Theresa May last night warned she will not sign a £39billion Brexit divorce cheque unless the EU resolves ‘big issues’ on future trade links. Downing Street played down the prospect of a breakthrough at next week’s Brussels summit, saying there would be no deal without ‘movement on the EU’s side’. And it dismissed the idea that Mrs May could sign up to a ‘blind Brexit’ – saying the terms of a future trading partnership would have to be spelled out in ‘precise’ detail.
THERESA May has called the EU’s bluff by insisting there will be no Brexit deal at next week’s leaders’ summit unless it cedes major ground to her. Europe’s leaders have spent days talking up the chances of an agreement at the Brussels meeting next week, which they have dubbed the “moment of truth”, in a bid to bounce Britain. But in a surprise move yesterday with just nine to go, the angry PM threw talks into go-slow mode and accused the EU of being the block. “Big issues” still remain to be resolved and that still “requires movement on the EU side”, No10 insisted.
THERESA May is refusing to budge in her demand for Brexit concessions from the EU despite speculation that a deal between Britain and the bloc is close to being finalised. The Prime Minister’s officials insisted there were still “big issues” to resolve and warned that “movement” was required from Brussels to break the current deadlock in the negotiations. Whitehall insiders also sought to dampen hopes of an imminent deal, accusing the EU of trying to build up expectations in an attempt to put pressure on the British negotiating team.
Britain said on Monday it could not agree a divorce deal with the European Union without a framework pact on future relations, throwing down the gauntlet to the bloc which also says it cannot move on talks until London does. Both sides are eyeing significant progress at an Oct. 17-18 summit in Brussels but in different sequences – Prime Minister Theresa May wants to see the EU’s proposal for post-Brexit ties while the EU seeks a new offering from her on the Irish border.
MPs may not be shown Theresa May’s fresh plans to break the Brexit deadlock before she asks EU leaders to agree to them, Downing Street has admitted. No 10 refused to guarantee the proposals – further compromises to solve the Irish border issue – would be published before a crucial EU summit next week. It means Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and other EU leaders, could give their approval before MPs have even been able to consider them.
Downing Street has poured cold water on suggestions a Brexit deal is close as it emerged the Government is set to play hard ball with the EU to secure a “precise” agreement on Britain’s future relationship with the bloc. Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk and the Irish government have struck more optimistic tones in recent days as the hopes of a Brexit deal have increased. But Number 10 said there was “a difference between people talking optimistically about a deal and a deal… actually being agreed”.
Brexiteers warned that another round of “project fear” was on the way after it emerged that analysis of any deal Theresa May secures with Brussels will compare it to a no-deal outcome and ignore other options. As soon as the prime minister emerges with a deal, the Treasury, Cabinet Office and other departments will release an economic study overseen by Number 10 and designed to sell the plan to MPs and voters.
After more than 18 months of shadow boxing, Britain’s Brexit negotiations enter the crunch phase this week, with four days of intensive talks in Brussels. The final push is to agree the basis for a ‘Withdrawal Agreement’ – the narrow ‘divorce deal’ that will settle the £39 billion Brexit bill, guarantee the rights of citizens on both sides of the Channel and – trickiest of all – agree a ‘backstop’ to maintain an invisible border in Ireland. When this is agreed, focus will switch to settling the ‘heads of agreement’ for the future EU-UK relationship, including trade, security and other broader aspects of the deal.
Theresa May will never get her Chequers deal through Parliament and needs to “chuck” it in favour of a Canada style deal, the former chief whip has claimed. May loyalist Mark Harper, a former immigration minister who served under the Prime Minister at the Home Office, urged her to “evolve” her Brexit proposals, saying she needed to “unite the party around a comprehensive free trade deal that she can actually get through Parliament”. The MP for the Forest of Dean, who voted Remain in the EU Referendum and backed Mrs May as leader in 2016, said the idea of getting Labour MPs to back Chequers had “no prospect of success”.
Britain must be “fully out” of European Union customs arrangements by the 2022 general election, Brexiteers have warned Theresa May. The Prime Minister is believed to be considering a bid to break the negotiating impasse with Brussels over the Irish border backstop issue by offering to keep the whole of the UK aligned with present customs rules beyond the end of the transition period in December 2020. But Tory Eurosceptics are adamant there must be a hard deadline.
The feared backslide which is seeing Britain’s departure from the European Union moving further into the future continues, with pro-Brexit Tory MPs now concerned Prime Minister Theresa May could fail to complete the transition even by the next general election in 2022. The new deadline being demanded would commit Theresa May to getting Britain “fully out” of key areas of EU control by 2022, when the next general election is due — amid concerns that the Brexit process is already years behind schedule.
