MICHEL Barnier has claimed the European Union is “ready to improve” its Irish border proposal, before warning that the European Council summit in October will be the “moment of truth” for Brexit negotiations. The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has revealed the EU is “ready to improve” its Irish border proposal – in an apparent climb down from Brussels’ previous hardline stance on the issue. Speaking following the General Affairs Council on Article 50, the French negotiator claimed October will be the “moment of truth” for Brexit negotiations adding: “We are now on the home straight”.
The EU is willing to ‘improve’ its offer to the UK on a deal with the Irish border to help seal a Brexit deal, Brussels’ chief negotiator has revealed. Following a meeting with representatives of the other 27 EU nations, Michel Barnier said October will prove a decisive month as to whether ‘a Brexit agreement is within reach’. The 67-year-old added talks were in the ‘home straight’, although two key issues remained unresolved ahead of October’s deadlines – one being the problem surrounding the Irish border. Barnier said that an Irish ‘backstop’ must be legally operationally and respect the UK’s constitutional integrity.
The EU has moved to soften its backstop proposal for the Irish border in a bid to win Theresa May’s support for it and prevent a no-deal Brexit. Chief negotiator Michel Barnier said the “improved” version of the backstop “is not a border” and that “most checks can take place away from the border: at the company premises or in the markets”. The movement on the EU side comes after Mr Barnier said he wanted to “de-dramatise” the backstop, which eurosceptics, the DUP, and the British government say is acceptable in the form it was proposed in February.
THERESA May will today warn other EU leaders there will be No Deal on Brexit unless the Irish Sea border demands are dumped. But the PM will get just ten minutes to argue her case. The meeting of the 28 national bosses in Salzburg is a key chance for her to unlock a stand-off with Commission negotiators by appealing directly to the 27 other national bosses. But, The Sun can reveal Mrs May’s bid to thrash out her Chequers plan for a trade deal with the group has been thwarted. Instead of a long debate with them – which was also pushed for by the host Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz – she will be given just 10 minutes to make a brief personal pitch.
Theresa May will appeal to other EU leaders today to ditch “unacceptable demands”, including keeping Northern Ireland in the single market as the price of a Brexit trade deal. The prime minister is said to regard the next 48 hours as critical in persuading EU leaders to overrule the European Commission on the key issue of the Irish border. Mrs May will call on them to “evolve” their negotiations over a dinner in Salzburg today. She is expected to agree with Donald Tusk, the European Council president, that goodwill will be needed to avoid a disorderly Brexit.
Michel Barnier has rebuffed British calls for the European Union to soften its stance on the contested issue of the Irish border and said a “moment of truth” was fast approaching on a Brexit deal. May will appeal directly to EU leaders at a summit in Salzburg to soften their stance over UK access to the single market and customs union. She is expected to tell them on Wednesday night that Brussels needs to shift. A senior No 10 official said: “To come to a successful conclusion, just as the UK has evolved its position, the EU will need to do the same.”
BRUSSELS was accused of trying to ruin Theresa May’s Brexit appeal to EU leaders today by reigniting a customs bill row. The EU Commission are expected to issue a fresh demand this morning for £2.5bn from Britain for failing to crackdown on customs fraud by Chinese clothing importers. The EU’s anti-fraud office, OLAF, has accused London of not acting on repeated warnings that some were dodging duties. The UK is fighting the demand, in a feud that has lasted three years so far. But Brussels officials will today step up the fight and warn the UK it will take it to the European Court of Justice next if it doesn’t pay up.
European carmakers could face multi-billion-pound fines over claims that they colluded to limit development of controls on toxic emissions. The European Commission confirmed yesterday that it had launched an investigation into allegations that BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and VW-owned Audi and Porsche formed a cartel to restrict costly technology that could reduce pollution. It emerged that the EU’s executive body had information that the manufacturers — known as the “circle of five” — allegedly held meetings to discuss a number of issues including the deployment of emissions controls in cars.
Theresa May will have just ten minutes to make a Brexit pitch to leaders of EU countries tomorrow as Britain’s talks with Brussels to strike a deal enter the ‘home straight’. The Prime Minister will address leaders of the other EU nations at a meeting in Salzburg tomorrow but will be given a brief time slot – despite European leaders being in the Austrian city for two days. EU Council president Donald Tusk is alleged to have shut down any opportunity for debate and insisted the heads of state will discuss their response without her present.
MICHEL Barnier wants to lock Britain into a Brexit deal that cannot be changed by future governments. According to reports the EU’s chief negotiator was alarmed by environment secretary Michael Gove’s comments over the weekend that a future prime minister could “choose to alter” a deal with the EU. Mr Barnier, who today briefed the EU General Affairs Council in Brussels, is now set to demand “credible” guarantees from Theresa May that any future deal could not be unpicked by one of her successors. If the UK agrees to the demand it would undermine an important constitutional principle that a government cannot bind its successors’ hands and potentially leave Britain at the mercy of Brussels bureaucrats.
