The Prime Minister’s chief Brexit negotiator has reportedly claimed that MPs will be presented with a choice between her deal or a lengthy delay. Oliver Robbins was overheard in a hotel bar by an ITV reporter telling colleagues that “in the end” Brussels will “probably just give us an extension” to Article 50. He suggested the Prime Minister will try to win support for her deal by warning MPs that if they fail to vote for it the delay to Brexit is likely to be a “long one”.
Theresa May’s chief Brexit negotiator has contradicted the prime minister’s position on Brexit. Olly Robbins was overheard by an ITV News journalist in a Brussels hotel bar suggesting that MPs would be confronted next month with a “significant” delay to Brexit if they did not vote for the prime minister’s deal. This suggests that Mr Robbins believes that backbench moves led by Yvette Cooper and Nick Boles to stop a no-deal will succeed.
THERESA May will reportedly blackmail MPs in Parliament by forcing them to accept her deal or delay Brexit for an extended period of time. Oliver Robbins, the Prime Minister’s chief Brexit negotiator was reportedly overheard admitting that MPs will be given a choice between Mrs May’s deal or a fairly long delay in Brexit. Mr Robbins was apparently overheard by an ITV reporter telling colleagues that Brussels will probably give the UK an extension to Article 50.
Theresa May‘s chief Brexit negotiator was overheard telling colleagues in a hotel bar either MPs will back May’s deal – or they can expect ‘extended talks’ with the European Union. Olly Robbins loudly told his companions on Monday evening Parliament could see a revised deal in March but that ‘in the end they (EU) will probably just give us an extension’ if it is not backed. Mr Robbins was overheard by ITV‘s Angus Walker following the meeting at the UK Ambassador’s Residence between Michel Barnier and Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.
Theresa May’s high-stakes Brexit strategy may have been accidentally revealed after her chief negotiator Olly Robbins was overheard in a Brussels bar saying MPs will be given a last-minute choice between her deal and a lengthy delay. The prime minister has repeatedly insisted that the government intends to leave the EU as planned on 29 March, and urged MPs to “hold our nerve”, while she tries to renegotiate changes to the Irish backstop.
Theresa May’s chief Brexit advisor was overheard discussing a plan to delay Britain leaving the EU in a Brussels bar. ITV News say they heard chief Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins loudly gossiping about the subject in a hotel bar. It’s certain to infuriate Tory Brexiteers, after the Prime Minister repeatedly ruled out delaying Brexit. Mr Robbins reportedly said MPs would be faced with the choice of backing the Prime Minister’s plan or delaying Brexit for a long time to extend talks.
Expectations are mounting that Brexit could be delayed amid the continuing impasse in Parliament over the best way forward. The fact Theresa May rarely bothers to promise that Britain will officially leave the European Union on 29 March, something she used to say regularly, suggests she has tacitly accepted it will be delayed. Theresa May has to formally ask European leaders for the Article 50 process to be extended, with the EU27 then unanimously agreeing to her request.
Theresa May is facing ‘high noon’ on Brexit in two weeks as Remain MPs launched a new attempt to avoid no deal. More than a dozen ministers could join the revolt at the showdown on February 27 as pro-EU MPs told MailOnline the votes will finally be the crunch moment for no deal. Earlier, the PM urged MPs to ‘hold their nerve’ as she appealed for ‘a little more time’ to get concessions on the Irish border backstop in bitter Commons clashes.
Remainer MPs are plotting a last minute ambush to force Theresa May to rule out a damaging no deal and to delay Brexit Day. A cross-party group has been holding secret talks to draw up a fresh version of an amendment tabled by Labour MP Yvette Cooper to extend article 50. The move, expected to be announced this evening, comes after the Prime Minister asked the Commons for another fortnight’s grace to continue talks with the EU. Mrs May said she needed more time but confirmed they would get another chance to have their say in votes on Brexit on February 27.
MPs have launched separate bids to stop Theresa May running down the clock on Brexit in an attempt to give parliament control of what should happen if no exit deal is in place by the end of the month. A cross-party group of senior backbenchers has tabled a motion that would force the government to call a Commons vote in mid-March on whether to pursue a no-deal exit. Labour has put forward a separate plan that, if passed, would force Ms May to either call a second vote on her plan by 27 February or admit there was no longer a viable deal on the table.
MPs have revealed how they are planning to block Theresa May from taking the UK out the EU without an exit deal. Two proposals were published after the prime minister urged MPs to give her more time to renegotiate an agreement with Brussels, butfaced claims she is running down the clock. Jeremy Corbyn is leading the Labour frontbench bid to force a vote on the EU divorce deal itself or let MPs come up with their own plans to change the course of Brexit. From the backbenches, Yvette Cooper has teamed up with Labour colleagues and Tory rebels to try to give MPs a separate vote a fortnight before Brexit day on 29 March.
