Boris Johnson’s plan to enshrine a 2020 Brexit into law to demonstrate that he has no plans to extend the transition period has been met with a certain amount of eye-rolling in Brussels. EU officials readily recall the British Prime Minister’s hard-charging start to the last round of Brexit negotiations which ended with Mr Johnson ditching his Irish border plan and accepting the EU’s idea of a special status for Northern Ireland de facto inside the EU single market. The post-election rhetoric in London is seen in that vein.
NIGEL Farage has hailed Boris Johnson’s “fantastic” move to rule out any possibility of further delay after 2020 – while warning not to get stuck in, what he called, the EU’s “trade talks trap”. Mr Farage suggested Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, was already plotting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to tie Britain up in knots between now and December 31 in the full belief that Mr Johnson will push to extend the transition period rather than leave on WTO terms. Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Farage said: “The bold announcement on Monday night that the withdrawal bill will be brought before the House of Commons with an amendment making it illegal for Parliament to extend the transition period beyond December 2020 is fantastic. “Better still is that a WTO withdrawal is back on the table if the terms of the trade agreement cannot be sorted out.”
The end-2020 deadline set by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reach a deal on future EU-UK ties is “rigid” and will limit the scope of a free trade agreement between the two, EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said on Tuesday. We are raising a concern that the period for negotiating a trade agreement is going to be very limited and it would be very problematic to hold negotiations and reach agreement on a comprehensive trade agreement,” he told a news conference.
A NO-DEAL Brexit is “almost guaranteed”, a spooked EU official has said, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed plans for a law which would make any further delay to Brexit beyond 2020 illegal. A panicking European Union has lashed out at Boris Johnson’s new aggressive Brexit move, warning the UK not to “sleepwalk” into a no deal scenario at before the end of 2020 and would be “well-prepared, ready to mitigate the effects on its member states”.
Boris Johnson has split the cabinet with a plan to give British judges new powers to overturn rulings by the European Court of Justice, The Times has learnt. Theresa May’s government agreed to transfer all existing European Union case law into British law after Brexit, a decision opposed by Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party. The commitment meant that only the Supreme Court in England and the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland would be allowed to “depart” from EU case law. A new clause in Mr Johnson’s withdrawal agreement bill will let lower courts overturn ECJ rulings. MPs will vote on the bill on Friday.
Jeremy Corbyn will whip his diminished parliamentary party to vote against Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal on Friday, in the outgoing Labour leader’s final strategic call. Mr Corbyn’s move will give the prime minister a renewed opportunity to establish clear dividing lines between the Conservatives and Labour on Brexit. The vote, on Friday, will be the first show of parliamentary strength from the prime minister since his commanding victory in the general election last week gave him a majority in the Commons of 80.
Boris Johnson’s hard Brexit plans could take Britain to a “cliff-edge”, Brussels has warned as the pound plunged over fears the UK and EU may fail to strike a trade deal. Businesses were also told they should press ahead with previous no-deal preparations because the effects of leaving with the Prime Minister’s deal will be similar to Brexit without a deal. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which returns to the House of Commons on Friday, will contain a new clause banning ministers from extending the 11-month Brexit transition period.
Boris Johnson will force MPs to keep a damaging “no-deal” departure on the table when they vote for his Brexit plan this week. The Prime Minister, who now has a Commons majority of 80, will legally ban the Government from asking for any extension. Although the divorce stage of Brexit will happen on January 31, the future relationship with the European Union is still up for discussion. He was immediately accused of “reckless and irresponsible” behaviour amid fears the UK could fall back onto World Trade Organisation terms.
GERMANY’S stagnant economy is dragging down the eurozone, economists have warned, as new data showed Europe’s largest economy is on track for another sluggish year. Figures form IHS Markit showed the country’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 43.4 in December from 44.1 the previous month, the first downward movement in three months. The result was worse than the 44.5 reading predicted by economists in a survey by Reuters. And the eurozone also saw a drop in the PMI, an index of prevailing direction of economic trends in manufacturing and services.
The Socialists and Democrats group leader said they supported European parliament president David Sassoli to lead the conference on the Future of Europe next year. “There is no better person to lead the conference than president Sassoli,” MEP Iratxe Garcia said on Tuesday. The two-year conference would aim at reconnecting the EU with citizens and sorting out institutional issues such as transnational lists and the lead candidate election system.
Jeremy Corbyn has been told by furious MPs the election defeat was entirely his fault, amid claims that Labour will be damaged “every day” he remains in post. During an extraordinary meeting of Labour parliamentarians, Mr Corbyn faced an onslaught of criticism over his personal handling of the election as he addressed his party for the first time since the result. It came just hours after he was publicly confronted by Mary Creagh, the former MP for Wakefield who lost her seat to the Conservatives.