The European Union (EU) wants to make the Brexit divorce settlement unchangeable, meaning a future government would be stuck with Theresa May’s “soft” Brexit and many of the bloc’s rules if the Prime Minister gets her way. According to confidential diplomatic notes, seen by The Times, Brussels is planning to demand that Mrs May make “credible” assurances that any deal will not be altered or improved by her successor. The news comes after Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, said over the weekend that an independent UK and its elected future leader could “choose to alter” the nation’s relationship with the Brussels bloc after Brexit.
Telegraph (by Jacob Rees-Mogg)
Chequers is the only option other than no deal, according to the Prime Minister. Chequers could be altered by a future Prime Minister, according to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. At the weekend Michael Gove said: “A future prime minister could always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the European Union”. There is a clear inconsistency in these two views. If Chequers could be changed later, why not simply short-circuit the process and agree something lasting?
Downing Street has admitted Theresa May’s Chequers proposal could be undone after Brexit. Brussels has already rejected the proposal, with one MP claiming they were told by chief negotiator Michel Barnier it was “dead in the water”. But Mrs May has continued to claim that Chequers forms the basis of a good deal for both sides. Questions over its future were sparked on Sunday, when Environment Secretary Michael Gove said that “a future prime minister could always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the EU”. The comments sparked speculation some Brexiteers would accept the Chequers proposal, then oust Mrs May as leader and renegotiate a new deal with the EU.
MPs will have at least six opportunities to force a fresh Brexit referendum when any deal struck by Theresa May is put before parliament this winter, campaigners believe. A report has identified half-a-dozen openings for supporters of a “people’s vote” to use their muscle to give the public the final say on whether Britain leaves the EU. The prime minister has repeatedly insisted it is “my deal or no deal” – arguing the only alternative to rejection of her agreement will mean the chaos of the UK crashing out next March. But the report, written by Lord Kerr, the former diplomat who wrote the Article 50 exit notice, after discussions with constitutional and legal experts, dismisses that claim as false.
Britain can still cancel Brexit, the man who wrote Article 50 has declared. Lord Kerr, who played a central role in drafting the EU treaty clause that triggered Brexit , says the “die is not irrevocably cast”. His intervention comes as Theresa May jets into Salzburg for a crunch Brexit showdown with EU leaders. In a new report, published today, Lord Kerr claims Britain’s Article 50 letter can legally be withdrawn. He suggests parliamentarians have six opportunities on the horizon to force the Government to legislate for a people’s vote on the terms of the Brexit deal. And it insisted that the option of staying in the EU “must be on the ballot paper”.
MPs will have “multiple” opportunities to give the public the final say over whether the UK leaves the EU, the People’s Vote campaign group has said. Theresa May has ruled out a referendum on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations under any circumstances. But People’s Vote said there were six plausible scenarios in which Parliament could legislate for another vote. It said there should be a choice for voters between leaving with or without a deal or staying on current terms. The prime minister says the UK made its choice to leave in 2016 and that her plan for future co-operation with the EU – based on the Chequers blueprint agreed in July – respects the referendum result.
Prime Minister Theresa May has been slammed for allegedly forcibly allocating key Cabinet ministers with aides who are personally loyal to her. Parliamentary Private Secretaries (PPS) are sitting MPs who serve Cabinet ministers and act as a link between them and their department and other MPs in the Commons and on the backbenches. Mrs May has reportedly moved to replace those of potentially rebellious ministers, some tipped to replace her, including the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Defence, who alleged reacted angrily to the changes, The Sun reports.
Allies of Jeremy Corbyn have been accused of “Bolshevism” after proposals were leaked revealing they are planning to diminish the authority of a caretaker leader in the event that he resigns. Under a draft clause circulated to senior Labour figures, a temporary acting leader would be forced to direct all of their decisions to the party’s governing body for prior approval. Moderates within the party fear this would seriously undermine the authority of Tom Watson, who would automatically become acting leader, and would make him subservient to the national executive committee.
Jeremy Corbyn has moved to limit Tom Watson’s powers if he were to become Labour’s acting leader, causing renewed speculation over the deputy leader’s future. Mr Corbyn’s office tabled a surprise change to the rules about succession at a meeting of the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) yesterday. Under the constitution at present, Mr Watson would become the acting leader if there was an unexpected vacancy at the top. However, under the new rules Mr Watson would be shackled by the NEC, a body that is ruled by Mr Corbyn’s supporters in the unions and activists’ representatives.
