Category Archives: United Kingdom

(Express) Brexit Party set to make European elections HISTORY – largest share of UK vote in 25 YEARS

(Express) NIGEL FARAGE’S Brexit Party is set to make history by commanding the largest share of the UK vote in the European elections for 25 years.

The grassroots eurosceptic party, led by Nigel Farage, is polling at a huge 37 percent in the latest YouGov poll for The Times of 3,864 British adults from May 19-21 – likely to be one of the last key indicators before the British public cast their vote. If this is reflected at the ballot box, the figure would be the largest ever achieved by a non-mainstream political party in the European elections. It would also be the highest since the Labour Party romped to victory with 42.6 percent of the overall vote at the European elections in 1994.

Ahead of tomorrow’s election, the Brexit Party is also forecast to trump the victory of Ukip in the 2014 election by almost 10 percent.

Ukip, of which Mr Farage was leader during that campaign, was the most supported Party in the EU vote, having a gained 27.4 percent and 24 seats.

A 37 percent share of the vote is likely to get around 40 Brexit Party MEPs into the European Parliament and pile pressure on Theresa May.

If the polls are correct, the Brexit Party will exceed the 27 percent and 26.7 percent the Tories won with in the 2009 and 2004 elections respectively.

european elections farage brexit party

European elections: Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is on course to make history (Image: GETTY)

But the wave of support for Mr Farage is set to come a long way short of the record, where the Tories under Margret Thatcher received a mammoth 48.4 percent share of the vote in the first ever European elections in 1979.

The latest YouGov poll put the Liberal Democrats are a distant second on 19 percent, with Labour falling to 13 percent and the Greens increasing to 12 percent.

The Prime Minister is facing yet further humiliation, with just seven percent of those polled saying they would vote for the Conservative Party.

The previous poll from YouGov, which surveyed more 7,192 British adults from May 12-16, also had the Brexit Party well ahead of its rivals on 35 percent.

The Liberal Democrats were on 16 percent, closely followed by Labour (15 percent), Green Party (10 percent) and Conservatives (nine percent).

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european elections voting

European elections: The Brexit Party’s support has surged over recent weeks (Image: EXPRESS)

We’ve managed in five and a half weeks not just to frighten the establishment – oh no, they’re not frightened, they’re absolutely terrified

Nigel Farage

Last night, the Brexit Party vowed a victory in the European elections would “only be the beginning” of a revolution that could rock Westminster.

At a rally in London that organisers said attracted a huge 3,000 supporters, Mr Farage roared the Brexit Party had the establishment “terrified”.

He warned victory for the Brexit Party could end the leaderships of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.

The former Ukip leader told the jubilant crowd: “We have managed in five and a half weeks to go to the head of the opinion polls.

“We’ve managed in five and a half weeks not just to frighten the establishment – oh no, they’re not frightened.

“They’re absolutely terrified.

european elections brexit party

European elections: Ann Widdecombe had a defiant message for the Brexit Party supporters (Image: AFP / GETTY)

“We’ve managed to give millions and millions of people in this country who were frustrated, upset and angry to the point of saying they may never engage with the democratic process again, so sick to death were they with the shenanigans in Westminster – we’ve given them hope, optimism and belief in this country and in the democratic process.”

Former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe, who only joined the Brexit Party last month, also had a defiant warning for the Government.

She said: “Either let Britain leave the EU or we’ll make sure you leave Westminster.

“Thursday is not the end. It’s the beginning of bringing true democracy back to this country.”

(Mirror) EU elections: Tories on just 7% in utterly devastating YouGov poll

(Mirror)

In contrast Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is storming ahead on 37%

The Brexit Party is set to triumph on Thursday (Image: REUTERS)

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The latest poll makes devastating reading for the Tories as the party slumps in fifth place on just 7% on the eve of the European elections.

In contrast the Brexit Party is storming ahead with YouGov putting the newcomers on 37%.

That means Nigel Farage’s party is comfortably in first place – just a few weeks after it was founded.

The Liberal Democrats have been storming ahead and are now comfortably in second place on 19% – pushing Labour , on 13%, into third place.

But the Greens are snapping at Labour’s heels for third place – being only one point behind on 12%.

The Conservatives now sit in a distant fifth place, with just 7% of people planning to back the Tories  – down from 10% last week.

While the other new party Change UK have failed to cut through and are now on just 4%.

More bad news for Theresa May (Image: Getty Images)

Despite only just having been founded, the Brexit Party started off in third place in the second week of April on 15% – one point behind the Tories and one ahead of UKIP.

The Brexit Party’s meteoric rise has been matched by the slump the other two parties.

While Nigel Farage’s party has since more than doubled its vote to 37%, the Conservatives have seen their vote share halved to 7% and UKIP are down to just 3%.

Labour have fallen from 24% to just over half that figure now.

The Lib Dems have seen a revival in fortunes since this month’s local elections, with the first poll conducted in the aftermath seeing the party break out of their previous 7-10% range and up to 15%. They have continued to rise since then.

A second poll out today puts the Brexit Party even higher on 38%.

Labour, however, is second on 17% with the Lib Dems in third on 15% and the Tories in fourth.

It’s bad news for Labour as well (Image: REUTERS)

The Greens are on 7% while Change UK claim just 3% of the vote and Ukip scrapes 2%.

Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium comments: “Nigel Farage’s mopping up of the Leave vote continues, the most recent shift in support being the movement of some 2017 Labour Leavers to the light blue (Brexit Party) column.

“If these results were repeated you’d expect to see the Brexit Party take 36 out of the 73 seats, up from 24 for UKIP in 2014.”

As his party soars in the polls Nigel Farage has said the Brexit Party will demand to have places on the EU negotiating team if they come top in the European elections this week.

Speaking to a 3,000 strong crowd, at a rally in Kensington, west London, Mr Farage said if his party tops the polls, representatives “must join the EU negotiating team”.

The former Ukip leader also speculated that wins for the Brexit Party could have an impact on the leadership of the two main Westminster parties.

Mr Farage added: “We will quickly get rid of the worst prime minister in the history of our nation.

“You never know, given the way we are smashing the Labour vote in Wales and the Midlands, a big Brexit win might get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as well.”

Mr Farage also commented on the Electoral Commission’s investigation into the party’s funding.

Its premises were searched by commission staff on Tuesday.

Mr Farage said: “After seven hours, the Electoral Commission have not found a single misdeed by the Brexit Party.

He continued: “Let me make clear to all the conspiracy theorists.

“Our money comes from this growing mass movement of people.”

He did not address the news of a European Parliament committee investigation into a complaint that he allegedly failed to declare £450,000 in donations to him by prominent Leave campaigner Arron Banks.

(BBC) Brexit: Theresa May’s withdrawal bill delayed

(BBC)

Theresa May

Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal bill will not be published or debated until early June, the government says.

The prime minister is continuing to face pressure from her own MPs to resign following her pledge of a “new deal” on Brexit.

It comes after Commons leader Andrea Leadsom stepped down on Wednesday night over the PM’s Brexit policy.

Downing Street has announced she will be replaced by Treasury minister Mel Stride.

Several cabinet ministers have told the BBC that Mrs May cannot stay in her post.

Standing in for Mrs Leadsom, Mark Spencer told the Commons: “We will update the House on the publication and introduction of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on our return from the Whitsun recess.”

He added that the government planned to publish the bill in the first week of June.

“We had hoped to hold second reading on Friday 7 June,” he added.

“At the moment, we have not secured agreement to this in the usual channels. Of course we will update the House when we return from recess.”

On Wednesday, Theresa May told the Commons that the legislation would be published on Friday.

Second reading is when MPs get a first chance to debate legislation, before deciding whether it should proceed to detailed scrutiny.

