The prospect of a UK exit from the European Union without a deal is being increasingly talked about in the Conservative leadership race as the latest attempt by hardline Remainer MPs to block it has seemingly failed. Conservative contender Jeremy Hunt has now said that he would decide by the end of September whether there was a realistic chance of another deal with the EU being possible or not. This would include a potential No Deal Brexit budget in September, with Hunt pledging financial support.
The next prime minister will have to reckon with a reinvigorated “Gaukward squad”, including David Gauke and Philip Hammond, who are determined to block a no-deal Brexit if they are dispatched to the backbenches, senior Tories warn. The Conservative leadership race has been dominated by Brexit, with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt both insisting they would be willing to contemplate leaving without a deal if they could not secure concessions from Brussels over the summer.
MORE than a dozen Labour MPs would now back a Brexit deal “in a heartbeat” in a boost to the new Tory PM, senior party backbenchers have said. One Labour MP who voted against Mrs May’s deal three times told The Sun that she was now desperate to vote for “any deal” that resembled Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The MP said: “If it bore any semblance to Mrs May’s deal, I’d vote for it in a heartbeat.” She added that the number of Labour MPs doing the same would be in double figures, while at least another dozen would choose to abstain.
JEREMY CORBYN could be prepared to table a no-confidence vote to bring down the Government if the new Tory leader pushes forward with a no deal exit from the European Union, insiders have long speculated. But one Labour MP has made the sensational claim that several colleagues may abstain to support the move by the next Prime Minister. The MP told The Sun, several of his colleagues might end up being “locked in the toilet” so they could dodge voting in the motion. On Monday night, Nicholas Watt told Newsnight that 12 Labour MPs were “prepared to countenance no deal” meaning Remainer MPs fear they lack the numbers to block no deal.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has signalled that he is ready to vote with Labour to block a no-deal Brexit under Boris Johnson. In a dramatic warning to the Tory leadership front-runner, Hammond declared that a “disruptive” exit from the EU would mean a £90bn “hit” to the British economy and vowed to do everything he could to stop it. Asked directly by the shadow chancellor if he would join the Opposition in fighting a no-deal exit in parliament, Hammond gave his strongest hint yet that he was ready to do so.
Boris Johnson has accused the European Union of “moral blackmail” over the Northern Ireland backstop as he insisted he would never allow the return of a hard border with the Republic. In the latest Tory leadership hustings held in Belfast, both Mr Johnson and his rival Jeremy Hunt insisted the backstop had to go if there was to be a Brexit deal with Brussels. Mr Johnson told party members he had felt so strongly over the issue he had resigned from Theresa May’s Cabinet over the Chequers plan which included the backstop.
Boris Johnson was allegedly accused of “lying to the British people” about Brexit by one of Jeremy Hunt’s allies at a meeting of moderate MPs as the Tory leadership contest turned more toxic. Sir Nicholas Soames, a supporter of Mr Hunt, is said to have accused Mr Johnson of misleading the public with his “do or die” pledge to leave the EU on October 31. At a meeting of the One Nation Group on Monday, Sir Nicholas is also said to have criticised Matt Hancock, the health secretary, for supporting Mr Johnson.
Theresa May is poised to join Philip Hammond and warn Boris Johnson about the risks of a No Deal Brexit. In her first intervention in the Tory leadership battle, she will give a speech in Scotland today insisting that ‘our precious Union’ must be protected as Britain leaves the European Union. This will be seen as a direct warning to frontrunner Mr Johnson that his pledge to leave on October 31, deal or no deal, could lead to a split with Scotland after 312 years.
Boris Johnson will end the “continuing creep of the nanny state” if he becomes prime minister, starting with a review of so-called “sin taxes” on sugary, salty and fatty foods. The former foreign secretary wants to reverse the interventionist policies pursued by Theresa May and David Cameron in favour of a more liberal agenda. He believes that taxes on less healthy foods “clobber those who can least afford it” and should be halted unless there is clear evidence that they work.
Boris Johnson undermined one of his cabinet supporters last night by pledging to drop an obesity policy being championed by Matt Hancock, the health secretary. In a sign of confusion at the heart of the campaign, the Tory leadership contender announced that he would order a review into the government’s sugar tax and veto proposals to extend it to milkshakes. The former foreign secretary’s announcement came days after Mr Hancock circulated plans to the cabinet that suggested extending the tax to sugary milk products.
Boris Johnson has been slapped down by Chancellor Philip Hammond over his economic plans for No 10. He warned that the £27billion “fiscal firepower” built up in case of a no-deal Brexit would only be available if the UK leaves with deal. The Tory favourite and his rival Jeremy Hunt have both made substantial promises on public spending and tax cuts during the race. And both have suggested that their plans could be paid for from no-deal coffers.
