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Cross party talks
Theresa May is returning to Westminster – after the Tories’ local elections meltdown and a Bank Holiday breather – ready to gamble on a high-risk Brexit deal with Labour. With some Conservative MPs claiming she is now no more than a caretaker leader, the prime minister is being warned by backbench rebels not to cave in to Jeremy Corbyn. She is understood to be on the brink of offering a temporary customs arrangement until the next general election, when Labour could campaign for a permanent customs union. But Mr Corbyn is also under pressure from pro-Remain Labour MPs, including shadow cabinet members, who are refusing to back a Brexit deal without the promise of a second referendum.
Chances of a breakthrough in today’s crunch Brexit talks between Labour and the Conservatives are on a knife edge as both sides are under mounting pressure to abandon negotiations. Theresa May has urged Jeremy Corbyn to “do a deal” as ministers are expected to make the first formal offer to the opposition in the shape of a temporary customs union with the EU post-Brexit. The arrangement would remain in place until the next general election in 2022, when either the Tories or Labour could decide to make it permanent or abandon it.
A fierce Labour backlash has hit Theresa May’s hopes of quickly striking a deal to rescue Brexit. A host of senior Labour figures poured cold water on the chances of a breakthrough – even as a Tory source called Tuesday a make-or-break day. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the prime minister was inflating the prospects to try to save her job – meanwhile, Tories are piling on fresh pressure for her to quit.
THERESA May will today put the fate of Brexit into Jeremy Corbyn’s hands by making a final offer of a temporary customs union. She will order a trio of senior Cabinet ministers to enter the end-game in the cross-party talks with Labour, which will resume after lunchtime today. Her deputy David Lidington, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and Environment Secretary Michael Gove will offer three major concessions to soften Brexit. This will be a plan for to stay in a comprehensive customs union with the EU until the 2022 General Election, closer alignment with the Single Market on goods and a legal guarantee to copy EU workers’ rights.
Theresa May is facing opposition from all sides over her attempts to strike a Brexit deal amid warnings that more than 100 Tory MPs could block a compromise agreement with Labour. Cross-party talks will resume on Tuesday in the wake of reports that Ms May is poised to offer Labour a temporary EU customs arrangement to break the Brexit deadlock. Tory MPs have ramped up pressure on the prime minister to set a date for her departure, with one senior MP saying the party needs to “move on”.
Theresa May’s government have apparently discussed the possibility of a three-way referendum as MPs hit out at her attempts to cobble together an EU deal with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn. A second referendum has been considered that would include remaining in the EU, No Deal Brexit and May’s Deal, according to The Telegraph. This could reportedly happen if the government’s negotiations with Labour fail and MPs demand a second referendum. Large numbers of Conservative MPs are against May striking a deal with Corbyn.
Theresa May has been warned her MPs will begin moves to oust her as soon as this week if she agrees a Brexit deal with Labour. The Prime Minister wants to sign off an agreement with Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday in order to avoid having to send new MEPs to the European Parliament, but there is little appetite for a cross-party deal among her own backbenchers. Rivals in the race to succeed Mrs May are on a state of high alert in case a compromise deal with Labour becomes the trigger for a leadership election.
THERESA MAY is under increasing pressure from her party to quit as Prime Minister after a senior backbencher called on her to set out a clear “road map” to her resignation. A “record number” of Tory MPs think that she should step aside, according to new figures revealed today by political blog Conservative Home. The website found that 82 per cent of its survey’s respondents want her to call a leadership election. This is compared to last month’s figures that showed 71 per cent of respondents wanted her to quit.
Theresa May is to meet the chairman of an influential committee of backbench Tory MPs, Sir Graham Brady, amid calls for her to set a firm resignation date. It follows a request from the 1922 committee for “clarity” on the issue. No 10 insists the meeting is routine but BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said Sir Graham is likely to press the prime minister for a timetable for her departure. Meanwhile, cross-party talks to break the Brexit deadlock are due to resume.
Senior Conservatives will tell Theresa May this week she faces a fresh bid to oust her if she fails to give a clear timetable for her resignation. The Prime Minister is under growing pressure to spell out her departure date, while her attempts to solve the Brexit impasse with the help of Labour has provoked fury among her own MPs. Talks between Labour and the Conservatives on a possible Brexit agreement are set to resume later today following an appeal over the weekend from Mrs May to Jeremy Corbyn to “do a deal”.
PRIME Minster Theresa May has been given a new warning that Tories are turning against her – with members of the party plotting a confidence vote in her next month. Mrs May could be ousted from her post as Andrew Sharpe, the chairman of grassroots National Conservative Convention, will announce that an Extraordinary General Meeting will be held on June 15. The result of the vote will not be binding, but it will mount pressure on Mrs May to quit.
