The European Union (EU) could sue the UK, attempting to stop Britain forming trade links with major nations before it has fully left the block, the government has been warned. Legal advice given to the new International Trade Secretary Liam Fox insists the UK “cannot” negotiate free trade deals with nations already in talks with the EU until Brexit is complete. The document leaked to the Sunday Times, says there is a “high risk” if the UK enters into talks with trading superpowers such as America, Canada, Japan, and Brazil, who are also in talks with the EU. The EU has been trying and failing, to negotiate the widely despised Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States for years.

Sky News
The EU leader preparing to chair Brexit negotiations has told Sky News the UK is “between a rock and a hard place” and will be offered an “inferior” trade deal. Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta, told Sky News on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York that he had told Theresa May: “Most of my colleagues want a fair deal for both the UK and Europe, but it has to be a deal that is inferior to membership, so you can’t have the cake and eat it. “I don’t see a situation where Britain will be better off at the end of the deal.” Dr Muscat’s comments are significant because Malta is the set to hold the rotating EU presidency, meaning it will chair the initial Brexit negotiations if Mrs May triggers Article 50 early next year, as she has indicated.

BRITAIN must quit the EU single market and immediately start talks on free trade deals with other parts of the world, a former diplomat has urged. Dr Geoff Raby, who was Australia’s ambassador to the World Trade Organisation and to China, said British consumers would save money once free of the “protectionist” EU customs union. His comments came amid speculation about wrangles in Theresa May’s Cabinet over whether the UK should try to stay in the single market as part of its Brexit deal. Dr Raby, now with British think-tank Policy Exchange, wrote: “The time has come for the British to leave the EU’s protectionist baggage on the Brussels carousel. “The UK would do well to reject calls for a UK-EU customs union.



NIGEL Farage says he might make a comeback just days after handing over the leadership of Ukip to his successor Diane James. Mr Farage, who took the party to an EU referendum victory in June, says he could be “forced” to return to domestic politics if the Tories fail to deliver Brexit. He played down rumours he would return as leader as fears grow that Prime Minister Theresa May may deliver a “Brexit-lite” after refusing to rule out continued payments to Brussels and preferential access for EU citizens. Mr Farage said yesterday: “If the Government fail and don’t deliver Brexit and don’t do the job properly and don’t get our British passports back and don’t get our fishing waters back and don’t do what 17-and-a-half million people have asked them to do, well then I suppose I’d be forced to have a think about going again. If I make a comeback, I’m not saying I would come back as leader, I’d come back and support the leader.”



JUST 30,000 skilled EU workers a year should be allowed into Britain, claims a campaign group. Home Secretary Amber Rudd will today study the tough permit-based immigration plan. The Migration Watch UK think tank claims the move would keep out unskilled workers, who make up 80 per cent of all new arrivals from the EU. An average of 25,000 skilled workers a year have come to Britain since 2006. A cap would slash 100,000 unskilled workers a year from the out-of-control net migration total of 330,000. Migration Watch UK vice chairman Alp Mehmet called for “a sensible limit on skilled EU migration.” He said: “Closing our doors to low-skilled workers is essential to reduce the scale of immigration and restore confidence in its control.”

Theresa May is to send hundreds of British troops to Somalia and spend £100 million in aid to stem the flow of migrants from Africa. In her first troop deployment as prime minister, military trainers will boost efforts to hold back al-Shabaab, the Islamist militant group. Mrs May is also spending £20 million to help Somalia to take back families from refugee camps in Kenya and another £80 million to help Ethiopia to provide jobs for migrants from Eritrea. In her first speech at the UN general assembly Mrs May presented the deployment and aid package.



THERESA May has slammed claims by Nicola Sturgeon that Scottish independence is more important than the economy and oil trade. Downing Street was quick to lambast the First Minister’s argument that the case for Scottish independence “transcends” Scotland’s national wealth and oil industry. The First Minister came under fire for saying “the case for full self-government ultimately transcends the issues of Brexit, of oil, of national wealth and balance sheets and of passing political fads and trends.” A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May criticised the SNP leader for suggesting the issues were “passing fads”.

Members of the Scottish National Party (SNP) have been breaking ranks over the party’s official line on Britain leaving the European Union, suggesting that the situation could offer “significant opportunities” for Scottish industry and the Scottish people. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has claimed that Brexit could lead to a “lost decade” for the UK, and has lobbying European leaders relentlessly over the last few months to allow Scotland to stay within the EU. But addressing colleagues at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood last week, Alex Neil, an SNP member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) called for an end to “refighting the EU referendum”. He insisted: “The challenge [before us] is to make the best for Scotland of Brexit. […] Our entire focus must be on what we do to plan for life outside EU membership.”

An Australian family waging a long and high-profile fight against deportation from Scotland has been granted leave to stay after meeting British visa requirements with a new job offer. The predicament of Kathryn and Gregg Brain and their son Lachlan had highlighted differing British perspectives on immigration north and south of the border in the lead-up to the vote to leave the European Union earlier this year. Kathryn Brain has now been offered a job at a hotel group which meets visa conditions, Britain´s interior ministry said on Tuesday. The family had moved from Brisbane to Scotland in 2011 on Kathryn Brain´s temporary student visa. At that time, the visa allowed her to seek work afterwards as part of a government-backed scheme to help shore up an ageing and shrinking population in the Scottish Highlands. But the scheme was subsequently scrapped, leaving the Brains in limbo and facing deportation.



