The Government has risked deepening a Brexit row with devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales by taking them to the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeremy Wright announced he is asking the UK’s highest court to rule whether Brexit legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly is legal. The row centres on Edinburgh and Cardiff’s rejection of the UK Government’s flagship Brexit legislation, the EU Withdrawal Bill. The Scottish and Welsh administrations have branded the bill a “power grab” by Westminster and warned the UK will be thrown into a constitutional crisis if the Government doesn’t win their approval for the legislation.
The UK government has launched a legal challenge to the Scottish and Welsh governments’ Brexit bills. The two devolved parliaments passed legislation last month that is intended to act as an alternative to Westminster’s EU Withdrawal Bill. But the UK government has asked the Supreme Court to rule whether the legislation is constitutional and within devolved powers. Holyrood’s presiding officer has already said he does not believe it is. But Lord Advocate James Wolffe, the Scottish government’s top legal advisor, argues the bill is competent, and recently took the unusual step of making an address to MSPs on this point.
Theresa May is likely to lose a key Commons vote that would force her to abandon a pledge to pull Britain out of a customs union with Europe. Ten rebel Conservative MPs have signed an amendment to the government’s customs bill that would make securing a customs union with the EU after Brexit its “objective”. Labour, which supports the amendment, believes that it can count on all but two or three of its Brexit-supporting MPs to vote against the government on the issue. Even with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party and three Labour rebels Mrs May has a majority of only 16 and so would be unable to defeat the amendment if eight of the Tory rebels voted against her.
THERESA May was last night braced for a bruising setback to her Brexit plans in a crunch House of Lords vote. Pro-Brussels peers seeking to keep Britain locked into the EU’s single market are expected to defeat the Government today over a proposed amendment to her flagship EU Withdrawal Bill. Senior Tories fear the reverse will be the start of a series of defeats during the Lords Report Stage of the legislation with a hard-core group of Remain-backing peers tabling dozens more amendments. New analysis released by Brexit campaigners last night revealed that 10 fanatical Remain-backing peers have proposed a total of 388 amendments designed to frustrate or reverse the EU departure process.
Ministers are bracing themselves for their first defeats in the House of Lords on legislation which will take Britain out of the European Union. Peers are expected to vote for an amendment to the European Union Withdrawal Bill to force ministers to set how they might keep Britain in the customs union. Another proposal to guarantee EU protections for workers and consumers in post-Brexit Britain is also to be approved by peers. Other votes are planned for coming days, particularly a vote on April 30 on an amendment to give Parliament a vote before the UK can walk away with no deal.
EMMANUEL Macron has demand MORE European integration and warned of a “European civil war” during a plea to the European Parliament in Strasbourg this morning. The French president addressed leaders at a plenary session in Strasbourg this morning, where he set out his vision for the future of Europe. Emmanuel Macron‘s 20-minute address will be followed by statements from MEPs – including Nigel Farage, who has vowed to ruin the president’s lunch. Mr Macron was by Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, at around 8.15am BST. He began his European Union address a short time later.
French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that “there seems to be a European civil war” between liberal democracy and rising authoritarianism. He urged the EU to renew its commitment to democracy, in a passionate speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. “I don’t want to belong to a generation of sleepwalkers that has forgotten its own past”, he said. Populists dominated recent elections in states like Hungary and Italy, fuelled by the continuing EU migrant crisis.
French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that the European Union is in a period of ‘civil war’ between liberal democracies and illiberal democracies. He warned Europe not to retreat into nationalism but to build the EU as a bulwark for liberalism against a disorderly and dangerous world. Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the 40-year-old won a standing ovation from most MEPs after condemning the rise of ‘illiberal democracies’ within even the EU. ‘We have a context of division and indeed doubt within Europe,’ he said.
EMMANUEL Macron issued a stark warning today saying the European Union is currently immersed in a “civil war” between liberal and illiberal democracies. Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the French President, 40, called for the EU to act as a bulwark for liberalism at a time of danger throughout the world. Macron said: “’We have a context of division and indeed doubt within Europe. “There seems to be a sort of European civil war where selfish interests sometimes appear more important than what unites Europe.”
Europe is in a state of “civil war” and is afflicted with a “fascination with the illiberal”, the president of France has said – as he urged member states to pull together and preserve the European Union’s “unique model”. Laying out his vision for the future of the EU at the European parliament’s seat in Strasbourg, Emmanuel Macron said there was a “context of division and indeed doubt within Europe”. Mr Macron told MEPs that France would be happy to increase its contribution to the EU’s budget in order to strengthen Europe-wide sovereignty, but that rebates for member states would have to be scrapped and new funding streams found for the EU institutions.
