Brussels bureaucrats are working to create a “European Empire” without national borders and peopled by a “multicultural, mixed population”, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has warned. Speaking on Hungary’s national day, marking the ill-fated 1956 revolution against the occupying Soviet powers which was eventually brutally put down after Western democratic powers decided to not intervene on Hungary’s behalf, Prime Minister Orbán has cautioned against the European project, which he said was becoming an empire.
The European Commission will decide next month whether British citizens will need a visa to visit the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. A draft agenda for the college of commissioners, effectively the EU’s cabinet, shows the body will consider whether “to place the UK on either the ‘visa required’ list of third countries or the ‘visa free’ list”. The meeting, scheduled for 13 November, is part of the EU’s Brexit preparedness planning, which it last week pledged to step up after talks to sign a withdrawal agreement hit a wall.
Theresa May’s Brexit plan could leave Britain in a “long-running” multi-year transition period despite her promise that it would last only a few months, according to leaked cabinet papers seen by The Times. Cabinet ministers have been warned by officials that there is no guarantee Britain will be able to extricate itself from the transition arrangements in her preferred Brexit option. The leaked documents concede that the plan “could, in theory, lead to a long-running IP (implementation period)”. They make clear that the arrangement could last for many years on a “rolling” basis with an “annual decision point” where any transition extension is reviewed. This would appear to contradict the prime minister.
FRANCE could wreak massive damage on Britain’s economy by closing down Calais under a no deal Brexit, the Cabinet was warned. If negotiations fail and Theresa May refuses to pay the UK’s £39bn divorce bill, it is feared Paris could immediately retaliate by creating chaos with cross-channel trade. As the nation’s only major roll-on roll-off ferry hub, the Dover-Calais crossing has been identified by DexEU officials as Britain major strategic weak point. France has the power to spark huge delays for UK-bound lorries importing factory parts for ‘just in time’ supply chains such as car factories.
Whitehall will not have the staff, infrastructure or systems in place to protect and police the UK’s land and sea border with the European Union in a no-deal Brexit, officials have admitted. The National Audit Office (NAO) said that ministers and civil servants had conceded that it was too late to put in place a “fully functioning” no-deal border by the end of March. They added that businesses and individuals who relied on the border running smoothly “will pay the price”. In its report the NAO said that 11 out of 12 “critical systems” that need to be replaced or changed to manage a no deal Brexit may not be ready in time.
Measures to prepare the UK border for Brexit may not be ready for a no-deal scenario, a government watchdog has warned. The Government faces a race against time to replace critical IT systems, boost Border Force staffing levels and build new infrastructure to track goods, according to the National Audit Office. It said effective management of the border is “fundamentally important” and highlighted the potential for crime gangs to exploit any gaps. Sir Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO, said: “Government has openly accepted the border will be sub-optimal if there is no deal with the EU on 29 March 2019.
Brexit must be used as an opportunity to protect the UK’s plants, by stopping diseases coming into the country on herbs and flowers from the EU, the Royal Horticultural Society has said. The devastating plant disease Xylella fastidiosa is well-established in southern parts of Europe, and there are worries it could be imported to the UK on foreign plants, or taken home from the continent by holidaymakers.
The European Commission has ordered Italy to rip up its free-spending budget in an unprecedented financial rebuke of a member state. Giving the country’s populist government three weeks to rewrite its budget, the commission warned Italy against thinking it could “break free” of eurozone austerity rules. Luigi di Maio, the Italian deputy prime minister, responded: “This is the first Italian budget that the EU doesn’t like. I am not surprised. This is the first Italian budget that was written in Rome and not in Brussels.”
The unelected EU Commission have now formally rejected the budget of Italian government in an unprecedented move. They will now demand a new budget from Italy ready within three weeks. Who the hell do they think they are? Westmonster has previously reported on how the Italian government had to submit their budget to be approved by Brussels, with the EU having briefed out they were likely to veto to.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has warned that there is no “plan B” for Italy following the European Commission’s unprecedented rejection of the Italian budget. After weeks of back and forth between Brussels and the populist coalition government in Rome, the European Union’s Commission has rejected the Italian budget and told the government to draft another, Il Giornale reports. The EU has given the Italians three weeks to come up with a new budget proposal.
The Times has made a spectacular error in rewording a letter written by Veterans for Britain, signed by military luminaries such from Major-General Julian Thompson CB, to Rear-Admiral Roger Lane-Nott and Professor Gwythian Prins. Veterans for Britain‘s original letter was clear that this is a group that supports the full implementation of the 2016 referendum, and a change in Prime Minister if that is what it takes to deliver it. “…if [the PM] lacks the grip to deliver the will of the People’s Vote 2016, then surely now is the time to hand over..” However The Times, which used to aspire to be the journal of record, reinterpreted the words which became… “…if [the PM] lacks the grip to deliver a People’s Vote, then surely now is the time to hand over..” Cock up or conspiracy?
