Hammond: Preparing Dover for no deal would take more than two YEARS

Getting Dover ready for a no deal Brexit would take more than two YEARS, Philip Hammond warns with just 114 days until exit

  • Chancellor gave evidence to the Commons Treasury Committee on Brexit today
  • Hammond said it was impossible to get Dover ready for no deal before March 29 
  • He claimed it would take two years just to get planning approvals in place 
  • Brexiteers say a no deal and trading on WTO terms is better than May’s Brexit  

Getting Dover ready for a no deal Brexit will take more than two years, Philip Hammond warned today with 114 days left until exit day.

The Chancellor said just getting the necessary planning permission for a radical overhaul of the Channel port in two years would be a challenge – let alone rebuilding it.

Mr Hammond’s comments will infuriate Brexiteers who have long complained Britain was never sufficiently ready for a no deal Brexit to properly negotiate with Brussels.

In evidence to the Commons Treasury committee today, Mr Hammond warned MPs of the dangers of voting down the Brexit deal on Tuesday night.

The Chancellor told the committee the economic cost of a smooth Brexit was worth it but an outcome that ‘left the country divided’ would be economically devastating.

He also confirmed the Spring Statement would be made before exit day March 29.

Getting Dover ready for a no deal Brexit will take more than two years, Philip Hammond (pictured today at the Treasury committee) warned today with 114 days left until exit day

The Chancellor said just getting the necessary planning permission for a radical overhaul of the Channel port (file) in two years would be a challenge – let alone rebuilding it

MPs on the committee demanded to know why more was not being done to prepare Dover for the possibility of a no deal on March 29.

There have been grim warnings of food and medicine shortages if new customs barriers are suddenly erected because there is no deal and no transition period.

But Mr Hammond said even if a reconstruction had been started after the referendum in June 2016 Dover still might not be ready.

He said: ‘Years, not months, would be needed for Britain’s ports to be ready to handle the customs and regulatory checks required under the standard World Trade Organisation terms favoured by some Brexit supporters.


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‘To be very frank with you, the planning system might struggle to approve such significant infrastructure changes in two years, let alone get them built.’ 

The Chancellor urged MPs to back Mrs May’s deal in the Commons next week, warning the alternatives of a no deal or no Brexit would be very damaging.

He said: ‘Any solution which left the country divided, left a large segment of the population feeling betrayed, in my view, would have a negative political impact and societal impact that would far outweigh the very small economic impact that the White Paper scenario is showing here.’

In evidence to the Commons Treasury committee today (pictured), Mr Hammond warned MPs of the dangers of voting down the Brexit deal on Tuesday night

A government economic analysis last week showed a similar plan would cause only a small amount of damage compared with staying in the European Union, while a ‘no deal’ Brexit would deal hurt growth more.

Separate Bank of England analysis showed Britain’s economy suffering greater short-term damage than during the financial crisis, if it left without a temporary deal to preserve existing EU trade arrangements.

The BoE would probably expect the government to step in to provide fiscal stimulus in this situation, due to its inability to cut interest rates at a time when sterling would be sliding and inflation pressures mounting, Mr Hammond added

He said no deal would be a decade-long adjustment for the UK.

Mr Hammond told the committee: ‘Rather like after 1980, when over a decade our economy made a significant adjustment away from certain patterns of industrial and commercial activities to other patterns of industrial and commercial activities.’ 

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Five teens indicted on lynching charges in Virginia mob murder

Left to right: Ebelin Jojana Lopez, 19; Terrance Tyrese Martin, 19; Seni Jimenez Blanco, 19; and two 17-year-old minors, were indicted on a lynching charge for the killing of a 24-year-old Virginia man.
(Manassas City Police Department)

Five teenagers – including two minors – were indicted earlier this week on the rarely used charge of “lynching" after the brutal August murder of a 24-year-old Virginia man.

A Prince William County grand jury indicted Terrence Tyrese Martin, 18, of Manassas; Ebelin Jojana Lopez, 19, of Manassas, Seni Jimenez Blanco, 19, of Manassas Park; and two 17-year-old juveniles, who police said will be tried as adults. The names of the juveniles were not immediately released.

The quintet was indicted on multiple charges, including lynching, which in Virginia is defined as any act of violence by a group of people that results in someone’s death. It carries the same penalties as second-degree murder, a spokesperson with the Manassas City Police Department said in a statement.

Additionally, one of the juveniles was charged with murder.

The five teenagers went to the apartment of 24-year-old Reynaldo Eliazar Araujo on Aug. 30 at about 2 a.m. with the intent to rob him, officials said.

When police arrived later, they found Araujo’s apartment door riddled with bullet holes and Araujo inside with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene, FOX5DC reported.