Telegraph (by Nigel Farage)
Today’s report by the Migration Advisory Committee is music to my ears. For the first time I can remember, an organisation with some official standing has acknowledged what I have warned of repeatedly: reckless mass immigration has hurt Britain. The MAC, which advises the government on its immigration policy, believes that allowing millions of people to come and live in the UK merely on the basis that they hold an EU passport has affected wages for the lower-paid and resulted in house price increases.
It’s no secret that immigration – and fears about it – fuelled the vote for Brexit. But today an expert report makes extremely awkward reading for some of Leave’s biggest champions, including ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage. The Migration Advisory Committee concluded there should NOT be preferential treatment for EU migrants after 2020 compared to those from the rest of the world. And it said low-skilled workers should be limited, while higher-skilled ones should be encouraged. But while this may look like a Brexiteers’ boon, it’s not all one sided at all. The report also picked apart a string of the most pervasive myths behind the Leave vote.
Theresa May’s plans for a tough new immigration regime were given a boost yesterday after a key report called for an end to low-skilled migration from the EU after Brexit. A year-long independent report by the government’s advisers into the link between migration and the economy recommended a “global” system. This would make EU citizens subject to the same rules as immigrants from non-European countries after January 2021 and could mean that those who want to live in Britain for more than six months would need visas.
Business leaders have lined up to criticise the government’s migration advisory committee (MAC) after it proposed an “ignorant and elitist” ban on foreign workers earning less than £30,000 a year from obtaining visas to work in the UK after Brexit. Organisations representing hauliers, housebuilders and the hospitality sector were among those to sound the alarm after the committee said only “higher skilled” workers should be allowed visas, with no preferential access given to European Union citizens.
Theresa May faces a backlash over proposals to clamp down on low-skilled workers after Brexit which British businesses have labelled as potentially “disastrous”. The proposals in a government-commissioned report suggest blocking almost all of the workers from coming to the UK, with a new immigration system focused solely on attracting high-skilled staff. But employers in both the public and private sectors warned that cutting off access to low-skilled workers would have dire consequences for the NHS, social care and the construction, food and hospitality sectors.
A new report by the Migration Advisory Committee has confirmed the concerns that many have had about mass migration for years, including the fact that it has pushed down wages for the poorest and put up house prices. In their new report the MAC lay out out how on pay: “Overall no evidence that EEA migration has reduced wages for UK-born workers on average. “Some evidence that migration has reduced earnings growth for the lower-paid and raised it for the higher-paid, but again these findings are subject to uncertainty.”
Children enslaved by county lines drug gangs are being rejected by councils even after they are referred for help, a leading charity claimed yesterday. Local authorities are regularly turning a blind eye to drug runners as young as 12 who have run away from home because they don’t meet the ‘threshold for safeguarding’, according to St Giles Trust. Evan Jones, head of community services at the charity, said half of their referrals to children’s services were ‘resisted’ because the victims weren’t abused at home.
HOUSEHOLDS should expect “balanced and fair” tax rises to help fund a better health service, Theresa May signalled yesterday. In her interview with the Daily Express, the Prime Minister warned that everyone will have to contribute to the £20billion increase in NHS funding her Government has pledged over the next five years. But she promised to ensure the cash will be dedicated to improving patient care and not be squandered on bureaucracy. “We have said we are putting a significant sum of money into the NHS – we believe that’s right.
The NHS is “subconsciously racist” and routinely overlooks ethnic minority doctors for senior posts, the head of the British Medical Association has said. Chaand Nagpaul, the first non-white doctor to lead the BMA, said patients were being deprived of the most skilled clinicians because of an entrenched bias in the system. In an interview with The Telegraph, he said a culture of “inequality” had stalled the careers of BME (black and minority) doctors in favour of less qualified white colleagues.
Living in a polluted area increases the risk of dementia by up to 40 per cent, the first British study of its kind has found. Thousands of cases of the illness could be prevented every year by cutting traffic fumes, said researchers who have added to growing evidence that dirty urban air can damage the brain. Polluted air is known to cause lung and heart problems as tiny soot particles and chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pass deep into the body. Research is also increasingly linking traffic fumes to thinking problems.
Air pollution could be responsible for 60,000 cases of dementia in the UK, a major study suggests. Scientists found that people living in areas polluted by traffic and industry are 40 per cent more likely to develop dementia. They are particularly concerned by nitrogen dioxide and sooty smog belched out by old diesel cars. The findings provide the strongest evidence so far that toxic fumes are linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. One in 14 cases of dementia may be caused by air pollution, researchers from King’s College London and St George’s, University of London, calculated.
Police officers in Leicestershire had hoped for a crime investigation course to improve their skills. Instead they will be taught how to banter in the office without causing offence. The training, which officers first thought was a joke, is to help them to understand the “fine line” between funny and harmful communication. It is said to “put political correctness in its place, recognise the benefits of fun at work and focus on the risk and responsibilities for all concerned”.