Jeremy Corbyn was savaged by Labour MPs and accused of incompetence and misjudgments last night during a brutal inquest into the party’s worst defeat in more than 80 years. In a two-hour meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party, MPs also said that the leadership contest should focus on who could win over the country, as opposed to party members. Hours earlier Mr Corbyn was subjected to a 20-minute public tirade by a defeated Labour candidate who accused him of betraying working-class voters.
Jeremy Corbyn was heavily criticised by Labour MPs for his party’s worst general election result since 1935, as the first candidates to replace him as leader begin to emerge. In the first meeting between the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) since last week’s defeat, former MP Mary Creagh accused the outgoing leader of being a “preening narcissist” who was responsible for the devastating loss for Labour. Meanwhile Rachel Reeves MP said there were “a lot of excuses” given by the leadership at the meeting in the House of Commons.
JEREMY CORBYN has faced backlash from Labour MPs following the party’s disastrous performance in the general election, but the leader was caught shamelessly “taking selfies” when a Labour MP confronted him. MPs who lost seats, and some backbenchers, challenged Mr Corbyn after Labour’s worst election result in decades. MP for Birmingham Yardley Jess Phillips, tipped to be a potential successor of Mr Corbyn, said that ”it was no worse than it always is” and recalled “a couple of people being supportive”, according to Sky News.
Keir Starmer has set out his pitch for the Labour leadership with a call for his party not to lurch to the right as a result of last week’s devastating election result. While the leadership race has not yet formally been launched, the shadow Brexit secretary confirmed to the Guardian that, as widely expected in Westminster, he was “seriously considering” running to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. In a wide-ranging interview, Starmer said Labour said not do enough to tackle the Conservatives’ central election pledge to “get Brexit done” nor sufficiently deal with antisemitism, and urged his party to return to being a “broad church”.
The first major post-mortem of Labour’s disastrous general election has delivered a scathing verdict on a “lethal mix” of weak leadership and extreme politics under Jeremy Corbyn which drove millions of the party’s traditional voters into the arms of the Tories. The report, commissioned by former leader Tony Blair, said that Corbyn’s removal alone will not be enough to restore the party’s fortunes. Labour must also discard his “sectarian ultra-left politics” before it can begin the journey back from the political wilderness. Launching the report in London on Wednesday, Mr Blair will warn that Labour faces being eclipsed as a serious competitor for power if it fails to renew itself.
Boris Johnson secured victory in Thursday’s election by making Conservatives the party of the working classes, a new poll has suggested. Tories out-polled Labour by double-digit figures among both manual workers and households with incomes below £20,000, according to the YouGov survey for The Times. But the survey also revealed a stark generation gap in party support, with 18-24 year-olds backing Labour over Tories by an overwhelming 56 per cent to 21 per cent, while over-64s preferred Mr Johnson’s party by a margin of 64 per cent to 17 per cent. The crossover age at which voters were more likely to vote Tory than Labour reduced from 47 in 2017 to 39 in last week’s election.
As political collapses go, it was astonishingly swift. One weekend in October, hundreds of thousands of people had descended on central London to demand a second Brexit referendum. A week later, the cause, the biggest non-party movement in British politics, was effectively dead. The hammer blows came in quick succession: by the following Friday, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP had decided to offer Boris Johnson an early election. Then late on the Sunday night, in a spectacularly ill-timed boardroom coup, two emails told the two organisers of the People’s Vote campaign they were fired. The recipients of the emails were a stunned James McGrory, the director of the People’s Vote campaign, and its communications director, Tom Baldwin. They were victims of a long-running behind-the-scenes row over governance with the financial PR specialist Roland Rudd, brother of the former cabinet minister Amber. “If MPs had held their nerve, we could have left Johnson twisting in the wind and eventually secured a majority for a people’s vote. But [Lib Dem leader Jo] Swinson effectively destroyed the remain alliance,” Baldwin said.
Ireland has branded Boris Johnson’s decision to block an extension of the Brexit transition period “strange” and said the move will limit the UK’s options in the future. The prime minister has said he will legislate to make it unlawful for the government to delay the end of the transition past the end of 2020 – limiting the time available to sign a trade agreement. Speaking on Tuesday, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said the move amounted to the “UK deciding to tie itself in terms of options”, while senior EU officials said the scope of talks would have to be limited to adapt. “Nobody is forcing the UK to apply for an extended transition period but they have the option to do it if they want to up until the middle of next summer, and what Boris Johnson is doing is essentially ruling out an option that was put into the withdrawal agreement for Britain,” Mr Coveney said.
