Today’s Political Headlines include Barnier telling the UK to make a choice, Trump’s NHS error, Theresa May marking the centenary of the suffrage act and the EU rules the UK could be forced to accept.
Barnier tells the UK to ‘make a choice’
Visiting the UK yesterday, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned that future trade barriers are ‘unavoidable’ if the UK leaves the customs union. The Financial Times reports that EU officials believe that UK ideas are ‘unrealistic’, whilst Barnier said that it was time for the UK ‘to make a choice’ and that there was ‘not a moment to lose’. The paper also says that the EU is pressing for more clarity over the Irish border as it comes within weeks of publishing a legal text of December’s Brexit divorce agreement.
Trump rebuked over NHS claims
Following a tweet from President Trump, claiming that the NHS was ‘going broke and not working’, the BBC reports Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt hit back that he was ‘proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage’. Downing Street said that Hunt was speaking for the government, while NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens has invited Trump to visit a hospital on his trip to the UK later this year.
May marks suffrage act with vow to tackle abuse in public life
The Guardian says Theresa May is to mark the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act today by giving a speech in Manchester. May will address the topic of abuse in public life, and lay out steps to tackle it, including backing some recommendations from a Committee on Standards in Public Life report, publishing a social media code of practice and asking the Law Commission to review legislation on ‘offensive online communications’. The BBC reports that campaigners, including the Fawcett Society and Ruth Davidson, have called for convicted suffragettes to be given a posthumous pardon.
UK could be forced to accept 37 EU rules during transition
The Daily Telegraph has obtained a leaked Whitehall analysis that reveals that the UK could be forced to accept 37 EU directives during the transition period. It suggests that contentious measures include new recycling targets, giving Brussels the power to ‘mount a massive raid on the City of London’ and new renewable and energy efficiency targets.
Soubry tells May to expel hard Brexiteers
Anna Soubry told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that Theresa May needed to ‘get a spine’ and remove 35 ‘hard ideological Brexiteers’ from the Conservative Party, warning that by pandering to them she was forgetting a larger group ‘who are getting sick and tired’. She said that if Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg took over the party she would leave.
May’s mission statement criticised by ministers
An internal mission statement drawn up by Theresa May’s aides called ‘Building a Britain Fit for the Future’ has been criticised by ministers as ‘pathetic’ and ‘anaemic’, The Times says. The plan, first shown to the cabinet and ministers, was shared with MPs last week.
East Coast rail franchise may return to public sector
The Guardian reports that the East Coast rail franchise could return to the public sector, with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling telling MPs that Virgin Trains had breached its £3.3bn contract. Another option would be for the Government to offer Virgin Trains East Coast a ‘short-term, not for profit’ contract.
Rural MPs threaten to revolt over council funding cuts
According to the Financial Times, the Government is coming under pressure to increase funding to councils, following the imposition of spending controls on Northamptonshire County Council. The paper reports that ministers ‘have been locked in talks with MPs’ to secure the votes they need to pass the local authority funding settlement on Wednesday.
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