Michel Barnier is pushing European governments to give him permission to begin exploring transition and trade talks with Britain next week in the face of opposition from Germany. Behind closed doors the EU’s lead negotiator has unexpectedly become Britain’s best hope for moving on to discussions on how to prevent a cliff edge for businesses after March 2019. But the German government is pressing hard for Britain to give further guarantees on the financial settlement it will make when it leaves, before a European council meeting next week. “Germany wants more and it wants it more or less in writing,” said one diplomat. “That is toxic for the British.”
BRUSSELS may have the upper hand in Brexit trade talks as they benefit from insider knowledge on the UK, a former lead negotiator has warned. After years of EU officials conducting trade talks on the UK’s behalf to strike deal with other countries, they may be at an advantage compared to Britain, Andrew Hood has claimed. The senior UK-EU policy negotiator, who served under David Cameron as a legal adviser, said the EU had accrued a team of “very skilled negotiators who know our position very well”, while Britain lacked “inherent expertise in trade talks”. Mr Hood told the Telegraph: “Part of the issue that the UK Government faces is that no one has been a trade negotiator for the best part of a generation on these deals.
EU officials could exploit insider knowledge about the UK gained from decades of conducting talks on its behalf if the two sides attempt to sign a trade deal, a former lead negotiator has warned. Andrew Hood, who served under David Cameron as a legal adviser and senior UK-EU policy negotiator, told the Telegraph that Britain lacked “inherent expertise” in trade talks, as before Brexit it relied on Brussels to strike deals with other countries. Meanwhile, he said, the EU has gradually accrued a team of “very skilled negotiators who know our position very well.” “Part of the issue that the UK government faces is that no one has been a trade negotiator for the best part of a generation on these deals,” said Mr Hood, an experienced barrister and diplomat who worked on EU policies for more than a decade.
EU leaders will almost certainly refuse to allow the Brexit talks to move forward to the issue of trade at a crunch summit next week, the president of the EU Council said yesterday. Donald Tusk signalled that the gathering in Brussels was unlikely to agree that enough progress had been made so far for the negotiations to advance to the next stage. His remarks were being seen last night of a rejection of Theresa May’s call for more “flexibility and leadership” from Brussels. And the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier hinted at irritation with the Prime Minister’s stance by insisting: “Brexit is not a game.” The double response from senior Eurocrats confirmed expectations in Downing Street that the talks are likely to remain stalled at least until the end of the year, raising the possibility of the negotiations collapsing and the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
Donald Tusk has dashed UK hopes of starting Brexit trade negotiations by the end of this month. The European Council president said he did not expect any breakthrough in the talks until December. And he warned that if no progress had been made by then the EU would rethink its whole stance on Brexit . Mr Tusk said he was still hopeful the deadlock could be broken and said the EU was not working on a “no deal” scenario. His deadline of December blows apart Theresa May’s hopes of moving on to trade negotiations after this month’s EU summit. “We hear from London that the UK Government is preparing for a no deal scenario. “I would like to say very clearly the EU is not working on such a scenario and we are negotiating in good faith. And we still hope so-called sufficient progress will be possible by December.
It would be irresponsible to spend taxpayers’ money now in preparation for a “no-deal” exit from the European Union, the chancellor believes. In a move likely to anger staunch Brexiteers, Philip Hammond uses an article in The Times today to make clear that he will not commit billions of pounds in next month’s budget to planning for a hard breakaway. It comes after the prime minister refused to say if she would back Brexit were there to be another referendum. Theresa May said in a radio programme yesterday that she refused to answer “hypothetical questions”. The chancellor has faced pressure from ministers who want the government to show more of its planning for a hard Brexit.
Philip Hammond is still not prepared to spend money preparing for no Brexit deal, it has emerged. This is despite the fact Brussels is refusing to budge and Brexit talks seem to be going nowhere. Hammond told The Times: “The government and the Treasury are prepared. We are planning for every outcome and we will find any necessary funding and we will only spend it when it’s responsible to do so. “The main challenge is paradoxically simple: it’s uncertainty. The uncertainty of what lies beyond March 2019. This has impacted businesses up and down the country. Investment has slowed as companies wait for clarity about access to markets, goods, labour and services.”
