The government has taken a crucial step to help unprepared businesses to trade with EU members in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Chancellor Sajid Javid said the government will automatically allocate more than 88,000 VAT registered companies in the UK a “trading number” in the next two weeks to allow those businesses to trade with the EU after 31 October. The Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, an important customs system, will allow businesses to make export declarations and comply with other regulations to trade overseas.
The government has toughened its negotiating stance with the EU for the second time in 24 hours today, telling Brussels that British officials will stop attending most meetings from September 1 to free up time to work on Brexit. It comes after Boris Johnson’s open letter to Donald Tusk of yesterday – which labelled the Irish backstop ‘unviable’ and ‘undemocratic’ and demanded its removal from any deal to be struck before the UK’s October 31 departure date – was snubbed by European leaders.
Boris Johnson will pull British officials and ministers out of most EU decision-making meetings from September as the government gears up for the Brexit deadline. Civil servants and ministers will now only attend EU meetings where the UK has a significant national interest in the outcome, such as on security. The move comes after the prime minister vowed to “unshackle” diplomats in Brussels to employ their talents elsewhere, as Whitehall braces for a looming no-deal departure from the EU.
British officials will stop attending most EU meetings from September, the Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, has said, suggesting his department will slash attendance by more than half to “unshackle” officials and ministers. The government will only send officials to EU meetings at which the UK has “a significant national interest in the outcome of discussions, such as on security” and will instead focus on countries outside the bloc.
Nigel Farage’s Brexit party has vowed to fight “tooth and nail” against any deal that Boris Johnson negotiates with the EU that largely retains the Withdrawal Agreement. On Monday, Johnson wrote to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, repeating the demand that the EU scraps the Northern Irish backstop as a precursor to any deal. The prime minister proposed instead that the UK government simply give firm commitments to resolving concerns about the future relationship between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of going “into hiding” to avoid the publication of her government’s figures showing how much weaker Scotland’s finances are than the UK’s. For the first time since she became First Minister in 2014, she will not appear at the launch on Wednesday of the annual Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (Gers) statistics showing the scale of the country’s deficit.
Nicola Sturgeon’s preference for holding another referendum on Scottish independence in the second half of next year has been put in doubt after the Electoral Commission recommended a gap of at least nine months between the completion of the required legislation and polling day. Legislation to enable a second referendum was introduced by Sturgeon, the first minister, to the Scottish parliament in May.
The Welsh Government would campaign for Remain in any future EU referendum, even under a Labour-led UK government, the first minister has said. It comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to say if he would support Remain in a second Brexit vote. Mr Corbyn’s plan to stop no-deal Brexit involves defeating Boris Johnson’s government in a no-confidence vote and becoming prime minister himself.
Boris Johnson has pledged to enter EU talks with “a lot of oomph” – despite his Brexit plan being slapped down as “unrealistic” by Brussels. Bloc chiefs blasted the Prime Minister’s attempt to scrap the Irish Backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement, ahead of his first trip to Europe since entering No10. Mr Johnson flies into Berlin tomorrow morning for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, before jetting to Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.
Boris Johnson bullishly promised tonight he would enter talks with EU leaders ‘with a lot of oomph’ as differences between the UK and EU’s position over the Withdrawal Agreement remain. Boris Johnson is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday before meeting French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday. Speaking to reporters, Mr Johnson reiterated his opposition to the Northern Irish backstop, adding: ‘Don’t forget why we’re doing all of this. The existing agreement just doesn’t work for the UK.
Boris Johnson ignored a growing diplomatic spat in Brussels over his Brexit demands by insisting he could broker a fresh deal directly with EU leaders ahead of crunch talks with Angela Merkel. Mr Johnson is due to make his debut on the international stage as Prime Minister when he meets the German Chancellor to discuss the UK’s withdrawal from the EU over dinner on Wednesday. But during a terse exchange of words on both sides of the Channel, Donald Tusk attacked Mr Johnson for being disingenuous over the Irish border.
Angela Merkel is likely to give a friendly but firm rebuttal to Boris Johnson during his first overseas visit as prime minister on Wednesday, with politicians and officials in Berlin saying they do not consider that his letter to Donald Tusk asking the EU to drop the Irish backstop contains constructive proposals for further negotiations. “The letter to the president of the European council is not a serious offer, and Boris Johnson knows it,” said Norbert Röttgen, an ally of the chancellor who heads the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
Boris Johnson‘s demand that the EU agree to scrap the Northern Ireland backstop has been dismissed by European leaders. European Council president Donald Tusk responded to a letter from the prime minister by suggesting that Mr Johnson was “not proposing realistic alternatives” to the backstop, while one French diplomat called his plan “a joke”. German chancellor Angela Merkel also insisted that the current Brexit deal could not be renegotiated.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the European Union “clearly still thinks that there is a possibility parliament will block Brexit”. Mr Johnson said: “At the moment it is absolutely true that our friends and partners are a bit negative… but I think actually we’ll get there. “I think there is a real sense now that something needs to be done with this backstop. We can’t get it through parliament as it is.” He added: “One thing that slightly complicates the picture is that our EU friends still clearly think that there is a possibility that parliament will block Brexit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that he believes the European Union still believe that Parliament could stop Brexit completely. Speaking yesterday after the EU pushed back against his request to tinker with Theresa May’s treaty, Johnson said: “At the moment it is absolutely true that our friends and partners are a bit negative…but I think actually we’ll get there. “I think there is a real sense now that something needs to be done with this backstop. We can’t get it through Parliament as it is.”
