DAVID Davis today made the extraordinary admission that the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier is starting to lose patience with Britain. The Brexit secretary said the Frenchman was “getting quite cross with us” over UK officials’ refusal to play ball on the size of any potential divorce settlement. In an astonishingly frank interview Mr Davis admitted the two sides were “having a long haggle over the money” saying the Brexit bill was “the tenser part of the negotiations”. He also admitted that the Government now wants to seal a temporary customs agreement with the EU “for a short while” after Brexit – likely to be up to two years from 2019.
UK should postpone any further Brexit talks until the EU’s negotiators abandon the ‘fantasy’ that they call the shots, says UKIP. The EU’s negotiating stance shows that they believe they are in charge of us and intend to remain so, and the UK should now suspend talks until the matter is resolved, says UKIP. “Michel Barnier’s and Guy Verhofstadt’s dismissive response to the Government’s discussion paper on the transitional trading relationship demonstrates that they are the ones living in a fantasy world,” said UKIP interim leader Steve Crowther. “The whole stance of the EU team has been that they will not discuss the terms of our future relationship until the so-called ‘divorce bill’ and the rights of EU citizens to be exempt from UK law have been agreed. They are saying that they will not concede anything to us until we have acceded to their demands for a big pay-off and the ECJ continuing to over-ride UK law.
The British Government’s leading Remainer, Philip Hammond, is thought to have triumphed over his Leave-supporting rivals in Cabinet, with the UK set to agree to a transitional Brexit which will allow the EU to block new UK trade deals. Brexit secretary David Davis is expected to announce plans for a “temporary customs union” with the EU, which will last for three years after Britain’s formal departure in 2019, The Times reports. This would allow tariff-free trade with the bloc to continue as it does now, but is likely to preclude new trade agreements with countries beyond Europe and possibly scupper any serious changes to the Brussels-imposed regulatory regime. Such an arrangement would be a heavy blow to International Trade Secretary Dr. Liam Fox, the Cabinet’s most committed Brexit supporter. He may still be able to negotiate trade agreements to come into force at the end of the transition period, but the timescale puts key deals in serious jeopardy.
Britain will be able to negotiate and sign trade deals with the rest of the world, but not actually implement them for another 2 years – that’s according to David Davis. He wants the UK to reach a customs agreement with the EU as part of a transitional post-Brexit period that could see proper Brexit pushed back until 2022. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today show he wants a Customs deal that “would be as close as we can to the current arrangements”. He added: “It’s going to be determined by practicalities, it’s how long businesses need to make adjustments to regulation. It’s hard to say how long, most likely it’s 2 years, maybe a bit shorter. “We should be able to negotiate and sign trade deals. We couldn’t have an arrangement where we have unfettered access to the European market and bring in goods from the outside as well. We should be able to have an arrangement whereby we can do a deal and sign it off but not enter into it yet.”
Theresa May has flown back to Britain after ending her summer holiday but has arrived to more Brexit chaos in the country with David Davis clashing with top Eurocrats over a trade deal. The Brexit Secretary called for a temporary customs deal with the EU after the UK leaves the EU and said securing an interim customs arrangement, lasting for two to three years, would be ‘in both sides’ interest’. He also unveiled government plans to create ‘streamlined’ borders between Britain and the EU in the long term with as little ‘friction’ on trade as possible. But ministers warned that Britain could slap EU goods with customs duties and VAT if no trade deal is struck after we quit the bloc.
David Davis has put Britain on a collision course with Brussels by insisting on the right to sign other trade deals from day one after Brexit – while remaining in a customs union. The Brexit Secretary insisted the Government would “negotiate and sign” agreements once EU withdrawal is completed, whatever the nature of any transitional period after 2019. Earlier, a former EU trade commissioner warned Brussels was likely to block Britain’s customs proposal on those terms, describing it as “very problematic”. Karel De Gucht said the EU would not concede the benefits of a “temporary benefits union” if that meant “keeping Britain warm” for preferential agreements with non-EU countries in future years. But Mr Davis, asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme what outside trade advantages Britain was seeking, replied: “Negotiate and sign.”
