Britain could be forced into a permanent customs union if Parliament rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal, allies of the Prime Minister warned last night. Mrs May has come under fire from Eurosceptic MPs for agreeing a controversial Irish ‘backstop’, which critics claim could leave the UK locked in a customs union indefinitely. With more than 90 Tory MPs threatening to join forces with Labour to vote down the deal, Mrs May faces an uphill task to win the crunch Brexit vote on December 11. But a senior Whitehall source said Brussels had warned privately that it would try to ‘push Britain into a customs union’ if Mrs May’s deal is heavily defeated. The insider said: ‘Some people seem to think that if the deal is defeated the EU will just roll over and give them what they want. In fact they’ve been very clear that this is the best deal on the table. They are not going to reopen the talks. The truth is that they would try to push us into the customs union – it’s very easy for them. I think people here need to understand that is their Plan B.’
A GERMAN tv show has mocked Theresa May’s Brexit agreement – and said the negotiations, like football, will always end with England losing. The Das Erste channel show mocked the PM, who is battling to force her hated deal though parliament despite overwhelming opposition from MPs. The presenter savaged the embattled Tory leader – and hit out at MPs Nadine Dorries and Dominic Raab for underestimating the difficulty of implementing Brexit. Poking fun at England’s habit of losing to Germany, he sneered: “So to summarise, and based on Gary Lineker: Brexit is an easy game – 65 million Brits are chasing a ridiculous idea and at the end England will always lose.
Allowing the UK to unilaterally halt the Brexit process could lead to “disaster”, judges at Europe’s top court have been warned. The European Court of Justice is deliberating on whether the UK can call off its withdrawal from the EU without permission from member states. But lawyers acting for the EU said allowing countries to do so could create “endless uncertainty”. The case has been brought by a group of Scottish politicians who oppose Brexit. They hope it will give clear guidance to the UK Parliament about the options open to it as MPs vote on the prime minister’s Brexit deal – and that it will result in “no Brexit” being an alternative to either “no deal” or Mrs May’s deal.
THERESA May could suffer a 200-vote defeat when the Commons decides on her Brexit deal — dealing a fatal blow to her Premiership. With just 12 days to go until the crucial “meaningful vote”, Cabinet ministers are considering urging her to abandon it. One has even said there is “zero chance” the deal will get through. But No 10 has warned that the PM will not ditch the deal — and will keep pushing it through Parliament until it passes. One Cabinet minister branded No10’s refusal to change course in the face of overwhelming odds as “extraordinary”, adding: “There is zero chance the deal will pass now”.
THERESA MAY has been accused of a “dangerous” cover-up by preparing to block publication of the full legal advice behind her Brexit deal, ahead of the Commons’ so-called “meaningful vote” next month. Downing Street will disclose a “position statement” as opposed to the “final and full advice” ministers received. The news comes amid dwindling support for Mrs May’s deal in the Commons, as scores of MPs threaten to vote it down. The refusal to release the legal advice is because it could expose the reality of the UK being stuck in the customs union, Brexiteer MPs have claimed.
Downing Street has refused to commit to publishing the full legal advice given on the Brexit deal despite a unanimous resolution by the House of Commons, in a move likely to spark a major new process row with Labour and Tory Brexiters. No 10 has only agreed to publish a “full, reasoned position statement” – a summary of the legal advice rather than the full text – which Labour said would not comply with the terms of the Commons vote. The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said the offer was completely unacceptable and Labour would use every parliamentary mechanism available to challenge it.
Theresa May will defy Parliament by blocking publication of the full legal advice behind her Brexit deal, prompting accusations of a cover-up. Downing Street said a “position statement” will be published on the legality of the deal, rather than the “final and full advice” given to ministers. Brexiteers claimed Mr May was refusing to reveal the advice because it will show that the Cabinet was warned that Mrs May’s deal could leave the UK stuck in a customs union.
MPs might have to vote on the Brexit deal without knowing details of the future immigration policy, Sajid Javid has said, as he also indicated the planned scheme might abandon the target of keeping net annual migration to the tens of thousands. In a sometimes testy appearance before the home affairs select committee, the home secretary said only that the long-awaited white paper on post-Brexit immigration should arrive before the end of the year.
THE GOVERNMENT’s post Brexit immigration plan faces fresh delays as the Cabinet rounds on “isolated” Theresa May, the Sun can reveal. Home Secretary Sajid Javid was forced to admit details of a post-Brexit visa scheme may not come out until after MPs are asked to vote on the PM’s Brexit deal on December 11. He said he could only “hope” an Immigration White Paper would be ready – but that a draft was being held up by other Government departments.
