The UK would have to hold a referendum, general election, or some kind of other “political process” if it wants to delay Brexit again, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. Speaking in Brussels the morning after MPs yet again rejected a slate of compromise Brexit options Michel Barnier said a no-deal “becomes day after day more likely”. Mr Barnier confirmed that the EU would accommodate any move by MPs to try and soften Brexit, stating that deals like the so-called “Norway option” or a customs union had always been on the table. The Commons narrowly rejected a customs union by just three votes on Monday evening, and Norway-style single market membership by 21 votes. A plan for a final say referendum was rejected by another narrow 12 vote margin. But if the UK does not pass any Brexit option by 12 April it would need to revoke Article 50 or get approval from an extension for the EU to avoid crashing out with a no-deal.
The European Union has reacted with caution to Theresa May’s request for a further delay to Brexit and will reject a short postponement. Hours before the prime minister announced the request yesterday evening, President Macron of France and others said that her only choice was between no-deal and a long extension. However, amid confusion in Brussels over Mrs May’s statement, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, urged leaders to hear Mrs May out over the next few days.
Donald Tusk has hinted that the EU could approve a further Brexit delay after Theresa May once again asked for more time. The president of the European Council called for ‘patience’ as Mrs May seeks to agree a Brexit plan with Labour which can win Parliament’s backing. Tusk said that ‘we don’t know what the end result will be’, with Britain’s future still uncertain just 10 days before a possible cliff-edge exit.
EU chiefs today warned the UK is facing the “abyss” with a No Deal Brexit looking more likely by the day. Guy Verhofstadt and Michel Barnier sounded the alarm as Theresa May held a four-hour Cabinet showdown to discuss delaying Brexit – or crashing out without an agreement. Britain is deadlocked just days before the April 12 date of leaving after MPs rejected four “indicative vote” options for the future last night.
NO-DEAL Brexit is becoming more likely “day after day,” EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said today after none of the four options for leaving the EU received majority support of MPs. European Parliament Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt echoed Mr Barnier by saying “a hard Brexit becomes nearly inevitable.” Mr Verhofstadt said Britain “faced the abyss” if MPs cannot agree a way forward.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has led other EU leaders in warning that Theresa May’s apparent move to take no deal off the table offers no guarantee that Britain will not crash out of the bloc on 12 April. EU sources said Brussels instead would want to see a “positive majority” in the Commons for a solution before the summit on 10 April, putting the UK at a heightened risk of a no deal.
The European Union will not be hostage to a “political crisis” in the UK, France’s president has said. Emmanuel Macron was speaking in Paris during talks with Irish PM Leo Varadkar. “We will never abandon Ireland or the Irish people no matter what happens, because this solidarity is the very purpose of the European project,” said Mr Macron. Mr Varadkar said any Brexit extension needed “a clear purpose, clear plan”.
The European Union’s senior Brexit administrators have said that after MPs ruled out all four soft-Brexit options, a clean exit is now “nearly inevitable.” The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt wrote Monday evening, “The House of Commons again votes against all options. A hard Brexit becomes nearly inevitable. “On Wednesday, the UK has a last chance to break the deadlock or face the abyss.” His comments were followed by those of Brussels’ chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who told an audience at the European Policy Centre event in Brussels on Tuesday morning, “No deal was never our desired or intended scenario.”
Emmanuel Macron has said he is “open” to granting a long Brexit delay if the UK wants to use the time to hold a general election or a second referendum, or work out new red lines. Speaking ahead of a meeting with Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar in Paris, the French president said the approval of another extension would be “far from evident and is certainly not for granted” if the UK requested one. “Should the United Kingdom be unable, three years after the referendum, to propose a solution backed by a majority, they de facto will have chosen by themselves to leave without a deal,” Mr Macron told reporters.
EMMANUEL Macron has launched a scathing attack on the UK’s impasse over Brexit, raging the European Union will not be held “hostage” as it looks for a solution to the “political crisis”. Theresa May’s deal has already been rejected three times by Parliament, and she faces a desperate attempt to rally enough support for it to pass and revive hopes of Britain leaving the bloc with a Brexit agreement. Four alternative Brexit options were rejected by MPs in Westminster last night, providing no clarity over the UK’s future and conclusion of Brexit.
The leader of the English Democrats has launched a High Court battle claiming that the UK has already left the EU. Robin Tilbrook argues that Britain left the union on March 29 as originally planned, saying the PM’s extension was not legally valid. The legal bid will be seen as a Brexiteer equivalent to Gina Miller’s battle with the Government over triggering Article 50 in 2016. Speaking to MailOnline last night Mr Tilbrook said the argument that Britain had already left was ‘very strong’.
