Brussels has rejected Theresa May’s new customs proposal less than 24 hours after the prime minister set it out in a bid to placate Brexiteers in her cabinet. European Commission officials told The Independent Ms May’s plan would be unacceptable and would go back on previous commitments made by British negotiators. A day earlier the prime minister had said the “backstop” plan to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland – which keeps Britain in alignment with the single market and customs union if no other agreement is reached – would be time limited. The move was an attempt to assuage Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson, who fear that it would become a backdoor way to keep Britain tied indefinitely to the EU through the customs union and single market.
Germany’s chaotic migration system is now facing accusations of improper decisions having been made by officials. Migration officials in Bremen are suspected of taking bribes to approve applications from migrants. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees were reportedly told about possibly wrong-doing earlier than they have admitted previously, with “massive irregularities” having been reported in February 2017, but they were supposedly reluctant to look into the matter. Though that has been disputed, there have been allegations that the Bremen office alone was involved in granting asylum to 1,200 refugees between 2013 and 2016 in exchange for bribes.
A VIRTUALLY unknown law professor could soon be Italy’s next Prime Minister, sparking fears Italy could threaten the EU in a move with bigger ramifications than Brexit. The Five Star Movement and the far-right League have proposed Giuseppe Conte as prime minister to lead their big-spending coalition government. It comes amid fears their administration could threaten the eurozone with campaign promises set to violate the EU’s strict financial rules. And although the Five Star Movement campaigned on reforming the EU from within, the League has been staunch in its rejection of the EU.
The man Lega’s Matteo Salvini is putting forward to be Italy’s next Economy Minister is an outspoken anti-Euro economist who has described the single currency as a ‘German prison’. Paolo Savona has previously said that: “If Italy has not already done so, it is time to have a Plan B ready – at the end of the Euro or exit from the same.” He has also said: “Even if you pretend that the problem does not exist, the European loop is tightening around the neck of Italy.” Italy’s new government could be truly revolutionary.
“THE STAGE is set” for Italy to leave the EU, as Brussels’ failure to keep promises to the Italian people means they will quit the elitist trade bloc, according to former Tory leader William Hague. The ex-foreign secretary was discussing the problems the new right-wing coalition in Italy will have with the EU as Brussels bureaucrats attempt to “prevent Italians from receiving the benefits for which they voted”. Writing in a newspaper column, Lord Hague said: “The two parties that have just jointly nominated a prime minister – the Five Star Movement and The League – are an entirely new combination, vehemently opposed to most of the policies pursued in their own country and the rest of Europe for the past few decades.
Officials in Germany’s economic powerhouse state of Hesse – home to significant industry and the major financial centre of Frankfurt – say Brexit has had no negative effect on business. Prof. Mathias Mueller, President of the Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce and Industry, explained: “Exports to the UK totalled 4.1 billion euros in 2017, which was 6.5 percent of Hessen’s exports… The sectors most affected include automobiles and automotive parts, since many Vauxhall automobiles sold in the UK are essentially “Made in Hessen”.
Britons are furious over Brexit meddling by peers in the House of Lords, a damning new poll has shown. Confidence in the Upper House has plummeted as 76 per cent of voters feel peers are ‘out of tune with the will of the British people’. Even more said the Lords is an ‘outdated throwback’. A Daily Mail poll, carried out by ComRes in May revealed some 58 per cent of voters believe peers would be wrong to try to thwart Brexit, with 24 per cent thinking they should do so. Peers have inflicted 15 separate defeats on the Government’s flagship EU withdrawal bill in recent weeks, including changes designed to keep the UK in the single market – or even prevent the UK leaving.
Theresa May is facing growing pressure from leading Brexiters to press ahead with fully leaving the customs union or else put future trade deals in jeopardy and risk losing the trust of the British people. On a trade mission to South America, Boris Johnson warned the prime minister that securing the best trade deals post-Brexit was dependent on leaving the customs union in its entirety with “confidence and brio and zap and dynamism”. Amid a concerted fightback by Brexiters, Michael Gove, the environment secretary, said that the backstop position, agreed by the cabinet last week in the event that the Irish border issue is not resolved speedily, must only be in place for a “short time”.
Order-Order (by Jacob Rees-Mogg)
“Inevitably it is disconcerting when the Government says one thing and then agrees to do another. In terms of these negotiations, particularly as they’re led by someone who backed Remain, trust is very important. And it’s very important that the Government maintains faith with those who voted leave. I think for the Government to be preparing for failure two and half years before the point at which they ought to be ready is just weak. To go into the negotiations to say to Mr Barnier, ‘we will kowtow before you in every way you possibly want if we cannot get everything ready by the due date’ encourages him to say, ‘just kowtow, I’m quite happy’. And make no effort to come to a sensible agreement, I think it is a sign of abject weakness.”