Hunt on Trump visit

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said she would still be PM when President Trump visits the UK in early June.

Responding to a question after a speech at the National Cyber Security Centre, he said: “Theresa May will be prime minister to welcome him and rightly so.”

It is possible for Mrs May to quit as Conservative leader before Mr Trump’s visit, but continue as prime minister on a caretaker basis.

The US president is due to make a three-day state visit to the UK from 3 to 5 June.

Media captionAndrea Leadsom: “I couldn’t support the Brexit bill”

Speaking after Mrs Leadsom’s departure on Wednesday, Mrs May said she was “sorry to lose someone of [Mrs Leadsom’s] passion, drive and sincerity”.

On Wednesday night, Mrs Leadsom said Mrs May’s new Brexit plan had “elements I cannot support, that aren’t Brexit”.

The minister had been due to appear in the Commons on Thursday to give a business statement to MPs.

Presentational grey line

What is the Withdrawal Agreement Bill?

The UK needs to pass a law to implement the withdrawal agreement – the part of the PM’s Brexit deal which will take the country out of the EU – in UK law.

Presentational grey line

Mrs Leadsom was set to announce when the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill – the legislation needed to implement the agreement between the UK and EU – would be introduced to Parliament.

On Wednesday, members of the Conservatives’ backbench 1922 Committee held a secret ballot on whether to change party rules, to allow the prime minister to face a vote of no confidence immediately.

Mrs May is due to meet the chairman of the committee, Sir Graham Brady, on Friday.

The results, in sealed envelopes, will be opened if Mrs May does not agree to stand down by 10 June.

Mrs May survived a no-confidence vote of Conservative MPs in December.Under existing rules, she cannot be challenged again until December this year.

(GUA) What went wrong at British Steel?

(GUA)

Why the UK’s second-largest steelmaker has entered insolvency

A British Steel plant
 The UK steel industry has been in decline for some time. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images

British Steel has entered insolvency after the government refused to provide it with a £30m loan, saying the terms the company and its private equity owner Greybull Capital were asking for would have amounted to unlawful state aid. Here are the answers to some key questions.

What has gone wrong at British Steel?
When Greybull Capital bought British Steel for £1 in 2016 from Tata Steel, rebranding it with the old British Steel name, it promised great things. The private equity firm pledged to invest £400m to revive the company and within months it was boasting of a return to profit and a bright future ahead. Two years later it has entered insolvency. In a letter to staff last week, British Steel’s chief executive, Gerald Reichmann, blamed weak market demand, high raw material prices, the weakness of sterling and uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit discussions.

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How much is Brexit to blame?
It is not the only factor in the crisis but it is very important. Steel contracts are typically agreed well in advance of the product being delivered. As things stand, the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October and the terms of that separation are yet to be agreed, meaning British Steel’s overseas customers do not know what tariffs will apply to steel they buy from the company. Sources close to the company say orders from customers in the EU and further afield have dried up as a result.

That is why the company wanted an urgent cash injection, to replace the drop in sales in the hope that a favourable Brexit deal could be signed in the meantime. Another factor is the weakness of sterling since the referendum result, which makes the cost of imported raw material used in making steel higher. Greybull bought British Steel after the referendum but it did not expect Brexit uncertainty to last this long.

Can the company survive in some form?
The steelworks in Scunthorpe represents the bulk of the company and it is hard to see who would be an obvious buyer for the site, given that it has struggled under successive owners. The fundamental problems affecting it show no sign of solution anytime soon. The government has said it would bring together the company, its unions and suppliers in an effort to avoid losing one of the UK’s last two blast furnace steelworks. But that will probably require someone to come in and offer to buy the company. The metals group Liberty House, which was interested in Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant and has since bought steel mills from the company, is one name in the frame.

Why was the government reluctant to bail it out?
For a start, propping up failing businesses goes against the Conservative party’s free market ethos unless absolutely unavoidable. Also, the government has already loaned the company £120m to help it pay an EU bill for its carbon emissions. Not to mention that the date of Brexit has already been delayed once. Ministers did not want to lend British Steel money to tide it over in the hope of a Brexit deal that may not come.

However, the official stance is that British Steel and its bank lenders wanted the government to lend the company £30m on terms that were not commercial, which would have been unlawful under EU state aid rules.

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Is the whole UK steel industry in trouble?
The UK steel industry has been in decline for some time because of a variety of factors such as overcapacity in EU steelmaking and Chinese state-subsidised firms flooding the global market with cheap product. An industry that employed 323,000 people in 1971 now employs less than a tenth of that, at 31,900. The closure of the Redcar steelworks in 2015 was a significant blow to the sector and left the UK with only two blast furnace steelworks, which make steel from raw materials: Scunthorpe and Tata Steel-owned Port Talbot in south Wales. There are also four electric arc furnaces in the UK, which make products from recycled steel. There are three of these sites in Sheffield and one in Cardiff.

How important is the steel industry?
Very. For a start, steelmaking jobs are highly skilled and well paid. The average salary of £36,000 is around 50% higher than that of workers in regions where the industry operates such as Wales and Yorkshire. The ability to make steel is seen as a crucial component of a developed nation’s defence capability, not to mention its role for strategically important industries such as transport and oil and gas.

British Steel is also important in its own right. The UK’s six producers all essentially produce different steel products, meaning there’s very little overlap. So the loss of any one producer immediately reduces the UK’s capability to make all the different products the country requires.

British Steel is the only UK producer of rail, and a vast array of construction products. A loss of this would mean Britain has no choice but to import increasing volumes of steel for construction and infrastructure projects.

What else could be done?
About 42% of steel that the government buys comes from abroad. Not all of that could be sourced from the UK as we do not make every grade of steel that the state purchases. However, on Monday the government committed to consider social and environmental benefits when buying steel, in a move that the industry hopes will make British companies more likely to win contracts within EU state aid rules. The industry has also complained that it is being hit by the twin burdens of high business rates and energy costs, given how energy-intensive steelmaking is. Policy changes could offer some relief in those areas too.

(DML) Now EE and Vodafone drop Huawei phones from their 5G network launch lineup as chip designer ARM distances itself from the company over US ban

(DML)

  • Firms EE and Vodafone have pulled Huawei’s phones from their 5G networks 
  • UK-based chip designer ARM has told staff not to do business with the company
  • The reports follow Google’s decision to pull the company’s android license
  • An order from President Trump last week effectively banned technology firms from ‘foreign adversaries’ trading with US companies without approval

Leading mobile carriers and technology firms have started to sever ties with Huawei to comply with the recent US trade clampdown. 

UK-based chip designer ARM have told their staff to ‘halt’ business with the Chinese telecoms firm while mobile operators EE and Vodafone have pulled Huawei’s phones from their 5G networks.

Japan’s KDDI and Y! Mobile are also said to be delaying the launch of upcoming Huawei smartphones  to protect their operations amid security concerns.

An order from President Trump last week effectively banned technology firms from ‘foreign adversaries’ trading with US companies without approval. 

Huawei is accused of being a gateway for the Chinese government to spy on Western nations using equipment used to facilitate the upcoming 5G service.  

A number of leading mobile carriers and technology firms have started to sever ties with Huawei to comply with the recent US trade clampdown. Chip designer ARM and mobile operators EE and Vodafone have pulled the Chinese firm’s phones from their 5G networks

Since then, the firm has received a series of blows including Google’s announcement that they would be pulling the company’s Android license.

This means that new and yet-to-be-released Huawei models would not be able to access Google apps as part of Android, like Google Maps or Youtube. 

Another major drawback to the business came today as British tech company ARM has also suspended dealing with the company.

Documents obtained by the BBC have instructed ARM employees to halt ‘all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements’ with the company.

If ARM does sever ties in the long-term it would greatly affect Huawei as it relies on ARM’s technology to build its own chips.    

