REMAIN campaigners plotting a last-ditch attempt to block Brexit were warned last night that the will of the British people will prevail. Brexit minister David Davis defiantly vowed to begin forcing through a new law “within days” and give the Government power to set us free from Brussels. This came after senior judges upheld a legal challenge and ruled that Parliament must vote on the process of leaving the European Union. “There can be no going back,” EU Exit Secretary Mr Davis declared in an emphatic rebuke to MPs and peers plotting blockading and delaying tactics. Mr Davis is expected to unveil a “straightforward” Bill tomorrow that will give Prime Minister Theresa May legal power to trigger Article 50, the EU exit clause.
Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon are plotting to undermine Theresa May’s plan for a clean Brexit as the Government insisted there will be “no going back” on the vote to Leave despite a Supreme Court ruling. Mr Corbyn, the Labour leader, is calling for full access to the Single Market after Brexit and will table legislation demanding that the terms of any final deal are sent back to Brussels if Parliament reject them. The SNP said that it is prepared to table 50 amendments, including a proposal to block Brexit entirely, while the Liberal Democrats will seek a second referendum and oppose triggering Article 50. A dozen pro-European Conservative MPs are also prepared to join forces with Labour and the SNP in an attempt to force the Government to formally set out its negotiating strategy.
Tory rebels joined forces with Labour today in a bid to force Theresa May to publish her EU withdrawal plans in Parliament or face the prospect of two years of “tension and bad blood” from her own MPs. Around a dozen Conservatives want her objectives set out in a White Paper so they can be officially debated in Parliament before she fires the starting gun on Brexit. An initial vote on triggering Article 50 might now happen as early as next week. A string of Tories openly demanded the concession in Parliament, with one later telling The Independent that if Ms May failed to give way, she faced fraught relations with her own benches just as she tries to pass complex Brexit laws on a narrow timescale, with a tiny Commons majority.
A new law will emerge within days after the Supreme Court ruled MPs must vote before kick-starting Brexit. In a crushing blow to Theresa May, Britain’s highest court said the Prime Minister could not pull two-year exit trigger Article 50 without the approval of Parliament. Today Brexit Secretary David Davis said the so-called Article 50 Bill will be introduced as soon as possible. But it could be just one line long – prompting fury from Remain-backing MPs who said the government must face more scrutiny. “We will within days introduce legislation that gives the government legal power to trigger Article 50,” the Brexit Secretary said.
The Supreme Court reasserted the authority of MPs over government yesterday by curtailing the power of ministers to begin the process of Brexit. In a landmark ruling, Britain’s highest court said that only parliament had the right to make the decision of “momentous significance” that will take the country out of the European Union. The justices’ judgment, by a majority of eight to three, paves the way for weeks of parliamentary brinkmanship as ministers try to stop the legislation being ambushed by MPs and peers seeking to change the course of Brexit. Last night rebel Tory MPs threatened to use parliament to force Theresa May to publish a formal plan for Brexit before Article 50, the mechanism for leaving the EU, is triggered.
Parliament can still decide to stay in the European Union after Article 50 is triggered, a leading constitutional lawyer has said following the Supreme Court’s Brexit verdict. Geoffrey Robertson QC, who first outlined the argument that succeeded in the court in The Independent just a few days after the EU referendum, noted that the eight judges who decided Theresa May needed parliamentary approval to begin the process of leaving the EU had left open the question of whether it could be reversed. The ruling was issued as if Article 50 would make Brexit inevitable, he said, but only because both parties to the court case had agreed this was correct. And he noted that one of the three dissenting judges had described the issue as “potentially controversial”, suggesting it was still a live issue.
Labour has said it will seek full tariff-free access to the single market following the Supreme Court’s ruling that Theresa May must consult Parliament on Article 50. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would not “frustrate the process for invoking Article 50” but would seek to amend the legislation to prevent the UK becoming a “bargain-basement tax haven”. He said: “Labour will seek to build in the principles of full, tariff-free access to the single market and maintenance of workers’ rights and social and environmental protections. “Labour is demanding a plan from the Government to ensure it is accountable to Parliament throughout the negotiations and a meaningful vote to ensure the final deal is given parliamentary approval.”