Michael Gove has accused Philip Hammond of being “short-sighted” over Brexit and helping to inflict a “damaging blow” to the Conservative Party’s “environmental credentials”. In a letter to Cabinet colleagues, seen by the Telegraph, the Environment Secretary blames the Treasury for a defeat in the House of Lords last week which could force the Government to retain all EU environmental protections after Brexit. It is understood that the Chancellor blocked plans to give a new post-Brexit environmental watchdog the power to fine the Government and local authorities if they fail to increase recycling and cut pollution.
The government has warned a group of MPs they are breaching parliamentary privilege by asking a court to rule on whether Brexit can be halted unilaterally by the UK. Three MPs are involved in a legal case brought by a group of eight pro-remain MPs, MSPs and MEPs, who want the European court of justice to rule on whether the UK can abandon moves to leave the EU without the consent of other member states. Their lawyer, Aidan O’Neill QC, told a civil court in Edinburgh on Tuesday there was a clear and urgent need for the court to refer the case to the European court, because MPs were soon to start voting on the EU withdrawal bill.
Fresh Cabinet tensions over Brexit have been exposed in a leaked letter in which Michael Gove hits out at Philip Hammond, blaming the Treasury for a defeat in the House of Lords. The Environment Secretary accused the Treasury of “short-sightedness” which had led to an “avoidable” Lords defeat for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Peers voted to force the Government to maintain EU environmental principles and standards after Brexit, the 15th defeat suffered during the Bill’s passage through the Lords. In the letter to Cabinet colleagues, which was obtained by The Daily Telegraph, Mr Gove pinned the blame for the defeat on the Chancellor’s department.
Fresh cabinet tensions over Brexit have come to the fore after it emerged that the environment secretary, Michael Gove, had launched a stinging attack on the chancellor, Philip Hammond, in a letter to fellow ministers. Gove, a senior Brexiter who has been seeking to rebuild his political career after failing to secure the Tory leadership in 2016, blamed Hammond for the government’s Lords defeat over its flagship Brexit legislation, the Guardian understands. He accused the Treasury of “short-sightedness” that led to the “avoidable” defeat over the European Union withdrawal bill.
Bank Governor Mark Carney was accused of ‘crying wolf’ today after he claimed households are £900 worse off than they would have been without Brexit. The Bank of England boss said the Britain’s relative slow down compared to other leading economies since 2016 meant people had lost ground. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson led the backlash against the Governor, insisting Brexit had not damaged Britain. While Brexiteer ringleader Jacob Rees-Mogg told MailOnline Mr Carney was ‘crying wolf’. Britain’s economy has grown in every quarter since the June 2016 poll – allowing Brexiteers to claim it has defied grim pre-referendum forecasts of a recession.
BANK of England boss Mark Carney was today accused of “crying wolf” after he claimed Brexit had cost every British family £900. He told MPs that the vote to leave the EU had lowered the UK’s economic growth by as much as 2 per cent. But Brexit backers accused him of discrediting the Bank by making his extreme forecasts. Speaking at the Treasury select committee, Mr Carney said: “Real household incomes are about £900 lower than we forecast in 2016. “The question is why and what drove that difference. Some of it is ascribed to Brexit.”
BORIS Johnson has made a surprise announcement that he does not want there to be a bank holiday to celebrate the UK’s “independence day” after leaving the European Union. Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage famously said in 2016 the date of the EU referendum on June 23 should become known as Britain’s Independence Day. Others have suggested an annual holiday should be declared for March 29 which is the formal date of Brexit in 2019. But leading Brexiteer Mr Johnson made clear he was wary of attempting to “impose a celebration” on voters as many remain bitterly opposed to Brexit. Speaking to reporters during his visit to South America, he said: “I think it was Doctor Johnson who said: ‘Believe me sir, there is nothing quite so hopeless as a scheme for merriment’.
John Bercow has met Labour MPs for one-to-one discussions in an attempt to save his job and swerve a potential coup in the House of Commons, the Telegraph can reveal. The Speaker is said to be desperately trying to shore up support among allies and friendly elements on the Opposition benches in the face of mounting bullying allegations and calls from Tory MPs for him to resign. According to insiders, he has met privately with a number of Labour MPs in the last few days, in the latest sign that his future in the Commons may be hanging in the balance.
John Bercow has been reported to the MPs’ ethics watchdog over allegations that he called the leader of the Commons a “f***ing stupid woman” and a “liar”. The Conservative MP James Duddridge, a longstanding critic of the Speaker, demanded that the parliamentary commissioner for standards secure video and audio footage of the incident in the Commons last week before it was destroyed and begin an investigation “as soon as possible”. Mr Bercow inflamed the row further by accepting that he had used the word “stupid” but stopping short of an apology. He carefully avoided responding to the allegation that he had directed the word towards Andrea Leadsom and did not make reference to the claim that he had been overheard calling her “f***ing useless”.