Theresa May risked a Cabinet walkout last night by defying the wishes of 14 ministers who backed No Deal, throwing an olive branch to Jeremy Corbyn and pivoting towards a soft Brexit. More than a dozen senior Tories including Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Liam Fox spoke out against a long delay to Brexit in a seven-hour ministerial marathon at Downing Street. But the Prime Minister went with the minority – a group of 10 ministers including Amber Rudd and Michael Gove who backed a further delay – in a move which enraged Brexiteers and could trigger a Cabinet walkout as critics said she is ‘tearing the Tory party apart’.
Theresa May has dramatically torn up her Brexit strategy, paving the way for a softer withdrawal in a bid to secure Jeremy Corbyn’s backing to pull Britain out of the EU. The prime minister confirmed the UK would seek a further short delay to Brexit beyond 12 April in a Downing Street statement that infuriated Eurosceptic Tories. Government insiders believe the two big parties’ positions on future customs arrangements are not so far apart and could form the basis of a new deal.
Theresa May will put a soft Brexit on the table in talks with Jeremy Corbyn in a dramatic change of tactics to get a deal through parliament. In the face of cabinet opposition the prime minister announced that she was seeking to secure Brexit with help from Labour after a tense seven-hour meeting in which she was repeatedly challenged by her ministers.
JEREMY Corbyn has agreed to meet Theresa May for crunch Brexit talks to “prevent a disastrous no deal”. The Prime Minister asked the Labour leader for fresh talks following a marathon seven-hour Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Mr Corbyn said he is “very happy” to sit down with Mrs May in an attempt to thrash out a plan for the UK to leave the EU with a divorce deal. He said: “We recognise that she has made a move, I recognise my responsibility to represent the people that supported Labour in the last election and the people who didn’t support Labour but nevertheless want certainty and security for their own future and that’s the basis on which we will meet her and we will have those discussions.
BREXITEERS have torn into Theresa May accusing her of “handing the keys” to Brexit to ‘Marxist’ Jeremy Corbyn – forcing another EU deal delay. The crumbling PM promised to beg Brussels for a fresh extension to Brexit but vowed Britain will still leave before the EU elections in May. She announced talks with the lefty Labour boss to try and find a solution to the Brexit deadlock – paving the way for a much softer version of our EU exit and ruling out No Deal for good.
The prime minister will have to give significant ground on her Brexit proposals if she wants to secure Labour’s support, Jeremy Corbyn indicated last night. Accepting Mrs May’s offer of talks, the Labour leader said that he did not “want to set any limits, one way or the other, ahead of those meetings”, but he said that “so far [she] hasn’t shown much sign of compromise”. Mr Corbyn expected a customs union and protection of workers’ and consumer rights to be “on the table”.
Theresa May’s offer of talks with Jeremy Corbyn paves the way for yet more Westminster drama as the Commons decides on Britain’s Brexit future. The Prime Minister must have a new plan in her pocket by the time of an emergency European Council summit on April 10. As a result, the Commons’ last chance to have a say will be on Tuesday night meaning that talks with Mr Corbyn will have to have concluded by then.
Theresa May was told by one of her former key advisers yesterday that her plan to rely on Labour MPs to get her Brexit deal through parliament was stupid and would fail. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary and Mrs May’s former chief whip who helped her to get elected, joined Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons, and Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, as the most outspoken opponents of the prime minister in a seven-hour cabinet meeting.
THERESA May and John Bercow could be set for all-out parliamentary war over the Prime Minister’s plan to bring her Brexit deal back to the House of Commons for yet another vote. Mrs May has previously asked MPs to vote on her deal – or aspects of her deal – on three separate occasions, with the Commons rejecting it heavily each time. Now the Prime Minister is believed to be planning a fourth vote, after MPs twice failed to give a majority vote to any alternative Brexit plan. However Mr Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has previously warned he would not allow a vote on her deal again unless it was substantially different to that voted on in the past weeks.
Whilst Theresa May has pathetically folded and looks set to request another Article 50 extension that delays Brexit even further, public opinion is breaking firmly for an EU exit on WTO terms. The latest YouGov poll finds that come 12th April if an extension is an option, 40% back No Deal compared to 36% who want to Remain and only 11% who support a delay. If an extension is not an option, Brits now back a No Deal Brexit over remaining in the European Union by 44-42 despite the ridiculous Project Fear scaremongering we’ve seen.
John Bercow ruled rebel MPs can try to push through laws to block No Deal in a single day tomorrow despite Brexiteer fury at the ‘reprehensible’ plot. Labour MP Yvette Cooper has published draft laws that would oblige the Government to seek a long delay to Brexit next week if there is not a deal by April 10. She wants to use Commons time grabbed by Tory rebel Oliver Letwin tomorrow to ram the law through the Commons in a matter of hours.
MPs will make a fresh attempt to compel Theresa May to delay Brexit further by passing legislation in a single day, a cross-party alliance has announced. A bill – designed to clear the Commons on Wednesday – would prevent a “drift into no deal by accident in just 10 days’ time”, its supporters say. The move will delay a further round of “indicative votes”, following the failure to reach a consensus on Monday night, which raised the threat of a crash-out Brexit.
