THE UK must pay the Brussels bloc an additional £20billion before it can begin trade talks, an EU President claims. President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani has demanded that the UK give the EU their “money back”, despite then calling it “peanuts”. Appearing on Newsnight he said: “We need to put the money on the table. We need our money back, as Margaret Thatcher said 30 or 40 years ago – this is important to us. “Then we can begin talks on a new a deal. “I am friends with the UK, I am not against the UK. But please, help us to help you.” Newsnight presenter Evan Davis rebutted this, he said: “By paying you another £20billion and more than we have already offered.” Mr Tajani dismissed this, he said: “It’s peanuts. It’s peanuts £20billion.” Mr Davis rebutted: “Well exactly, and you are holding the whole thing up for that.”
A no deal Brexit is “unthinkable”, Amber Rudd said yesterday, contradicting the Brexit secretary just hours after he said the UK has “the right to walk away”. Speaking in the House of Commons David Davis said the prospect of no deal should be on the table “for negotiating reasons” as he reiterated the importance of being able to leave talks if the only deal on offer is bad for Britain. He told MPs the Government was “straining every sinew” to secure a comprehensive deal but it was vital that in a negotiation “you always have to have the right to walk away – if you don’t, you get a terrible deal”. It came as the head of the Home Office admitted the army could be deployed to protect the border if Britain leaves the EU without a Brexit deal.
Cabinet divisions over Brexit have been exposed again after Amber Rudd said failing to achieve a deal with the EU would be “unthinkable” while David Davis told MPs the UK had the “right to walk away”. Home Secretary Ms Rudd said there would at least be agreement on security cooperation, while Brexit Secretary Mr Davis said the UK was heading for a terrible deal if it was not able to threaten to ditch talks. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson used a session in the Commons to tell the EU to “get serious” over Brexit talks following suggestions that he is holding up progress. It comes after Theresa May made a flying visit to Brussels on Monday for talks with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker where they agreed to “accelerate” efforts on Brexit but showed little sign of tangible progress.
Soldiers could be deployed to police the borders if Britain left the EU without a deal, it was revealed yesterday. Bringing in members of the Armed Forces to provide additional capacity at ports and airports could not be ‘ruled out’, said the Home Office top civil servant. Philip Rutnam raised the prospect of uniformed military personnel being used to check travellers and goods arriving in the UK. Meanwhile, a Cabinet split appeared to emerge over whether Britain could walk away from the EU without agreeing a deal.
A top Home Office civil servant has said that the use of troops on Britain’s borders could be a “last resort” in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal. Appearing on the Home Affairs Select Committee, Philip Rutnman, the Home Office permanent secretary, was quizzed on whether the UK had a sufficient number of border force staff in place to deal with a range of scenarios at the end of the Brexit negotiations. Asked by Yvette Cooper, the chair of the committee, whether the UK could end up relying on the armed forces in order to provide border checks in the event of no deal, Mr Rutnman replied: “I think it would be unwise to rule anything out. It seems clear to me that any use of the military would be an absolute last resort.
SOLDIERS could be used to shore up borders if Britain exits the EU with no Brexit deal. The Home Office’s most senior civil servant refused to rule out calling in the Army if Border Force is swamped by increased checks at ports. But speaking to MPs yesterday, Philip Rutnam insisted any use of the military would be a “last resort”. “Our strong preference is to deal with the border using Border Force.” Separately, he also revealed plans to recruit 300 more Border Force guards. It’s the first time since the EU Referendum that any official has announced plans to beef up staff numbers at the border.
Brexit talks have reached a stalemate with no further progress possible unless Brussels backs trade talks, David Davis has admitted. The Government was “reaching the limits of what we can achieve without consideration of the future relationship”, the gloomy Cabinet Minister told MPs. He added: “Our aim remains to provide as much certainty to business and citizens on both sides. To fully provide that certainty, we must be able to talk about the future.” Updating the Commons on Monday’s dinner between Theresa May and EU officials, Mr Davis said there was “some way” still to go. The Prime Minister flies to the Belgian capital for a crunch showdown with EU leaders on Thursday.
The OECD has released another report on Brexit, and yet again it is full of blood curdling predictions of doom. UKIP Brexit spokesman Gerard Batten MEP said in response: “The international Remain campaign is ramping up. Given the OECD’s history packed with erroneous predictions it’s surprising that anyone currently takes it seriously. The OECD has allowed political ideology to triumph over economic facts for too long. Brexit is here to stay, it would be better if economic organisations accepted that fact and prepared for what is going to happen instead of trying to roll back the British peoples’ democratic vote .” The OECD has announced variously that the UK would have been better off in the Euro, that Brexit would cause instant economic apocalypse and a plague of locusts. This latest report should be taken as seriously as the last ones were.
