Fox says would be surprised if EU refuses to renegotiate Brexit terms – Reuters


CAIRO (Reuters) – British trade minister Liam Fox said on Tuesday he would be surprised if the European Union did not agree to attempts to renegotiate the country’s exit deal, and that it was up to both sides to avoid a no-deal exit.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who failed three times to get the deal approved by parliament, has said she will resign on June 7 and several of those vying to replace her have said they plan to seek changes to the agreement.

“If the EU doesn’t want to negotiate any changes – which I think would be unfortunate and I think would be quite surprising – then I think that of course does increase the chance of a no deal exit,” Fox said during a trade visit to Egypt.

Fox was in Egypt after Bombardier, which has a manufacturing base in Britain, was named as the preferred bidder for a 3 billion euro ($3.35 billion) monorail in Egypt.

Britain is due to leave the EU with or without a deal on Oct. 31, and the EU has repeatedly said its position is not open for renegotiation.

But, Fox said: “It’s in everybody’s interests that we try to find a compromise agreement that enables us to leave with stability, with predictability for our European partners as well as for the UK itself.”

 

Source: Fox says would be surprised if EU refuses to renegotiate Brexit terms – Reuters

How have European leaders reacted to Theresa May’s resignation? | Euronews


European leaders have been paying tribute to British Prime Minister Theresa May after she announced she will quit on June 7.

While they lined up to praise her determination and courage, it was clear Brexit was never far from their minds.

It is unclear who will succeed May, but if the favourite Boris Johnson prevails that could see a very different tone from London over the UK’s divorce from the EU.

France

 

Source: How have European leaders reacted to Theresa May’s resignation? | Euronews

Conservative leadership candidates: the Tory contenders in the running to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister : i News


  • PM announces resignation date for next month
  • Tory leadership contest to comment on 10 June to find replacement

Theresa May will resign as Conservative leader and Prime Minister on 7 June, clearing the way for her successor.

The rumblings of a leadership contest began some time before Mrs May’s official announcement, with Esther McVeyRory Stewart, and Boris Johnson already declaring they would be standing.

And now that a date has been confirmed more candidates are expected to come forward.

 

Source: Conservative leadership candidates: the Tory contenders in the running to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister : i News

Breaking: Leadsom resigns from Cabinet | The SKWAWKBOX


Tory chaos goes up a gear with what may be first of series of resignations to pressure PM May

Andrea Leadsom has resigned from her Cabinet position as Leader of the House of Commons.

In a letter to Theresa May, Leadsom blamed failure to deliver Brexit and a breakdown in government processes for her decision and urged May to step down:

 

Source: Breaking: Leadsom resigns from Cabinet | The SKWAWKBOX

Home Office investigated over English test cheating claims | UK news | The Guardian


A government watchdog has launched an investigation into the Home Office’s decision to accuse about 34,000 international students of cheating in English language tests, and will scrutinise the thinking behind the subsequent cancellation or curtailment of their visas.

More than 1,000 students have been removed from the UK as a result of the accusation and hundreds have spent time in detention, but large numbers of students say they were wrongly accused. Over 300 cases are pending in the court of appeal as hundreds attempt to clear their names. MPs have warned that this immigration scandal could be “bigger than Windrush”.

The National Audit Office (NAO) has been making preliminary inquiries into the government’s handling of the issue since the beginning of the year, and has now announced that it will proceed with a formal investigation. The body is expected to report its findings in late May or June.

 

Source: Home Office investigated over English test cheating claims | UK news | The Guardian

Compromise? Time ticking down for Britain to come to Brexit agreement – Reuters


Prime Minister Theresa May, weaker than ever after her Brexit deal was rejected by parliament three times, made another appeal to the public to explain why she turned to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after giving up on winning over eurosceptics in her Conservative Party, whose opposition has hardened.

With Britain’s departure now set for April 12, May’s government is running out of time to get a deal through a divided parliament, and must come up with a new plan to secure another delay from EU leaders at a summit on Wednesday.

Britain’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years is mired in uncertainty, with ministers saying Brexit may never happen, businesses worried the country could leave without a deal, and others just wanting to reverse it.

