A MAJOR split tonight opened up among Tory Eurosceptics over whether to back Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. While some senior members of the hardline European Research Group declared they were ready to back the PM’s new customs partnership plan for Northern Ireland, others began speaking out to blast it. Former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson became the first senior MP to denounce the fledgling deal in public. In a blow for No10, the ex-Northern Ireland Secretary dubbed it “absurd” and “unacceptable” in an interview with The Sun. Mr Johnson is facing a knife edge vote in the Commons to pass any deal he agrees in Brussels, and must slash the number of Tory rebels to single figures. But while calling Boris’s talks with Ireland boss Leo Varadkar as “encouraging”, Mr Paterson said: “Concerns remain that the EU will seek to trap Northern Ireland permanently in the EU Customs Union by trying to reheat the failed ideas of customs partnerships or single customs territories that proved so disastrous for Theresa May.
Boris Johnson is increasingly optimistic that a Brexit deal could be agreed before the end of the week as negotiators began work on a draft text in Brussels. EU leaders are primed to discuss a new deal on Wednesday when they meet for a three-day summit during which the Prime Minister hopes they will sign off the wording of an agreement. Hardline Brexiteers emerged from an 80-minute briefing in Downing Street suggesting they would be prepared to vote for a deal, raising hopes that Parliament could back it in a vote on Saturday.
BORIS JOHNSON appeared to be on the brink of achieving a Brexit deal that is best for Britain. EU sources claimed a draft agreement could be published as early as this morning. Negotiators were expected to work through the night to resolve the row over the Irish border ahead of tomorrow’s EU summit. Brexiteer Tory MPs were “optimistic” that the Prime Minister can secure a deal they will be willing to back in a Commons vote.
Boris Johnson appears to be on the brink of reaching a Brexit deal after making major concessions to EU demands over the Irish border. A draft text of the agreement could now be published on Wednesday if Downing Street gives the final green light, according to senior EU and British sources. It is understood that the negotiating teams have agreed in principle that there will be a customs border down the Irish Sea. A similar arrangement was rejected by Theresa May as a deal that no British prime minister could accept. Johnson will still have to win over parliament – including the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and the hardline Tory Brexiters of the European Research Group (ERG) – on the basis that, under the deal, Northern Ireland will still legally be within the UK’s customs territory.
Boris Johnson and the EU appear to be on the brink of a new Brexit deal in Brussels, with last-ditch talks continuing late into the night to meet a Wednesday deadline. Speaking on Tuesday an optimistic Leo Varadkar even suggested that there might be no need for an Article 50 extension if an agreement could be sealed ahead of a make-or-break summit later this week. If negotiators reach an agreement a draft text could be published on Wednesday, ready for EU leaders to approve at the upcoming European Council summit on Thursday – followed by parliamentary scrutiny in Westminster on Saturday.
The Democratic Unionist Party will not support a Boris Johnson Brexit deal if he has to make more concessions to the EU to get it over the line, HuffPost UK has learned. The prime minister has been keeping the Northern Irish party informed of negotiations “all the way” since getting a breakthrough in talks with Irish PM Leo Varadkar last week, a DUP source said. The party believes the EU and Ireland were using Johnson’s flexibility as “a chance to push for more” while imposing a midnight deadline for a deal, the source said.
BRUSSELS is financially crippling Baltic fisheries with experts fearing bans on catches could see businesses in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania go completely bankrupt, with blame being slapped on European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Ministers are currently discussing the Baltic Sea catch quotas amid a controversial ban imposed by the EU that risks bankrupting fisheries in the Baltic Sea due to restrictions on types of fish, some of which have been slashed by up to 71 percent.
The EU has sent Boris Johnson a blunt ultimatum that he must make more concessions to get a Brexit deal tonight – or face a delay. The bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier – seen as the biggest roadblock to a deal – laid out the choices in a private briefing for ministers. As frantic efforts continued to get an agreement over the line, he made clear there were only three outcomes – a deal tonight, a Brexit delay, or the total breakdown of talks. But The DUP signalled tonight that after 90 minutes of talks between Mr Johnson, leader Arlene Foster and Westminster leader Nigel Dodds in Downing Street, ‘gaps remain’.
EU chiefs have set the UK a deadline of tonight to agree a Brexit deal after Brussels reportedly warned Britain’s plan is not good enough. Chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned ambassadors if a legal text isn’t agreed by midnight, talks may have to continue after a crunch EU summit on Thursday. That would mean Boris Johnson missed the crucial milestone to agree a final deal with 27 leaders to put to Parliament and leave on October 31.
By Wednesday afternoon, it will be clear whether Boris Johnson will have a deal to put to parliament on its “super Saturday” sitting or not. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, will inform members whether the prime minister has conceded enough on the Irish border for there to be a draft treaty to present to leaders when they hold a summit on Thursday. The prime minister has made a series of major U-turns in recent weeks. That has given EU officials some hope he will continue in this vein. A final push has been demanded by Barnier and EU sources are confident Downing Street will deliver.
