A “PHONEY” war between the European Union (EU) and Britain is at a real risk of happening as Brexit talks are threatening to be pushed back until the end of 2020. Various European elections and the complexity of divorce talks could delay the Article 50 exit period being triggered and any substantial talks may not begin until 2018, senior European politicians have warned. One senior European official even compared the stumbling blocks to the the eight month “Phoney War” at the beginning of the Second World War when none of the Western powers carried out any military action. Leading figures in both Brussels and London say they have only just begun preparing for Brexit negotiations but due to the complexity of leaving the EU, this could take a long time.
Britain is not expected to fall into a recession after the vote to leave the EU and the downturn in the economy is expected to be temporary, a respected think tank has forecast. In contrast to pre-referendum warnings from the Bank of England and the chancellor that the UK would sink into a “DIY recession”, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said that growth in the economy was expected to stall rather than plummet.
Britain could have to pay billions of pounds in pension payments for Eurocrats even after it leaves the European Union. The country may face a demand from Brussels to contribute towards the 60 billion euro (£50billion) total pension liability for all current and retired EU officials. EU pensions are covered on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis from the EU budget rather than through employee contributions invested into a fund. It means the EU could ask Britain to hand over a lump sum to cover pension liabilities built up during its time as a member. Around 1,730 Britons make up almost eight per cent of the 22,000 retired EU officials drawing pensions at present.
Britain will be expected to pay its share of a rocketing €56 billion bill for the generous publicly-funded pensions of retired Brussels officials, even after leaving the European Union. Diplomats are gearing up for a battle over the EU’s budget liabilities, including pensions, which totalled €226 billion last year alone, and to which Britain will be expected to contribute. One of the most heated fights will be the pension costs of retired eurocrats. The bill hit €56.4 billion in 2015, an increase of €4.2bn or more than 8 per cent, as the cost of funding retirement continues to soar.
Britain’s representative to Brussels has been nominated to be the EU’s new counter-terrorism security commissioner despite the UK voting to leave the European Union. Sir Julian King has been given the key role by Jean-Claude Juncker, even though the European Commission President previously warned that British “deserters” from the EU would have to “face the consequences” of “being regarded as a third country, which won’t be handled with kid gloves”. The surprise move means that as the UK prepares to leave, a Briton will be the new Commissioner for the Security Union, tasked with helping to fight terrorism and cybercrime while assisting in the creation of a new Security Union of EU member states.
Jean-Claude Juncker has angered MEPs by appointing Sir Julian King, Britain’s last ever European Commissioner, to a specially created security and anti-terrorism post. The European Commission president announced yesterday that Britain’s current ambassador to France would be given responsibility for stepping up Europe’s fight against terrorism in a so-called security union. Sir Julian is due to take control of counterterrorism, fighting organised crime and protecting the transport system from terror attacks, with improved police intelligence sharing. His appointment could be blocked by MEPs, however, if they vote against it during a hearing at the European parliament next month.
THE SNP have been told they are living a “fantasy” after an activist called for the party to explicitly refer to Brexit in a second Scottish independence referendum question. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned “all options are on the table” as she battles to retain Scotland’s EU membership despite June’s UK-wide Leave vote. This includes a possible second ballot on Scottish independence, the SNP leader has said. Ms Sturgeon has now been told to go even further in exploiting Brexit to boost support for the SNP’s dream of an independent Scotland. A former party candidate has urged the Scottish Government to directly use Britain’s impending EU exit to win over those in Scotland who backed remaining part of the UK in 2014.
An MEP vying to be deputy leader of the SNP has called for a referendum on the monarchy if Scotland becomes independent. Alyn Smith said the people of Scotland should decide whether the country continued as a monarchy or a republic in the event of independence. In a live webchat on Reddit, Smith was asked: “Where do you personally stand on monarchy versus republic?” He replied: “I want to see the people of Scotland in charge of Scotland’s future, so once we regain independence I would be up for a referendum on the subject and the people will choose, but let’s do it after independence so we can have a proper debate about the subject in its own right.
Death threats, a brick through a window and one lawmaker even installing a panic room in her office; less than a year after Britain’s Labour elected socialist Jeremy Corbyn leader on a promise of ‘kinder politics’ the party is mired in civil war. The brutal infighting threatens Labour’s 116-year existence and risks leaving Britain without a strong opposition party for years to come, just as the government goes about negotiating the country’s exit from the European Union. Britain’s June 23 EU referendum brought simmering tensions within Labour to the boil, resulting in a leadership challenge.
A TOP Labour donor today savaged leadership hopeful Owen Smith’s pledge to hold a second EU referendum as “absolutely the worst way” for the party to react to Brexit. John Mills, the millionaire founder of consumer products company JML, branded the Pontypridd MP’s promise for a re-run of June’s vote a “particularly bad idea”. As one of Labour’s biggest business backers, he warned the party is “really being squeezed” at the moment as he voiced fears Ukip could seize large traditionally Labour-supporting parts of the country at the next general election. Mr Mills, who bankrolled the Labour Leave campaign during the EU referendum campaign, described Labour’s current crisis as worse than its divisions in the 1980s – the last time it faced a hard-left takeover.