One analyst told the BBC that  the move, if it became long-term would be an ‘insurmountable’ blow to Huawei’s business.

An order from President Trump last week banned technology firms from ‘foreign adversaries’ trading with US companies without approval. Huawei is accused of being a gateway for the Chinese government to spy on Western nations

Telecom firms EE and Vodafone has left Huawei out of their line-up of 5G smartphones, which EE is launching next week.

EE said it had chosen to ‘pause’ the sale of Huawei 5G phones amid ongoing tensions between the US and the company.

They also confirmed the Huawei equipment it currently uses in its network infrastructure is in the process of being phased out.

Vodafone also said it would suspend Huawei’s Mate X phone from its 5G line-up because ‘Huawei’s 5G handset is yet to receive the necessary certifications’. 

EE chief executive Mark Allera said it will not restart Huawei sales until they are satisfied that the security of its customers is being protected. 

The BT-owned telecoms giant said it will be the first operator in the UK to launch the high-speed mobile network, which is expected to offer internet speeds several times that of current generation 4G. 

An order from President Trump last week banned technology firms from 'foreign adversaries' trading with US companies. Huawei knocked Apple off the second place to Samsung in smartphone sales, however experts say not having Google Play will put off potential buyers

An order from President Trump last week banned technology firms from ‘foreign adversaries’ trading with US companies. Huawei knocked Apple off the second place to Samsung in smartphone sales, however experts say not having Google Play will put off potential buyers

The company confirmed a number of 5G-ready smartphones would be available on its new network, including devices from Samsung, OnePlus, LG, HTC and Oppo.

Fellow mobile operator Vodafone has confirmed it will launch 5G across seven cities in the UK on July 3, with another 12 cities to follow by the end of the year.

Mr Allera said the company has ‘worked for decades with government’ and ‘at the moment we have no instructions to change our plans’, amid security fears around the use of Huawei in 5G networks. 

A Huawei spokesperson told the Telegraph: ‘We value our close relationships with our partners, but recognise the pressure some of them are under, as a result of politically motivated decisions. 

‘We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved and our priority remains to continue to deliver world-class technology and products to our customers around the world.’

MailOnline have contacted Huawei for comment.

In 2017, Huawei shipped over 153 million phones globally in the first three months of 2019 alone and delivered more than 59 million smartphones, around half of which went to European consumers. 

The Government is yet to announce its decision on whether the Chinese firm should be allowed as part of telecoms infrastructure following an official review.

‘Extremely unfortunate timing’: Huawei-owned Honor launches new devices just two days after Google pulls its Android license

Huawei-owned smartphone firm Honor has unveiled its next line-up of smartphones, amid uncertainty over the future of its devices.

An order from President Trump last week effectively banned technology firms from ‘foreign adversaries’ trading with US companies without approval.

Google then confirmed it would stop supporting Android on Huawei and Honor devices, the software which powers both firms’ phones.

Huawei-owned smartphone firm Honor has unveiled its next line-up of smartphones, despite uncertainty over the future of its devices. Here, a picture from Honor’s smartphones launch yesterday

The block means that new and yet-to-be-released Huawei and Honor phones are unlikely to be able to access Google apps as part of Android.

Although Honor says that their new line  should have access to the Google Play Store as well as Google’s other services, future updates are less certain.

A temporary license and grace period sanctioned by the US government will initially allow support for existing devices until August.

Speaking to MailOnline, Ben Wood, from the CCS Insight consultancy, said that it was ‘extremely unfortunate timing for such an exciting product’.

The uncertainty of the current situation is damaging for Huawei’s business and the fact that they don’t have clarity further muddies the water for customers.

‘People rely on core Google services like Google maps and not being able to have these applications on devices would present a huge challenge,’ he said. 

At the launch, Honor boss George Zhao said regarding the ongoing trade row, ‘no matter what happens’ he believed that the firm can ‘overcome it’. 

The company has chosen bright colours for the holographic designs, paired with a powerful 48MP AI Quad Camera

Both models also boast a 6.26′ all-view display with a 91.7 per cent screen-to-body ratio. Honor said availability for the 20 Pro, which will cost €599 (£525) in Europe, would only be ‘released in the near future’

Existing Huawei smartphone users will be able to update apps and push through security fixes, as well as update Google Play services.

But when Google launches the next version of Android later this year, it may not be available on Huawei devices.

Effectively what this means is that future Huawei devices may no longer have apps such as YouTube and Maps.

The latest offering continues the winning trend of flagship hardware at more reasonable prices aimed at millennial smartphone users.

A third device, the Honor 20 Lite, is already on sale for £249.99

Google is assuring users of Huawei smartphones the American company’s services will still will work on them but the impact to Huawei may be crippling (file photo)

The company has chosen bright colours for the holographic designs, paired with  a powerful  48MP AI Quad Camera. 

The Pro supports up to 5x hybrid zoom, which uses the other cameras to fill in details beyond the optical zoom, and up to 30x digital zoom. 

The Honor 20 can be pre-ordered now for £399.99 at Carphone Warehouse, O2, Three, Amazon and Argos with a free Honor Watch Magic.

(DML) Jamie’s recipe for disaster: Experts reveal faults that led to collapse of chef’s sprawling restaurant empire

(DML)

  • Critics claim Oliver’s restaurants were over-priced for their ‘mid-range’ offering
  • But his recipe books still sold millions and cooking shows continued to do well
  • With rise of food delivery apps and online reviews three chains failed to survive
  • Jamie’s Italian, Union Jacks and Barbecoa have all gone into administration 

Pictured: Jamie Oliver on The Naked Chef during its second series in 2000 

Jamie Oliver’s food empire today came crashing down around him as the celebrity chef announced his restaurant brand had spiralled into administration.

Food critics and industry experts claim the overpriced, mid-range meals on offer at his three High Street restaurants were a recipe for disaster. 

While Oliver’s recipe books flew off the shelves in their millions and his TV shows continued to rake in viewers, his own food outlets failed to meet the same standards. 

Restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin said she would have to be ‘paid’ to go back to Jamie’s Italian in London‘s Westfield.

Market analyst Fiona Cincotta claimed the menu was ‘too expensive for mid-range dining and not high-end enough to compete at the more expensive end of the market’. 

Oliver, who first broke the mainstream as the cheeky chappy from Essex on his first TV show The Naked Chef at 23, blamed Brexit for the collapse. 

But his restaurants, which also include Union Jacks and Barbecoa, have teetered on the edge of administration for more than a year with millions of pounds in debt.  

Experts claim the Jamie brand was being used as an excused to hike up prices, without any increases in food quality.  

Poor online reviews are also believed to have contributed to the worsening reputation of Jamie’s Italian as food delivery apps such as Uber Eats have conquered the market, leaving the chef unable to save his struggling brand.

TripAdvisor reviewers recently branded his Covent Garden branch as ‘shocking’, ‘nothing special’ and pricey in recent months. 

His restaurants now owe £71.5million with 1,000 workers set to lose their jobs. 

Josh Singh, 24, who works at Jamie’s Italian at the Bullring in Birmingham said: ‘In the early years it was a destination restaurant but I think over time the message got lost. The company started giving things away and turned into your average high street restaurant instead of a celebrity restaurant.

‘They opened restaurants all over the place and in places where you wouldn’t expect celebrity restaurants to be like villages and very small towns.’ 

An anonymous member of staff added: ‘It was getting too commercial and I felt under pressure to get customers seated and ordered and then out too quickly.

‘On busy nights it felt like a conveyor belt. Why pay £100 plus for a meal when you feel under pressure to eat it quickly? You might as well go to McDonalds.’