Top scientists have said that the EU’s Clinical Trial Directive is making medicine more expensive and research anti-competitive, while the long delays between trial and prescription are causing patients to “suffer”. Angus Dalgleish, Professor of Oncology at St George’s, University of London, and Director of advanced technology consultancy Sciovis Professor Keith Lewis criticised the EU directive that mandates how clinical research is undertaken, saying that “patients suffer from directives.” “The Clinical Trials Directive was put forward in the spirit of harmonisation but was, in fact, a mechanism to make trials so horrendously expensive that only Big Pharma could afford to get their products registered,” Professor Dalgleish and Professor Lewis wrote in BrexitCentral on Sunday.
Germany has warned that Brexit will need to be delayed until next year even if European Union and British negotiators agree a new deal over the next 12 hours. Optimism has grown on the European side that Boris Johnson will table a new proposal by midnight, paving the way for a breakthrough at an EU summit on Thursday. The prime minister has been told, though, that ironing out the details of his complicated Northern Ireland plan would take “some two more months”.
While claims suggest Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made major concessions to the European Union in his blind pursuit of a Brexit deal, top European figures have warned a Brexit delay is inevitable. Tuesday’s political developments in Brussels resemble a double blow for the electoral prospects of the British Conservatives. The party stands to be obliterated at the ballot box if Boris Johnson fails to deliver Brexit as promised by October 31st, an outcome European Union sources quoted by The Times newspaper now says is impossible.
Boris Johnson was closing in on a possible Brexit deal last night – but has been warned that Britain’s departure from the European Union faces being delayed until January even if a deal is agreed. Following a day of intense negotiations, sources in both Brussels and London said the details of a possible deal were ‘within sight’. However, with talks set to go to the wire, both sides cautioned that negotiations could still stall or even collapse ahead of tomorrow’s crunch EU summit in Brussels.
Boris Johnson faces being forced to delay Brexit regardless of whether he is able to strike a last-minute deal with the European Union. Signals in Brussels and London suggested that the UK and the EU were closing in on a tentative agreement which would be presented to European leaders at a summit starting on Thursday. Mr Johnson is understood to have given ground to accept the principle of establishing a customs border in the Irish Sea as an alternative to checks on goods passing between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Boris Johnson is fighting attempts by the EU to delay Brexit until next year as negotiators worked through the night to secure a deal. Brussels raised hopes of a breakthrough before the European summit tomorrow, with officials scrambling to prepare a draft treaty text. However, the prospect of a deal came with a warning, echoed in Berlin and Paris, that the technical details might take until January 1 to finalise.
Senior former Conservative cabinet ministers have hinted they will reject the UK’s new Brexit plan in a fresh headache for Boris Johnson, one warning it will “hit manufacturing”. The proposals – even if they are turned into a deal with the EU – are unlikely to pass in the Commons without the backing of Tories who backed Theresa May’s doomed deal. But David Gauke, the former justice secretary, attacked the drift to a harder Brexit, with Mr Johnson now aiming for a Canada-style trade agreement instead of aligning with EU rules.
Boris has taken a lead in the Labour heartlands of Wales according to a new YouGov poll, which would see the Tories picking up 17 constituencies – in comparison to their current eight… The poll finds Brexit will dominate the hypothetical election, with 56% of Welsh voters calling Brexit the most important election issue, and 89% of prospective Tory voters favouring no-deal. Presuming an equal swing, the new poll would see the party gain back Brecon & Radnorshire – which the Lib Dems won in the August by-election – as well as Clwyd South – the seat Boris first contested in 1997…
Expelled Tory rebels could be allowed back in the party if they vote for Boris Johnson‘s Brexit deal, senior sources have said. The Prime Minister needs the support of many of the 21 MPs kicked out of the party last month if he is to get a deal through. And as speculation mounts over a possible deal being reached this week, the Mail understands those anti-No Deal rebels have been told there is a ‘ladder to redemption’. The 21 rebels were booted out after voting – with Labour and other Opposition parties – for the so-called Benn Act, which forces the Prime Minister to agree a three-month delay in the absence of a deal.
Senior Conservative Eurosceptics have indicated that they are prepared to back Boris Johnson’s deal with the European Union after No 10 mounted a charm offensive. Downing Street officials held a series of meetings yesterday with Eurosceptics, moderate MPs and some of the former Tory MPs who were stripped of the whip last month after rebelling over a no-deal Brexit. While not disclosing the details of the government’s proposed deal, No 10 was said to have set out broad “parameters” and “sounded out” MPs about their concerns.
Boris Johnson faces a race against the clock to secure a Brexit deal and get Tory Eurosceptics and the DUP onside to back him. The Prime Minister carried out a charm offensive in Downing Street on Tuesday evening as he held a series of talks with backbenchers and the leaders of the DUP. Meanwhile, his negotiating team worked through the night as reports increased that a deal was nearing, with a solution said to be forthcoming on the Irish border.
