Britain’s net contribution to the EU budget rose by almost 9 per cent last year, official figures showed yesterday. Our net contribution to Brussels jumped by £700million to £8.8billion – up 8.6 per cent. The figures take account of the £4.1billion the EU spent in the UK last year. Britain’s gross contribution stood at £12.9billion. Calculation of the UK’s annual contribution is based on a complex formula and varies from year to year. Last year’s net figure is lower than the 2015/6 total of £10.8billion. But Treasury figures forecast it will rise sharply again next year – even though we will have left the EU.
THERESA May has warned that Labour is plotting to delay Brexit by stopping Britain from leaving the EU without a trade deal. The Prime Minister fears Jeremy Corbyn‘s party wants to block a no deal Brexit by arranging a Commons vote using a rare parliamentary rule. Senior Tories believe the move could force Mrs May to extend the Article 50 negotiating period in order to strike a deal with Brussels. This would likely plunge the Government’s Brexit plans into turmoil by forcing the UK to stay inside the bloc beyond next March.
No second Brexit referendum will be held “in any circumstances”, Downing Street said after a Sky Data poll showed most people would like to see another vote on Britain’s exit from the EU. Following the results of the survey, Labour peer Lord Mandelson told Sky News a referendum on the terms on the final Brexit deal was “the only way forward” for the prime minister. But Downing Street reiterated its opposition to any further public vote on Brexit. Asked about Lord Mandelson’s comments on Monday, the prime minister’s spokesman said there would be “no second referendum in any circumstances”.
Theresa May will be forced to offer further politically difficult concessions to the EU to minimise damage to the economy caused by Brexit, said one of the UK’s leading economic thinktanks. The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said Britain was gripped by an epidemic of uncertainty about the terms of its EU departure, and warned that the government would have to pay a bigger financial contribution or accept higher migration to get the deal it wanted.
Theresa May is accused today of leaving a dangerous “vacuum” that will allow pro-Brexit groups to “exploit” fears about immigration again in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU. The prime minister’s failure to set out new immigration rules is condemned in a fresh report by MPs, which warns the “misinformation and tensions” of the referendum campaign could be repeated. The cabinet is yet to discuss any proposals in detail – despite the passing of two years since the Leave vote – with a promised white paper shelved until the end of the year.
Fears Wales could lose millions of pounds of aid under a “no deal” Brexit have been reduced by UK ministers extending a pledge on the cash, the public spending watchdog has said. The Treasury has promised to underwrite the “structural funds” until the end of the 2014-20 EU budget period. The previous guarantee only applied to schemes signed-off when Brexit is due to take place in March 2019. The Wales Audit Office (WAO) said that could have put some schemes at risk.
ANGELA Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were urged yesterday by Britain to use their influence to make Brussels understand the importance to Europe of striking a “pragmatic and sensible” Brexit deal. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued his appeal as he warned the UK leaving the European Union next March without an agreement, damaging businesses and jobs on both sides of the Channel, was growing more likely “by the day”. Mr Hunt was in Paris for talks with his French opposite number, Jean-Yves Le Drian, on defence and security issues.
Theresa May will meet with French president Emmanuel Macron this week as she attempts to sell her Brexit plan to EU leaders. The prime minister and Mr Macron are to meet at his presidential retreat at Fort Bregancon near Toulon, in the south of France. Mrs May’s visit comes amid an apparent attempt by ministers to go over the heads of Brussels officials with a direct Brexit plea to the EU’s national governments. Ahead of talks with his own French counterpart on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on France and Germany to push EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier into a “pragmatic and sensible outcome”.
Theresa May is cutting short her summer break in Italy to meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to try to persuade him to soften his approach to Brexit. The prime minister will become the first foreign leader to meet Macron at his summer home, Fort de Brégançon, in the south of France on Friday in an attempt to convince him to sign him up to her Chequers deal. The French government has not entirely rejected the UK’s latest Brexit plan, although Macron is thought to be foremost among European leaders to have privately expressed concerns about whether it could work.
THERESA May will hold crunch Brexit talks with Emmanuel Macron on Friday at the French president’s holiday retreat, Downing Street has revealed. the Prime Minister, who is currently on holiday in Lake Garda, Italy, will make the short trip to the south of France for talks with Mr Macron. The leaders are expected to meet at Fort Bregancon near Toulon on Friday evening to thrash out details of the UK’s exit from the EU. Their hastily organised summit will be followed by a private dinner between Mr Macron and Mrs May and their respective partners.
Theresa May will cut short her summer holiday in an attempt to persuade Emmanuel Macron to soften his stance on Brexit despite warnings that he is preparing to stand firm. The prime minister will attend a crucial meeting with the French president on Friday at which she will ask him to drop his objections to security co-operation after Britain leaves the European Union. She will also seek assurances that he will help Britain to secure a comprehensive trade deal for the City of London, something that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has resisted.