Gareth Ogden, from chartered accountants Haysmacintyre, said: ‘Sky high rents, particularly at its premium sites, combined with soaring business rates have been at the heart of Jamie Oliver’s recent woes. Video playing bottom right…Click here to expand to full pageLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:07PauseUnmuteCurrent Time0:07/Duration Time0:29FullscreenExpandClose

Fifteen Barbecoa restaurants have also closed as Jamie Oliver's brand went into administration today

Fifteen Barbecoa restaurants have also closed as Jamie Oliver’s brand went into administration today 

‘The rescue plan put in place in 2017 appears to have now crashed on the rocks of over-supply in the casual dining market and consumer uncertainty. 

‘In a sector awash with excess supply, particularly in the Italian market, maintaining quality, reliability and point of difference is imperative for survival. 

‘Jamie’s Italian, the group’s largest brand, is perhaps guilty of over-expansion and has lost the passion and zeal of its founder which was its USP when originally brought to market.’ 

Jamie’s Italian is far from the only victim of the High Street bloodbath, with dozens of food brands admitting defeat in the last two years.

Prezzo, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Patisserie Valerie are among those who have struggled to survive.     

Simon Mydlowski, an expert in the hospitality industry, said Jamie’s failed to keep up with trends in the sector. 

This sign appeared in the window of the Jamie’s Italian in Victoria, central London this morning

Senior market analyst Fiona Cincotta from Cityindex, added: ‘The restaurant chain, which piggybacked on the fame of Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, has been struggling for years to keep the business model going in which the pasta dishes – most of Jamie’s Italian offering – were too expensive for mid-range dinning and not high end enough to compete in the more expensive end of the market. 

‘Higher rent, rising food prices, uncertainty over Brexit and competition from smaller, more nimble outfits, have been eroding the company’s earnings over the last few years.  

‘Although nobody in the company blamed Brexit for the situation it is telling that the Jamie Oliver franchise is alive and well abroad, operating 25 restaurants in other countries including Ireland. 

‘The demise doesn’t leave much to celebrate, only room for questions about how it could have been done better.’    

The self-made chef’s fall from grace comes after he refused to let severe dyslexia stand in his way of success.

Born to pub owners Trevor and Sally Oliver in Clavering, Essex, he started out cooking in the kitchen with his parents and sister. 

Josh Singh started work at the company as door staff in 2013 and has worked his way up the ladder to become manager. He slammed the closures today 

After leaving school, he went on to attend Westminster Technical College, earning a qualification in home economics, before getting a job as a pastry chef at the London restaurant of Italian cook Antonio Carluccio.

His shot at stardom came when a visiting TV crew spotted him working at the River Cafe in Hammersmith, West London, in 1997. 

Two years later he hit TV screens aged 23 on The Naked Chef, establishing his reputation as a cheeky, laid-back cook from Essex.

The BBC series was praised at the time for inspiring men to cook. It first aired on April 14th in 1999 and ran for three series and including Christmas specials. 

Jamie met his wife, Juliette — known as Jools — at college in 1993 when the pair were just 18.

They married in Essex in June 2000, with a low-key reception in Jamie’s parents’ garden, to which the chef wore a pale blue Paul Smith suit and snakeskin brogues.

Jools worked as a waitress before becoming a TV assistant, model and, briefly, her husband’s PA.

The couple have five children – Poppy Honey Rosie, 17; Daisy Boo Pamela, 15; Petal Blossom Rainbow, 10; Buddy Bear Maurice, eight; and River Rocket Blue Dallas, two. 

Oliver tweeted: ‘I’m devastated that our much-loved UK restaurants have gone into administration. I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all of the people who have put their hearts and souls into this business over the years.’

He went on to present more than 25 cooking series, spearheading a campaign for improved nutrition in school meals. 

Jamie famously waged war on Turkey Twizzlers in 2005, when he visited Westminster to speak with politicians about his healthy school dinners campaign.  

The chef also released a host of accessible cookery books, including  ‘Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals’ and ‘Everyday Super Food’. In 2010, ‘How to Cook (Part One)’ became the biggest selling cookbook of all time. 

Timeline: How Jamie Oliver’s chains plunged into debt

2008: Jamie’s Italian opened its first restaurant in 2008.

2015: Jamie At Home, which contracted agents to sell his cookware range at parties, ceased trading after racking up losses. The company began in 2009, as part of the Jamie Oliver organisation, before being licensed to another firm in 2013, but shut up shop in 2015.

2017: Jamie’s businesses lost £20m, forcing him to shut 18 of his Italian restaurants – leading to the loss of 600 jobs.

Chain was struggling with debts of £71.5m and teetered on the edge of bankruptcy before the chef injected his savings into the business. 

The firm also took out £37m in loans from HSBC and other companies. 

In 2017 he closed the last of his four his Union Jack Piazzas, in London’s Covent Garden. 

2018: Jamie’s Italian shuttered 12 of its 37 sites, with the latter tranche executed through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

He also came under fire for failing to pay suppliers after his upmarket steak restaurant Barbecoa crashed into administration, leading to the closure of its Piccadilly branch.  

The restaurant in St Paul’s continued to trade and was bought out by a new company set up by Oliver, who was no longer legally liable for the debts. 

2019: All but three of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants close after the business called in administrators, with 1,000 staff facing redundancy. 

Licensing his name for use on items such as Hotpoint ovens and Tefal pans has made him £7.3million before tax in 2016 alone. Cooking and recipe books have raked in £5.4million before tax in the same year. 

He opened his first Jamie’s Italian in Oxford in 2008, growing it to more than 60 restaurants worldwide. 

In 2017 the restaurant chain lost almost £20million and was forced to close several of its branches.

It came close to bankruptcy last year before the chef injected £12.7million of his savings into the business.  

That year he closed the last of his Union Jacks eateries and scrapped his magazine Jamie, which had been in print for almost 10 years. The father-of-five went on to describe that year as the worst of his life.  

By 2018, Jamie’s Italian was struggling with debts of £71.5million. More than 600 people lost their jobs earlier this year the chain said it would close 12 sites.   

Despite his financial woes, Jamie recently splashed out £6 million on a 16th century Essex mansion, in a 70-acre estate, complete with ghost. 

He’s reportedly planning to convert outhouses into a mega-kitchen from which he can film shows and hold his masterclasses.

He and Jools spent £8.9 million on a Grade II-listed mansion near Hampstead Heath, north London, in 2016, and spent two years renovating it.

It boasted seven bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen with cream Aga, a grand piano and a Louis XV-style bed worth £2,200, it’s certainly impressive.

The Olivers have fitted the house with some quirky features, including a wood-fired pizza oven, a treehouse bed and a vegetable patch for the children.

Jamie hired his brother-in-law, Paul Hunt, married to his sister Anna-Marie, to run Jamie Oliver Ltd in 2014 — and last year Hunt assumed responsibility for the restaurants, too.

But some of his methods — such as making staff redundant over Christmas and cutting ties with Jamie’s friends and culinary mentors — have led to a reputation for ruthlessness.

Last year, an anonymous insider described him as an ‘arrogant, incompetent failure’ who was ‘running the business into the ground’.

Jamie rebutted the claims, saying the story was ‘nonsense’ and that Paul was ‘a loyal brother-in-law and loving father as well as a strong and capable CEO’.

(BBG) Farage’s Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says

(BBG) Farage’s Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says

May to Deliver New Brexit Proposal to Win Over Lawmakers

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is poised to dominate the upcoming European elections in the U.K., according to spread betting firm Sporting Index.

The anti-EU party will win 28 seats, the firm said. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives will win seven, while Labour will take 13 and the Liberal Democrats 12, Sporting Index predicted in an email in London on Tuesday.

Sporting Index has had a consistently strong record in predicting some of the key twists and turns of the Brexit saga. Last month, about two hours before the latest vote on May’s Brexit deal, the spread betting firm forecast she’d lose by 60 votes. She was defeated by 58.

