Brexit

Looks like David Davis has upset his EU counterparts again, reports the Telegraph.

Negotiations between Britain and the EU  next week will be nothing more than “talks about talks” and barely mention the Brexit Bill, much to the fury of Brussels, The Telegraph can reveal.
Senior Whitehall officials have conceded that the two days listed for next week were “not a proper round” of talks but a “stock-taking exercise”.
EU sources greeted the idea of David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, meeting in Brussels on November 9 and 10 for “non-talk talks” with anger and astonishment. Negotiations so far have been characterised by at least three days of painstaking talks between the British and EU teams.
“The EU is coming to the table to negotiate,” one source said, “not for a discussion of the state of play.”

But it seems concessions continue to be made, reports the Guardian.

Britain has quietly conceded that EU27 nationals coming to the country at any point before Brexit day in 2019 will have their rights protected, after a collapse in the number of workers coming to the country blew apart any argument for an earlier cut-off date, according to EU sources close to the negotiations.
Downing Street had been keeping open the possibility that it would offer fewer rights to those arriving after 29 March this year, the date on which the prime minister formally notified Brussels of Britain’s intention to leave the EU. It had been claimed that setting the cut-off date on Brexit day in 2019 would open the UK to a flood of EU27 citizens seeking to enter before Britain left the bloc.
Senior EU sources, however, said that after a dramatic decrease in the number of nationals coming to the UK from the rest of the bloc since the referendum, the British negotiating team had quietly accepted Brussels’ argument that there could be no discrimination between member states’ citizens during the remaining time in which Britain was a member state.

EU

Elsewhere in the bloc, it seems other member states are going to have to stump up a lot of cash to fill a financial black hole after Brexit, says the Express.

EUROCRATS have produced a shock report showing which EU member states stand to pay more and lose the most when Brexit blows a £9 billion hole in the bloc’s budget.
The EU Parliament has calculated the enormous potential costs facing all 27 countries once the UK’s contribution to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) expires in 2020.
European leaders will have to decide whether to maintain the bloated scheme’s current spending levels, which account for 40 per cent of the bloc’s budget, or trim it down to size.
That presents them with a political nightmare, because wealthier member states want to use Brexit to slash waste whilst big recipients will fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo.
Now a report, drawn up by the officials for the EU Parliament’s agriculture committee, will add fuel to the fire by detailing precisely what each country has to lose. 

And the Express also has a story about how the EU wastes our cash.

EUROCRATS blew £520 million of taxpayers’ cash on a decade-long project to reduce carbon emissions that produced absolutely zero results whatsoever, it has emerged.
An investigation found that Brussels blew the colossal sum of cash on a drive to build underground storage facilities for CO2 emissions – but no such facilities were ever constructed.
This week the architect of the scheme, a former Lib Dem MEP, admitted this was because officials bungled their predictions for the environmental costs facing businesses.
The revelations, uncovered by the website EUobserver, will heap further pressure on EU chiefs who are already facing increased scrutiny over their spending due to Brexit.
Britain’s departure from the bloc is set to blow a £9 billion a year hole in its budget, with a number of member states actively calling for Brussels’ largesse to be reined in. 

Sex scandal

The main story dominating all the media today is the growing scandal of sex at Westminster. The Times reports the latest allegations.

A Conservative MP was facing a police investigation into allegations of serious sexual misconduct as the scandal engulfing Westminster deepened last night.
In a terse statement Julian Smith, the new Tory chief whip, said that Charlie Elphicke had been suspended from the party pending a police inquiry into “serious allegations” of wrongdoing.
It is understood that Conservative Party whips contacted the police after being told of the allegations. They also contacted the woman concerned to say that they were co-operating with the police.
Mr Elphicke said that he was unaware that he had been suspended until after the statement had been released to the media. “The party tipped off the press before telling me of my suspension,” he said.

The Express claims Mr Elphicke has been suspended.

