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Huge number of border guards must be hired by March to avoid customs chaos after Brexit, officials claim

A HUGE number of border guards need to be hired by MARCH to avoid customs chaos on Brexit in 2019, officials claim. MPs were warned today that unless the Government sanctioned a “considerable” recruitment drive, Border Force will not have the manpower to cope with the extra checks required. And David Wood, former Immigration Enforcement chief, […]

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A HUGE number of border guards need to be hired by MARCH to avoid customs chaos on Brexit in 2019, officials claim.

MPs were warned today that unless the Government sanctioned a “considerable” recruitment drive, Border Force will not have the manpower to cope with the extra checks required.

Getty Images - Getty
Border Force will not have the manpower to cope with the extra checks required after Brexit without a ‘considerable’ recruitment drive[/caption]

And David Wood, former Immigration Enforcement chief, said new staff would have to be hired 12 months before Brexit so they can be vetted, trained and in place when we leave.

He told the Home Affairs Select Committee: “I don’t think under current resources the challenge of Brexit can be met – and certainly not smoothly.”

Union chiefs in August told the Sun that Britain required at least 3,000 new Border Force guards to be ready for Brexit.

Speaking today, Mr Wood the fact border staff would have to check EU arrivals meant there could be even bigger delays in deporting illegal immigrants.

Former Immigration Enforcement chief, David Wood, says there may be bigger delays in deporting illegal immigrants

He said Border Force would resemble a ball-chasing “football team of 9 year-olds” rushing from one problem to the next unless extra staff could be found.

He told MPs: “With Brexit the EU essentially becomes the rest of the world. That places additional pressure on the borders given the time taken to process each individual – considerable pressure.

“I fear it may be nearly impossible to be ready by 2019.”

John Vine, the ex-chief inspector of Borders and Immigration, told MPs registering three million EU citizens already in the UK was an “unprecedented bureaucratic challenge” in itself.

The Home Office admits Border Force numbers fell from 7,911 to 7,670 in 2016-2017.

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The Home Office admits Border Force numbers fell from 7,911 to 7,670 in 2016-2017[/caption]

In August, Lucy Moreton, general secretary of the Borders, Immigration and Customs Union, said London City Airport was the only entry point in the UK with no Border Force vacancies.

She said: “Britain’s borders aren’t secure.”

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Brexit is a dangerous game – Theresa May must play that ace and walk to trump EU

HOW heartwarming to see France and Germany marching into last week’s EU summit in lock step with British PM Theresa May. The image brought joy to those who desperately want a deal at any price. But warm words and fixed grins fail to erase the disturbing impression that Mrs May was a prisoner under escort. […]

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HOW heartwarming to see France and Germany marching into last week’s EU summit in lock step with British PM Theresa May.

The image brought joy to those who desperately want a deal at any price.

Britain’s threat to walk away with a ‘no deal’ is, and always has been, our trump card — but only if we are prepared to play it

But warm words and fixed grins fail to erase the disturbing impression that Mrs May was a prisoner under escort.

Before getting carried away with this so-called “breakthrough”, we need to know if it was a genuine gesture of goodwill — or another ploy to cast Britain as the ungrateful neighbour from hell.

EU leaders are not being kind. They are acting, rightly, in their own self-interest.

They have no intention of allowing this country to leave their club on favourable terms.

Warm words and fixed grins from EU leaders fail to erase the thought that Mrs May was a prisoner under escort at the EU summit
Rex Features

We must be made to pay — and not just in the sackloads of cash demanded as ransom.

If our 27 ex-partners seem to be adopting a more realistic stance, it is because the UK appears determined, if pushed, to leave with No Deal.

The threat to walk is, and always has been, our trump card — but only if we are prepared to play it.

The last thing Britain must do now, in the face of a rather unconvincing new charm offensive, is to drop its guard and go wobbly.

We must know if Theresa May’s ‘breakthrough’ was a genuine gesture of goodwill
AP:Associated Press

EU leaders have no intention of offering serious concessions, let alone a white flag of surrender.

But they do know a clean Brexit would be disastrous for the European Dream.

First, they wouldn’t get a brass farthing from the British taxpayer — a truly catastrophic loss of revenue for an already spluttering political experiment.

Second, whatever turbulence we face, few seriously doubt unfettered Britain will flourish while the EU struggles on with stubborn unions and an army of unemployed young people. Others might want what we are having.

