German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen won the surprise nomination and is likely to press ahead with plans to thwart Brexit and create a controversial EU army. The 60-year-old, who is set to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission, has previously described Brexit as a “burst bubble of hollow promises by populists”. The long-term ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also hit out at Brexiteer’s, stating “they had promised that Britain would benefit from Brexit” and insisted “Brexit is a loss for everyone”. The Defence Minister since 2005 is also keen to bring closer ties between the bloc’s military forces with a EU army – an idea which is also supported by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Ms von der Leyen said last year: “A European army is a vision that might become a reality in generations to come.
“What we see today and what we already achieved is the first concrete steps on this way. By giving birth to the European Defence Union, we have started to build what I like to call the ‘army of the Europeans’.
“We maintain national armies, under the authority of sovereign states, but better coordinated and mutually reinforcing.”
Tory leader LIVE: Brexit blocking looms as Hammond plots chaos from backbenches
Brexit news: Ursula von der Leyen is set to replace Jean-Claude Juncker
Meanwhile the German’s credentials for the role as Commissioner during such a vital period for the EU has come under sever scrutiny and her record as Defence Minister has been blasted.
Former European Parliament President Martin Schulz wrote on Twitter: “Von der Leyen is our weakest minister. That’s apparently enough to become Commission president.”
Meanwhile Rupert Scholz of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party said: “The Bundeswehr’s condition is catastrophic.
“The entire defence capability of the Federal Republic is suffering, which is totally irresponsible.”
Brexit news: Ursula von der Leyen has spoke openly about creating a EU army
Brexit news: Donald Tusk has issued a warning to the next Prime Minister
In a damning blow to the chances Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt of re-negotiating the withdrawal agreement, Donald Tusk stated the was “absolutely sure” the next president will be “as consistent” as the previous regime.
The President of the European Council said: ”I am absolutely sure that the new leaders of our institutions will be as consistent as we are today when it comes to the withdrawal agreement and our readiness to discuss our future relationship with the UK.”
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11.50am update: May to send Corbyn, Hunt and Johnson dire Brexit warning in Commons showdown
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to go head-to-head in Prime Minister’s Questions with Brexit set to dominate the agenda at 12pm.
Follow PMQs LIVE: May to send Corbyn, Hunt and Johnson dire Brexit warning in Commons showdown
11.10am update: Tesco chief warns of Christmas stockpiling due to October 31 deadline
Britain leaving the EU on October 31 rather than March 29 could prove more problematic for businesses given how close the deadline is to Christmas, Tesco chief has warned.
Tesco CEO Dave Lewis stated during the busy festive period there will be less storage capacity for stockpiling.
Mr Lewis also indicated a no deal Brexit could result in empty shelves in its stores.
Mr Lewis told the BBC: “It will be more difficult to do that in October, that’s for sure, because all of the network will be full of things getting ready for Christmas so there will be less capacity.”
The boss of Britain’s largest supermarket told his company’s annual general meeting in June, that sourcing fresh food would also be a major issue as Tesco imports about 50 percent of the fresh food it sells.
Mr Lewis added: “Empty shelves … depends on what no-deal means.
“If there’s a problem at the border, if there’s a problem with tariffs then there could be interruption.
“If as part of no deal there is no tariff, there is no problem, we could be absolutely fine.”
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10.50am update: Tory leaders warned no technology solution to Irish backstop
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have had their hopes of ditching the controversial backstop dashed by a former Government official in charge of Brexit.
Karen Wheeler, who left her role as Director General of Britain’s Cross Government Border Delivery Group said there is no technology solution to solve the border issue in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Ms Wheeler said: “Technology alone is not going to solve that border problem, it needs to be around other arrangements as well.”
Ms Wheeler stated the next leader needs to ensure supply chains were in place before October 31.
She added: “In any case, the technology is not in place any time soon, the sorts of arrangements that would be necessary.