Theresa May is planning to bypass laws setting out how long new international treaties are debated for to push Brexit through by 29 March. The prime minister will seek to lift the requirement for a 21-day delay before any vote to approve an international treaty, so that if a new deal is struck with the EU it can be ratified immediately before the deadline to leave the EU. A law passed in 2010 demands the delay so that MPs can come to terms with exactly what has been agreed, but Ms May’s aides argued that the withdrawal deal and the Irish backstop have already been heavily debated and the imperative is to get Brexit done.
Theresa May has set out plans to bypass Commons rules in order to get a Brexit deal ratified in time for the UK to leave the EU on 29 March. The prime minister told MPs she would lift a requirement for a 21-day period before any vote to approve an international treaty. It opens up the possibility she could delay the final Brexit vote until days before the UK is due to leave the EU. No 10 insists Mrs May will hold a vote on her deal as soon as possible.
The World Trade Organisation has told Sky News that Brexit has created “unprecedented” challenges but that the UK could become a prominent voice in shaping the future of world trade. The WTO, based in Geneva, creates the rules used to shape much of global trade. Once the UK leaves the free trade area of the European Union, it is likely to lean heavily on WTO regulations. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the WTO’s regulations would cover almost all of British international trade. Keith Rockwell, the organisation’s chief spokesman, told me that “the circumstances involving Brexit are without any precedent at all in this organisation”.
Britain could lead the world into a new era of democracy and free trade, using the Brexit revolt against the establishment as a springboard to making the global order more cooperative, accountable and prosperous, according to the Governor of the Bank of England. The current system of global trade has key flaws including wealth and income inequality, a lack of democracy and trust, and serious financial imbalances, Mark Carney warned on Tuesday. However, in a sharp departure from the Governor’s “project fear” warnings of the past three years, Mr Carney said Brexit has the potential to address these issues and provide the opportunity to create a new way of running the world.
Brexit could restore faith in free trade and democracy if the UK leaves with a deal, the Bank of England Governor has said. In a statement sharply at odds with his previous warnings that Brexit would spark chaos, Mark Carney said a managed departure from the EU would show voters that they matter and encourage them to trust the parliamentary system again. But he also warned that a No Deal Brexit would spark an economic shock – something which he says the whole world should be trying to avoid.
BRUSSELS intends to help out Theresa May in Brexit negotiations until the end of March which will conclude in legally-binding assurances on the backstop. European capitals are expecting a last-ditch compromise package will be drawn up at a summit on March 21. New wording could also be added to the Withdrawal Agreement allowing for pledges to be made for solutions to the border. However these changes could make the use of the backstop harder for a long period of time with no exit clause or time-limit.
British Brexit negotiators are trying to convince the EU that the controversial Irish “backstop” the two sides agreed to, is actually unlawful under the bloc’s own treaties. Speaking after a tour of EU chiefs in Brussels and Strasbourg on Tuesday, Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay said he believed the indefinite backstop was in fact not legal because “Article 50 under the European treaty says that it must be temporary”. He said this argument was “very much the message that we’ve taken to European leaders” – the latest glimpse inside the UK’s frantic efforts to try and extract a change in policy.
The EU’s maladministration watchdog has accused the European Commission of ignoring its own rules when it appointed its most senior official last year. The European Ombudsman criticised the lightning quick double promotion of Martin Selmayr, a close ally of Jean-Claude Juncker, as secretary general of the commission last year. Mr Selmayr was promoted to deputy secretary-general of the commission at a February 21 meeting of the EU commissioners. Shortly afterwards, the secretary-general Alexander Italianer announced his retirement.
The independent European Ombudsman has found that the appointment of Martin Selmayr to the role of Secretary-General of the EU Commission “did not follow EU law” on the final decision issued today. Selmayr, who was previously Jean-Claude Juncker’s Chief of Staff, is now the EU Commission’s top civil servant. But there were concerns that his fast track appointment went against EU rules. Remember, this is a organisation that often likes to promote itself as being ‘rule-based’. As European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly explains: “A number of serious concerns were raised about the manner in which this appointment was made.”
The EU Ombudsman has delivered their final verdict on the utterly scandalous appointment of Juncker’s “monster” Martin Selmayr to the top job in the European Commission, concluding that “Selmayr’s appointment did not follow EU law, in letter or spirit, and did not follow the Commission’s own rules”. So much for the EU’s “sacred legal order”… The Ombudsman “identified four instances of maladministration” in the handling of Selmayr’s appointment as Secretary-General and described the Juncker Commission’s failure to follow official recommendations on opening up the appointment process as “highly regrettable”.
Guy Verhofstadt has warned Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg that they could suffer a similar fate to that meted out to the leaders of the French Revolution, who were executed on the guillotine. The incendiary claim came as billionaire investor George Soros predicted on Tuesday that Eurosceptic parties could destroy the EU after making gains in May’s European Parliament elections. Mr Soros warned that the European Union was “sleepwalking towards oblivion” and could collapse as quickly as the Soviet Union did in 1991, unless it woke the “sleeping pro-European majority” before the elections.