“The Tories look set to face the consequences over their handling of Brexit, with the Brexit Party and Liberal Democrats making significant gains due to their clear stance on one of the most polarizing events in British politics,” Sporting Index’s Phill Fairclough said.

On Tuesday, May offered lawmakers a vote on whether her Brexit deal should be subject to a referendum, in a last-ditch bid to save it. Last time MPs voted on a second referendum, there was just a 12- vote difference, with 280 backing a confirmatory vote on a deal and 292 against it.

(Independent) Nigel Farage claims Brexit Party victory will result in ‘buy one get one free’ hit on May and Corbyn

(Independent) Brexiteer claims Westminster ‘terrified’ by his party

Nigel Farage has claimed a decisive victory for the Brexit Party in the European Parliament elections could see the end of both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, in a “buy one get one free” result.

The prominent Brexiteer rallied his supporters ahead of Thursdays poll, claiming Westminster was “terrified” by the rise of his new outfit in recent weeks.

He described Ms May as the “most duplicitous prime minister in the history” and turned his fire on Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson, leading to boos and shouts of “traitor” from the audience.

Organisers estimated 3,000 people attended the rally in London, with speeches from former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe and former Czech prime minister Vaclav Klaus.

Both the Tories and Labour are braced for a Brexit backlash in the upcoming European election, with the Brexit Party regularly topping the polls

A buoyant Mr Farage told the crowds: “If we win big on Thursday, there are a couple or really nice little focuses that will be attached.

“The first is we will quickly get rid of the worst, most duplicitous prime minister in the history of our nation.

“Given the way we are smashing the Labour vote in Wales and in the north of England, you never know a big Brexit win may get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as well.

“Buy one get one free – how about that?”

The former Ukip leader said a good result for his party would put pressure on the government to deliver Brexit by 31 October and bring back the threat of a no deal.

He also warned it would “kill of any prospect” of parliament pursuing a second referendum.

Mr Farage also mocked Mr Johnson for describing the prime minister’s deal as “vassalage” and then voting for it, adding: “You cannot trust the political class in this county.”

His intervention came as Ms May’s last-ditch attempt to save her Brexit plan looked set to fail as angry Tory MPs deserted her and Labour rebuffed her attempts to win them over.

In a speech in London, she promised to offer MPs a vote on whether to hold a second referendum in a desperate bid to secure support for her beleaguered Brexit plan.

Ms May’s offer also included a promise to safeguard workplace and environmental protections, as well as a choice on the future customs arrangements the UK should pursue with the EU.

(Express) Brexit Party BOOST: Nigel Farage OVERTAKES Tories in latest general election poll

(Express) NIGEL FARAGE’s Brexit Party has surged ahead of the Tories in the latest general election poll.

Brexit news: Brexit Party now top in general election poll

Brexit news: Brexit Party now top in general election poll (Image: GETTY)

Mr Farage’s party has been gaining heavy support ahead of next week’s EU election but in a worrying development for the main political parties, the Brexit Party has now surged into second place in a general election poll. In a survey compiled by Opinium Research, the Brexit Party now stands in second place only behind Labour. The news comes as Mr Farage’s party remains in first in the upcoming EU elections, capitalising on the current discontent over Brexit.

Adam Drummond, head of political polling at Opinium said: “While the home for dissatisfied leave voters was established quite early on as Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, until recently Remainers dissatisfied with the major parties have struggled to unite around a single pro-remain party.

“However, with less than a week to go, there are signs that the Liberal Democrats are emerging to fill this slot.

“The question is whether that trend continues in the few days of campaigning left.”

Although their share of the Remainer vote is nowhere near the 63 percent share the Brexit Party has among Leavers, they have overtaken Labour.

READ MORE: Nothing EU dreads more than having Brexit Party army of MEPs

Brexit news: Nigel Farage has now overtaken Tories

Brexit news: Nigel Farage has now overtaken Tories (Image: GETTY)

According to the poll, the Brexit Party sits on 24 percent in terms of voting intentions for a Westminster election while the Tories remain on 23 percent with Labour in front on 29 percent.

In what has been another tough week for Theresa May, the findings come as yet another blow for the Prime Minister.

Mrs May has vowed to bring her Brexit deal back to Parliament in the first week of June but following the collapse of cross-party talks with Labour, she is expected to lose the vote once again.

Mrs May has also insisted that she will set out the timeline for her departure following the vote as Boris Johnson has declared his intention to run in a Tory leadership race.

Brexit news: Mr Johnson has reportedly rejected Mr Blunt's warnings

Brexit news: Mr Johnson has reportedly rejected Mr Blunt’s warnings (Image: GETTY)

Brexit: Talks bringing UK close to no deal claims Stephen Kinnock

Such has been the rise in the Brexit Party that some insiders have warned that Mr Johnson must sign a pact with Mr Farage.

Senior Tory Crispin Blunt wrote in The Sun on Sunday: If the Conservatives don’t ally with his party we’ll be so badly damaged that government may fall into the hands of Corbyn’s Labour and the EU.”

Against Mr Blunt’s warning, however, insiders have insisted that Mr Johnson has ruled out a pact with Mr Farage.

The insider told The Sun: “He’s categorically ruled out doing any deal with Nigel Farage.

“Boris is the only leadership candidate who can see off both him and hard-left Mr Corbyn.”

(EuroNews) Why is Farage’s Brexit Party leading the polls and what is its plan for the UK?

(EuroNews)

Why is Farage's Brexit Party leading the polls and what is its plan for the UK? | Euronews answers

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Brexit was voted for but hasn’t happened. Britain’s ruling Conservative government has failed to deliver it. The Labour opposition can’t agree on whether it wants it or not. Parliament is deadlocked.

The political vacuum has been happily filled by a familiar face who played a major role in bringing about the EU referendum in 2016, and the outcome.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has been surging ahead in opinion polls in the run-up to the European Parliament elections. This is despite the fact that the party is only weeks old and has no detailed policies.

It’s thought a successful result for the new party could push Britain’s ruling Conservative government to pursue a harder Brexit. The UK is now due to leave the EU on October 31.

Farage’s objectives go beyond getting the UK out of the EU. The veteran Eurosceptic now says he also wants “to change politics for good.”

What explains the Brexit Party’s appeal?

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The European vote has given Nigel Farage a perfect opportunity to tap into widespread public anger at the Brexit delay and the parliamentary paralysis. Nearly three years after the referendum, these are the elections the UK was not expected to fight.

Amid the political turmoil, public opinion has polarised still further. Just as pro-EU supporters have been emboldened in their opposition to Brexit, anti-EU and English nationalist sentiment has hardened too.

Farage has successfully established clear blue water between his new movement and the UK Independence Party he once led. Since he left, UKIP has had several leaders and has openly flirted with the far-right.

In contrast, Brexit Party enthusiasts highlight the diversity of its candidates, who include people from a variety of ethnic, social and political backgrounds.

But there is little doubt that for many people, much of its appeal is down to the charisma of its leader and his message.

Despite the anger and frustration, Brexit Party events have been rather joyous, festive occasions. Halls and stadiums have been packed. People attending have said they feel “let down” by the two main parties, “sick” of being misrepresented by “remainers”, and that the failure to implement the Brexit vote is “threatening democracy”.

Both the main parties are feeling the heat, suffering badly in recent local elections. A survey of Conservative Party members found 60 percent were planning to vote for Brexit Party candidates at the European ballot. The Labour opposition’s ambiguous stance on Brexit has dented its appeal to voters on both sides of the divide.

Many at the rallies, but by no means all, are middle-aged or older – while the Brexit Party is forecast to do well in more affluent districts as well as working-class areas, particularly in England.