Senior figures in Government are seeking the softest form of Brexit , potentially to allow the UK to rejoin the European Union, a former minister claimed. Steve Baker, who was a minister in the Brexit department until July, suggested that “powerful forces” in Government were seeking to keep the UK in arrangements similar to the single market and customs union. He called instead for an “advanced free-trade agreement” with “practical arrangements” on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. In a video message, Mr Baker, who quit as a minister in response to Theresa May’s Chequers plan, said: “It may be that powerful forces within the Government are determined to have a high-alignment Brexit, something like the EEA plus something like the customs union. “
BREXIT betrayal is being pursued by the Government as it seeks the softest form of exit and could even potentially allow the UK to rejoin the European Union, a former Brexit minister has claimed. Steve Baker, who was a minister in the Brexit department until July, suggested that “powerful forces” in Government were seeking to keep the UK in arrangements similar to the single market and customs union. He called instead for an “advanced free-trade agreement” with “practical arrangements” on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Senior government figures could be trying to engineer the softest possible form of Brexit to allow Britain to rejoin the EU, an MP and former minister has claimed. Steve Baker, who quit the Brexit department in July, suggested “powerful forces” were seeking to keep the country in arrangements similar to the single market and customs union. He called instead for an “advanced free-trade agreement” with “practical arrangements” on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The EU’s lead negotiator is expected to delay publishing the union’s blueprint for a post-Brexit relationship with Britain after signals of new concessions from Downing Street. Michel Barnier had intended to publish an “annotated” draft political declaration tomorrow setting out red lines on a future trade deal. However, amid concerns in London that the document could lead to fresh demands from Brexiteers for Theresa May to abandon her plan for a Chequers-style deal, the paper is being redrafted.
A fresh clash in the Brexit negotiations over Theresa May’s demand for frictionless trade is expected to delay the publication of the EU’s vision of the future relationship, as Downing Street downplayed the optimism expressed by senior officials in Brussels about the talks. Plans to publish a document outlining the nature of the Canada-style free trade deal being offered by Brussels look likely to be put on ice after the prime minister’s Brexit adviser, Olly Robbins, warned that aspirational language had to be included for the British government to be able to sell a deal to parliament.
No 10 has thrown a fresh obstacle in the way of a Brexit agreement and criticised the EU for being too “optimistic” that a deal will be reached quickly. Theresa May’s spokesman downplayed growing hopes emerging from Brussels, insisting the two sides are still far apart and that the EU must make further compromises. He also appeared to toughen up the UK’s requirement for a deal on the future trading relationship – amid fears of a so-called “blind Brexit” – insisting the wording must be “precise”.
Jean-Claude Juncker was not making fun of Theresa May when he danced on stage, a spokesman for the EU Commission has insisted. The Commission President gyrated his hips behind the lectern and grinned as he spoke to the European Committee of the Regions on Monday. May danced onto the stage last week to ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’ as she prepared to give her speech to the Conservative Party conference.
Labour’s governing body has been urged to look into claims that votes are being rigged in constituency party elections in Birmingham. Senior party members have been urged to send an independent observer to the Yardley constituency for a key vote this month after it was alleged that Asian women who do not speak English had been shown how to vote. Julia Larden, the local party’s vice-chairwoman, has written to Jim Kennedy, a member of Labour’s national executive committee, Katy Clark, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, and other party officials warning of the “very obvious and visible practice” that she says has taken place at the party’s past two general meetings.
The PM today warned there are still ‘big issues’ to settle in the Brexit talks as she accused EU leaders of talking up the prospects of a breakthrough to heap pressure on the UK. Downing Street voiced caution over ‘optimism’ coming out of Brussels as it insisted the bloc must ‘move’ on demands over the Irish border. In another fresh development, DUP leader Arlene Foster is travelling to Brussels tonight to hold talks with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier amid warnings that her ‘red lines’ cannot be crossed.
Arlene Foster is in Brussels today to lead a new UK offensive to clinch a Brexit deal as the end-of-autumn deadline looms. The DUP leader and former first minister will hold an “intensive” three-day set of meetings with chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and representatives of EU countries. She will press the party’s demand for there to be no “border” created in the Irish sea under a backstop deal between the two sides. In a pointed message that will be heard in Downing Street, Mrs Foster said her only “red line” was carving up the UK to leave Northern Ireland in any kind of special alignment with the EU27.
The Northern Irish party which props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government said on Monday that it wanted a Brexit that worked for the Republic of Ireland too, as its leader travels to Brussels for talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier. The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is the last major sticking point in Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union, and both sides are trying to work out how to monitor and regulate trade over the border.
