The European Commission has issued a stark warning to EU finance ministers, calling for concerted fiscal stimulus to head off a recession and avert a protracted downturn before it is too late. A briefing document for tomorrow’s Eurogroup meeting said the twin shocks of a no-deal Brexit and US car tariffs of 25pc days later risks compounding the current global trade slump and could test the limits of eurozone policy. The Commission said it was no longer good enough to wait for the hammer blows to hit before responding, given the long lag times before budget stimulus feeds through. “Slowing growth and the downside risks inherent to the current situation may call for a pre-emptive, rather than reactive, approach to fiscal policy,” it said. “The worldwide weakening of growth and trade will be deeper and last longer than originally supposed,” said the text, obtained by the German press. The eurozone must brace for a “period of protracted weak growth”. The EU authorities in Brussels have been slow to grasp the magnitude of the global economic downturn – erroneously counting on a swift rebound by China and emerging markets – but the blizzard of grim data from Germany and the deepening industrial recession has finally set off alarm bells.
The president of the European Parliament has told Sky News that a no-deal Brexit could be a “catastrophe” and Boris Johnson needs to “feel this responsibility” as the clock ticks towards the deadline for Britain’s EU exit. David Sassoli said it is “painful” to think about such a scenario being realised, as it will “put the UK’s exit in a tunnel from which we don’t know how to come out”. “There could be problems with economy, security… there could also be a catastrophe,” he said. “We don’t know that. And that’s why I invited PM Johnson to feel this responsibility.” Mr Sassoli added: “I believe that he, like everyone, must feel this as an important moment in the history of the European Union and the history of the relationship between our countries.”
With Brexit timed for Hallowe’en, the days leading up to the UK’s planned exit from the EU were always expected to get tricky. But as Tuesday’s incendiary Number 10 memo appeared to signal the end for Britain’s already tortured negotiations with Brussels, the blame game for what was fast emerging as a spectacular failure of statecraft began in earnest. Bearing all the hallmarks of Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief strategist, the explosive missive – sent to the Spectator’s political editor James Forsyth overnight – pointed the finger at Leo Varadkar’s “gamble on a second referendum”.
Millions of pounds were squandered on European Union aid and overseas projects last year, a report has found. A radio drama series in Mozambique, broken toilets in Haiti and computer systems in empty offices in Jamaica were among examples of funds being misspent. Cash was also wasted on training schemes in Bosnia where less than half of people turned up, a giant pigsty for a Polish farm not entitled to funds and 31 plane tickets for contractors for a jaunt to Jamaica. Yesterday’s European Court of Auditors report into the bloc’s annual budget of around £138billion found £4billion was misspent. The budget for aid and overseas projects was around £720million, of which around 3 per cent was misspent.
BORIS Johnson is planning to tell the Queen she cannot sack him as PM even if he loses a no confidence vote and MPs pick a caretaker replacement. Senior No10 aides are preparing legal advice for the monarch to ensure Boris can stay on to try to deliver Brexit on October 31. The extraordinary move is based on 70 year-old rules, dubbed the Lascelles Principles. Downing Street officials believe the PM can seize on them to advise the monarch that asking him to step down from power would risk chaos and endanger the economy – two red lines she must do her all to avoid.
A Downing Street source has said a Brexit deal is “essentially impossible” following a call between Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel. The Prime Minister spoke to the German Chancellor earlier this morning about proposals he had put to the European Union, however it was said Mrs Merkel was clear any deal based on Mr Johnson’s offer was “overwhelming unlikely” and added that she would not support a deal unless Northern Ireland stayed in a customs union. Mr Johnson’s spokesman confirmed there had been a “frank exchange” of views with the German chancellor, however a spokesman for the European Commission said nothing had changed regarding the phone call between the two.
The Brexit negotiations dramatically went up in flames today as the EU accused Boris Johnson of a ‘stupid blame game’ after he said the bloc had made a deal ‘impossible’. An extraordinary public slanging match broke out after the PM condemned a demand from Angela Merkel for Northern Ireland to stay in the customs union ‘forever’. In a pivotal moment drawing battle lines for an election within weeks, Mr Johnson and the German Chancellor clashed brutally in an early morning phone call. No10 sources said Mrs Merkel told the premier during the 30-minute showdown that the province must remain within the EU’s customs union indefinitely.
Britain and the European Union are engaged in a public blame game after Brexit talks stood on the brink of collapse after a row between Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel. No 10 sources said that the German chancellor’s demands for Northern Ireland to stay in a customs union with the EU after Brexit meant that a deal was “essentially impossible, not just now but ever”. In response, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, criticised Mr Johnson directly on Twitter: “What’s at stake is not winning some stupid blame game. At stake is the future of Europe and the UK as well as the security and interests of our people.