Emmanuel Macron today invited Theresa May to his holiday home in the south of France in a fresh attempt to end the Brexit deadlock. The French President’s surprise invitation emerged just hours after Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt held talks on Brexit in Paris. An Elysee Palace source said Mr Macron and Mrs May would meet at Fort Bregancon near Toulon on Friday evening. The meeting will be followed by a private dinner between Macron and his wife Brigitte and May and her husband Philip.
The EU’s declaration on the trade and security relationship with the UK after Brexit will be just five to 30 pages long, reflecting a lack of time to have an internal debate and scepticism that Theresa May will remain in Downing Street to deliver it, officials in Brussels have disclosed. While the UK is seeking a “precise and substantive” document, to match the recently published 100-page white paper, officials in Brussels say the EU’s political declaration on the “future framework” has diminishing importance for them. Brussels is aware that the prime minister needs the document, due in the autumn, to be a “sweetener” to the main withdrawal agreement.
BRITAIN should hold a second referendum on scrapping Brexit in which the EU could actively campaign for a Remain vote, a top German politician has said. Elmar Brok, who is a close ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel, said a rerun of the 2016 contest should take place in December or January. The leading MEP, who sits on the EU Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, said a new poll was the only way to avert the “nightmare” of Britain leaving. And he went even further than Remainers in the UK by saying it should be an in-out vote and not one on the deal Theresa May brings back from Brussels.
A NO-DEAL Brexit would spell disaster for European financial firms who will lose access to the City of London, British negotiators have warned. Michel Barnier, the EU’s top Brexit negotiator, has yet to agree to a deal giving EU firms unfettered access to the Square Mile. But UK officials have warned the Frenchman that European investors will suffer if the City is refused a bespoke Brexit deal. In a tit-for-tat response, EU-based firms could lose access to the City, putting thousands of European investment funds under threat. Mr Barnier’s hardline Brexit stance is said to have softened after the apparent threat was issued at a recent meeting in Brussels.
Jeremy Hunt has called on France and Germany to intervene to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU with no deal, insisting Theresa May will not “blink”. The foreign secretary appealed to the EU’s most powerful countries to force Brussels to offer the UK better terms, as he warned the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit is “increasing by the day”. It came as Emmanuel Macron, the French president, invited Ms May to break off her holiday for urgent talks at his retreat in the south of France on Friday. Michel Barnier, the EU’s negotiator, and some senior EU politicians have ridiculed the notion of Berlin and Paris stepping in to end the deadlock and arrange a more favourable deal for the UK.
The Foreign Secretary has said the likelihood of the UK walking away from the European Union (EU) without a trade deal is “increasing” and there is a “real chance” of such a clean “No Deal” Brexit. The comments come after the unelected president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, attacked Theresa May’s already extremely accommodating Chequers Brexit plan, making little effort to even engage with it. Michel Barnier, the bloc’s top Brexit negotiator, has also savaged Mrs May’s widely unpopular plan, leading to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt hitting back Tuesday, promising the UK will play hardball, too.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has once again stressed that there is a “real chance” of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal as Brussels continues with its hardline approach. Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Hunt said: “The probability of No Deal is increasing by the day until we see a change of approach from the European Commission who have this view that they just need to wait and Britain will blink. That is just a profound misunderstanding of us as a nation.
Jeremy Hunt has warned the European Union the likelihood of a no deal Brexit is “increasing by the day” and it must recognise Britain will not “blink” during negotiations. The Foreign Secretary said the European Commission must change its approach and show a willingness to engage with Theresa May’s Chequers plan for withdrawal. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has savaged Mrs May’s blueprint but Mr Hunt said it was a “profound misunderstanding of us as a nation” to think the UK will bow to Brussels.
Boris Johnson has been catapulted into first place in the ConHome Tory leadership survey of members following his resignation over Chequers. His rating has quadrupled as members come to the conclusion he is the only leader who can deliver a real Brexit. He is now more than ten points ahead of anyone else, and you can effectively add Jacob Rees-Mogg’s numbers to Boris’ too. MPs in marginals will be looking at this thinking he is the only one who can keep them in their seats when an election comes. A reminder that those pundits who love to write Boris off are motivated by jealously rather than reason…
Boris Johnson has re-emerged as the Conservative faithful’s favourite to succeed Theresa May since his resignation over the government’s Brexit plans. In a marked reversal of fortunes, the former foreign secretary is now supported by nearly a third of party members as the next leader. A month ago, when he was still in government, he was backed by only 8 per cent of members, according to a monthly poll of more than 1,000 Tories by the website ConservativeHome. He is nearly ten points ahead of his nearest rival, Sajid Javid, the home secretary, while the biggest loser is his fellow Brexiteer Michael Gove.