Theresa May will try to face down her fiercest critics at a meeting in Parliament on Wednesday after a “heated” debate at her weekly Cabinet meeting about Brexit. A senior Tory source said Mrs May was “taking the opportunity to talk to colleagues” at the 1922 Committee meeting after Tuesday’s Cabinet was dominated by no-deal preparations and fears among Eurosceptic ministers that Britain will get tied into the customs union indefinitely. Mrs May was challenged at the meeting by more than half a dozen “impassioned” ministers to set an end-date so Britain does not remain in a customs union indefinitely after a 21-month transition period is over.
Theresa May is set to face Conservative MPs who are increasingly concerned about her Brexit plans at a potentially crucial meeting later. The showdown at the backbench 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers in parliament comes amid speculation she could be about to face a vote of no confidence in her leadership. At the weekend, anonymous opponents warned Sunday newspapers that the prime minister’s tenure was under threat. Some used stark language – with one saying she was in a “killing zone” and another saying she should “bring her own noose” to the meeting.
THERESA May yesterday ordered weekly updates for her Cabinet on Britain’s preparations for leaving the European Union with or without a deal. In what was seen as a signal to Brussels about her resolve not to surrender on key points, Number 10 let it be known the Prime Minister had stressed the importance of preparing for a no-deal outcome. But she also told the meeting in 10 Downing Street that getting an agreement with the EU was both the priority and the most likely result of ongoing talks.
Theresa May has confirmed she will attend a showdown meeting with rebellious MPs at the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee on Wednesday. It means the prime minister will have to speak to and take questions from her backbenchers behind closed doors, with many of them said to be plotting her downfall. On Tuesday morning she emerged from what several sources later told The Independent was a cabinet meeting punctuated with “feisty” exchanges, during which she agreed ministers would receive weekly updates on her Brexit strategy. It comes after she managed to sidestep a Commons rebellion over her proposals planned for Wednesday, amid a backlash against critics using unsavoury language about her.
Theresa May has sidestepped a Brexit rebellion from Eurosceptic Tories threatening to seize control of a key part of her negotiating strategy. The prime minister said she would make the UK’s proposals for the Irish border after Brexit legally binding, claiming this would negate the need for the EU’s alternative, which is hated by Eurosceptic rebels. She also argued there had been a “substantial shift” in the EU’s willingness to engage with her ideas on the problem of the Irish border. In a sign that her words had won at least a temporary reprieve, rebels withdrew a plan to forcefully cut off some of her negotiating options in a Commons vote later this week.
Sadiq Khan has sent a message to the EU that he believes Labour will be forced to oppose the “bad” Brexit deal that is emerging from their negotiations with Theresa May. The mayor of London’s comments come ahead of his meeting this week with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in which Khan will emphasise the need for far closer economic ties. He will also point to Saturday’s People’s Vote march as evidence of a shift in public opinion in favour of a vote on any agreement reached in Brussels. Khan, who joined calls for a second referendum at the weekend’s demonstration, when almost 700,000 people marched through central London, is to meet Barnier on Friday.
John Bercow faces an investigation over claims that he bullied Commons staff, after the government threw its weight behind calls for historical complaints against MPs to be investigated. A week after an independent report laid bare parliament’s bullying culture, both Labour and the Conservatives have indicated that they will support its key recommendations. At a meeting of the House of Commons commission today Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons, is expected to call for past complaints against MPs to be incorporated into an independent grievance scheme set up by MPs this year.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow is facing fresh pressure to quit over allegations of bullying after three Conservative MPs resigned from a committee designed to improve working life in Westminster. Will Quince, Mims Davies and Anne Milton stepped down from the Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion, which is chaired by Mr Bercow, in the wake of a damning report on the failures of parliamentary leaders to tackle bullying and harassment of staff. The report, by Dame Laura Cox QC, questioned whether the current Commons leadership would be able to lead the changes it said were needed.
Three Tory MPs have quit a committee chaired by the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, citing a failure to tackle Westminster bullying on the eve of a crucial Commons meeting to respond to an inquiry into harassment. Bercow has been the subject of a number of bullying claims, including a complaint from his former private secretary, which he vehemently denies. The House of Commons commission, which oversees the administration of the Commons, will meet on Wednesday to respond to the damning independent report by Dame Laura Cox, which suggested senior management should step aside.
The far-right activist Tommy Robinson claimed victory as he left the Old Bailey after his contempt of court case was referred to the attorney-general. Hundreds of supporters crowded the street outside the court for a rally, chanting his name until he was ushered on to a temporary stage and introduced as “our hero, our saviour”. Robinson, 35, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was jailed for 13 months for knowingly breaching reporting restrictions in the case of a gang of child sex abusers, largely Britons of Pakistani-Muslim heritage, in a live-streamed video from outside the court.