Angela Merkel personally rejected Boris Johnson‘s Brexit proposals in a phone call between the two leaders on Tuesday, effectively burying the plan. The German chancellor stood solidly behind the EU’s criticisms of the blueprint, which would see the reintroduction of customs checks on goods moving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. A Downing Street source said the German chancellor made clear in the telephone conversation – described as a “clarifying moment” – that a deal was “overwhelmingly unlikely” unless Northern Ireland was kept in the EU customs territory. Mr Johnson is also said to have warned that talks were close to collapse because of the lack of movement, for which he blamed the EU.
A BREXIT deal between Britain and the EU is now “impossible” after Angela Merkel destroyed Boris Johnson’s plan, it’s been claimed today. After a tense phone chat between the two leaders this morning No10 sources said an agreement was now off the table, making No Deal more likely than ever. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken to Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this evening and the pair will meet for last-ditch talks later this week. The PM had earlier spoken to the German Chancellor at 8am as the clock ticks down to October 31, where Boris has promised to take Britain out of the bloc with or without a deal.
Talks over a Brexit deal are on the brink of collapse, as a No 10 source said that Angela Merkel was making a deal impossible and Brussels accused Boris Johnson of trying to play a “stupid blame game”. The row erupted after Johnson and Merkel had a phone conversation in which they could not find a common position over Northern Ireland. In an extraordinary briefing about the confidential discussion between the leaders, a No 10 source later said the German chancellor’s demands for Northern Ireland to remain in a customs union made a deal look “essentially impossible, not just now but ever”.
A Downing Street source has revealed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that a new exit treaty is “overwhelmingly unlikely”. The source told media that negotiations over a new Brexit deal — which eliminates the Irish backstop — “are close to breaking down” following a 30-minute phone call between the two leaders on Tuesday morning. “The call with Merkel showed the EU has adopted a new position,” the source said, saying the conversation “means a deal is essentially impossible not just now but ever”. The source said: “She made clear a deal is overwhelmingly unlikely and she thinks the EU has a veto on us leaving the Customs Union. “Merkel said that if Germany wanted to leave the EU they could do it no problem, but the UK cannot leave without leaving Northern Ireland behind in a customs union and in full alignment forever.
Michael Gove today ramped up the government’s preparations for a No Deal Brexit as the chances of an agreement being struck between Britain and the EU appeared to collapse. Boris Johnson effectively killed off hopes of a Brexit deal this morning after turning down a demand from Angela Merkel for Northern Ireland to stay in the customs union ‘forever’. The early morning phone call – and the subsequent reaction from Donald Tusk who accused Mr Johnson of playing a ‘stupid blame game’ – seemingly put the UK on course for a chaotic split from Brussels.
Boris Johnson is legally entitled to tell European leaders that he does not want a Brexit delay, government lawyers have said. The government is facing a series of legal claims arguing that the prime minister is not allowed to “frustrate” the Benn act, which requires him to request an extension if a deal is not reached. However, in a letter to those behind the legal action, Robert Norgrove, the Treasury solicitor, insisted there were limits to how much the act could frustrate the prime minister’s position. It did not prevent him from “honestly stating his view” to the European Commission about the desirability or impact of any extension.
The European Union is poised to extend Brexit talks into as late as next summer after the European council and commission presidents dismissed Boris Johnson’s strategy as a “blame game”. A “range of dates” will now be in play at the meeting of European leaders next week but sources suggested the natural cut-off date would be June. With an extension of the UK’s EU membership now looking inevitable, other diplomatic sources suggested an unlikely outlier for an end date could even be ahead of a possible general election so as to force the Commons into accepting a deal. “But politicians like to keep things off their plates for as long as possible and so pushing it longer seems more realistic,” a senior EU diplomat said.
BORIS JOHNSON and Leo Varadkar will told a critical Brexit summit this week in a final push to agree on a deal. The Prime Minister spoke to his Irish counterpart on the phone this afternoon. Sources said the call was “constructive”. Now the pair will meet in Dublin on either Thursday or Fridayfor a final chance to salvage any Brexit deal before October 31. A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister spoke to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tonight. “Both sides strongly reiterated their desire to reach a Brexit deal. “They hope to meet in person later this week.”
Leo Varadkar reneged on a secret deal with Boris Johnson to open the way to a Brexit compromise, a senior Downing Street source claimed yesterday. In a written briefing, a leading figure in No 10 accused the Irish prime minister of going back on his “commitments” to achieve a deal before October 31. The Times understands that the potential compromise was discussed at a meeting on the fringes of the United Nations general assembly in New York before Mr Johnson unveiled his formal proposals last week.