FRANCE and Germany could cause a financial crisis by “punishing” London for Brexit “just to make a political point”, a financial expert declared. Xavier Rolet is chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group and is worried that European leaders will make “protectionist” moves to strip London of its status as a clearinghouse for trade carried out in euros. This was first proposed by France’s former President François Hollande within days of the EU referendum in which he said: “Lessons must be learnt.” Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Rolet says that taking euro trading into the Eurozone will “increase systematic financial risk” because “the global monitoring of risk would be impaired and that risk more heavily concentrated”. He adds: “To those who want to dismantle rather than build on a system of global regulatory standards that protects taxpayers and reduces the cost of capital we say: do not willingly diminish systemically important global financial market infrastructure just to make a political point.
Brussels is stalling on Brexit talks in a cynical bid to chisel more money out of the UK, David Davis warned yesterday. The Brexit Secretary told MPs that a deal was close on securing the rights of 3.2million EU citizens in the UK and 1.2million Britons living in Europe. But he said that Brussels was refusing to discuss trade relations in an attempt to secure a ‘divorce payment’ of up to £90billion. He said: ‘The simple truth is that we are in a negotiation and they are using time pressure to see whether they can get more money out of us – that is what is going on, as is obvious to anybody. ‘That will take some time, but I am sure we will get there in time to get a decent outcome for everybody.’
Michel Barnier hit back at David Davis yesterday after the Brexit secretary accused the European Union of holding up negotiations to extract more money from Britain. Mr Davis told the House of Commons that the EU, and Mr Barnier as its lead negotiator, were stalling on talks as a way of extorting money while delaying agreement on the Irish border and residency rights for millions of European nationals and Britons after Brexit. “They’re using time pressure to see if they can get more money out of us — it’s obvious to anybody,” he told MPs. After briefing a meeting of the EU’s 27 Europe ministers, Mr Barnier dismissed the claim and accused a chaotic British government of stalling.
The European Union told Britain on Tuesday it must make more concessions in talks over its departure from the bloc, offering little hope of a breakthrough for Prime Minister Theresa May at a summit later this week. May travelled to Brussels on Monday for dinner with senior EU officials, hoping to nudge the Brexit talks forward to look at future ties which she says will help London make advances on calculating a financial settlement. But hours after the dinner, ministers from EU countries, even those such as the Netherlands that have much to lose if there is no Brexit deal, said May needed to go further on detailing how much Britain will pay when it leaves the bloc. After losing her governing Conservatives’ majority in a June election and struggling through the party’s annual conference, May has little room for manoeuvre — unable to increase her offer on the Brexit bill for fear of angering her own party.
Following the victory of the anti-illegal immigration Sebastian Kurz on Sunday, the EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker has been in touch with a letter reading: “I would like to warmly congratulate you on your party winning the most votes during the Austrian parliamentary election. “There will now be challenges Austria and you, yourself will have to face. Soon, Austria will play an outstanding role being the presidency of the Council of the European Union. “Under Austria’s responsibility a number of important decisions regarding the European Union will have to be made. “Therefore I wish you great success building a stable and pro-European Government and I look forward to working together in the future.”
The unelected president of the European Union’s (EU) executive arm has urged the democratically elected Austrian premier to form a “pro-European” government. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker made the comments in a letter to Sebastian Kurz, whose Christian Democrat Austrian People’s Party (OVP) topped the polls with 31.7 per cent of the vote. The right-wing Freedom Party (FPO) came in second place on 27.4 per cent, above the Social Democrats (SPO) on 26.8 per cent. Whilst the SPO is pro-EU, the FPO is Eurosceptic, promising to hold a referendum on withdrawing Austria from future EU bailouts and opposing EU migration policy.
Tory divisions over a controversial benefit reform could be exposed in a Labour vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Labour will hope to win a symbolic victory in an opposition day vote which will call for the roll-out of Universal Credit reforms to be paused. Up to 25 Conservative MPs are thought to be willing to rebel and back Labour in the non-binding vote and Theresa May has held talks with would-be rebels in an effort to stave off an embarrassing revolt. It follows criticism that people on Universal Credit are waiting six weeks for any money and getting into debt. Universal Credit combines a number of benefits such as housing benefit and tax credits into a single payment.
Labour is wooing potential rebel Conservative MPs in a bid to force a Government defeat in the Commons on a motion to pause the roll out of universal credit. Theresa May has been forced to meet the rebel leaders in 10 Downing Street in a bid to head off a revolt which could lead to a damaging defeat for the Government. Before the Commons debate, the Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke faces an uncomfortable grilling by a committee of MPs chaired by the former Labour welfare minister Frank Field. Labour and the Conservative rebels claim universal credit is pushing people further into debt, rent arrears and even evictions and that one in four claimants are having to wait over six weeks to receive any funds.
MPs are to debate the rollout of Universal Credit amid continuing calls for changes to the way the government’s flagship welfare programme is working. Labour is calling for the system, which merges six benefits into one, to be paused amid concerns about how long claimants wait to get the cash. Senior backbencher Frank Field said people were being “pushed towards destitution” on a growing scale. But ministers insist it is “safe to proceed” following “rigorous” testing. The government has said anyone in financial distress can apply for advance payments. BBC Newsnight’s political editor Nick Watt said he understood ministers were also giving “serious thought” to cutting the initial waiting period for payments from six to four weeks around the time of next month’s Budget.