TORY MP Charlie Elphicke has had the party whip suspended after “serious allegations” were referred to the police.
Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke is being investigated following the claims.
Elphicke was suspended on Friday night.
In a statement, Conservative Chief Whip Julian Smith said: “I have suspended the Conservative Party Whip from Charlie Elphicke MP following serious allegations that have been referred to the police.”
It is understood that Conservative Party whips contacted the police after being told of the allegations.
They also contacted a woman involved to confirm they were co-operating with the police.
Mr Elphicke has denied any wrongdoing over the allegations made, and said the media had been informed of the suspension before he had.

The Telegraph also has the story.

The Westminster sexual harassment scandal escalated dramatically on Friday night when the Conservative Party passed “serious allegations” about one of its MPs to the police.
Charlie Elphicke, a former party whip, was immediately suspended by the party, which offered no details about the allegations.
The 46-year-old, who is married with two children, denied wrongdoing and said the party had not even made him aware of what was being alleged.
According to reports on Friday night, the Conservative whips received an allegation about Mr Elphicke shortly after Theresa May became Prime Minister, but the woman who made the complaint did not want to involve the police.
Mrs May is likely to face questions about why the party has only now referred the matter to police if whips were aware of the allegations more than a year ago.

The Times reports on the former Defence Secretary.

No 10 was presented with details of an alleged sexual assault by Sir Michael Fallon hours before he resigned, a Conservative MP has revealed.
The prime minister’s team was confronted by a “person with great courage” who set out allegations against the former defence secretary on Wednesday, Anna Soubry has told The Times.
Sir Michael and Theresa May met on Wednesday afternoon and he announced his resignation with immediate effect that evening. He had apologised on Monday night for repeatedly putting his hand on the journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer’s knee during the Conservative Party conference in 2002.
He said that his personal conduct “had fallen below the high standards we require of the armed forces”.

But it seems the reason for the allegations may not have been sexual, says the Telegraph.

Andrea Leadsom “knifed” Sir Michael Fallon after he suggested she was a “dud” who would have to be sacked to get Cabinet agreement on the Brexit deal, it has emerged.
The Commons Leader launched a “preemptive strike” against the former defence secretary to protect her own job, ministers have said, and is now “unsackable” because of her whistleblower status.
Colleagues have also suggested that Mrs Leadsom, who ran for the Tory leadership last year, harbours ambitions of becoming chancellor if Theresa May is eventually succeeded by Gavin Williamson, the man who replaced Sir Michael.
Sir Michael resigned on Wednesday night, a day after Mrs Leadsom had given Downing Street a dossier of claims about his behaviour towards her.
Number 10 was forced to deny yesterday that Mrs Leadsom had demanded the sacking of Sir Michael.

Labour has not escaped these allegations, says the Mirror.

Labour MP Clive Lewis is under investigation over allegations he groped a woman at the party’s annual conference just weeks ago, the party has confirmed.
An official complaint has been made to the  party, alleging Mr Lewis gave a 39-year-old woman’s backside a “big squeeze” while hugging her at the conference, which took place in Brighton.
The party confirmed an investigation was underway, but it’s understood he won’t be suspended over the allegations.
It’s understood the woman, who has not been named, was attending an event at Corbyn-supporting group Momentum’s conference, which took place alongside the main conference.
She told the Independent that the encounter happened around midnight.

The Sun points out that Mr Lewis is an ally of the Labour leader.

CLIVE Lewis has become the fourth senior Labour politician in a fortnight to be investigated after allegations he groped a woman at their party conference have emerged tonight.
The former Jeremy Corbyn ally and prominent MP is accused by an activist of giving her backside “a big squeeze” after meeting her in Brighton in September.
Mr Lewis, tipped as a future leader, has strongly denied the claims – telling the Independent “that’s not how I roll”.
But the party member claims it happened when she greeted the 46-year-old, and the incident occurred in a room full of people at the conference in September.

And the scandal has spread to Wales, says the Sun.