A group of MPs, led by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, are looking to block a No Deal Brexit. Westminster once again embarrassingly out of touch with the public mood. Cooper is pushing a Bill that would mean the British Prime Minister would be required to ask for another extension of Article 50 instead of a WTO Brexit going ahead. Tory Remainer, Sir Oliver Letwin, is supporting the move and has said: “This is a last-ditch attempt to prevent our country being exposed to the risks inherent in a No Deal exit.
The so-called ‘naughty document’ on which Winston Churchill carved up Europe with Josef Stalin is set to go on public display for the first time. Britain’s wartime leader made the secret pact with Moscow in 1944 as the Allies closed in on victory over Nazi Germany. The sheet of paper showed the percentages of Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia which would be under Soviet or British control.
Winston Churchill’s “naughty document” on which he and Joseph Stalin carved up eastern Europe after the end of the Second World War is to go on public display for the first time. Written in October 1944 during a late night, whiskey-fuelled meeting in the Kremlin, Churchill and Stalin attempted to “make a nominal agreement” on how Russia and the West should share Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Romania when Hitler was eventually defeated.
A speech written for the Queen if Britain was faced with nuclear devastation has been revealed in a new Cold War exhibition. Named ‘Ma’amageddon’ by civil servants in 1983 during the Cold War, it was written to be delivered by the Queen as Britain waited for bombs to drop. It is now going on display at the National Archives in London in an exhibition called Britain’s Cold War Revealed, which begins on Thursday. The script reads: ‘Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.’
A fleet of obsolete Royal Navy submarines is costing taxpayers £12million a year because of the Ministry of Defence’s failure to dispose of them, officials warned yesterday. The MoD has twice as many submarines in storage as it does in service and has not disposed of any of the 20 boats decommissioned since 1980, the National Audit Office said. Nine of the old nuclear-powered vessels contain irradiated fuel.
Storage of obsolete nuclear submarines has cost the UK taxpayer £500m because of “dismal” failings in the government’s nuclear decommissioning programme, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found. The Ministry of Defence has twice as many submarines in storage as it does in service and has not disposed of any of the 20 vessels decommissioned since 1980, the National Audit Office (NAO) said.
Delaying the disposal of the Royal Navy’s retired submarine fleet has cost the taxpayer £900 million, according to the Whitehall spending watchdog. None of the 20 submarines that have left service since 1980 has been fully defuelled or dismantled. They include HMS Conqueror, which sank the General Belgrano in the Falklands conflict in 1982, and the four Polaris vessels that carried Britain’s nuclear deterrent until the mid-1990s.
Hospitals are treating up to 21 young victims a day wounded in knife or weapon attacks, according to data released under Freedom of Information laws. Nearly 8,000 children and young people aged eleven to 25 years old last year attended hospitals with assaults from weapons, largely for knife wounds, according to the figures obtained by the all party parliamentary group on knife crime.
Hospitals are treating 21 young patients every day for knife wounds and other assaults, official figures suggest. At least 4,502 victims aged 11 to 25 attended casualty units or urgent care centres with injuries from stabbings or similar assaults last year. The figures will be a huge underestimate because only 60 per cent of hospitals were able to provide data to MPs. The real total for 2018 is likely to be around 7,600.
Money from the overseas aid budget is to be used in the fight against child sex tourism and the growing problem of livestreamed abuse. The National Crime Agency (NCA) will get £3 million in aid funding to investigate British paedophiles who travel to “high risk destination countries”, including the Philippines. Britons are among the most frequent foreign offenders in the Philippines and an increasing number in the UK pay to watch child abuse over the internet.
Britain has cut the rate of heart deaths more quickly than almost any western country. Researchers found that Britain had achieved a 63 per cent reduction in age-standardised cardiovascular disease death rates between 1989-91 and 2013-15. They fell from 2,740 per million people to 1,010. The improvements are down to fewer smokers and public smoking bans, and better healthcare in terms of monitoring and surgery.
One in four healthcare facilities around the world lack even basic access to water services, exacerbating the spread of drug resistant superbugs, a major report has warned. In the first comprehensive review of access to water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH) in healthcare centres, Unicef and the World Health Organization found that roughly two billion people use health facilities lacking basic water services globally – while almost 900 million people use centres with no water services at all.
The bosses of two major betting firms were facing investigation last night after MPs accused them of cynically bypassing ‘crack cocaine’ betting laws. Betfred and PaddyPower yesterday pulled two roulette-style games that let customers stake up to £500 every two minutes. Last night the Gambling Commission said it could launch inquiries into the executives responsible for bringing the Virtual Cycling and Pick’n’36 games to market. The regulator has the power to effectively sack bosses by revoking their right to hold a managerial position in the industry.