REBEL MPs can’t stop a No Deal Brexit so Brussels needs to drop the Irish backstop for agreement to be reached, Boris Johnson will tell Angela Merkel. The Prime Minister said a major stumbling block to progress on a deal is that the EU still think that Brexit can be stopped by Remainer MPs in Parliament. The Prime Minister is due to meet the German Chancellor for dinner in Berlin at which he will spell out his position on a No Deal Brexit.
Allies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel have outright dismissed the prospect of a renegotiation of Theresa May’s treaty as favoured by Boris Johnson. It comes as Johnson goes to visit and speak to Merkel abroad in his first official overseas trip as PM. A European policy Spokesman for Merkel’s group in the Bundestag, Florian Hahn, is quoted by The Times as saying: “There cannot and will not be new negotiations.
Boris Johnson will meet the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin this afternoon, just a day after she added her voice to EU scepticism about his “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop. Mr Johnson then moves on to Paris for talks with President Macron on Thursday. He will then hold further bilateral meetings with other leaders at the G7 Summit in Biarritz this weekend.
Boris Johnson will tell Angela Merkel today that parliament cannot stop Britain leaving the European Union without a deal on October 31. Amid an intensifying row with Brussels, the prime minister will warn the German chancellor over dinner in Berlin that there will be no Brexit agreement unless the EU backs down and agrees to scrap the Irish backstop.
The European Union has rebuffed Boris Johnson’s attempts to tear up the Irish backstop, in a coordinated response that appeared to close the door on further meaningful Brexit negotiations. In remarks shortly before the prime minister departed for a whistle-stop tour to meet European leaders, Johnson put the blame for the EU’s hardline response at the feet of Conservative rebels, claiming his negotiating strategy was being undermined by those who said they could prevent no deal.
EU chief Donald Tusk has hit back furiously at Boris Johnson’s Brexit demands in a Twitter slapdown. The European Council President suggested Britain’s PM was “not proposing realistic alternatives” after he demanded a key part of the Brexit deal was ripped up. And he accused Mr Johnson of making a hard border in Northern Ireland more likely due to his refusal to compromise. While Mr Tusk did not name the UK Prime Minister in his tweet, the target of his slapdown was clear.
The European Union’s Donald Tusk has dismissed a letter from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for the backstop to go. No Deal is on the cards as long as Johnson’s government don’t bottle it. Tweeting today, Tusk has said: “The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found. “Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.”
Donald Tusk and other EU officials have rejected Boris Johnson’s new plea to ditch the Irish backstop just hours after he wrote to the European Council president. The British Prime Minister last night told the EU that the backstop is ‘simply unviable’ and should be replaced with a new legal commitment to avoid the return of a hard border. But Mr Tusk said today anyone opposing the backstop without a ‘realistic’ plan was actually ‘supporting the reestablishment of a border’ because there was currently no alternative.
BORIS JOHNSON has called the EU a “bit negative” for its reluctance to change the Brexit deal – but added it can be done. The European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator insisted the controversial backstop is a “vital insurance policy”. Taking to Twitter, he said: “I don’t see any majority in the @Europarl_EN to remove the backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement.
Sir David Attenborough has waded into the Brexit debate, saying people are ‘irritated’ with the European Union’s ‘silly’ interference in British affairs. The broadcaster and natural historian, 93, said: ‘The ways in which the European community has interfered with people’s lives on silly levels or silly issues has irritated a lot of people. ‘They’re just fed up with somebody over there who doesn’t speak their language, telling him how much money they’ve got to charge for tomatoes or something silly.
Sir David Attenborough has said that many people in the UK are “fed up” with the European Union over its “silly” interference in British affairs. In a wide-ranging interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the naturalist and broadcaster said the EU might not have paid enough attention to what people cared about and had allowed itself to do things that irritate people. While some people in South America and Africa “are faced with hideous problems, meanwhile we are occupied with these silly squabbles about Brexit”, he added.