A SENIOR Labour figure in the Welsh government has been suspended after allegations about his “personal conduct” were reported to the country’s First Minister.
Carl Sargeant posted a statement on Twitter announcing he was resigning as minister for communities and children this afternoon.
He called for an investigation to “clear his name” – but a spokesman for Carwyn Jones said he had been “removed” from the Cabinet as the Westminster sleaze scandal appears to have spread to Cardiff.
Mr Sargeant, who has been an Assembly Member since 2003, was the Labour group’s chief whip before taking a string of government roles.
He said he was told about the allegations by Mr Jones but had not been given details about the claims.

The Independent reports the claims are ‘shocking’.

A senior Labour figure has resigned from his role in the Welsh government after being told of “shocking and distressing” allegations against him.
Carl Sargeant said he had resigned as cabinet secretary for communities and children in the Welsh Government and said he wanted an independent investigation “to allow me to clear my name”.
But a spokesman for First Minister Carwyn Jones said Mr Sargeant had been “removed” from the Cabinet.
Mr Sargeant said in a statement: “I met with the First Minister today and he informed me allegations had been made about my personal conduct, which was shocking and distressing to me.
“The details of the allegations have yet to be disclosed to me.”

The BBC has also become embroiled in the scandal, reports the Sun.

THE BBC has refused a woman’s plea to investigate DJ Chris Evans over claims he flashed her for two years while at work.
An ex-colleague listed explosive sexual harassment and bullying claims about the £2million-a-year star in an email to Director General Lord Hall.
The woman said Evans flashed his penis at her daily for two years and grabbed her breasts.
But this week — as Sir Michael Fallon quit as Defence Secretary over sleaze allegations— she was told by a senior executive there would be no probe as the alleged incidents did not happen while Evans was at the Beeb.
Tory Andrew Bridgen said last night: “I’m appalled Lord Hall and the BBC have tried to sweep these very serious allegations under the carpet.

The Mail claims the BBC refused to investigate the claims.

The BBC has come under fire for its refusal to investigate claims of sexual harassment and bullying by Radio 2 star Chris Evans.
A former colleague of Mr Evans detailed claims that the ex-Top Gear host used to flash his genitals at the woman after taking his morning bath, ‘sometimes touch himself’ and even grabbed her breasts during a two year period.
Yet the complainant was told by a senior executive that there would be no probe into the incidents as they did not take place while Mr Evans was employed by the BBC.
Mr Evans was questioned by police last year after the woman alleged he exposed his erect penis to her on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast in the 1990s.
The 51-year-old DJ strongly denied all allegations and said that he was the victim of a witch-hunt.

But in an interesting twist, Westmonster reports a claim that Brexiteers are being targetted for these allegations in an effort to have them removed from power and Brexit to be stopped.

Remoaners in both the Labour and Conservative parties are working together to bring down the government and block Brexit,  Nadine Dorries MP believes.
Dorries thinks the recent list of MPs accused of sexual misdemeanours was a thinly veiled attempt to cause mass resignations and derail Brexit.
She told Julia Hartley-Brewer on talkRADIO: “Labour misdemeanours are not getting anything like the same traction in the media.  Conservative remainers are working with Labour Party remainers to achieve (an end to Brexit).”
She added that events seem “to be quite coordinated, quite strategic” and she said: “I’ve got my own suspicion that it isn’t even researchers” who released the dossier of allegations.

NHS

In other news – and there’s not much of it – the Health Secretary has come under fire, says the Independent.

Legal action is being taken against Jeremy Hunt and the Department of Health  over their proposals to restructure the NHS, The Independent can reveal.
Plans have been tabled to convert the NHS into a public/private enterprise, which critics say is based upon the US private health insurance-based system.
Senior health professionals and campaigners have now come together to take legal action and demand a judicial review, to ensure full parliamentary scrutiny of the proposals.
Under NHS England’s new plans, the boundary between health and social care would be dissolved and new systems and structures would allow alternative funding sources, ultimately leading to the creation of new healthcare overseers called Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs).

It seems that trainee GPs are not being paid, says the Guardian.