LABOUR was reported yesterday to have blocked up to 50,000 registered supporters from voting in the leadership election — despite them paying over £1 million between them. The party has confirmed that rejected registered supporters would not get their money back. This means between £1m and £1.25m could have been creamed off people who registered to vote for current leader Jeremy Corbyn or leadership challenger Owen Smith. The registration fee was increased to £25 from the £3 charge implemented for the leadership election last year. At least 180,000 people paid £25 within the narrow 48-hour window last month — earning Labour more than £4.5m — and the rejections are estimated to total nearly a third of this number.
The battle for the Labour leadership was becoming increasingly fraught yesterday as allies of Jeremy Corbyn expressed concerns that more than a quarter of new supporters who signed up to the party could be prevented from voting. Backers of the Labour leader, who faces a challenge from Owen Smith, say 40,000 of the 183,000 people who joined as registered supporters in recent weeks, paying £25 for the chance to vote, have been disqualified by Labour, with another 10,000 referred to a scrutiny committee. Party officials insist it is too early to tally any numbers and say that if people are denied a vote it is generally for administrative reasons, for example, their application does not tally with the electoral register, or they can already vote by another means such as trade union affiliation.
A German expert on migration has stated that Europe is at risk unless it stops resettling large numbers of migrants, and recommended that the bloc’s entire approach to asylum must be overturned. In an interview with Die Welt, Dr. Kay Hailbronner warned that in terms of capacity and national security, resettling migrants is the wrong approach for countries in the West. Dr. Hailbronner is a professor emeritus of the University of Konstanz and director of its Research Centre for International and European Immigration and Asylum. Asked whether the federal government’s migration policy puts Germany at risk, Dr. Hailbronner said that rising numbers of immigrants always pose an increased security threat.
The Royal Navy should be deployed in the English Channel to protect the UK against migrant people-smugglers and the heightened terror threat, MPs warn. Extra patrols around the border are needed because the UK’s fleet of cutters is depleted and not sufficient to protect against the threat to the country from the refugee crisis. The warning by the Home Affairs select committee comes as it emerged that British ferry passengers will be protected by armed sea marshals or see their ships boarded by military marksmen amid fears of a terror attack in the English Channel.
Up to one million illegal immigrants may be living in Britain and many will never be deported, a former head of the UK Border Agency claims. The figure is significantly higher than some previous estimates and will lead to scrutiny of Theresa May’s record on tackling illegal immigration while home secretary. Debates on immigration, particularly during the referendum campaign, have focused on legal arrivals from the EU. Rob Whiteman, former chief executive of the Border Agency, warned that insufficient attention was being paid to the number of non-EU migrants working illegally.
Tory ministers stand accused of putting “ideology above vulnerable children” after defeating a landmark ruling that let refugees come to Britain. An immigration judge had said three teenagers and a 26-year-old man should be reunited with their families after living in Calais’ Jungle camp. The Syrian group’s lawyers used human rights law to argue they faced ‘intolerable’ conditions in the squalid makeshift tent city. The four were immediately brought to Britain in a decision campaigners said could pave the way for other youngsters with families in the UK. But that ruling was overturned today by three top judges in the Court of Appeal after the Home Office mounted a legal fight.
ISLAMIC State has issued a chilling threat to Pope Francis after he denied the war in Syria and Iraq is about religion. Jihadi fanatics spoke out in their online mag Dabiq, attacking the Pope and claiming he is “pacifying the Muslim nation”. The Pope had stated the world is at war – but “it’s a real war, not a religious war”. ISIS – also known as Daesh – hit back, saying its war was about religion and it was sanctioned by the Koran. Pope Francis: “It’s a war of interests, a war for money. “A war for natural resources and for the dominion of the peoples.” But the warped death group said its war against the world has been sanctioned by Allah in the Koran.
More armed police will patrol London’s streets in the wake of the recent terror atrocities in Europe. An increased number of armed officers will be seen at major landmarks to reassure the public and deter potential attackers, Metropolitan Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said. The latest announcement comes after 84 people were mowed down and killed by an Islamist extremist in Nice in the south of France last month. Sir Bernard said it would be “foolish to ignore” the recent spate of attacks and it was vital that Britain was prepared for an attack.
More armed police will be seen on London’s streets from now on, Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have said. Sir Bernard said there would be more armed officers at well-known landmarks following terrorist attacks in Europe. He said the aim was to reassure the public and deter would-be attackers. The Met has already announced it will increase the number of armed officers by 600, bringing the total to 2,800. The latest announcement comes after 84 people were killed when a lorry ploughed into a large crowd watching a fireworks display in Nice in the south of France last month.
Britain’s new European Commissioner will spearhead EU efforts to tackle terrorism, organised crime and cyber-security, it has been announced. Sir Julian King, a career diplomat, was nominated by ex-UK PM David Cameron to replace Lord Hill, who resigned after the Brexit vote. Lord Hill had been in charge of the financial services portfolio. Downing Street said it welcomed the commission’s decision, saying security was a “vital issue” for the EU. Sir Julian – who has worked in the diplomatic service for 30 years, including most recently as Britain’s ambassador to France – must be approved by MEPs and EU officials before taking up the position.
The final list of candidates to replace Nigel Farage as Ukip leader will be announced today. Party officials met on Tuesday to discuss the eligibility of all candidates, including favourite Steven Woolfe, who missed the application deadline and admitted failing to declare a criminal conviction. An announcement is expected at midday after final checks by a National Executive Committee-led panel. Mr Woolfe insisted he is still in the race after overshooting the deadline of noon on Sunday by 17 minutes and has left the door open for a legal challenge if party officials block him from standing.