In a further sign that those in the upper echelons of the European Union have completely lost touch with reality, Jean-Claude Juncker is now eyeing up EU expansion across the Western Balkans. Speaking in the European Parliament today Juncker said: “If we do not open up to countries in that highly complicated and tragic region, and if we do not open up a European perspective to them, we will see war returning to that area as we saw in the 1990s. “I do not want to see war to the Balkans and so we need to open up to them.” This isn’t pie in the sky either – the EU Observer have reported how the likes of Albania and Macedonia are to commence talks on joining the Brussels bloc.
BRUSSELS is to build a giant laser weapon sparking fears of a Brexit arms race, The Sun can reveal. The planned 100-kilowatt “European high power laser effector” triggered claims the EU is trying to rip off the our world-leading laser technology before the UK leaves. The Ministry of Defence’s £30million missile and drone-zapping Dragonfire beam was unveiled last year. But now Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission has put a June deadline for “a consortium of scientists” to come forward with plans for an even bigger laser. And the successful boffins will be given taxpayer funds from the €90million EU Preparatory Action for Defence Research to research the “laser weapon”.
European nations are recruiting hundreds of customs officers to conduct border checks, as suspicions grow the UK could break free of the bloc, in less than a year, without a trade deal. The revelation comes as the next round of Brexit talks get underway this week, with numerous seemingly intractable issues still to resolve in the negotiations, which will conclude in the Autumn. Citizens’ rights, as well as the tens-of-billions Brexit ‘divorce bill’, have been agreed, but both sides continue to hold irreconcilable positions and “red lines” on the Northern Ireland border issue and others. Now, according to the Evening Standard, in Holland, customs authorities are hiring hundreds of inspectors and building new checkpoints.
The European Union says Turkey has failed to make progress and is even backsliding on bringing its laws into line with EU standards as it seeks to join the bloc. The European Commission, which monitors membership talks, said Tuesday that Ankara continues to crack down on opponents and the media and that “no progress has been achieved” in fighting corruption. Brussels called on Turkey to lift the state of emergency introduced after a failed coup attempt in July 2016. It said “the broad scale and collective nature, and the disproportionality of measures taken … under the state of emergency, such as widespread dismissals, arrests, and detentions, continue to raise serious concerns.”
The European Commission has said it wants to open talks with Albania and Macedonia to allow the two countries to join the European Union. EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said the two countries had made significant progress in implementing the reforms demanded by Brussels and that they could join their neighbours Montenegro and Serbia, which are already in negotiations. The move comes ahead of a major EU summit in Sofia next month to discuss the Western Balkan countries’ relationship with the union, and the week a pro-EU president was elected in Montenegro. Ms Mogherini suggested that Bosnia and Kosovo, two other countries in the region that want to join, had more work to do before talks could start with them – but did not rule out their future accession.
The UK’s armed forces are suffering from “significant” levels of understaffing in key areas as they struggle to recruit and retain employees, the government spending watchdog has warned. The National Audit Office (NAO) said the number of full-time staff in the military is at its lowest level in 10 years and well below current requirements. The shortfall comes amid record-low levels of satisfaction with working conditions in the military. Morale over issues such as pay and accommodation has dropped since 2010, the NAO said. As a result, the watchdog warned, there are now 102 specialist areas in which there are not enough full-time staff to meet current needs unless leave or training is cancelled.
The armed forces are experiencing their biggest staffing shortfall for a decade, including a recruitment crisis among intelligence analysts, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has said. A National Audit Office report found the number of full-time military personnel, known as regulars, was 5.7% or 8,200 people, short of the required level, and that it would take at least five years to close even part of the gap. The report also highlighted a 26% shortfall in the number of intelligence analysts in the face of the increasing risk of cyber-attacks.
Proof that could have spared members of the Windrush generation from the threat of deportation was destroyed by the Home Office under Theresa May, it has been revealed. Thousands of landing cards – recording dates of arrival in the UK – were thrown away, despite staff warnings that it would be harder for Caribbean-born residents to establish their right to be in the UK. The files were discarded in October 2010, when the current prime minister was home secretary, a former Home Office employee revealed. Labour MP David Lammy said the disclosure deepened the scandal of the treatment of the Windrush generation – just hours after Ms May gave a personal apology.
The Government’s handling of Windrush citizens has led to fears that EU nationals could face similar problems, the European Parliament’s Brexit chief has said, as he called on the Home Office to guarantee safeguards. Guy Verhofstadt told The Telegraph that the row over whether the Windrush generation have the right to live in the UK has led to fears about how a new EU immigration system will work, especially for people already living in Britain.