Police did not elaborate on why they believe the teens were responsible for the killing or any possible connection the accused had to the victim.

“What we do know is these younger generations are trying to make a name for themselves, so some of the crimes they are committing are very gruesome, are very violent just so they can build their own reputation because that is what gangs are about – building a reputation of being the baddest gang in the area,” Jay Lanham, executive director of the Northern Virginia regional gang task force, told FOX5DC. “They have no problem committing the crimes they’re committing and the violence that goes along with it and that’s scary. That should be scary for anyone.”

Court dates for the suspects are pending.

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Saints owner Gayle Benson pays off layaway items for more than 400 Walmart customers

An anonymous customer recently spent more than $93,000 to pay off roughly 400 layaway items at a New Orleans Walmart. 

And on Tuesday, that customer was revealed to be New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.

The Saints confirmed to multiple news outlets Tuesday night that Benson, the widow of longtime previous owner Tom Benson, paid off the layaway items for unsuspecting customers at Walmart's store on Tchoupitoulas Street ahead of the holiday season. WWL-TV in New Orleans reported that the payments totaled $93,502.

"This was a gift from Mrs. Benson for the holidays," the Saints told the television station in a statement.

Zena Williams, the store's manager, told The Advocate that Benson's payment was a blessing for customers, some of whom were floored by the gesture.

"They're coming in, and they're calling their friends and family," Williams told The Advocate. "They're very excited. It's a good thing. It's a good thing for the community. It's a good thing for the store."

Benson, 71, became the sole owner of the Saints and Pelicans franchises after her husband died in March. Tom Benson, who purchased the Saints in 1985 and went on to own the team for more than three decades, was 90 years old.

Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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Christmas shoppers watch in horror as man plunges to death from top of car park

Christmas shoppers watched in horror as a man plunged to his death after he jumped from the top floor of a multi-storey car park today.

The tragic incident happened at the Oracle shopping centre in Reading, Berks.

Shoppers were shocked when the man anded in the road next to the entrance of the busy centre.

Roads around the area were closed as emergency services rushed to the scene.

A cordon was put in place as shopping centre staff moved the shoppers away from the scene.

A spokesperson for the shopping centre confirmed the incident happened at 10.04am this morning.

"We can confirm that there was an incident at the centre this morning and we are working closely with the emergency services."

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: "We are investigating an unexplained but non-suspicious death of a man in Bridge Street, Reading.

"We were called to the scene at 10.09am today. Police are currently at the scene and a cordon is in place."

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said: "We received a call at 10.04am and sent two ambulance crews. Sadly, one patient was confirmed deceased at the scene."

The man’s body was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital where a post mortem will take place.

The victim has not yet been named by police.

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Capitals forward grabs opponent’s stick, then gets penalized for trying to use it

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s stick (among many other attributes) has made him one of the best offensive players in the NHL.

So on Tuesday, the Capitals center decided to see what he could do with an opponent’s. 

In the second period, Kuznetsov lost hold of his stick at about the same time Golden Knights defenseman Nick Holden’s stick got wedged in the stanchions.

Thus, Kuznetsov did what any good goal scorer would do: Find the nearest stick and use it. 

The Capitals forward grabbed Holden’s left-handed stick from the boards, corralled the puck and looked to make a play in the offensive zone. Then, he realized it wasn’t his.

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Is the UK Government in contempt of Parliament over Brexit and when was the motion voted on?

Here's what we know about the term and what it means for Theresa May's plans.

Is the Government in contempt of Parliament?

Speaker John Bercow told MPs on December 4 he believed "contempt" could have been committed by Theresa May's Government over Brexit legal advice.

Mr Bercow made the comments in response to demands from Labour, the DUP and four other opposition parties complaining the summary legal advice released on Monday did not comply with a Commons resolution agreed on November 13.

Ministers were told by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox that once the withdrawal agreement with the EU is signed, the UK will never escape the deal without breaking the law.

Mr Bercow said: "The letter that I received from the members mentioned at the start of this statement asks me to give precedence to a motion relating to privilege in relation to the failure of ministers to comply with the terms of the resolution of the House of the 13 November.

"I have considered the matter carefully and I am satisfied that there is an arguable case that a contempt has been committed."

What is contempt of Parliament?

Contempt of Parliament is defined as any action taken by either an MP, Lord or a stranger (a member of neither house) which obstructs or impedes either Parliament in the performance of its functions, or its Members or staff in the performance of their duties.

Examples of contempt include giving false evidence to a parliamentary committee, threatening a Member of Parliament, forgery of documents and attempting to bribe members.

The Commons has the power to order anyone who has committed contempt of Parliament to appear at the Bar of the House and to punish the offender.

If the offence has been committed by an MP, he or she may be suspended or expelled.