Labour is demanding an inquiry into how trainee GPs did not receive their salaries from a private firm that is meant to pay them on behalf of the NHS.
Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, has urged Jeremy Hunt to act after the Guardian disclosed that the delays had led to some family doctors being unable to pay their mortgage and having to seek help from a charity.
The British Medical Association (BMA) believes hundreds of doctors in England have been left out of pocket as a result of the errors by Capita.
Labour wants the Department of Health (DH) to step in to cover monthly salary payments due to trainee GPs which they did not receive from Capita in order to prevent hardship.

The PM is planning an inquiry into the blood scandal, says the Independent.

Theresa May has announced plans for a full statutory inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal after victims and families denounced offers of a probe run by the Department of Health.
In a major U-turn, the Prime Minister said the Cabinet Office would now oversee the investigation into how thousands of haemophiliacs and other patients were given blood products infected with HIV and hepatitis C during the 1970s and 1980s, leaving around 2,400 people dead.
Family members have previously condemned the potential involvement of the Department of Health in the UK-wide probe – as it would be effectively investigating itself – with many campaigners boycotting a meeting with officials at Downing Street earlier this year.

The Morning Star claims the NHS is on the brink of collapse.

HEALTH campaigners will gather for a major national conference in London today amid warnings that the NHS will not last another winter with Tories are in power.
People’s Assembly national secretary Sam Fairbairn told the Star the only way to protect the NHS was to kick the Tories out of office.
He explained that the attacks on the NHS were part of wider government plans to erode the progressive social gains in health, housing and education that were fought for by working people over generations.
Mr Fairbairn said: “Everything the Tories touch turns into a crisis. The NHS will not last another winter. That means we must make sure the Tories don’t last another winter either.
“We can either keep the Tories and lose the NHS or lose the Tories and keep the NHS. You can’t have both.”

Voting age

Plans to lower the voting age to 16 have been talked out in the House of Commons, says the Mirror.

Votes for 16-year-olds have been blocked without a vote in a farcical House of Commons fight.
Furious Labour MPs shouted “shame!” as they claimed Tory tactics had killed off their bid to lower the voting age from 18.
Labour, allies and Tory ex-Chancellor George Osborne had all joined a campaign to lower the voting age, to get young people into democracy.
But Tories – who would likely see their vote share shrink – fought it, claiming 16-year-olds don’t have “the political knowledge or maturity required.”
Labour accused them of using out-of-date Parliamentary rules to ensure the move would be blocked today.
The move would have been made law through a backbench Bill by Labour MP Jim McMahon.

The Morning Star accuses the Conservatives of sabotage.

THE Tories were accused of “sabotaging” plans by Labour to give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote yesterday.
Angry Labour MPs shouted “shame” after Tory politicians blocked attempts to lower the voting age by filibustering the motion out of the chamber.
A last-ditch attempt by Labour’s Wes Streeting  to move a motion before 2.30pm – which would force a vote on the Representation of the People (Young People’s Enfranchisement and Education) Bill – failed.
Shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs Cat Smith called it “deeply disappointing” that the Conservatives blocked Labour MP Jim McMahon’s Bill.

The Express points out that the lower age limit is in Scotland.

A BID to lower the voting age to 16 has failed after the Bill’s second reading ran out of time in the Commons.
The private members bill by Labour’s Jim McMahon was opposed by the government and Tory MPs were accused of extending the debate on previous bills to mean that there was insufficient time for the second reading.
The bill was set to mimic reforms in Scotland where 16- and 17-year-olds can vote in council and Scottish Parliament elections.
But it means that teenagers get the vote before they have even completed their GCSEs.

Plague

Further problems are in Africa as international health bosses are increasingly concerned about plague, says the Sun.

NINE African countries have been placed on high alert amid fears the continent could be ravaged by a plague epidemic already rocking the island of Madagascar.
World Health Organization officials decided to activate the warning as an extra $5 million (£3.8m) was released to combat the deadly outbreak before it becomes a pandemic.
The African countries which are on high alert are South Africa, Seychelles, La Reunion, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Comoros and Mauritius.
The World Bank has released the extra funds for a war chest to battle any outbreaks, with the cash paying for fuel for ambulances and disinfection teams.

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