It attracts support from both the right and left. Audiences in traditional Labour strongholds have warmly applauded Ann Widdecombe, a Brexit Party convert who made her career on the right of the Conservative Party.

READ: Support for new Brexit Party surges amid voter backlash

READ: Brexit Guide: where are we now?

What is the Brexit Party’s plan?

REUTERS/Toby Melville
Anti-Brexit protester stands next to Brexit Party campaign placards.REUTERS/Toby Melville

Where in the past political parties have been pilloried for vagueness, Nigel Farage has made a virtue of his lack of a detailed programme. The Brexit Party has no manifesto, he says, because “manifesto equals lie”.

“We will talk about all those things after the 23 May,” he said recently. “Right now… we are fighting and campaigning to make sure that we can be a free, independent, self-governing, democratic nation.”

The European Union is no longer even his main theme. In a Brexit Party election broadcast, the EU isn’t even mentioned until towards the end. Instead, candidates describe how they feel “betrayed” and “humiliated” by politicians, leaving democracy “under threat”.

“Our task and our mission is to change politics for good, to change all aspects of politics in this country,” Farage told the campaign launch. So far there are few details of what that means.

Polls suggest that many who voted to leave the EU have been increasingly lured by a “no deal” Brexit – a departure without any agreement on the withdrawal terms or future relations.

Its advocates have increasingly pushed for a clear break from the EU to trade on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.

“The only way we can deliver the democratic will of the people is to leave on WTO terms,” Farage told the BBC. “Once we do that, the European Union will be banging our door down to have a sensible, tariff-free deal.”

The UK could leave the EU and then negotiate new arrangements afterwards, he said in a recent TV interview.

Farage’s claim that he argued for a no deal Brexit before the EU referendum is disputed.

What would ‘leaving on WTO terms’ mean?

Pro-Brexit economists and politicians argue that as most global trade is done on WTO terms, the UK could open up to the world while still maintaining access to EU markets.

The counter-argument – expressed by many other economists, business groups and politicians – is that a “no deal” Brexit would be an act of reckless folly, causing immediate disruption and damaging the economy.

They contest Farage’s claim that the EU would quickly strike a free-trade deal with the UK. The British government says the EU would treat the UK as “a third country”.

The EU is the UK’s largest trading partner. By quitting the single market and customs union, Britain would be free to implement its own trade policy.

But in the absence of a deal with the EU it would also face new barriers such as tariffs and regulations. Dozens of EU trade agreements with non-EU countries would no longer apply to the UK.

Analysts and British economic sectors reliant on close, smooth arrangements with Europe have warned that being forced to adapt to new rules overnight brings dangers. Among those sounding alarm bells are manufacturing industries – including the carfoodchemicals and pharmaceuticals – as well as the health servicetourism, and financial services. There have also been warnings over farming and fishing – despite strong support for Brexit from within these two sectors.

Ann Widdecombe – a Brexit Party candidate for southwest England – dismissed fears that Devon farmers may be put out of business as “project fear mark two”.

Nigel Farage has argued that the UK could slash tariffs on imports, helping poorer people by making food and clothes cheaper. Such claims have also been disputed by commentators and economists.

The Brexit Party leader also rejects fears that a no-deal Brexit would lead to extra delays at borders, saying tariffs could be logged online and on mobile phones. “Business finds a way through every different situation,” The Guardian quoted him as saying.

A UK-EU free trade deal would render the Irish border “a non-issue”, Farage has claimed, because there would be no excise duties to collect and any future differences in specification could be easily dealt with.

He also believes a hard border should not be necessary because Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic already manage without one, despite different currencies and tax rates.

Many trade experts and Brexit analysts reject the repeated denials among some Brexiteers that the Irish border problem is real, as well as their suggested solutions.

READ:No-deal Brexit: what would ‘WTO terms’ mean for UK-EU trade?

READ: No-deal Brexit: everything you need to know?

What about areas other than trade?

If the UK left the EU with no deal on the terms, existing legal arrangements would abruptly cease to apply. It would affect many aspects of everyday life – from travel between the UK and the EU, to security, crime and terrorism.

The government’s most senior civil servant has warned that a no deal Brexit would lead to a recession and price rises, and harm Britain’s security apparatus and legal system.

Nigel Farage argues that a no deal Brexit would allow the UK to “make its own laws, have its own courts and control its own borders”.

He has repeatedly argued for EU nationals who moved to the UK before Brexit to be able to stay – but he has criticised the British government’s plans for citizens’ rights in the event of no deal.

EU countries and the UK have both moved to secure the rights of citizens on both sides of the English Channel in such a scenario, but campaigners have warned they will be watered down.

READ: What would a no-deal Brexit mean for citizens’ rights – EU and UK expats?

READ: How would a no-deal Brexit affect travel and consumers?

Is ‘Faragism’ becoming like ‘Trumpism’?

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

“America’s always a few years ahead of us,” Nigel Farage said recently.

He has long praised Donald Trump, while the US president has suggested that his British admirer should be the UK’s ambassador to the US.

The Brexit Party leader has not expressed the same level of hostility to mainstream media – although one commentator saw similarities with Trump in Farage’s recent interview with the BBC, which he described as “the enemy”.

Interviewer Andrew Marr revisited Farage’s past comments on health service privatisation, climate change, gun control, immigration, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Guardian has also highlighted past interviews with a far-right US talk show.

Like Trump, he has long accused elites of looking after their own interests and betraying the people. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said recently that far from draining the swamp of politics, Farage and his associates were “the people who created the swamp”.

The Brexit Party does not openly advocate Trump-like tactics. Election candidate Alexandra Phillips has called for a positive response to “remainers’ slurs and smears” by highlighting the “many moral arguments for Brexit”.

After the 2016 EU referendum, Nigel Farage left frontline politics. Now back with a mission to complete an unfinished job, he has vowed to harden his stance.

“I did say if I ever had to come back into the political spectrum, there’d be no more Mr Nice Guy,” he said at his new party’s campaign launch. “And I mean it. I’m angry about what’s happened.”

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(Independent) Tory party will split if Boris Johnson becomes leader and pursues no-deal Brexit, warn MPs

(Independent) Former foreign secretary is runaway favourite in polls to succeed Theresa May

Electing Boris Johnson leader on a no-deal Brexit ticket would risk a permanent split in the Conservative Party, a former minister has warned.

The former foreign secretary has established himself as firm favourite to succeed Theresa May as prime minister in a contest many in Westminster expect to be triggered within weeks.

It comes as the prime minister prepares to deliver a speech on Brexit this week, in what a government source billed as a “bold offer” to MPs in a last-ditch attempt to build support for her beleaguered Brexit bill in the Commons.

A poll conducted shortly after he confirmed he would stand on Thursday put him on 39 per cent support among party members, well ahead of his nearest rival Dominic Raab on 13 per cent.

But he must first win his way through an MPs’ vote onto the shortlist of two presented to the membership in the country.

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt is currently thought to be leading in the race to sign up MP supporters, with Mr Johnson, Mr Raab and Michael Gove grouped together some way behind, and a wide range of other potential candidates yet to make real inroads.

Boris Johnson

But Phillip Lee, who quit Ms May’s government last year over her EU withdrawal policy, told The Independent that Mr Johnson would risk the Conservatives’ hold on power and the future of the party if he took it down a no-deal route.

It would be a “sweet irony” if the Brexit figurehead found himself forced to deliver a Final Say referendum because there was no majority in parliament for no deal, he said.

“I don’t think it is necessarily a personality who splits the party, I think the policy might,” said Mr Lee, who now chairs the Right to Vote group of Tory advocates of a referendum. “I don’t think a no-deal Brexit leaves the party intact. If that becomes the policy of the winning candidate, expect interesting times to follow.”