When was the motion's vote?

The contempt of Parliament vote occurred on December 4.

A motion tabled by Labour, the SNP, other opposition parties and the DUP, argued ministers were in contempt due to their failure to fully publish advice given to Cabinet by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.

Theresa May lost a crucial Commons vote by 311 to 293 over her refusal to publish the full legal advice on her EU deal.

The vote was decided by a majority 18.

This made the Government the first to be found in contempt of Parliament in a constitutional stand-off.

Mrs May is on course for a heavy defeat in the Commons as opposition parties team up with Tory rebels and the DUP to vote down the Brexit deal.

Conceding defeat moments after the vote, Commons leader Andrea Leadsom agreed to publish the “final and full” legal advice that Mr Cox gave to the Cabinet as they deliberated the EU deal.

Theresa May opened the five-day debate in Parliament on Tuesday, December 4, which will end with the crunch vote on her withdrawal agreement on December 11.

What happens now the Government has been found 'in contempt'?

Theresa May opened the five-day debate in Parliament on December 4 which will end with the crunch vote on her withdrawal agreement on December 11.

The debate is Mrs May's final chance to convince MPs they should perform a last-minute U-turn and save her career.

The contempt finding could mean the vote is postponed.



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Anne Hegerty slips into union jack dress as Ginger Spice for The Chase special

Anne Hegerty is currently rocking the dirty shorts and vests look in the jungle, complete with a make-up free face and unbrushed hair.

But before she headed over to Australia she totally glammed up in filming for The Chase’s Christmas special, in which she dresses as Ginger Spice Geri Horner.

Sixty-year-old Anne, who usually sports a white shirt and grey suit as The Governess, slipped into a Union Jack dress and ginger wig with lashings of eyeshadow to replicate Geri’s trademark 90s look from the Wannabe video.

It was all in aid of a celebrity edition of The Chase for the gameshow’s Christmas special, filmed before she joined I’m a Celebrity.


A teaser clip of the show has been aired in an advert for ITV’s Christmas telly, showing Anne looking absolutely fabulous.

Bradley Walsh, who hosts the show, didn’t seem too impressed with her amazing look.

In the ad he can be seen telling her: "Never mind Ginger Spice, you look like a ginger nut."

Taking it in good humour, Anne giggles at Bradley’s insult and puts her head down.

Her colleague, "The Dark Destroyer" Shaun Wallace, is dressed up as Elvis in the same trailer, wearing a white jewel-encrusted jumpsuit, a wig and sunglasses.


Anne has proven popular in I’m a Celebrity and is being praised for raising awareness of autism on primetime national television.

She had a rough start to jungle life, breaking down in tears on the first day.

But after support and comfort from her campmates, Anne got stuck into challenges and even won seven stars for the group during one particularly hellish bushtucker trial.

Her colleage on The Chase, Mark Labbett, revealed on Loose Women why Anne decided to head into the jungle.

‘The Beast’ said it was, in fact, him who persuaded her to take part.

Anne revealed in the jungle how she and her fellow Chasers have a special routine before the final chase in every show, where they all put their hands together and shout "batter them!’ in unison.

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The Governess has made it to the final seven contestants in I’m a Celebrity but it remains to be seen whether she’ll be in the final on Sunday.

I’m a Celebrity continues tonight on ITV1 at 9pm.

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Luke Skywalker’s ‘original’ Star Wars lightsaber to hit auction block

Star Wars fans who are willing to drop big bucks on memorabilia from the movie saga have a new collectible to try to snatch: Luke Skywalker’s famed lightsaber.

The “original” artifact from the series’ “A New Hope” film, will be auctioned off next week in Los Angeles, California, according to a news release from auction house Profiles in History.

Auctioneers believe the famed Jedi weapon, used by Mark Hamill, could fetch for $150,000 to $200,000.

Hamill, however, warned prospective buyers on Twitter Tuesday, writing that he didn’t use just one lightsaber when he filmed the Star Wars movies, and thus, the lightsaber up for auction might not be as rare as advertised.

“Be Advised-There was no ONE lightsaber I used in the films, but many, MANY, both for myself & my stunt-double,” Hamill tweeted. “Multiple duplicate back-up props are commonplace during production-When the handle ridges were cutting my hands, they even made a few w/ soft sponge ridges! #BuyerBeware.”

The lightsaber — “from the first Star Wars from [the] collection of set decorator Roger Christian” — will be auctioned off from Dec. 11 through 13.

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France dangles wealth tax review as 'yellow vest' anger persists

PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron could amend a wealth tax that critics say goes too easy on the rich, his government indicated on Wednesday, a day after suspending further fuel-tax hikes in the face of protests across France over living costs.