Here they come: more doomsday Treasury predictions about what will happen if the UK takes back control. In May 2016, just prior to the Brexit referendum, ‘Treasury analysis’ predicted that: “Britain’s economy would be tipped into a year-long recession, with at least 500,000 jobs lost and GDP around 3.6% lower, following a vote to leave the EU.” This was truly bonkers, delusional stuff. Since the referendum the UK has seen the highest growth rate of pay since 2008 as the number of EU workers falls, plus a record high 845,000 job vacancies and the lowest unemployment rate since 1975. The Treasury called the Brexit vote about as badly as humanely possible.
Theresa May is facing accusations of “rehashing Project Fear” after it emerged that Treasury forecasts show that Britain will be £150bn worse off under a no-deal Brexit. A cross-Government analysis is expected to show that under the Chequers agreement, which forms the basis of her deal, the UK’s GDP will be between 1 and 2 per cent lower over 15 years than if it had stayed in the EU. However, in a move that will prompt a backlash from Tory Eurosceptics, the ministers are expected to argue that the UK will still be significantly better off than it would if it left without a deal.
The Government is to set out its analysis of the economic impact of Brexit on Wednesday as Theresa May battles to save her deal for leaving the EU. Downing Street said the papers will cover a “range of scenarios” as the prime minister seeks to press her case that the agreement represents the only way to protect jobs and investment while avoiding the chaos of a no-deal break. According to the Daily Telegraph, the analysis will say Britain would be around £150 billion worse off over 15 years under a no-deal Brexit compared to if it stayed in the EU, and £40bn worse off under Mrs May’s plan.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is due to set out the government’s analysis of the economic impact of Brexit. The Bank of England (BoE) will also deliver its assessments on Wednesday as Theresa May heads to Scotland to press the case for her agreement with Brussels. Downing Street has said the Treasury’s papers will cover a “range of scenarios”. The analysis is expected to conclude the UK would be better off under the terms of Mrs May’s agreement than it would in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.
Theresa May will embark on the next phase of selling her Brexit blueprint today as the Treasury releases an analysis of the deal. The document will compare the economic consequences of staying in the EU with other outcomes, including staying in parts of the single market, a Canada-style free-trade agreement and a no-deal scenario. Brexiteers are preparing to challenge figures showing that Britain might be better off with a close relationship. “The reputation of government economics is in the gutter,” a source said.
The government is due to publish its economic analysis on the long-term effects of Brexit on the UK. Various scenarios will be set out by the Treasury – with the Daily Telegraph saying it will predict £150bn in lost output over 15 years under no deal, with Theresa May’s plan costing £40bn. Meanwhile, the PM will visit Scotland and argue she was “robust” in defending UK fishing in her Brexit talks. The SNP claims the industry will be “sold out”. The party says access to UK waters for EU boats will be used as a “bargaining chip” to secure a good post-Brexit trade deal.
A ‘No deal’ on Brexit would be ‘catastrophic’ for Britain leading to factory closures that would cost thousands of jobs, motor industry chiefs warned last night. Car bosses said ‘crashing out of the EU’ would have ‘immediate and devastating impacts’ with border ‘chaos’ severely disrupting UK car production. The withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May’s government and the EU had brought Britain back from the brink of a ‘cliff edge’ and should be supported because it gave a ‘breathing space’ to thrash out more detailed plans for tariff-free ‘frictionless’ trade deal, they said.
THE NHS will need to begin emergency preparations before Christmas in the event of a no-deal Brexit if it is to be ready for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU in March, MPs have been warned. The situation is currently hanging in the balance – but NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said some contingency plans would have to be enacted in December, with others needing to follow early in the new year, if a no-deal scenario appeared likely. Mr Stevens’ comments to the Health and Social Care Select Committee placed further pressure on MPs, who are due to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit plan on December 11, and would have to seek a fresh agreement if they rejected it.
‘No deal’ will involve some element of risk and disruption – but it is better than a deal which would cost our country £39billion and hand the EU the keys to our destiny: Prime Minister, The vision for our global future outside of the EU and the ‘equal partnership’ for the post-Brexit UK-EU relationship which you spoke of in your Lancaster House speech was one which was widely endorsed and brought the country together. It was a blueprint for national renewal and future prosperity which was also endorsed by the public in our manifesto in the 2017 General Election.
“Mr Brexit” Nigel Farage has launched a fresh attack on the prime minister’s Brexit deal, encouraging voters to reject it. The campaign, backed by prominent pro-Brexit MPs and campaigners, comes as Theresa May sets off on a tour of the UK to sell her deal to the people, which she hopes will pressure MPs in Parliament into voting for it. The former UKIP leader and MEP was joined by leading Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg, Labour MPs Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer, and Northern Irish DUP MP Sammy Wilson. Brexiteer and Wetherspoon pub chain boss Tim Martin was also in attendance, along with the Leave Means Leave founders, who organised the event at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in Westminster.