Nicola Sturgeon today seized on Brexit to try to renew her bid to push through a second Scottish independence referendum. While her Westminster deputy Ian Blackford vowed to cause ‘maximum disruption’ to Theresa May’s government and to vote down her Chequers Brexit plan. In a fiery speech to the party’s conference in Glasgow, he railed against the Tories for treating Scotland as a ‘second class nation’. The two leading SNP politicians put Number Ten on notice that they plan to unveil their fresh push for an indyref2 once the PM comes back with her Brexit deal – in what could be a matter of weeks.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said her MPs would back a new Brexit referendum if there is a vote to approve one in parliament. The Scottish politician’s backing to give the British people a final say on the outcome of Brexit is a major boost for those pushing for a new referendum, with Labour also having signalled backing for the move last month. Ms Sturgeon said she would seek assurances however, that Scotland could not end up in a position again where it had voted to remain in the EU but was being forced to leave, indicating the party may tie support to a new independence vote.
THE SNP threw their full weight behind a plan to delay Brexit as they voted to support an extension to the Article 50 process and a second EU referendum. But leader Nicola Sturgeon was accused of rank hypocrisy yesterday for insisting a People’s Vote on Brexit would not set a precedent for another independence vote. The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford also pledged his party’s 35 MPs will cause maximum disruption to UK Tory Government during the party’s annual conference in Glasgow.
DEVELOPMENT Secretary Penny Mordaunt will today reveal a ground-breaking plan to slash billions in taxpayers’ contributions from the bloated aid budget. In a radical shake up of DFID spending, the new Cabinet minister wants private investors such as pension funds to prop up Britain’s generous overseas programmes instead. The nation will still meet the controversial target of 0.7% of its annual income on foreign aid. But the Government wants to enforce a major change to international rules to allow non-government cash also to be used to meet the target, under Ms Mordaunt’s blueprint.
BILLIONS of pounds of taxpayers’ money is to be slashed from the UK’s foreign aid budget, as International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt prepares to instigate a radical plan to implore private investors to foot the bill instead. Ms Mordaunt is due to announce the wide-ranging overhaul today as she appeals to private investors to prop up the Government’s bloated aid budget so the UK taxpayer doesn’t have to. The major shake-up of the Department for International Development (DFID) spending would see investors such as pension funds help fund the UK’s vast foreign aid bill.
ITV’s Robert Peston has admitted that he and the BBC as a whole “got it wrong” when it came to their view on mass migration, with many in the London media bubble dismissing the views of millions of working class Brits concerned about such a rapid pace of change. Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, Peston said: “Looking back on it I got it wrong and I feel embarrassed about this. “When we had all that migration from Eastern Europe, people like me focused too much on the economic benefits in terms of the rate we were growing and not enough on the experience of communities.
Thousands of NHS patients have been asked if they would pay £10 to see their GP more quickly. And the 79-question survey emailed to 300,000 patients last week asked what people’s views are on privatising the health service. It was sent by the company which runs Patient Access, a website run for the NHS where people can book GP appointments and order prescriptions. But experts have criticised the ‘dubious’ survey, which also asked about online GP consultation apps, for testing whether people can be targeted by private companies.
It’s the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures. Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C. Keeping to the preferred target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will mean “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. It will be hugely expensive – but the window of opportunity remains open. After three years of research and a week of haggling between scientists and government officials at a meeting in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C.
A new UN-backed report has warned countries need to take “unprecedented” action to limit dangerous global warming. Far-reaching changes to power generation, industry, transport, buildings and potential shifts in lifestyle such as eating less meat will be required to curb temperature rises at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said. Here’s everything you need to know about the report. While warming of 2C above pre-industrial levels has widely been thought of as the threshold beyond which dangerous climate change will occur, vulnerable countries such as low-lying island states warn rises above 1.5C will threaten their survival.
Italy is on the brink of a dangerous banking crisis as the red-blooded showdown between Brussels and Rome pushes the country’s borrowing costs to a five-year high. Yields on Italy’s 10-year debt spiked to 3.62pc after the Lega strongman and vice-premier, Matteo Salvini, vowed to sweep away the existing European order. He called Jean-Claude Juncker and his Commission aides “enemies of Europe barricaded inside their Brussels bunker.”
Italy’s firebrand Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has described the EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker and Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici as “enemies of Europe”. In a press conference alongside France’s Marine Le Pen, Salvini said: “The enemies of Europe are those sealed in the bunker of Brussels. “It’s Juncker and Moscovici who have brought fear and job insecurity to Europe.”