Luckily, Theresa May has some invaluable advice from the only person with recent first-hand experience of EU bully-boy tactics.

Greece’s ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis published the punishment Brussels dished out to bankrupt Greece
AFP or licensors

Greece’s ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has published a scathing blow-by-blow account of the punishment beating dished out to bankrupt Greece for daring to stand up to Brussels.

Adults In The Room should be compulsory reading for ALL Cabinet ministers. It bleakly warns against any hope of compromise from Germany and France.

“They must realise you are prepared to walk out of the negotiations, whatever their threats,” says Varoufakis, “for if you are not, there is no point in entering the negotiating room in the first place.”

Having ignored his crucial advice in 2015, Greece today is condemned to spend eternity in what he describes as “debtors’ prison”.

Varoufakis’ account echoes the relentless mockery and smear campaigns against Brexit leader Boris Johnson
Rex Features

Varoufakis unveils the treachery, deceit and black propaganda deployed by Brussels — like the relentless mockery and smear campaigns against Mrs May and Brexit leader Boris Johnson.

The EU will stop at nothing to save their sacred Grand Project, he says.

Last week’s good cop/bad cop routine by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron was just another negotiating tactic.

“I warned Theresa May she is going to get the EU run-around,” Varoufakis said last week.

“That runaround is now proceeding apace.”

The good cop/bad cop routine employed Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron was just another EU negotiating tactic
EPA

Their first priority is to wreck plans for No Deal.

Having appeared to give ground, they will now string out negotiations only to pull the plug when it is too late for Britain to prepare for a viable clean break.

Remainers backed by Jeremy Corbyn would then campaign for Britain to cancel Article 50 and grovel to be allowed back in.

It is a dangerous game. Would Boris, Michael Gove and others simply stand by and allow Angela Merkel to humiliate this country?

Would Michael Gove and others simply stand by and allow Angela Merkel to humiliate this country?
EPA

Would Tory Remainiacs like Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan be prepared to bring down their own government and let Corbyn’s Trots into power?

Chancellor Phil Hammond thinks it is a waste of Treasury money to prepare for something that might not happen. He might as well ask: “What is the point of our armed forces?”

We are engaged in mortal combat. Britain’s economic and political future is at stake.

It is reassuring to know Brexit Secretary David Davis has read and absorbed Varoufakis’s instruction manual — and never leaves home without it.

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Theresa May delays crunch Cabinet debate over EU trade deal until next year over fears it could spark resignations

THERESA May has delayed a crunch Cabinet debate over an EU trade deal until next year over fears it will spark major resignations. The PM will not ask her top table to agree what conditions Britain is prepared to accept from Brussels in exchange for it until the EU has first laid out its own […]

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THERESA May has delayed a crunch Cabinet debate over an EU trade deal until next year over fears it will spark major resignations.

The PM will not ask her top table to agree what conditions Britain is prepared to accept from Brussels in exchange for it until the EU has first laid out its own terms.

Theresa May is set to put off delaying what she wants from a trade deal into the new year
PA:Press Association

In a break through for Mrs May, Europe’s 27 leaders ordered their own preparations for trade talks to start by Christmas after her summit appeal for help on Friday.

But she doesn’t want to risk hammering out Britain’s own position, fearing a major showdown between the Cabinet’s soft and hard Brexiteers.

Insiders say the key debate will mean the Cabinet having to prioritise either control over all our laws or access to the single market, as the EU has insisted it will not give Britain both.

One Cabinet minister told The Sun: “We haven’t grasped the nettle on the trade deal yet, and we really have to soon.

Mrs May was pleased after last week EU leaders said they would prepare for the start of trade talks later this year
Alamy Live News

“Theresa’s fear is the moment we do, half of us walk out.

“We just don’t know which half will yet.”

Senior No10 aides believe it will be easier for Mrs May to broach the issue once the EU have issued its chief negotiator Michel Barnier with a new mandate for the trade talks.

That will help narrow down the debate, once they learn “the art of the possible”, one Downing Street figure said.

A wide array of big decisions still need to be taken by the Cabinet on the the UK’’s red lines for a trade deal.

They range from what to do with newly returned fishing rights to immigration rules and how closely to align British rules on goods with the EU’s product regulations.

A leaked German government paper last week revealed Berlin wants to offer Britain a “comprehensive free-trade accord”, but only if we to adhere to EU red tape.