Boris Johnson is fighting to salvage his Brexit deal after an explosive row with Angela Merkel put talks on the brink of collapse. The prime minister will make a last-ditch effort to convince Leo Varadkar to engage with his plans for a customs border in a face-to-face meeting that could take place tomorrow. Mr Johnson and the Irish prime minister discussed the sticking points of the British proposals during a 40-minute phone call in which they stressed their mutual desire for a way through. An extraordinary day of recriminations began with an early morning call during which the German chancellor rebuffed Mr Johnson’s appeal for help to rescue negotiations over his new backstop proposals.
The Great Political Realignment
Half of people are now floating voters, creating an unprecedented level of political volatility ahead of a general election, a new study shows. A series of significant political shocks, including immigration, the financial crash and referendums on Scottish independence and Brexit have shattered longstanding party ties. The latest edition of the British Election Study, which began in 1964, reveals the extent to which voters switched allegiances in the past decade. In the three elections in 2010, 2015 and 2017, 49 per cent of voters did not vote for the same party each time.
HALF of Brits are now swing voters with no party loyalties, a study has revealed. Forty nine per cent of voters didn’t vote for the same party in the last three elections. The figures are bad news for Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn who both face threats from other parties hoping to hoover up their voters. Mr Johnson will see a challenge for Leave constituencies from the Brexit Party while Mr Corbyn could lose Remainers to the Lib Dems. More people changed their vote than ever before between the 2015 and 2017 national polls, research by the British Election Study found. Across the three elections from 2010-17 only 51 per cent voted for the same party in each ballot. While hard-up voters could be crucial to parties fighting the next election – with low-income Brits now more likely to vote.
A mother who said she would have aborted her son if she had known he had Down’s syndrome has been awarded compensation from the NHS. Edyta Mordel was devastated when her son, Aleksander, was born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in 2015, the High Court was told. She said she would have terminated the pregnancy if antenatal screening had been conducted to show that the baby had the condition. Mr Justice Jay said the sonographer who conducted the scan had failed to obtain her informed consent to not agreeing to screening. He said Ms Mordel, who is from Poland and for whom English is a second language, failed to process the question and her reflex response was to say “no”.
A MUM who said she would’ve aborted her son if she’d known he had Down’s Syndrome has won a huge NHS payout. Edyta Mordel, 33, was devastated when son Aleksander was born with the condition and “would not have wanted her child to suffer the way that disabled people suffer”. Since giving birth at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in 2015, Edyta has devoted herself to caring for him, but claimed she would have ended the pregnancy if antenatal screening had been conducted to show that her son had Down’s. At the High Court today, Mr Justice Jay ruled against the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Trust and awarded Ms Mordel compensation which could amount to £200,000.
The leading doctors’ association has warned that government plans for a no-deal Brexit contain no detail on who will transport critical medicines into the UK and risk creating a winter crisis in the NHS. The British Medical Association said that the “no-deal readiness report” published yesterday leaves many unanswered questions for the NHS. It also warned that the health service may have to brace itself for an influx of Britons who live abroad returning to use the NHS this winter because of uncertainty over whether their healthcare will be covered in EU countries.
The voices of 356,000 Mail readers were heard in Downing Street yesterday as our dementia care petition was handed in to Boris Johnson. We are calling on the Prime Minister to honour his pledge to fix a broken system that forces countless pensioners to sell their homes to fund crippling care costs. Since its launch in July, our petition has been backed by prominent figures such as Sir Michael Parkinson and Dame Judi Dench. Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday praised the Mail for highlighting the issue and promised the Government was working on a plan of action.
Universities will have to recruit more overseas students over the next five years to make up for declining numbers of UK applicants and capped domestic tuition fees, according to analysis by an international credit agency. Moody’s said that increasing the number of students from China, India and elsewhere in Asia was the only way to repay university debts and continue their borrowing and building. UK universities have ramped up capital spending to keep pace with competitors. Moody’s cited the £300 million bond issued by Southampton to partially fund £621 million of development.
Universities are not doing enough to stop hate incidents including those in which offence was caused by mistake, vice chancellors have said. A report from Universities UK, which represents campus bosses, says there has been a steep rise in student complaints over harassment in the past few years. And it says while there has been progress in dealing with sexual misconduct claims, more needs to be done on other harassment, such as hate crimes and incidents. The report says a hate incident should still be dealt with seriously at a senior level even if no law has been broken and the perpetrator offended someone by mistake.
STRIKE action will bring universities and colleges across Britain to a standstill next month if urgent talks do not take place to tackle falling wages and cuts to pensions, Labour’s Angela Rayner warned today. The shadow education secretary urged union and employers to come together to settle the disputes as University & College Union members at 69 institutions are being balloted in the row over pensions, while members at 147 institutions are being balloted at the same time as part of a dispute over pay, workloads, casualisation and equality. The results are expected on Friday November 1.