Far-right Tommy Robinson’s contempt of court saga looks set to drag on past Christmas after his case was referred to the Attorney General. Britain’s top lawyer – who is a Tory Cabinet minister – will now decide whether to pursue a long-running allegation against the English Defence League founder, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. The dramatic development came just moments after Robinson, who denies breaching the Contempt of Court Act, arrived for a hearing at the Old Bailey in London. It’s the latest twist in a story that has been seized on by the 35-year-old’s backers – often without the full facts behind them.
Tommy Robinson is free. This was by no means certain when he walked into the courtroom at London’s Old Bailey this morning, That’s why he brought along his prison bag and why he had said goodbye to his wife and children, just in case. Happily, instead the judge did what Robinson and his lawyers had hoped: he referred the case upwards to the Attorney General. Some call this buck-passing. I disagree. From where I was sitting, Nicholas Hilliard QC — the Recorder of London presiding over the case — appeared a decent, thoughtful sort, who considered the evidence carefully and without prejudice and reached the only sensible decision. What moved Hilliard to this judgement was a long submission he had been given beforehand by Tommy Robinson.
MPs voted in favour of legalising abortion in Northern Ireland today after being told women left bloodied and battered should have the right to access the service. Labour MP Diana Johnson brought draft laws to the Commons in defiance of claims from the DUP Westminster must not interfere in the devolved issue. Without Government support, Ms Johnson’s Bill will not become law because of a lack of Parliamentary time but the 208 to 123 vote is a significant call for Theresa May‘s Government to act. Women’s Minister Victoria Atkins was among the Aye voters. The DUP props up Theresa May’s Tory Government in the Commons and any move to make today’s vote law would enrage the socially conservative party.
Five Tory ministers and a Conservative vice-chair have broken ranks with Theresa May to back a House of Commons move to make abortion legal in Northern Ireland. The group were among a total of 208 MPs to vote in favour of a backbench MP’s bid to remove criminal liability from women consenting to a termination. With their support, against 123 MPs who were opposed, a private member’s bill presented by Labour’s Diana Johnson cleared its first Commons hurdle on Tuesday.
MPs have voted in favour of legalising abortion in Northern Ireland after a number of Tory ministers broke ranks to back demands for change, creating a potential headache for Theresa May. The House of Commons voted by 208 votes to 123 in favour of a bill introduced by Labour MP Diana Johnson that seeks to scrap 157-year-old laws that make the practice illegal. The laws no longer affect women in England, Scotland and Wales because of changes that were made in 1967, but continue to apply in Northern Ireland.
Bullying and harassment in the NHS could be costing more than £2 billion per year in England alone, warns new research. The figures come from the first comprehensive estimate of the financial costs of bullying and harassment in the NHS. The study, published in the journal Public Money and Management, used data from NHS Digital to gauge the impact of bullying on sickness absence, employee turnover, productivity, sickness presenteeism, and employment relations.
Young people are more sceptical of vaccinations than older generations, with faith in the flu jab particularly low, a European Commission report has found. Misguided perceptions that diseases, such as flu, are not a serious threat, compounded by the rapid spread of health myths on social media, are thought to be driving complacency and sceptisim. Those aged 18 to 24 were 28 per cent less likely than over-65s to agree that vaccinations are safe, and those aged between 25 and 34 were 39 per cent less likely.
HEALTH bosses have issued a warning to meat-eaters across the UK after hundreds were struck down by salmonella.The Food Standards Agency urged consumers to make sure all minced and diced lamb or mutton is “properly cooked” before eating. The watchdog revealed more than 300 people had fallen ill with the bug since July last year – with a massive spike causing more than half of cases since June. Salmonella is a gut-dwelling bacteria and is carried in foods such as eggs, chicken, pork and dairy foods. Symptoms of the bug include fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.
Rail passengers on routes hit by a guards strike were advised not to travel on Wednesday because of a signal failure. South Western Railway services were already being disrupted by the second day of a five-day walkout by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union. in a message to passengers: “Due to a major fault with Network Rail signalling systems between Woking and Surbiton, trains are unable to run on this line through to London Waterloo.
Hundreds of thousands of commuters and families faced delays and cancellations today as a new five-day train strike began in the middle of the half-term school holidays. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on South Western Railway mounted picket lines outside stations as the longest stretch of strikes since the start of a long-running row over guards got under way. Almost a third of services will be cancelled between today and Friday, while half will operate on Saturday.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease accounted for more than one in eight deaths in England and Wales last year, figures show. The conditions were the leading cause of death, before heart disease. Researchers said that the trend would continue as people lived longer and survived other diseases. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that 67,641 deaths were attributed to dementia and Alzheimer’s last year, up from 62,948 in 2016. The proportion rose from 12 per cent to 12.7 per cent.