Europe’s leaders have publicly complained that the PM is still yet to pin down exactly what her requests will for a trade deal.

Venting his frustration with her government last week, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “It is quite a difficult negotiation when people who want to leave the European Union don’t really seem to agree among themselves what that actually means”.

Mrs May was told yesterday she needs to “face down” Boris Johnson if she wants to start trade negotiations with the EU by Christmas.

The European Parliament’s chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said she should call the bluff of the “increasingly desperate Brexiteers” and “outline, once and for all, what kind of future relationship the country wants”.

Mr Verhofstadt added: “This may require Theresa May to face down Boris Johnson and others in her own party who refuse to accept the reality of the Brexit they campaigned for”.

Lib Dem boss Sir Vince Cable claimed Brexit without a deal would cost the British economy £430bn over the next five years, as it would shrink Britain’s economic output by 5.3%.

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Donald Tusk says EU will prepare to talk trade in December and blasts downbeat Brexit envoy after talks with ‘optimistic and positive’ Theresa May

THERESA MAY is leaving Brussels “optimistic” about the future after EU boss Donald Tusk said the bloc will start preparing for Brexit trade talks in December. And in a double boost for the Prime Minister as she departs the two-day crunch EU summit – the Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has said he DOES expect a […]

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THERESA MAY is leaving Brussels “optimistic” about the future after EU boss Donald Tusk said the bloc will start preparing for Brexit trade talks in December.

And in a double boost for the Prime Minister as she departs the two-day crunch EU summit – the Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has said he DOES expect a deal between Britain and the EU to go ahead in the end.

Theresa May went on to breakfast with other EU leaders – she put a comforting hand on Jean Claude Juncker’s shoulder
AFP

On a day expected to be filled with doom and gloom about Brexit, the Prime Minister was all smiles and feeling up-beat about how talks were progressing – despite reports of an impasse just last week.

Markets – who had priced in that talks would not move forward as hopes – remained stable.

In Brussels today:

  • The EU said that not enough progress had been made to talk trade now, but internal talks will begin to prepare to start them in December
  • Mrs May told reporters that she was “positive and optimistic” about Brexit talks
  • Donald Tusk remained cheery, saying trust and good will had been restored between Britain and the UK, and rejecting his colleague Michel Barnier’s claims that talks were in “deadlock”
  • Mr Juncker insisted that he “hated” the idea of no-deal, but risked fury by saying that the British had no idea what they voted for in opting for Brexit
  • France’s President Macron was firm that we are “far from what is needed” to secure an agreement on the divorce bill – after reports that Mrs May had agreed in private to cough up more cash
Donald Tusk said reports of a deadlock had been hyped up and he remained positive that agreement will be reached
EPA
But President Macron claimed not even half the work on the divorce bill had been done
EPA
Jean Claude Juncker rolls his eyes as the press try to speak to him – but he says he DOES want a deal with Britain
EPA

EU Leaders took just 90 SECONDS to agree on their new Brexit position today – rejecting beginning trade talks now but saying they should move on “as soon as possible”.

The remaining 27 members “welcomed” the progress made so far on citizens rights and on Northern Ireland.

But they stood firm on noting that the UK’s financial offers have “not yet been translated into a firm and concrete commitment.”

Mr Tusk tweeted this morning: “Brexit conclusions adopted. Leaders green-light internal EU27 preparations for 2nd phase. “.

Angela Merkel insisted yesterday that meetings have been “encouraging” and she hoped that by December enough had been done in order to move on further.

And Polish PM Beata Szydło said the EU should “very positively evaluate the proposition that May presented in Florence”.

But their French counterpart Emmanuel Macron was more pessimistic, saying that we are “far from what is needed” to move on and accused Britain of “bluffing” by preparing for no deal.

In a press conference today he said: “I can only underline how much work needs to be done.”

Mrs May said she was hopeful for Britain’s future, and talks had made a lot of progress so far
EPA
The PM was able to hail the progress made during the talks and EU summit
EPA

In a cheery news conference this morning Mrs May said: “I am ambitious and positive for Britain’s future, and for these negotiations.”

She promised to fight for a relationship based on the same “fundamental beliefs” of the EU – including free trade, fair competition, and strong consumer rights – but admitted that there was “some way to go”.

The PM said the summit was “an important moment to assess and reflect on how to make further progress” and she urged all sides to work together to get a good deal that “works for all our people”.

