- May’s government quietly slips out a long trail of inconvenient announcements as MPs head for parliamentary recess.
- EU law will continue to apply for years after Brexit, despite May’s promise otherwise.
- Courts and military bases are to be sold off.
- Funding for free nursery milk is set to be cut.
- Childhood obesity is at an all time high.
- May’s government accused of burying bad news over the summer.
LONDON – A rather cynical tradition has developed in recent years in which, in the final days and hours before MPs leave Parliament for an extended break, the government releases a deluge of embarrassing reports, statistics, and statements in an apparently deliberate attempt to bury them.
This summer has been no different. Here are just some of the inconvenient stories Theresa May’s government has tried to bury over the past 24 hours.
EU law will apply for years after Brexit
Theresa May promised that all EU law and the jurisdiction of EU courts would end after Brexit day. However, May’s government on Tuesday slipped out a new white paper revealing that ministers will legislate to ensure EU law continues to apply for at least two years after Britain leaves in March 2019. As Brexiteer MPs head off to their constituencies, the new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab revealed that the government will implement legislation that will allow the European Communities Act, which ministers plan to repeal on Brexit day, to be extended to allow EU rules to remain in force during any two-year transition. This means European courts will also continue to have jurisdiction over the UK in a breach of previous promised by the prime minister.
This is a victory for those hoping to delay or cancel Brexit but will undoubtedly prompt anger among many Brexiteers.
RAF bases will be sold off
May’s government has repeatedly committed to protecting the British military from cuts. However, an announcement slipped out on Tuesday afternoon reveals that two RAF bases will now close their gates for the final time under a series of planned cuts by the government. RAF Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire, which is used as a training ground for pilots, will cease to be operational from 2020. Meanwhile RAF Scampton, in Lincolnshire, which is home to the RAF Aerobatics Team, will also be sold off by 2022. The cuts are part of a wider long-term cuts plan to sell off military sites used by the RAF and armed forces.
Childhood obesity has surged to an all time high
The prime minister has repeatedly promised to tackle childhood obesity with measures including a new sugar tax and health advice brought in by ministers. However, a new government report slipped out as MPs leave Westminster for the summer, reveals that their attempts have so far failed. New figures published on Tuesday afternoon show that severe obesity among 10 and 11 year olds is now at a record high, with children in the poorest families showing the biggest rise. Overall the ‘health inequality’ gap between children in poorer and wealthier families has also widened once again.
Theresa May has just demoted her new Brexit secretary
David Davis’s resignation as Brexit secretary led to speculation that Downing Street could move to take over Brexit talks from whoever succeeded him. That speculation turned out to be correct with the prime minister quietly announcing on Tuesday afternoon that the Brexit department will no longer be in charge of negotiations, with Downing Street and the Cabinet Office leading instead.
“I will lead the negotiations with the European Union, with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union deputising on my behalf,” May said in a statement.
The decision means the Brexit department will now be downgraded with staff moving over to Downing Street and the Cabinet office.
“Both of us will be supported by the Cabinet Office Europe Unit and with this in mind the Europe Unit will have overall responsibility for the preparation and conduct of the negotiations, drawing upon support from DExEU and other departments as required. A number of staff will transfer from DExEU to the Cabinet Office to deliver that.”
Courts will be sold off
The Conservative government’s attempts to slash public spending has led to widespread cuts to public services. These cuts were today extended further into the courts system as May’s government quietly announced plans to sell off courts across England as part of a wider cost-cutting exercise.
The following 7 courts will now be closed after government officials judged they no longer represented “value for money”:
- Banbury Magistrates’ and County Court
- Blackfriars Crown Court
- Chorley Magistrates’ Court
- Fleetwood Magistrates’ Court
- Maidenhead Magistrates’ Court
- Northallerton Magistrates’ Court
- Wandsworth County Court
Free nursery milk scheme will be cut
When Margaret Thatcher cut free school milk in schools in the 1970’s when she was Education Secretary, she was dubbed the “milk snatcher” by her opponents. Now as parliament prepares to head off for the summer, Theresa May’s government is reportedly planning something similar for nursery school children. The plans to cut funding for free milk in nurseries were revealed by the Times on Tuesday and will be set out in an imminent public consultation.
A spokesperson for the prime minister insisted to Business Insider that no child who currently receives milk will lose access to it. However, there is likely to be cuts of some form to the programme, potentially in terms of the quality or quantity of milk provided.
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