Mr Lee – who has faced threats of deselection in his Bracknell seat – said he had not personally decided whether he could remain in a party led by Mr Johnson, but he said it was an active topic of conversation among concerned MPs.

“Don’t think that these conversations are not taking place,” he said. “They have been taking place for at least a year.

“Anybody who thinks that people don’t feel passionately about stopping no-deal Brexit in the Conservative ranks and aren’t prepared to throw themselves under a bus doesn’t understand the situation.”

Mr Lee predicted “confidently” that at least 20 Tory MPs would opt for a second referendum if the only alternative was no deal; perhaps enough to secure a fresh public vote.

Phillip Lee MP predicts at least 20 Tory MPs would back a second referendum if no deal was the only alternative (Parliament Live)

When MPs voted on a referendum proposal in March it was defeated by 268 to 295. But Mr Lee said the vote was taken when Ms May’s “soft Brexit” alternative was still seen as a viable option.

The dramatic emergence of the Brexit Party under Nigel Farage had emboldened Tory Remainers by clarifying the options, he said. But he added: “Until soft Brexit 100 per cent disappears as an option, it remains a complicating factor.”

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said he has had similar conversations: “There are many Conservatives who tell me that, when the crunch comes and if there is a more Brexity version put on the table by a new Brexity prime minister, they will come over to us on the confirmatory vote.

“We only need about 45-30, maybe, Conservatives to come over to us and we can achieve a majority in parliament.”

Watch more

Although a no-deal Brexit is hugely popular among rank-and-file Conservatives, some of the party’s MPs are wary of a policy that might win them enhanced majorities in core Leave-voting areas like Lincolnshire but cost them seats in London, the southwest and Scotland.

Despite Mr Johnson’s declaration on Thursday and the collapse of cross-party Brexit talks on Friday, the race for the succession remains a phoney war.

Friends of the Uxbridge MP said he had not intended to use his appearance at a conference in Manchester as a stage to announce his intentions, but had simply decided to answer the question straightforwardly if he was asked if he would stand.

Few in Westminster will have missed the signs of rival camps being established in anticipation of a battle for the crown following Ms May’s fall. But despite the conversations in tea rooms and the “beauty parade” speeches by would-be contenders, the race is yet to begin in earnest.

“With it being a cold war for so long, everyone is up and ready, but no one is going to precipitate anything,” said one source.

Next week, Ms May will convene a meeting of the cabinet to consult on changes to be made to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Bill, including issues discussed with Labour in the cross-party talks which dramatically collapsed on Friday.

The prime minister will then deliver a speech setting out the details of the discussions, including a timetable for the introduction of the WAB in the House of Commons. 

“The government has been negotiating with Labour for an agreement to build the biggest level of support across parliament for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill,” a government source said.

“Labour have been clear that they have not ruled out supporting it if the overall package is acceptable. We intend to make a bold offer that will allow parliament to back the bill, get the deal over the line – and deliver Brexit.”

(BBC) Brexit: Talks between Tories and Labour set to close with no deal

(BBC)

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Talks between the Conservatives and Labour to find a compromise over Brexit are set to end without agreement.

The parties’ negotiating teams have been meeting for six weeks to break the deadlock, but will now have to discuss options to put to Parliament instead.

On Thursday the PM promised to set a timetable for leaving Downing Streetfollowing the next Brexit vote in June.

Ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is the latest MP to say he will run in the Tory leadership election to follow.

The UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March but the deadline was pushed back to 31 October after MPs rejected Theresa May’s proposed deal – the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the EU – three times.

That prompted attempts to find a way to end the impasse through cross-party talks between Labour and the Conservatives.

Labour negotiators have been seeking a permanent and comprehensive customs union with the EU after Brexit, meaning that there would be no internal tariffs (taxes) on goods sold between the UK and the rest of the bloc.

But many Brexit-supporting Tory MPs want the UK to negotiate its own trade deals on goods with other countries around the world, which would be impossible with a customs union in place.

At a shadow cabinet meeting on Tuesday, some Labour frontbenchers called for an immediate halt to the talks, raising questions over whether Mr Corbyn could win approval from his party for any deal.

Meanwhile, the prospect of compromising on issues such as the customs union has provoked anger in the Conservative parliamentary party.

BBC Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt said Tory whips had given up hope of finding agreement with the Labour leader on a Brexit deal.

Your guide to Brexit jargon

Use the list below or select a button                 – Choose a Brexit term –                              Alignment             Another referendum             Article 50             Backstop plan             Brexit             Brexit bus             Brexit day             Brexiteers             Brexiters             Brexodus             Brino             Cake and eat it             Canada model             Canada plus             Chequers plan             Cherry picking             Cliff edge             Common Agricultural Policy             Council of Ministers             Customs union             DExEU             Disorderly Brexit             Divergence             Divorce bill             EU             EU referendum             European Commission             European Council             European Court of Justice (ECJ)             European Economic Area (EEA)             European Free Trade Association (EFTA)             European Parliament             Eurosceptic             Euroscepticism             Facilitated customs arrangement             Flextension             Four freedoms             Free trade agreement             Free movement             Frictionless trade             Globalisation             Hard border             Hard Brexit             Henry VIII powers             Indicative vote             Irish border             Malthouse compromise             Managed no deal             Mandate             Max-fac             Meaningful vote             MEP             No deal             Norway model             Passporting             Political declaration             Remoaners             Schengen area             Settled status             Single market             Soft Brexit             Tariff             Tariff-free trade             Transition period             Treaty             TTIP             White Paper             Withdrawal agreement             WTO rules             Withdrawal agreementNo dealCustoms unionWTO rulesBackstop planIrish border

Mrs May has come under increasing pressure to leave Downing Street this summer, with Brexit deadlocked and poor results for the Conservatives in the recent local elections in England.

She will try once again to gain the support of MPs in the week beginning 3 June, when the Commons votes for the first time on the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill – legislation needed to implement her deal.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said if the bill were defeated Mrs May would be expected to announce that she was stepping down.

Brexiteer Mr Johnson said he would stand in the leadership contest after Mrs May departs, telling a business conference in Manchester on Wednesday: “Of course I am going to go for it.”

Labour backbench MP Hilary Benn, who chairs the Brexit select committee in the House of Commons, said news that the talks were ending had “not come as a great surprise” as it did not appear much progress had been made.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he believed Labour should back a public vote on any Brexit deal, saying: “There are only two ways out of the Brexit crisis that we’ve got – either Parliament agrees a deal or we go back to the British people and ask them to make the choice.”

Tory MP Nicky Morgan said she was sad at an end to the talks, telling Today: “This is a difficult situation [but] it is going to be a shame if we are not able to demonstrate we can compromise and find a way through this.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Today that she felt “a degree of sympathy” for Mrs May on a “personal level”, but added: “That said, I don’t think she has played the hand she was given particularly well.”

Calendar of events

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(ZH) UK Cops Fine Pedestrian $115 For Avoiding Facial Recognition Camera

(ZH)

A UK pedestrian was arrested and fined £90 ($115 US) after attempting to cover his face while passing a controversial facial recognition camera van on a East London street. The notorious London police vans scan the faces of passers-by and compare them to a database of wanted criminals. 

One man wasn’t having any of it, and was seen covering his face with his hat and jacket before London police stopped him and took his picture anyway according to the Daily Mail

If I want to cover me face, I’ll cover me face. Don’t push me over when I’m walking down the street,” said the man after his stop. 

“How would you like it if you walked down the street and someone grabbed your shoulder? You wouldn’t like it, would you?” the man asked an officer, who replied “Calm yourself down or you’re going in handcuffs. It’s up to you. Wind your neck in.” 

“You wind your neck in,” the man replied. 

After being fined, the man told a reporter: ‘The chap told me down the road – he said they’ve got facial recognition. So I walked past like that (covering my face).