BORIS Johnson is once again the favourite to succeed Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party after it was revealed nearly a third of party members support the staunch Brexiteer According to a monthly poll of 1,000 Tories by website ConservativeHome, Boris Johnson has re-emerged as a contender to succeed Mrs May. Just a month ago before he resigned, Mr Johnson was backed by only eight percent of members. But now Mr Johnson leads the poll and is ten points ahead of his nearest rival, Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
The Conservatives have been accused of “trying to rig the next election” after new analysis found that planned changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries would disproportionally benefit the Tories if both main parties won the same number of votes. The proposed changes to constituencies across the UK would see the Tories win 40 more seats than Labour if they had an identical vote share, according to analysis by Electoral Calculus and PoliticalBetting.com. The government plans to reduce the number of parliamentary constituencies from 650 to 600, saying this will make elections fairer by ensuring that each constituency contains a similar number of voters.
Penny Mordaunt’s Portsmouth North Conservative Association held their AGM last night. Even in the slow news days of recess this is not something that would usually be the subject of a report from Guido. However, the AGM minutes repay reading. The membership was advised that “we are preparing for a party leadership contest sometime in the next 12-18 months and we anticipate a General Election to follow.” Yikes! Now it is an old trick to galvanise the membership into activity by making dire warnings of forthcoming elections – if it is a real fear you will see candidate selections being accelerated. Guido is not so sure that is happening much.
Jeremy Corbyn has issued a personal apology for the “concerns and anxiety” his actions have caused towards the Jewish community, as the anti-Semitism row threatened to engulf the Labour Party. The Labour leader said: “In the past, in the pursuit of justice for the Palestinian people and peace is Israel/Palestine, I have on occasion appeared on platforms with people whose views I completely reject.” He added: “I apologise for the concerns and anxiety this has caused”. His apology came afterThe Times revealed Mr Corbyn had hosted an event in 2010 on Holocaust memorial day which caused deep offence to the Jewish community.
THERESA May is to overrule her Home Secretary to insist there must be special lanes for British passport holders in airports after Brexit. Sajid Javid has torn up plans for UK-only channels in arrivals lounges to insist Brits will still have to queue alongside EU visitors. His order came after Home Office research found separate lines would cost too much and could also create longer waiting times. But The Sun can reveal that the PM will intervene to insist on them to produce another visual symbol of Brexit in practice. The big footing move risks deepening the already tense relationship between Mrs May and Mr Javid, who is now seen as her most likely successor.
Tens of thousands of cancer, heart and hernia patients are in pain because an NHS cost-cutting drive has denied them an effective treatment, experts say. GPs are unable to prescribe local-anaesthetic patches, doctors from almost every pain clinic in England say in a letter to The Times. They say that patients are being left without pain relief or are forced on to potentially dangerous opioid painkillers. Lidocaine plasters were one of the “low-value” treatments that GPs were told by NHS England last year not to prescribe routinely because of concerns that they were overusing them for conditions in which they do little good, such as back pain.
British Gas customers have seen their bills hiked – and could see them raised further – to pay for controversial smart meters. The firm’s owner Centrica is spending £300million a year installing the digital devices in homes across the UK. It has completed more than 6million so far. The big suppliers are paying for the installations by passing on the cost to customers. The cost for Centrica currently works out at the equivalent of £40 per bill, although the firm has not said how much of that is being passed on to consumers or absorbed by the company. In May it increased its standard variable tariff – raising the average dual fuel bill by £60 to £1,161 per year – blaming policies including smart meters as well as rising wholesale prices.
Water companies have promised to do more to fix leaks this summer and cut the three billion litres they lose each day. Chief executives and directors of eight companies that have missed their targets for repairing leaks or have very high leakage rates met Michael Gove, the environment secretary, yesterday. They included Steve Mogford, chief executive of United Utilities, which is planning to impose a hosepipe ban in northwest England from Sunday. Only Thames Water lost more water than United Utilities last year. Mr Gove said: “I have asked the companies I spoke to to raise the bar on tackling leaks and agree ambitious new targets when they submit their business plans to Ofwat in September.
A NEW disease that has been dubbed “Clade X” could be turned into weapons by terrorists to kill billions of people.Experts have warned a type of flu could wipe out 15% of the world’s population and leave Governments unable to cope with spiralling numbers of sick people. But a simulation of the virus has also reportedly shown it could be weaponised by terrorists to cause mass death and destruction. The virus, which is spread by coughing, is apparently so deadly it would kill 150 million people in just two years. It is unclear exactly how terrorists would release the virus, but fears have previously been raised about airborne diseases being turned into weapons.