Theresa May is facing new calls from her party to leave office as she tries to seal a Brexit deal with Labour. The prime minister will today risk the wrath of many of her backbenchers as she urges Jeremy Corbyn’s party to sign up to an agreement intended to break the present impasse. Tory MPs are also furious at the loss of more than 1,300 council seats last week amid an apparent backlash from voters over Brexit.
THERESA May will be told to finally name her departure date in a crunch meeting with Tory kingmaker Sir Graham Brady today – or face being ousted. He will warn her that his powerful 1922 executive committee will be forced to change party rules tomorrow to allow another no confidence vote unless she makes a cast iron promise to walk by the end of July. Some even urged Sir Graham to quote the iconic line from the final episode of Line of Duty, where DI Kate Fleming AC-3 officer DI Michelle Brandyce to “stop making a t*t of yourself and p**s off”.
Theresa May should set out a clear “road map” for her departure from Downing Street, a senior Tory MP has said. Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, said the Prime Minister should announce a schedule for leaving office after the European elections on May 23. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “We are now having to face the prospect of European elections which none of us wanted to face. They are going to happen.
The cost of staging this month’s European elections has rocketed by £50 million after Theresa May delayed preparations by insisting the poll would not be necessary. The extra cost – which is 50 per cent higher than originally thought – includes millions of pounds in “contingency” costs in case parties have to be reimbursed for the cost of fielding candidates who never get to take up their seats in the European Parliament. Brexit-backing Tory MPs described the cost of the elections as “a complete waste of public money” and said taxpayers would be appalled.
NIGEL Farage has challenged Jeremy Corbyn to a live television debate on Brexit in the run-up to the European elections later this month. The Brexit Party leader claimed the showdown was needed to help voters understand Labour’s “confused” position on the country’s departure from the EU. He also revealed that his fledgling political movement has now signed up more than 85,000 registered supporters. Mr Farage made his challenge to the hard-Left Labour leader on the Sophy Ridge On Sunday show on Sky News yesterday.
Nigel Farage says 85,000 people have signed up to his new Brexit Party – and has boasted “the fastest growing political force in the land” will smash the two-party system. Almost £2m has flooded in within a few weeks from grassroots supporters, ahead of a predicted victory in the European elections later this month, the former Ukip leader said. Mr Farage revealed the momentum behind his party – which tops polls for the MEP elections – as he warned a cross-party Brexit deal between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn would fuel it further.
NIGEL Farage’s Brexit Party has already attracted 85,000 members – two thirds the size of the Conservative party. The huge swell of grassroots support has raised £2 million from the £25 subscription fees ahead of the European elections. The party, which was only formed earlier this year, is way ahead in the polls for the European elections – due to take place on May 23 unless a Brexit deal can be passed by the Commons beforehand. The latest YouGov poll puts the Brexit Party on 30 per cent, 9 points of second-placed Labour, with the Tories trailing in third-place on 13 per cent, the Lib Dems on 10 per cent, the Greens and the Change UK party on 9 per cent each and Ukip bottom on 4 per cent.
Gerard Batten has announced that he will stand down as leader of UKIP on June 2. The announcement comes after months of speculation as to when the 65-year-old would end his tenure as party chief, following a promise that he would not remain in charge for more than a year. Mr Batten, who will step down 10 days after the European elections on May 23, took over the party on April 14 2018. His departure will trigger a leadership contest to replace him, according to a UKIP spokesman.
UKIP’s leader Gerard Batten will resign from his role just 10 days after the EU elections, it has been confirmed. Mr Batten will step down as leader of the UKIP on June 2, triggering a fresh leadership contest for a new party leader, a UKIP spokesman said. He initially said he would resign on April 13 but extended his end term date to just 10 days after the EU elections, due to take place on May 23. The leadership election is expected to happen a month after he stands down, but Mr Batten has yet to decide if he will participate, the spokesman added.
UKIP’s leader has finally revealed the date he will end his term. Gerard Batten will stand down on June 2 to trigger a leadership contest to replace him, a UKIP spokesman said. It means Mr Batten – who provoked a party storm by backing far-right extremist Tommy Robinson – will be stepping down just 10 days after the EU elections on May 23. A leadership election is expected to happen around a month after that. Mr Batten has not yet decided if he will stand in the contest, a spokesman said.
The UK Independence Party could be about to have its seventh leader in two and a half years after Gerard Batten suggested he may not stand again for the top spot. Mr Batten was appointed interim leader last year and his term in office is due to expire in June. He is currently weighing up whether to stand again for a new four-year term. If Mr Batten fails to stand again, it will mean the party will have had seven leaders since September 2016 when Nigel Farage quit after six years as leader.