The Macron administration is struggling to defuse the anger driving the “yellow vest” protests, as it reels from the worst riots seen in central Paris in five decades last Saturday.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said all tax-related policies needed to be periodically evaluated and, if deemed not to be working, should be changed. He said the wealth tax could be reassessed in the autumn of 2019.

“If a measure that we have taken, which is costing the public money, turns out not to be working, if it’s not going well, we’re not stupid – we would change it,” Griveaux told RTL radio.

The unrest over the squeeze on household budgets comes as OECD data showed that France has become the most highly taxed country in the developed world, surpassing even high-tax Denmark.

Griveaux later told a weekly news conference that Macron had called on all political parties, trade unions and business leaders to press the need for calm.

Student protests and planned trade union strikes in the energy and port sectors next week underscored the risk of contagion.

A Macron aide denied that any eventual revision of the wealth tax would represent a major climb-down by Macron, a pro-business former investment banker, adding that the president remained committed to his reform drive.

Griveaux defended Macron’s decision last year to narrow the wealth tax – known in France as “ISF” – to a tax on real estate assets, rather than all of an individual’s worldwide assets, from jewelry to yachts to investments, over the value of 1.3 million euros ($1.5 million).

Those changes earned Macron the label “president of the rich” among the hard-pressed middle class voters and blue collar workers who criticize the president for pursuing policies that favor the wealthy and do nothing to help the poor.

Griveaux said the wealth tax reform had not been “a gift to the rich” and was aimed at encouraging wealthy individuals to invest more in France.

“This money was to be invested in our SMEs for them to develop, innovate and hire. If that is not the case … then we can reopen it for discussion.”

U-TURN

The “yellow vest” movement – so-called because of the high-vis jackets worn by protesters – began with the aim of highlighting the squeeze on household budgets caused by fuel taxes but morphed into a broader, sometimes-violent rebellion against 40-year-old Macron.

His administration’s shift on fuel tax came after rioters ran amok in central Paris, torching cars, looting boutiques vandalizing cafes and private residences and cafes in affluent neighborhoods.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the six-month suspension to the carbon-tax would be used to examine other measures to bolster household spending power.

It marked the first major U-turn by Macron in his 18-months in office, at a time polls show that barely one in five French people think he is doing a good job.

U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to mock Macron over the policy shift, which could make it harder for France to meet its CO2 emissions reduction target, a core element of the Paris climate agreement of 2015.

“I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protestors in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago,” Trump tweeted late on Tuesday, as U.N. climate talks take place in Poland.

“The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters.”

Adding to Macron’s difficulties, college students are agitating and the hardline CGT trade union on Wednesday called for strikes in the energy industry and at ports on Dec. 13.

“We too want a freeze on the planned closures of coal plants,” the CGT union said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Total (TOTF.PA) said a rising number of its filling stations were running dry as a result of “yellow vest” road blocks.

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Scott Disick Gets Dad-Shamed Over 3-Year-Old Son’s Long Locks: ‘Cut His Hair’

Leave the little guy alone! Reign looks cute as can be with his long hair, but some fans want Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian’s son to chop it all off. See for yourself!

Kourtney Kardashian, 39, and Scott Disick, 35, must be used to the criticism by now, but we bet it’s beyond annoying when fans come after their kids. The pair share three adorable little ones — Mason, 8, Penelope, 6, and Reign, 3 — and their youngest has been drawing attention lately for his long locks. Even though Reign’s hair looks super sweet grown out, whether it’s down around his shoulders or pulled back into a ponytail, that still hasn’t stopped Scott’s Instagram followers from slamming the latest shot of his son. “Dream boy,” the father of three captioned his Dec. 4 pic, which featured Reign sitting on a white couch eating a jelly donut.

But instead of honing in on how risky it is to munch on a messy dessert like that on a pristine couch — wearing a white long sleeve, no less — many of Scott’s social media followers were focused on Reign’s hair. He had some wisps around his face, and the rest in a messy bun. Aw! “I thought that was Penelope,” one user wrote, while another added, “Looks more like a dream girl.” Others got even more blunt and to the point, writing, things like “Cut that hair already,” and, “Whoops, looks more like your daughter.”

This isn’t the only time that Scott has been dad-shamed for his son’s look! When Kourtney posted a picture with Reign by the pool, rocking long wet hair and orange swim trunks, fans had the same negative response.

View this post on Instagram

Dream boy 👦

A post shared by Scott Disick (@letthelordbewithyou) on

View this post on Instagram

Dream boy 👦

A post shared by Scott Disick (@letthelordbewithyou) on

If people don’t have anything nice to say, why say anything at all? Reign is adorable, and if this is how he likes to wear his hair, then what’s the big issue?

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