Older people spent twice as long stuck in hospital waiting for home help last year compared with five years ago, according to analysis by Age UK. Patients spent a total of a million nights in hospital because they were waiting for social care of one kind or another in 2016-17, up 27 per cent on the year before, the charity’s report said. Some 342,000 of these nights were spent waiting for care in their own homes, up from 144,000 in 2011-12. The official figures are considered to be an underestimate, with NHS and council leaders arguing over who is to blame. Doctors and academics said separately that families should urge elderly relatives to take the stairs and go for walks to help them carry on.
Foreign nurses will be allowed to sit easier English language tests because failure rates are so high. The existing test has been blamed for a sharp drop in recruitment, which has led to concerns about a major nursing shortfall across the NHS. A hospital in Kent said last month that more than 90 per cent of Filipino nurses had failed the existing test, which require candidates to understand complex articles. And in the nine months after the test was extended to EU nurses recruitment fell by 96 per cent. Overseas medical staff will be able to take a less academic English test after the current one was blamed for a drop in recruitment. Under new rules issued by the nursing watchdog, overseas health staff will be allowed to take a less academic exam which is simpler to pass.
Most patients are sent home from A&E without proper advice, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has warned as the number returning within a week has nearly doubled in ten years. The watchdog said that 53 per cent of patients sent home were not told about important symptoms to look out for, and 27 per cent were not told who to contact if they were worried after leaving. The CQC’s survey of 45,000 A&E patients also found that of those who felt it was needed, 45 per cent said their family or home situation was not considered before they were discharged.
Smokers are to be breathalysed to prove they have quit before being referred for surgery. Obese patients will also be told they cannot have an operation unless they lose weight. The drastic policies are being rolled out in two health trusts, which serve 1.2million people. Patients who smoke will be breathalysed to check they have given up before being referred, while those who are obese must lose 10 per cent of their weight. Doctors claimed it was the latest example of rationing which is becoming ‘more commonplace’ across the NHS. The two trusts, East and North Hertfordshire and Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Groups, are trying to save £68 million this year.
The NHS is increasingly rationing healthcare, a development that cannot be justified, the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has said. Some authorities are already telling obese patients that they must slim down before they can have weight-loss surgery, while others have long placed restrictions on IVF treatment. Now smokers in Hertfordshire will be able to have non-urgent operations, such as knee, hip and cataract procedures, only if they quit. Prescriptions for gluten-free food and funding for female sterilisation will also be stopped in all but “exceptional” cases. Health bosses in Hertfordshire said that the restrictions would be lifted if patients faced any harm.
Theresa May has vowed for the first time since the election to allow the expansion of grammar schools. The Prime Minister said creating extra places in selective schools would give parents more choice and boost social mobility. Her comments will pave the way for more grammar schools to set up sister campuses – or annexes – in their neighbourhoods. ‘We know that grammar schools are hugely popular with parents because of the academically stretching education they provide,’ Mrs May said. ‘They make a huge difference for all children that attend them, with the attainment gap from rich and poor pupils reduced to almost zero.’ She added at a reception for the Friends of Grammar Schools campaign group in Westminster last night: ‘The Government will continue to support the expansion of good and outstanding selective schools, where additional school places are needed.’
Theresa May is facing a toxic cabinet battle over the future of university funding after her £2 billion promise to freeze student tuition fees ran into opposition. The prime minister is set to clash with the education secretary and universities minister after announcing at the Tory party conference that the maximum cost for courses would stay at £9,250 a year. An investigation by The Times has revealed that a host of other cabinet ministers also have strongly differing views about how to fund universities, as the party tries to counter Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity among young voters.
The Canary holiday island of La Palma has experienced more than 300 mini-earthquakes over the past week, scientists report. A majority of the tremors were so small they could not be located by scientists, let alone felt by any residents on La Palma. The latest mini-quakes follow the 40 tremors that were recorded two weekends ago, taking the total to 352 in just ten days. Scientists are now monitoring the seismic activity on La Palma 24 hours per day, and are set to carry out tests on the slopes of the island’s active volcano – Cumbre Vieja. Between October 6 and 7, more than 40 tremors were recorded, with the most powerful hitting 2.7 on the Richter scale, located at a depth of 17.4miles.
HUNDREDS of newly discovered earthquakes have sparked fresh fears a Canary Islands volcano will explode and send a monster tsunami cascading over Spain and Britain. Panic has erupted after the shock revelation a massive swarm of 352 quakes have trembled beneath a devastating volcano in La Palma, near the tourist hotspot of Tenerife. Daily Star Online initially revealed 44 quakes, of low magnitude between 1.5 and 2.7 on the Richter scale, struck in just 48 hours more than a week ago. But experts have since made a terrifying finding – that hundreds more have since struck, sparking fears the islands’ huge Cumbre Vieja is about to erupt. The boffins believe the hundreds more tremors in the area – which attracts thousands of Brits every year – were too small to be recorded.