But she declined to comment on reports this morning that she has secretly agreed to pay the EU even more money that previously expected – up to €40billion.

Mrs May said that we wouldn’t get a final figure on how much we’ll pay until the final agreement was bashed out, but said the EU would not be out of pocket for the next few years.

Theresa May privately agrees to DOUBLE Brexit divorce bill to €40bn

THERESA MAY has had talks in private about what she is prepared to pay the EU to quit.

According to reports in The Times, she said she could be willing to give over an extra €20billion (£17bn) to the bloc – to cover future liabilities.

But that’s on top of the €20bn offer to pay in during a transition period of up to two years.

Last week the European Parliament boss Antonio Tajani said her offer so far was “peanuts” and that €50bn or €60bn (£63bn) was needed.

But we’re unlikely to know the final bill until the final deal is agreed, Mrs May has said.

Publically the PM has yet to speak about a figure, but has been clear that the EU will not be out of pocket for the next few years as a result of our decision to leave.

She has promised to pay up what we owe and potentially dish out more in future for projects we want to stay a part of, but has vowed to go through the demands from the EU “line by line” to ensure we get value for money.

Mr Tusk looked pleased to see the British Prime Minister too as he reached out to greet her
EPA
The PM will be pleased with comments this morning which welcomed her ‘warm’ speech
AP:Associated Press
They sat down for bilateral talks this morning – and everything looked very friendly
AP:Associated Press

And today the traditionally gloomy Mr Juncker said: “I hate the no-deal scenario… I am not in favour of no deal.

“I want to have a fair deal with Britain.”

But he risked aggravating Brexiteers by saying that “nobody explained in the first place to the British people what Brexit actually meant”.

He added that there would not be a “miracle” today but that “work is going on” to move things forward.

His colleague Donald Tusk was far more upbeat, insisting that reports of “deadlock” from the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has been “exaggerated”.

He said in a press conference: “While progress is not sufficient, it doesn’t mean there is no progress at all.”

Praising the “momentum” from the PM’s Florence speech, he said that there was “positive motivation” to make the progress needed in the coming six weeks.

She peruses the menu next to Maltese PM Joseph Muscat
AP:Associated Press
A happy Theresa May arrives this morning after talks last night appeared to go well
AFP or licensors
Mrs May had breakfast with Donald Tusk before giving a press conference earlier today
AFP or licensors

Last night Mrs May warned EU leaders to soften their Brexit demands or she won’t be able to sell any deal to the British people.

Issuing a crucial pitch for progress to Europe’s bosses at a summit dinner, the Prime Minister called on them not to push her into a corner.

Mrs May told them: “We must work together to get to an outcome we can stand behind and defend to our people”.

And this morning Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat lavished praise on Mrs May’s after-dinner speech last night, saying it was her “best performance yet”.

He said that the speech was “constructive” and she conveyed a “warm, candid and sincere appeal that she wants progress to be made”.

The Maltese leader said that the wording of today’s conclusions from the council meeting “will show that there is willingness from the EU to move forward”.

The pair laughed during today’s breakfast meeting with other EU leaders.

Going well? Mrs May and Mr Muscat exchange pleasantries as they chose what to have for breakfast today
AP:Associated Press
Theresa May talked with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron yesterday – and it seemed to be going well
AFP or licensors
The PM engaged in chats with other EU leaders during the two-day summit
AFP or licensors

The PM stuck to her guns on the major sticking point of the divorce bill – money.

During her late night address at the end of the three course dinner, she again refused to spell out any sum that the UK was prepared to pay, or details on how to calculate it.

Instead, she only repeated the “firm commitment” in her Florence speech last month that Britain would pay up what it owes.

No10 refused hard Brexiteers’ demand to walk out of the negotiations when the EU formally turns down the PM’s plea to move onto trade deal talks later today.

Angela Merkel also offered embattled Mrs May a lifeline by declaring trade and transition talks could begin by Christmas.

After refusing the PM’s plea to declare “sufficient progress”, the powerful German Chancellor said she thought it would be possible to “take the work forward and then reach the start of the second phase in December”.

And she said there was “no doubt” a Brexit deal would be secured in the end.

She added: “We are going to achieve a good outcome.

“As far as I am concerned, I don’t hear any reason to believe that we are not going to be successful.”

Angela Merkel has high hopes that talks on trade can begin before Christmas
AP:Associated Press
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