The Home Office destroyed thousands of landing card slips recording Windrush immigrants’ arrival dates in the UK, despite staff warnings that the move would make it harder to check the records of older Caribbean-born residents experiencing residency difficulties. A former Home Office employee said the records, stored in the basement of a government tower block, were a vital resource for case workers when they were asked to find information about someone’s arrival date in the UK from the West Indies – usually when the individual was struggling to resolve immigration status problems. Although the home secretary, Amber Rudd, has promised to make it easier for Windrush-generation residents to regularise their status, the destruction of the database is likely to make the process harder, even with the support of the new taskforce announced this week.
THERESA MAY was dragged into the ‘Windrush’ debacle last night as it emerged the Home Office destroyed Caribbean immigrants’ old landing cards on her watch. A whistleblower revealed that in October 2010 – when the PM was Home Secretary – thousands of landing slips documenting the arrival of West Indians and their kids in the 50s and 60s were chucked away. It came just 24 hours after it emerged that some of the same immigrants faced deportation unless they could prove their residency and “build up a picture” of their time in the UK. The PM’s official spokesman last night insisted the landing slips were destroyed on the orders of officials in the now defunct UK Border Agency as part of an office move.
The row over the Home Office’s treatment of Windrush-era residents has fuelled fears in Brussels and the UK over the fate of EU citizens after the country leaves the bloc. The government’s policy choices on migration, and its administrative frailties, have long been a cause for concern among EU officials. The attack by Amber Rudd, the home secretary, on her own department over the treatment of people who arrived in Britain as children from the Caribbean has only heightened those concerns. People who have lived in the UK for decades, but have been unable to produce evidential documentation to meet tightened immigration policy, have lost their jobs, become homeless or been refused urgent healthcare.
Labour MPs have turned on Jeremy Corbyn over his “betrayal” of Jews as they described rape and death threats they had received for speaking out against anti-Semitism in their party. Mr Corbyn sat in the Commons in silence as his MPs read out hate mail they had received from his supporters. Others received standing ovations for calling out the “bullying and intimidation” in the party as the Labour leader was told: “Enough is enough.” One Labour MP was moved to tears as Luciana Berger, her colleague, detailed the “torrent” of abuse she had faced for being Jewish in a party where Mr Corbyn has allowed anti-Semitism to become “more commonplace, more conspicuous and more corrosive”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s backbenchers have rounded on the failure of the party to tackle antisemitism in a blistering three hours that ended with a Labour MP calling closing remarks by the shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, worthy of horror. The antisemitism debate was called by the government, a move that often blunts opposition anger. Instead, furious speeches from many Labour MPs will threaten the Labour leader’s efforts to show that he is a “militant opponent” of antisemitism. Almost every Labour MP who spoke described in powerful terms the depths of the abuse they and Jewish friends and colleagues were experiencing.
Two women Labour MPs put Jeremy Corbyn to shame last night as they detailed vile abuse at the hands of his supporters. On a devastating day for the Labour leader, Jewish MPs Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth read out examples of the shocking abuse they have received from activists for highlighting the party’s anti-Semitism crisis. In an emotionally charged debate on anti-Semitism, which shredded Mr Corbyn’s remaining authority, MPs on all sides broke with convention to give the pair standing ovations in the Commons. Some MPs were reduced to tears by their harrowing stories.
Labour’s antisemitism row intensified yesterday as three of the party’s Jewish MPs received standing ovations in the Commons after attacking its handling of the issue. Jewish leaders also said they would boycott a meeting next week with Jeremy Corbyn after it emerged that a hard-left group which denies that Labour has a problem with antisemitism had also been invited. In an emotionally charged debate, Labour backbenchers lined up to highlight the growth of antisemitism claims under Mr Corbyn’s leadership. Dame Margaret Hodge, 73, the veteran Labour MP for Barking and the daughter of Jewish refugees, told the Commons that she felt like “an outsider in the party I have been a member of for 50 years”.
All 200 hospitals and other NHS organisations tested so far have failed cybersecurity checks, according to a report by MPs that finds not enough has been done to protect patients from hackers. Some hospitals have not fixed the original vulnerability that led to last year’s cyberattack and NHS chiefs are not working fast enough to protect the health service, even though a repeat is a matter of “when, not if”, the public accounts committee (PAC) says. Despite promises that lessons had been learnt from the WannaCry ransomware attack nearly a year ago that crippled a third of NHS hospitals, a report released today finds there is still “a lot of work to do” to avoid more disruption when they are targeted again.
A meteorite that crashed to Earth a decade ago was part of a long lost planet that formed in the early solar system, just a few million years after the birth of the sun. The Almahata Sitta meteorite, which contains microscopic diamonds, come from a mysterious embryonic planet that once circled the sun 4.5 billion years ago, experts say. The celestial body, which was slightly larger than Mercury, was destroyed in an epic cosmic collision. As well as being extremely valuable, the rare diamonds provide scientists with a tantalising window into the formation of planets. Tens of these budding worlds, which were generally between the size of the moon and Mars, smashed into each other to form the rocky planets we see today.