In a last-ditch bid to get her deal through parliament, May opened talks with Corbyn last week to try to strike a deal on Britain’s future ties with the EU in exchange for his support for her divorce deal, the Withdrawal Agreement.

So far those talks have failed to yield any kind of accord, with Labour policy chiefs saying the government has yet to move from its “red lines”, above all over a customs union, which sets tariffs for goods imported into the EU.

“Specifically provided we are leaving the European Union then it is important that we compromise, that’s what this is about and it is through gritted teeth,” said Andrea Leadsom, the Brexit-supporting Leader of the House of Commons, parliament’s lower house.

“But nevertheless the most important thing is to actually leave the EU,” she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, adding that May’s proposal for a customs arrangement after Brexit was not too far from Labour’s desire for a customs union.

 

Source: Compromise? Time ticking down for Britain to come to Brexit agreement – Reuters

Juncker raises prospect of emergency Brexit summit next week | Politics | The Guardian


Jean-Claude Juncker has raised the prospect of an emergency summit of EU leaders next week to decide on a Brexit delay, blaming ongoing chaos in Theresa May’s cabinet.

The European commission president said a letter from May requesting an extension to article 50, delaying the UK’s exit beyond 29 March, had not arrived overnight as expected.

 

Source: Juncker raises prospect of emergency Brexit summit next week | Politics | The Guardian

Hammond sees opportunity for Brexit vote next week | Reuters


LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers could be given a vote on a revised Brexit deal as soon as next week as negotiators in Brussels scramble to clinch last-minute changes to a divorce accord that would avoid a potentially disorderly exit from the European Union.

 

Source: Hammond sees opportunity for Brexit vote next week | Reuters

The resignation of three Tory MPs is a dire warning to the party | Andrew Gimson | Opinion | The Guardian


If the resignation of Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen means the Tories are becoming a narrower and less tolerant party, it is a disaster. The Conservatives cannot afford to decline into a sect which drives out all those who are unable to subscribe to whatever its stern, unbending ideology happens to be at any particular moment. It must remain a broad church within which a continuous and never finally settled argument about doctrine can take place. Only then is it able convincingly to offer its services to the nation as a party of government.

Theresa May looks so weak because she has been attempting to hold her party together. She is not herself of a sectarian disposition: an accusation which can more justly be levelled at Jeremy Corbyn. She is a pragmatist, who hopes she can persuade the vast majority of her backbenchers to support a pragmatic Brexit deal, even though it does not conform in every particular to the different and mutually incompatible things they would like in an ideal world to see.

 

Source: The resignation of three Tory MPs is a dire warning to the party | Andrew Gimson | Opinion | The Guardian

What It’s Like To Slash Millions From Council Budgets: Local Authority Leaders Speak Out | HuffPost UK


After a decade of deep and sustained reductions to local government budgets, councils across the country must find further savings next year as main grant funding, the money local authorities receive from central government to provide services, is cut by a further £1.3billion (or 36%).

HuffPost UK has been exploring how the loss of individual services at a local level link up to paint a national portrait of austerity in our series What It’s Like To Lose. As part of that, we have asked council leaders what it is like to sit at that table and decide where to put the black lines.

The task was described by one former Labour finance chief as “brutal” while another Conservative town hall boss said in some ways the role was “a poisoned chalice”.

It does show that we are really, really short of money that we’re actually doing this. I mean there is no money.Richard Cornelius, Conservative leader of Barnet Council

Local authorities have already lost 60 per cent of their central government funding over the last decade, substantially more than any other area of government.

And it is in the loss of valued frontline community services that the impact of this austerity drive is most keenly felt by communities across England.

Regardless of their political stripes, the council leaders each called on central government to invest in local government saying the cuts have now gone far enough. But some were keen to say that this should not be at the expense of further borrowing by government.

So acute are the financial challenges that even the most basic services – such as libraries, school lollipop patrols, street lighting, road repairs, cemetery maintenance, gritting – are now being considered for savings.

HuffPost UK delved into reduction proposals at five local authorities across the country, and found all of these services mentioned in the various plans.

 

Source: What It’s Like To Slash Millions From Council Budgets: Local Authority Leaders Speak Out | HuffPost UK