sources close to Mr Bercow said he was officially only required to be politically neutral on domestic matters, and insisted that the convention did not apply to international matters. One source told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Bercow was playing “student politics” with the Special Relationship.
Donald Trump is a racist, sexist leader and should be barred from addressing the House of Commons, the Speaker declared yesterday. In an intervention that will bring embarrassment for Theresa May, John Bercow told MPs that the US president should be denied the honour of addressing the House of Commons or Lords during a state visit this year. The Speaker had been “strongly opposed” to the idea of Mr Trump addressing parliament before the president imposed a travel ban on people from seven mainly Muslim countries. Since it was announced, his opposition had grown, Mr Bercow said. An address to both Houses of Parliament is “not an automatic right, it is an earned honour”, he told the Commons, earning applause from SNP MPs.
Donald Trump will not be welcome to address Parliament on his state visit to the UK because of its opposition to racism and to sexism, the Speaker of the House of Commons has said in a major snub to the American President. In a dramatic intervention, John Bercow, the Speaker, said he was “strongly opposed” to Mr Trump speaking in the Commons as he stressed that being invited to address Parliament was “not an automatic right” but “an earned honour”. “Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall,” Mr Bercow told MPs. “After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.” Parts of the Commons erupted into rare spontaneous applause in support of Mr Bercow’s statement. The intervention will cause headaches in Downing Street, where Theresa May has bent over backwards to rekindle the so-called special relationship with the US. Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner, speaking after Mr Bercow’s statement said: “Further to that point of order: two words: well done.”
Donald Trump is unfit to address MPs, according to the Speaker of the House of Commons, who said that he would refuse to invite the US president to speak at Westminster because of parliament’s long held opposition “to racism and to sexism”. John Bercow warned that the opportunity to speak in the prestigious Westminster Hall during a state visit “is not an automatic right, it is an earned honour” in an extraordinary intervention that divided MPs and annoyed No 10. The unprecedented step caused many MPs to pour praise on Bercow, but also triggered an angry response in parts of government with ministers privately claiming that he had overstepped the mark. Senior figures accused the Speaker of grandstanding – while his counterpart in the House of Lords, Lord Fowler, was understood to be irritated by the unexpected statement.
Donald Trump was branded ‘racist and sexist’ as Commons Speaker John Bercow revealed the US President will be barred from making a speech at Westminster Hall on his state visit. In an extraordinary broadside from the Speaker’s chair, he said Mr Trump’s controversial ban on migrants from seven majority Muslim countries had left him ‘even more strongly opposed’ to a speech than he had been. But Mr Bercow previously had no objections to leaders of controversial regimes including China, Kuwait and Qatar addressing MPs and peers in both houses. The Speaker is one of three ‘key holders’ for the ancient hall who must agree to its use and if he refuses to cooperate it will be impossible for Theresa May to extend a speaking invitation to the US President. Mr Bercow was applauded by MPs after branding Mr Trump racist and sexist but despite its acclaim the tirade is likely to provoke a diplomatic headache in No 10 and at Buckingham Palace.
MPs from across the political divide have voiced their support for Speaker John Bercow after he spoke out against Donald Trump addressing Parliament. In an extraordinary piece of political rhetoric in the Commons, Mr Bercow said he would not be inviting the US President to speak to the House because of its opposition to “racism and sexism”.“Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall,” Mr Bercow said. “After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.” The remarks are unprecedented for a Speaker as parliamentary rules state the role must remain politically impartial. But MPs from across the House added their voices to his call for the Republican billionaire to be blocked from speaking.
Donald Trump is set to be banned from giving a historic address in the British Parliament’s grandest and most prestigious hall. The House of Commons Speaker today announced he did not want to invite the US President to speak in the 11th Century Westminster Hall when he makes a state visit later this year. John Bercow slammed Trump for “racism and sexism”, his undermining of judges and his migrant ban. He added that although he does not have as much say over a speech in the glittering Royal Gallery in the House of Lords, “I would not wish to issue an invitation”. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Well said John Bercow. We must stand up for our country’s values. Trump’s State Visit should not go ahead.” It comes after 163 MPs signed an internal petition demanding Trump be refused the honour due to his migrant ban and comments on torture and women.