UK plans to enter into a customs partnership with the EU after 2019 have been dismissed as “fantasy” by the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator. Former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt made the comments just hours after the Brexit Secretary David Davis revealed the UK could seek a “customs partnership” with the EU. That plan would mean no border checks on goods traveling between the UK and the continent. The Government admitted such a system is “innovative and untested” and would “take time to implement”. The plan would also see businesses having to pay the highest tariff rate available and then claiming money back – a system which adds yet another layer of bureaucracy on exporters.
DAVID Davis has ruled out agreeing any figure for Britain’s Brexit divorce bill until at least the end of this year, deepening a stand-off with the EU. Chief Brussels negotiator Michel Barnier has demanded the UK comes up with more details on what it plans to pay. Making “sufficient progress” on the sum by the Autumn is a key EU condition before any talks can begin to strike a new trade deal for after Brexit. But the Brexit Secretary insisted yesterday: “There won’t be a number by October or November”. Mr Davis also said the EU had had a “difficult time in the negotiation” over its legal justification for Britain’s divorce bill.
DAVID Davis has refused to commit to agreeing a figure with the European Union over the controversial Brexit bill before the next summit. The EU wants an agreement on how the exit bill will be calculated before talks on the UK’s future relationship with the Brussels bloc can move on. But Brexit Secretary David Davis said it is likely the divorce settlement – to be paid in euros – will still not be agreed by October or November this year. And he suggested the EU has had a “difficult time in the negotiation” over the deal, although insisted talks were going well. Mr Davis said: “We’re going to talk it through very, very carefully, so at this stage we’re not going to commit. There won’t be a number by October or November, whenever it is.”
A government plan to copy European customs controls after Brexit has run into immediate difficulties in Brussels and the UK, with ministers being accused of making unrealistic promises in pursuit of “frictionless trade”. The long-awaited policy paper proposes to keep Britain in a near identical customs union with the EU for an unspecified period after departure while it seeks to negotiate a permanent arrangement that will also “mirror” much of the existing system. The paper is designed to ease the concerns of those worried about border chaos, although the compromise proposal would prevent early implementation of other international trade deals, and was criticised as premature by EU negotiators.
New anti-Brexit party
David Davis’s former chief of staff is to launch a new political party to “reverse Brexit with no second referendum”. Hours after launching an extraordinary social media tirade against his old boss, saying he had witnessed him being “drunk, bullying and inappropriate”, James Chapman announced the foundation of the Democrats party. Mr Chapman, who left his role at the Department for Exiting the European Union because of his despair at the Brexit process, will launch the party at the People’s March for Europe rally on 9 September. “I did my best to make Brexit work for a year – and it won’t,” he said. “There is no upside and it is clear that every sector of our economy will suffer for decades to come. Project Fear is Project Fact.
A former chief of staff to the U.K.’s Brexit minister says he will launch a new political party next month with the goal of keeping Britain in the European Union. James Chapman says he will officially kick off the centrist party, called the Democrats, at the People’s March for Europe rally in London on Sept. 9. Chapman worked for Brexit Secretary David Davis until June, and has since become a vociferous critic of Britain’s decision to leave the 28-nation bloc. In a statement released Tuesday by People’s March for Europe organizers, Chapman said the party’s goal would be “to reverse Brexit with no second referendum.” Chapman has called for pro-EU members from both government and opposition parties to join him. So far, no lawmakers have publicly heeded his call.
IRELAND has threatened to block plans for a two-year transitional period after Brexit and accused British ministers of being delusional over a shared-border arrangement with Northern Ireland. An Irish government source has revealed that Ireland is prepared to use the “nuclear option” of vetoing the transition period if it does not reach a successful resolution on customs arrangements, the Telegraph reports. According to a Government policy paper released today, Theresa May has proposed a transitional period after Brexit, but Ireland is now calling for assurances that the free trade and movement of people between Ireland and Northern Ireland would permanently remain after the UK’s divorce from the European Union. Earlier Phil Hogan, the Republic’s European Union commissioner, said that Ireland could be the “biggest victim of this mess” and accused the UK of “high-level delusion”.
Britain today vows that there will be “no return” to the hard Irish border of the past after Brexit as it attempts to defuse a deepening row with Ireland. The Government says that it wants to avoid “any physical border infrastructure” between Ireland and Northern Ireland under plans for new customs arrangements with the EU. Whitehall officials told The Telegraph that the EU will be legally responsible for any hard border imposed after Brexit and insisted that the UK is determined to be flexible on the issue. In a paper the Government will dismiss suggestions that the customs border could be shifted to the Irish Sea, warning that the idea is “not constitutionally or economically viable”.