Nursing students have been promised at least £5,000 a year from September as Boris Johnson seeks to highlight the priority he is giving to the NHS. The prime minister pledged in the Conservative manifesto to restore the bursaries removed by his party, to boost the falling number of applicants to study nursing. He has now said that the funding will return in the next academic year. The new system will be significantly less generous than that abolished in 2016, however, as it will not pay students’ tuition fees. All nursing students will be given a grant of £5,000, rising to £8,000 for those who need help with childcare.
The Tories are to focus on plans to restore bursaries for student nurses in a reversal of its austerity measures as the party seeks to hold onto its new voters. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to hold a Downing Street reception for NHS nurses on Wednesday as his Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announces the move. The return of the payments of up to £8,000-a-year-was one of the central measures of the Tory general election manifesto unveiled last month. It formed part of a plan for 50,000 additional nurses for England intended to underline the party’s commitment to the NHS.
BORIS Johnson vows to give the NHS “everything it needs” as he unveiled plans to bring back nursing bursaries. Student nurses will get grants of between £5,000 to £8,000 a year to help pay for their studies. It is part of Boris’ pledge to add an extra 50,000 nurses over the next five years as he turns the triumphant Tories into the new party of the NHS. The PM said: “I have heard loud and clear that the priority of the British people is to focus on the NHS – and to make sure this treasured institution has everything it needs to deliver world-class care. “The dedicated doctors and nurses epitomise everything that makes the NHS so revered across the world – skill, compassion, energy and dedication.
Student nurses are being promised bursaries of up to £8,000 a year as Boris Johnson seeks to prioritise the NHS. The Tories axed the grants in 2016 – a policy which unions said led to a ‘disaster’ in recruitment and patient care. The previous bursaries had been up to £16,400, which included tuition fees of about £9,000. Now the PM is guaranteeing all student nurses get a grant of at least £5,000 a year in an attempt to fill tens of thousands of vacancies.
Women who lose excess weight in middle age can reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 26 per cent, a study has found. Keeping the pounds off could significantly lower the chances of developing breast cancer after the age of 50 compared with remaining overweight, the researchers said. Excess weight has been identified as a risk factor for various cancers but few studies have examined whether this risk can be decreased by losing weight in middle age and later. New research has found that even “modest” weight loss can reduce the danger.
United Nations peacekeepers fathered hundreds of babies in Haiti then abandoned young mothers to lives of single parenthood and poverty, the academic leading a research study has told The Times. Many of those impregnated were underage girls who traded sex for food or “for a few coins” as they struggled to survive in wake of political upheaval and natural disaster. An extensive study into the impact of one of the UN’s longest peacekeeping deployments, published today on The Conversation academic website says “girls as young as 11 were sexually abused and impregnated by peacekeepers and . . . ‘left in misery’ to raise their children alone”.
Bus travel in Britain has dropped to its lowest level on record amid concerns over rising fares and cuts to routes. Figures published by the Department for Transport show that only 4 per cent of all journeys made last year were by bus — the joint lowest share on record. It was down from a high of 42 per cent in the early 1950s, with bus use in slow decline ever since, largely because of the dominance of the private car. According to yesterday’s figures, 2.6 billion journeys were taken in Britain, excluding London, in 2018/19, down by nine million in a year to the lowest since at least 2004/5 when current records began.
Bus travel in most parts of the country has hit a record low, as ticket prices rise at a faster rate than rail fares. The number of bus trips made in England outside London fell 9 million in 2018-19, official figures show. There were 2.6 billion journeys in the year to March – the lowest since the Department for Transport started collecting figures in 2004-05. Meanwhile, bus fares have risen 3.3 per cent this year. That is more than the 3.1 per cent rise in the average train fare.
Boeing’s decision to suspend production of its troubled 737 Max jet in the wake of two deadly crashes has looked increasingly likely as doubts mounted about when the plane would return to service. The latest version of the short-haul workhorse, launched in 2017, suffered its first crash in October 2018 when Lion Air flight 610 was lost off Indonesia soon after take-off, killing all 189 passengers and crew. Five months later, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 went down in similar circumstances soon after leaving Addis Abba airport, killing all 157 people on board. Days later, the Max was grounded, with regulators in Europe and China acting first, forcing President Donald Trump to make an emergency order to take the Max out of service amid criticism that the US was slow to act.
Weather gurus reckon this year could be the first white Christmas since 2010, with bookies slashing odds on the flakes falling next week. A leading bookmaker has cut its odds on the chances of Brits in some parts of the country waking up a coating of snow on December 25. Betting outfit Coral is offering odds as high as 6-1 in some regions of the northwest, while punters in some areas of the south are being offered 10-1. However, those living in Edinburgh and Glasgow are most likely to see the white stuff, according to Coral. Both cities currently stand at 4-1, while Nottingham, Birmingham and Liverpool lead the way for English cities at 6-1. It is 10-1 for London to get snow, meaning punters having a flutter would win £50 from a £5 bet.