“All of those are all fine but actually what you would need to do is ensure that industry, the traders, the road hauliers and the end-to-end supply chains were actually geared up for this as well.
“That is more than likely to take longer potentially thanputting technology arrangements in.”
The warning comes less than 24 hours after Mr Johnson told Tory members in Belfast there will “under no circumstances” be a hard border on the island,
At the same Hustings event Mr Hunt said he believed there is “technology there now” to provide a solution.
10.15am update: Farage defends Brexit Party for turning back on EU anthem
Nigel Farage has attacked the European Union and defended the Brexit Party’s decision to turn their backs during the EU’s ‘Ode To Joy’ anthem in Strasbourg yesterday.
The Brexit Party leader told Good Morning Britain: “I am not an appeaser.
“I am not going to appease to this illegitimate force called the European Union.
“I am going to stand up and fight it.”
10.00am update: Boris plans to halt ‘sin taxes’ following Brexit
Boris Johnson has outlined proposals to halt hikes on so-called “sin taxes”, which include levies on tobacco, alcohol and sugar following Brexit.
The frontrunner to succeed Theresa May hailed Britain’s scheduled exit from the bloc as an opportunity to examine tax policy.
Mr Johnson said: “The recent proposal for a tax on milkshakes seems to me to clobber those who can least afford it.
“If we want people to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles, we should encourage people to walk, cycle and generally do more exercise.
“Rather than just taxing people more, we should look at how effective the so-called ‘sin taxes’ really are, and if they actually change behaviour.
“Once we leave the EU on October 31, we will have a historic opportunity to change the way politics is done in this country.
“A good way to start would be basing tax policy on clear evidence.”
His announcement comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock – a prominent backer of his campaign – is set to publish a green paper which recommends extending the sugar tax to milkshakes.
Brexit news: Boris Johnson has proposed a review of ‘sin taxes’ after the UK leaves EU
9.40am update: Parliament set to REVOLT against ‘backroom stitch-up’ to replace Juncker
European Union chiefs have come under-fire as opposition grows to replace Jean-Claude Juncker with German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen
Ska Keller, the Greens co-president, said: “This backroom stitch-up after days of talks is grotesque, it satisfies no one but party power games. After such a high turnout in the European elections and a real mandate for change, this is not what European citizens deserve.
“We don’t need the smallest common denominator satisfying personal interest and party politics. We need a dynamic for political change in Europe and this is not offered by this package.”
READ MORE: EU CRISIS: Parliament set to REVOLT against ‘backroom stitch-up’ to replace Juncker
Brexit news: The EU is torn over Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor
9.30am update: Hammond to block no deal from backbenches – ‘Most powerful person in Government’
Philip Hammond’s plot to block a no deal Brexit has made him the most “most powerful person in Government” a Tory backbencher has claimed.
The Chancellor has issued a stern warning, Britain could face a £90 billion “hit” if it leaves the bloc on October 31 without an agreement.
Mr Hammond who is set to be replaced as Chancellor by the next Tory leader, will revert to the backbenchers and will provide “credible leadership” for the Tory rebels.
One Tory MP told the Guardian: ”There will clearly be more credible leadership on the backbenches against no deal. A lot of effort is going into this.”
Another said: “Hammond is clearly the most powerful person in government at the moment; he’s using the short time he has left and he’s putting structures in place in terms of what happens next.”
Brexit news: Philip Hammond has warned Britain could face a £90 billion hit
9.15am update: Germany dashes hopes of WA agreement being changed – ‘Stand as it is’
Germany has dashed any hopes for the next Prime Minister to re-negotiate the withdrawal agreement after the German ambassador to the UK warned it will “stand as it is”.
Peter Wittig said Berlin would be willing to “explore the new ideas” of the next occupant of Number 10 but dismissed any chances of it changing the Brexit deal.
He told BBC Radio: “Once there is a new prime minister in this country we will explore the new ideas that are being presented but with a point that is important in mind that the withdrawal agreement will stand as it is.”