The language may be oblique but the threat is nonetheless implicit. If there is no post-Brexit customs agreement with the EU “the UK would seek to recognise the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and aim to protect individuals and traders by making maximum use of the UK flexibility in relation to our own operation of the border”. The British government position paper adds: “The processes on the other side of the border would be constrained by the relevant requirements of EU law.” Translated it means this: We won’t introduce a “hard border” in Northern Ireland after Brexit to protect you from smuggling — and if you do it’s on your own head.
UK Government will make a mockery of Project Fear by today unveiling a blueprint to keep a frictionless border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, ensuring that the peace process continues. Remainers had claimed that Brexit made a “militarised hard border” with watch towers “inevitable” and spell a new start to the Troubles which beset Ulster. The scaremongering reached a peak during the referendum when the Remain campaign sent discredited former prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair to Northern Ireland to warn that a Leave vote would herald a new era of bloodshed in the province. But the UK Government will today publish plans, which if accepted by the EU, will lead to almost no change in the Common Travel Area with Ireland and protect peace.
Britain is promising the Irish Government there will be no “physical infrastructure” on the border with Northern Ireland after Brexit, after rising tensions between the two governments. In a “position paper” ahead of the next round of talks, London will say “there will be no return to the hard borders of the past” – insisting customs posts, for example, will not be necessary. Britain will hold out the hope of no border at all, if attempts to forge a long-term “alignment” of customs arrangements with the EU prove successful. But, if customs arrangements are merely “streamlined”, larger traders would face some checks but smaller traders would not, London will warn. A briefing ahead of the paper’s publication does not rule out changes even if Brussels agrees to a “temporary customs union”, for the first two years or so after Brexit, in 2019.
No check points or CCTV cameras should be put on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit, Britain will demand today. Ministers will say their top priority is keeping the frontier free of border posts as they make clear there will be ‘no return to the hard borders of the past’. In a paper today, the Government will say that Brussels could agree to there being no checks on goods crossing the border. Under one proposal, small businesses that make up 80 per cent of cross-border trade would be exempted from customs rules. Larger businesses would be trusted to declare what goods they are carrying between the two countries, with spot checks taking place away from the border.
Residential homes will need to provide another 71,000 beds within eight years as more older people develop complex care needs at the end of their lives, a study has predicted. The analysis highlights the scale of the challenge in England as the residential care sector is already shrinking, with some homes closing as councils cut their payment rates because of funding constraints. Ministers have promised a consultation on the future of social care but the subject is fraught with difficulty for the government after a backlash against the Conservatives’ manifesto proposals to make people with more than £100,000 in assets pay for care from the value of their homes.
Britain is facing a desperate shortage of care home places as the number of elderly people with poor health soars, a study has found. More than 71,000 new care places for over-65s will be needed in England alone by 2025 – a third more than those available in 2015, it says. And by 2035 demand will have boomed by 86 per cent, with a total of 189,000 extra places needed, Newcastle University researchers calculated. Social care in the UK is already at crisis point, with the sector predicted to face an annual £2.3billion shortfall in funding by 2020, care homes closing and organisations struggling to recruit staff. Yet these challenges are only set to increase, with booming life expectancy, a growing population and rising rates of dementia, diabetes, back pain and bad joints putting more and more elderly people in need of care.
Nearly 190,000 new care home places will be needed by 2035, experts have predicted. Increases in life expectancy and rises in the number of years older people spend with substantial care needs are sparking soaring demand for places. A new study published in The Lancet predicts the number of people aged 65 or older who will need care home places will rise by 85.7% by 2035 – with 189,043 additional places needed. Between 1991 and 2011, the number of years spent with substantial care needs for adults over 65 nearly doubled, according to the researchers, while life expectancy increased for both men and women. Experts said action is required immediately to prevent problems in the future.