JOHN BERCOW won the applause of MPs as he told the Commons he would strongly oppose inviting Donald Tump to address Parliament. The House of Commons Speaker railed against the US President addressing MPs during a proposed State Visit as a mark of “our opposition to sexism and racism”. His stark remarks came as he was quizzed by Labour’s Stephen Doughty, who asked if the Speaker was aware of the grave concern from some MPs regarding an address by the US President to politicians in the Palace of Westminster. Mr Bercow responded: “I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery. “We value our relationship with the United States, if a state visit takes place, that is way beyond and above of the pay grade of the Speaker.
John Bercow has been criticised for insisting US president Donald Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament during his state visit. The Speaker said that he is “strongly opposed” to offering Mr Trump the chance to address MPs and Lords at Westminster Hall. He added that he wanted to send a message of defiance against “racism and sexism” and his feelings had grown even stronger since Mr Trump launched his so-called migrant ban after taking office. Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the Speaker had “insulted” Mr Trump. He said: “I think the speaker of the House of Commons should be neutral. To have expressed political opinions in the way he did today devalues his great office and is insulting to President Trump.” Chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Crispin Blunt also criticised the Speaker. He said: “He has no idea whether he will be speaking for a majority of the House of Commons, and this is why Speakers do not express their opinion.
NICOLA Sturgeon could be accused of ignoring her own people while spouting her Brexit-bashing rhetoric after new figures reveal some areas of Scotland voted to leave the European Union by as much as 81 per cent. Despite every one of Scotland’s 32 official voting areas voting to Remain in the EU, analysis of the votes reveals pockets of Leave voting heartlands. The data undermines Nicola Sturgeon’s attempts to keep Scotland in the EU and argument to hold a second independence referendum. In the Banff and Buchan area of north Aberdeenshire, a cluster of six wards had a Leave majority of 61 per cent, according to new data gathered by the BBC. The polling districts of Whalsay and South Unst also saw 81 per cent vote to leave the EU in contrast to the national Scottish picture. In the Western Isles, the ward of An Taobh Siar agus Nis, at the northern end of the Isle of Lewis also voted Leave with a majority of 50.72 per cent. The BBC collected voting figures broken down into smaller geographical units for 178 of the 399 referendum counting areas, with little ward data from Scotland.
NICOLA Sturgeon has suffered yet another Brexit blow after MPs overwhelmingly voted down an SNP amendment calling for the triggering of Article 50 to be delayed until at least a month after the devolved nations agree to a UK-wide approach for Britain’s EU exit. The SNP-led clause was defeated by 332 votes to 62 – a majority of 270. In yet more bad news for Sturgeon and the SNP, The Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Irish Assembly will not be given an additional month to debate Theresa May’s Brexit plan before Article 50 is triggered. The news comes as ministers comfortably saw off four opposition attempts to amend the Article 50 bill with the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans still on track. With all amendments comfortably voted down, the Government has been given fresh hope over pushing the bill through the Common without any amendments.
Scottish Labour is to vote against invoking Article 50 in a symbolic vote, the party’s leader has announced. In the non-binding vote on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union on Tuesday at Holyrood the party, led by Kezia Dugdale, will go against the orders of Jeremy Corbyn. Writing for the website LabourList Ms Dugdale said while Scottish Labour accepted the result of referendum in June last year, “we also know the people of Scotland did not vote for Theresa May’s hard Brexit and that no-one voted to become poorer”. A UK Labour Party spokesperson added: “This is a matter for the Scottish Labour Party. The UK Labour Party has been clear that it will not frustrate Article 50. Labour’s amendments put jobs, living standards and the economy front and centre and are the real agenda now.”