About 60 Labour MPs are preparing to defy any party order to vote in favour of triggering article 50, with frontbenchers expected to resign if a three-line whip is enforced. Party sources said no decision would be made before the government’s legislation was published, but several Labour MPs said they were certain a three-line whip, which is used for the most critical votes, would be imposed on MPs. Jeremy Corbyn has made clear that Labour MPs would be asked to vote for triggering article 50 because his party does not want to block the Brexit process. A bill is expected to come before parliament later this week after the supreme court ruled that MPs and peers must have a vote before the two-year formal process for leaving the EU begins. The SNP, the Liberal Democrats and Green MP Caroline Lucas have also said they would vote against article 50 legislation, as has the former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke.
LABOUR committed yesterday to ensure that people’s rights were protected in a post-Brexit Britain following the Supreme Court’s ruling that the government needs the vote of Parliament before triggering Article 50. Leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Labour MPs would not frustrate kick-starting the two-year process to leave the EU, amid concerns expressed by members that doing so could lose Labour its safe seats and also a general election. He added that the party wants to amend a final Bill so that PM Theresa May can be stopped from converting Britain into even more of a “bargain basement tax haven off the shores of Europe” in lowering corporation tax. Brexit secretary David Davis told the Commons hours after the court ruling that a “straightforward” and as “simple as possible” Brexit Bill will be tabled in the coming days with many opportunities for amendments.
A LABOUR MP vowed to vote against triggering Article 50 – because Britain “did not vote to leave the single market”. Mike Gapes claimed voters were unaware a vote for Leave would mean a vote to quit the EU’s trading bloc. His comments come despite leading figures on both sides of the referendum campaign making it clear Brexit would result in leaving the single market. Both David Cameron and George Osborne repeated that Britain would be out of the European market if voters opted for Brexit. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, both key figures in the official Vote Leave camp, also made similar promises. Despite this, the Labour MP for Ilford North insisted it was not clear enough leading up to the June 23 vote. “The referendum said we would leave the European Union, it didn’t say we’d leave the customs union or the single market,” he told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.
MPs have repeated their call for the government to publish its plan for Brexit in a formal policy document. A number of Conservative MPs have joined Labour in asking for a White Paper on the government’s negotiating objectives, arguing it will allow for a fuller debate on Brexit. It comes after the Supreme Court ruled MPs must vote on whether the government can start the Brexit process. It is thought a Brexit bill could be introduced as early as Thursday. More than half a dozen Conservative MPs including some ex-ministers are calling for a Brexit White Paper to be published in the coming days. The BBC understands they have already met with Conservative Party whips. Downing Street, while not explicitly ruling out a White Paper, has stressed that Prime Minister Theresa May has already set out her plan for Brexit. BBC political correspondent Tom Bateman said some who had campaigned to leave the EU feared a White Paper might create another vehicle to frustrate the process.
A clear majority of Brits back leaving the European Union (EU), whether or not a trade deal with the bloc can be reached in two years, and there is little public support for a second referendum, a poll has revealed. The results of the survey were revealed the day before Britain’s Supreme Court decided Parliament must have a vote on the triggering of Article 50, raising the prospect MPs could hinder the process or push for another public vote on a final deal. According to the ICM poll for The Guardian, 63 per cent support Prime Minister Theresa May’s assertion that leaving the EU without a trade deal will be better than leaving with a bad deal, and 53 per cent back leaving regardless of what happens. Only 12 per cent think Parliament should decide on whether Brexit happens based on the outcome of negotiations, and just over a quarter, 26 per cent, back a second referendum on the outcome of negotiations. Nine per cent didn’t know.
EUROCRATS are now making record numbers of EU laws in secret as the bloc continues to battle a major popularity crisis amongst voters across the continent, explosive analysis shows today. Brussels is shutting up shop and deliberating on an ever greater number of intrusive regulations away from the harsh light of public scrutiny, minimising opportunities for criticism and opposition. Dynamite figures uncovered by an EUobserver investigation show that secret lawmaking is now at its joint highest level ever in the history of the bloc, raising serious questions over the health of European democracy. Campaigners and politicians today described the development as “astonishing” and said they were “alarmed” by the number of sweeping regulations being cooked up behind closed doors. The issue revolves around the numbers of Brussels bills, originating from the unelected EU Commission, which are being rushed through without lengthy debates in the EU Parliament.
Britain could face an even more fervent pro-EU German leader in Brexit talks than Angela Merkel after Martin Schulz, the firebrand former president of the European parliament, emerged as her main challenger. Mr Schulz blamed the Conservatives for reducing the UK to “rubble” by allowing the referendum. “The party of Churchill and Disraeli put its own interests before that of the country. Cameron, Johnson and Gove have left rubble behind them in a bid to fuel their personal ambitions,” he said in July. As Britain negotiated its future relationship with the EU, Brussels would need to “defend the interests of its citizens, just as the UK will do”, he said.