There will be a major pro-Brexit rally held in the heart of Westminster on 14th December, with Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Labour MPs Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer plus the DUP’s Sammy Wilson sharing a platform. That won’t be welcomed by Theresa May’s Remainers. Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin will also be in attendance, with the Leave Means Leave event taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Centre. This morning the group launched new ads, with other MPs including staunch Tory Brexiteer Andrea Jenkyns in attendance. Those that think Brexiteers will roll over and accept May’s bad EU deal should probably think again.
Another senior Ukip member has left the party over the leader Gerard Batten’s decision to appoint the anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson as an adviser and take the party in a hard-right direction. Ukip’s former economics spokesman Patrick O’Flynn is the third MEP to leave in two months over Batten’s anti-Islam views and policies. Flynn said he would join the remnants of the Social Democratic party (SDP), which is now pro-Brexit. Batten, who became Ukip leader in February after the disastrous tenure of Henry Bolton, has described Islam as “a death cult” and proposed policies including screening of immigrants from Islamic countries, and Muslim-only prisons.
UKIP MEP quit the party today over its appointment of far-right thug “Tommy Robinson” as an adviser. Patrick O’Flynn resigned and announced that he would instead be defecting to the pro-Brexit Social Democratic Party (SDP). The former Daily Express political editor, previously Ukip’s economics spokesman, published a statement accusing Ukip leader Gerard Batten of having an apparent and growing fixation with “Mr Robinson.”
UKIP’s ex-economic spokesman Patrick O’Flynn is leaving the party, blaming what he called leader Gerard Batten’s “fixation with Tommy Robinson”. He is joining the Social Democratic Party, claiming UKIP had become an “impediment to Brexit campaigning”. Mr O’Flynn claimed many members had left because of the decision to employ the EDL co-founder as a party adviser. Mr Batten says Mr Robinson will help him turn UKIP into a “mass movement … a party for ordinary people”. In a statement on his website, Mr O’Flynn said that when he asked himself who the “millions of sensible, moderate Brexit voters betrayed by establishment parties” should vote for, the answer was “clearly not UKIP”.
Donald Trump offered Theresa May a free trade deal when he visited Britain four months ago but the Prime Minister turned him down, a former minister has claimed. Owen Paterson revealed Mr Trump’s aides told him that the President had offered a free trade deal “on a plate” when he met with Mrs May at Chequers in July but was told the UK “wasn’t ready”. The revelation came as Mr Trump suggested Mrs May’s Brexit agreement could threaten a US/UK trade deal, saying the withdrawal plan “sounds like a great deal for the EU”.
US Ambassador Woody Johnson has reiterated how important it is for the UK to take back control with a fully independent trade policy, reiterating once again that the UK would be “head of the line” for a deal with Trump’s America. Ambassador Johnson has written for The Times about how “the United States is ready to get straight to work”, is “enthusiastic” about a UK-US deal and that “the United States is ready to get straight to work”. Despite the naysayers casting doubt he also talks up the prospects of a mutually beneficial deal: “Together, we have the chance to set an example of what fair, free and reciprocal, win-win trade really looks like.”
Thousands of cancer patients wait more than a year for a diagnosis, about twice as long as the best performing countries, according to a study. The figures were revealed as NHS cervical cancer screening rates fell to a 20-year low, with campaigners saying that the difficulty of getting an appointment was shutting women out of life-saving checks. Last week a review by Sir Mike Richards, the former national cancer chief, concluded that late diagnosis was the reason for a persistent survival gap between Britain and the rest of the world.
Universities are failing to increase the proportion of poor students they recruit despite spending almost £800 million a year trying to attract them, a report says. The average annual increase in the proportion of disadvantaged students for a number of elite universities was less than 1 per cent last year, Reform, a public services think tank, says. Universities spent £745.6 million on widening participation in 2016-17, with Oxford the biggest spender.
An overhaul in the way that universities award degrees aims to tackle grade inflation that has led to more than a quarter of students getting a first. Institutions have admitted for the first time that not all of the increase in higher class degrees can be accounted for by better teaching and resources and harder work from students since tuition fees rose to £9,250. Universities will suggest an end to various changes in the marking regime that have led to a prevalence of firsts, in particular generous “rounding up” of marks and discounting the exam or module with the lowest mark.
An independent review into the scale of tree felling by Network Rail is calling for a complete cultural change by the company to focus on valuing nature and the environment. The review, published on Wednesday, was sparked after Guardian articles highlighted a threat to millions of line-side trees from Network Rail’s approach to managing the environment around its tracks and the scale of tree felling taking place in nesting season. The review said Network Rail had failed to take into account accepted environmental best practice with the trees and vegetation alongside its 20,000 miles of track.
Technology disasters at banks and finance firms have more than doubled amid an unprecedented wave of cybercrime, the City watchdog has warned. Overconfident bankers are making errors in crucial computer updates which cause chaos, the Financial Conduct Authority says. And many firms are woefully underprepared for hacking attacks – putting their customers at risk. British lenders have suffered a wave of online failures and hacks over the past few years, from a blackout at TSB to a massive internet raid at Tesco Bank.