‘It’s a cold day as well. As soon as I’ve done that, the police officer’s asked me to come to him. So I’ve got me back up. I said to him ‘f*** off’, basically.  

‘I said ‘I don’t want me face shown on anything. If I want to cover me face, I’ll cover me face, it’s not for them to tell me not to cover me face. 

‘I’ve got a now £90 fine, here you go, look at that. Thanks lads, £90. Well done.’ –Daily Mail

The ticketing comes in the wake of another similar incident in February, in which another man refused to be scanned by one of the facial recognition vans and was also fined £90. 

He simply pulled up the top of his jumper over the bottom of his face, put his head down and walked past,” said Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, who added that at least one man had seen placards warning the public of the facial recognition cameras being used from a parked police van.

“There was nothing suspicious about him at all … you have the right to avoid [the cameras], you have the right to cover your face. I think he was exercising his rights,” said Carlo. 

Meanwhile, the technology is terribly inaccurate – wrongly matching over 2,000 people to criminals when it was deployed ahead of the Champions League Final in Cardiff in 2017. 

Last December, a suspect was arrested by the Metropolitan Police during a trial of the facial recognition technology among Christmas shoppers at Leicester Square in London’s West End.  

Another man was stopped due to the technology, but found not to be the man the computer thought he was – although he was arrested over another offence. 

Big Brother Watch has previously said the technology is a ‘breach of fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of assembly’. –Daily Mail

“It is important to note that police are now days away from making a decision about the future of facial recognition in the UK,” Carlo told MailOnline. “We believe it has no place in a democracy and we will continue with our legal challenge against the Met if they do go ahead with it.” 

(BBC) Boris Johnson confirms bid for Tory leadership

(BBC)

Media captionBoris Johnson on Tory leadership bid: “Of course I’m going to go for it”

Boris Johnson has said he will run for the Conservative Party leadership after Theresa May stands down.

Asked at a business event in Manchester if he would be a candidate, the former foreign secretary replied: “Of course I’m going to go for it.”

Mrs May has said she will resign once MPs back her Brexit deal.

A decision on her exit timetable will now take place after the House of Commons votes on her Brexit bill early next month.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs, made the announcement following a meeting between the prime minister and his committee’s executive on Thursday. He said it would bring “greater clarity” to Mrs May’s intentions.

Twitter post by @huwbbc: Of course I’m going to go for it — says @BorisJohnson about the Conservative leadership speaking at @BIBAbroker in Manchester #BIBA2019

Several senior Conservatives are expected to enter the contest for the leadership, with the winner also becoming prime minister.

Asked at the British Insurance Brokers’ Association conference in Manchester whether he wanted to be in charge of his party, former London mayor Mr Johnson said: “I’m going to go for it. Of course I’m going to go for it. I don’t think that is any particular secret to anybody. But you know there is no vacancy at present.”

Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU has been rejected three times by the Commons. And she has come under increasing pressure to go after the Conservatives lost more than 1,300 councillors in recent local elections.

Many Conservative MPs are also unhappy that Mrs May is holding cross-party talks with Labour in an effort to get her withdrawal agreement through the Commons.

Media captionConservatives jostling to be the next prime minister

Mr Johnson, a leading Brexiteer who quit the cabinet last year over the terms of the agreement, said: “I do think there’s been a real lack of grip and dynamism in the way we approached these talks [with the EU].”

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip added: “We’ve failed over the last three years to put forward a convincing narrative about how we can make sense of Brexit and how to exploit the opportunities of Brexit.”

Media captionBoris Johnson profiled: His past, present and future

In a Conservative leadership contest, MPs hold a series of ballots, with the candidate gaining the fewest votes eliminated at each stage.

Once the field is reduced to two, the winner is chosen by a vote of party members. This wider vote did not occur in 2016, when Mrs May became leader, after the second-placed candidate among MPs – Mrs Leadsom – stood aside.

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey have announced they will run and Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has said she is “considering” doing so.

Other widely touted possible contenders include former and current members of the cabinet, including Michael Gove, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss.

Publisher William Collins has announced that the biography of David Cameron – whom Mrs May replaced at Conservative leader and prime minister following the EU referendum – will be released in September.

(ZH) Huawei Offers To Sign ‘No-Spy’ Pacts With Governments As UK Embarks On 5G

(ZH)

Chinese smartphone and telecommunications equipment giant Huawei is willing to sign ‘no-spy’ agreements with governments which adopt their technology, including Britain, according to chairman Liang Hua. 

The Trump administration has warned allies not to use Huawei’s technology to implement 5G networks over concerns that they would allow Chinese intelligence services to spy on whoever uses it. 

Moreover, Huawei and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, are facing criminal charges in the United States over the alleged theft of trade secrets and sanctions violations in Iran. 

As Reuters reports, Britain is still deciding on how much they will rely on Huawei – the world’s largest supplier of telecom equipment – for their 5G networks. 

“The security and resilience of the UK’s telecoms networks is of paramount importance, and we have strict controls for how Huawei equipment is currently deployed in the UK,” said a spokesman for the British government on Tuesday, adding that the results of a supply chain review would be announced soon. 

Prime Minister Theresa May sacked her defense minister, Gavin Williamson, this month over leaked claims that Huawei would have a role in the 5G network, putting Britain at odds with its biggest intelligence ally, the United States.

Williamson has denied he leaked from the confidential talks.

Liang, speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with Huawei’s British technology partners, said the company never intended to be in the eye of a political storm. –Reuters

“The cyber security issue is not exclusive to just one single supplier or one single company, it is a common challenge facing the entire industry and the entire world,” said Liang, adding that Huawei had long cooperated with the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre’s technology oversight efforts, while improving its software engineering capabilities. 

Liang also said that Huawei does not take direction or act on behalf of the Chinese government in any international market. 

“Despite the fact Huawei has its headquarters in China, we are actually a globally operating company,” he said, adding “Where we are operating globally we are committed to be compliant with the locally applicable laws and regulations in that country.”

“There are no Chinese laws requiring companies to collect intelligence from a foreign government or implant back doors for the government.” 

Last month, Ars Technica reported the discovery of a backdoor-like vulnerability in Huawei’s Matebook laptop series which could have allowed remote hackers to gain access to the system. Microsoft confirmed the security flaws were discovered by Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) kernel sensors, which traced the vulnerability back to a Huawei driver.

Huawei responded to Tom’s Hardware’s inquiry about the Matebook security flaw. They reiterated that the security flaw was not a backdoor attempt to spy on customers. Huawei also suggested it may take legal action against media over “misleading reports” about this issue. 

UK minister Jeremy Wright will announce the findings of the government’s telco supply-chain review soon, and has said that the benefits of cheap Chinese equipment would not take precedence over security concerns. 

Liang pushed back, suggesting that economic factors should be a top consideration, saying “I believe the decision should be based on risk assessment and supply-chain assessment, and should also reflect the requirements the UK has in terms of economic development when they choose suppliers,” and adding “Cyber security is indeed a very important factor to consider (…) but at the same time it should be a balanced decision between cyber security and economic prosperity.”

Huawei has inked over 40 5G contracts; 25 in Europe, 10 in the Middle East and six in Asia.

As Reuters notes, Germany says they’ve seen no indication that the company was offering a “no-spy” agreement. 

(EUobserver) EU nationals applying in large numbers to stay in post-Brexit UK

(EUobserver)

Some 600,000 of the 3m EU nationals in the UK have already applied for the “settled status” they need to stay after Brexit, British authorities said Wednesday, adding that there were zero refusals in the first 200,000 applications in a pilot scheme. The European Commission said the same day British 18-year olds can apply until 16 May to get a free European rail pass under its so-called DiscoverEU scheme.