European officials remained resigned to the prospect of Britain leaving the EU on Tuesday, despite a Supreme Court ruling that Theresa May must consult Parliament before triggering its departure. Ireland’s foreign affairs minister said the Government’s commitment to meet a March deadline for triggering Article 50 provided “welcome certainty” ahead of Brexit negotiations. Charlie Flanagan said Ireland had been preparing for Brexit long ahead of the ruling, in which eight of 11 Supreme Court judges agreed both the Commons and the Lords must approve before the two-year process of leaving the EU can begin. He said: “I welcome the confirmation from the UK Government that it will proceed with the triggering of Article 50 by the end of March at the latest. This provides welcome certainty for the beginning of the negotiations between the UK and the EU.
The European parliament has overcome attempts to sideline it from the Brexit negotiations and will become a “very difficult partner” during the talks, the leader of its biggest party has revealed. MEPs in the EU’s 28 member states were furious when the European council last month announced a plan that would have diminished their role during the two years of negotiations. Under the plan, the former French minister Michel Barnier and the president of the European council, Donald Tusk, were to sit at the negotiating table, leaving the parliament on the periphery. However, German MEP Manfred Weber, who chairs the centre-right European People’s party, said that following a “good dialogue” with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, he feels there is now no question of the parliament not being centrally involved.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned Tuesday that Britain’s exit from the EU posed a severe threat to the country’s recovering economy, and made a plea for cohesion in Europe. His comments came as the British government said it would present draft legislation within days to begin the process of withdrawing from the EU, seven months after Britons voted for exiting the bloc in a referendum. “Brexit is a serious threat,” Rajoy told a Madrid gathering organised by conservative daily ABC. “Without wanting to go into other considerations, I will only tell you that one in five tourists who come to Spain are British, and close to 17 million Britons visited Spain last year.” The Brexit-related fall of the value of the pound in recent months has caused concern that fewer Britons may travel, and has British retirees in Spain worried about their declining purchasing power.
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall is on course to win the Stoke by-election by TEN POINTS from Labour – it was claimed. Brexit-backing campaign group Labour Leave said it believe UKIP would take the seat with 35 per cent of the vote. Labour is on course to come second on 25 per cent and the Tories third on 10 per cent. The findings come with Labour due to announce their candidate for the by-election on Wednesday. Labour Leave warned that if the party lose Stoke, up to FIFTY seats could fall to “our opponents”. Labour Leave chairman – party donor John Mills – urged Jeremy Corbyn to act. He said: “If Labour is to hold onto this seat and others in the Midlands and the North then it must respond to voters concerns over Brexit and immigration.”
A NEW poll has revealed that Ukip leader Paul Nuttall is on track to easily win the Stoke Central by-election and cause a political earthquake. According to the poll commissioned by Labour Leave, Ukip has a strong lead in the Labour stronghold with 35 per cent 10 points ahead of Labour. The by-election is set to take place on 23 February after leading moderate Tristram Hunt quit to become director of the V&A museum. Despite being a very close third in the general election in 2017 the Tories are lagging behind on 10 per cent. Stoke had one of the strongest Leave votes in the referendum with almost 70 per cent of voters backing Brexit. With support for Jeremy Corbyn’s hard Left leadership collapsing across the country and confusion over whether Labour backs Brexit or will support Remoaners attempting to block Article 50 voters in the party’s heartlands are understood to be turning to Ukip.
A poll released today by the Labour Leave campaign puts UKIP a clear 10 points ahead of Labour in Stoke and a whopping 25 points ahead of the Tories. The poll shows the extent to which UKIP is picking up former Labour voters. 81% of those intending to vote UKIP in Stoke have previously voted Labour. Reacting to news of the poll, UKIP’s Stoke candidate and Party Leader Paul Nuttall said: “It is clear that in Stoke just as across the length and breadth of the country, traditional Labour voters are leaving Jeremy Corbyn’s party in droves and coming over to UKIP. “They know that we are now the party looking out for British workers, we are now the party of law and order and that only UKIP can be trusted to stand up for control of Britain’s borders.” John Mills, Chairman of Labour Leave said: “If Labour is to hold onto this seat and others in the Midlands and the North then it must respond to voters’ concerns over Brexit and immigration.”