Philip Hammond has ridiculed Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt for making multi-billion pound spending pledges as he claimed a No Deal Brexit would cost the Treasury £90billion. The Chancellor said he was ‘not in favour of ad hoc spending commitments or tax cuts’ in a pointed rebuke to the two men battling it out for the keys to Downing Street. Both Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt have made costly pledges during the race to succeed Theresa May and Mr Hammond today suggested doing so was irresponsible. He also warned the £27billion of so-called ‘fiscal headroom’ – money set aside by the government to prop up the UK economy in a No Deal Brexit scenario – would not be enough to dampen the economic shock of Britain leaving the EU without an agreement.
Boris Johnson has insisted that a bridge linking Scotland and Northern Ireland remains a credible option and that he would build “about six” free ports to boost trade after Brexit. The Tory leadership frontrunner said the creation of zones into which manufacturers can import parts and then export goods without tariffs would be a “massive boost” to the economy. Supporters say that free ports could help to revive areas such as Teesside, rebalancing the economy towards northern and coastal communities.
Boris Johnson today said he would ‘love’ a bridge to be built connecting Britain and Northern Ireland – as the Tory leadership battle rolled into Belfast. The front runner upped the ante by praising the idea, saying such ‘great projects’ could ‘benefit’ the province. In a bullish appearance at hustings, Mr Johnson also accused the EU of ‘moral blackmail’ by insisting on the Irish border backstop. And he complained that fears about No Deal had been ‘wildly overdone’. ‘We should not be terrified of a No Deal Brexit,’ Mr Johnson said.
A GERMAN eurofederalist who wants a United States of Europe with its own army is on the cusp of becoming the next Brussels chief. Ursula von der Leyen — who is Angela Merkel’s defence minister — was put forward by EU leaders last night to take over from Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1. Spain’s abrasive foreign minister Josep Borrell, who has gloated about the EU declaring Gibraltar a colony, is earmarked as foreign affairs chief. While Brexit-bashing Belgian PM Charles Michel looks set to be EU Council boss, assuming a key role in trade talks with Britain.
EU leaders have nominated two women to Brussels’ most important jobs for the first time, picking Ursula von der Leyen, a German defence minister who supports a United States of Europe and an EU army, to be the next president of the European Commission and Christine Lagarde to lead the European Central Bank. Mrs von der Leyen’s selection as replacement for the outgoing Jean-Claude Juncker is a victory for Angela Merkel, who will have succeeded in placing a German member of her centre-Right European People’s Party (EPP) at the top of the EU’s executive for the next five years from November 1.
EU leaders may not have agreed on who should be the next president of the Commission, but only one name was being talked about openly at a summit on Sunday night – that of Frans Timmermans. Timmermans hails from the continent’s centre-left – he’s a Dutch social democrat. The 58-year-old is a member of the country’s Labour party (PvdA), for whom he served as foreign minister until 2014, when he went to Brussels to become a Commissioner.
IRELAND’S Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has been touted to replace European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The Taoiseach is one of three names European Council President Donald Tusk has considered for the role, along with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, a former European commissioner. The Financial Times reports Mr Tusk would present the names in a round of bilateral meetings with EU leaders, which is designed to break the deadlock over who would replace the ex Luxembourg leader.
After four fractious summits with deep divisions on public display, European leaders have agreed who will fill the EU’s top jobs later this autumn. Ursula von der Leyen, 60, one of Angela Merkel’s closest allies, will take on this role as a committed and avowed believer in a “United States of Europe” that can stand firm against Brexit and Donald Trump. She will take the EU’s most important political post at a difficult time when the European project is under siege from Brexit and populism, and facing a hostile American president.
A close ally of Angela Merkel and supporter of a “Euro army” will be the next president of the European Commission. European leaders agreed yesterday that Ursula von der Leyen, 60, the German defence minister, would replace Jean-Claude Juncker when his term ends this autumn. After four ill-tempered summits, including a tortuous all-night session on Sunday, a consensus was reached on who will fill the EU’s top jobs.
Labour is to demand that the civil service prepares for the party entering government and for a second referendum, John McDonnell has said. The shadow chancellor said that Jeremy Corbyn would request formal talks about plans for a Labour government when he meets Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, to discuss leaked claims about his health. Sir Mark, the head of the civil service, offered to meet Mr Corbyn, 70, after Labour reacted with fury to The Times report that some senior civil servants fear he is not up to the job “physically or mentally” and has become “too frail and is losing his memory”.
Labour is to ask the civil service to begin working up proposals for a fresh referendum on Brexit because of the likelihood of a general election later this year, John McDonnell has said. The shadow chancellor said Jeremy Corbyn would seek formal discussions with civil servants when he meets Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, on Tuesday. The pair will meet to discuss Labour’s calls for an independent investigation into reports that senior civil servants had claimed the Labour leader was “losing his memory” and “too frail”.