The European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt has suggested that Tory Brexiteers who reject a soft Brexit deal will be sent to the guillotine like the leaders of the French revolution. “Within the Tory Party, the hard Brexiteers are compared to the leaders of the French Revolution,” Mr Vehofstadt said during a press conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday. “I think Gove is Brissot, Boris Johnson is Danton, and Rees-Mogg is compared to Robespierre.
The politicians pushing Brexit should be careful not follow in the footsteps of revolutionary leaders who “ended up on the guillotine”, the European Parliament’s Brexit chief has said. At a press conference in Strasbourg Guy Verhofstadt compared Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg to Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre – leading figures in the French revolution who were ultimately executed by their former comrades. He said it was “important to remind” the senior Conservatives that their historical counterparts had ended up losing their heads.
A senior MEP compared hard Brexiteers to 18th Century French revolutionaries who lost their heads at the guillotine today. Guy Verhofstadt’s latest incendiary intervention on the Brexit debate came as he met with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay. Mr Verhofstadt – the European Parliament’s representative in the Brexit talks – said Boris Johnson was similar to flamboyant and venal revolutionary leader Georges Danton, while Michael Gove was like counterrevolutionary Jacques Pierre Brissot.
POPULIST parties are set to make massive gains in May’s European Parliamentary elections – and may try to sabotage a post-Brexit trade deal between the bloc and the UK, a new report has warned. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) think tank says the elections represent a “make or break” moment for the bloc with far-right, anti-establishment parties such as Lega Nord in Italy and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz likely to take a third of the seats up for grabs. ECFR warns many parties are planning to “destroy the European project from within”, and could also vote down any future UK-EU trade deal after Brexit.
Immigration will surge to a record high after Brexit unless Theresa May tightens up her plans for new controls, a leading think-tank warned yesterday. Arrivals will soar to more than 700,000 a year under current Home Office proposals – 160,000 from the EU and 550,000 from elsewhere, Migration Watch UK said. The number previously peaked at 652,000 in the 12 months to June 2016. After those leaving Britain have been taken into account, the Government’s proposals would mean ‘net migration’ – the number of immigrants minus the number of those emigrating – spiralling to 380,000 a year, the think-tank added.
Net migration to the UK could INCREASE after Brexit under current plans, a new report has claimed. The measure – the difference between the numbers arriving and departing- could reach 380,000 a year if the proposed new system is introduced, according to campaign group Migration Watch UK. This would be higher than the record figure of 336,000, which has been registered three times, most recently in the 12 months to June 2016. The latest statistics put net long-term international migration at an estimated 273,000 in the year to June 2018.
Hundreds of Iranian migrants who have illegally sailed in small boats to England from France have not been deported, it emerged last night. Fewer than ten of those who have made the 22-mile journey across the Channel have been kicked out, according to Home Office figures. Most are still in migrant centres in the Midlands and northern England despite Government promises that they would be swiftly returned to France as a ‘safe country’ in which to claim asylum.
France’s yellow vest insurrection is feeding a hatred of Jews that has surged over the past year, according to the Élysée Palace. “Antisemitism is spreading like poison,” Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, said. “It’s rotting minds, it’s killing.” He was speaking at a memorial last night to Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man who was tortured to death by Muslim men in 2006. Trees forming part of his memorial were hacked down last week.
The NHS must stop sending letters to patients and use email like everyone else, the health secretary will insist. Matt Hancock says that email must be the default way of communicating for the health service by 2021, telling doctors that confidentiality concerns are no excuse for sticking with so-called snail mail. Half a million letters were lost in the post in five years and switching over could save lives, he says. Doctors welcomed the plans but expressed scepticism about shifting wholesale to email within two years.
The NHS should send emails to patients rather than letters, Health Secretary Matt Hancock will say today. He will call for emails to become the main method of communication by GPs and hospitals within two years. Mr Hancock – who has already announced several other new technology initiatives – will tell doctors that concerns about patient confidentiality are no excuse for failing to use online communication.
ISIS chiefs have stashed away millions of pounds to fund a new wave of attacks against Britain and the West – as the death cult faces being stamped out once and for all. UN experts believe the group has up to £230m stored in “bulk” – with one report warning it will be used to fund “larger-scale attacks once the opportunity arises.” The warning comes as ISIS face being finally routed in Syria as fighters supported by British and US special forces close in for the kill.
Eighty per cent of Vatican priests are gay and living in the closet, according to an explosive new book to be published next week. The 570-page expose, titled In the Closet of the Vatican, claims that four in five clerics in the Roman Catholic Church are homosexuals – but aren’t necessarily sexually active. French sociologist and journalist Frederic Martel, who spent four years conducting 1,500 interviews for the book, found that some priests maintained discreet long term relationships, while others lived double lives having casual sex with gay partners and using male prostitutes.