Taxpayers’ money should not be spent on preparing for a “no-deal” Brexit yet, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said. Writing in the Times ahead of next month’s Budget, Mr Hammond said he would spend only when it was “responsible” to do so. The chancellor said he had a responsibility to be “realistic” about the challenges of leaving the EU. His comments came after Theresa May refused to say how she would vote if there was another EU referendum. After the prime minister revealed this week that the government had plans for a Brexit scenario without a trade deal, Mr Hammond stressed the importance of avoiding a no-deal end to negotiations with the EU. He said he would be “prepared for all outcomes, including a no-deal scenario” but added that the best stimulus for the economy was “certainty”.
The prime minister has revealed to the European Union (EU) how she is preparing to walk away from the bloc without a trade deal, as Eurocrats continue to block Brexit talks from progressing. Theresa May hopes to “focus minds” by publishing draft legislation on how the UK will implement independent trade and customs arrangements from “day one” of Brexit in March 2019, The Telegraph reports. She sent a clear message to Brussels when she told MPs: “We are planning for every eventuality and you are now seeing the proof of it,” in a speech in parliament. The EU has continually said “sufficient progress” must be made on payments and Northern Ireland before trade talks can begin, without defining what “sufficient” is, and even after the UK offered to pay a huge ‘divorce bill’.
The EU and the UK may need to start planning for a “no deal” scenario if the pace of the Brexit negotiations does not speed up, the president of the European council has said. In a direct response to Theresa May’s statement in the House of Commons on Monday, in which she said the British government was preparing for talks to fail, Donald Tusk admitted the negotiations were floundering. He ruled out any chance of “sufficient progress” on the financial settlement, citizens’ rights and the Irish border being made by a European council summit on 19 October, which would have allowed wider trade talks to begin, as originally planned. But in a significant shift in tone, Tusk also appeared to suggest that, should the impasse continue past Christmas, both sides might need to move into an emergency footing to address the consequences of failing to reach a deal.
Theresa May has refused to guarantee the right of EU citizens to remain in the UK if she fails to secure a Brexit deal with Brussels. Speaking on LBC radio on Tuesday afternoon, the prime minister admitted “we don’t know what’s going to happen” to British citizens living in Europe in a no deal scenario. May also refused to reveal which way she would vote if another EU referendum was held today. “I voted ‘Remain’ for good reasons at the time,” May said. “I could sit here and I could say I’d still vote ‘Remain’ or I’d vote ‘Leave’ just to give you an answer,” May added. “But we are not having another referendum.” The prime minister’s decision to tell MPs yesterday that the country should be prepared for the talks to collapse was interpreted as a no deal outcome becoming more likely than previously believed.
Britain is unlikely to make “sufficient progress” in Brexit talks until the end of the year, the European Council President has said. Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday, Donald Tusk also warned that if negotiations continued at the current “slow” rate then both sides would have to “think about where we are heading”. Both the UK and EU have previously said they wanted to reach the milestone – as set and judged by the EU – by October this year, with officials saying as recently as last month that they were “optimistic” it could be met. When the European Council deems sufficient progress on separation issues like the divorce bill, Northern Ireland border, and EU citizens’ rights to have been met, it says it will authorise its negotiators to move on to other issues like trade and the future relationship with the UK.
EU COUNCIL boss Donald Tusk last night put a December deadline on a Brexit breakthrough before planning for the EU’s own doomsday no deal scenario. And yesterday it emerged the German government are plotting to try kick talks about a Brexit transition deal into the New Year — prompting fears of a business exodus. Mr Tusk, who represents all EU leaders, insisted Brussels was still working towards a deal with Britain adding “we are negotiating in good faith and hope for ‘sufficient progress’ by December.” But he warned that if there is no breakthrough by the end of the year, “then – together with our UK friends – we will have to think about where we are heading.” He was responding to Theresa May’s declaration yesterday that she is getting Britain ready for a collapse in EU talks with “no deal planning”.
BRUSSELS boss Donald Tusk today insisted the EU is not working on the possibility of a no deal scenario and expressed his determination to open trade talks with Britain in December. The EU Council president railed against the “false arguments and unacceptable generalisations” of the referendum campaign but said the bloc was committed to making the best of Brexit. In a keynote speech the Polish eurocrat said europhiles would be wrong to interpret the vote as “exclusively British exceptionalism” and instead needed to address widespread concerns about the project. And he insisted the challenge of conducting the Brexit talks had “shown the EU at its best in terms of unity, political solidarity and fairness towards the United Kingdom”.