Al Qaeda is urging its supporters in Britain to derail a train, causing massive loss of life and “instil fear” among travellers and commuters. Securing thousands of miles of track in the UK was “practically impossible” and attacks would cause “great damage and destruction”, the terrorist group said in an article in the group’s magazine Inspire. The terrorist group offered to show how to make a “derail tool” and said any attacks would force Governments to impose the airport-style security measures on rail travellers. The threat is understood to being taken seriously by British and American intelligence agencies who are said to be “working closely” to combat it.
Propagandists for al-Qaeda have urged their followers in the West to commit mass murder by derailing ‘vulnerable’ trains with a homemade tool. The Islamist terror group laid out its plan in an article titled ‘Train Derail Operations’, which was published in the latest issue of its magazine Inspire. Would-be murderers are told: ‘It is time we instill fear and make them impose strict security measure to trains as they did with their Air [sic] transportation.’ The elaborate 19-page tutorial uses the United States as an example target but stresses that the UK and France also have long stretches of unguarded railways.
Government and NHS chiefs have been accused of using “smoke and mirrors” to claim that children sent up to 200 miles from home for mental health treatment are not “out of area”. Changes to the way placements are recorded mean that a child sent from Cornwall to Gloucestershire can still be classed as being treated “in area”. In a 2014 report, NHS England defined out-of-area placements as any “where young people are harmed by the distance and disconnection from local services, family and friends”. In 2015 that changed to a definition of referrals being out of area only if the postcode of the place they were treated was outside “the footprint of the specialised commissioning hub covering where the patient resides”.
The number of babies left brain-damaged by NHS blunders has soared to four a week. Figures show that claims against maternity units for botched births leapt by almost a quarter last year. Parents made 232 claims against the NHS in 2016/17 – about 20 a month – the highest figure for 11 years. And the total value of compensation payouts for brain damage and cerebral palsy was the highest on record, up nearly a third to £1.9billion, according to an official NHS report. That worked out at an average of more than £8million per child.
A Tory MP accused of fiddling his expenses in the 2015 General Election campaign is set to stand trial next May. Craig Mackinlay and his team allegedly failed to declare expenses during the party’s campaign to win the seat when he beat former Ukip leader Nigel Farage. The 50-year-old politician secured a majority of nearly 3,000 in South Thanet, Kent, beating Mr Farage after a tense campaign with 38 per cent of the vote. But Mackinlay and his team allegedly did not declare spending on hotel rooms and advertising materials for Tory party staff, activists and volunteers. Mackinlay, from Ramsgate, arrived at Southwark Crown Court in London this morning with his wife Kati, wearing a grey suit, blue tie and white shirt. He is yet to enter pleas to two counts of a candidate knowingly making a false declaration of his election expenses.
The survival of an oyster fishery in Cornwall is all down to the use of inefficient traditional methods, research has shown. The River Fal is home to the only sail-driven commercial fishing fleet in Europe and its oysters are caught using hand-hauled dredges. Scientists from the University of Exeter and University College London have found that the “inherent inefficiency” of these methods is the crucial feature in preventing overfishing and ensuring the fishery’s long-term survival. Motorising the fleet would result in at least a nine-fold increase in the amount of fishing, the researchers said. “The Fal fishery sailing fleet isn’t just pretty for tourists, it maintains a fishery that could be exhausted if it were mechanised with engines and hauling gear.”
Rail passengers face the biggest rise in fares for five years with some suffering a £2,500 increase in the cost of a season ticket since 2010. Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, was urged to change the way fares were calculated after commuters were told that they would rise by 3.6 per cent from January because of higher than expected inflation. Wages are growing at 2 per cent. The average commuter will pay £2,888 for a season ticket next year, £694 more than in 2010, analysis showed. Commuters going into London will be hardest hit, with the average season ticket costing £4,065, up £146 on this year.
The sharp jump in the cost of rail fares at a time when many are struggling to make ends meet, and there is also major disruption to the network, is an outrageous insult to the travelling public. The increase is a nasty trick played by the Government – particularly disgraceful as it is based on an out-of-date cost-of-living index. For, in setting the highest fares increase since January 2013, the Department for Transport has used the Retail Price Index (RPI) as its measure of inflation. However, the most widely respected measure, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), records inflation at 2.6 per cent – compared with the figure of 3.6 per cent for the RPI. This means that train travellers are being unfairly punished. For the fact is that, as the benchmark for changes to most government-controlled finances, the CPI measure has replaced the RPI over the past few years.