John Bercow, the Commons speaker, has been reported to parliament’s standards watchdog over allegations he branded Andrea Leadsom a “stupid woman”. Conservative MP James Duddridge said he had made a formal complaint to the parliamentary commissioner for standards over the outburst in the chamber. It follows Mr Bercow’s admission on Monday to “muttering” the word “stupid”, claiming his comments were focused on the government’s handling of parliamentary business. The Commons speaker had hit out at the government bench for scheduling a statement during an opposition day debate, taking time away from Labour’s motion on the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Parliament’s sleaze watchdog is examining a formal complaint against John Bercow, accusing him of “intimidation and bullying”. It is the strongest step yet taken by critics of the Commons speaker, following claims he called a senior Tory minister a “stupid woman” and a “liar”. Mr Bercow has not denied the allegations, including that he branded her actions “f****** outrageous”, and admitted using the word “stupid”. But he dismissed any comments as a “muttered aside” and insisted they were directed at the government’s handling of parliamentary business, rather than the House of Commons leader herself. A new letter from Tory backbencher James Duddridge to the parliamentary commissioner for standards demanded audio and video footage of the incident be examined.
Palace of Westminster
People are at “real risk” of being hit by falling masonry from the crumbling Palace of Westminster, Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader has said. A chunk of stone the size of a football fell 70m from the statue of an angel last month, leading to the temporary closure of part of the estate. Last October an MP’s windscreen was smashed by tumbling stonework. The incidents underline the urgency of a refurbishment programme that could cost £3.9 billion, MPs say. Decaying masonry, asbestos, aged electrical wiring and poor sewerage are just some of the faults requiring renovation, according to independent reports.
Ken Livingstone says he has not ruled out a return to the Labour Party “in a couple of years”. Mr Livingstone, the former mayor of London, quit the party on Monday night saying that the two-year saga over claims that he made antisemitic remarks had become a distraction. He was accused of racism and suspended in 2016 after claiming that German Zionists had collaborated with Adolf Hitler. He repeated the claim on multiple occasions. However, Mr Livingstone suggested that he may rejoin the party. He told Sky News: “It depends on how long I live doesn’t it? We will come back and talk about it in a couple of years.”
A mother who tricked her daughter into going on holiday to Pakistan then made her marry a man who had taken her virginity when she was 13 has become the first woman in Britain to be convicted of forced marriage. The girl, who is now 19 and described as vulnerable, was flown to Pakistan under the pretext of a family holiday and was made to marry the man, who is 16 years older than her, and wept throughout the ceremony. Her mother, who is 45 and cannot be named for legal reasons, planned the marriage and threatened her daughter with black magic and spirits if she spoke out. She told her daughter that she had “no choice” and that it was a “cultural matter”.
A woman has been found guilty of forcing her daughter to marry against her will in the first prosecution of its kind in the UK. The woman tricked her 18-year-old daughter into travelling to Pakistan with her where she was married off to a man 16 years older than her. She had to have an abortion when she came back to the UK and a doctor raised the alarm – but the mother claimed the daughter had merely sneakily had sex with a fellow teenager. When the girl said she didn’t want to marry the man, the mother threatened to burn her passport and assaulted her, the court heard. Supt Sally Holmes from West Midlands Police said up to 300 calls a month about forced marriage and honour-based abuse are reported.
A mother has been convicted of duping her teenage daughter to go to Pakistan and forcing her to marry, in the first successful prosecution of its type. The woman was found guilty following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, where a jury heard how the victim had sobbed as she was married to a male relative 16 years her senior. Years earlier, the man had taken the girl’s virginity after a marriage contract was entered into against the girl’s will. The then 13-year-old had to undergo an abortion on returning to the UK, with her GP reporting his concerns to social services.
Young girls in Sweden are being advised to put a spoon in the crotch of their pants as they go through airport metal detectors to alert authorities if they fear they’re being sent abroad to undergo female genital mutilation or forced marriages. Katarina Idegard, who is in charge of tackling these disgusting practises in Gothenburg, said: “The spoon will trigger metal detectors when you go through security checks. You will be taken aside and you can then talk to staff in private.” A hotline in Sweden received 139 calls last year about forced marriages or FGM. In 2016, a father was convicted of forcing his daughter to marry against her will after tricking her into making a trip to Afghanistan.
EATING an egg a day cuts stroke risk by about a quarter, a study claims. It found those who consumed an egg daily were 26 per cent less likely to have a haemorrhagic stroke — bleeding around the brain — than those who rarely ate one. Researchers also say the risk of ischaemic stroke, a blockage that cuts off blood to the brain, fell ten per cent. The Chinese study examined the diets of 416,000 adults. Although eggs are high in cholesterol, they contain healthy nutrients that experts say boost heart health. High protein levels also help people feel fuller — something that’s been proven to help people shift extra pounds.