A TOP campaigner for Scottish independence says a new vote on breaking up the UK will be decided in weeks. Green Party MSP Ross Greer said the timing of a second independence referendum would depend on Brexit. And with Theresa May set to trigger Article 50 next month, that timing could be clear very soon. In fact, Mr Greer claims, a second independence campaign could be up and running in weeks. The invoking of Article 50 will begin the formal process of Britain leaving the European Union. Scotland voted to keep its EU membership last June, but is set to leave with the rest of the UK anyway. Campaigners say Scotland must therefore vote on independence again, because staying in the UK now means leaving the EU. When Scots last went to the polls to decide in 2014, they voted against independence by a margin of more than 10%.
Councils will be made to earmark land for tens of thousands of new homes in the latest effort to fix Britain’s “broken” housing market. Two fifths of local authorities in England have failed to plan for enough new homes, ministers will say today as they take on councillors, countryside campaigners and big housebuilders. A generation is being denied home ownership by rocketing prices driven by chronic under-supply, Sajid Javid will admit as he publishes a long- awaited housing white paper. The communities and local government secretary is to promise action to “tackle failures at every point in the system”, which have left the government adrift of its election promise that a million more homes would be built by the end of the decade.
Theresa May’s Government is due to announce a major shift in housing policy by placing greater emphasis on renters with plans to deliver more affordable rental properties. Gavin Barwell, the housing minister, said the Government intended to encourage more housebuilding of all kinds, including more social housing. But he insisted the plans, due to be published in a white paper this week, would not propose any changes to the rules of building on the green belt.He acknowledged the proposals would represent a “change in tone” from previous Conservative policy and Margaret Thatcher’s “home-owning democracy” advanced by David Cameron. It will include proposals to amend planning rules to enable councils to plan for more build-to-rent-properties as well as measures to ensure more secure, longer term tenancies are available in the private rented sector.
The Government is pledging to fix Britain’s “broken housing market” as it unveils plans to build thousands of new homes. A £3bn fund is to be created to help small firms build more houses, since 60% of new homes are currently built by just 10 big building firms. The Government’s aim is to help small firms build more than 25,000 new homes by 2020 – and up to 225,000 in the long-term – by providing them with loans. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is publishing a housing White Paper which is aimed at helping first-time buyers get on the housing ladder and help renters.
The Government is to outline a series of tweaks to planning laws it says will help solve the housing shortage. Ministers want to require councils to come with a local plan to meet housing demand in an area, give them more powers to speed up developments, and require developers to use land more efficiently. Crucially, the Government’s long awaited housing white paper includes measures that would effectively scrap the Coalition 2010 housebuilding planning framework and return to a system that bears stronger similarities to the one they inherited from Labour in 2010. The Coalition government abolished nationally set housing targets and allowed local councils to estimate their own housing demanding using local methods. As a result, 40 per cent of planning authorities do not have an up to date plan to meet demand, Government sources admitted on Monday night.
Almost half of all new houses built in the UK over the next five years will go to migrants, meaning an extra home will need to be constructed every five minutes. The extra 5.3 million new properties are needed as the UK’s population continues to boom. Up to 2.4 million houses will go to migrants, the Department for Communities and Local Government claimed. Over the next 22 years, therefore, Britain will need to house up to 243,000 new households every year, according to the statistics. Net migration accounts for an estimated 45 per cent of this growth. The figures were presented to the House of Lords in response to a question put by Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch, which campaigns for lower levels of migration.
A NEW ironclad divide has built up across the world as nuclear war becomes INEVITABLE, it is being warned. Military and political leaders are predicting 2017 will see the face of the Earth totally transformed as current tensions finally boil over. Relationships between the world’s superpowers are currently in their most precarious state in recent years as humanitarian and diplomatic catastrophes threaten mankind. But before the first missile has been fired, an Iron Curtain has descended once more across the world. This was the name given to a divide that developed between the east of Europe and the west of Europe – the former under Soviet Russia‘s control and the latter allied with the United States. From 1945 onwards, this boundary existed as relationships between the two sides were on a knife edge with the threat of nuclear war ever-present. And once again, the looming threat of the use of weapons that would devastate entire continents is back.