Jeremy Corbyn’s chances of forcing his party to back an election have been hit by an internal briefing that deepened fears among MPs of a heavy defeat at the polls. Ian Lavery and Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s national campaign coordinators, presented an upbeat message to a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday night. Their claims that the party had “never been in better shape” to fight an election were met with incredulity, however.
ANGRY Labour MPs have told party bosses they won’t back a snap election and Jeremy Corbyn is a turn-off for voters. Backbenchers are concerned that they are “not ready” to take on the Tories after damning poll results leave them lagging behind. MPs clashed at a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting after chairman Ian Lavery said the party should take to the streets before another referendum on Brexit, PoliticsHome reports.
Jeremy Corbyn suggested he will agree to a general election within ‘weeks’ today as he lashed out at the ‘farce’ of the Queen’s Speech. Speaking in the Commons after the State Opening of Parliament, the Labour leader insisted Boris Johnson knows he cannot get any of the draft legislation unveiled by the monarch through. But heckled by Tories that he was preventing the government from going to the country, Mr Corbyn said he had committed to supporting a ballot as soon as a No Deal Brexit is ruled out.
The Liberal Democrats will try to push MPs to a fresh vote on a second Brexit referendum next week. The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels by the prime minister is put to another public vote. The Lib Dem leader, Jo Swinson, said: “The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of remain and have been the leading voice in the People’s Vote campaign. “Boris Johnson is determined to have a general election, but the best way to resolve the Brexit chaos is to have a people’s vote and give the British people the final say about their future.
Nicola Sturgeon has insisted Scots will have a second independence referendum next year despite no evidence the Prime Minister will allow it. Ms Sturgeon used her keynote speech to the SNP conference in Aberdeen to claim that the UK Government’s opposition to handing her the powers for another referendum was “not sustainable” when she issues an official demand later this year. Despite Downing Street making clear again on Monday that her request will be rejected, she claimed that “we can already see the cracks appearing” in Unionist opposition to another vote.
Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scotland to “reclaim its independence”, confirming in an upbeat party conference address that she intends to hold a second independence referendum in 2020 and will demand that the Westminster government transfer the powers to do so by the end of this year. But Scotland’s first minister did not offer a practical alternative route to a referendum should the request for a section 30 order, which transfers the requisite legal power to Holyrood, be rebuffed.
Nicola Sturgeon will demand a second Scottish independence referendum to take place next year. The Scottish First Minister told SNP Conference her party was laying the groundwork for such a referendum, and would have the legal basis in place by the end of 2019. She told party faithful in Aberdeen: “For Scotland, Brexit shows that the Westminster system is broken and it is broken utterly beyond repair. “Conference, we have a cast iron mandate for an independence referendum. That fact is beyond doubt.
The UK’s biggest exam board has admitted that for three years, some of its GCSE and A-level papers were “remarked” by the same examiner as it is handed the biggest ever fine by the regulator. AQA was ordered to pay £350,000 by Ofqual as well as an unprecedented £735,570 in compensation to schools and exam centres around the country. During 2016, 2017 and 2018, AQA failed to ensure that the examiners who remarked papers following an appeal were different to the examiners who had marked them the first time around.
An exam board has been fined a record penalty of £350,000 for failing to make sure papers are remarked in a fair way. AQA, one of England’s major exam providers, was slapped with the fine by the regulator Ofqual after ‘serious breaches’ were discovered. In addition, it will have to pay the 3,000 schools affected between £110 and £440 each – amounting to a total of £740,000. Ofqual said the board failed to ensure re-marks and moderation of GCSEs and A-levels were not carried out by the original marker, or by someone without a personal interest in the outcome.
Thousands of lives a year could be saved by providing cancer screening in supermarkets and other convenient locations so people can go in their lunch breaks, a report has suggested. Sir Mike Richards, the NHS’s first cancer director, was asked to review national screening programmes and suggest how to improve early detection rates. His report, released yesterday, recommends that people “should be able to choose appointments at doctors’ surgeries, health centres or locations close to their work during lunchtime or other breaks rather than having to attend their GP practice”.
Worsening drug shortages have caused some patients to be admitted to hospital, a major survey has revealed. One in four pharmacists said their patients have come to harm because they could not get vital medication, a poll by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) found. Some chemists told the pharmacy union that people with epilepsy have suffered seizures because of a shortage of anti-epileptic drugs.
Senior staff have been given redundancy payouts far higher than the NHS’s £160,000 cap after their money was topped up with extra payments in lieu of their notice periods. There have been 11 cases in the past three years where senior staff at clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), the GP-led bodies in charge of health services in local areas, have received payments totalling more than £160,000, nine of which exceeded £200,000, the Health Service Journal found.