A NEW Remoaner plot to give MPs the chance to veto Brexit at the end of the negotiations with Brussels has emerged as MPs vote on triggering the Leave process. The threat provoked a stark warning from Tory veteran MP Sir Bill Cash that Remoaners “will be committing political suicide” if they stop Brexit as he claimed they “do not get the scale of what this revolution involves”. Former cabinet minister Owen Paterson added that there will be “shattering, catastrophic damage to the integrity of the political establishment if this (Brexit) is not delivered.” The Remoaner plot was revealed as MPs yesterday began a two-day debate on the 137-word European Union (notification of withdrawal) Bill which needs to be passed to allow the Government to trigger the article 50 withdrawal process. A cabal of leading Tory Remoaners including former ministers Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve made it clear that they hope to force the government to hold a “meaningful vote” at the end of the process.
Pro-European Union MPs who claim they want more details about Brexit are seeking to “obfuscate, delay and dilute” the result of the referendum, Michael Gove has said. As many as 100 MPs – mainly from the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party – will on Wednesday vote against a law to trigger the start of Britain’s exit from the EU. The comments came as David Davis, the Exiting the EU secretary, said MPs had to “honour our side of the agreement” after the referendum and trigger Article 50. MPs had to “trust the people” who backed the Government to taken Britain out of the EU and vote decisively for the start of Brexit.
President Trump’s administration is a threat to the EU alongside the aggressive and assertive superpowers of Russia and China, the union’s president has warned. Donald Tusk urged EU leaders to take “spectacular steps” to strengthen the bloc’s borders and boost economies to restore faith in the European ideal. “For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best,” he said. The stark assessment by Mr Tusk, president of the European Council, came in a rallying call ahead of crisis talks on the future of the EU in Malta on Friday.
Up to 100 MPs are set to defy the will of the people today and vote against Britain leaving the European Union. Dozens of Labour MPs, Scottish Nationalists and Liberal Democrats will spark fury by trying to block the Article 50 Bill giving Theresa May the power to trigger Brexit. As debate began in the Commons yesterday, leading Leave campaigner Michael Gove accused opponents of the Bill of seeking to ‘dilute the democratic mandate of the British people’. Brexit Secretary David Davis said Britain had passed the ‘point of no return’ and urged Remain MPs to ‘trust the people’. The vote will plunge Labour into further chaos. Some 35 Labour MPs have declared their intention to vote against the Bill, despite Jeremy Corbyn imposing a three-line whip. Two shadow ministers have already quit so they can oppose the triggering of Article 50, and at least half a dozen more have warned they will rebel.
VOTING against Brexit could “spark civil unrest” and lead to people taking to the streets, according to a Labour shadow minister. Matthew Pennycook made the stark warning to his MP colleagues as the debate on the Article 50 legislation hot underway in the House of Commons. A raft of Labour MPs have declared they will defy their leader Jeremy Corbyn’s edict to vote for the Brexit bill, but the MP for Greenwich and Woolwich says voting it down “would exacerbate the divisions that the referendum has exposed”. He told the BBC: “It would be a gift to the far right. It might even cause civil disturbances in parts of the country. “People would take to the streets – the millions who voted to remain – I think that is a danger.”
SHADOW Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer urged fellow Labour MPs yesterday not to block Article 50 negotiations. The lawyer, who backed Remain in the EU referendum, acknowledged that his party faced a difficult decision as the Commons debate a Bill to allow exit talks to take place. He told the chamber: “But, as democrats, our party has to accept the result and it follows that the Prime Minister should not be blocked from starting the Article 50 negotiations.” Mr Starmer’s remarks came after Speaker John Bercow selected an amendment in the name of SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson. It calls for the European Union (Notification Of Withdrawal) Bill not to be given a second reading for several reasons.
Most British MPs believe that the UK need not leave the single market in order to honour the EU referendum result, a new study has found. A survey of parliamentarians by Ipsos MORI found that just a quarter of MPs across all parties – 26 per cent – believe the referendum contained an explicit required mandate to leave the trading bloc. The finding jars with the approach taken by Theresa May – who explicitly pledged to leave the single market in a speech earlier this month. She claimed in her address that remaining in the single market “would mean being bound by EU laws” and that it would “mean in practise not leaving the EU”. The results suggest many MPs are privately sceptical of the PM’s claim that leaving the trade element of the EU somehow follows from the referendum result – but may not be speaking up due to fear of a backlash – either from the public or party whips.
THE LEADING City of London lobby group today performed a dramatic u-turn by dropping its past opposition to Britain’s exit from the EU. In a surprise reversal, TheCityUK hailed last year’s historic referendum vote to break ties with Brussels as an “unprecedented opportunity” for the country. It also urged the Government to overhaul trade and investment policy to ensure that British business and financial services sector can make the best out of Brexit. TheCityUK, which represents the financial sector including firms employing more than two million people in total, had campaigned against leaving the EU in the run up to the referendum.
A group of Labour MPs have defied the wishes of the British people to table a ‘wrecking amendment’ aimed at stopping Brexit. The group include former Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith and expose the level of Europhile feeling within the Labour Party establishment in Parliament. Their amendment includes droning on about the single market – which it was clear voting Leave meant exiting – as they seek to justify their wish to overturn the referendum result. We doubt this will go down well in pro-Brexit Stoke, where Labour are being taken on by UKIP Leader Paul Nuttall.