GPs are drawing up plans to sidestep NHS rules and charge their patients for weekend or evening appointments. Under the proposals, patients would have the option of paying if they wanted to be seen more quickly at the surgery. They would also be able to buy procedures such as vasectomies or non-cancerous mole removal at their local GP practice, which family doctors are not paid by the NHS to offer. Prit Buttar, a senior GP in Oxfordshire, is developing the plans in discussion with colleagues across the country. He said that funding for certain activities at surgeries had increasingly been cut or withdrawn. Contracts forbid family doctors from charging their patients for care but that should change, he said.
The confidential patient records of more than 8,000 people have been handed over by the NHS to the Home Office in the past year as part of its drive to track down immigration offenders. A memorandum of understanding, published for the first time on Tuesday, makes clear that NHS digital is required by law to hand over non-clinical patient details including last known addresses, dates of birth, GP’s details and date registered with doctor. The latest figures show that the number of Home Office requests have risen threefold since 2014 as the government has stepped up Theresa May’s drive to “create a hostile environment” for illegal immigrants in Britain. Patients and migrants’ rights groups have expressed serious concerns in the past over the use of NHS records to track down immigration offenders and warned there is a real danger it could deter some from seeking medical help for themselves or their children.
GPs want to charge their own patients for minor surgery and injections to boost funding for surgeries. A group of senior doctors are attempting to re-write their contracts to enable them to make money by carrying out more private work. Current rules ban GPs from charging their own patients for any private treatment as this is deemed to be a conflict of interest. Minor surgery and travel vaccinations are not offered for free on the NHS so if patients want them, GPs must direct them to other practices. But doctors from the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Local Medical Committee hope to use a loophole to be allowed to carry out private work. They are aiming to work under a private firm to carry out minor surgery, injections and other chargeable procedures. Patients would then pay the company, and the cash would go back to GPs.
A pensioner bled to death after it took paramedics more than two-and-a-half hours to get him to hospital following a fall. Richard Hansbury, 65, who had a serious gash on his head, was discovered in his flat by neighbours when they heard his cries for help. They alerted the careline firm that operated the emergency contact system at his sheltered accommodation in Wigan and an ambulance was called. Even though Mr Hansbury was bleeding heavily and the 999 was flagged as a serious ‘red’ call – meaning paramedics should have been there within eight minutes – the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) was so busy it was more than an hour until the crew arrived. They treated Mr Hansbury, who weighed 19 stone, but soon realised they would need help from another crew to lift him into the ambulance and get him to hospital – just three-and-a-half miles away. However, when they called for back-up, operators said there was none available at the time. The father of two finally made it to hospital two hours and 42 minutes after the first 999 call.
The Home Office faces a bill of up to £475 million for the late delivery of an emergency communications system for the police, fire and ambulance services, a parliamentary committee warns in a report published today. It says officials have failed to put in place detailed contingency arrangements to deal with the risk of delays in switching over to the new system. The £1.2 billion project is intended to replace the UK-wide radio Airwave system used by the emergency services with a cheaper alternative based on a 4G phone network provided by EE. The new system is projected to go live in December 2019 but the Commons public accounts committee report says it seems unlikely that the “ambitious target date” will be met.
Britain is planning to give more than £1.1billion in aid to the world’s most corrupt countries this year, it is revealed today. Aid chiefs will boost spending in the 20 worst offending nations by £162million (17.2 per cent) – despite concerns the money could be stolen by officials or seized by terrorists. Beneficiaries include war-ravaged states such as Somalia and Sudan, where terror groups are said to ‘tax’ aid payments from foreign donors, and Libya, where Islamic State forces have taken hold in places. Campaign group Transparency International has published its annual table ranking countries by corruption and it shows that 11 of the 20 most crooked nations receive British aid cash. Some £1.1billion of the UK’s annual £12billion foreign aid budget will be spent in those countries in 2016-17, according to projections from the Department for International Development (Dfid). Somalia, which is ranked the most fraudulent country, will see its aid cash soar by £14.9million to £142.3million compared with 2015-16.
Drivers on a London Underground line are to stage a 24-hour strike in a dispute over the ‘forced displacement’ of staff. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union who work on the Central Line in London will walk out at 9pm on Wednesday. Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: ‘RMT negotiators have made strenuous efforts through the Acas machinery to resolve this dispute but the door has been slammed in our faces. ‘If LU [London Underground] are allowed to get away with this move on the Central Line they will start shunting drivers around at the drop of a hat regardless of the consequences. ‘Our members will be sent out from pillar to post to plug gaps that are solely down to staffing shortages.