Labour’s Brexit crisis has deepened after Diane Abbott became the latest member of the shadow cabinet to back Remain over any deal negotiated by her own party. The shadow home secretary said today she will be ‘personally campaigning for Remain’ regardless of whether Labour commits to staying in the EU or not. She is the third Labour frontbencher to promise to back Remain against any Brexit deal the party agrees on.
Labour Brexit divisions have spilled over once more after Diane Abbott became the third shadow cabinet member to declare she would campaign to stay in the EU over a deal negotiated by her own party. In a move that heaps fresh pressure on Jeremy Corbyn, the shadow home secretary said she was determined to personally support Remain as it was the “best option for the country and my constituents”.
The overwhelming majority of voters do not want Jeremy Corbyn as a caretaker Prime Minister, a poll showed last night. A total of 63 per cent of those questioned said they did not think the Labour leader would be a good choice – with just 15 per cent backing him. Mr Corbyn as the alternative PM met with the most opposition from five options tested in a YouGov poll. A total of 25 per cent of voters backed veteran Tory MP Ken Clarke and 19 per cent supported Labour MP Harriet Harman if Boris Johnson’s government is brought down in a confidence vote.
JEREMY CORBYN’s plans to overhaul inheritance tax have been roundly rejected by experts – with one claiming Labour will “steal our hard-earned money before we’ve even gotten to the morgue”. Jeremy Corbyn is stepping up pressure on Boris Johnson in a desperate attempt to oust Boris Johnson and finally wrestle control of 10 Downing Street. He plans to table a motion of no confidence in the Government at the “earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success” – this could even be as soon as Parliament returns from summer recess on September 3.
Northamptonshire police will issue Tasers to every officer who wants one. Nick Adderley, the chief constable, said he would arm officers with the 50,000-volt stun guns as requested, provided officers pass training. Mr Adderley’s announcement came days after the alleged murder of a Thames Valley constable and within weeks of the attempted murders of officers in London and Birmingham.
An English police force is to become the first in the country to issue every officer with electric stun-guns known as Tasers, news that comes days after a police officer was murdered by criminals and among a sharp rise in violence against officers overall. Northamptonshire police cited a surge in violence against police officers when announcing the wider deployment of Tasers to their officers.
New ONS methodology revealed today has shown the UK economy is actually £26 billion larger than economists previously thought, having revised up 2016 GDP growth by 1.3%. Surely the biggest #DespiteBrexit story of them all. The new methodology focuses on costs faced by businesses, it also changes the way assets such as buildings and machinery are measured, giving “significantly improved estimates of how money moves around the UK economy”.
Boris Johnson has promised a £25 million funding boost to help hospices to cope with pressures on frontline care. The PM and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds hosted a reception in Downing Street last week for hospice staff. It marked the first time Ms Symonds was photographed inside Number 10 since Johnson took power. Johnson said: “Seeing a loved one nearing the end of their life is one of the hardest things a family will ever experience, so it’s vital that we support our fantastic and hardworking hospice staff to deliver the highest quality palliative care.
The government has pledged £25 million to help struggling hospices and palliative care services following an ITV News and Hospice UK investigation into funding for end of life care. In an ITV News exclusive, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the cash injection “to alleviate the everyday pressures” faced by the sector. Boris Johnson said he hopes there will be more money next year too before adding: “It’s absolutely clear the work [hospice workers] do is crucial for our society”.
People should monitor their blood pressure in their thirties to keep their brains healthy much later in life, a study suggests. Researchers found that those whose blood pressure increased more rapidly between their mid-thirties and early forties tended to have smaller brains when they reached their early seventies — an indicator of brain health. The results suggest that a 20-year window of opportunity opens in one’s thirties to lessen the chances of diseases such as vascular dementia, the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s.
The BBC has admitted its representation of the European Parliamentary election results in May represented a “lapse of editorial standards” when it refused to count the Conservative Party as a ‘pro-Brexit’ party. The organisation’s Executive Complaints Unit is now “consider[ing] what further action is required”… The notorious chart used by the BBC to present the election results attempted to present the Conservative Party as holding a similarly ambiguous position on Brexit as the Labour Party did at the time, in order to deliberately imply anti-Brexit parties received the most votes. Incredibly, it is still up on the BBC website.
Rail passengers planning a bank holiday getaway are being urged to avoid the East Coast Main Line this weekend. Train operator London North Eastern Railway (LNER) issued a “do not travel” warning for the route between London and Scotland via York on Saturday and Sunday. This is because King’s Cross will be closed due to Network Rail engineering work, meaning there are no trains between London and Peterborough.
Train companies have admitted overcharging thousands of passengers caught fare dodging. Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) told the PA news agency that eight train companies punished ticketless travellers too harshly by not implementing a rule change made in April last year.