Sterling completed its best January against the dollar in six years after Donald Trump and a key adviser renewed an attack on countries that “exploit” their weak currencies. The value of the pound climbed as high as $1.2593 against the dollar after the US president heavily criticised China and Japan for “play[ing] the money market”. His comments followed a meeting with pharmaceutical executives in which he pledged to bring back drug manufacturing to the US. The rise in sterling’s value on Tuesday rounded off its best January performance against the dollar since 2011 and its first positive start to the year in half a decade.
NICOLA STURGEON is set to dump the SNP’s long-held aim of an independent Scotland remaining a full EU member state in order to best satisfy her “fetish” for breaking away from the UK, it has emerged. The Scottish First Minister is reportedly close to watering down her promise Scotland could stay in the EU if it leaves the UK at a second independence referendum. Instead, if Ms Sturgeon follows through with her threat of a second vote on Scottish independence, senior SNP figures are believed to want the party to campaign on the basis of an independent Scotland striking a Norway-style deal with the EU. By contrast, during the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the ‘Yes’ campaign insisted Scotland would remain a full member of the Brussels-based bloc if voters chose to quit the UK.
Britain’s complex rail fares system will be given its biggest overhaul in more than 30 years under plans to stop passengers being ripped off. Thousands of expensive long-distance fares will be scrapped from the National Rail database to ensure travellers get a cheaper deal, it will be announced today. The changes follow a Times investigation that exposed how millions of passengers were being overcharged because of techniques used by train operators to hide cheap fares. Currently passengers taking a multi-leg journey — changing trains several times — are often forced to pay more when buying one through-ticket than those who purchase a series of singles along the route.
Passengers should always get the cheapest tickets available in an overhaul of Britain’s rail fares to be trialled later this year. The shake-up should end the practice of charging customers more for return tickets than they would pay for buying two separate single tickets. Rail bosses vowed to cut out the ‘red tape, jargon and complication’ that mean some passengers pay high fares for long, connecting journeys when there are quicker and cheaper alternatives. There are also measures to make ticket vending machines more user-friendly. The trials are due to start in May on selected routes, including CrossCountry, Virgin Trains’ east and west coast services and East Midlands.
Thousands of newly qualified doctors are unprepared to do basic tasks such as taking blood, say regulators who will now make them sit a standard test alongside foreign applicants. The General Medical Council (GMC) announces plans for a single test today that all new doctors will have to pass. They say it is unfair and “bizarre” that 34 medical schools are allowed to set their own criteria for licensing doctors. Foreign doctors will have to sit the same examination because the GMC plans to use Brexit as an opportunity to agree a common standard to practise in Britain. Graduates of the 34 accredited British medical schools get a licence to practise after passing their finals.
Health tourism is draining the NHS of hundreds of millions of pounds a year because of ‘chaotic’ billing. Hospitals fail to identify overseas patients or never send them bills, MPs warn in a report today. GPs were also found to be doing too little to flag up those who should be charged for care. The Commons public accounts committee accuses successive governments of failing to tackle the issue. Ministers were first warned to impose charges 30 years ago. Whitehall research puts the cost to taxpayers of health tourism at anywhere between £200million and £2billion a year.
A pilot scheme in which patients are asked to show two forms of identification before receiving NHS treatment could compromise access to care, parliament’s spending watchdog has said. The public accounts committee urged caution before officials extend the scheme, saying it could lead to entitled patients staying away from hospitals. The MPs have also told the Department of Health to take urgent action to renew a “chaotic” system of recovering money from so-called health tourists. Trusts are supposed to charge visitors from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland for non-emergency hospital treatment. For patients from the EEA and Switzerland, trusts should recoup their costs through an insurance scheme.
The NHS is missing out on millions of pounds a year because of a “chaotic” system for recovering cash from overseas patients, MPs have warned. In a report, MPs from the Commons Public Accounts Committee said they were “not confident” the Department of Health is taking the required steps to recover money from people who leave the NHS with unpaid bills after treatment. The committee warned the NHS was failing to identify patients who should be charged and said the Government was not recouping enough money from European countries where reciprocal agreements are in place. In 2014/15, the UK recovered just £50m from these countries but paid out £675m.
Jeremy Hunt has been blasted for failing to ensure the NHS recovers millions of pounds owed to it by foreigners who have received medical treatment while in the UK. In a damning report, the Commons Public Accounts Committee accused the Tories of not acting to recover almost £150million from people who leave the health service with unpaid bills. And Health Secretary Mr Hunt was urged to “get a grip” on the issue by MPs who warned that the NHS is failing to identify patients who should be charged. They added that the Department of Health is also failing to get money back from European countries where reciprocal agreements exist.
The government must take “urgent action” to recover more money for treating so-called health tourists, a group of MPs has said. A Public Accounts Committee report says the system for recouping costs from overseas patients is “chaotic”. Chairwoman Meg Hillier attacked the government’s “failure to get a grip” as “simply unacceptable”. The Department of Health said it would be announcing “further steps very shortly to recover up to £500m a year”. Ms Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, said the NHS was missing out on “vital funds”. “The public rightly expects the government to enforce the rules, and more can and should be done to recover money,” she said.
Millions of motorists could be ‘demonised’ for driving diesel cars as councils consider hitting them with higher charges and turning them into ‘cash cows’, MPs warned last night. Local authorities in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Leeds and Southampton are thought to be considering drastic measures to crack down on diesel to improve air quality. Birmingham council yesterday became the second in days to unveil plans for extra penalties for diesel drivers. Councillors want a ‘clean air zone’ in the city centre and are considering charging motorists who drive diesel cars into it. London is already set to introduce a toxicity fee this year, on top of the congestion charge, for those who drive older diesel cars into the city centre.