Labour chiefs have blocked a conference debate on Trident to avoid an embarrassing defeat for Jeremy Corbyn . Motions for and against the renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent have been rejected by party bosses. The move follows fears that Mr Corbyn, a former vice chair of CND and a long-standing opponent of Trident , would have lost if the issue was pushed to a vote. It also spares the Labour leader from having to take opposing sides to his union backers who are in favour of retaining the country’s fleet of nuclear submarines. A motion submitted by a Scottish Labour constituency called on conference to note that cancelling Trident would “result in thousands of redundancies” at “world-class engineering centres” in Barrow, Derby, Faslane and Rosyth.”


Labour leadership

ITV News
Today’s marathon meeting of Labour’s ruling NEC neither saved the party or consigned it to the dustbin of history. A painfully argued decision to give representation on the NEC to a member of the Scottish parliament and one from the Welsh assembly feels a good 15 years after the event – but was not what Corbyn sought (he wanted these places chosen by Scottish and Welsh activists). And the agreement by Jeremy Corbyn to talk with his deputy Tom Watson and the chief whip Rosie Winterton about possibly ceding to Labour MPs some of his power to appoint his frontbench team may be a greater concession by him than some expected. Or maybe not.

Jeremy Corbyn’s final showcase rally before Labour’s leadership election result on Saturday has been quietly cancelled amid fears it was going to be sabotaged by the disgraced corrupt mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman. Up to a thousand Corbyn supporters were due to attend the “Super-Tuesday” rally in Mile End, east London, tonight but The Independent has learnt the leader’s campaign team were alerted the disgraced ex-mayor was planning to attend and exploit it for his own publicity. With the possibility of Rahman, who was expelled from office by an Election Court judge last year, being photographed alongside Mr Corbyn, the leader’s campaign HQ decided to change the venue and nature of tonight’s proceedings. It had been planned for the Water Lily centre, a large but drab conference centre that has previously staged rabble rousing-rallies for Rahman and George Galloway. But over the past 24 hours, there was a series of frantic discussions between Mr Corbyn’s HQ and Tower Hamlets Momentum about the risk. There was even talk of placing bouncers on the door to block the possible entry of Rahman and his group of Tower Hamlets Independent Group councillors.

The Labour party was left in deadlock on Tuesday night after the party’s national executive committee failed to reach a consensus about how to persuade MPs to return to Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench. In a meeting that lasted more than eight hours, the Labour leader refused to sign up to plans put forward by his deputy under which Labour politicians would be allowed to vote for the shadow cabinet. Tom Watson argued that the move would help Corbyn to broker peace with his parliamentary party by offering politicians who lost confidence in the leadership during the summer a “dignified” way back. Corbyn – who is widely expected to triumph in the party’s leadership battle when a winner is announced on Saturday – used the meeting to tell NEC colleagues that he felt upset and disappointed about the way in which droves of MPs had resigned from the frontbench after the EU referendum result.

LABOUR’S top officials are to be removed in “a night of the long knives” planned by Jeremy Corbyn’s hard left allies if he is confirmed as winner of the leadership contest on Saturday. The move will allow Mr Corbyn and the far left Momentum group to start the mass deselection of moderate rebel MPs unless they agree to capitulate and follow his extremist agenda. The revelation came as Mr Corbyn sat down with his deputy Tom Watson in a marathon meeting of the party’s ruling National Executive Committee to try to end the civil war in the party. And it followed his latest leftwing plan, announced in a speech in Birmingham, to nationalise the Great British Bake Off.


Armed forces

BBC News
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will not allow an “industry of vexatious allegations” against UK troops over claims of abuse in Iraq. The Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) is examining serious allegations following the 2003 invasion. Mrs May said allegations would be investigated but steps had been taken to tackle abuse of the system. Concerns have been raised over the “industrial scale” of claims lodged with IHAT supported by legal aid. Mrs May said Britons should be proud of the work done by the armed forces and the disciplined way in which they operated. She insisted that action had been taken to address false claims and IHAT’s work would be completed by the end of 2019, after a review of the system by former director of public prosecutions Sir David Calvert-Smith.



A BAFFLED photographer captured a strange pattern of lights in the sky over Birmingham. Stunned Louise Berry snapped the unusual photos while driving through the city last week. She said the lights were blazing bright red and thought at first it may have been a giant firework in the sky. But when they did not fade she got increasingly stumped as to what the lights could be. Louise, who runs photography business Memories from Louise, said: “I haven’t a clue what it is. “I wondered at first if it was a giant firework. It was blazing red.” She added: “It took me aback when I saw it so I stopped the car and took a photo of it on my mobile phone.” As a photographer I am used to capturing unusual things but I have never seen anything like this before. I would love for a reader to tell me exactly what caused it.”

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