THE GOVERNMENT last night laid out plans to build huge lorry parks miles away from major ports to provide customs checks after we quit the EU. Officials are also considering scrapping ALL tariffs on imported goods in a bid to make Britain the free-trade capital of the world. The radical proposals come as ministers step up efforts to prepare for the possibility of Britain crashing out of the EU without a Brexit trade deal. Papers released by the Treasury and the Department for International Trade give detailed explanations of how the UK would cope with the sudden loss of free access to European markets. One major concern would be the effect on ports such as Dover, where at the moment the vast majority of lorries carrying imported goods are free to drive on and off ships without customs checks. The Treasury document suggests that firms importing products would have a legal obligation to inform customs officials in advance of what they want to bring into the UK.
NIGEL Farage has called on the Prime Minister to stop appeasing the bureaucrats of Brussels and walk away from Brexit talks without a deal. As Brexit negotiations continue to stall, Mr Farage said the delays are only serving to make Britain look weaker and the Government needs to take the initiative and cuts ties with the bloc, once and for all. After the Prime Minister admitted Britain will still be bound by European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings during the Brexit transition period and refused to answer a question about how she would would if the EU referendum was held today, Mr Farage has queried whether Mrs May truly believes leaving the EU is the best thing for the UK. Writing in the Telegraph, he hit out at former Vote Leave allies Boris Johnson and Michael Gove and said the Foreign Secretary has “bottled it” over Brexit, while questioning whether “either man actually welcomes our remaining under the ECJ for the foreseeable future”. He said the recent actions of Mrs May are “the clearest proof yet that the Great Brexit Betrayal is under way.
Telegraph (by Nigel Farage)
So there we have it. Theresa May does not believe in Brexit. In an interview with Iain Dale on LBC, she completely collapsed, proving incapable of answering the question of how would she vote if there was a referendum now. She simply would not answer if she would support Leave. Everyone listening to that interview knows that the reality is that May is still a Remainer. I don’t believe it’s possible to carry out this great, historic change against a huge amount of international criticism unless you truly believe in it. Nor, as it happens, does May: in a speech on June 1 she herself said: “To deliver Brexit you have to believe it”. This is the clearest proof yet that the Great Brexit Betrayal is under way. It is only the latest piece of evidence in a whole procession. On Monday we also found out that Boris Johnson – supposedly Brexit’s loudest cheerleader in the Cabinet – has bottled it.
Theresa May has refused to say that she would vote Leave if there were another referendum. The prime minister, who supported Remain in June, was asked in a radio phone-in if she had changed her mind but risked inflaming Brexiteers by dismissing the question as hypothetical. During the appearance on LBC, Mrs May insisted that she was being “open and honest”. She was asked by the presenter, Iain Dale, whether she had changed her mind since June. “I don’t answer hypothetical questions,” she said. “I voted Remain for good reasons at the time but circumstances move on.” She was then reminded that Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, recently said that he would vote for Brexit having backed Remain in the referendum.
Theresa May today refused to say if she would vote leave or remain if the Brexit referendum was re-run. The Prime Minister also warned that EU nationals living in Britain could lose some of their rights if the UK ends up leaving the bloc without a deal, and vice versa. Mrs May backed Remain in last year’s vote but has hung her premiership off the promise to deliver on the historic referendum. But appearing on a live radio phone in this afternoon, the PM dried up when she was repeatedly asked if she would change her vote if the referendum was re-run. Asked by LBC presenter Iain Dale if she has changed her mind the PM said: ‘Well I don’t answer hypothetical questions…’ Pressed on the point she continued: ‘I voted Remain and I did for good reasons at time but circumstances move on and I think the important thing is that I think we should all be focused on delivering Brexit and delivering the best deal.’
Theresa May has refused to say if she would vote for Brexit if another referendum were held today, saying instead she would have to “weigh up the evidence” before deciding what to do in the current situation. The prime minister, who voted to remain in the EU in last year’s poll, struggled to give clear answers on Brexit issues during an LBC radio phone-in on Tuesday, and admitted there was no plan for what would happen to EU citizens living in the UK if no deal was agreed with Brussels. May initially said she would not deal with hypothetical questions, but when repeatedly pressed by the presenter, Iain Dale, on how she would vote if there was a fresh referendum, she gave a series of long responses to avoid answering the yes/no question.