The Brexit Party’s Euro-disruptors arrived at their first European Parliament session today and immediately kicked off a row by turning their backs as the EU anthem was played. The 29 politicians elected in May’s shock election result deliberately turned away as Beethoven’s Ode to Joy was played in the parliamentary building in Strasbourg. It came as party leader Nigel Farage warned of a ‘turquoise takeover’ in the UK if Brexit did not happen by October 31.
Brexit Party MEPs have defended turning their backs on the European Parliament chamber during the playing of the EU’s ‘national’ anthem because they say the bloc should not be treated as a country. The opening of the parliament in Strasbourg, France, was marked by protest, with pro-Catalan separatists demonstrating outside the building over former Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont and colleague Toni Comin being barred from taking their seats in the EU parliament.
An outgoing Brexit Party MEP was left red-faced after his website was taken over by pornographers and plastered with explicit images. A link on Bill Etheridge’s official European Parliament profile now leads to a web service which asks its visitors whether they are “looking for sex in Brussels?”. Mr Etheridge was elected as a Ukip MEP in 2014 but quit this year to join the Brexit Party, following former leader Nigel Farage.
Staff shortages and a lack of interest from politicians are stopping the immigration inspectorate from holding the Home Office to account, the head of the organisation has said. In a damning report, David Bolt, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, said his force had been able to employ less than half the number of inspectors that it is supposed to. 25 inspectors are supposed to work as part of the body but only 11 were in post at the end of March 2019.
Hackers could invade NHS systems and maliciously edit medical scans to “fake” or hide cancer, a new report warns. The study by former health minister Lord Darzi warns that hospitals remain at risk of cyber attacks, because technology has not been properly funded. And it says that a technological revolution taking part in the NHS, which plans wider use of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics – could also expose it to new threats. The study by Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation highlights international research which found that hackers could use AI to attack medical scans, and add or remove evidence of lung cancer from scans.
Obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause of major cancers, according to new research revealing the “devastating” impact of Britain’s weight problem. Excess weight is now fuelling 4,000 more cases of bowel, kidney, ovarian and liver cancer than those caused by smoking, the study found. Britain has the highest rates of obesity in Western Europe, with rates rising even faster than those in the United States. Around 29 per cent of UK adults are now obese – twice the level in 1993. And one third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.
BEING fat has overtaken smoking as the major preventable cause of four common cancers, research reveals. Experts claim rising numbers of deadly bowel, liver, kidney and ovarian cancer cases have been fuelled by excess weight. It has led to warnings the fat epidemic could soon reverse medical gains in the disease. The Office for National Statistics said 29 per cent of UK adults are now obese, double the level in 1993. But the ONS also said 14.7 per cent in the UK smoke — meaning fat Brits outnumber cigarette-smokers by two to one. Each year, 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel tumours.
Scientists have used a gene-editing tool to erase HIV from live animals for the first time, offering the hope of a cure. The research, carried out in mice, first used drugs that suppressed the ability of the human immunodeficiency virus to replicate itself. Scientists then used a gene-editing technique called Crispr-Cas9 to remove pieces of viral DNA that had hidden themselves away in their hosts’ immune cells. Without the removal of these DNA fragments, the virus would have maintained the ability to revive itself and to progress to become Aids.
Gagging orders have been signed by almost 300 contractors, consultants and local authorities involved in HS2. The number of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) used by the high-speed line has increased sharply as major work on the project finally gets under way, it was revealed yesterday. HS2 Ltd, the government-owned company behind the project, said the agreements were needed to protect commercial information and the data of people affected by the scheme.
Boris Johnson has given his clearest signal yet that he will cancel HS2 if he becomes prime minister, claiming there is a “weak business case” for the £56bn high-speed rail link and describing the delivery company as “deeply disorganised”. The front runner to enter No 10 has been urged by Conservative MPs to commit to scrapping HS2 altogether amid alarm at spiralling costs and delays. In a fresh setback to the project, there were claims that a decision by the Government over which company will operate the HS2 trains has been delayed, casting further doubt on its future.
GREAT white sharks have been spotted off Britain’s South West coast, it was claimed yesterday. Trawlermen say they’ve seen the Jaws killers. Ashley Lane, who runs fishing trips from Paignton, Devon, said: “I’ve not seen one myself but speak to a lot of fishermen who say they have.” Ashley said he doubted it was down to sea temperature for one very good reason. He said: “The sea must be warm because we are inundated with jellyfish. We saw a large barrel jellyfish yesterday and lots of smaller moon jellyfish too.
GREAT white sharks have been spotted off the coast of Britain. Tourism chiefs say trawlermen have reported seeing the man-eaters swimming in UK waters. Although shark sightings overall have been plummeting, the Jaws beasts seem to be thriving. It is thought the warmer waters off Britain are tempting them here from off Africa and the Mediterranean. Ashley Lane, who runs fishing trips from Paignton, Devon, said: “Great white sharks are there now, I’m sure of it.