Ukip is to hold a leadership contest after the European Parliament elections. Party leader Gerard Batten confirmed there would be an election following the 23 May Euro poll after he attacked reports he planned to stand down on 2 June. The anti-immigration MEP, who took over as interim leader in April last year after a tumultuous period since the departure of Nigel Farage, tweeted: “The usual lies. I was elected unopposed in mid-April for a 12-month term. The NEC asked me to extend the term to get beyond the local & Euro elections.
EMMANUEL MACRON’S party has been overtaken by Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN) in the latest poll with just weeks to go until the European elections. The Ipsos survey gave Ms Le Pen’s anti-immigration party 22 percent of the vote while the embattled French President’s group, La Republique En Marche (LREM), fell behind on 21 percent. It is the first time an Ipsos poll was topped by RN, although recent daily surveys had suggested Ms Le Pen’s group is the most popular.
Marine Le Pen’s National Rally is topping the polls, ahead of French President Emmanuel Macron’s party, less than three weeks away from European Parliament elections. An Ipsos poll released Sunday places Ms Le Pen’s populist-right party on 22 per cent, ahead of Mr Macron’s progressive La République En Marche! (LREM/Republic on the Move) which is at 21.5 per cent. In third place is the right-establishment Republicans at a distant 13.5 per cent. Two other recent polls also put Ms Le Pen’s party in the lead: an Ifop-Fiducial survey published Friday puts National Rally on 23 per cent, LREM on 21.5 per cent;
Tens of thousands of people joined a rally in support of Scottish independence after campaigners marched through Glasgow. The All Under One Banner event set off from Kelvingrove Park on Saturday and passed through the city before finishing at Glasgow Green for a rally. Some people joined in with the crowds of marchers waving Saltires as the event passed along the city streets. Police estimated that 30-35,000 people were at Glasgow Green for the rally.
Pupils sitting up to five different qualifications are being taught in the same class amid budget cuts and teacher shortages, according to research conducted by a Holyrood inquiry into school subject choice. Teachers interviewed in focus groups, on behalf of the education committee, highlighted “commonplace” examples of them simultaneously having to teach three or four different levels of pupils. This means pupils sitting the Highers and Advanced Highers they require for university having to share a class with younger children taking much easier National 4 and 5 courses.
Chris Grayling has been accused of misleading parliament over disqualifying Stagecoach from bidding for train franchises. Statements made by the transport secretary in the Commons appear to be at odds with his own department’s documentation. The transport secretary has been called on to return to the House by Labour’s shadow rail minister to clarify a deepening controversy in which train operating companies are being told to accept open-ended pension liabilities.
The British government has quietly dropped plans to tackle abuse of the country’s National Health Service (NHS) by foreigners not entitled to free care after pressure from left-liberal activists, according to reports. A Mail on Sunday investigation found that government ministers have “all but abandoned” plans to crack down on “health tourism”, which would have seen patients required to show their passport and a British address, proving they are eligible for taxpayer-funded healthcare before being allowed to access expensive treatments.
The NHS is to begin a global recruitment drive for tens of thousands of foreign nurses over the next five years as it struggles to fill gaps on wards. In a strategy to boost staffing, leaked to The Times, NHS leaders have conceded that exhausted doctors and nurses are being driven out of an overstretched health service because of a failure to plan for the extra staff needed to care for an ageing population. However, the plan accepts that despite the international hiring campaign and promises to be nicer to present staff, there is little chance of ending shortages for at least five years.
A GP surgery has hired staff who speak a record 15 languages to cope with patients born abroad. At least four in five appointments have to be translated, with most patients coming from eastern Europe. The multilingual workforce includes 12 admin staff, 26 healthcare assistants, 21 nurses, ten GPs and four registrars. They look after 25,000 patients at the Thistlemoor Medical Centre in Peterborough, Cambs. A source told The Sun: “It does cost the surgery a fortune but there’s no way of doing anything differently to ensure everyone gets the medical care they need.
A killer tree disease is predicted to cost Britain billions of pounds over the next decade. Ash dieback, the fungus some experts fear could wipe out the UK’s 125 million ash trees, will cost the UK almost £15 billion, according to scientists. Almost half of this cost will come in the next decade, as dangerous roadside trees are felled and large woods need to be replanted. The ash dieback fungus came to the UK seven years ago from continental Europe and it is feared it may cause a repeat of the devastation caused by Dutch elm disease.
Britain’s power stations went without burning any coal for the longest period since the Industrial Revolution over the bank holiday weekend. Enough wind to turn turbines and lower demand for electricity because factories were closed meant that coal-fired stations were not needed for more than five days, the National Grid said. The weather was chilly but it was not cold enough to persuade many households to turn their heating on. By 7pm yesterday no coal had been burnt for 125 hours.