Theresa May has refused to say how she would vote in a second referendum on the European Union. The Prime Minister, who campaigned for Remain during last year’s vote, repeatedly failed to give a clear answer on Brexit to LBC host Iain Dale. She dismissed the question as “hypothetical”. In her first interview since her ill-fated party conference speech, Ms May also confirmed reports that crunch Brexit negotiations would not take place on Wednesday amid accusations from Brussels that British officials were holding up talks by not being available for meetings. Ms May said. “I voted remain for good reasons at the time but circumstances move on and I think the important thing now is that we should all be focused on delivering Brexit and delivering the best deal.
Britain is home to more than a million illegal migrants, a former Home Office chief admitted yesterday. After years of denial across government, a senior official finally acknowledged that huge numbers of foreigners are living here ‘under the radar’. David Wood, who was head of immigration enforcement until 2015, told MPs few of the illegals were ever likely to be sent home. They include visa overstayers, criminals who have escaped deportation, failed asylum seekers and those who have sneaked into the UK. Campaigners point out that the undocumented migrants are putting the nation’s schools and hospitals under strain and may not be paying taxes. Giving evidence to the Commons home affairs committee, Mr Wood said: ‘There are probably over a million foreigners here illegally at the moment. There’s a large number, so no one could ever remove them really.’
Councils could save up to £35million a year if a deposit and refund scheme for plastic bottles and drinks cans is adopted. The figure comes from a study across eight local authorities designed to measure the impact of such a scheme. Currently, householders put some of their bottles and aluminium cans out each week to be collected by council bin men. The councils then sort the waste and make money by selling on bottles and cans to recycling companies. A number of local authorities have claimed that losing this money could put a big hole in their budgets. However, research by waste and recycling experts Eunomia shows that any losses they make will be more than covered by savings generated by a deposit return scheme scheme, or ‘DRS’.
North Korea possesses a nuclear missile that would be capable of reaching U.S. territory ‘after modernisation’, a Russian MP has claimed. Pyongyang has told Moscow lawmakers that its current ballistic missile, with a range of 1,865miles (3,000kilometres), will be able to reach the US West Coast following some updates, a Russian news agency reports. Anton Morozov, who just returned from a visit to Pyongyang, has said North Korea is preparing to launch another missile ‘in the nearest future’, and that it aims to increase the range of its rockets to 5,593miles (9,000kilometres). Seattle is located some 5,134miles from Pyongyang, and London 5,379miles. If North Korea achieved this target, both the US and the UK is well within range.
The Canary holiday island of La Palma has recorded dozens of mini-earthquakes over the weekend, scientists report. More than 40 tremors were recorded in just 48 hours, all between 1.5 and 2.7 on the Richter scale. However, the earthquakes took place at such depth under the sea that residents on the island did not feel them. The largest of the tremors, which took place at 1pm on Saturday hit 2.7 on the Richter scale and was located at a depth of 17.4miles. In the following hours, another ten tremours were recorded, taking the total of mini-earthquakes until Tuesday to 50, according to the National Geographic Institute (IGN). La Palma is the most north-westerly island of the Canary Islands, and is home to some 86,000 people – a population which increases significantly during tourist season. Like the other Canary Islands, La Palma is volcanic and is considered the most ‘active’ in the archipelago.
THE island of La Palma in the tourist destination of the Canary Islands has been rocked by DOZENS of earthquakes in just 48 hours, sparking fears it’s volcano could be about to blow. More than 40 mini quakes were recorded over the weekend, measuring between 1.5 and 2.7 on the Richter scale. The news has sparked panic across the island’s 86,000 residents, with fears the active volcano Cumbre Vieja could be set to erupt. The largest of the tremors which hit on 1pm on Saturday, registered 2.7 on the Richter scale and took place at 17.4 miles Underground. This was narrowly followed by a quake of 2.6 at the same time on Sunday, and a third of 2.1 hitting the island at midnight on Monday. Another ten tremors were recorded in the following hours.